Enthusiast SB build, $1500-2000

Hello everyone! I know many of us are working on our own i5-2500k builds, here's mine so far! I could really use some help deciding a monitor(s)!!

Approximate Purchase Date: this weekend
Budget Range: $1500-2000 before rebates, monitors might cause me to break the 2k mark
System Usage from Most to Least Important: watching HD movies, surfing, gaming when I have time
Parts Not Required: I'll probably reuse my keyboard (G15) because I can't seem to find a sleek looking keyboard that I like, and I'll reuse a Samsung Syncmaster 940t (1024X 1280 - 19 inch vertically rotated) if I decide to purchase only 1 new monitor instead of two, but it's pretty old and has some burn in
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, have a Fry's nearby that might price match
Country of Origin: US
Parts Preferences: high quality!
Overclocking: yes
SLI or Crossfire: maybe in the future
Monitor Resolution: currently using a 1920 X 1200 28'' Hanns G monitor that is going out and needs to be replaced. Looking for a 16:9 or 16:10 24'' set up, possibly matching dual monitors

Additional Comments: I'm going for a professional/reliable/quiet/sleek build that doesn't scream "GAMER!" that I can use for years.

::::---Parts so far---::::

CASE: Silverstone Fortress Series FT02B-W - $250 - OR - Corsair Obsidian Series 700D - $270 (220 if mail-in rebate is actually honored), but I'm leaning towards the FT02 right now, I think the 700D is more geared towards water cooling--which, while neat, seems to be too much trouble

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K - $225

MOBO: Asus P8P67 Pro (will pick up at Fry's, $190ish?) -OR- Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4-B3 - $190. Not sure what to do here, I can get the Gigabyte from Newegg as long as their stock remains solid, or I can get the Pro from Frys, I think the Asus edged out the Gigabyte in this TH Review

GPU: Radeon 6950 flashed to 6970 - not sure which brand though, in the SBM I think the Gigabyte one is used---however, there are several other priced at $275-290 as well? So, not sure if this is the best brand to go with or Sapphire, Asus, XFX, etc: by highest Newegg ratings

PSU: CORSAIR Professional Series AX750 750W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - $170 - I figure this is probably overkill but I'm really looking for something that'll last, I suppose I could go for the XFX 850W Black Edition or an 850W Corsair if you guys think this AX750 isn't good enough.

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL - $85 -OR- some other awesome memory set that matches the blue color scheme of an Asus Pro mobo?? suggestions?

HDD: 2X SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - $130

OPTICAL: LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X blah blah 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Writer LightScribe Support - $25

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM -$100... I'm a student and can upgrade this to Professional or Ultimate for $34, but is it even worth it?

CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler - $35

MOUSE: Logitech Performance Mouse MX - $77

KEYBOARD: I'm using a G15 at the moment, I really like the sleek look of the Logitech diNovo Edge but it's reviews aren't the greatest. Open to suggestions here.

MONITOR: I'm starting to lean more and more towards getting 2 identical 22 - 24 inch monitors and just giving this 19'' Samsung to my parents, not sure what to do here. I think if I get only one new monitor the 19 inch is just going to get shabbier and shabbier looking... also, recall I'm coming from a 28 inch so I don't want to drop down to too small a screen.

LG M2380D 23" Full HD LED Backlight TV Monitor w/DTV Tuner - $330

ASUS VH238H Black 23" Full HD HDMI LED Backlight LCD Monitor w/Speakers X 2 - $380

LG IPS226V Black 21.5" 8ms IPS Panel Full HD LED BackLight LCD Monitor X 2 - $440

Dell ultraexpensi--sharp?? 24 inch maybe?

I'm open to suggestions here. I'd rather not spend over 400 on a monitor, but it really depends on how good it/they are I guess. I also have a PS3 that I'll be hooking up to the main monitor as well for BD playback/games (rarely) so it needs to at least have 1 HDMI + 1 DVI or 2 HDMI connections. I'm not sure how much better the LED technology and if it's worth it, and IPS vs TN to me seems kinda silly, I'm not going to be watching stuff from my monitor at extreme angles anyway! At least that seems to be the major reasoning in getting an IPS from what I've read.

