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Assistance in building a $2,000 desktop

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August 6, 2012 11:29:36 AM

Salutation,

My name is Alain and I would like to ask for advice in building a new PC desktop. The ultimate purpose of this rig is
to be a multi-tasking/multimedia machine with emphasis on high end gaming capabilities for maximum graphical and speed performance for PC gaming.

As far as the monitor and speakers, I will be using my HDTV and my 5.1 surround sound system via HDMI.

Approximate Purchase Date: August 2012

Budget Range: $2,000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: Build from scratch

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com

Location: City, State/Region, Country - Texas, USA

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Your Monitor Resolution: 1080p HDTV

Additional Comments: I would like a relatively quiet PC. I am also considering doing live online gaming streams.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I've been using laptops and haven't used a desktop in ages.

The parts I have considered buying are as follows:

COOLER MASTER HAF X Blue Edition RC-942-KKN3 ATX Full Tower Computer Case - $199.99

ASRock X79 Extreme3 ATX Intel Motherboard - $ N/A = combo with CPU

Intel Core i7-3820 3.6GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 2011 Quad-Core Desktop Processor - $489.98

G.SKILL Trident X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2400 (PC3 19200) Desktop Memory - $199.99

EVGA GeForce GTX 680 w/ Backplate 04G-P4-2686-KR Video Card - $559.99

SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC256D/AM 2.5" MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) Desktop Upgrade Kit - $235.99

Pioneer Black Blu-ray Burner With BDXL Support SATA BDR-2207 - $98.99

CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX850 V2 850W High Performance Power Supply - $134.99

ZALMAN CNPS20LQ Ultimate Liquid CPU Cooler - $94.99

Logitech K400 (920-003070) Black RF Wireless Keyboard - $39.99

Logitech M510 Black RF Wireless Mouse - $36.99

Arctic Silver AA-1.75G Thermal Compound - $4.99

I look forward on reading everyone's comments and suggestions. Thank you very much.

More about : assistance building 000 desktop

August 6, 2012 1:04:19 PM

If you want a quiet PC then you should switch to this CPU cooler.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It's fan speed can be lowered via its software.

I'd also pick a different power supply.Not that the Corsair is bad, there are just better, more silent options.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Since your PC is LGA 2011 based you should use quad channel memory.The bandwidth will double compared to a dual channel kit.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Switch the memory kit to this one!

Switch the SSD to this one.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Its faster and cheaper.

If you're concerned about sound quality you should definatly pick up a discrete sound card like this one.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And finally if you want your PC to be silent while gaming you need a graphics card with an aftermarket cooler.
Right now GTX 680's with such coolers are pretty rare.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This card is overclocked and also features an upgraded cooler.
But if you ever manage to find an ASUS GTX 680 DCII buy it!

You can also buy a HD 7970 GHZ edition.It's just as fast and just as rare.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Still if you can get one you won't be dissapointed.

And finally i cant imagine a 2k USD PC without a HDD.

And last but not least you should buy a case optimised for silence AND cooling.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This Antec is better suited for your system than the HAF X and also saves you a lot of money.
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August 6, 2012 1:07:25 PM

arctic siler isnt good anymore. the stuff included with a heatsink is already very good (espically the stuff that comes with the d14 cooler)

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/dXQI
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August 6, 2012 1:08:12 PM

That system looks great in terms of performance. I can definitely help you improve it in terms of value for money and quietness though. I'm on my phone right now though, ill reply again tonight when I can get to my PC
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August 6, 2012 1:08:21 PM

no need to spend the money for x79 when z77 beats it in games
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August 6, 2012 1:48:16 PM

did you see my post?

1: the memory speed is useless given the higher latency and timings. not to mention that it uses 1.65v which is bad for intel systems. not to mention you dont need 16gb

2: x79 is not useful for you if you are only gaming. a i5 3570k performs better in games

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August 6, 2012 2:02:06 PM

TheBigTroll said:
did you see my post?

1: the memory speed is useless given the higher latency and timings. not to mention that it uses 1.65v which is bad for intel systems. not to mention you dont need 16gb

2: x79 is not useful for you if you are only gaming. a i5 3570k performs better in games


Give me a moment to collect my thoughts and reply. :lol: 

Regarding 1: The reason I am going for 16gb is for future proofing. I don't see myself regularly upgrading my setup. But your advice is duly noted. Thank you.

Regarding 2: Allow me to clarify the purpose of this build. This is going to be a replacement for my laptop which I use for pretty much everything, but I want something that can play PC games on high settings without sacrificing frames and performance. Now if that means the x79 and i5 3570k would suit me better as per your recommendation, then I will take your comment to consideration. Once again, thank you.
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August 6, 2012 2:03:43 PM

jmsellars1 said:
That system looks great in terms of performance. I can definitely help you improve it in terms of value for money and quietness though. I'm on my phone right now though, ill reply again tonight when I can get to my PC


Please do. I look forward in reading your recommendations. Thank you in advance.
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August 6, 2012 4:13:41 PM

Alain021783 said:
Give me a moment to collect my thoughts and reply. :lol: 

Regarding 1: The reason I am going for 16gb is for future proofing. I don't see myself regularly upgrading my setup. But your advice is duly noted. Thank you.

