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Complete setup - $3,000 budget

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October 16, 2011 2:29:15 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Within two weeks

Budget Range: $3,000max - I believe I'm overfunding but this way I leave this non-limited to advice from this community

System Usage from Most to Least Important: I'm continuing a tradition as I've built a new PC at every new Elder Scrolls release beginning with Morrowind - each computer has since been given to one of my brothers so I'm left building from scratch once again.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: none preferred - will likely be showing price to MemoryExpress and take advantage of their price-beat guarantee (http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/UberPriceBeat%28M...)

Country of Origin: Canada

Overclocking: Yes

Additional Comments: I've gotten rather lost in trying to create my own build as I haven't kept up with hardware knowledge and getting into things to a point where I can comfortably decide for myself looks to be a large time investment. I believe I am best off requesting open non-limited build advice from this community as you all know a lot more than I do. My goal is fast boot times&load times, high quality sound (Bose speakers?), and most importantly great graphics. I'd like an immersive gaming experience for Skyrim. I also will be using this PC a fair bit for web-browsing, remote desktop use, business management work so perhaps a multi-monitor set-up would be a good move as well - saving me from alt-tabbing like a madman.
I have some ideas as to what I would like however I feel that your recommendations have stronger reasoning as to your conclusions so I'm just not going to say anything more than: Your help is appreciated!
Thank-you,
-Kelviathyn

Best solution

October 16, 2011 2:54:35 AM

i'm going to assume you need everything, including keyboard and mouse. I don't really use speakers that much, as I mainly use headphones, so i'll let you decide on the speakers.

ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R1 Continuous Direct Contact 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with latest Intel 1366/1155 and AMD FM1/AM3+
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASRock Z68 EXTREME4 GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 3072MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PC Power and Cooling Silencer 910W High Performance 80PLUS Silver SLI CrossFire ready Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER HAF 932 Advanced RC-932-KKN5-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Compucase Case with USB 3.0, Black Interior and Four Fans-1x 230mm front RED LED fan, 1x 140mm rear fan, 1x 230mm top fan, and 1x 230mm side fan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2CCA 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) with Transfer Ki
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Acer B273Hbmidhz Black 27" 5ms HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 ACM 80000:1(1000:1) Built-in Speakers & USB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $2,773.89
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October 17, 2011 10:38:20 PM

Thanks Morgoth,
I'm fairly satisfied with most of this, however I'd appreciate a few more reviews and comments. I'm questioning a few parts. Namely, I'm questioning:

The monitor - should I move to smaller but multi-display? Is this a good monitor - typically built-in speakers make me think lower end... but then maybe I'm just not giving the monitor a fair chance.

Should I get more RAM as price-wise it's not at all breaking the bank to get more? What's with Gskill sniper vs Gskill ripjaw?

Should I put a Revodrive in place of the Crucial it's significantly faster (although it's significantly more expensive)? If not is there a stronger alternative to the Crucial that I should consider?

What possible replacement I could use for the PSU as the power supply specified is not available through MemoryExpress? Something which could power 580's SLI??

Nor is the ASRock mobo at MemoryExpress - I plan on substituting Asus P8Z68-V Pro. Thoughts?

Nor is the CoolMaster Hyper 212 EVO at MemoryExpress, they have the PLUS however. I considering the Thermalright - Silver Arrow as replacement...

Nor is the Samsung Spinpoint available at MemoryExpress - but I don't know that I'll even go with a HDD as I'm not a big space-user (I don't understand how I would EVER fill 1TB...that is, unless I just download stuff I watch/listen to once and leave it on just because I can) Currently this laptop is using 80Gb's - no games though...

I'm strongly considering the BOSE Companion 5 speaker system. Thoughts there?

And lastly, and not all-to-importantly, any good recommendations for keyboard/mouse?

EDIT: Should I get a Blu-ray drive vs the recommended DVD drive?
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October 17, 2011 10:49:36 PM

Kelviathyn said:
Thanks Morgoth,
I'm fairly satisfied with most of this, however I'd appreciate a few more reviews and comments. I'm questioning a few parts. Namely, I'm questioning:

The monitor - should I move to smaller but multi-display? Is this a good monitor - typically built-in speakers make me think lower end... but then maybe I'm just not giving the monitor a fair chance.

Should I get more RAM as price-wise it's not at all breaking the bank to get more? What's with Gskill sniper vs Gskill ripjaw?

Should I put a Revodrive in place of the Crucial it's significantly faster (although it's significantly more expensive)? If not is there a stronger alternative to the Crucial that I should consider?

What possible replacement I could use for the PSU as the power supply specified is not available through MemoryExpress? Something which could power 580's SLI??

