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New PC, First Time Builder, ~$1250 Budget, Plenty of Questions

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November 5, 2011 11:14:43 PM

Hello all,

Here's a basic list of what I've decided on, with as many questions as I could think to ask. I'll start off with the standard copy-paste information, and I apologize now for the novel you're about to see.

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Approximate Purchase Date: This month, will probably wait to see what Black Friday/Cyber Monday has to offer on a few items.

Budget Range: Roughly $1250. Less is better, but if I'm getting more bang for my buck I don't mind spending more towards $1500.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Enjoying Movies/Music/Media, Amateur 3D Modeling, Numerous 20 page research papers.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard (Logitech G11), Mouse (Logitech MX518), Monitor (Dell 23.9" 1920x1080), Speakers (Logitech 2.1), OS (W7)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com, or Frys.com (They have a local store here), or anywhere reputable that will save me some cash.

Country of Origin: United States

Parts Preferences: None. I'd rather spend more on a quality product, than buy a "better" item from a poor brand though.

Overclocking: Nothing extreme. I am highly unlikely to push the limits of what is possible, but may overclock to something reasonable later.

SLI or Crossfire: Yes, but in the future. I plan on buying a second card around March/April when I get my next quarterly bonus.

Monitor Resolution: Currently one monitor at 1920x1080. If I can find a sweet deal this Holiday season I will probably but a second monitor, or two new ones. I doubt I would exceed 1920x1200 though.

Additional Comments: I have some questions I would greatly appreciate some opinions on. I'll ask parts specific questions next to where I have them listed. The more detail you can provide with your answers the better; don't be afraid of going over my head. Saying "x motherboard is better than yours" doesn't help me much unless I know why it is better. I wouldn't mind an intensive reconstruction of my entire build, as long as I would get something better for a comparable price, and my few actual preferences are still in order. Now, on to the components.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Computer Case: CM Storm Trooper Full Tower ATX Case - $190
I am 6'4" and have large clumsy hands. I would prefer to have a large computer case that is easy to work inside and has plenty of room for whatever my heart could later desire. I do not mind spending more than I probably should on a nice case, since I don't care about it's aesthetics (thus I won't want to replace it with something cooler) and I can reuse a nice case for as many builds as I can afford. Other considerations include the CM HAF X and the Lian Li PC-P80. The Lian Li seems like higher quality, but doesn't seem worth $100 more, and the Storm Trooper seems better than the HAF X since it is newer and has all of the nice features anyway (USB 3.0, Good Air-Flow, Lots of fan space, etc)

Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 LGA 1155 - $210
I've read lots of positive things from other brands, but I've also read many reviews complaining about the quality of ASRock and Gigabyte motherboards. I've had good luck with ASUS products in the past so I feel this is a good choice. I'm very open to suggestions, but quality is important to me.

CPU i5-2500K - $215
I generally do not upgrade my PC's very often. My current CPU is a Dual Core Pentium D 3.2Ghz (Core 2 Duo?) I want to buy the i7-2600K - $320 but I can't decide if I need one. I believe I will get more use out of it in the long run before it's desperately obsolete, but is it worth an extra $105 now? It'd be great to have the best, but with Ivy Bridge coming out soon, would it be better to get the i5-2500k and possibly upgrade to something better in a year or two instead? Would it be an all around better idea to put this whole idea off until March/April (When I have 2 quarterly bonuses and can buy the whole shebang at once with Ivy Bridge) or is that just a case of "there's always something more awesome coming out the soon syndrome?"

CPU Cooling ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - $10 and COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R1 - $35
This fan was chosen mostly at random. I believe it's all compatible, but I couldn't find much helpful research beyond Newegg customer reviews. I want a fan that; doesn't block or interfer with any memory slots, fits nicely inside my case without any tinkering, is stable and well made, and keeps my CPU cool.

PSU: CORSAIR Professional Series HX850 - $170
I'd prefer something Modular, but don't really care that much. I've had good luck with Corsair PSU's before but am not opposed to other brands. I'd like a PSU to comfortably power two Mid-Range graphics cards without replacing it every year because I've run it too hot for too long.

