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1st timer seeking advice on an i7 2600K build

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Last response: in Systems
October 16, 2011 7:39:03 PM

Hi everyone,

I'm looking for some helpful advice to configure my 1st homebuilt system. Actually, I'm hoping to build 2 stabile, well powered, well cooled systems that can handle just about any program or upgrade that I throw at it. All helpful advice, tips, concerns, etc... in these areas will be well appreciated.

Approximate Purchase Date is within the next 2 weeks, and I'm looking at a budget of approx. 2200 pounds for each build.

System Usage from Most to Least Important is a lot of de-/encryption, a lot of gaming, multitasking especially while surfing and creating documents with images, some video/photo enhancing, I will also be watching Blu-Ray films and burning video to Blu-ray, and so on.

The parts/software that are already owned and will be included in each of my systems: (2xLG Blu-ray burners, 1xall-in-1 cardreader, 1xLogitech G11 keyboard, 1xG500 mouse, 1x23" monitor, 1xBose 2.1 speakers, 1x Fritz!Box router, HP Officejet 4500, Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit and Office software)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: any reliable source (preferably based in Europe to avoid high shipping costs and to avoid RMA disasters)

Country of Origin: UK and Germany (Unfortunately, I travel a lot.) So, I will be building two identical systems for that reason.

Parts Preferences: I'm hoping to build the following configuration below, and combine it with the devices that I already own above. I'm not sure though if all of these parts below are good performers and offering the best compatability with each other.

Intel i7 2600K
Asus So. 1155 P8Z68-v pro rev.3
12GB or 16GB (3x4GB) or(4x4GB)Corsair RAM DDR3 1600Mhz (CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9)9-9-9-24
HAF X RC-942 black full sized tower with window
+1x230mm blue LED fan PWM to replace the front red LED fan and/or blue LED lights in the case
+2x120mm PWM fans
Corsair HX1050 1050w PSU(I didn't see a corsair 1000w gold. I'm not sure if I can fit the corsair AX1200w into my budget and I don't really want the AX850w.
2x 128 GB crucial ssd 2,5 M4SSD SATAlll
1x 1TB WD CaviarBlack1002FAEX (For space and power consumption purposes I must add that I will be adding at least 2 or 3 more of these later)
Corsair H80 liquid cooler
Scythe Kaze Master Pro fan control KM03-BK
ASUS ROG Matrix Platinum GTX580

Do I still need a sound card, or is the built in 7.1 channel audio of a decent sound quality?

I will be overclocking only as needed(nothing extreme) and only after I have the system components updated and running well together.

The monitor Resolutions are 1680x1050 and 1920x1080.

I hope. I didn't forget anything.

Again, all helpful advice, tips, and so on will be well appreciated.

More about : 1st timer seeking advice 2600k build

October 17, 2011 8:38:47 AM

I forgot to mention that the second GTX580 will be added around Christmas time, and will not be included in this budget figure.
October 17, 2011 9:04:58 AM

Go with the 16 GB of ram, you don't want to be leaving one slot unused, like with the 12 GB kit. If you're going to SLI those 2 triple slot gfx cards you won't have any room for a sound card.
Related resources
October 17, 2011 9:18:43 AM

1050w PSU for a single 580 is overkill. 900w is enough to run 2 of them, and 700w for 1 (both including OCing). Everything else looks good and compatible.

Don't bother with water unless you plan on doing heavy overclocks.

