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[Solved] $1600 Sandy Bridge build. Feedback appreciated!

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January 18, 2011 2:36:45 AM

Ok, here's my situation. It's been nearly 9 years since I could last afford a computer. Due to a confluence of events I CAN afford one now. It's time to retire my old Athlon Xp 2700+ build. I've been poking around for a bit reading this site and others, and have put togeather this build. What I'm curious about is whether or not I've got a decent build going here, and what, if any, mistakes I've made or choices I'll regret. My budget has a hard ceiling of $1600. If anyone suggests something that adds to my current total (aka you suggest a more expensive piece) I'll need you to recommend a cut elsewhere.

Any and all feedback appreciated! (Well, "You suck" won't be appreciated, but CONSTRUCTIVE feedback will be!)

Approximate Purchase Date: End of January

Budget Range: $1600 I'm currently $9.46 over budget. That means if you suggest a more expensive part I'll need a suggestion of where to cut too.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, school, virtualization (for school), longevity (though hopefully not another 9 years)

Parts Not Required: Everything needed except OS. I've got a Shiny copy of Win 7 Pro waiting.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg and Amazon preferably, but if the discount on another site offsets the shipping I'll look into it. I live in the middle of nowhere in Florida so most in-store options aren't available to me.

Country of Origin: US

Parts Preferences: Doing a Sandy Bridge build. Other than that, I'm fairly open.

Overclocking: Probably, though not right off the bat.

SLI or Crossfire: Probably in 6-8 months. No pref between them.

Monitor Resolution: No less than 1920x1080

My Proposed Build:
Case: $89.99
COOLER MASTER RC-692-KKN2 CM690 II Advanced Black Steel ATX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: 109.99 *Edited*
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU + CPU Cooler Combo: $339.98 *Edited*
Sandy Bridge I7-2600K
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

MoBo: $199.99 I need the 2nd Lan port) *Edited*
P8P67 EVO
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: $69.99
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: $109.99
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Monitor: $189.99
Asus ML238H 23" 1920 x 1080 2ms Full HD S&T adjustable LEDBacklight LCD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mouse & Keyboard: $ 139.99 (MUST be wireless)
Logitech Cordless Desktop MX 5500 Revolution
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD Burner: $21.99
LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R LightScribe Support - OEM
http://www.amazon.com/Lite--LightScribe-Layer-Drive-IHA...

2nd CPU Fan: $13.79 *Edited*
Scythe S-Flex SFF21F (1,600rpm) 120x120x25mm 3/4 Pin Bearing PC Case Cooling Fan
http://www.amazon.com/Scythe-120x120x25mm-Bearing-Cooli...

Thermal Grease: $8.98
ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $1607.66 Getting a bit too expensive. Yargh! *Edited to reflect changes*

Thanks a bunch folks! I look forward to hearing from you!

*Edited once to update based on good suggestions*
January 18, 2011 3:10:54 AM

^ Nice selection of parts,...
Some suggestions -
1. RAM - Check this one, though is rated low, but is capable of running at higher speeds,...
Crucial 8GB DDR3 - Would be good even for a decent overclock,...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Check this combo -
XFX 6870 + CPU, as you intend to keep the Pc for a long time, the Lifetime Warranty on the graphics would be a plus, as well as comes with FREE GIFT: Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000 USB Connector Circumaural Stereo Headset (value:$22.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

2nd Fan for the cooler - IMO this would be a better option -
Scythe S-Flex SFF21F (1,600rpm)
http://www.amazon.com/Scythe-120x120x25mm-Bearing-Cooli...
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January 18, 2011 3:26:16 AM

gkay09 said:
^ Nice selection of parts,...
Some suggestions -
1. RAM - Check this one, though is rated low, but is capable of running at higher speeds,...
Crucial 8GB DDR3 - Would be good even for a decent overclock,...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Check this combo -
XFX 6870 + CPU, as you intend to keep the Pc for a long time, the Lifetime Warranty on the graphics would be a plus, as well as comes with FREE GIFT: Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000 USB Connector Circumaural Stereo Headset (value:$22.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

2nd Fan for the cooler - IMO this would be a better option -
Scythe S-Flex SFF21F (1,600rpm)
http://www.amazon.com/Scythe-120x120x25mm-Bearing-Cooli...



