Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

Shaking off the dust - building a sub-$2k gaming machine

Last response: in Systems
Share
March 9, 2012 5:00:08 PM

(Feel free to skip the fluff and get to the actual build stuff below - though I did try to make it moderately entertaining.)

Back in the dark ages, I was a PC-building machine - designing and building my own rigs from back in the early Pentium days. Actually, the first system I built was a 486 DX2/66 back in 1994 (which, depressingly, means I'll likely be receiving advice from people who weren't even born in school when I did my first build). I can remember building rigs with 3dfx cards (including the first SLI with Voodoo2s nearly 14 years ago) and the very first GeForce card (the 256). All that to say that I have - or rather, had, a history. In fact, I used to be the guy all my friends asked for advice. Until...

In 2005, I did something for which I'll probably be shunned by the TH community... I bought a Mac Pro. :pfff:  It was for my business (I'm a professional photographer), and it quickly became my primary computer for every task - except gaming, of course. My PC at the time still sufficed for playing older games, but it became quickly outdated. So in 2008, I rebuilt the system: a Core 2 Duo E8400 with 4GB (though my 32-bit XP system could only see 3.25) and a GTX 260. Though it's been a reasonable gaming machine over the years, it has clearly gotten very long in the tooth and it's time to do a new build.

But here's where things get tricky. Since I haven't done a build in four years, my skills and knowledge have all faded to practically nil. After all, I use a Mac most of the time (an 8-core Nehalem w/16gb, an SSD boot and a 3 TB Striped RAID), so I never have to tweak, mod, adjust or fix anything... it just works. All the time. So you can imagine the combination of excitement and trepidation as I embark on building a gaming PC to last me for the next four to five years. :sweat: 

Which is what brings me here - to Tom's and the helpful forums. I've done my research; I've looked at articles and tests, comparisons and features; I've read reviews and forum posts until my eyes started bleeding. So I'm not going into this completely blind - but I'm willing to admit that I don't have the edge that I once had... so I'm hoping you all can help me figure out if I'm on-target or not, and -- if not -- where I can make adjustments that will be most effective.

Because I'm a forum newbie, I read the sticky *How To Ask For New Build Advice* and will try to follow that template as closely as possible. Thanks in advance for your help.

====================================

Approximate Purchase Date: Almost certainly this month, probably next week. If the enthusiast or top-end Kepler GPUs were scheduled for release soon, I'd delay - but from what I could find out, that's Q4 2012 or Q1 2013.

Budget Range: $1500-$2000. The cheaper, the better - but my goal is to build a system that will last as long as possible (though I'm well aware that future-proofing is, of course, impossible). That means I'm planning on spending money on a quality case and PSU, so those can stay through the next build.

System Usage: This will be almost exclusively used for gaming, though I'll want to be able to watch Blu-Ray movies from time to time. My Mac Pro will still be my primary computer for work (Lightroom 4, HDR Efex Pro and Photoshop CS5) as well as e-mail, internet browsing, etc.

Parts Not Required: I'll retain my current Logitech keyboard, Razer Lycosa mouse, Apple 23" cinema display (1920 x 1200), speakers, and my Wireless-N adapter, so the budget does not include those parts. Also, I have a Creative SB X-Fi in my current system that I can transfer over if needed, but I understand newer mobos offer more than adequate sound (with, presumably, less annoyance than Creative's drivers and apps).

Preferred Website for Parts: newegg.com, though I'm open to suggestions.

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU, Nvidia GPU

Overclocking: I'll probably not dive into OC'ing right away, but I still want the option - but only to the extent that an air-cooled system can support, as liquid-cooling is way beyond my comfort zone. Reliability is more important to me than bleeding-edge performance.

SLI: I'd rather start with one card to stay in my budget; then, in a few months, I can always add a second card if needed/desired. So the answer is "maybe, eventually".

Additional Comments: My focus is on system flexibility, longevity and overall reliability.

With all that, here's the build I'm currently considering (along with questions where applicable):

Motherboard:
EVGA Z68 FTW
This is the area where I feel the least knowledgeable. Is the Z68 really the chipset I really want? I think so, but... shrug. I know I want USB 3.0 (including a front-panel header) and SATA 6gb/s, as well as eSATA - but other than that, I'm not sure. What I know I want is reliability - so when I see a bunch of 1-star reviews with dead mobos and RMAs, I look elsewhere... regardless of performance or features. It's one thing to RMA a memory stick or even a video card, but replacing a mobo is too much of a hassle.

