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Advice on Gaming/3D Rendering Setup

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July 10, 2012 9:19:50 PM

I'm looking to build a very strong system for gaming at max (or near max) and 3d animation/rendering. I use the adobe suite, Autodesk software, cinema 4D, and an assortment of other, less intensive programs. I play (this list is likely to increase drastically as I cut out all consoles and move to pure PC gaming) Skyrim, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2 at launch, Diablo III, and interested in The Witcher 2.

First off, I'm a first time builder with some prior knowledge from my father and ex, however since they won't be helping me on this build I thought it best to get some advice from more experienced individuals.

As a note: I have a question below about liquid cooling, but, despite being my first (solo) build, I am confident that, if the benefits are worth it, I can handle the installation/upkeep. I know the processes, risks, and requirements.

My budget: I'm willing to go to a max of $2500 (peripherals included: monitor, operating system, keyboard, and optical drive), but the cheaper the better as I am a college student with bills. I will hit (or possibly increase) my max budget if the performance is worth it. I plan to make upgrades when the need arises.

(EDIT: Prefer Intel, but not strict choice.)
My proposed setup is:
CPU: Intel i7-2600K 3.4GHz quad-core
MoBo: Asus Sabertooth z77 ATX LGA1155
GPU: EVGA SuperClocked GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1Gb
Ram: Kingston HyperX 16gb (4x4gb) DDR3-1600
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM
SSD: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5"
PSU: Corsair 750W ATX12V/EPS12V
Case: Corsair Obsidian 800D ATX Full Tower

Full List with peripherals: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/bJTX

My questions/concerns:
1. Most importantly: Is everything compatible? This may seem like a newbie question, but I've done all my part picking in the wee hours of the morning. So if I've missed anything major, and keep missing it cause I'm tired, I'd like to know now!

2. I'm worried that my PSU is not correct for this setup. The PSU is one area where I feel as though I'm flying totally blind. I know that it's better to go a bit high, and the system will use what it needs, rather than go low and nothing will work. Where exactly does this PSU fall in the range of my setup and how big is the margin? E.G. if I make any upgrades will I need to increase the PSU? Note: I do want a modular PSU as cable management is extremely important to me visually.

3. Computing power of my core components. From what I know, rendering is on the CPU and gaming is obviously heavy on the GPU. My parts are strong, but are they strong enough? I will be gaming much more often than rendering while I am still in school. I've never been a part of the component selection process in the past, so this is my first time making choices (plus the technology is always improving). Any recommendations on this? E.G. should I replace a part and with what?

4. Air vs Liquid cooling. I've not decided on whether I will overclock (though it's leaning towards a yes), however should I decide to overclock would the benefits of liquid cooling this system be noticeable? Would it be worth it even without an overclock? I live in Florida, where the heat can persist all year round, and will be forced to keep my a/c at minimal levels, so the ambient temperature will be higher more often.

I personally prefer the look of liquid cooling visually and the silence, despite the significant increase in cost. If I decide to liquid cool I would be seeking the help of my father who has experience in setting it up correctly. I've chosen my case carefully so that I can change to liquid cooling later if I decide to start with air. I'd prefer to liquid cool from the standpoint of visuals, but I don't want to drop the money if the benefit is negligible. (As a note, I'm aware that the quality of the liquid cooling system itself affects this. Let's assume that I'm willing to spend around $650 on the liquid cooling if it's worth it.)

5. Is there anywhere I can shave off some money and not lose significant power? The lower the price the better, but I do want a powerful system that will last me a few years. The case could be downsized, but I'm very partial to the look of the Corsair 800D. The peripherals are not set in stone, but mostly come from outside personal factors. E.G. I have a razer mouse, and would like to match the keyboard.

Sorry for the long post! I'm a bit paranoid and like to have my facts checked a couple times over before I make big decisions.
a b B Homebuilt system
July 10, 2012 10:16:30 PM

There is one thing that I will tell you and that is the case cannot add to the performance of the Pc so to spend $250 on a case when the extra money can be used for components to give performance is not good. That case is for someone who either has no budget or doesn't care about performance and wants to sit there and look at the case and be happy. If you want a build that is going to destroy any game it plays and give you rock solid performance in your 3D rendering then I can do that but if you just want something that looks good then you have that all picked out.
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July 10, 2012 10:35:01 PM

I can scale back the case, however I chose that one for a couple different reasons.

The features I liked most:
-Great Cable Management
-Black with acrylic window
-Good for liquid cooling should I go that route
-Didn't have to worry about space issues
-Nice side panel removal
-No lights already installed (I'd like to do my own.)

My cons were:
-Huge
-Pricey

If there are no space issues, I could get the same style for quite a bit less in the Corsair Obsidian 650D. Or if there is a cheaper alternative, with the some of the same quality I'd be willing to switch completely. However, I do not want a case that breaks my color scheme. A bit silly, yes, but I am going to take great pride in my machine. My colors are pretty much any shade of blue, though mostly dark blue.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 10, 2012 11:19:54 PM

LG Black 14X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 5X DVD-RAM 12X BD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA BDXL Blu-ray Burner,3D Play Back (WH14NS40) - OEM
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The total for this build as listed is $2684.88 and the reason it's that high is because I took into account not only your gaming needs but your 3D rendering needs as well. So the monitor is high because of the resolution it has (2560x1440) and the ram is high also because it's 32gb , plus the video card has 4gb of memory on it. These three things were in there because with 3D rendering and the other things your going to be doing with school work you will need them , any 3D rendering of modeling will require large amounts of ram and the motherboard will support up to 64gb , the monitor has a high resolution that's needed and the video card will suppotrt the monitro's high resolution and intense video work.
However if you don't want to address these needs and just go for a regular good computer then you can go with 16gb of ram and a different monitor and video card. The good thing about listing these builds like this is that you can swap parts in and out to get to where you want to be.

Asus VE248H Black 24" 2ms Full HD HDMI LED Backlight LCD Monitor w/Speakers 250 cd/m2 10,000,000:1
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G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9Q-16GBXL
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After making these changes the price now is $1994.88 , so if you want to make the changes you can , if you want to make other changes you can do that as well. This build is using the Sandy Bridge E cpu and is an i7 with limited overclockability and will support SLI/Crossfire and up to 64gb of ram. The reason I went with this cpu is that it can support more than the regular Sandy Bridge cpu's.
The Sandy Bridge-E has 40 lanes for the Pci-e buss and supports 64gb of ram and the Sandy Bridge has 16 lanes for the Pci-e buss and supports 32gb of ram.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 10, 2012 11:30:06 PM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I have this case and except for the red leds on the fan it fits your requirements and is huge inside. You can put liquid cooling inside of this with no problems.
I did include a liquid cooling part for the cpu and it's a closed loop so it onl requires you to attach the cooling head to the cpu just like you would any cpu heatsink fan.
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