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Reviews appreciated: $1,000~$1,300 gaming/virtualization machine.

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April 13, 2012 6:02:13 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: This weekend :bounce: 

Budget Range: $1,000 ~ $1,300

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Virtualization (4-ish VMs on average), watching movies, game development (programming/modeling).

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

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, amazon.com

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: Negligible, yet not going to be a waste.

Overclocking: Yes - light CPU/GPU OC, but not much.

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe in the future if really needed.

Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Cooling is high priority, as I live in a very hot location in the middle of Arizona...the desert is hot, dry (static! Ugh!), and dusty. Yuck!

I've not built a PC in over 10 years, so I'm impartial to the ATI/AMD vs NVidia/Intel battles. However, I hear that the FX line of AMD processors was a bust (Windows 7 can't use all 8 cores and thus throttles the CPU?), and that the best "bang for my buck" at the moment is the i5-2500k. Likewise, I chose the Radeon HD 6850 for it's cost/performance rating.

In the future when I can afford to sink more into the build, I will upgrade to a better CPU and GPU (and at this point I will try for some SLI or XFire). But for now, it's Mass Effect 3 (multiplayer), CoD 3, Skyrim, Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning, Spore, and I will be trying some of the newer games coming out later this year (mostly into RPGs, Space sims, and Shooters).

The Build:

Case:
COOLER MASTER HAF X Blue Edition RC-942-KKN3 Black Steel / Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case with Black Interior and Four Blue LED Fans-1x 140mm rear fan, 1x 200mm top fan, 1x 200mm side fan, and 1x 230mm front fan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seemed to be the best case for my needs: great airflow/cooling, neatness, and expandability. Looks like it will last quite a while.

Motherboard:
GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD3H LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Recommended in some outlets on the internet over the ASRock Extreme3 and Extreme4. Basing it off of pure newegg reviews, ALL motherboards are shown to be the worst products ever created, so it's a bit confusing to choose the best for the budget. But it looks like the Ultra Durable Z77 will be a good fit as it's forward-compatible with the Ivy Bridges coming out later (and the PCIE runs at 16,8,4).

PSU:
Corsair Professional Series Gold 850-Watt 80 Plus Gold Certified High-Performance Power Supply - CMPSU-850AX
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003PJ6QW4/ref=ox_sc_a...

Modular, certified, looks nice, had a great set of reviews.

CPU:
Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 BX80623I52500K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Highly recommended, although I couldn't decide on the 2500k or the 2550k. With an individual graphics card, I won't need the onboard video of the 2500k, but I hear it clocks better than the 2550k? Quad core, no HT - not really sure what the "upgrade" to this is in the i7 line (unlocked, great overclocking/speed/longevity).

I'm also purchasing a Megaflow 200mm for the 2nd fan location at the top of the case, $14 from Amazon is $4 cheaper than Newegg.

CPU Cooling:
CORSAIR CWCH60 Hydro Series H60 High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

May go up to the H80, but undecided right now. The H70 seems like it depends on the choice of fans for the radiators, of which I am entirely confuzzled by the number of fans out there and whether or not CFM or Static Pressure is more important.

CPU Cooling Push/Pull 2nd Fan:
COOLER MASTER R4-L2R-20AC-GP 120mm Blue LED Case Fan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For push/pull configuration on the H60 (or H80).

Memory:
Kingston Technology HyperX 16 GB Kit (4x4 GB Modules) 16 Quad Channel Kit 1600 (PC3 12800) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM KHX1600C9D3K4/16GX
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0033BTACM/ref=ox_sc_a...

16GB purely due to the virtualization needs that I have (8 virtual servers, at LEAST 4 on at any given time, which is about 60% of the time that I am on the PC, even when gaming). Also due to light 3d modeling from my game development hobbies. I'd drop to 8GB if it was purely for gaming.

