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Final Check - HD 6870/i5-2500k under $1k

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August 4, 2011 2:39:25 AM

After many hours of research, and tons of help, I think I've come up with the best compromise for my needs and budget:
https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.as...

- NZXT ATX Mid Tower Case
- Z68 SATA 6Gb/s ATX Motherboard (Crossfire ready)
- Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 PCIe 2.1x16
- Raidmax 700W PSU - 80+ Bronze Certified
- i5-2500k 3.3GHz
- Kingston 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1333
- 1TB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s Seagate
- HP CD/DVD Burner
- Windows 7 H.P. OEM
- Extras: Cat 5 cable, Monitor (Debranded 20"; $130 off), Keyboard, USBWifi
- Already own: Mouse, DVI Cable,
- Total Price: $970

Is there anything I'm missing before I pull the trigger? Cords, components, anything?

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Original post:
Spoiler
Hey guys, looking for some help in my first homebuilt PC. I'm currently using a laptop, and could use a major upgrade.

1) What is your budget?
Under $1000. Under $900 would be awesome.

2) Are there any brands/resellers that you prefer or any you really don't like?
Nope

3) What tasks will you be performing with the Desktop?
Gaming; Browsing; Watching videos;

4) Will you be playing games on it; if so, which games?
Yes. Global Agenda, BFBC2, BF3, TA, GW2

5) Do you mind buying parts online without seeing them in person?
Online is fine

6) What OS do you prefer? Windows (XP or Vista), Mac OS X, Linux, etc.
Windows 7

7) How much hard drive space is needed?
7200RPM - 500GB+

8) What size desktop would you like?(All in one, compact, large)
Any

9) Does the case need to be stylish?
Nope

10) What resolution will the screen run at? One or Two screens?
1366x768 or more. One screen

11) Do you need any particular hardware?(Ports, HDD slots, double DVD drives, etc.)
CD/DVD Burner

12) How would you rate your technical skills?
7 on a 1-10 scale.

13) Have you ever built a desktop before?
Yes (lonnnng time ago, but I still mess with hardware)

14) Do you need wireless connectivity?
Yes

15) When are you going to be building this?
Within the next few months

16) Have you considered a pre-built desktop? Or even a notebook?
Yes. Already have a notebook. Need something more powerful and upgradeable.

17) Are you going to overclock?
Not initially, maybe later on.

Other
I really want an i5-2500k or something similar (prefer Intel). I also want a GTX 560 or something similar, if possible.

Came up with this:
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

Does that build look ok? Are there any parts I could switch out for some price savings, but while getting similar performance? Thanks!

More about : final check 6870 2500k

a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 2:47:53 AM

Says the wish list is empty.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 3:22:56 AM

Everything is okay, except for a few things. I'll help you with that. Below I will list the parts that you should get, some of them being the ones you have already picked out. One thing is though, you don't need to buy a power cable, everything comes with cables that are necessary.

CPU: 2500k -$220

MOBO: ASUS MAXIMUS Gene-z -$180

RAM: G.Skill Pi 6Gb -$125

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500Gb 7200RPM -$40

PSU: RAIDMAX Blackstone series 700W -$70

Case: NZXT GAMMA -$35 ( I own this case and it is wonderful.)

GPU: PNY GeForce GTX 560 Ti -$235

Optical Drive: Pioneer CD/DVD Burner -$24

Total: $929.92

Don't know if you can view this: http://secure.newegg.com/Shopping/ShoppingCart.aspx?Sub...
but try
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August 4, 2011 11:33:53 AM

Thanks for the replies Jr. Your links are still broken. Here's how to share Newegg Wishlists: http://forum.desktopreview.com/what-desktop-should-i-bu...

Is there a reason for getting the more expensive MOBO, RAM, and PSU you linked? The build I linked has 8GB RAM, a monitor, Windows 7, a WiFi USB adapter, and a 1TB hard drive, and still comes out quite a bit less expensive than what you suggested.

