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Looking for feedback on potential new build

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June 4, 2011 1:51:04 AM

Hey dudes -
I'm looking to put together a new PC to replace my aging 6 year old rig.
I'm looking for something for gaming (currently at 1920x1200), productivity, and playing and backing-up Blu-rays (My PC also serves as an HTPC - I've got it hooked up to my 46" LCD TV at the other end of the living room).
The components I'm looking at are:

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz
GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Model F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM
MSI R6950-2PM2D2GD5 Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16
- I've always gone with Nvidia in the past but this is Tom's current rec in my price range and the possibility to unlock to 6970
sounds great; maybe Crossfire down the line?
Intel 320 Series SSDSA2CW120G310 2.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - OEM
- as the OS program drive of course
SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 HD204UI 2TB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
- planning to put 3 of these in a RAID 5 or 10 array
ASUS Black Blu-ray Burner SATA BW-12B1LT LightScribe Support - OEM
Antec Performance One Series P183 V3 Black Aluminum / Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Antec CP-850 850W Continuous Power CPX SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS

Over at newegg this totals to $1625

Any thoughts?
Should I splurge on the i7-2600K?
Is that a decent HDD for RAID? Any recs for Raid 5 vs. 10?
Any thoughts on the motherboard - I was looking for one with video outputs (is it true that that's required to use the iGPU and quicksinq?) and I really don't need one that'll hold 3 video cards.
The board has SATA 3.0 - do you think it'd be worth it to move up to the Intel 510 120 gb drive from the 320? - My understanding is that it won't make any noticeable difference.
I don't have any idea how to choose a PSU - is that one overkill?

I'd really appreaciate any advice anyone can send my way. I've put together 2 computers in the past ~10 years, so I'm really very amateur.

Thanks in advance...
June 4, 2011 2:57:46 AM

Looks reasonable.

Here are some of my thoughts:

Unless you have some apps that can make use of more than 4 cores, I would stick with the 2500K for $100 less.
It will OC to the same levels as the 2600K.

For gaming, that $100 spent on a graphics card would do you much more good.

How much do you really need raid?

The value of raid-1 and it's variants like raid-5 is that you can recover from a drive failure quickly. It is for servers that can not tolerate any interruption.

Modern hard drives have a advertised mean time to failure on the order of 500,000+ hours. That is something like 50 years.

With raid-1 you are protecting yourself from specifically a hard drive failure. Not from other failures such as viruses, operator error,
malware, fire, theft, etc.
For that, you need external backup. If you have external backup, you do not need raid-1

I think the Z68 chip will allow you both quicksync, and overclocking. I am no expert on quicksync. But, since there is very little price difference between P67 and Z68, I would opt for the Z68 based motherboard.

I am an early adopter of the Intel 510 120gb. It works well, but I don't think it is any better in normal desktop use than the X25-M 160gb I had before, and I miss the extra 40gb. I vote to stick with the 320 series.

The PSU is sized almost entirely by the graphics configuration you will have.
A quality 650w unit will power anything up to a GTX580
The Antec is good, but look at XFX for some better priced models.

I would not plan on cf/sli if a single card can do the job. A single 6950/70 or GTX560ti/GTX570 will run everything well at 1080P.
If you anticipate using triple monitor surround gaming, or a 2560 x 1600 monitor, then sli/cf may be appropriate.
They are in the same performance tier. Dont anguish over minor differences.
Personally, I like the ones with a direct exhaust cooler like the GTX570. Others like the msi 6950 have nice coolers for an open testbed, but installed in a case, they heat up both the cpu and the vga air. Not good.
If the future should demand more, then just sell the card and get the next best thing.

I would get an aftermarket cooler if you will OC. Nothing expensive; most with a 120mm fan will be reasonably efficient and quiet. CM hiper 212 for example.
June 4, 2011 3:14:09 AM

wruzic1 said:
Hey dudes -
I'm looking to put together a new PC to replace my aging 6 year old rig.
I'm looking for something for gaming (currently at 1920x1200), productivity, and playing and backing-up Blu-rays.
The components I'm looking at are:

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz
GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Model F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM
MSI R6950-2PM2D2GD5 Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16
- I've always gone with Nvidia in the past but this is Tom's current rec in my price range and the possibility to unlock to 6970
sounds great; maybe Crossfire down the line?
Intel 320 Series SSDSA2CW120G310 2.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - OEM
- as the OS program drive of course
SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 HD204UI 2TB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
- planning to put 3 of these in a RAID 5 or 10 array
ASUS Black Blu-ray Burner SATA BW-12B1LT LightScribe Support - OEM
Antec Performance One Series P183 V3 Black Aluminum / Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Antec CP-850 850W Continuous Power CPX SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS

