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$1200-1400 Gaming PC build

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October 9, 2011 9:21:38 PM

Hello tom's hardware forum, I have been checking the site frequently over the last couple of months as I am looking to purchase a new computer before Skyrim comes out (11-11-11). I was hoping to get some advice and critiques on a PC build. Thanks,

Approximate Purchase Date: Within the next two months

Budget Range: $1200-1400 Before Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (Skyrim, BF3, Witcher 2), Watching Movies, Browsing Internet

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers, OS, Monitor

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg and Amazon

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: None

Overclocking:
After a year or two, I intend to do some minor overclocking of the CPU

SLI or Crossfire:
Wish to purchase single card and eventually upgrade with a second

Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050

Additional Comments:
I am pretty set on getting a SSD.

So far I have picked the following parts:

Case: Corsair Carbide Series 400R

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz

Motherboard: ASRock P67 EXTREME4 GEN3

Cooling: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO

Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600

Power Supply: CORSAIR Professional Series HX750 (CMPSU-750HX) 750W

Graphics Card: MSI N560GTX-Ti Hawk GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB

Boot Drive: Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB

Storage Drive: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB

Disc Drive: ASUS 24X DVD Burner


Current Price Estimate: $1246

More about : 1200 1400 gaming build

October 9, 2011 9:33:34 PM

Hi there! Welcome to the forums.

nice build! It looks pretty good. I would have dropped the BD drive in order to get a 6970, but your call.
You might also consider getting a 750w PSU, as those are around $45 cheaper.

Yeah, there isn't a whole lot I would change! Maybe change the mobo to a Z68 Extreme3 gen3, but that's it.
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October 9, 2011 9:35:34 PM

Nice lil' setup imho :) 
If there is anything i would change, it would be the case. I've had some bad experience with NZXT and the quality of some parts in there. I would change it to something from lian li, cooler master, corsair or antec. Really anything goes there, as far as it fits ur budget.
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Related resources
October 9, 2011 9:43:35 PM

Quote:
Remove that psu and replace it with this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OP's gonna be buying another 6950. That doesn't have enough connectors to supply both cards.

According to this, 2 6950's are gonna pull around 450-500 when NON overclocked: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/299?i=229.230.23... and that's cutting it a tad bit fine. Considering this is just $15 more, I'd go 750w, OP. But your call, it's a good suggestion.
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October 9, 2011 9:58:02 PM

Thanks for the input. I have changed the power supply as suggested. I had initially chosen the Phantom because I liked the look, however, quality is more important. I will look into other options.
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October 9, 2011 10:06:58 PM

Striker's right go with the Z68 board.. The ASRock P67 EXTREME4 GEN3 is $30.00 cheaper, Supports Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology, Intel K-Series unlocked CPU and Hyper-Threading Technology. But sadly doesn't have the onboard video the Asus boards do.
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October 9, 2011 10:10:26 PM

You don't need the AX PSU. If you wan't modular, there are cheaper options. The AX line are premium PSU's, with crazy high efficiency. It's an unnecessary expense IMO. The difference between 82% and 85% efficiency isn't worth $40.
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October 9, 2011 10:16:42 PM

He won't ever get over 750w, so that doesn't matter.
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October 9, 2011 10:18:59 PM

If you are close to a Microcenter or have someone who could pick up for you, they have a great deal on i52500k+Gigabyte z68-ud3h mobo. I just got that combo for $276.18 tax included in Michigan...about $80 or more off regular online prices.
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October 9, 2011 11:25:08 PM

tinmann said:
Striker's right go with the Z68 board.. The ASRock P67 EXTREME4 GEN3 is $30.00 cheaper, Supports Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology, Intel K-Series unlocked CPU and Hyper-Threading Technology. But sadly doesn't have the onboard video the Asus boards do.


