New i5 System

Approximate Purchase Date: (this month)


Budget Range: (£1000) Subject to change - see below


System Usage from Most to Least Important: (gaming, watching movies, surfing the internet)


Parts Not Required: (Graphics card, RAM, OS, Keyboard and mouse)


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: (www.scan.co.uk)


Country of Origin: (England)


Parts Preferences: (Full tower case)


Overclocking: Maybe


SLI or Crossfire: Yes, in future


Monitor Resolution: (1440x900 currently, 1920x1080 in future)


Additional Comments: (Budget can be increased as necessary)


First thing's first, the budget is stated at the top to be £1000. This isn't fixed and I won't be buying all the parts in one go. I'll likely be getting the CPU, Mobo, Case, PSU, Headphones, Soundcard, Thermal Paste and HDD for £700 now; then I'll get the Monitor + GFX Card for £300 later. The latter figure will in all likelihood go up. If I need anything else I can increase the budget, but for now, I think this will do.

Here are my current specs : (Q6600, 2x2GB Corsair XMS3 1333, EVGA GTX 560ti SC 900 MHz, Gigabyte P35C DS3R, Antec Sonata 3 Case with Antec Earthwatts 500W PSU, LG 194WT Monitor, Asus Xonar D1, Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro)

And here is what I plan to get:

Processor: Intel CPU Core i5 2500K Unlocked Sandy Bridge Quad Core Processor OEM

The i5 seems to be the ideal processor for gaming, anything higher doesn't yield noticeable results in games from what I've read. I'll be going for the OEM model as I already have an aftermarket heatsink in the form of a freezer 7 pro.

Thermal Paste: Arctic Cooling MX-2 High Performance Thermal Compound

With that in mind, I'll be getting some thermal paste. The Arctic Cooling MX2 seems alright to me.

Motherboard: Asus P8P67 Pro Rev3 Intel P67 Express Socket 1155 Motherboard

I'm unsure about what motherboard I should choose. I'm pretty much decided that P67 is the ideal platform for me unless someone can convince me that the Z68 series is worth the extra money. One thing that springs to mind is that the Z68 motherboards have 2 PCIe 16x slots whereas the P67 boards have the second slot locked at either 8x or 4x. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that with PCIe 2.0 this is no longer a problem. Oh, and where can I get an SLI bridge?

PSU: XFX P1-850B-NLG9 PRO850W Modular Power Supply (PSU)

I'll be reusing my 560ti and 4GB RAM, with a view to getting a second 560ti in the future. With that in mind, I'll be purchasing an 850W PSU. I would prefer a modular PSU as cable management is a chore with regular PSUs. The XFX PSU I picked out seems to be quite good for the money. 850W, 70A, 80 Plus Silver with a quiet 135mm fan.

HDD: Western Digital 2TB EARS Caviar Green Hard Drive - HDD

Not much to say here. I need more space so I opted to get a third HDD from Western Digital. The other 2 haven't let me down so far. I was originally going to go for an external HDD but the prices are just a little too high. For the Western Digital ones at least; I'm a little cautious about getting unfamiliarly branded HDDs, though if there is a strong recommendation for them, I might change my mind. Also, I'm not going to get an SSD. Can't justify the price to be honest.

Case: Antec 1200 Twelve Hundred V3 Black Full Tower Computer Case

OR

Coolermaster HAF X Black Tower Computer Case

I've been experiencing some problems with heat in my current PC. Likely my heatsink needs to be re seated with thermal paste; but there's also the issue of motherboard temps, which are higher than I'd like. There isn't much space to work with in the case and a new PSU won't be easy to install from what I've read. There's also the issue of the broken dust filter. All in all, this case is on its way out. I'm currently torn between which case to get: Coolermaster HAF X or Antec 1200. Considerations are: airflow; noise; looks; and space; in that order. If there is another case worth looking at that's at a similar price point feel free to suggest it.

