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New System Ordered; Critiques welcome

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February 16, 2012 3:42:32 PM

After 10 years of being a console gamer with a laptop for occasional "work from home" needs, I've decided to research, purchase and build a solid home computer. The main aspects of the build that I considered were speed, graphics, stability and vendor reputation. I have a flexible budget - but wanted to stay around $2000 (including monitor, mouse, keyboard... everything). It will be used for work needs and gaming. Probably a 50/50 split. I'm planning on having everything run at 1920x1200 native.

I have already purchased all of these parts and am awaiting delivery. That being said, if there is a compelling argument to go another direction - I'm not in a huge hurry and am not adverse to returning a component and getting something better.


Case: ($169.99) Corsair CC600TWM-WHT Special Edition Graphite Series 600T Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case - White

Motherboard: ($154.99) Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

CPU: ($315.00) Intel Core i7-2600K Processor

RAM: ($44.99) Corsair Vengeance Blu 8 GB (2X4 GB) PC3-12800 1600mHz DDR3 240-Pin SDRAM Dual Channel Memory Kit CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9B

Power Supply: ($114.74) Corsair Enthusiast Series 850-Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified Power Supply Compatible with Intel Core i3, i5, i7 and AMD platforms - CMPSU-850TXV2

GPU: ($317.86) GIGABYTE GV-N570OC-13I Rev2.0 GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support

SSD: ($134.99) Corsair Force Series GT CSSD-F120GBGT-BK 2.5" 120GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

HDD: ($232.54) Seagate Barracuda XT 2000 GB 7200RPM 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Bare Drive - ST32000641AS

Optical Drive 1: ($68.79) Samsung Blu-Ray Combo Internal 12XReadable and DVD-Writable Drive with Lightscribe SH-B123L/BSBP

Optical Drive 2: ($23.43) Samsung SH-222BB/BEBE 22X SATA DVDRW Internal Drive (Black), Bulk without Software

Monitor: ($352.96) Dell UltraSharp U2412M 24" LED LCD Monitor - 16:10 - 8 ms

Keyboard: ($46.99) Microsoft SideWinder X4 Keyboard

Mouse: ($39.84) Microsoft SideWinder X5 Mouse

OS: ($183.53) Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium

-- CANCELLED ($99.99) Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit (Full) System Builder DVD 1 Pack


(prices are all after shipping/tax/rebates - from amazon (and partners) and newegg)

Let me know what you think!

More about : system ordered critiques

a c 78 B Homebuilt system
February 16, 2012 3:56:54 PM

It isn't a system that I would suggest to anyone, but you will probably be fine with that.

That being said, I just wanted to say that if this system doesn't come pre-assembled with the OS already installed when you open the box (as in you have to build it and install the OS yourself) then you won't have a legal OS license.

Feel free to google search "Windows license for hobbyists". The first link will explain why System Builder licenses can't be used on computers you build out of parts for your own personal use.

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February 16, 2012 4:00:47 PM

That's exactly the kind of information I'm looking for (RE: License issues);

Can you expand on what you wouldn't recommend and why?
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 16, 2012 4:06:25 PM

Hi! Welcome to the forums.
You've done an amazing job. Your research shows. I do however have a few tweaks.

-Change the CPU to an i5-2500k. It's nearly identical to the 2600k, except it doesn't have HyperThreading. If your work apps can take advantage of HyperThreading, then maybe. Otherwise you'll see the exact same performance.

-I'd grab a mobo with PCI-E 3.0 compatibility. Something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-Change the PSU. If you don't want modular (AKA you're fine with cables sprawling all over the bottom of your case) then get this PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
If you want to get a modular PSU (I would) this one is excellent: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... With that 15% off, it's not much more than the Seasonic. A good deal.

-Since you have the 120GB SSD, you can get a cheaper, 5400 RPM hard drive. One like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-Do you need the extra 120 pixels? Most monitors now adays are 1920x1080. I'd grab a cheaper (but just as high quality) monitor and pocket the change.

