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It's been a long, long, time...

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May 27, 2011 1:08:59 PM

Hi All,
It's been a long, long, time since my last build (P4 3.0ghz with hypertheading ...and no GPU as my new PS2 was all the gaming i needed back then ...lol)
Since then i've cannibalised many old PC's but never built a new one. I'm currently running and old AMD 64 3000+ that i literally found on the side of the road.
So please excuse the many questions below.

I am looking to future proof as much as possible and keep costs to a minimum. I really just want to get it up and running now and you will see the planned upgrades i'm considering to help spread the cost out.
Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.
Oh and i'm in Australia so i wont link to parts and Newegg wont ship here.

Use:Gaming, media, internet, digital imaging, and anything else that comes up in the future ..lol
I will be running this as a media center in my living room.

Things i have:
Monitor: Sanyo 42' LCD TV
Speakers: Sony 5.1 home theatre surround
Wireless keyboard and mouse: logitech
HDD: 1TB Western Digital Elements external

Build:

CPU: With the view to future overclocking,
Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost),
Is the 2600K worth considering? ...i know i won't help with games now but maybe in the future? ... and will it help with imaging and running several programs at once?

Motherboard: ASUS P8P67 PRO (REV 3.0) LGA 1155
Is it of any real advantage to go for the P8Z68 PRO?

GPU: SAPPHIRE 100312-2SR Radeon HD 6950 2GB
and another one in crossfire sometime in the next 12 to 24 months as the prices come down.

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws 4GB (2 x 2GB) 1600, with another 4GB later.
I've used a lot of Kingston RAM in the past, how does it compare? seems cheaper?

PSU: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX750 V2 750W (or Coolermaster or Silverstone or any decent brand that i can get at a good price)
Is this enough to crossfire the two 6950's or should i go up to an 850W?

HDD: Probably only 500GB WD or Samsung to get it running as i have the external with all my stuff on it, I'll get a larger internal down the track as i need it and i will go for an SSD boot drive some time in the next 6 months.

Optical Drive: DVDWR and a DVDR, anything i can get cheap ...lol...as it's just not so important to me.

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 932 or
NZXT Phantom PHAN-001RD Red Steel / Plastic Enthusiast ATX Full Tower Computer Case or
Antec Twelve Hundred V3 Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case.
This is one i'm stuck on. I don't want to spend a lot but it's gotta look ok to keep the G/F happy with me spending sooo much on a PC ..lol
Cooling is important too as i'm in a hot climate.
Is a Midi case worth considering? There is lots more to choose from and it can save me money. I can't see myself ever having more than 2 external and maybe 3 internal drives.

And a CPU cooler like the Noctua NH-D14 Dual Radiator before i even consider overclocking.

Sorry for the 100 questions but any help would the greatly appreciated.

More about : long long time

May 27, 2011 1:26:44 PM

2500k will handle additional programs while gaming. If you aren't using photoshop, CAD, rendering and whatnot you won't notice a difference.

My gskill ram is great. No problems with it.

750W is enough and corsair underreports their wattage.

newegg has several optical drives for 20 bucks. Here is one for 19 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

case: All three are great and provide plenty of places for additional fans the nzxt case can only use nzxt fans if that will be a problem for you.

cpu cooler: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... the NH-D14 is great but this one is just as good for less.
May 27, 2011 1:33:34 PM

Thanks crewton,
I am considering Photoshop ...but not while gaming ...lol, I've run paintshop pro for many years now and am thinking of taking the step up.
I do run and old Auto CAD LT2000 at times but i don't think it will come close to taxing this build.
I see you run the Hyper 212+, i've heard mention of it and it's not too costly, whats it like?
Related resources
May 27, 2011 2:19:50 PM

+1 to crewton.

Photoshop will run fine on the 2500K; a lot of power users run that along with video editing and other stuff, which is taxing enough to require the 2600K.

CAD is usually more GPU dependent, especially for rendering.

The Hyper 212+ is a great cooler. I sold my X58 chipset and threw in my old 212+ thinking I would spend more and get a better cooler. I ended up buying another 212+ because getting a $70 cooler than only cools 1-2% better than a $30 cooler was worthless.

