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Help/advice with negotiable budget i5 2500k overclocked Gaming PC.

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February 20, 2012 12:46:23 AM

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Hi all,


I’m looking to build my first ever custom PC and would appreciate any advice you can offer.

I’ve used the template from the aptly named “How to Ask for New Build Advice” sticky.

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Approximate Purchase Date: Late May for Everything except GPU/Monitor (already have small monitor) which is to follow 1-2 months later.

Budget Range: No specific number in mind, just whatever is best value for gaming and meets my requirements. I will be spreading out cost over multiple pay checks regardless.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Watching Movies, Internet Surfing.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers, OS.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Preferably UK based but otherwise nonplussed.

Country: UK, I’ve had a few recommended but I don’t mind where I get the parts; Microdirect, Aria PC, Overclockers UK, Pixmania, eBuyer, Dabs, Scan.

Parts Preferences: Core i5 2500K CPU is the only thing that will take a lot of convincing to get me to change my mind..

Overclocking: Yes, as much as is reasonable.

SLI or Crossfire: No, unless you can give me a very good reason.

Monitor Resolution: Minimum of 1920x1080

Additional Comments: This will be my first ever custom build. Cooling very important as I want to overclock but I also want stability. Noise level is also important to me, though secondary to performance. I currently use TVersity to transcode movies as I stream them, and would like to utilise Quick Sync to make transcoding and streaming HD movies possible even when gaming. I would like a SSD system drive/HD storage drive combo for improved loading times for games, tell me if/why I’m being stupid paying extra for that.

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Parts/requirements (open to suggestions).

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Case: Looking for recommendations.

Temperature most important, followed by noise, then looks. I prefer modern and sleek over flashy but I’ll take flashy if the temperature and noise are low.

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Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-V Pro / Gen 3 - Socket 1155 - Chipset Z68 - ATX

There’s so much to choose from, and as I said this is my first time starting from nothing, so it’s hard for me to decipher what’s good value. I’m very open to change on this one though I believe I’ve selected a good board. I need the Z68 chipset so I can take advantage of Quick Sync and would like USB 3.0 and SATA 6gb/s, no plans for SLI/Crossfire though I’m willing to pay a small amount extra for the choice in case I change my mind. If you know of a board that meets these requirements and is good for overclocking please recommend.

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CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.30GHz (Sandybridge) Socket LGA1155 Unlocked Processor - Retail

Intel Core i5-2500K 3.30GHz, desired overclock to 4.5GHz. From what I’ve read this is a no brainer for an overclocked gaming PC.

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CPU Cooler: Looking for recommendations.

As mentioned I would like to overclock my Core i5 2500k to 4.5GHz, and I’d like to do it without hitting 70C if possible. I’d prefer air cooling for simplicity but will take on water cooling if necessary.

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RAM: Corsair 8GB (2x4GB) Vengeance DDR3 1600MHz DIMM 240-pin CL9 LP White

I know you can get similarly priced G-Skill Ripjaw with better timings, but with the low stock voltage of 1.35 I can overclock to the same timings and I benefit from a bigger choice of aftermarket CPU coolers thanks to the low profile. Also, I’m aware that at the moment there is pretty much no difference between 4gb and 8gb of RAM when it comes to gaming, but this build should last me a few years and I can see more games going 64-bit within that timeframe. If that happens and 8gb isn’t enough, it’ll be an easy and cheap upgrade.

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OS Drive: Mushkin Chronos deluxe 120GB 2.5" SATA-III Solid State Hard Drive or Crucial 256GB m4 Slim 7mm SATA 6Gb/s 2.5" Solid State Drive

Is the extra capacity worth the extra cost? Any other drives that perform well at a good price that you would recommend?

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Storage Drive: Looking for recommendations.

Pretty much just for file storage and backups, so reliability is more important than speed. Looking for 2TB+

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Optical Drive: Looking for recommendations.

I certainly want Blue-Ray read and the price difference to add write capability seems reasonable, any suggestions?

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GPU: MSI GeForce GTX 570 OC Twin FrozR III Power Edition 1280MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card

I considered the more powerful but pricier 7950 but I feel that this one is better value and will handle overclocking better thanks to good cooling. I also looked at the 580, but it didn’t look like it was worth the extra money. That said, feel free to explain to me why/if I’m wrong on either regards, or of I’ve completely ignored another viable option. I know that you can getter better FPS by spending the same amount on a SLI/Crossfire setup, but I want to avoid dual GPU’s unless there is a very good reason not to.

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PSU: Looking for recommendations.

Not the kind of thing I want to guess at, would like someone who knows what they are talking to give me some advice.

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Monitor: Asus VE278Q LCD LED 27" HDMI Monitors with Speakers

The above was recommended by a TH sticky but I’m fairly clueless when it comes to the specs of Monitors (beyond resolution and screen size it doesn’t mean a lot to me) so again I’m open to change. I do like the idea of a nice big 27” monitor, though I do have a 46” HDTV so I’m tempted to just use that instead

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I think that’s everything, hopefully I haven’t embarrassed myself and forgotten something important.

Thanks in advance for any offered advice; I’ll take all suggestions on board.

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February 20, 2012 3:02:00 AM

case: cooler master 912
mobo: asus maximus IV extreme
cpu: intel i5 2500k
cpu cooler: cooler master hyper 212 evo
video card: amd radeon hd 7950
ram: g.skill ripjaws x series 8gb 1600 mhz
hhd: western digital caviar black 1.5tb
ssd: corsair froce series 3 120gb
psu: corsair ax750
optical drive: lg black 12x bd-rom
February 20, 2012 3:19:36 AM

Quote:

Case: Looking for recommendations.

