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Opinions on this Build

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March 3, 2012 3:02:03 AM

Hey there forum goers, I am currently building a PC and I was wondering if I could get some opinions on this build. After much research I am pretty set on getting an AMD Processor due to the cost it will save me and coming to the conclusion that I don't think I need an i5. I need a PC that will run most games and I think that this build will suffice. I'm not one who needs to play on Ultra settings, so that wasn't my goal with this. I just wanted a solid build that will handle things well.

As far as questions go on this, I just want to make sure all of these parts are compatible with one another and ways in which I might be able to improve this build, while staying on the cheaper end. This build was $800 and I'm trying to keep it somewhere around that. If anyone has some ideas on a cheap, yet decent monitor I would also appreciate that.

Thanks in advance for all the help!

CPU: Intel Core i3-2120 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I32120

MOBO: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL

GPU: SAPPHIRE 100315L Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity

PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Modular High Performance Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandybridge Core i3 i5 i7 and AMD Phenom

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

OPTICAL DRIVE: ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM

CASE: COOLER MASTER HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Black SECC/ ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM

Monitor: TBA

More about : opinions build

March 3, 2012 3:18:43 AM

Let me start off by saying everything looks fine. I can personally attest to the HDD, Case, and the 1333MHz version of the RAM. Now, here comes the rant. Feel free to ignore it if you are a hardcore AMD fan.
{beginrant}
There is absolutely no reason to skimp out on an i5 at your price range. For $30 more you can get an i5 2400. It will destroy ALL. Hey, even an i3 can compete with AMD's most powerful CPU.

Here is the i5 2400 and an ASRock Z68 Mobo.
Intel Core i5-2400
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0
{/endrant}
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March 3, 2012 3:25:36 AM

I'm a little Intel biased, even though the Phenom is still a solid performer. If this is just for gaming, if you go with an Intel i3 2120 you would have the cash to go for a 6870, more specifically the XFX Double D 6870. HAF 912 has unbeatable value... and for the i3 2120 buy an ASRock Extreme3 Gen3, which, once you get the cash, would enable you to throw in the i5 3570k, which will probably blow everything away for bang for your buck. Go for a modular PSU, otherwise you're going to have to deal with an octopus on the bottom of your case.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM you have is greaet for gaming and other things, just not more than one VM. You won't be able to tell the difference between the Phenom and 2120, and the 2120 costs less, and provides the option for the 3570k when it comes out.

EDIT: Sorry I was multitasking and took forever to get this down. I agree with Itdan, but I would still go with the i3 2120 and save for the 3570k in June.
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March 3, 2012 3:41:28 AM

Hey guys thanks for the replies! I have a few things to add. First and foremost, the main reason I chose the AMD processor and MOBO that I did was because it would allow for future upgradability (is that a word?) to the FX 8-core series in the future, since it has the AM3+ slot. However, you guys are really swaying me with the Intel endorsing. If the i3-2120 really will perform as well as the Phenom 975, I would definitely consider that, seeing as it would save me another $30 dollars. Would the FX series not be worth it in the future? Also, what exactly is a modular PSU? Forgive me, I'm not too familiar with all of this really.
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March 3, 2012 3:49:04 AM

The FX series has demonstrated itself as a very poor performer. Piledriver (codename for next AMD series) might be better, but anything that's made with the Bulldozer architecture is very disappointing. Ivy Bridge, Intel's codename for their next architecture, will be supported in the socket that anything that uses the Sandy Bridge architecture uses. A modular PSU allows you to plug in the cables you need, but most modulars make the 24-pin main connector unremovable, and the CPU connector non modular, along with some SATA power connectors and maybe some molex. Reduces clutter quite a bit.
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March 3, 2012 4:00:14 AM

Ok so the FX series is probably not an option then. I thought they might get everything figured out sometime in the near future, but maybe that isn't going to happen. And thanks Steady, I will give those combos a look! And yes, I will be needing an OS. I will still be needing an OS, monitor, etc. I'm essentially starting from scratch.
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March 3, 2012 11:53:11 AM

Just in case you are still not convinced, have at look at this. Intel i5 2400 vs. AMD Phenom II X4 975 BE

I now have a question for you. Do you plan on upgrading your Mobo in the next 2-3 years?
If the answer is yes: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium $190
If the answer is no: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM $100

The OEM version locks itself to the motherboard. You can upgrade all other components besides the Mobo, so don't worry about that.
The normal version is for those who like to jump onto the "latest architecture bandwagon". You're set either way, LGA 1155 boards will support the up and rising Ivy Bridge products. Go with the OEM version.

