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Need Advice on a $1200- $1500 First Build

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Last response: in Systems
May 28, 2011 12:35:55 AM

Hi, I'm new to building a computer, but I'm really interested in doing so. I've done some research and put together this list of parts.

I'd like any advice you can give. If you feel a part is better replaced with something else please tell me. Also, I believe everything here will fit and be compatible, but any reassurance would be appreciated.

---------------

Approximate Purchase Date: As soon as all the parts become available

Budget Range: $1200- $1500

System Usage:

Gaming (Witcher 2, Left 4 Dead, Skyrim)
Everything else (Internet, movies etc.)

Parts Not Required: Monitor, keyboard, speakers, and mouse

Preferred Websites for Parts: Newegg.ca, Newegg.com*, NCIX
* Live in Canada near border with friends on the other side

Country of Origin: Canada

Parts Preferences: Not yet experienced with different brands. I'll consider all suggestions.

Overclocking: Probably in the future after a lot more research

SLI or Crossfire: Probably not in the near future

Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Additional Comments: A cool-running, quiet computer would be nice, but isn't a total necessity.

---------------

This is what I've chosen after looking around the forums and customer reviews around various sites:

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K

MOBO: ASRock Z68 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

RAM: G.SKILL Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL9D-8GBSR

GPU: MSI N570GTX Twin Frozr III PE/OC GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

PSU: CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

CASE: COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Optical Drive: ASUS Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM


The parts are from newegg.com because so far altogether it has been the cheaper option.

Is this everything I need?
Do I need a HSF now or only if I were to overclock?

Right now the ASRock z68 Extreme 4 mobo is sold out on Newegg and isn't available on NCIX. Does anyone know how long it'll take to restock or become available at these locations?

Thats about it. Thanks for your help.









More about : advice 1200 1500 build

May 28, 2011 12:41:24 AM

The factory cpu sink/fan will serve for limited overclocks, but, if planning on routine 4.4 GHz or above operation, I'd consider an aftermarket sink/watercooling kit.

The GTX570 is a very solid/capable card, but, I consider it slightly overpriced given the 6950's simliar performance at $100 less cost....
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May 28, 2011 12:52:51 AM

mdd1963 said:
The factory cpu sink/fan will serve for limited overclocks, but, if planning on routine 4.4 GHz or above operation, I'd consider an aftermarket sink/watercooling kit.

The GTX570 is a very solid/capable card, but, I consider it slightly overpriced given the 6950's simliar performance at $100 less cost....


Thanks for the quick reply.

Yeah on newegg.com its about $370, but on NCIX I found it for about $300 Canadian. Right now it's the only part that I wasn't going to order from Newegg. Sorry should have posted the NCIX link instead. Will look into the 6950's though.

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Related resources
May 28, 2011 1:11:36 AM

mjmjpfaff said:
^+1 6950 2gb
asrock p67 extreme4 you wont benefit form z68 w/out a small ssd
psu- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... -this is a great deal


I was looking at that Mobo before and found a post by RetiredChief that said "while you may not benefit right now - You might kick yourself in the hind end later." in regards to the z68's features.

Looking into the future I know I want to use it for gaming, but who knows what else I may decide to use it for.

As for the PSU I was committed to it for awhile before a few posters dissuaded me through their opinions. I'll have another look though.

Thanks for the suggestions.
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May 28, 2011 5:01:44 AM

So I've gone through and looked at some of the stuff suggested.

The 6950 is still cheaper than the 570, but at $300 Canadian at NCIX I think I'm pretty much set on the 570.

I took another look at the HCG 900W PSU and found it to be cheaper, but also Bronze certified versus the Silver certified PSU I selected. How drastic of a difference in efficiency is this? It's also 900W vs 850W, does that make much of a difference?

I also found a combo bundling the 850HX with my chosen HDD saving a few bucks.


So if I were to order the parts I have listed here would everything go fine (barring any hardware malfuntions)?

Does anyone have any clue as to when the ASRock MOBO will be back in stock?
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May 28, 2011 5:06:05 AM

features you mean the ability to use intels integrated hd graphics which i would never use for anything if i had a discrete gpu and there ssd caching that raid 0 can compete with. c'mon z68's are just a waste of money.
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May 28, 2011 5:07:54 AM

bronze 900w vs silver 850w i think i would go with the 900w and save some money while im at it too.
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May 28, 2011 5:33:18 AM

mjmjpfaff said:
bronze 900w vs silver 850w i think i would go with the 900w and save some money while im at it too.


Well normally I'd probably agree with you if I were to save a bit of money in the process, but I'd only save about $10 due to the bundle with the HDD. After doing further research it also seems to have been rated Gold, even though it's Silver cerfitified.

Anyways you've got me thinking about the MOBO again. Gonna have to take another look at the features I'd lose going to the p67. If I did I would save a good $30.