Is there anything important I would lose with Z68 over the P67? Or would the ASUS P8Z68-V Z68 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... be a better option?
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October 9, 2011 11:53:15 PM

Nope. Z68 has all the features of P67, added with the featureset of H67.
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October 9, 2011 11:55:40 PM

May also want to consider the newer version of the Hyper 212. Called Hyper 212 EVO. Slightly improved fan, and the heatpipes are now all together on the block, making air pockets less likely. Difference as of right now is 9 dollars. Your call on if its worth that much.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Also no, you wouldnt lose anything going with the Z68 over the P67. The Z-line from my information is just a all-in-one version of both the P and H line motherboards. The only reason NOT to go with the Z over the P is if you knew for CERTAIN youd never have a use for the Virtu or SSD Cache technology. If you know 100% youd never use those technologies, now or in the future of your computer, then by all means youd be more than okay with the P67.
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October 10, 2011 12:04:35 AM

Eifersucht said:
Is there anything important I would lose with Z68 over the P67? Or would the ASUS P8Z68-V Z68 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... be a better option?




That's a good board I have the Asus P8Z68-V Pro. i like the Asus boards for the onboard video and UEFI bios.
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October 10, 2011 5:39:59 AM

Made some major changes to the build. Changed motherboard for Z68, upgraded CPU cooling, changed graphics card to Twin Frozr III (with hopes of unlocking shaders), not too concerned about modular power supply so I exchanged for a cheaper model, and decided blu ray wasn't worth the extra expense.
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October 10, 2011 5:55:05 AM

MoBo - Personally I won't buy any MoBo (ASRock) that doesn't offer an industry standard 3 year warranty.

Will you benefit from anything Z68 offers ?

http://www.ukgamingcomputers.co.uk/difference-between-h...

RAM - Cheaper from a manufacturer w/ better support

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$5 off w/ promo code EMCJKKC52, ends 10/10

GFX - AT 1920 x 1200, I don't see it...for $95 less ya get 11 more fps (484 vs 495) .....103 fps (759 vs. 862) when ya use two.

Guru3D uses the following games in their test suite, COD-MW, Bad Company 2, Dirt 2, Far Cry 2, Metro 2033, Dawn of Discovery, Crysis Warhead. Total fps (summing fps in each game @ 1920 x 1200) for the various options in parenthesis (single card / SL or CF) are tabulated below along with their cost in dollars per frame single card - CF or SLI:

$ 300.00 6950 Frozr OC (484/759) $ 0.62 - $ 0.79
$ 205.00 560 Ti - 900 Mhz (495/862) $ 0.41 - $ 0.48
$ 360.00 6970 (526/825) $ 0.68 - $ 0.87
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October 10, 2011 5:59:04 AM

striker410 said:
You don't need the AX PSU. If you wan't modular, there are cheaper options. The AX line are premium PSU's, with crazy high efficiency. It's an unnecessary expense IMO. The difference between 82% and 85% efficiency isn't worth $40.


The real difference beteen the AX and HX lines is in quality and voltage control rather than efficiency. To squeeze that last 0.1 or 0.2 GHz outta ya OC, maintaining voltage within a small % variation is critical and that's what the Corsair HX/AX, Antec CP/SG, Seasonic X series are so good at.
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October 10, 2011 6:21:49 PM

I think I will stick with the 6950 over the 560 ti. I couldn't find a good looking 560 for ~$205 (on newegg or amazon at least). The RAM, however, I may change.

JackNaylorPE said:
MoBo - Personally I won't buy any MoBo (ASRock) that doesn't offer an industry standard 3 year warranty.

Will you benefit from anything Z68 offers ?

http://www.ukgamingcomputers.co.uk/difference-between-h...


I guess I don't really need the Z68. Presumably my 6950 should function as my video card, removing the need for onboard, and I hadn't planned on using another SSD to act as the cache for my storage HD. This leads me to conclude that I should be better off with the cheaper P67 or perhaps keep my original selection. The ASRock MoBos seem to be pretty well reviewed, although they only have the 2 year warranty. Is there a better alternative to the ASRock P67 I had originally picked? Additionally, am I being ignorant about the whole Z68 vs P67 difference and not considering an important detail that sets the Z68 apart? Thanks again for the advice guys.
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October 10, 2011 6:39:07 PM

I agree that a 560 Ti may be a better idea for a SINGLE card. However, consider that the benchy Jack listed was using overclocked GTX 560 Ti's and 6950's, where the 560 will obviously win. The price per FPS is also thrown off since they are comparing a crazy cheap 560 Ti to one of the most high end 6950's.