Motherboards these days have pretty decent 7.1 or even 8.1 channel audio onboard so you don't need a sound card.
October 17, 2011 9:45:06 AM

your system looks good.dont go with H80 unless you are planning to go 5ghz+.hyper 212+ EVO(good cooling) or noctua DH-14(xtreme cooling).a sinlge 256 gb is better because sometimes RAID arrangements fail(sometimes) resulting complete data loss.
if you are not a corsair fanboy,than coolermaster silent pro 1000w gold is very PSU.i have one!!!!.onboard sound is cannot use triple channel RAM with sandybridges.go with 16 gb DDR3(8 gb is enough).MSI lightning xtreme gtx 580 3gb
is a reaaly great card.(better than ASUS ROG matrix IMO).
other things look great.all the best
October 17, 2011 10:27:23 AM

Thank you both for replying.
I originally planned on an air cooler but a lot of the good ones are too big to clear the RAM, or they block a pcie slot or they don't even clear the board coolers. So to avoid the hassles I picked a decent no maintenance water cooler. I chose the Corsair HX1050 PSU thinking that it is an 80 plus silver PSU(slightly less efficient and less amperage on the 12v rail then a gold one). I didn't see a Corsair 900w in silver or Gold. Plus, I plan on going sli soon and I have other USB devices that draw power from the supply. Then I thought, maybe I'll want to sli a pair of GTX590's in the future. Also, I was told that even the most efficient PSU's lose the abilility to bring full power to a system over time especially when it is used a lot and/or over a long period of time. I will be using it a lot and I need it to last a few years, because this PC will be passed down to someone else, when I upgrade again. I was basically trying to future proof. So, I can avoid being stuck with another PSU that can't handle long term needs, and that has happened to me one too many times.
OK. The sound card is out. I also don't think I'll need one. I do have a question about the RAM. I was told that when someone overclocks and fills all of the RAM slots that it would limit the CPU overclock and/or RAM performance . They kind of explained it to me as driving a truck with a full load. The truck specs say it can carry, let's say, a maximum of 1200 pounds, and it has a maximum speed of, lets say, 200KM per hr, but if it is actually carrying the full load it won't be able to reach that maximum speed. Well, it was something like that. Is that true? So far, I haven't ever tried to push my CPU's to the max, but it would be nice to know if my information is correct just in case I ever change my mind.
October 17, 2011 10:44:45 AM

Most air heatsinks don't block PCIe slots and they clear the mobo easily (unless you are using a micro ATX board), it's just the huge Noctua dual fan ones and similar that have some problems. But keep the H80 if you don't mind the price, it will definitely give you the best cooling.

Cheap PSUs will probably degrade in a few years, but any decent quality ones should not. I've been running an original Corsair TX750W PLUS (not even bronze) for 2.5 years without any issues, and in fact I just stuck in a GTX 580 a few weeks ago to replace my old GTX 285 (running i7 920 @ 3.6ghz 1.375v, 580 @ 910mhz core 1.1v - max load ~520w).

As for having a board full of RAM, I'm not sure if it hampers CPU OCing but I've never heard of that before.
October 17, 2011 10:46:56 AM

@ Hellfire, thank you for replying. I'll look again but I think that particular Noctua blocks 1 or 2 RAM slots, but I may be wrong about which model it was. The reason for the 2 SSD's in Raid was to seperate the OS and necessary programs from everything else, but I heard that too. It is worth considering. If I were to do a 1 to 1 backup of my SSD to a 7200RPM hard drive how long would it take me to back up approx. 100 GB? I don't want to end up starting from scratch again just because a drive or raid fails.
October 17, 2011 11:18:24 AM

@ gmcizzle A couple of months ago I upgraded an i7 920 stock 12GB (6x2GB)DDR3 RAM and a GTX 285 stock with a GTX 560ti SO. At first it was at the stock overclock 950Mhz then at 1004Mhz and still using the original Delta 750w PSU. My first choice was to put the GTX580 in there, and some people said that my PSU would handle it but I was afraid that it would die. So, I chickened out, and decided to wait. I had a PSU die on me once. So, I guess. I like to play it safe now.
October 17, 2011 12:00:26 PM

The Noctua DH-14 is on the list I saw. It does block the 1st RAM slot, and the top PCiex1 slot and I do plan on using the Vengeance blue with the large heat spreaders. So, I think. I'll stick with the H80. I watched a couple of videos for the installation of the H80 and it seems pretty cut and dry. I'm still unsure about the SSD set up though.
October 17, 2011 12:36:33 PM

