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First Ever Build on the Way - Critique It for Me

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July 27, 2012 5:56:51 AM

So I just finished ordering my components for my new - and first ever - gaming/enthusiast rig. I spent weeks researching and raising the funds for it, and finally ordered everything (save for 2 components I'm driving down to Microcenter this weekend to pick up) tonight. Judge it, critique it, tell me where you would have used something else, leave a comment, whatever. Just give me some comments, thanks everyone! Maybe someone considering a new rig will even learn something and benefit from reading this.


CPU: Intel i5-3570k
I chose the Ivy Bridge i5 over the Sandy Bridge i5 or IB/SB i7 because the i5 offers the same gaming performance as the i7 while being ~$100 cheaper, and the IB i5 offers support for PCI 3.0 for better future-proofing if future graphics cards can fully utilize it.

Motherboard: MSI Z77A-GD65
I chose this motherboard because it offers enough PCI 3.0 slots for me if I choose to upgrade to an SLI setup in the future, as well as enough USB 2.0/3.0 for my needs as well as SATA 6. It also received a recommendation from a Tom's Hardware review for being the best motherboard in it's price range ($120-250 I think it was) with the best overclocking features.

Graphics Card: EVGA GTX 670 FTW 2GB
I chose this graphics card because it offers some of the best price/performance ratio of any high-end graphics card. The FTW edition comes with a base clock equal to that of a standard GTX 680, making it perform as well as a graphics card $100 more than it. While it may be overkill for some games, I didn't want to skimp on the graphics card, as gaming is my main priority.

Power Supply: Corsair AX750
I chose this PSU because it is a fully modular, 80+ Gold certified, SLI capable power supply at a reasonable cost. I had a close decision to make between this and the HX750, but decided to go with the AX version for the 80+ Gold as well as the fully modular design.

Memory: Corsair Vengeance 1600MHz 2x4GB
I didn't really worry very much about differentiating between different memory sets, as long as they were 8GB and running at 1600MHz. The Corsair Vengeance set looked cool, and had lots of positive reviews, so I figured, why not? As a gamer, as long as I have 8GB (even 4GB would be fine), I really won't notice a real-world FPS difference between different memory's.

Case: NZXT Switch 810 Special Edition
I had the Cooler Master HAF-X as my choice for a while until I came across this case. After watching enough reviews, NZXT had won me over. Featuring 10 fan locations, 2 of which being inside the case with the ability to rotate up/down to point at the graphics card or other components, as well as loads of other great features including room for not one, not two, put three water-cooling radiators (if I decide to upgrade to a custom-loop in the future) this case was a no-brainer. It also looks absolutely wicked.

CPU Cooler: Corsair H100
I had a toss up between this cooler or the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo, but decided to get this one for a couple reasons. First, this has better cooling potential, and while I won't actually see an FPS gain/loss either way, I figured that if I am spending this much money on a CPU I might as well at least keep it at nice temps, while still being able to overclock to my desire (somewhere around 4.3GHz probably). It will also look better in my case, which I do care about.

Hard Drive: OCZ Vertex 3 128GB
While you may be thinking, "ONLY 128 GB's!?!!?" don't worry. Personally, I have only about 80GB of space I am using up on my current computer (a four year old laptop) -- I barely use any space. All I need is enough for the OS and the 2-3 games I am currently playing at the time. The Vertex 4 didn't really give any performance gains over the Vertex 3 for gaming, at least not enough to warrant the price difference. I needed an SSD vs an HDD because I play MMOs, which can actually be bottlenecked by one's hard drive due to having to load such vast worlds and so many loading screens.


All in all I am happy with what my rig will be when it arrives in the next week or so. Don't be shy about saying things that I could have done better, I welcome it.

More about : build critique

July 27, 2012 6:14:57 AM

A Noctua NH-D14 would have performed the same for a lot cheaper. The AX750 is overkill. An HX750 would have saved you a lot of $.
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July 27, 2012 6:20:37 AM

Thanks for responding.

For the Noctua NH-D14, while I agree that it would perform about the same, it was only about $10 cheaper. Also, the H100 looks much better through the large window of my case, which to me warrants a $10 deficit.

I also agree with you on the HX750 being sufficient enough for all my needs. However, the HX750 is not fully-modular, which is a must for me. As well as the fact that the AX750 is 80+ Gold certified.

