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Help finishing a $2000-2500 Workstation/Gaming PC

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September 20, 2011 4:22:16 PM

Hey everyone,

This is going to be the first time I've built a computer, and it's going to be used primarily for graphics, 3d animation (just animation, I freelance and others do the rendering), programming and a bit of lighter gaming (Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3, though I'd like to play both at pretty high settings).

Approximate Purchase Date: Within the next two weeks

Budget Range: $2000-2500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: 3D Animation (Maya - not rendering), Design (Adobe CS), Video Production (Premiere), Gaming (Starcraft 2, Diablo 3)

Parts Not Required: Already purchased 2x Monitors, i7 2600K and EVGA SuperClocked 015-P3-1582-AR GeForce GTX 580 

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Amazon, Tiger Direct

Country of Origin: US

Parts Preferences: z68 Mobo, flexible on the rest

Overclocking: Yes

SLI: Eventually, though not a priority for the next 6-12 months

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments:

I could use recommendations on Motherboard, PSU and Case most of all.

Here's what I've put together so far:

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
PSU: Seasonic SS-850HT: 850 W, ATX12V v2.31, 80 PLUS Silver
Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 932
Motherboard (This is where I need the most advice based on what I'm using the machine for): ASRock Z68 Gen 3 Extreme4, ASUS P8Z68 Deluxe (or V-Pro), or your recommendation :) 
Heatsink: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARS 2 TB, 7200 RPM HDD
SSD: Adata S511 120 GB, SATA 6Gb/s SSD

Thanks for all of your help — definitely need feedback on the best mobo for this build as it's the piece of the build that I'm least knowledgeable about what to look for in order to fit my needs.
September 20, 2011 4:29:20 PM

HSF : CORSAIR CWCH60 Hydro Series H60 High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler - $70
Motherboard : ASRock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3 - $290
RAM : 2 x (G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600) - $100
Hard Disk : Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB - $60
SSD : Corsair Force Series 3 CSSD-F120GB3A-BK 2.5" 120GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - $180
Optical Drive : LITE-ON Black 12X Blu-ray Burner with Blu-ray 3D feature SATA - $100

PSU : CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX850 (CMPSU-850AX) 850W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - $190

Case : Corsair Obsidian Series 800D CC800DW Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - $280

Total : $1270 before rebates
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September 20, 2011 6:00:10 PM

RAM: Corsair XM3 1600 2x4Gb (for $54.99) but I would go for 16Gb instead, at $109.98. The Vengeances are real nice too, but they are too tall.

PSU: Corsair TX650 for $84.99 (850W is a HUGE OVERKILL)

Case: I like the Thermaltake Dokker for $60 but the HAF is a nice pick too.

MOBO: Asus P8Z68-V Pro (as it has the Z68 SSD caching and also supports Virtu) for $199.99


Cooling: Cooler Master V6GT for $58.49. Don't go for liquid cooling, you don't need it. I would recommend instead buying case FANs, and I love the Aerocool Shark line at $14 each fan. The Dokker can fit up to 6 fans but for you 3 is enough.

HDD: You can have that Caviar Green to store your own files, but the 1Tb Caviar Black (as it is faster than the Green) for $79.

SSD: No need for such a big SSD. Any 20~40Gb would be awesome for you if you get a Z68 motherboard, and not so costly - anything ~$150 is good.

Optical Drive: as you work with video I would tell you to get some $100 Blu-Ray recorder and it's fine.

Total: $885 before rebates. And you're good!
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September 20, 2011 6:45:38 PM

Thanks for the feedback :) 

I may go for a 96gb SSD instead of 120, but I want the extra room for potential games down the line. Probably will stick with the HAF. For the potential SLI down the road, should I get the larger PSU now, or just upgrade it later if I do go SLI?

Thanks again, this helpeda lot!
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September 20, 2011 6:51:55 PM

jwondrusch said:
Thanks for the feedback :) 

I may go for a 96gb SSD instead of 120, but I want the extra room for potential games down the line. Probably will stick with the HAF. For the potential SLI down the road, should I get the larger PSU now, or just upgrade it later if I do go SLI?

Thanks again, this helpeda lot!


The SSD caching on Z68-based MOBOs (at least theoretically) do not require any monster drive. Instead I'll leave mine to that cache alone and not store anything on it voluntarily.

If you plan on SLIing later on, 750W is more than enough for you.
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September 20, 2011 9:28:15 PM

SSD caching is completely useless IMO. A ssd alone will get the full potential out of it and you have direct control of what uses the ssd.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/overclock-cpu-sli-s...
OC i7-2600k+580 sli hits around 700w peak so 850w is recommended. And would probably save you money if you just buy the bigger psu now.
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