Either option is viable IMO. 6950 is better at stock, but the 560 Ti wins for sure when overclocked.
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/02/21/msi_n560gtx_t... Yes yes that uses an overclocked 560 Ti against a stock 6950. But it just illustrates how close these two cards are. There is really no advantage either way IMO. You'll have a great system if you go green or go red!
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October 10, 2011 11:27:57 PM

Would anyone be able to address my questions regarding the P67 vs Z68 or ASRock vs ASUS/Gigabyte? Also, is it worth getting a cheaper 750W power supply or would I be sacrificing quality?
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October 11, 2011 12:03:20 AM

A cheaper 750w is definitely in order IMO. The AX is nice, but also quite expensive.

Eh, P67 and Z68 is pretty much the same for you. Get whichever chipset is the cheapest :D 

Hmm, I personally am A fan of ASRock. They are the Asus budget line, and offer many more features on a high quality board, but they don't have the power of the Asus name. I kinda consider Asus boards to be the Apple of the mobo game. Great hardware, great service, but overpriced.
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October 11, 2011 1:01:50 AM

Updated selection based on striker410's advice. I am pretty comfortable with everything on the list.
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October 11, 2011 2:38:44 AM

Just a thought, if you want a larger case check out the Cooler Master Haf 932. It is $10 more than the one you have selected, but offers much more space, possible better air flow (not sure on the specifics) and much more room for cable management. Plus having a huge case looks really cool :p 
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October 11, 2011 3:27:42 AM

Bulldozer launches on Oct. 12th. Wait 1 week for prices to drop before you build. Then come back to this thread or start a new one after prices have changed.

@striker410--sorry about posting this in all your threads...but it really should be brought up.
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October 11, 2011 3:31:39 AM

Lol, no prob dalauder. Whatevers but for the OP, amirite?
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October 11, 2011 3:51:39 AM

dalauder said:
Bulldozer launches on Oct. 12th. Wait 1 week for prices to drop before you build. Then come back to this thread or start a new one after prices have changed.

@striker410--sorry about posting this in all your threads...but it really should be brought up.


Thanks for the heads up. I was probably going to wait a bit longer anyway, but now I'll make sure to let prices adjust.
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October 11, 2011 4:18:28 AM

the build you have listed now looks great, but its a good idea to wait a few more days for Bulldozer. ASRock is fine.. Naylor posts hating on them everywhere ;) 
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October 11, 2011 4:33:14 AM

All your parts are good...but that's more than I'd spend on a 6950.
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October 11, 2011 4:46:32 AM




With your budget, I respectfully disagree (a lot) with this PSU recomendation - especially because you may go to a crossfire or SLI setup. The HX 750 is one of the best PSUs available and its costs are competitive (I own it). I also have the HX 850 and I can strongly recommend it, though you don't necessarily need it for your build.

The HX 750 is a much better choice for the following reasons:

1. It is more efficient - it will cost less to run
2. It will run cooler and not heat up your case
3. It is one of the most stable PSUs made - it will not damage your expensive components
4. It is modular - it will be much easier to build with. Because with a modular PSU you use only the cables that you need, it is sooooo much easier to build with
5. It goes on sale often on Newegg
6. It is quiet - since you will be at about 50% capacity, this PSU will not be pushed out of its best efficiency range and it will not go to high fan (PSUs pushed to 60%- 75% of their capacity tend to go to high fan which can be very noisy)
7. It will provide extra power if you need it. I believe I read one review where it put out over 900W and remained stable
8. It is silver rated
9. It is cost effective and falls within your budget - if you were very poor financially and could not afford a high quality PSU, THAT is the time to go to a cheaper PSU

Asus's monitors are good for a TN monitor. TN monitors are good for gaming because they are fast but they do not necessarily have the best performance

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October 11, 2011 5:10:01 AM

Welcome:

You have made some excellent choices. I especially like the new Carbide case. I have the Corsair 650D and I am very happy with it.

