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~$1000 z68/2500k w/o Monitor budget build.

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June 2, 2011 4:37:48 PM

Hello everyone,

First time system builder here, I'm testing the waters with this moderate budget for a new PC. I do have a basic idea of what I want, I'm looking to build a system with Z68 chipset (looking at the UD4 gigabyte mobo), 2500k processor and 560 Ti GPU. I already have a new SSD that I can use as the boot drive.

I have a couple of questions.

1. with the new z68s SSD caching technology, will I be able to use a 2nd SSD just to cache paired with a 1TB HDD? (I'm not sure if the caching will work if the HDD isnt the boot drive, I do not want to use an HDD as the boot drive as I plan on using a 120gb SSD that I already have for that purpose, but I'm willing to pair up a dedicated 40GB SSD in the future for just caching) Basically I want to boost the performance of the HDD without sacrificing boot performance of an SSD (from what I understand even with the caching the SSDs are still faster)

2. I'm looking at a computer case at an affordable price with USB 3 front panel ports? I was going to go with the HAF 912 but I'm OK with spending an extra 50-75 bucks for a case with front panel USB/E-SATA if possible.

3. I was planing on getting one of those pre configured liquid cooling systems like the H2O 620, I don't want to go through the hassle of configuring my own water cooling nor do I want to spend a ton of money on it. Will I get better performance out of air coolers in the 50-70 dollar price range? Considering this PC is likely going to get tucked under my desk where room for air is limited at best.

Please post any suggestion for Mobo/RAM/case/cpu cooler/HDD suggestions. Thank you.
June 2, 2011 5:23:42 PM

I dont know what youd be doing with your HDD, but i really think youre going to be fine without an SSD cache. On the other hand, im not 100% sure, but from what I understand, you should be able to select any one HDD on your system to accelerate (ive read nothing that says it has to be the boot drive).

the haf X and haf 932 now both have USB 3.0 and esata.
The haf 922 has esata, and you can add a usb 3.0 front bay that will hold 2 2.5" ssds (also comes with asrock extreme4 mobos). The Antec 902 and CM Storm Enforcer have usb3.0 but no esata.

The scythe mugen is a very quiet and powerful air cooler for only $40. The editors use it to OC an i7-2600k to 4.8ghz in the March $2000 system builder marathon:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-sandy-bridge-...
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June 2, 2011 6:33:37 PM

shaanujaanu said:
Hello everyone,

First time system builder here, I'm testing the waters with this moderate budget for a new PC. I do have a basic idea of what I want, I'm looking to build a system with Z68 chipset (looking at the UD4 gigabyte mobo), 2500k processor and 560 Ti GPU. I already have a new SSD that I can use as the boot drive.

I have a couple of questions.

1. with the new z68s SSD caching technology, will I be able to use a 2nd SSD just to cache paired with a 1TB HDD? (I'm not sure if the caching will work if the HDD isnt the boot drive, I do not want to use an HDD as the boot drive as I plan on using a 120gb SSD that I already have for that purpose, but I'm willing to pair up a dedicated 40GB SSD in the future for just caching) Basically I want to boost the performance of the HDD without sacrificing boot performance of an SSD (from what I understand even with the caching the SSDs are still faster)

2. I'm looking at a computer case at an affordable price with USB 3 front panel ports? I was going to go with the HAF 912 but I'm OK with spending an extra 50-75 bucks for a case with front panel USB/E-SATA if possible.

3. I was planing on getting one of those pre configured liquid cooling systems like the H2O 620, I don't want to go through the hassle of configuring my own water cooling nor do I want to spend a ton of money on it. Will I get better performance out of air coolers in the 50-70 dollar price range? Considering this PC is likely going to get tucked under my desk where room for air is limited at best.

Please post any suggestion for Mobo/RAM/case/cpu cooler/HDD suggestions. Thank you.


I am just completing my build -- the Antec H20 620 is being delivered today. Much of what I have built is within your specs and I believe that my experience can be helpful.

I decided on the i5 2500K for OC'ing, gaming and HTPC uses.

After much hemming and hawing I went with the ASRock P67 Extreme6 mobo. The Z68 Extreme4 was very tempting, but my use would not see a great benefit by the transcoding of Virtu. The disk caching, IMO, is a very niche product. It is useful for faster access to databases, large apps or data on HDDs, but provides no great boost to my performance goals. I went with the Extreme6 because of the 6 SATA3 ports, 4 SATA2 ports, 4 USB 3.0, 4 USB 2.0 and dual LAN. It has proven to be a solid choice, so far. It also has an e-SATA port shared with the SATA 3.0 (you have either 6 SATA 3.0 or 5 SATA3.0 & 1 e-SATA).