And thanks for the tip on the powercord, how could you tell? I spent forever trying to figure out what cords were already included. :D 
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August 4, 2011 12:38:15 PM

MicroATX builds run hotter and are tougher to upgrade because they may not fit certain video cards (ex. those long ones like the Frozr and such). If you want to overclock you'll want an ATX build because it runs cooler and thus you can overclock more, with a Micro ATX build it's much harder to overclock (maybe impossible, I don't know, never had an mATX build myself) because the case is already running hot.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 2:17:29 PM

The reason I chose more expensive parts is, if you cheap out on the main parts of your computer, it's more likely to fail and be a piece of crap. And also, if you do not want a micro atx board, I suggest for a mobo: EVGA P67 SLI LGA 1155 Intel http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It is a bit more cash, but it's worth. This is a very nice board, that looks just as nice, it supports sli, and it will support any ram over 1333.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 2:29:26 PM

pluberus said:
Thanks for the replies Jr. Your links are still broken. Here's how to share Newegg Wishlists: http://forum.desktopreview.com/what-desktop-should-i-bu...

Is there a reason for getting the more expensive MOBO, RAM, and PSU you linked? The build I linked has 8GB RAM, a monitor, Windows 7, a WiFi USB adapter, and a 1TB hard drive, and still comes out quite a bit less expensive than what you suggested.

And thanks for the tip on the powercord, how could you tell? I spent forever trying to figure out what cords were already included. :D 


The more expensive ram, is very worth it. It has lower cas latency, and higher clock speed. The power supply: if it's not even 80+ certified, you might as well just use a car battery. The hard drive that you listed is fine. And generally, you dont need to buy any cords, as everything comes with the necessary cords

Yes, your list does have a monitor, and it seems like a great deal, but the contrast ratio is really poor. 1000:1 is about as low as you can go. Also, if your budget is $1000, then you might want to spend the extra cash, or you'll regret it.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 2:52:51 PM

aznshinobi said:
I just browsed but I just will instantly suggest my $900 build.
http://www.squidoo.com/electronicandmore
It's not really $900, it totals to $918. But IMO a better build.


Yes but that, just like the build that I suggested, does not include a monitor, or an os.
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 3:11:29 PM

Uhh? Not like your build. That motherboard is overpriced (Asus ROG products are usually overpriced), 1155 doesn't use triple channel ram, I don't exactly think the blackstone is a good power supply at all and not only that it wouldn't power SLI 560 Ti's when and if OP wanted to use it.

I'm assuming you need a monitor and OS correct?
Or do you?
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 3:15:20 PM

Okay then he can get 4gb, of the same ram that i suggested.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 3:17:21 PM

And why wouldn't it be able to support sli? I think that you are mistaken. It's modular.
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August 4, 2011 3:20:26 PM

Thanks for the replies guys.

I probably shouldn't have said $1000. I'm on a pretty tight budget, and $950 for everything is about the most I can pay (even that is stretching it). I'm looking for a decent desktop in that price range, but I really want an i5 2500k and GTX 560 if that's possible.

I don't think I'll ever use SLI, so that's not really a big worry for me. Also, I don't plan on OCing much. For reference, I'll be upgrading from a laptop with a GTX 260M, 4GB RAM, and a 2.00GHz C2D. Going from that to 8GB RAM, GTX 560, and a quad should be a big enough upgrade for me. ^^

EDIT:
I do need a monitor and OS included in that $950. :( 

EDIT2:
The build is currently missing a Mobo, Case, RAM, and PSU, while I research decent alternatives.

It currently has:
- GTX560
- USB Wireless N adapter
- Windows 7 Home Premium OEM
- 1TB 7200 RPM Seagate HDD
- i5-2500k 3.3GHz
- Debranded LCD Monitor
- DVD/CD Burner
- $715
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August 4, 2011 3:35:20 PM

pluberus said:
So even if I don't overclock (or barely overclock), an mATX build will probably not work with the components I listed due to heat?

Could I not just get an ATX case like this and keep the components?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

No, it WILL work despite the heat, but it'll run hot and you won't be able to OC.