My 212+ now is actually set up upside down, yet it still gets the same temps while fighting the airflow in my case ;) 
May 27, 2011 2:21:47 PM

i have a hyper 212+ it cools very well but it is really noisy compared to my other 4 case fans. i think if you are just doing some amateur photoshop stick with the 2500k. i prefer the asrock p67 extreme4 over the asus p8p67 pro because i got a faulty pro board then went to the extreme4 which was cheaper and had all the same features and now my system works (asrock is a part of asus). gskill is really nice ram. here is a psu that is over 750w and wont break your budget- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... . i like the look of the nzxt phantom and its great cable management is a must for me. just pick the one you like the best since they are all competitively priced.
May 27, 2011 2:33:35 PM

Thanks mj that looks like an awesome option for the PSU
May 27, 2011 3:19:43 PM

ddemon said:
Hi All,
Since then i've cannibalised many old PC's but never built a new one. I'm currently running and old AMD 64 3000+ that i literally found on the side of the road.


You do realize that if you wait you will find Sandy Bridge systems on the side of the road?
If you're not using multiple displays a 1GB 6950 is fine.

To cut the cost down you can renounce the crossfire (you change the card with a new one later) AND get a cheaper mobo, case and PSU.
May 27, 2011 10:34:55 PM

mosox said:
You do realize that if you wait you will find Sandy Bridge systems on the side of the road?
If you're not using multiple displays a 1GB 6950 is fine.

To cut the cost down you can renounce the crossfire (you change the card with a new one later) AND get a cheaper mobo, case and PSU.


I can't wait that long ...lol

Correct me if i'm wrong here but if i hook up a smaller monitor and the TV at the same time then my girl can be on the net and i can still be playing games with a controller, both on the same PC?

oh and the idea of 3 X 42' TV's in eyefidelity sounds awesome ...lol... ok a bit of a pipe dream there.
May 28, 2011 2:36:24 AM

CPU - The 2500k will cover ya gaming needs. If budget allows and ya use anything that uses hyper threading, then get the 2600k. Other than the $90, there's no downside to the 2600k. With the 2600k, you can set up BIOS profiles so that you can choose whether to boot with HT on or off to suit ya needs. With PhotoShop and AutoCAD, Id do the 2600k.

MoBo - The Pro is a great board. The only "step up" would be the WS Revolution which has the NF200 chip which can show an improvement in some games in multi GFX card setups.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/p67-gaming-3-way-sl...

GFX - If using CS5, 3D rendering, video editing, I'd want a CUDA card (nVidia). For gaming, I'd stick w/ nVidia 560 Ti at 1920 x 1200 , the 69xx series at 2560 x 1600.

RAM - If you're getting CAS 9 DDR3-1600, these are hard to beat at $75
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case / PSU - If you are getting the Antec 1200 (or DF-85), the Antec CP-850 is the proverbial "no brainer". Quieter than anything else ever tested and performance to match anything on the market in its price range. Next in line would be the XFX Black Edition 750, Seasonic X-750 Corsair AX / HX series.... one step down the XFX Core Edition 750 Corsair TX 750 V2

Cooler - The Scyther Mugen 2 beats the DH14 by 1C and the Hyper 212 by 7C
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...







May 28, 2011 2:41:23 AM

mjmjpfaff said:
i i prefer the asrock p67 extreme4 over the asus p8p67 pro because i got a faulty pro board then went to the extreme4 which was cheaper and had all the same features and now my system works (asrock is a part of asus). .


Asrock was a subsidiary of Asustek created in 2002 and was originally intended to handle the budget / OEM market. Asustek divested itself of Asrock with a public offering that iirc took place in 2007. My beef w/ Asrock is the short warranty period ..... 2 years on the B3 1155 boards, 1 year on most everything else.
May 28, 2011 5:17:57 AM

i know its just my experiences that make me biased
May 28, 2011 5:34:26 AM

I know what it's like, I've had more problems with gigabyte boards then any other but everyone else seems to like them.
I think it a matter of the wrong place at the wrong time and can happen with anybodys product.
Here in Australia your either a Holden (GMH) man or a Ford man ...lol....or you just think a car's a car ...lol
May 28, 2011 8:10:57 AM

any comments on p67 or z68?
May 28, 2011 9:00:07 AM

Hi, your post is entertaining in a good way- you can tell you really like your GF.

I have some options for you to consider:

1. The Scythe CPU cooler that was recommended earlier is very good but it is not as good as your original choice in cooling efficiency

Here is a link from Frosty Tech which is one of the most comprehensive CPU cooler test sites on the web: http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm

You can see that the NH-D14 is in the top five best CPU coolers, the Scythe is not. Actually if you compare other reviews it beats the two units above it and it is quieter. The top rated unit sounds like a jet plane on high fans and really is not a good choice for your needs.