Hm, not bad on the RAM, though I'm a bit reluctant to drop from PC 1600 to PC 1333 AND from CAS 7 to CAS 9. Food for thought though.

GREAT find on that Video Card + CPU combo. So long as it lasts to the end of the month I'm sold!

I've heard good things about those Sythe fans. Trouble is I'm not too keen on mixing my intake and outgoing fans to differing speeds/airflow and that Cooler Master Blade is roughly comparable to the one that comes on the heat sink. I'd really need to get two of the Scythes and just flat out replace the one on the Heatsink. That adds $14. I'm not saying no (Especially since the deal on the GPU+CPU saves $30, but I'd need a bit of convincing. It the Scythe THAT much better?

So lets see... Suggestion #1: Probably not #2: YES!, #3: mebbie!

Thanks and keep em coming!
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Related resources
January 18, 2011 3:57:20 AM

^ Here is a good review of the RAM, also has the GSKillz DDR3 1600MHz CAS 9 one too,...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/8gb-ddr3-ram,2542.h...

Fan - Both the fans are PWM fans, so you must be able to adjust their RPM and the amount of airflow, but if you are still skeptical, then stick with the CM for now,...
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January 18, 2011 5:41:31 AM

Well I have a rec, it's in my Siggy :D  I think that if your going for 1920x1080 or so, going with the 6950 is a good idea. Sorry my site doesn't include combos, since combos don't always last. Umm if you do get the 6950, the 2500K is combo'd with the Asus Pro you want so that could be one to look at. But uhh yeah check out mah siggy.

http://www.squidoo.com/electronicandmore
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January 18, 2011 7:52:31 AM

I've been in monitor shopping mode for almost a month now so it's the one thing I feel comfortable recommending.

MONITOR:
ASUS VH236H Black 23" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen Full HD 1080P LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 20000 :1 (ASCR) Built-in Speakers
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It's $10 less before rebates, $15 after rebates (from both monitors), and has Free Shipping where your current monitor has $8.99 shipping. Before rebates: $19 cheaper. After rebates: $24 cheaper.

The only significant difference besides appearance is power consumption of about 22 W. I would encourage you to make your own opinions on ASCR in regards to desirable contrast ratios.
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January 18, 2011 8:09:40 AM

NewEgg has a 48 hour deal on the 23.6" version of what I linked:
ASUS VE247H Black 23.6" 2ms Full HD HDMI LED BackLight LCD Monitor w/Speakers 300 cd/m2 10,000,000:1 (ASCR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$169 with the promo code: EMCKJJB66 -- $10 MIR which brings it to $159.

You can't beat that. I'm buying it now.
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January 18, 2011 4:04:38 PM

Ok, consensus seems to be on the scythe fans. I"ll see about grabbing a couple.

The reason I picked the monitor I did is because, though it's a few $'s more than the other one listed here, it's LED back-lit and the other is not. Is that not worth the $10-20? Additionally, no matter how good the deal is right this moment, I cannot order for about 2 more weeks. My financial windfall doesn't happen for a couple of weeks. :\

Everyone also seems to be pushing cas 9 RAM rather than the cas 7 I picked. There IS nearly a $50 difference between the two. This price difference would allow me to switch from a Radeon 6870 to a 6950. I AM pretty intent on sticking to PC 1600 though.

So my question is this. From which will I see more of an improvement. The CAS 7 RAM or the Radeon 6950 vid card? I'd assume it's going to depend on what I'm doing. I'd imagine gaming I'll notice more from the GPU, whereas most other uses the RAM will provide more of a difference. IS cas 7 ram worth the $50? Does the improvement justify the cost? Or should I just dump that money into the video card?

I really appreciate the feedback guys. This is really helpful! I might not take all of your suggestions (Though I definitely am taking some!), but they are still hugely helpful! Keep it up!