Over at newegg this totals to $1625

Any thoughts?
Should I splurge on the i7-2600K?
Is that a decent HDD for RAID? Any recs for Raid 5 vs. 10?
Any thoughts on the motherboard - I was looking for one with video outputs (is it true that that's required to use the iGPU and quicksinq?) and I really don't need one that'll hold 3 video cards.
The board has SATA 3.0 - do you think it'd be worth it to move up to the Intel 510 120 gb drive from the 320? - My understanding is that it won't make any noticeable difference.
I don't have any idea how to choose a PSU - is that one overkill?

I'd really appreaciate any advice anyone can send my way. I've put together 2 computers in the past ~10 years, so I'm really very amateur.

Thanks in advance...

The 2500K is the premo gaming CPU. I wouldn't go withthe 2600K unless you have spreadsheet modeling, design or higher CPU needs.

With the SSD you are getting lots of speed. Why do you want to raid? For speed? If so you will not get any increase over the SSD. If you're planning to raid for data redundancy remember that you still need to back up. If you do a raid 5 or 10 you should stick with the same manufacturer and HDD model. If you look at user ratings at newegg you will see that WD is the best rated. This is not to diss Samsung, but I'd go with the most reliable OEM in setting up a raid.

I'd recommend the ASRock Z68 Extreme4 if you are going Z68, or the ASRock P67 Extreme4 if you don't do extensive video transcoding. ASRock is the features/price champ for lower and mid end mobos. Unless you need a high end board with PCIE 16 X 16 in Xfire/SLI this class will do.

The PSU is more than you need for a single GPU, but if you ever go to Xfire/SLI it is a good idea.

Antec makes good cases, but I really like Corsair's 600 T cases. They are well cooled, quiet, have good cable management and toolless construction (except for screwing the mobo to the case).
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June 4, 2011 3:32:46 AM

geofelt said:
Looks reasonable.


I would not plan on cf/sli if a single card can do the job. A single 6950/70 or GTX560ti/GTX570 will run everything well at 1080P.
If you anticipate using triple monitor surround gaming, or a 2560 x 1600 monitor, then sli/cf may be appropriate.
They are in the same performance tier. Dont anguish over minor differences.
Personally, I like the ones with a direct exhaust cooler like the GTX570. Others like the msi 6950 have nice coolers for an open testbed, but installed in a case, they heat up both the cpu and the vga air. Not good.
If the future should demand more, then just sell the card and get the next best thing.




I agree with all of your advice except the GPU cooling. The shrouded GPUs are poorly cooled. Using a shroud to push air through a small aperture is like pissing through a pin hole: you get lots of warm splash back. Better cooled cards like the twin frozer, and tornado designs cool well because they let the case do its job: exhaust the heat. I took the POS shroud off my GTX 470 and replaced it with the Zalman 3000VF and the GPU temps went down 30 C under load and 20 C at idle. A well ventillated case will push all that heat away, while a shroud keeps it over the GPU like a convection oven. My tests under furmark showed the same GTX 470 going to overheat (I limited it to save the GPU) at 105 C within 15 mins with the shroud, and pushed to 85 C after an hour with the Zalman 3000VF. Intensive gaming shows the 30 C decrease above after an hour. Sorry to spoil your theory, but real world tests show the shroud to be an engineering mistake made to bury your GPU.
June 4, 2011 3:53:30 AM

Thanks for all the input guys

- as far as RAID my interest is for data redundancy. Long ago I had a drive fail and it was a huge pain in the ass. I've had a RAID 5 array for a couple years now (3 1TB drives), and while it does blue screen from time to time (I'm hoping that problem will not occur with my OS on a separate non-RAIDed drive) and I've had 2 drives fail (thanks to WD sabotaging their consumer drives so they can charge $100 more for "raid edition" - haven't had a problem after migrating over to Seagate) recovery was much less painful. I'm too lazy to back up all but my most important stuff so I've liked the extra bit of safety that the RAID gives.
June 4, 2011 2:19:27 PM

One caution: if your HDD becomes infected with malware it replicates on the raid. The one advantage of a good backup routine is that you have a defiinte restore point (and if you have more than one disk image you will have one that is pre-malware). While raid takes the pain out of redundency, so too do the automatic system backups that you can set up in Windows. Plus, if you backup to a dedicated backup drive, you have more storage overall.

But "chacon a son gout."
!