Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

$1600 build, any suggestions?

Last response: in Systems
Share
June 15, 2012 4:41:44 AM

Intro: I'm finally going to upgrade to a good home computer after having spend the last 6 years on a sub-par Dell throwaway. I have been a custom system builder in the past, but haven't built my own rig in at least 10 years so I'm a bit behind on the hardware knowledge. However, I've been doing a lot of research and come up with the following for my upcoming build.

Approximate Purchase Date: This summer-ish (next 3 months or so).

Budget Range: A rather flexible $1200 to $1800, as long as I get an effective speed/cost ratio.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Business (Dreamweaver, Photoshop), Multimedia Center.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard/Mouse. I already have a reasonable mechanical keyboard and my beloved Logitech 810 Mouse. I'm not keeping any parts from my old machine.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.

Country: USA (northeast).

Overclocking: Yes, and I'll explain. I'd like to lightly overclock the processor, and will experiment at how high I can crank up the video card. I don't like to let things run very hot though, and turn things down if they get in excess of 65°C.

SLI or Crossfire: Not on this build. Not very cost-effective from what I've read, but haven't tried it.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: With this build I am hoping to get the most performance for each dollar spent, specifically for gaming. I also want the machine to run quietly, and have made some choices to help facilitate this. I want to keep flair to a minimum, and generally find LED's on everything to be annoying. I'm hoping this machine lets me play pretty much every game maxed out, so that hopefully it will be good for games for the next 5+ years.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Parts List:

Case - Corsair Obsidian Series 550D $140
I chose this because I wanted a black no-frills mid-tower case built around quiet operation. This fits all those specs, but is more than I wanted to spend on a case. I hope it's as quiet as I want it to be, but I am prepared to replace the case fans with new quiet ones if needed.

Motherboard - ASRock Z77 Pro4 $120
My choice on motherboard has changed yet again due to your helpful suggestions. I'm not personally familiar with ASRock but they seem rather well viewed by the community. Definitely seems to give you the most features per dollar spent, which is what I'm going for. If any of you out there have a reason I should avoid ASRock I would be most interested, as I'm hoping I'm not skimping out here at the detriment to my machines longevity.

CPU - Intel Core i5-3570K $230
From what I've read, the speed difference between the 3570k and 3770k does not scale well with the price difference (especially in regards to gaming, where much of the load is on the video card). Plus, the 3770k is only sometimes available and keeps ticking up in price. If anyone knows why I should get the 3770k instead, feel free to share. I'm pretty convinced I want to get the new Ivy Bridge though, as the price difference between it and equivalent Sandy Bridge cards is basically none. I don't plan on overclocking it very much, but wanted to get the K version in case I might upgrade my cooling later on.

CPU Cooler - Hyper 612 $50
Seems like a good balance between cost and cooling ability. The direct heat-pipe idea seems to make sense, so I hope it proves true. I might replace the fan on it if it is too noisy.

GPU - EVGA 02G-P4-2670-KR GeForce GTX 670 $400
I wanted the lowest-cost GTX 670 card. I'd get a stock card if I could find one, but can't seem to (any suggestions?). I'm going to be ripping off the fan setup and replacing it with the next item on my list. I hope this idea pays off in the form of a highly overclocked video card which runs cool and quiet. You might note, I decided to spend the most on the video card as it has the best cost/performance ratio of PC hardware in regards to gaming (as long as bottlenecks are avoided).

GPU Cooler - ARCTIC COOLING ACCEL-X3 $78
I've always been disappointed with the fans that come on video cards, even the really expensive ones. No matter how much you spend, it seems the best you can get is a small cheap noisy fan pushing air through a tiny slot. This will be a new adventure for me as far as system builds go, and I hope it works out. If anyone knows more about this product, let me know all about it.

RAM - Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 8GB (2 x 4GB) $46
I want to start off with 8Gb, as I'm betting it will be plenty for my needs. But, I wanted to get 2x4Gb so that I could get 2 more later on if I felt like it. Mushkin is new to me but seems to be rather well praised, and it's certainly affordable. The low-profile heat spreader is probably necessary, what with the large CPU cooler.

SSD - Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 $77
This will be my first SSD, and a large deal of research has pointed me to this particular one. Notably, it's close to 1Gb/$ and isn't Sandforce. 64Gb will be good for my OS and a few apps, and games/media will go on the other mechanical drive.

Hard Drive - Western Digital Caviar Blue WD10EALX $100
I've always liked WD, and from what I've read Seagate has gone to crap lately and bought Samsung so same for them. I could pay $20 less, but I'm hoping the extra $$ is getting me more years before it lets go. Any reason I should upgrade to the 'Black' version for the extra cache size? I've read that the difference between 32Mb and 64Mb cache is insignificant, but I have no idea.

PSU - CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 $90
Should be a bit more wattage than I'll need, I don't like to do bare minimum when it comes to power. Long cables to route nicely through the case, but not modular unfortunately. It seemed like all the modular PSU's had shorter cables, and were generally more expensive anyway. I could have paid less for a 650w, but I'd rather be sure it isn't going to cause my computer to die anytime soon.

Monitor - ASUS VE247H Black 23.6" $190
I currently have a cheap 19" widescreen LCD monitor that flickers sometimes, so I think it's time to replace. I think this one will do quite nicely...

Case Fan - COUGAR CF-V12HB
I might get some of these for the case and CPU, possibly to replace existing ones if they are too noisy.

OS - Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
I've been a diehard XP fan for many a year, but it's time to make some progress. I'm rather familiar with it anyway as my work machine has it. I don't see any reason to get a version higher than HP, but feel free to convince me otherwise.