Ram Memory: CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB - $100
I know I don't need 16gb of RAM, but it's so cheap why not? If I can buy it now and not worry about upgrading it for another 5 years then what's the downside? Should I buy a better type of RAM that only totals to 8gb? What do you recommend and why? I'm afraid I don't know enough about it to make 100% qualified decisions based on minute differences.

GPU: SAPPHIRE HD 6970 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 - $350 (It's only $320 right now)
I've narrowed my search down to this or the GTX 570. I'd like to spend $300-$350 for my GPU and have ruled out getting 2 6850's or similar. I also don't want to buy a 6950 and OC or flash it to the 6970's level. I would just prefer to buy a good card now, and buy a second one later for more gaming muscle. Or if I never do, then at least it's still a good card that will last me a long while. The only reason I picked this instead of the GTX 570 is because my quarter landed heads up. I play a myriad of games and it looks like neither card is best, but with rebates included I can pick up a 6970 for less than a 570, and that means I can pick up 2 for an even bigger discount without losing much gaming potential. I'd love to hear other opinions and options though.

HDD: I'm going to pick up a SSD for my boot drive and certain applications, and will probably just buy the best one for the best price I can over the Holiday sales. I haven't picked one out, but figure I'll be able to find a 128-160gb one for a reasonable price soon. I am going to reuse my current extra HDD's until the prices go back down. I have two 2Tb drives that I can migrate over from my current rig that I bought back in August. They're WD Caviar Blacks, and aren't anywhere near capacity, so I think I'll be okay until the market recovers.

Disc Drives: Same plan as the SSD. I'll probably be picking up an LG Bluray-R Drive with Lightscribe - $80 since I like LG electronics and a regular DVD-R from them too. If there's a good sale for a good drive (Blu-Ray or otherwise) I'll pick them up instead though, I just know I want at least two.

Monitor: I mentioned it earlier, but I have a Dell 1920x1080 monitor. I couldn't find it's model number, but it's a few years old. I still love it, but if I can find a good back-lit LED monitor for a reasonable price I plan on adding it to my system (Not replacing the Dell, but having two monitors.) If I find a stellar deal I may just buy two new monitors and repurpose the Dell for another computer.

Sound Card: Do I still need one of these? I have a pair of decent Logitech 2.1 Speakers that sound great (to me, not to an audiophile.) I ran cables from this computer into the bedroom, which allows me to play movies/whatever on the surround sound and big screen in there. I have a 5 year old Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi that I currently use. What are the opinions here? I've seen many basic ones for $100 that would allow me to upgrade to a better speaker system, but I'm not convinced it's worth the money.

Misc Components: What else, even small things, do you think I'd need or want? Do I need a fan controller? They're not that expensive and may be useful if I add more fans into the case. I'm not advanced enough to wade into liquid cooling, so let's keep those suggestions to a minimum. I plan on getting a power-pack surge protector since my House suffers from Power-Blinks during strong lightning storms. I don't care about LED lights, Windows, or Racing stripes. Just having a good computer with quality parts that won't burn my house down or be obscenely outdated the day after I purchase them.


Thank you for your responses and for the time I'm sure it took to read this post. I've stalked this community for awhile but am finally in a position where I can leech off of your knowledge contribute to the forums.



November 5, 2011 11:20:14 PM

This is a good lookin' machine! Very similar to a machine I am building within the next few months. Consider this when looking at your processor though:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-overcloc...
They mention the i7 being better but really not in a noticeable way for the vast majority of your applications. I was in the same boat being on the fence about a processor but I decided to save 100 bucks and get the one that will, when I am not comparing them side by side, not be any worse. Food for thought.
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November 5, 2011 11:33:27 PM

Go for the low profile version of the RAM if you are going with 4 sticks as the first slot may have clearance issues with the huge heatsinks and the CPU cooler fan. Some people move the fan to 'pull' position and some mount the fan a little differently.

