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First Build: Core i5 - 2500k [Please Critique]

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March 5, 2011 4:45:38 PM

Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening everyone,


I have been lurking for the past month and doing my research to proceed with building my first system, but need some help. Since this is my first build I am not completely confident and I would be very appreciative if the fine folks here could look over the below information and let me know of anything you would improve upon.

Thank you in advance!

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Approximate Purchase Date: (one to three weeks depending on part availability)

Budget Range: (1500-2000) After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: (gaming (Latest and greatest, Crysis, WoW-relax mode), basic office work, surfing the web)

Parts Not Required: (keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: (newegg)

Country of Origin: (USA)

Parts Preferences: (completely open to suggestions)

Overclocking: Yes (Will be my first attempt at it)

SLI or Crossfire: Yes (Max two cards even in the future)

Monitor Resolution: (1920x1200 on a 24" monitor and occasionally on a 50" plasma)

Additional Comments: (Prefer a clean looking system since it will be in plain view)

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Case: Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Black Steel / Aluminum ATX(199.99)

-I was originally going to choose the 800D but because of airflow concerns and the overall size I decided to go with this case. Since I am only going to be using a self enclosed water CPU cooler I am going to mod this case just a bit by replacing all the fans and adding one directly next to the HDD cages on the bottom.
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PSU: CORSAIR Professional Series AX1200 1200W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 SLI Certified 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply ($279.99)

-Overkill! Yes I know but two reasons for this. According to the eXtreme PSU Calculator I would need 870W max and for this reason I was looking at the Corsair 1000W unit initially. The 1000W unit was not fully modular thus the reason I chose this unit instead. This is probably my greatest area of concern.
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Processor: 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(229.99)

-Mainly going to be doing simple tasks and gaming so I did not feel the need to spend an extra $100 on a i72600k

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Motherboard: Asus P8P67 PRO [once available] ($220?)
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Memory: CORSAIR DOMINATOR 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMP8GX3M2A1600C9 (124.99 was 104.99)

-Not a Corsair fanboy, but was more or less just keeping things consistent here.
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CPU Cooler: CORSAIR Hydro H70 CWCH70 120mm High Performance CPU Cooler(104.99)

-Originally planned on getting the H50 because of space concerns, but figured if it became an issue with the H70 I could always mount the push fan outside the case. The overclock I would be looking for would be around 4.8 maybe more but that is a different research topic.
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SSD: Intel X25-M SSDSA2MH120G2K5 2.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (229.99)

-may hold off on this until the next gen is released
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HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5(64.99)
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GPU: PowerColor PCS+ AX6970 2GBD5-PP2DHG Radeon HD 6970 Call of Duty Edition 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP (374.99)

-Not going down the Crossfire path right away but will eventually end up there when upgrading. Should I wait for the 6990?
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OS = Windows 7 OEM ($99)

Total: $1927

Again thank you and have a good day!
March 5, 2011 5:24:27 PM

SSD: Get Crucial's C300, it's better than an Intel X25M; Two 64GB ones cost the same as a single 120GB X25-M.

HDD: Yes.

GPU: Get an HD6950 and BIOS-flash it to HD6970 (2GB version only)

CPU Cooler: Coolermaster Hyper 212+

Memory: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $25 less and every bit as good.

CPU: Right on.

PSU: 1200w isn't necessary.

Case: $200? What of this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... or http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
March 5, 2011 5:30:06 PM

That power supply calculator recommends the actual wattage of power supply that you need, rather stating the expected power usage, because your system with two 6970s will never use 870W. In fact you could power such a system with a 750W PSU, which is what I would do - if I didn't use a 650W PSU, but maybe your planned overclock warrants the extra wattage. Altho your usage doesn't look particularly stressing in terms of drawing power.

You will want RAM with lower voltage for a Sandy Bridge build, these look good to me:
Patriot Signature 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory with heatshield Model PSD38G1600KH $98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Desktop Memory Model CMX8GX3M2A1333C9 $95 ($20 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I really don't think the Corsair H series is worth getting, possibly the only good reason is to take the strain off the motherboard, because good air coolers are as good as the Corsair H series released so far, and better in that they are cheaper. Another possibility is to accommodate RAM with tall heatspreaders, but those heatspreaders these days are basically just for show as low voltage RAM runs pretty cool. And then the final reason, which doesn't apply to a large case like the 650D, is not having enough room inside your case for a large tower cooler. That's my opinion anyway, feel free to disregard it.

Related resources
March 5, 2011 5:37:45 PM

Thanks for the replies!

Silvune, what is the reason for the lower voltage on the RAM?

Additioanlly, I agree with both of you on the CPU cooler since I was leaning towards Tuniq Cooler intitially but got concerned over the ability to overclock the cpu to 4.8-5 with it.