@ Hellfire, I'll take a look at the MSI GTX580 lightning reviews and tests. I initially missed that part of your comment.
October 17, 2011 1:35:59 PM

I thought about the coolermaster silent pro 1000w Gold PSU at first, but a technician at a local PC shop told me that Corsair is a more reliable brand and he showed me some tests of the coolermaster and comparisons to other PSU's. Also, Cooler Master offers a five year guarantee for that gold PSU and Corsair offers a 7 year guarantee on that silver PSU.
October 17, 2011 4:23:15 PM

sorry to be late.
as you mentioned above that you may sli 2 590 is near future than you need more than 1000w or 1050w PSU.dont get wrong with coolermaster.they make very reliable,affordable,high quality products.they are famous every where.from cases,(HAF series specially)cooler,case fans,and PSUs.for a quad SLI a coolermaster silent pro 1200w would be enough.if you can spend some more than Corsair 1200w would be the best choice.dont lean towards more guarantee period because nothing is sure to survive.even we cannot say that we have guarantee that we are gonna live,a five year guarantee is more than enough.i dont criticise Corsair but i just want to clear the doubts of people who consider coolermaster unreliable or cheap quality brand.for cooler,yeah!!! H80 is a great cooler.go for gtx 580 is better than MSI lightning xtreme 3 gb version(IMO).832 mhz factory clocks,3 gb overclocked framebuffer,xellent cooling and low noise.
October 17, 2011 5:54:18 PM

@ hellfire Thank you for answering. That Cooler Master Haf X RC-942 case is in this build:)  I was relying more on the test details of this specific product which say it is efficient, but noisy at full load and there are a few more ripples on the meter than there should be, but all in all, it's still solid. I'm basically, just after the best products for my price range. I don't care who makes them as long as they do what I want them to do, and they're compatible. This isn't exactly the kind of market where I'd want to buy purely out of loyalty to the brand name. Also, I think you are right about upping the watts. Sandy Bridge uses less wattage than it's predecessors, but those GTX590's are power hungry monsters. Somehow I thought that they only consumed 345w, but I just saw that they use 360w and that's only the Nvidia Geforce imagine another model with better speeds and cooling. Then adding an OC:)  I'm already considering to skip the GTX580's to buy one GTX590 for each build and add another 1st quarter 2012 when the new cards hit the market and the GTX590 prices drop. That will cut out the 4 GTX580's completely. That's one less expense, as far as I'm concerned, and a whole lot of v-RAM. That's still a difficult decision, because they are currently expensive and I need double of everything. Now, I have something else to mull over, and I thought I was almost finished.
October 18, 2011 5:04:45 AM

nice idea man!!!@!@! soon as the prices of 590 drops,grab one them quickly.add liquid cooling otherwise you may not be abe to sit in your room due to huge noise and you mentioned that you also want to overclock your 590 then air cooling is not enough.add liquid cooling.a sinlge 590 is overkill for 1080p.first prepare your first 590(liquid cooling,overcocking,etc.).if you dont face any issues than add another one.dont forget to liquid cool it.overclock both of them atleast 800mhz and get ready to play any game(withcer 2 max settings,metro 2033 max settings,battlefield 3 max settings,etc.)dont worry about noise levels in HAF you are going to use H80 and liquid cooled 590s(i hope so!!!!)your rig will be cool n quiet.
October 18, 2011 9:01:23 AM

Well, once I set my eyes on the GTX 590's I thought about going larger and/or 3D. Some people have issues with 3D. Some people don't. I tried it out on a friend's setup and it looked good to me. She has 2 GTX580's with only air cooling and it ran well. I could hear the fans a little as they started getting warm, but all in all they weren't as loud as I expected they would be. I'm not 100% yet, but I think. I'm heading towards the GTX 590's. So far, I haven't water cooled any of my cards yet. I beat them up pretty bad too, and they just keep on going. (sound of me knocking on wood) Well, I guess that will be another growing experience for me, if I decide to do it.
October 19, 2011 12:12:32 AM

Thank you all.
This will be the build, unless someone has a reasonable objection of why it wouldn't work out well.