So, there's my build at the moment. Thanks for reading, feel free to make suggestions for different parts or just comment in general.

More about : 1600 build suggestions

June 15, 2012 4:59:40 AM

The Cool Master EVO @ 29.99 will do for OCing your CPu

With your budget a 240 GB SSD for your photoshop work with a 1 TB WD black HDD

and 16 GB of ram wont hurt for editing stuff.
Related resources
June 15, 2012 5:18:28 AM

Mune said:
Intro: I'm finally going to upgrade to a good home computer after having spend the last 6 years on a sub-par Dell throwaway. I have been a custom system builder in the past, but haven't built my own rig in at least 10 years so I'm a bit behind on the hardware knowledge. However, I've been doing a lot of research and come up with the following for my current build.

Approximate Purchase Date: This summer-ish (next 3 months or so).

Budget Range: A rather flexible $1200 to $1800, as long as I get an effective speed/cost ratio.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Business (Dreamweaver, Photoshop), Multimedia Center.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard/Mouse. I already have a reasonable mechanical keyboard and my beloved Logitech 810 Mouse. I'm not keeping any parts from my old machine.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.

Country: USA (northeast).

Overclocking: Yes, and I'll explain. I'd like to lightly overclock the processor, and will experiment at how high I can crank up the video card. I don't like to let things run very hot though, and turn things down if they get in excess of 65°C.

SLI or Crossfire: Not on this build. Not very cost-effective from what I've read, but haven't tried it.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: With this build I am hoping to get the most performance for each dollar spent, specifically for gaming. I also want the machine to run quietly, and have made some choices to help facilitate this. I want to keep flair to a minimum, and generally find LED's on everything to be annoying. I'm hoping this machine lets me play pretty much every game maxed out, so that hopefully it will be good for games for the next 5+ years.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Parts List:

Case - Corsair Obsidian Series 550D $140
I chose this because I wanted a black no-frills mid-tower case built around quiet operation. This fits all those specs, but is more than I wanted to spend on a case. I hope it's as quiet as I want it to be, but I am prepared to replace the case fans with new quiet ones if needed.

Motherboard - ASRock H77 Pro4 $95
My choice on motherboard has changed more often than any other part during my planning process. I'm still not very solidly decided, but this seemed to be the least expensive that has features I want (z77 board, DDR3 1600 support, solid capacitor, digital power, Intel Rapid Start, and even Lucid Virtu Universal MVP). I am not familiar with ASRock, but it seems to have enough positive reviews. Their website looks pretty lame, but at least it has all the drivers I'll need. Manual seems decent.

CPU - Intel Core i5-3570K $230
From what I've read, the speed difference between the 3570k and 3770k does not scale well with the price difference (especially in regards to gaming, where much of the load is on the video card). Plus, the 3770k is only sometimes available and keeps ticking up in price. If anyone knows why I should get the 3770k instead, feel free to share. I'm pretty convinced I want to get the new Ivy Bridge though, as the price difference between it and equivalent Sandy Bridge cards is basically none. I don't plan on overclocking it very much, but wanted to get the K version in case I might upgrade my cooling later on.

CPU Cooler - Hyper 612 $50
Seems like a good balance between cost and cooling ability. The direct heat-pipe idea seems to make sense, so I hope it proves true. I might replace the fan on it if it is too noisy.

GPU - EVGA 02G-P4-2670-KR GeForce GTX 670 $400
I wanted the lowest-cost GTX 670 card. I'd get a stock card if I could find one, but can't seem to (any suggestions?). I'm going to be ripping off the fan setup and replacing it with the next item on my list. I hope this idea pays off in the form of a highly overclocked video card which runs cool and quiet. You might note, I decided to spend the most on the video card as it has the best cost/performance ratio of PC hardware in regards to gaming (as long as bottlenecks are avoided).

GPU Cooler - ARCTIC COOLING ACCEL-X3 $78
I've always been disappointed with the fans that come on video cards, even the really expensive ones. No matter how much you spend, it seems the best you can get is a small cheap noisy fan pushing air through a tiny slot. This will be a new adventure for me as far as system builds go, and I hope it works out. If anyone knows more about this product, let me know all about it.

RAM - Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 8GB (2 x 4GB) $46
I want to start off with 8Gb, as I'm betting it will be plenty for my needs. But, I wanted to get 2x4Gb so that I could get 2 more later on if I felt like it. Mushkin is new to me but seems to be rather well praised, and it's certainly affordable. The low-profile heat spreader is probably necessary, what with the large CPU cooler.

SSD - Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 $77
This will be my first SSD, and a large deal of research has pointed me to this particular one. Notably, it's close to 1Gb/$ and isn't Sandforce. 64Gb will be good for my OS and a few apps, and games/media will go on the other mechanical drive.

Hard Drive - Western Digital Caviar Blue WD10EALX $100
I've always liked WD, and from what I've read Seagate has gone to crap lately and bought Samsung so same for them. I could pay $20 less, but I'm hoping the extra $$ is getting me more years before it lets go. Any reason I should upgrade to the 'Black' version for the extra cache size? I've read that the difference between 32Mb and 64Mb cache is insignificant, but I have no idea.

PSU - CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 $90
Should be a bit more wattage than I'll need, I don't like to do bare minimum when it comes to power. Long cables to route nicely through the case, but not modular unfortunately. It seemed like all the modular PSU's had shorter cables, and were generally more expensive anyway. I could have paid less for a 650w, but I'd rather be sure it isn't going to cause my computer to die anytime soon.

