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Need advice on a new $1200 mATX gaming build

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July 3, 2011 4:55:18 PM

Ok, the motherboard I wanted finally is in! I think it was the last piece I was looking for.

Approximate Purchase Date: Before August

Budget Range: $1200 before tax

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, GPU

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Amazon

Country of Origin: USA

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Not now, room for expansion

Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Additional Comments: Going for speed and style, but I don't want the fan noise to be overbearing


Case: In Win Dragon Slayer $79.99 ($54.99 at my local Fry's)

PSU: Seasonic X-Series X650 Gold $139.99 (Gold rated, fully modular)

Mobo: Asus Maximus IV Gene-Z $179.99 I've been waiting for this.

CPU: i5-2500K $219.99

Cooler: Noctua NH-C14 $89.99

Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB 1600 Red $74.99

SSD: OCZ Vertex 3 120GB $199.99 after MIR

HDDs: 2x Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB in RAID 0 $129.98

Optical: ASUS External DVD Burner $29.99 after MIR (Yes, I know it's external, it's desired)

Total = $1144.90 (1119.90 if I get the case at Fry's)

I don't have a GPU included because I have a GTX 295 I'll be putting in. I know it isn't the newest and doesn't do DX 11, but it's faster than the 560ti I would have put in otherwise, I figured I'll wait until next generation to upgrade. Newegg usually has combo deals with the i5 + some memory, but those change like every week so I'll get whatever is the going deal at the time. I'm hoping to run the CPU at 4.5 Ghz. I had considered water cooling, but looking around at a lot of reviews it seems like the NH-C14 runs much quieter and is almost just as effective compared to most water coolers in its price range (The case also requires I stay under 150mm tall with the cooler.)

I feel like I have a pretty solid setup, but I would love to hear opinions or advice on it.
July 3, 2011 6:19:19 PM

I'm not a huge fan of the Vulcan. It feels blocky and it lacks any front USB 3.0. The handle is nice for portability though. While the Dragon Slayer color scheme doesn't match exactly with the motherboard, it keeps to the black-with-a-strong-contrasting-color design. I like it's features, wealth of fans, and the mesh front styling (particularly seeing it in person, the mesh doesn't photograph well). I feel the NC-H14 ruins the color scheme worse with it's beige fans... :heink: 
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July 3, 2011 7:14:16 PM

http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/cpu_mainboard/asus_m... <---- tbh that maximus looks cramped...especially in regards to the pci-e slots...like a heater in the making. And although that $145 seasonic psu is efficient...it doesn't leave you much in the way of expansion in regards to dual vid cards in the future. I would think you could do a lot better on that build you posted...like way better.
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July 3, 2011 11:43:40 PM

Timop: While that Scythe cooler does look nice and cost less, it seems to be a bit less efficient in both cooling and noise. The Noctua has some pretty awesome performance. (Frostytech doesn't have the Ninja 3, I compared to other reviews I googled)

Why_Me: The top PCIe 2.0 slot on the Maximus is a bit high, I don't see it being much of a problem though. I'll only be using a single card for the foreseeable future, and it can go in the bottom slot. The Dragon Slayer is a very well cooled case with one fan already placed to pull heat directly off the video card and slots for four more to pull heat out the side of the case. That said, if you see any other mATX boards that would be a better shot, I'm all ears. Every other board I looked into was missing at least a feature or two, be it front and back USB 3, eSATA ports, UEFI, overclocking support, etc.

And for the PSU, using Outervision's PSU Calculator I can toss a pair of GTX 560ti cards in that system and it recommends a 570 watt PSU. Right now I'm using my GTX 295, of which I will definitely not be buying a second (outdated and way too much power and heat for what it would be). My plan would be to wait for the GTX 660 (or whatever fits that niche next generation) and upgrade to a single card solution. The Seasonic gives me high efficiency, rock-solid performance even under full load, and is fully modular for under $140. That said, if you can point out something in the 700+ watt range that comes close to those standards without adding a bunch more cash I would love to get that extra wattage headroom into the system. My other choice was a CMPSU 750x that was also a great PSU for the exact same price, but wasn't fully modular or as efficient.

Thanks for the input guys! I hope I don't come off overly defensive about my choices, I just want to make it clear what I think about them and I'm actually hoping to be shown better options at better prices (who wouldn't be).
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