You will find that some reviews rate some units higher than others. However a preponderance of the reviews show the NH-D14 to be more efficient than the Scythe Mugen - which is also a good cooler. For your budget though, the Scythe may be the better choice.

In Frosty Tech's testing the D14 beat the Scythe Mugen by exactly 5 C: here is the link: http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=252...

Five degrees Celsius is a lot in the world of computing.

2. If you are ever going to consider editing video (home movies anyone) you should consider the extra $30 for a Z68 board. Also with your budget, you may want to take advantage of the SSD caching function as it does speed up HDD response significantly

3. Check you HDD connections. The drive you currently have in your system may have an older connector (I had that problem with my Sony Vaio system)

4. Because you are going to run more than one monitor the 2 GB ATI 6950 may be the better choice and I am not sure if your GF can surf the web while you are gaming. Someone with eyefinity chime in

5. I think that the Asus Pro board is a solid choice because it is user friendly and you have not built a computer in a long time. The earlier comment on the Asus Revolution is correct - the NF-200 bridge will give you better crossfire performance (it does work with CF right, not just SLI???)

6. Since you are set on crossfiring, I would suggest the Corsair 850 HX (I own it). It will run cooler and more efficient the the 750 TX and if you have some patience you can buy it on sale very cheaply. It will easily carry your crossfire setup and give you excellent efficiency. And yes before anyone says it I know that a 750 W will also work but it won't be as efficient or quiet and the cost difference is minimal. The 850 HX was on sale at Newegg last week for $119.00. The HX series have a 7-year warranty and they are modular which is much easier to work with.

7. Case: this is a tough one. You can't go wrong with the 932 but it isn't the cheapest and it is huge (I have the 942). If you can save your pennies I am in love with the Corsair 650D for its classy looks, its good cooling (not as good as the 932), its size (a large mid-tower with plenty of room to work in) and it is up to date with USB 3.0 and a Sata III hot-swap drive (for backups). It is around $180 after rebates but you might find it on sale. I know this is not a budget case but it is just so damned pretty LOL, your GF will kiss you if you buy this case ha, ha.

There is a review here: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1596/

8. HDD: gosh 1 TB drives are so cheap now I would recommend that you take a hard look at a Samsung F3 Spinpoint or Seagate Barracuda or WD black on sale

9. I agree with everyone that the 2500K is best for your needs

May 28, 2011 9:41:14 AM

Of course i really like my G/F ...lol....better that then me liking your G/F ...lol

Thanks for the in depth responce.

I'm starting to lean towards the Z68 i think (if someone can tell me why i shouldn't please say?) But as for the NF-200 i've read reviews that say the benefits are minimal and if i remember right there is a drop in performance in the odd benchmark.

Cooling it looks like a D14 or 212+ depending on budget and what fits with the RAM, case, etc (still undecided on the RAM, may just get something on special at the time i buy)

For the PSU the Corsair TX-850 seems to be more available here or the Antec HCG-900 that mjmjpfaff recomanded.

As for the gaming and net surfing at the same time, I've seen comments on here about running a duel monitor workstation and unless someone knows different i don't see why i can't run a game in a window on one monitor and be on the net on the other.
May 28, 2011 10:13:47 AM

ddemon said:
Of course i really like my G/F ...lol....better that then me liking your G/F ...lol

Thanks for the in depth responce.

I'm starting to lean towards the Z68 i think (if someone can tell me why i shouldn't please say?) But as for the NF-200 i've read reviews that say the benefits are minimal and if i remember right there is a drop in performance in the odd benchmark.

Cooling it looks like a D14 or 212+ depending on budget and what fits with the RAM, case, etc (still undecided on the RAM, may just get something on special at the time i buy)

For the PSU the Corsair TX-850 seems to be more available here or the Antec HCG-900 that mjmjpfaff recomanded.

As for the gaming and net surfing at the same time, I've seen comments on here about running a duel monitor workstation and unless someone knows different i don't see why i can't run a game in a window on one monitor and be on the net on the other.



I would stay away from the HCG-900 it shut down (failed to pass) in two professional reviews. It is cheap and that is why it is getting recommended but the quality control is suspect. It can't make its 900 W rating in some reviews. Here are the links:

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/02/15/antec_high_cu...

http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&fil...

Johnny Guru is really nice about how he mentions that the unit failed but he mentions that the first unit he had shut down before it hit 900 W.

Also, there is no comparison between the performance of the Noctua NH-D14 and the Hyper 212. The D14 is simply a much better cooler to say the least. It also costs twice as much though. If cost is an issue the Scythe Mugen is your best choice.