Headset: SPEEDLINK MEDUSA NX 5.1 Surround Headset v2

and

Sound Card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium PCI Sound Card

Most importantly I need new headphones. These iPod headphones I'm using are on their last legs. The volume has diminished over time and I can only imagine how much a difference in sound quality I could get from good headphones. I'm not sure if there are any audiophiles on these forums who can pitch in as far as headphones go. From what I hear, PC equipment is generally poor quality and should be avoided. Then there is the issue of surround headsets, which many consider to deliver reduced sound quality. They say that with a good sound card, surround sound can be easily replicated to very high levels of fidelity. I'm thoroughly lost as far as this goes. I was going to pick up some 5.1 headphones before learning all this, and for the moment, that's what will be on the list until I can do more research. With the prospect of high quality headphones gracing my ears, I look to my current sound card and wonder if it will deliver at a standard that won't hold my other peripherals back. I think it's probably worth getting a new card also.

Monitor: Acer V243HAObd 24" HD Ready Monitor DVI 1920x1080 2ms

Lastly we come to the Monitor. This is perhaps the least important upgrade listed here and I doubt I'll be purchasing it with the rest of my components. Likely it will come at the start of next month when I have some more money to play around with. Whilst I inquire about these other parts though, it's worth me taking the time to look at what monitor will be good for gaming. I've heard IPS monitors offer the best image quality, with wide viewing angles, though they have slower response times. I don't know whether I will go for them or the standard TN monitors. The IPS monitors are probably a little too expensive, but we'll see. I reckon 24" is the right size, maybe 22/23 if it's advised. Anything higher though like 27" will likely be too much for my GFX card for the moment, though if I SLI in future, who knows? I picked the listed monitor at random since I haven't done much research into this area yet. I'll leave it to you guys to make suggestions.


There, I think I covered everything in that post. Probably didn't though :P
18 answers Last reply
More about system
  1. As someone with an Antec 1200 and someone who has used a HAF-X in 2 of my customers builds, I can say imo the HAF-X is the better case.

    Also as someone who has owned an Arctic Cooler Freezer Pro 92mm Rev.2 HSF, I highly HIGHLY recommend you replace it. I know it's better than the stock HSF, but as far as aftermarket HSF honestly it underperforms.
  2. Some alternatives to your choices.

    A 750w psu gives you sufficient power for dual 560's.

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/750w-xfx-black-edition-modular-80-plus-silver-88-eff-sli-crossfire-eps-12v-135mm-fan £89.70 Inc VAT
    XFX P1-750B-NLG9 Black Edition 750W Modular Power Supply (PSU)

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/254370 £113.73 inc. vat Free Delivery
    Asrock P67 EXTREME4 V3 1155 Socket 7.1 Channel HD Audio ATX Motherboard

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/254370 £104.9 9inc. vat Free Delivery
    Coolermaster HAF 932 Advanced Case

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/245376 £26.72 inc. vat
    Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus Socket 775, 1156,1155 AM2, 1366, AM3 Processor Cooler

    http://www.madshrimps.be/articles/article/1000116#axzz1EqpvWFEN <---Review on that Asrock motherboard
  3. Why_Me said:
    Some alternatives to your choices.

    A 750w psu gives you sufficient power for dual 560's.

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/750w-xfx-black-edition-modular-80-plus-silver-88-eff-sli-crossfire-eps-12v-135mm-fan £89.70 Inc VAT
    XFX P1-750B-NLG9 Black Edition 750W Modular Power Supply (PSU)

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/254370 £113.73 inc. vat Free Delivery
    Asrock P67 EXTREME4 V3 1155 Socket 7.1 Channel HD Audio ATX Motherboard

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/254370 £104.9 9inc. vat Free Delivery
    Coolermaster HAF 932 Advanced Case

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/245376 £26.72 inc. vat
    Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus Socket 775, 1156,1155 AM2, 1366, AM3 Processor Cooler

    http://www.madshrimps.be/articles/article/1000116#axzz1EqpvWFEN <---Review on that Asrock motherboard


    ^+1 to all. Pass on the Antec 1200 - it's a bit dated and doesn't have a lot of the features as the Cooler Master cases. The CM Hyper 212+ is a great cooler for the price (used two in my last two builds).

    Check out Samsung's hard drives. The F3 1TB is the fastest platter drive out there, and the F4 is a pretty fast 2TB drive. It might be around the same price as the WD drives.

    Make sure your sound card supports Dolby Digital Live Encoding - if not, you'll only be using virtual 5.1/7.1, not real 5.1/7.1. HT Omega makes great sound cards and the Striker 7.1 is a reasonably priced card. No idea about it's availability in the UK.