But, save the trouble.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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Related resources
November 6, 2011 12:47:14 AM

at8mistakes said:
Hello all,

Here's a basic list of what I've decided on, with as many questions as I could think to ask. I'll start off with the standard copy-paste information, and I apologize now for the novel you're about to see.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Approximate Purchase Date: This month, will probably wait to see what Black Friday/Cyber Monday has to offer on a few items.

Budget Range: Roughly $1250. Less is better, but if I'm getting more bang for my buck I don't mind spending more towards $1500.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Enjoying Movies/Music/Media, Amateur 3D Modeling, Numerous 20 page research papers.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard (Logitech G11), Mouse (Logitech MX518), Monitor (Dell 23.9" 1920x1080), Speakers (Logitech 2.1), OS (W7)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com, or Frys.com (They have a local store here), or anywhere reputable that will save me some cash.

Country of Origin: United States

Parts Preferences: None. I'd rather spend more on a quality product, than buy a "better" item from a poor brand though.

Overclocking: Nothing extreme. I am highly unlikely to push the limits of what is possible, but may overclock to something reasonable later.

SLI or Crossfire: Yes, but in the future. I plan on buying a second card around March/April when I get my next quarterly bonus.

Monitor Resolution: Currently one monitor at 1920x1080. If I can find a sweet deal this Holiday season I will probably but a second monitor, or two new ones. I doubt I would exceed 1920x1200 though.

Additional Comments: I have some questions I would greatly appreciate some opinions on. I'll ask parts specific questions next to where I have them listed. The more detail you can provide with your answers the better; don't be afraid of going over my head. Saying "x motherboard is better than yours" doesn't help me much unless I know why it is better. I wouldn't mind an intensive reconstruction of my entire build, as long as I would get something better for a comparable price, and my few actual preferences are still in order. Now, on to the components.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Computer Case: CM Storm Trooper Full Tower ATX Case - $190
I am 6'4" and have large clumsy hands. I would prefer to have a large computer case that is easy to work inside and has plenty of room for whatever my heart could later desire. I do not mind spending more than I probably should on a nice case, since I don't care about it's aesthetics (thus I won't want to replace it with something cooler) and I can reuse a nice case for as many builds as I can afford. Other considerations include the CM HAF X and the Lian Li PC-P80. The Lian Li seems like higher quality, but doesn't seem worth $100 more, and the Storm Trooper seems better than the HAF X since it is newer and has all of the nice features anyway (USB 3.0, Good Air-Flow, Lots of fan space, etc)

Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 LGA 1155 - $210
I've read lots of positive things from other brands, but I've also read many reviews complaining about the quality of ASRock and Gigabyte motherboards. I've had good luck with ASUS products in the past so I feel this is a good choice. I'm very open to suggestions, but quality is important to me.

CPU i5-2500K - $215
I generally do not upgrade my PC's very often. My current CPU is a Dual Core Pentium D 3.2Ghz (Core 2 Duo?) I want to buy the i7-2600K - $320 but I can't decide if I need one. I believe I will get more use out of it in the long run before it's desperately obsolete, but is it worth an extra $105 now? It'd be great to have the best, but with Ivy Bridge coming out soon, would it be better to get the i5-2500k and possibly upgrade to something better in a year or two instead? Would it be an all around better idea to put this whole idea off until March/April (When I have 2 quarterly bonuses and can buy the whole shebang at once with Ivy Bridge) or is that just a case of "there's always something more awesome coming out the soon syndrome?"

CPU Cooling ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - $10 and COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R1 - $35
This fan was chosen mostly at random. I believe it's all compatible, but I couldn't find much helpful research beyond Newegg customer reviews. I want a fan that; doesn't block or interfer with any memory slots, fits nicely inside my case without any tinkering, is stable and well made, and keeps my CPU cool.

PSU: CORSAIR Professional Series HX850 - $170
I'd prefer something Modular, but don't really care that much. I've had good luck with Corsair PSU's before but am not opposed to other brands. I'd like a PSU to comfortably power two Mid-Range graphics cards without replacing it every year because I've run it too hot for too long.

