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first gaming build 2000-3000 budget

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May 17, 2011 4:09:00 AM

I have been out of the loop for a couple of years on PCs and after mountains of research I think I’m close on the parts I want, but advice from people in know would be good. I’m looking to build a sandy bridge gaming PC and I’m still not sure whether I’ll build it myself or get scorptec to build it for me. I would like a quite PC with good cooling for minor overclocking and good gaming abilities

Approximate Purchase Date: around October so it will be ready for BF3

Budget Range: about $2000-3000 total

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, video editing, & internet

Parts Not Required: speakers,

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: http://www.scorptec.com.au (Australia) happy to buy keyboard and monitor from another dealer if they’re cheaper

Country of Origin: Australia 2615


Parts Preferences:

CPU:
• i7 2600k

MB: any advice would be good the one I selected is mainly because I like ASUS overclocking setup design and there doesn’t seem to be many boards on the market yet.
• ASUS P8Z68-V PRO

Overclocking: yes hoping for a stable 4.5 for the CPU but its my first time overclocking

SLI or Crossfire: no, happy with single card at the moment, but may want to add another at a later date in SLI so needs to be available on the motherboard

COOLER/CPU Heatsink: Just want a quiet air cooler no water, I have no idea but obviously needs to fit in the case and be suitable for a 1155 board.
Question: is it worth getting a CPU heatsink? If so what would be a good value for money one?

RAM: Any advice on this would be appreciated as I don’t care what brand as long as its good ram and reasonably fast.
Question: Can I use triple channel ram on a z68 board? and can I get 6 gig or do I need to get 8 gig?

• Corsair 6GB Kit (3x2GB), PC-16000 (2000MHz) DDR3, Dominator GT+ Fan, 8-9-8-24 XMP, Triple Channel Kit
• Corsair 6GB Kit (3x2GB), PC-16000 (2000MHz) DDR3, Vengeance Series, 10-10-10-27, Triple Channel Kit
• Corsair 8GB Kit (2x4GB), PC-12800 (1600MHz) DDR3, Vengeance Series, 9-9-9-24, Dual Channel Kit

HDD: would like 2 TB of space & maybe a small SSD hard drive for operating system only (as I’ve heard lots of issues with data corruption). I have heard good reviews on the samsung below but any suggestions for a good relatively fast 2 TB drive would help.

• Samsung 1TB Spinpoint F3, SATAII, 7200rpm, 32MB Cache x 2

CASE: Mid tower ATX – not keen for a full tower just want something that will fit everything with good cooling as I plan on just using air cooling to overclock, not keen on spending more than $200.
Question: Could someone explain the difference between the antec DF-30 and 35?

• CoolerMaster CM 690 II Advanced Black ATX Case, No PSU, 4x 5.25", 6x 3.5" Bays, I/O Panel with USB, eSATA, HD Audio, With Window Panel
• CoolerMaster HAF 922, Black, ATX, No PSU, 2 x USB2.0, 1 x eSATA, Extreme airflow
• Antec Dark Fleet DF-35 Gaming Case, ATX, No PSU, 2x USB, Staunch Front Bezel, 2.5" Fleet Swap drive on top

PSU: no idea just want something reliable with enough power to carry two GTX 580’s if I ever go down that path

• Antec 750W TruePower ATX Power Supply, 120mm fan, DUAL PCI-E Graphics Card Connector, 4 SATA Connectors
• Seasonic 650W Modular PSU, 80PLUS® Gold Certified, San Ace Silent Fan, Voltage Regulation Module, Solid Capacitors
• Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 800W PSU, 80Plus Gold, ATX 12V v2.3

Video Card: any brand standard Nivida GTX580 or an overlocked version if there are any good ones. I know I can get better performance by have two smaller cards in SLI but at the moment I’d just prefer a single card to reduce heat until I’m sure my setup can handle it.

• Gigabyte GV-N580SO-15I Gigabyte Geforce GTX580 SuperOverclocked (855Mhz), 1536MB GDDR5 (4100hz), PCI-E 2.0, 2x Dual Link DVI, Mini HDMI (not sure if this is good or better to get standard card)

Monitor: mainly just want good gaming monitor 24inch , the one I’ve selected is probably a little more money than I’d like to spend however it is an IPS monitor and since I’ve only ever had bad monitors I’d like a good one for around $500.00 or under

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

• Dell Ultrasharp U2410 24inch IPS display

Operating system: obviously windows 7 64bit
Question: Is there any benefit of getting the professional edition over the home edition? and does anyone know why some versions are more expensive as shown below?

• Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium with Service Pack 1, 64bit DVD OEM $115.00
• Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium DVD Retail Pack $259.00
• Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64bit with Service Pack 1 DVD OEM $159.00

CDROM: no idea just picked the cheapest, don’t really care about bluray as I don’t watch movies on my PC however this may change so any suggestions would be good.

• LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner x2

Keyboard: happy with this one any information from people that own one would be good

• Razer Blackwidow Ultimate Elite Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Mouse: happy with this one any information from people that own one would be good

• Thermaltake eSports Black ELEMENT Gaming Mouse



THanks everyone, while I'm a first time member I have used the site a lot over the last 2 months and have found good advice.
May 17, 2011 5:34:17 AM

Hello, Hello :-) from upover (Phoenix AZ)

1. CPU is great - I love the 2600K

2. Mobo is also maybe the best out there right now. More will be coming by October though - keep an eye on the reviews

3.CPU cooler - I have done a ton of research on this and the Noctua DH-14 maybe is the best available. It is quiet, it is high enough to clear most RAM setups and it is second to none in air cooling. It is also huge and you have to make sure it will fit in your case. However, I did a search and it did not come up on your website. Move to plan B - do you have an Amazon website in Australia?

