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Final Review Before Ordering (Gaming PC)

Last response: in Systems
June 10, 2012 1:53:28 PM

Hey there!
Over the past several weeks, I've been doing a lot of research, as well as posting on Tom's Hardware forums to receive feedback and guidance. This is the first time I'm dealing with the technicalities of putting a PC together. The folks on here have been extremely helpful and kind, for which I am grateful.

I wanted to get the build reviewed one last time before ordering it, to ensure everything is compatible and will work as expected. This gaming PC is supposed to smoothly run all recent games on High/Ultra settings. I plan to overclock it a bit in the future, though nothing extreme. It's very important to me that I'll have the option to make it inaudible when idle (by lowering the RPM of my fans). I don't want it to sound like a jet plane taking off when under load, either.

Approximate Purchase Date: Tomorrow.

Budget Range: Irrelevant, since where I live hardware is significantly more expensive. I'm leaving out the "country" and "preferred website" sections for the same reason.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, surfing the Internet, light photoshopping.

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, speakers.

Overclocking: Yes, in the future.

SLI or Crossfire: No.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I53570K

CPU Cooler:
Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Cooler

ASUS P8Z77-V PRO LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Graphics Card:
Gigabyte GTX 670 Windforce 3X 2GB GDDR5 Dual DVI HDMI DisplayPort PCI-E Graphics Card

RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Profile Desktop Memory Model CML8GX3M2A1600C9

SSD: Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAKX 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Power Supply:
SeaSonic M12II 620 Bronze 620W ATX12V V2.3 / EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

Computer Chassis:
The black version of: Fractal Design Define R3 Arctic White w/ USB 3.0 ATX Mid Tower Silent PC Computer Case

Case Fans:
3 of these: Noctua NF-S12B FLX 120mm
Two front intake, one rear exhaust. I won't be using the R3's stock fans.

Optical Drive:
LG DVD Burner Black SATA Model GH24NS90 - OEM (will be getting the retail version)

Dell UltraSharp U2312HM IPS-Panel Black 23" 8ms

A few questions:

1) The Asus P8Z77-V Pro I've picked has 4 case fan connectors, all compatible with 3-pin and 4-pin fans. The CPU fan connectors are compatible only with 4-pin fans. I plan to use a Y splitter to connect both of my CPU fans (NH-D14) to a case fan connector. I've been told that shouldn't be a problem, but it would be nice to confirm it.

2) Is there any reason to get the Dell U2412M over the U2312HM? The U2412M costs 50% more than the U2312HM here, and I don't see a reason to spend that much for a slightly bigger monitor. Unless, of course, there's more to it.

3) From what I've read and understood, the Noctua NF-S12B FLX 120mm fans are not loud at full speed. The ambient temperature in my room during the summer reaches 33C and above, so I'd need to run them at 100% when the PC is under load. Will 3 of these fans be sufficient cooling? If not, what would you suggest?
Keep in mind that Cougar, Noiseblocker, Nexus and many newer fan models aren't available where I live.

4) I plan to use Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit. Is there a reason for me to go with Pro/Ultimate instead?

Feedback will be very much appreciated!
June 10, 2012 3:12:40 PM

1. If you connect the cpu fans to one of the case fan connectors then the cpu fans will run at full speed all the time and you want to connect the cpu fans to the cpu fan header on the MB so that in idle the fans will not be at 100% and they will be controlled by the MB bios to speed up and slow down acording to the cpu's temp's. The fan leads from the cpu cooler's fans should be 4 pin for that reason.
The other fans is the case can be connected to a fan controller so that you can adjust the speeds acording to the needs of the air flow required to keep the inside of the case from getting too hot and to cut down on unnecessary noise. something like this;

2. The only difference that I can see between the two monitors is that the U2412M will pivot so that means you can rotate the panel 90 degrees so it's in a verticle position instead of horizontal and it also has the capability of VESA mount. HDCP support is fully supported on the 24 and on the 23 it's only on the DVI-D port. Other than the one inch size difference everything else is the same.

3. Case fans are for keeping an air flow going through the case and they don't directly affect the components like the fans that are attached to them so as long as there is good constant air flow you shouldn't have to adjust the case fans as much and that's where the fan controller comes in handy.

4. Windows home premium is sufficient for most needs and most likely the Windows Pro would be a good choice. Windows Ultimate doesn't add much over the Pro version but it does come with both 32 bit and 64 bit disc's.

My one critique on your build is the SSD , there are better read/write speed SSD's then the Crucial M4 and I have always noticed that the write speed is rather slow when compared to other SSD's. I have the Samsung 830 and am very happy with it's performance.
June 10, 2012 3:26:20 PM

Thank you for your reply inzone! I appreciate your feedback.

The reason I thought about connecting my CPU fans to the motherboard's case fan connectors, is that the CPU fan connectors on the Asus P8Z77-V Pro will allow me control over my fans only if they're 4-pin. The NH-D14's fans are 3-pin. Therefore if I connect them to the CPU fan connectors, they'll run at 100% constantly. SpeedFan doesn't cooperate with Asus boards, so that won't be an option.

I could be wrong about this since I don't actually own the motherboard, but I should be able to control the CPU fans when connected to a case fan connector with Fan Xpert 2 (software bundled with the board). Fan Xpert 2 should allow me control over all my fans without a fan controller, or so I hope.

Good to know there's no big difference between the U2412M and U2312HM! I think I'll go with the 23" version.

I'm not sure if the Samsung 830 is available here, but I'll check. I went with the Crucial M4 since it's pretty reliable and the price is excellent. The Samsung 830 shouldn't be a lot more expensive than it, though.
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June 10, 2012 4:32:19 PM

Since I have never used the Fan Expert software I am not able to say how good or bad it is but it does look like it would work for you and if it didn't since it's included in the MB then there's no lost money involved. The option for the bay fan controller would be a backup plan if the Fan Expert didn't work out for you.
June 10, 2012 4:39:08 PM

Definitely, good fan controllers don't cost much nowadays so it wouldn't be a problem to get one in case Fan Xpert 2 doesn't work well for me. Here's to hoping that it does. If it'll work well for case fans but not for CPU fans, I'll have to figure out a way to control only them through a different software or something else entirely.
June 10, 2012 5:16:08 PM

The cpu fan header will accept a three pin fan connector , it doesn't have to be four pins the plastic piece is positioned so that a three pin connector will fit.
June 10, 2012 5:59:30 PM

Yeah you're right about that, the problem is that it won't be controllable through the motherboard's BIOS. It's not complicated to reorganize the connection of fans on the motherboard, so I figured my plan is at least worth a shot. Worst-case scenario, I'll figure out some other way to control my CPU fans or use the LNA/ULNA adapters.