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First-time Builder - Sandy Bridge Gaming PC

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February 26, 2011 7:33:20 PM

Greetings all,

I recently found this site and I have to say I am impressed with the amount of knowledge and participation, and I look forward to any feedback or advice, whether negative or positive. Thank you all in advance; very, very much.

Approximate Purchase Date: Dependent on availability of new Sandy Bridge mobos, but I am ready to purchase by the end of next week (March 4th or so). Any news as to when they might be available for retail purchase? Last I heard it was going to be in March sometime, possibly April.

Budget Range: About $1500.00 USD (with monitor included). I'll maybe end up going a little over that with tax and shipping, which is OK.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming. Namely WoW, but I would like to have a good system that will allow me to explore some of the more power demanding games that are available / become available. This system will be used exclusively for gaming, with internet usage limited to system and OS updates, driver updates, game addons, etc. I have a laptop for web browsing and digital music dl's and stuff.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I've been using newegg.com to price parts and check availability due to the good amount of reviews, large selection, and buyer feedback, but I am open to other/cheaper/better sources (U.S.)

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: I am interested in an Intel build, Sandy i5 2500K. I am partial to ASUS, but this being my first completely new build (I have replaced/installed most internal components except for processors and motherboards) I am open to options. A roomy mid, or full tower case would be my preference. And, I'll also be adding for the first time to my computing experience a 20"+ HD LED monitor.

Overclocking: Yes. I won't be OC'ing immediately after I power up, but it is definitely something I will be learning about/trying shortly after I have it (hopefully) running well.

SLI or Crossfire: Yes, eventually. My plan is to start with a decent single graphics card, and when prices drop in the future, add an identical additional card, or purchase two cards to replace the original card.

Monitor Resolution: I suppose 1920 x 1080. I just want 1080p HD, so anything equal to or exceeding that would be great.

Additional Comments: Because I am not moving into liquid cooling yet, and because I am a cautious person, I want a case with tons of fan/airflow. I am thinking definitely a top exhaust fan, front fan(s), back, and side fan (up to 200mm would be awesome, but I haven't picked a case yet so your advice on cases and/or my needs would be fantastic).

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This is my initial parts list. It is based mainly on features and price, but also brand loyalty and technology lifespan (where I could achieve it, again based on price and/or features/power). Although I spent a good amount of time putting this list together, I am definitely open to suggestions as to better values or quality, and of course please let me know if anything I have put together will have compatibility issues. Again, thank you in advance.

CPU:
Intel i5 2500k Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz
$229.99

Motherboard:
ASUS P8P67 Pro (Retail Not Yet Available)
$185.00 (approximate)

Memory:
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB DDR3 1333
$104.99

Hard Drive:
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$89.99

Graphics:
Palit GeForce GTX 470 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
$259.99

Power Supply:
CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-650HX 650W ATX12V v2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE
$119.99

Case:
I haven't yet picked a case, but I've listed below some that I am considering.

Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower -by the way, I've seen this model with a cutout for access to the processor backplate, but the pictures don't show it here. Anyone know the scoop? I may be mistaken.
$99.99
-or-
COOLER MASTER HAF 932 ATX Full Tower
$119.99
-or-
COOLER MASTER HAF 922 ATX Mid Tower
$109.99

Operating System:
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Full
$179.99

CPU Cooling:
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus
$29.99 + about $9.00 for additional fan

Optical Drive:
LITE-ON 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 Writer LightScribe Support
$24.99

Monitor:
SAMSUNG Glossy Black 21.5" 2ms Full HD LED Backlight LCD Monitor Slim Design 250 cd/m2 DCR 5,000,000:1 (1,000:1)
$179.99

Grand Total:

$1,524.91
(not including additional cables, tax, or shipping if applicable)

Thank you again for any input you might provide.

HF
February 26, 2011 8:54:20 PM

Swap out the GTX 470 with a good GTX 560. Get a solid brand like EVGA, Asus, or MSI.

Skip on the WD Black and go with a Samsung F3 1TB. It's $30 cheaper and just as fast. You won't see any physical differences.

