Looking for Assistance/Suggestions/Opinions on self built PC

I've recently started piecing together what I want for my next computer, will be the first I've built myself and I have very little knowledge when it comes to the technical stuff. I've done a lot of researching and I've pretty much come up with what I want so I'm really just wondering if everything will work well together/fit, etc...or if there are other/better options anyone would suggest. My current plans are as follows:


PSU - CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX1200

Motherboard - ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z LGA 1155 Intel Z68 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Extended ATX Intel Motherboard

CPU - Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge

CPU Cooler - Prolimatech Megahalems

RAM - (Undecided)

SLI Video Cards - 2 x EVGA SuperClocked 012-P3-1572-AR GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Cards

(went with 570s because I plan on adding a 3rd at a later time but 3 right off rip would drive the initial price up too high, already going to take a long time to save up for this...may even just start with 1 and add as I can til I get to 3, idk)

PhysX Dedicated VIdeo Card (preferred) - Galaxy GTX 460 razor SINGLE SLOT

PhysX dedicated video card (Minimum) - Geforce 9800 GT

SSD - OCZ Vertex 3 Series – MAX IOPS Edition VTX3MI-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive

HDD - HITACHI Ultrastar 7K3000 HUA723020ALA640 (0F12455) 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

(will add additional drives later)

Multi-Reader - Koutech IO-FPM530 Multi-in-1 USB 3.0 Multifunction SuperSpeed Front Panel Card Reader with eSATA / HD Audio Ports

BD-Drive - LITE-ON 12X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 12X DVD-RAM 8X BD-ROM 8MB Cache SATA Blu-ray Burner with 3D Playback iHBS212-08 LightScribe Support

Wireless Adapter - TRENDnet TEW-623PI Wireless N-Draft Adapter

On the RAM, that's actually something I wanted to ask about. I know very little about this stuff like I said, I know I need Dual Channel but what would be best for this CPU/MOBO combo? Should I use 1600, 1866, 2166, etc...I was looking at Corsair dominator or vengeance but idk if the extended heat sinks will impede the fit with the Megahalem...maybe just use Kingston Hyper-X? Plan on going with 8G btw, as far as I can tell there isn't any real option to higher even if I wanted with dual channel, a 16G kit (2x8G) is just ridiculously expensive.

Also, am I correct in assuming that the Asus Maximus IV could handle 3 way SLI with an additional single slot card dedicated for PhysX?

Also, on that note, I know there will be some who are against the idea of using the dedicated PhysX card or question how much it's really needed but I've already made up my mind to include it, regardless on how many games need it now, I anticipate a lot more needing it in the future and would rather add it now then worry about it later, I'm trying to build something that will last a bit before I have to go upgrading like crazy.

Another question is on the PSU, not the brand or anything I trust the Corsair pro series but I was wondering if 1200W would be enough? Or if I'll even need 1200W? I really don't know what to expect with that. (I do plan to OC to around 4.5 btw)

Also, I know I'm missing all the fans in the list but I didn't forget them or anything, just not "major" purchases as far as price goes so I left them out. For reference though, I do plan on utilizing as many as possible for max cooling. I believe the HAF X can use between 4 and 6 (don't remember the exact amount) and I plan to add 2 for the Megahalem.

That's another thing with the RAM, I was originally looking at going either 1866 or 2166 Corsair Dominators but saw that it's advised you use the fan with them and even if they would fit with the Megahalem I doubt there would be room for the fan.

I should also note that this PC will not just be a gaming PC, that will be one of the major aspects I use it for but I'm also a musician and will be doing a lot of recording on the PC, that's why I went with the i7 over the i5 and why SATA III 6.0Gb/s hard drives were a must.

Oh! On last very important question, is there enough room on the board to use the Megahalem with 2 fans and have the RAM in the slots closest to the CPU? And if not, does it matter which slots the RAM is in?

So that's all I got for now...I don't think I'm forgetting anything...if I am please let me know and as I said any and all suggestions/opinions are welcome and appreciated.
12 answers Last reply
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  1. For starters, I can only assume you are willing to spare no costs hence the severity in the overkill of the build......If you are wanting to see the problems with such high end build read the thread titled "No more builds for me" in this section.

    1] i5 2500k gives you the same (apparent) performance for $100 less, though your choice cannot be faulted, the 2600k will be overkill x 2.

    2] Expensive board that doesn't really give you any better than the P8P67 Deluxe will give and again for significantly less buck.

    3] For performance RAM I think that GSkill RipJawsX and Corsair Vengeance RAM is better.

    4] Not many stellar reviews for that OCZ SATA 3 SSD, for the price one pays and performance gained.