Monitor - ASUS VE247H Black 23.6" $190
I currently have a cheap 19" widescreen LCD monitor that flickers sometimes, so I think it's time to replace. I think this one will do quite nicely...

Case Fan - COUGAR CF-V12HB
I might get some of these for the case and CPU, possibly to replace existing ones if they are too noisy.

OS - Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
I've been a diehard XP fan for many a year, but it's time to make some progress. I'm rather familiar with it anyway as my work machine has it. I don't see any reason to get a version higher than HP, but feel free to convince me otherwise.

So, there's my build at the moment. Thanks for reading, feel free to make suggestions for different parts or just comment in general.

That boar doesn't allow for over clocking. You want a Z75/Z77 board for that.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $109.99 FREE SHIPPING
ASRock Z77 Pro4 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z77%20Pro4/ <---- another look at that board along with a link to the latest bios

Modular psu for a cleaner build...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $89.99 - $69.99 after mail-in rebate card
PC Power and Cooling Silencer MK III 600W Modular 80PLUS Bronze Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandy Bridge Core i3 i5 i7 and AMD Phenom

And for a case that cools better look at the Corsair Carbide series... 500R, 400R or 300R. 500R has multi channel fan controllers, runs larger fans thus is quiet.
June 15, 2012 5:22:36 AM

When he says "You should switch to a Z77 chipset MB to OC the 3570k" he means you HAVE to switch you mobo to a Z77 chipset to OC. Other then that, everything looks great, and it was fun to read your post. :D 

I just got a Corsair 500R for $118 off amazon ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) and just so you know, the white lights have a LED switch on the front of the case, if those are what are scaring you away. I think it looks sleek, and it is HUGE. I think for you build it would be great and its ~20 bucks cheaper.
June 15, 2012 5:13:34 PM

Thanks all for your input, it is much appreciated.

Niklas_13 - The 212 Evo was my choice for a while, until I found that the 612 existed and at only $15 more. While the 212 is probably sufficient in cooling the CPU at a light OC, I felt like spending a little extra could be worth it. I haven't found any reviews which specifically state the cooling differences between the two, but appearances and marketing (for what it's worth) seem to indicate that the 612 is a stab at the $100 CPU cooler market but at half the price, while the 212 seems to be their entry level cooler. Either would probably work though, but at the price difference, I figured a small upgrade was okay and not too excessive.

I'm avoiding getting a larger SSD than 64Gb just to keep things simple for me. Sure, I could spend a lot more and get a big SSD, but price jumps up rather quickly, albeit in a somewhat linear fashion. Basically, since this is a budget performance build, it was more of a debate as to whether I should even include an SSD. I decided to try it, but get just enough for Win7 and a few choice programs, maybe even a game or two that I play the most. We'll see how it works out, I just thought that if I go any bigger, I'd have more difficult decisions as to what goes on the SSD and what doesn't. With 64Gb, I can just simply say to myself that most everything will go on the mechanical drive, but I'll have the fast performance of having the OS on the SSD.

I will certainly consider spending the extra $20 for the WD black edition, however the only difference I can see is the cache size (32mb vs 64mb). Some comments on forums like these lead me to believe that the performance difference between the two should be minimal, but I'm very open to anyone who wants to explain otherwise. $20 difference is little, so let me know what you think. In a mechanical drive, my biggest desire is for it to last the entire time I'll be using this computer (hopefully in the 5-10 year range). So if anyone can show me the most reliable drive I can get for around $100, that's what I'm looking for.

The extra RAM might be nice, but I wanted to try things out with just 8Gb first. Easy enough to upgrade to 16Gb later if I felt it was necessary. It seems that many system builders (gamers) just throw us much RAM in the system as they can and end up using a fraction of it, which isn't very cost effective. As you mention though, it might be useful for my business apps, so we'll see how that goes.

Why_Me - Ah, my mistake on the H77 board, thanks for noticing that (and to everyone else who mentioned it too). The fact that it said digital power and had a 77 in the model made me think it would support OC. I will indeed go with your suggestion for MB, and I'll change my original post to show as such in a moment. You stated in your post it was $109, but I'm seeing $120, is that correct? I notice it supports OC'd RAM as well, any reason I should get some faster RAM for gaming? I'm unsure what difference it would make, but I set myself a minimum of DDR3 1600 for this build to take advantage of the Ivy Bridge capabilities. I've been warned against RAM running at over 1.5v, as I'd rather not sacrifice the longevity of the machine. Anyway, if anyone knows why I shouldn't go ASRock (I don't know this brand personally), or why I should upgrade the RAM, I am interested in any input as such.

As for the PSU, I like your suggestion and it was one i considered previously (the 'silencer' part in the name seemed to fit with my motif). However, I eventually went with my suggestion for a few reasons (feel free to refute my reasoning, I could certainly be wrong or poorly informed). First, it has under-voltage protection, which could be handy in my 70+ year old house with who knows what for wiring. Also, it touted "The latest ATX12V v2.31 and EPS 2.92 standards", which I certainly wont claim to understand completely, but gave me the impression the voltage would be regulated very precisely. Lastly, reviews for the PSU I picked had everyone saying the cables were nice and long, as I'm hoping not to have to rout any power cables in front of the MB. I guess also the rail for the video card is higher amp (53 vs 46), but I doubt it will be an issue with either. Modular would be nice, but with a bottom mounted PSU I imagine the spare cables would just be nicely coiled up and non-intrusively resting on the bottom of the case (or tucked away somewhere). And with no window into the case (I don't want one) it wont make any aesthetic difference to me. I like the idea of modular, but I wasn't sure it was worth it for what I'd be losing at the same cost, and many of the modular PSU reviews I read stated the cables as being too short. If only they listed the length of their cables in the description, it would be much easier to decide...