-Grab a good mechanical keyboard, something with some Cherry MX switches or Leopold switches. It will do wonder for your typing.

-With all that money saved, switch the graphics to a pair of 6950's: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... About $35 off due to that coupon code, too.

That rounds out my suggestions. I know there's many, but they are sincere.

Cheers!

EDIT: I see now you already ordered it.... Disregard all of my above advice, haha.
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 16, 2012 4:12:36 PM

JohnnyHundo said:
That's exactly the kind of information I'm looking for (RE: License issues);

Can you expand on what you wouldn't recommend and why?

It's because it's a system builder copy. Raidinn feels that since the system builder is designed for hobbyists building PC's for others, it shouldn't be done for personal use. However, this is false. Microsoft wants to sell you a copy that is twice as expensive because it comes with "support". The System builder copy is 100% legit.
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February 16, 2012 4:26:09 PM

striker410 said:
It's because it's a system builder copy. Raidinn feels that since the system builder is designed for hobbyists building PC's for others, it shouldn't be done for personal use. However, this is false. Microsoft wants to sell you a copy that is twice as expensive because it comes with "support". The System builder copy is 100% legit.


From what I've read Raidinn raises a legitimate issue. The system builder version locks itself to the exact configuration of your computer, and if you end up upgrading a part or need to replace a part - the OS won't work... I don't really want to have to reinstall my OS every time I swap out a HD.

So I went ahead and went with the overpriced "legit" version.

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February 16, 2012 4:45:19 PM

striker410 said:
Hi! Welcome to the forums.
You've done an amazing job. Your research shows. I do however have a few tweaks.

-Change the CPU to an i5-2500k. It's nearly identical to the 2600k, except it doesn't have HyperThreading. If your work apps can take advantage of HyperThreading, then maybe. Otherwise you'll see the exact same performance.

-I'd grab a mobo with PCI-E 3.0 compatibility. Something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-Change the PSU. If you don't want modular (AKA you're fine with cables sprawling all over the bottom of your case) then get this PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
If you want to get a modular PSU (I would) this one is excellent: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... With that 15% off, it's not much more than the Seasonic. A good deal.

-Since you have the 120GB SSD, you can get a cheaper, 5400 RPM hard drive. One like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-Do you need the extra 120 pixels? Most monitors now adays are 1920x1080. I'd grab a cheaper (but just as high quality) monitor and pocket the change.

-Grab a good mechanical keyboard, something with some Cherry MX switches or Leopold switches. It will do wonder for your typing.

-With all that money saved, switch the graphics to a pair of 6950's: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... About $35 off due to that coupon code, too.

That rounds out my suggestions. I know there's many, but they are sincere.

Cheers!

EDIT: I see now you already ordered it.... Disregard all of my above advice, haha.



Thanks much for your input! I think I'm going to try out the keyboard for a while - and then will upgrade - that's why I went with relatively cheap keyboard/mouse. As for the monitor being at 1920x1200 - I guess I'm a little old school and like a little more vertical space - just a preference. And I don't think I want dual cards due to the reported "stuttering" issues that the reviews mentioned. And the Gigabyte GTX 570 seems like its "Excellent at 1920 x 1200";

First build - so I'll live and learn - and report any problems!
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February 16, 2012 4:48:17 PM

What would going with a PCIe 3.0 capable mobo buy me as opposed to the current PCIe 2.0 mobo?
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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
February 16, 2012 5:12:26 PM

PCIE 3.0 would better prepare you for the day when a lot of PCIE 3.0 using cards get released. As of right now, there are about 2 PCIE cards in existence that can use PCIE 3.0 in any remotely meaningful way.

Also, I do not "feel" that OEMs are for hobbyists making PCs for others. I feel that people should do the legal thing and it clearly says in the System Builder OEM license agreement that it is not legal for you to use a System Builder OEM installation for your personal use.

