Hi all. I will be doing my first build (hopefully with help of a friend with experience), but wanted to gain your feedback on my current parts list for an Ivy Bridge build. Budget is around $1000-1100. My main questions are if I picked the right motherboard and if the case will work okay with the video card (heard it was pretty big).
Want to use the right format, so here goes.
Approximate Purchase Date: this week or next
Budget Range: $1000-1100 w/ shipping (before OS)
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming
Are you buying a monitor: No, have a LG Q to use for a bit
Do you need to buy OS: Yes, Windows 7
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com
Location: City, State/Region, Country - Cleveland, OH, USA
Parts Preferences: Intel
SLI or Crossfire: Crossfire
Your Monitor Resolution: 1280x1024
Current Parts List:
HIS H795F3G2M Radeon HD 7950 3GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
$379.99 w/ $30 MIR
ASUS P8H77-V LE LGA 1155 Intel H77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9R
Build looks good so far. I have a few tweaks I'd make.
GPU - I would toss in the extra $20 to get a GTX 670; it outpaces the 7970 in many games/programs, and OCs pretty well (up to GTX 680 levels, which is plenty for basically every game out there). That said, you need to get a real monitor with a resolution of 1920x1080
Mobo - there should be other options in that price range that aren't H77. Look for the Z77 boards instead. Otherwise consider skipping Ivy Bridge and stick with Sandy as the SB CPUs are still plenty fast beyond games, and if you ever are bottlenecked by the CPU they will OC better than the IB CPUs.
RAM - you may have problems with CPU cooler clearance. It might be better to get a lower profile kit with smaller/no heatsinks. DDR3 is cool enough that heatsinks won't matter as long as you have air moving in the case.
CPU - touched on this in the mobo section
CPU Cooler - I would go with the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ or 212 EVO. Should be the same price, both are fantastic coolers for the money.
SSD - I've not seen a SanDisk drive in use so I don't know how they've fared in the market. My go-to SSDs are the Crucial M4, Samsung 830, or Intel 330/520. They tend to be more reliable, but SanDisk could be good. As long as it's not OCZ you're probably ok.
PSU - I would look for a Corsair or Seasonic in that price range. Cooler Master is starting to make a push into PSUs but I don't think they've established the reputation yet. Seasonic makes easily the best PSUs out there, and almost all Corsair units are Seasonics under the hood (TX750 might be what you're looking for, though 750W is not necessary unless you SLI/Crossfire).
I would take a look at a better case than the Antec 300. I had one and while it's solid and clean-looking, it's rather bare inside and the NZXT Source 210 is arguably the same case with better looks and a lower price. The HAF 912/922 are good choices without getting too expensive, but there are many other options to choose from.
Sandy is still a pretty solid way to go. You certainly won't be bottlenecked by it, and OCing is a breeze. Sandy also OCs better and easier than Ivy, since the temps are higher with Ivy; I've heard most chips struggle to top 4.2GHz, when SB CPUs can usually do 4.5 without issue, and that will be slightly faster than the comparable IB CPU IIRC.
If you ever do need to upgrade, you can drop in an IB chip on the SB mobos (most of them, anyway), and something like the ASRock Extreme3 Gen 3 give you most, if not all, the features that Ivy does.
I think you'll see a much bigger difference with a 1920x1080 display and crazy strong GPU like the 660Ti/670/7950/7970 - you'd get better utility for the dollar. You also won't be sacrificing anything really noticeable; you just don't get the bragging rights of having IB (which is ok - haswell will probably be worth the wait )