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Obsolete-proof kick-ass dev and gaming system around $2K

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May 15, 2012 4:57:32 PM

Hi I'd love some tips from the pros here that might help me with my new build. My son is helping me with this and so I want to have some fun with it!

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP.
Budget Range: Under 2K
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Visual Studio, Gaming, Porn
Parts Not Required: Mouse / Keyboard / controlers
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Best Buy, Tiger Direct/CompUSA/Circuit City, will consider others on recomendation
Country: USA
Parts Preferences: Intel, ASUS, Crucial, Corsair
Overclocking: Yes / Maybe
SLI or Crossfire: Not at this time but maybe later
Monitor Resolution: no spec
Additional Comments: Need to have a window and lots of bling, I would like a quiet PC.


Here are my preliminary selections for Phase I of the project.
I'd like to replace my current ASUS Windows Quad-Core Duo machine (Q8500?) and get running on a newer platform and then add more options in a second stage.

Stage I

Case
$157
Best Buy
Corsair - Graphite Series Special Edition Mid-Tower Gaming Case
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Corsair+-+Graphite+Series+S... 600T &cp=1&lp=3
I love the look of this case.

SSD
$247
Best Buy
Crucial - CT256 M4 SSD2 256 GB Internal Solid State Drive
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Crucial+-+CT256M4SSD2+256+G...
I read some other brands use inferior controllers.

PSU
$137
Best Buy
Corsair - Professional Series Gold 650W ATX Power Supply
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Corsair+-+Professional+Seri... power supply&cp=1&lp=12
I like the fully modular PSU because I have the option to use fancy bling wires. Are there any wires that light up? I'm guessing on the wattage.
I might go SLI in the future but I doubt it unlss I win the lottery. PCIe 3.0 card is double bandwidth already, yes?

Cool
119
Best Buy
Corsair - Hydro Series H100 Dual 120mm Fan CPU Cooler
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Corsair+-+Hydro+Series+H100... Hydro Series H100&cp=1&lp=1
I know I can get this $20 cheaper but I'll be ordering a few of these items form Best Buy so I can save with free shipping.

Memory
$140
Crucial 2 X 8GB Kit (4GBx2), Ballistix Smart Tracer 240-pin DIMM (with LEDs), DDR3 PC3-12800 memory module
http://www.crucial.com/store/partspecs.aspx?imodule=BLT...
My son really loves these multi-colored LEDs, worth the extra money to me and these are 1600mhz I believe.

CPU
$360
J&R
Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Unlocked Quad-Core Desktop Processor
http://www.jr.com/intel/pe/ITE_BX806I7377K/
Any other decent sources cheaper bundled w/ the ASUS Sabertooth Z77 other other preferrable mainboard?

Mother
$240
Tiger Direct
ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 Intel Series 7 Motherboard
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
Should I foget the awesome looking board and get one of the Z77 Pro series? Is the thermal shield really effective or just limiting heat elimination to those two tiny fans instead of allowing the case fans to do their job?

Monitor
350
Best Buy
Samsung - 27" Widescreen Flat-Panel LED HD Monitor
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Samsung+-+27%26%2334%3B+Wid...
This is not a priority now but I wanted your advice for Stage II.

GPU
400
NewEgg EVGA 02G-P4-2670-KR GeForce GTX 670 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Wow, this looks like an awesome card, can I get a PCIe 3.0 for less than $300? Breaking the bank here!


NOTES:
Goal is to build the fastest computer I can without making my wife want to kill me.
Shipping fees and return policy is a big consideration, several items above are sourced from Best Buy because shipping is free (for the heavy Corsair case for example) and I can return faulty parts without too much mail hassle. I hate mailing stuff - but I will for the right deal.
Also I do like getting product protection occasionally on something I suspect might give me trouble so that's a consideration from Best Buy as well.
I have many hard drives for storage so this build contains no spinning disks. I currently run under 160 GB and don't expect to exceed 250 GB for the new build on the primary partition / SSD.
Is there any advantages of SSD as an accelerator vs. a main boot SSD (besides overall cost)?
Would love to get a PCIe 3.0 Vid Card without having to spend $400!
Please recommend how/where I can get Windows 7 for this build! When will Windows 8 go on sale?? Am I going to regret not waiting till later int he year when Win 8 comes out??
I'd love a CPU MB combo but (I think?) I like the Sabertooth and all the bundles I found had 1333mhz memory, DOH!
In general, I'd love to get all this stuff for free, but I don't want to go nuts just to save $20 either. Hate rebates and stuff but will use them if necessary.
I would rather limit number of parts sources if possible.
I'm going to add bling for this system, my son loves the Tracer RAM and I'm trying to keep him excited abotu this build.
Other nice bling suggestions would be appreciated. I like subtle stuff but... he's a kid, maybe a good balance of conservative bling. Any and all suggestions would be great.