If you take a couple minutes and read the thing, you will realize that what I "feel" has nothing to do with it. There is legal and there is not legal. What I suggest is doing things the legal way.

Not like Microsoft wrote into their OEM license agreement "Defer to Raiddinn's judgement about what is OK and what is not." In actuality, they spelled it out really clearly and many people either 1) don't read it, or 2) don't care to do things legally.

Also, I don't suggest people get something 2x as expensive if they can avoid it. I generally direct people to retail upgrade licenses which cost the same as OEM licenses do (but you have to agree to stop using a legal copy of an older OS) or the student full version (but you have to be a student or know one).

As for what I would have done differently, I think you could have easily gotten by with a case at $100 or less. Some popular cases under $100 are anything HAF 9xx under that, PC-K59, Antec 300 Illusion, some NZXT, etc.

Processor - instead 2500k

RAM - CT2KIT51264BA1339

PSU - XFX 850w if you want to go with 2x 570s with only small OCing (I wouldn't) or XFX 650w if you want to only have 1x 570 and leave room for a reasonable OC.

GPU - Nothing to really complain about with this choice. It is solid for its budget.

SSD - Crucial M4 instead

HD - I would have probably went with 1 TB now and when the prices sort themselves out get another 3TB drive for the same total cost as the current 2TB.

DVD Drive 2 - I would have left it off

Monitor - A really good pick, actually. One of the best in class and it can have a sound bar. Sound bars are great.

Keyboard/Mouse - I would have probably paid under $50 total for both together. I always just use generic mice and keyboards for like $15 each.

OS - As above, if you qualify for retail upgrades or student copies, I would get one of those instead.

- Edit - In regards to cable management, I like to suggest people without modular route the caves up into the excess 5.25 slots and leave them hanging in that space instead of on the bottom of the case. Most high end cases can easily accomplish this behind the far case wall or by routing them up along the side of the motherboard and tying them off with zip ties nice and neatly. Little to no airflow goes into that space so they generally obstruct nothing when pooled there.
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February 16, 2012 5:44:36 PM

Raiddinn said:
PCIE 3.0 would better prepare you for the day when a lot of PCIE 3.0 using cards get released. As of right now, there are about 2 PCIE cards in existence that can use PCIE 3.0 in any remotely meaningful way.

Also, I do not "feel" that OEMs are for hobbyists making PCs for others. I feel that people should do the legal thing and it clearly says in the System Builder OEM license agreement that it is not legal for you to use a System Builder OEM installation for your personal use.

If you take a couple minutes and read the thing, you will realize that what I "feel" has nothing to do with it. There is legal and there is not legal. What I suggest is doing things the legal way.

Not like Microsoft wrote into their OEM license agreement "Defer to Raiddinn's judgement about what is OK and what is not." In actuality, they spelled it out really clearly and many people either 1) don't read it, or 2) don't care to do things legally.

Also, I don't suggest people get something 2x as expensive if they can avoid it. I generally direct people to retail upgrade licenses which cost the same as OEM licenses do (but you have to agree to stop using a legal copy of an older OS) or the student full version (but you have to be a student or know one).

As for what I would have done differently, I think you could have easily gotten by with a case at $100 or less. Some popular cases under $100 are anything HAF 9xx under that, PC-K59, Antec 300 Illusion, some NZXT, etc.

Processor - instead 2500k

RAM - CT2KIT51264BA1339

PSU - XFX 850w if you want to go with 2x 570s with only small OCing (I wouldn't) or XFX 650w if you want to only have 1x 570 and leave room for a reasonable OC.

GPU - Nothing to really complain about with this choice. It is solid for its budget.

SSD - Crucial M4 instead

HD - I would have probably went with 1 TB now and when the prices sort themselves out get another 3TB drive for the same total cost as the current 2TB.

DVD Drive 2 - I would have left it off

Monitor - A really good pick, actually. One of the best in class and it can have a sound bar. Sound bars are great.

