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Assembling a new gaming computer - Need help!

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July 2, 2012 6:31:42 PM

Hello,

I'll be assembling a new gaming computer in order to replace my old one.

From the old one I'll take the case, hard-disk and maybe the psu.

I'm from Brazil and will be in a trip to USA including NYC, New Jersey and Orlando.

I will try to buy most of the parts in New Jersey as it seems to be cheaper than Manhattan or Orlando, taxes included.

The reason I mentioned the trip is because I'll be restricted to 2 people quota of $500, a total of $ 1000.


I have little knowledge into compatibility between those parts.
The last time I built a gaming pc was in 2000 (happy with my brand new Voodoo 3 with 16 mb of RAM :-))
My current pc was built in-store. Shame.

I expect some "future proof" specs.
I.E. would be great if I could afford a second GPU within 1-2 years and get them paired in SLI, so SLI support is a great feature to expect.



The parts I have thought until now are the following:


Case: Will take my old one. Don't know the brand atm but it is very spacious and well vented.

PSU: Would like to stay with my old one - Akasa 500wats - but Idk if it is enough (Currently it is powering an ATI HD 4870 512mb, but had previously sustained an 8800 GTX).

GPU: EVGA GTX 680 2Gb - $ 500 (Best Buy - http://www.bestbuy.com/site/EVGA+-+GeForce+GTX+680+2GB+...)

CPU: i5 2500k - $ 170 (Micro Center) http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Mobo: Asus P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 - Socket H2 LGA-1155 - $ 230,00 (Best Buy - http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Asus+-+P8Z68-V+PRO/GEN3+Des...)
or
Mobo: Asus P8Z77-V PRO LGA - Socket 1155 - $ 210 (MicroCenter - http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)

RAM: 8GB Corsair 2x4GB Vengeance - $ 55 (Microcenter - http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)

HDD: Will take my old one - Seagate 2 TB.

Cooling system: ?



I would really appreciate any advices, specially those related to compatibility.


Thanks in advance!
a b B Homebuilt system
July 2, 2012 6:57:00 PM

GTX 670 is the better value in my opinion. It is only slightly weaker than the 680 but is $100 cheaper.

The 500W PSU you have should be fine for a single GPU build. If you plan to SLI in the future, you would need a 650-750W PSU. I would recommend the XFX Core Edition line of PSU's. Anything from a reputable brand will also do fine (i.e. PC Power and Cooling, Seasonic, Corsair).

Just make sure you have enough clearance in your case. It doesn't seem like it though.

Do you plan to OC? If yes, then you need an aftermarket CPU cooler. Something like the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO. If you do get an aftermarket CPU cooler, switch your RAM to a low profile one. The Corsair Vengeance has tall heat spreaders and will get in the way of installation. Something like the Mushkin Blackline, G-Skill Ares or Ripjaws, or Corsair low profile RAM.

I would suggest an i5-3570k + z77 MoBo combo. Either the Gigabyte z77x-ud3h or ASrock z77 Extreme 4 will do great. This combination will allow you to take advantage of PCI Express 3.0. If you want to stick with the 2500k, then get the Asrock Extreme 3 Gen 3.
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July 2, 2012 7:01:32 PM

GPU is overkill. Get this:
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Mobo is overpriced. This will suit you fine:
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
If you buy both CPU/Mobo at Microcenter, it will subtract $50 off the total.
This is a very good heatsink/fan:
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Make sure you get LP RAM, or it will block the cooler:
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
If you can get a SSD, do so:
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
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July 2, 2012 7:10:06 PM

l0v3rboi said:
GTX 670 is the better value in my opinion. It is only slightly weaker than the 680 but is $100 cheaper.

The 500W PSU you have should be fine for a single GPU build. If you plan to SLI in the future, you would need a 650-750W PSU. I would recommend the XFX Core Edition line of PSU's. Anything from a reputable brand will also do fine (i.e. PC Power and Cooling, Seasonic, Corsair).

Just make sure you have enough clearance in your case. It doesn't seem like it though.

Do you plan to OC? If yes, then you need an aftermarket CPU cooler. Something like the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO. If you do get an aftermarket CPU cooler, switch your RAM to a low profile one. The Corsair Vengeance has tall heat spreaders and will get in the way of installation. Something like the Mushkin Blackline, G-Skill Ares or Ripjaws, or Corsair low profile RAM.