CPU
Intel i5 2500k
The main question here is whether it's worth $100 more to jump to the i7 2600k. I'm leaning strongly against moving off the 2500k simply because of value v. performance, but I'm open to options.

RAM
Corsair Vengeance 8GB 1600
If it's good enough for the $2400 Tom's build a couple months ago, it's good enough for me.

Graphics
EVGA GTX 570 1280mb
I'd initially considered a 580, but for budgetary reasons, have reverted to the 570. I'll likely never go to a dual-monitor setup, but I'll always like gaming on a large, high-res display. I'm looking at a 27" to replace my 23" Apple cinema display, but even those are still the same resolution - 1920x1200. I am considering adding a second 570 to the system in several months, but am not sure what gains I'll see, given that I'm using a single monitor. Open to thoughts on this.

Case
Corsair Obsidian 650
If I could use the case that Apple uses for its Mac Pro, I would - unbelievable ease of use, access, build quality, etc. But that's not an option, so the 650 looks like the next best bet. Yes, it's more case than I need - but its cable management and airflow are excellent, and the build quality looks rock-solid. It's pricier than other options, but it's a good deal right now ($149 after promo code and rebate).

Power
SeaSonic X-850
This definitely seems like overkill, but I want longevity and reliability. Pricewise, I'd prefer the Corsair HX750 as it's $70 cheaper, but I'm concerned that if/when I do go SLI, I'll need the extra 100w. Will I? Or can I shave $70 off here and use it better elsewhere in the build?

SSD
Corsair Force GT 120
I went SSD for boot on my MacPro two years ago when I built my Nehalem 8-core machine, and I can't ever go back to a mechanical boot drive. While I've got a 240 on my work machine, I think 120 would suffice for a boot for a gaming system. After all, it'll only hold the OS and primary apps - all the games will have to still settle for being on a mechanical. SSD users, have you found that 120 is enough? Maybe it's too much, and I can drop down to 80gb?

HDD
WD Caviar Black 1 TB
It's just unfortunate timing that I'm building a system in the middle of a hard-drive shortage, but so be it. Still, I want reliability. WD wasn't always reliable, but the last two Seagate drives I had failed in less than a year, so I'm never going back to them. I've been running 3 WD 1.0 TB drives in my MacPro (striped RAID) and they work beautifully (though they are enterprise grade devices).

ODD
LG something-or-other
While I don't need a BR-burner, the price is right and the reviews look decent.

OS - Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Figured I don't need a link for this, since it's not really up for discussion, but it does add $140 to my budget (OEM).

Cooler
CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Evo
It seemed to do well in the tests I've read, but this is another area where I lack thorough knowledge, so any input is appreciated.

As it stands, all the components listed above come to just under $2k after tax and shipping ($1,920.16 after mail-in rebates), so I'm pretty close to the top of my range.

Well, that about wraps it up. Thanks in advance for your input, and I hope to make my final decisions - and place my order - in the next few days. Looking forward to the build!
March 9, 2012 5:11:07 PM

For two 570s, it is not overkill. It's the minimum though. I recommend a 900-950W PSU for 2 570s. If you were to, say, choose a Radeon 7870, then 800W would be enough, but since you're not, 950W is highly recommended.

This Lite-On DVD Burner, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168..., is the best bang for buck. With you pushing $1900, I recommend the Noctua D14 Cooler, that is, if you choose to keep the 850W PSU. I would get Caviar Blue if you plan to have an SSD as your primary. If you didn't have the SSD, then Caviar Black would have been OK. That EVGA MOBO is E-ATX and the case you chose is ATX - the MOBO will not fit. I recommend the ASUS P8Z68-V/Gen3.
Related resources
March 9, 2012 5:59:26 PM

Thanks for the specific pointers, azeem40...

Quote:
For two 570s, it [850] is not overkill. It's the minimum though. I recommend a 900-950W PSU for 2 570s.

So, perhaps the SeaSonic 1000, then? It's a bump up in budget by $40, but if it's worth it...

Quote:
This Lite-On DVD Burner, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6827106289, is the best bang for buck.

Except that I specifically mentioned wanting Blu-Ray reading capability. The cheapest of the Blu-Ray readers (w/o burning capability) is only $20 less than the burner I listed, so I figured it was worth that small bump.