The HAF 932 is a great full tower. It has a TON of space, being so big. If you don't want a huge case, stick with the 922 HAF.
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Best solution

February 26, 2011 8:54:26 PM

I call this build "Blue". Blue LED case, blue RAM, blue LED psu, blue cpu h/s... This build includes a better vid card, better monitor imo, higher rated cpu h/s, a larger case, Windows 7 and it is set up to add another one of those factory o/c gtx 560's for SLI if you so choose.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... <--- more info on that case

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004ALI5KC/ref=ord_car... $109.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Antec Mid-Tower Gaming Case Nine Hundred Two V3

http://www.amazon.com/Antec-Truepower-TP-750-BLUE-Manag... $89.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Antec Truepower 23754 TP-750 BLUE LED 750-Watt PSU NVIDIA SLI Certified 80 Plus Bronze Advanced Hybrid Cable Management Power Supply

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=P67%20Extre... $152.99 @ newegg
ASRock P67 Extreme4

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $229.99 FREE SHIPPING
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

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $64.99 - $54.99 after mail-in rebate FREE SHIPPING
ZALMAN CNPS9900MAX-B 135mm Long life bearing CPU Cooler Blue LED

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99 FREE SHIPPING
G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $244.99
GIGABYTE GV-N560OC-1GI GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... Combo Price: $159.98 FREE SHIPPING
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $189.99 - $179.99 after mail-in rebate card FREE SHIPPING
ASUS VH238H Black 23" Full HD HDMI LED Backlight LCD Monitor w/Speakers 250 cd/m2 ASCR 50,000,000:1

Total: $1,342.90 *not inlcuding shipping, rebates, etc..

http://www.asrock.com/news/events/201102ex/warranty.htm... <----- Look for the B3 Stepping Chipset Logo/Sticker on the new boards

http://www.madshrimps.be/articles/article/1000116#axzz1... <---Review on that Asrock motherboard after the latest bios

http://www.hardwareheaven.com/reviews/1098/pg2/asrock-e... <---Review on that Asrock motherboard after the latest bios

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4080/welcome-to-sandy-bri... <--- Review before the latest bios...and it still stomped the Asus and Gigabyte boards :) 
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February 27, 2011 1:34:45 AM

Thank you Why_Me and boiler1990.

I am really liking that ASRock board. Is it's availability in the US going to be the same as the other revised P67 boards? I noticed it for sale on a British website, but I haven't found it elsewhere.

With regards to the graphics card recommendation; I am guessing that a faster core clock speed is better than moe memory?


Thanks!
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February 27, 2011 1:50:57 AM

holyfingers said:
Thank you Why_Me and boiler1990.

I am really liking that ASRock board. Is it's availability in the US going to be the same as the other revised P67 boards? I noticed it for sale on a British website, but I haven't found it elsewhere.

With regards to the graphics card recommendation; I am guessing that a faster core clock speed is better than moe memory?


Thanks!

All the P67 boards including that Asrock will be back on the shelves soon. Also dual gtx 560's in SLI > single gtx 580
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February 27, 2011 3:41:28 AM

Perfect. Thank you again, I appreciate it a lot.

Have a good one,

HF
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February 27, 2011 3:58:52 AM

$1472 ... Case , PSU and MoBo all selected so as to provide for 2nd video card addition in future.

Case - $100 - Antec DF-35 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU - $120 - XFX Black Edition 850 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MoBo - $390 - ASUS P8P67 Pro http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
CPU - incl above - Intel Core i5-2500K
Cooler - $40 - Scythe SCMG 2100 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
TIM - $5 - Shin Etsu http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM - $100 - (2 x 4GB) Corsair CAS 9 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GFX - $315 - EVGA GTX 570 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HD - $65 - Spinpoint F3 1TB 7200 rpm http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SSD - - OCZ Vertex 2 3.5" 120GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
DVD Writer - $22 - Asus 24X DRW-24B3L w/ LS http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OS - $100 - Win 7-64 Home Premium http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Card Reader $35 AFT XM-35U http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Monitor - $180 - ASUS VE247H 23.6" LED http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HAF-922 is another good case choice but I'm getting soiled by the Fleet Swap drive bays in the new Antecs
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February 27, 2011 6:08:22 PM

holyfingers said:
Thank you Why_Me and boiler1990.

I am really liking that ASRock board. Is it's availability in the US going to be the same as the other revised P67 boards? I noticed it for sale on a British website, but I haven't found it elsewhere.

With regards to the graphics card recommendation; I am guessing that a faster core clock speed is better than moe memory?


Thanks!