This is a great website for CPU cooler reviews: http://www.frostytech.com/

Here is the amazon link for the Noctua DH-14: http://www.amazon.com/Noctua-Heatpipe-Bearing-Cooler-NH...

Here is the newegg link to the Noctua DH-14: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Note that DH-14 has a 90% 5 egg rating on newegg - that is something you rarely see - read some reviews about it

4. RAM Almost any good name brand RAM will do with the Sandy Bridge CPU - I think your 2 x 4GB DDR3 1600 CL9 or CL8 would be your best price vs performance sweet spot. I like the Corsair RAM it is a good choice

5. HDD: again you made a great choice the Samsung 1 TB drives are fast and cheap. A lot of pro reviewers in computer websites recommend your choice. Keep in mind that Seagate is coming out with something like 1 GB platters that will supposedly increase the speed and lower the cost of HDDs

6. Case: if you want the best air cooling case the Silverstone Fortress is the best by far. Here is newegg link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

However, this is over your budget but I thought I might point it out.

The Coolermaster HAF 942 is around $200 US and it is a great case but it is huge. it has great air cooling. I own the HAF 942.

From your website I like the Antec 900: http://www.scorptec.com.au/computer/39483-nine-hundred-...

The Scorpion Technology website has a limited selection - if you have another it may help you. It also appears to be fairly expensive from American standards - but that may be an Australia thing.

7. PSU: I have the Corsair 850 HX and would recommend it - it has a seven year warranty. Of the PSUs that you list I think you would have to go with the Cooler Master 800 Gold or move up to an Antec 850 for two 580s in SLI. PSUs have maximum efficiency at about 50% capacity and so it would be to your advantage to pay the extra $50 - $75 to be in the 800 W / 850W / 1000W range although 1000W is overkill. Antec and Corsair are both highly rated and the CM PSU you list is gold rated so it appears to be good. Different professional reviews show that the Corsair 850 HX will put out over 1000 W and remain stable and efficient. You can google it to check out the reviews

Video Card: I can't argue with your logic and the 580 is a great card. Depending on how serious you are into gaming the 570 is also a great card and the ATI 6950 and they are cheaper (for your budget).

Monitor: This is a little tricky because you want to game. If you are a deadly serious gamer you ought to go with the Asus fast response TN screens because they are the "quickest" LCD monitors. However, they are not that great for movies and color accuracy. Asus has some new 120 htz monitors out there and they may be good but I haven't read their reviews yet.

I really like the Dell U2410 you chose it is a great monitor. Just keep in mind that Dell is getting ready to update it soon with a new model. It has also had problems with a "pinkish tint" that cannot be adjusted out (Check out Cnet.com reviews). I have the HP 2475 which is very similar to the U2410 and it is a beautiful monitor. You may want to consider the HP 2475 (read some reviews). Both the U2410 and 2475 have 1920 x 1200 resolution which is better than what you have specified.

The Hp ZR24W is a very good monitor and it is cheap. It is an IPS monitor and it will not be as fast as a TN monitor, but most reviewers say it is fast enough for gaming. It may give you the best bang for your buck if it is available in Australia. With your budget, I would recommend this monitor or an Asus TN monitor - there are several Asus models: one that Cnet recommends is here: http://reviews.cnet.com/lcd-monitors/asus-vh236h/4505-3...

http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/ is a great website for monitor reviews

The hp 2475 is here: http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF05a/382087-38...

TFT Central's review of the HP Z24W is here: http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/hp_zr24w.htm

Keep in mind that you have to calibrate the HP ZR24W to get a quality picture (read the review) but this is true of almost every monitor

8. A lot of people recommend the Asus optical drives (cd/DVD) but they all appear to be just about equal

I am not a serious gamer and so others are more qualified to comment on the keyboard and mouse that is the best. There is a delay on wireless keyboards and so you may want to avoid wireless



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May 17, 2011 5:50:48 AM

Ohh, ooh :-): I forgot to say that both the CM HAF 922 and the DF 35 are well rated cases for cooling - both are good choices. I looked very hard at the DF cases before choosing Cooler Master. Both cool well but the reviewers said that the Cooler Master cases were more quiet than the DF cases (the fan noise on the DF cases was loud). I don't own a DF case and so this is going by what professional reviewers say.

If you can afford it, the Silverstone Fortress is the way to go. It is a first rate case and has everything but USB 3.0 (hopefully this will change soon). It's stock cooling is amazing in the reviews and you don't have to add any fans. It is also a quiet case considering the air flow it produces. Again I don't own it but I almost bought it so I read a ton of reviews. Here is Bit tech's review: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cases/2010/08/12/silve...

One other thing, if you want USB 3.0 front ports (which are convenient to have) then it will eliminate some of your choices because some case manufacturers are not offering USB 3.0 yet. Note that your mobo will be USB 3.0 compliant
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May 17, 2011 8:08:55 AM

flong said:
Ohh, ooh :-): I forgot to say that both the CM HAF 922 and the DF 35 are well rated cases for cooling - both are good choices. I looked very hard at the DF cases before choosing Cooler Master. Both cool well but the reviewers said that the Cooler Master cases were more quiet than the DF cases (the fan noise on the DF cases was loud). I don't own a DF case and so this is going by what professional reviewers say.