Here are some options you may want to look at:

1. The Corsair HX 850 is better for a crossfire or SLI setup and it frequently goes on sale for $140 or less on Newegg. I own it and it is spectacular. It has a 7 year warranty, it is modular and it will run at nearly 92% efficiency on your build which is near platinum performance

2. I would suggest 1866 RAM because it has dropped in price. It frequently goes on sale at Newegg for around $65

3. I like the M4 and Tom's Hardware likes to recommend it but the Mushkin Chronos Deluxe is probably the fastest 120GB SSD right now with the Kingston Hyper X EXtreme and the Patriot Wildfire in second place. The Kingston Hyper X is a very good buy. Still the M4 is also a good choice

4. I am not sure the MSI 6950 is worth the extra money - read some reviews

5. I own the AsRock Extreme 4 Gen 3 motherboard and I like it a lot. I definitely recommend getting a motherboard that will work with Ivy Bridge

6. I strongly recommend the Noctua NH-D14 CPU cooler. I believe it is the best CPU cooler for the money. It frequently goes on sale at Amazon or Newegg for $75. It outperforms nearly every other air cooler and still remains quiet. I own it and it is an amazing cooler. My CPU runs around 35C and never goes over 40C under load (I have not overclocked my 2600K CPU yet)

7. Get a better monitor - your video capability will demand it. Both HP and Dell make HIPS monitors that have superior pictures but they are more expensive.
Read some reviews on the HP ZR24W and the Dell U2412 or U2410. These monitors will outperform any TN monitor but they cost about twice as much

8. Many gamers are using 2 or 3 TN monitors like the ASUS monitors in eyefinity with the 6950 - this is also an interesting option if you have the room
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October 11, 2011 5:10:56 AM

Looks good, try and find a cheaper seasonic PSU though.
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October 11, 2011 5:24:00 AM

The HX 750 is plenty for Crossfire 6950's.

While 1866 RAM has merits ( http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/memory/display/sandy-b... ), my G. Skill 1600CL8 runs 1800CL8 without a problem (Memtest86+ stable). I bought that 8GB (2x4GB) kit for $50 so it's hard to justify spending more.

The M4 is good if you don't do tons of random I/O. The Sandforce drives do better if you do (are you a data center?). The M4 also has slower writes, but a great reliability reputation.

I completely disagree with the guy above telling you to get the $75 Noctua. The Hyper 212+ for $25 would be adequate. Sandy Bridge isn't really heat limited. If you were doing a Nehalem i7, then he'd have a good arguement. But the Noctua is definitely not the most bang for your buck like he claims.

Don't bother upgrading your monitor until there's a sale. Check slickdeals. They always post when Dell's Ultrasharp monitors are on sale. In the meantime, you'll still have plenty of fun maxing out stuff on your 22" 1680x1050 from a couple years back (that's what I use).
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October 11, 2011 6:49:40 AM

dalauder said:
The HX 750 is plenty for Crossfire 6950's.

While 1866 RAM has merits ( http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/memory/display/sandy-b... ), my G. Skill 1600CL8 runs 1800CL8 without a problem (Memtest86+ stable). I bought that 8GB (2x4GB) kit for $50 so it's hard to justify spending more.

The M4 is good if you don't do tons of random I/O. The Sandforce drives do better if you do (are you a data center?). The M4 also has slower writes, but a great reliability reputation.

I completely disagree with the guy above telling you to get the $75 Noctua. The Hyper 212+ for $25 would be adequate. Sandy Bridge isn't really heat limited. If you were doing a Nehalem i7, then he'd have a good arguement. But the Noctua is definitely not the most bang for your buck like he claims.

Don't bother upgrading your monitor until there's a sale. Check slickdeals. They always post when Dell's Ultrasharp monitors are on sale. In the meantime, you'll still have plenty of fun maxing out stuff on your 22" 1680x1050 from a couple years back (that's what I use).


There is a noticeable performance difference in going to 1866 RAM and it is only a $15 difference. In my system the 2 x 4 GB 1600 RAM is the only component that does not get Windows 7 highest rating of 7.9 - so it is the slowest part of my system. $15 dollar difference - really? On a $1400 build? I am so tired of cheap-out recommendations like going to 1600 RAM for $15 difference on a $1400 build.