Ram Memory: CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB - $100
I know I don't need 16gb of RAM, but it's so cheap why not? If I can buy it now and not worry about upgrading it for another 5 years then what's the downside? Should I buy a better type of RAM that only totals to 8gb? What do you recommend and why? I'm afraid I don't know enough about it to make 100% qualified decisions based on minute differences.

GPU: SAPPHIRE HD 6970 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 - $350 (It's only $320 right now)
I've narrowed my search down to this or the GTX 570. I'd like to spend $300-$350 for my GPU and have ruled out getting 2 6850's or similar. I also don't want to buy a 6950 and OC or flash it to the 6970's level. I would just prefer to buy a good card now, and buy a second one later for more gaming muscle. Or if I never do, then at least it's still a good card that will last me a long while. The only reason I picked this instead of the GTX 570 is because my quarter landed heads up. I play a myriad of games and it looks like neither card is best, but with rebates included I can pick up a 6970 for less than a 570, and that means I can pick up 2 for an even bigger discount without losing much gaming potential. I'd love to hear other opinions and options though.

HDD: I'm going to pick up a SSD for my boot drive and certain applications, and will probably just buy the best one for the best price I can over the Holiday sales. I haven't picked one out, but figure I'll be able to find a 128-160gb one for a reasonable price soon. I am going to reuse my current extra HDD's until the prices go back down. I have two 2Tb drives that I can migrate over from my current rig that I bought back in August. They're WD Caviar Blacks, and aren't anywhere near capacity, so I think I'll be okay until the market recovers.

Disc Drives: Same plan as the SSD. I'll probably be picking up an LG Bluray-R Drive with Lightscribe - $80 since I like LG electronics and a regular DVD-R from them too. If there's a good sale for a good drive (Blu-Ray or otherwise) I'll pick them up instead though, I just know I want at least two.

Monitor: I mentioned it earlier, but I have a Dell 1920x1080 monitor. I couldn't find it's model number, but it's a few years old. I still love it, but if I can find a good back-lit LED monitor for a reasonable price I plan on adding it to my system (Not replacing the Dell, but having two monitors.) If I find a stellar deal I may just buy two new monitors and repurpose the Dell for another computer.

Sound Card: Do I still need one of these? I have a pair of decent Logitech 2.1 Speakers that sound great (to me, not to an audiophile.) I ran cables from this computer into the bedroom, which allows me to play movies/whatever on the surround sound and big screen in there. I have a 5 year old Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi that I currently use. What are the opinions here? I've seen many basic ones for $100 that would allow me to upgrade to a better speaker system, but I'm not convinced it's worth the money.

Misc Components: What else, even small things, do you think I'd need or want? Do I need a fan controller? They're not that expensive and may be useful if I add more fans into the case. I'm not advanced enough to wade into liquid cooling, so let's keep those suggestions to a minimum. I plan on getting a power-pack surge protector since my House suffers from Power-Blinks during strong lightning storms. I don't care about LED lights, Windows, or Racing stripes. Just having a good computer with quality parts that won't burn my house down or be obscenely outdated the day after I purchase them.


Thank you for your responses and for the time I'm sure it took to read this post. I've stalked this community for awhile but am finally in a position where I can leech off of your knowledge contribute to the forums.

That is a great build!
Quote:
Go for the low profile version of the RAM if you are going with 4 sticks as the first slot may have clearance issues with the huge heatsinks and the CPU cooler fan.

+1 The heat sinks aren't even necessary on DDR3.

No you do not need a soundcard. Your old one or onboard will work just fine. Fan controllers are nice but not necessary.

Quote:
I also don't want to buy a 6950 and OC or flash it to the 6970's level.

Good choice as it's getting harder and harder to do.

Quote:
Computer Case: CM Storm Trooper Full Tower ATX Case - $190
I am 6'4" and have large clumsy hands. I would prefer to have a large computer case that is easy to work inside and has plenty of room for whatever my heart could later desire. I do not mind spending more than I probably should on a nice case, since I don't care about it's aesthetics (thus I won't want to replace it with something cooler) and I can reuse a nice case for as many builds as I can afford. Other considerations include the CM HAF X and the Lian Li PC-P80. The Lian Li seems like higher quality, but doesn't seem worth $100 more, and the Storm Trooper seems better than the HAF X since it is newer and has all of the nice features anyway (USB 3.0, Good Air-Flow, Lots of fan space, etc)

All good cases, mostly personal preferance.