If you can afford it, the Silverstone Fortress is the way to go. It is a first rate case and has everything but USB 3.0 (hopefully this will change soon). It's stock cooling is amazing in the reviews and you don't have to add any fans. It is also a quiet case considering the air flow it produces. Again I don't own it but I almost bought it so I read a ton of reviews. Here is Bit tech's review: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cases/2010/08/12/silve...

One other thing, if you want USB 3.0 front ports (which are convenient to have) then it will eliminate some of your choices because some case manufacturers are not offering USB 3.0 yet. Note that your mobo will be USB 3.0 compliant


Thanks flong

1. sweet

2. Thanks for that I’ll keep my eye out as it gets closer to my build date

3. I found it on scorptec it’s a bit more expensive, but I had heard good reviews. Still deciding whether to get one, if I have a cool case then I might be able to bypass. I think I might leave it, overclock and see what the temps are and buy later….will have to think about it more.

4. Thanks for the RAM advice, is there much difference between 3 channel and 2 channel RAM? I’m not even sure what it means lol

5. I keep an eye out for the new segates. I also found a WD caviar black 2TB that seemed to get great reviews but it’s a little more expensive that 2 samsungs.

6. The Silverstone is awesome, nasty of you to show it lol yeah not available from my site thank god  I’ll keep the USB 3 in mind though. I liked the case you recommended I think I do a bit more research and wait and see which cases add USB 3.0

7. thanks for the advice, I may never add another card but I want it to be future proofed so I think I’ll go with the Corsair 850 HX you suggested

8. I guess the only reason I was looking at IPS monitors as I read somewhere that its gives you better view at different angles and good quality. I do a little photo editing so thought this might be a good choice, but since gaming is the main thing I’ll have a look at the couple you suggest …..I gather 2ms response time is what to look for? I have the spyder 3 monitor calibration unit so I’d be calibrating anything I get.

Thanks for all the advice mate, hopefully someone else can give me their views on the keyboard/mice
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May 17, 2011 8:32:09 AM

The IPS monitors do give you better viewing angles and a better picture - quite a bit better. I am not a heavy gamer but it seems like the gamers on this site are recommending the Asus monitors quite a bit. TFT central is a great monitor review site to get a feel how different monitors perform.

I am not a RAM expert but I don't think that the Sandy Bridge platform is compatible with 3 channel RAM (someone help me out). Also I have heard it doesn't add much performance gain - that may change in the future.

The CM 942 HAF X has usb 3.0 and it is cheaper than the Fortress. I bought the HAF X

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May 17, 2011 9:58:14 AM

^ Dual channel RAM (2) for Sandy Bridge
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May 17, 2011 10:29:13 AM

Hey Bro. Looks like you're gtg. Might want to check this website:

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php

You might save a few dollars over Scorptec. In regards to your original question with the video card, I have the same card in my build and if I were to purchase again, I don't think I'd bother with the SuperOverclocked edition...

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May 18, 2011 1:00:34 PM

Thanks guys.

What you opinion on not having a cooler but a good case, I only plan to overclock the CPU to 4.5. Is this feasible can I just monitor the temp and decide if I need one later?

Jbl91 - are you saying I can only use 2 channel ram or are you just recommending it?

Formata - thanks for the site reference I'll look into it and thanks for the video card advice it will save me a few more dollars towards a good monitor. What monitor are you running?

Hakkonslash - thanks for the advice will check it out.

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May 18, 2011 2:07:22 PM

Referring to your question with dual channel ram. The new sandy bridge 1155 boards are dual channel compared to the old 1156 which were triple channel.

In this case go with dual channel, the 2 x 4gb will be very good for your build.

- If you are planning on doing any overclocking, the stock HSF won't cut it. Especially on the new sandy bridge CPU's the stock ones aren't too good. Do yourself a favor and invest the $50 or whatever it is, in your large build... if not you will regret it.
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May 18, 2011 11:59:09 PM

Thanks for the advice JordoR, I'll be going with Dual channel then.

I will probably get the Noctua DH-14 but I understand its pretty big any idea if it will fit in either of these cases:

CoolerMaster CM 690 II Advanced Black ATX Case, No PSU, 4x 5.25", 6x 3.5" Bays, I/O Panel with USB, eSATA, HD Audio, With Window Panel

or

CM storm enforcer

thanks again everyone
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May 19, 2011 4:03:36 AM

shadow1942 said:
Thanks for the advice JordoR, I'll be going with Dual channel then.

I will probably get the Noctua DH-14 but I understand its pretty big any idea if it will fit in either of these cases:

CoolerMaster CM 690 II Advanced Black ATX Case, No PSU, 4x 5.25", 6x 3.5" Bays, I/O Panel with USB, eSATA, HD Audio, With Window Panel

or

CM storm enforcer

thanks again everyone


Noctua gives exact measurement dimensions of the NH-d14 on their website.
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May 24, 2011 9:07:05 AM

Thanks to everyone for all the great advice, here is the updated build. Comments are in brackets anything bolded with brackets requires more help if you don't mind.

CPU: i7-2600k (sold)

MB: ASUS - P8Z68-V PRO (waiting to see what else comes out but seems the best for price at the moment)

VC:Gainward Geforce GTX580 (772MHz ) , 1536MB GDDR5 (4008MHz) , PCIE2.0, Dual DVI, HDMI
(went this one just cause its cheaper and couldn't see much difference between the gigabyte one, as suggested moved away from overclocked version to keep the price down)

RAM:Corsair 8GB Kit (2x4GB), PC-12800 (1600MHz) DDR3, XMS3, 9-9-9-27, Dual Channel Kit
(voltage is 1.65v is it better to get a 1.5v?)