Here is an $85 ($75 after MIR) mobo with 4 RAM slots and only 1 gfx card slot:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here is a $100 mobo with 2 PCIE slots but 1 is x16 and 1 is x4:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here is a $130 mobo with 2PCIE slots @ x16 mode (if I'm reading it correctly):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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August 4, 2011 3:56:54 PM

Case: $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply: CoolerMaster 500W - $40 ($30 with MIR) - Coolermaster isn't as reputable a brand for PSU's as say Antec or Corsair, but I've had mine for 4 years and had no problems with it.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A more reputable PSU: Antec 500W - $54
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I believe those will work, but admittedly I'm not a guru on PSU's (in terms of all the specific connectors and such).
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 4:06:42 PM

pluberus said:
Alright, added this to the build (thanks Dangerboy):

8GB DDR3 1333MHz Kingston RAM (2x4GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI PH67S-C43 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel H67 SATA 6Gb/s ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$850

Now I just need a case and a PSU for $100. :lol: 


Well, if you get that mobo, there is no chance of upgrading ram in the future, without buying a whole new motherboard. But, if you want no chance of upgrading, go with the crappy ram and restricting mother board. That's up to you. As far as a case and psu, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... The case is like 5-10 over what you wanna spend, but it's worth it.
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August 4, 2011 4:09:15 PM

That Mobo has 4 RAM slots though? The 8GB kit I added was 2x4GB, so I could eventually upgrade to 16GB if I wanted too, couldn't I? Its maximum supported memory is 32GB.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 4:11:18 PM

Yeah but, that mobo only supports 1333.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 4:11:45 PM

And that ram has a cas latency of 9, which is terrible, even if you have 32gb
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August 4, 2011 4:19:27 PM

Coming from 4GB DDR2 800 RAM, will I really have any performance issues with 8GB DDR3 1333, even with a cas latency of 9?

I've never really had any issues with RAM. My games always seem to be bottlenecked by the CPU or GPU and not the RAM.
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 4:26:41 PM

Pluberus, do not listen to Jrwizbang. He has no clue what he is talking about.

DDR3 1333 is fine for anybody, even heavy Photoshoppers like me. My current laptop uses DDR3 1066 ram it is doing quite fine.

CL9 is not slow at all. In fact it is the most stable. It'll overclock well and it is going to do just fine. CL7 or any of those lower numbers are fast, but unstable. You don't even need it any how since they will perform about the same. The difference is less than 1%.

I suggest this mobo.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Allows for future SLI and gives you a SLI bridge which most don't offer.

Jr, BTW you are mistaken. It's recommended for a 700w+ to run 560 Ti's.
http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-560-ti-sli-re...
Can't find a single review from a major reviewer about the Blackstone either.


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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 4:28:13 PM

Also, i'm a bit confused, so you're only missing Mobo, Case, RAM, and PSU

You physically have all the other parts correct?
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August 4, 2011 4:33:55 PM

I was missing those, but now I have it filled out. I don't physically have any parts, I was referring to the wish list :D  :
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

Looks pretty good imo (considering my budget) - Just wondering if there is anything there I can "safely" switch with a slightly lower cost item to save a few more bucks.
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August 4, 2011 4:41:05 PM

hmmm that power cable u have one that comes with the psu technicaly... and with the monitor... and why the cat5 cable if u go wireless... thats 10-15$ u could put elswhere :p 
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 4:48:13 PM

pluberus said:
Coming from 4GB DDR2 800 RAM, will I really have any performance issues with 8GB DDR3 1333, even with a cas latency of 9?

I've never really had any issues with RAM. My games always seem to be bottlenecked by the CPU or GPU and not the RAM.


No. You will not. But, some more experienced computer experts might. So, for your needs 1333 is fine, the only point that I was trying to make is that with that mobo that only supports 1333, if you ever wanted to upgrade ram, you wouldn't be able to get anything higher than 1333. And trust me, 1333 is just fine. My ram is 1333, with cl of 8, which is good enough for me, however, I would like to upgrade.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 4:50:11 PM

pluberus said:
I was missing those, but now I have it filled out. I don't physically have any parts, I was referring to the wish list :D  :
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

Looks pretty good imo (considering my budget) - Just wondering if there is anything there I can "safely" switch with a slightly lower cost item to save a few more bucks.


