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First build advice - i7, z68, 16GB ram, non-gaming

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May 25, 2011 5:18:11 AM

Hello,

Need advice on first build.

Budget = $1000 +- $300 or so.

Non-gaming.

Need good performance (data analysis/stats/GIS), and well future proofed cause who knows.

Overclock at some point but no rush.

Integrated graphics for now, but options down the road in case I want to hook up a 1080p TV or an additional monitor... perhaps get into video editing.

In the US, probably buy from newegg.

Have a new HAF 912 with stock fans.

No need for DVD/monitor/keyboard/mouse.



I'm thinking this:

i7 2600k

GIGABYTE GA-Z68A-D3H-B3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Ripjaws 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

I'll hold on SSDs for now, and just RAID5 3 or so WD Blacks
(500GB 7200 SATA 6.0Gb/s)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I haven't put much thought into the RAM or the PSU, but I do need at least 16GB ram and I think future proofing demands 750watt PSU.

Advice on CPU coolers, RAM kits, PSUs, is especially appreciated.

Also, any concerns about not adding more fans to the 2 stock in the HAF 912?

Advice on first builds in general?

I want to buy soon, like now. I don't mind going up to $1500 if it's really worth it given my needs/desires.

Thanks much!

May 25, 2011 5:44:58 AM

^ PSU - 750W ?? Frankly it a total overkill for your needs, even keeping Future-Proofing in mind,...
A very good 500W -600W PSU should do, can handle even very powerful cards like HD 6970 too without any issues and I doubt you would go with more than 1 graphic card,...
So assuming you want an 80+ Gold series, either of these...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD - I would suggest the Samsung F3 1TB instead, is faster than the WD Black 500GB and is about the same price...
http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Spinpoint-3-5-Inch-Intern...

RAM - That is good, but is a bit overpriced, get any of these
CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Or 2 of these
Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model CT2KIT51264BA1339
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler - If buying the Corsair RAM, then you have to be careful with the clearance between the heatspreaders and the CPU Cooler, but going with coolers like the Corsair H50, it wont be an issues,...
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Cooling-High-performance-...

CASE - The stock fans would suffice for the current parts,... But when adding a discrete graphics, add additional fans,...
May 25, 2011 5:51:16 AM

PSU is good choice, got same myself and love it.
Ram also good choice.

Would probably go for some better MB, like ASRock Z68 Extreme4.
Not sure if I would trust voltage regulators and poor cooling on that particular board.

As for CPU cooler, using watercooling myself so no exact idea about quality of latest air heatsings, but try to look at Prolimatech Megahalems, they were best for 1366.
Related resources
May 25, 2011 5:53:04 AM

If its for gaming you def. don't need a 750Watter.
Just a quick suggestion before i hop into the PSU;
For $200, you can get 16GB of 1866mhz Corsair Vengeance RAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (buy 2 sets of this). Look at what you've currently got for ram, and decide whether its better value/performance/both that what im suggesting :)  because well, the $200 ram you've got is slower and the basic g.skill series (not the better X series),and although corsair make worse ram slightly than gskill, this isn't their budget line, and its faster than your pick. For the operations you are doing, timings and speeds become important i daresay?

Get a decent 650W psu if you want to future proof, unless your 'future' proofing involves 2xHD 6950's or higher (i.e. GTX 570s in SLI). Cause the 650watter will fit a single GTX 580 currently, perhaps even an HD6990 /GTX 590 if you wanna push it.
the 650 watter can take on 2x 6870's / 460's though. The 750w will barely take 2x GTX 570's 850 W is optimal for that. The AX750 w you have is a 9.1/10. Its the premium corsair series (or was) but while thats excellent, paying $60 more than for my option, on a lesser rated in terms of wattage and lesser rated in quality psu isnt good.

750W is fine but honestly, if you aren't gaming,400-650W is perfect; your system will use much less than 1/2 of that most of the time so its at an optimum 'load' for power efficiency.

Heres some to look at; justify it yourself from what i've told you, but say a 1000W will be quite inefficient if its just putting out 100W. The seasonic psu's are good, but seriously they cost bloody $120+ and have like 500-700 watts. Thats lovely quality, but they won't save you a terrible amount in the long run; we are talking about 5-6% more efficiency. If your pc needs 200watts, itll be '90% efficient' and only use 220~watts, my option will use what, 225?230? Its cheaper, and well considering your bulbs use 90w... (or mine do) then well thats not much of a difference to pay for getting a lot more.

If you want low wattage; this is great for $70. I'd say saving $50 (Or rather $60~ after tax) upfront is better than saving 1 cent a day.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 650W, no frills, good quality, 8/10 on jonnyguru (This guy reviews psu's, best on the web, trusted 100%).