Regarding 2: Allow me to clarify the purpose of this build. This is going to be a replacement for my laptop which I use for pretty much everything, but I want something that can play PC games on high settings without sacrificing frames and performance. Now if that means the x79 and i5 3570k would suit me better as per your recommendation, then I will take your comment to consideration. Once again, thank you.


1: ddr4 will replace ddr3 by 2014-2015. no point of upgrading then. 8gb is more than enough for 90% of the users. you can fire up 40 tabs on your browser without lag (if you have fast internet that is). 16gb is good for hd video editing. anything beyond that is either computation work or 24/7 video rendering

2: a i5 3570k will play games faster than a i7 3820 and use much less power. the i5 3570k uses the z77 chipset and a different socket. the only thing that might stop you from playing games is the graphics card. the CPU isnt too important. i have included the gtx670 in the build because it performs like a 680 when overclocked (which it is from the get go), and is currently overkill for a 1080p monitor. it will let you play games on ultra for probably the next 2-3 years until dx12 comes out. after 2-3 years, you will have to play games at high settings but then you can add another 670 in the system (i have included headroom to do so) later on when you need more performance

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August 6, 2012 4:15:27 PM

if you happen to live near a microcenter, they sell i5 3570ks for 189.99 in store so you can save some cash there.

you dont have to shop at newegg. they dont always offer the best prices. i suggest us.ncix.com since they have great customer service and have online price matching
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August 6, 2012 6:16:25 PM

TheBigTroll might be right about the prices about Newegg but the site is easy to navigate and they have a lot of stock so I'll use it for reference.

This would be my choice, it comes way under your budget but gives pretty much the same gaming performance and upgrade potential as the build you listed. It should be a lot quieter as well:

Intel Core i5-3570k - $229.99
This gives basically the same performance as that i7 in games for a lot less money. It also consumes less power so it will be easier to keep quiet. I don't really see any need to get anything more expensive than this for games as the gain is so minimal.

2 x 4GB Crucial Ballistix Sport 1600Mhz 1.5v - $43.99
Some nice cheap and reliable RAM with low profile heat spreaders so you have space to fit a large CPU cooler. I chose 1600Mhz because the speed of the RAM is going to make very little difference, especially in games. I chose 1.5v because that is what's recommended for socket 1155 systems. I chose 8GB because only a few games even use 4GB RAM, none that I'm aware of will use more but RAM is pretty cheap so 8GB is what most people go for. There is still space on that board to upgrade to 16GB should you feel the need.

ASRock Z77 Extreme4 - $134.99
This board is fantastic value for the features it provides. I find ASRock to be very reliable as well, I have had very few problems with them. Nothing so problematic that I had to replace the board. This board is good for overclocking in case you wanted to, it has plenty of space for SLI and both slots will run at x8 speed so it won't cripple one of the cards. (I would strongly recommend NOT going for SLI in your case, I would only ever recommend it for someone playing at an insane resolution because it gets very hot and noisy. You can also run into space and compatibility issues you wouldn't run into with a single card. A single GTX 670 will be fine for games at 1080P for a long time. It even gives great FPS at 2560x1600) As well as all that, it has USB 3.0, SATA 3, PCI-E 3.0 and 4 DIMM slots. To top it all off, it's a steal at $134.99.

ASUS GTX670-DC2-2GD5 (GTX 670 2GB) - $399.99
This gives similar performance to a stock GTX 680 for a lot less cash, the power consumption should be a lot less as well. That really helps quietness. I also find that ASUS cards tend to be pretty quiet anyway, so long as you use something like MSI afterburner to lower the fan speed. You can use that software to have the fan slow down and speed up automatically according to temperature by PWM so you don't need to worry about overheating, it might just get a bit noisier while playing games. This card should easily last you a few years and I very much doubt you will need or even want to SLI it.

Intel 330 Series 240GB - $199.99
Gives similar reliability and speed to the Samsung drive you chose but costs a bit less. The Samsung drive is still an excellent choice though. Personally I wouldn't go for that Mushkin drive, even the difference between 200MB/s and 500MB/s isn't really noticeable in SSD's so a ~100MB/s difference won't be noticed. I'd buy based on reliability. Intel seem to have the best reputation in reliability. Samsung and Crucial seem good as well. I would personally avoid any Sandforce drive that isn't Intel.

Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200RPM - $89.99
This is not a slow drive but it is not the fastest either, the Samsung Spinpoint F3 will be faster but is notoriously noisy. I have always used Seagate drives myself and find them to be unbelievably quiet as far as mechanical hard drives go. Just make sure it is mounted on rubber/silicone grommets. I don't think the speed difference will matter anyway, this is only going to be used as mass storage, anything you use often will get thrown on the SSD.