As for your case suggestion (Carbite 500R, also suggested by rsheets1991), I just watched the newegg video about it and read the details. I can see one pro and a few cons I'd have with the case, so I'll explain. The main advantage I can see of that case is the big 220mm fan on the side for GPU cooling, which would certainly help. The cons I see (compared to the obsidian I picked) would be less focus on noise reduction, the LED on the 220 seems to not be able to turn off, it has a side panel window (not my preference), and it lacks air filters where I'd want them (filters for top exhaust but not front intake? not sure how that makes sense). It also looks like it might have problems with circular air flow, as it provides many large fan slots pretty much everywhere they could fit one. Also, it would need at least two more exhaust fans on the top, since 2 120mm intakes plus one 220 intake far exceeds the single 120mm exhaust fan they provide. As for airflow, I prefer a negative pressure case where any additional fan slots (with filters on the obsidian) become passive intakes, to make use of the filters and to avoid circular airflow.

Basically, I'm not married to the idea of the Obsidian, mostly for reasons of cost. But, it does seems to have every feature I want while avoiding the flair I don't want. I'll have to play around with the fans on it, but I'll be adding at least one or two 120mm (or 140mm) fans to it to achieve a negative pressure system. The biggest selling point on it for me was all the air filters and the rubber grommets for the HD bays, plus no unnecessary LED's (hard to get a case with no LED fans nowadays).
June 15, 2012 5:35:18 PM

I went with the Haf 932 Case.. Although it has a couple red LEDS, you can take these off if you want. I'm very happy that i went with it.. It has PLENTY of room for anything you could possibly want. My computer has to the the quietest computer I've ever seen!

I also went with this Intel SSD.. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... .
Before i started to build my beast I have never even heard of an SSD. But a friend had told me that It was a must for new machines. And I've got to tell you It has got to be the best Upgrade you could do for any PC. I got the 120gig and I could have gotten a bigger one! Trust me you want as big an ssd as Possible.



Take what you will out of this post.. Just my opinions..
June 15, 2012 5:50:00 PM

I did a build in a similar price range a few months ago. It ended up right around $1600, but there are a few things that I might have changed looking back now.

For one, I would highly suggest going for a larger SSD. I went with an OCZ Vertex3 90GB because I got a good deal with a rebate, and I am finding that I have about 10 GB free with my everyday apps and ONE modern game (initially Skyrim and now going back to Fallout: New Vegas). Most apps will benefit from being run on the same drive as the OS, not to mention from the speeds of an SSD. If you have a lot of programs that you use regularly, I would suggest around 120-128 GB SSD for your boot drive. I know I have been looking around to upgrade.

I decided on the i7-2600k and it has been great, but I think I would have been better suited with the i5-2500k. I usually OC it to 4.5 GHz with no extra vCore, but the i5 can do at least that, so there were seriously diminishing returns. Temps have been no problem though. I have been checking around on the boards, and the same seems to hold true for the Ivy Bridge releases. So it seems like your decision is a solid one.

I was looking at the case you were talking about, but decided on a case from Fractal Designs instead. For the price it does a great job for me. Fractal Arc Midi $99 current http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I love this case. It is maybe a bit larger than I really need, but the air flow is excellent, the fans are quiet and work well for my needs, and it has a lot of the features I need.

Also, RAM is so cheap now. I got a 16 GB CAS 9 kit from G.Skill and it works like a charm.
June 15, 2012 6:00:57 PM

steveandv - One stipulation I failed to mention is that I wanted the case to be mid-sized as apposed to full size. Just a personal preference, and also because I think the extra space would be wasted (I'm only having 1x video card, 1x optical drive, 1x 3.5" drive). All those fans pre-installed sound very nice though, wish more companies put all the fans you'd want in it to begin with. But then again, I could potentially be replacing every fan in my case with the Cougar ones I listed, so maybe less fans pre-installed will work just fine for me.

Note that the SSD you mention is in the 320 series, which is a bit aged nowadays. Only runs at SATA II speed, and AFAIK uses the Sandforce controller (although it lists the controller as Intel, not sure if that means it's different). Also, I want to stick with a 64Gb SSD for reasons listed in my previous post, but basically to keep costs down.

jwegner89 - As mentioned previously, I'm pretty set on sticking with the 64Gb SSD, mostly to keep the price of the system down. The additional space would cause me to have to decide what goes on the SSD and what doesn't, while the 64Gb keeps me in the mindset that it's pretty much just for the OS.

I like your case suggestion, and watched the video/checked the details on it. I might change my choice to this one, but I'll have to consider it for a bit. It has one feature that I wanted my case to have which most don't (the obsidian also does but it's $40 more) in the rubber mounting points for the HD's, and also keeps with my no-frills concept with no unnecessary LED's. Although the fan controller could be seen as a feature, I had previously decided I didn't want to have one just because I don't want to have to adjust my fans depending on what I was doing. It certainly would help in keeping it quiet (turning down when not gaming), but I think I'd rather just have it be 'set and forget', so to speak. I'd considered a better MB with all 4-pin fan connectors (a Gigabyte MB, IIRC) to have it adjust the fans for me automatically, but for price concerns, I decided to just stick with single-speed fans and not worry about it. I'm hoping that wont mean it runs loudly, but as mentioned, I may replace noisy fans with the Cougar ones to keep it quiet without having to manually adjust anything. But hey, it's been a long while since I've built a system for myself, so much of my reasoning is just theory-based. I'm coming here to get some wisdom from system builders like yourself, so feel free to tell me all about your first-hand experience that might change my mind.