GPU:
GIGABYTE Ultra Durable VGA Series GV-R685OC-1GD Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seemed like the best bang for my buck. I don't mind upgrading to a newer card later this year when I have a bit more money to throw at it, so I chose this one - supports Eyefinity so I can let the inner nerd out to rock it to some Skyrim or Dirt3, but also seems to have a respectable following online. Most likely will go to that 7950 card in another 7 months, or a Crossfire setup of whatever is between the 6850 and 7950 that is good on performance.

HDD:
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

My two Seagate Barracudas recently flopped, and I'm battling with SG trying to get them RMA'd and replaced. 6th HDD in 2 years to go bad, looking to try another brand, and this came recommended highly over the barracudas while being cheaper than the Velociraptor and Caviar Blacks.

Optical:
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
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Important, but not a deal breaker - highest rated one on newegg, but I have a few spares anyway.

Anti-Static:
Rosewill RTK-002 Anti-Static Wrist Strap
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I live in Arizona. If I don't get one of these, I'm a friggin' idiot DESERVING of a fried board. My only worry is that it is a dud like some of the people who claim to have tested them in the newegg reviews have said (meaning that it's meaningless to get it, but...the chance of it working and needing it but not having it aren't worth the $5 vs $1,000+ debate).

TOTAL COST (PRIOR TO SHIPPING): $1,264.96

I am VERY open to suggestions, assuming they fit within (or very near) the budget., and anything that may be needed that I didn't list.

More about : reviews appreciated 000 300 gaming virtualization machine

April 13, 2012 6:16:58 AM

do you know what VT-d is?
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April 13, 2012 6:39:21 AM

I have heard the term but have not had any direct experience with it. The HP Pavillion that I am using has an AMD Phenom 9750 Quad-Core @ 2.4Ghz, and it's about 6 years old I think.

As far as I can tell, VT-d is a hardware virtualization solution for managing resources. At least, that's my best guess with no knowledge on the subject whatsoever.

PS - your avatar is awesome.
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April 13, 2012 7:07:26 AM

I like what you've come up with.
I have a couple of suggestions.

Consider the ASRock Z77 Extreme4 motherboard.

For your usage, an i7 would be more efficient.
Read up on VT-d, if you decide you want/need it go with an i7-2600 (you will be able to do light overclocking with it by changing the BCLK). Otherwise, I would suggest the i7-2600k for some overclocking freedom :)  You've read that the i5-2500k (or i5-2550k) is the best bang for the buck because it is, when gaming. When you want to do some rendering, CAD, modelling, game development, or any multi-core optimized task, you will greatly benefit from an i7 with hyperthreading.

I would strongly suggest against water cooling. Go with a Noctua NH-D14 (if cooling is really important to you, otherwise you can go with the CoolerMaster Hyper 212 EVO, which is also very good). The NH-D14 is more silent, cools better and has no risk of leaking all over your hardware. It's a win-win.

You can downgrade to a 650w PSU with a lot of power to spare. However, if you are spending more on the PSU because you're thinking of the future upgrades, by all means ignore my suggestion.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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April 13, 2012 8:16:42 AM

Have you had a good experience with the Extreme4? It seemed to have more "rage postings" about board failures than the Gigabyte I linked, which was the only reason I added the Gigabyte to my wishlist on Newegg. I'm up for whatever should last me a while and is as "forward compatable" as my budget dictates. Heck, if I could, I'd shave down on the motherboard in order to save up for one of the sexier high-end radeon GPUs ;-)

If I could get my company to pay for the $100 difference between the 2600k and the 2500k, I'd go with that 2600k. But since my virtualization is mainly educational and only sometimes for testing work-related topics at home, I think it may be best to go with the 2500k for the gaming, no? As far as game development goes, it's a hobby and I'm only one lone person doing it (and I'm not very good at the modeling part, lol). So I'm not even sure the 2600k would make a difference in that area of my life.

I appreciate the PSU recommendation. I actually just found a power calculator that I'm playing with in between typing this to see what I'll most likely continue to use over the next couple of years.

I originally had chosen the CM 212+ for cooling, but it was just SO BIG that I was worried that it would screw up the airflow in the case, on top of ruining the aesthetic look that I'm going for. The Noctua was gigantic as well.

