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~$1500 CS6 / Gaming Build Advice - no monitor

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August 20, 2012 6:06:35 PM

Hi,

This is really long, sorry about that.

Approximate Purchase Date: Aug 2012
Budget Range: $1200-$1600

System Usage from Most to Least Important: MMORPG and offline RPG gaming (e.g. LOTRO, WoW, Skyrim,i.e. no FPS), using Adobe Creative Suite (Flash, Illustrator, Photoshop, Premiere a bit), also will be using it for normal office stuff for my small business.

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: Everything

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.ca , Canada Computers, tigerdirect.ca

Location: Toronto, Canada

Parts Preferences: I want to use Intel chips as I hear they’re better than AMD currently. Also, I have the 64-bit version of Creative Suite. I have a preference for NVidia graphics over ATI, probably just a leftover from my WoW days so it’s not a strong preference.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050 DVI-I input

Additional Comments: The most important thing is that it’s reliable (I have a 1TB external that I’d like to set up to backup daily), and I want to future-proof it for at least 3 or 4 years. Though I game, I don’t need the absolute best graphics and fps all the time, and I don’t play FPS games that are the most demanding on video cards. Quiet would also be good.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I have a laptop (Dell Vostro 3500, I shouldn’t have bought from them) right now that can’t handle graphics-heavy games – even offline ones heat it up so much that it crashes. It has a graphics card (Geforce 310M) that I think is too resource-intensive for its size. A laptop cooling pad helps a little but not much. I want to be able to use Creative Suite and game without worrying about temperatures. I tend to have several applications open at once, so I think a desktop will just suit my needs better.

Before buying this laptop I thought about building my own, but in the end went for the convenience of a laptop. But now I don’t feel safe doing online gaming with it, or even playing graphics-intensive offline games. Now I want to build my own and make sure it has good parts, will last a few years, and can handle everything I want to do with it.

I checked out the recent article on Best Value at $1000 etc for parts, and used the $1000 list as my base for looking at parts, though I ended up changing most of them. This is my first time so I might have made some mistakes or missed better options for me, please let me know what you think. I also noted things that I changed and why

Wishlist link: https://secure.newegg.ca/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.asp...

Component list: (I included the price of components at Canada Computers as well)

Graphics card - GIGABYTE GV-N560OC-1GI GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681... - $235 ($220 at CC)
-since I'm not planning on playing FPS games, I changed the card to something cheaper that was still recommended in the most recent graphics card article. It says factory overclocked – I don’t want to overclock it myself.

Chip - Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 ...
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681... - $299 (CC $299)
-going with i7 instead of i5 for graphics editing, this is where I am willing to spend the money I save on a less powerful graphics card
-it’s still not top of the line though, I don’t think it will make a big enough difference for me

Mobo – GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-D3H LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681... - $150 (CC $125)

I also looked at this mobo a lot:

Asrock Z77 Pro3 -129
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Since I don’t overclock, but I do care a lot about reliability, I went with Gigabyte. For future proofing I chose something that has z77. I notice the gigabyte only supports DDR 2400 not DDR 2800 - is there a big difference?

Also, can I actually get 32gb of RAM, will it make any difference from 16gb? It has this note: (The SATA2 5 connector will become unavailable when the mSATA connector is installed with a solid state drive.) Should I care about this? I didn’t find anything when googling.

Memory: G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C10D-16GAO
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682... - $85
- There’s also the Ares 2x8 - 9 sec latency, heat spreaders, low profile for $104. These ones have 10 sec latency, is this noticeably different?
- Can/should I get 32gb instead? Could I just buy two sets of these?

SSD: I’d like to get a 90gb SSD to put my OS and possibly Creative Suite on. I had a really hard time choosing between these:

Kingston Kingston SSDNow V+200 KR-S3190-3H 2.5" 90GB SATA III Internal 7mm Solid State Drive (SSD) (Upgrade Bundle Kit)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682... $100 (CC $110)
-This is the ‘upgrade bundle kit’ as opposed to the stand-alone drive. I’m not sure what the difference is.