If you want a bigger psu; http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... This is $10 more than the corsair TX750v2 , but its higher quality than the tx750 according to jonnyguru (The HCG Antec 900W got 9.5/10 really good). and its $10 more, for 150 more watts. Thats really good value, and if you need to upgrade to say 2x GTX 580s or 570's, this will put it away with all the components you got, plus overclocking. This psu is such great value at the moment, that id almost recommend it to any $1000 plus build.. just cause you can use it for the next 2-3 pcs you make, and itll still power 2 gtx 580s.

I wouldn't recommend the 900 watter antec, but with the good quality 750watters all $100+ and worse quality...... Say, the corsair HX750 w got 9.6/10 (0.1 more) on jonnyguru, but its way more expensive and less wattage So ill have to recommend the antec, unless you want 650W or less. Anything more than 650 and you gotta get the antec; its too good value.
May 25, 2011 5:58:23 AM

gkay09 said:
^ PSU - 750W ?? Frankly it a total overkill for your needs, even keeping Future-Proofing in mind,...
A very good 500W -600W PSU should do, can handle even very powerful cards like HD 6970 too without any issues and I doubt you would go with more than 1 graphic card,...


Why everyone thinks you need to use PSU to 100% load?

Its sweet spot is at 50% under load and about 20% on idle, if you use it to full potential it get hot and loud.
May 25, 2011 6:03:10 AM

xrodney said:
Why everyone thinks you need to use PSU to 100% load?

Its sweet spot is at 50% under load and about 20% on idle, if you use it to full potential it get hot and loud.

Yea but to be honest, none of these psus run hot or loud or anything, they are all good quality, and the 'sweet spot' is 50%. But the efficiencies for a 'gold' psu are typically something like
20% load = 87% eff
50% = 90%
100% =87%. Again, not much given or taken but still a small difference between loads. The 6970 or w/e will all uselike 500 watts or under under max furmark so... :/  Anything above 650W is future proofd a lot.
May 25, 2011 6:06:44 AM

^^ With no graphic card, how much power do you think that setup is going to consume ? I doubt even at full load, it would cross 400W, so most of the time would be much less... So IMO those above PSUs suit very well,...
May 25, 2011 6:11:12 AM

vibhas said:
Yea but to be honest, none of these psus run hot or loud or anything, they are all good quality, and the 'sweet spot' is 50%. But the efficiencies for a 'gold' psu are typically something like
20% load = 87% eff
50% = 90%
100% =87%. Again, not much given or taken but still a small difference between loads. The 6970 or w/e will all uselike 500 watts or under under max furmark so... :/  Anything above 650W is future proofd a lot.


Sure, but add few disks, maybe watercooling later, some overclock later and 500W psu wont cut it under full load or at boot.

Also over time PSU loose capacity and it happen even faster as you increase load and temperature in PSU.
May 25, 2011 6:15:32 AM

gkay09 said:
^^ With no graphic card, how much power do you think that setup is going to consume ? I doubt even at full load, it would cross 400W, so most of the time would be much less... So IMO those above PSUs suit very well,...

Most likely, but:

Integrated graphics for now, but options down the road in case I want to hook up a 1080p TV or an additional monitor... perhaps get into video editing.

Who knows maybe he decide to get some high end GPU to speed up stuff when doing data analysis.
May 26, 2011 2:15:30 AM

After more thought I've decided to adjust down and save money. And being my first build I want simple and this will totally blow away my current Core2Duo rig.


Here's what I'm thinking.

2 WD Blue=$80. I'll upgrade later (I know the samsung deal on Amazon was great but I want to stick with Newegg.)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Seasonic 560W for now. Seems to be agreement the 650W seasonic is overkill, even at $10 (560W will save me on power bills I guess)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


ASRock z68 Pro3 cause
1. the gigabyte board I was thinking doesn't have many reviews, at least one person in this thread thinks there may be heat issues
2. the ASUS z68 v pro is $100 more, seems to have some issues with some of reviews, and is probably overkill for me
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


And a nice combo on i5 2500k + ripjaws X series 16GB = $380.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
(I know there's a great deal on corsair vengeance but I like gskill and and the corsair are may complicate things with an after market cpu heatsink.)


Any advice, concerns, disagreements?

Being my first build I want to avoid complications if possible and don't want to spend days troubleshooting if I can avoid it.


Thanks for all the help!

Oh, and I want to run Ubuntu or Debian as my primary OS, I assume that's not an issue but I'm not 100% sure.
May 26, 2011 4:09:57 AM

^ PSUs with active PFCs will pull only the amount of power required by the PC and not the rated power all the time, so even that 650W is fine,...