Temperature most important, followed by noise, then looks. I prefer modern and sleek over flashy but I’ll take flashy if the temperature and noise are low.


That mainly depends on how much you want to spend - there's good cases at every price level. If you want to spend between $50 - $110 I can definitely make some recommendations there.

Quote:

Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-V Pro / Gen 3 - Socket 1155 - Chipset Z68 - ATX

There’s so much to choose from, and as I said this is my first time starting from nothing, so it’s hard for me to decipher what’s good value. I’m very open to change on this one though I believe I’ve selected a good board. I need the Z68 chipset so I can take advantage of Quick Sync and would like USB 3.0 and SATA 6gb/s, no plans for SLI/Crossfire though I’m willing to pay a small amount extra for the choice in case I change my mind. If you know of a board that meets these requirements and is good for overclocking please recommend.


That's a good choice actually, I can also suggest the one I use and I really like it: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:

CPU Cooler: Looking for recommendations.

As mentioned I would like to overclock my Core i5 2500k to 4.5GHz, and I’d like to do it without hitting 70C if possible. I’d prefer air cooling for simplicity but will take on water cooling if necessary.


Here's a few suggestions for fans. I'd stay away from water cooling if it's your first time. Water cooling has way more room for error, air is always fail-safe.

Try some of these:

- Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- EVGA M020: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- Noctua NH-U9B: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- Thermalright True Spirit: http://www.frozencpu.com/products/9403/cpu-tri-62/Therm...
- Akasa Voodoo Venom: http://www.frozencpu.com/products/14775/cpu-aka-07/Akas...

Quote:

RAM: Corsair 8GB (2x4GB) Vengeance DDR3 1600MHz DIMM 240-pin CL9 LP White

I know you can get similarly priced G-Skill Ripjaw with better timings, but with the low stock voltage of 1.35 I can overclock to the same timings and I benefit from a bigger choice of aftermarket CPU coolers thanks to the low profile. Also, I’m aware that at the moment there is pretty much no difference between 4gb and 8gb of RAM when it comes to gaming, but this build should last me a few years and I can see more games going 64-bit within that timeframe. If that happens and 8gb isn’t enough, it’ll be an easy and cheap upgrade.


Don't mess with 1.35V RAM - Sandy Bridge doesn't work well with anything but 1.5V. Try the Crucial Ballistix instead - I use their RAM all the time and have had 0 issues with it: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:

OS Drive: Mushkin Chronos deluxe 120GB 2.5" SATA-III Solid State Hard Drive or Crucial 256GB m4 Slim 7mm SATA 6Gb/s 2.5" Solid State Drive

Is the extra capacity worth the extra cost? Any other drives that perform well at a good price that you would recommend?


Don't get a 256GB SSD - they're overpriced right now and a similar storage solution with a 64GB drive as your boot and a 1 - 2TB drive will run you about $250. Put that difference into getting the best GPU you can afford.

Try this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - 64GB Crucial M4
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - Samsung Ecogreen F4

Quote:

Optical Drive: Looking for recommendations.

I certainly want Blue-Ray read and the price difference to add write capability seems reasonable, any suggestions?


This is the one I use and it works great: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:

I considered the more powerful but pricier 7950 but I feel that this one is better value and will handle overclocking better thanks to good cooling. I also looked at the 580, but it didn’t look like it was worth the extra money. That said, feel free to explain to me why/if I’m wrong on either regards, or of I’ve completely ignored another viable option. I know that you can getter better FPS by spending the same amount on a SLI/Crossfire setup, but I want to avoid dual GPU’s unless there is a very good reason not to.


I'm personally not a fan of the TwinFROZR but a lot of people seem to like it. This is the GPU I'd recommend if you're going NVIDIA - EVGA is one of the best manufacturers around and they have one of the easiest support and RMA departments I've ever worked with: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:

PSU: Looking for recommendations.

Not the kind of thing I want to guess at, would like someone who knows what they are talking to give me some advice.


You're probably looking at a 700 - 800W PSU for your build. And this is one area where you really do get what you pay for, and on a mid - high end build I would heavily suggest that you don't skimp in this area. Try this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:

Monitor: Asus VE278Q LCD LED 27" HDMI Monitors with Speakers

The above was recommended by a TH sticky but I’m fairly clueless when it comes to the specs of Monitors (beyond resolution and screen size it doesn’t mean a lot to me) so again I’m open to change. I do like the idea of a nice big 27” monitor, though I do have a 46” HDTV so I’m tempted to just use that instead


Asus makes some excellent monitors, that is true, but gaming on a 46" TV is beyond sweet.
Related resources
February 20, 2012 11:08:24 AM

Quote:
case: cooler master 912
mobo: asus maximus IV extreme
cpu: intel i5 2500k
cpu cooler: cooler master hyper 212 evo
video card: amd radeon hd 7950
ram: g.skill ripjaws x series 8gb 1600 mhz
hhd: western digital caviar black 1.5tb
ssd: corsair froce series 3 120gb
psu: corsair ax750
optical drive: lg black 12x bd-rom


Thanks for taking the time to post, you may be right with the changes you've suggested but I'm the kind of person who needs to ask "why?" a lot before I change my mind.

Quote:
Case: Looking for recommendations.

Temperature most important, followed by noise, then looks. I prefer modern and sleek over flashy but I’ll take flashy if the temperature and noise are low.


Quote:
That mainly depends on how much you want to spend - there's good cases at every price level. If you want to spend between $50 - $110 I can definitely make some recommendations there.


That sounds like a reasonable price range, what would you suggest?