HDD:Western Digital caviar Black - WD2002FAEX 2tb
(sold good reviews main storage)

HDD2:OCZ 60GB SSD, 2.5", Agility 3, SATAIII, Read 525MB/s, Write 475MB/s
(seems it got good reviews and I will only be using it for OS nothing else so if someone has similar suggestions but cheaper please advise)

PSU:Corsair AX-850 850W ATX Power Supply, 80 PLUS Gold Certified, 100% Modular Cabling, 4x 6+2 PCI-E, 12x SATA, 8x Molex
(sold)

Case:Cooler Master - RC-692-KWN2
(still not sure on this but think it will suit my needs, if I have a bit more cash I may go for the haf 932)

soundcard:Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer - 7.1Ch, 24-Bit Crystallizer/SoundFont, EAX5.0, 3D MIDI, CMSS 3D
(no idea but had good reviews and is cheap)

monitor:Samsung 24" Widescreen LED Monitor, 1920x1080, 2ms, Mega DCR, VGA, HDMI x2, Tilt Stand
(still no idea as they're quite expensive but thanks for the adivce guys will just keep pluggin away would really like a 120hz monitor, hopefully there will be a price drop as more enter the market)

cooler:Noctua NH-U12P-SE2 All-In-One CPU Cooler
(i only picked this as its a bit smaller than the nochtua 14 and cheaper)

OS: Microsoft - window 7 GFC-02153 home edition sp1
(still no idea why one home edition is more than the other see link below)

http://www.scorptec.com.au/computer/40545-gfc-02153
$115.00
http://www.scorptec.com.au/computer/35559-gfc-00026
$175.00

keyboard:Razer - BW-ULTIMATE

total $3000.00
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May 24, 2011 4:55:57 PM

For your case, take a look at the new Corsair 650D. A review is here: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1596/1/

I just thought you might take a look at this before you buy.

Newegg has the 120GB OCZ Agility Sata III card here for $205 after rebate: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Not sure if this is available where you are at but it is cheap.

I'm not a RAM expert, but most of the recommendations I have read like the 1.5V RAM because it runs cooler and has more over clocking headroom

I owned a 24 " Samsung monitor and I took it back because the print on it was blurred. I was not satisfied with it at all. If possible I would look at one in a showroom somewhere before you buy it. The HP Z24W is a very good monitor for the money or the Dell U2410 Ultra Sharp

Good luck with your build

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May 27, 2011 10:13:35 AM

thans again flong, that case got a great review and definetly is tempting might have to get it.

Thanks for the advice of the ram, you echo'd my thoughts but I wanted a second opinion.

Yeah might have to suck it up and poney out the cash for a dell monitor, will wait and see if more 120hz screens come out over the next month.
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May 27, 2011 10:34:30 AM

Hey I just found a pretty good 27" TN monitor from HP: the HP 2711. Keep in mind this is a TN monitor and so it will not have as good a picture as the U2410 or the Z24W. However it still has a good picture and it is $399 retail. I saw it on sale for $309 today somewhere and it peaked my curiosity. That is dirt cheap for a 27" monitor.

The 120 hz monitors should produce a better picture (for movement) but so far they haven't which is a mystery to me. I think they are still in their infancy and that they will become the industry leaders in time. Monitor technology seems to move very slowly. I thought LED monitors would rule by now but IPS screens are still top dog (unless you go to hyper expensive models).

I just found the review of the Dell U2410 at Hardware Canucks, they call it one of the best ever.

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...

Good luck with your build :-) let us know how it goes
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May 31, 2011 10:05:45 AM

well it seems there are some issues with dells U2410 see link below. There were a few post talking lag when gaming it seems that 6ms response time isn't cutting it, there are pinkish/green tinting and quality control is bad. Hoping I can find some more recent reviews to find out if dells fixed the issues most of this info is from end of 2010.

http://reviews.cnet.com/lcd-monitors/dell-ultrasharp-u2...;contentBody

http://reviews.cnet.com/lcd-monitors/dell-ultrasharp-u2...
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May 31, 2011 7:01:58 PM

shadow1942 said:
well it seems there are some issues with dells U2410 see link below. There were a few post talking lag when gaming it seems that 6ms response time isn't cutting it, there are pinkish/green tinting and quality control is bad. Hoping I can find some more recent reviews to find out if dells fixed the issues most of this info is from end of 2010.

http://reviews.cnet.com/lcd-monitors/dell-ultrasharp-u2...;contentBody

http://reviews.cnet.com/lcd-monitors/dell-ultrasharp-u2...


You are right. There were some issues when the unit first came out. I don't know of any official statment from Dell that they corrected it, but here is a two-day old review at Hardware Canucks of the unit and they make no mention of any tinting problems. In fact they say the color accuracy is superb:

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...

It looks like Dell has corrected it because they do not mention any of the earlier problems. If you notice a problem with the monitor once you get it I think you can return it within 30 days.