    5] SLI is probably more problems than what it actually does.

    Either way looks all good and very expensive. Bet you will have a ton of fun with it nontheless.
  2. With the processor, if it was just for Gaming I'd go with the 2500k as I've seen no evidence that the 2600k is really any better but it's my understanding that for recording, the 2600k would be the better option.

    The board I chose was strictly based on it being able to (I think) run 3-way SLI with the additional card for PhysX. I'm not sure if the P8P67 can. I do admit that I don't know much about how much of a difference a 3 way SLI setup would have over a single card or 2 way SLI setup. From what I've seen on benchmark tests it does offer noticeable increases in performance though but like I said I realize the price would be extreme which is why I may start with 1 card and add additional cards over time to lower initial costs. Still want the PhysX card though, even if I do ignore the SLI option to start.

    Looked at both of those options for RAM and like I had mentioned, the only concern is whether or not they'll fit with the Megahalem, I know the Vengeance and Dominator RAM from Corsair has the heat sinks removable but idk if I want to remove them, I have no idea how necessary they are but I'd imagine if they put them on them they probably had a good reason for it.

    Open to suggestions about the SSD, as long as it's SATA 3 I have no personal preference, just whatever is best for a reasonable price (under $300, preferably even lower than that but that's the max)
  3. Cooling - Consider a Coolermaster H100 sealed liquid cooling option, you can mount the Radiator and FAN on either the top Vents or Lower Vents far way from the CPU/RAM area. This is good for a number of reasons; a) space, b) takes heat away from the bussiness area of the motherboard and vents it directly out the case, c) it is a sealed unit so no pumps or piping needed, d) the mounting over the CPU socket is lightweight thus reducing strain on the CPU socket area with a huge clumsy cooler. and e) then RAM clearence is not a problem.

    If the Coolermaster HAF have a dual top fan venting area then you can mount a radiator there.
  4. First thing, the wireless adapter is PCI and your mobo doesn't have a standard PCI slot so it's not going to fit. There are lots of PCIe 2.0 x1 wireless adapters in the world, though, so just pick a different one. Also, the EVGA video cards you picked are double wide so if you use three you're not going to be able to fit a wireless adapter at all.

    You want 1600 RAM. Sandy Bridge isn't going to get much out of faster RAM and in fact, the i7-2600K list 1066 and 1333 as it's only supported memory types. I have 1600, though, and it works fine. If you want you can go 16GB (4x4GB). Dual channel doesn't mean two sticks, it means two channels. Each channel can hold two sticks so you get a total of four. 16GB is overkill (for now), though, unless you have specific applications that you know use absurd amounts of ram. 8GB is fine but you should go 2x4GB so you can upgrade latter.

    I have an OCZ Agility 3 60GB and it works fine, but OCZ SSDs do not seem to get good reviews. The Crucial and Plextor drives seem to be fan favorites these days.

    What monitor(s) are you using? Two (potentially three) 570s with a dedicated PhysX card is a LOT of GPU and it's all going to go to waste on a crappy monitor. Also, it's hard to air cool three powerful cards crammed into one space. Finally, 1200W is a LOT of power and I've got to imagine it'll be enough. Overkill is fine if you can afford it, but you don't want to be running 20A circuits to power your machine.

    EDIT: You might prefer the following mobo from Gigabyte. It can run three way SLI in x8/x8/x8 or two way SLI in x16/x16.


    @Sarinaide the P8P67 Deluxe is a good board but in three way SLI the last PCIe 2.0 x16 slot is only x4 and that's not ideal.
  5. Upon further review I was thinking it may be best to just use an ASUS P8Z68 (I do want the Z68 chipset) and run 2 way 8x, 8x SLI with the PhysX card in the 4x slot. It also has 2 standard PCI slots so the network adapter would work, only question is would it fit with two GTX 570s and either a single slot card in the 4x slot. Also has 4 6.0GB/S SATA ports which is vital (like I said I'll be doing a lot of recording so fast hard drives are a must)

    I actually probably could use the 16GB of RAM, it may not be necessary for gaming but when recording a lot of resources are used and 16GB would provide best quality for low latency recording. If I did go 16GB can 32 bit windows 7 even utilize it properly or would I absolutely have to go 64 bit? I have no issue with doing so, I've just never used a 64 bit OS before.

    I may go water cooling now that it's been mentioned so that I could use 16GB of RAM, I couldn't find the one mentioned but the Kuhler 920 gets rave reviews an is a sealed system.

    I know the Kuhler will work in an HAF X no problem but now I'm wondering if I could add a second fan for a push pull setup and fit it since the Kuhler is back mounted, would a second fan fit with the MOBO setup I mentioned?