HDD - Get this one - After code, cheaper
$10 off promo code MEMORIALWKND, ends 5/31
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And for the tasks that you do, the i7 might give better performance if the apps are multi-threaded,...
May 26, 2011 5:56:17 AM

I have a little different take on the the video card issue because you list watching HDTV (which my computer is set up to do). I have the Hauppauge 2250 TV card (it is a very good card). My first computer was an I-7 920 and it came with a very cheap video card. The picture was horrible. I purchased and ATI 5850 ($300 at the time) and voila - my HDTV picture was transformed into a simply amazing HD experience. I can't emphasize the difference enough.

From the reviews that I have read, the minimum card you want to go with for video quality is the ATI 5770, but I like the 6850 because it can be purchased on sale very cheaply if you watch for it.

Now there is a native GPU in the 2600K chip that you can use with the Z68 mother boards, but frankly it is equal to a very weak video card (like the ATI 5450) and I am not sure how well it would process HDTV. Someone can chime in if they have the 2600K and are running HDTV on the native Intel GPU. That is why you may want to consider the 5770 or 6850.

I like to spec my PSUs to run at 50% capacity. I think if you add a video card like the ATI 5770 or 6850, I would recommend the Corsair 850HX for several reasons.

1. You frequently can find it on sale very cheap - it was $119 on Newegg last week
2. It is one of the best reviewed 850 PSUs ever, maybe the best reviewed ever
3. It has a 7 year warranty and Corsair is an excellent company
4. If you run it at 30% - 75% capacity it is over 90% efficient which is gold standard performance (note it is silver certified)
5. It is modular, which makes your build easier and it comes with every cable you will need

Please note that I am not saying that you need 850W - you don't. But with the 850 HX and a video card (if you get one) your system will always be running at 30%-50% capacity and the 850 HX is over 90% efficient in those ranges and nearly silent. It will also run cooler than a 500 W PSU and use less energy. And remember, this highly rated PSU can be found for a very low cost if you catch one of the sales and so it is roughly equal to a gold rated 650 W PSU, and yet it will put out over 1000W and remain stable according to professional reviewers.

Even with video editing in mind, if you use the Z68 board you will be able to use the Intel sync function which out-performs any video card for video transcoding. I doubt that you will need 16 GB of RAM. The tests I have read show there is very little benefit with a 2600K processor to go beyond 2 x 4GB DDR D3 1866 RAM with either CL 8 or CL 9 clocking. You can but the 2 x 4GB 1866 RAM kits for $80 on newegg if you watch for the sales.

For your SSD I would recommend the OCZ Agility 3 120 GB. It is $205 after rebates right now on Newegg and it is nearly as fast as the Vertex 3 120 GB which sales for over $100 more.

A lot of people recommend the Samsung F3 1 TB spinpoint HDD - approx $55

Add in a case and CPU cooler and you will still be within your budget.
May 26, 2011 6:06:54 AM

@flong: If you read initial post he stated to use this system for data analysis and those kind of applications are memory hungry so that's probably good reason for getting 16GB.

@gkay09: Agree with you about getting i7, applications will most likely benefit from 8threads instead of just 4 cores on i5. And also 2MB more cache on CPU can be put in good use.
May 26, 2011 6:24:36 AM

xrodney said:
@flong: If you read initial post he stated to use this system for data analysis and those kind of applications are memory hungry so that's probably good reason for getting 16GB.

@gkay09: Agree with you about getting i7, applications will most likely benefit from 8threads instead of just 4 cores on i5. And also 2MB more cache on CPU can be put in good use.


Hi Xrodney,

I was a big 16 GB fan until I read several reviews about the 2600K and various RAM configurations. Even with heavy calculations going, often there was little real benefit in going to 16 GB. You are right though that with some software applications there is a tangible benefit to cost ratio. It is just limited to some software.

If the computer use is really that intense, I agree with you that the OP should by a 16 GB RAM kit since that is how they are intended to be used (as complete kits so that the RAM will work together)
May 26, 2011 6:26:19 AM

I have had the I-7 920 and the I-7 950 and I would not recommend them over the 2600K.
May 26, 2011 6:41:25 AM

flong said:
Hi Xrodney,

I was a big 16 GB fan until I read several reviews about the 2600K and various RAM configurations. Even with heavy calculations going, often there was little real benefit in going to 16 GB. You are right though that with some software applications there is a tangible benefit to cost ratio. It is just limited to some software.

