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Building a new machine: 1,000 - 2,000 (canadian)

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November 9, 2011 3:25:48 PM

Hi everyone, really appreciate any advice you could give!

Approximate Purchase Date: TBD (0-3 months)

Budget Range: $1,000-$2,000 (Canadian)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, audio quality

Parts Not Required: Mouse, Keyboard, Monitor, Speakers, HDD, Optical drive

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.ca, Tiger Direct

Country of Origin: Canada

Parts Preferences:
Intel Core i5-2500K - Consensus cpu for gaming. Sounds right for my needs.

GeForce GTX 580 - Would it be worth it to go for the 3gb model or stick to the 1.5gb model? I’ve read good things about EVGA, leaning in that direction.

SSD - Heard good things about the Crucial and Intel models. Looking for a 256gb drive. Have a HDD that I will wipe and move over from my current setup.

Overclocking: Not interested unless significant practical results.

SLI or Crossfire: Possibly down the road, not initially. Would like Mobo to have the option.

Monitor Resolution: Most likely 1920x1080.

Additional Comments: As mentioned I'll be using this mostly for gaming and listening to music. I haven't built a machine in 3 or 4 years, so not sure what I should look at for PSU, Case, mobo, cooling, or ram.

Also, I have an older PCI creative sound card that I'm currently using. Does anyone have any suggestions for a good current option?

One area I’ve always skimped on before and regretted it is the case. Any thoughts on one that strikes a good balance between air flow, size, upgrade space, etc?

Thanks again!
a c 92 B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 4:24:22 PM

A 256GB SSD + Geforce 580 is going to be ridiculously expensive - I'd really say just get a 128GB SSD and use your existing HD as a secondary storage device - you're going to be reformatting Windows on your new PC anyways.

Sound cards generally aren't needed. The built-in audio on your motherboard will work just fine. I'm also assuming you have OS correct?

With this setup you'll be able to achieve 4.5GHz on overclocking without breaking a sweat.

And yes EVGA is an excellent company - you will not be disappointed with them, their support is excellent and RMA times are incredibly quick.

Try this:

Case: Corsair Carbide 500R - $109.99
PSU: PC Power & Cooling Silencer MKII 950W - $149.99
Motherboard: EVGA P67 FTW - $269.99
CPU: 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-2600K - $319.99
RAM: 16GB (4 x 4GB) Corsair Vengeance 1600MHz 1.5V - $48.99 each ($109.99 total)
Video card: EVGA Geforce GTX 580 Superclocked Edition 3GB - $589.99
Cooler: Corsair H100 - $99.99
SSD: 128GB Crucial M4 - $199.99

Total: $1867.97
November 9, 2011 4:37:13 PM

Thank you very much for the reply!

Yes, I will be picking up an OS separately so it isn't technically included in this budget :) 

I Know the gpu + 256 ssd will be pricey, but with games pushing 10-20gigs in addition to the ~20 or so used by Windows 7, I'm worried that the 128gig ssd will limit what I can pull down into my Steam folder. Do you think that I am worrying too much about this? My HDD isn't terribly large either, only 500gigs with a 500gig external backup HDD.

I've done a bit of research on the P67s vs the Z68s (but an no expert!). Do you recommend the P67 due to the discreet gpu and the fact that I will be using a sizable SSD?
Related resources
a c 92 B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 4:57:37 PM

Big difference between P67 and Z68 is that Z68 enables built-in video and SSD caching, since you'll be using a large SSD and a really nice GPU you won't need those features anyways (and disabling the built-in video in the BIOS is kind of a pain anyways) . Both P67 and Z68 will allow for upgrading to Ivy Bridge so that won't be much of a problem either.

A 500GB HD will be plenty for a secondary storage option - backup your data, do a clean format of the drive in Windows, move your Steam folder to the secondary and install all your games that way - that's what I do with mine. And with the Carbide you can add and remove additional drives with relative ease - when the prices drop on HDs definitely get a third and/or fourth.

Also for OS - are you planning to go Home Premium or Pro? That will make a difference as well - if you're going Pro I'd recommend the Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD7 as that will allow you to have up to 32GB RAM and it has a couple of other nice features like the ability to charge your USB devices (smart phones, tablets, etc) with the system turned off. Home Premium has a memory address limit of ~16GB - if you need more Pro and Ultimate allow for it.
November 9, 2011 5:27:05 PM

I was planning on going Pro for the ram options down the road (not to mention the other little things). No need for Ultimate as I don't need the extra language support/bitlocker.

With the Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD7, I take it that disabling the on-board video isn't too much of a hassle?

Regarding dropping the Steam folder on the HDD. Won't that defeat of the purpose of using the SSD for load times or am I understanding this incorrectly?

Thanks again!
November 9, 2011 5:30:58 PM

Sorry, another question.

Is there any particular reason you suggest the i7 2600k rather than the i5 2500k?

I've read that the performance gains for gaming aren't significant (though I admit I've never actually seen a comparison in person). Is it just for the slightly higher clock speed and HT?
a c 92 B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 5:36:11 PM

Quote:
With the Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD7, I take it that disabling the on-board video isn't too much of a hassle?


