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Looking for advice/input on custom build

Last response: in Systems
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August 1, 2012 1:02:52 AM

This will be a general use PC and I'm looking for a nice balance of mid to high end components that offer solid value with no glaring bottlenecks on performance.

I've researched most of the components for weeks on "best builds" in the $1500-$2500 range, though I've made a few changes based on price fluctuations (ex. SSD changed from an Crucial M4 to Samsung 830 due to price bump on the M4 today).

I'm not a big gamer, am a huge movie/music buff (encode my CD WAV to WMA lossless) and a professional. This build obviously has way more horsepower than I NEED, for say an HTPC, but I'm also looking at creating a foundation that can be upgraded and won't be outdated for years. It's also one of the first times in my life where price is a secondary consideration to quality (I've decided to splurge a little and treat myself).

So, here goes:

I'll retain my Linksys E3200 router from my current network setup.
I'll also retain my WD My Book Live 3TB NAS. It's nearly empty b/c my network has had issues communicating, but hard wired into the LAN on my computer I've had read rates as high as 650 Mbps so I know it's not a faulty unit.

CPU- Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor (overkill, but for $100 who cares...it's fast and flexible)
CPU Cooler- Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler
Motherboard- Asus P8Z77-V DELUXE ATX LGA1155 (dual LAN, one for the aforementioned 3TB NAS)
Memory- G.Skill Ripjaws Z Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-2133 Memory (already purchased)
Storage- Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Storage- Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (possible boot drive or smart caching...we'll see)
Video Card- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB (more overkill, but I need to run a 1080p TV and also a 1650 x 1080 monitor, occasionally simultaneously)
Sound Card- n/a since audio will either run through HDMI or LAN to my Yamaha RX-V3900 for decoding, may eventually upgrade when I get the bug
Power Supply- Corsair 750W ATX12V / EPS12V (already purchased)
Optical Drive- Lite-On iHES212-08 Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer (bundled software, only for BR)
Optical Drive- Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer (already purchased, primary ripper/burner)
Operating System- Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1
Keyboard- Logitech K400 (920-003070) Black USB RF Wireless Standard Keyboard with track pad (need an upgrade for watching internet TV, sans mouse)
Case- I'm looking at two options, but leaning towards the Cooler Master for the USB 3.0 options- 1) NZXT Guardian 921 RB ATX Mid Tower Case (Blue/Red), and 2) Cooler Master Storm Enforcer USB 3.0 Mid Tower ATX Case (see no reason to drop much coin here).

I guess that's about it. I'll probably move on a few of these items by tomorrow as a couple Newegg sales expire 8/1. I'll use Amazon too since some prices are lower and I get free 2 day shipping (Prime member).

Thanks for any input.
August 1, 2012 1:30:42 AM

Sounds like a winner! I wish I was building it. Cooler Master will suffice IMO.
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August 1, 2012 1:30:44 AM

Well, it's hard to give advice since you seem to acknowledge that this is a bit (and in some places, more than a bit!) overkill for your purposes. It's not my money, but since PC parts are expensive relative to many other things I enjoy (e.g. pizza, beer), perhaps you should visualize your cost overruns in terms of other things that could replace them. $100 on the 3770k... or like, eight sixpacks of something decent? (perhaps you have more money than I do, or perhaps you don't drink, but there must be something else!)

That said, I don't think you have made any mistakes here. The 3770k+670 will certainly last for years and will be more than enough, far more, to run multiple monitors, encode/decode, stream, etc.
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August 1, 2012 1:42:26 AM

Franziskaner baby!!!! Yeah!!
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August 1, 2012 1:50:58 AM

I'd prefer a fine imperial stout not german lager but anyway. I'd recommend you wait for AMD's Trinity which is right what you are looking for, minus the cost.
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August 1, 2012 5:11:59 AM

motorneuron said:
Well, it's hard to give advice since you seem to acknowledge that this is a bit (and in some places, more than a bit!) overkill for your purposes. It's not my money, but since PC parts are expensive relative to many other things I enjoy (e.g. pizza, beer), perhaps you should visualize your cost overruns in terms of other things that could replace them. $100 on the 3770k... or like, eight sixpacks of something decent? (perhaps you have more money than I do, or perhaps you don't drink, but there must be something else!)

That said, I don't think you have made any mistakes here. The 3770k+670 will certainly last for years and will be more than enough, far more, to run multiple monitors, encode/decode, stream, etc.