Thanks
March 5, 2011 6:10:06 PM

Lower voltage is necessary because voltages above 1.65V are liable to cause long term damage to the memory controller on the CPU.

http://www.overclock.net/intel-cpus/942368-i5-2500k-5gh...
This thread talks about people using CM Hyper 212 Plus's getting 4.8GHz, and there are much better coolers than that around, I'd think the Tuniq Tower Extreme would be one of them. Other options include the Prolimatech Megahalems, Noctua NH-D14, U12P, Thermalright Silver Arrow, Archon, Venomous X, Scythe Mugen 2, Thermaltake Frio. There are probably others.
March 5, 2011 8:25:11 PM

^ Yup Silvunes got you.

You should check out my 1000$-1500$ builds just because some of the things your getting aren't very "price" reasonable.

You should completely hold off on ANY SSD right now. As for now, a build would be dead in like a month or two. That SSD will be DEMOLISHED by the sandforce 2xxx SSDs during Q2. The SF-2xxx SSDs boast 550 reads and I believe a similar number in writes.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/vertex-3-sandforce-...
March 5, 2011 9:02:57 PM

Thanks for the heads up aznshinobi on the SSD. I may hold the build overall for another 4-6 weeks and see what comes out in regards to SSD's, the 6990, and stock of P67 Mobo's.

March 5, 2011 9:52:53 PM

Included is a top ten rated cpu cooler @ frosty tech, 160GB SSD, dual factory o/c gtx 560's in SLI, Windows 7, etc....

Red Build

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $159.99 FREE SHIPPING
Antec DF-85 Black Computer Case

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $129.99 - $99.99 after mail-in rebate
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

http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=MB-P67-EX4&tit... $153.99
ASRock P67 Extreme4 LGA1155/ Intel P67/ DDR3/ Quad SLI & Quad CrossFireX/ SATA3&USB3.0/ A&GbE/ ATX Motherboard - 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... $79.99 - $69.99 after mail-in rebate FREE SHIPPING
ZALMAN CNPS9900MAX-R 135mm Long life bearing CPU Cooler Red LED

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

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $18.99
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

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/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/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $304.99
OCZ Vertex 2 OCZSSD2-2VTX160G 2.5" 160GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... Combo Price: $159.98 FREE SHIPPING
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM

Total: $1,827.88 *not including shipping, rebates, etc..

Blue Build

Replace the case, cpu h/s, and RAM in that build up above with this down below. RAM is exact same as the RAM above...just different colored heat spreaders, the cpu h/s is the same as above, just blue LED instead of red LED. Cases are very similar in size and specs.

http://www.amazon.com/Antec-Full-Tower-Twelve-Hundred-V... $159.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Antec Full-Tower Gaming Case Twelve Hundred V3

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $79.99 - $69.99 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... <----- *Here's that same case on newegg with pics, reviews, and info. It cost more on newegg with shipping cost.


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 update

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

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4080/welcome-to-sandy-bri... <--- Review before the latest bios...and it still smoked the Asus and Gigabyte boards :) 

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=P67%20Extre... <----- ASRock P67 Extreme4 Motherboard

Best solution

March 5, 2011 10:59:40 PM
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Case - Unless you don't like the aesthetics, I'd recommend the DF-85 .... loaded with features, inlet air filters that can be cleaned in seconds, fleet swap drive bays, I'm forced into a wide grin every time someone I am building for requests this case.

PSU - I dunno how you made the PSU calculator do 1000 watts but getting 1200 watts has you spending lotta money for something you don't need. Any decent 850 watter will easily handle twin 6970's or twin 570's.

Quote:
According to the eXtreme PSU Calculator I would need 870W max


I got 810 watts w/ 15% capacitor aging which is high for any decent PSU.....763 for twin 570's which substantially outperform twin 6970's using the same calculator. ATI calls for a 700 watt PSU for twin 6970's in CF

MoBo - The Pro is $189ish, the Sabertooth is $229ish .... figure $390 for the combo w/ I2500

RAM - If you buying those tall heat sinks for looks OK, but they do absolutely nothing to cool RAM or improve performance. In THG's tests, they actually ran cooler once removed. If ya gonna spend an extra $29 to go to CAS 8 from CAS 9

$100 CAS 9 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

These Redlines are CAS 7 so should be worth another $25

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooler - The H70 is a bit loud and not all that great a performer. As is shown here, with the same Delta 113 cfm, it gets easily taken down by the Kuhler 620 by a whopping 6C.

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

The H50 is a rebranded LLC550 and the H70 is a rebranded LLC570. The Kuhler 620 is redesign the of the LLC550 exclusive to Antec (unlike the H50, Asetek doesn't sell a version of the 620) and,a s you can see in the review, really whomps the H50. The Kuhler 920 is a redesign of the LLC570 (aka H70) but is not yet available though it was shown at CES in January.