I use the UD3P (which is an excellent board itself) and it was a bit of a pain getting the built-in video to not be used as the primary GPU (I have a Radeon 5800 installed as the primary) but it's not that hard - it's just that the motherboard's BIOS kept defaulting to using the built-in video instead of the secondary GPU.

Quote:
Regarding dropping the Steam folder on the HDD. Won't that defeat of the purpose of using the SSD for load times or am I understanding this incorrectly?


No, not at all. I have Battlefield 3 running on my secondary HD and it doesn't slow down the load times at all. What you want to use the SSD for is to offload your OS onto it, and run just like the bare minimum programs you need (web browsers, office software, burning programs, that type of stuff)while loading all the larger files and everything else onto your second. Any SATA-III based SSD you get is going to be infinitely faster than any mechanical HD on the market you can buy right now, and that's where the advantage comes in. The key to getting an SSD to work properly without getting tons of BSOD errors and that sort of thing is three things - no full formats, just quick formats, never load your drive beyond 80% capacity, and don't run tons of benchmarks and that sort of thing. An SSD can only perform a limited number of read/write cycles in the course of the drives' lifespan and if you try to push the drive to the limits by overloading it, that's where you can cause lots of problems. It's generally safest to load everything onto the secondary.

Quote:
Is there any particular reason you suggest the i7 2600k rather than the i5 2500k?


I5-2500K would probably be better - you really only need the i7 if you use any applications that use multi-core hyper threading, most games don't take advantage of that technology yet.
November 9, 2011 6:21:08 PM

Ahh, that is very good to know.

Going for the smaller SSD will help drop the price down from what I was expecting as well - much appreciated! Thanks for all the suggestions and info!
November 14, 2011 2:52:38 PM

One more question I figured I would toss onto this thread.

I'm pretty solid on everything but the mobo at this point. I've read the user replies on newegg on the Gigabyte, as well as many of the other models (comparable Asrock, Asus, etc).

It seems like every one has a surprisingly high percentage of failure reports. Is this something that can be attributed to the squeaky wheel (those with issues taking the time to post), or is there no real solid mobo available?

Looking for a fairly beefy Z68 board.
a c 92 B Homebuilt system
November 14, 2011 5:11:16 PM

Snerf said:
One more question I figured I would toss onto this thread.

I'm pretty solid on everything but the mobo at this point. I've read the user replies on newegg on the Gigabyte, as well as many of the other models (comparable Asrock, Asus, etc).

It seems like every one has a surprisingly high percentage of failure reports. Is this something that can be attributed to the squeaky wheel (those with issues taking the time to post), or is there no real solid mobo available?

Looking for a fairly beefy Z68 board.


The main reason that a lot of motherboards fail is due to user installation errors. I've had several fail on me as well, for that very reason. There's never going to be such a thing as a perfect motherboard - no matter which board you get someone is going to report problems with it - and it's near impossible for manufacturers to test every available part combination with their boards, but mainly it all goes back to installation errors. I have the same board and I made sure to install everything carefully. As a result my system has been running flawlessly (although I'm heavily considering switching cases to the Corsair Carbide :lol:  ). That motherboard that I recommended is one of the best on the market. Gigabyte has a fairly reputable RMA service in case anything goes wrong.

If you wanted another recommendation go with EVGA and the Z68 SLI - their boards are pretty excellent and underrated, and their tech support is king.
November 14, 2011 5:13:45 PM

Thanks again, super helpful as always!
a c 92 B Homebuilt system
November 14, 2011 8:19:27 PM

I'd also recommend checking out the EVGA FTW series - not only is the Z68 FTW one of the easiest boards in the world for OC'ing, they give you literally tons of tools and everything else you could need to work with.
November 14, 2011 9:19:10 PM

I see you'd like to have SLI/CrossFire down the road.

The Gigabyte Z68 board will give you 2xPCIE-16 slots. That should be enough for most users, but if you don't mind paying ~$220 then you can get a Asus Z68 PRO board with 3xPCIE-16 slots - so that works out to be a ~$25 premium (NCIX Prices). It all depends on if you plan on buying two more GTX 580 later down the road.

Your build looks surprisingly similar to my build, even with the time frame. With a build in 0-3 months I'd be worried about the hard drive prices.
November 15, 2011 6:12:08 PM

Yes, the ASUS Z68 pro board is one of the ones I've looked at pretty closely as well.

Very true on the HDD price mention. It is part of the reason that I am electing to put off buying a 1TB+ HDD for another 6 months or so. In the meantime, I plan on using a 128gb SSD combined with my current 500gb HD.
November 15, 2011 9:24:25 PM

G unit listed a great build try a Cooler master HAF X case or a Corsair 600T the corsair is 160 and the Haf X is 190 but that is practiculy my build but i have 2 1gb 550 ti
a c 92 B Homebuilt system
November 16, 2011 1:58:20 AM

ToKiiNz said:
G unit listed a great build try a Cooler master HAF X case or a Corsair 600T the corsair is 160 and the Haf X is 190 but that is practiculy my build but i have 2 1gb 550 ti


I'm seriously running pretty much the same setup you listed with the Graphite 600T (LOVE this case) but I'm using the 2GB EVGA 550TI model instead of the 1GB in SLI mode - it is sweet.
!