Nor is the ASRock mobo at MemoryExpress - I plan on substituting Asus P8Z68-V Pro. Thoughts?

Nor is the CoolMaster Hyper 212 EVO at MemoryExpress, they have the PLUS however. I considering the Thermalright - Silver Arrow as replacement...

Nor is the Samsung Spinpoint available at MemoryExpress - but I don't know that I'll even go with a HDD as I'm not a big space-user (I don't understand how I would EVER fill 1TB...that is, unless I just download stuff I watch/listen to once and leave it on just because I can) Currently this laptop is using 80Gb's - no games though...

I'm strongly considering the BOSE Companion 5 speaker system. Thoughts there?

And lastly, and not all-to-importantly, any good recommendations for keyboard/mouse?

mouse/keyboard is really whatever you prefer, but wired is a fair bit better for gaming
the one thing that's kind of bad about 3-monitor setups is that you have to sit kinda far back, and I prefer just having one larger monitor.
I think the gskill sniper is low voltage, but you really don't need more than 8gb of ram. However, it is so cheap that at this budget there isn't a really great reason not to get 16gb, just as long as its 1600 ram. Also, make sure that it's not greater than 1.5v, cause that damages the memory controller on sandy bridge motherboards.
I don't really like ssd's very much, i'd just heard that the crucial was pretty good. I'd look at reviews for the revodrive, cause since it's faster it's also probably less reliable, but that may not be true.
i'd look for a 950w power supply, either from antec, xfx, corsair, or seasonic.
the asus motherboard should be fine
the hyper 212+ should be fine instead.
i'd get a 200-500gb hard drive, cause it will still be useful to have that extra space. Plus, you don't really need to put word documents and such on an ssd. I'd recommend 7200 rpm, in case you somehow run out of room on your ssd and have more games to install.
Since the BOSE speaker system is ~$400, i'm guessing a dedicated sound card would be good for them. Try something like Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD 24-bit 96KHz PCI Express x1 Interface Sound Card powered by THX TruStudio Pro
however, that's a really high end sound card, so i don't know if you need one that good.
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October 18, 2011 4:53:53 AM

Definitely going wired :)  thanks.

After looking into things a bit I think I'll go over-budget and purchase a HP ZR30W monitor. It offers higher resolution and more space so the real-estate is huge and as I'll be doing that instead of a 3-monitor setup I feel I can justify the price tag... apparently it'll also save me spending money on my heating bill :??:  The think that caught me is the 2560x1600 and picture quality is claimed to be tremendous.

I opted to go with the Crucial as reviews have been great and the argument was made that although a Revodrive is significantly faster than other SSD's it is not real-world noticably faster.

PSU settled at the Corsair HX1050... well maybe not settled but it sure does look fancy, silent, and reliable...

And a basic HDD:
Western Digital Caviar Black WD7502AAEX 750GB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also I've changed my Bose selection from the companion 5 to the companion 20 as they are half the price and still provide high quality sound. The companion 5's didn't provide true 5.1 anyway so I may as well drop to the 20's. I don't I want to go with a speaker setup that leaves wiring all over the room and infrared I haven't heard the greatest things about so a full 5.1 is something I've shied away from.

If I don't get too much in the way of objections it looks like I'm set. A little above my price range but investing in monitor/speakers/mouse/keyboard too and I hope I'll keep these ones :D 
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October 18, 2011 9:45:51 AM

@ the OP. Do not limit yourself to what MemorXpress carries or does not carry or your going to hose yourself out of the best build you can get for your money. It's not your fault they choose not to carry the top of the line products so don't suffer for their short comings. There's more fish in the sea than MemoryXpress. btw that board down below can be found at newegg canada and canada computers. This build is set up so that you can add another one of those cards later on in SLI or you can go with two of them now.

FREE SHIPPING

These two retailers (Direct Canada & Best Direct) are affiliated, both use the same shipping addy out of Richmond, BC, and both offer free ground shipping.

http://www.directcanada.com/contact/

http://www.bestdirect.ca/contact/

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11180AC6196&v... $115.50
Corsair Carbide Series 500R Mid-Tower Gaming Case ATX 4X5.25 6X3.5INT USB 1394 No PS Black

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=13220AC6971&v... $177.72 MIR $147.72
OCZ ZX Series 1000W ATX12V 24PIN Active PFC 80 Plus Gold 83A Power Supply 140MM Fan Black 5 Yr Wrty

http://ncix.com/products/?sku=64529&vpn=Z68%20Extreme7%... $340.98
ASRock Z68 EXTREME7 GEN3 ATX LGA1155 DDR3 5PCI-E16 PCI-E PCI SATA3 USB3.0 SLI CrossFireX Motherboard

