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Critique this ingenious $1300 gaming build

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August 24, 2012 2:01:04 AM

Hey, everyone! Brand new to the forum here and I'm planning to build my first computer. If I were asked what I want out of it, I'd have to say… everything! Primarily, I'd like to be able to play any game I want at the best settings possible without breaking my bank. I'd like my internet speed to be the bottleneck for streaming video. Surf the net a lot. I'd like to be able to play videos back and interested in future-proofing as well.

The only knowledge base I have is self-taught and research I've done from previous plans to build over the years. I've done tons more research over the past month and this is the system I'm planning on putting together. I already have a PSU, a corsair tx750. I still have an NVidia GTX 260 from 2009 that I was planning on using on my next build with perhaps SLI, but I prefer (from what I've read) the stability of a single, awesome card that I can SLI before my next rebuild. Hopefully this build will last… 5 years?

So, here are my planned parts:
Case: COOLER MASTER Storm Enforcer http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD5H LGA http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GPU: GIGABYTE GV-N670OC-2GD GeForce GTX 670 2GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU: i5-3570K http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
mSata: Crucial M4 mSATA 32GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SSD: ADATA S510 Series 120GB SATA III 6 GB/s http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1866 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 6Gb/s http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master GeminII S524 120 mm http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Top Fan For Case (200mm): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Replacement fan for CPU Cooler (140mm upgrade from stock 120mm): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm planning on purchasing and building at the end of September and I'm going to spend appx. $1,300. I don't need a monitor, I have an Asus I bought in 2009 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... along with my PSU and GPU. Resolution is 1920x1080.

I plan on a modest overclock (appx. 4-4.2 Ghz) until I find out more about overclocking. The reason for upgrade is to replace outdated computer and not have to worry about another upgrade for several years. It’s my birthday and I’ve always wanted to build one.

Sooo. I need advice. How's this look? I was planning on buying a new Windows, putting the OS and most used programs (with maybe a few games) on the SDD and using the HDD as storage with the mSATA SSD as a cache for the HDD.
The Ram has the lowest CAS latency I could find at 8 in the 1866 mhz range. Not on the motherboard’s qualified vendor list but I figured I'd risk it and return it if it doesn't work? Is this too large of a risk? No Latency 8 on the approved list, it's all 9 or 10. I thought about going with liquid cooling but have decided, for now, cost may not warrant performance increases for my purposes.

Any perceived bottlenecks, redundancies, or compatibility issues? Recommendations for different selection of parts for price/cost performance? I'm open… let me have it!
Or does this look good?
August 24, 2012 3:43:24 AM

p.s. just kidding about the ingenious comment. I put a lot of research in, but need serious feedback.
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August 24, 2012 4:17:41 AM

Quote:
Hey, everyone! Brand new to the forum here and I'm planning to build my first computer. If I were asked what I want out of it, I'd have to say… everything! Primarily, I'd like to be able to play any game I want at the best settings possible without breaking my bank. I'd like my internet speed to be the bottleneck for streaming video. Surf the net a lot. I'd like to be able to play videos back and interested in future-proofing as well.


Future proofing is a huge moot point anymore. Ivy Bridge is the end of the line for LGA 1155, the next line of Intel CPUs will use an entirely new socket and chip set. For surfing / web browsing / etc - you won't use all the resources that your games will.

There's no point in purchasing an mSATA drive - you can skip that. And there's no reason to purchase that cooler either. Get this instead: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Get the M4 instead of the SSD you chose. And drop the mSATA drive.

Otherwise everything else looks good.
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August 24, 2012 4:34:12 AM

Thanks for taking the time to respond!
g-unit1111 said:

There's no point in purchasing an mSATA drive - you can skip that. And there's no reason to purchase that cooler either. Get this instead: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Get the M4 instead of the SSD you chose. And drop the mSATA drive.


Don't take my questions wrong, I have an insatiable urge to uderstand everything I do as well as possible.
I thought the mSATA drive would increase the speed of my HDD. Is this wrong or negligible?

Also, my thought with the cooler I chose was that it would also more directly cool the mosfets and RAM for future overclocking potential. Would this be an insignificant gain and why?
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August 24, 2012 5:28:03 AM

broknlink said:
Thanks for taking the time to respond!


Don't take my questions wrong, I have an insatiable urge to uderstand everything I do as well as possible.
I thought the mSATA drive would increase the speed of my HDD. Is this wrong or negligible?

Also, my thought with the cooler I chose was that it would also more directly cool the mosfets and RAM for future overclocking potential. Would this be an insignificant gain and why?


No - mSATA SSD drives are just a smaller form factor of regular SSD drives. They run at pretty much the same speeds, and 32GB is a really limited capacity to store Windows on - since after formatting and OS install you maybe have 5 - 6GB free.