Quote:
Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-V Pro / Gen 3 - Socket 1155 - Chipset Z68 - ATX

There’s so much to choose from, and as I said this is my first time starting from nothing, so it’s hard for me to decipher what’s good value. I’m very open to change on this one though I believe I’ve selected a good board. I need the Z68 chipset so I can take advantage of Quick Sync and would like USB 3.0 and SATA 6gb/s, no plans for SLI/Crossfire though I’m willing to pay a small amount extra for the choice in case I change my mind. If you know of a board that meets these requirements and is good for overclocking please recommend.


Quote:
That's a good choice actually, I can also suggest the one I use and I really like it: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813128506


Your suggestion is slightly cheaper and still ticks all the boxes so assuming it's still cheaper when I come to buy I'll probably go with your GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3P.

Quote:
CPU Cooler: Looking for recommendations.

As mentioned I would like to overclock my Core i5 2500k to 4.5GHz, and I’d like to do it without hitting 70C if possible. I’d prefer air cooling for simplicity but will take on water cooling if necessary.


Quote:
Here's a few suggestions for fans. I'd stay away from water cooling if it's your first time. Water cooling has way more room for error, air is always fail-safe.

Try some of these:

- Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835103099
- EVGA M020: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835288001
- Noctua NH-U9B: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835608016
- Thermalright True Spirit: http://www.frozencpu.com/products/ [...] tml?tl=g48
- Akasa Voodoo Venom: http://www.frozencpu.com/products/ [...] tml?tl=g48


I've read a couple of reviews on all of you're suggestions and like the look of the EVGA M020-00-000234 Superclock CPU Cooler - it seems to get the best temps of the bunch, comparable to more expensive (and fiddly) water cooling systems.

Quote:
RAM: Corsair 8GB (2x4GB) Vengeance DDR3 1600MHz DIMM 240-pin CL9 LP White

I know you can get similarly priced G-Skill Ripjaw with better timings, but with the low stock voltage of 1.35 I can overclock to the same timings and I benefit from a bigger choice of aftermarket CPU coolers thanks to the low profile. Also, I’m aware that at the moment there is pretty much no difference between 4gb and 8gb of RAM when it comes to gaming, but this build should last me a few years and I can see more games going 64-bit within that timeframe. If that happens and 8gb isn’t enough, it’ll be an easy and cheap upgrade.


Quote:
Don't mess with 1.35V RAM - Sandy Bridge doesn't work well with anything but 1.5V. Try the Crucial Ballistix instead - I use their RAM all the time and have had 0 issues with it: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820148544


Your suggestion is exactly the same spec as the 1.5v version of the Corsair Vengeance but 25% cheaper and is also low profile, unlike the G-Skill Ripjaw. Sold!

Quote:
OS Drive: Mushkin Chronos deluxe 120GB 2.5" SATA-III Solid State Hard Drive or Crucial 256GB m4 Slim 7mm SATA 6Gb/s 2.5" Solid State Drive

Is the extra capacity worth the extra cost? Any other drives that perform well at a good price that you would recommend?


Quote:
Don't get a 256GB SSD - they're overpriced right now and a similar storage solution with a 64GB drive as your boot and a 1 - 2TB drive will run you about $250. Put that difference into getting the best GPU you can afford.

Try this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820148441 - 64GB Crucial M4
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822152245 - Samsung Ecogreen F4


I concede that, for the money, the 256gb drive is probably not a clever choice, but I do want at least 120gb as my system drive. I don't think 64gb will be enough for the amount that I install, even though I will be moving my "Personal" folder to the second drive.

I selected the Mushkin Chronos deluxe 120GB because it was recommended by the Best SSDs For The Money: January 2012 guide as being the premium performance option in it's price range. I'm willing to pay the extra for the bigger SSD and won't sacrifice GPU power for it - I'll just wait one more paycheck before getting the GPU.

Quote:
Optical Drive: Looking for recommendations.

I certainly want Blue-Ray read and the price difference to add write capability seems reasonable, any suggestions?


Quote:
This is the one I use and it works great: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6827136241


I can't seem to find your suggestion at any of the UK retailers I mentioned, but I'm not concerned - I'll just get something similar.

Quote:
GPU: MSI GeForce GTX 570 OC Twin FrozR III Power Edition 1280MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card

I considered the more powerful but pricier 7950 but I feel that this one is better value and will handle overclocking better thanks to good cooling. I also looked at the 580, but it didn’t look like it was worth the extra money. That said, feel free to explain to me why/if I’m wrong on either regards, or of I’ve completely ignored another viable option. I know that you can getter better FPS by spending the same amount on a SLI/Crossfire setup, but I want to avoid dual GPU’s unless there is a very good reason not to.


Quote:
I'm personally not a fan of the TwinFROZR but a lot of people seem to like it. This is the GPU I'd recommend if you're going NVIDIA - EVGA is one of the best manufacturers around and they have one of the easiest support and RMA departments I've ever worked with: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814130620


Do you mind me asking what aspect of the Twin FrozR puts you off? The only reason I chose it over the EVGA was because of the twin fans - I thought that would give it the best cooling and therefore make it more overclock happy. Would I get better performance for same temps from the card you suggested?

Quote:
PSU: Looking for recommendations.

Not the kind of thing I want to guess at, would like someone who knows what they are talking to give me some advice.


Quote:
You're probably looking at a 700 - 800W PSU for your build. And this is one area where you really do get what you pay for, and on a mid - high end build I would heavily suggest that you don't skimp in this area. Try this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817151087


I couldn't agree more, I don't want to gimp the entire computer for the sake of saving a few pounds on a cheaper PSU. I'll follow your recommendation.