In regards to RAM, I've always regarded GSkills to be a bit of a hyped brandname and have avoided them because of that. Am I doing myself a disservice thinking as such? I haven't tried them out personally, it just always seemed to have that market niche of hardcore gamers who maybe don't know enough to see through the marketing. I've been a fan of Kingston in the past for my more generic builds, but I'm hoping the good things I've read about Mushkin hold true.
June 15, 2012 6:58:16 PM

I understand what you mean on the SSD. I was originally planning on a 64 GB myself for the same reasons, but along came a great deal, so I jumped on it. I was surprised at what a difference an SSD made, and I would never go back. There are some great deals out there. My new favorite is logicbuy.com. I'm just suggesting to keep an open mind is all. =)

Honestly, I don't even use the fan controller. I installed it and tried it, then disconnected it because I just set all of my fans on high, even for everyday use. The stock fans are quiet and efficient enough that I barely notice it. Of course, people have different perceptions of that. I live in Chicago and I hear the El trains go by every 10 minutes anyway, so noise is not a huge concern for me.

You're probably right about G.Skill. It was just based on price/performance/reviews. I have heard nothing but good things about Mushkin, so it's probably a safe bet.
June 15, 2012 7:15:00 PM

Mune said:

GPU - EVGA 02G-P4-2670-KR GeForce GTX 670 $400
I wanted the lowest-cost GTX 670 card. I'd get a stock card if I could find one, but can't seem to (any suggestions?). I'm going to be ripping off the fan setup and replacing it with the next item on my list. I hope this idea pays off in the form of a highly overclocked video card which runs cool and quiet. You might note, I decided to spend the most on the video card as it has the best cost/performance ratio of PC hardware in regards to gaming (as long as bottlenecks are avoided).

GPU Cooler - ARCTIC COOLING ACCEL-X3 $78
I've always been disappointed with the fans that come on video cards, even the really expensive ones. No matter how much you spend, it seems the best you can get is a small cheap noisy fan pushing air through a tiny slot. This will be a new adventure for me as far as system builds go, and I hope it works out. If anyone knows more about this product, let me know all about it.

RAM - Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 8GB (2 x 4GB) $46
I want to start off with 8Gb, as I'm betting it will be plenty for my needs. But, I wanted to get 2x4Gb so that I could get 2 more later on if I felt like it. Mushkin is new to me but seems to be rather well praised, and it's certainly affordable. The low-profile heat spreader is probably necessary, what with the large CPU cooler.

SSD - Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 $77
This will be my first SSD, and a large deal of research has pointed me to this particular one. Notably, it's close to 1Gb/$ and isn't Sandforce. 64Gb will be good for my OS and a few apps, and games/media will go on the other mechanical drive.

Hard Drive - Western Digital Caviar Blue WD10EALX $100
I've always liked WD, and from what I've read Seagate has gone to crap lately and bought Samsung so same for them. I could pay $20 less, but I'm hoping the extra $$ is getting me more years before it lets go. Any reason I should upgrade to the 'Black' version for the extra cache size? I've read that the difference between 32Mb and 64Mb cache is insignificant, but I have no idea.


That GPU cooler is a gigantic waste of money - they don't really do anything that the stock cooler includes, and most graphics card companies - EVGA included - will void your warranty if they find out that you've been using an aftermarket cooler, and on a $400 video card you don't want that to happen. Sure the stock fans included on GPUs suck, but it's something you have to live with. A lot of GPU vendors frown on making huge modifications like this and I don't encourage anyone to do that.

I have that same RAM and that's in my HTPC - works great. No complaints. On a gaming rig 8GB will be plenty.

SSD - the Crucial M4 is a great choice, it's a bit slower than Sandforce based drives. If you want an alternative suggestion I highly recommend checking out the OCZ Vertex 4 - it's based on a new variant of the Marvell controller called "Indilinx" and is way faster than even the fastest Sandforce drives are. More info: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/vertex-4-everest-2-...

HD: I've never had any problems with Seagate or Samsung recently - my work PC uses a Spinpoint and my laptop uses a Seagate hybrid drive.
June 15, 2012 7:28:10 PM

Alright, due to the large number of people suggesting a larger SSD, I'm considering this upgrade:

SSD - Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2

At double the capacity (128Gb) and a slightly better $/Gb ratio, it seems like a good choice. There are even cheaper SSD's out there, but I avoided them in hopes of getting better reliability. If anyone has a different brand they'd recommend, possibly a cheaper one that doesn't sacrifice longevity, I'd be most interested.

I can see the extra space giving me the freedom of installing all apps on the SSD as well as a few games. I'm most interested in how having a game on the SSD would effect performance, as my research tells me it only helps when loading the game up. After that, the data should all be held within RAM and the video card, unless I am misunderstanding something.

jwegner89 - You've partially convinced me into considering a larger SSD, congrats. :) 
I am most interested in knowing how having a game installed on the SSD effects it's performance, so let me know about your first hand experience with that. Expanding MY SSD would really only be for that purpose, as I imagine my apps would fit fine on a 64Gb one (with the OS as well).