Keyboard/Mouse - I would have probably paid under $50 total for both together. I always just use generic mice and keyboards for like $15 each.

OS - As above, if you qualify for retail upgrades or student copies, I would get one of those instead.

- Edit - In regards to cable management, I like to suggest people without modular route the caves up into the excess 5.25 slots and leave them hanging in that space instead of on the bottom of the case. Most high end cases can easily accomplish this behind the far case wall or by routing them up along the side of the motherboard and tying them off with zip ties nice and neatly. Little to no airflow goes into that space so they generally obstruct nothing when pooled there.



Appreciate all the info! Sounds like the big item to change would be the CPU to i5 2500k. I liked the case that I bought - as it was video reviewed by Newegg - and seems to have very good cable management built in. And it has a window. :D 

I'm not going to worry about PCIe 3.0 right now - since nothing I'm going to be putting into the system will be using it. If I REALLY need it in the future - I'll be doing an "Upgrading to PCIe 3.0 mobo" thread in the future.

The drives/memory - I'm sure will work as advertised or can be returned - so not all that concerned about those. I also read something that the HDD price inflation from "floods" could last well into 2013... (or HDD manufacturers are figuring out that they make more money when they charge more.)

Anyway - I think I will go with the 2500k modification. And I appreciate all the insight!
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 16, 2012 6:14:15 PM

Raiddinn said:
PCIE 3.0 would better prepare you for the day when a lot of PCIE 3.0 using cards get released. As of right now, there are about 2 PCIE cards in existence that can use PCIE 3.0 in any remotely meaningful way.

Also, I do not "feel" that OEMs are for hobbyists making PCs for others. I feel that people should do the legal thing and it clearly says in the System Builder OEM license agreement that it is not legal for you to use a System Builder OEM installation for your personal use.

If you take a couple minutes and read the thing, you will realize that what I "feel" has nothing to do with it. There is legal and there is not legal. What I suggest is doing things the legal way.

Not like Microsoft wrote into their OEM license agreement "Defer to Raiddinn's judgement about what is OK and what is not." In actuality, they spelled it out really clearly and many people either 1) don't read it, or 2) don't care to do things legally.

Also, I don't suggest people get something 2x as expensive if they can avoid it. I generally direct people to retail upgrade licenses which cost the same as OEM licenses do (but you have to agree to stop using a legal copy of an older OS) or the student full version (but you have to be a student or know one).

Hey man, I'm not trying to bash. Just a difference of opinion.

OP, if you want the flexibility, that's fine. Here's an interesting read on the subject, however. http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/is-it-ok-to-use-oem-wind...
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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
February 16, 2012 6:26:01 PM

I browsed over to moneycentral.msn.com and looked up Seagate's reports they filed with the SEC about how much money they made and I can tell you that they made 3x as much in the 12 months that ended on 7/10 as they did in the 12 months that ended on 7/11.

Those reports show the company making 1 whole billion less out of 1.5 billion in the latter 12 months.

Seagate's highest quarterly profit prior to the most recent quarter was Q3 of their 2010 fiscal year.

Those things considered, I think they would probably rather not have had the floods. They seem to be recovering somewhat as of the most recent quarter, though, with results about equal to their 2 years ago numbers in inflation adjusted terms.

Just sayin.

In addition to a computer background, I also happen to have a business degree and an investment background (and I am even programming an investment game when I can get away from here long enough).
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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
February 16, 2012 6:44:39 PM

striker410 said:
Just a difference of opinion.


It has nothing to do with opinion.

To prove it, call up Microsoft and ask them to clarify their official license policy. Trust me, it lines up exactly with what I am saying.

The only opinion being discussed here is your opinion that it is OK to break the law.

Do you really think that Ed Bott knows more about Windows licensing than Microsoft's legal team does? Seriously?

The only people who say that it is OK to use the OEM System Builder licenses for PCs they build for their own personal use are the ones who will make up any reason to justify doing whatever illegal thing they want to do.