If you watch for sales the Corsair 850HX can actually be bought for LESS MONEY than the 850TX if you can believe that. Last week it was on sale at newegg for $119 after rebates. That being said, it is a much higher quality PSU than the 850 TX (which is also very good). It is modular (each connection has its own separate cable) and it has a 7-year warranty as opposed the the TX 5-year warranty. The 850 HX will also put out over 1000 W and remain stable and so it will allow you to crossfire or SLI without a sweat (unless you to a GTX 580 or something).

Im not a big gamer but I read the Tom's Hardware story on the NF-200 bridge and it does make a difference so you might want to look up that article.

Your best RAM for the 2500K or 2600K is 2 x 4GB DDR3 1866 - almost any manufacturer will do so look for the best buy and warranty.

Good luck with your build :-)
May 28, 2011 3:20:00 PM

hx 850 is a great psu
May 29, 2011 7:24:53 AM

so i've looked over the Tom's review of the NF200 chips (and it's even on the GPU i'm looking at) it only seems to be a any real advantage in 3 way crossfire, 2 way is minimal and on a single card it reduses the performance ...i think i'll stear clear of it and avoid the extra cost.

Flong you mention 1866mhz RAM, this seems a bit rare here in Australia. Lots of 1333, 1600 and 2000 but the only a few at 1866. Cheapest i can find here for 8gb is $130 and i don't always trust the cheapest thing i can find on the net ..lol
May 29, 2011 9:16:49 AM

I have to apologize to you - I forgot that it is a tri-sli advantage. I am sorry that I wasted your time. maybe I can make it up to you with the memory issue.

Here is the best article ever on Sandy Bridge memory: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/memory/2011/01/11/the-...

At the conclusion you will find that DDR3 1600 and DDR 1866 are the sweet spot in price vs performance for the ram in Sandy Bridge builds. Bit-Tech states that the RAM above teh 2 x4GB DDR1600 or 1866 level gives you very little bang for the buck as does adding more than 8GB of RAM.

Because of this article, I just picked up some Gskill 2 x 4 GB RAM for my own build. I don't care about a 2% performance gain from buying RAM twice as expensive. My RAM is DDR3 1600 2 x 4GB CL9. CL8 is a little better if you can get it cheap. CL7 appears to not be worth the money.

The 1600 should be fine for you. Also, you can get very good performance with just 4 GB of RAM but it is worth the extra money to go to 8GB.
May 29, 2011 9:36:35 AM

thanks flong, no appologies needed, i don't remember every little detail of everything i read either ...lol.... always good to go back and double check.

The memory article is heaps of help, not to mention alot of the other stuff you've said, so thanks lots!
May 29, 2011 10:03:31 AM

You are welcome - good luck with your build :-)
May 29, 2011 2:21:52 PM

flong said:
I have to apologize to you - I forgot that it is a tri-sli advantage. I am sorry that I wasted your time. maybe I can make it up to you with the memory issue.

Here is the best article ever on Sandy Bridge memory: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/memory/2011/01/11/the-...

At the conclusion you will find that DDR3 1600 and DDR 1866 are the sweet spot in price vs performance for the ram in Sandy Bridge builds. Bit-Tech states that the RAM above teh 2 x4GB DDR1600 or 1866 level gives you very little bang for the buck as does adding more than 8GB of RAM.

Because of this article, I just picked up some Gskill 2 x 4 GB RAM for my own build. I don't care about a 2% performance gain from buying RAM twice as expensive. My RAM is DDR3 1600 2 x 4GB CL9. CL8 is a little better if you can get it cheap. CL7 appears to not be worth the money.

The 1600 should be fine for you. Also, you can get very good performance with just 4 GB of RAM but it is worth the extra money to go to 8GB.


I used to have 6GB of CL8 1600MHz memory in my X58 build, but now have CL 9 1600MHz and don't notice a performance difference. Usually the lower latencies are helpful for RAM OCing, but other than that the performance difference is negligible as you stated.
May 29, 2011 5:22:06 PM

boiler1990 said:
I used to have 6GB of CL8 1600MHz memory in my X58 build, but now have CL 9 1600MHz and don't notice a performance difference. Usually the lower latencies are helpful for RAM OCing, but other than that the performance difference is negligible as you stated.


Yeah for OC, probably CL7 would be better. But that is exactly what the above article concludes that clock speeds over 1600 or 1866 don't really give that much bang for the buck with Sandy Bridge CPUs.
!