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Sand Bridge Gaming Build

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January 9, 2011 1:59:02 PM

Ok so I have been doing research for quite some time now, and I thought I would be ready to put my foot down and buy the parts and build a computer. The maximum limit of my budget is $1600, but I would like it to be the biggest bang for the buck. Also I will be using this for mostly gaming, with light photoshop, movie editing/making. The parts I have so far:
NZXT Phantom PHAN-001BK Black Steel / Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case $100-

XFX Black Edition P1-750B-CAG9 750W ATX12V v2.2 / ESP12V v2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply$130

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K-$225 I am not sure whether to get the 2500k or the 2600k.

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7-$30

ASUS Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk – OEM-$15

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive-$55

G.SKILL Phoenix Series FM-25S2S-60GBP1 2.5" 60GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)-$140

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBXM -$70

MSI P67A-GD65 LGA 1155 Intel P67 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard-$180 I am having trouble picking out a good motherboard as they all seem the same. Any suggestions?

XFX HD-695A-CNFC Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity-$310 I'm not sure whether to get a 570, 6970, 6950 or the upcoming 560. I just want the biggest bang for the buck.

ASUS MS236H Glossy Black / White 23" 2ms(GTG) Ring stand and Ergo-fit technology Widescreen LCD Monitor w/HDMI 250 cd/m2 ASCR 50000:1 -$170

I will be purchasing latest by end of February and thanks in advance
TOTAL:$1415 Before Rebates
January 9, 2011 2:44:18 PM

6950 is an excellent choice, IMO; several folks have successfully reflashed BIOS to 6970, with stellar success with several different brands...
January 9, 2011 6:52:24 PM

Case: 922 over phantom due to cooling http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-RC-922M-KKN1-GP-Tow... free shipping at amazon
PSU: the 850w is cheaper after MIR http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU: good choice
Cooler: get from amazon it is cheaper, has additional fan, free shipping
SSD: I would get this vertex 2 instead 40 more bones for twice the space http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GPU: the sapphire comes with a free goodie and .99 shipping and is 285 after MIR http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Mobo: this asus is far superior http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... albeit more expensive
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January 9, 2011 7:20:34 PM
January 9, 2011 7:25:51 PM

922 over 912 due to cooling the 912 only comes w/ 2 fans

Best solution

January 9, 2011 9:46:48 PM
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Do you think you will ever SLI/Crossfire? If you SLI then you may want to increase the PSU wattage as Nvidia's cards are relatively power hungry. However 750 will be enough for two 6950s.

Im getting the Phantom case in red :) , the Phantom has ample cooling stock plus you can add a 140mm in the front and a 200mm side fan, so no worries there.

you cant go wrong with either processor, just depends on what you are willing to spend. For me i got the 2600k which I plan to crossfire with the 6950. Since I plan to have the build for at least 5 yrs I just decided to get something that will last quite a while, while at the same time providing top of the line performance.

It has been tested on multiple tech sites(like guru3d and anandtech) that you can reach 4.8 ghz stable with the fan that comes with the processor, and if you aren't going to clock that high anyway, you really don't need to buy another one.

People have been touting SSDs. They are very noticeably faster, but to me personally the prices right now dont justify the performance. Go to youtube and search ssd vs hdd( or versus your specific hdd) and see if you really want to spend that much at this point.

That mobo is nice. It has a genie button on the mobo to auto overclock (if you dont want/like to yourself.) Although some reviews have said that the bios still needs some work, with clicks not responding and what not. the ASUS P8P67 Pro is probably your best bet. Good organized Bios layout and you can auto OC from within the Bios with one click.

the 6950 is a very good card for 300. Handles today's games at max no problem, unless you play Metro 2033 at max(then itll be around 27-33 fps avg).

Everything else you have is fine.

January 9, 2011 10:29:19 PM

actually gc_sama you're incorrect the stock Phantom cooling is inadequate from OCC
Quote:
Cons:
Finish fingerprints easily
Temperatures not the greatest, adding fans would most likely fix this
Cutout for heatsink access hole may not work on all motherboards
January 10, 2011 2:36:08 AM

gc_sama said:
Do you think you will ever SLI/Crossfire? If you SLI then you may want to increase the PSU wattage as Nvidia's cards are relatively power hungry. However 750 will be enough for two 6950s.