As an alternate you could also consider the HP 2475 or the HP ZR24w. Both have been reviewed well. I like the U2410 though in light of the HC review. Also if you wait for a sale, you can get the unit for $450 or so.
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June 1, 2011 1:41:59 AM

thanks for that flong, I'm leaning more to a 120hz monitor now though. I do some photo editing which is what the dell would be best for but I guess the main thing I'll be doing is constantly playing BF3 and for that it seems 120hz monitor running in 2d are the best. Aaarrrghhh the decisions, I still have some time to wait for BF3 specs to be out before making my decision. So there may be a few more choices out there when I buy. I love the dell and at the sale price it would be a steal, hoping to see if I can find one on display so I can have a look against a 120hz screen, I know it will have better colours etc...but I wanted to test if I can see any ghosting on it.
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June 1, 2011 1:54:44 AM

Just thought I'd chime in that I got the CM 690 II advanced a fwe weeks ago, and I can't say anything bad about it. I liked it over the HAF mostly because I wanted a computer that looked more at home in an adult's home, than at a LAN party.

For what it's worth the CM 690 II is easy to build in lots of extra space, and looks good. Also look on Youtube for case reviews by "hardware canucks" http://www.youtube.com/user/HardwareCanucks I don't know anything about them but watching their case videos is like hardware porn, and I tink they have the 690 and the HAF on there.
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June 1, 2011 3:30:08 AM

thanks for that desertlax, so far I'll be going with the CM 690 II as its cheap and has good reviews. If I manage to save some cash by getting a cheaper monitor I may get something like the cosair 650d or even the CM RC-1100-KKN1 Cosmos S but at $300... compared to 130.00 it'd be a big stretch. The coasir it better priced at around 230.00 but still $100.000 more. Plus from what I can see its more about bragging rights than a massive difference in performance. will keep you posted
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June 1, 2011 8:37:34 AM

shadow1942 said:
thanks for that flong, I'm leaning more to a 120hz monitor now though. I do some photo editing which is what the dell would be best for but I guess the main thing I'll be doing is constantly playing BF3 and for that it seems 120hz monitor running in 2d are the best. Aaarrrghhh the decisions, I still have some time to wait for BF3 specs to be out before making my decision. So there may be a few more choices out there when I buy. I love the dell and at the sale price it would be a steal, hoping to see if I can find one on display so I can have a look against a 120hz screen, I know it will have better colours etc...but I wanted to test if I can see any ghosting on it.


Make sure that you research any 120 htz monitor that you are considering. I have not read one good review of them. Granted I haven't read everything out there but there appears to be some early problems with them.

In theory, like TVs they should be superior in handling fast motion, but somehow things don't seem to be coming together in the computer monitor world. This really shouldn't be a surprise, the first generation faster TVs had many problems also.

Right now it seems that gamers are flocking to the cheaper TN panel Asus monitors which are good, but they don't have the picture quality of the IPS panels.
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June 1, 2011 12:41:33 PM

shadow1942 said:
thanks for that desertlax, so far I'll be going with the CM 690 II as its cheap and has good reviews. If I manage to save some cash by getting a cheaper monitor I may get something like the cosair 650d or even the CM RC-1100-KKN1 Cosmos S but at $300... compared to 130.00 it'd be a big stretch. The coasir it better priced at around 230.00 but still $100.000 more. Plus from what I can see its more about bragging rights than a massive difference in performance. will keep you posted


The Corsair 650D is around $180 - $190 on newegg. It is a high-end case and it will be of higher build quality and have more features than cheaper cases. However, many of the cheaper cases offer a lot of the most important functions for a case also. just not all the bells and whistles that the 650D has.

For example the CM 690 II comes with only two 140mm case fans in the basic version (the advanced has three fans). The 650D has 2 - 200mm fans (big fans move more air more quietly) and one 120 mm. While you can add more fans for even better cooling, you probably won't need to unless you are overclocking super high (above 5 ghz).

The 690 has only USB 2.0 and it does not have a SATA III hot-swap bay. The 650D has less plastic and it is larger. It is also completely toolless - which makes it much easier to build in. It has great cable management and it has a motherboard cutout for aftermarket CPU coolers. It is just higher quality overall.

That being said, the 690 is a very good case and has a lot of neat features. If you add a couple of fans it becomes a superior cooling case that is well thought out. Fans cost about $10.00 each.

The real cost comparison if you add the extra fan cost for the 690 is $100 compared to $190 for the 650D. Both are great cases. You will have to choose which one best meets your needs.
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June 2, 2011 3:04:41 PM

The CM690 II is a good choice. Having built in a variety of different cases over the last 12 months inc Antec 902, HAF932, Fractal R3, after building in the CM 690 II once I chose it for my case. The others are great and cool but hey for the money, the CM 690 II is a flawless, smartly designed case that is a joy to build in.

My screen is a Samsung BX2450. Mixed feelings about it... The main problem being, like many LED panels, it suffers to display definition in dark areas. For image sharpness/detail and vivid colours it is truly amazing. Games like StarCraft II are a joy to behold on it. Mass Effect 2, Dead Space and other darker, more atmospheric games are not bad... but a bit disappointing. Again for $250 perhaps I ask too much :)  You posted somewhere about saving a bit on a cheaper screen... if possible I wouldn't. Easy for me to say I know but hey... if you wanna see your 580 in full glory I would think about dedicating a decent proportion of your budget to a nice screen. Sitting in a room with a guy who has XF 6950's running on a 20" AOC... guess what he's saving up for right now!
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June 2, 2011 6:55:09 PM

Formata said:
The CM690 II is a good choice. Having built in a variety of different cases over the last 12 months inc Antec 902, HAF932, Fractal R3, after building in the CM 690 II once I chose it for my case. The others are great and cool but hey for the money, the CM 690 II is a flawless, smartly designed case that is a joy to build in.

