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Review of my 'upgrade build', $800 - $1200

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October 4, 2011 5:08:11 PM

First off, thanks to everyone here who takes the time to look at builds, post their own, propose options, etc. There's been a lot of good reading for me over the past several days. :) 

I'm motivated to upgrade by my PC struggling under 3DS Max 2012 and Photoshop chewing through the scraps of my RAM Windows 7 leaves it to use. I believe that Autodesk's new display driver is just completely taxing my system, as soon as I work in a shaded view the GPU fan goes to max until I change to a different shading option.

My current machine specs are: Intel® Core™2 CPU 6600 @ 2.40GHz, Gigabyte GA-N650SLI-DS4, 4Gb RAM (3.25 usable), BFG Tech GTS 250, using the HDDs listed below all wrapped up in the Antec P180 case. So as you can see, I think I'm past due to upgrade; but I'm so far out of touch I need a good build review.

In my proposed parts list I list two video card options since 3DS Max doesn't benefit from SLI. I do lean toward the higher end card, I just don't know if the $150 difference is worth it preformance-wise - I'm clueless. (The possibilty of going to an i7 CPU and the lesser card crossed my mind.)

Thanks!
- Don
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Approximate Purchase Date: Flexible

Budget Range: $800-$1200 USD Before Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important:
3D art (3DS Max, Photoshop, etc.); some gaming, though not usually high-end 3D; internet.

Parts Not Required: I have keyboard, mouse, monitor, and speakers. I also have my Windows 7 license.
**Include Power Supply Make & Model If Re-using**: See below.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Have historically used newegg, but I'm open to alternatives. I have a Fry's and Altex locally.

Country of Origin: U.S.A.

Parts Preferences: I prefer an Intel CPU and Nvidia GPU.

Overclocking: Maybe, I'm open to it, I've just never done it.

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe, I could see this as a future upgrade if I go back to dual monitors.

Monitor Resolution: My eventual target is 1920x1080, currently I'm using 1680x1050. Possibly dual monitors, but not likely.

Additional Comments: I like a quieter PC, not concerned with appearance.

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I have two cases that I've been using for a few years now, both with PSU. They may or may not be sufficient for a new build.

Antec P180B with an Antec TruePower Trio TP3-550
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129017
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371002

Antec Sonata II with a CoolerMaster RP-600-PCAR
(No case link)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171013


I also have 3 SATA drives, again they may or may not be sufficient for a new build.

(2) Western Digital Caviar Blue WD4000AAKS 400GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive -Bare Drives - these were in a mirror, but one is now unplugged.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136076

Maxtor MaXLine Pro 500 7H500F0 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive -Bare Drive - this is my general storage drive.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822144016


New parts:

CPU:
Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K

CPU fan:
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R1 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler

Motherboard:
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

RAM:
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL

GPU:
EVGA SuperClocked 012-P3-1573-KR GeForce GTX 570 HD w/Display-Port (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP
- OR -
EVGA 015-P3-1580-AR GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

HDD:
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - possible replacement for the Maxtor.

DVD:
Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model AD-7261S-0B LightScribe Support - OEM - replacement for an existing flaky drive.

New parts total: ~$854 / ~$1004 with a $200 buffer for new case / PSU if needed (and shipping).

Best solution

October 4, 2011 5:22:14 PM

I think I would go with the gtx 570 and a 2600K to take advantage of the hyper threading.
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October 4, 2011 5:39:19 PM

I'd move to get the Samsung Spinpoint F3 on sale now. it is $49.99 w free shipping until Thursday. I'd pick up a second Samsung Spinpoint F3 and Raid it. Raid 1 for storage redundancy with a slight performance boost or Raid 0 for straight performance.