I've run the Corsair HX 750 with a single GPU (XFX ATI 5850) and the PSU would go to high fan (I-7 920 CPU). The HX 850 is a far superior choice even though the HX 750 is one of the best PSUs on the market. I own both of them and so I think I can speak from first-hand experience.

Without a doubt, the HX 850 is worth the extra $20-$30, especially with this budget. It will run cooler, quieter, use less power and its efficiency will nearly always be over 90% which is gold rated because the system will not demand more than 60% capacity. Most of the time the system will run at 91%-92% efficiency which is near platinum. That is why the HX 850 is one of the highest rated (if not the highest rated) 850W PSU by professional reviewers.

I am so tired of people saying that Sandy Bridge is not "heat limited." Yes Sandy Bridge is much more efficient and needs less cooling but that is not the point. You want to not push the limit with your components you want them as cool as possible. That is why the Noctua NH-D14 is the right choice for a build with this budget.

Every computer expert in the world will tell you that the cooler you can keep your components the better. This is especially important when overclocking. Thus spending the extra $45 is more than justified for this build. People ran the I-7 9XX and ridiculous OC temps and when Sandy bridge came out they used this as an excuse to cut cooling and raise temps to the I-7 9xx levels. That is a huge mistake and it is unnecessary.

While the CM Hyper is a capable cooler, it is not even in the same league as the D-14 for quality (the components, fans and mounting system are much better than the CM 212) or cooling. If a person is spending $1000 - $1500 on a build, they need to protect their expensive components by keeping them AS COOL AS POSSIBLE, not pushing the limits. And yes I have read Tom's Hardware's articles on this and I don't always agree with them.

Without a CPU cooler, it takes a only a few seconds for your CPU to heat up hot enough to fry an egg and burn bacon before the internal sensor shuts it off. Getting the best cooler for the money (price vs performance) is a no-brainer. The Noctua is not as cheap as the 212, I agree, but its performance and overall quality are much better. I own the D-14 and my CPU never goes over 40C under load. If you overclock then CPU cooling does become an issue on 2600K and 2500K CPUs. If you are not going to overclock then yes the 212 is "adequate."

I do agree that you will need a better monitor. The two I listed in my last post are among the best for the money.

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October 11, 2011 7:11:48 AM

Your CPU gets a 7.9? I've never heard of that. I guess my old RAM (2000CL9) did get a 7.9. That was nice.

If you can find 1866 for $65, it's not a bad buy. 1% price for 1% performance may be worth it. I'd only buy it if it looked cool though. (That's why I bought my old OCZ Reapers).

Noctua NH-D14...$50 price increase over the Hyper 212+. That's a 3.5% price increase. That is only justifiable if it provides a 3% or more overall performance increase--so we should start at the CPU and say it will have to provide at least 100MHz better of an overclock (2%*4.7GHZ = 94MHz). It's a premium part, but I'd keep the money in my pocket.

Then again, I have a TX850 (not an HX) and my cooler sucks (need to upgrade). I think keeping your CPU at 40C load is a bit obsessive though.
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October 11, 2011 7:16:33 AM

ares640 said:
Just a thought, if you want a larger case check out the Cooler Master Haf 932. It is $10 more than the one you have selected, but offers much more space, possible better air flow (not sure on the specifics) and much more room for cable management. Plus having a huge case looks really cool :p 


I think the Carbide 500 may be a top cooler. It is essentially the 650D with a huge side fan and more venting. It may be louder because of the side venting but it will probably cool better and the 650D is a competitive cooling case (around 3C-5C) higher than the Silverstone Fortress or Raven which are probably the best air cooling cases. I owned the CM 942 and it is extremely large. I like the Corsair cases better for quality. The 932/942 don't always get the best reviews - read Tom's Hardware's review of the 942.
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October 11, 2011 7:45:24 AM

Yeah...I'm happy with my $80 Azza Solano 1000R. No front panel USB 3.0--but that wasn't a thing when I bought the case in the first place. The OP's case will be a bit snazzier.
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October 11, 2011 7:49:36 AM

dalauder said:
Your CPU gets a 7.9? I've never heard of that. I guess my old RAM (2000CL9) did get a 7.9. That was nice.