From what I was able to research, the 212+ and the H60 (or maybe it was the H70) get comparable results - which of course is purely on each individual reviewer's setup, environment, etc. But the small profile of the Hydro Series and the ease-of-use with that line of liquid coolers seems like it's too good to pass up.

Have you heard of any of these leaking? I mean, it's a closed system, so there's no maintenance needed on it, and each model in that series has great reviews.

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April 13, 2012 8:39:27 AM

@ the OP. You do not want to use that old school 1.64v Kingston RAM for the fact it will most likely play havoc with the controllers. These 1155 boards require low voltage RAM, as in 1.5v or even less. Also you do not want to use a 4x4 configuration seeing how not only does it prevent you from adding more RAM in the future, it means all four RAM slots full sitting side by side creating heat. Now these Z77 boards just came out a few days ago and they are geared towards the new Intel Ivy Bridge cpu's due out on April 29th. It's the Z68 boards that are geared for the older Sandy Bridge cpu's.

This review down below was done with a Z68 board and not a Z77 board.

Ivy Bridge cpu's are due out April 29th.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5626/ivy-bridge-preview-c... <---- Ivy Bridge cpu review with benchmarks




This build allows you to add another one of those cards later on in a dual card configuration.

http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Carbide-Series-Gaming-CC-... $116.16 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Corsair Carbide Series 500R Mid Tower Gaming Case CC-9011012-WW

http://www.corsair.com/pc-cases/carbide-series-pc-case/... <---- a better look at that case

http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Professional-750-Watt-Cer... $138.98 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Corsair HX Professional Series 750-Watt 80 Plus Certified Power Supply Compatible with Core i7 and Core i5 - CMPSU-750HX

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $139.99
ASRock Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=Z77%20Extre... <----- a better look at that board

http://pcper.com/news/Processors/Intel-Ivy-Bridge-Proce... $225
Intel i5-3750K Ivy Bridge CPU 3.4Ghz

http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-212-RR-212E-2... $34.29 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler (RR-212E-20PK-R2)

add this fan down below to that CM 212 EVO cpu h/s for a "push - pull" effect to help bring the cpu temps down even more.

http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-BladeMaster-Silent-... $10.25 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25
Cooler Master BladeMaster 120mm PWM High Air Flow Silent Case Fan R4-BMBS-20PK-R0

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $114.99 FREE SHIPPING
G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C10D-16GAO

http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Barracuda-3-5-Inch-Intern... $99.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Seagate Barracuda 7200 1 TB 7200RPM SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST1000DM003

http://www.amazon.com/Asus-24xDVD%C2%B1RW-Serial-Intern... $22.48 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25
Asus 24xDVD±RW Serial ATA Internal OEM Drive DRW-24B1ST (Black)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $259.99
MSI R7850 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC Radeon HD 7850 2GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 Video Card

Total: $1,062.13 *not including shipping & rebates


This cpu down below supports hyper threading.

http://pcper.com/news/Processors/Intel-Ivy-Bridge-Proce... $332
Intel i7-3770K Ivy Bridge CPU 3.5Gh

This board down below has IEEE 1394.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $174.99
ASRock Z77 Extreme6 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Nice quick SATA 3 SSD at a great price.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $124.99 FREE SHIPPING
Mushkin Enhanced Chronos MKNSSDCR120GB 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
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April 13, 2012 8:44:39 AM

Nebulocity said:
Have you had a good experience with the Extreme4? It seemed to have more "rage postings" about board failures than the Gigabyte I linked, which was the only reason I added the Gigabyte to my wishlist on Newegg. I'm up for whatever should last me a while and is as "forward compatable" as my budget dictates. Heck, if I could, I'd shave down on the motherboard in order to save up for one of the sexier high-end radeon GPUs ;-).


