Sandy Bridge Build

I was considering an upgrade to my 3GHz P4 LGA775 system, but when taking into account the costs, it become obvious that a complete new system is probably in order.

So, having only built and serviced office type systems with generic cases / PSU and minimal GPU requirements, it's been quite a learning curve and many hours of research to get the basics of what to go for.

Being based in Thailand, many parts will not be available and shipping is out of the question as it will cost too much and delivery can be a problem. This is why I have a few alternates listed in my parts list.

Average room temperatures will be around 30C, so adequate cooling is a must I think.

I have taken the Newegg listings to show what I am looking for and used the USD pricing, even though prices will be different here. Budget is USD $700 - $800

So let me know your thoughts on this :

MOBO ASUS P8P67 (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 164.99
CPU Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz 224.99
RAM G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 47.99
HDD SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 64.99
GPU XFX HD-467X-ZNL2 Radeon HD 4670 1GB 128-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 54.99
Case Thermaltake V3 Black Edition 44.99
PSU XFX Core Edition PRO550W (P1-550S-XXB9) 550W ATX12V 2.2 & ESP12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC 69.99
Cooler COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 34.99

With alternates if any of the above is not available :

Case ZALMAN Z9 49.99
Case Antec Three Hundred 59.95
Case Rosewill DESTROYER 49.99

Cooler Scythe SCSK-1100 100mm Shuriken Rev. B 3 32.99
Cooler COOLER MASTER Hyper N 520 RR-920-N520-GP 29.99

PSU CORSAIR Builder Series CX500 (CMPSU-500CX) 500W ATX12V v2.3 Active PFC 54.99
PSU SeaSonic S12II 380B 380W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC 53.99

RAM Kingston HyperX X2 Grey Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) Model KHX1600C9D3X2K2/4GX 49.99
RAM CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB)Model CMX4GX3M2A1600C9 49.99

Keyboard / Mouse / DVD Writer & Samsung Monitor will be retained from the existing setup and there will be costs for Thermal Paste and possibly additional fans for the case and Cooler.

I will be installing Windows 7 x64 and the system will primarily be used for Adobe CS5 / Office 10 / DVD movies via HDMI to 32 inch TV / MP3 player / Playback of HD TV recordings.

I use Deluge for torrents and the system is pretty much 24/7.

As I want to have a system that will provide enough 'oomph' for the next 5 years or so, I have gone for the Sandy Bridge processor.

I initially considered going with an H67 board as the Intel 3000 graphics would probably be sufficient for my needs, but the P67 with the K procesor appears to give so much more for future proofing.

The GPU is probably overkill for my requirements, but the extra perfomance over something like a 5450 seemed to provide good value for money.
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  1. Looks good, the HD 4670 wouldn't be too overkill and if you look at the hierarchy chart for GPUs the HD 5450 is near the bottom next to Intel HD 3000 graphics. And I think 1x4Gb RAM would be slightly faster than 2x2Gb.
  2. The 5450 is a low end GPU, but I think it would probably handle most of my requirements with little problem. I just wondered if the extra $15 (about) would provide any practical benefit.

    With regard to the RAM, I was under the impression that 2x2Gb would operate in dual channel mode which would provide better performance when moving large files or managing memory intensive operations in Photoshop.

    There is also the benefit that if one RAM chip were to simply 'die', I'd still be able to run the OS.
  3. Hi skygod12000,

    I'm looking at building a Sandy Bridge system myself, and I think I will post shortly with the system I intend to build.

    One thing I will point out is your case has no front panel USB 3.0 ports. I noticed you are going for a I am looking at buying a ASUS P8P67 (good chose, I am going for EVO) which has two internal USB 3.0 headers.

    This is one of the reasons (apart from being generally kick as and sweet to look at) a Zalman GS1200 case.

    It might be no big deal to you, but I recently bought a WD Passport with USB 3.0 support and I really can't arsed using the rear ports.

    Just a heads up. Enjoy your new system!
  4. The current setup (3Ghz P4 / 64Mb VIA Unichrome IGP / 1Gb DDR2 533 / Windows 7 Home Edition x32) has 'mangled' USB connectors on the case due to the girlfriend trying to force USB sticks in upside down, so I've grown accustomed to only using rear connectors.

    1 case side panel got 'lost' during a move, so it's 'naturally' cooled, in fact the only fan is the stock CPU fan. The no name PSU cost me 300 Baht ($10) after the last one 'died'.

    Power here is so 'iffy' with two or three power outages a week being a regular occurence and as there is no earth provided to the building, a mild 'buzz' is frequently noticed when touching the case.

    (I will be buying a UPS with surge protection to try and limit the issues regarding maintaining good power supply.)

    External USB is restricted to an external 2.5" Smart Drive housing containing a 250Gb Hitachi 2.5" SATA drive which I disconnect once a week to take with me to a customer site and the usual Keyboard and Mouse, so most things are in-situ all the time.

    This is such a major upgrade that it's quite frightening in many ways.
  5. Okay, 3 hours wandering from store to store in Tukcom yesterday. I realise that getting specific componennts is going to be a problem.

