Thermal paste/thoughts on system

I just picked up a sweet bare bones kit, got a great deal with rebates off TigerDirect (.ca): (when I got it, It was at $500)

GIGABYTE GA-Z68AP-D3 Intel Z68 Motherboard (ATX)
Intel Core i5-2500K CPU (3.30GHz)
2 x Corsair XMS3 4GB PC10666 DDR3 1333MHz 4096MB (8GB total)
Patriot Pyro 120GB SSD
Sony Optiarc AD7280S-OB 24x DVDRW Drive
Ultra 550W ATX PSU
Thermaltake V3 Black Edition Mid Tower

My plan is to throw in a radeon 6850 - I've seen it on sale recently around $130, so I'll wait for it to hit that again. I also have a 2TB external that I think will become an internal storage drive.

This system is for a bit of everything - gaming, design (autocad, solidworks), programming (matlab, R, sas, c++), everyday browsing and my media storage.

One question I had was with regard to the CPU installation; is the stock i5 thermal paste good enough? Should I pick up an external cpu cooler? I doubt I'll be over clocking in the immediate future, but don't want to rule it out completely either.

Think the 6850 would serve my purposes as a good, reasonably future proof midrange vid card? What are your thoughts on this system? Any tips/suggestions?

Edit: Do you think I should consider the 7700 coming out soon as well? Or go higher to the 6870?
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  1. The 7770 overclocks nicely, but it is overpriced at the moment. You can get 6870's for $150 or even less after rebates and they perform as good or better in many cases.
    If you need to save the few bucks 6850 is an excellent choice, otherwise the value of 6870 is hard to beat.
  2. The standard thermal paste works well .

    You dont need to change it
  3. ^+1 using the standard heatsink the paste works fine.

    As for if you should get a different cooler or not, if you don't overclock you don't have to. But if you think that the standard cooler is too noisy for example, a $25 investment on a cooler such as Cooler Master Hyper 212+ will keep things cooler and with much less noise.
  4. Is the stock cooler very loud? I definitely place a premium on silence... I haven't actually put the system together yet, just trying to decide on this before I start assembling.

    Does the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ (I see it has a ton of great reviews) come with thermal paste? I figure if I'm picking it up might as well do the entire thing properly.

    Also, which paste would you recommend for ease of removal later on? I think my system is pretty good, but the next thing to upgrade in a few years would be the motherboard (more pci-e slots, etc.), so might have to yank the i5 off.

    And is the 6870 really worth the price over the 6850 or even the GTX 460? I'm doing the video cards almost solely off the chart from here (,3107-3.html). Thoughts?
  5. There are a lot of misconceptions with computers .

    The ideal thermal paste is NONE . It will never be as good as metal to metal contact . People claim lower temps from special thermal pastes but its just nonsense .

    Use as little as possible . You are filling minute surface imperfections not putting a layer between the parts . One TINY drop , spread with the edge of a business card .
  6. Well it's not extremely loud especially if all the settings are proper so that it adjusts according to temperature.
    I know it's louder than many 120mm fan based solutions and it does get louder if you overclock or in general load the CPU heavily.
    I wasn't able to find a definitive answer on a quick search through the web.

    Most probably you can live with the stock just fine, but if you overclock you want the after market HSF.

    Yes Cooler Master Hyper 212+ comes with everything needed to do the installation short of a Philips head screwdriver.
  7. Thanks for the responses. In terms of video cards, I think I want to go with the higher 6870 now.

    Are there any differences between these two models?

    I see the gigabyte one looks like it has three fans on it, whereas the xfx one (td site) has only one. Does this make a difference at all? They're close enough in price that I don't know which to pick.

    Then there's another 6870 model with 2 fans on it:

    The GTX560 is also available for a bit cheaper, but has a mini-HDMI (I'd rather full size):

  8. I would go for the gigabyte as it's factory OC'd and the 3 fan setup is likely to keep it nice and cool.

    Any of those will give you a pretty good gaming experience
  9. Thanks.

    I'm just putting things together now, and it doesn't look like the 6870 will fit (based on measurements, haven't bought a vid card yet) in the PCIEx16 slot due to the RAM clamps getting in the way... so then I'd have to stick it in the PCIEx4 slot. Is this a big issue? I'm pretty irritated, thought this mobo could handle everything.

    Link for the mobo being used:

    EDIT: Just realised the fans on the vid card will be pointing the other way, so the flat end will be closest to the RAM clamps - crisis averted!
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