Quote:
I recommend the Noctua D14 Cooler, that is, if you choose to keep the 850W PSU.

That was the other cooler in the running, based on the TH tests/reviews -- but it is $50 more than the CoolerMaster. Is it really worth more than twice the cost? And if I went with a larger PSU, how would that impact the choice of CPU cooler?

Quote:
I would get Caviar Blue if you plan to have an SSD as your primary. If you didn't have the SSD, then Caviar Black would have been OK.

From what I can tell, Blacks have a longer warranty (5 v. 2 years) and similar, if not better, performance. What am I missing here? Why would I want to spend $60 more to get a Blue as opposed to Black? Don't get me wrong - I'm willing to make the right move, but I'm not sure what the rationale is behind this one.

Quote:

That EVGA MOBO is E-ATX and the case you chose is ATX - the MOBO will not fit. I recommend the ASUS P8Z68-V/Gen3.

Oops. Well now, that would have been a problem. Thanks for the catch. Is there a similar board to the one you suggest that comes with the USB 3.0 front panel header that I need?
March 9, 2012 6:11:04 PM

I didn't realize Caviar Blue is more?

The ASUS MOBO I suggested should come with USB 3.0 headers.
March 9, 2012 8:57:57 PM

Thanks for the follow-up, azeeem.

Quote:
I didn't realize Caviar Blue is more?


I know... doesn't make much sense, does it? But right now, the 1TB Black is $129 (w/promo code) and the Blue 1TB is $199. If it were reversed, I'd go with the Blue - but at that price, I'll stick with Black.

Quote:
The ASUS MOBO I suggested should come with USB 3.0 headers.


Of course, you're right - it's got the headers on the motherboard. What I meant to express was that I wanted the cables and front panel included - the headers don't do me much good unless I have a way of getting that signal to a front panel. I did find the "Pro" version of that board and it has the bit I want, at $205. I'm a bit concerned with the number of dead board reports on both models from newegg.com users - about 10% or so seems a bit high.

Any second opinions out there? I'm grateful for azeem's help, but "in abundance of counselors there is victory".
March 10, 2012 1:07:40 PM

Still looking for a little help here - not sure if it's bad form to bump my own post, but I was hoping I might get a little bit of assistance on my build. Thanks in advance!
March 10, 2012 1:13:26 PM

what help do you need?post a question.....
March 10, 2012 1:53:59 PM

Thanks, hellfire24.

First area of need is clearly motherboard help - as azeem40 rightly pointed out, I'd originally chosen a card that wouldn't even fit with the case I chose (that was a bonehead move on my part). While he suggested an alternative, I expressed concern about the number of dead/RMA'd boards in recent weeks from newegg customers on that model and wanted a couple of other alternatives from which to choose. I'm also still trying to determine if the Z68 is the right chipset in the first place, as I indicated in my original post.

Second question was asked in my initial post: is the 2500k the right processor for my build (given my expressed usage needs), or would it be worth the coin to bump up to the i7?

Third question was about azeem40's suggestion of the Noctua D14 versus my proposed CM Hyper 212 Evo: is the Noctua really worth more than twice the CM?

Fourth question was related: he'd also tied the selection of the Noctua to my choice of PSU and I wondered how my choice in CPU cooler would change if I changed the PSU selection. (I don't see the linkage.)

Fifth question was in my initial post: for SSD users, has 120gb proved to be the right size for a boot/apps drive, or can I shave budget and go to 80gb? Or do I need to go bigger?

Overall, I'm open to any proposed input on the build as a whole.

Best solution

March 10, 2012 2:16:55 PM
Share

your answers-
i-don't worry about newegg reviews.most of them don't have proper knowledge and damage their mobos.in case you have any problem you can contact Asus.their cutomer service is good.so there should not any problem.Pro version is definitely better if you want.if you think it's right for your needs that go for it.

ii-2500k is a very powerful chip.with a good overclock you can throw any thing at it.for gaming no doubt 2500k>all IMO.it's powerful,cheap,overclocks and well and runs cool.you need a good aircooler to reach 4~4.5ghz.

iii-noctua coolers are really great.amazing performance with extreme silence.but yes 212 EVO is best bang for buck cooler.D14 is great but not worth twice the cost.if don't wanna spend so much on cooler than get 212 EVO and a second fan in push/pull for better performance.