Looks Good!

~Raptor
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November 6, 2011 1:00:05 AM

Nice build. Good decision on the i5-2500k. you could easily slighty overclock later and go to i7's speed. really i7 is for like editing. the hyperthreading it has is basically useless for gaming so really i5 is best bet. also if you dont plan on OCing an aftermarket heatsink isnt needed the stock one will be fine but DO NOT OC with it, it will do fine for now tho.
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November 6, 2011 1:34:55 AM

Excellent work....I'd make few changes:

1. RAM - The more memory modules, the harder the memory controller in the CPU has to work. When going for the highest OC's ya may have to reduce CAS and / or timings to get stability with 4 modules. Now for the toothy heat sinks. The only cooling effect of these big RAM coolers is that they "look cool". While they served a purpose (when they were effective) w/ DDR2, they are absolutely useless on DDR3.

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...
Quote:
At more than 2" tall in certain areas the Corsair Vengeance could pose a problem for users like me who use large coolers such as the Scythe Mugen 2. I was able to use the Corsair Vengeance only after I mounted the fan on my cooler on the backside. Size is definitely a concern with heat spreaders of this size and therefore I encourage users to check that they will have enough space under their heatsinks before purchasing the Corsair Vengeance kit.


http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...
Quote:
The problem I have with the Corsair Vengeance is the same I have with many kits of RAM on the market. Companies insist on putting large coolers on their RAM and it limits the choice in CPU heatsinks that can be used within users system. DDR3 does not require these elaborate coolers with its lower voltages which translate to lower temperatures then RAM saw during the DDR, and DDR2 era. Corsair is correcting this with low profile versions of its Vengeance line but ultimately I would like to see the average size of coolers drop instead of having to look for specific low profile versions of a memory line.


The low profile Vengeance is where's I'd be

16 GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
8GB CAS 9 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
8GB CAS 8 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GFX - 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:

$ 320.00 6970 (526/825) $ 0.61 - $ 0.78
$ 215.00 560 Ti - 900 Mhz (495/862) $ 0.43 - $ 0.50
$ 340.00 570 (524/873) $ 0.65 - $ 0.78

Ok what we see from the above is that the 6970 will get ya 526 fps .....about the same as a 570 and 31 fps more than that 560 ..... but you are planning two GFX cards given ya PSU choice and "more muscle later" statement. However, the nVidia cards scale better giving the 570 a good advantage. But looking at the 900 MHz 560's in SLI, we see that they beat the 6970 in CF and at only 2/3 the cost . I do the twin 560's now for just $110 more.....64% increase in performance for just a 34% increase in price.

Case / PSU - Your pairing is excellent but $360 is a bit high if budget is a consideration. Here's some other options:

According to jonnyguru, the CP-850 PSU .....

Quote:
is completely unmatched by any ATX unit on the market I can think of. You'd have to spend twice as much as this thing costs to find the next best thing, performance wise."


It gets the same 10.0 performance rating as the HX850 but is both quieter and runs cooler. Matched in either the DF-85 or 1200 V3, you have a combination that provides "unfair competition" to its competitors.... the fans all have built in speed control and, yes, ya can turn the LED's off :)  .

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article971-page7.html

Quote:
The above is an obviously unfair advantage for the CP-850... but what of it? Antec has used an integrated systems approach for its CP-850 and its best cases, and if that approach is an advantage over all other case/PSU combinations, then, all the more power to Antec!..... For the quiet-seeking computer gaming enthusiast, the CP-850 (along with any of the three [four now w/ the DF-85] compatible cases) is something of a godsend. Fantastically stable power, super low noise at any power load, long expected reliability due to excellent cooling, modular cabling,....