Mushkin Enhanced Chronos – I wasn’t sure about this because it only has 3 stars on newegg, but here it seems to have a good reputation
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682... - $90 (CC doesn’t have this but has a 120GB for $110)

HD: Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682... – $100

Seagate Barracuda (ST1000DM003) SATA3 6.0Gb/s 1TB 64MB Cache (OEM)
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=1...
- $90 – this one has 64MB cache, which I assume is better than 32MB, and is cheaper than the Newegg one on my wishlist
- I figure with this and my external 1TB for backup it should be enough.
- for $20 more I could get a 2TB, which I’d definitely consider.

Case: LOGISYS Computer CS1202BK Black ABS + Mesh bezel , SECC 0.6mm ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681... - $50
I don’t know anything about cases, this one had two fans already installed (front and rear) rather than the one in the $1000 build which only had one. I don’t care about how it looks, only that it’s sturdy, big enough to hold everything comfortably and have good airflow. It doesn’t mention USB 3.0 though.
-Canada Computers doesn’t have Logisys cases, but it has this Antec case:
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=6... for $50, which has a USB 3.0 and two fans (top and rear).

Power Supply: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650M 650W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Semi Modular High Performance ...
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681... - $120 ($110 at CC)
I also don’t know much about power supplies. I checked my graphics card against this chart (http://forums.atomicmpc.com.au/index.php?showtopic=264) and 650W seems fine. This is a bronze certified, is it worth the extra money to get a gold certified power supply?
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681... – this one says “compatible with core i7 power supply” – does that mean the one I chose is not compatible with my i7 chip?

Fan: ZALMAN CNPS7000B-Cu LED 92mm 2 Ball Cooling Fan
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683... $42 (CC doesn’t have this, they have Zalman CNPS9900MAX-R RED LED for $60) http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=8...
Do I need another fan? The $1000 build didn’t have one, but better safe than sorry I guess?

DVD burner: LITE-ON 24X DVD Writer Black SATA Model iHAS424-98 LightScribe Support
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682... $30
The difference in price wasn’t much, so I went with one with LightScribe.

Peripherals:
I have a wireless mouse and keyboard.

OS: I want Windows7 64 Ultimate $327 – not sure whether the support with the retail version is worth the extra money.

Total right now is $1529 – I could save about $40 getting the mobo and graphics card at CC.

Thanks for any advice!
August 20, 2012 8:04:06 PM

http://www.directcanada.com <----- Free Shipping on orders over $50

http://www.bestdirect.ca <----- Free Shipping on orders over $80


http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=10530BD9683&v... $132.61 MIR $122.61
ASUS P8Z77-V LX Z77 ATX LGA1155 DDR3 CrossFireX 2PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 SATA3 DVI HDMI USB3.0 Motherboard

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12200BD6982&v... $309.79
Intel Core i7 3770 Quad Core Hyperthreading Processor LGA1155 3.4GHZ Ivy Bridge 8MB Retail

http://www.directcanada.com/search/?kw=gtx%20660%20ti <----- GTX 660 ti 2GB

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=14050DR8745&v... $115.95
SanDisk Extreme 120GB 2.5IN SATA3 6GB/S SandForce SF-2281 Solid State Disk Flash Drive SSD

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=13440AC5884&v... $81.13 MIR $61.13
PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 600W ATX Modular Power Supply 80PLUS Bronze 120MM Fan

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11180AC3384&v... $73.50
Corsair Carbide Series 300R Black ATX 3X5.25 4X3.5 Front USB Audio No PSU
August 20, 2012 8:09:12 PM

Assuming you will not be doing SLI in the future:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($329.99 @ Amazon Canada)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($31.05 @ DirectCanada)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($124.99 @ Canada Computers)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($91.63 @ DirectCanada)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($99.79 @ DirectCanada)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ NCIX)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Video Card ($284.79 @ DirectCanada)
Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($59.98 @ NCIX)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling 600W ATX12V Power Supply ($64.99 @ Canada Computers)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Canada Computers)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (64-bit) ($186.99 @ Computer Valley)
Total: $1392.18
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-08-20 15:59 EDT-0400)