    I would definitely look into the Roccat Kave 5.1 headset. I had mine imported from the UK (not available in the US), and it was worth every penny. The 6 speakers are absolutely fantastic, and the headphones are made in a quality manner (aluminum hinges, tons of padding, and a matte finish).
  4. Quote:
    As someone with an Antec 1200 and someone who has used a HAF-X in 2 of my customers builds, I can say imo the HAF-X is the better case.


    Yes, I've kinda been leaning towards this for a while now. One thing I wish it had would be a built in fan controller for each of the fans the way its done on the 1200. Saves me having to get separately as I'll likely be adjusting them frequently. Any particular recommendation, or are they all as good as each other?

    Quote:
    Also as someone who has owned an Arctic Cooler Freezer Pro 92mm Rev.2 HSF, I highly HIGHLY recommend you replace it. I know it's better than the stock HSF, but as far as aftermarket HSF honestly it underperforms.


    The bolded part caught my eye. Turns out I have the rev 1 and it can't be used for i5 processors. New Heatsink it is. The Scythe Mugen 2 Rev.B Quiet CPU Cooler looks good to me. If I'm going to get another heatsink, I may as well get a nice one. I'm in the middle of reading a review of it now, so far it looks promising.

    Quote:
    A 750w psu gives you sufficient power for dual 560's.


    I might get more powerful cards somewhere down the line so it'd be nice to have a more future-proof PSU You also get more cables with the 850W which is a nice bonus and some overclocking headroom is great also. Most importantly the price difference is negligible; there's £6 between them.

    Quote:
    Asrock P67 EXTREME4 V3 1155 Socket 7.1 Channel HD Audio ATX Motherboard


    Hmm, that actually looks like a very good deal. I'll read about the asrock a little more before deciding. One thing to consider is that shipping will reduce the price difference somewhat. Hopefully Scan will stock it soon.

    Quote:
    Coolermaster HAF 932 Advanced Case


    Immediately put off by the looks. The HAF X has that duct near the GPU for superior cooling, removable dust filters, better cable management and its a little bigger.

    Quote:
    Check out Samsung's hard drives. The F3 1TB is the fastest platter drive out there, and the F4 is a pretty fast 2TB drive. It might be around the same price as the WD drives.


    It's about a pound cheaper and has a 8.9ms seek time as opposed to 8, and a 32mb cache as opposed to 64. Not sure what RPM the WD is at but 5400 on the F4 doesn't sound so impressive.

    Quote:
    Make sure your sound card supports Dolby Digital Live Encoding - if not, you'll only be using virtual 5.1/7.1, not real 5.1/7.1. HT Omega makes great sound cards and the Striker 7.1 is a reasonably priced card. No idea about it's availability in the UK.

    I would definitely look into the Roccat Kave 5.1 headset. I had mine imported from the UK (not available in the US), and it was worth every penny. The 6 speakers are absolutely fantastic, and the headphones are made in a quality manner (aluminum hinges, tons of padding, and a matte finish).


    I think I'll go with stereo actually. I've had 5.1 speakers in the past and wasn't impressed by the sound quality and I usually only used 2 of the channels. More recently I've been using the Xonar D1s implementation of surround sound through my headphones and it hasn't been all that bad actually. With better equipment it ought to be very close to the real or so I've been told. In any case, I'll take quality of sound over quality of sound staging. The problem is that Scan doesn't stock any of the headphones recommended by audiophiles.
  5. I've used the NZXT Sentry 2 Fan controller for my HAF-X builds. It's a little flashy, but if you're considering a HAF-X then flashy probably won't bother you too much.

    One of the 2 best qualities in an air cooler these days is:
    120mm fan or larger(preferably 2 in a push/pull)
    and direct heat pipe construction(which is also becoming the new standard)

    Even though I own an H70, and it does well(no maintenance, less weight on the motherboard) I have my eye on a Noctua NH-D14 with an extra 120mm fan (120mm/140mm/120mm) sexiness.
  6. saka-rauka1 said:
    Quote:
    As someone with an Antec 1200 and someone who has used a HAF-X in 2 of my customers builds, I can say imo the HAF-X is the better case.


    Yes, I've kinda been leaning towards this for a while now. One thing I wish it had would be a built in fan controller for each of the fans the way its done on the 1200. Saves me having to get separately as I'll likely be adjusting them frequently. Any particular recommendation, or are they all as good as each other?