As for my noise concerns with my new build, it's mostly just preference and I might be putting more emphasis on this aspect than what is really need. I'm just sick of my junky machine sitting with the door open and a regular old house fan blowing at it to cool the GPU (which came with very inadequate cooling). I live way out in the woods of NH, and have a very nice speaker setup currently, as the machine will definitely be used as a multimedia center as well. Having it run quietly is for those reasons mostly, in that there's little other background noise going on at my house, and it would improve my multimedia experience to have minimal noise coming from the machine. However, I'm suspicious that all my emphasis on noise reduction will amount to a lousy few decibels difference, I just wont know until I've got the thing built unfortunately. I just don't want to get all hyped up building a fast machine that I'll have for the next 5-10 years just to find out it's a white noise generator on steroids.

g-unit1111 - Thanks for the feedback, particularly about the GPU cooler. I have literally no experience with aftermarket GPU coolers, I've just been generally disappointed at the coolers that come on these cards standard. I know adding it will void my warranty, and this is definitely a big concern of mine. I am highly considering leaving the GPU cooler out of my build initially and keeping it as a possible upgrade if I find the card too noisy with the cooler it comes with. I included it in the description for my build because I wanted to get feedback on it. It does stand up to logical reasoning though that better cooling for the card should improve it's longevity, even if it does void the warranty. It is indeed the toughest decision I'm making in my build (that and maybe the motherboard, which I'm still rather undecided on), but the research on how well these things cool seems significant. I like my computer parts to run at less than 65°C, and that seems impossible with the coolers these things come with. Please, suggest to me a GTX 670 card that comes with some nice cooling already built in, I'd be happy to consider it as an alternative choice.

In regards to the SSD, the vertex 4 was another one i considered. Good price point and speed, non-sandforce controller, but the fact that it's new makes me wary. I've read many reviews stating how such-and-such SSD drive failed on them, which is certainly unavoidable when perusing reviews. The Crucial series of SSD's seemed to have the lowest ratio of such cases versus 5-star reviews, which is what eventually lead me to choose them. But again, I'm just going off online research and personal theorizing, so I'm certainly willing to defer to the wisdom of those with first-hand experience. Do you own a Vertex 4? I'll be reading the review you linked shortly, thanks much for that.
June 15, 2012 7:35:01 PM

Mune said:
Alright, due to the large number of people suggesting a larger SSD, I'm considering this upgrade:

SSD - Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2

At double the capacity (128Gb) and a slightly better $/Gb ratio, it seems like a good choice. There are even cheaper SSD's out there, but I avoided them in hopes of getting better reliability. If anyone has a different brand they'd recommend, possibly a cheaper one that doesn't sacrifice longevity, I'd be most interested.

I can see the extra space giving me the freedom of installing all apps on the SSD as well as a few games. I'm most interested in how having a game on the SSD would effect performance, as my research tells me it only helps when loading the game up. After that, the data should all be held within RAM and the video card, unless I am misunderstanding something..



Not only does having a larger SSD allow you to install more programs, on a smaller SSD you also lose a lot of Windows functionality - such as the ability to burn CDs / DVDs.

June 15, 2012 7:45:44 PM

g-unit1111 said:
Not only does having a larger SSD allow you to install more programs, on a smaller SSD you also lose a lot of Windows functionality - such as the ability to burn CDs / DVDs.


I assume I'd only lose that functionality if I literally fill the thing up. I plan on keeping ~10Gb free for such functionality, regardless of what size SSD I end up getting.

Also, I replied to your previous post by editing my previous post, feel free to let me know your thoughts.
June 15, 2012 8:00:09 PM

Mune said:
g-unit1111 - Thanks for the feedback, particularly about the GPU cooler. I have literally no experience with aftermarket GPU coolers, I've just been generally disappointed at the coolers that come on these cards standard. I know adding it will void my warranty, and this is definitely a big concern of mine. I am highly considering leaving the GPU cooler out of my build initially and keeping it as a possible upgrade if I find the card too noisy with the cooler it comes with. I included it in the description for my build because I wanted to get feedback on it. It does stand up to logical reasoning though that better cooling for the card should improve it's longevity, even if it does void the warranty. It is indeed the toughest decision I'm making in my build (that and maybe the motherboard, which I'm still rather undecided on), but the research on how well these things cool seems significant. I like my computer parts to run at less than 65°C, and that seems impossible with the coolers these things come with. Please, suggest to me a GTX 670 card that comes with some nice cooling already built in, I'd be happy to consider it as an alternative choice.

In regards to the SSD, the vertex 4 was another one i considered. Good price point and speed, non-sandforce controller, but the fact that it's new makes me wary. I've read many reviews stating how such-and-such SSD drive failed on them, which is certainly unavoidable when perusing reviews. The Crucial series of SSD's seemed to have the lowest ratio of such cases versus 5-star reviews, which is what eventually lead me to choose them. But again, I'm just going off online research and personal theorizing, so I'm certainly willing to defer to the wisdom of those with first-hand experience. Do you own a Vertex 4? I'll be reading the review you linked shortly, thanks much for that.


I never encourage people here to modify or alter their components in such a way that it voids warranties - you don't want to be stuck with something that doesn't work and then you can't get a replacement for it. I understand heat issues definitely but you should look at this guide on how to setup your air flow properly: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-airflow-hea...

I followed this guide exactly when setting up my work PC and my home PC (the one in my sig) - and on my work PC on full loads reaches maximum 40 - 44'C and on idle runs between 26'C - 30'C - and my PC has the lowest system temperatures on the network.

