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New Build/First Build about 1600$ build i7 2600K

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January 25, 2011 4:31:10 AM

Hello all,

This is the my first build and am very new to this process. I am definitely not set on any part. I am looking for a gaming and working from home computer. I am computational chemist and do some graphic/computational taxing things, but if it is very taxing, I can work on the 8-16 processor servers at the chemistry department.

Approximate Purchase Date: 2-4 weeks

Budget Range: ~1600-1700$ After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: working from home/gaming/surfing the internet/watching movies

Parts Not Required: Keyboard/Mouse/Speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Trustworthy sites, most of the prices quoted are from Tigerdirect.com or Newegg.com

Country of Origin: US

Parts Preferences: No preference

Overclocking: Maybe, I would love to, but have never done it before.

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe?

Monitor Resolution: (e.g.: 1024x768, 1280x1024, 1440x900, 1600x1200, 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 1920x1200), best possible, but not a huge concern (should it be?)

Additional comments: I would like the dual monitors for working from home.


CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K BX80623I72600K Unlocked Processor - Quad Core, 8MB L3 Cache, 3.40 GHz, Socket H2 (LGA1155), Retail ($329.99)

Motherboard: ASUS P8P67 Intel P67 Motherboard - ATX, Socket H2 (LGA 1155), Intel P67 Express, 2200MHz DDR3 (O.C.), Gigabit LAN, 8-Channel Audio, SATA 6.0 Gb/s, SuperSpeed USB 3.0, CrossFireX Support, Bluetooth ($159.99)

Case: Cooler Master HAF 932 Full Tower Black Case (149.99)

DVD: Lite-On IHAS124-04 Internal DVD Writer - DVD+R 24X, DVD-R 24X, DVD+RW 8X, DVD-RW 6X, DVD+R DL 8X, SATA (OEM) (19.99)

Main HD: OCZ OCZSSD2-2VTXE60G Vertex 2 Solid State Drive - 60GB, 2.5", SATA II (124.99) (For running windows?)
Second HD: Western Digital WD20EARS Caviar Green Hard Drive - 2TB, 3.5", SATA-3G (79.99)

PSU: Ultra X4 750-Watt Modular Power Supply - 135mm Fan, ATX, Lifetime Warranty w/ Registration, 80+ Bronze, NVIDIA SLI & ATI Crossfire Certifications, Vibration Dampener Included (119.99)

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBXL (2X84.99=169.98) (Is 16Gb overkill?)

Video Card: EVGA 01G-P3-1373-AR GeForce GTX 460 SuperClocked Video Card - 1024MB GDDR5, PCI-Express 2.0, Dual DVI, Mini HDMI, SLI, DirectX 11 (199.99) (Is this good enough? I also looked at this card, but its much more pricey: Sapphire 100311SR Radeon HD 6970 Video Card - 2048MB, GDDR5, PCIe, Dual mini-Display Port, HDMI, Dual DVI (374.99)

Monitors: Acer S201HL bd 20" Widescreen LED Backlit Monitor - 1600x900, 16:9, 12000000:1 Dynamic, 5ms, Tilt, VGA, DVI (2X129.99=259.98) (Most definitely not locked into these monitors at all)

This build puts me at $1614.88 with the cheaper video card. I would still need Windows 7, but i can get that on campus for cheaper than online.

What do you think? This is my first build and I am most definitely inexperienced. The thing I am most worried about is the video card. I don't know how much to spend on it. When does the rate of limit returns start hitting for video cards? It seems that the 2Gb one would be nice, but how much nicer than the cheaper one?

Overclocking would be nice, and I have some local friends that could help, so would the system handle it? I would need a different cpu cooler I would guess, so that would be another thing I would have to buy. What is the approximate difference in the GHz going to be?

Also, just to cut some costs I could definitely just do the 2TB main drive. Most of the parts are the from Tigerdirect's Top sellers so I was trying to find parts that others had "liked" as well, but again don't know if a part is more expensive than it needs to be. Let me know. Thanks.




January 25, 2011 5:10:53 AM

That PSU's pretty terrible actually. Here's a significantly nicer one for cheaper:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($105 after rebate)

The 2500K is probably a better deal for the processor. It's unlikely you'll be using all 8 threads, but that would depend on your fancy chemistry programs.. :) 

If you DO want to SLI/Crossfire in the future, that motherboard isn't the one for you. You'll want to either go up to the P8P67 Pro ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E... ), or the AsRock P67 Extreme4 ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ).

