Specific Build components ?

Hi all

I am going to be building a new system fairly soon, but I have been out of the loop for a few years and have some questions regarding hardware details for my upcoming rig. Mainly, I do not fully understand the difference between the ones I have listed below, so I would greatly appreciate it if someone could sum it up and clarify things for me.

The rig will be a home system, used for games, media etc. What matters to me is rock solid stability and reliability as well as performance, so no alpha or beta versions of hardware. I may end up some slight overclocking down the line as it gets older, but will run it mainly stock.

1. CPU - going with i7, but not quite sure which one, I am looking at i7 3820, i7 3770S, i73770, i7 3770K. All 4 are similar priced, but I do not understand the difference between the 3820, K, S, and no letter designations other then the speed listed.

2. RAM - I am currently looking at Kingston DDR3 Hyper X 16 GB kit and Corsair Vengeance Blue 16GB dual channel, but while looking I also ran into GDDR3, what is the difference between DDR3 and GDDR3 ? also, if someone has some experience with this particular RAM i would appreciate the feedback.

3. MB - Looking at ASUS P8Z68-V LX 1155 Z68, Gigabyte Intel Z77 LGA 1155, Gigabyte Intel Z77 LGA 1155 Dual UEFI BIOS ATX GA-Z77-DS3H. Love ASUS performance and the Gigabyte stability and dual Bios. Looking to spend between $100 and $180 on the board, any other suggestions or feedback appreciated.

4. HD - OK, here I have some questions before deciding. I am thinking about getting 2x Seagate Hybrid drives to run in RAID, but I have never done a RAID config before. So if I were to get 2x 750GB drives, am I going to end up with 1.5TB or 750GB of space ? Is the 2nd drive just for speed or do they add up space as well ? SSDs are still way too expensive per GB and the ones available are useless to me due to low volume. Alternatively, I am looking at Western Digital 1 TB RE4 SATA 3 Gb/s 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache WD1003FBYX. Again, pointers and feedback appreicated.

5. CPU cooler - not sure which ones are good for the above listed CPUs, again looking for reliability,longetivity and quiet operation.

6. PSU - I do not intend to run SLI or 2x ATI vid cards. This will be a single card rig, going to still use my current one for another year or so as it isnt very bad and its just not worth the money to upgrade it just yet, but I would like to upgrade my PSU, not sure what watts I need and which ones are good for the above listed components. I should note I will most likely be runing 2 additional fans on this system to keep it nice and cool under load.

Thanks in advance for the assistance.
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More about specific build components
  1. Howdy,.

    1. For gaming and general use, you really don't need an i7 honestly. The difference between i5s and i7s is a feature called HyperThreading. HyperThreading basically allows the CPU to "pretend" to have twice the cores it actually has. For example an i7 3770K will be 4 physical cores 8 threads. This has an advantage if you were to get into heavy video editing, media encoding, CAD design, etc, as these are CPU intensive workloads that can benefit. However, there is no game on the market today, or in the future that will ever use HT. So unless you're planning on doing a lot of heavy productivity work, then the i7 really is just going to cost you more for nothing. Even occasional productivity work, the i5 is still good enough.

    AS far as what the difference with the letter designations, the S means its a low power vairant, for a powerful desktop machine, those won't be particularly appealing. The K model number indicates an unlocked multiplier, this will bear particular importance for overclocking, basically the K means, you can overclock that model. If it has no K or S at the end of the model number it means the multiplier is locked, and it is not a low power model.

    2. The difference between GDDR3 and DDR3 is GDDR3 is video RAM, which will be found in video cards. The most current version of video RAM is GDDR5, any decent video card you will be considering will have it. As far as RAM for the computer itself, honeslty 16GB is overkill. Take it from me, I'm a multitasking nut, and try as I might, I've never managed to use 8GB in Windows Task Manager, let alone 16GB. 8GB would be plenty, as far as specific brands, all them are good really. Gskill, Corsair, Kingston, Samsung, PNY, etc. I would suggest buying RAM that is 1.5volts however, some of Kingstons are 1.65v. Intel CPUs like 1.5v better from what i've heard.

    3. The Asus board you're looking at is pretty nice. I'm personally not a big fan of Gigabyte boards, only because I had a bad experience with one. Thats not to say that those models you're looking at would be bad choices. I would say if you're willing to spend the cash (perhaps with the money you save going with an i5) Asus Sabertooths are awesome motherboards, with 5 year warranty. But the Intel ones do cost a pretty penny.
    Full Price

    Open Box Deal- (Asus will honor the warranty)

    4. I don't have any experience with RAID configurations myself either, so I'll defer to someone else's knowledge.

    5. CoolerMaster 212 Evos would be my answer.

    6. What video card are you considering? I'd say the best on the market right now is the GTX 670 (680s cost more and really aren't worth the extra performance for the price difference), there are cheaper options on the market that are pretty good too for a single card rig. I guess we have to talk about that one more.

    As far as a PSU, I would consider this one to be of very high quality, with more than enough power for the system.
  2. Thanks, that clarifies things a bit, I'll go with the Corsair 1.5v, take a look at the i5s K and the boards for them, the PSU looks very good to me too, I think I will get that one as I have actually read some positive reviews about it.

    The video card, I dont know yet, mine is still OK and I dont know what will be available by time I get a new one and at what prices, as I said, that will be a year or more down the line. I will most likely upgrade my O/S at that time as well, unless Win8 turns out to be a vista, i'll go with either premium or pro edition 64 bit.

    Would love to hear from someone about the Hard Drives, the Seagate Hybrids in RAID config have really piked my interest, but I cant find anything like that on them.

    Thanks again
  3. Raid depends on the array, 0 or 1.

    Raid 0 is for speed, this uses both drives at the same time to create a 1.5tb drive. No redundancy. If one dies, the data is unusable.

    Raid 1 is for redundancy, this mirrors the drives so only 750Gb but if one dies, it does not matter because you have another.

    I am guessing raid 0?

    Another option is a SSD boot drive and a larger, 500gb+, file drive.
  4. Got it, so I'm better off staying away from RAID.

    One more CPU question, which one is newer Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge ? Are there any differences between the 2 ? As a lot of vendors offer same i5 and i7 lines of CPUs in both variants. Is it just one is newer or anything important ?

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