At low speed, the Kuhler w/ stock fan manages to beat the H70 by 2C. With 2 high speed fans, the H70 manages to beat the Kuhler w/ one low speed fan by just 0.6C.

Quote:
The Corsair H70's fans at their default 2,000RPM level move a lot of air together, but also generate a fair amount of noise


Sandwiching the Kuhler between its own fan and the case fan ought to be able to eat up that ).6C and more.

NOTE: When reading up on coolers, make sure the site is not using an outdated test bed. For example, frostytech is still doing cooler reviews based upon a LGA 775 test bed. To my mind, with each socket / CPU having total different heat signatures, it makes the results totally useless on the 1366 / 1155 platform.

http://www.frostytech.com/testmethod_mk2.cfm

Quote:
FrostyTech's Mk.II Platform delivers a 150W and 85W heat load to socket 775 compatible Intel Pentium 4/D/Extreme Edition, Celeron, Core 2 Duo & Core 2 Quad class heatsinks


if you're not building with a LAG 775 MoBo, I see no value to thes etests.

SSD - Intel loses to OCZ in the next gen (expected March 15) .... Vertex 3 is new king of the hill as evidence in this Intel SSD review

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-510-solid-state...

HD - any of the big 3 will do ... Spinpoint F3, Seagate 7200.12 and WD Black all excel in different areas ... no overall winner 'across the board". Pick what does your apps best:

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-3.5-desktop-har...[2777]=on&prod[3016]=on&prod[2365]=on

GFX - The 6970 and the 570 run in a dead heat as single cards. But when paired in SLI / CF, the 570's total fps in testing took a lead of 873 to 825 fps due to its better scaling. It must also be noted however, that the 560 Ti can be overclocked to 570 performance levels whereas the 6970 is pretty much maxed out.

March 5, 2011 11:38:17 PM

I cant thank all of you enough. I'm now tweaking the system and will probably end up saving a few dollars at the end of the day.

Jack, I do have a question for you though. Did your Calculator include a 4.8 OC on the 2500k?
March 5, 2011 11:47:11 PM

Here's a build for $1,772 that will outperform the original

Case - $160 - Antec DF-85 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Case Fans - Later - Antec Red 120 mm http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU - $120 - Antec CP-850 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MoBo - $495 - Asus P8P67 Pro Available in few days
CPU - inc - Intel i7-2600k included in above
Cooler - $80 - Antec Kuhler 620 http://store.antec.com/Product/cooling-cpu_cooler/kuhle...
RAM - $155 - (2 x 4GB) Mushkin CAS 7 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GFX - $330 - Asus 570 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GFX - Later - Same
HD - $160 - Spinpoint F3 1TB / WIn 7 64 pro Combi http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
SSD - $250 - Vertex 3 10 days away
Card Reader AFT XM-35U 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...

The other option, instead of waiting to add that second card is to do twin GTX 560 Ti cards from the get go .... and OC them....as it turns out, the 560 Ti's can OC right up to 570 performance levels.

http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/nvidia_asus_gtx...

Quote:
The performance was good right out of the box with both of these cards and when it came time to overclock them, I was able to hit over 1GHz on the GF114 cores of both cards and well over 1150MHz on the GDDR5 memory. These bumps in performance from overclocking were not just small bumps, but significant jumps in performance, allowing the GTX 560 Ti from NVIDIA and ASUS to wipe the floor with the HD 6870, its direct competitor.


Twin 560 Ti factory OC'd are running about $260 so therefore twin 560 Ti's factory overclocked would still be under your budget with a $1962 build cost and no waiting to save up for a second GFX card .... would also get you 52 fpd in Metro 2033, should get you 57 fps if you push it as overclockers club did.

$260 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
March 6, 2011 12:05:12 AM

ironcitydweller said:
I cant thank all of you enough. I'm now tweaking the system and will probably end up saving a few dollars at the end of the day.

Jack, I do have a question for you though. Did your Calculator include a 4.8 OC on the 2500k?


High End Desktop
i5-2500k
90 % CPU Utilization
4.8 GHz
1.35v
2 sticks RAM
2 6970's in CF
1 SATA HD
1 SSD
1 DVD Writer
3 USB
1 Firewire
6 120mm fans
2 120mm LED fans
1 250mm Fan
10% capacitor aging
784 watts

switching to 570's in SLI
738 watts

switching to 560 Ti's
604 watts .... tho OC'd figure 642




March 13, 2011 1:29:25 AM

Best answer selected by ironcitydweller.
March 21, 2011 2:02:43 AM

Jack...why didn't you show me the DF-85 BEFORE I got a HAF 922...that case is so sweet!
!