iv-see i cooler has nothing to do with psu.they both are different.your psu is great but way overpriced.there are other units with same quality(made by seasonic)for less price.a couple of suggestions-
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or a bit cheaper but still top notch-
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

v-it's your choice.some people prefer a smaller unit(60~64)but some prefer bigger(256~512).120 or 128 is 'most preferable' size IMO.but if you want to save some bucks and get a smaller one than this is a really deal-
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

BTW here's a $10 cheaper hdd-
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
it's a caviar black 1tb.
March 10, 2012 5:09:15 PM

Thanks, hellfire -

1 - glad to hear that about Asus' customer service. I've used their boards before in my older builds, so I have at least some trust in their product.

2 - glad to hear it. I won't be overclocking it too much, but a good cooler's important to me anyway.

3 - I appreciate that input; the 212 Evo seemed like it would be easier to install and work around (that Noctua is huge), and still be efficient enough. The case I've chosen (Obsidian 650) has a 200mm front intake, a 200mm top exhaust and a 120mm rear exhaust... do you think I'd need another push or pull on top of that, or would those three be adequate, given the 212?

4 - that's what I thought as well; I couldn't see a link between my choice in CPU cooler and my choice in PSU. Perhaps I misunderstood azeem40's comments. I really appreciate your suggestions as to other brands, but still manufactured by SeaSonic as I don't want to risk getting a brand that slaps their label on a cheap product. I'd initially put an 850 as my PSU, but azeem suggested a 900-950 in light of the fact that I might eventually go SLI - would you agree, or do you think 850 would be sufficient?

5 - Sounds good, but I'll probably stick with 128gb since it's only $25 more than the 90gb (same Corsair specs other than that), but thanks for the tip anyway. As for the $10 cheaper WD Black, it's a SATA 3 Gb/s, so I'll stick with the 6 Gb/s for that small difference.

I'll put together the 'new' version of the build sometime this weekend and post it one last time to make sure there are no other holes in the design. Thanks again for the helpful input! (I'll mark it as most helpful once I know I'm done, of course.)
March 10, 2012 5:29:40 PM

212 EVO single fan should be fine.it was just a suggestion.
for 7870 CFX a quality 750w is enough.
March 12, 2012 2:40:15 PM

After the [facepalm] moment when azeem40 rightly pointed out that the mobo I'd selected in my original build was the wrong form factor for my case, and after further discussion with azeem40 and hellfire 24, here is my amended build. I've made a couple of other changes, based on reviews and comments here in the forums.

Motherboard - ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3

I'll be honest and say this is still the area where I'm the least confident in my choice. I want a rock-solid board, and I want the lowest possible odds of a DOA with bent pins or the like. Though hellfire24 says their customer service is good, I've read a few comments to the contrary - anyone else with experience with Asus' customer service want to let me know?

CPU - i5-2500K (no change from initial build)

RAM - Mushkin Enhanced Redline 8GB

I made a change here from the Corsair Vengeance sticks. The Mushkin Redlines get amazing reviews and test results, and the $30 instant savings makes them a bit more affordable. They're still about $40 more than the Corsairs, so this may revert back to my original choice if budget restraints become an issue.

Graphics - EVGA GTX 570 1280mb (no change from initial build)

I'd love to be able to afford to SLI this rig from the outset, but that's not going to happen - I won't cut corners on stuff like the case and PSU, and I'm finding myself moving ever-so-slightly upwards on RAM and SDD (see below). However, I am planning on going SLI in the next few months.

Case - Corsair Obsidian 650D (no change from initial build)

The 800 is just too big for me, and it would be an $85 jump. Sure, it would enable me to choose an E-ATX board like I'd originally (oops) picked, but I don't want to go that big on the case.

Power - Silverstone Strider Gold 850

This is a change from the original SeaSonic X-850, mostly for budgetary reasons. It's still a quality unit, with modular cables (I like a clean build) and gold certification - but it's $65 cheaper (after $10 rebate) and I can use that budget elsewhere without running into problems from a cheap PSU.

SSD - Mushkin Enhanced Chronos Deluxe 120

This is a change from the Corsair Force GT 120 - it's only $30 more than the Corsair, but has much better NAND. Similar to why I went with Mushkin for RAM - it's about durability/reliability.