Everything there seems great! Just one thing: you don't need any of those cables. Like I said previously, all the cables that you will need, will come with the parts.
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August 4, 2011 4:55:40 PM

jrwizbang the dvi cable is needed the screen only comes with vga cable..
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 5:00:04 PM

I suggest you spend a little more and get the 560 Ti you'll get more performance the overclock ability of the 560 Ti is a huge plus, the performance after OC would be much much better than the 560 GTX no Ti.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This is already stock OC'd, it'll perform at the level of the 570.

If you don't need SATA 3 (SATA 6gb/s) this will save you a lot of cash
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Or just to save in general.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 5:19:36 PM

aznshinobi said:
I suggest you spend a little more and get the 560 Ti you'll get more performance the overclock ability of the 560 Ti is a huge plus, the performance after OC would be much much better than the 560 GTX no Ti.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This is already stock OC'd, it'll perform at the level of the 570.

If you don't need SATA 3 (SATA 6gb/s) this will save you a lot of cash
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Or just to save in general.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


There is practically NO room for upgrading in the future with either of those boards. As far as the card goes, good choice.
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August 4, 2011 5:23:27 PM

Here on Tom's they've shown pretty definitively that RAM faster than DDR3 1333 CL9 is in no way worth the extra cost, and you should be able to find some Gskill Ripjaws (X) DDR3 1333 2x4GB sets for $45 or even less on newegg on any random day. I have 16GB of it overclocked to 1600Mhz CL9, if you're worried about OC'ing

The Dual Link DVI cable you're buying is probably not compatible with your monitor, very few monitors have it and they are expensive and have very high resolutions... resulting in the need for dual link. Most monitors are single link, and as such a single link cable may be a few dollars cheaper. Or you can use the DVI-to-VGA adapter that should come with your video card and use the VGA cable that comes with your monitor

You could probably also choose the Gigabyte GTX 560 for $189.99 and save another $10 (it may also have a rebate), it has sweet dual fan cooling on it too!

A Cat6 network cable is iffy... I'm not sure about compatibility, but the rest of the world is still using Cat5

You could probably also save another $10 on a 1TB HDD, I see them floating around for $50 pretty often.

Where do these savings go? Well since you're getting the 2500K, I assume you will want to overclock, so I suggest looking at a $30 CPU heatsink/fan like the CM Hyper 212+ or comparably rated $30 options.
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 5:27:12 PM

^+1

Room for upgrading what Jr? OP is getting 8GB of ram, that's all the OP will need for a LONG LONG time. I run PS5 and PTgui (Panorama producing program) with 4GB DDR3 1333 ram, that's my gaming/photography rig.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 5:29:53 PM

greenrider02 said:
Here on Tom's they've shown pretty definitively that RAM faster than DDR3 1333 CL9 is in no way worth the extra cost, and you should be able to find some Gskill Ripjaws (X) DDR3 1333 2x4GB sets for $45 or even less on newegg on any random day. I have 16GB of it overclocked to 1600Mhz CL9, if you're worried about OC'ing


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAS_latency

At one point is says, a lower cas latency coupled with a higher frequency, is better.


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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 5:33:47 PM

But does it say AT ALL, how much better? Better means faster yes. But by a small margin. It's probably less than 1% difference in performance. OP wouldn't even notice it.

He doesn't even need ATX, for that matter 4 DRAM slots, 8GB is enough for almost any user. Most are even fine with 4GB of ram.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 5:37:49 PM

jrwizbang said:
There is practically NO room for upgrading in the future with either of those boards. As far as the card goes, good choice.



Not everything needs to be upgradable.