Also debated getting a 64GB SSD or sound card, but I think I'll wait. Biggest priority is replacing this monitor with a quality long-lasting setup.

Thanks for your time everyone! Lookin' forward to hearing from you!
18 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about enthusiast build 1500 2000
  1. Forgot to add, I'll be looking for combo deals, but wanted to get the components a bit more squared away first! Thanks again!
  2. Best answer
    Well personally I suggest changing your case to something cheaper (HAF X) which would save you about 50-70$ depending on your case choice.

    Then I'd get the Extreme4 P67, but if you can't find that. The Pro is always a good choice. It uses the newer BIOS (UEFI) as apposed to Gigabyte staying more traditional and sticking with BIOS. However both are solid performers. Really it is all just preference. BIOS or UEFI. Another 30$ cheaper option is the MSI P67-GD55. Solid board at 160$ w/ good overclocks.


    Drop the Corsair, it's not that the Corsair isn't good. But it is overpriced for something a cheaper PSU could do the same in. Gold vs Silver means nothing when the Silver performs slightly below gold standards. Go with the XFX and save 50-40$

    Not the cheapest but I suggest this 6950 instead.
    I know for sure that MSI's custom coolers are not half bad, but also the fact that most MSI cards are guarenteed with Voltage tweaker so overclocks will be rather stable vs ones w/o it. (unlocks in your case)

    The 560 Ti is also an option, solid cards really. I suggest the DirectCu II or again the Twin Frozr II.

    That's really everything. Good idea to wait on an SSD.

    Just a monitor suggestion =P You seem to be paying a lot for the monitors.
    27" Samsung TOC. Solid monitor really.

    Of the ones you picked, I'd have to choose the 1st one.

    This is another monitor suggestion close to the size you want.
  3. Thanks for the review... I know the case is a bit steep in price and I've heard great things about the HAF X and HAF 932, but I just like the solid brushed aluminum look over the whole front panel being steel mesh/plastic. I'd like the computer to be great at gaming without looking like a gaming machine, if that makes sense.

    Anyone know what the Asus Pro is most likely going for?? The Extreme4 P67 is on Newegg now so I can probably just go with that.

    I'll have to look at PSUs again since I probably am spending too much on the professional series and free up some cash for my monitor situation. Which really is hard to choose from. I do like the LG E2360V, and I suppose a 27 inch is a bit overkill for me really. Originally I had picked that M2380D just because it was one of the few with 2 HDMI ports, but I then realized I could just use the DVI for my computer and the HDMI for my PS3.

    Anyway, thanks for the help! I appreciate it!
  4. Alternatively you could get the unit the Corsair AX-750 is based on: the Seasonic X-750, altho I don't think that is significantly cheaper. So for more significant savings on Gold rated PSUs you could get one of the following:
    Lepa G700-MA 700W 80Plus Gold Modular $150 ($6 shipping)

    NZXT Hale90 750W 80Plus Gold Modular $140 ($6 shipping)

    If you don't mind the blue fan then you can get the Kingwin Lazer Gold LZG-700, which is very similar to the NZXT Hale90 750W, just a bit cheaper and with a blue fan.

    If you want to retain the 'full modularity' of AX/X series then the Silverstone Strider Plus 750W 80Plus Silver is another good option:

    This set is closer to blue:
    G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1333MHz (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBSR $85

    Have you had a look at the Corsair Obsidian 650D? A bit cheaper, still 'classy' looking, should be a bit better at aircooling than the 700D. I believe we share similar aesthetic goals in our cases. So I will say that I have seriously considered the Lian Li PC-9F, B25F, Zalman MS1000-HS2. Other cases that are popular are the Fractal cases (R3 and XL).