HDD - WD Caviar Black 1 TB (no change from initial build)

At $139, the price is right for a SATA 6.0Gb/s (given the current HDD market). Looks like it's a phase-out as there's a new version with a slightly different model number - and it's cheaper than the Blue.

ODD - LG Black 12x Super Multi Blue w/LightScribe (no change from initial build)

Though I don't (currently) need Blu-Ray burning capability, I do want to play Blu-Ray discs. This may be a bit more than I need for now, but it appears to be a quality unit, and I was able to get it as a combo bundle on newegg with the CPU, saving me $14.

OS - Windows 7 Pro 64-bit (no change from initial build).

Cooler - CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Evo (no change from initial build)

The Noctua D-14 was also suggested, but it significantly more expensive for only a slight improvement in cooling. Though I will overclock, I won't be pushing any limits - stability and reliability are more important to me than bleeding-edge performance - so the advantage isn't worth the price bump.

So that's the build - I'm open to suggestions, but I'll probably be making my final decision and purchase here in the next few days. Regarding budget, the build as it stands right now is coming in just under $1900 (after sales tax and shipping, as well as instant/bundle discounts and rebates).

Questions that still remain:
- Is this my best mobo choice?
- Will I regret going from SeaSonic's X-850 to the Silverstone PSU?
- Will 850w be enough if/when I go SLI with dual 570s?
- Is the SSD choice the right one, or would I be better off spending $40 more to go down one notch (from Chronos Deluxe to Chronos) in the Mushkin line while doubling size to 240?
March 12, 2012 2:45:55 PM

One other question: the Obsidian 650 comes with dual 200mm fans (front intake, top exhaust) and one 120mm fan (rear exhaust). The top 200mm can be replaced with a pair of 120 or 140mm fans. Is there anyone with experience with this case that can tell me if I'd be better off getting replacement fans, or will the stock ones provided by Corsair be sufficient? Also, am I better off replacing the top 200mm with a pair of 120s or 140s, or will the cfm of the stock 200mm be adequate? Again, I'll be overclocking, but not aggressively - and I'm a fan of quiet. :) 
March 12, 2012 3:01:51 PM

It is being said that hd 7870 is coming out in a few weeks . Wouldnt you consider waiting just a bit more to get it ?

Its performance is equal and in some cases better than gtx 580 with a ridiculous price of approx. 350$

Also a big +1 for everything you have chosen.
March 12, 2012 3:50:24 PM

that is 1.65v ram.2500k needs 1.5v ram.something like this would be great-
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
still i would say wait for 7870.............
nothing wrong with silverstone psus.the one you selected is a top notch quality unit.
650D=Sexy ;) 
excellent case.plenty of room and airflow.looks very clean.5/5 case.
chronos deluxe is one of the most 'reliable' ssd.i would suggest to stick with it.
March 12, 2012 5:30:00 PM

Jonnyguru actually gave that PSU a recommend, so it is probably good. :p 
March 12, 2012 5:43:39 PM

sixtoes said:
After the [facepalm] moment when azeem40 rightly pointed out that the mobo I'd selected in my original build was the wrong form factor for my case, and after further discussion with azeem40 and hellfire 24, here is my amended build. I've made a couple of other changes, based on reviews and comments here in the forums.

Motherboard - ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3

I'll be honest and say this is still the area where I'm the least confident in my choice. I want a rock-solid board, and I want the lowest possible odds of a DOA with bent pins or the like. Though hellfire24 says their customer service is good, I've read a few comments to the contrary - anyone else with experience with Asus' customer service want to let me know?



I just built my first rig with the asus p8z68-v pro/gen3 with a 2500k and i have not run in to any problems yet, it is a great mobo/cpu set up and i would recommend it to anyone.
March 12, 2012 5:48:03 PM

What is the difference between it and the non pro gen3?
March 12, 2012 6:11:10 PM

azeem40 said:
What is the difference between it and the non pro gen3?


the pro has some extra sata 3 ports and has an upgraded bluetooth, i believe
March 12, 2012 6:13:32 PM

I see.
March 12, 2012 6:17:51 PM

deluxe has more ports.........
March 12, 2012 6:21:54 PM

hellfire24 said:
deluxe has more ports.........


it does....
March 12, 2012 7:09:55 PM

fine .. !
March 12, 2012 7:29:51 PM

Thanks for the input, all. Responses and remaining questions below:

Quote:
7870 is coming out in a few weeks . Wouldnt you consider waiting just a bit more to get it ?

