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Please help look over a new all-purpose build ~$1,000

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June 28, 2011 3:31:21 PM

Hello All--

I will be attempting my first build next week, and I am an absolute novice at this, so any help will be appreciated. I honestly haven't done as much research as I usually do, because this needs to happen soon, so I am open to suggestions for replacements/improvements, etc...

I have intentionally somewhat overpowered the system, because we tend to keep computers for a very long time, upgrading components, etc... to squeeze more life out of our computers. The computer whose slow and painful death necessitates this purchase is a 2002 Sony VAIO, if that gives you any idea. So I tend to think in terms of upgrade paths, leaving a little wiggle room to add components/RAM/whatever will keep the PC functioning for a little longer.


Approximate Purchase Date: this week or next

Budget Range: $1000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Research, Light Graphics Work, Gaming, Who knows?

Parts Not Required: monitor -- really need everything else, but OS, productivity software, keyboard not included in budget.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com for convenience, but I'm open to other reputable online sources

Country of Origin: US

Parts Preferences: Intel Sandy Bridge and compatible mobos. Stability and reliability are important, so I tend to prefer known reliable brands for other components

Overclocking: Probably, but not excessively -- will trade some performance for longevity

SLI or Crossfire: I want the capability to upgrade when I can afford a second card

Monitor Resolution: I honestly don't know - have a good sized ASUS monitor I haven't even used because I don't think my current system can drive it.

Additional Comments:
Stability and longevity are the two criteria most important to me. As I noted above, we tend to keep computers longer than most, upgrading components/memory, etc... regularly, so I want to build a system that will allow me to do that for several years at least. (No, I don't expect to get nine years out of this one, but I don't buy new systems every couple of years). Nothing is "future proof" -- technology moves too fast, but I'd like to at least be "future sensitive," able to upgrade this build for a while and maybe reuse components on the next build.

I'm right at the top end of my budget, so if anyone has suggestions to cut down the cost of the rig without compromising the longevity and essential nature of the build, I'd appreciate them.

Other important considerations: Energy use, noise (not critical, but I hate really loud pcs).

On to the build:
I tried to use the code from the "system builder" thread to make this easier to read, with comments or questions inserted after the component when I have them.

It's better than a VAIO
Processor: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 - $220

So the 2500 is probably more processor than I need but I like the "unlocked" aspect of the CPU, which will allow me to overclock in the future - avoiding the need for a CPU upgrade for longer. It's also only $30 more than the 2400, and I don't want to be kicking myself in a year or two for not spending $30 now.

Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard -- $190

This one gave me the most trouble. I don't speak enough tech to understand all the benchmarks, etc..., but the Z series seemed more future-compliant than the P or H series (USB 3.0, etc...) and this board got the Tom's recommendation. I don't anticipate using the integrated graphics or a SSD (at least not soon), but I went with what seemed likely to become the new standard. Correct me if I'm wrong.

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) -- $85 - $15 Coupon -- $70

Again, this may be overpowered, but it seems like a good price, and I've read (somewhere) that 4 gb gets kind of tight on the sandy bridge. Buying 8 now seems like it will postpone the need to upgrade by a few months at least.

Graphics Card: MSI R6950 Twin Frozr II Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity -- $280

I chose this card for good performance, and I've read good things about operating temp and noise with the Twin Frozr II. I've also always believed you sink your money in the CPU, mobo, and GPU - in that order.

Hard Drive: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive -- $65

I probably don't need this much space -- this might be a good place to save a few $$$.

Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 Midtower Case - $60

Power Supply: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply -- $90- $9 coupon = $81

Is this enough power? Is it enough power to handle some upgrades without requiring a new PSU?

Cooling: Cooler Master Hyper N 520 92 mm CPU Cooler - $30

DVD Burner: LiteON DVD Burner -- $21

Total System Cost (with discounts, but not MIRs): $1,015 (more or less)

I would love to bring this number down by about $65, but I'm not sure where.

Thanks in advance -- this community is great!

-- Chris

More about : purpose build 000

June 28, 2011 5:21:47 PM

Your build looks good.

I only have 2 suggestions.

1. Go with a 750w PSU if you can afford it. a 650w can handle a single 6950 no problem but it would get dicey if you ever wanted to add a second. (Make sure you go with, in no particular order, an Antec, Corsair, PC Power and Cooling, Seasonic, or XFX. They are the best brands)

2. Go for the Coolermaster Hyper 212+ instead. It's about $30-$35 (from amazon) and is probably the best bang-for-buck cooler around.