    Quote:
    Also as someone who has owned an Arctic Cooler Freezer Pro 92mm Rev.2 HSF, I highly HIGHLY recommend you replace it. I know it's better than the stock HSF, but as far as aftermarket HSF honestly it underperforms.


    The bolded part caught my eye. Turns out I have the rev 1 and it can't be used for i5 processors. New Heatsink it is. The Scythe Mugen 2 Rev.B Quiet CPU Cooler looks good to me. If I'm going to get another heatsink, I may as well get a nice one. I'm in the middle of reading a review of it now, so far it looks promising.

    Quote:
    A 750w psu gives you sufficient power for dual 560's.


    I might get more powerful cards somewhere down the line so it'd be nice to have a more future-proof PSU You also get more cables with the 850W which is a nice bonus and some overclocking headroom is great also. Most importantly the price difference is negligible; there's £6 between them.

    Quote:
    Asrock P67 EXTREME4 V3 1155 Socket 7.1 Channel HD Audio ATX Motherboard


    Hmm, that actually looks like a very good deal. I'll read about the asrock a little more before deciding. One thing to consider is that shipping will reduce the price difference somewhat. Hopefully Scan will stock it soon.

    Quote:
    Coolermaster HAF 932 Advanced Case


    Immediately put off by the looks. The HAF X has that duct near the GPU for superior cooling, removable dust filters, better cable management and its a little bigger.

    Quote:
    Check out Samsung's hard drives. The F3 1TB is the fastest platter drive out there, and the F4 is a pretty fast 2TB drive. It might be around the same price as the WD drives.


    It's about a pound cheaper and has a 8.9ms seek time as opposed to 8, and a 32mb cache as opposed to 64. Not sure what RPM the WD is at but 5400 on the F4 doesn't sound so impressive.

    Quote:
    Make sure your sound card supports Dolby Digital Live Encoding - if not, you'll only be using virtual 5.1/7.1, not real 5.1/7.1. HT Omega makes great sound cards and the Striker 7.1 is a reasonably priced card. No idea about it's availability in the UK.

    I would definitely look into the Roccat Kave 5.1 headset. I had mine imported from the UK (not available in the US), and it was worth every penny. The 6 speakers are absolutely fantastic, and the headphones are made in a quality manner (aluminum hinges, tons of padding, and a matte finish).


    I think I'll go with stereo actually. I've had 5.1 speakers in the past and wasn't impressed by the sound quality and I usually only used 2 of the channels. More recently I've been using the Xonar D1s implementation of surround sound through my headphones and it hasn't been all that bad actually. With better equipment it ought to be very close to the real or so I've been told. In any case, I'll take quality of sound over quality of sound staging. The problem is that Scan doesn't stock any of the headphones recommended by audiophiles.

    Unless ebuyer changed their rules today, I'm pretty sure the free delivery I put next to the links still stands.
  7. Unless ebuyer changed their rules today, I'm pretty sure the free delivery I put next to the links still stands.

    There's the headache of different delivery times to consider with that approach, as free delivery is 5 working days. That may be fine for something like headphones, but with a motherboard it's a different story. Still, the Asrock looks like a solid board; I might be able to endure that. One question about it: I've read that overclocking potential is lower on this board comapared to the Asus. How much lower is it? Bear in mind that I haven't done any overclocking before. I'm also wondering what difference the 10 power phases make compared to the Asus's 12.

    Quote:
    I've used the NZXT Sentry 2 Fan controller for my HAF-X builds. It's a little flashy, but if you're considering a HAF-X then flashy probably won't bother you too much.


    Seems a little expensive for what it does. I might try using the case without it for a while and then determine if I need it or not.

    Quote:
    One of the 2 best qualities in an air cooler these days is:
    120mm fan or larger(preferably 2 in a push/pull)
    and direct heat pipe construction(which is also becoming the new standard)

    Even though I own an H70, and it does well(no maintenance, less weight on the motherboard) I have my eye on a Noctua NH-D14 with an extra 120mm fan (120mm/140mm/120mm) sexiness.


    Alright I'll look into that.

    And lastly:

    I'm still wondering where I can get an SLI bridge from. Will it be included with the Asus/Asrock board?

    Will a more expensive thermal compound make much of a difference in temps? The difference in price is very small so it might be worth picking up something better, such as the Arctic Silver 5.