Thanks for the response.
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May 28, 2011 5:35:33 AM

ya the hx 850 is 91% efficient which is gold rated but i would personally get the antec just to save money
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May 28, 2011 5:50:16 AM

Im using the Corsair 850hx and it's amazing...i bought mine for $149.99 plus it came with a $15 rebate...The 850hx is actually gold not silver...i'm also using the i5 2500k which is a amazing cpu...best cpu for gaming imo especially for the price..Although im not a fan of the Cooler Master Haf because my friend uses it and it collect alot dust..and the paint on it is really cheap and it's really easy to scratch...
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May 28, 2011 6:26:46 AM

Bigmac80 said:
Im using the Corsair 850hx and it's amazing...i bought mine for $149.99 plus it came with a $15 rebate...The 850hx is actually gold not silver...i'm also using the i5 2500k which is a amazing cpu...best cpu for gaming imo especially for the price..Although im not a fan of the Cooler Master Haf because my friend uses it and it collect alot dust..and the paint on it is really cheap and it's really easy to scratch...


I guess Newegg got their facts wrong? Yeah I'm pretty sure I'm going with the 850HX; the bundle pretty much confirms it.

Sadly I've got no computer enthusiast friends in my neighborhood. If not the Cool Master HAF 922 what do you recommend? I do like its design and it's supposed to have "High Air Flow".
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May 28, 2011 7:46:07 AM

Well turns out I made a mistake reading the names of different video cards. The particular model on Newegg isn't available at NCIX so I guess I'll seriously rethink the 570 again.

Rookie mistake, but I guess I'm as rookie as they come at the moment.

I'm guessing since no ones mentioned it there shouldn't be any compatibility or size problems with what I've got?
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May 28, 2011 9:14:34 AM

The Antec 900 has had problems in professional reviews and it is also noisy. It shut down in both HardOCP and Johnny Guru's reviews of it when pressed to its 900 W rating. The Corsair 850 HX easily passed the same "torture test" in its reviews on these websites under the same test conditions.

Here are the links:

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

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

The 850 HX will easily put out over 1000W (several professional reviewer pushed it pass this point) and remain stable. It will run cooler, quieter (up to 75% capacity), is more efficient (by 4%-5%), it is modular and it has a 7-year warranty. It is worth the extra $50 in my opinion.

I suggest the Nocuta NH-D14 CPU cooler for a quiet cooler that is very efficient
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May 28, 2011 9:17:33 AM

Bigmac80 said:
Im using the Corsair 850hx and it's amazing...i bought mine for $149.99 plus it came with a $15 rebate...The 850hx is actually gold not silver...i'm also using the i5 2500k which is a amazing cpu...best cpu for gaming imo especially for the price..Although im not a fan of the Cooler Master Haf because my friend uses it and it collect alot dust..and the paint on it is really cheap and it's really easy to scratch...


It is gold up to 75% capacity. Once it is pushed pass 75% capacity it drops down to silver rated. I own it also and I recommend it. A couple of professional tests showed it to be 91% efficient at the 30% and 50% capacity levels which is amazing.
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May 28, 2011 1:26:57 PM

I recommend a 6950 2GB over the 570 for its value and performance.
The performance increase the 570 gives doesn't just the price increase.
Also the 6950 2GB can be unlocked (or overclocked) to 6970 levels.
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May 28, 2011 2:26:36 PM

flong said:
The Antec 900 has had problems in professional reviews and it is also noisy. It shut down in both HardOCP and Johnny Guru's reviews of it when pressed to its 900 W rating. The Corsair 850 HX easily passed the same "torture test" in its reviews on these websites under the same test conditions.

Here are the links:

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

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

The 850 HX will easily put out over 1000W (several professional reviewer pushed it pass this point) and remain stable. It will run cooler, quieter (up to 75% capacity), is more efficient (by 4%-5%), it is modular and it has a 7-year warranty. It is worth the extra $50 in my opinion.

I suggest the Nocuta NH-D14 CPU cooler for a quiet cooler that is very efficient

I dont think he will be torture testing it with 2 6950's flong
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May 28, 2011 4:05:44 PM

flong said:
The Antec 900 has had problems in professional reviews and it is also noisy. It shut down in both HardOCP and Johnny Guru's reviews of it when pressed to its 900 W rating. The Corsair 850 HX easily passed the same "torture test" in its reviews on these websites under the same test conditions.

Here are the links:

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

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

The 850 HX will easily put out over 1000W (several professional reviewer pushed it pass this point) and remain stable. It will run cooler, quieter (up to 75% capacity), is more efficient (by 4%-5%), it is modular and it has a 7-year warranty. It is worth the extra $50 in my opinion.

I suggest the Nocuta NH-D14 CPU cooler for a quiet cooler that is very efficient


Thanks for the reassurance. Yeah since its bundled with the HDD it's even more of a steal. mjmjpfaff is right though, I probably won't be torture testing on a first build :D 

The cooler looks good, but are you saying that with the current parts it's gonna be needed even without OCing?
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May 28, 2011 4:27:35 PM

gametstr said:
I recommend a 6950 2GB over the 570 for its value and performance.
The performance increase the 570 gives doesn't just the price increase.
Also the 6950 2GB can be unlocked (or overclocked) to 6970 levels.


