Enthusiast PC - first build - struggling with MoBo choice

Hi, long time reader, first time poster, very first build... etc etc :wahoo:

I'll be buying an i7-2600K processor.
In terms of MoBo, from what I've read people here tend to advise against Asus so I'd like to go with Gigabyte but I'm stuck on which chipset to go with. P67 or Z68.

I don't plan to game (though I might chuck something on from time to time but no intention of playing online).
I do plan to do some mild OC-ing (as much as possible with longevity in mind and using stock heatsink, etc).

For my uses I know I do not need an i7 however I plan to keep this build for at least 4-5 years (hopefully more). As Proximon says: "Buy more CPU than you need, if you can afford it." ... I'm not made of money but I can afford the $319 (Australian Dollars) for an i7-2600K in this build.


Approximate Purchase Date: Able to buy all parts NOW. A friend will do the build in a month or so when he has time (I'm confident to do everything apart from mounting the MoBo to the case, which just happens to be the most important part) :na: .

Budget Range: As close to AUD$1,000 as possible (which is currently more or less US$1,000 :whistle: )

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Internet, watching movies, storage, occasional gaming. Basically an office PC I can have fun with.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I'm in Australia so I can't buy from NewEgg. The only US site I know of that ships to Australia is ... One of the best local suppliers would be

Country of Origin: Australia

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU, Gigabyte motherboard

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe (not sure)

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (BENQ G2420HD already purchased)

Additional Comments:
- Would like to find a balance between quiet and power. But quietness not essential as long as it doesn't sound like it's about to take off to the moon :)
- I think only certain items will be significantly cheaper in the US. Like SSDs, HDs, RAM. For example the i7-2600K is AUD$319 here and US$315 on Tiger Direct.
- I would be happy to get a Z68 MoBo and rely on integrated graphics (for a few months) as I'm not gaming and would spend the money saved on a SSD, but a friend says even a crappy discrete card will be better than integrated graphics. Thoughts?


Parts already selected (not yet purchased) :


Storage Drive:
2x WD Caviar Black 7200RPM 64MB Cache, SATA 6Gbps
(Link is for a local supplier in Australia. US prices are only $20 cheaper not including postage to Aus, so I might as well buy this here as I can pick up in store)

Boot/OS Drive:
Patriot WILDFIRE 2.5" 120GB SATA3 SSD
(Same as above. I've found this is actually $5 cheaper in Australia, again not including the extra cost of postage)


Kingston SH100S3/120G HyperX 120GB Sanforce SATA3 SSD
(This is $40 cheaper before postage if bought from Tiger. Once again prob better off buying it here. Who would've thought! :heink: )

RAM: Depends on motherboard. Someone please advise? Willing to spend decent money on good ram but doesn't have to be the best of the best.

Case: A mid-size tower would be good. Something simple. Suggestions?

PSU: No idea, please help. (I'm not being lazy I just have no idea!)

Thanks guys, your suggestions will really help me out! (Not sure if I've left anything out)
- John

Edit 1: Also have a three-ish year old Pioneer DVD drive that I'll re-use.
11 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. I could probably look up each component and work out what budget you have left to spend on the motherboard, but it would be easier if you tell me :)

    Between the two chipsets, it doesn't really make tooo much difference aside from a few features. The price difference now between P67 and Z68 is also fairly minor, so my recommendation would usually be go with the Z68.

    Are you buying a graphics card at all? I didnt see any mention of one in your first post?

    RAM: 1600MHz, CL9, 1.5v is generally the best value for money with SandyBridge builds. G.Skill and Corsair are popular choices and good prices.

    PSU: This depends if you are getting a GPU/what GPU

    Case: Go with something you like the look of :) Any mid-tower ATX should be fine. HAF 912/922 are popular choices without spending your life savings :)

    Oh and i'm not sure what you've heard about ASUS motherboards but they are a very good manufacturer. Easily on par with Gigabyte, although ASUS do offer a slightly higher priced range of products.
  2. Case HAF 922 for 100 cads?

    or this cooler master elite 430

    PSU Corsair, Antec, OCZ

    Ram = G. Skill Ripjaws 4x2gb

    Wow Shipping kills huh. If you want a cheaper case

    Good luck
  3. Thanks for the replies. Much appreciated.

    So it looks like Z68 is the way to go.