Quote:
still i would say wait for 7870.............

I'll have to really consider that. Truth be told, I've always built Intel/Nvidia machines, so going AMD feels a bit... odd. But the reviews look really good and the price point is certainly appealing - looks like we might see cards in the next week or two, so I might wait.

Quote:
that is 1.65v ram.2500k needs 1.5v ram.something like this would be great

Thanks for catching another mistake - this one would have definitely slipped by me, as much as I'd like to think otherwise. That's too bad, because I've heard nothing but the very best about Mushkin. Ah well, back to my original choice (Corsair Vengeance) under the theory that if it's good enough for Tom's last $2400 build, it's good enough for me.

Quote:
nothing wrong with silverstone psus.the one you selected is a top notch quality unit.

Quote:
Jonnyguru actually gave that PSU a recommend, so it is probably good.

Thanks for confirmation - and that'll be enough for SLI'd 570s (or XFired 7870s, should I go that route)?

Quote:
I just built my first rig with the asus p8z68-v pro/gen3 with a 2500k and i have not run in to any problems yet, it is a great mobo/cpu set up and i would recommend it to anyone.

Glad to hear it. I know it's only anecdotal evidence, but it helps. I may revert back to my original choice, though - see below.
Quote:

What is the difference between it and the non pro gen3?

What they said. Specifically, two extra SATA 6Gb/s and two firewire ports (I still have a couple external devices that use this).

Okay, all that about the ASUS, I might just go back to my original choice of the EVGA Z68 FTW after all. Yes, it's an E-ATX as azeem40 rightly pointed out. However, it's barely an E-ATX at 12.0" x 10.36" - in comparison to the ASUS at 12.0" x 9.6". I've been able to confirm on both Corsair and EVGA forums that this specific mobo does, in fact, fit just fine in the 650D (I've even seen photos, and it's not even a tight fit). I'm just more comfortable with their American tech support (heck, I'm 20 minutes away from their corporate HQ in Brea), and their track record in customer reviews.

My remaining two questions are these:
- will the 850 PSU be enough if/when I go SLI (or Crossfire)? Or should I go to 1000 with this Silverstone instead?
- should I consider replacing the fans that come stock in the Obsidian 650? I could put this Cougar CF-V12HB in place of the 120mm rear exhaust, and two of them in the top in place of the stock 200mm. Anyone with the 650 have concerns about either cooling or noise with the stock fans?
March 13, 2012 6:14:02 AM

answer to your remaining questions-
i-850w is more than enough.1000w is wastage.
ii-as i told you 650D is a great case.no problem with stock fans.use the stock fans for now if you face any problems swap them out.
March 13, 2012 10:12:35 AM

Wow this conversation has shown me a few things. Thanks guys.
March 13, 2012 2:06:03 PM

are you going to use features that exclusive in z68? if not then a cheap p67 even good enough for what you want....


cpu: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Intel Core i5-2500K - $220

mobo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MSI P67A-GD53 (B3) - $110 after rebate

ram: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
G.SKILL Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2 - $50

hsf: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CORSAIR CAFA70 - $30 after rebate

odd: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
LG Black WH12LS39 - $80

hdd: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB - $140

ssd: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Patriot Pyro SE PPSE120GS25SSDR 120GB - $140 after rebate

psu: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
XFX PRO850W XXX Edition - $135 after rebate

case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
LIAN LI PC-V1020B - $220

gpu: man... too close to nvidia kepler launch... maybe you can wait just a little bit longer to decide which one you want to buy... since this is your 1st build in four years....


total: $1125 after rebate excluding shipping....


this is the first time i recommend a lian-li case.... more specifically.... a full aluminium case.... i know most of the people will say it's a total waste to spend that much money on a case.... and most will say... i can get this or that for far more less money.... but... since you already stated that you want a quality case that lasts through several builds... but really.... after owning two steel cases previously... although i really like my current rv02... but it really damn heavy with all components installed... made it difficult for me to move the case around... while certainly there are no such thing as perfect case for about anything.... but if i want to really stretch that further for a case... this is the 1st choice in my mind... this case will lasts 10 years.... i would pick this over the same price level 10 gt.... which has better cooling... so this is a case for serious builders.... so if you want to save some money... these are a few cases i can really recommend it....

http: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Antec DF-85 - $130

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Rosewill THOR V2 - $130

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Corsair Obsidian Series 550D - $120 after rebate

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
AZZA Hurrican 2000 CSAZ-2000 - $125 after rebate

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SILVERSTONE RAVEN Series RV03B-WA - $160

one more thing... if you don't need modular cable feature for psu... for the price... this is absolutely a steal....