Quote:
Monitor: Asus VE278Q LCD LED 27" HDMI Monitors with Speakers

The above was recommended by a TH sticky but I’m fairly clueless when it comes to the specs of Monitors (beyond resolution and screen size it doesn’t mean a lot to me) so again I’m open to change. I do like the idea of a nice big 27” monitor, though I do have a 46” HDTV so I’m tempted to just use that instead


Quote:
Asus makes some excellent monitors, that is true, but gaming on a 46" TV is beyond sweet.


I'll probably stick with the 46" TV until the PC is built and replace with a monitor as my last purchase, to free the TV for other uses.

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Thanks for your suggestions, I now have pretty much everything nailed down but the case and a bit of uncertainty over the GPU.
February 20, 2012 3:54:27 PM

Quote:
That sounds like a reasonable price range, what would you suggest?


Here's a few of my favorites:

- Fractal Design Arc MIDI: http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/Other+products/Frac...
- NZXT Phantom: http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Cases/Full+To...
- Corsair Carbide 400R: http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Cases/MIDI+To...
- Cooler Master HAF 912: http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Cases/MIDI+To...

Quote:
Do you mind me asking what aspect of the Twin FrozR puts you off? The only reason I chose it over the EVGA was because of the twin fans - I thought that would give it the best cooling and therefore make it more overclock happy. Would I get better performance for same temps from the card you suggested?


I've actually read that having two fans on a video card can obstruct your system's air flow and circulate more hot air through the system than having a single-fan configuration would. I don't know how accurate my source was but I've read that on more places besides Tom's.

Quote:

I've read a couple of reviews on all of you're suggestions and like the look of the EVGA M020-00-000234 Superclock CPU Cooler - it seems to get the best temps of the bunch, comparable to more expensive (and fiddly) water cooling systems.


I wouldn't touch water cooling - I know a closed block liquid loop like an H80 or H100 is safer but there's still things that can go wrong with it, and if it does - there goes your warranties. Air is still the best way to go.

The EVGA is an excellent choice for fan, I use the same one in my gaming system and it performs really well - about equivalent to what a closed block loop would. It cooled my system from 44'C idle to 33'C idle and 41'C on full use. The only downside is the stock fan included is a bit noisy - I'm planning on swapping it out with a Noctua 120mm fan when I get the chance.

Although I didn't see the EVGA fan listed on Aria - maybe try the Cooler Master or Thermalright fans I linked to, something like one of these:
- Thermalright Archon: http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Cooling/CPU+C...
- Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo: http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/Other+products/Cool...

Quote:

I concede that, for the money, the 256gb drive is probably not a clever choice, but I do want at least 120gb as my system drive. I don't think 64gb will be enough for the amount that I install, even though I will be moving my "Personal" folder to the second drive.

I selected the Mushkin Chronos deluxe 120GB because it was recommended by the Best SSDs For The Money: January 2012 guide as being the premium performance option in it's price range. I'm willing to pay the extra for the bigger SSD and won't sacrifice GPU power for it - I'll just wait one more paycheck before getting the GPU.


I've heard the Mushkin Chronos is a good choice. I'd generally go with a 120GB and then a 2TB secondary storage option. What I do is I use my SSD for boot / programs only and then I store games, music, everything else on the secondary drive. I always like to have OS separate from data - it's my main signature in my builds.

Quote:

I can't seem to find your suggestion at any of the UK retailers I mentioned, but I'm not concerned - I'll just get something similar.


It's essentially the LG Bulk BD-R Burner. Maybe try the Pioneer BD-R S06: http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Blu-Ray+%2F+D...

Quote:
I couldn't agree more, I don't want to gimp the entire computer for the sake of saving a few pounds on a cheaper PSU. I'll follow your recommendation.


Yeah there's people on this board who will cut corners on things like PSU, motherboard, and case to get say a video card that the system can't handle. I do not play that game. I've been building / tweaking systems since I was fifteen and I've used a lot of good parts, and a lot of really horrible parts, and I now know that if a deal sounds too good to be true, in 90% of cases it usually is. Me, personally on a nice budget I like to balance it out across all the components to get a far more balanced build for the money. I didn't see Seasonic listed on that site but they are one of the best vendors for PSUs on the market and actually companies like XFX and Antec use them for their OEM. Try this: http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Power+Supplie...

Quote:
Thanks for your suggestions, I now have pretty much everything nailed down but the case and a bit of uncertainty over the GPU.


No problem, I'd also suggest checking out this as your GPU: http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Graphics+Card...
February 20, 2012 4:15:29 PM

Ok for now i can't tell you what part or model of such, but i just got a few words for you, IVY bridge and Kepler. by May the newest NVIDIA Kepler cards are gonna be out, perefect for your time of build. I don't know the exact date for Ivy but i heard its somewhere around the time as well. If you want you could just get a kepler card and keep the idea of the I5.
February 20, 2012 4:49:00 PM

I completely agree with what g-unit said. He gave me my advice on my rig and i couldnt be happier with the outcome. He seems to know what hes talking about and i couldnt thank him enough for helping me out.

I did alot of research on graphics cards and went with the one fan design. I read alot about the twin frozen design and it seems like theres a completely mixed review on if it actually cools down the card more or just interferes with the air flow. Alot of people ive read say it actually can push some of the hot air back into the case and not out the back likes it supposed too. If you look at alot of the higher prices cards like the gtx 580/590 and the new raidens they seems to be going with the one fan wind tunnel design. I also recommend evga cards they have great warrenty's and are very well made.