To answer some of your questions + some comments:
-Go Ivy Bridge + Z77 over Sandy Bridge + Z68. Ivy Bridge + Z77 are the latest and greatest.
-32GB of RAM seems overkill to me. Go 16GB.
-Not a huge difference between 9 and 10 latency RAM, but go 9 if possible, like the ones I suggested.
-Not that many good 90GB SSDs out there. Go 128GB. The Vertex4 I suggested are among the very best available now.
-Gold certified PSUs are a waste of money. The one I suggested should be good as long as you don't plan on SLIing in the future.
-The CPU cooler I picked is the best bang for your buck for non/light overclockers like you. Go for it.
Related resources
August 20, 2012 8:17:57 PM

Quote:

Graphics card - GIGABYTE GV-N560OC-1GI GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6814125363 - $235 ($220 at CC)
-since I'm not planning on playing FPS games, I changed the card to something cheaper that was still recommended in the most recent graphics card article. It says factory overclocked – I don’t want to overclock it myself.


There's absolutely no reason to purchase a 560TI anymore. In this category go with a Radeon 7850 or pay the extra money and go with a GTX 660TI.

Quote:

Mobo – GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-D3H LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6813128546 - $150 (CC $125)

I also looked at this mobo a lot:

Asrock Z77 Pro3 -129
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6813157297

Since I don’t overclock, but I do care a lot about reliability, I went with Gigabyte. For future proofing I chose something that has z77. I notice the gigabyte only supports DDR 2400 not DDR 2800 - is there a big difference?

Also, can I actually get 32gb of RAM, will it make any difference from 16gb? It has this note: (The SATA2 5 connector will become unavailable when the mSATA connector is installed with a solid state drive.) Should I care about this? I didn’t find anything when googling.


You don't need Z77 if you're not going to overclock, and future proofing on Ivy Bridge builds is a bit of a moot point since Ivy is the end of the line for socket LGA 1155. If you don't want to overclock go with H77 - you still get 32GB of RAM support.

Quote:

Memory: G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C10D-16GAO
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6820231558 - $85
- There’s also the Ares 2x8 - 9 sec latency, heat spreaders, low profile for $104. These ones have 10 sec latency, is this noticeably different?
- Can/should I get 32gb instead? Could I just buy two sets of these?


Just get 16 for now, upgrade to 32GB later. There's no differences between latencies because by default your motherboard will run the lowest RAM speeds, timings, etc that it can handle.

Quote:
SSD: I’d like to get a 90gb SSD to put my OS and possibly Creative Suite on. I had a really hard time choosing between these:

Kingston Kingston SSDNow V+200 KR-S3190-3H 2.5" 90GB SATA III Internal 7mm Solid State Drive (SSD) (Upgrade Bundle Kit)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6820239373 $100 (CC $110)
-This is the ‘upgrade bundle kit’ as opposed to the stand-alone drive. I’m not sure what the difference is.

Mushkin Enhanced Chronos – I wasn’t sure about this because it only has 3 stars on newegg, but here it seems to have a good reputation
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6820226290 - $90 (CC doesn’t have this but has a 120GB for $110)


I'd go with the Chronos over the Kingston but this beats both of those without even thinking about it: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Quote:

Case: LOGISYS Computer CS1202BK Black ABS + Mesh bezel , SECC 0.6mm ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6811148060 - $50
I don’t know anything about cases, this one had two fans already installed (front and rear) rather than the one in the $1000 build which only had one. I don’t care about how it looks, only that it’s sturdy, big enough to hold everything comfortably and have good airflow. It doesn’t mention USB 3.0 though.
-Canada Computers doesn’t have Logisys cases, but it has this Antec case:
http://www.canadacomputers.com/pro [...] _id=045153 for $50, which has a USB 3.0 and two fans (top and rear).