    For graphics card, based on price, the fact it has all the inputs I need (mainly HDMI), that I really don't need to game, I've come up with:

    Spending more on a card at this stage would probably see me scrapping the SSD for now, which is something I don't wanna do :sol:

    I don't think I would spend more than say $250 on a motherboard unless it was reaallllyy worth it :-)
    (In reply to Adrian, I've been reading lots of other build threads and have noticed a few people saying Asus could sometimes be hard to deal with for RMAs. I know I shouldn't let that govern me but I kinda like the Gigabytes after I've been looking into them. Plus you said they'll be slightly cheaper than Asus)
  4. a good basic motherboard:

    $115 GIGABYTE GA-Z68A-D3H-B3

    or slightly higher end with SLI support ect:

    $170 GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD4-B3
  5. Ok sorry to be annoying.

    Based on local offerings and price I have narrowed the MoBo down to:

    $194 GA-Z68XP-UD3P
    $215 GA-Z68XP-UD4
    $219 Asus P8Z68-V PRO Edit 1: lol I just realised from your sig that this is your current board.

    I know I said no to Asus originally, but the board is currently on sale :whistle:

    So, whatta ya think?

    Edit 2: Adrian I swear I'm not copying specs from your sig lol :??: but this card also happens to be on sale in my local computer store for $217:
    ASUS GTX 560 Ti
    On Tiger Direct it's $260 before rebate so I'm thinking my price is pretty good. Would you recommend?
  6. Best answer
    As far as pricing goes im not too sure, im UK based and we have to pay out a heck of alot more :( My Gigabyte 560Ti was £190 (~$300 USD)

    The ASUS P8Z68-v PRO ive been very impressed with. I had some issues with the auto-overclock features making my PC double boot each time it started up and i ended up having to mess about with the BIOS and BLK frequency ect, other than that its been good as gold :)

    I think really it comes down to which colour do you prefer for a motherboard? Blue = ASUS, Black = Gigabyte. UD4 and -v PRO are both good choices :)

    560Ti is also a solid card, been very very pleased with my Gigabyte 560's performance and its happily overclocked to 1GHz core without the temps going too high. The MSI Twin Frozr and ASUS Direct II are also great choices. EVGA is popular as well, i believe they offer a Lifetime Warranty or something like that :)
  7. Best answer selected by barbo.
  8. Ahh, didn't realise you were UK based!
    Thanks for all the help. You've helped me through some big gaps in my build plan!

    With budget in mind I've decided to scrap the graphics card and SSD for now.
    - SSD can come later when prices come down (don't want to waste time/money putting in anything smaller than 120GB)
    - Graphics card can also wait as I don't want to game. On-board HDMI on both MoBo options will be enough to power my 1920x1080 monitor.

    This is what I have.

    CPU: i7-2600K
    MoBo: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD4 or Asus P8Z68-V PRO
    RAM: 8GB (4GBx2) 1333 G.Skill Ripjaws-X
    SSD: add later
    HDD 1: WD Black 7200RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6Gbps
    HDD 2: WD Black 7200RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6Gbps
    Graphics: add later
    Case: Cooler Master Elite 335
    PSU: Cooler Master M/Silent Pro 700W

    Thanks again, I'll sleep on the MoBo decision (1:55AM Melbourne time)

  9. I've just re-read your first post and noticed you said you cant buy from NewEgg, i just presumed you were buying from since thats website the first replier used! Sorry for all the probably useless newegg links!

    This 1600MHz RAM would be a good option aswell if its not too much more expensive than 1333MHz which from what i can see its only $8 more:
  10. Thanks, I will definitely be going for the ram you suggested. Either 8GB or 16GB :-)

    I can probably go for a lower wattage PSU as I doubt I'll end up adding a graphics card. Think I'll set up some sort of RAID config until SSD prices come down a little lower.

    At any rate, whatever I do will blow away my ancient AMD Athalon with 1GB ram which reside in a Compaq Presario 6000... oh the shame.
  11. 16GB is overkill for gaming and will have no effect :) Stick with 8GB. Most games are designed for 32-bit systems so as not to limit the market. 32-bit only recognises around 3GB ram so you wont often find your system using more than this :)

    A 500w PSU will run anything up to and including a single 6950, or GTX 560Ti.

    Unless you really need 2TB of storage from those WD Blacks, you could just get a single 1TB and use the money saved from the second/cheaper PSU to buy a 60GB SSD. Just use it as a boot drive with your OS and a few desktop apps you use regularly and your away :) You could even use Z68 motherboards SSD caching feature if you felt it would be beneficial.
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