*edit* Ooh if I do the 6950 I can get a combo on the i7-2600 and the Hyper 212+ that saves $18. This means I'll be within about a buck of my budget ceiling. What's the consensus? Cas 9 + 6950 or Cas 7 and 6870?
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January 18, 2011 5:49:18 PM

Ok, changed a few things around based on some combos I've stumbled on. Hopefully they last the two weeks. If not Grr.
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January 18, 2011 10:28:00 PM

CL7 vs CL9 has almost no difference on your speed unless your benchmarking, but who really cares about memory benchmarking. I'd just go with the DDR3 1333 and CL9 and get a 6950 rather than getting a card that wont be able to handle my resolution. You'll gain more performance going with a 6950 than with CL7 ram.

So imo 6950+CL9
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January 18, 2011 10:41:58 PM

Is there any major reason you chose the Asus p67 Evo instead of just the pro model? The pro will save you 20$ and in all reality the features you gain by jumping up to the evo in my mind are not worth the price increase , but to each his own. If the extra features are worth it to you and you can justify the extra money then I would get the sabertooth model then which is just 10$ more than the evo.

Over all I would say this is a very solid build, the only two things I might change still is the thermal grease and your choice of keyboard and mouse. Good thermal glue can be picked up for just 3$ at local computer stores or even on amazon with free shipping, this is one of the FEW things I dont recommend people to buy from newegg just because it can be found cheaper else where. Cheaper mice and keyboards can be found but again this is a personal choice.
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January 19, 2011 12:16:10 AM

preolt said:
Is there any major reason you chose the Asus p67 Evo instead of just the pro model? The pro will save you 20$ and in all reality the features you gain by jumping up to the evo in my mind are not worth the price increase , but to each his own. If the extra features are worth it to you and you can justify the extra money then I would get the sabertooth model then which is just 10$ more than the evo.

Over all I would say this is a very solid build, the only two things I might change still is the thermal grease and your choice of keyboard and mouse. Good thermal glue can be picked up for just 3$ at local computer stores or even on amazon with free shipping, this is one of the FEW things I dont recommend people to buy from newegg just because it can be found cheaper else where. Cheaper mice and keyboards can be found but again this is a personal choice.


I went with the Evo over the Pro largely because of the second LAN port. I'll be hooking up my old PC (the 9yr old single core) to this one and using ICS. My wife will be using it and I'll be using the new machine. Neither the Pro nor the Sabertooth have that second Gigabit lan port. If I went with either of them I'd end up having to buy a NIC, which might save me $20 on the MoBo (in the case of the pro on newegg) but cost $20ish for the NIC. That and I'm inclinde to thing an onboard NIC is goign to be less of a burden on the system than an additional seperate card. So... eh. I'm fine with the Evo.

As for the thermal paste, I've been an AS5 user for many years. I swear by the stuff. I thought I'd give the MX 2 a chance since it doesn't require a burn in period.

The mouse and keyboard are largely an aesthetic/practical thing. I know they aren't the pinnacle for twitch gaming, but when I game, it's mostly RPG's anyway. Due to my desk setup I REALLY need wireless and I just rather like the look of this set. I am open to WIRELESS suggestions, however.

Honestly I've no where local to buy thermal paste from. I live sorta in the middle of no where and there are no good computer stores anywhere near here. There is a Best buy in the area, but as I said no GOOD computer stores.

Oh, and aznshinobi, thanks for the suggestion! I think that's the route I'll be going.

I'm pretty happy with how this build is looking. Anyone have any other suggestions?
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January 19, 2011 12:23:00 AM

Nope, the Evo seems nice I suppose, I would've agreed with preolt, but then you are using the dual lan ports so it is useful. I don't hook up LAN cept with my router so I don't need two, but then again my mobo does offer two XD

I suggest just going with MX-2, but if I'm correct Performance-PC's is also in Florida, you could check them out for paste. Radio Shack also sells AS5.

http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php

http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...

