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Need a cold eyes review of my *first* build - yay me!

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August 25, 2011 4:29:21 AM

Hey guys, I'm looking for some input on my below build. I plan on using the rig for gaming and photo editing and would like to run a slight overclock; I doubt I will ever expand into dual GPU territory. Although the monitor is a touch expensive, colour accuracy is more important to me than refresh, size, and max resolution. I also would like to "future-proof" the system where it makes sense to do so cost-wise e.g. the Gen3 MB that has a PCI 3 slot for a nominal increase.

I think the general components are cookie cutter but I am unsure about the PSU sizing (physical dimensions) and if the case will fit the GPU...I included a heat sink in the below list but cannot find any concrete data on whether I need one or not with my proposed build. Any component substitutes for around the same price point would be appreciated and considered.


CPU Intel Core i5-2500K retail
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7073161&CatId=6988

Motherboard ASRock Z68 EXTREME4 GEN3
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157264

RAM "Corsair Vengeance Desktop Memory Kit - 8GB (2x 4GB), PC3-12800, DDR3-1600MHz, 9-9-9-24
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233144

Video Card XFX HD-695X-ZNDC Radeon HD 6950 XXX Video Card - 1GB
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7203654&csid=_23&body=REVIEWS#tabs

Hard Drive (SSD) OCZ AGT3-25SAT3-120G Agility 3 Series Solid State Drive - 120GB
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=557372&CatId=5300

Hard Drive (HDD) Western Digital WD2002FAEX Caviar Black - 2TB
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7288043

DVD Drive Sony Optiarc AD-7260S DVD-RW
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=6246700&CatId=4

Case Bitfenix Shinobi
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=6_112&item_id=038696

Power Supply Coolmax 500-Watt Modular Power Supply - PCI-E, 120mm Fan
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4435073&csid=ITD&body=MAIN

Heatsink Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065&Tpk=Cooler%20Master%20Hyper%20212%20Plus

OS Windows 7 Home Premium

Monitor Dell U2412M
http://accessories.dell.com/sna/products/Monitors_Flat_Panel_Widescreen/productdetail.aspx?c=ca&l=en&cs=cadhs1&sku=320-2676&baynote_bnrank=0&baynote_irrank=0&~ck=baynoteSearch

Any and all help is appreciated.
August 25, 2011 4:41:14 AM

looks good I'd check out some reviews on the case though, i havn't heard of it before. your ordering from a lot of different sites I would put the cart together on one and see if it doesn't turn out cheaper because of shipping.
You can get higher oc'ed graphics cards for cheaper (at least in aus) that are more well known brands (XFX is a good brand though)
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August 25, 2011 4:46:01 AM

Is it still possible to OC the 6950 by flashing the bios? Or is going with a factory OC the only way to unlock the shaders?
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August 25, 2011 4:57:43 AM

I would ditch the Coolmax PSU and go with a well-known brand, like Corsair or Seasonic, for instance.
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August 25, 2011 4:58:39 AM

you can still flash em up to 6970 but because they dont put dual bios on the anymore its risky cause you could end up with a $250 paperwieght
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August 25, 2011 5:52:09 AM

Don't put a i5 on the Z68 board. Use a i7 2600k instead.

You say future proof... I say Haf X case. Lots of room to accommodate anything.

You will want to organize your newegg into free shipping. Then wait until the rest become free shipping and pull the trigger. My very first build I put everything into one cart coughed up 350 dollars in shipping (OW!) because I was impatient.

Free shipping. Remember that.
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August 25, 2011 8:46:26 AM

These two outfits (Direct Canada & Best Direct) are affiliated (both use the same shipping addy out of Richmond, BC), and both offer FREE SHIPPING.

http://www.bestdirect.ca
http://www.bestdirect.ca/contact/

http://www.directcanada.com
http://www.directcanada.com/contact/

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/231687/HCG-750/ANTEC/ $94.51
Antec High Current Gamer 750W 24PIN ATX12V V2.3 Active PFC 80 Plus Bronze SLI Power Supply 135mm Fan

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=10530BD2656&v... $169.69
ASUS P8Z68-V Z68 LGA1155 ATX 3PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 2PCI HDMI DVI Motherboard

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/232641/BX80623I72600K... $309.79
Intel Core i7 2600K Quad Core Unlocked Hyperthreading Processor LGA1155 3.4GHZ Sandy Bridge 8MB

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11130AC8843&v... $23.69
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus Direct Touch 4 Heatpipe Heatsink AM2 AM3 LGA1366 LGA1155 LGA1156 120MM

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/233999/F3-12800CL9D-8... $50.77
G.SKILL F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR Sniper SE 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 1.5V Memory Kit

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/225965/DRW-24B1ST%20B... $16.79
ASUS DRW-24B1ST 24X SATA DVD Writer OEM Black

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/233111/ST31000524AS/S... $49.79
Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 7200.12 1TB SATA 32MB Cache 3.5IN Internal Hard Drive OEM

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/234805/CT128M4SSD2/CR... $202.00
Crucial M4 SSD Micron C400 128GB 2.5IN Solid State Disk Flash Drive SATA3 6Gbps

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11610BD1412&v... $238.69 MIR. $228.69
EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti Fermi 850MHZ 1024MB 4104MHZ GDDR5 2XDVI Mini-HDMI PCI-E Video Card

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/222137/GFC-00599/MICR... $93.79
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64BIT DVD OEM

http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8Z6... <----- A better look at that Asus board
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August 25, 2011 10:25:58 PM

x Heavy said:
Don't put a i5 on the Z68 board. Use a i7 2600k instead.