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PC Power and Cooling Silencer Mk II 950W - $130 after rebate

and this this one of the news about the upcoming gtx 680....

http://www.itproportal.com/2012/03/12/impending-nvidia-...
March 13, 2012 6:12:57 PM

Wow - something must have happened with my automatic e-mail notifications, because I didn't know about any of the replies since mon4ro's last night. Thoughts and responses below:

Quote:
I have no personal experience in this case but, after reading some reviews, the fans seem pretty impressive.
You can see the review here: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1596/7/

Thanks, mon4ro - I had a chance to read that review last night and not only did it convince me that the 650D was my best case choice, but it convinced me I don't need to consider aftermarket fans. That was a pretty thorough analysis, as I certainly don't have the ability to test CFM and dBA ratings. Thanks very much for the link!

Quote:
answer to your remaining questions-
i-850w is more than enough.1000w is wastage.
ii-as i told you 650D is a great case.no problem with stock fans.use the stock fans for now if you face any problems swap them out.

You da man, hellfire - that was one of my big questions, since I want the ability to go SLI (or Crossfire if I make the ATI AMD jump) down the road.

phenom90: thanks for providing what has to be the most detailed reply to this thread yet. You even went and put together links for me for all your suggestions - thanks for taking the time. You make a point that the P67 might be a perfectly fine chipset for me, and it's true since 99% of my use of this machine will be gaming. The only thing is that when I compare apples to apples on a P67 vs. Z68 basis, the prices are pretty even. Yes, I can get a reasonable P67 mobo (like the MSI you linked to) for $110 after rebate - but they've got a comparable Z68 board here that's the exact same price. It seems to be that way across the board - as long as you're comparing similar feature sets and similar brands, pricing is about the same. Given that fact, I'll stick with Z68 for the few minor advantages it offers. I know I could get a cheaper one than the EVGA currently listed, but I like the number of SATA 6Gb/s connectors, the USB 3.0 header/adapter (so I don't have to use the wraparound for the case's front-panel connectors) and I really like the fact that EVGA's customer service is US-based.

GPU: I know Kepler's not too far out, but we have no confirmed release date and we don't know what availability will be like. If it was a matter of a week or two, I'd be fine - but I could wait until the end of Q2 which is more than three months out. Worst-case scenario, I sell the 570 to buy a 670 in a couple of months... at a loss, sure, but it's easy to swap out a video card (as opposed to upgrading a mobo or cpu).

The Lian Li case you recommended is a solid case and was one of my "top 3" finalists before I settled on the Obsidian 650D. But I think I'll stick with the 650 - it's only 4 pounds heavier than the LL, and it's got better cable management (with more grommets, etc.).

You're not kidding about the killer deal on the Silencer 950, though - there's a 10% off promo code dropping it to $135, then a $20 rebate and a $15 newegg gift card. I'll have to decide if going fully modular with my PSU is worth the $45 difference (after rebates) for the Silvertone 850 in my current build. I'm a bit of a neat freak, so I like the idea - but that's a chunk. Hmmmm.

Thanks again, guys - really appreciate all your input. :D 

March 14, 2012 11:23:49 AM

i think you can take a good look at this corsair 550d casing....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8eA7RR5q30

i would take it over 650d because....

- support side panel fan brings you more cooling potential...

- features front... top... bottom... and even side panel magnetic dust filter.... i know we can make our own dust filters... but can you tell when was the last time a company releasing a case that has all but rear dust filters out-of-the-box while not being charged premium price? although most people won't care but these features comes in handy so you won't have to open your rig and clean it up as much as other cases....

- support removable sound dampening covers at front... top... and side panel.... let's say if you aren't mounting any side panel fan.... you can choose to put the cover on to reduce noise generated by components internally...

- features removable drive cage for extra long graphics cards...

