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Final build - opinions needed

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April 3, 2011 8:00:40 AM

Hi,
about to order (in two weeks time at most, probably this week). Here is my build, please comment on hardware and possible incompatibilities - issues, advise better parts etc..
Also, this is a full build, from scratch. I need everything, so that's why the price is a bit high as well, it includes monitor and stuff.
Please note that since I'm in NZ, stuff is a bit more expensive than what you'd get in the US.

x1 CPU: i5 2500k
x1 MB: Asus P8P67 LE B3
x2 HDD: WD 7200RPM 1TB
x1 RAM: Corsair DDR3 4GB (2x2GB) @1600MHz (7-8-7-20, CMX4GX3M2A1600C7)
x1 GPU: Galaxy GF GTX 570 PCI-E 2.0 1280MB DDR5 320-bit (incl. fan)
x1 CASE: Antec 300
x1 PSU: Antec 650W TruePower (TP-650)
x1 TPASTE: Arctic Cooling MX-2
x1 CPUFAN: Cooler Master Hyper 212+
x2 FAN: Cooler Master 120mm Case Fan
x1 MONITOR: ASUS VH222H 21.5" 1920x1080p, HDMI (incl. speakers & headphone jack)
x1 KEYBD/MOUSE: Gigabyte GK-KM7600 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse
x1 OPTICAL: Asus DRW-24B3ST
x1 various accessories: headphones, SATA cables, etc...

Total price (incl. GST): $2300 NZD = $1766 USD.

A few comments on the build:
- I will overclock the CPU to 4.0GHz
- I don't plan to overclock anything else
- I am not upgrading to the i7 2600k, I don't need it
- I need the two hard drives for more read/write throughput - can't afford SSD. It's roughly the same price as a single 2TB anyway.
- PSU should be enough, I've tried two online calculators and they both recommended 540W.

I'm unsure on these points:
- I'm not sure I can just put the four RAM sticks together to get 8GB of dual channel DDR3 - especially since 8GB DDR3 kits are more than double the price of 4GB kits.
- Will air cooling be enough with all these fans and with the mild CPU overclock? There's 3 small fans in total - should I replace one with a 120mm?
- Is that sound card worth it? Or should I A) stick with onboard B) get a better one?

Thanks for your replies.
April 3, 2011 8:58:50 AM

The PSU is a bit overkill on the wattage. It's a solid unit but old now. You could do better.

Look for an Antec TP-650 for instance. Or an Antec Neo Eco 620C. There are several Seasonic-built options in the 650W range that would be better than the CWT-built 750TX. They should cost less or the same, but they will be quieter and often carry a better warranty. Plus the voltage ripple will be better.

I don't think the Audigy card you have selected is any better than onboard sound really. Unless you are doing something other than gaming/music/movies with it.

If you are getting the OCZ locally OK. Lately they have fallen out of favor around here, too many quality issues. Kensington is a great brand that has very wide availability, and G.skill get's most recommendations here in the US. Corsair of course is fine too. And Mushkin.

If you HAVE to buy two 2x2 RAM kits look for low voltage kits. It's far better to get a single 2x4GB kit though.

The air cooler will be fine.

I am not familiar with the case, but ANY case that has an 80mm fan is suspect. Spend the money you saved on the sound card on a better case. Even a generic case can be better if chosen carefully.
Here it is:
http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=...
Definitely not. Bad air. Would not use it on an office machine even.
April 3, 2011 9:06:41 AM

Quote:
The PSU is a bit overkill on the wattage. It's a solid unit but old now. You could do better.

Look for an Antec TP-650 for instance. Or an Antec Neo Eco 620C. There are several Seasonic-built options in the 650W range that would be better than the CWT-built 750TX. They should cost less or the same, but they will be quieter and often carry a better warranty. Plus the voltage ripple will be better.

Thanks - I'll upgrade to a TP-650. I'm instinctively staying away from "Eco" products because they seem too cheap compared to others (and because it's "eco", but that's another story), but I'll have a look.

Quote:
I don't think the Audigy card you have selected is any better than onboard sound really. Unless you are doing something other than gaming/music/movies with it.

Yeah really just the above, won't do much more than gaming/music. I'll stick with onboard audio then I think, all the other cards are like $150 which I can't really shell out for that kind of hardware.

Quote:
If you are getting the OCZ locally OK. Lately they have fallen out of favor around here, too many quality issues. Kensington is a great brand that has very wide availability, and G.skill get's most recommendations here in the US. Corsair of course is fine too. And Mushkin.

If you HAVE to buy two 2x2 RAM kits look for low voltage kits. It's far better to get a single 2x4GB kit though.

I don't need two RAM kits, in fact I finished adding the parts to the cart then realised I had some money left over and decided to throw in another 4GB of RAM.

Quote:
The air cooler will be fine.

Awesome

Quote:
I am not familiar with the case, but ANY case that has an 80mm fan is suspect. Spend the money you saved on the sound card on a better case. Even a generic case can be better if chosen carefully.


Ok given your advice I think I'm going to remove the sound card and the second memory kit and use it for a better case & psu. I'll edit the main post in a few minutes.
Related resources
April 3, 2011 9:21:08 AM

OP edited. How would a Antec VSK-2000 ATX Tower Case fare as a replacement?
I also picked out 1600MHz RAM because it was cheaper, but that makes up for a possible incompatibility between the motherboard and the RAM. Would that RAM actually work?
April 3, 2011 10:18:56 AM

The case is moving in the right direction for sure. It only comes with a single 120mm fan though, so you would want to add a second for sure and probably a third. This raises your cost up front. Even cheap fans usually run $5-10 USD each.

GTX 570 is going to generate a good amount of heat, and you want to move it out of the case as fast as you can. This is true for all bigger video cards. I think you have a preference for a plain looking case, so I'll show you a few good values at newegg and you can see if anything is available there.

Antec 200 Too flashy?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec 300 costs a bit more but is a great value at the price
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooler master HAF 912
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


April 3, 2011 10:33:16 AM

Yeah I'd like something clean and minimalistic for a case, I like the second one more. I've got it available on my website: http://www.alphacity.co.nz/index.php?main_page=product_... (can't buy from newegg, although good for reviews). I'll edit the main post.

Quote:
GTX 570 is going to generate a good amount of heat, and you want to move it out of the case as fast as you can.

I don't understand - isn't the case supposed to contain the parts? If so how do I move the GPU outside of the case? I'm a bit confused

I changed the x1 80mm fan to x2 120mm fan and edited the case. Fortunately I had a bit of leftover money with my initial build which absorbs the cost of these necessary improvements - still got about $80 NZD leftover right now, pretty sweet.
April 3, 2011 12:17:11 PM

Not sure about the RAM still, if someone could confirm 1600MHz DDR3 dual channel kit will work with this motherboard? This memory kit is pretty cheap so it would be nice it does, thanks.
April 3, 2011 12:32:19 PM

Bacterius said:

I don't understand - isn't the case supposed to contain the parts? If so how do I move the GPU outside of the case? I'm a bit confused


I think he means to move the heat out of the case as fast as you can.
April 3, 2011 8:55:30 PM

Quote:
I think he means to move the heat out of the case as fast as you can.

Oh ok, sorry I didn't get it at first - that's what I get for staying awake past 11pm :) 
April 3, 2011 10:39:53 PM

Proximon said:

GTX 570 is going to generate a good amount of heat, and you want to move it out of the case as fast as you can.



:whistle: 

My English does get surprisingly weird sometimes :) 

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