Yeah I've started looking at these cards now that I'm up again. I would like a card that has the capability to be unlocked, but have no idea if I would do so as I have yet to look into it.

Right now the 570 fits my budget fine, I'm even at the low end of it. I'll probably post the prices I've got soon.
If I do go over to the 6950 I'll save a bit of money and probably buy the cooler flong suggested.

Does anyone recommend a certain brand of 6950 or can someone link a card that they can personally endorse?
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May 28, 2011 4:36:26 PM

mjmjpfaff said:
for a case maybe try this one- http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12610AC1186&v...
also look to buy from here because newegg.ca kills you with shipping.


Hmm guess I'll have to look around on this site. Dunno if I'm really in love with the case's look though.

Yeah newegg.ca's shipping hurts bad. The most viable and cheapest option right now is getting the parts sent to friends in the US who will bring them over when they come to visit. Well that was before I checked this site, gonna look now.
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May 28, 2011 7:42:58 PM

The problem with any Canadian purchase for me is the damned HST cost.

Anyways, after looking around a bit I found this 6950 that looks pretty good to me (the inexperienced buyer).

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

Do you recommend it? Have some other version you think is better performance/price wise?

-------------

Here's the price break down I have now:


CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K

$225


MOBO:

ASRock Z68 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

$190

OR

ASRock P67 EXTREME4 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

$160


RAM: G.SKILL Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL9D-8GBSR

$80 ($40 Bucks off at the moment)


PSU and HDD Combo: CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply Bundled with: 1x SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA

$205 (Save $25)


CASE: COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

$100

(Not completely sure about the case, still looking)


Optical Drive: ASUS Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM

$20


Total: $820/$790

Without the GPU.

As you can see I'm way under the budget. Even if I go with the overpriced GTX570 I'm still only at $1190/$1160 (Not including shipping costs and all the other added costs).

Now since I'm so under budget isn't it a better idea to look around the price range of the 570?

I took a look at this:

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

It's about $20 more than the 570, but is it worth it? Gametstr mentioned overclocking the 6950 card to 6970 levels.

How easy is that to do? If I do that I'm gonna have to get that cooling fan for sure? I'm guessing theres risk involved, how bad can I screw up?














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May 28, 2011 8:02:32 PM

i'm looking for the asrock z68 as well, and the only place i found to have stock is on amazon.ca (2-4weeks shipping kills it) for $184.77, and canadacomputers for $204.99

you can try price matching if you get a helpful sales associate
http://canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=26_72...
but they're out of stock online so this is only helpful if you live near their stores
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May 28, 2011 10:37:53 PM

nostic said:
i'm looking for the asrock z68 as well, and the only place i found to have stock is on amazon.ca (2-4weeks shipping kills it) for $184.77, and canadacomputers for $204.99

you can try price matching if you get a helpful sales associate
http://canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=26_72...
but they're out of stock online so this is only helpful if you live near their stores


Damn I live in BC so the canadacomputers option won't work. Thanks for the info though, the search goes on.

Does anyone know how long it usually takes for a place like Newegg to restock?
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May 28, 2011 11:35:54 PM

mjmjpfaff said:
I dont think he will be torture testing it with 2 6950's flong


That's not a very bright point to say the least. The point of the Johnny Guru and HardOCP pushing PSUs past their limits is to separate the best quality from the mediocre quality PSUs. The Antec unit twice in professional reviews couldn't even make it to its 900 W rating - that is just plain sad performance. Conversely, I have read two professional reviews where the Corsair 850 HX exceeded 1000 W and remained stable - that is brilliant performance.

While I agree that two 6950s will not push the two PSUs in question to their limits, what about longevity? What about efficiency? What about the difference in warranties? What about the build quality? What about the cost of operating the PSU over the long haul? Most computer builders use their PSUs for more than one build - the 850 HX has a seven year warranty which will probably cover at least two builds. Will the Antec last two or more builds when it can't even make its 900 W rating?

I am surprised by how many people who post suggest subpar PSUs to save $20 - $50 when everyone acknowledges that a poor quality PSU can significantly shorten the life of your expensive components. Add to this that poor quality PSUs are louder and hotter and some are just plain dangerous (they blow up).

I really don't get this fascination to save $20 and risk all of your components while you put up with obnoxious noise and the unit adds significant heat to your case.

While the Antec 900 may not shut down with two 6950s, it will be louder and hotter and it will be out of warranty sooner than the 850 HX.
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May 29, 2011 2:28:39 AM

Looking through the thread it seems most of the posts are about my PSU choice.

I've gone ahead an ordered the Corsair 850 HX bundled with the HDD.
I also went ahead and ordered the RAM, probably will order the CPU and Optical Drive.

Haven't chosen a Mobo as I'm still looking at various Video Cards.


Does anybody want to go ahead and chime in about the

GTX 570

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...(&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=1gzp9tb0l25mh

vs.

HD 6970

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


$400 dollars is in my budget for a GPU. I'd like that card to be worth it though. I'd rather only have one card to worry about for a first build.