I would suggest an i5-3570k + z77 MoBo combo. Either the Gigabyte z77x-ud3h or ASrock z77 Extreme 4 will do great. This combination will allow you to take advantage of PCI Express 3.0. If you want to stick with the 2500k, then get the Asrock Extreme 3 Gen 3.


Thanks for your considerations, l0v3rboi!

Yes, I am planing on OC. And I will look into that one you listed. I understand what you mean about low profile RAM, but do you think the one I listed would have problems? According to the "product overview" in the link I showed: "These Vengeance modules are designed for high-performance systems with extra-large CPU coolers, small form factor system builds, or other space-constrained applications that prevent the use of standard Vengeance memory.". I will look after those ones you listed.

When I buy my second GPU in the future I know I will need to upgrade my PSU anyway. I am just worried if with a single 680 GTX and the i2500 overclocked to, say, 4.5 ghz, if that 500w PSU would be fine... What is your guess?

About those mobo+cpu combos, I will read about them.

Thanks!
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
July 2, 2012 9:19:22 PM

Got your PM.

I would start by saying the idea of "future proofing" is largely a exercise in futility. Thats not to say that with your budget a computer couldn't be built that you could easily get a good 4 years of great performance out of.

I agree with loverboi. GTX 670s are far better value than the 680s. The 680s were plagued with launch problems, I would chalk that up as one of the biggest failures in Nvidia's history. Especially when they launched the 670 which benches almost as well and costs a lot less.

As far as whether or not to go with a 3570K w/ Z77 chipset or a 2500K w/Z68. Honestly, I'd get whichever one is cheaper. The 3570K typically costs more and has no real improvement for gamers, and likewise with PCI 3.0 over 2.0. You may see a 2-5FPS difference, if the price difference for those 2-5FPS is greater than $20 dollars (depending on where you shop and what sales are offered at the time) I'd say save your 20 bucks for New York style pizza, you'll get more value.

As far as potentially running a 2nd 670 in SLi later on, honestly, by the time the 670 is no longer up to snuff, they'll be a better single gaming card out there you could replace it with.

Corsair Vengeance standard profile RAM will not hinder the installation of a 212 Evo. I have verified this with my own 2 eyes. So you shouldn't need "low profile", but again, go with whichever is cheaper, as the high profile heatspreaders really don't do anything but look nice.

As far as 500 watts with a GTX 680. It probably would work, but thats pushing it. You generally want to pick a power supply with about 30% more wattage than you actually need. Especially if you're overclocking, as this dramatically increases the power draw. I would suggest a 650 watt minimum, and of course of a reputable brand and quality. XFX like loverboi suggested or a Corsair TX650. Both of them are made by Seasonic, which is one of the best PSU manufactures on the market.

http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...



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July 2, 2012 11:03:34 PM

Plus don't buy things at Best Buy they are all overpriced.
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July 3, 2012 1:30:17 PM

Thanks for everyone here, I am very happy with your suggestions.


After reading your provided information, I changed some parts as follows:

Case: Will stick with my old one, for now.

PSU: $120 - Corsair Enthusiast Series TX750 V2 750 Watt ATX Power Supply
(http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)

GPU: $430 - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 FTW 2048MB GDDR5 PCIe 3.0 x16 Video Card (http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)

CPU: $170 - i5 2500k - (http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)

Mobo: $140 - Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Z77 ATX Intel Motherboard - (http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)

RAM: $55 - Vengeance 8GB DDR3-1600 (PC3-12800) CL9 Dual Channel Desktop RAM Kit (Two 4GB Memory Modules)
(http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)

HDD: Will take my old one - Seagate 2 TB.

Cooling: $37 - Hyper 212 EVO Universal CPU Cooler (http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)

SSD: not for now.



What do you think guys? Everything is compatible? Will I be able to OC it a little?

Is it better to get a pair of 4Gb RAM modules instead of a single 8GB one?


Thanks in advance! :) 




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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
July 3, 2012 5:43:00 PM

reconsniper54 said:
Plus don't buy things at Best Buy they are all overpriced.