If you can find 1866 for $65, it's not a bad buy. 1% price for 1% performance may be worth it. I'd only buy it if it looked cool though. (That's why I bought my old OCZ Reapers).

Noctua NH-D14...$50 price increase over the Hyper 212+. That's a 3.5% price increase. That is only justifiable if it provides a 3% or more overall performance increase--so we should start at the CPU and say it will have to provide at least 100MHz better of an overclock (2%*4.7GHZ = 94MHz). It's a premium part, but I'd keep the money in my pocket.

Then again, I have a TX850 (not an HX) and my cooler sucks (need to upgrade). I think keeping your CPU at 40C load is a bit obsessive though.



Depending on what review comparisons that you read the increase is 3%-5% increase in performance by going to 1866 RAM. That is noticeable and it is significant. Enthusiasts spend hundreds of dollars on exotic RAM for less improvement.

The D-14 is $75 on sale - that is what I bought mine for. Right now it is $86 with free shipping at Newegg. That is a $51 dollar difference from the CM Evo ($35 with free shipping). But undoubtedly, there is that much difference in performance. While the 212 units will get you by, they are Kmart quality compared to the D-14.

For the $51 difference you get far superior ball-bearing fans, considered to be among the best made in the industry. You get free TIM compound. The mounting system is considered to be among the best made. It simply is superior in every way to the CM Evo.

Go to the Newegg reviews. Out of 425 reviews 88% rate this cooler as 5 eggs. 7% Rate the D-14 as 4 eggs. This means that 95% of the very picky Newegg customers who bought this unit think it is amazing. I can think of only two other products rated this highly by the critical first-hand Newegg reviews. Go to professional reviews. You will find that that overall the D-14 dominates as the best air-cooler when fan noise is taken into account. Yes the CM Evo is cheap, but in this case you get what you are paying for.

So 40C is excessive? Hmmmm, I don't view it that way. I view it that I sleep well a night knowing that my computer runs exceptionally cool, but to each their own. Remember the OP is going to overclock which brings the quality of the CPU cooler into play. Heck, with no overclock the junk stock Intel cooler is "adequate."

There is nothing wrong with the TX 850 it is a sterling PSU - I commend you for buying a quality PSU. I almost bought it but I got the HX 850 on sale for $144.00. You made a very good choice.

If you are considering overclocking, the D-14 cools the CPU as well as the Corsair H80 water cooler and it makes far less noise. You also have the benefit of the air flow from the unit cooling your mobo, GPU and RAM which the H80 and H100 will not do and it costs less.
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October 11, 2011 7:50:36 AM

dalauder said:
Yeah...I'm happy with my $80 Azza Solano 1000R. No front panel USB 3.0--but that wasn't a thing when I bought the case in the first place. The OP's case will be a bit snazzier.


You can add it if your mobo supports 3.0 :)  You can also get a PCI-E Card for 3.0 if you have an older mobo. They do not cost much.
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October 11, 2011 11:58:31 AM

Generally one of the best selling points of the NHD14 is its sound quality.. if you aren't building a computer you're trying to keep very quiet there isn't much of a reason to spend that much money on an air cooler. You could get a Corsair H80 or H100 for that price
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October 11, 2011 3:32:48 PM

cmadrid said:
Generally one of the best selling points of the NHD14 is its sound quality.. if you aren't building a computer you're trying to keep very quiet there isn't much of a reason to spend that much money on an air cooler. You could get a Corsair H80 or H100 for that price


The H100 performs better but it is more expensive. The H80 is about equal to the the D-14 in performance however if setup per Corsair's instructions it exhausts hot air into the case (as does the H100). The D-14 exhausts hot air out of the case and creates air flow over the mobo, RAM and GPU. Neither the H100 or the H80 can claim this.

When the H100 and H80 came out I was very excited and the H100 is probably the best CPU cooler on the market besides custom water cooling. However, after I read several reviews I was disappointed by the quality control, the fan orientation and most of all the noise. At high fan they are somewhere around 65 DB which is just unacceptable.

