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$2,000 budget new gaming rig build, advice?

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January 25, 2011 3:20:30 PM

Building a comp for my bro that will be returning at the end of next month from over seas.. (IT contractor)

His budget is about $2,000...

So far from reading a million forum thread's I put together this list... I was hoping that you could all give me input on the rest as well as the parts I chose...

Keep in mind that he does NOT want to OC or SLI.

I will load Win7 pro 64 bit onto this machine..

He also mentioned a "light" case.. He LAN's a couple times a year and doesnt want to lug around a 40 pound computer.. But at the same time he wants good airflow and for the fans to be quiet... Hmmmmm... (Recommendations?)
Was looking at the following...

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower (16 lbs.)
NZXT Phantom PHAN-001BK Black Steel / Plastic ATX Full Tower (25 lbs.)
**Think he NEEDS a full tower case?.. He will only run one vid card and max 2 HD's.. One DVD burner.. Any reason to get a full tower?


CPU - i7-2600

Mobo - ?

PSU - CORSAIR TX Series CMPSU-950TX (or would XFX 850 be sufficient, better and quieter?)

HD - Western Digital VelociRaptor WD6000HLHX 600GB 10000 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

Gfx - EVGA 015-P3-1583-AR GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) Black Ops Edition 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready *Is this one of the highest rated graphics cards?

RAM - G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-8GBRH
Timing 7-7-7-21
Cas Latency 7
Voltage: 1.5V

Heatsink - ?

DVD Drive - ?


----Alright.. there you have it.. Recommendations?.. Changes?.. Budget is $2,000... So spend away!... So far the items listed came out to about $1,500...

Thanks for all your help guys!..

Best solution

a c 84 B Homebuilt system
January 25, 2011 4:16:35 PM

CPU: Are you sure on the "no overclocking"? I'd still consider getting the i7-2600K for the sheer possibilities. It's only $30 more.

Mobo: I like the ASRock P67 Extreme4 or Asus P8P67 Pro

HDD: Don't touch the VelociRaptors. They're expensive, but the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB ($60ish) is just as fast for a fraction of the cost. Pick one up as a data drive, and consider getting a 120 GB SSD for the OS and applications. I'd recommend the OCZ Agility 2, OCZ Vertex 2 or G.Skill Phoenix Pro as an SSD. They'll all run about $200. Pair that with the F3, and you're spending less at $260 (vs. $275 for the VR) for HDDs, for which you'll get both faster speeds (the SSD is a magnitude faster than any mechanical drive) and more storage space (1.12 TB vs. 0.6 TB).

RAM: I'd get 1600 mhz personally, but it's not a bad choice.

HSF: Not needed if you're not overclocking. It would also only add to the weight. If you much have one, or decide to overclock, the Notcua NH-D14 is the absolute best. If you're wary of spending $90 on a HSF, check out the Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B for about $40.

Optical: Cheapest SATA DVD burner you can find. It literally doesn't matter.

PSU: That's a good one, but 950W is overkill. I'd consider both the XFX 850W, Antec's 850W, or any of Corsair's 850W (TX, HX, or AX). I'd personally go with the Corsair AX850 (80+ Gold) if I had the money (which you do).

Case: I don't like either of those. The Antec might be a touch small for the GPU, and I'm just not a fan of NZXT. I'd check out the HAF 922. It's easily the best value, and possibly the best case period, out there. It is 19 pounds though.
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January 25, 2011 4:28:49 PM

HAF is bigger than the Antec?.. So he should be ok with the HAF for use with that Mobo, GPU, etc?..

Why would you go with the 1600 for RAM?..

And if I go with the 2600k I also have to take into consideration the Mobo.. Hmmmm... He has never OC'd before and I just dont see him doing it.. But I hear ya on the "only $30 extra"... Will definetely talk to him about this a bit more before purchasing mobo & cpu..

Edit/ Ok.. Just talked to bro.. He never OC'd because he is concerend about the instability.. But it sounds like I can talk him into the 2600k with the P67 Mobo.. So that in the future atleast he HAS the capability...
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
January 25, 2011 4:38:49 PM

Yes, by a lot. The 300 Illusion is pretty small. The HAF is pretty huge. It's called a mid tower, but it's larger than some full towers. The motherboard won't need to be changed to fit the HAF. It's also an ATX case. The GPU wouldn't need to be changed.

1600 mhz is faster than 1333 mhz. The sweet spot for RAM is 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7. 1333/CL 7 would scale up to 1600/CL 9. As long as you have the budget (and you do), I'd get faster sticks. It doesn't really matter unless you're overclocking, but I'd push hard to do that.

Overclocking the i7-2600K is really easy. All you have to do is change the multiplier in the BIOS and it's done. I HIGHLY suggest doing it. The new Sandy Bridge CPUs can reach 4.0 GHz without even trying, which is a pretty massive boost. To put it another way, the i7-2600K at stock is a little less powerful than the i7-980X. Once you overclock, the i7-2600K soundly beats the i7-980X. It makes a huge difference.