That being said the 570 you choose is a great card. I had a SC one for about 2 weeks and it will rip though 90% of games on the market today. I ended up trading in a few console games at my local microcenter and got a decent amount of cash and decided to use it towards the gtx 580. Alot of people will say there is not enough of a difference to make to the price jump for the 580 from the 570 but after doing it i disagree. Im just going to give you a quick thought on what i thought of both cards. Yes the 570 is a the best bang for your buck if you want a great card that will play almost all games on max settings its almost overkill on most of them. But if your willing to pay the extra 100 bucks i would highly recommend the 580 if your going to be playing really GPU intensive games like BF3, Crysis and Metro. I honestly saw a 15-20fps jump on some games. BF3 with the 570 i saw an average of 40-45fps with everything maxed out. I have my games locked to 60fps, since im using my Sony Bravia as a display. The high being 60 and low being 30's depending on how much action is going on in the game. With the 580 it is almost 80% of the time locked to 60fps now. With the average of 55-60 and low being 45. Crysis 2 im getting 55fps average on max with dx11 and all the extra packs. Metro im getting about 40-45 with everything on max. Before with the 570 in crysis i was getting 40avg, and metro 30avg. All in all ive seen about a 15-20fps jump with bf3 being the most impressive. Bf3 set everything on high with the 570 automatically, and everything on ultra with the 580. Temp wise 570 SC, idled at 30c and peaked at 65. 580 idles at 30-35 with peak being 70. Noise wise there both the same. Just something to think about from my personal experience with both cards.

Also for a first build i wouldnt recommend water cooling either, i thought about it but read a few horror story's. Dont get me wrong i might do it one day but dont have the experience to do it just yet. When a fan breaks you can spend $10 and buy a new one, when a water pipe breaks you could be out a whole rig. Plus with a good case you wont have to worry about temps to much. As soon as my graphics card hits 70 degrees and the fan goes to 70% im right back down into the 60's.

With you SSD i would say a high GB isnt worth the price. I bought a crucial m4 64gb and use it for my OS and can still fit 2 or 3 games. You really only notice the speed times with games that have alot of loading screens. Skyrim being one of them. All my other games i have on my HDD because you see one loading screen then thats it. If i could do it again i would buy a 120gb one though, wouldnt go any higher.

Also when i built my rig alot of people recommended a corsair psu. I went and bought one and couldnt be happier. Ive seen alot of people having problems with there rigs on sites and 80% of the time it has to do with a cheap PSU. Worth the money to cut your chances down to not deal with that.

With a case its completely up to you if you want to go flashy or basic. Aslong as its got good airflow and wire management. I went with the Antec 1100 and couldnt be happier. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Its got everything i need. You need to buy a few fans because the case only includes 2 but i prefer it that way because it gave me the chance to buy quiet fans and it was nice knowing i choose every peice of my rig and put together the one that made me happy and thats what its all about.
February 20, 2012 5:12:09 PM

Quote:
I completely agree with what g-unit said. He gave me my advice on my rig and i couldnt be happier with the outcome. He seems to know what hes talking about and i couldnt thank him enough for helping me out.


Hey if I can stop people from spending money on useless components and things like that, totally worth it. :lol: 

My friends tell me I should open my own shop but I did the math one time and I found I'd need to sell about 1200 systems a month in order to remain competitive and turn a profit. :ouch: 

Quote:
Also for a first build i wouldnt recommend water cooling either, i thought about it but read a few horror story's. Dont get me wrong i might do it one day but dont have the experience to do it just yet. When a fan breaks you can spend $10 and buy a new one, when a water pipe breaks you could be out a whole rig. Plus with a good case you wont have to worry about temps to much. As soon as my graphics card hits 70 degrees and the fan goes to 70% im right back down into the 60's.


Exactly. Not to mention many warranties will be voided if the manufacturers find out you've been using liquid cooling - a lot of them don't cover something catastrophic happening when a water pipe breaks. And if it does - you're on your own for getting a replacement. There's a couple of manufacturers that encourage it don't get me wrong - EVGA builds liquid cooled video cards - but even then it's too much risk for not a lot of payoff.

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With you SSD i would say a high GB isnt worth the price. I bought a crucial m4 64gb and use it for my OS and can still fit 2 or 3 games. You really only notice the speed times with games that have alot of loading screens. Skyrim being one of them. All my other games i have on my HDD because you see one loading screen then thats it. If i could do it again i would buy a 120gb one though, wouldnt go any higher.


I agree there. On my rig I have a 120GB SSD as my primary, I have a dedicated drive for media as my computer is used mainly for managing and cataloging my rather sizable media collection. I also have a dedicated 320GB HD that I salvaged from an old build that I run my Steam drive off of - all my games are on it, and I don't really notice any difference in load times from when I play Skyrim, over say BF3.

February 20, 2012 6:43:40 PM

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Here's a few of my favorites:

- Fractal Design Arc MIDI: http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecial [...] ctId=45664
- NZXT Phantom: http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Com [...] ctId=46445
- Corsair Carbide 400R: http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Com [...] ctId=45485
- Cooler Master HAF 912: http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Com [...] ctId=42044


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With a case its completely up to you if you want to go flashy or basic. Aslong as its got good airflow and wire management. I went with the Antec 1100 and couldnt be happier. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] tec%201100 Its got everything i need. You need to buy a few fans because the case only includes 2 but i prefer it that way because it gave me the chance to buy quiet fans and it was nice knowing i choose every peice of my rig and put together the one that made me happy and thats what its all about.


The Antec 1100 looks like a great case and has great comments about it's cooling, but it's a bit too big for me. Fractal Design Arc MIDI is exactly what I'm looking for; great out of the box cooling, modern and simple design, and as a bonus has capacity to install more fans if wanted. Nice tip, thanks.