My screen is a Samsung BX2450. Mixed feelings about it... The main problem being, like many LED panels, it suffers to display definition in dark areas. For image sharpness/detail and vivid colours it is truly amazing. Games like StarCraft II are a joy to behold on it. Mass Effect 2, Dead Space and other darker, more atmospheric games are not bad... but a bit disappointing. Again for $250 perhaps I ask too much :)  You posted somewhere about saving a bit on a cheaper screen... if possible I wouldn't. Easy for me to say I know but hey... if you wanna see your 580 in full glory I would think about dedicating a decent proportion of your budget to a nice screen. Sitting in a room with a guy who has XF 6950's running on a 20" AOC... guess what he's saving up for right now!


Wow you have built a lot of computers lately. I have some questions about the Cm690 II

1. Did you add extra fans? The basic case comes with only two fans

2. How quiet is the case when it functions

3. How well does the case cool? Are you able to overclock with the case

4. How good is the fit and quality of the case?

5. Were there are quality control problem? Any electrical problems?

Thanks for answering these questions. Whenever I find actual owners of a certain case I like to get first-hand information because the professional reviews only give you a limited understanding of the case.
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June 2, 2011 8:15:10 PM

If you want good cooling with silent operation add some Noctua fans in addition or in replacement of the stock fans. I have a 120mm Noctua blowing onto my GFX cards and I can't even hear it.
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June 3, 2011 4:11:37 AM

raptorjesus said:
If you want good cooling with silent operation add some Noctua fans in addition or in replacement of the stock fans. I have a 120mm Noctua blowing onto my GFX cards and I can't even hear it.


I have heard that they are good fans. What is the CFM rating?
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June 3, 2011 4:48:40 AM

My NF-P12 is rated at 54.3 CFM, and 19db. It's dead silent for me, something about their weird blade shapes and resonance frequencies being cancelled out by the different shapes.
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June 3, 2011 4:54:25 AM

Get 1.5V ram, SB prefers 1.5V ram; 1.65 is barely acceptable in SB systems according to a large variety of forums - Either 1.62v or 1.67v is the 'technical' limit...(can't remember).
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June 3, 2011 10:12:31 AM

Thanks formata, I've got around $500.00 towards a screen, I had hoped to reduce this and get a better case but I might just stick with the 690 II advanced. After flong's and your advice I'm still on the fence but hoping to see some monitors in the flesh to get a better perspective.

Thanks for the tip on the fans raptor if I have some cash left over I might grab some what do you suggest and how much do they cost? also whats you LG ips screen like for gaming? any ghosting?

thanks vibhas I had come to that conclusion, though it was a i little hard to find a straight answer. currently I'm going with G.Skill 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 Kit, PC-12800 (1600Mhz), Ripjaws X, 8-8-8-24-2N, Dual Channel Kit. As i understand it I can overclock this ram so its not worth going to a higher speed like 2000mhz? (its also 1.5v ram as you suggested).
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June 3, 2011 12:02:24 PM

@ Flong
1. Case comes with 3 fans (Front, Back, Top). At this stage I haven't added extra... all temps stable under idle and load.

2. Noise would probably be the one area where it might not perform so well but I'd check reviews for more accurate info... The front and top are covered in a metal type mesh (?) Open vents on side panels too. Not really a lot there to insulate against noise. Anyone talking up/down noise, from their build I would take with a pinch of salt. Really its one of the harder things to test outside a lab. If noise is a big concern with your build, perhaps look at the Fractal R3. The build we put in there has SLI 460s, i5-760 OCed to the max with a Scythe Mugen 2 Cooler Rev B and for all the fans spinning inside that thing.... it's really quiet.

3. As stated all nice and cool. Depending on the CPU cooler you're interested in might want to check for space, as the case isn't massive. Definitely be easy to add a couple of fans if you wanted.

4 & 5. This is where the CM690 II shines. Really solid case, easy to build in with thumb screws, slide trays, setup for SSD, and easy to remove panels. It's not over the top size-wise which makes it easier to run multiple parts off single power cables. No frills (Doesn't like a toy box) with nice features :) 

But the real reason to go this case. It's $40-$50AU cheaper than the HAF932 & 902v3. Spend that where it counts (Better GPU, RAM, Screen). I'm not by any stretch talking down, the 932 or 902 or R3 or 1200 or HAFX. They are great cases, but for me the CM690 II better suited my budget and does everything it's supposed to well.
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June 3, 2011 2:30:29 PM

Noctua 120mm fans are around $20 USD, and to be honest everything else will be loud enough to drown it out. My 570's at 85% fans are like hairdryers, and they are quieter than a 4xx series Fermi card. If I wanted ultra quiet running I would go watercooled with Noctuas on the radiator and I would literally barely be able to hear it. My solution for extra fan noise, turn up the speakers during gameplay.

As for my LG screen, it's been nothing but perfect. The color accuracy is exactly like real life, no weird tint like TN panels seem to have. The response isn't as fast as a TN panel, but I'm no competitive gamer and and extra few ms lag isn't noticeable to me.
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June 3, 2011 8:31:32 PM

Formata said:
@ Flong
1. Case comes with 3 fans (Front, Back, Top). At this stage I haven't added extra... all temps stable under idle and load.

