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My ~$900 system please help approve/dissaprove!

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August 19, 2011 12:45:02 PM

I'm building my 2nd homebuilt rig and I just wanted to make sure all my parts will mesh together well. My budget is around $900 after rebates and taxes, but I have the GPU and CPU already bought (I bought them when they were on sale), so I've go about $600 left to spend.
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Approximate Purchase Date: Next two weeks
Budget Range: $900 after rebates / $600 left to spend
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming/internet/etc
Parts Not Required: Monitor/OS/mouse/keyboard
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: www.canadacomputers.com (I live near one so it saves me on shipping costs)
Country of Origin: Canada
Parts Preferences: None
Overclocking: Yes
SLI or Crossfire: Maybe but doubtful, I'll probably just buy a new videocard instead a few years down the road
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 I believe (21" flatscreen)
Additional Comments: I really like the case and it's a great price for what I want. I'd love to buy a $150 case but I just don't have the cash for it. Anything under $80 would be an option. It's gotta have a side window though! Also I know the mobo is only $95 but it has 4 DIMMS and a couple PCI slots (for wireless card/fan controll if I want/etc)

Here's what I've built on paper:

Motherboard:$90.00 4 DIMMS, 2XPCIE (1x16,1x4), 2xPCI, ATX
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=2...

CPU$230 3.4Ghz Quad, 8MB L3 cache, i7 2600k
bought from a friend brand new

RAM$56.00 DDR3 1600MHz 8GB (2x4GB) CL9
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=2...

Hard Drive$40.00 500 GB 7200RPM
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=1...

Video Card$200 560 ti (already bought it)

Case
$60.00 NZXT M59
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=6...

PSU
$60.00 650W Antec Earthwatts
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=3...

Optical Drive$19.00 DVD/CD RW w/ lightscribe
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=3...

CPU Cooler $30.00 Hyper 212+
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=8...

Total (before taxes) $786
Total (after taxes)$896.04

So I hope it's a solid build I just want to make sure I haven't overlooked anything like the PSU not having the right connectors or the MOBO not allowing the 2600k to overclock, etc.

Thanks! :D 
a b B Homebuilt system
August 19, 2011 12:58:13 PM

Do you realize that the MB has no USB 3 headers and the case has no USB 3 ports on the front panel?
August 19, 2011 1:05:12 PM

I hadn't but I don't know what a "USB 3 Header" is...I know what a USB 3 port is though. I can't see anywhere on the specifications/overview page that mentions what USB ports the case has on the front. Also the mobo specifications page says it has 2 USB 3.0 ports on the back panel, but I guess that wouldn't be very convenient.

Feel free to offer alternatives, I'll see what the price difference is and whether or not I can afford to get "USB 3.0".

Thanks for pointing that out! This is the type of stuff I figured I may have missed! :D 
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 19, 2011 1:30:21 PM

USB 3 is important only if you plan on using things like a memory stick to transfer data to and from the PC. Using the rear USB 3 ports for this is a major hassle. That's why you would want at least one, preferably two, USB 3 ports on the front of the case.

To clarify, the USB 3 headers I spoke of, are the connectors on the MB for the front panel USB 3 ports.

The MB I prefer is more expensive than the one you picked. It is the Gigabyte Z68X-UD4-B3. It has a much better port arrangement than the UD3 board you selected. But that comes at a price. Also, if you were to get a MB with USB 3 headers/connectors for the front panel, you would need a different case. The one I recommend is the Cooler Master Storm Enforcer. It's a real gem of a case.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 19, 2011 3:28:45 PM

That motherboard is really low end more suited towards office computers more than high end gaming rig.

Gigabyte:

GA-P67A-UD4 and UD5
GA-Z68XP-UD4 and UD5

I wouldn't bother with a Z68 chipset if you are not going to SSD/HDD cache nor if you are going to use a discrete GPU. I would go with a UD4 or UD5 in the P67 chipset, they have 16/20 phase VRM and designed for higher end overclocking.