- you can fit h100 cooler at the top of the case....

i think for features it is one of the best cases at its price range...

z68 mobo.... this is a good deal...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
March 14, 2012 2:24:44 PM

sixtoes said:
Wow - something must have happened with my automatic e-mail notifications, because I didn't know about any of the replies since mon4ro's last night. Thoughts and responses below:

Quote:
I have no personal experience in this case but, after reading some reviews, the fans seem pretty impressive.
You can see the review here: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1596/7/

Thanks, mon4ro - I had a chance to read that review last night and not only did it convince me that the 650D was my best case choice, but it convinced me I don't need to consider aftermarket fans. That was a pretty thorough analysis, as I certainly don't have the ability to test CFM and dBA ratings. Thanks very much for the link!


No problems! : )
March 14, 2012 3:36:25 PM

Quote:
i think you can take a good look at this corsair 550d casing....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8eA7RR5q30

i would take it over 650d because....

The 550D is an excellent case, phenom90 - and I'd recommend it to just about anyone, but there are a couple of little things that make it not quite the best fit for me. Really it's just two aspects of one thing: the front panel. I'm not nuts about the appearance of the front panel (I like the all-black look and the 'hidden' panel on the front of the 650 better), and the panel doesn't have all the connections that I need. While the two USB 3.0 connections are nice, that's all it has - and I need the flexibility of the additional 2.0 connectors. More importantly, I still have a couple of older devices that rely on a FireWire connection and the 650D has that on the front panel for ease of use.

Fortunately, the 650D shares many of the other traits that you mention: quality, removable/cleanable dust panels (though only front and bottom), movable drive cage, room for a cooler at the top if I ever go that direction, etc. It might not have the sound dampening, but I can get a sheet of that to mount on the right side easily enough (the left side, not so much, thanks to the window). And, if I go SLI and need additional cooling, I can replace the acrylic panel with a mesh panel from Corsair for only $15.

Sadly, the Z68 mobo you linked to won't work for me for some similar reasons. No 1394 support (FireWire) and no internal USB 3.0 header - only the two back-panel ports. If I'm going to have a front panel that supports USB 3.0, then I want a mobo that has a 3.0 header - and, preferably a cable that will connect that to my front panel connectors.

All that said, I've made a couple of tweaks to my last-proposed build from Monday. I went back to Vengeance memory, thanks to hellfire's reminder of the voltage needs of the Mushkins, and took advantage of one of newegg's "combos" with the EVGA GTX570 and 8G of DDR31600 (1.5v this time) for a combined price of $343.98. I also bumped my HDD choice from the WD Black 1TB at $139 to the 1.5TB version for only $20 more. I dropped the ODD altogether for now, until I have a chance to do some more research. All that, plus a few newegg specials and I'm looking at just over $1800 after tax and shipping.

I'll hold off until this weekend, just in case we get news of a firm release date on the Keplers, or in case we actually see 7870s actually released. Otherwise, I know what I'll be doing next week... :D 
March 14, 2012 4:17:24 PM

If you want a reliable SSD I say go with this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The heat spreaders are not as large as the corsair and should fit with the after market CPU cooler. RAM:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also I have to agree with the other guys and say wait till next week (Monday) when the 7870 releases. It out peforms the 570 and in some cases beats the 580 with a $350 price tag it's a win win situation.
March 14, 2012 4:33:36 PM

Thanks, aRod.

I've heard nothing but good things about Crucial's SSDs - and it looks like they've gotten better with handling the Marvell controller. Previous to your suggestion, I think I'd always assumed I'd go with a SandForce-based SSD (as I do in my Mac Pro with my OWC Mercury Extreme Pro), especially now that Intel (who's always favored reliability over raw performance) switched to SandForce for their 520 series. But Crucials are rock-solid and I'd save a few bucks in the process. Something to think about.

Regarding the RAM, you make another good point - while the Corsair might fit, I don't want to take chances. And Mushkin's certainly one of my preferred brands anyway. Same price, same specs (1.5v, 9-9-9-24, etc.). Done and done.
March 14, 2012 5:06:04 PM

^RAM speeds hardly makes any difference.anyways i prefer 1600mhz!
March 14, 2012 5:16:47 PM

hellfire24 said:
^RAM speeds hardly makes any difference.anyways i prefer 1600mhz!


I know, Just a suggestion though.
March 14, 2012 5:18:12 PM

well,suggestions are always welcome...:) 
March 24, 2012 1:19:09 AM

Best answer selected by sixtoes.
!