If the computer use is really that intense, I agree with you that the OP should by a 16 GB RAM kit since that is how they are intended to be used (as complete kits so that the RAM will work together)


Yes its all about software, you can load your CPU by using counting superPI with 1GB ram use or you can run analysis on huge datasets that can have hundreds of GB or smaller sets running in parallel that multiplicate data in memory for which TB of ram and 1k CPU's is not enough :D 
May 26, 2011 10:32:13 AM

@ the guy recommending the HX 850W; the HCG 900W got 0.1/10 worse than the HX850, and its $110 all the time on newegg (Last few weeks).
Its also 50 more watts. Both options (@110/120) are much better than spending $125 on that 560watt seasonic.. honestly, i hate seasonic branded products (Not the ones they make for corsair/antec etc); the quality is always 9-10/10, but the prices are absurd on products they brand with their own name.
May 26, 2011 11:00:00 AM

vibhas said:
@ the guy recommending the HX 850W; the HCG 900W got 0.1/10 worse than the HX850, and its $110 all the time on newegg (Last few weeks).
Its also 50 more watts. Both options (@110/120) are much better than spending $125 on that 560watt seasonic.. honestly, i hate seasonic branded products (Not the ones they make for corsair/antec etc); the quality is always 9-10/10, but the prices are absurd on products they brand with their own name.

For Corsair good ones are AX>HX>TX in that order. I am using AX-750 and love it (internally its seasonic).

HX-850 was one of most praised PSUs so you are good with it. Don't care too much at wats value. All quality PSUs using active PCF which means they use only power that is needed. Its sometime better to get higher watage but also higher quality PSU and you can go even to such high values thats 20% us4e at idle 50% at full load, this way its using least power due to still good performance at 20% and maximum at 50%.

HCG 900W test fail on HARDOCP which is one of best PSU benchmarking websites. Read review and decide yourself if HX 850 really isn't better option.
May 26, 2011 8:15:54 PM

Several professional reviews report that the 850 HX actually will put out over 1000W and remain stable and cool. One review I read said the unit put out 1138 W before it shut down and the other said it put out over 1200 W I think. This is off the top of my head and so don't hold me to those exact numbers. Both reviewers noted that the unit could maintain a 1000 W output even though it is rated for 850 W. I was very impressed when I read the reviews on the 850 HX. I would strongly recommend that anyone purchasing a PSU google it and read some reviews.

The good news about the 850 HX is that it often goes on sale and you can get it for a great price.

I also love the Corsair AX products and for gold rated PSUs they are very cheap in cost. They have been reviewed very well and they are fully modular. My next PSU will probably be the 1200 AX. However the 850 HX is 90% efficient from 30% - 75% capacity and so for most of its operating capacity it is essentially performing at gold levels. Note it is silver certified.
May 27, 2011 11:08:23 PM

I just built myself an i52500k system, maybe my choices will give you some ideas....
I needed a small board for my small case so I used an
MSI Z68ma-ED55 motherboard
8 GB Kingston HyperX 1600 memory
A Corsair 450 watt power supply from my old quad core
2 TB hitachi drive from my old quad core
a Kingston 128 Gb SSD dvive
An Arctic cooler 7 pro
and a dirt cheap LG DVD burner

No video card because I'm more into Video editing and photoshop and Word than gaming and the Z68 chipset is designed to do "quick Sync" fast transcoding. IT SURE DOES it fast too ;) 

Oh and I let the board overclock itself...... it runs at 4.6 Ghz and is cool. So is the 450 watt power supply. Even after 6 hours of Prime 95
Maybe the 450 Watt supply would be strained with a monster graphics card like a 260 but for me its great.
May 27, 2011 11:54:42 PM

stephano320 said:
I just built myself an i52500k system, maybe my choices will give you some ideas....
I needed a small board for my small case so I used an
MSI Z68ma-ED55 motherboard
8 GB Kingston HyperX 1600 memory
A Corsair 450 watt power supply from my old quad core
2 TB hitachi drive from my old quad core
a Kingston 128 Gb SSD dvive
An Arctic cooler 7 pro
and a dirt cheap LG DVD burner

No video card because I'm more into Video editing and photoshop and Word than gaming and the Z68 chipset is designed to do "quick Sync" fast transcoding. IT SURE DOES it fast too ;) 

Oh and I let the board overclock itself...... it runs at 4.6 Ghz and is cool. So is the 450 watt power supply. Even after 6 hours of Prime 95
Maybe the 450 Watt supply would be strained with a monster graphics card like a 260 but for me its great.


Great Post ^,

I compliment you on your system. It is economical and it meets your needs. The only downside is that if you do decide to add a video card your PSU may not be large enough and it could overheat - but you mention that you are aware of that. It would depend on which card that you chose of course.

In this case the OP is concerned about "future proofing" and so it would probably benefit them to add a larger PSU now rather than later. This would save them the cost of buying two PSUs.

I really liked your post. It is great to hear that the Intel Sync function works that well, a lot of people are not paying much attention to the Z68 boards. It is also impressive how high an OC that you got by letting the board do it. Thanks again for sharing your first-hand experience.
!