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$800 Performance Machine - 1st time build

Last response: in Systems
May 15, 2011 6:04:42 PM

Plan Summary
$106 /Case /Apevia X-QPACK2
$48 / Power Supply /Antec BP550 Plus
$134 /Motherboard / ASRock Z68 Pro3-M
$241 /Processor / i5-2500K
$81 / Memory / G.skill 8GB DDR3 1600 (2x4GB)
$90 / Hard Drive / TBD
$15 /1394a/b? / TBD
$25 / Internal DVD-RW / TBD
$40 / External Opt Case / TBD
$15 / USB Hub / TBD

$795 Total

Template responses:
Approximate Purchase Date: 7/20 (just started accumulating parts)

Budget Range: $800 shipped and taxed (I'm in NJ so newegg charges tax up front)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: 4 users who refuse to log out or quit apps, music and movie ripping/transcoding, photo editing, home movie editing, some CAD for my teenage son in HS, some SW compilation (maybe).

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS (W7 64bit, may dual boot w/Linux), IDE DVD-RW (Samsung LightScribe purchased for my old computer 4 months ago, but still new in box), power supply (just purchased Antec BP550 Plus)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg, but it's not like we're married

Country of Origin: US

Parts Preferences: Intel

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: TBD - Still have a 19"CRT on that machine

Additional Comments: I want the system to sit on the shelf below my desk. Shelf is 13" deep, with 12.5" vertical clearance above, and runs the full width of the desk. I'd like to put the system down there with an additional external optical drive and powered USB hub on top of the desk by the monitor. Maybe add a remote power switch up top if I can't power on with a keyboard.

I want it to be fast in the short term, and upgradeable in terms of speed - over the next year or 2, I'd like to add some modestly priced upgrades, say a moderate ($100-$150) graphics card, an SSD, a better (air) cooler for overclocking, and maybe a Bluray burner. So I'm thinking an i5-2500K based system with a Z68 MoBo so I can use integrated graphics now and later add a discrete card, plus OC, and add a cheap SSD for disk caching. I have a 320GB drive from the old machine I'd like to use as a secondary drive, but I'll get a new primary drive for the build. I want USB 2&3, 1394a (and maybe b?), and eSATA interfaces. Also, the fewer LEDs, the better (the room is a guest room/office).

Here's my current plan:
Case: Apevia X-QPACK2 Black (seems decent except for power supply), or maybe the earlier version of the case. ($106 w/tax+shipping)

Power supply: Antec BP550 Plus 550W (already purchased) ($48 w/t+s, price part of $800 budget)

Motherboard: ASRock Z68 PRO3-M ($134 w/t+s)

Processor: Intel i5-2500K Sandy Bridge ($241 w/t+s)

Memory: G.skill Ripjaws Series (CAS 9) 8GB DDR3 1600 (2x4GB) $81 (w/t+s)

Hard Drive (6Gb/s): TBD. Probably looking for ~1TB. I want something reliable and fast. And reliable. Maybe a WD Caviar Black? (I do have an external for backups.) $90 budgeted.

1394: TBD. I need 1394a for the video camera. ($15 budgeted). Should I get 1394b too, for another $10-20? (I also need a new Mac which will wind up supporting 1394b/FW800.) All my current enclosures now are USB2.0, eSata, and/or 1394a. Rosewill seems to get good reviews. Maybe one of the following:
Can I use the PCI (not PCI-e variants)?

Internal DVD-RW: TBD. $25 budgeted.

External optical Case for DVD-RW: TBD. I think I can reuse my IDE DVD-RW in a case that supports IDE and
SATA. $40 budgeted.

USB Hub: TBD. $15 budgeted.

Little Things (cables, screws, standoffs?): What am I missing?

I was thinking of using some Artic Silver with the stock cooler, but someone told me it could void the warrantee and I should just use the stock thermal paste.

So that's it. I guess my questions are not too different than any other first time build... Should it all work together and make sense for my intended use? Am I getting good value? Am I missing anything? A quick question I'd like answered is "is the memory a good choice?". Newegg has $20 off on it right now.

Many thanks!!

May 15, 2011 8:32:31 PM

The psu nor the mobo has pata connection so you'll need a new dvd drive. Amazon has the same stuff but you won't have to pay taxes so take a look there. Also if you live by a microcenter, the i5 is $180 there.
Related resources
May 16, 2011 3:45:17 PM

mlcaouette said:
The samsung f3 1Tb is a great hard drive and don't bother with a sata 6.0Gb/s mechanical hard drive unless it is cheaper than the sata II version (zero performance increase over 3.0Gb/s):

That's good to know. Saves me a few $$. Thanks.
May 16, 2011 3:50:28 PM

k1114 said:
The psu nor the mobo has pata connection so you'll need a new dvd drive. Amazon has the same stuff but you won't have to pay taxes so take a look there. Also if you live by a microcenter, the i5 is $180 there.

Thanks. I hadn't noticed that the PSU didn't have IDE, but I was planning on putting that drive in the external case anyway. Only trouble I've heard is that not too many cases work well with LightScribe. Any advice there?

Good tips on buying. Microcenter is a bit of a hike, but I may be able to get a friend to stop by. I may be able to get this build under $700 yet.

Thanks again
May 18, 2011 6:21:16 PM

Thanks, I didn't see the Thermaltake case. It looks nice, is sized right, and sounds to be better built. The weight is a positive sign for me, as well as the lack of LEDs.

I guess my main questions in using that case would be with cooling:

Will it support an aftermarket cooler with the ASRock Z68 PRO3-M with an i5-2500K for OCing.

The cooling doesn't look spectacular with 60mm and 80mm fans, and placement of the drive rack, but few people seem to be complaining loudly, so I'm gonna guess it's ok. (If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know.) I can always add another 60, I just don't want it to sound like a wind tunnel.

Bottom line is can it provide sufficient, reasonably quiet (not for HT use) cooling for an OC'd i5-2500K, 2 HDs, 1 optical drive, and a modest GPU?