And then with the cooler - there's nothing that really proves that cooling your RAM will improve its' performance. Sure RAM does get hot but RAM coolers are generally a waste of money. Having a cooler like I suggested will help circulate your system's air flow better. I'd suggest reading this guide on how to properly setup your system's air flow: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-airflow-hea...
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August 24, 2012 5:32:59 AM

Also. 1866 RAM is overkill. Get 1600. 1866 does not improve performance.
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August 24, 2012 5:44:08 AM

g-unit1111 said:
No - mSATA SSD drives are just a smaller form factor of regular SSD drives. They run at pretty much the same speeds, and 32GB is a really limited capacity to store Windows on - since after formatting and OS install you maybe have 5 - 6GB free.


I was not going to use the mSATA drive for storage, but rather take advantage of the motherboards SRT capability to use the mSATA SSD as a cache for the HDD in order to increase its speed. This is the point of mSATA on these motherboards, yes?
[/quote]I'd suggest reading this guide on how to properly setup your system's air flow: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-airflow-hea...[/quote]
Thanks, will do.
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August 24, 2012 6:27:08 PM

Quote:

I was not going to use the mSATA drive for storage, but rather take advantage of the motherboards SRT capability to use the mSATA SSD as a cache for the HDD in order to increase its speed. This is the point of mSATA on these motherboards, yes?


Considering you already have an SSD on that build the cache will be kind of useless. The cache is meant to speed up the way existing HDs transfer data but it's not meant to be a replacement boot drive.
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August 24, 2012 8:33:02 PM

g-unit1111 said:
Considering you already have an SSD on that build the cache will be kind of useless. The cache is meant to speed up the way existing HDs transfer data but it's not meant to be a replacement boot drive.

I'm not sure I'm communicating this well. Here is my intention with the setup:

SATA III 120 GBSSD-----> Boot drive/OS/Commonly run Programs/A game or two

mSATA 30GB SSD----> Used for Cache----->1TB HDD Storage (Photos, Files, Movies... whatever) Sped up by mSATA Being used as cache

My hope was to use the SSD as a standalone boot drive and only set up the smaller one to speed up 1TBHDD. Thus if I DID put a game on the HDD (or another commonly accessed but large program), it would experience increased loading times, etc. with the SSD cache set up.

Is this clearer or am I misunderstanding you?

Am I somehow bastardizing the intent of SRT?
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August 24, 2012 8:48:36 PM

SRT is a useless gimmick not worth buying a second SSD. Preferably buy a bigger SSD instead.
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August 24, 2012 9:17:32 PM

Okay, check.
Scratch the mSATA.
Get the EVO cooler.
Get the M4 SSD... with extra money I can probably scratch out a 256GB. :D 
I can't find a lot of info about how to do this anyway, so... I'm thinking you might be right about the gimmick thing. Kind of like when I started wanting to do this build, I originally wanted a Maximus V Formula Motherboard.

So, that may change things. One of the reasons I was choosing the UD5H motherboard http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... , other than the ALC898 codec and 12 phase power, was the mSATA slot. Looking at the reviews on Newegg for this board, I'm seeing only 65% 4 and 5 egg reviews but 27% 1 and 2 egg reviews. :(  Reliability may be a problem?

However, the Asus P8z77-V http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... has 84% 4 and 5 egg reviews but only 13% 1 and two egg reviews.

I know I overthink things. That's why I'm here.
Can anyone else present a case on why I should continue to choose the Gigabyte board over Asus? I like the idea of the ALC898 codec. I would like WI-FI but not a must. The Gigabyte has dual bios, but the Asus has a bios usb flash, so kind-of the same dif as far as fail-safe, right?
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August 24, 2012 9:33:33 PM

The UD5H is a very good motherboard.
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August 24, 2012 9:44:16 PM

What I would do, and why:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($28.98 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Microcenter)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($43.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($77.26 @ NCIX US)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($419.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Cooler Master Storm Enforcer ATX Mid Tower Case ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($84.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($90.65 @ Amazon)
Total: $1272.81
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-08-24 17:37 EDT-0400)

CPU: you're gaming. Go i5. i5 performs equal to any i7 CPU in 19/20 games.
CPU cooler: Hyper 212 is arguably the best CPU cooler for your money out there. Should handle mid-overclocks like 4,2-4,4GHz without any problems.
Motherboard: yes, the UD5H is a very good motherboard, but has some features you probably won't use. The Extreme4 is pretty much the most popular motherboard out there for these kind of builds, and is cheaper as well.
RAM: RAM is RAM. This one is 1600MHz, 1,5V, 2x4GB and is low enough to not conflict with your CPU cooler. Everything you need for a gaming build.
HDD: I'm a Seagate fan, so I chose a Seagate Barracuda HDD. It's fast and 1TB should be plenty for games++ (you can always go 2TB).
SSD: The Vertex4 is, AFAIK, the fastest SSD out there now. Cheap as well.
GPU: The GTX 670 is a very good value GPU. Go for the ASUS/Gigabyte versions since they have better cooling options than other versions.
Case: your pick
PSU: Corsair makes excellent PSUs, and 750W is enough to handle a second GTX 670 later on. Not modular though, but not a big deal if you're fine with hiding the cables in your case.
Optical drive: sort by rating -> pick first one
OS: obviously Windows 7 HP. OEM version since it's cheaper than the retail version, and you don't need the retail version.