    One thing I was wondering though is if going with a 2 way SLI setup would 570s even be needed or would that be overkill? I'd like something that can run smooth playing anything I can put in front of it with a little overhead for the future so I don't have to upgrade anytime soon. I know 570s would certainly do that but my question is would something cheaper? Like 560 Tis or even 460s? If 460s would be good enough to last a while that would be nice because I could just get the Galaxy single slots and save the space, not to mention I could get 3 single slot 460s for $50 less than the two 570s alone! $150 if I went with 570s and a 9800 GT and $250 if I went with 570s and a 460.

    As for the SSD, I've decided to change it to a Corsair Force Series GT 120 GB, 30 bucks cheaper and gets better reviews.

    Monitor will be bought when the build is done, haven't done much research on that yet so I have no options I'm considering at this point.


    Oh, I had one other question for the night (well...morning...it's 5am here, I need some sleep). This is probably a stupid question with a well known answer but like I said I don't know much about the technical stuff. Is it possible when using multiple hard drives to have to OS on the same computer? For example, could you have Windows 7 on a hard drive for Gaming and Mac OS X on a hard drive for the recording? Or are the OS MOBO specific? Mac OS is all I've ever seen used in school when recording, everyone says it's much better for it than windows.

    I know there are BIOS that feature multi-boot (heck my pos laptop has it) but I don't know if you can work it out so that some hard drives are for 1 OS, some for the other...I imagine it wouldn't be an issue with the hard drive it's installed on but if you had 4 hard drives, could you have 2 for each? or would all hard drives just show up regardless of what OS you were booted in to?
  6. At the very least a 560TI SLI configuration will be a little juice friedlier, but I can't see two 560's being better than two 570's. If you were looking a longterm then 570's are better, but the 560 to me seems strong enough. But I won't lie, I don't SLI due to the buffed up resources needed, in that It is best for SLI guru's to help on that front.

    Corsair HS 100

  7. I'm thinking about just getting one of the EVGA Hydro Copper 2 580s, probably not as much power as two 570s but it's a teeny bit cheaper than two 570s and allows for an additional one in the future giving great power now, with potential for even better power later (probably much later)

    A Hydro Copper 2 580 with a Galaxy 460 Razor as a PhysX slot should get the job done shouldn't it?
  8. You could fit two double wide graphics cards and still have a free PCI slot in the ASUS P8P67 Deluxe.

    You will need a 64-bit OS to use more than 4GB RAM. 64-bit has no maximum (the theoretical maxium would be about 20 billion GB).

    You can put operating systems on two hard drives and choose a boot drive on startup. However, it is very difficult to get OSX to run on a home-built pc (or any non-Apple computer for that matter). Google "hackintosh" and you'll see what I mean. Bottom line: Don't count on running OSX on this pc.

    The P8P67 Deluxe does have four SATA 6Gb/s drives, but two of them use a Marshal controller whereas the other two (and the SATA 3Gb/s ports) use the Intel controller. Marshal controllers are not great for boot drives. They consistently benchmark lower and to my knowledge they still have problems with TRIM in their drivers which means they're bad for SSDs.

    I'm going to put in a vote for one 580 with the option to buy a second one later. Two 570s doesn't give you much room for improvement later without scrapping both cards.

    You don't need to watercool the processor. You can get a pretty decent overclock out of sandy bridge on a mid-range air cooler. Also I've seen temperature tests that show closed loop systems very close to (if not worse than) air cooling and those closed loop water coolers are way more expensive. If you have three video cards, however, you might need to watercool those.
  9. Didn't know that about the Marshal controllers, are the ASMedia controllers any better? (like the ones found on the ASRock Z68 Pro GEN3 MOBO, which is another that seems to suit what I'm looking for very well)
  10. rob_shadows said:
    Didn't know that about the Marshal controllers, are the ASMedia controllers any better? (like the ones found on the ASRock Z68 Pro GEN3 MOBO, which is another that seems to suit what I'm looking for very well)

    As far as I can tell they just came out in April, which means it's probably a little too soon to tell. Probably better than marvel because otherwise they would have just stuck with marvel, but I'm not sure if it'll be better than the Intel controller. That's all just conjecture, though - I don't know that much about them.
  11. Alright, I've made up my mind on the MOBO going to use the ASUS P8P67 WS REVOLUTION, love the PCI E 2.0 layout with the NF200 bridge and will go with a Trendnet 450mbps dual band wireless setup using the TEW-892GR concurrent dual band router, the matching dual band adapter is USB so the lack of a PCI slot is now fine.
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