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/232639/BX80623I52500K... $214.79
Intel Core i5 2500K Quad Core Unlocked Processor LGA1155 3.3GHZ Sandy Bridge 6MB

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/237385/RR-212E-20PK-R... $29.43
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Evo Direct Touch 4 Heatpipe Heatsink AM2 AM3 LGA1366 LGA1155 LGA1156 120MM

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/232488/R4-BMBS-20PK-R... $6.60
Coolermaster Blade Master 120 Black 120MM PWM Case Fan 600-2000RPM 21.2-76.8CFM

http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX33234(ME).aspx $49.99
GSKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB PC3-12800 Dual Channel DDR3 Kit (2 x 4GB)

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/225965/DRW-24B1ST%20B... $19.80
ASUS DRW-24B1ST 24X SATA DVD Writer OEM Black

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=16950AC9713&v... $51.19
Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 7200.12 1TB SATA 32MB Cache 3.5IN Internal Hard Drive OEM

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/234805/CT128M4SSD2/CR... $204.79
Crucial M4 SSD Micron C400 128GB 2.5IN Solid State Disk Flash Drive SATA3 6Gbps

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12980BD9256&v... $489.69 MIR $459.69
MSI GeForce GTX 580 Twin Frozr II OC 800MHZ 1536MB GDDR5 2XDVI Mini-HDMI PCI-E DirectX 11 Video Card

http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX33610(ME).aspx $649.99
Samsung SyncMaster S27A950D 27in Widescreen 3D LED LCD w/ 3D Glasses

Total: $2,350.47 *not including rebates

http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/222137/GFC-02050/MICR... $93.79
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64BIT SP1 DVD OEM

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=Z68%20Extre... <----- A better look at that board

http://www.asrock.com/microsite/PCIe3/ <----- PCI-E 3.0

http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/4272/asrock_z68_extrem... <----- Review of that board with benchmarks

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/z68a-gd80-p8z68-del... <----- Review of that board done last week here on Toms. It earned Tom’s Hardware Best Enthusiast-Class Award

*** For the 6970 version of that build, switch out the video card and psu up above with this down below.

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12980BD5360&v... $393.95
MSI Radeon HD 6970 Lightning 920MHZ 2GB 5.5GHZ GDDR5 2XDVI 2x Mini DisplayPort HDMI PCI-E Video Card

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=15180AC8651&v... $139.66
XFX 850W PRO850W XXX Edition Single Rail ATX 12V 70A 24PIN ATX Modular Power Supply 80PLUS Silver
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October 18, 2011 5:58:16 PM

Thanks Why_Me, I felt settled. You've done a great job of unsettling me :p 
My questions to you:
You've recommended an alternative case for what reason? (Just trying to learn as I go)
The power supply looks fantastic, thanks.
The motherboard also - you're right I shouldn't just go MemEx because I can drive there and pick it up. That beings said the ASUS is also good. Having read the reviews you linked it seems the advantage ASRock is that is offers tri-SLI support vs only dual-SLI? Am I missing something?
Also, I've never mounted my own CPU but I'll read up to not screw up. Will I need some quality paste?
Yes to CPU, yes to CPU cooler, yes to additional fan,
The RAM you recommended is equivalent in all respects except, of course, voltage to the Gskill sniper low voltage I believe.
I've asked about blu-ray before and haven't gotten a response other than neither yourself nor Morgoth780 recommended them for reasons I don't know. Having not had anything to do with blu-ray yet, I can't say I'll miss anything but better is better right?
Yes to HDD, yes to SSD,
And now - why are you recommending the

http://www.directcanada.com/produc [...] acture=MSI $489.69 MIR $459.69
MSI GeForce GTX 580 Twin Frozr II OC 800MHZ 1536MB GDDR5 2XDVI Mini-HDMI PCI-E DirectX 11 Video Card

over the

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 3072MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

the Lightning Xtreme has reviewed very well and offers twice the memory.
Also I only went Nvidia over Radeon as that was what was recommended to me. Looking at reviews puts the MSI L.X. as superior to the 6970 as well, however price is a consideration correct?

Lastly, I am still seriously considering the big fat
http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=1207181697M&v...
SMARTBUY ZR30W S-IPS LCD MONITOR
whereas both yourself and Morgoth870 have suggested a quality 27" monitor - lower resolution, less space.
Why not the ZR30W?