$115 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$150 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
$150 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

At just $265 for the pair, it saves you $95 and, in my opinion, offers more features and performance than your original selection. That $95 just about pays for ya 2nd GFX card. Most of the peeps I build for want the Antec's or the HAF's, but I have built at least half dozen boxes in last year with the Antec Case / PSU combo and twin cards in SLI and the more I do, the more I appreciate the differences over the HAF builds.

Sound Card - None needed.

Accessories - The Antec cases provide fan control inherently. Might think about a card reader.
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November 6, 2011 1:42:54 AM

Great build nice PSU. Your better off going SLI 560 ti's for 450 cuz it will be better performance. But your PSU can handle SLI 570's if you wanna push the build to 1500$ like you said before. I only mention the SLI because you are getting two monitors and from what i understand they will both be 1920x1080 res. 1 6970 should give you good performance on two monitors but i would go with two 6970's or 570's. Great choice on PSU but if you dont upgrade the GPU go with I7 for future proffing purposes.Also do you really need a full tower case there preetty big. thats personal prefernce i guess..
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November 6, 2011 5:23:04 AM

Thank you for all of the responses so far. Forgive my lack of quotes to address some of your comments, as some of you suggested similar alternatives and I'd appreciate answers from as many as will choose to respond.

The "low-profile" Ram:
This is a perfect suggestion and solves (hopefully) my worry of the CPU cooler blocking a memory slot. Thank you! JackNaylorPE mentioned that more RAM slots (in use) impedes the highest OC'ing potential. Since I don't plan on overclocking (to any extreme at least) is that a legitimate problem I should consider considering my intentions? I don't mind adjusting my build, I just want to understand why I am.

Also, is the "low-voltage" ram something I should consider? The difference between 1.5 and 1.35 doesn't seem critical with my limited knowledge. Obviously, lower voltage and better memory/power efficiency is better, but is it truly worth spending more for them?

GPU Selection:
I realize that two 560ti's or 6850's (or many Crossfire/SLI) combinations will net me a better result than a single 570 or 6970, but it leaves me shorthanded when I want to upgrade my GPU. If I buy a single 570 or 6970 now, in the future (as I plan to do) I can buy a second GPU as an upgrade. If I buy two lower end cards, I will get better performance now, but lose out in the long run. GPU's have always been a "should've could've would've" situation for me; I'm just trying to give myself as many easy upgrade paths as possible for the future.

PSU Selection:
I am completely open to other PSU's, the Corsair I picked out just seemed like a great choice, considering my future plans and my luck with Corsair products thus far.

Case Selection:
I know that my chosen case is also a more expensive choice, but the driving factors that led me to the CM Storm Trooper (or HAF-X) is the size of the case. The local Fry's (an electronic warehouse store) has them in stock so I was able to get a hands on feel for them and many other cases. The high end CM cases have larger bay areas (by at least an inch or two) in depth and width, which is why I have chosen them so far. I'm sure that the slightly smaller cases are just as good, but again, I'm looking for ease of use. A few extra inches gives me more leeway for extra fans, longer GPU's, more clearance for skyscraper CPU coolers, or possibly even liquid cooling when I get a bit more brave about water inside my case. I am not an experienced builder, but I feel a little extra room is worth a few extra dollars.

CPU Selection:
I know that the i7-2600k (and new i7-2700k) would only be slightly better in the long run than the i5-2500k. It's just a matter of wanting the (overall) best that I can afford versus what is realistically best for what I'll actually be doing. Will the i7-2600k really provide me with much more future proofing? Personally, I feel that the gaming industry will continue to be fairly stagnant until the next gaming consoles are released. There of course will be the occasional PC game that pushes the boundaries, but I am not the type to need Ultra settings on every game under the sun. When the gaming standard gets to the point where the i5-2500k no longer delivers satisfactory results, a much better CPU than the 2600k will be available for a reasonable price, and I could just look to upgrade then. Granted, that means a new Mobo, and probably everything else, but it's still food for thought. That said, I still want the 2600k. :) 





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November 6, 2011 8:20:01 AM

Ram: The Vengence Low Profile ram is great for your build. I am going to be building a new PC in the near future and am seriously considering using it. Grab an 8gig git and your all set.