THANKS in advance for all your help, I've been lurking here for a few days and following Tom's Hardware for many years!
With love from New York,
Fellow Geek



P.S.
OTHER PARTS/SORCE CONSIDERATIONS
Alternate pricing & availablility


CPU
350
NewEgg
Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mother
240
NewEgg
ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mother
210
NewEgg
ASUS P8Z77-V PRO LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cool
98
Walmart Corsair Hydro Series H100 Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Corsair-Hydro-Series-H100-Ext...

Cool
120
Corsair The Hydro Series H100
http://www.corsair.com/hydro-series-h100-extreme-perfor...

Case
180
Corsair The Graphite Series 600T is a mid-tower
http://www.corsair.com/pc-cases/graphite-series-pc-case...

Case
175
Walmart Corsair Special Edition White Graphite Series 600T Mid-Tower Case
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Corsair-Special-Edition-White...

Power
170
Corsair Corsair Professional Series Gold AX650 Fully Modular
http://www.corsair.com/power-supply-units/professional-...

SSD
350
Corsair 240 GB Force Series 3 SSD
http://www.corsair.com/ssd/force-series-3-ssd/force-ser...

PSU
80
Corsair Modular Cables, Assorted Colors
http://www.corsair.com/power-supply-units/psu-accessori...

SSD
245
Best Buy
Corsair - Force Series 3 240GB Internal Serial ATA III Solid State Drive
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Corsair+-+Force+Series+3+24...
May 15, 2012 6:19:44 PM

Dont have time to go into specifics, but will toss in some ideas later. Wanted to point out to use the following vendors:

Newegg.com
Amazon.com

And other lower cost alternatives to the ones you list. You will save money and have a LOT more options opened up to you.
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May 15, 2012 6:43:22 PM

Don't get an H100 when a D14 will give you the same results and is far safer: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you're going to be using this as a developing system - I'd actually recommend checking out X79 - the extra RAM capacities will help you in the long run with opening large files that developer applications and CS5 will require.

Don't waste your money on assorted PSU cables or large SSDs - those things really won't make much of a difference in your build - spend it on the hardware, that's what matters.

Try something like this:

Case: Corsair Carbide 500R - $139.99 ($15.00 MIR)
PSU: PC Power & Cooling Silencer MKII 950W - $149.99 ($20.00 MIR)
Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth X79 - $319.99
CPU: 3.6GHz Intel Core i7-3820 - $299.99
Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 Socket LGA 2011 Edition - $99.99
RAM: 16GB Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 1600MHz 1.5V - $99.99
SSD: 128GB Crucial M4 - $128.99
HD: Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB - $119.99
Optical: LG BD-R Burner - $74.99
Video Card: EVGA Geforce GTX 670 - $399.99

Total: $1,828.91 - $35.00 MIR = $1,793.91

Add a good monitor (27" is major overkill - 24" would be better) and OS license and you're good to go.
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Related resources
May 15, 2012 7:48:37 PM

g-unit1111 said:
Don't get an H100 when a D14 will give you the same results and is far safer: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you're going to be using this as a developing system - I'd actually recommend checking out X79 - the extra RAM capacities will help you in the long run with opening large files that developer applications and CS5 will require.

Don't waste your money on assorted PSU cables or large SSDs - those things really won't make much of a difference in your build - spend it on the hardware, that's what matters.

Try something like this:

Case: Corsair Carbide 500R - $139.99 ($15.00 MIR)
PSU: PC Power & Cooling Silencer MKII 950W - $149.99 ($20.00 MIR)
Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth X79 - $319.99
CPU: 3.6GHz Intel Core i7-3820 - $299.99
Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 Socket LGA 2011 Edition - $99.99
RAM: 16GB Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 1600MHz 1.5V - $99.99
SSD: 128GB Crucial M4 - $128.99
HD: Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB - $119.99
Optical: LG BD-R Burner - $74.99
Video Card: EVGA Geforce GTX 670 - $399.99

Total: $1,828.91 - $35.00 MIR = $1,793.91

Add a good monitor (27" is major overkill - 24" would be better) and OS license and you're good to go.