Trying to sort through a ton of comparisons involving price vs quality - I always lean strongly toward quality, it pays.
Thanks again.
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October 18, 2011 7:07:47 PM

Kelviathyn said:
Thanks Why_Me, I felt settled. You've done a great job of unsettling me :p 
My questions to you:
You've recommended an alternative case for what reason? (Just trying to learn as I go)
The power supply looks fantastic, thanks.
The motherboard also - you're right I shouldn't just go MemEx because I can drive there and pick it up. That beings said the ASUS is also good. Having read the reviews you linked it seems the advantage ASRock is that is offers tri-SLI support vs only dual-SLI? Am I missing something?
Also, I've never mounted my own CPU but I'll read up to not screw up. Will I need some quality paste?
Yes to CPU, yes to CPU cooler, yes to additional fan,
The RAM you recommended is equivalent in all respects except, of course, voltage to the Gskill sniper low voltage I believe.
I've asked about blu-ray before and haven't gotten a response other than neither yourself nor Morgoth780 recommended them for reasons I don't know. Having not had anything to do with blu-ray yet, I can't say I'll miss anything but better is better right?
Yes to HDD, yes to SSD,
And now - why are you recommending the

http://www.directcanada.com/produc [...] acture=MSI $489.69 MIR $459.69
MSI GeForce GTX 580 Twin Frozr II OC 800MHZ 1536MB GDDR5 2XDVI Mini-HDMI PCI-E DirectX 11 Video Card

over the

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 3072MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

the Lightning Xtreme has reviewed very well and offers twice the memory.
Also I only went Nvidia over Radeon as that was what was recommended to me. Looking at reviews puts the MSI L.X. as superior to the 6970 as well, however price is a consideration correct?

Lastly, I am still seriously considering the big fat
http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=1207181697M&v...
SMARTBUY ZR30W S-IPS LCD MONITOR
whereas both yourself and Morgoth870 have suggested a quality 27" monitor - lower resolution, less space.
Why not the ZR30W?

Trying to sort through a ton of comparisons involving price vs quality - I always lean strongly toward quality, it pays.
Thanks again.

I threw that case in there as an alternative. That case morgoth posted is a good one also. You can throw in the cooler master haf-x, cooler master sniper, and corsair 600t in that group. All good cases imo with great cooling/airflow.

The motherboard choice is the easiest question to answer. Two good reasons to go with that board. First off it has the NF200 Bridge allowing dual cards to run @ x16 & x16 instead of the usual x8 & x8 and the second reason is PCI-E 3.0

http://www.asrock.com/microsite/PCIe3/ <----- PCI-E 3.0 supported by the new 22nm Ivy Bridge cpu's due out in April/May that will support the new generation vid cards.. AMD cards due out in December I believe, and Nvidia's are due out sometime around the first of the year.

Vid card...those 3GB 580's like that lightning are for a tri monitor set up hence the 3GB or RAM. Anything less than a tri monitor set up and the extra VRAM will actually hurt you in the FPS department due to latency. Google some reviews on that card and you will see what I'm talking about.

I posted that monitor for the fact it has a low response time (2ms) which is great for gaming, and it has a 120Hz refresh rate and not the standard 60Hz refresh rate. The 3D it offers is just an option...but it's there. It's one of the few 120Hz LED monitors out there. BenQ makes one, Samsung makes four...but only one available for Canada atm, and Acer makes one. Asus is due out with their line up after January 1st.

I can't say one way or the other on blue ray. Iv'e only used it once.

With the RAM..sniper, ripjaw...pretty much all the same. You can throw in Mushkin and Corsair in the bunch also. Memoryxpress has that g.skill in sale atm.
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October 20, 2011 1:47:30 AM

So I'm following the recommendations with the following exceptions:

Getting a HAF-X case (also not getting the extra fan anymore as stock fans should be fine with this case) over the Corsair. Great airflow whereas Corsair wasn't as highly recommended.

I'm sticking with the MSI 580 Lightning Xtreme as the reviews I read indicated this card offers better futureproofing with the greater VRAM as games are becoming more demanding. As well the card was unbeat as a single GPU card in performance tests.
One example: http://www.guru3d.com/article/msi-geforce-gtx-580-light...

Also I'm continuing on with the HP ZR30W - another reason I'm sticking with the MSI gpu. The increased resolution is something that the gpu will see put to max use. I also look forward to the vibrant colours this screen offers - I'm no photoshopper so I'm not worried about the how accurate the colour is and I think I'll appreciate the large size+res more than the 120Hz... although it's a tough decision - to each his own, both are high quality monitors.
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October 24, 2011 3:48:29 PM

Thanks for the tip cutebeans, makes sense to me.
I have a good idea now of what to buy.
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October 24, 2011 3:48:59 PM

Best answer selected by Kelviathyn.
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