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Looking for comments/suggestions on my new build

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September 28, 2011 3:45:54 PM

Hey all,

I'm looking at building myself a new PC within the next few weeks and I wanted to know what the community thought about my choices and if you guys/gals had any suggestions for improvements.

First, I'll be using the PC for gaming (mostly FPS) and minor photo retouching using Photoshop, the rest of the time it's for web surfing. I already have a redundant RAID1 NAS for the storage of my documents, so disk space isn't something that I need that much of in my new build.

Second, my current screen supports a max of 1680x1050 and I do not want a multi-monitor setup (if ever I do upgrade my screen, it will be for a 1920x1080 one).

Thirdly, my budget is roughly 1700-1900$ and I plan on keeping this machine for at least 5 years (I'm at 6 years with my current build) but I'm not against upgrading a few bits and pieces down the road.

Fourthly, I do plan on overclocking this machine, but just a little bit as I don't want to affect reliability. I was thinking that 4.4Ghz should be stable and reliable enough, feel free to enlighten me however.

Fiftly, I don't care about looks, so that explains my case choice. I've used it once before and really liked its construction... if you have valid arguments for a different model, do let me know.

My chosen components:

Qty.....Component
1........Antec Three Hundred Mini Tower Gaming Case 300 ATX
1........Noctua NH-C12P SE14 LGA1155 Heatpipe Cooler w/ NF-P14 140mm Fan
2........Noctua NF-P12-1300 120mm Ultra Quiet Cooling Fan
1........Intel Core i7 2600k Quad Core Unlocked Hyperthreading Processor LGA1155 3.4Ghz Sandy Bridge 8MB
1........ASRock Z68 EXTREME4 GEN3 ATX LGA1155 DDR3 3PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 SATA3 USB3.0 SLI
2........G.Skill Ripjaws X F3-12800CL7D-8GBXH 2x4GB DDR3-1600 CL7-8-7-24 1.5V
1........Seasonic X850 Gold ATX 12V 24PIN 850W Active PFC 80PLUS Gold Modular
1........LG GH22NS70 Super Multi 22X SATA DVD Writer Black OEM
2........OCZ Vertex 3 60GB 2.5IN SATA3 6Gbps Sandforce SF-2281
(One drive for Windows and 1 drive for Intel SRT)
2........Western Digital Velociraptor WD1500HLHX 150GB SATA3 6GB/S 10000RPM 32MB
(Game drive Set to RAID 0 with the other SSD for SRT)
1........MSI GeForce GTX 570 786MHZ 1280MB 4.2GHZ GDDR5
(I already have one of these, I was thinking of getting a 2nd for SLI... I may wait for prices to go down though).

***EDIT***
Slight change to the build (new case, new drive config):
1........Corsair Carbide Series 400R Mid-Tower Case ATX 4X5.25 6X3.5INT USB 1394 No PS
1........OCZ Agility 3 60GB 2.5IN SATA3 Sandforce SF-2281 SSD
1........OCZ Agility 3 120GB 2.5IN SATA3 Sandforce SF-2281 SSD
1........Western Digital Velociraptor WD1500HLHX 150GB SATA3 6GB/S 10000RPM 32MB

Well I think I got everything, if you need more info do let me know.

Thanks!
September 28, 2011 4:09:08 PM

what id prolly do different is if your gonna spend that kinda cash on storage.....id raid 2 ssd sata III drives and just use one hdd for data storage....(pics, documents,etc)

wayyyyyy faster!!!!!
September 28, 2011 4:16:20 PM

Well, I was planning on putting Windows on one SSD and then my games on the 2 mechanical drives in RAID0 with Intel's SRT enabled.

My thinking was that it was cheaper than getting a similar amount of space in pure SSD, plus I remembered reading somewhere that putting games on SSD wasn't a great idea. Am I wrong?
Related resources
September 29, 2011 1:04:12 PM

Can anyone else enlighten me on storage options or provide some feedback?
September 29, 2011 7:13:13 PM

*crickets*
September 30, 2011 4:23:00 AM

Syberz said:
I remembered reading somewhere that putting games on SSD wasn't a great idea. Am I wrong?