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May 29, 2011 2:57:34 AM

Probably you have not gotten a lot of feedback because they are both really great cards and about equal in price vs performance. The 570 is an amazing card in the reviews that I have read but it costs a lot and it will not do eyefinity (I think it will run two screens). It is a little faster overall than the 6970 but not much.

The ATI cards general perform better in producing the best video quality (the actual picture that you watch) as long as you go with the 5770 or higher which you are.

The GTX cards have CUDA which enhances the performance of some software packages but I am skeptical as to its practical value.

Generally, people buy the 570 because the like Nvidia products more. A lot of people buy the ATI products because they are cheaper.

You may have a third option. You could go to two ATI 6950s in crossfire for about $75 - $100 more than the 579 cost. This is a combination recommended by Tom's Hardware which is why I am mentioning it. I realize that you are not considering a crossfire system right now.

While I am not a heavy gamer, what I hear from the gamers when choosing between the two is to read the reviews and see which card does better on the specific games you play. The second thing I hear from a lot of gamers is to go with the 6950 because it is much cheaper than the 6970. For awhile you could flash the 6950 to a 6970 but it was risky and several people who tried it "bricked" their card.
The third thing I hear a lot of gamers say is to go with ATI because it is cheaper (but that is probably not the best criteria).

The 570 is a little faster overall, it is quieter and it is very energy efficient. The 6970 costs less, is still very fast, a little louder, will run three screens, has better video/HDTV quality, etc.

You really cant go wrong with either card - both are highly recommended by professionals in their reviews (the 6950 is the best value as far as cost). Look at the reviews for the specific games you play.

I am going to get the 6950 for my system, but then like I said, I am not a heavy gamer.
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May 29, 2011 3:14:29 AM

flong said:
Probably you have not gotten a lot of feedback because they are both really great cards and about equal in price vs performance. The 570 is an amazing card in the reviews that I have read but it costs a lot and it will not do eyefinity (I think it will run two screens). It is a little faster overall than the 6970 but not much.

The ATI cards general perform better in producing the best video quality (the actual picture that you watch) as long as you go with the 5770 or higher which you are.

The GTX cards have CUDA which enhances the performance of some software packages but I am skeptical as to its practical value.

Generally, people buy the 570 because the like Nvidia products more. A lot of people buy the ATI products because they are cheaper.

You may have a third option. You could go to two ATI 6950s in crossfire for about $75 - $100 more than the 579 cost. This is a combination recommended by Tom's Hardware which is why I am mentioning it. I realize that you are not considering a crossfire system right now.

While I am not a heavy gamer, what I hear from the gamers when choosing between the two is to read the reviews and see which card does better on the specific games you play. The second thing I hear from a lot of gamers is to go with the 6950 because it is much cheaper than the 6970. For awhile you could flash the 6950 to a 6970 but it was risky and several people who tried it "bricked" their card.
The third thing I hear a lot of gamers say is to go with ATI because it is cheaper (but that is probably not the best criteria).

The 570 is a little faster overall, it is quieter and it is very energy efficient. The 6970 costs less, is still very fast, a little louder, will run three screens, has better video/HDTV quality, etc.

You really cant go wrong with either card - both are highly recommended by professionals in their reviews (the 6950 is the best value as far as cost). Look at the reviews for the specific games you play.

I am going to get the 6950 for my system, but then like I said, I am not a heavy gamer.


Haha Yeah I can see how it'd be difficult to recommend one or the other. Thanks so much for the input, it really does help getting this kind of condensed opinion.

I'm probably gonna use two screens at most, so the triple monitor set-up doesn't really intrigue me. I'm still on the fence, and probably will be until I hit that order button, but at least I'm more informed and knowledgeable thanks to your post.
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May 30, 2011 8:00:53 AM

So does anyone want to recommend an alternative case to the HAF 922. I'd prefer it be a Mid-Size case, but have the capability to fit a larger 12.2 inch card (Leaning towards the HD 6970 Lightning). I don't think I'd really be using a lot of the space in a Full tower yet.

I've taken a look around and really like the styles of the NZXT cases,

(Particularly this one)

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

but would rather get an informed perspective. So what cases do you think have good airflow/stay cool and look good?

Staying in the $100 to $150 price range would be nice too.
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May 30, 2011 8:44:04 AM

Kuzlo said:
So does anyone want to recommend an alternative case to the HAF 922. I'd prefer it be a Mid-Size case, but have the capability to fit a larger 12.2 inch card (Leaning towards the HD 6970 Lightning). I don't think I'd really be using a lot of the space in a Full tower yet.

I've taken a look around and really like the styles of the NZXT cases,

(Particularly this one)

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

but would rather get an informed perspective. So what cases do you think have good airflow/stay cool and look good?

Staying in the $100 to $150 price range would be nice too.