I went with 8 GB of Corsair XMS RAM, latency 9. I know that it is not the fastest, but RAM is almost never the bottleneck, and I had a limited budget. You may want to consider faster RAM with less latency, but there is a diminishing return with speedier RAM. If you have budget limitations you may not need or even notice the microseconds saved.

I decided on the Corsair 600 T case because of its styling, easy installation (it is virtually toolless), cooling and cable management. It has been nothing but a pleasure to work with. I did mod it out, replacing one 200 mm fan (at the top) with two 120 mm (Xigmatech Crystal White LED) fans. This was easy and the external fan controller allows me to adjust all the case fans between "silent" and "overclocked" on the fly. It has an external USB 3.0, firewire & 4 USB 2.0 ports on the front. The USB 3.0 has to be cabled from the rear (because of the configuration of the mobo) but all the cabling is hidden.

I wanted to get the best mid level PSU I could afford, and decided to pull the trigger on the Corsair 650W TX when I caught it on sale. I had not intended to SLI, but now I realize that I may come to regret not getting a higher wattage unit. Still it is more than enought for my current rig.

I bought a used GTX 470 on eBay on the cheap. I modded it out with the aftermarket Zalman 3000VF cooler, and it is a monster that runs quiet and cool (37 C at idle and under 65 C at stress). Its' fan is controlled by the mobo so I can adjust it on the fly if I am gaming.

Regarding your SSD, I am doubtful that you will see improvement from a SSD cache of your HDD. Most of your software calls will come from your boot SSD. I have a Crucial 128 C300 as my boot and the boot up takes about 10 seconds. I am running a WD 640 GB (with 64 MB RAM cache) on a SATA 3.0 port. The bottleneck for data transfer to the HDD seems to be the read/write speed of the media as there is pleanty of cache. If you are doing a lot of data transfers an SSD cache might help, but for normal uses I think that it is superfluent.

As I said above FedEx is delivering the CPU cooler (the Antec H20 620) today, and I'll let you know about its installation.

I hope this has some use to you.

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June 3, 2011 12:18:51 AM

OK, the Antec H20 620 arrived and was installed. I am now stress testing the rig with SiSoft Sandra and so far the temperatures barely budge with the fan and pump operating at about 50%. It is quiet too.

I am using a 120 mm Ximatech fan and plan to put the Antec 120 as a pusher fan when I get some longer screws.

Shaanu, I can confiirm that all the parts of this rig come together for a quiet, powerful rig that can play virtually any game on high (if not ultra high) settings.

One caution about the closed loop or even a liquid cooled system: they all have to breath. The liquid is cooled by a radiator/fan combo. They are quieter than air cooled,, but still need air for cooling.
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June 3, 2011 1:24:38 AM

Well check out my build guide in my siggy for $1000.

SSD Caching is defiantly not needed, and Z68 isn't either. I personally think this because a few apps on the SSD (60gb) would be fine. Including Windows since you're only using it as a boot drive. Smart Cache is kind of meh, but you know, if you feel the need to I suggest getting the Z68 GA-Z68X-UD3P
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June 3, 2011 1:45:06 AM

The Z68 chipset has some advantages over the P67: it can utilize the native iGPU in the Sandybridge CPU, it allows for Virtu to switch between the iGPU and discrete GPU card for video encoding and it can cache a HDD to a small SSD for performance improvement of the HDD.

If that model of the Z68 doesn't have the dvi or hdmi outputs on board then I have heard that it doesn't have Virtu. So you might save a few $$ by going with the P67. I looked at your picture and it doesn't seem to have the outputs, so you will not get Virtu with it.

I confirmed that it doesn't have the video outputs. You should check out if Virtu is included.
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June 3, 2011 2:04:38 AM

^ Doesn't look like OP needs the Virtu, as great as that is, and I don't think the SSD Cache really is that great. I think if OP is only using it as a boot drive, a small SSD is fine+HDD.
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June 3, 2011 9:45:06 AM

aznshinobi said:
^ Doesn't look like OP needs the Virtu, as great as that is, and I don't think the SSD Cache really is that great. I think if OP is only using it as a boot drive, a small SSD is fine+HDD.

I agree there will be little if any benefit from a HDD disk cache if he uses the 128 GB SSD as his boot drive. Because it is only for storage it will mater little, unless he is using large databases or big spreadsheets or the like.
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June 3, 2011 11:22:51 AM

thanks for the reply guys, I'll be ordering my parts on monday and I really need a good PSU that can support a 2500k, 560 Ti twin frozr and the SSD/HDs.

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