Intel i7 2600K
Asus So. 1155 P8Z68-v pro rev.3
16GB (4x4GB)Corsair RAM DDR3 1600Mhz (CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9)9-9-9-24
HAF X RC-942 black full sized tower with window
+1x230mm blue LED fan PWM to replace the front red LED fan and 2 blue LED lights in the case
+2 extra 120mm PWM fans
Corsair HX1050 1050w PSU(I didn't see a corsair 1000w gold. I'm not sure if I can fit the corsair AX1200w into my budget and I don't really want the AX850w.
1x 256 GB crucial SSD 2,5 M4SSD SATAlll
1x 1TB WD CaviarBlack1002FAEX (For space and power consumption purposes I must add that I will be adding at least 2 or 3 more of these later)
Corsair H80 liquid cooler
Scythe Kaze Master Pro fan control KM03-BK
GTX 590 (Brand still to be determined tomorrow and a second will definitely be added later.)
This system will still be oc'ed as needed and I will be adding a 3D Monitor in a few months.
October 19, 2011 4:09:16 PM

I was looking at those cards this morning and the reviews are so mixed about it's performance vs. price. I was just discussing the above point this morning about how Nvidia pulls temperature and wattage numbers out of a hat. For that matter, so does Intel. They claim that Sandy Bridge operates at max TDP of 95w. AMD claims their Max. TDP's are accurate too, but they aren't either. It's all just such a crock, that you almost want to say forget it. Anyway, maybe on a simulated test, and I'm stressing the maybe, Intel is getting these numbers, but in real life in depth testing, the i5 2500K reaches 147w without OC'ing. That is why stock coolers can't do the job, and why people end up underestimating the PSU they need. According to Intel and Nvidia you can run a GTX580 sli with a 600w PSU. One single Nvidia Geforce GTX580 can reach up to a whopping 457w with a real max. load. It would be a miracle, if the house didn't burn down, while using a GTX580 sli with any CPU on a 600w PSU.
I used to buy AMD cards, but I was experiencing compatability issues, because a lot of games and other graphic applications are optimized for use with Nvidia cards. Maybe, they figured it was just easier to buy off game developers than to create a winning card. In all fairness though, the HD6990 is better in some situations(e.g.high resolutions), while Nvidia is better in others.(e.g.AA) It's a classic case of speed vs. beauty. Unfortunately, enthusiasts would rather have both, which leads us back to the ongoing disappointment.
I'm just tired of inaccurate fanboy arguments from both sides. However, I don't mind the funny videos from either side.
Basically, I just pick what's compatable to my profile of usage. Then, I wait for the more efficient model of that card to drop in price.
Of course, we wouldn't be paying these high prices at all, if manufacturers weren't producing and releasing almost every product they work on. They comepletely ignore the fact that some of their products are failures and release them anyway, when they could've just concentrated on selling the better products that they made. Everytime the new Nvidia and AMD cards come out, they stop production of their worst cards. It's always been like that. Sometimes, I feel like these manufacturers are treating us like the king, who walked naked down the street in what he thought was a magic suit,
That is the reason why I always like to see some facts and comparisons, before I buy anything from them. End of rant.

I liked that video. This one was good too. I particularly agree about the wattage and temperature parts of it, because I couldn't give a rat's bupkis about energy consumption or heat, as long as good PSU's and heatsinks are available. Our energy provider delivers 100% reusable energy too:D

Here is another worthy piece of information for enthusiasts who like OC'ed graphic cards.