You are wrong. Load times will vastly improve.
September 30, 2011 12:10:45 PM

Of course that load times will improve, what I remember reading about was that it also negatively affected the longevity of the drive somehow. Too many read/writes perhaps?
September 30, 2011 1:03:29 PM

The Antec 300 is a budget case for peeps on a very tight budget and who don't plan on adding a decent size after market cpu h/s. It's small, and cramped. I would look at these changes down below. One decent sized SSD, and one decent sized storage drive and forget about the Raptors. Also those OCZ SSD's are known for having bugs with that Sandforce controller.

http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Carbide-Tower-Gaming-Comp... $99.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Corsair Carbide Series 400R Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case - CC-9011011-WW

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... <----- that same case @ newegg. Save $20 in shipping charges and get that case @ amazon

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $34.99 FREE SHIPPING
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R1 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $8.99 FREE SHIPPING
COOLER MASTER R4-BMBS-20PK-R0 Blade Master 120mm Case Fan

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $67.48
ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $207.98 - $20.00 Mail In Rebates(
CORSAIR Professional Series HX850 (CMPSU-850HX) 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CML8GX3M2A1600C9B

or...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $149.99
CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX850M 850W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular High Performance Power Supply

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $196.99 FREE SHIPPING
Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
September 30, 2011 1:43:46 PM

Thanks for the ideas.

Very sexy case, me like. Will definitely go for that one I think.

I like the Noctua products, they're very quiet (although rather ugly but I don't really care about that). Why go Cooler Master instead, is it only a price thing or are they quieter as well?

I refuse to buy anything Asus (had problems with their customer service in the past and they no longer deserve my money). I'm not saying that their products are crap however, in fact, I have nothing against the quality of their products (my motherboard blew, but that can happen for any brand).

The Seagate is "only" 7200rpm and not SATA3. Since I don't need 1tb, I'd rather pay a bit more for speed over capacity. At first I though about going for one 300gb drive of the same stats as the ones I chose, but I figured that RAID0 with 2 smaller drives would be even faster while maintaining the robustness of mechanical drives. The second SSD was to further boost the speed with Intel's new SRT technology (might as well use it if I'm getting a Z68 board).

The Corsair ram has slower timings than the G.Skill, I'm assuming you're only mentioning them because they are part of the bundle with the PSU? Pretty sweet deal, I must admit. I went for a gold PSU because I wanted something stable that would keep my components safe for a long time; considering that, maybe a silver rated would be enough?

As for the SSD that I chose, I know about the issues with the controller but also read that they are fixed if you upgrade the firmware (which I plan on doing prior to installation). However, you're saying that the performance gains of RAIDing 2 high speed mechanical drives, using a small SSD for system and another for SRT is not worth the performance gains versus the money spent?
September 30, 2011 3:54:47 PM

Syberz said:
Of course that load times will improve, what I remember reading about was that it also negatively affected the longevity of the drive somehow. Too many read/writes perhaps?

So you want to use your drive, but you don't want to read-write to it? ;) 

Just get the M4, it has excellent garbage collection. Even the SandForce drives have come far enough that you don't need to worry about it.
September 30, 2011 4:01:52 PM

Syberz said:
The Seagate is "only" 7200rpm and not SATA3. Since I don't need 1tb, I'd rather pay a bit more for speed over capacity. At first I though about going for one 300gb drive of the same stats as the ones I chose, but I figured that RAID0 with 2 smaller drives would be even faster while maintaining the robustness of mechanical drives. The second SSD was to further boost the speed with Intel's new SRT technology (might as well use it if I'm getting a Z68 board).

SATA 3 is irrelevant in a mechanical drive. Rotational speeds higher than 7200RPM are kind of gimmicky too, because you could get the same speed by short-stroking a cheaper, larger HDD. SSDs, having no moving parts, are more robust than mechanical drives. They had a lot more problems in the early days though. If stability is your concern, I would recommend the same M4 that Why_Me posted. Make sure to update the firmware to 0009 for a big speed boost.

