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$1200-1400 gaming build and transportation protection

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March 18, 2012 6:39:58 PM

I've been pretty much out of the world since my last build, but I'm looking to put together a new system, this time for my own use. Unfortunately, I don't have the time for parts research that I had last round in addition to not being up to date on the last seven or eight months of technology changes. I've already taken a look at the $1500 recommended build, but I'd also like some further (and completely up to date) input before I start watching the sales and slickdeals for parts. I'd like to keep the price for the PC itself around $1200 unless going higher will yield a significant improvement. My other challenge is that this PC (and peripherals like the monitor) will need to be able to survive at least a few plane trips over the next year. I've looked a little for some sort of protective carrying case but not had any luck. Suggestions/advice there would be great.

Approximate Purchase Date: Early April

Budget Range: $1200-1600 (lower preferred, but willing to spend more if the improvement in performance is significant; price includes monitor and travel protection, if it can be found)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (Mass Effect 3, Skyrim, etc), internet browsing, document editting

Parts Not Required: Speakers; this is a completely fresh build, so it'll need monitor, keyboard, and mouse, but I intend to use my present headphones for all of the audio output

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, amazon.com, tigerdirect.com, and any other site as long as it's reputable

Country: US

Parts Preferences: no brand preferences; 22" monitor at minimum; advice on a carrying case or other method of protecting the PC and monitor during travel (it'll be handled by airport personnel) would be much appreciated

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Possibly in the future, but would prefer not to mess with it yet

Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080 minimum

Additional Comments: Don't care much about looks, but durability is important since this build will be flying with me (up to and including leaving the US). Also, any suggestions on a carrying case or other method of protecting the PC and monitor during travel would be great.
March 18, 2012 6:59:32 PM

One thing I might suggest is a water cooler for your application. Air coolers tend to be tall & quite heavy. Getting tossed around, even if protected by a case, the forces on the mobo could be excessive.
-Bruce
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March 18, 2012 7:41:16 PM

1. How big of an issue is performance? Are we looking at very top performance for the dollar or are you willing to make some sacrifices for east of transport and durability?

2. How much do you like working on computers? There might actually be something to be said here for buying a cheap crap case, and then having it replaced from the ware house if damaged in transport.
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March 18, 2012 7:59:01 PM

Oh yeah you might just consider building what ever you normally would then using this.

http://www.pelican-case.com/0370.html with it. Kind of expensive but it is replaced by them for your entire life so that is generally fairly cool and past experience with their cases (I couldn't find quite what I was looking for in their current inventory) tells me they make rather nice stuff.

Oh and moose I have a great idea, Lets attach a radiator with fans and fins to the top of a computer case, with exposed tubing hanging out the back of it, see what hauling a liquid around does to weight and ease of carry, then send it through a bunch of pressure changes in the cabin of an airplane making a bunch of pressure changes.

Or if I've got a big cpu air-cooler I could just safety wire the sides of the thing to case points like air-filter grills and drive bay mounts to help relieve possible stress on the motherboard silicon. I know one of those options is complicated.

Actually with this build cortillaen safety wire and heat shrink are going to be very good friends of yours.
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Best solution

March 18, 2012 8:31:37 PM

dish_moose said:
One thing I might suggest is a water cooler for your application. Air coolers tend to be tall & quite heavy. Getting tossed around, even if protected by a case, the forces on the mobo could be excessive.
-Bruce


I still wouldn't - you can certainly get a lightweight / low profile air cooler like the Noctua NH-U9B or the Cooler Master Vortex. Water cooling has a greater degree of risk to your components and on a $1600 build I definitely wouldn't trust it. Even if you transport a water cooled PC you run the risk of a water pipe breaking and there goes your whole system. I try to stay away from water cooling if I can possibly help it at all. You can get a traveling case like the case that Thermaltake makes: http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/store/Product.aspx?C=1154...

Here's a $1600 build I typically suggest:

Case: Corsair Carbide 500R - $139.99 ($15.00 MIR)
PSU: Corsair HX850 - $187.99 ($20.00 MIR)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3H - $159.99
CPU: 3.30GHz Intel Core i5-2500K - $219.99
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo - $34.99
RAM: Crucial Ballistix 8GB 1600MHz 1.5V - $64.99
SSD: 64GB Crucial M4 - $109.99
HD: Samsung Ecogreen F4 2TB - $149.99
Optical: Lite On DVD Burner - $17.99
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 - $459.99

Total: $1,527.90 - $30.00 MIR = $1,497.91
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March 18, 2012 10:28:00 PM

Maxor1 said:
1. How big of an issue is performance? Are we looking at very top performance for the dollar or are you willing to make some sacrifices for east of transport and durability?