The motherboard won't need to be changed. The P67 chipset will allow overclocking, but will not use the i7's integrated graphics. That's fine, since you're getting a discrete video card.
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January 25, 2011 4:49:23 PM


Got it!.. ok... Will change the memory out... Any recommendations?.. :) 
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
January 25, 2011 5:03:17 PM

These are the cheapest 2x4 GB 1600 mhz CL 7 sticks (and some of the only ones) I can find: G.Skill Ripjaws. They're $160, so I'm not sure if that's worth it.

If they're not to you, I'd check out these G.Skill Ripjaws 2x4 GB 1600 mhz CL 9 sticks for $105. They'd be better for overclocking than the 1333/CL 7 sticks. There are two other similar sets at that same price, but I can't see any difference between them.
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January 25, 2011 5:07:58 PM


I do not need the brand to be G.Skill.. Just some that I seen were highly recommended..

What 1600 sticks would you recommend?.. Brand?.. Price is not an issue as you have seen.

How much memory should I be loading into this rig?.. More?..
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
January 25, 2011 5:20:03 PM

G.Skill is the top brand right now. They also happen to be the cheapest (usually). That's why I'm recommending them.

Normally, gaming machines don't need more than 4 GB. However, since you've got the budget, I'd get the 2x4 GB sticks. No reason not to spend a little extra now and leave some more room for upgrades later. You don't need more than 8 GB.
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January 25, 2011 5:21:49 PM


Awesome!.. Thank you!!!
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January 25, 2011 6:07:26 PM

I agree with about 95% of what MadAdmiral says. $2200 is a MORE THAN ADEQUATE budget. You have to understand that you can easily get the best of everything and still fall under this budget. Computers are nowhere as expensive as they used to be (as long as you don't mind being one step back from the bleeding edge).

As a case suggestion, I would recommend the Lancool PC-K62. It's the same price as the HAF922 and runs just a bit smaller/thinner/lighter. I own both cases, and the Lancool is definitely a bit more portable.

You could potentially step down into a smaller case form factor (smaller than mid-tower I mean), but it seems like he doesn't necessarily want to deal with the hassle, so maybe having a little extra room inside the case would be worth it for ease of building.

The 580 is the current big boy on the block in terms of graphics cards, and is the best single card out there. Nothing's topping it for a while.

I would recommend the XFX 850 over the Corsair 850HX only because they're almost exactly the same in terms of quality and the XFX is $56 cheaper. If he really wants to invest in a PSU, he should just step up to the Corsair 850AX that MadAdmiral recommended.

If you get the ASUS P8P67 Pro motherboard, it comes with an included one button overclock app that you run from Windows. It is pretty conservative, so you don't get the "ideal" stable o/c, but in terms of ease, even a child could do it.
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January 25, 2011 6:15:13 PM

Hey Neo.. Thanks for the recommendations.. Hows the noise on that Lancool case? Is it a pretty nice case aside from being portable.. My issue with the portability factor is... My bro only moves it like twice a year.. I dont want him to sacrafice too much quality for portability.. Wouldnt make sense..
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
January 25, 2011 6:16:24 PM

^You're fogetting the HD 5970. It's older, but it's still the most powerful card out there. Of course, finding it might pose a little problem. Newegg only has two versions of it on sale right now (for $600). I wouldn't recommend it, as it lacks some of the newer features, and as fast as it's disappeared, I can't say it's likely to find a second for Crossfire down the road.
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January 25, 2011 6:34:21 PM

@MadAdmiral Haha, good catch.

@Inocense: Watch this video, especially around 6 minutes for cable management: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4XCT9yibwQ

It has all the same holes and basic setup as the HAF922, just a bit slimmer. It also comes with a set of rubber cable clips for the PSU, which is also awesome.

The toolless install is pretty phenomenal here, and the interior is painted, which doesn't seem like a big deal, until you try and find another similarly priced case that is. (Hint, not the HAF922 or the Antec 900).

It's still a full mid-tower case, just a bit slimmed down. You can't put in side fans, but I still really love the airflow on the case (still very very good).

Only downside (imo) is that the top ports are a big lacking.
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January 25, 2011 6:37:25 PM


That is a sweet case.. Love it!!..

Only one complaint on it.. Seems like the airflow is a bit off.. Only one intake fan.. Other than that.. Great exhaust!..

:) 

Comes in at 21 pounds... So not too bad...
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January 27, 2011 2:16:01 PM

How about the i5-2500k instead? It seems to be more suited for gaming and less expensive.
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January 27, 2011 2:43:22 PM


I am building another rig too.. Slimmer budget.. And I will be using the i5-2500.. But since bro has a higher budget.. And wanted "the best" intel quad at this time.. I opted for the i7... ~shrugs~
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January 27, 2011 2:44:38 PM

Best answer selected by Inocense.
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