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Is this Z68 build the best for my money?

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September 23, 2011 7:25:12 PM

I'm building my first full new rig since 2004, and I want to make sure the build I'm going with lasts me for a good 3-4 years, and get the best bang for my buck.
I'm a gamer, but I don't need anything more than 1920x1080 HD (currently on a Radeon 3870 @ 1680x1050). I'm going with a single GPU for now (no microstuttering), with the option to add a second one in a year or two if prices fall and stuttering goes away.

The only thing I'm thinking of keeping for now is my PSU. Antec EarthWatts 650 (gold 80+).

Approximate Purchase Date: By EOY 2011

Budget Range: <=$1700 After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, coding, internet, movies

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, speakers, OS, DVD writers... PSU possibly (see below)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: NewEgg, Amazon. PriceGrabber for reputable vendors.

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: Mid tower (somewhat quiet), name-brand with high reliability

Overclocking: Not initially, possibly down the road

SLI or Crossfire: Not initially, possibly down the road

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Reliability is tops, followed by bang-for-buck. I'd like a somewhat quiet case/system but I know that padding restricts cooling. This system will be in my office with me.

Here's my wishlist from Newegg... does this look good, and/or should I wait until Black Monday to start looking for these components in hopes of saving some coin?

PSU
Antec EarthWatts 650 (80+ Bronze Certified) (CARRIED OVER FROM EXISTING SYSTEM)

Case
LIAN LI Lancool PC-K63 -> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$139.99 -$20.00 Instant $119.99

Mobo
ASRock Z68 EXTREME4 GEN3 LGA 1155 -> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$199.99

CPU
i5-2500k 3.3ghz Quad-core -> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$219.99

CPU COOLER
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus -> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$29.99

RAM
Gskill F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL 2x4GB (8GB) -> QTY 2 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$51.99 x2= $103.98

GPU
H697QM2G2M Radeon HD 6970 2GB IceQ -> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$399.99

Monitor
Asus VH238H Black 23" Full HD HDMI/LED 1920x1080 -> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$209.99 -$30.00 Instant $179.99

SSD (OS/APPS)
Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC -> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$249.99 -$50.00 Instant $199.99

HDD - Storage
WD Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s -> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$89.99 -$10.00 Instant $79.99

Sound Card
ASUS Xonar DS 7.1 24-bit 192KHz PCI -> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$49.99

TOTAL = ~ $1585
TOTAL (without monitor/sound/half RAM) = ~ $1300

The 16GB is negotiable, I was thinking of getting a RamDisk license ($15) and set aside 4-8GB of it for that.

What do you guys think of the build? Did as much research and bouncing around websites for the past week or so to come up with this, so hopefully it isn't an epic fail of an attempt. What would you guys change?

I appreciate the feedback.

{Edit - forgot the FAQ template, corrected PSU rating, added item links.}

More about : z68 build money

September 23, 2011 7:59:01 PM

You're right... it is 80+ bronze. Will it be enough for what I'm attempting to build?

I like the board you mentioned...didn't realize the only real difference between Extreme3 and Extreme4 is the number of video cards you can run. I won't be using 3, that's for certain. That $75 shave is nice!
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September 23, 2011 8:26:49 PM

I'm guessing you chose the case for looks as much as function. If you are flexible you can get a HAF922 or Corsair 400r for under $100 without sacrificing quality. I personally like Gigabyte boards and you can get Z68X UD4 B3 for $180. I like the rest. Depending on what you do besides gaming, the 16GB may or may not be of use to you. You could always start with 8 and upgrade later if you feel you need to.

I just ordered my build using these parts. Can't wait ;) 
September 23, 2011 8:28:01 PM

sinclaj1 said:
You're right... it is 80+ bronze. Will it be enough for what I'm attempting to build?

I like the board you mentioned...didn't realize the only real difference between Extreme3 and Extreme4 is the number of video cards you can run. I won't be using 3, that's for certain. That $75 shave is nice!

The main difference between the xtreme4 and extreme3 is the lack of front USB 3.0 header for front USB 3.0 ports.

September 23, 2011 9:01:43 PM

For the RAM, I would pay a bit more (1-6$ :p ) for a true quad-module kit, not two dual-module kits; suggestions: regular or low-voltage (I would go for the 1.35v, it should heat less and/or OC better because of the lower voltage. The reason to do that is that the whole 4 DIMMs are supposed to be tested to work at the rated specs where dual modules are only tested with the two and therefore could require manual adjustments if you use two kits.
September 23, 2011 10:08:31 PM

Why_Me said:
The main difference between the xtreme4 and extreme3 is the lack of front USB 3.0 header for front USB 3.0 ports.


Who cares, use the rear ports.

You don't need 16gb of ram, 8gb is already overkill.

There's no benefit to overclocking your ram. 1600mhz is the sweet spot for sandy bridge. Those modules you chose are perfect.