My own PC (which was a measly $600 in April) doesn't upgrade at all, but I never upgrade. I always just buy a new PC every 2-3 years.
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August 4, 2011 5:48:37 PM

By "upgrading", do you mean Crossfire/SLI compatibility (wherein you're looking for 8x-8x rather than 16x-4x)? Or is it just room for various add-in cards?

As aznshinobi said, while lower CAS and higher frequency is better, the performance difference, in terms of value, is lower than upgrading quantity of RAM or a better Video Card, etc.

I agree though that OP should choose an ATX board, as having PCI slots and PCI Express slots has proved useful for me for many add-in cards in the future, in addition to the possibility of SLI/Crossfire.
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August 4, 2011 5:49:41 PM

Thanks for all the input. Here's where I'm at currently:
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

- 1TB 7200RPM HDD
- mATX Mobo
- GTX 560
- Windows 7 H.P. OEM
- CD/DVD Burner
- 8GB 1333 RAM (2x4GB)
- i5-2500k 3.3GHz
- NZXT ATX Mid Tower
- 80+ Bronze 600W PSU
- Extras - USB WifiN, Cheap Monitor, Cheap keyboard, Cat5 cable
- $899

Can't find any regular DVI cables on Newegg. lol

If I were to upgrade, what could I upgrade in the current setup? GPU, CPU, and RAM (8GB sticks instead of 4GB sticks)?

EDIT:
In terms of "upgradeability", I take it the regular i5-2500 is not worth it since it is locked?
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 5:54:58 PM

ScrewySqrl said:
Not everything needs to be upgradable.

My own PC (which was a measly $600 in April) doesn't upgrade at all, but I never upgrade. I always just buy a new PC every 2-3 years.


Well I'm a big fan of upgrading seeing as I started out with an x3 445 Rana, and a 7900 gs, with 2gb of 1066 ram, and worked my way to 4gb 1333, xfx 6870, phenom II 965. If I were to put together my current rig, it would cost me approx. $650-$700 And aznshinobi, it does increase performance, just not in the way you are looking at it. You are coming at it from a one sided point of view. No, it does not help much with games/fps, but it will increase load times, save times, etc. Sometimes spending a little extra money, or maybe getting something that will allow you to spend that extra money in the future (in this case a mother board that supports memory other than 1333), is worth it.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 5:57:04 PM

Yeah. Go ahead and get that. It's good enough for your needs. I'm not gonna try to help here anymore seeing as everybody is so close-minded. Best of luck with your computer.
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August 4, 2011 6:03:17 PM

@Jrwizbang - I really appreciate your input. Having advice from people with differing opinions is important to me. I have definitely been paying attention to your suggestions and weighing the positives/negatives.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2011 6:08:14 PM

pluberus said:
@Jrwizbang - I really appreciate your input. Having advice from people with differing opinions is important to me. I have definitely been paying attention to your suggestions and weighing the positives/negatives.


Okay, well, in my opinion, what you have is great. Also, what I mean by upgrading is that the board that you had before, only supported 1333 mhz ram, and nothing else. Generally, micro atx boards aren't great for upgrading, but, with what you are getting you shouldn't need to.
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August 4, 2011 6:21:17 PM

I see. I think 1333 should be more than enough for me, but I'll keep that in mind.

Heat wise - Should I stick with an ATX Mid Tower? Or will an mATX case work?
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August 4, 2011 6:27:34 PM

Woah stop! I just realized that while the 2500k is a great choice for a few years, an H61 or H67 chipset instead of P67 or Z68 would mean you couldn't use the overclocking potential of the CPU you are buying! Ergo, paying for the "K" would be a waste of money!

I would suggest spending the extra $50 in your budget on a better motherboard, as Jrwizbang suggested, probably Z68, if you are looking for both overclocking and a better upgrade path. If you do not want to overclock, I would save additional money by getting the i5 2400, which is still very fast at $189.99, and jump your graphics up to a GTX 560 Ti with the additional money saved, perhaps spending an additional $20 on a motherboard that has 4 DIMM slots for more memory in the future.

choose one and I can help you find some quality parts/brands
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!