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First time builder: My final build (hopefully)

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May 22, 2011 3:26:18 PM

First time builder here. Aside from the overpowering worry that I am going to botch this whole thing up, could use some final expert advice on the build. I've already posted and received some great feedback that I have incorporated. The main questions I feel are remaining are:
1) Should I go with a 120GB SSD and have a boot drive? or a smaller (40GB) SSD and use it for caching. If boot drive is the option, should I only install my OS on it?

2) Any good guides on how to actually put this mess of expensive equipment together without frying every last piece of it?

Approximate Purchase Date: June 2011

Budget Range: $1,600-$1,800 (would always prefer the lesser)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, iTunes, General Use

Parts Not Required: OS (Windows 7), speakers (Klipsch Promedia 2.1)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg

Country of Origin: USA

Overclocking: yes, but NO idea how to do it.

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe, but not likely

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Here is my revised build.

CPU:
Intel Core i5 2500K ($224.99)

Heatsink:
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 ($39.99)

MB:
ASRock Z68 Extreme4 ($189.99)

RAM:
G.SKILL Ripjaw 8GB (2 x 4GB) ($94.99)

GPU:
SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6970 2GB ($364.99)

Case:
COOLER MASTER HAF 932 ($154.48)

PS:
Corsair Enthusiast Series CMPSU-650TX 650W ($89.99)

HDD:
Western Digital 1TB 7200 RPM ($84.99)

SSD:
OCZ Vertex 2 120GB ($209.99)

DVD-RW:
Asus DVD-RW ($21.99)

Media Reader:
Koutech all-in-one ($19.99)

Monitor:
Asus VE248H 24" 1920x1080 ($199.99)

Keyboard:
RAZER Blackwidow Mechanical ($79.99)

Mouse:
Logitech MX518 ($37.99)

TOTAL: $1,825.93

May 22, 2011 4:59:25 PM

My rationale for the single card option was more for longevity. I figure that while two 6950s will outperform single 6970, they will become obsolete more quickly. with the single 6970, I can always add another down the road (when the price will be down) and get a cheaper boost then the performance boost now (where both the Crossfire and the single card option will meet my gaming needs) and have to replace both cards down the road.

Now if my 650W PS won't take a crossfire down the road, that is something to consider now.
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May 23, 2011 2:47:16 AM

Can't you buy a reference model 6950 and flash it to a 6970 and save about $75.
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May 23, 2011 3:02:46 AM

at $40, the scmg-2100 (aka scythe mugen 2) cools better and is quieter than the hyper 212+. it is enormous, but thats why its able to be both cheap and high performing:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/lga-1156-heatsink,2...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

the hyper 212 can be had for cheaper on amazon if you wanna stick with it.

there are almost no 6950's still available for sale that can be successfully flashed. I would still favor the 6950
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May 23, 2011 3:09:36 AM

Cooler - Scythe Mugen 2 beats the 212 by 7C for same price. Don't forget TIM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MoBo - I wouldn't touch a MoBo with a 1 year warranty .... tells me manufacturer has no confidence in his product if won't offer industry standard 3 year warranty

GFX - At 1920 x 1080, I wouldn't get the 6950 or 6970.. Save $150 and get a 560 Ti (900 Mhz).

Guru3D uses the following games in their test suite, COD-MW, Bad Company 2, Dirt 2, Far Cry 2, Metro 2033, Dawn of Discovery, Crysis Warhead. Total fps (summing fps in each game @ 1920 x 1200) are lised below:

6950 gets 479 fps as a single card and 751 in CF
560 Ti - 900 Mhz gets 495 fps as a single card and 862 in SLI

$220 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case / PSU - I'd get the HAF-X over the 932 and the DF-85 over the HAF-X. But the TX650 is not certified for twin 6950's or 560's as t doesn't have enough PCI-E cables. The TX650 V2 is for the 6950 but not the 560 Ti. I'd get a XFX Core Edition 750 watter
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD - Vertex 2 is 285 MBps....Vertex 3 is 550 MBps .... use the $150 ya saved on the GFX to upgrade....though as soon as Corsair Force 3's hit the shelves, both will be about $220. And no, smaller isn't a way I'd go. Don't expect miracles though....For example, tested my last build and boot times on the Vertex 3 are 15.6 seconds as opposed to 21.2 from the HD.

Card Reader - Had issues with that one....I use these now:

$40 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$50 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...\

Your MoBo manual and Case Manual should be all you need, provided you read ALL the pages:) 
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May 23, 2011 6:33:17 PM

Thanks JackNaylorPE, great advice...from everyone, really!

Admittedly, I am bit naive when it comes to GPUs (part of the reason I've probably never tried to put a rig together myself until now). I initially had a 560Ti in the build until I got feedback that the 2GB mem of the 6950/6970 would be important for longevity vs. the 1MB 560Ti (a believe the poster used Total War Shogun as the example that eats up almost 1.9Mem already).
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May 23, 2011 6:39:42 PM

mjmjpfaff said:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... -how bout this case
go with a 750w psu and get 1 6950 1gb then save up a little bit more money and get another one. that will get you way better performance than the 6970 for just only 100$ more over time.


mjmjpfaff,

Can you give me your thoughts as to why you like that case? I had been looking at that one earlier, actually, but it looked to have fewer front ports and the coolermaster had more 220mm cooling fans (which I assume would be better than 140mm, but I admittedly am not sure).
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