Oh and Zenthar, two 2dimm kits is exactly the same as one 4 dimm kit. There is no difference.
September 27, 2011 8:42:41 PM

My final build (parts bought, not yet arrived or assembled) is below. I ended up buying a PSU and copy of Win7 so I could give my existing rig to someone in my family. That increased my budget a bit, but I still wanted something that was pretty sound future-wise.

I've looked through a lot of posts and reviews on here, and I appreciate everyone's help.

Here's what I came up with:

CASE Corsair Obsidian 650D http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$189 (+ $20 MIR)

OS Win7 64-bit SP1 OEM Sys Builders http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Professional-64bit-System...
$134

MOBO ASRock Z68 Extreme4 Gen3 LGA 1155 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$199 (+$10 MIR)

CPU i7-2600k 3.4ghz Quad-core http://www.buy.com/prod/intel-core-i7-2600k-processor-w...
$299

CPUCOOL Scythe Mugen3 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$50

GPU Sapphire 6970 Radeon 2GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$349 (+$20 MIR)

RAM CORSAIR ML16GX3M4A1600C9 Low Profile 4x4GB (16GB) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$94

PSU Antec High Current Pro 850W 80+ GOLD http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$149 (+$30 MIR)

SSD (OS/Apps) Crucial M4 128GB CT128M4SSD2 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$197

SATA HDD 2x WD Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200RPM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$156

MONITOR Asus VH238H Black 23" Full HD HDMI/LED http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-VH238H-23-Inch-LED-Monitor/d...
$179 (+$10 MIR)

MISC ASUS Xonar DS 7.1 24-bit 192KHz PCI 
http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-Xonar-Channels-Interface-Sou...
$50 (+$10 MIR)

OPTICAL SATA DVDRW (LITEON)
$0 (Kept from previous system)

REG TOTAL = $2232
SHIPPING = $13
Sale savings = $200
SALE TOTAL = $2045
MIRs = $100
GRAND TOTAL = $1945


Some of my logic:
CASE --> read a few posts and reviews on it. It's a bit bigger than I was looking for, but not huge, and it looks like it will last me a good long time.
CPU --> I will likely be doing a lot of video decoding/transcoding, as well as several heavy apps here in the next few months. Plus, found the i7-2600k on sale and figured it would be more future-proof. For an extra $50, figured it was worth it.
RAM --> Same as CPU
GPU --> Almost bought the insanely good MSI 6970 Lightning, but it's so hard to find that I figured CF with it down the road would be near impossible. So I shaved off the $70 there for a Sapphire (I love those). I figure a Sapphire (or standard brand) would be easier to find a year or so down the road if I want to CF.
MOBO --> Several concerns over BIOS and reliability of ASRock EXTREME3, so I picked the EXTREME4. Plus, has 4 SATA6 ports, and I'm going to have a SATA6 SSD and two SATA6 HDD's in RAID0. EXTREME3 only has 2 SATA6 ports.
CPU COOLER --> From everything I've read, it will fit. Is quieter than the Hyper 212 Plus.
PSU --> From Toms recommendations and a few other reviews. Antec is solid too, and it was a steal at $119 after rebates.
HDD --> WD Caviar Black 7200RM are the best, got a couple of 1TB drives. Going to try RAID for the first time (RAID0). Figure that will be good for a while, since I'm barely scratching 200GB used on my old drive. Plenty of room in case for extras.
SSD --> Best bang for buck at size and performance. Right now, my current OS drive takes up about 90GB, so this should work out fine for a while. Can always add another later with the final SATA6 port.
MONITOR --> First new monitor since my Dell 2005WPF (I think that's the name). Looking forward to 1920x1080. Decent price.
SOUND --> Just didn't want MOBO sound, and this gives me a little flexibility. Could've left it off I guess.

I'm excited to get this stuff in over the next 7 days and will start building when I get it. I'll report back on it.
Only concern I have is the RAM vs. the MOBO. ASRock doesn't have it listed on their "verified" list, but they don't have any Corsair 1600's listed and I found that odd. That being said, I can always RMA and get GSkill (or another MOBO) if needed.

What do you guys think? Good build or epic fail? :sweat: 
September 27, 2011 8:53:50 PM

Looks like a solid build. The only thing I would do different is drop one of those WD h/d's seeing how you have a decent size SSD up there I don't see why you would ever need RAID 0 as in dual h'd's.

The only other change would be the case. Those new Corsair 500R's came out last week and by the reviews on the net and looking at the airflow they have better cooling than the 650D and look better also imo. The suck part is they just went up in price today. When they came out during "pre order" they were $130 + free shipping and a $10 rebate.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $139.99
Corsair Carbide Series 500R Black Steel structure with molded ABS plastic accent pieces ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

or that same case but in white...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $139.99
Corsair Carbide Series 500R White Steel structure with molded ABS plastic accent pieces ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

btw if you combo that cpu with the o/s on newegg you save like $20. Look for the combo's...RAM + psu, etc... even that WD h/d has good combo's.
!