Depends, I actually got a great deal on a hard drive from them a few months ago. At the time the same exact model was $40 dollars more from Newegg and TigerDirect both. Sometimes it pays to bargain shop.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
July 3, 2012 5:45:48 PM

bsbuser said:
Thanks for everyone here, I am very happy with your suggestions.


After reading your provided information, I changed some parts as follows:

Case: Will stick with my old one, for now.

PSU: $120 - Corsair Enthusiast Series TX750 V2 750 Watt ATX Power Supply
(http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)

GPU: $430 - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 FTW 2048MB GDDR5 PCIe 3.0 x16 Video Card (http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)

CPU: $170 - i5 2500k - (http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)

Mobo: $140 - Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Z77 ATX Intel Motherboard - (http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)

RAM: $55 - Vengeance 8GB DDR3-1600 (PC3-12800) CL9 Dual Channel Desktop RAM Kit (Two 4GB Memory Modules)
(http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)

HDD: Will take my old one - Seagate 2 TB.

Cooling: $37 - Hyper 212 EVO Universal CPU Cooler (http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)

SSD: not for now.



What do you think guys? Everything is compatible? Will I be able to OC it a little?

Is it better to get a pair of 4Gb RAM modules instead of a single 8GB one?


Thanks in advance! :) 


That should work out very well. Everything is compatible, and yes it is OC'able.

As far as RAM, technically speaking 2 4GB modules is better than a single 8GB, as this allows the RAM to run in "dual channel" mode, however, dual channel mode isn't really noticeably faster than single channel mode.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/PARALLEL-PROCESSING...
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July 3, 2012 5:51:57 PM

nekulturny said:
That should work out very well. Everything is compatible, and yes it is OC'able.

As far as RAM, technically speaking 2 4GB modules is better than a single 8GB, as this allows the RAM to run in "dual channel" mode, however, dual channel mode isn't really noticeably faster than single channel mode.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/PARALLEL-PROCESSING...



Thank you again, nekulturny!

And what if I looked for a new case...
Is there any budget and easy-to-find one that could sports enough USB ports and well vented to avoid OC overheating?

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a b B Homebuilt system
July 3, 2012 6:06:54 PM

bsbuser said:
Thank you again, nekulturny!

And what if I looked for a new case...
Is there any budget and easy-to-find one that could sports enough USB ports and well vented to avoid OC overheating?


A case really depends on your taste. Most well-designed cases run within 1-2 degrees of each other. That being said, I really like the Corsair Carbide series.

The Corsair 300R = ~$80
500R = ~$100

If those price points are too expensive for you here are some alternatives:
Bitfenix Shinobi = ~$70
Cooler Master Haf 912 = ~$60
Cooler Master Elite 430 = ~$50
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
July 3, 2012 6:22:39 PM

You're welcome, like l0verboi said on the cases. Its really hard for a case maker to screw up airflow, unless you're buying an old toaster oven with no vents at all.

Corsair makes very nice cases, CoolerMaster has good ones and bad ones (elite 430s and HAF 912s are decent) as does NZXT, Antec and even Rosewill has some decent ones. LianLi is like the Rolls Royce of computer cases, they're really nice but mostly stupid expensive.

If you want lots of USB ports on the front of your case, (most reasonably priced ones only will have 2 or 4) You could always just get a 5.25inch hub to populate one of the optical drive slots.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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July 3, 2012 7:10:18 PM

nekulturny said:
You're welcome, like l0verboi said on the cases. Its really hard for a case maker to screw up airflow, unless you're buying an old toaster oven with no vents at all.

Corsair makes very nice cases, CoolerMaster has good ones and bad ones (elite 430s and HAF 912s are decent) as does NZXT, Antec and even Rosewill has some decent ones. LianLi is like the Rolls Royce of computer cases, they're really nice but mostly stupid expensive.

If you want lots of USB ports on the front of your case, (most reasonably priced ones only will have 2 or 4) You could always just get a 5.25inch hub to populate one of the optical drive slots.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



My current case and the ones I had before have always placed the PSU in the upper side.

Is there any reason those cases you listed have the PSU in the bottom? Is it like a layout style only or it is something I should look for?


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a b B Homebuilt system
July 3, 2012 7:42:48 PM

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-airflow-hea...