Syberz said:
As for the SSD that I chose, I know about the issues with the controller but also read that they are fixed if you upgrade the firmware (which I plan on doing prior to installation). However, you're saying that the performance gains of RAIDing 2 high speed mechanical drives, using a small SSD for system and another for SRT is not worth the performance gains versus the money spent?

That is correct. Especially with current SSD prices, there is no reason to buy a 10K RPM HDD.
September 30, 2011 4:08:06 PM

So basically, one small SSD for system (say 64 to 120 gb) and a larger SSD (256+ gb) for programs. And the Crucial M4 is a more reliable unit than the Vertex 3, albeit a little slower from what I can tell of the reviews.

Hmm... a lot to think about. I appreciate the help, I'm going to go read some reviews.

Would it be worthwhile to RAID0 the app drive? Say get 2 120gb SSD? Or would I get better gains by RAID0ing the system drive (2x60gb)?
September 30, 2011 5:24:20 PM

Well, I did the math with the online store I'll be using:

Option 1 for game drive:
Crucial M4 256gb = 404$

Option 2 for game drive:
2 x velociraptors 150gb = 240$
Agility 3 60gb (SRT) = 109$

Option 3 for game drive:
Agility 3 240gb = 380$

and the Agility was cheaper than the M4 (Crucial M4 64gb = 146$)

Obviously, going SSD would be faster but also slightly more expensive. On the plus side though, less components = less power = less failure points.

I've yet to find any review or article about using SSD exclusively in a build though. That's the one thing I'm weary about...
September 30, 2011 6:05:25 PM

Syberz said:
So basically, one small SSD for system (say 64 to 120 gb) and a larger SSD (256+ gb) for programs. And the Crucial M4 is a more reliable unit than the Vertex 3, albeit a little slower from what I can tell of the reviews.

Hmm... a lot to think about. I appreciate the help, I'm going to go read some reviews.

Would it be worthwhile to RAID0 the app drive? Say get 2 120gb SSD? Or would I get better gains by RAID0ing the system drive (2x60gb)?

You could fit your OS, Photoshop, and a few games on a 256GB drive. 60GB seems like a waste for just an OS: you'll have about 40GB left.

RAIDing two 128GB drives will be faster than their 256GB equivalent, and apps will see more benefit to SSD than your OS.

Syberz said:
Well, I did the math with the online store I'll be using:

Option 1 for game drive:
Crucial M4 256gb = 404$

Option 2 for game drive:
2 x velociraptors 150gb = 240$
Agility 3 60gb (SRT) = 109$

Option 3 for game drive:
Agility 3 240gb = 380$

and the Agility was cheaper than the M4 (Crucial M4 64gb = 146$)

Obviously, going SSD would be faster but also slightly more expensive. On the plus side though, less components = less power = less failure points.

I've yet to find any review or article about using SSD exclusively in a build though. That's the one thing I'm weary about...

Velociraptors are not a valid option, for the reasons I listed above.

The only reason SSDs are not used exclusively is because people want more space. So go with a 1, 2 or 3TB drive and if you really want to, short stroke it.
September 30, 2011 8:51:47 PM

Like I mentioned initially, I don't need more than about 240gb of space. I don't even know what "short stroking" a drive means anyways.

I prefer splitting OS from apps/games in order to split the i/o. I've seen the benefits on my current build with mechanical drives so I can only imagine how well it will work with 2 SSD.

I'm thinking of going with one 60gb Agility 3 for system and one 240gb Agility 3 for games/apps. It's a bit more expensive, but reducing the number of things that can fail is always good.

In a year or so, I can always get a second of each and RAID both for an even bigger speed boost.

Thanks for the help and insight.

I'm not buying for a few weeks still, so I'm still open to comments from others. I'll continue reading up on the subject as well.
October 2, 2011 1:26:12 AM

Made a slight change to the build.

One 60gb Agility 3 SSD as a system drive
One 120gb Agility 3 SSD as a game drive
One 150gb Velociraptor as a file(pictures and stuff) drive

Initially, I wanted one 240gb SSD for both games and files but going with the above was slightly cheaper. Should SSDs drop in price, I'd for sure go for the 240gb; budget permitting, I might actually go for 2x120gb and put that in RAID0.
!