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HELP WANTED: $1500 - $1800 New Gaming/Multimedia Build

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May 19, 2011 9:39:08 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Before the end of May 2011

Budget Range: Preferably under $1500 CAD after rebates. Might be willing to foot an extra $300 after all is said and done if it means significantly better performance.

System Usage from Most to Least Important:
1) Home entertainment (we plan on using an HDMI cable to plug this sucker into our 55” LCD TV to stream movies)
2) Gaming (I plan on using some wireless controllers and hooking it up to the TV to play)
3) General use/internet surfing/downloading/etc

Parts Not Required: Speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: NCIX Canada

Country of Origin: Canada

Parts Preferences: None

Overclocking: Maybe, but I’ve never overclocked before (currently on an AMD Phenom III rig and I haven’t bothered since I’ve used it less for gaming and more for schoolwork).

SLI or Crossfire: Crossfire, if you think it’s needed to run games, especially on a 55” LCD

Monitor Resolution: Doesn’t matter… I don’t think, anyways. Correct me if I’m wrong. : )

Additional Comments: A quiet PC would be nice, but mostly I just want this to run well for my family’s needs and to be somewhat ‘future-proof’ – ie, I don’t want to have to keep replacing things every couple years. If it’s going to be incredibly loud when we’re watching movies, that’s no good, but utter silence isn’t necessary.

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Here’s what I have so far. Note that the prices are all in CAD, after price match/mail in rebate.
(UPDATED)

CPU:
Intel Core i5 2500K Quad Core Unlocked Processor LGA1155 3.3GHZ Sandy Bridge 6MB
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=57962
$214

Motherboard:
ASRock P67 EXTREME4 B3 ATX LGA1155 DDR3 3PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 SATA3 USB3.0 CrossFireX SLI
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=59673
$172

Graphics Card:
Powercolor Radeon HD 6950 800MHZ 1GB 5GHZ GDDR5
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=59492&promoid=13...
$250

RAM:
G.SKILL F3-10666CL7D-8GBRH Ripjaws PC3-10666 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1333 CL7-7-7-21
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=55750
$90

Hard drive:
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA3 6GB/S 7200RPM 64MB Cache 3.5IN Dual Proc Hard Drive
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=50895
$80

Case:
Antec Nine Hundred
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=21123&vpn=NINE%20HUND...
$60

Fan:
Noctua NH-D14 Fan
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=47090
$90

OR

Coolermaster 212+
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=41337
$30
(I'm not sure about the noise of this one, or if I really need an extra fan if I'm not running in Crossfire...Is it recommended for overclocking?)

Power Supply:
OCZ ModXStream Pro 700W
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=35456&promoi...
$50 (after mail-in rebate)

Monitor:
ASUS ML238H 23IN Widescreen LED LCD Monitor 1920X1080 2MS 10000000:1DC VGA HDMI
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=55298
$165

Keyboard/Mouse: (Note - I needed a long-range wireless keyboard/mouse since the computer will be a large enough distance from the TV when we hook it up and so we need them to work more than a few feet from the tower)
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=44816
$46

= approx $1400 after HST and a Western Digital Elements Desktop 2TB external HDD and a 25ft HDMI cable.

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Some questions I was hoping to have answered:

1) Do I really need to run in crossfire to get kickass graphics for HD movies and games on our TV, or is there a less expensive alternative that would support current-gen and future-gen PC games?

2) Is 700w going to be adequate power?

3) Will the cooling fan be enough if we do ever decide to overclock this? Would overclocking on this setup be difficult for an OC noob like myself? I’ve never worked with liquid cooling before so I’d prefer to stick with air cooling, unless it won’t be enough.

4) Is the Noctua fan necessary or should I go with the cooler master? Are they very loud? Do I even need a fan? Will I need fans if I overclock
and in the future decide to run another 6950 in crossfire?