For your usage I'd go CPU over Graphics like Why_Me recommends. Most of the time I say why bother with the i7 2600K. In this case you may actually get use out of it. If you have a Micro Center near you you may be able to pick up the 2600K for a steal at $279.99.
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
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October 4, 2011 7:54:01 PM

Good to hear you both favor CPU, that was the direction I started leaning after I had the full list typed out. Not out of knowledge, but strictly out of a feeling that the hundred bucks was better spent in a CPU than GPU.

pacioli - That seems to be a really good deal, indeed - I hadn't planned on doing it in a matter of *days* but I'll have to give that some thought. I should read up on the motherboard, I'm so out of it I don't know what all those eSATA ports on the back are for. =P

Do you folks think that either of the case / PSU combinations I have would be enough?
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October 4, 2011 8:14:08 PM

DWHogan said:
Good to hear you both favor CPU, that was the direction I started leaning after I had the full list typed out. Not out of knowledge, but strictly out of a feeling that the hundred bucks was better spent in a CPU than GPU.

pacioli - That seems to be a really good deal, indeed - I hadn't planned on doing it in a matter of *days* but I'll have to give that some thought. I should read up on the motherboard, I'm so out of it I don't know what all those eSATA ports on the back are for. =P

Do you folks think that either of the case / PSU combinations I have would be enough?

Agreed with pacioli's choice of h/d (samsung), but check on the Z68 features to see if you will want to use them. They might come in handy for your needs.

As far as the case and psu...it should work fine for a single 570. If and when you get the chance, look to upgrade to a case with better cooling/airflow and a psu that will push two of those cards in SLI.

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=Z68%20Extre... <----- there's that asrock extreme3 gen3 board.

http://www.asrock.com/microsite/IntelZ68/index.asp <----- Z68 features

http://www.asrock.com/microsite/PCIe3/ <----- PCI-E 3.0
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October 5, 2011 12:07:41 AM

Hmm, all good points. I'll have to read up and tweak the build plan.

Thank you very much, everyone.
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October 5, 2011 9:04:28 PM

Why_Me said:
Agreed with pacioli's choice of h/d (samsung), but check on the Z68 features to see if you will want to use them. They might come in handy for your needs.


I agree the Z68 is worth paying a bit more in most situations. However, the savings on that deal is enough to peak the interest of most buyers. Especially considering SSD caching gives little in the way of performance gains and the ability to use the on chip HD 3000 means very little to a system with a GTX 580 in it.
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October 12, 2011 3:00:46 AM

Just as an update, I haven't made any purchases yet - though in hindsight, the Fry's special was the way to go. It would have saved a ton. Ah well, now it's a waiting game.

I have made some decisions, though, based on the recommendations here. I'll be going the i7 2600K and GTX 570 route; after more reading I believe I'll benefit most from that.

The PSU and case will also go into the purchase plan, looking at the final configuration makes me think it would be risking a substantial new investment to use the legacy case and PSU.

SSD isn't going to make the cut, however. The expense vs. storage isn't good enough to pull me away from SATA just yet. The WD400's will make a return, they're some of the newest hardware in the machine and have been reliable and fast.

With money not spent on new HDDs, I do think I'll be going to 16Gb of RAM; over the weekend some apps crashed due to running out of memory.

I'll be sure to update this thread with the end result.

Thanks to all,
Don
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October 12, 2011 9:39:11 AM

My suggestion would be to go with the GTX570, but from a different vendor. The stock coolers run (comparatively) hot and loud. Look for the MSI Frozer, Gigabyte Windforce, or ASUS DCII versions of the card instead of the EVGA.
On the flipside, a lifetime warranty may be more important then noise/temp.
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October 14, 2011 6:39:01 PM

Hmmm. Well, not as good as it was, but Fry's has the Asus P8P67 EVO for $150 after the mail-in rebate. They've also got Corsair 8gb RAM for $40.

Also, thanks for the heads up, mattyg_nz - I'm always looking for quieter components.
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October 21, 2011 12:23:43 AM

Best answer selected by DWHogan.
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October 21, 2011 12:25:28 AM

I'm still watching for sales to get the overall price down, but the automated mailings keep pestering me to select a 'correct' answer.

So, I flagged the recommendation for an i7 2600K and the GeForce 570 as those were the things I was most indecisive about when I started the thread.
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