I guess if I had to quantify it I'm looking at least 5 years down the road. I also admittedly put more time and energy into my home theater and the designed obsolescence you find in the HT product lines is aggravating (it's fun to upgrade toys now and then). What I want here is a machine that while overkill now, is still workable 5 years from now if we're looking at 4k TV's with little source material. With this set up, I think I could throw in a 2nd 670 and be fine. That's been the best part about this project; your basically limited by your pocket and creativity...and not much else these days. It's not the same in HT; I can't build a better receiver than Denon or Yamaha. And if software is developed 5 years from now that uses Hyper Threading or if I need to overclock the processor to wring a little more performance out of it, I'd rather have the option than a $150 case (which is still reasonable for some builds).

I'm mainly hoping for input and first hand experience (rather than just specs) on superior components in a similar price range or options I haven't thought about and should consider incorporating. I could use software input too, other than the OS.
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August 1, 2012 5:28:28 AM

Quote:
Sorry bro.. an i7 is waaaay too overkill for your needs, you will be more than ok with a i5 for a really loooong time, there is no point in overspending, the i5 will perform exactly the same as a i7 in any game and unless you do some heavy video editing the HT feature in the i7 will not pay off (that feature is the ONLY diference between a i7 and a i5)

This is what i'd get (please note that this is waaaay more than what you need for the kind of stuff you are going to do) :
CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($132.86 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($58.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($104.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($304.99 @ NCIX US)
Sound Card: Asus Xonar DX 24-bit 192 KHz Sound Card ($85.67 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($79.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling 950W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($97.98 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Asus BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Keyboard: Microsoft SIDEWINDER X4 Wired Gaming Keyboard ($47.52 @ B&H)
Mouse: Logitech M570 Wireless Laser Mouse ($46.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1314.95

*I added a sound card (that goes againts me) but i think you will benefit from having one.

*The 7950 will be more than enough for gaming @1080p, specially if are not a heavy gamer, the GTX 670 is overkill for you.

*950w is overkill but its only ~30$ more than a TX650w so its definetly worth it, besides, is manufactured by no less than PC power & Cooling (possibly the best PSU manufacturer in the world)

*Check your Private messages... i left 100$ there ;) 


Thanks but I do already have a few components bought, so no changing those. :)  I know could cut $100 here and a $100 there on a few items but I'm trying to build a computer that will still be solid 5 years from now. As I mentioned to another poster, if 4k TV's become the new norm, I'd like a machine flexible enough that can add another 670 and be done. I'd also like it to be able to upconvert the BR and HD-DVD h2.64 library to 4k without a prob.

Looking more for tweaks than a new foundation. Believe me, I'm cheap. This process has me wondering what kind of system I could put together at half the cost and 90% of the performance...and I think it's doable.
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August 1, 2012 5:38:03 AM

Smeg45 said:
I'd prefer a fine imperial stout not german lager but anyway. I'd recommend you wait for AMD's Trinity which is right what you are looking for, minus the cost.


I'm a retired beer snob (kidding-ish) and now a proud High Life drinker.

Regardless of cost it's a flavorful crisp refreshing beer...people just don't know. And not that it matters, but Consumer Reports recently agreed!! lol
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August 1, 2012 5:45:04 AM

Quote:
ops, sorry, i didnt notice you had some components already, anyways, unless you will do heavy gaming a GTX 670 will not be needed and btw... the GTX 670 can only do 2560x1600 not 4k and adding another one will not make a diference


Disappointing to hear...I guess I'll have to swap cards when the time comes; either way it would still be relatively minor compared to a new build or replacing new HT hardware. I guess I could move to a TV w/ a a 21:9 aspect ratio...them's purdy too. And BTW, couldn't NVIDIA release new drivers to alter workable aspect ratios since the throughput of two 670's could easily handle 4k??
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August 1, 2012 6:33:49 AM

Quote:
I highly doubt they will prefer to release drivers that will allow you to output 4k resolution than having you buy a newer card... anyways... the DVI conectors in todays GPU's only support 2560x1600 maximun


Interesting thing is that it's also HDMI 1.4a which means it should also support 4k...not a listed spec, but to qualify for 1.4a certification this is a must. It will be interesting to see where their driver support goes.
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August 1, 2012 6:35:46 AM

Quote:

*950w is overkill but its only ~30$ more than a TX650w so its definetly worth it

Lol, that is the most stupid reason ever to get a 950W PSU. That doesn't even make sense.

Get the TX750 V2 for $94 at NCIX USA.
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August 1, 2012 7:00:53 AM

azeem40 said:
Lol, that is the most stupid reason ever to get a 950W PSU. That doesn't even make sense.