    I thought the Gigabyte 1155 motherboards used UEFI, just without the new GUI, so it looks like it's the old style BIOS but has all the other benefits of UEFI.
  5. Oh hey I hadn't seen the Corsair Obsidian 650D yet, thanks for pointing it out. That looks nice, very similar to the 700D and 800D. I really like the looks of the 700D especially (something about the monolithic front face that gets me), but I've read conflicting reports about their ability to cool well. I think I've spent the most amount of time trying to pick out the right case which seems kinda silly, but I think if I get a good one it'll last longer than any other component I could possibly buy, so I'm splurging on a high-rated case. The Lian Li's look very nice as well, I just like the black interior of the Corsairs and the FT02.

    As far as matching the color of the memory to the MOBO, it really isn't a big deal, but those G.Skill Snipers look good. Really though, whatever is the best bang for the buck will do fine. Would I be using the same memory in the Extreme4 as the Pro? I'm not really familiar with all the timings and ratings and volts that goes into choosing the right RAM.

    Now for the PSU, would it be wise to try and go for an 850W in case I get another GPU down the road? Or should a quality 750W be ok? I'd kinda like a "full modularity" PSU, perhaps this Corsair 750W HX Series but I'm only shaving off $28. Really at this point my money is burning a hole in my pocket and I just want to get everything ordered :D .

    So anyone else have any pointers on TN/IPS/LED monitors or a good dual monitor set up? Should I avoid LED monitors if I go a dual monitor set up? I hear the back lighting can be very inconsistent and hard to match.
  6. It's a good looking build. Very well thought out.
    When you look at each individual part there really isn't anything to improve on.

    My 'logical self' is whispering 'less case if it means faster storage/SSD' for a build in this price range. But the right side of the brain is saying the case 'looks good' and the OP is paying for it - let him get what he wants.
    As long as you're not going to stick your case under a desk somewhere - this has to be your call I think.
  7. Which of the HD 6950 2GB video cards to get? If you're going to the trouble of considering the the aesthetic values in a closed, non-windowed case you might as well consider that for the graphics card. It works as well as any other factor in choosing between equal competitors.

    Since you are going to think about the 650D case Silvune recommended that might come in to play with a windowed case.
    I have a slight preference for the Asus P8P67 Pro but I got to the point I couldn't find one in stock I don't think I'd hesitate at grabbing the UD4.

    The PSU choices are just as tough. Aesthetic appeal? Or maybe the 'heavy duty' 850W over the 'wimpy' 750W? We're down to splitting hairs between the excellent choices mentioned.
  8. I think you would want to be able to install two very power hungry graphics cards to justify more than a 750W PSU. So far I don't think any of the GPUs mentioned would justify more than a good 750.

    The HX series is also very good with long cables. The Silverstone has comparable length of cables though and will have similar efficiency and performance in other areas as well. So really there's nothing to choose between the Silverstone and Corsair HX, except price. And warranty if you care about that, which I don't.

    Pretty much any dual channel RAM with voltages at 1.6V or below will be fine for a Sandy Bridge system.

    And it's definitely not silly taking your time to find a case, I've been researching cases for a year and a half and I still haven't found the perfect case for me.
  9. The only thing about mismatch LED backlight I'd read about so far has been between different brands or models. I suppose that could also be true between the same model? I wish there were more reviews on the new budget IPS monitors to go on.

    The one monitor I've been most interested in is a MVA panel - about halfway between TN and IPS.
    ASUS ML249H 24" MVA panel wiith 178° Viewing Angle LED Backlit LCD Monitor

    I like the slightly larger models as well. Having been a dual monitor user for years i'll never be anything other now.
    And I feel the same way about USB ports on my monitor and the option of having it rotate to portrait mode. Just too useful to work without those features once you've learned how useful they are staying productive.
  10. Thanks for the input WR2 and Silvune! I'm 95% sure I'll be going with the FT02 model with a side window, which was kinda why I didn't want to throw bright red sticks into a blue mobo. I'm going to really crack down on looking at sticks tonight and see what I come up with, same goes with the PSUs.

