Non-K IB CPU + H77 or K IB CPU + Z77? (+ some general advice needed)

Hi everybody,

I'm finally upgrading my Core2 E6750 rig (around 3-4-years old, daily usage/browsing with ocasional photo editing, encoding, some gaming, etc.). I've waited it out until Ivy Bridge came out. But in all honesty, I would be OK going with SB, if that turns out to be a better strategy. But since I'm upgrading from a Core2 Duo, I figured IB makes more sense. Bear with me here as I think "outloud." Feel free to offer your thoughts and opinions.

Currently debating whether to go with a "K"-based CPU or not (and an appropriate motherboard). It's been a long time since I've messed with OC'ing, and I don't have a particular need to do it now, either. I'm more interested in a reasonably QUIET yet reasonably fast system, rather than a crazy fast system with a loud CPU fan trying to keep things at normal temps. But, I've done a lot of reading about sandy bridge and now ivy bridge, and I see that it might be smart to get a "K" cpu, even if you keep it non-OC, because the price difference is not that great. That would keep the possibility of doing some OC later. But I'm not 100% sure whether I should go this route.

A choice of K vs non-K CPU also has implications for a motherboard. I would like to have an option of SSD caching, so that would mean Z77 or H77, depending on which CPU I go with, correct? Is the price difference large enough between the two chipsets?

Gaming-wise... I like to do some decent-quality gaming once in a while. For example, I might pickup Skyrim or some FPS games after I build this rig, but I can live with less-than-maximum settings. Either, way, I'm getting a dedicated GPU, for sure.

So, the biggest thing is whether to go with something like 3570K or 3550? At what point does it make sense to go back to SB (2500K or 2500, for example) or does it, at all?

13 answers Last reply
More about general advice needed
  1. Hey man hows it goin?

    A few questions can you give a price range and specify what you want most out of this system? example, Are you going to just be surfing the web,youtube and occasional gaming? What resolution monitor and things like that. This will help us help you
  2. Well, like I mentioned already, it would be a combination of web and movie watching, some photoshop and video encoding (occasionally), and some gaming, too, among others. I don't game all the time, but when I do, I like to enjoy moderately high settings (but they don't have to be max). I also mess with audio/home recording software from time to time, but not full time. I'd like to think of it as a moderate-high system (better than moderate, not quite super high end). Able to last few years (2-3 at least).

    The budget is hard to say, because I will be trying to reuse some components from the current system (case, hard drive, CD/DVD burner, PSU, monitor, being the most important ones to mention). I know for sure I will be buying CPU, motherboard, RAM, and graphics card. I'm thinking about a non-stock CPU cooler, just because I want less noise (even if I don't OC).

    But outside of that, I'm considering an addition of an SSD to go along with my existing 500GB HDD (SATA), or perhaps just try the SSD-caching witha smaller SSD that's now possible with SB/IB chipsets that support it.

    If I had to put a number on it, I would like to stay below $800 for the said components. Preferred would be below $700.

    Gaming wise... I'm typically happy if I can run at 1680x1050 with high quality textures and detail, but at a sacrifice of AF/AA if needed. I'm also OK if I have to take down the resolution a tad in order to have a reasonably smooth gameplay, as long as it's not too much.
  3. I tried the SSD caching and was disapointed. Get at least 60 GB for OS and programs that you want to be fast. It is way better and more of an upgrade than K chip or better MB. I woud get those too if possible.
  4. You can do SSD caching on a Z68 MB too, but with the falling SSD prices it makes less sense. A 120GB SSD can be had for $100 and a 240GB for $200. They're big enough for a main drive and your old HD for a data drive. You don't have to have the caching software try to guess what you need.
  5. I'll think about getting a somewhat larger SSD for the OS drive. Probably an 80GB would be large enough for my needs. I haven't jumped on the SSD bandwagon largely due to reliability issues (that and cost). I thought maybe SSD caching might be a good way to preserve old-fashioned reliability of [good] HDDs while at the same time getting some benefit from SSDs. But running only the OS drive on an SSD with a HDD for data storage, perhaps I will get just that, anyways.

    If I throw out the SSD caching option, that might also open up options of motherboards that do not support it (like Z75). I don't know how much sense it makes to get one of those, but if the price is lower and SSD caching is the only thing missing, then it might make sense.
  6. Ok man you need a real good PSU, so if its outdated i would suggest a new one. So here is what i have for ya to meet your needs and budget.

    CPU i5 3550 219.99

    h77 mobo 89.99

    8gb g.skill sniper 1600 ram 49.99

    Radeon 7850 249.99

    128gb SSD 129.99

    total 739.99

    With all new technology. This is the best price/performance you can get. you can drop the 128gb SSD to a 64 and save about 50 bucks and get an older gen card and save some more if you want.

    get a 6950 around 200 bucks probably. hope this helped
  7. Thanks, I'm thinking more and more that I will go with i5 3550, since I'm not concerned with OC'ing.

    I'm not sure about that Motherboard. It's a Micro ATX. My case is a regular mid-tower ATX case. Is there [important] another reason it's so cheap (features wise)?

    Regarding the PSU... I have an OCZ StealthXStream OCZ600SXS 600W

    ...which is 2yrs old BUT still unopened in the box. I had a faulty one before that, and it got replaced under warranty with brand new one back in 2010. However, I never put the replacement in and just kept it sitting in the closet. So, yes, it's "outdated" by about 2 years, but it's technically "new." That shouldn't be a problem, right? By my calculations, 600W should be enough for this system.

    RAM... Any reason to get the "low voltage" RAM recommended above? I saw similar 2x4GB kits from Ripjaws but 1.5V, same timing and latency. What's the difference with voltages?

    SSD... I see this on sale today:

    Any thoughts? I don't think going down to 64GB will be enough for me, but 90GB should be plenty for OS and apps and some games.
  8. the midtower case will hold a micro atx, the mAtx is just alittle bit smaller and its a good mother board. Low voltage ram, no real need to get it unless u want a low voltage system but its good ram and had great ratings. 600 watts should be fine but im not a fan of OCZ.
  9. Thanks, I will keep that in mind about the micro atx.

    Any opinions about that Kingston HyperX 3K SSD for $79 (with rebate)? Seems very tempting.
  10. I have HyperX and it seems fine. Check the reviews for a more honest evaluation. You still have one yr warranty left on PSU. I don’t think all cases will hold MATX. Check and make sure the mounting posts go in different places for matx and you need to have threaded places to screw in the mounting post.
    My ssd is 120 GB and I have 61 mb on it so far. Put Office , etc on D: drive and just os and drivers plus importat programs on ssd.
  11. Thanks... Been looking over few reviews of HyperX 3K... Seems worth a try. I wish there were more user reviews on Newegg, but it's a recently released drive, so it'll take a while.

    Storage-wise, judging by my current HDD... I have a 100GB C-drive partition right now, with Windows 7 64bit, SP1 and other Win updates... Office 2007, Photoshop PS2, few other applications, and few games (not large games, though), and it's used up about 60+ GBs so far. I keep data (photos, music, videos, PDFs, etc.) on the D partition. So, I'm hoping that a 90GB SSD would do well for OS + applications and games too. I probably wouldn't keep many games on it at the same time.
  12. One more thing. Your PSU has 4 12V rails at 18 amps each. A PUS expert can tell you if that is ok. A GPU could requre more that 216 watts so make sure the one you choose does not, or that you can hook 2 rails togather "Bridge" them.That may not work.
  13. Thanks for bringing that up. It hasn't even occurred to me to look into that. So I posted in a separate thread about that, and it seems that I should be good to go with that PSU.
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