Get the TX750 V2 for $94 at NCIX USA.


New at this, but it seemed to be more than I'd need. Already snagged a super sale on the corsair HX750 last week...
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August 1, 2012 7:04:15 AM

Looks pretty solid.

For minor tweaks, Since it seems price has flexibility would get a

212 evo instead of the 212+.


Would get a bluray BURNER instead of just the reader (again, because you don't know what the future will bring, and isn't that much of a price increase).

For video card, according to techpowerup:
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Gigabyte/GeForce_GTX...
it is a quiet card, but the Asus is quieter still.

Case actually is an important choice as it will have the relatively priceless doohickeys that you might actually use. I have an nzxt h2, and given it is very quiet, but it has top fan control, front access to hotswap HDDs, as well as a top port to immediately hookup a bare drive like you see in spy movies (actually used it to transfer over stuff). So there are lots of "cool" features from the case.

If you have the money, you should also be looking at getting a newer high end monitor(s) since you sort of glossed over that. Myself and my peers with dispensable income all have dell U series monitor(s)-intended for graphic designers-your eyes deserve it.

A monitor is a great productivity investment that will NOT go obsolete as fast as the rest.
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August 1, 2012 7:04:16 AM

Should have said in OP so you'd be spared from ridiculous advice like 950W being better cuz it is only $30 more. :p 
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August 1, 2012 7:10:37 AM

kluvlaw said:
I'm a retired beer snob (kidding-ish) and now a proud High Life drinker.

Regardless of cost it's a flavorful crisp refreshing beer...people just don't know. And not that it matters, but Consumer Reports recently agreed!! lol


Trust me, you haven't experienced beer unless you've had a 12% imperial stout that fills you up from top to bottom. Forget crisp and refreshing, I want meaty and gritty. I've had stouts that would knock out lager drinkers. Mmmm, brings back memories of when I fell in love with fine stout.

To the OP, I'd reconsider a 5yr build and build for around 3yrs. Tech moves too fast. Still if you insist, build a HAF X based system around a 3570K and don't add a GPU until you need one. The case will last and last and will fit all your upgrades so you are set there. The 3570K won't be obsolete anytime soon either and a Z77 board will give you plenty of flexibility.
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August 1, 2012 7:10:44 AM

It's night time and I'm tired. Go figure lol.
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August 1, 2012 8:22:00 AM

Yeah, HAF X is overhyped. Get the HAF XM.
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August 1, 2012 2:08:54 PM

azeem40 said:
Should have said in OP so you'd be spared from ridiculous advice like 950W being better cuz it is only $30 more. :p 


I did, no one noticed. :)  That's what I get for rambling.
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August 1, 2012 2:41:20 PM

azeem40 said:
Yeah, HAF X is overhyped. Get the HAF XM.


Still seems to be $70 more for no return...the $60-70 cases I'm looking at have a little "wow" factor but I'm looking more for function over form.

I'm also leaning towards a 7970, b/c though the GTX 680/670 state 4K compatibility in some press releases (and HDMI 1.4a compliance demands it) the raw horsepower of the 7970 really shines on 4K material and has much higher frame rates than the 680 could muster under recent testing; HDMI/Displayport specs on the 7970 are also listed as compatible with both 4K resolutions. For only $20 more than the 670 on Newegg, this may be my ace in the hole.
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August 1, 2012 3:14:23 PM

Although I don't know about specifics of compatibility, the 7970 is more likely to handle high resolutions well for gaming purposes anyway because it has 50% more VRAM with a 50% wider bus. The 670 and 680 are bandwidth-limited at high resolutions and AA settings. You did say you're not much of a gamer, though, which makes me wonder whether this kind of analysis is relevant.

(Nonetheless, I still endorse getting a cheaper GPU and spending the money on beer.)
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August 1, 2012 4:30:53 PM

motorneuron said:
Although I don't know about specifics of compatibility, the 7970 is more likely to handle high resolutions well for gaming purposes anyway because it has 50% more VRAM with a 50% wider bus. The 670 and 680 are bandwidth-limited at high resolutions and AA settings. You did say you're not much of a gamer, though, which makes me wonder whether this kind of analysis is relevant.

(Nonetheless, I still endorse getting a cheaper GPU and spending the money on beer.)