Check that article out (has a part two). Basically, top mounted PSU designs are somewhat older and hinder heat flow (heat rises). Also, if your PSU is on top, the weight makes your PC easier to topple.

With bottom-mounted PSU designs, heat is easier to dissipate. Also, it has a more stable base because it has a lower center of gravity.

Now this does not mean top-mounted PSU cases are bad. Its just you have to have a setup that accounts for this.
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July 8, 2012 11:25:10 PM

l0v3rboi said:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-airflow-hea...

Check that article out (has a part two). Basically, top mounted PSU designs are somewhat older and hinder heat flow (heat rises). Also, if your PSU is on top, the weight makes your PC easier to topple.

With bottom-mounted PSU designs, heat is easier to dissipate. Also, it has a more stable base because it has a lower center of gravity.

Now this does not mean top-mounted PSU cases are bad. Its just you have to have a setup that accounts for this.


Interesting! That made me look for another case then, and I came up with this setup, some items were already bought:


Case: (purchased) Corsair 300R Carbide Black

PSU: (purchased) Xfx 850W Core Edition Pro 850w P1-850s-nlb9

Cooling: (purchased) Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus Rr-b10-212p-gp


GPU: $409 - EVGA GeForce GTX 670 FTW 2048MB (02G-P4-2678-KR) (http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-Dual-Link-DisplayPort-Graphi...)
or
GPU: $630 - EVGA GeForce GTX 680 FTW 4096MB (04G-P4-3687-KR) (http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-GeForce-DisplayPort-Graphics...)

CPU: $170 - i5 2500k - (http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)

Mobo: $140 - Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Z77 ATX Intel Motherboard - (http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)

RAM: $55 - Vengeance 8GB DDR3-1600 (PC3-12800) CL9 Dual Channel Desktop RAM Kit (Two 4GB Memory Modules)
(http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)

HDD: Will take my old one - Seagate 2 TB.

SSD: $115 - Crucial m4 128GB SATA 6.0Gb/s 2.5" SSD with Marvell Controller (CT128M4SSD2) (http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)


Now, some thoughts:

This weekend I went deep into the video cards, read many reviews, benchmarks and so long.

There are many comparisons out there stating that yes, GTX 670 are really close to the 680 scores.

But then I found myself a little concerned. And it is because I am doing a huge system upgrade (at least it looks to me) and will not be able to spend this much
on upgrades at least for 4 or 5 years.

But I do look for an upgrade soon: I aim a 3D Vision setup. I so much want it. And I expect to be able to grab a 3D Vision compatible display like the BenQ XL2420T as christmas gift :-)
When I read about the 3D Vision I saw this cards having huge hits in performance, usually scoring half the FPS they did when not using 3D, and that of
course makes sense. Maybe the GTX 670 would be a bit slow then?

Other thing I will be looking for is being able to apply high texture packs to the games, like those available to Crysis 2. I've read that whenever this packs
are used, GPU's memories use to almost fill up the 2 Gigs.

And the last thing I would like to mention is that I am really looking forward on playing ArmA 3 and I have read that i5 2500k is sometimes
bottlenecking ArmA 2 already. But I think people were running CPUs @ stock speeds. Do you think I can stay with the 2500k, crank it up to say 4.5Ghz
and avoid this bottlenecking?

Will my rig (above) be able to run smooth (60 FPS+) under those circumstances?

Keeping costs out of the equation, maybe the GTX 680 FTW 4Gb would be best suited than the 670 FTW 2GB?

If this helps, these are the games I wish to play all at the highest possible settings (now at 1680 x 1050, soon at 1920 x 1080 @ 3D Vision):
- Battlefield 3
- Crysis 2 + high textures pack
- Modern Warfare 3
- Fifa 12
- Arma 2
- Arma 3



Thanks in advance! :) 
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 9, 2012 4:18:28 PM

Hey, got your PM.

I think your new build is ready to go.

I would still choose the gtx 670 over the 680. Their performance is too close to warrant the extra $100 the 680 has. Now, I haven't tried out a 3d setup so I can't tell you how the gtx 670 will perform. However, I can tell you that if a gtx 670 will have trouble with it, the gtx 680 would also. Here, check out these benchmarks and see how close their performance really are: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/598?vs=555 .