The NZXT is a very good case that has gotten very good reviews. The criticisms of I have read are as follows:

1. Because of the size of the fans you must use NZXT fans - that may have changed because in the newegg reviews a new size fan is mentioned (you can't go by those reviews though)

The case is praised for its quietness with the proprietary fans and so this may not be much of an issue

2. There have been reviews of the built in fan controller breaking down on the case from some owners (read the newegg reviews)

3. The magnetic clasp that holds the front cover closed has been criticized as weak

4. The case is a full tower and so it is very large

5. The hot-swap drives is SATA II not the new SATA III

6. It does not have USB 3.0 front connectors

The positives are:

1. It is praised for its quietness

2. Plenty of room to build in

3. It does have some toolless features

4. Many people like its look

5. It has a relatively low cost

6. Perhaps most importantly it is an excellent cooling case - one of the best


For another option you may want to look at the Corsair 650D which is a midtower and so it is more like the 922. However, it is more expensive than the Phantom ($180 after rebates).

This case has USB 3.0 and a SATA III hot-swap drive. It is completely toolless and one of the most well-thought cases made. It is spacious and can accommodate large video cards. It is also a beautiful case, it is one of the Corsair Obsidian cases. It also have very good air cooling and it is relatively quiet.

The Phantom cools better and may be a little quieter. The 650D is more up to date and has a higher quality build. Both are great cases.
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May 30, 2011 9:24:06 AM

flong said:
The NZXT is a very good case that has gotten very good reviews. The criticisms of I have read are as follows:

1. Because of the size of the fans you must use NZXT fans - that may have changed because in the newegg reviews a new size fan is mentioned (you can't go by those reviews though)

The case is praised for its quietness with the proprietary fans and so this may not be much of an issue

2. There have been reviews of the built in fan controller breaking down on the case from some owners (read the newegg reviews)

3. The magnetic clasp that holds the front cover closed has been criticized as weak

4. The case is a full tower and so it is very large

5. The hot-swap drives is SATA II not the new SATA III

6. It does not have USB 3.0 front connectors

The positives are:

1. It is praised for its quietness

2. Plenty of room to build in

3. It does have some toolless features

4. Many people like its look

5. It has a relatively low cost

6. Perhaps most importantly it is an excellent cooling case - one of the best


For another option you may want to look at the Corsair 650D which is a midtower and so it is more like the 922. However, it is more expensive than the Phantom ($180 after rebates).

This case has USB 3.0 and a SATA III hot-swap drive. It is completely toolless and one of the most well-thought cases made. It is spacious and can accommodate large video cards. It is also a beautiful case, it is one of the Corsair Obsidian cases. It also have very good air cooling and it is relatively quiet.

The Phantom cools better and may be a little quieter. The 650D is more up to date and has a higher quality build. Both are great cases.


Hmmm so this lack of a Sata III hot swap drive and USB 3.0 would mean what exactly to the uneducated novice?
I think I can see where there would be problems, but I'm not completely sure how much this would affect me.

Is the Phantom going to become outdated soon? How much of a pain would it cause me in the future if I did get it?


Thanks again for helping. That 650D does look nice, but is quite a bit more expensive though.
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Best solution

May 30, 2011 9:53:43 AM

There is a trend to install hot swap drives in cases right now. I think the main use would be to slide in a 1 TB drive and backup important files (similar to an external HDD). The other use is that if you have two hot swap drive bays you can put two HDDs in RAID 1 and if one fails, it is easier to swap out a new one. It is a matter of convenience.

The USB 3.0 is far more important because it is one of the fastest transfer mediums available. Having front ports on the front of the case is very convenient and something I personally value a lot. The alternative is to connect your USB devices to your rear ports every time that you want to use them.

In a sense, the Phantom is outdated now. The whole computer world is moving quickly to SATA III and USB 3.0. But, often you can replace the SATA II hot swap with SATA III and add front USB 3.0 ports to update an older case. But that is an additional expense and hassle. That is why I personally like the 650D, but my likes and needs may not be the same as yours.

The Phantom is not outdated in the sense that it is a superior cooling case and it stays quiet while cooling. This is the most important function of a case. You can still use the USB 2.0 front ports, it will just be slower than USB 3.0 (if you connect a USB 3.0 compatible device). And frankly, you may never care about a SATA III hot swap drive - it probably is not that important. So no, the Phantom is not really out of date.

Either case would be a great choice. Following is a review of the 650D that will give you a better picture of it:

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1596/

Remember the Phantom is a full tower and so you will need more room for it (this is not bad you just need to be aware of it). The 650D is a midtower which is smaller.
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May 30, 2011 10:06:34 PM

flong said:
There is a trend to install hot swap drives in cases right now. I think the main use would be to slide in a 1 TB drive and backup important files (similar to an external HDD). The other use is that if you have two hot swap drive bays you can put two HDDs in RAID 1 and if one fails, it is easier to swap out a new one. It is a matter of convenience.

The USB 3.0 is far more important because it is one of the fastest transfer mediums available. Having front ports on the front of the case is very convenient and something I personally value a lot. The alternative is to connect your USB devices to your rear ports every time that you want to use them.

In a sense, the Phantom is outdated now. The whole computer world is moving quickly to SATA III and USB 3.0. But, often you can replace the SATA II hot swap with SATA III and add front USB 3.0 ports to update an older case. But that is an additional expense and hassle. That is why I personally like the 650D, but my likes and needs may not be the same as yours.