Having a computer in 2012 for roughly $2K that can play 4K content is more than I ever dreamed when I started this project, and well worth the $500 extra I'll spend to make it happen IMO. The $500 difference in my budget bump is getting me functionality that cost about half of a first Gen BR players of just 4 years ago...and I'm not convinced there will ever be a physical media that replaces BR. A 4K compatible distribution system, with local and cloud files, takes care of that if i'm right in my prediction.

High Life is only about $15-18 a 30 pack where I live and $8.50 for a 12 of bottles...I won't be going thirsty any time soon :) !!!!!!
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August 1, 2012 5:46:45 PM

Now with 12.7 catalyst driver, you are right that the 7970 will handle higher resolutions better.
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August 1, 2012 6:20:15 PM

azeem40 said:
Now with 12.7 catalyst driver, you are right that the 7970 will handle higher resolutions better.


Nothing scares me quite like "driver issues." Been there too many times, (thank you Vista). The 12.7 drivers do seem to have resolved the issues for most people and it seems it's best to just discard the drivers disc on arrival and go straight to 12.7.

Hope to pull the trigger tonight.
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August 1, 2012 9:20:21 PM

I meant HAF X based, so either the full tower or XM, both are decent . . . .
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August 1, 2012 11:08:42 PM

raytseng said:
Looks pretty solid.

For minor tweaks, Since it seems price has flexibility would get a

212 evo instead of the 212+.


Would get a bluray BURNER instead of just the reader (again, because you don't know what the future will bring, and isn't that much of a price increase).

For video card, according to techpowerup:
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Gigabyte/GeForce_GTX...
it is a quiet card, but the Asus is quieter still.

Case actually is an important choice as it will have the relatively priceless doohickeys that you might actually use. I have an nzxt h2, and given it is very quiet, but it has top fan control, front access to hotswap HDDs, as well as a top port to immediately hookup a bare drive like you see in spy movies (actually used it to transfer over stuff). So there are lots of "cool" features from the case.

If you have the money, you should also be looking at getting a newer high end monitor(s) since you sort of glossed over that. Myself and my peers with dispensable income all have dell U series monitor(s)-intended for graphic designers-your eyes deserve it.

A monitor is a great productivity investment that will NOT go obsolete as fast as the rest.


While I'd love a new monitor like, the U series Dell, I do very little near field viewing anymore, except at work. I'd most likely save the $1000 on a monitor and apply it my next HDTV purchase since we're starting to finally see higher rez screens than 1080p. In fact, since I switched to to the 7970 for 4K support out of gate (mind officially blown) I'm dreaming of tucking away money for a 21:9 screen or a 4 screen/thin bezel setup (assuming a software solution is developed at the consumer level)...or 4K prices drop below insane $10k price levels in a few years.
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August 2, 2012 12:19:16 AM

Quote:
Well acording to this article ----> the GTX 680 supports 4K video http://wccftech.com/zotac-unleashes-geforce-gtx-680-gra... altough i strongly advise you to get the 4GB version of the GTX 680 so it handles 4K easier


I knew they couldn't advertise HDMI 1.4a w/out being compliant. An actual shoot out of the 680 and 7970 is online and the 7970 just smoked the 680...as someone pointed out in the thread, the add'l GB of VRAM really shines at those resolutions.


My final build, if the link works: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/dCuy.
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August 14, 2012 3:14:55 PM

I've got my build done with only a couple of bumps along the way (had to pull the MB out once to attach the CPU fans's baseplate to the underside) and I'll post some pics soon. Pretty proud of my results for the first time.

Speed, speed, speed. Booting Win7 64-bit Pro from the SSD takes under 15 seconds and about 5 to shut down.

I'm having one persistent issue and can't determine if it's drivers, compatibility or settings. At first I thought the 7970 wan't outputting any audio. I've got it to output audio now, but only directly connected to my TV. When I connect it to my audio receiver (Yamaha RX-V3900) it doesn't recognize the receiver or the TV and I get no sound and video reverts to about vga quality.

In fact, no HDMI audio/video options can even be selected and when I try to open Catalyst there is an error. Am I missing a driver? The on board audio is Realtek HD, which I don't think is even being used unless I'm using a motherborad HDMI out rather than the 7970. I've still not connected the motherboard HDMI, but may do so just to see if it sees the receiver. I can see the receiver on my network.

Another option I tried was deleting the drivers and reinstalling after downloading SP1, apparently the proper order, but that doesn't appear to have fixed anything. I've read that the 12.6 drivers had an HDMI audio fix and am considering those over 12.7. I could always try the install disc too, but the XFX website indicated the new drivers were available and i assume preferable.

Any ideas or troubleshooting help would be greatly appreciated!!!
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