    Sorry if I've made any glaring errors anywhere, I'm very tired right now :sleep:
  8. AS5 is the baseline standard for aftermarket HSF. You can do some research when you pick one out as some will come with paste pre-applied that is sometimes better than AS5.

    Also high end cards generally come with the SLI bridge(if you look up the part on newegg and look at one of the pictures it shows everything thats included)

    And yes, thermal paste can lower temps significantly. I went from using AS5 on my 2 PCs to using ICDiamond24 and lowered my temps by 2C. Which of course gives me more thermal headroom for an overclock or allows me to run the chip cooler at stock settings and elongate the life of the chip.
  9. Quote:
    120mm fan or larger (preferably 2 in a push/pull)


    I did some research into this and came up with these:

    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/254170-11-does-push-pull-system-heatsink-work

    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/253128-11-push-pull-push-push-dual-fans-heat-sink

    From what I can tell, push/pull doesn't offer much of a benefit.

    Quote:
    Also high end cards generally come with the SLI bridge


    I found that that's true of ATI cards, but not Nvidia. The Asrock motherboard however is supplied with a 2s bridge. Looking at the motherboard layout; it seems that with an SLI setup I will have 1 PCI slot and 1 PCIe x1 slot available, is that correct?

    Back to the original post now; I mentioned monitors at the bottom. Can anyone tell me whether or not I should be worried about the higher response times on IPS monitors?
  10. Push-pull offers generally a 2-3C benefit. Much like the high-end thermal paste can equate to a 2-3C benefit. But when you're talking about a chip running at 31C rather than 37C, thats substantial imo.

    But once again, with AS5 and a single fan on an aftermarkert heatsink, you're going to still be better off than a stock cooler w/ stock paste. So it's all what you think you need.

    Also for reference I lapped my CPU and heatsink(voiding the warranty) and managed another 2C drop. All the little things added up can make a big difference.
  11. Lapping sounds rather extreme for me, though I've heard you can get great results. I'll leave until I decide to upgrade again so the risks are moot :) Also I'm going to go for the Arctic Silver 5 as opposed to the MX-2. How many uses can I get from 3.5g worth?

    I'm having a hard time picking a good heatsink. Noctuas are well recommended but they look awful. The fan blades especially look like they're caked in rust. The mugen 2 tends to do much worse once a porcessor is overclocked, which is no good.

    Also, the Asrock Extreme4 has 4 fan headers on the board wheras the HAF X has 4 fans and I'll probably be adding a 120mm to the GFX card duct. Which fans should be hooked up to the motherboard?
  12. Any that you want to be speed regulated. Usually bigger fans arent too loud so any 120mm fans is what I'd pick 1st.

    I really don't know the sizes, but for AS5 if it's the standard like $7 tube you get like 2-3 uses I think.

    As for CPU coolers there is a new big boy on the block but I can't remember what the company is. I wanna say Thermaltake but I'm not positive. Sorry I couldn't be more help on that
  13. Thermalright Silver Arrow?
  14. Yeah thats the one!
  15. Would there be any clearance issues?
  16. Depends on the RAM. If it's like Corsair Vengence with those tall heat spreaders, or maybe even some G. SKILLS might be an issue.

    Some Corsair XMS3 RAM has low heat spreaders. And I'd stay away from OCZ all-together if I were you.
  17. I'm tempted to get more RAM now. The prices for 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1333 have dropped by £20 since I last checked a month or 2 ago. There is of course the problem that my existing RAM is 1333 and future RAM will most likely be clocked higher. I may have to discard my current RAM. Not too much of an issue at the moment, but something worth looking into.

    Does the asrock support 2000MHz RAM? It says (OC) by the side so I gathered that only 1600 and below is supported. But then I came across this: "Note3: Due to the configuration of CPU, the default speeds of DDR3 2400/2200/2000/1800 MHz will operate at DDR3 2133/2133/1866/1600 MHz" on the manufacturers website.

    Will my current RAM: CMV4GX3M2A1333C9 work on this board. It's not listed on the supported RAM page, but neither is it listed as supported on my current board.

    Also what is the difference between these two monitors:
    Dell U2311H-S

    Dell U2311H
  18. DDR3-1333 C9 should work fine in that ASRock board. As for the monitor? I'm not sure, both are the same size, and both are IPS at the same resolution.
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