I'm still undecided about which cards I want. I'll have to look into it some more. We'll see.
October 20, 2011 12:29:43 PM

i am owner of a nvidia card but still consider AMD better.(dont know why?).anything
like 6990 or 590 will produce a lot of heat and noise.not to remind you of power if you any of the above cards,liquid cooling is a must IMO.otherwise no overclocking,no silence,no low temps and no satisfaction.
October 20, 2011 2:12:08 PM

I may go back to the original plan, 3rd party GTX 580's in sli, because all of the reviews for HD6990 and GTX590 say that they are both too expensive in comparison to performance, and neither offers a stabile long term oc possibility. Basically, I may not be getting my money's worth. I'm still not 100% decided though. A lot of these reviews are relying on those 2 burnt cards that died, because the reviewing swedish geniuses(hint of sarcasm) used an old driver, that didn't include proper overvoltage protection. Even if the driver was on the disc of the first releases, it shouldn't have been used. Most experienced PC users, gamers,enthusiasts, OC'ers, etc. don't use the disc drivers. They are never up to date. That's just one of the simplest rules, that you learn, when you first start using a PC. Even when you go to a simple multi purpose retail store, where they have limited PC knowledge,(if any at all) they tell you to download the newest drivers. IMHO, the failure of the card was due an issue of poor judgement. Plus, those were reference cards. I tend to steer clear of those anyway. I am still skeptical. So, in order to settle my doubts, I'm going to visit a friend, who has a pair of GTX 590's. I want to see for myself what they can really do, and compare them to what I saw of the GTX 580 sli. Then, I think. I should be fairly certain of my choice at that point.
October 20, 2011 3:00:25 PM

all the best for your 'journey' to find the right graphic card setup for you.
November 18, 2011 12:50:09 AM

Solved and Updated.

I finished building this PC 3 days ago. I had to wait for the graphic cards, because they were out of stock. Plus, the Haf X RC-942 is so big that the PSU cables were too short to do any cable management. So, I ordered some cable extensions to fix that problem. So far, the system is running very well. It boots up and is ready to use within 15 seconds. At first, I was worried, because I saw a few 1st timer horror stories in the forums. Anyway, to make a long story short, the system booted up on the first try.
So far, I'm impressed with the performance of this system, in comparison to my old system, when it was new. I also have to give Asus a thumbs up. They really did a good job making the new Gen3 version of this board, the software bundle, and the Bios so easy to use. It has a lot of up to date and useful features like PCIe 3.0, Bluetooth, GPU Boost, the Ai Tweaker menu, Advanced menu for device configuration, Asus EZ Flash 2, Asus Crashfree Bios 3, Auto Tune, Asus OC profile, and that's just a portion of what this board offers. It is so easy to check temps and fan speeds, to overclock and to configure your settings. Anyway, I used the software to overclock the CPU to 4.2Ghz without encountering any problems. Basically, I just wanted to test out the temps and make sure that the H80 and the fans were going to offer enough cooling, which they do. I also wanted to see how the oc'ing software works. Good news for beginners. It basically does the oc'ing for you, unless you press the manual setting to do it yourself. There is another plus with this set up. It is pretty quiet too. I'm very happy with this PC, and I'm glad that this build turned out well.

Anyway, as I mentioned above, I made some minor changes, which included upgrading the mainboard and changing the SSD. So, this is the list of components that I used for each build.

Intel i7 2600K
Asus So. 1155 P8Z68-v pro/Gen3
16GB(4x4GB)Corsair Vengeance blue 1600Mhz DDR3 RAM 1600Mhz @1.5v
HAF X RC-942 black full sized tower with window
Corsair HX1050 1050w PSU
1x 240GB OCZ Vertex 3 Sata 600
1x 1TB WD CaviarBlack1002FAEX for now
LG SuperMulti Blue BH10LS30
Corsair H80 liquid cooler
Scythe Kaze Master Pro fan control KM03-BK
1x MSI n580GTX Lightning (I ordered the second set today)
1x 200mm fan
Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit
November 18, 2011 12:52:02 AM

I also want to thank everyone who offered helpful advice and assisted me during the decision making.
November 18, 2011 12:39:04 PM any best answer to solve the's not good to leave them open.
have a good time with that "beast".