You say future proof... I say Haf X case. Lots of room to accommodate anything.

You will want to organize your newegg into free shipping. Then wait until the rest become free shipping and pull the trigger. My very first build I put everything into one cart coughed up 350 dollars in shipping (OW!) because I was impatient.

Free shipping. Remember that.



Thanks for the info!!! I will definitely check into the free shipping. Both you and the post below both advocate an i7 for the Z68 board, any particular reason?
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Anonymous
August 25, 2011 11:42:15 PM

jimmychew said:
Thanks for the info!!! I will definitely check into the free shipping. Both you and the post below both advocate an i7 for the Z68 board, any particular reason?

I'm basically asking the same question as this.
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August 26, 2011 12:04:08 AM

Why_Me said:
These two outfits (Direct Canada & Best Direct) are affiliated (both use the same shipping addy out of Richmond, BC), and both offer FREE SHIPPING.

http://www.bestdirect.ca
http://www.bestdirect.ca/contact/

http://www.directcanada.com
http://www.directcanada.com/contact/

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/231687/HCG-750/ANTEC/ $94.51
Antec High Current Gamer 750W 24PIN ATX12V V2.3 Active PFC 80 Plus Bronze SLI Power Supply 135mm Fan

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=10530BD2656&v... $169.69
ASUS P8Z68-V Z68 LGA1155 ATX 3PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 2PCI HDMI DVI Motherboard

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/232641/BX80623I72600K... $309.79
Intel Core i7 2600K Quad Core Unlocked Hyperthreading Processor LGA1155 3.4GHZ Sandy Bridge 8MB

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11130AC8843&v... $23.69
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus Direct Touch 4 Heatpipe Heatsink AM2 AM3 LGA1366 LGA1155 LGA1156 120MM

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/233999/F3-12800CL9D-8... $50.77
G.SKILL F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR Sniper SE 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 1.5V Memory Kit

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/225965/DRW-24B1ST%20B... $16.79
ASUS DRW-24B1ST 24X SATA DVD Writer OEM Black

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/233111/ST31000524AS/S... $49.79
Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 7200.12 1TB SATA 32MB Cache 3.5IN Internal Hard Drive OEM

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/234805/CT128M4SSD2/CR... $202.00
Crucial M4 SSD Micron C400 128GB 2.5IN Solid State Disk Flash Drive SATA3 6Gbps

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11610BD1412&v... $238.69 MIR. $228.69
EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti Fermi 850MHZ 1024MB 4104MHZ GDDR5 2XDVI Mini-HDMI PCI-E Video Card

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/222137/GFC-00599/MICR... $93.79
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64BIT DVD OEM

http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8Z6... <----- A better look at that Asus board




Hey Why_Me, thanks for introducing me to the new canadian companies and taking the time to give me some alternates. Why the 560GTX Ti instead of the 6950? Any links to it's performance being better than the 6950? I don't have a preference either way, just want to make the best choice.
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September 13, 2011 6:23:54 PM

I just make sure to slap a Z68 Board under a 1155 i7 2600 because most everyone else was doing it. I did not mind paying 330 or a bit less for something that performs pretty close to a $1000 Extreme something edition. I spent the extra bucks on the video cards because that is where gaming is.

That computer just fast. No wait for anything. It runs at 4.2 oc without trouble and has the moxie to get past 5 gig if I so choose. Gaming and apps just happen. No waiting.
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September 13, 2011 6:51:03 PM

jimmychew said:
Is it still possible to OC the 6950 by flashing the bios? Or is going with a factory OC the only way to unlock the shaders?


I've also heard of people having long term issues reflashing the 6950 to a 6970, it seems the memory timings or something to that effect of the 6970 are causing the flashed 6950 to develop rendering issues over time. I do know that people are making modified 6950 bios files that just unlock the extra shaders and then you just overclock the the 6970 speed to get the same result without damaging the card.
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September 13, 2011 6:53:06 PM

candlelarbra5212 said:
you can still flash em up to 6970 but because they dont put dual bios on the anymore its risky cause you could end up with a $250 paperwieght


Not nessecarily, he could just remove the card to a secondary pci-e slot and boot off of another card, and while running on the backup card he could reflash the 6850 back to it defaults. As long as he made a back up of the OEM bios before flashing to a 6970.
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