Now, if you don't mind the cost and simply want pure performance, then yes, the 680 would perform better. You can even get the gtx 690 to get the performance of 2 reference 680's (or close to) for $1000. ;) 

I don't play Arma 2 so I don't know what or how it can bottleneck the i5 2500k. However, I read in one forum that it bottlenecked an i5 2500k running at 4.4 GHz. Maybe if you tweak your setting so that its not in its highest possible settings but is still somewhat high, you wouldn't get the bottleneck.
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July 9, 2012 10:21:46 PM

l0v3rboi said:
Hey, got your PM.

I think your new build is ready to go.

I would still choose the gtx 670 over the 680. Their performance is too close to warrant the extra $100 the 680 has. Now, I haven't tried out a 3d setup so I can't tell you how the gtx 670 will perform. However, I can tell you that if a gtx 670 will have trouble with it, the gtx 680 would also. Here, check out these benchmarks and see how close their performance really are: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/598?vs=555 .

Now, if you don't mind the cost and simply want pure performance, then yes, the 680 would perform better. You can even get the gtx 690 to get the performance of 2 reference 680's (or close to) for $1000. ;) 

I don't play Arma 2 so I don't know what or how it can bottleneck the i5 2500k. However, I read in one forum that it bottlenecked an i5 2500k running at 4.4 GHz. Maybe if you tweak your setting so that its not in its highest possible settings but is still somewhat high, you wouldn't get the bottleneck.



Made the trade. Got the GTX 680 FTW+ 4GB :bounce: 

I know, for now 2GB would be enough, but I want this card to last at least 2 years, and then buy a second and SLI them if its price get lower by then.

Now the system looks like this:

- Case: (purchased) Corsair 300R Carbide Black

- PSU: (purchased) Xfx 850W Core Edition Pro 850w P1-850s-nlb9

- Cooling: (purchased) Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus Rr-b10-212p-gp

- GPU: (purchased) - EVGA GeForce GTX 680 FTW 4096MB (04G-P4-3687-KR) (http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-GeForce-DisplayPort-Graphics...)

- CPU: $170 - i5 2500k - (http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)

- Mobo: $140 - Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Z77 ATX Intel Motherboard - (http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)

- RAM: $55 - Vengeance 8GB DDR3-1600 (PC3-12800) CL9 Dual Channel Desktop RAM Kit (Two 4GB Memory Modules)
(http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)

- HDD: Will take my old one - Seagate 2 TB.

- SSD: $115 - Crucial m4 128GB SATA 6.0Gb/s 2.5" SSD with Marvell Controller (CT128M4SSD2) (http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...)



Anyone seeing a bottleneck anywhere?

How many fans and which brand should I add?



Thanks so far!
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July 10, 2012 8:18:22 PM

Anyone? :ange: 
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 10, 2012 8:37:32 PM

Don't see any bottlenecks unless you install your games in the HDD. Just make sure you install them in you SSD and you will be fine.
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July 10, 2012 10:49:40 PM

l0v3rboi said:
Don't see any bottlenecks unless you install your games in the HDD. Just make sure you install them in you SSD and you will be fine.


Great! And how about the additional fans? For now, I have only the cpu cooler (Cooler Master Hyper Plus).

Any advices on how many and brand/model?

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July 12, 2012 7:13:29 PM

fpoon said:
Your case can fit 120 and 140mm fans, cooler master has a ton of those.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...


Sorry folks, I am really new into this.

After reading the article about Cooling Theory here (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-airflow-hea... - thanks to loverboi), and given that according to Corsair 300R case specs "Includes one front-mounted 140mm fan and one rear 120mm fan" already (case link: http://www.corsair.com/carbide-series-300r-compact-pc-g... ),

I believe that if I buy this:
COOLER MASTER R4-S2S-124K-GP 120mm Case Fan 4 in 1 pack
link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I would be able to stick 2 of them to the side panel and 2 to the top. Summing all up I will have 6 fans inside the case...

Will this fan setup provide enough cooling in order to overclock the 2500k around 4.5Ghz?

I am afraid those six fans will produce annoying noise... Will they?


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July 16, 2012 11:32:13 PM

Someone?
:-)
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!