My choice would be the Pro right now because of these sweet combos:
1. MoBo / CPU - Asus P8P67 Pro w/ i-2600k ($504 - Save $65)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Item...

MoBo / CPU - Asus P8P67 Pro w/ i-2500k ($400 - Save $65)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Item...

Basically $20 off plus Civ 5 for free.

Edit: Oops, those are on the Canadian site. You may find something similar at newegg.com though.

16GB RAM is overkill, yes, unless you're doing something crazy in those chemistry programs again.

The HD 6970 is a huge step up from the GTX 460. There are steps in-between that may suit you better. The HD 6950 for example. All depends on what games you want to play and at what settings.

Finally hard drives. The SSD choice is fine. However, since it's only going to have windows, I would go for a faster hard drive. I like the Samsung Spinpoint F3: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... to hold your other programs and oft-used files.

That's only a 1TB, so if you need the extra space, you could always add on a 1 or 2 TB Caviar green. (It's a perfectly good drive, just not the fastest out there.)

One final thing to consider is upgrading to the P8P67 Deluxe for HyperDuo. See my thread here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/265724-32-hyperduo-la... . May or may not be worth it for you, but worth looking anyway.

Edit: fixed broken links
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January 25, 2011 5:20:50 AM

As far as your questions, to determine how much added performance you'll get with a better graphics card, just search for articles benchmarking them. Here's an example (although it only includes dual 460s, not single): http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-6970-rade...

Price/performance tends to be more linear at lower levels, becoming more exponential as you approach the top of the line. Again, how much performance you 'need' depends on your gaming preferences and budget. I personally found the HD 6950 to be a good mix for me.

The SSD is a personal preference. It will definitely make the machine seem snappier, but they are expensive and the tech is advancing quickly. Maybe you want to put the money toward better monitors and pick up a 128GB+ is a year or two.

Speaking of which, if you can make it work, I'd go for 1920x1200 monitors. The extra vertical resolution is particularly nice for work applications (as opposed to games and movies), but is good all around. Haven't done any research into displays lately though, so can't recommend specifics.

Overclocking on Sandy Bridge is supposed to be very easy. It's all done with the CPU multiplier, and can be done in windows with programs supplied by the mobo manufacturers. An upgraded CPU cooler will definitely help. A great one for the money is the CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Plus: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.... Another is the Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (bigger, better, and a bit more expensive).

The Scythe may interfere with the large heatspreaders on that RAM though (can anyone confirm that?), so to be safe I'd go with these instead: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 25, 2011 3:58:03 PM

Good comments from chnathan^.

Here are some of my thoughts:

1) If the extra $100 price premium for the 2600K is not important to you, get the 2600K.
Otherwise, the $100 can better be spent elsewhere. You are getting the "K" version to be able to overclock. It is likely that either the 2600K or the 2500K will be able to OC to the same levels. Few games use more than two cores, let alone 4, so the 2500K w/o hyperthreading will drive any game out there very well. A modest overclock is easy with the K processors.

2) Spend what you need to for two Good identical monitors. preferably 1920 x 1200, not 1080P. Two monitors are one of the best PC upgrades I have ever made. These monitors will be with you for several generations pf PC, and you will be looking at them every day. Get the best up front, you won't regret it. I like Samsung, because they are the source for panels for many other vendors, and I think they may keep the best samples for themselves.

3) Gaming will be done on one of those 1920 x 1200 monitors. To get excellent performance, budget about $350 for a GTX570 or 6970.
Graphics cards are very competitive on a price performance basis these days. Do not anguish too much about the choice. I like EVGA and XFX for their customer service and warranty. I think I would go with the Nvidia card because of the CUDA computational capabilities. Some programs like Matlab can use CUDA to speed up calculations.
2gb of video ram is good for 2560 x 1600 monitors, bud does not seem to make much difference elsewhere. Not a factor, I think.
How about this EVGA GTX570?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I would not spend anything extra to prepare for CF or SLI. By the time you need it, there will be stronger single graphics cards available.

4) Cases are a personal thing, and if you like the looks of the haf 932, then get it. But, you can get an equally good case with very good cooling for half the price. Look at the Antec 300 illusion model for example:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

5) The ram you selected is fine. 8gb is plenty, unless you have a 64 bit enabled app that can make use of extra ram.
1600 does not cost much more; I would get the 1600 version:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Newegg has a 15% promo on all ram; use code DM15A0111US at checkout.

