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Sandy Bridge Gaming Rig - Final Check In

Last response: in Systems
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June 14, 2011 9:47:45 PM

This rig will be my first ever build so I am being extra cautious selecting components (aside from also being just a tad bit nervous I'm going to screw this one up). I will be using this rig primarily as my gaming rig. I've gotten some great feedback which I've incorporated into my build and could use one final nod of approval or overall comments before I pull the trigger this week.

My build ($1800 budget, excluding OS)

CPU: Core i5 2500K
Heatsink: Antec Kuhler H2O Water Cooler
TIM: MASSCOOL G751 Shin Etsu TIM
MB: GIGABYTE GA-Z68MX
MEM: G.Skill Ripjaw X Series 8GB DDR3 1600
GPU: XFX Radeon HD 6970 2GB
Case: NZXT Phantom (Black)
PS: Corsair HX Series 650W
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 7200RPM
SSD: Crucial M4 128GB
DVD R/W: ASUS DVD-RW
Monitor: Dell Ultrasharp U23H11 1920x1080
Keyboard: RAZER Arctosa Silver Keyboard
Mouse: RAZER Deathadder Gaming Mouse

TOTAL: $1762.97 (including shipping, combo deal discounts, instant savings, excluding around $60 in rebates)

Lastly, if anyone has some good guides on guides to building a PC, as well as how to set my BIOS after I put it together, it would be greatly appreciated!

Any thoughts? Thanks!
June 15, 2011 2:19:36 AM

bump for response. thanks!
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June 15, 2011 3:37:35 PM

You need to go to a 750W (or greater) PSU if you ever plan to Xfire/SLI. I'd suggest an 850W PSU for headroom. If you don't plan to use multiple GPUs this is a good quality rig.

I looked at the NXT case and suspect it is a little loud. It doesn't have top exhaust so your plan to use the Antec H20 will have to exhaust the entire case. I'd suggest that you look at this case as an alternative:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The top exhaust fan doesn't have to be shared with the radiator. I modded my case out with two Xigmatec 120 mm fans at the top to increase exhaust my 50-60 cfm over the Corsair off-the-shelf 200 mm top fan.
I also modded the side panels with noise dampening foam and my rig runs both quiet and cool. With the radiator exhausiting out the back my idle temps run CPU 37 C, mobo 29 C, GPU 31 C; load temps CPU 51 C, mobo 40 C, GPU 57 C.

BTW my GTX 470 GPU (premod) runs as hot or hotter than your 6970. I'd suggest a multiple fan version of the 6970 for better temperature management.

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a b 4 Gaming
June 15, 2011 4:00:40 PM

To help you find the low end of the power supply that you need take a look at this tool http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp. Now as far overclocking the Intel® Core™ i7-2600K, really this processor runs cool. So with good ventalation and a good air cooler can easly hit well over 4GHz 24/7.

Christian Wood
Intel Enthusiast Team
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June 15, 2011 4:33:57 PM

thanks everyone for the feedback/advice.

@Chesteracorgi, I believe that the NZXT does have a top 200mm LED exhaust fan, in addition to the 120mm rear exhaust (which I planned to use to cool the Antec radiator). Is that not enough for a single GPU rig (I don't plan to XFire).

Also, just realized that I had a micro ATX mb in my build, so switched to the following:
GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H ($169.99)

It did get me thinking, however, whether my MB is a bit of overkill. Am I better off with one of the following instead?
GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3 ($144.99)
GIGABYTE GA-Z68A-D3H ($129.99)

I don't have any eSATA devices, and do I really need HDMI, DVI, or Display port on my MB? I could then shift the funds to my GPU and get the "non-reference" HD 6970. Admittedly, I am not sure what the value of a non-reference GPU is, nor do I know how to spot one when I see it. I could also shift the funds to additional cooling (another 200mm top exchaust fan, for example).

SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6970 2GB ($359.99)

Thoughts?
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June 15, 2011 8:01:48 PM

Also, just saw that the Dell U2311H is on sale for $249, good deal at that price?
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June 16, 2011 3:58:05 AM

guinness74 said:
thanks everyone for the feedback/advice.

@Chesteracorgi, I believe that the NZXT does have a top 200mm LED exhaust fan, in addition to the 120mm rear exhaust (which I planned to use to cool the Antec radiator). Is that not enough for a single GPU rig (I don't plan to XFire).

Also, just realized that I had a micro ATX mb in my build, so switched to the following:
GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H ($169.99)

It did get me thinking, however, whether my MB is a bit of overkill. Am I better off with one of the following instead?
GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3 ($144.99)
GIGABYTE GA-Z68A-D3H ($129.99)

I don't have any eSATA devices, and do I really need HDMI, DVI, or Display port on my MB? I could then shift the funds to my GPU and get the "non-reference" HD 6970. Admittedly, I am not sure what the value of a non-reference GPU is, nor do I know how to spot one when I see it. I could also shift the funds to additional cooling (another 200mm top exchaust fan, for example).

SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6970 2GB ($359.99)

Thoughts?

The case I saw spec'd out didn't show a top fan. I looked at the specs and it appears to have one, but not in its pictures. I stand corrected.

Re. your mobo, it depends on your future expansion, If you need the extra ports and features it is cheaper to pay $20 or $40 to get them now than replace the mobo later.

Re. non-reference GPU: all GPUs are variants on the reference design. The major variant is cooling. I'd recommend a well cooled GPU and OC it myself rather than take a factory OC. The factory OCs are achievable by using something like MSI Afterburner software. And the user has control.
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