The Phantom is not outdated in the sense that it is a superior cooling case and it stays quiet while cooling. This is the most important function of a case. You can still use the USB 2.0 front ports, it will just be slower than USB 3.0 (if you connect a USB 3.0 compatible device). And frankly, you may never care about a SATA III hot swap drive - it probably is not that important. So no, the Phantom is not really out of date.

Either case would be a great choice. Following is a review of the 650D that will give you a better picture of it:

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1596/

Remember the Phantom is a full tower and so you will need more room for it (this is not bad you just need to be aware of it). The 650D is a midtower which is smaller.


Thanks for explaining all this. I gotta say you've been a lot of help getting me to understand and make informed decisions.

So I hopped down to the local NCIX on my way home from Uni and checked out a few of the cases. The Phantom is pretty big yeah. It does however look pretty cool. :) 

The 650D only looked nice in comparison at first, but is slowly growing on me. Its closer to the size of case I'd like for a first build and has a lot of nice features. Reviews are stellar too.

I don't know if I'm sure yet, but with it being around $185 for the 650D (If I get it at NCIX) vs $140 for the Phantom (Newegg.com) it'll really come down to just what's best for me.

Thanks again for being such a big help.
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May 30, 2011 11:35:26 PM

the ax 850 is only 7$ more than the hx at amazon
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May 31, 2011 12:14:11 AM

mjmjpfaff said:
the ax 850 is only 7$ more than the hx at amazon


Great post. I looked long and hard at the AX 850 before I bought the HX 850. Johnny Guru's review of it kind of turned me off. Also, surprisingly the HX 850 is more efficient at the lower end of its capacity than the AX 850 ( the HX around 91% efficient). But as the units move toward the 75% capacity the AX 850 becomes more efficient. I spec'd my computer for 30% - 50% capacity usage of the PSU and so the HX was better for my one GPU system and at the time it was about $50 cheaper.

Both are great units and solid PSUs. The HX 850 frequently goes on sale for dirt cheap ($119 - $140) if you can wait for a sale.
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May 31, 2011 12:42:08 AM

Well in the end I went with that HX 850 because I save $25 with it in a combo with my chosen HDD. I also got a mail-in rebate of $15.

Mostly though I had to commit sometime and wanted to buy a few items to see how buying from newegg will be.

I'm pretty set on the video card I'll be getting, though its factory OC'd so I'm wondering if I'll need extra cooling besides stock fans and such. It's cooler than reference cards already (Twin Frozr III). I've searched around and for-the-life-of-me can't find an answer.

Anyone know?
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May 31, 2011 2:22:33 AM

get the tin frozr II the III is a waste of money when you can oc it yourself
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May 31, 2011 4:52:41 AM

mjmjpfaff said:
get the tin frozr II the III is a waste of money when you can oc it yourself


What do you mean?
Are you saying I should get the 6950 and overclock it?

The card I'm now planning to buy is MSI Radeon HD 6970 Lightning.

Even with a more expensive case I'm still in the my budget of $1500.

Here's my thoughts on this:

I was originally looking at the GTX 570 PE/OC card which is around $360. I was told and read that the HD 6950 is more bang for your buck since (even though its weaker in some respects) you can OC it to past that GTX 570. However I'm fairly new to this stuff and hesitant to try this for at least awhile. For about $20 more than my original option I get a special version of the HD 6970 with the nice cooling fans and already OC'd to 940 MHz. Later (If I feel I'm up to it) I can OC that even further.

Even if I manage to bring up the 6950 to 1000 MHz on my first try OCing (Miracle?), It won't be as powerful as the Lightning OC'd.

I know I'll need better cooling gear if I want to OC the 6950, but I don't know If I'll need more cooling gear if I opt for the already OC'd Lightning that's still within my budget. Which is why I asked.

I'm sure it seems like a waste of money to someone who is confident in their ability to OC, but for me the piece of mind that my card will perform well and be cool without added expenses coupled with its greater strength and the fact that its in my budget, makes it my choice at the moment.

Now feel free to tell the noob builder just how badly mistaken he is. :( 




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May 31, 2011 4:57:46 AM


FREE SHIPPING FTW!

http://www.directcanada.com/
http://www.directcanada.com/contact/

http://www.bestdirect.ca/
http://www.bestdirect.ca/contact/

This build includes dual factory over clocked gtx 560's in SLI, after market h/s (thermal paste included), Windows 7, etc...