Somebody can come up with whatever stupid reason they want to justify doing things that are clearly illegal, and that doesn't make it any less illegal to do that thing.

There is about zero chance that anyone would win a court case using Ed Bott's article as their legal defense.

In any event, it also isn't legal for us on this board to suggest that other people do illegal things. According to the terms of service on Tomshardware.com nobody is allowed to suggest illegal things to other people or aid them in doing illegal things.

Again, my viewpoint has nothing to do with it. Its not legal for an OEM System Builder license to be used for personal use on computers you build yourself from parts (per the legal text people agree to before installing) and its also not legal for us to tell people to circumvent that either, even if we think they should.

Society loses when people go around breaking the law whenever they feel like it.

Believe it or not, Anarchy (making up your own rules) just doesn't work for any civilizations ever.
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 16, 2012 6:53:21 PM

Raiddinn said:
It has nothing to do with opinion.

I have a feeling Microsoft won't complain about you buying a $100 piece of software, considering the alternative is to obtain it through less than legitimate sources for less hassle.

I understand the EULA. I understand Microsoft wants you to spend even more money. In this case however, it's just screwing the customer over. Just like Apple making IP lawsuits against everyone under the sun, this is simply milking the consumer for money.

I want to help people get the best deals they can. There's alot of personal opinion in what the "best deal" is.
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a c 78 B Homebuilt system
February 16, 2012 7:35:16 PM

It isn't a hassle to get it through the regular channels. I have gotten quite a few OEM CDs preinstalled on DELLs, another one from a DELL laptop, a student version of Windows 7 Professional 64, and a retail upgrade copy of Windows 7 Professional.

None of them were very much of a hassle at all.

Milking people for money... did you ever stop to think that maybe somebody sued MSFT and forced them to change their OEM license distribution? Probably not, I am assuming.

As for getting the best deal, I am all for getting people the best deal they can legally get too.
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February 16, 2012 8:27:41 PM

I have the case, PSU, and SSD and I am happy with them so far. I ordered the optional side panel for the case, it comes with a mesh screen you can mount fans in if needed.

After allot of research and seeing all the complaints about bad 2 TB drives, I went with a Western Digital Cavair Black 1 TB with 64 MB cache and 7200 rpm, it's fast.

I was looking at the GTX 570 cards and had almost decided to go with it, but I couldn't stand it, had to go with the EVGA GTX 580 SC, installed with no problems and is really fast. EVGA came highly recommended on here and some cards have a lifetime warranty.

Having some issues getting my memory to overclock, but other than that it has been a pretty smooth build, and it's been close to 20 years since my last build.

Also, I went with 7 Ultimate and stayed away from the OEM stuff so I would have support.
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February 16, 2012 10:06:19 PM

Sam98 said:
I have the case, PSU, and SSD and I am happy with them so far. I ordered the optional side panel for the case, it comes with a mesh screen you can mount fans in if needed.

After allot of research and seeing all the complaints about bad 2 TB drives, I went with a Western Digital Cavair Black 1 TB with 64 MB cache and 7200 rpm, it's fast.

I was looking at the GTX 570 cards and had almost decided to go with it, but I couldn't stand it, had to go with the EVGA GTX 580 SC, installed with no problems and is really fast. EVGA came highly recommended on here and some cards have a lifetime warranty.

Having some issues getting my memory to overclock, but other than that it has been a pretty smooth build, and it's been close to 20 years since my last build.

Also, I went with 7 Ultimate and stayed away from the OEM stuff so I would have support.



Nice! Good to hear what you went with. You really went nuts on the GPU! I'll definitely update if I get any bad equipment during my build. I don't think I'm going to be doing much in the way of overclocking the CPU or RAM... But who knows - seems like that is what all the cool kids are doing.
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February 16, 2012 10:10:47 PM

JohnnyHundo said:
Nice! Good to hear what you went with. You really went nuts on the GPU! I'll definitely update if I get any bad equipment during my build. I don't think I'm going to be doing much in the way of overclocking the CPU or RAM... But who knows - seems like that is what all the cool kids are doing.