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I've actually read that having two fans on a video card can obstruct your system's air flow and circulate more hot air through the system than having a single-fan configuration would. I don't know how accurate my source was but I've read that on more places besides Tom's.


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No problem, I'd also suggest checking out this as your GPU: http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Com [...] ctId=48169


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by May the newest NVIDIA Kepler cards are gonna be out, perefect for your time of build. I don't know the exact date for Ivy but i heard its somewhere around the time as well. If you want you could just get a kepler card and keep the idea of the I5.


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I did alot of research on graphics cards and went with the one fan design. I read alot about the twin frozen design and it seems like theres a completely mixed review on if it actually cools down the card more or just interferes with the air flow. Alot of people ive read say it actually can push some of the hot air back into the case and not out the back likes it supposed too. If you look at alot of the higher prices cards like the gtx 580/590 and the new raidens they seems to be going with the one fan wind tunnel design. I also recommend evga cards they have great warrenty's and are very well made.

That being said the 570 you choose is a great card. I had a SC one for about 2 weeks and it will rip though 90% of games on the market today. I ended up trading in a few console games at my local microcenter and got a decent amount of cash and decided to use it towards the gtx 580. Alot of people will say there is not enough of a difference to make to the price jump for the 580 from the 570 but after doing it i disagree. Im just going to give you a quick thought on what i thought of both cards. Yes the 570 is a the best bang for your buck if you want a great card that will play almost all games on max settings its almost overkill on most of them. But if your willing to pay the extra 100 bucks i would highly recommend the 580 if your going to be playing really GPU intensive games like BF3, Crysis and Metro. I honestly saw a 15-20fps jump on some games. BF3 with the 570 i saw an average of 40-45fps with everything maxed out. I have my games locked to 60fps, since im using my Sony Bravia as a display. The high being 60 and low being 30's depending on how much action is going on in the game. With the 580 it is almost 80% of the time locked to 60fps now. With the average of 55-60 and low being 45. Crysis 2 im getting 55fps average on max with dx11 and all the extra packs. Metro im getting about 40-45 with everything on max. Before with the 570 in crysis i was getting 40avg, and metro 30avg. All in all ive seen about a 15-20fps jump with bf3 being the most impressive. Bf3 set everything on high with the 570 automatically, and everything on ultra with the 580. Temp wise 570 SC, idled at 30c and peaked at 65. 580 idles at 30-35 with peak being 70. Noise wise there both the same. Just something to think about from my personal experience with both cards.


Looks like waiting for a Kepler card may be a good idea then, do you think it likely that Kepler cards will take advantage of the extra bandwidth provided by PCI-e 3.0, meaning a motherboard change, or should I stick with 2.0?

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I wouldn't touch water cooling - I know a closed block liquid loop like an H80 or H100 is safer but there's still things that can go wrong with it, and if it does - there goes your warranties. Air is still the best way to go.

The EVGA is an excellent choice for fan, I use the same one in my gaming system and it performs really well - about equivalent to what a closed block loop would. It cooled my system from 44'C idle to 33'C idle and 41'C on full use. The only downside is the stock fan included is a bit noisy - I'm planning on swapping it out with a Noctua 120mm fan when I get the chance.

Although I didn't see the EVGA fan listed on Aria - maybe try the Cooler Master or Thermalright fans I linked to, something like one of these:
- Thermalright Archon: http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Com [...] ctId=47870
- Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo: http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecial [...] ctId=47248


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Also for a first build i wouldnt recommend water cooling either, i thought about it but read a few horror story's. Dont get me wrong i might do it one day but dont have the experience to do it just yet. When a fan breaks you can spend $10 and buy a new one, when a water pipe breaks you could be out a whole rig. Plus with a good case you wont have to worry about temps to much. As soon as my graphics card hits 70 degrees and the fan goes to 70% im right back down into the 60's.


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Exactly. Not to mention many warranties will be voided if the manufacturers find out you've been using liquid cooling - a lot of them don't cover something catastrophic happening when a water pipe breaks. And if it does - you're on your own for getting a replacement. There's a couple of manufacturers that encourage it don't get me wrong - EVGA builds liquid cooled video cards - but even then it's too much risk for not a lot of payoff.


Pretty unanimous here - EVGA air cooler it is.

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I've heard the Mushkin Chronos is a good choice. I'd generally go with a 120GB and then a 2TB secondary storage option. What I do is I use my SSD for boot / programs only and then I store games, music, everything else on the secondary drive. I always like to have OS separate from data - it's my main signature in my builds.


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With you SSD i would say a high GB isnt worth the price. I bought a crucial m4 64gb and use it for my OS and can still fit 2 or 3 games. You really only notice the speed times with games that have alot of loading screens. Skyrim being one of them. All my other games i have on my HDD because you see one loading screen then thats it. If i could do it again i would buy a 120gb one though, wouldnt go any higher.


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agree there. On my rig I have a 120GB SSD as my primary, I have a dedicated drive for media as my computer is used mainly for managing and cataloging my rather sizable media collection. I also have a dedicated 320GB HD that I salvaged from an old build that I run my Steam drive off of - all my games are on it, and I don't really notice any difference in load times from when I play Skyrim, over say BF3.


You all seem satisfied that 120GB SSD/2TB HD is a good combination, I'll go with that.

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It's essentially the LG Bulk BD-R Burner. Maybe try the Pioneer BD-R S06: http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Com [...] ctId=47451


Thanks, a couple of the suppliers I checked stock that, one more thing I can check off the list.