Unless someone is a hardcore gamer that just does no care about noise, the D-14 is by far the better choice. The D-14 is so quiet you can run it a full fan and you don't even have to worry about PWM control.

You are right, if noise is not an issue the H100 is the baddest cooler on the market right now. But having a 65 DB fan going all the time is going to bother most people. It is about 20 DB louder than the D-14.
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October 11, 2011 3:39:46 PM

Quote:
I have 1600MHZ g.skill ripjawsx @ 8cas and scores 7.9.
Cpu@ 4.7 scores 7.7.


I have 2 x 4GB 1600 CL9. It appears that CL8 or CL7 scores 7.9 on WEI. CL9 on my build scores 7.6. That is why 1866 2 x 4GB at $65 is such a great deal. Heck Newegg had 2133 CL11 on sale for $75. RAM is going down in price and it makes no sense anymore to go to 1600 RAM to save money unless you are on a $500 or $600 build.
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October 11, 2011 4:41:21 PM



Great article - they list the high fan noise at 53 DB which is lower than other reviews that I have read.

Don't get me wrong, the H100 is superb. It hands-down outperforms any other CPU cooler on the market. That being said, several reviews I have read have said it is excessively loud on high fan. However, you don't have to run the H100 at high fan for it to be effective. If it is set to the medium setting or the low setting it is very quiet and the cooling is still great.

The advantage of the D-14 is that you can install it and you don't have to mess with it. Even at high fan it is around 46 DB which is very good considering the cooling it provides. There is no maintenance, no worrying about adjusting the fan speed - you just install it and that's it (provided it is installed correctly). In my build, I have to take the side panel off to hear it. The case fans on the 650D (Corsair) case are much louder than the D-14 and I know from my build that the cooling is superb.

I think if you are a major overclocker that is going to push your PC to the max then the H100 is the way to go. It simply is the most effective cooler on the market unless you go to custom water cooling and it competes well with several water-cooling kits (many kits beat the H100).
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October 11, 2011 4:49:15 PM

Here is an H100 review that lists the noise even lower: http://www.guru3d.com/article/corsair-h100-review/8

They record it as just 3 DB on high fan higher than the D-14. However in this article they list the H100 as just 1C better than the D-14 in cooling; I think that is a mistake. Typically it is about 5C better.

The also list the Noctua NH-C14 as actually 1C better than the H100 and I believe that is a mistake because most reviews show that the D-14 outperforms the C14.

You can see by this review how hard it is to sort out the best CPU coolers. I try to go by a preponderance of evidence from several reviews and that is why I think the D-14 is the best buy for an air cooler for a medium budget rig.
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October 11, 2011 4:51:10 PM

The discussion regarding the cooling is interesting, however I will only be doing minor overclocking and I think the D14 and H100 are overkill for my personal uses. Thanks none the less for the advice.

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October 11, 2011 5:53:25 PM

As I said earlier.. I don't think you're looking to spend as much as the NH-D14 costs for cooling, but if you were I'd just go with the H100 ;) 
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October 11, 2011 6:34:48 PM

flong said:
4. I am not sure the MSI 6950 is worth the extra money - read some reviews


I had chosen the MSI because I thought it would be a nice boost over the HIS 6950 and allow for nice overclocking/unlocking down the line. At a certain point, am I just better off with a 470? The EVGA stock 470 is only $20 more. Although, even $300 is almost too much for me to pay. I just want to get the most bang for my buck with the hopes of extending the lifetime of my system by purchasing a second card in 2 years or so.
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Best solution

October 11, 2011 6:46:56 PM

Eifersucht said:
I had chosen the MSI because I thought it would be a nice boost over the HIS 6950 and allow for nice overclocking/unlocking down the line. At a certain point, am I just better off with a 470? The EVGA stock 470 is only $20 more. Although, even $300 is almost too much for me to pay. I just want to get the most bang for my buck with the hopes of extending the lifetime of my system by purchasing a second card in 2 years or so.


Twin Frozr III cards are very good. I have the GTX 570, but it costs $370 which may be out of your price range. The only real advantage the 6950 has over the 560 ti is double the VRAM. Otherwise, I would go with the cheaper 560 ti, since the actual performance is roughly the same.
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