Ugh, do not purchase a Logisys case - they are one of the bottom of the barrel case manufacturers. If you read the comments on that $1K system build - they got a *LOT* of crap for that case choice. An Antec 300 or HAF 912 is far better. They're like Raidmax - they cut corners on construction with cheap parts and sharp edges that you're likely to cut yourself on. Go with something like this instead: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Quote:

Power Supply: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650M 650W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Semi Modular High Performance ...
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6817139031 - $120 ($110 at CC)
I also don’t know much about power supplies. I checked my graphics card against this chart (http://forums.atomicmpc.com.au/index.php?showtopic=264) and 650W seems fine. This is a bronze certified, is it worth the extra money to get a gold certified power supply?
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6817139005 – this one says “compatible with core i7 power supply” – does that mean the one I chose is not compatible with my i7 chip?


I don't know why manufacturers put labels on their products like that if they want to throw off customers. That Corsair PSU is fine - I recommend it all the time.

Quote:

Fan: ZALMAN CNPS7000B-Cu LED 92mm 2 Ball Cooling Fan
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6835118119 $42 (CC doesn’t have this, they have Zalman CNPS9900MAX-R RED LED for $60) http://www.canadacomputers.com/pro [...] _id=050096
Do I need another fan? The $1000 build didn’t have one, but better safe than sorry I guess?


You do not need to purchase any fans until after the build is done. Your fans have to be mounted a certain way and you can only buy as many fans as your case has mounts for. Read this: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-airflow-hea...

Quote:
OS: I want Windows7 64 Ultimate $327 – not sure whether the support with the retail version is worth the extra money.


You don't need Windows 7 Ultimate period. It's not worth the money. You only need it if you're running the language packs or XP emulation mode. Otherwise it's just not worth the money. If you need more than what Home Premium offers, get Pro. But don't spend the money on Ultimate. Put that difference elsewhere, like upgrading your GPU to a 660TI.
August 20, 2012 10:02:38 PM

Thanks so much everyone, I modified my list a lot, improved the card and chip and it's still $230 cheaper!

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($304.99 @ Memory Express)

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H77-DS3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($92.99 @ Computer Valley)

Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($84.99 @ Newegg Canada)

Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($99.79 @ DirectCanada)
Storage: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($114.99 @ Newegg Canada)

Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Video Card ($296.10 @ DirectCanada)

Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($63.21 @ NCIX)
- I chose this case as it has both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports.

Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling 600W ATX12V Power Supply ($64.99 @ Canada Computers)

Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS424-98 DVD/CD Writer ($29.99 @ Canada Computers)

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit) ($139.99 @ Newegg Canada)

Total: $1292.03 (Prices include shipping and discounts when available.) (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-08-20 18:01 EDT-0400)
August 20, 2012 10:04:48 PM

lijakaca said:
Thanks so much everyone, I modified my list a lot, improved the card and chip and it's still $230 cheaper!

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($304.99 @ Memory Express)

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H77-DS3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($92.99 @ Computer Valley)

Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($84.99 @ Newegg Canada)

Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($99.79 @ DirectCanada)
Storage: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($114.99 @ Newegg Canada)

Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Video Card ($296.10 @ DirectCanada)

Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($63.21 @ NCIX)
- I chose this case as it has both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports.

Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling 600W ATX12V Power Supply ($64.99 @ Canada Computers)

Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS424-98 DVD/CD Writer ($29.99 @ Canada Computers)

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit) ($139.99 @ Newegg Canada)

Total: $1292.03 (Prices include shipping and discounts when available.) (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-08-20 18:01 EDT-0400)


That looks way better than the original build, I say go for it.
August 20, 2012 10:39:52 PM

lijakaca said:
Thanks so much everyone, I modified my list a lot, improved the card and chip and it's still $230 cheaper!

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($304.99 @ Memory Express)

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H77-DS3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($92.99 @ Computer Valley)

Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($84.99 @ Newegg Canada)

Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($99.79 @ DirectCanada)
Storage: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($114.99 @ Newegg Canada)

Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Video Card ($296.10 @ DirectCanada)

Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($63.21 @ NCIX)
- I chose this case as it has both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports.

Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling 600W ATX12V Power Supply ($64.99 @ Canada Computers)

Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS424-98 DVD/CD Writer ($29.99 @ Canada Computers)

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit) ($139.99 @ Newegg Canada)

Total: $1292.03 (Prices include shipping and discounts when available.) (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-08-20 18:01 EDT-0400)

Yup, looks good. Go for it!
!