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Ivy-Bridge, "Tier 2", Multi-Tasking, Gaming-Ready Rig

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May 5, 2012 10:27:41 PM

By "Tier 2", I mean to say that I am willing to drop close to top dollar for the most current parts, but I'm not looking to get the top of the line for unnecessary and minimal performance boosts.
Also, this will be my first time building a system from scratch. While I do have ample experience working with components, I am still a bit apprehensive on doing the whole thing, so any and all criticism is welcome, Thank you!

Approximate Purchase Date: Mid-June/July.

Budget Range: $1000-$1500

System Usage from Most to Least Important:
Program Editors/compilers, Office Suite Programs, Web, will be dual booting with Win 7 and Ubuntu, potentially gaming in the future (Guild Wars 2 or equivalent).

Parts Not Required:
Monitor, Mouse, Keyboard, Speakers, Storage HDD (will be buying an SSD to boot OS), Battery Backup Unit, PSU (link below)

CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX850 (CMPSU-850AX) 850W ATX12V
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Country: USA

Parts Preferences:
Intel i7 Ivy Bridge CPU, ASUS Mobo, Nvidia GPU, Full Tower Case

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire:
Potentially SLI in the future if needed.

Additional Comments:
So I realize for what I'll be using it for it'll be a bit overkill, but I want to have the potential for if/when I decide to game and want to get another GPU for SLI. I feel I have my CPU and Mobo picked out, from the little bit of researching I did. They are linked below, any comments on my selection would be greatly appreciated.

Intel Core i7-3770 Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 LGA 1155 Intel Z77
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

My Biggest Questions:

GPU:
I've always been behind the curve on knowing GPU specs, so any suggestions for what I should be looking at would be great. I'd like to keep it under $350 as I won't be gaming once I get the system built. That being said, which card has the best potential for SLI down the road? I would like to run an Nvidia card, but am open to ATI options. Also, what do I need to consider in compatibility with the Mobo/CPU?

Liquid Cooling:
This is something I've never even google'd (which I will do as soon as I post just to get a basic understanding). I would really appreciate someone's experienced advice on this as I am pretty nervous to install something so critical (dangerous?) as running water inside my computer!!

SSD:
OCZ Vertex 4 VTX4-25SAT3-128G
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM:
I think I'd like to install 2 x 4Gb sticks of DDR3 to start, and then double that if/when I add another video card. I can't imagine there is too much to consider when buying RAM, but I really want to do this right the first time and am sure someone has good advice :) 

Thanks so much for your time in reading all this! Any and all advice is greatly appreciated!
May 6, 2012 8:43:47 PM

So I've done some more research and I believe I have all the components (minus the GPU), picked out.

Case:
Corsair Carbide Series 500R
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo:
ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 LGA 1155 Intel Z77
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU:
Intel Core i7-3770 Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: (already purchased)
CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX850 (CMPSU-850AX) 850W ATX12V
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM:
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD:
OCZ Vertex 4 VTX4-25SAT3-128G
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Liquid Cooling:
CORSAIR H100 (CWCH100) Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I want to go ahead and purchase the case now due to the current rebate, but would like to know if it's a good choice over the 3 following cases?

Thermaltake Overseer RX-I VN700M1W2N
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

COOLER MASTER CM Storm Series Trooper (SGC-5000-KKN1)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

Rosewill THOR V2 Gaming ATX Full Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Since I will be getting the corsair H100 liquid cooler, I am leaning toward to corsair case since the radiator can be neatly mounted to the top of the case, but it does seem like that would be possible with these other 3 cases as well. I'm a bit on the fence with all of them, so I could use some opinion. Thanks!
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May 6, 2012 10:08:06 PM

If you're going to get an Ivy Bridge CPU, make sure you get one you can overclock, which are the ones with a "K" at the end. That regular 3770 is going to be stuck at or very close to stock settings.

On a related note, water cooling is a 100% waste of time and money unless you plan on doing overclocking - and serious overclocking at that. You'll probably do just as well with a $50 air cooler in this case.

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May 6, 2012 10:35:00 PM

Well I don't think I will be overclocking since I won't require the extra performance necessarily. That being said, can I stick with this CPU and just forgo the water cooler?
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May 6, 2012 11:37:32 PM

Yes, skip the water cooler. I opted for the 3770 as well (non-k) and use the Hyper 212 EVO cooler. Depending on board and cooler, you might want to look into low-profile RAM... I used similar Gskills as you on an Asus P8Z77-V and the aforementioned EVO cooler, and it's a tight fit due to the RAM heatsinks... my air fan sits roughly 1/4" higher than the sink. Not perfect, yet no big deal and my CPU runs nice and cool. I don't want to install the fan on the other side to "pull". Anyway, had I known this beforehand I would've looked into getting different, low-profile sticks. I thought this only affected some Corsair RAM but didn't do enough research :D 

The motherboard is overkill, as is the PSU... a TX750 will fit the bill nicely with ample overhead:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Save the $$ above and go for more RAM instead, ie 16 GB (depending on your usage, that is... I don't know if increasing RAM would necessarily benefit your apps)

GPU, something like the GTX 560 Ti 2GB may fit the bill:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you're buying from newegg, keep in mind a lot of the components are available as combos which could end up shaving another $50 or so off your build.
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May 7, 2012 3:09:55 AM

Well I already had that 850 Watt PSU from my old PC, so I'll be using that. And I realize I could probably shave $50 off the Mobo, but I'm really hooked on the look of the Sabertooth and I wouldn't mind having the PCI-E 3.0 available for future cards that actually utilize its speed. The Sabertooth has a 5 yr warranty too, so that should last me.

I like your suggestion of the GTX 560 Ti 2GB, but I'm just curious why you chose that over the MSI card which is slightly overclocked for $10 cheaper (link below).

MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II 2GD5/OC GeForce GTX 560 Ti
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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