Now for the Monitor. I have only ever owned two monitors in my life. An old CRT from the 90's, and the one I have now. I'm not going to recommend any specific monitor, but I will tell you that ASUS is one of the most reputable brands, and (in my opinion) has the best quality. Newegg - Monitors - ASUS

EDIT: I can also give a round of applause to the PSU Bones suggested. Mainly due to the fact that I am currently using it.
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March 3, 2012 12:25:33 PM

Hey LtDan, thanks for the input on the OS and Monitor. I didn't know that the OEM version locked itself to the MOBO, so that is very good information to have. Now to answer your question, I would like to keep the same MOBO, and many other parts, for as long as I can. Bones suggestion on the i3-2120 has really got me interested because it is cheaper even than the Phenom 975. And if it does indeed perform as well as the Phenom, I am definitely considering that CPU. It would allow for future upgrading to the next generation like he said which would be nice. Do you know anything about the i3 vs. the Phenom 975? I know the i3 is only dual core while the Phenom 975 is quad core, but would the i3 still compete with that?

I will definitely look at Asus monitors, and will post the one I choose and let everyone take a look at it. One question I had on the power supply that Bones suggested was in a lot of the reviews people were saying the cables were very short. Is this true or are some people exaggerating? Would the PSU work well in my CoolerMaster HAF 912?
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March 3, 2012 1:13:03 PM

Some of the cables may be short, but only the CPU connector should need an extension. Don't buy the extension until you put the PSU in the case first, and see if it will work by itself, if it doesn't, just route it over your motherboard and wait for the extension to come so you can use the cable management. As far as gaming goes, the 2120 will definately perform on par with the 975. It has Intel's "Hyper Threading Technology" so it's as it kind of has 4 virtual cores. As a side note, physical cores are better than virtual cores. As long as you don't leave a bunch of programs open, performance shouldn't be affected. But the Ivy Bridge line-up's i5 3570k should absolutely blow away anything on the market. (besides Sandy Bridge E) Do you play a lot of Skyrim? That is a game that often is bottlenecked by the CPU, regardless of it's performance.
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March 3, 2012 2:02:52 PM

thebear23 said:
Hey LtDan, thanks for the input on the OS and Monitor. I didn't know that the OEM version locked itself to the MOBO, so that is very good information to have. Now to answer your question, I would like to keep the same MOBO, and many other parts, for as long as I can. Bones suggestion on the i3-2120 has really got me interested because it is cheaper even than the Phenom 975. And if it does indeed perform as well as the Phenom, I am definitely considering that CPU. It would allow for future upgrading to the next generation like he said which would be nice. Do you know anything about the i3 vs. the Phenom 975? I know the i3 is only dual core while the Phenom 975 is quad core, but would the i3 still compete with that?

I will definitely look at Asus monitors, and will post the one I choose and let everyone take a look at it. One question I had on the power supply that Bones suggested was in a lot of the reviews people were saying the cables were very short. Is this true or are some people exaggerating? Would the PSU work well in my CoolerMaster HAF 912?

In my last post, there is a link to a comparison of the i5 to the Phenom.
I am also using a HAF 912, and that very PSU. The Mobo and CPU power cables are too short to run around the back, but the case lives up to it's name (High Air Flow). I decided against extensions. Here are my temps with the integrated graphics cranked up to 1500MHz.

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March 4, 2012 2:30:07 AM

If the i3 2120 will handle most games then I will be okay with that. I do not play Skyrim on PC, call me crazy but I actually prefer it on console. I don't play incredibly demanding games, I usually stick to games such as WoW and soon to be Diablo 3 and GW2. As long as my system can handle those games can handle games on high(ish) settings then I will be okay. If I did get the HAF 912 and the PSU listed and I opted for extensions, where would I go about getting said extensions? I've never built my own PC before and run into anything like this before. Thanks for all the help.
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March 4, 2012 5:53:32 PM

^ +1
You're future proofed for a while with that sucker. I have the Sapphire 6870 and it tells BF3 where to shove it. You could save some money with a 6850, even a 6770 would be fine for WoW.
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March 4, 2012 8:33:21 PM

No, 600W is plenty for your system. This leaves you plenty of room for upgrades later.
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March 4, 2012 10:32:44 PM

Okay, good deal! So is my build all set? Do I have everything I need to build the computer? I don't want to forget something and then have everything ordered and not be able to put it together haha.
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March 5, 2012 1:11:55 AM

Don't forget your mouse, keyboard, and monitor!
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March 5, 2012 1:58:38 AM

Alright awesome! Thanks a lot LtDan and Bones, you guys gave me a lot of great insight and tips that went into making my build. I really appreciate you taking the time to do so.
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March 5, 2012 2:34:14 AM

A small tip, Newegg has some nice tutorials on how to build a PC. Check them out if you haven't already. We've already gone through part 1 (choosing the parts). Part 2 & 3 deal with the actual build, and OS installation, respectively. They are very informative.
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March 5, 2012 2:51:19 AM

Awesome, thanks for the pro tip. This has always been a very informative website for me and I'm glad to see that the forums are equally as informative and the people are so helpful. Any questions I have I will definitely be coming here first.
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March 5, 2012 1:43:13 PM

HDD activity and power LEDs along with the power and reset switches can be confusing, they all go to the same place, but attach to separate pins :p .
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