6) I love the ssd, it makes everything feel so much snappier. Gen 3 ssd's are due out soon, and using 25nm technology will be faster and cheaper. If you can wait, just install your OS in a hard drive partition and plan on cloning it later. Otherwise, I would suggest an Intel X25-M 80gb drive which will give you a bit more room.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

7) I don't think Ultra is considered to be a top quality psu.
I would look for Corsair, PC P&C, Seasonic, XFX, or Antec to name a few. A good 650W unit will power any single graphics card made today.
At $60 after rebate,here is a great unit; modular too:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
There would be nothing wrong to go with the 750w unit which is silver certified:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

8) I would get a aftermarket cooler up front, regardless.
It will make your cpu run cooler and quieter than the stock Intel cooler. If you oc, you can go higher and easier.
Also, you need to have the motherboard out of the case to properly install any cooler. I hate to do this later when I have a porking PC.
You can get a perfectly adequate cooler like the CM hiper 212 for $30:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The best is probably the Noctua NH D14 at $90:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

9) I suggest you download and read the motherboard and case manuals, cover to cover. Many questions will be answered, and perhaps a few raised.

-----------------Good luck-----------------
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January 25, 2011 8:44:56 PM

^also good comments. A few notes:

2) YES

5) Honestly, with Sandy Bridge there isn't much reason to spend extra on RAM. I'd get this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... or this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and save $25. It's also less likely to interfere with large CPU coolers.

6) Agreed. If you do image over from a hard drive though, make sure the alignment ends up right. (Google for SSD partition alignment.) Also, check out this thread: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/70822-ssd-tweaks-o...

7) Agreed. If you're definitely sticking with one card, 750W is overkill. 650 is even more than you need, but that XFX black is a great deal right now, so go for it.

8) You mean replace the oem cooler with an aftermarket cooler. :)  The Mugen 2 Rev B is probably the best bang for the buck right now: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 25, 2011 9:06:42 PM

.

8) You mean replace the oem cooler with an aftermarket cooler. :)  The Mugen 2 Rev B is probably the best bang for the buck right now: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...[/quotemsg]

You are right; I have mistakenly used oem while meaning aftermarket. I have been using stock to describe the cooler that Intel supplies.
I will henceforth stop using oem which can be confusing.

Hopefully, I can edit my post.
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January 25, 2011 9:43:30 PM

Case / PSU - The 932 was CM's flagship full tower in 2009.....it's pretty much outclassed by the newer models .... HAF-X and DF-85. I wouldn't use that PSU on a $500 box. My choices would be:

1st DF-85 w/ CP-850
2nd HAF-X w/ XFX Black Edition 850

CP-850, XFX and Corsair HX all get 10.0 performance ratings on jonnyguru. The CP is quieter and cooler tho, so I'll spend the $10 over tha XFX. The HX is too pricey....and 850 watts to handle twin GFX cards

Consider also the HAF 922 if ya want a mid tower.

MoBo / CPU - Go with the combos dude and save some cashola

$495 Asus P8P67 Pro w/ 2600k http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$390 Asus P8P67 Pro w/ 2500k http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Storage - Bump up to the 120 GB version of the Vertex 2 for $200. Green = Slow. Get a 1 TB Seagate 7200.12, Spinpoint F3 or the new WD Black

RAM - Yes 16 GB is overkill. Can get 8 GB with two sets of these for $80 .... no need to reserve room for expansion, 8 GB is overkill.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GFX - 460 is old news .... as of today :)  ..... the 560 Ti is out for $250. At the $350ish level, the 570 and 6970 are more closely matched than any two cards I can remember. But Guru3D has two 570's scoring 873 fps in SLI versus 825 for the paired 6970's. Different games play better on different cards, so your choice may well depend on which games you play.

If getting the 570 / 6970, get one card now and save the 2nd for XMas 2011 or 2012. With the 560's, I might ge tempted to get one now but Xmas 2011 sounds like a better idea. Add the case door fan when you do.

Monitor - Consider some LED models
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OC'ing - Ya can get to 4.6 GHz with the stock cooler ... at least w/ those cases. personally, I'd go with a Scythe Mugen 2 SCMG 2100 for $40, it's hardly a budget breaker.
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January 25, 2011 10:03:00 PM

*Just be aware if you get the CP-850 PSU that it *only* fits in select Antec cases.

A good 750W psu like the XFX I linked to is also fine for all but the most insanely powerful dual GPU setups. However, the XFX is on sale for only $5 more ($105) after rebate at newegg, so might as well go for it. (Or the CP-850, which is a great quiet supply, as mentioned.)
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February 8, 2011 1:50:22 AM

Best answer selected by gileslo.
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