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/234784/SGC-1000-KWN1/... $80.85
Coolermaster Storm Enforcer Mid Tower ATX Case Black 4X5.25EXT 6X3.5INT Front Audio USB *No PS*

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/229778/R4-L2R-20CRAR/... $4.95
Coolermaster R4-L2R-20 120MM Red LED Case Fan 2000RPM 69CFM 19DBA 3/4 Pin

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=15180AC6621&v... $95.99
XFX 750W PRO750W Core Edition Single Rail ATX 12V 62A 24PIN ATX Power Supply 80PLUS Bronze

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/234671/GA-P67X-UD3-B3... $154.79
Gigabyte P67X-UD3-B3 ATX LGA1155 P67 DDR3 3PCI-E1 2PCI 2PCI-E16 CrossFireX/SLI SATA3 USB3.0 Motherboard

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12200BD1527&v... $220.25
Intel Core i5 2500K Quad Core Unlocked Processor LGA1155 3.3GHZ Sandy Bridge 6MB

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11130AC8843&v... $21.68
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus Direct Touch 4 Heatpipe Heatsink AM2 AM3 LGA1366 LGA1155 LGA1156 120MM

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=15380BD5211&v... $76.47
G.SKILL Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 Memory

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=10530DR5213&v... $21.32
ASUS DRW-24B1ST 24X SATA DVD Writer OEM Black

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/234006/ST31000526SV/S... $68.20
Seagate SV35.5 Series 1TB 32MB Cache 7200RPM SATA3 3.5IN Internal Hard Drive

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12980BD8066&v... $239.09 MIR. Savings: $20.00 - $219.09
MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr OC 880MHZ 1GB GDDR5 Dual DVI Mini-HDMI DX11 PCI-E Video Card

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12980BD8066&v... $239.09 MIR. Savings: $20.00 - $219.09
MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr OC 880MHZ 1GB GDDR5 Dual DVI Mini-HDMI DX11 PCI-E Video Card

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/222137/GFC-00599/MICR... $93.79
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64BIT DVD OEM

Total: $1,316.47 CAD *not including mail in rebates, and tax

*Below are reviews/benchmarks of that MSI 560

http://www.guru3d.com/article/msi-n560gtx-ti-twin-froze...

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2011/01/27/ms...

http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/msi_gtx560_twin...

http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?category_id... <----- more pics, specs, and professional reviews of that case

http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=... <----- more pics and specs of that motherboard
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May 31, 2011 5:26:56 AM

Why_Me said:
FREE SHIPPING FTW!

http://www.directcanada.com/
http://www.directcanada.com/contact/

http://www.bestdirect.ca/
http://www.bestdirect.ca/contact/

This build includes dual factory over clocked gtx 560's in SLI, after market h/s (thermal paste included), Windows 7, etc...

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/234784/SGC-1000-KWN1/... $80.85
Coolermaster Storm Enforcer Mid Tower ATX Case Black 4X5.25EXT 6X3.5INT Front Audio USB *No PS*

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/229778/R4-L2R-20CRAR/... $4.95
Coolermaster R4-L2R-20 120MM Red LED Case Fan 2000RPM 69CFM 19DBA 3/4 Pin

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=15180AC6621&v... $95.99
XFX 750W PRO750W Core Edition Single Rail ATX 12V 62A 24PIN ATX Power Supply 80PLUS Bronze

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/234671/GA-P67X-UD3-B3... $154.79
Gigabyte P67X-UD3-B3 ATX LGA1155 P67 DDR3 3PCI-E1 2PCI 2PCI-E16 CrossFireX/SLI SATA3 USB3.0 Motherboard

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12200BD1527&v... $220.25
Intel Core i5 2500K Quad Core Unlocked Processor LGA1155 3.3GHZ Sandy Bridge 6MB

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11130AC8843&v... $21.68
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus Direct Touch 4 Heatpipe Heatsink AM2 AM3 LGA1366 LGA1155 LGA1156 120MM

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=15380BD5211&v... $76.47
G.SKILL Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 Memory

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=10530DR5213&v... $21.32
ASUS DRW-24B1ST 24X SATA DVD Writer OEM Black

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/234006/ST31000526SV/S... $68.20
Seagate SV35.5 Series 1TB 32MB Cache 7200RPM SATA3 3.5IN Internal Hard Drive

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12980BD8066&v... $239.09 MIR. Savings: $20.00 - $219.09
MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr OC 880MHZ 1GB GDDR5 Dual DVI Mini-HDMI DX11 PCI-E Video Card

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12980BD8066&v... $239.09 MIR. Savings: $20.00 - $219.09
MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr OC 880MHZ 1GB GDDR5 Dual DVI Mini-HDMI DX11 PCI-E Video Card

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/222137/GFC-00599/MICR... $93.79
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64BIT DVD OEM

Total: $1,316.47 CAD *not including mail in rebates, and tax

*Below are reviews/benchmarks of that MSI 560

http://www.guru3d.com/article/msi-n560gtx-ti-twin-froze...

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2011/01/27/ms...

http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/msi_gtx560_twin...

http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?category_id... <----- more pics, specs, and professional reviews of that case

http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=... <----- more pics and specs of that motherboard


:D 

So much for all that other research I did. Problem with that, besides that I'm really gunning for the 650D and already bought the PSU, HDD, and RAM, is the HST which would bring the price up extremely high.

Didn't plan on doing any multi-gpu stuff for a first build, but I'll take a look. The fact that the cards are 1GB also is cause for concern since I've read modded games like Morrowind/Oblivion/Skyrim need more vram to run stable.

Thanks for getting that all together though, I'll read through it.