2. How much do you like working on computers? There might actually be something to be said here for buying a cheap crap case, and then having it replaced from the ware house if damaged in transport.

1. Surviving transport intact is top priority. To clarify what this system will go through, I will be moving to a to-be-determined location (possibilities include everything from a short flight to Japan, likely with multiple connecting flights) about 2 months after I build it. At least one more move in the succeeding month is possible, but I should be stable for a couple years after that, after which it'll have to survive another major move.
2. Messing with cord routing is a little annoying, but I generally enjoy playing with pc innards. I 'll take that idea under consideration, but I'd really rather just have a solid system that survives the trip.

Maxor1, that's the sort of case that I probably need, but that's quite the pricetag. As for cooling, I agree completely. I'm kinda surprised how few desktop carrying cases there seem to be, but I suppose there aren't a lot of folks looking to haul their pc on multiple flights.
g-unit1111 said:
I still wouldn't - you can certainly get a lightweight / low profile air cooler like the Noctua NH-U9B or the Cooler Master Vortex. Water cooling has a greater degree of risk to your components and on a $1600 build I definitely wouldn't trust it. Even if you transport a water cooled PC you run the risk of a water pipe breaking and there goes your whole system. I try to stay away from water cooling if I can possibly help it at all.

The idea of having airport jokers moving a water-cooled system just makes my skin crawl. Wiring a fan/sink into place strikes me as the much better option. Heck I might just take the fan/sink off and reattach it afterwards.

g-unit1111 said:
You can get a traveling case like the case that Thermaltake makes: http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/store/Product.aspx?C=1154...

Is that case configurable for a desktop and monitor? It looks a little on the small side. Really wishing I had access to a good machine shop, some aluminum or light steel sheet metal, and some foam, but no such luck.
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March 18, 2012 11:03:27 PM

Anonymous said:
ROAD CASE!
http://store.roadreadycases.com/dyn_prod.php?p=RRG5&k=1...
not sure the exact dimensions. contact them to see what can be worked out.


Those look like the types of cases that musicians use to transport their equipment. :lol: 

That's probably a better choice than that Thermaltake bag I recommended.

Quote:
The idea of having airport jokers moving a water-cooled system just makes my skin crawl. Wiring a fan/sink into place strikes me as the much better option. Heck I might just take the fan/sink off and reattach it afterwards.


I agree - water cooling is dangerous and transporting a system often could have disastrous consequences down the road.

That's not a good idea as you could fry your CPU that way - or other parts of the build. Heat sinks are usually really light weight and don't change the weight of the build much - the case is the heaviest part of any build, but it will protect the components inside.

You might want to consider a really nice gaming laptop on the other hand - something along the lines of what Origin or Falcon Northwest make:
http://www.originpc.com/
http://www.falcon-nw.com/
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March 27, 2012 10:41:16 PM

Okay, I've decided on my protection plan, so that's out of the way.

Most of the parts I'm considering now are the same as in g-unit's suggestion with the following exceptions.

LIAN LI K60B Black CECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $79.99 & 15% off
(any problems with this case? the reviews look good, and the lack of USB 3.0 ports on the front isn't a problem for me)

i5-2550K since I've got an coupon code that puts it at the same price as the 2500K

COOLER MASTER Silent Pro Gold Series RSC00-80GAD3-US 1200W ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.92 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply $199.99 (email offer and -$20.00 MIR)

Thoughts and opinions?
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Anonymous
March 27, 2012 10:53:39 PM

even though THAT cooler master is rated higher than most of their sub performing products:
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

i really think you might be better with:
OCZ ZX Series 1250W Fully-Modular 80PLUS Gold
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
for $10 more after all the rebate stuff.
i couldn't find a johnny guru review but a kit guru review:
http://www.kitguru.net/components/power-supplies/zardon...

hope it helps.
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March 31, 2012 10:23:31 PM

Well, after arriving at my next duty station, I came to find out that I probably won't have enough space for a desktop system and accompanying peripherals for months on end over the next few years. It sucks, especially given the massive difference in performance of a desktop over a laptop at the same price, but I really can't justify building a system that I may not be able to use for months at a time. It also sucks since I have to depend on third-party builders and their limited selections of components and/or inflated prices, but it looks like I'll have to buy a laptop.

Thanks for the advice and suggestions anyways. :( 
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March 31, 2012 10:23:57 PM

Best answer selected by cortillaen.
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