ASUS

P8P67 Pro
P8Z68 V Pro

I don't know what you paid for the i7 2600k but if you paid more or less the market retail value, then the $100 difference could be used to acquire a higher end board.

There are 2 things you don't really skimp on. 1] Motherboard 2] PSU.
August 19, 2011 3:36:12 PM

sarinaide said:
That motherboard is really low end more suited towards office computers more than high end gaming rig.

Gigabyte:

GA-P67A-UD4 and UD5
GA-Z68XP-UD4 and UD5

I wouldn't bother with a Z68 chipset if you are not going to SSD/HDD cache nor if you are going to use a discrete GPU. I would go with a UD4 or UD5 in the P67 chipset, they have 16/20 phase VRM and designed for higher end overclocking.

ASUS

P8P67 Pro
P8Z68 V Pro

I don't know what you paid for the i7 2600k but if you paid more or less the market retail value, then the $100 difference could be used to acquire a higher end board.

There are 2 things you don't really skimp on. 1] Motherboard 2] PSU.


I forgot to add that in (I'll edit it in), I may get a SSD if I can swing some more money towards this PC, or in the next few months after saving up some more. I'd really like to get one so that's why I'm going for the Z68 mobo. I DO have a discreet GPU as you mentioned so should I still stick with the Z68 or is the P67 still good enough? I know there is an advantage for SSD's with the Z68 but I don't know how much that advantage is and if it's worth it.

I'll take a look at those 4 Mobo's you posted. Thanks!

@Abekl, thanks for the clarification!
a b B Homebuilt system
August 19, 2011 3:48:53 PM

SSD caching is not as beneficial as a single SSD, but I would imagine in makes the HDD faster, so it is trading off the SSD's speed to improve that of the physical hard drive.

With a discrete GPU even with a Z68 chipset you are losing the functionality that you pay for namely the IGP support, Z68 boards are a) more expensive at comparible levels, and to get a Z68 board with better oc'ing potential, it will be substantially more than the P67 equivilant. For perfromance P67, for functionality the Z68.

You can also look at ASROCK and MSI P67 equivilants, you may save some buck for reasonably close enough performance. Asus is good price/performance value, will Gigabyte are in my view very expensive for the offerings, but have good higher end stuff.
August 20, 2011 3:58:50 AM

So really if I get a SSD and I'm only worried about overclocking and not making my SSD performance max (but still decent since its a SSD) I should go for the P67 to save some cash.

Best solution

August 20, 2011 8:35:57 PM
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The SSD caching takes chunks of the most frequently referenced data and stores a copy of it on the SSD - this is similar to how RAM works, but the SSD is nand flash so the data doesn't disappear when you restart (it only disappears if you fill it up and the data is replaced by other data) - significantly improves boot up times after the first cache.

Anandtech did some excellent tests on this. Basically you get the exact same performance boost on data loading as having programs installed on an SSD - once the cache has been loaded. So your first load is usually HDD load speed, but subsequent loads of the same program/data are as fast as if you had a larger SSD installed.

So basically, if you want the load time performance increase of an SSD you have two options (pricing is just generalized estimate).

Z68 MOBO - $200 + 1 tb HDD - $60 + 40 GB SSD - $100 = $360

P67 MOBO - $170 + 1 tb HDD - $60 +120 GB SSD - $230 = $460

Of course, the second example gets more expensive if you go for a larger SSD.

The difference? The second example will give you the SSD load performance all the time (for programs installed on the SSD), while the first requires a caching - so initial game loads will be slower, but internal level loads are quick. So you can get SSD performance at a lower price. If you intend on investing in a larger SSD then go with a P67 board, as the Z68 won't do anything for you.

As far as the on board video features of Z68 - Virtu (when set up properly) provides performance improvement to video transcoding. It has no effect on 3d game performance.
August 22, 2011 2:29:01 PM

Best answer selected by dangerboyjtf2.
August 22, 2011 2:29:30 PM

thank you very much, that's very helpful and now I finally understand those features/costs enough to make my final decision! Much appreciated!
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