Im getting the Phantom case in red :) , the Phantom has ample cooling stock plus you can add a 140mm in the front and a 200mm side fan, so no worries there.

you cant go wrong with either processor, just depends on what you are willing to spend. For me i got the 2600k which I plan to crossfire with the 6950. Since I plan to have the build for at least 5 yrs I just decided to get something that will last quite a while, while at the same time providing top of the line performance.

It has been tested on multiple tech sites(like guru3d and anandtech) that you can reach 4.8 ghz stable with the fan that comes with the processor, and if you aren't going to clock that high anyway, you really don't need to buy another one.

People have been touting SSDs. They are very noticeably faster, but to me personally the prices right now dont justify the performance. Go to youtube and search ssd vs hdd( or versus your specific hdd) and see if you really want to spend that much at this point.

That mobo is nice. It has a genie button on the mobo to auto overclock (if you dont want/like to yourself.) Although some reviews have said that the bios still needs some work, with clicks not responding and what not. the ASUS P8P67 Pro is probably your best bet. Good organized Bios layout and you can auto OC from within the Bios with one click.

the 6950 is a very good card for 300. Handles today's games at max no problem, unless you play Metro 2033 at max(then itll be around 27-33 fps avg).

Everything else you have is fine.



Nvidia has corrected the power and cooling problems mainly seen in the 470,480 with the 570 and 580
750 is more than enough for both.
January 10, 2011 2:36:45 AM

ah, well i guess i was wrong on the stock part. but alas not on the part about cooling with a fan added :sol:  , from the same review on OCC:

Quote:

The higher chipset and GPU temperatures are surely due to the lack of a fan blowing inwards from the side panel over the motherboard components. Adding a 200mm or 230mm fan on the sidepanel would be a very powerful addition to the Phantom. The hard drive temperature was a littler higher than the average of the other cases, but that may be due to the fact that the hard drive was installed on the top bay where there would be less airflow over the top of the hard drive.


combine that with a 140mm fan in the front and youre looking at one super cool case. :wahoo: 

January 10, 2011 2:43:01 AM

HeyImGodly said:
Nvidia has corrected the power and cooling problems mainly seen in the 470,480 with the 570 and 580
750 is more than enough for both.


Oh yes I am aware of the better power efficiency vs their 400 series. I just meant relative to AMD 69xx series they are power hungry. I was also looking at some recommended power supply wattages for SLI on slizone.com, which led me to my conclusion.
January 10, 2011 7:38:24 AM

Thanks for all the replies guys! I really like the look of the NZXT Phantom, but from all comments telling it about poor cooling, will it really affect the temperatures and will it be better if I replace the fans. Also if its that bad is there any other case that looks similar, I don't really like the look of the HAF cases and etc.

Also I like the suggestion switching to the XFX 850, as it is only a $20 difference from the XFX 750, and the rebates drop it down to $110.

I think I will stick to the 6950 and switch to the Sapphire model, as it comes with a free 8GB Flash Drive.

Also I think the ASUS P8P67 PRO is a good choice, and when looking for a motherboard, I didn't really pay attention to any details.

I think I would rather stick with a 60GB SSD, as it don't really need a 120GB but if there are any other cheaper 64/60GB SSD with a Sand Bridge Controller, then could you please recommend me one.

Also is there a huge difference in performance between the 2500k and the 2600k. Also I've read that the new Sandy Bridge CPU's can overclock well with a stock cooler, so will a 3rd party cooler have a greater affect.

Also I'm still unsure about the monitor I chose, and if you guys can recommend a good one less than $200 that would be appreciated.

Thanks!


January 10, 2011 7:59:45 AM

Quote:

Thanks for all the replies guys! I really like the look of the NZXT Phantom, but from all comments telling it about poor cooling, will it really affect the temperatures and will it be better if I replace the fans. Also if its that bad is there any other case that looks similar, I don't really like the look of the HAF cases and etc.


