$850 (Max) build - Comments?


This will pretty much be my first build. I'm upgrading from a Compaq SR2050 NX (You can check the specs here.) Quite outdated, I know. However, I upgraded it to 2GB of DDR2 RAM, a Corsair 400W PSU, and a Sapphire HD 4670).

Anyways, I am finally able to build a new computer, and (just for now), my CURRENT max budget is about $850.

This system will temporarily exclude a GPU; I will be using the HD 4670 for a month or until newegg restocks their Sapphire 6950 2GB (reference) cards. Overall, including the 6950 card, it will cost me about $1000 more or less, which is my actual budget.

After hours of research, I finally came up with a final build (Again, GPU excluded for now). Any advice/suggestion is much appreciated. I also have a ton of questions below and would like some answers.


Approximate Purchase Date: (Soon, probably this week before the CPU deal expires)

Budget Range: (~$850) Before Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, surfing the Internet, videos/movies, occasional video encoding), programming

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, optical drive

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: preferably ncix.com, will probably buy GPU from newegg )

Country of Origin: Canada

Parts Preferences: No real preference, but I'm leaning towards Intel after much research

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe (Probably not for a while because of its cost)

Monitor Resolution: 3 monitors at 1280x1024 (Two 17" and one 19"). I only got these for free, and I plan to upgrade when I get the money. Future resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments:
Although I excluded the GPU, I will be taking suggestions/alternatives to the Sapphire 6950 2GB. I chose this card mainly because of the Eyefinity feature (I want to use my three monitors) I also plan to flash the bios to 6970.
I really can't decide whether to get a new 500GB HDD or if I should just get a 64GB SSD, or to not buy any storage at all. I plan to reuse my old 250GB HDD. Additionally, I have two 1.5GB external (backup) hard drives (which have about a total of 500GB left). If I don't get the SSD now, I'll eventually get it, just not for a while.
I'm wondering if it's possible to game with my three monitors (Two Dell E172FPT 17" and one Samsung SyncMaster920N 19") They all have a resolution of 1280x1024. If it is possible, will the games align well?
Should I get thermal compound (like the Arctic Silver 5) or will the compound that comes with the Hyper 212 suffice?
I plan to overclock, but I have never done it before. Any tips/precautions? How easy will it be to overclock with the system I chose?
What's the best way I can lower the cost of this system, without a significant change in performance?
Will the cooling (from the case and the CPU heatsink) be enough? I don't have much knowledge about cooling...
I want a system that will last me for quite a while...perhaps at least 3 years? Will it fit my needs?

This is the build I came up with. The prices listed are the lowest I can find, and I will just use NCIX's price match feature.

Intel Core i5 2500K Quad Core Unlocked Processor LGA1155 3.3GHZ Sandy Bridge 6MB ($209.99 w/ promo code at NCIX)

ASRock P67 EXTREME4 B3 ATX LGA1155 DDR3 3PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 SATA3 USB3.0 CrossFireX SLI Motherboard ($154.99)

G.SKILL Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 Memory ($80.62)

Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus Direct Touch 4 Heatpipe Heatsink AM2 AM3 LGA1366 LGA1155 LGA1156 120MM ($24.12)

***The following are components that I am unsure of***:

Corsair Graphite Series 600T ($134.70)
Corsair Graphite Series 600T Special Edition White ($169.99)

Is the new edition worth the extra money? From what I read, the white series is an upgrade from the original. I am also open to any suggestions.

Storage: -
Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB SATA3 6GB/S 7200RPM 32MB Cache 3.5IN Dual Proc Hard Drive OEM (WD5002AALX) ($49.69)
Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC064MAG-1G1 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) ($129.47)

OR should I save my money? I want to lower the expenses as much as possible.

Corsair Professional HX750W 750W ATX 12V 62A 24PIN ATX Modular Power Supply Active PF ($135.49)
Corsair TX750W 750W ATX 12V 60A 24PIN ATX Power Supply Active PFC 140MM Fan ($89.99)

Is it worth paying extra for the modular?

Wireless Adapter:
*Open to any suggestions. I need a good (but cheap, preferably under $20) one. I am two floors away from my router.*

SAPPHIRE 100312SR Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
MSI R6950 Twin Frozr II OC Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity

Will a flashed Sapphire 6950 be better than the MSI? From what I understand, the MSI 6950 cannot be flashed since it is not a reference card (correct me if I'm wrong)?

Also, I understand that to be able to use 3 monitors, I will need an active displayport adapter. Will this work? Both of these cards are only available at newegg.

Should I just settle with these cards (Since they're available at NCIX, and most, if not all the parts I'm purchasing will be from NCIX):
Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 800MHZ 2GB GDDR5 PCI-E 2XDVI HDMI 2x Mini DisplayPort Video Card

HIS Radeon HD 6950 800MHZ 2GB GDDR5 PCI-E 2XDVI HDMI 2x Mini DisplayPort Video Card

XFX Radeon HD 6950 800MHZ 2GB 5.0GHZ DDR5 2XDVI HDMI 2x Mini DisplayPort PCI-E Video Card

These are NOT reference cards, correct?

Overall, these components will cost me $750-$830, depending on which storage, case, and power supply I pick I take. With the GPU, it will cost me a total of ~$1100.

I apologize for any confusion, dumb/obvious/repetitive questions, and for the long read. I'm typing this at 4:30am in the morning. I hope my effort to make it as neat as possible was worth it, haha.

2 answers Last reply
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  1. Over all your build seems perfect.
    Just a few things to consider:

    -You don't need a 750W Power supply if you aren't going for crossfire in the future. if you aren't then you don't need more than 650W. Save the bucks and buy a better GPU. In case of modular, its just easier cable management, and its up to personal preference and size of the case.

    -I think $130 for a case isn't worth it. I like the Cooler master HAF 912 or 922 is pretty good.
    I also like NZXT http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=40000007&IsNodeId=1&Description=nzxt&name=Computer%20Cases&Order=BESTMATCH

    -For the brands of GPUs i like XFX or Msi or Asus. I had read somewhere that Sapphire flashed cards were less stable than other brands.However i don't think they are selling the flash-able versions anymore. Closest substitutes in my opinion are GTX 560.Or crossfire 6850 (which produce better results than a gtx 580)

    -Addition of SSD is a good idea. Speeds up boot up.

    -Hyper 212+ is good to overclock till 4.5 ghz. If you want more performance go for water cooling (H50 or H70)

    Rest seems fine

    Edit: Wifi card. Resewill is a decent brand.

    Antec Cases are also good. See what ever comes in your price range
  2. Alright,

    I've decided to drop my PSU to a Corsair Gaming Series CMPSU-700G 700W, which is on sale for $79.99, which I believe is a good deal. A 650W is at least $69.99.

    I also changed my case to an Antec Three Hundred Mini Tower Gaming Case 300 ATX. It's $29.99 after MIR. Will all of my components fit nicely?

    Also, I've done some research about the H50. Some say that the H50 will only outperform the Hyper 212+ by only a small amount. Do I also have to buy additional fans for the H50; is the $40+ upgrade really worth it? Like I said, I'm fairly new to overclocking. If the performance difference really isn't much, I'd rather spend the money for the 64GB SSD.

    I also read that the Scythe Mugen 2 is much better than the Hyper 212+, and it's about $10 more. What's your opinion on this?

    Lastly, regarding the GPU...

    I'm thinking of switching the 6950 for crossfire 6850s. Do you recommend a specific brand for the setup? Some models seem to have a higher clock speed for a higher price. Worth paying extra? The available brands are listed here.

    Many thanks, and sorry if I'm asking too much questions.
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