Okay, sorry if this is a bit lengthy. I have been lurking Tom's Hardware for awhile and finally decided to take a plunge and build a new computer from scratch.
A few notes: 1920x1080 is the highest resolution I want and just one monitor. It is gaming first, general use, and maybe a little photoshop or something. I'm in the U.S. and plan to overclock and upgrade in the future.
If you wonderful folks wouldn't mind critiquing what I have (even the peripherals if you want) put together, that would be great. I'm not on a budget or anything, but I don't want to waste any money on stuff that I don't need or can save for something equally functional. I need a full set up so I'll post everything I plan to buy before or right after the 1st of January.
GRAND TOTAL: $3522.79 before rebates, taxes, shipping, etc
Once again, if you feel like I'm wasting money on some part or something you would rather use (explanation), please let me know. I'm all about saving money, but I want top notch performance. Thanks ahead of time for all the help.
It is definitely just a little bit of photo editing. Nothing professional. Can you elaborate a little bit of difference on the i7 2600k and i5 2500k?
I am a novice when it comes to cooling, precisely why I am asking you. I am so scared of BSOD (I am an Asus G73jh owner) and overheating of any kind. Please tell me what will work just as well for my needs. I surely don't want to deal with extra BS.
The only differences between the i5-2500k and the i7-2600k are 100 MHz, HyperThreading, and presumably higher binning for the i7s. The i7-2600k runs at 3.4 GHz stock, whereas the i5 runs at 3.3 GHz; since you'll be OCing at some point, the difference is irrelevant. The only real difference is that the i7 is a 4C/8T processor, whereas the i5-2500k is a 4C/4T processor. The i7 has 4 physical cores (4C), but each core can run two threads of code (8 threads/ 8T). That way, the i7 pretends like it's an 8-core processor (in reality, the HyperThreading doesn't do a perfect job, so the 4 virtual cores you get are ~80% of a real core). The i5 is simply 4 cores that can run 4 threads, and it looks like that's all you'll need
That being said, you won't need the 8 threads the i7 offers unless you're doing something that can really use all 8 threads, like video rendering/editing, CAD modeling, or high-end image editing/audio processing. Games can only use up to 4 cores these days anyway.
As for cooling, don't be too scared of a BSOD these days . You've listed a high-quality motherboard, which has extensive built-in measures to shut down the processor when temperatures get too high; it's fairly simple to reset to stock settings when this happens.
Liquid cooling is really neat, and it can allow you to get closer to the absolute fastest overclocks you can stably run. However, you will have to perform more maintenance on a liquid-cooled computer than an air-cooled one, unless you have a "closed-loop liquid cooler", which you have with the H100. They're completely self-contained, so you don't need to mess too much with it. However, pre-built (not DIY) water cooling can be beaten out by high-end air cooling, so if you decide you don't want to liquid cool, fans like the Noctua NH-D14 represent the highest-end air cooling out there.
Wow, thank you for such a thoughtful and informative post, Purplehayes. I agree with your option to switch to an i5 2500k. I do not foresee myself doing any of that, just gaming and a little bit of basic photo resizing/captioning.
As for the cooling, I am still a little on the edge. I am relieved of the little maintenance of the H100, but if I can get an air cooler that will do the job for minimal overclocking, I am all for that. I will certainly take the Noctua NH-D14 then. Am I missing anything else?
Just to make sure, the 2500k (overclocked or not) will not bottleneck two GTX580 in SLI? Also how much should I OC?
i've heard that an overclock past 4ghz is a waste of time and energy for gaming. once you hit 4gz (or so i've heard) the returns in performance increases are minimal. honestly, it's not worth it trying to hit 4.6 or 4.7 ghz; you can keep that closed-loop water cooler if you want, but i would recommend going with a decent air cooler, like the noctua NH-D14 previously mentioned; my coolermaster hyper 212 EVO has kept my phenom ii x6 at 57 degrees Celsius for max temps, so it should keep yours a bit cooler since intels are better with thermal heat dissipation.
about the GTX 580 SLI, i'm not sure. i think if you run that i5-2500k at stock speeds it could be a bit of a bottleneck, but at 4ghz that baby should be able to feed those GPU's pretty well.
one thing i recommend is changing those GTX 580s in SLI to two 6970s in crossfire. they will use MUCH LESS POWER, cost MUCH LESS, and perform just about the same. the 580 does yield better performance, but anything under 10 fps in a game isn't worth the extra money. that way you would save money on your GPUs and PSU because you won't need a 1200 watt PSU; you could spend it on another SSD if you wanted or something like that. or just keep the money for other stuff.
Very good advice, Paradox. You have convinced me to go with an i5 2500k. So you say 4ghz should be enough to get full use out of the dual GTX580's?
About the AMD CrossX 6970's, I think I will stick to my 580s due to all the positive reviews. If you have a link to an article or two that I may have missed about said GPU, feel free to share.
Really, from what I've heard the GTX580s in SLI does not require a 1200W or even a 1050W. I've heard folks get theirs down to 850W and 950W and work just fine. I just want to have a little head room as I don't know what I will want to upgrade.
@hellfire24: I don't see how that MoBo is that much of an improvement, please elaborate.