If you add a 200mm fan on the side you will have very good cooling in the phantom.

Quote:

Also is there a huge difference in performance between the 2500k and the 2600k. Also I've read that the new Sandy Bridge CPU's can overclock well with a stock cooler, so will a 3rd party cooler have a greater affect.


guru3d.com provides the best reviews for these processors imo. Check their review out and decide from that. Even their conclusion page alone will provide the specific answers you seek.

I think that monitor is great. I have the LED version. No complaints in that department.
Anonymous
January 10, 2011 7:59:47 AM

No Difference between i5 and i7 in games.In most games i5 beats the i7 by 1 or 2 framerates or so

Monitor:ASUS VH242H Black 23.6" 5ms HDMI Full 1080P Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 20000:1) Built in Speakers
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

January 10, 2011 8:08:03 AM

if you ever crossfire the 6950, then you will notice a difference between the processors. guru3d.com ftw(at least when comparing these cpus imo)
Anonymous
January 10, 2011 8:12:27 AM

well checkout anandtech
January 10, 2011 10:00:37 AM

Ok so I think I'm almost ready to settle with the build I have, but Im still thinking about the CPU. Is there a very big difference between the 2500k and 2600k, that is worth an extra $100? Other than that, I feel quite confident with my build. So far it is:

NZXT Phantom PHAN-001BK Black Steel / Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case(I will add a 200mm Fan to the side panel)

XFX Black Edition XPS-850W-BES 850W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

Intel Core i5-2500k or Intel Core i7-2600k(still deciding between them)

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus

ASUS Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk – OEM

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM(I think 500GB is more than enough, as currently i am using less than 400GB)

G.SKILL Phoenix Pro Series FM-25S2S-60GBP2 2.5" 60GB

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600

ASUS P8P67 PRO LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Intel Motherboard

SAPPHIRE 100312SR Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit

ASUS MS236H Glossy Black / White 23" 2ms(GTG) Ring stand and Ergo-fit technology Widescreen LCD Monitor w/HDMI 250 cd/m2 ASCR 50000:1

Total: $1420 w/ 2500k
$ 1520 w/ 2600k
Also fan recommendations for the side panel and CPU Cooler?
January 10, 2011 7:12:14 PM

for the side panel fan the ones that NZXT sell are fine. I know they are on amazon for like 15.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_5_8?url=search-a...

as for the processors, you're already building a high end rig, might as well just get the best since its not that much more right? At least you won't have buyer's remorse imo. The i7 2600k is on the level of the i7 980x that costs around 1000 dollars. :sol: 

Plus it's going to last around half a decade anyway so its not like youre going to be buying processors often. the extra 100 dollars for the i7 def wont be a waste of money considering how long they will last. :) 

And it has hyperthreading so its virtually eight cores. Games like Battlefield bad company 2, and the upcoming battlefield 3 will definitely use all that processing power.

And now a quote from the guru3d review

Quote:

Now I admit it, I was rendered speechless by the performance of what initially was expected to be a mid-range series processors. Now the Core i7 2600K at just over 300 USD is not exactly a mid-range price, it however is and will remain the fastest quad-core processor currently available on the market. I can recommend this processor very very much. When you opt to step down to the Core i5 2500 then you'll forfeit on hyper-threading, get 2MB less L3 cache and the core clock goes down 100 MHz. It will save you some money alright, but the performance decrease is very much noticeable and measurable. It's still a very fast quad-core processor for the money. But yeah, we can't help it, we've fallen in love with the Core i7 2600K very much. That processor seems to have all the variables right.

When a product is good, we say it's good, flat-out and simple, that's the Core i5 2500K alright. The Core i7 2600K however is nearing perfection.

January 11, 2011 8:37:26 AM

Ok so after all the input and my own research, I decided to go with the i7-2600k and all the other parts listed above. Thank you everyone for all the helped make my decision!
January 11, 2011 8:37:59 AM

Best answer selected by dayman500.
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