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Yeah there's people on this board who will cut corners on things like PSU, motherboard, and case to get say a video card that the system can't handle. I do not play that game. I've been building / tweaking systems since I was fifteen and I've used a lot of good parts, and a lot of really horrible parts, and I now know that if a deal sounds too good to be true, in 90% of cases it usually is. Me, personally on a nice budget I like to balance it out across all the components to get a far more balanced build for the money. I didn't see Seasonic listed on that site but they are one of the best vendors for PSUs on the market and actually companies like XFX and Antec use them for their OEM. Try this: http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Com [...] ctId=43907


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Also when i built my rig alot of people recommended a corsair psu. I went and bought one and couldnt be happier. Ive seen alot of people having problems with there rigs on sites and 80% of the time it has to do with a cheap PSU. Worth the money to cut your chances down to not deal with that.


I'm happy with the Seasonic PSU, I've read a couple of glowing reviews.

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I completely agree with what g-unit said. He gave me my advice on my rig and i couldnt be happier with the outcome. He seems to know what hes talking about and i couldnt thank him enough for helping me out.


I'm sure your experience will be shared by me!

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One step closer to nailing this build down! Just need to decide whether an upgrade to a PCI-e 3.0 motherboard is worth it and then wait for the Kevler GPU's to start rolling out. I'll stick with the core i5 for now, If I'm not mistaken it'll take a lot more graphical power before I need to start worrying about an overclocked core i5 2500k being the bottleneck. By chance, it seems I've timed this build just right. Thanks once again for all of your continued advice.
February 20, 2012 7:20:28 PM

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The Antec 1100 looks like a great case and has great comments about it's cooling, but it's a bit too big for me. Fractal Design Arc MIDI is exactly what I'm looking for; great out of the box cooling, modern and simple design, and as a bonus has capacity to install more fans if wanted. Nice tip, thanks.


I badly want to swap my HAF 912 with an Arc MIDI but the last thing I need is more empty cases lying around. :lol: 

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One step closer to nailing this build down! Just need to decide whether an upgrade to a PCI-e 3.0 motherboard is worth it and then wait for the Kevler GPU's to start rolling out. I'll stick with the core i5 for now, If I'm not mistaken it'll take a lot more graphical power before I need to start worrying about an overclocked core i5 2500k being the bottleneck. By chance, it seems I've timed this build just right. Thanks once again for all of your continued advice.


I'm taking a wait and see attitude on Keppler just like I have on Ivy. The new Radeons are very solid and capable cards and they've been proven to be so.

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One step closer to nailing this build down! Just need to decide whether an upgrade to a PCI-e 3.0 motherboard is worth it and then wait for the Kevler GPU's to start rolling out. I'll stick with the core i5 for now, If I'm not mistaken it'll take a lot more graphical power before I need to start worrying about an overclocked core i5 2500k being the bottleneck. By chance, it seems I've timed this build just right. Thanks once again for all of your continued advice.


No problem.

You're definitely wise to stick with i5-2500K. The thing with Moore's law is that something better is always going to come along that will be better than what's out now. You pretty much just have to buy when you buy and go from there. What's out now is good. With the FX series, AMD proved that what's down the road is always questionable.
February 20, 2012 7:45:06 PM

My advice is: pick the components you think look good, and google reviews on them. If several high profile tech sites give a good score you'll know you're ok. If not, many reviews will recommend better alternatives. That's how I build my pc's.

You should always check tomshardware.com for the 'Best graphics card for the money of the month', 'Best gaming cpu for the money of the month', 'Best SSD's for the money of the month', etc... That's better than any advice on here.

I've ordered a new system myself a few days ago after doing like a month of research. You can do with it whatever you like:

Case: Antec P280
Reason: good reviews; best silent case for the money while still allowing a high-end configuration in my opinion

Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-V Pro / Gen 3 - Socket 1155
Reason: I've always had ASUS; this board got good reviews; there are many other good boards out there tho

CPU: Core i7 2600k
Reason: a bit better in threaded applications than the more game oriented 2500k (I do 3D design in 3ds max from time to time)

SSD: Corsair Performance Pro 256GB
Reason: very good reviews; currently more reliable controller than Sandforce; higher quality flash memory than the popular OCZ Vertex 3; 256 GB because games are getting big these days, 128 GB will force you to make installation choices over time

RAM: Corsair XMS3 4 x 4 GB 1600Mhz DDR3
Reason: I've always had Corsair but generally all brands are just fine; low profile heatspreader; 16 GB is definitely overkill at this moment but it's cheap

GFX: XFX HD 7950 Dual Dissipation
Reason: second fastest card at the moment; non-reference cooler is very silent; definitely overkill at this moment but future proof; Sapphire OC version even has a better cooler, but it was hard to get where I live

PSU: Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 800w
Reason: very good reviews; silent; Seasonic ones are great as well; have read some negatives on some Corsair ones; be sure you read a review on the exact type you want: a good review on a 700w PSU doesn't guarantee the 800w of the same brand is as good

CPU Cooler: Corsair H100 water cooler
Reason: generally good reviews; no 1.3 kg high-end air cooling for me anymore; doesn't suck dust and therefore prevents a decrease in cooling capacity over time; still, air cooling will do just fine (the high-end Noctua got the tomshardware recommended stamp a few days ago, check the article).

Closing note: may is still far away. By then there are probably better choices.
February 20, 2012 7:53:06 PM

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My advice is: pick the components you think look good, and google reviews on them. If several high profile tech sites give a good score you'll know you're ok. If not, many reviews will recommend better alternatives. That's how I build my pc's.