The Z77 boards just came out and the cpu's they are meant for haven't been released yet so I doubt anyone here has actually used a Z77 board. Now the Z68 boards like the Asrock Z68 extreme4 has been out for close to a year now and it's solid. I would wait until the 29th for Ivy Bridge so you not only get the use of PCI-E 3.0 but you also have the new 22nm cpu that uses less juice, runs cooler, and o/c's better than any cpu to date.
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April 13, 2012 4:28:54 PM

Why_Me said:
*snip*


Just a note - I'm not trying to be argumentative with my responses, I'm just wondering "why do you think XX is better than YY when you recommend it?"

Case:
I'm not so sure about that Carbide...it's ugly, and it's a mid-tower (what I currently have). A mid-tower won't fit the unlisted items I have that will go in there. I also dislike mid-towers because I have large hands, no matter how deft I am at playing guitar and piano, I still manage to come out looking like my hands lost a fight with a rabbit ferret! I'm amazed that 212+ can fit into that case!

PSU:
While I do have the CMPSU-850AX listed on this post, I actually dropped it to the CMPSU-750AX in my list. When I decide to go SLI/Crossfire, this PSU would be ready for it. I don't see any glaring difference between the 750HX that you linked and the 750AX that I have in the list (http://bit.ly/HwTTc0 - comparison b/w the two from Newegg). Thoughts on this?

HDD:
I actually have 2x 1TB Seagate Barracudas that I am in the process of RMA'ing. I'll see how that goes before getting another one!

RAM:
Wow, I did not realize that. Like I said, I've been out of the loop for quite a while. Thanks! I did some research and sure enough, 1.65v = bad stuffs. I'm not so sure that I like that G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB)...Orange is on my **** list for being "one of the crappiest colors ever", haha!

But you DO recommend going with 2x 8GB sticks rather than 4x 4GB sticks? Can you make an educated guess on why *anyone* might need more than 16GB of RAM over the next couple of years? Haha! I can't imagine ever wanting or needing more than 16GB of memory, at least not until it's time to upgrade to a new board anyway...I'm not a super-enthusiast, won't be overclocking to "LIGHT SPEED", and won't be dumping tons of money into the rig...just around a max of $1,300'ish.

I'll have to compare the board that I had and the board that you recommended...they're both Z77, so I'll need to look at the differences between them.

By all means, continue commenting and schooling me in this. I appreciate it, and it's all very interesting! :o 
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April 13, 2012 4:30:44 PM

VT-d is a virtualization technology. If you have interest in virtualization i suggest learning what VT-d would do for you if you had it.

K series sandybridge processors have been stripped of VT-d while non-K processors have it. Just something I thought you might be interested in knowing.
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April 13, 2012 4:46:12 PM

Why_Me said:
The Z77 boards just came out and the cpu's they are meant for haven't been released yet so I doubt anyone here has actually used a Z77 board. Now the Z68 boards like the Asrock Z68 extreme4 has been out for close to a year now and it's solid. I would wait until the 29th for Ivy Bridge so you not only get the use of PCI-E 3.0 but you also have the new 22nm cpu that uses less juice, runs cooler, and o/c's better than any cpu to date.


What do you think about this memory:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C9D-16GXM
Cas Latency: 9
Voltage: 1.5V
Multi-channel Kit: Dual Channel Kit
Timing: 9-9-9
ECC: No
Buffered/Registered: Unbuffered
Heat Spreader: Yes

I just don't like their red/orange colors, as it throws everything off in the case. So, looking for a blue or black color - and I'm impartial to brand. I chose Kingston HyperX over the Corsair Vengeance because a lot of people seemed to ahve issues with the Vengeance line.
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April 13, 2012 4:47:54 PM

neon neophyte said:
VT-d is a virtualization technology. If you have interest in virtualization i suggest learning what VT-d would do for you if you had it.

K series sandybridge processors have been stripped of VT-d while non-K processors have it. Just something I thought you might be interested in knowing.