Good comments, thank you azeem40!
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July 27, 2012 6:27:36 AM

Another thing. That SSD is not the most reliable out there. Could have gotten a Samsung 830 or Crucial M4. Btw, gold ratings aren't much different than Bronze or Silver. They won't save you enough $ to warrant the extra cost upfront.
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July 27, 2012 6:36:40 AM

The SSD was actually the component that I researched the least out of any of them (save for the memory). What I figured was, at a certain point, any faster will not bring me any more enjoyment. My friend has this SSD and his boot times and loading screens are FAST. So I basically chose this SSD to keep it simple. I had seen it work, it was cheap, it's good enough for me.

Yeah I read about the gold ratings not being THAT much of an improvement, but to be honest Gold vs normal 80+ was only secondary to the fact that the AX750 was fully modular compared to the HX750. The Gold rating was more of a kicker than my main hand.
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July 27, 2012 6:43:14 AM

It's not the speed cuz you're right. It's the reliability, which is pretty poor.
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July 27, 2012 6:47:56 AM

This comes back to my friend - he has owned his for a year now and had zero problems. A recommendation from him means a lot, and I tried to keep it simple there.

You are right though, there are better SSD's out there. And I thank you for pointing that out :) 
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July 27, 2012 6:49:04 AM

Honestly, one zero problems report doesn't mean it is reliable.
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July 27, 2012 6:52:42 AM

You know the SSD is actually one of the things I am picking up from microcenter this weekend - meaning it can be changed. Do you really think the Crucial M4 would be a better choice? Based on only the reliability?
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July 27, 2012 7:00:35 AM

Yes. You said yourself that the speed is so fast already that it won't make a difference. Reliability is the most important part of SSDs.
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July 27, 2012 7:15:43 AM

EVGA graphics cards use a reference cooler, which dont work as well and do get loud under load. A card with a custom cooler would have been better. Its not worth getting cards with factory overclocks, you can do the same (or better) in 10min and save yourself $20. If you can change the order, I recommend you get the Gigabyte GTX670.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also, comparing clock speeds on different GPU's is pointless, clock speeds are not the indicator of performance. For instance, my HD7870 is clocked higher than a stock GTX680, but the 680 will still smoke my card in almost every way. Only when your talking about the same GPU does clock speeds matter (comparing one 680 card to another).

128GB is plenty of SSD space, if you use it right. Fitting the OS, a modest library of games and programs onto that much should be easy. But once you start putting movies, files, music and documents onto it, it will fill up quick. These files wont benefit from the SSD's speed, so shouldn't be on there. I recommend getting a 1Tb drive to act as your mass storage.

As for SSD gaming performance, you wont notice any difference except in load and start-up times. Where the real benefit of SSD's is boot times and the general speed boost that comes with programs and OS being so quickly accessible.

The Vertex 3 is the drive that unfortunately gave OCZ its bad reputation for reliability, and isn't the fastest out there, especially now. I recommend an OCZ Vertex 4, they are much more reliable, trades blows for the top spot on speed, and if OCZ keeps pumping out updates, will only get quicker. The 128GB Vertex 4 is only $5 more than the 120GB Vertex 3 on Newegg, so I dont see why you would go with the slower, less reliable drive.
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July 27, 2012 7:29:55 AM

Hey Manofchalk, thanks for the info.

For the graphics cards, both the GTX 670 and 680 are based off of the GK104 (or is it 107?) chip. So wouldn't the same clock speeds speeds on the same chip yield the same results?

As far as SSD's, thanks for the great suggestion. Is the OCZ Vertex 4 really that much more reliable than the Vertex 3? Compared to the Crucial M4, how reliable is the V4?

And yes, I am planning on getting a 500GB-1TB drive sometime in the future if 128GB isn't enough (but considering I only use 80GB now, I think it will be plenty).
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July 27, 2012 8:22:19 AM

Ok, it seems in this case I was wrong. But in general, comparing clock speeds across cards is pointless.

So far I haven't heard any horror stories of the Vertex 4 like I have with the Vertex 3, and my personal one has worked without a hitch. So I would say its more reliable. The Crucial M4 is the bastion of reliabilty (except maybe compared to the expensive Intel 520) on the SSD market. It's been out ages so has a track record for reliability. But because its been out a while, it isn't up there performance wise.
Both the Vertex and M4 are reliable, but you have to decide between the superior speeds of the Vertex or superior reliability of the M4. As you can see in my sig, I went for the Vertex 4, and have not regretted it (yet).

I would just get the HDD now, it means less work later trying to extract programs and files from the SSD, moving the user files and re-directing where downloads go. I would just do it now while your building it and everything is fresh in your mind.

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