And that's really it. You might be able to save a few ($15-$30) bucks by getting a cheaper Mobo, but over the life of the machine you will probably appreciate the extra features on that one. Plus, if you do any video encoding at all the Z68 chipset is totally worth it (look up QuickSync if you don't know why). Note: If you do go for a cheaper Mobo make sure it has two PCI-e x16 slots that will run in 8x/8x. Without that feature you won't be able to add a second video card in the future.

The only way I could see to shave off more money is to go with a weaker video card or CPU but you'd sacrifice a lot of performance.

Don't forget to overclock!
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June 28, 2011 5:51:49 PM

Looks nice, but heres an idea to shave off ~$65

Get this Gigabyte board, would work the same if you don't OC like crazy and offers the same features. (-$60)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The same HDD for $5 less on amazon (-$5)
http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Spinpoint-3-5-Inch-Intern...

750W is nice, but you can run a pair of unlocked 6950s on a 650W fine.
Heres something to consider: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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June 28, 2011 6:06:15 PM

While Timop is correct that you can run two 6950s on a 650w PSU it is the very lowest wattage I would consider. Add in the fact that you hold computers for so long... A little extra breathing room wouldn't be a bad idea.

That PSU he recommended might be something to consider. I have never heard of that "LEPA" brand but I recognize his name from the forums and he definitely knows what he's talking about. If he says it's a good PSU it probably is.
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June 28, 2011 6:36:01 PM

Thanks, steve and timop.

I checked on the LEPA brand, and it's apparently enermax's "house brand" -- got generally good reviews, so I'll probably make that change. I like the "gold" certification, too. Does 700W give some head room?

And thanks to both for the amazon heads-ups on price. Will have to price match there and td before I buy.
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June 28, 2011 7:00:24 PM

ceejaysquared said:
Thanks, steve and timop.

I checked on the LEPA brand, and it's apparently enermax's "house brand" -- got generally good reviews, so I'll probably make that change. I like the "gold" certification, too. Does 700W give some head room?

And thanks to both for the amazon heads-ups on price. Will have to price match there and td before I buy.

A pair of unlocked 6950s use about 500W on full load, with the 2500K using 100W, add in another ~50W for the chipset/HDD/fans the system would use 650W on maximum load (ie. if you run both prime95 and Furmark together) giving it at least ~50W headroom with 700W and much more while gaming.

What state do you live in? it newegg charges you taxes, NCIX and tigerdirect is worth looking at too, tigerdirect pricematches too.
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June 28, 2011 7:48:31 PM

Thanks for the feedback.

I'm in Virginia.

I'm finding a lot of stuff on Amazon (comparable price with newegg on the CPU), and I have a prime membership, so no shipping. I'll check NCIX (which I didn't know) and TD, thanks.

I'll wait and see if this thread gets any more replies, then I'll probably repost the build with corrections.

Thanks again.

Chri
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June 29, 2011 12:18:56 AM

Another question for timop or steve.

Does the gigabyte board support two cards?

I don't see the two pci-e slots at x16 mentioned by steve, below
Quote:
Note: If you do go for a cheaper Mobo make sure it has two PCI-e x16 slots that will run in 8x/8x. Without that feature you won't be able to add a second video card in the future.


Sadly, I'm not even sure where to look for this information, so I can't check it myself.
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June 29, 2011 12:36:37 AM

The gigabyte supports X8/X8
Quote:
3 (x16, x8, x4)


and on the gigabyte website:
Quote:
1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
* For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16 slot.
1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8)
* The PCIEX8 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16 slot. When the PCIEX8 slot is populated, the PCIEX16 slot will operate at up to x8 mode.
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June 29, 2011 1:12:44 AM

Thank you, Timop. Wasn't sure if the first slot could "scale down."
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June 29, 2011 1:53:15 PM

If you are near Fairfax you can save about $25 by picking up your CPU at Microcenter.
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June 29, 2011 2:26:59 PM

Thanks, Steve and timaop!

Great advice, I've made the changes and pulled the trigger. Will let you know how it works. Thanks for the time!
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June 29, 2011 2:27:22 PM

Best answer selected by ceejaysquared.
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June 29, 2011 2:39:57 PM

Good luck bro! Enjyo your new system.
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