It certainly was ;-) I may build another rig later on purely just for virtualization, and make use of that processor. The price would be lower anyway without needing an overpowered GPU, i think ;-) But I don' thtink that my virtualization habbits warrant passing up on the K version, lol.
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April 13, 2012 4:51:49 PM

Nebulocity said:
It certainly was ;-) I may build another rig later on purely just for virtualization, and make use of that processor. The price would be lower anyway without needing an overpowered GPU, i think ;-) But I don' thtink that my virtualization habbits warrant passing up on the K version, lol.


and those bastards at intel know it! lol. i too have a k series processor. i would like vt-d but its just not worth the loss of pure processing power!
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Best solution

April 13, 2012 5:12:15 PM

Nebulocity said:
Just a note - I'm not trying to be argumentative with my responses, I'm just wondering "why do you think XX is better than YY when you recommend it?"

Case:
I'm not so sure about that Carbide...it's ugly, and it's a mid-tower (what I currently have). A mid-tower won't fit the unlisted items I have that will go in there. I also dislike mid-towers because I have large hands, no matter how deft I am at playing guitar and piano, I still manage to come out looking like my hands lost a fight with a rabbit ferret! I'm amazed that 212+ can fit into that case!
Quote:

I threw that case in to give you something else too look at that is a bargain for what it offers. I even linked to the case on the Corsair site that's loaded with over dozen professional reviews on it. Corsair calls that case a "mid tower", yet that case would be considered a full tower by some other manufactures.
Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 8.1 x 20 inches <---- That case is anything but small. Also it offers multiple fan controllers, SSD cage, front 3.0 USB ports, side 200mm fan, and the option to add several more fans to that case. That case is a steal at that price and unless you plan on going with quad gpu's, it's plenty big and then some.

Quote:
PSU:
While I do have the CMPSU-850AX listed on this post, I actually dropped it to the CMPSU-750AX in my list. When I decide to go SLI/Crossfire, this PSU would be ready for it. I don't see any glaring difference between the 750HX that you linked and the 750AX that I have in the list (http://bit.ly/HwTTc0 - comparison b/w the two from Newegg). Thoughts on this?

It's a fine line between Gold, Silver, and Bronze in regards to efficiency. A 650w psu will easily push that build I posted, but the extra 100w gives you some headroom in case you decide to add a bunch more drives, o/c, add fans, etc.... And that HX750 is priced right on amazon.

Quote:
HDD:
I actually have 2x 1TB Seagate Barracudas that I am in the process of RMA'ing. I'll see how that goes before getting another one!
Quote:

The only difference between the HD I posted and you posted is the extra cache. The one linked to amazon is a newer model that comes with 64mb of cache.

Quote:
RAM:
Wow, I did not realize that. Like I said, I've been out of the loop for quite a while. Thanks! I did some research and sure enough, 1.65v = bad stuffs. I'm not so sure that I like that G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB)...Orange is on my **** list for being "one of the crappiest colors ever", haha!

You never see the RAM, even with a window case...all you see is the top of the sticks. It's all about "low heat spreaders". You don't want to impede your after market cpu h/s with RAM that looks like it could pass for a hair comb. There are other decent low profile RAM on newegg though.. check Corsair, Mushkin, Crucial, etc..

Quote:
But you DO recommend going with 2x 8GB sticks rather than 4x 4GB sticks? Can you make an educated guess on why *anyone* might need more than 16GB of RAM over the next couple of years? Haha! I can't imagine ever wanting or needing more than 16GB of memory, at least not until it's time to upgrade to a new board anyway...I'm not a super-enthusiast, won't be overclocking to "LIGHT SPEED", and won't be dumping tons of money into the rig...just around a max of $1,300'ish.

You don't want four sticks of RAM side by side creating heat if you can help it. That and you always want to leave the option open to add more RAM. 4x4GB of sticks is obviously not the way to go on a board that offers 4 RAM slots and has a ceiling of 32GB.

Quote:
I'll have to compare the board that I had and the board that you recommended...they're both Z77, so I'll need to look at the differences between them.


By all means, continue commenting and schooling me in this. I appreciate it, and it's all very interesting! :o 
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I went for price point with the board. You could flip a coin between that Arock and Gigabyte board. Other than the color scheme, and bios the both have pretty much the identical features. I do like Asrocks UEFI bios interface though. It's a dream to work with. Makes things like o/c easy as pie.
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April 13, 2012 5:19:45 PM

Why_Me said:
I went for price point with the board. You could flip a coin between that Arock and Gigabyte board. Other than the color scheme, and bios the both have pretty much the identical features. I do like Asrocks UEFI bios interface though. It's a dream to work with. Makes things like o/c easy as pie.