IMO that's not the way you do a build. You want to get the best components you can for your money. Research everything heavily before you buy it - whether it's a $50 fan or a $500 video card, you want to make sure you're getting the best for your money - nothing is worse than buying the same product twice because you got a bad one, believe me - I bought some crap PSUs in the past and that's one thing I'll never overlook again. You also want to make sure that the manufacturers you buy from stand behind the products they sell - RMA's are the biggest pain in the world and you get a manufacturer with rude or no technical support, don't say I didn't warn you ahead of time.

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CPU Cooler: Corsair H100
Reason: generally good reviews; no 1.3 kg high-end air cooling for me anymore; doesn't suck dust and therefore prevents a decrease in cooling capacity over time; still, air cooling will do just fine (the high-end Noctua got the tomshardware recommended stamp a few days ago, check the article).


I stick with air cooling, less risk of something getting severely damaged. The H100 is an OK choice but really you're better off sticking with air.

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SSD: Corsair Performance Pro 256GB
Reason: good reviews, currently more reliable controller than Sandforce, higher quality flash memory than the popular OCZ Vertex 3; 256 GB because games are getting big these days, 128 GB will force you to make installation choices over time


Yeah but the 256GB SSDs are so expensive right now - you're looking at a $300 - $400 drive. That's why I generally recommend a secondary storage solution with them.
February 20, 2012 8:09:39 PM

I generally agree with what you said g-unit1111.

I do compare a lot of components, I just start off with one, see what the reviews say and continue from there. I probably wasn't clear on that.

I got tired of air coolers and how they attract dust. I wanted to try something else. Works very well for me, but then again it may be a bigger risk. Still, bad things can happen when you're attaching that 1.3 kg air cooler as well :) 

256 GB SSD is expensive indeed. For the price, 128 GB sure is the better option for many people at this point.
February 20, 2012 8:47:16 PM

Tyedi said:
The Antec 1100 looks like a great case and has great comments about it's cooling, but it's a bit too big for me. Fractal Design Arc MIDI is exactly what I'm looking for; great out of the box cooling, modern and simple design, and as a bonus has capacity to install more fans if wanted. Nice tip, thanks.


just to shed some light on that case.
Fractal design: 20.28" x 9.06" x 18.11"
antec 1100: 21.5" x 9.3" x 20.7"

Along with everything the Fractal gives you. With the Antec you also get 3 more drive bays, one more 5.25, and 2 SSD slots that the fractal doesnt give you.
Access to the back of your CPU for if anything happens to your cooler you dont have to take everything part.
1 more expansion port in the back.
Fits graphic cards up to 13 inchs long. (graphic cards are only getting longer, gtx 580 is 10.5, new raidens are 11.5) so you get the room for wires. Extra room lets you put a larger XL mobo's in there too, incase you want to upgrade in the future.
+1 more usb in the front.
+1 fan more on side panel to blow air straight on graphics card.
+ window to see your build in action

Not bad for 20 bucks more. Pretty much gives you the benefits of a full tower case in a mid tower size. Not saying you should get the antec im just saying its worth looking at the specs of every case and comparing them.
February 21, 2012 2:20:19 PM

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You're definitely wise to stick with i5-2500K. The thing with Moore's law is that something better is always going to come along that will be better than what's out now. You pretty much just have to buy when you buy and go from there. What's out now is good. With the FX series, AMD proved that what's down the road is always questionable.


Thanks. IIRC I've read somewhere that the i5 2500k can handle 2x GTX 580's, so I'm thinking I'll go for the PCI-e 3.0 board whether or not my first GPU needs it, then in a few years time when the computer no longer steams through new games on high settings I can upgrade the GPU to a single card of about 2x GTX 580 level (and upgrade RAM if necessary) and get a couple more years out of it, then sell it all in one and build another when that gets old!

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I've ordered a new system myself a few days ago after doing like a month of research. You can do with it whatever you like:


I don't need the threading from the i7 so I don't need that particular upgrade, apart from that I think the only other noticeable differences are your GPU and water cooling. I've been advised to stay away from water cooling for my first build and with Kepler on it's way I'm holding back before I decide on my GPU. Thanks for the info though.

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If you can, I suggest the U2412M. Here is a detailed review of it: http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/dell_u2412m.htm


Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm looking for a slightly bigger screen (yes I'm so greedy that 24" isn't quite enough!)

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just to shed some light on that case.
Fractal design: 20.28" x 9.06" x 18.11"
antec 1100: 21.5" x 9.3" x 20.7"

Along with everything the Fractal gives you. With the Antec you also get 3 more drive bays, one more 5.25, and 2 SSD slots that the fractal doesnt give you.
Access to the back of your CPU for if anything happens to your cooler you dont have to take everything part.
1 more expansion port in the back.
Fits graphic cards up to 13 inchs long. (graphic cards are only getting longer, gtx 580 is 10.5, new raidens are 11.5) so you get the room for wires. Extra room lets you put a larger XL mobo's in there too, incase you want to upgrade in the future.
+1 more usb in the front.
+1 fan more on side panel to blow air straight on graphics card.
+ window to see your build in action

Not bad for 20 bucks more. Pretty much gives you the benefits of a full tower case in a mid tower size. Not saying you should get the antec im just saying its worth looking at the specs of every case and comparing them.


When I first looked at that case I disregarded as too big because to me it looks too big, rookie mistake not to check the numbers I guess. Looking again, I can see your point, it does seem to do more within a similar sized frame, and the cooling benchmarks are excellent, all for a small price premium. Looks like I'll get this one instead then.

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Thanks once again for all you help everyone.
February 21, 2012 2:20:33 PM

Double post
!