To answer your question about the Voltage, Vengence Low Profile ram runs at 1.35 volts which is considered 'low voltage'. This is a good thing as it allows for lower temperatures.

GPU: The 570 is a perfect card for your build as it will give you AMAZING frame rates in all the latest games even on 'Ultra' setting for the rest of 2011 and probably throughout 2012. It also gives you a nice upgrade path- you can add a second if you want ever to upgrade to 2 monitors for nVidia surround (their multi display technology)

PSU: Personally, I think the Corsair HX 850 is perfect but feel free to argue.

Case: With your budget, it is unwise to spend more than 170 on a case. The Corsair [yes I am a big fan] 600T White Edition has a great feature set (USB 3.0,See through panel etc) and is 170 at Newegg.Just bear in mind that you will need a USB 3.0 External to Internal adapter (for the front panel Usb 3.0)

CPU: The i5 2500k is perfect for this build, the i7 26/700k models are overkill and will be outdated with in 6 months (Ivy Bridge). With the money you save now on the CPU you can upgrade next year when Ivy bridge comes out.

Good Luck with your build. :) 
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November 7, 2011 1:01:13 AM

That Corsair case does look very nice, and it's measurements appear to be on par with the full size cases I've been considering. Have you (or anyone else) had personal experience with it? How does it compare to something like the HAF X or other larger cases? Not necessarily full tower, since many of those still have relatively small internal bays. Many of the reviews state that the supplied fans and fan controllers don't work (or fail soon after purchasing.) Have you had that experience?



All of my other questions and comments are still up for debate if anyone else still feels like chiming in and swaying my intentions elsewhere.
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November 7, 2011 6:09:14 AM

Admittedly, no I have not had hands on experience with it (though it is what I will be using for my build in about a months time) yes, the measurment are on par with some smaller full towers. Where did you read those reviews- I have not seen them. Also what are the parts that you have decided on so far?
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November 8, 2011 2:48:15 AM

Many reviews that I've read from Newegg mentioned problems with the fans, and more importantly, the fan controller. The fans are easily replaced, although that's an annoying solution. The controller would be much more of a hassle.

The local Fry's says that they have the Corsair case in stock, so I'll take a trip up there one day soon and play around with one and post here my opinions on it. I can't do too much with it obviously, but it's better than nothing.

The parts I have decided on are linked to in the first post of this thread. The only change would be the RAM, which I'll be swapping to the low-profile version of the Corsair Vengeance. I'll likely stick to the entirely unnecessary 16gb, since it's so cheap and it's one less thing I won't need to bother upgrading until I'm ready to do a complete rehaul.
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November 8, 2011 12:38:48 PM

If you really want to you can go with the CM Storm Trooper, but with your budget I think the extra $40 is not well spent and can go elsewhere. Apart from that you have a nice build. If you want to really feel you have spent your money well, instead of getting a HD 6970, pick up a Gtx 580 instead. I know it is over your intended budget of $1250, but it will mean you wont have to upgrade your graphics card for 3-4 years,and in the end saving you money while getting you better immediate performence. :) 
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November 8, 2011 2:29:18 PM

I'm not in love with the Storm Trooper, it just caught my eye because it's got a larger than normal internal bay, has enough room for more fans until I feel like venturing into liquid cooling, has USB 3.0 hook ups, and isn't entirely hideous. The only big negative about that case is the front fans are attached to the drive bays, so I couldn't have front blowing fans with my drives mounted on the side for easy cable management. I had previously decided on the HAF X, but the Trooper seems to be a newer/better version with all of the same features.

The Corsair 600t looks to be a great case too, also with the same criteria as above. I just read a few negative reviews complaining about the same problem, so I'm going to check it out at the local shop and get a hands on feel for it. It's only a $20 savings from the Storm Trooper though. I like the looks of it much better, but what will make or break it is the quality of the build, air flow, and the amount of space that the internal bay has.