I think they have better cooling options compared to Newegg, but Performance PCs is a bit more expensive depending on the product.
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January 19, 2011 12:46:53 AM

Yeah, I don't have a router at the moment. I've no wireless devices (laptops/tablets/whatevs), so I've really no need for a wireless router. Since I'll only have the two machines just chaining em together seems the way to go.

The Evo also comes with on board power/reset buttons. That is ENORMOUSLY appealing to me due to a mishap last time I moved involving the wife picking up the computer (and ripping the front off the case including the power switch). I had to short the wires to basically hotwire the PC in order to get it turned on so I could get online to order a replacement switch. Gah. I later had the reset switch begin shorting it's self out (probably due to the earlier abuse) which caused my computer to reboot it's self at odd times. I ended up just unhooking it. As such I haven't had a reset switch in a few years. :p 

Radio Shack sells AS5? Wow. I didn't know that. I guess they DO still serve a purpose!

Performance PCs is in Palm Bay Florida. That's a bit over 2hrs away. Just not worth the drive. :p 

Annoyingly, since I began this build the Evo jumped in price from $199 to $209. It's now just BARELY worth it. If that Sabertooth had a second LAN port I'd get it.
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January 19, 2011 12:47:49 AM

I too have only ever used AS5 and many people swear by it. If you wanna try some thing new though I have heard good things about MX-2. Here is a site with free shipping and a little cheaper. If you find the price worth ordering it from some where else.
http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=FAN-MX2&src=FR...

As for the mobo if thats what works for you then I wish you the best of luck. aznshinobi makes a goo point, if you have a wireless router you dont need the LAN ports at all. but this might be some thing you have already thought through. The keyboard and mouse are fine I was just saying you might be able to find a cheaper may be even better option.
http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...
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January 19, 2011 1:09:44 AM

Yeesh, maybe NOT Radio Shack then.

Good price on that superbiz page. Perhaps I'll get two tubes from them for the price of the one from Newegg. I understand the Hyper 212 plus takes a good bit, and it never hurts to have extra thermal compound around.

Sadly, I don't have a wireless router. I've never needed one. Wish I did. I'm hoping to pick up a laptop next fall, but the wireless router will have to wait till then.

Frankly as the Evo is now $25 more than the pro It's ALMOST tempting to just get the Pro and a Nic. But those on board power/reset and CMOS reset are appealing and just narrowly keep the Evo in the lead. :p 

The Bluetooth mouse/keyboard are appealing in part because they seem like very nice ones, and in part because I've a 2.4GHz cordless telephone that sits RIGHT next to my PC. I've actually had interference in the past with 2.4GHz wireless mice.

I DO wish I could throw an SSD in this thing, but it's just not in the cards for now. That or a Raid 0 with a second HDD. Perhaps later.
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January 19, 2011 1:14:55 AM

CMOS is really important, I love my MSI 790FX-GD70's CMOS reset/BIOS reset and all those goodies at the bottom right of my board. I use them regularly when my OC messes up the system to a black screen. They are a lot easier than doing a jumper switch. This is one of the reasons I love MSI, they always have the CMOS reset button or a BIOS reset button. Get the EVO, really useful when you overclock.
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January 19, 2011 1:42:30 AM

Yeah the CMOS reset seemed like a nice little bonus. Frankly, since my current machine is around 9yrs old, this new machine is going to have more bells, whistles, and toys than I've seen in YEARS. It's also going to be the closest to top of the heap I've been able to build. My last two builds floated around the $900 mark, which meant most of the components were a about a generation behind what was new at the time.

This is going to be a hell of a lot of fun.

Thanks for all the advice guys! It's nice to see I wasn't too far off to start, and I'm really happy with the tweaking that has occurred here. Any other suggestions?

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January 24, 2011 3:25:31 PM

Ordered! Thanks a ton for all your help gang!
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Best solution

January 24, 2011 9:45:11 PM

Oh you click on the "Select Best Answer" thing to mark the solved topic. You don't have to edit the title in the future.
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February 4, 2011 11:48:17 AM

Best answer selected by corridor.
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