$1000 - $1300 Architecture Build

Hey all,

I'm looking to build my first desktop to replace my ailing laptop. I've been going 4.5 years on a 1.66GHz processor with 2GB of RAM and an integrated graphics card. As an architecture student doing 3d modelling, rendering, and other intensive, this laptop is no longer happy with doing the things I ask of it.

Approximate Purchase Date: Late December/Early January

Budget Range: $1000 - $1300

System Usage from Most to Least Important: 3D Modelling (Rhino), Rendering (VRay), Adobe Suite (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign), AutoCAD. Also, I don't play any games.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: None

Overclocking: I've never done it, but I'd like to have the option

SLI or Crossfire: Not at present, perhaps down the road, but I can just as easily do without it.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Will also need Windows OS, a monitor, and a wireless card.

Parts List:

CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz
In terms of rendering, will this will be better than going with one of the 6 core offerings from AMD?

MOBO: ASRock Z68 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
I don't know anything about motherboards, so I could have selected something entirely incompatible

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory
I feel like a lot of RAM is important for the tasks I'll be performing, plus it's not terribly expensive.

PSU: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 650W ATX12V v2.31/ EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC High Performance Power Supply
Again, I know nothing about power supplies, so feel free to enlighten me.

GPU: EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) FPB 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
Maybe this isn't sufficient for programs such as Rhino, but considering I'm presently running an integrated graphics card, I feel like this should be a big enough step up.

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD7500AALX 750GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
I really don't even need more than 500GB. In 4.5 years, I've amassed only around 100GB of data that needs to be kept locally. The rest is on an external.

CASE: Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Again, I know nothing here, but I don't need any fancy lights. Just something simple that will hold my gear and keep it cool.


WIRELESS: TP-LINK TL-WN781ND Wireless Adapter IEEE 802.11b/g/n PCI Express Up to 150Mbps Wireless Data Rates 64/128-Bit WEP, WPA, WPA2

MONITOR: Acer G235HAbd 23'' 5ms 1920x1080 WideScreen LCD monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1

Give me any suggestions to tweak, any places to trim fat, anything that needs to be fixed/improved. Or feel free to re-do the whole thing and give me a system you feel is better suited. I'm open to all suggestions!

Thanks everyone! I'm excited to get building!
6 answers Last reply
More about 1000 1300 architecture build
  1. Only thing your missing is a cooler for your CPU. If you want to overclock check out the Cooler Master Hyper 212. This is a link to the newer version.


    Also, the hard drive you've chosen is not that good. Look at the WD Black drives instead.
  2. looks like a good build there ;)
    Definitely the i7, but dont OC in a workstation. Last thing you want to do is add possible instability, or shortening of life in something that you need to work reliably. Stick with the 2600 non K version like I did. You will still be quite happy with the speed, especially coming from a 1.6GHz toy.

    good mobo

    good ram, though I like Corsair better I understand gSkill has the better price at the moment. 16GB is a great starting point until 8GB sticks drop in price for big projects like you are working on. Then start replacing sticks in pairs.

    It is a good PS, I dobut you will have any complaints. Also look into OCZ as they are making a name for themselves lately.

    Get a 570 or 580. While it will be a big difference from your integrated graphics, it will still be the bottleneck of your machine. Only exception is if the 550ti is a step to get you buy until you can get a Quadro card. You want the fastest single card possible as most programs do not gain anything from SLi (though that may change over time)

    If you do not need the space then get an SSD instead of an HDD. They are similar in price to get one of a useful size, and they will make opening those large programs much faster than a HDD. I couldnt afford an SSD on my recent $800 upgrade, but I have one in my wife's C2Duo and I find that hers will turn on from a cold start, open a browser or outlook, and I am 1/2 done with what I want to do before my computer is even ready for use. Granted I cannot game or do video editing on her little rig, but it just goes to show that it makes a huge and clear difference.

    Case is similar to my thermaltake V3, no frills, but it gets the job done and looks very clean. Just goes to show you arent some silly kid, I think you will love it.

    crap DVD burner, which is exactly what you want as they are all pratically the same inside.

    Consider a Linksys wireless adapter, but that one is probably fine

    Monitors are tricky things. That is a fine starter monitor, but seriously consider something much larger, and 2 of them in the future. I got a 28" monitor a few years back, and while it is hardly color accurate I have to say that it has really releaved a lot of eye strain, and was worth every penny. Now I do video editing for weddings and summer camps where color accuracy isnt a huge issue, but if you do any serious Photoshop/illustrator work, or anything that requires accurate color, then get an IPS screen. Yes, they cost an arm and a leg, but if it pays your bills to be accurate then it is well worth it. My friends are all photo people and all have nice apple Cinema Displays, and there is no comparing my crappy Hanns-G to them (even if mine is a 1/2" bigger!).

    No real changes except for the GPU, just thoughts about the future! Enjoy the freedom of working on a real computer!
  3. oh! and get win7Home 64bit unless you need to be on a domain, or need true compatibility mode support to run older programs in which case you should get win7Pro 64bit.

    The Hyper 212 is something you will want later even if you do not OC as it will help shut the computer up (nothing worse than working to the hum of fans!), but you can buy that later, dont let the cost of that eat into the cost of the rest of your build. Down the road you will also want an aftermarket GPU cooler, and a bunch of high quality low RPM (under 1000RPM) 120mm or larger fans with at least one with an LED so you can know if your computer is on because you wont be able to hear it any longer. But like I said, that is down the road a little ways.
  4. Thanks for the quick feedback guys. I swapped out the 2600k for the regular 2600 as I think your logic about avoiding overclocking makes sense.

    Things I would love to get:
    + Better GPU
    + SSD
    + Second 23" monitor

    Unfortunately, I tried several configuration and each of those items breaks my budget. I'll see if there's somewhere I can trim something out, perhaps on the PSU or bump down the HDD storage?

    Thanks again!
  5. Also, is there a significant reason to maintain the Extreme4 motherboard? Or would I be equally well suited with the Extreme3: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157271
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