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$2000-2500 Gaming/Rendering build. Your thoughts?

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May 3, 2012 2:52:56 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: end of May 2012 for the latest (I've been waiting mths to see how Ivy bridge played out)

Budget Range: $2000-2500 range

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, 3d rendering, surfing the internet, watching movies etc

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: It's gotta be Amazon.com (I live in the Caribbean, shipping/payment made easy with Amazon)

Country: -

Parts Preferences: -

Overclocking: Yes (not at any extreme enthusiast level, still relatively new)

SLI or Crossfire: Yes (maybe a few mths down the road and if I really need it)

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 but I'm hoping to upgrade to 2560x1440

Additional Comments: Not going for any kind of extreme enthusiast build, just something that can last me a couple years. Not a hardcore gamer, but I will be hitting D3 during my free time. I usually juggle 1-2 games at once tops. If I decide to bring home my work, that's where the 3d rendering comes into play


I've never built a pc at this level, I'm still using an amd athlon 2.3 dual-core + 9600gt, it's been that many years...
So, originally this build was scheduled for Dec 2011 but with Ivy Bridge around the corner and the new gpu's I decided to wait. Here's what I've come up with, any suggestions would be appreciated (especially at the video card level). I also included some of the reasoning behind my choices, correct me if I'm wrong :non: 

CPU: Intel Core i7 3770k [http://www.amazon.com/Intel-Core-3770K-processor-BX8063...] ~$350

I know it's between this and the 3570k, but considering the 3d rendering I opted for the i7. Not going to any extreme OC, I understand the heating issues with Ivy.

Mobo: Asus z77 Deluxe [http://www.amazon.com/Deluxe-Intel-Motherboard-P8Z77-V-...] ~$269.

I would prefer an Asus mobo, having read many good things over the last couple mths but I'd be open to recommendations. I'll run a dual-SLI at most, nothing more and I may throw in a soundcard at a later date as I'm something of an audiophile.

RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB [http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Vengeance-Channel-Memory-...] ~$90

Video Card: Evga GTX 680 Signature Ed. [http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-SIGNATURE-DisplayPort-Graphi...] ~%550.

I'm not exactly sure which brand I should buy or is there any reason I should wait for the 4gb version of this card. I just run a duplicate screen setup, outputting to a 24" LED monitor and Sony Bravia 46" LCD (if I'm watching a movie). I'll be upgrading to a 27" monitor but I have no intention of running a dual/triple screen setup for gaming

PSU: Corsair 850W Gold [http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Professional-1200-Watt-Ce...] ~$190

Should be enough for a dual-SLI setup if I decide to right?

Cooling: Corsair H100 [ http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Series-Extreme-Performanc...] ~$98

Considering I'm going to OC and the heating issues with Ivy, I decided the safer choice would be some form of liquid cooling.

Optical Drive: Asus Blu-Ray Burner [http://www.amazon.com/BW-12B1ST-BLK-Blu-ray-Internal-En...] ~$85

HDD: 1x Intel 520 240gb [http://www.amazon.com/Intel-Series-2-5-Inch-Solid-State...] ~$331

240gb over 120gb for future-proofing. I prefer reliability to performance so it was either between this or the M4.

1x WD 1TB Black [http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-Caviar-Internal-D...] ~$125


Case: Thermaltake level10GT Snow [http://www.amazon.com/Thermaltake-Level-Edition-Gaming-...] ~$290.

This is a personal preference, I know a lot of you may not agree but it's an excellent case and I happen to like the flashy design. Only thing I'd sub it for is the Corsair 800d


Corrections/improvements. Yay/Nay? :hello: 
May 3, 2012 3:06:25 PM

Most of that stuff is personal preference though I will say I'd forgo the Ivy Bridge for now. Too hot, too much power consumption, and no noticeable processing power gain. That would let you swap your cooler for something cheaper as well, like a hyper 212+ or something.

The video card, if you have the money to burn then go ahead but it really is quite over priced right now. A 580 will get you just about the exact same performance on any game and is a little cheaper.

SSD 240gb won't really future proof you from anything. assuming you aren't planning on putting all your games on it 120gb will be perfectly fine, and by the time you fill it up you could get another 120gb for less than the difference between the 240 and 120.


But as I said this is all personal preference and I prefer things that are at the top of the value/dollar scale rather than things on the cutting edge.
May 3, 2012 5:14:53 PM

I don't see any problems with using Ivy Bridge, yeah it will run a bit hotter if you overclock but you get a slight performance increase for pretty much the same price. You get other bonus's as well though, HD 4000 graphics, native DDR3 1600Mhz support, native PCI-e 3.0 support etc.
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May 3, 2012 5:34:13 PM
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Quote:
I don't see any problems with using Ivy Bridge, yeah it will run a bit hotter if you overclock but you get a slight performance increase for pretty much the same price. You get other bonus's as well though, HD 4000 graphics, native DDR3 1600Mhz support, native PCI-e 3.0 support etc.