Thanks for your input. If you read through my original post, you'll find I have addressed a couple of the issues you brought up.

Unless the cost difference is significant, I'd like to go with Best Buy in some cases to save money on shipping and provide an option for extended warranty if I'm feeling skittish.

I already have a 22" monitor and want to make a big splash with a giant gaming monitor upgrade. And I'm unlikely to ever run two monitors at home for gaming.

Many of the options I have chosen are not the Bare-Bones minimum like many of my older PCs because I'm looking to build something with some flash. My son likes the idea and I want to impress him and have fun with it.

The Noctua looks nice and is affordable but I've never had water cooling before and I'd like to try it. I also assume that the H100 will be quieter than a fan setup and I'd like to keep noise down where I can. Why did you say "safer", I thought the H100 is self-contained?

I definitely don't need more RAM than 16 gigs, ever. In my list I spec'ed two sets of 2x4 GB tracer chips. That will look pretty cool and they are at 1600 mhz.

The X79 isn't an Ivy Bridge board is it? I want to go with Ivy, it runs cool and has PCIe 3.0 onboard. I may even forgo the hot-shot $400 video board until Christmas time so the HD 4000 will get me by until then, but I still want advice on the best card in case I take the plunge now.

Why wouldn't a large SSD make a difference? My hard drive is always the bottleneck and I want this system to be as fast as possible within reason. I don't want to save $100 on the system and wish I had gotten that one extra part that would improve my performance and benchmark bragging rights.

I want to be able to show this system off, it's a custom-build dragster, not a daily-driver Hyundai.

I have not sourced Windows yet, do I need to get it with certain hardware to get it for $100? Is there any advantage with this type of system to getting Ultimate instead of Home Premium?

As for custom PSU cables and such, I'd really like to build this PC for aesthetic purposed. I don't have money to burn, but I don't want to cheap out on this system.

All my previous PCs have been very utilitarian. This one is going to be fun, and I'm building it through the eyes of a 13 year old!

: )

Thanks again for your advice, I look forward to more replies!!!
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May 15, 2012 8:39:37 PM

Quote:
The X79 isn't an Ivy Bridge board is it? I want to go with Ivy, it runs cool and has PCIe 3.0 onboard. I may even forgo the hot-shot $400 video board until Christmas time so the HD 4000 will get me by until then, but I still want advice on the best card in case I take the plunge now.


X79 is actually a different technology called Sandy Bridge-E, it's made more for developers and performance enthusiasts than Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge is, hence the high price tag. It has a slightly bigger socket and can run the hex-core i7-3930K which is perfect for multi-tasking. SB-E builds have built in PCI Gen 3 support out of the box so you don't need to worry about that.

Quote:
Unless the cost difference is significant, I'd like to go with Best Buy in some cases to save money on shipping and provide an option for extended warranty if I'm feeling skittish.


Best Buy *HOSES* (double emphasis) you with their extended warranties - they're a huge waste of money. Plus you have to deal with their atrocious Geek Squad serviec. The manufacturers have their own warranties which they have to honor, and most are usually really good about it, and then there's vendors like EVGA that give you really nice 10+ year double lifetime warranties and have excellent support and RMA departments on top of that.

Quote:
Why wouldn't a large SSD make a difference? My hard drive is always the bottleneck and I want this system to be as fast as possible within reason. I don't want to save $100 on the system and wish I had gotten that one extra part that would improve my performance and benchmark bragging rights.


It's mainly due to the ridiculously high cost per GB when you get into the larger SSDs. A 256GB SSD will run you close to $400, where a 480GB will run you $700 - $800, not worth it if you ask me. That money is better spent on upgrading your CPU or GPU, but it's definitely not worth the huge SSDs when you can store everything on a second or third HD for 1/2 the cost.

You're absolutely right about HDs being a bottleneck but if you have any SSD as your primary it won't be.

Quote:
I definitely don't need more RAM than 16 gigs, ever. In my list I spec'ed two sets of 2x4 GB tracer chips. That will look pretty cool and they are at 1600 mhz.


I'm generally not a fan of vanity PC hardware like the Tracer RAM - if you want to get it, that's fine, it's your system, but if you go with the X79 build I recommended you'll need quad channel RAM, you can't use dual channel chips on that board.