2. Noise would probably be the one area where it might not perform so well but I'd check reviews for more accurate info... The front and top are covered in a metal type mesh (?) Open vents on side panels too. Not really a lot there to insulate against noise. Anyone talking up/down noise, from their build I would take with a pinch of salt. Really its one of the harder things to test outside a lab. If noise is a big concern with your build, perhaps look at the Fractal R3. The build we put in there has SLI 460s, i5-760 OCed to the max with a Scythe Mugen 2 Cooler Rev B and for all the fans spinning inside that thing.... it's really quiet.

3. As stated all nice and cool. Depending on the CPU cooler you're interested in might want to check for space, as the case isn't massive. Definitely be easy to add a couple of fans if you wanted.

4 & 5. This is where the CM690 II shines. Really solid case, easy to build in with thumb screws, slide trays, setup for SSD, and easy to remove panels. It's not over the top size-wise which makes it easier to run multiple parts off single power cables. No frills (Doesn't like a toy box) with nice features :) 

But the real reason to go this case. It's $40-$50AU cheaper than the HAF932 & 902v3. Spend that where it counts (Better GPU, RAM, Screen). I'm not by any stretch talking down, the 932 or 902 or R3 or 1200 or HAFX. They are great cases, but for me the CM690 II better suited my budget and does everything it's supposed to well.


Hi, thank you for your first-hand experience. I was not trying to trap you with the noise question, I was sincerely asking because you have the case and know what it does. Unfortunately, the professional reviews all rate noise in different ways and so it is difficult to understand from them if the case is going to be noisy or not.

All your comments are really helpful, I did not know the CM 690 was that good. I have the CM HAFX and I have not started my build yet. I hope my experience with the HAF X is as good as yours. The fit and finish are very good and I am sure the cooling will be also.
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June 3, 2011 10:00:15 PM

shadow1942 said:
Thanks formata, I've got around $500.00 towards a screen, I had hoped to reduce this and get a better case but I might just stick with the 690 II advanced. After flong's and your advice I'm still on the fence but hoping to see some monitors in the flesh to get a better perspective.

Thanks for the tip on the fans raptor if I have some cash left over I might grab some what do you suggest and how much do they cost? also whats you LG ips screen like for gaming? any ghosting?

thanks vibhas I had come to that conclusion, though it was a i little hard to find a straight answer. currently I'm going with G.Skill 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 Kit, PC-12800 (1600Mhz), Ripjaws X, 8-8-8-24-2N, Dual Channel Kit. As i understand it I can overclock this ram so its not worth going to a higher speed like 2000mhz? (its also 1.5v ram as you suggested).


Just a couple of quick suggestions: if you shop newegg for a sale, you can get the 1866 CL9 RAM for $80 - usually Gskill or Corsair. This will save you the time of OCing the RAM.

Concerning the ghosting of the IPS panels, several professional reviews have said the U2410 is good enough for gaming. The only thing one reviewer brought up was that with "quick jerk" games that the TN panels would be faster. A lot of gamers go with TN panels because of their speed and they are much cheaper.

Here is very good older review at TFT Central:

http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/dell_u2410.htm

Here is a brand new review at Hardware Canucks:

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...

For the money, either the u2410 or the HP 2475 or HPZR24W are probably the best HIPS monitors out there. Hardware Canucks rated the U2410 very highly. Keep in mind that Dell is updating the U2410 with a new model that will have less color gamut similar to HPs ZR24W (the 2475 has a larger color gamut). It will cost less but it won't have as many colors available as the current U2410. But the update may be worth a look.
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June 4, 2011 6:47:50 AM

@ Flong: The HAFX will not disappoint. If you can cope with the huge size of it, performance-wise it's tough to beat. So... what are are you thinking of putting in that beast?
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June 4, 2011 8:57:28 AM

Formata said:
@ Flong: The HAFX will not disappoint. If you can cope with the huge size of it, performance-wise it's tough to beat. So... what are are you thinking of putting in that beast?


I got it on sale and I guess I didn't fully realize just how big it is ha, ha. At the time it was one of the few cases that offered USB 3.0. Right now if I had it to do over again I would get the Corsair 650D which really is exactly what I want in a case. I am tempted to try and sale my HAF but I am sure how much a never used HAF X is worth on the black market ha, ha. It probably would cost a fortune to ship it after I sold it on Amazon and I might just break even :-). Just joking.

I probably will go ahead and use it - it is one of the highest rated cases. I would like to see how well it cools and how quiet it is. It is supposed to be a very quiet case. It is a beautiful case (yeah I know some people don't like the CM looks but I like the look of the HAFX). The only drawback of the case is its size, but then I did know it is a full tower. You can't knock the HAF for being big - just me for being slow to understand how big ha, ha.

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June 6, 2011 6:39:30 AM

hi flong thanks for the advice on the ram but I was going for 1600 due to cost as I'm already pushing my budget as I'm currently trying to get it all at the one store. This may change if I decide to build it myself.

I went and had a look at the dell monitor and a couple of others but since my wife wanted to do a family outing I had about 10mins to look them over which was useless. I did try out dells menu buttons and had no issues, I also got to have a look at the ASUS 120hz model however it wasn't running so I'll try again this weekend without the family :) . I'll keep you guys updated, I found the specs for my current monitor a philips 190s it has a 8ms response time and since I can't remember seeing any ghosting the dell might be alright, it will really depend on if I see a big difference in movement smoothness on the 120hz monitors.
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June 6, 2011 7:45:43 AM

shadow1942 said:
hi flong thanks for the advice on the ram but I was going for 1600 due to cost as I'm already pushing my budget as I'm currently trying to get it all at the one store. This may change if I decide to build it myself.

