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~$1500 PC - Could you help fill in the gaps?

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February 12, 2012 1:31:28 PM

I'm looking to put together a machine that is a good value and will last me as long as possible. While I list a ~1500 budget, I can easily go more/less than that, but am looking bang for my buck. Future proofing is a big goal, but I don't want to chase it at an unreasonable cost.

Appreciate any input/suggestions on what I'm considering! I know how busy everyone is with their own lives so I've tried to lay out my request and information as coherently as possible :) 

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Approximate Purchase Date: Within 1 month

Budget Range: Around 1500, but have a lot of flexibility

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Visual Studio (or other IDEs), Gaming, Extracting Blu-Ray

Parts Not Required: No external parts or Monitor

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Not tied to any specific site and willing to look across sites. Have been finding Amazon pricing good in the past 24 hours.

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: With the exception of an Intel CPU, I'm pretty open to suggestions.

Overclocking: Yes - nothing crazy here, but will take the low hanging fruit available with the 2500k.

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe - I will pay a small premium for simplicity of a single GPU and potentially expanding in the future.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: While I will only be using a single monitor immediately, will be purchasing a second one when I see the right price.

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What I've got so far

CPU : Intel Core i5-2500K ($224.54) http://www.amazon.com/Intel-BOX80623I52500K-Core-i5-2500K-Processor/dp/B004EBUXHQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1329020708&sr=1-1
CPU Cooling : Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus ($24.39) http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-Sleeve-RR-B10-212P-G1/dp/B002G1YPH0/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1329021626&sr=1-1
PSU : Corsair Enthusiast Series 650-Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified Power Supply - CMPSU-650TXV2 ($79.99) http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Enthusiast-Certified-Compatible-platforms/dp/B004MYFODI/ref=pd_sim_e_6
Memory : Corsair 8 Gig (2 x 4 gig), 1600 Mhz ($44.99) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145345
Case : Cooler Master HAF 922 ($89.99) http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Tower-RC-922M-KKN1-GP-Black/dp/B0026FCI2U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329060076&sr=8-1
Motherboard : ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 (~$130.00) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157271&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=nvlzj39z91vj

Operating System : Windows 7 - Home Premium (99.99)

What else I need
1) Video Card - the elephant in the room. I've been out of the 'home build' game for awhile, but this used to be the best place to plow some money and future proof your machine. Not against spending good chunks of money to do so.

2) Optical drive - Looking for a good (fas) blu-ray drive. Burning is a bonus, but not my primary goal. This is one area I had trouble doing a lot of research.

3) Boot Drive - I have a 1 TB green WD drive to use for mass storage, but would like a fast SSD for booting. It doesn't need a ton of storage as I'm willing to offload my apps to secondary storage.

4) Anything else I'm missing?

Specific questions/concerns I have
1) Looking for motherboards makes my head spin a bit. I pulled the ASRock from a few other posts as a good value, but would want some room for expansion later. Any significant flaws on sizing? I'm not as worried about squeaking out the extra few clock cycles by buying a better OC board.

2) If anyone has suggestions on Blu-Ray software, that will need to be part of my equation at some point.

3) Is the HAF 922 overkill? I also looked at the 912 for a bit. If there's a good package of fans to fill out my case, I'd be open to buying them up front. I hate to leave empty fan bays and negatively impact the air flow/pressure situation.

4) Research on VCs so far have me leaning a bit towards a Radeon solution for power/noise savings, but performance is #1.

More about : 1500 fill gaps

February 12, 2012 2:08:22 PM

LG Black 12X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 12X DVD-RAM 10X BD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA 12X Super Multi Blue with 3D Playback & M-DISC Support WH12LS39 LightScribe Support $88
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel 520 Series Cherryville SSDSC2CW120A3K5 2.5" 120GB SATA III $240
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI R7970-2PMD3GD5/OC Radeon HD 7970 3GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card$600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I would recommend the Cooler Master 212 EVO as it cools very well. The Intel 520 is stable and fast, definitely should get it. Tom's Hardware also had an article on it about a week ago. For the case, it doesn't really matter because it's just the case, the thing you want to know is whether it has good air flow and cooling. The Haf 922 and HAF 912 both has good cooling, you can also add some fans for cooling to be better. The 7970 is the newest thing out there and is mad good. 650w should be able to run it, but if you are ever thinking of CFing, i would recommend around 800w. Other than that, looks good!
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February 12, 2012 2:56:00 PM

Thank you for your input. It does look like everyone is taking back orders on that GPU, but I'll keep an eye on it.
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Related resources
February 12, 2012 5:31:18 PM

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/12/22/amd_radeon_hd...
Shows a system using a 7970 and i7-2600K OC'd to 4.8GHz drawing 369W at the wall under BF3. So an ~800W PSU is only really necessary if thinking about adding another.
Some people say that 7970 Crossfire can be done on a 650W PSU, which I'm not convinced of. However 7950 Crossfire is easily done on a good 650W PSU (with four PCIe connectors, which the TX650 V2 doesn't have). So that might be something to think about if you want to be able crossfire without paying more for an 850W unit (the really good ones start at $150).

Thermalright True Spirit 120 $30 ($13 shipping)
http://www.amazon.com/Thermalright-100700529-True-Spiri...

The HAF 922/912 are wide enough to take the Thermalright True Spirit 140 ($40, $13 shipping) as well:
http://www.amazon.com/ThermalRight-100700536-True-Spiri...

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/11/17/thermalright_...
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/coolers/display/therma...
And the recent review of the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo for comparison:
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/coolers/display/cooler...
So I think either True Spirit is a better choice than the Hyper 212 Evo, despite having a fan which spins faster.
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February 12, 2012 5:41:52 PM

Thanks Silvune - hadn't see the True Spirit before and it clearly warrants a closer look.

Does anyone have any thoughts on different brands of the 7970? With some of them out of stock and a significant price difference, I'm wondering if the premium is in performance or in OC ability? More research for me to do... :) 
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February 12, 2012 6:03:39 PM

newegg is the best place to buy parts they have 2 to 5 year warrantys at least great prices and good deals and u should get the 2550k cuz its only 10 xtra $ and and has an extra 0.10 ghz than the 2500k heres a good build 4 u even though the price is 1600$ or so

cooler master storm trooper case 150$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
asrock z68 extreme3 gen3 mobo 122$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
intel i5 2550k cpu 240$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
cooler master hyper 212 plus evo cpu cooler 30$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
amd radeon hd 7950 gpu 450$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
850w raidmax rx-850ae psu 110$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
western digital caviar black 1.5tb hhd 170$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
lg black 12x bd-rom optical drive 60$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
8gb g.skill ripjaws x series ram 47$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
ntel 520 Cherryville 120GB SATA III SSD 240$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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