As far as the SSD goes - the thing is every system is different and no two components will work exactly the same - if people can find something to complain about, they'll complain about it. That's why you see very few positive reviews on Newegg and elsewhere. It's pretty much the luck of the draw but if you know how to properly setup an SSD (no full formats, no intensive read/write benchmarks, things like that), you'll be fine. My main PC runs on a Sandforce-based SSD (the Intel 320) and I'm constantly having issues with it despite that everyone says that Intel drives are the most reliable. My work PC runs a Crucial M4 and I've had zero issues with it. I'm going to replace the 320 with a Vertex 4 but that's a couple months out. The Vertex 4 is actually a Marvell variant so it's far more stable than Sandforce drives, and it uses the same Micron NAND controllers that the Samsung 830 and M4 use.
June 15, 2012 8:34:15 PM

I would say it is prudent to wait and see how well the Vertex4 is received, but I will say that my experience with the Vertex3 has gone smoothly with no problems. Although Tom's seems to have recieved it well: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/vertex-4-everest-2-.... As far as SSDs improving gaming, it's hit or miss. There is a good article here: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/battlefield-rift-ss.... As you said, the mostly noticeable across the board is simply faster start-up times. However, there can be other benefits depending upon the game, as covered in the article.
June 15, 2012 8:50:24 PM

System looks great, but if I may make a suggestion, I would change your mobo to an Asus Z77 or Z68 model if you plan on going with the GTX670. I tried a GTX680 on an ASRock Mobo and a GTX670 on an MSI mobo and NEITHER card would resume my display. Call me crazy, but when I'm spending $400 to $500 on a video card, it better do something as simple as resuming my display. There has been a fix found for Asus boards, but as far as I know now, there have been no fixes for ASRock, MSI or even EVGA boards. I now have a Radeon HD7870 and it is working like a boss.
June 15, 2012 9:31:06 PM

Bolivious said:
System looks great, but if I may make a suggestion, I would change your mobo to an Asus Z77 or Z68 model if you plan on going with the GTX670. I tried a GTX680 on an ASRock Mobo and a GTX670 on an MSI mobo and NEITHER card would resume my display. Call me crazy, but when I'm spending $400 to $500 on a video card, it better do something as simple as resuming my display. There has been a fix found for Asus boards, but as far as I know now, there have been no fixes for ASRock, MSI or even EVGA boards. I now have a Radeon HD7870 and it is working like a boss.

Hardware secrets in an Asrock support forum and there's plenty of guys on that board that are running the new GTX cards with Asrock z77 boards and they don't seem to be having any issues that you mentioned.
June 16, 2012 3:54:19 AM

Here's an updated build I have come up with from your feedback and a bit of rethinking. Comes in at about $1750, so still within budget but higher than the previous build (might cut back a bit come time to buy, but we'll see).

Case - Corsair Obsidian Series 550D $140 (same as before)

Motherboard - MSI Z77A-GD65 $190
In my pining over the parts I eventually want to buy, this is what I decided as my highest-end choice for motherboard. I love MSI when it comes to hardware durability, just from personal experience (feel free to say otherwise, I'll listen). Although pricey, it has all the features I wanted including virtu-mvp, and I could even throw in another video card if I wanted to do SLI someday.

CPU - Intel Core i5-3570K $230 (same as before)

CPU Cooler - Hyper 612 $50 (same as before)

GPU - MSI N670 PE 2GD5 $430
My previous build had included a GPU cooler, which as discussed may not be the best option due to voiding of my warranty on an expensive piece of hardware. I had wanted a GTX 670 with a decent cooler, which didn't seem to exist. But within the 24 hours between this post and my first, this card from MSI (again, a favorite of mine) popped up on Newegg with a Twin Frozr IV stuck on it. Good deal for an extra $30 I say.

RAM - Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 2x4Gb DDR3 2133 $62
Overclocked RAM running on 1.5v from Mushkin, for about $20 more than in my previous build. Seems like a good deal and has good reviews to go with it.

SSD - OCZ Vertex 4 VTX4-25SAT3-256G $240
This is where most of the change comes in from my previous build. This time around I am foregoing the mechanical hard drive (for now, anyway) and spending my cash on a large SSD instead. I've done a bit of research into the Vertex 4's per recommendations by you guys. It certainly should give me the most speed I can get, and at no more than 1$/Gb, I'm just hoping the new controller proves to be good and reliable. I'm still going to keep my eye out for more reviews, but it seems the latest firmware for them (which now ships already installed) has made a reasonable difference in speed and reliability. It may have just gotten a bit of a bad rap for their initial firmware, which is why I shied away from it previously. I still think of OCZ as a hype-based brand name, but I should give them a fair shot and keep my preconceived notions out of it.

PSU - CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650M $110
Basically same as before but semi-modular for an extra $20. Many of you suggested a similar model that was modular, and I suppose I can agree that it's a feature worth $20 to me. I stuck with my brand choice for the under-voltage protection, longer warranty and better reviews, though.

Same monitor ($190) and Win7x64 HP ($100) as before.
June 16, 2012 4:54:54 AM

MSI motherboards have one of the higher fail rates out of all motherboard manufacturers. Tom's Hardware's latest reviews shows that the Asrock Z77 Extreme6 is a great buy and an even better performer (Article- http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/z77-extreme6-z77a-g... ).

Also to save a few $$ you can get the same case at Amazon.com- http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Obsidian-Series-Mid-Tower...