I just bought an i5-3570K - I'm a little worried about the reported heat temperatures but I think it will be fine if you get any sort of aftermarket cooler. If I run into the heat issues I'll definitely report them. If heat is your biggest concern on a build with that budget I'd go X79 over Ivy.

Quote:
240gb over 120gb for future-proofing. I prefer reliability to performance so it was either between this or the M4.


If reliability is your concern with SSD - don't get an Intel as they use the Sandforce controller. Any Marvell based drive (M4, Plextor M3, Samsung 830) will be far more stable than any Sandforce drive.

Quote:
Considering I'm going to OC and the heating issues with Ivy, I decided the safer choice would be some form of liquid cooling.


Not necessarily - even a strong fan like a Noctua D14 will still be far safer than any liquid cooler and you most likely won't run into the heat issues.
May 3, 2012 5:47:58 PM

Intel's Sandforce based drives should still be very reliable, they will be using very high quality memory. It's generally just the cheaper Sandforce drives that are unreliable. The Crucial and Samsung drives are a lot cheaper though, better value for money I think. (Pretty sure the Samsung 830 isn't a Marvell drive by the way, it uses its own unique controller)
May 3, 2012 6:08:29 PM

Oseriduun said:
Not going for any kind of extreme enthusiast build, just something that can last me a couple years.


This is a pretty "enthusiast build." It will easily be able to play Diablo III (probably with like 100+ FPS).

Get the Corsair 800d instead.
May 3, 2012 6:12:47 PM

omacaco said:
Most of that stuff is personal preference though I will say I'd forgo the Ivy Bridge for now. Too hot, too much power consumption, and no noticeable processing power gain. That would let you swap your cooler for something cheaper as well, like a hyper 212+ or something.

The video card, if you have the money to burn then go ahead but it really is quite over priced right now. A 580 will get you just about the exact same performance on any game and is a little cheaper.

SSD 240gb won't really future proof you from anything. assuming you aren't planning on putting all your games on it 120gb will be perfectly fine, and by the time you fill it up you could get another 120gb for less than the difference between the 240 and 120.


But as I said this is all personal preference and I prefer things that are at the top of the value/dollar scale rather than things on the cutting edge.


Well in terms of OC, I hadn't planned to go to any extreme so I'm not too worried about heating with the h100. Considering this system is going to be a significant upgrade to my current, I didn't see the sense to go Sandy with the advantages of Ivy's native support etc etc, even if the performance increase isn't that much of a bump up. I'd end up having to get an i7 Sandy which unfortunately isn't much of a price difference as yet.

I am planning to put a game or two on the SSD, but I understand where you're getting at with the value/dollar scaling over time. I may just go with a 120gb after all
May 3, 2012 6:15:12 PM

jmsellars1 said:
Intel's Sandforce based drives should still be very reliable, they will be using very high quality memory. It's generally just the cheaper Sandforce drives that are unreliable. The Crucial and Samsung drives are a lot cheaper though, better value for money I think. (Pretty sure the Samsung 830 isn't a Marvell drive by the way, it uses its own unique controller)


I have two systems - my work computer runs off a 64GB M4, and my gaming / media computer runs off an Intel 320. Until I updated the firmware the Intel 320 was giving me nothing but issues - I had plenty of BSODs and all the nightmare things that are associated with Sandforce, my work PC has been completely problem free. I'm thinking of switching out my primary SSD with an M4 or Plextor drive at some point.

Quote:
Get the Corsair 800d instead.


IMO - I wouldn't spend $270 on a case. To me that isn't worth it, unless you're using a monster motherboard like the EVGA Z77 FTW or the Asus Rampage IV. Go with a $150 case like the NZXT Switch 810 or the Corsair Carbide 500R and put that extra $130 elsewhere.
May 3, 2012 6:16:37 PM

g-unit1111 said:

If reliability is your concern with SSD - don't get an Intel as they use the Sandforce controller. Any Marvell based drive (M4, Plextor M3, Samsung 830) will be far more stable than any Sandforce drive.


I've been hearing good things about the Samsung 830 line, I'll be sure to check this out.
May 3, 2012 6:36:48 PM

Oseriduun said:
I've been hearing good things about the Samsung 830 line, I'll be sure to check this out.


I'd heavily suggest reading this roundup: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/plextor-m3-crucial-...

The M4 is still the reigning champion but they really liked the Plextor M3 line. I'm thinking I might swap my Intel drive for one in the near future.
May 11, 2012 11:33:58 AM

Best answer selected by oseriduun.
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