I would love to buy a GTX 580, but it's just not in the budget. All of the extra things that I don't have the room for this time around I'm just going to pick up in March/April when I get my next bonus (like a second Monitor, another 6970, whatever else.) That extra $250 would have to come from somewhere, and there isn't much fat to cut to make that a worthwhile purchase. If I wanted to wait a few months to pick up a GPU then it wouldn't be much of an issue, but I'd have to go get my 6670 put of an older rig to play with until then. I think I have a HD1950xtx somewhere around here too though. :) 
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November 8, 2011 2:29:42 PM

I feel like that case would be fine. Other nice ones to look at are the HAF X, the Storm line, and some of NZXT's offerings.

That's pretty highly priced. ASRock and Gigabyte are both great brands; I don't know where you heard Gigabyte sucks, because they're just as great as ASUS. ASRock is actually a division of ASUS, meant for lower end builds, but as of recently (read: LGA1155) they're pretty damn good. The Z68 Extreme4 is a great competitor.

If you're just gaming (not a workstation), the i5 2500k is the way to go. It's the best gaming processor currently out there. I honestly think you wouldn't even need to upgrade to Ivy Bridge if you grab a 2500k. The 2600k only has Hyperthreading over the i5, which means that each physical core can act as two virtual cores - essentially 8 threads on 4 cores. That's only useful when the program (video editing, CAD work, and the sort) can actually USE that many threads, however. I haven't yet seen a game use more than 4 threads.

The 212+ is great for low-end builds, but at your price point I'd recommend the Noctua DH-14. You don't need thermal paste, either; the coolers come with them.

I think that's justifiable.

That's extremely expensive for 16GB; find it cheaper, or purchase two 2x4GB sets. I've seen 16GB run as low as $55 recently. Don't worry about heatsinks or speeds, as long as it's 1333 or above.

That should be fine.

It's important to note you should have said "storage" instead of "HDD". SSD-wise, I'd grab a nice 128GB Crucial M4 (make sure it's SATA3 [6Gb/s]). HDD-wise, I would hold off for now, like you said. Your 2TBs should be fine.

Go for it.

Not too good with monitors, but you should be fine. Can't recommend any seconds off the top of my head, I'd just check which ones are decently priced and highly rated on Newegg.

No, the integrated audio nowadays is plenty for you. If not, you can just shove your old card in the computer and it'll be fine.

You can control the fans through software. You could certainly get more fans, just make sure they're the right size, well-rated, and cheap.
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November 9, 2011 5:34:26 AM

I feel he should go for the Hyper 212 Evo because in his previous post he stated that he might eventually end up water cooling- the Noctua would be a waste of money.

I chose the Asrock over other boards because of a great feature set and future compatibility with Ivy Bridge, and it is quite high end really.

Definitely the i5 2500k over the i7 for gaming. Much cheaper and you don't need hyper threading.

The 600t is a great case with plenty of features very nice looks. Just make sure you get hold of a usb 3.0 external to internal converter (to plug it in to your mobo).

If you want you can get Corsar's H100 all in one cpu cooler now and not have to wait.
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November 9, 2011 3:32:28 PM

I'm not saying that Gigabtye or ASRock are terrible, just that I have heard they aren't as good as ASUS. I'm not an authority on it, that opinion just stems from reviews I've read online and the return/exchange rates at Frys. The ASUS board I picked out may not be better than other brands' similar models, but it has everything that I want in a motherboard, is in my price range, and is at least the same quality as everything else available. As far as I'm aware, the board I picked out is also Ivy Bridge compatible, should I choose to go that route.


As far as cooling goes, I haven't decided on the route to take. I won't be overclocking to anything remarkable, so while the Noctua DH-14 is a much better cooling option than the 212, it seems like it's overkill for my intentions. Also, as NigelFrost mentioned, if I come to the point where I want to maximize my cooling/oc'ing potential, I'll probably go with water cooling instead of having so many fans installed that my tower begins to levitate. :) 


I didn't realize (until this thread) that I could get the Vengeance 1600 RAM without the SuperUltraCool™ heat sinks, but I don't mind spending $100 on them since that seems about the going rate. Where have you seen 16gb for $55?



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