Asrock Z77 Extreme6- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 175$

With that case, a PSU being modular or not doesn't really matter. Usually a modular PSU is chosen to reduce the cable clutter in their case but because that case is so big and has so many cable management features. For 10$ less you can get a gold rated PSU- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... . You may not have heard of this brand before but they are making some very solid PSU's lately. Jonnyguru (probably the best PSU reviewer) reviewed the Rosewill Capstone here and it did very well- http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
June 16, 2012 5:37:35 AM

mjmjpfaff said:
MSI motherboards have one of the higher fail rates out of all motherboard manufacturers. Tom's Hardware's latest reviews shows that the Asrock Z77 Extreme6 is a great buy and an even better performer (Article- http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/z77-extreme6-z77a-g... ).


I had an MSI 870A-G45 and it died on me after three days of use. I traded it in for the Asus M4A87TD Evo. I'll pretty much never go back. Gigabyte I've always had good luck with and I'll stick through with pretty much all current and future builds.
June 16, 2012 5:53:32 PM

mjmjpfaff - (wow, you're name is hard to type) Thanks much for your feedback and suggestions, looks like I'll be getting my case at Amazon. I also like your suggestion for the PSU, I don't know how I missed it when I was looking earlier. I'd gladly give up modular for gold rated (and better protection), and Rosewill is a good brand. IIRC the lowest price gold rated + modular PSU I was finding were in the $150+ range, so I'd certainly forego modular to save that much money and get a better PSU.

I read through that link you gave comparing the 6 MB's, good read and thanks for that. I notice in the end they decide that it's basically a tie (as far as value per dollar goes) between the ASRock model and MSI model that they were comparing. That certainly speaks well for ASRock but I don't see how it shows MSI to be inferior, which I believe was your reason for giving that link. Do you have any data you could link that shows a higher failure rate of MSI's? I say this not incredulously and I hope I don't offend, I'm just a big fan of looking at data rather than taking hearsay at face value. Personally, I've had good experience with MSI in the past, but it's been a while since I've built a machine for myself. It certainly does seem that ASRock offers a better price for the same features compared to other brands. I just haven't heard of ASRock until recently, and can't help but feel like the lower price could mean cheaper construction. It may just be a case of my own ignorance though, I'm certainly willing to admit, as I just don't have any personal experience with ASRock.

g-unit1111 - Was that the only MSI motherboard you've ever had? If so, I'd say it's a bit harsh to disqualify a brand based on a single experience, as DOA products can come from any manufacturer. The rate at which DOA's is pumped out is certainly a valid data point, and I am most interested in any links you could provide which indicates a higher rate with MSI (or even comparing all brands would be very useful). At any rate, I do also like Gigabyte brand, and the GA-Z77X-UD3H was another board I was considering for purchase. It'd save me $30 and get me the same features (more or less), so it's certainly an option.
June 17, 2012 7:52:09 PM

Mune said:


g-unit1111 - Was that the only MSI motherboard you've ever had? If so, I'd say it's a bit harsh to disqualify a brand based on a single experience, as DOA products can come from any manufacturer. The rate at which DOA's is pumped out is certainly a valid data point, and I am most interested in any links you could provide which indicates a higher rate with MSI (or even comparing all brands would be very useful). At any rate, I do also like Gigabyte brand, and the GA-Z77X-UD3H was another board I was considering for purchase. It'd save me $30 and get me the same features (more or less), so it's certainly an option.


I'm aware that DOA products can come from any manufacturer - I had an EVGA video card with a broken DVI connector and returning that for one that actually worked wasn't fun in the slightest. As far as the MSI board goes - that was the most recent one I purchased and it failed on me after three days. But we buy MSI boards where I work a lot and they don't always work right - I'm not just judging based on one bad experience. I've had great luck with Gigabyte - my last three boards have been Gigabyte and they've all been great. My current board is the Z77X-UD3H and it has been really great so far really easy to work with. My work PC uses the Z68-UD3P and that one has been really great as well.

June 17, 2012 8:12:13 PM

Mune said:

GPU - MSI N670 PE 2GD5 $430
My previous build had included a GPU cooler, which as discussed may not be the best option due to voiding of my warranty on an expensive piece of hardware. I had wanted a GTX 670 with a decent cooler, which didn't seem to exist. But within the 24 hours between this post and my first, this card from MSI (again, a favorite of mine) popped up on Newegg with a Twin Frozr IV stuck on it. Good deal for an extra $30 I say.


I see you changed your 670 card from the EVGA to MSI. Good decision, do NOT get the EVGA 670 card if you want a quiet build. I have an EVGA 670 myself, and it makes some noise when under high load (other people have this "issue" as well). However, I would consider going for the ASUS 670 TOP instead of the MSI 670 (same price) @ Newegg). The ASUS TOP has some better specs than the MSI version.
June 18, 2012 4:37:28 AM

nafoni said:
I see you changed your 670 card from the EVGA to MSI. Good decision, do NOT get the EVGA 670 card if you want a quiet build. I have an EVGA 670 myself, and it makes some noise when under high load (other people have this "issue" as well). However, I would consider going for the ASUS 670 TOP instead of the MSI 670 (same price) @ Newegg). The ASUS TOP has some better specs than the MSI version.



You might of got a bad GPU M8 i have no problems with my EVGA GTX 670 I ran FurMark for 45 mins to test the GPU, case there was a problem i would return it that day.

I just dont like the whare they put the power for the GPU ( but that was my fault :)  ) I didnt look at it good

To the poster I went with the Corsair 550D ( its a nice case ) some may disagree, but hey :)  I just need a bit more time on my cables :) 

If you like a look http://s1154.photobucket.com/albums/p535/Niklas_13/?act...
!