Seasonic X-650 650W - $139.99
Not a cheap PSU by any means but Seasonic really are top notch in terms of build quality, the reason that everyone suggests Antec, Corsair and XFX PSU's is because Seasonic make most of the higher end ones. This particular PSU will have plenty of juice for any upgrades, including SLI (which I wholeheartedly advise against). It also has 80 PLUS gold efficiency, meaning it stays cool and doesn't waste as much power as cheaper PSU's. The lack of heat helps towards quietness too. Another great feature is that it is fully modular, meaning all the cables are detachable meaning you end up with a neater case and cables don't get in the way of airflow or get stuck in fans. THe best feature of all though (in my opinion of course) is the hybrid fan. That means that the fan won't even spin unless the PSU gets hot and it needs to, even when it does spin, it is extremely quiet.

ZALMAN CNPS9900 NT 120mm CPU Cooler - $64.99
This is a bit pricey as far as CPU coolers go but it is one of the few high end coolers with PWM fan control. This means it automatically slows down and speeds up according to temperature. This makes it very quiet, and obviously it will provide excellent cooling.

Antec P183 V3 - $139.99
A relatively big and expensive case compared to most (compared to the enormous HAF X it is small, a lot cheaper too.) This case does have great cooling though, you would probably want to add more fans if you wanted to go SLI or something but it would cope completely fine with this setup, even with overclocking. The main perks to this case though are the quietness features such as rubber hard drive mounts, thick panels and relatively quiet fans. It also has plenty of space and other features like dust filters, without them this case would be a dust magnet. Personally I think this case looks great too, Antec tend to have great build quality as well.

LG BD Burner - $69.99
Standard Bluray burner, you probably won't need it but why not at your budget? You did mention multimedia.


Total - $1513.90 before shipping and rebates

Well under your budget but I don't see any need to spend more than that unless you wanted to get really serious about quietness and get further sound dampening materials and better fans. Now you could buy a sound card but integrated sound is getting very good these days, I would see how you get along with onboard before getting a sound card. If you do plan to buy one, I hear good things about the ASUS Xonar series.

I hope this helps man.
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August 7, 2012 1:08:35 AM

@ jmsellars1: Thank you very much for your very informative input.

I've put together two setups based on everyone's recommendation.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/e1XJ <= i5 final setup

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/e1X3 <= i7 final setup

Will someone kindly review both and give me any further suggestions? Thank you kindly.
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August 7, 2012 6:43:38 AM

There's no real advantage to the i7 build for games, it will only improve performance in multithreaded apps. I would definitely go for the i5. I would stay well away from that liquid cooler though personally, a similarly priced air cooler would provide all of the cooling with none of the risk. It would most likely be quieter as well. That PSU looks a bit questionable too, Coolermaster's lower end PSU's dont have a good reputation for reliability either. Also 650W is enough even with SLI, maybe 750W if youre concerned about heavy overclocking and frequent upgrades.
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August 7, 2012 6:45:04 AM

GTX 680 is not worth it when the 670 is $100 cheaper and performs only 5% worse. That PSU is low quality. Get a TX750 V2.
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August 7, 2012 12:16:02 PM

better off going to my build given the better compatability and better choices
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August 7, 2012 8:51:15 PM

jmsellars1 said:
There's no real advantage to the i7 build for games, it will only improve performance in multithreaded apps. I would definitely go for the i5. I would stay well away from that liquid cooler though personally, a similarly priced air cooler would provide all of the cooling with none of the risk. It would most likely be quieter as well. That PSU looks a bit questionable too, Coolermaster's lower end PSU's dont have a good reputation for reliability either. Also 650W is enough even with SLI, maybe 750W if youre concerned about heavy overclocking and frequent upgrades.


@jmsellars1: I greatly appreciate the advice, but I have decided to go with the i7/GTX 680 setup. However, as per your recommendation, I did change the PSU. The only thing I am unsure of is the cooling system that would go with LGA2011 and would not have fitting issues with the case and the ram sticks.

Please have a look and advice in regards to an appropriate cooling system (and/or other incompatibilities you may notice with the entire setup):

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/e4DM

Once everything checks out with you, more likely than not, that will be setup I will be using for my build.

Again, thank you very much for your help and patience.
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August 7, 2012 8:55:33 PM

Unless you're going to go with 3 graphics cards, you don't really need 850W. I'd get ~500W+ for a single card, ~650W+ if you plan to SLI.

As far as the cooler goes, this one is pretty much the best of the best and fits that socket. Should fit fine over Blackline RAM too.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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August 7, 2012 10:13:23 PM

i dont see the point of a x79 rig when a i5 3570k beats it in games anyday
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August 7, 2012 10:39:36 PM

Yeah I said the same but its up to him really.
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