It's not just the clock speed and memory, but the new chip in the 560 is better than the previous generations. Also, at the same core speeds, the 560 > 470 by about 10%. At stock speeds, the difference is about 20%, and the 560 is much like the 460 in that it overclocks really well. The 460s could OC past the 470s, and I'd imagine the 560s can OC past the 570s.

Use this tray utility for OCing: http://event.msi.com/vga/afterburner/download.htm
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February 28, 2011 1:40:49 AM

Great advice all. Thank you for the parts lists, advice, and information. Now I just have to wait for an appropriate mobo to become available.

Thanks again,

HF
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February 28, 2011 2:33:50 AM

If you have a Micro Center near you, they have I5 2500k's for $199.
Plus if you are (or know) a college student then I highly recommend trying to figure out a way to get the student discount for Windows 7 Professional @ $65.
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February 28, 2011 2:52:26 AM

Great tip on the I5 2500k...! Great price.

That windows 7 is an upgrade only.. I dont see any link for the full version
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February 28, 2011 3:04:01 AM

You can still install from the upgrade; I'm a student and installed using that same version.
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February 28, 2011 3:05:33 AM

Indeed. That is a great idea, I completely forgot about buying a student version (although I am not a student, I should be able to swing that). Unfortunately, $65 is for the upgrade, but the complete boxed OS should still be really cheap with that discount.

Also, yes, I do have a MicroCenter near me. I'm happy to see that they're having their deal on the processor I want. Thank you for the heads up!!!

HF
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March 1, 2011 2:13:05 AM

I'm not by any means contesting anyone's expertise. I'm just curious about the gtx560 ti vs. the gtx 470. I was reading on here about cards in that price range and it didn't seem the two were that far apart at all. So, I have two questions. Is the 560 that much better? And, regardless of those two, can anyone share their thoughts / recommendations on a card around the $250-$325-ish (USD) range?

Thanks again!
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March 1, 2011 2:23:15 AM

The 560 is 10% better than the 470 when UNDERclocked to the 470's stock speeds (it has .5GB less memory as well). When the 560 is at it's stock clocks, it outperforms by ~20-25%. The 560 also OCs really well, so you could essentially have a 570 on your hands.

The 470s are old and slow (not to insult my own ;) ), but they are dated. Nvidia's GTX 500 chip design is much more efficient than the 400 design.

If you're going to spend over $300, you might just want to look into a 570, or comparable AMD card (like the 6950).
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March 1, 2011 3:18:54 AM

holyfingers said:
I'm just curious about the gtx560 ti vs. the gtx 470. I was reading on here about cards in that price range and it didn't seem the two were that far apart at all.


In my book even if they had exactly the same performance stats the 560 Ti would win because it runs cooler. That means the fans can run slower (less noise) and it means you have more headroom if you decide to overclock or use an SLI config later.

The prices are too close to even be an issue.

Microcenter has the GTX560 Ti's ranging between $279 down to $249, while their GTX470's cover that same range (a couple crazy clocked cards actually over $300 and one as low as $209 with rebates).

Microcenter doesn't have everything, but what they have is almost always less expensive than the egg or Amazon.

I'd go for the 560 Ti for the same reason you're getting the I5 chip... it's sort of in that sweet spot of price and performance.
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March 1, 2011 4:27:18 AM

Sounds good, thanks!

I've been looking at MSI's gtx560 ti frozr. Thoughts? It seemed to be cooler when tested against like models, has a decent clock speed (nothing over the top, but nice), and it's esthetically pleasing, to me at least...
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March 1, 2011 4:47:41 AM

Yep I've heard good stuff about the MSI and the Galaxy both (and by that I mostly mean that they're both quiet and allow some headroom for overclocking)... but the MSI is a little less expensive and has a little better warranty.
If I went to buy either one and found I had to get the other I wouldn't be bothered one way or another.

The Gigabyte copy suggested above (from NewEgg) is not available from MicroCenter, but it's clocked faster than either the MSI or Galaxy... and is cheaper than both, so you may want to consider that one as well.
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March 1, 2011 3:53:52 PM

The problem with the deal at microcenter is tax. Sure, you end up saving like 7 bucks at the end when it actually seems like the 30 dollars off is a big deal. But with tax (at least in Illinois) it ends up being like 220 something for the 2500k and 323 for the i7. Still save money but keep in mind it may not be worth it if it is a far drive. Good luck
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March 11, 2011 6:55:02 PM

Best answer selected by Holyfingers.
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