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I5-2500K - First Build ($700-$800)

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June 7, 2011 4:40:19 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: 2-3 weeks(I'm not in a huge rush and want to make sure I get it right)

Budget Range: ($700-$800) CAD

System Usage from Most to Least Important: (Illustrator/Photoshop, MS Office, Internet etc - NO GAMING)

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.ca, canadacomputers.com, directcanada.com

Country of Origin: Canada

Parts Preferences: Leaning toward an Intel (i5-2500k) based system

Overclocking: Possibly just to 'play around' in the future

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050 - Currently using a 20" Viewsonic

Additional Comments: Hi all,

I've decided to take the leap and try to build my own pc for the first time! <noob alert>

First, after much reading I'm leaning toward the i5-2500k as it seems to be the a highly recommended CPU which should provide some longevity and allow me to play around with OCing down the road should I choose to.

One major point of confusion is with the motherboard choice. With absolutely no gaming requirement and a limited budget I was under the impression that I could get away with no discreet GPU if I go with a Z68 motherboard?

I've been back and forth between a H67/2400 (eliminating the OC option and HD3000) and a P67/2500K with some GPU, vs the newer Z68 option which seems (to me) to be the best of both worlds, though I don't see much agreement on this issue.

Here are some initial selections:

Motherboard: ASRock Z68 PRO3 @ 149.99

Processor: INTEL Core i5-2500K (BX80623I52500K) @ $219.99

Case: Can't decide among three options:

COOLER MASTER Elite 430 @ $44.99
OR
COOLER MASTER HAF 912 @ $54.99
OR
ANTEC THREE HUNDRED @ $59.99

Power Supply: OCZ ModXStream Pro 500W Modular High Performance Power Supply @ $49.99 After Rebate

Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL @ $87.49

Graphics Card: NONE???

HDD Storage: X2 (at least) - something reliable

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB @ $74.99
OR
Seagate Barracuda (ST31000524AS) 7200.12 SATA3 6.0Gb/s 1000GB (1TB) 32MB Cache @ $59.99

Operating System: MICROSOFT Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition @ $99.99

I just realized I'll also need a new DVD drive as well but I assume they are all pretty standard these days?

Until I decide to OC, would I need a CPU fan or extra case fans?

*Note - I have listed the best pricing I found at the 3 sites listed above, but made all links from newegg.ca for consistency

A few other notes:


After recently suffering a hard drive failure and some data loss, I would also like to establish a proper backup system to avoid this issue going forward. Stability and data security are top considerations over speed, noise etc as this will be used for both personal and business use (home office).

With that in mind I'm considering a RAID 1 setup with some sort of external HD backup system - any recommendations for a proper setup?

Over the past couple of weeks I've learned a lot reading the wealth of information here and I very much appreciate any and all feedback, thank you!

J

More about : 2500k build 700 800

June 7, 2011 4:55:41 PM

The Intel® Core™ i5-2500K does come with a HSF (heatsink/fan) that is fine for running at stock speeds, but if you are going to start to overclock the Intel Core i5-2500K you are going to want to add a good 3rd party HSF. On the low end the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ has a good reputation while on the upper end of the air coolers the Noctua NH-D14 has been rated very well. So there is a whole lot of flexibility for you to choice from that will fit your needs.

As far as backup and recovery make sure you pick up 2 of the same HDDs and use the on board software RAID to set up a RAID 1 (mirror) that way everything that is on 1 drive will be copied onto the second. As far as hard drives I really like the WD 1TB SATA III drive right now. FYI if you have a RAID set up you can’t use the SSD caching.

Christian Wood
Intel Enthusiast Team
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June 7, 2011 5:46:26 PM

You are bumping up against your spending limit, but a Z68 now (with a delayed buy of a GPU Card) and the 2500K will get your build started and running.

I would not recommend a RAID 1 array because you are halving the storage. A good backup schedule in Windows 7 will be sufficient and give you a lot more storage. If you set up disk imaging on a regular basis and produce a recovery disk you will preserve a lot more useful storage and reap the same benefits.

One thing that most people don't consider when they propose a RAID 1 is that you still have to create backups. If you are the victim of malware it replicates to the RAID backup and can leave you SOL. RAID arrays are better suited to enterprise computers which need physical disk redundancy. A RAID 1 array protects against disk failure, but not against malware infections.

The setup for disk imaging and system recovery disks is both simple and very reliable. I think that this is a better option for you, but chacon a son gout.

BTW a new DVD RW drive runs about $20, but if you want BluRay RW look to spend at least $80.

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June 7, 2011 7:24:08 PM

chesteracorgi said:

I would not recommend a RAID 1 array because you are halving the storage. A good backup schedule in Windows 7 will be sufficient and give you a lot more storage. If you set up disk imaging on a regular basis and produce a recovery disk you will preserve a lot more useful storage and reap the same benefits.

One thing that most people don't consider when they propose a RAID 1 is that you still have to create backups. If you are the victim of malware it replicates to the RAID backup and can leave you SOL. RAID arrays are better suited to enterprise computers which need physical disk redundancy. A RAID 1 array protects against disk failure, but not against malware infections.


+1.

I have an external drive that I backup my system on and several flash drives I use for things I consider "really" important.

Now to address the components of your build....

The F3s are the #1 choice for speed and reliability, however they are considerably more expensive in Canada. Older Seagate drives had problems, but the 7200.12 drives have favorable reviews so I think the cost savings are worth it.

I would change out that OCZ PSU for a higher-quality unit. This Antec Earthwatts 380D is a better bet and only costs $44. It will be plenty of power for the build you outlined above and will allow the use of a discrete GPU that takes one 6-pin PCIe plug. Just take note that it doesn't come with a power cord, so you will have to recycle one or pick one up for cheap.

I think Z68 is the way to go for you...you will be able to OC that CPU and use the HD 3000 graphics. However, I would go with a board that has Lucid Virtu in case you decide to add a discrete GPU later. This Gigabyte Z68A-D3H board will work well for $122.

As for the case, all three will serve you well, but the HAF will offer the best cable management. I own one and can attest to the quality and ease of building in it.

The rest of the build looks good. You can go without an aftermarket cooler at this point and you should be able to OC to 4.0GHz without a problem. You can always add one later if you want to go higher than that. Hope this helps.
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June 7, 2011 10:45:11 PM

@IntelEnthusiast: Thanks for the quick response!

I was not aware of the SSH cashing issue so thanks for pointing that out. Regarding the WD drives, they are this Caviar Black version, correct?

@Chesteracorgi: You are absolutely correct, I have reconsidered the Raid1 idea and will work out a basic image/backup system instead.

@nd_hunter: Great info, thanks it helps a lot!

I double-checked and the ASRock board above does support Lucid Virtu as well. The Gigabit board is cheaper but is it as good?

Would you say the OZC PSU is poor quality? I found a nice review of it here and thought it looked like a really great deal for the price. I like the modular aspect of it as well but will certainly consider the Antec unit.

@MGF Derp: Thanks, however I'm in Canada and I don't think that bundle is available to me here.


Thanks for all of the input so far, please keep it coming! :) 
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June 8, 2011 1:38:22 PM

Modular PSUs are nice, no doubt about that. However OCZ is commonly referred to as a 2nd tier brand, while Antec, XFX, Corsair, and Seasonic are premium brands.

It looks like the G'byte board offers more USB 2.0 ports and more PCIe x16 slots, which probably won't matter to you. It also has a 3-year warranty whereas the ASRock offers a 1-year warranty. As far as being a better board, who knows. I think the lower price and better warranty would be enough for me to go with the G'byte board.
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