    Is the ASRock really 30 bucks cheaper than the UD4 and the Asus Pro or am I looking at the wrong model: here ? Fry's said they'll should have 5 Asus Pros in their store tomorrow for $190. I'll cross my fingers that the shipment isn't late. If it isn't there tomorrow, I'll order the UD4 from Newegg unless the ASRock is just as good and 30 bucks cheaper.

    I saw one of the budget IPS monitors (LG IPS236V - 23'') for $229 at Best Buy today, I was fairly impressed. Here's their 21.5'' model: LG IPS226V. Choosing monitors is so tough =/

    And I haven't completely written out an SSD yet, but I just don't think that I will get to benefit from it that much. I have my current computer booting up as an alarm clock so a faster boot time really won't matter unless I need to restart for something. The snappier programs would definitely be nice, but I bet I'll feel like I'm using an SSD just with the improvement in the overall system compared to what I'm using now.

    Thanks again for the feedback, having someone telling you you're not crazy for spending $2k on a computer is awesome.
  11. Case suggest - Lian Li PC-P50WB:

    The Asrock is defiantly worth it. It is a solid overclocker and solid motherboard PCI performance. The board keeps up w/ the UD4 in all ways and also features UEFI rather than BIOS like the UD4. Source:,2837.html

    Yeah monitors are a really up close kind of thing. You really have to see the monitor to decide IMO. Pictures do no justice. I however was an exception, like you looked at 2 HDMI monitors and picked the cheapest one. (At the time only 190$ I got the LG Flatron W2286L) It actually is still going strong, LED backlit for such a cheap price. Awesome. The only sad thing is they discontinued it shortly afterwards. Guess they were losing money with the 2 HDMI ports.

    @ 2000$, you can get the best possible build currently. I'd say more of 1800$ really is all you need to spend.
  12. Woooo Newegg weekend deals had 3 things on it that I can use!!

    I got the GIGABYTE GV-R695D5-2GD-B Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity for $264 (10 bucks off):

    the CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply for $150 (15 bucks off):

    and upgraded to the G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL9D-8GBXL for 100 instead of 130 ($30 bucks off):

    And got the CPU/212+ combo for another $8 off.

    That memory should work right? it's just a bit beefier than what I had previously??
  13. Nice finds on the extra savings.
    Yes, that memory will work just fine.
    Your motherboard might choose to run it at different that it's rated speed. That would be a normal thing to see when you have RAM set to Auto. You'll be able to do some tweaking to get its top rated speed. Or maybe have it turn at 1600 with Cas7 which would also be an sweet little upgrade over 1600/Cas9
  14. For the RAM, wouldn't two of these RAM work better with both the Asus P8P67 Pro and the i5?
  15. ^ No, when they say "Certified for P67" It means nothing if the board says it works on their boards anyways. For instance a standard 40$ 4gb kit could work with P67, they just don't market it like that because it isn't as expensive so they don't make as much off it.

    As for 1333, 1600, 1866 all make really little difference to the REAL performance you see. Maybe it'll have a effect on archiving but really more ram is better than just a faster speed. An 8gb DDR3 1333 would be better than a 4gb DDR3 1866 kit any day. Just saying.
  16. Well, picked up the Asus p8p67 Pro and 2 LG IPS236's today. The first LG has uneven back-lighting, so I think I'm just going to return them both tomorrow. So, be wary of those new LG IPS monitors. It's possible the one I got was a fluke, but it makes me too nervous to open the other one.

    I've heard some good things about Asus monitors, so can anyone recommend a nice 22-24 inch in the $200-250 range? Or some other brand ? Really going to try to get the problem solved before my parts come in early next week.

    --edit: just found the LCD Monitor forum, my apologies! I'll go bug them over there.
  17. No problem.
  18. Best answer selected by Apennyworth.
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