Quote:
I want to be able to show this system off, it's a custom-build dragster, not a daily-driver Hyundai.


All right if you really want to show off your system try one of these cases:

- NZXT Switch 810: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- Azza Hurrican 2000: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Those cases are made to show off high end builds and they can both house a 3-fan liquid radiator if you choose to do so, check this out: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/switch-810-cosmos-i...

Quote:
The Noctua looks nice and is affordable but I've never had water cooling before and I'd like to try it. I also assume that the H100 will be quieter than a fan setup and I'd like to keep noise down where I can. Why did you say "safer", I thought the H100 is self-contained?


It is self contained but it's still water based, air is always the fail safe because if a fan breaks you just replace the fan, if a water pipe breaks it can easily short out a part or two and most manufacturer's warranties don't cover water damage.

Quote:
As for custom PSU cables and such, I'd really like to build this PC for aesthetic purposed. I don't have money to burn, but I don't want to cheap out on this system.


It's not going to cheap out the system - you'll be hiding those behind the back of your motherboard tray anyways, no one will see them.

Quote:
I have not sourced Windows yet, do I need to get it with certain hardware to get it for $100? Is there any advantage with this type of system to getting Ultimate instead of Home Premium?


There's really no advantages to getting Ultimate ever unless you need the language packs. If you need more than 16GB RAM, get 7 Pro (and I recommend 7 Pro on any X79 build as you don't want to forfeit any extra RAM you buy because of HP's RAM limitations), if you don't Home Premium get Pro, not Ultimate.
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May 22, 2012 4:28:33 PM

g-unit1111 said:
Quote:
The X79 isn't an Ivy Bridge board is it? I want to go with Ivy, it runs cool and has PCIe 3.0 onboard. I may even forgo the hot-shot $400 video board until Christmas time so the HD 4000 will get me by until then, but I still want advice on the best card in case I take the plunge now.


X79 is actually a different technology called Sandy Bridge-E, it's made more for developers and performance enthusiasts than Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge is, hence the high price tag. It has a slightly bigger socket and can run the hex-core i7-3930K which is perfect for multi-tasking. SB-E builds have built in PCI Gen 3 support out of the box so you don't need to worry about that.

Quote:
Unless the cost difference is significant, I'd like to go with Best Buy in some cases to save money on shipping and provide an option for extended warranty if I'm feeling skittish.


Best Buy *HOSES* (double emphasis) you with their extended warranties - they're a huge waste of money. Plus you have to deal with their atrocious Geek Squad serviec. The manufacturers have their own warranties which they have to honor, and most are usually really good about it, and then there's vendors like EVGA that give you really nice 10+ year double lifetime warranties and have excellent support and RMA departments on top of that.

Quote:
Why wouldn't a large SSD make a difference? My hard drive is always the bottleneck and I want this system to be as fast as possible within reason. I don't want to save $100 on the system and wish I had gotten that one extra part that would improve my performance and benchmark bragging rights.


It's mainly due to the ridiculously high cost per GB when you get into the larger SSDs. A 256GB SSD will run you close to $400, where a 480GB will run you $700 - $800, not worth it if you ask me. That money is better spent on upgrading your CPU or GPU, but it's definitely not worth the huge SSDs when you can store everything on a second or third HD for 1/2 the cost.

You're absolutely right about HDs being a bottleneck but if you have any SSD as your primary it won't be.

Quote:
I definitely don't need more RAM than 16 gigs, ever. In my list I spec'ed two sets of 2x4 GB tracer chips. That will look pretty cool and they are at 1600 mhz.


I'm generally not a fan of vanity PC hardware like the Tracer RAM - if you want to get it, that's fine, it's your system, but if you go with the X79 build I recommended you'll need quad channel RAM, you can't use dual channel chips on that board.

Quote:
I want to be able to show this system off, it's a custom-build dragster, not a daily-driver Hyundai.


All right if you really want to show off your system try one of these cases:

- NZXT Switch 810: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- Azza Hurrican 2000: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Those cases are made to show off high end builds and they can both house a 3-fan liquid radiator if you choose to do so, check this out: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/switch-810-cosmos-i...

Quote:
The Noctua looks nice and is affordable but I've never had water cooling before and I'd like to try it. I also assume that the H100 will be quieter than a fan setup and I'd like to keep noise down where I can. Why did you say "safer", I thought the H100 is self-contained?


