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First Time PC Build (For Graphics work, Gaming, Game Design)

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June 29, 2011 6:27:44 AM

I am a student and longtime computer user who is enthusiastically planning on building a PC for the very first time. In the past, I performed upgrades on PC’s including graphics cards and RAM. With respect to my knowledge of hardware, I am fairly rusty and have not kept up with hardware developments in the PC world until recently. Nonetheless, building a PC from scratch has been a dream project of mine as a result of the educational experience and other advantages that can be obtained. I’m a learner and am coming to you for your advice, assistance, and suggestions in being able to pick the right parts, which I have been attempting to research.

Approximate Purchase Date: This Summer is highly preferable. If it determined that it is best to wait for Sandy Bridge-E, I am fairly flexible in pushing back the purchase date to later in the year.

Budget Range: A local computer shop that I spoke with claimed for what I want to do, I am looking a price of at least $2000 not including the monitor. This is likely going to be as high as I will be allowed to go with regards to cost (not including the monitor).

System Usage: Gaming/game design, graphic design (including Adobe CS applications such as Photoshop & Illustrator), 2D/3D animation, Programming, regular schoolwork, and general entertainment (music, films etc.).

Parts Not Required: Speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com

Country of Origin: United States

Parts Preferences: The evidence is clearly pointing to Intel CPUs for this PC. I am also a little more comfortable with Intel's selection. I know little about AMDs CPUs and it is highly unlikely that I would pick AMD anyways. I do not have any brand preference with the other parts.

Overclocking: This may be a compelling project to try at some point in the future. The prospect of it happening though is unlikely.

SLI or Crossfire: I plan on starting with a single graphics card and later setting up a multi-graphics card setup.

Monitor Resolution: I am looking at a minimum resolution of a least 1920x1200. I am willing to go to a maximum of 2560x1440 if I am allowed to purchase a monitor that offers that high of a resolution.

Additional Comments: The computer system that I am looking for must be able to comfortably play bleeding-edge games at rock solid frame rates and their complete visual glory. I am a bit concerned about the immanent arrival of Sandy Bridge-E and PCI-Express 3.0 and if I may want or require these technologies. I also need some advice in understanding SSD's, Cases, Power Supplies and finding a monitor that is strong for both graphics work and gaming. I ask for strong advice on keeping the temperature of the computer system (and its individual components) as cool as possible.

Parts that I am currently leaning towards.

Intel Core i7-2600K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Or
ASUS P8Z68 Deluxe
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EVGA GeForce GTX 580 SuperClocked
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Is dual-channel memory at this speed enough for the needs I have described?

Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ Vertex 2, 100GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Lite-On IHAS424
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium PCI Express Sound Card
http://us.store.creative.com/Creative-Sound-Blaster-XFi...

Dell UltraSharp U2410
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c...

NZXT Phantom
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAZER Black Wired BlackWidow Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAZER DeathAdder
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The only part remaining is the power supply, it is here that I am sort of stumped and intimidated. I require advice in finding a reliable PSU that will satisfy my computing demands. Any sort of recommendations for PSUs I would highly appreciate. I am suspecting that will need at least an 800w power supply based on a conversation I had with a local computer shop.
June 29, 2011 6:31:47 AM

mesopotamian said:
System Usage: Gaming/game design, graphic design (including Adobe CS applications such as Photoshop & Illustrator), 2D/3D animation, Programming, regular schoolwork, and general entertainment (music, films etc.).

You should think about a professional video card for this kind of work.
June 29, 2011 7:10:19 AM

Build looks pretty good
^^You probably dont need a workstation card for this build. workstaion cards arent for gaming and a 580 is already too powerful for photoshop to take full advantage of. Unless your 3D animation program happens to be maya or something, i dont see why you would want a workstation card.

For the PSU, quality is important. Low quality PSUs can damage your system. So make sure to get a trusted brand PSU that has excellent reviews. For gtx 580 sli, 850w or higher is good. 800w would be pushing it a little bit.
Here is a PSU i would reccomend for you http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also, you dont really need a soundcard unless if you are running a serious surround speaker setup. It will be hard to tell a difference from the motherboards built in audio with regular speakers.
Related resources
June 29, 2011 7:28:49 AM

If you do get a 2560x1600 monitor now or later definitely get HD 6970. nvidia has purposely crippled their OpenGL performance in their GTX cards.
June 29, 2011 5:58:47 PM

i would recommend the maximus IV. it is a better quality board (they put more effort and quality into the ROG series)

for a PSU, you probably want this one:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

it s 50 watts less than the one attackllama linked, but it has one 12v rail which is better for high end video cards like the gtx 580
June 29, 2011 11:15:24 PM

browsingtheworld said:
If you do get a 2560x1600 monitor now or later definitely get HD 6970. nvidia has purposely crippled their OpenGL performance in their GTX cards.


I am assuming that you are telling me that AMD's Radeon HD 6970 is stronger in pro apps than the Geforce GTX 580?

Do you have a link to any information that proves your claim with respect to Nvidia deliberately crippling the OpenGL performance of its products?

July 1, 2011 1:45:26 AM

Are you certain you run applications that strongly rely on OpenGL?
July 1, 2011 2:58:50 AM

attackllama said:
Are you certain you run applications that strongly rely on OpenGL?


I eventually wish to run 3d modeling/animation applications. I am not entirely sure which specific applications I will be using yet. Of course, such applications would obviously use both OpenGL and Direct X. Given that I am completely new to 3d, I do not think my work would so be complex that I would require a workstation card if that is what you are wondering. At this stage, I need to work on my skills in Adobe CS, work with the content/mod creation tools that come with many popular games, try game building tools such as Unity, and introduce myself to 3d modeling and animation.
July 1, 2011 3:26:08 AM

If you are trying to keep your system as cool as possible I would highly recommend a CPU cooler, maybe something like the cooler master hyper 212 plus or the Nocturna NH D14. Also I'm not sure how good the Asus Superclocked cooling fans are, but I know that the MSI Twin Frozr II and III as well as the Gigabyte SOC series are highly rated, come with high factory OC and keep themselves cool. Also note that for that case if you choose to replace the stock 200mm cooling fan you can only buy NZXT fans.
July 1, 2011 6:43:29 PM

r3xx3r said:
i would recommend the maximus IV. it is a better quality board (they put more effort and quality into the ROG series)

for a PSU, you probably want this one:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

it s 50 watts less than the one attackllama linked, but it has one 12v rail which is better for high end video cards like the gtx 580


I do question however if the Maximus IV Extreme-Z is overkill, and that it would be better (from a cost standpoint) to go for the Asus P8Z68 Deluxe, or the even cheaper ASRock Z68 Extreme 4.
July 1, 2011 8:09:37 PM

mesopotamian said:
I do question however if the Maximus IV Extreme-Z is overkill, and that it would be better (from a cost standpoint) to go for the Asus P8Z68 Deluxe, or the even cheaper ASRock Z68 Extreme 4.

As long as the motherboard has all the features you want the price isn't that important unless you're trying to get a very extreme overclock. The ASRock boards are great for the money.

If you need a CPU cooler get this:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...
Better performance and much quieter than the Hyper 212+ at less cost.
July 2, 2011 11:30:49 PM

One standing issue that has not yet been addressed is the coming of Sandy Bridge-E/LGA-2011 socket components, and if it might be better to wait until these arrive towards the end of year. My concern if is the existing mainstream Sandy Bridge products are enough to handle the tasks I plan for this new custom PC build to do for a minimum of 4 years.
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