    I bought the Samsung 1Tb F3 and the HD4670 GPU as I am able to use these in my existing setup. Windows 7 graphic capabilty has gone from 1.0 to 5.9 and I can now view HD movies without so much 'stutter'. ( Cost for both items was 3834 Baht which is about $128)

    I was a little bit annoyed that I hadn't realised that 256k of memory would be shared using this GPU, so available system RAM on the exisiting 1Gb setup has decreased significantly and this is a problem, however when I get the MB / CPU for the new build, I'll have 4Gb to play with and this should not be a problem.

    I was told that ASUS boards will be another 2 - 3 weeks before they arrive in the local stores. so I will wait until I can buy MB before purchasing the CPU (The CPU is avilable EVERYWHERE!).

    Cases seem to be fairly restricted to either Coolermaster or Thermaltake, so I need to choose between V3 / V4 Thermaltake or Elite 335 Coolermaster, however there is an intersting Foxconn G-007 that I have seen available.

    I can get the CM 212+ cooler, so will probably go with that.

    RAM looks like I'll have to go with something on the Qualified Vendor List as the G.Skills specially designed for P67 doesn't look as though it's going to hit the stores here.

    PSU is a nightmare! However, based on the quality of delivered power to most of the buildings here, I'm not really surprised. I'm not prepared to spend $150 on a PSU, so may have to look at what is available on the day and keep my fingers crossed with something like a Super Flower Blue rather than than the Raidmax or Greatwall that every shop appears to be pushing.

    It's kind of strange having to constantly adapt your selection due to local availability, but the costs of importing make this a necessity. (You simply have to buy what is available on the day)
  6. Another trek around the stores today and it seems that the ASUS board is not going to be stocked as a mainline product but "We can get for you meester if you want"

    So decision made, the MB is being changed to AsRock Extreme4 which should be here in 2 days ("Have in shop Bangkok, but no hab here")

    Todays purchases were Coolermaster Hyper 212+ cooler (890 baht), Corsair XMS3 2x2Gb (CL9) (1780 baht)and Thermaltake V4 Black (1500 baht) : (4170 Baht = c. $139), so running costs are now at 8,004 baht ($266.80) and MB / CPU have been ordered at 12,410 baht ($413.67) bringing the build cost up to 20,414 baht ($680.46)

    As stated before getting a PSU is proving to be very difficult. I can get Corsair CX430, but many reviews indicate that this is not a wise investment as it appears that the Corsair quality has not been maintained for this latest entry level PSU from this company.

    Generally available are :

    Raidmax RS
    Tsunami Black Storm
    Nox Urano II
    Tagan TG
    Spire Black Moon
    Great Wall GT

    Any input appreciated on PSU selection
  7. So, another trip wandering around Tuk com seeing what is available and I finally decided on a Corsair CX430 as being the best value of what's available.

    I thought I'd found a Silverstone 550W (230V) which I would have preferred, but it was only a display case!!

    When I finally decide to buy the PSU, I'm told that for April there is a special promotion and the CX600 is available for just 40 baht more than then the CX430 (40 baht = $1.33), so I now have a PSU.

    The Motherboard and CPU are due to arrive from Bangkok tomorrow, so I'm hoping that I'll get the build completed this weekend.
  8. I have very similar reasons with you for building a basic Sandy Bridge PC that has enough space to upgrade the performance in the future. Since you seem know what you are doing, can you look at my build in this link, and tell me what you think?

    I hope to reach between $400 to $600, but your price range is probably about right.
  9. Well it's built and the OS is installed (Windows 7 Pro x64) along with all the key apps and necessary MS updates.

    Will update with a few issues encountered during the day, but now it's time to go and have a beer!
  10. The most annoying part of the build was the installation of the heatsink. I'd read different reports stating that the baseplate should be fitted before Mobo installation or that if the case had a cutout then wait until after.

    The case DOES have an opening for installing the backplate, but unfortunately, the Asrock board does not quite line up with the cutout, so everything had to be removed, firt the backplate and reinstall.

    Then came the issue of trying to work out how to adjust the securing bracket screws. It took an age to work out that you have to push them up from underneath before sliding to the correct position.

    With regard to overclocking, the Asrock default presets seem to work just fine, so 4.8GHz was accomplished with voltages just in spec, but running AIDA64 or Prime for more than 2 hours did see a couple of core temp maximums of 80C.

    As I'm not likely to be this extreme in my daily usage, I've let the system settle in at up to 4.8GHz and have encountered no problems as of yet.

    If I could change one thing, I'd have opted for a modular PSU as I do not require PCIe power at the present time and this means that a lot of redundant cable that has had to be tidied up and stored out of the way.

    I didn't bother with any additional colling fans as I'm only running 2 x SATA HDDs internally and case / mobo temps are running around 38C which is around 8C above daytime room temperature.

    A nice feature of the Asrock board is that you get a 3.5" frontplate for 2 x USB3 connectors.

    All in all, I'm very satidfied with the system and hope that it gives many years of good service.
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