It is self contained but it's still water based, air is always the fail safe because if a fan breaks you just replace the fan, if a water pipe breaks it can easily short out a part or two and most manufacturer's warranties don't cover water damage.

Quote:
As for custom PSU cables and such, I'd really like to build this PC for aesthetic purposed. I don't have money to burn, but I don't want to cheap out on this system.


It's not going to cheap out the system - you'll be hiding those behind the back of your motherboard tray anyways, no one will see them.

Quote:
I have not sourced Windows yet, do I need to get it with certain hardware to get it for $100? Is there any advantage with this type of system to getting Ultimate instead of Home Premium?


There's really no advantages to getting Ultimate ever unless you need the language packs. If you need more than 16GB RAM, get 7 Pro (and I recommend 7 Pro on any X79 build as you don't want to forfeit any extra RAM you buy because of HP's RAM limitations), if you don't Home Premium get Pro, not Ultimate.



I ended up going with the Ivy.

I went to Microcenter and picked up the ASUS Z77 board and Corsair 600T white mid case. In the next couple of days I should get delivery of the Corsair H100 water cooler and the Corsair Pro Gold 850 PSU, both from Best Buy, and from Crucial I ordered an M4 256 GB SSD and 16 gigs of Ballistix Tracer RAM. Last on the list, should roll in around Thursday/Friday, is the Intel 3770K from NewEgg.

The last piece is not in stock anywhere, and I'm not quite settled on which one to get.

On one hand is the ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP, it's an awesome card. On the other hand, I also like the Palit GTX 670 JetStream, which is awesome looking and has lighted fans but don't they point down and remain largely invisible? I dunno, which one do you like, and why? I think the ASUS card might be a bit quieter, but I'd have to check the benchmarks again. Or, do I save up, wait for Christmas, and get the 690???

These are rounded prices from memory.

$120 Corsair H100 Cooler
$250 Crucial M4 256 SSD
$250 ASUS Z77 Sabertooth Mainboard
$170 Corsair 600T Mid Case, White
$170 Corsair 850AX Pro Gold PSU
$140 16 Gigs Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer RAM
$350 Intel 3770K i7

~$1450 Total so far without GPU

So, any advice on the GPU??? ASUS vs PALIT vs EVGA/Reference?
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May 22, 2012 5:01:12 PM

since you really want to show off your system, get a case that has a clear side panel so people can see inside and get some LED lights inside that will match the board,ram, and Heatsink

if a red and black color scheme go for ASrock they make really nice boards with a red and black scheme and you can add red LED strips

i prefer mines blue to go with the 600T/500R because it already has blue LED fans inside
i would go with GIGABYTE of ASUS,
ASUS if you want to add more fans to the system and control them without a fan controller
GIGABYTE has some really nice and reliable boards but some of the new ones been in a bad preset for the new and old bios so you have to manually change it

if you are really into programming i would suggest getting 2x8GB ram so you can upgrade it to 32GB later

if going H100 you can pretty much choose any Ram with high heatsinks so you can overclock the DIMMs too
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May 22, 2012 5:35:25 PM

boulbox said:
since you really want to show off your system, get a case that has a clear side panel so people can see inside and get some LED lights inside that will match the board,ram, and Heatsink

if a red and black color scheme go for ASrock they make really nice boards with a red and black scheme and you can add red LED strips

i prefer mines blue to go with the 600T/500R because it already has blue LED fans inside
i would go with GIGABYTE of ASUS,
ASUS if you want to add more fans to the system and control them without a fan controller
GIGABYTE has some really nice and reliable boards but some of the new ones been in a bad preset for the new and old bios so you have to manually change it

if you are really into programming i would suggest getting 2x8GB ram so you can upgrade it to 32GB later

if going H100 you can pretty much choose any Ram with high heatsinks so you can overclock the DIMMs too



All that stuff is already picked out and on it's way, you can see I chose the ASUS Z77 Sabertooth, little to no heat-sink exposure with the "thermal armor." Also I chose the Crucial Smart tracer RAM, two blue, two red. That will give me a nice blinking red/blue/green/orange/purple glow in the case that I think will look flashy, if nothing else! You can see I've chosen the white Corsair 600T mid case, which has a window, to show off some parts.

Thanks.
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May 22, 2012 7:19:34 PM

for porn you need fast internet to stream faster
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!