I’ve only ever put together one other computer – ie, the one I’m currently using – and I’m not exactly well-versed in computer parts save for what I’ve researched. Any suggestions either to improve the price or overall reliability/functionality of this build would be much-appreciated!


EDIT:
I just noticed that the Antec Nine Hundred Mid Tower case is on sale:
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=21123&vpn=NINE%20HUND...
I had been thinking about purchasing this case when I made my current computer but the price was out of my budget. Would this be worth it over the Coolermaster in terms of air flow/price/etc?
May 19, 2011 10:00:01 PM

The size of the monitor is not important , but the resolution is . Thats the total number of pixels the graphic card will have to calculate and draw. The bottom line is that the monitor and tv will both be 1080p and have the same frame rates .

The build is fine as it is , but as always there are alternatives .

You can game really well at 1080p with a single graphics card . Two is enthusiast territory . Id buy one to start with and then see if its doing what you need it to .

The RAM you have chosen is only moderate quality . Look RAM with LOWER timings
http://ncix.com/products/?sku=55750&vpn=F3-10666CL7D-8G...

750 watt psu will be fine for a crossfire set up and more than you need for a single card .

Its exceptionally easy to OC a 2500k . And since they OC well on the stock cooler there wont be any problem at all with the Noctua
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May 19, 2011 10:21:43 PM

ya start with one and get an intel 320 80gb ssd. also change your hdd to a samsung spinpoint f3 1tb
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May 19, 2011 11:53:03 PM

Good to know that I have some leg room with the PSU as-is and the graphics card situation. I'll definitely just start out with one.

However, I've been curious about Crossfire for a while now, though -- how much of an improvement in graphics quality would I see running two 6950s vs one? And to play all the latest / upcoming games on highest settings, will the 6950 be fine? I'm not opposed to spending ~$250 on a gpu. I spent a tonne on mine when it first came out and I don't regret it!

Will the Noctua be necessary if the stock cooler on the 2500k is already pretty good? Perhaps I could go with the Cooler Master Hyper 212 instead? It's much cheaper.
http://ncix.com/products/?sku=41337&vpn=RR-B10-212P-G1&...

@mjmpfaff:
What will the 80gb SSD help to improve? Just to load my OS and some games onto so they run faster?
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May 20, 2011 12:24:41 AM

Tough luck, you just missed out on an awesome deal

Also, I know you prefer ncix, but the storm sniper is about $30 cheaper on newegg.ca
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May 20, 2011 12:39:19 AM

@BeingIan
Oh goddamn! I missed out by just a day! That's really disappointing (and just my shitty luck, so I'm not surprised).

Thanks for pointing out the cheaper case on newegg; lucky for me, NCIX will pricematch.

However, I was looking instead at their Antec Nine Hundred case since it's on sale for $60.
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May 20, 2011 12:46:36 AM

I think a single 6950 is adequate, save for perhaps a 24 hour/day Metro 2033 @1080P system...
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May 20, 2011 1:00:50 AM

the 6950 is a very good card and it will run the newest games very well. an 80gb ssd with your os and most used applications willl give more time to the rest of your life because you will have shorter loading times. i am running my 2500k right now at 4.5ghz around stock temps with the hyyper 212 plus.
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May 20, 2011 1:17:31 AM

@mdd1963
Good to know! I've already brought my price down to $1400 ish (without taxes and shipping), which is certainly better than $1800!

@mjmjpfaff
Do you think I should stick with just the stock fans/coolers in my case and CPU, or buy the Hyper 212+? I wouldn't mind saving a bit of money if I don't need the extra cooling for now.
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May 20, 2011 1:21:56 AM

the only problem with the 212 plus is it is so damn loud. i think the thermaltake frio is quieter but im not sure. it is about 50$ USD. also stick with stock fans in your case
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May 20, 2011 1:23:26 AM

@mjmjpfaff
Sounds good. If I plan on overclocking later on, though, I should get a heat sink fan, right?
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!