I went and had a look at the dell monitor and a couple of others but since my wife wanted to do a family outing I had about 10mins to look them over which was useless. I did try out dells menu buttons and had no issues, I also got to have a look at the ASUS 120hz model however it wasn't running so I'll try again this weekend without the family :) . I'll keep you guys updated, I found the specs for my current monitor a philips 190s it has a 8ms response time and since I can't remember seeing any ghosting the dell might be alright, it will really depend on if I see a big difference in movement smoothness on the 120hz monitors.


Most reviewers say that the U2410 is fast enough for most gaming needs. If you play "fast twitch" games then you may need to go to a TN monitor. I have heard a lot of bad things about the 120 Hz monitors and so be sure to do some research on the specific monitor you are considering before you buy. Also make sure that your motherboard and GPU can work with a 120 hz monitor. I have hear that some GPUs will only work with 60 Hz monitors. If you connect them to a 120 Hz monitor it will force it to go to 60 Hz. But I am not an expert with these types of monitor (the 120 Hz) and I have not seen a lot of reviews of 120 Hz monitors.

When you go to look at the monitors, see if they have a quick reaction type of game to play on both monitors to see if there is any difference. A lot of gamers recommend the Asus TN panels but remember they won't have as good a picture has the IPS panels for movies and photos and such.

Remember the in-store panels that you are looking at will probably not be calibrated and so you may see some color problems with both monitors. The IPS U22410 has great color when it is correctly calibrated. The TN panels tend to have color problems even when calibrated, but read specific reviews about the panel you are looking at. Some TN panels are pretty good all around monitors.

Hey Father's Day is coming up ha, ha
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June 6, 2011 7:47:07 AM

The 1600 RAM should be fine. If you look at Newegg, you can find 1866 CL9 RAM on sale for $80. I bought 1600 for my build.
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June 7, 2011 4:11:48 AM

well after getting up at 5am this morning to watch the E3 EA press conference I'm buggered lol. They didn't release BF3 specs unfortunetly so I'll wait a bit longer so far there have been a few price drops on my build so I'm on budget. Still deciding on the screen but thanks for all the advice. It does seem that the 120hz monitors are getting mixed reviews (like dells u2410 at first) so they may improve over the next few months. I'd really prefer to get the dell as it looks great from the quick look I had, I also have a syder 3 screen calibrater so I'll be able to get a good picture, if I can test a dell with a game and see if I can notice any ghosting this will help my decision. No real noticeable = buy dell, obvious ghosting buy TN panel
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June 7, 2011 7:03:47 AM

shadow1942 said:
well after getting up at 5am this morning to watch the E3 EA press conference I'm buggered lol. They didn't release BF3 specs unfortunetly so I'll wait a bit longer so far there have been a few price drops on my build so I'm on budget. Still deciding on the screen but thanks for all the advice. It does seem that the 120hz monitors are getting mixed reviews (like dells u2410 at first) so they may improve over the next few months. I'd really prefer to get the dell as it looks great from the quick look I had, I also have a syder 3 screen calibrater so I'll be able to get a good picture, if I can test a dell with a game and see if I can notice any ghosting this will help my decision. No real noticeable = buy dell, obvious ghosting buy TN panel


With calibration, there won't be any comparison between the U2410 picture and any TN panel you can buy, so it is just a matter of speed and budget (the TN panels are much cheaper and in general faster). That being said the U2410 is not a slow monitor. I have the HP2475 which is virtually the same monitor. With a good GPU the picture is excellent and it handles fast action sports very well. The colors are amazing and accurate. I am not a gamer though, so test it with some games - that is the only way you can be sure.

One other point, the U2410 also has better resolution than the 1920 x 1080 monitors which is also something to consider. Good luck :-)
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Best solution

June 7, 2011 7:54:46 AM

This will really make you crazy ha, ha

http://www.logicbuy.com/deals/dell-ultrasharp-u3011-30-...
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June 7, 2011 11:23:26 AM

lol no it won't as I can't fit it on my desk ...already checked 24inch is the best size for me. I looked at some more reviews on the 120hz monitors but the problem is they're only testing then against other 120hz monitors, I'd like to see a test against a fast TN panel to get an idea how much of a difference it is. Though I'm leaning more to the dell again as I recently found a good review from a user who plays games including FPS and states he had no problems review below. As I'm still waiting on BF3 specs so I can wait a bit, though its damn tempting to just get the whole rig now...no wait ...no I want it...wait!

http://pencilgym.com/general/digging-in-dell-u2410-revi...
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June 7, 2011 5:30:13 PM

shadow1942 said:
lol no it won't as I can't fit it on my desk ...already checked 24inch is the best size for me. I looked at some more reviews on the 120hz monitors but the problem is they're only testing then against other 120hz monitors, I'd like to see a test against a fast TN panel to get an idea how much of a difference it is. Though I'm leaning more to the dell again as I recently found a good review from a user who plays games including FPS and states he had no problems review below. As I'm still waiting on BF3 specs so I can wait a bit, though its damn tempting to just get the whole rig now...no wait ...no I want it...wait!

http://pencilgym.com/general/digging-in-dell-u2410-revi...


Makes you want to get a bigger desk. I absolutely drool over the Ultra Sharp 27" and 30" monitors ha, ha - getting handkerchief to clean up wet desk
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June 8, 2011 3:12:33 AM

lol first I need a bigger house before I can get a bigger desk...living in a 2bdrm appt with wife and son sucks big time.
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June 18, 2011 1:54:24 AM

Best answer selected by shadow1942.
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