Anyway could you critique this build I've got now:


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

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

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

GPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=14-127-...

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

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

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

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

It's sitting around $1320 (excluding extra costs or rebates)

Pretty much will it run well?
Or do I need more parts?



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May 31, 2011 5:38:40 AM

Why_Me said:
FREE SHIPPING FTW!

http://www.directcanada.com/
http://www.directcanada.com/contact/

http://www.bestdirect.ca/
http://www.bestdirect.ca/contact/

This build includes dual factory over clocked gtx 560's in SLI, after market h/s (thermal paste included), Windows 7, etc...

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/234784/SGC-1000-KWN1/... $80.85
Coolermaster Storm Enforcer Mid Tower ATX Case Black 4X5.25EXT 6X3.5INT Front Audio USB *No PS*

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/229778/R4-L2R-20CRAR/... $4.95
Coolermaster R4-L2R-20 120MM Red LED Case Fan 2000RPM 69CFM 19DBA 3/4 Pin

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=15180AC6621&v... $95.99
XFX 750W PRO750W Core Edition Single Rail ATX 12V 62A 24PIN ATX Power Supply 80PLUS Bronze

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/234671/GA-P67X-UD3-B3... $154.79
Gigabyte P67X-UD3-B3 ATX LGA1155 P67 DDR3 3PCI-E1 2PCI 2PCI-E16 CrossFireX/SLI SATA3 USB3.0 Motherboard

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12200BD1527&v... $220.25
Intel Core i5 2500K Quad Core Unlocked Processor LGA1155 3.3GHZ Sandy Bridge 6MB

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11130AC8843&v... $21.68
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus Direct Touch 4 Heatpipe Heatsink AM2 AM3 LGA1366 LGA1155 LGA1156 120MM

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=15380BD5211&v... $76.47
G.SKILL Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 Memory

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=10530DR5213&v... $21.32
ASUS DRW-24B1ST 24X SATA DVD Writer OEM Black

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/234006/ST31000526SV/S... $68.20
Seagate SV35.5 Series 1TB 32MB Cache 7200RPM SATA3 3.5IN Internal Hard Drive

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12980BD8066&v... $239.09 MIR. Savings: $20.00 - $219.09
MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr OC 880MHZ 1GB GDDR5 Dual DVI Mini-HDMI DX11 PCI-E Video Card

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12980BD8066&v... $239.09 MIR. Savings: $20.00 - $219.09
MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr OC 880MHZ 1GB GDDR5 Dual DVI Mini-HDMI DX11 PCI-E Video Card

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/222137/GFC-00599/MICR... $93.79
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64BIT DVD OEM

Total: $1,316.47 CAD *not including mail in rebates, and tax

*Below are reviews/benchmarks of that MSI 560

http://www.guru3d.com/article/msi-n560gtx-ti-twin-froze...

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2011/01/27/ms...

http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/msi_gtx560_twin...

http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?category_id... <----- more pics, specs, and professional reviews of that case

http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=... <----- more pics and specs of that motherboard



^ Great post Whyme - I particularly like the CM Enforcer - that is a great case deal for $80. It is really cool that you found Canadian suppliers. Does the HST tax still apply?

Do you like the 560 Ti better than the ATI 6950? They are both very strong cards.

I still think the HX 850 is a better PSU overall but the XFX look like great quality.
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May 31, 2011 5:49:06 AM

The 650D is a high-end case - the entire Corsair Obsidian series is and so it is going to cost more and probably have higher quality components. That being said, I am impressed with the low cost of the enforcer and its included options and according to the reviews it is competent in cooling. The 650D is a nicer case but it also costs $100 more. The 650D is larger (more room to build in) and has more tooless features as well as a hot-swap Sata III drive. It also has less plastic. that being said the enforcer or the 912 which is about $20 cheaper are good cases.
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May 31, 2011 6:20:17 AM

Alas I think I've fallen hard for the 650D. It's all your fault flong (glare)

:D 

It's fine though. The case fits into the budget easily.
Normally I'm pretty frugal, but as it's a first build I'm prepared to pay extra for items that I really want.
And hey I still have around $200 left over at the moment.
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May 31, 2011 6:23:33 AM

Kuzlo said:
Alas I think I've fallen hard for the 650D. It's all your fault flong (glare)

:D 

It's fine though. The case fits into the budget easily.
Normally I'm pretty frugal, but as it's a first build I'm prepared to pay extra for items that I really want.
And hey I still have around $200 left over at the moment.


If you don't like it - I'll buy it from you ha, ha. I so want one after reading about it - its just so damned pretty, it seduces you lol. I have the HAF X but I am thinking about selling it. I probably won't because I want to see how the HAFX performs (it is highly regarded in the computer world) first hand, but my next build................................................
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June 11, 2011 3:49:40 AM

Best answer selected by Kuzlo.
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June 11, 2011 3:54:10 AM

Well it's been awhile. I've got all my parts ordered and should be able to start building this next week.

Before I let this thread die, does anybody have some advice they want to share regarding the actual putting together of the computer?

Thanks everyone for their input.
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