Yea, I was just watching a video of someone on YouTube walking through it. Things have REALLY progressed over the years!

So with 2x 8GB sticks, and if I'm remembering how to seat RAM correctly, you end up spacing them out, right? So you'd fill slot #1 and slot #3, leaving slots #2 and #4 empty?

I'll go look at that case again. I must admit, I was up until 2am trying to squeeze more life of my dying HP so that I can finish moving things off of it and finish writing some programs in Turbo Assembler that are due for a class that I'm taking. Now that I've had a bit of coffee, maybe I can stop tripping over myself and pick up on the qualities of what was recommended, lol. :pt1cable: 
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April 13, 2012 5:45:06 PM

Nebulocity said:
Yea, I was just watching a video of someone on YouTube walking through it. Things have REALLY progressed over the years!

So with 2x 8GB sticks, and if I'm remembering how to seat RAM correctly, you end up spacing them out, right? So you'd fill slot #1 and slot #3, leaving slots #2 and #4 empty?

I'll go look at that case again. I must admit, I was up until 2am trying to squeeze more life of my dying HP so that I can finish moving things off of it and finish writing some programs in Turbo Assembler that are due for a class that I'm taking. Now that I've had a bit of coffee, maybe I can stop tripping over myself and pick up on the qualities of what was recommended, lol. :pt1cable: 

Yep, it be slots #1 and 3. What Corsair and Cooler Master calls some of it's cases "mid towers", other manufactures would call them a full tower. Antec cases...their full towers look like their 3' tall, yet they are super skinny. Horrible.

Man though wait until you make this build. Your going to think you went from horse and buggy to a rocket ship. Sandy Bridge blew the doors wide open and Ivy Bridge is more of a polished Sandy Bridge with a few extra goodies added to it. These cpu's run cool, don't use much juice, it doesn't take a rocket scientist these days to over clock these buggers, and they are fast fast and fast! :) 
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April 13, 2012 7:36:12 PM

My main fear is that I'm going to somehow break something while putting it together. Many years ago, I purchased a motherboard, brought it to my dorm room in college....only to have it not work after I seated it into my case. The store didn't accept returns, and I had no idea what happened to it.

When I was finally able to find someone who knew something about motherboards, he determined (using various nick-nacks that I don't know the name for) that the board was dead, most likely due to static eletricity.
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April 13, 2012 7:54:06 PM

Nebulocity said:
My main fear is that I'm going to somehow break something while putting it together. Many years ago, I purchased a motherboard, brought it to my dorm room in college....only to have it not work after I seated it into my case. The store didn't accept returns, and I had no idea what happened to it.

When I was finally able to find someone who knew something about motherboards, he determined (using various nick-nacks that I don't know the name for) that the board was dead, most likely due to static eletricity.

newegg and amazon have those anti static wrist strap for under $10. Both newegg and amazon are great when it comes to returning/replacing items.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
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April 16, 2012 8:59:08 PM

This is what I ended up going with. A lot of hard decisions, but I'm super-excited to put it together! I ordered it at 3:30am last night (yea, 5 hours before having to head off to work), and everything was marked as "shipped" on Newegg about an hour ago.

Case: NZXT Switch 810 Black Steel
MB: GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD5H LGA 1155
CPU: Intel Core i5-2550K SB 3.4GHz
CPU: Corsair H100 Extreme Liquid Cooler
Fans: 10x NZXT 140mm (FX-140LB)
GPU: ASUS HD 7850 2GB @ 1.2Ghz
PSU: Corsair Pro/Gold AX750
RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) 1600
SWAG: 2x LogiSys SuperBright Red 18 LED SunStick





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April 16, 2012 8:59:29 PM

Best answer selected by Nebulocity.
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!