I said I wasn't going to overclock, much, but my CPU is running at 4.3 GHz. :lol:  Now if someone would help me with the ram situation it should be blazing fast. :D 
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February 22, 2012 9:44:10 PM

If you haven't bought your case yet, make sure it is one of the new ones that comes with the mesh side cover. I got mine in and installed it with two fans blowing over the cpu and ram, it cooled down the IOH and ICH temps by 10 degrees C. The boards are designed to be cooled by the fan on the cpu, but when you water cool them, you loose the fan and the temps go up. Just a tip if you upgrade later.
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 22, 2012 11:41:27 PM

Raiddinn said:
It has nothing to do with opinion.

To prove it, call up Microsoft and ask them to clarify their official license policy. Trust me, it lines up exactly with what I am saying.

The only opinion being discussed here is your opinion that it is OK to break the law.

Do you really think that Ed Bott knows more about Windows licensing than Microsoft's legal team does? Seriously?

The only people who say that it is OK to use the OEM System Builder licenses for PCs they build for their own personal use are the ones who will make up any reason to justify doing whatever illegal thing they want to do.


Not really. Just build the PC, sell it to your brother or your wife for $1, have them give it back, and you have a perfectly legal and valid license being used in a completely legal and valid way.

There's a reason why Microsoft is not going to come after individual system builders for using OEM copies of Windows - which is because the policy is completely unenforceable and it's in a legal gray area. It's like in the 1980s when the RIAA tried to argue it was illegal to make a mix tape for your friends because it violated copyrights. When they fought it out in the courts, people looked at it and said there's just no reasonable way you can prevent people from doing this, and there were just a ton of plausible circumstances like this that could never be proved or disproved, so the RIAA failed.

Microsoft is in the exact same position and probably knows better than to push it, so they talk a big game with absolutely no legal weight behind it. If they were at all serious about preventing individual system builders from using the OEM version, they'd require a business license with a tax ID, and that would be the end of it. Instead, a retailer will sell it to you, Newegg will sell it to you, you can get it just about anywhere, above the table and free of consequence. Sounds to me like that passes the smell test for legality. You would never been found guilty by any judge or jury in their right mind, which is what it really comes down to.
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 22, 2012 11:54:38 PM

JohnnyHundo said:
From what I've read Raidinn raises a legitimate issue. The system builder version locks itself to the exact configuration of your computer, and if you end up upgrading a part or need to replace a part - the OS won't work... I don't really want to have to reinstall my OS every time I swap out a HD.

So I went ahead and went with the overpriced "legit" version.


It locks itself to the motherboard. You can change all the other components just fine with no problems, which I have done myself on many an occasion. Otherwise every time a component went bad, nobody would ever be able to fix it, and that includes hard drives, which break down just like everything else. You can reinstall a clean copy of the OS on the same system too, because that comes up pretty frequently in computer repair also.

Even if you change the motherboard, you can still get an OEM copy to work again - you just have to get it activated by phone. Basically, Microsoft just wants to verify that there was a legitimate explanation for it (the correct answer is: I had to replace the motherboard to repair the machine). If you're the same guy calling in over and over, they'll probably start asking questions and eventually figure out you're abusing it somehow, and that's when they'll tell you to please buy a separate copy for each machine. But otherwise, it is a completely legitimate copy of Windows that allows for upgrades, reinstalls and everything you can do with the "retail" copy, with that one exception.
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February 23, 2012 12:38:57 AM

If you plan to overclock your CPU, try one of these two:

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 Continuous Direct Contact 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with latest Intel 1366/1155 and AMD FM1/AM3+ $34.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 $27.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Here is also a pertinent thread for those buying Intel CPUs:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/333313-31-intel-speed...
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February 24, 2012 6:30:46 PM

Best answer selected by JohnnyHundo.
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February 24, 2012 11:59:08 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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