Screw any additional fans.
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August 24, 2012 11:06:11 PM

The Vertex 4 is fast but the updates are destructive. If you can live with slightly slower speeds get the M4 or 830.
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August 24, 2012 11:51:58 PM

obsama1 said:
The Vertex 4 is fast but the updates are destructive. If you can live with slightly slower speeds get the M4 or 830.


Yeah OCZ has got a ton of crap for the updates surrounding the Vertex 4, I was going to buy that SSD for my system but opted against it and went with the Samsung 830.
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August 24, 2012 11:55:38 PM

Only bad thing I can say about the 830 is that it hasn't gotten a lot of firmware updates, but the firmware on it is really good so it's a non-issue.
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August 25, 2012 2:30:14 AM

What of the Mushkin Chronos? The stats look as if they're slightly faster.
Does the firmware make up for what is now a 20 dollar difference from the Samsung 830? Reviews on the 830 are fantastic! On the Chronos... well... they're okay.


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August 25, 2012 5:08:55 AM

Also... is Nafoni right? Does RAM not make that much of a differnce? Should I just get a cheaper 1600Mhz RAM? This may change things as well.

Shenanigans... who knew this would be so much work?
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August 25, 2012 8:51:40 AM

Yes he's right.
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August 25, 2012 11:00:47 AM

About the SSD, I'd say you're left with 3 choices:
-OCZ Vertex 4
-Samsung 830
-Crucial M4

If you're a bit worried about updating the firmware etc., drop the Vertex 4. Then you're left with:
-Samsung 830
-Crucial M4

They will both give you very similar performance and are both equally priced. Go for the brand you like the most. You can't go wrong with any of them.
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August 27, 2012 5:34:49 AM

nafoni said:
Motherboard: yes, the UD5H is a very good motherboard, but has some features you probably won't use. The Extreme4 is pretty much the most popular motherboard out there for these kind of builds, and is cheaper as well.

Okay, I know I said this was a gaming rig, but really... I'm married to a smoking hot wife who likes to vacation. I have a child and another (maybe two) on the way. (translation: I better build a computer while I have the money and time). So I want to be able to squeeze every last visual morsel out of the gaming I DO get to get in. Also... I'm thinking about future capabilities of hooking up to theater sytem or whatever I think may be really cool to do with a central computer.
This is why I'm looking at the UD5h. To keep my options open... long term. If I'm wrong with this line of thinking... I'm open to that... but this is where I'm coming from.

Quote:
If you're a bit worried about updating the firmware etc., drop the Vertex 4.

I don't mind updating firmware... and there is little in life that worries me. I do have to wonder if the updates to Vertex 4's firmware is due to rushing out a product before it is ready.
i.e. Do the published performance metrics actually apply to the amalgam of various parts and programs I decide to incorporate into one system?
There is something to be said for first time quality.
The Vertex 4's numbers are attractive, so let me digress and formulate this into a humble question.

If I get the Vertex 4 am I running the risk of the advertised speeds not living up to expectations whereas the other two brands for similar prices are consistent? Random Write IOPS of 120,000 kicks 50,000 or 36,000. As does the Sustained Sequenial write of 510 MB/s seem to stomp that of 260 MB/s or 400 MB/s. Are these real and what impact do the numbers have on the equation? More importantly, are they real?
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Best solution

August 27, 2012 5:46:42 AM

The thing about the firmware is that the updates are destructive aka they format/wipe/destroy the data on the drive, so it's a huge pain.
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September 1, 2012 10:15:00 PM

Okay, everyone's advice has been appreciatively noted. It seems these Newegg deals change on almost a daily basis, so I'll probably start ordering parts soon.

Here is the evolved list of planned parts:

Case: COOLER MASTER Storm Enforcer http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD5H LGA http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GPU: GIGABYTE GV-N670OC-2GD GeForce GTX 670 2GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU: i5-3570K http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM: G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB DDR3 1600 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Top Fan For Case (200mm): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Changed:
No msata
Removed Replacement fan for CPU Cooler
SSD (RAID 0): SAMSUNG 830x2 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I will still purchase top case fan to increase cooling capacity and I plan on setting the CPU Cooler up to flow air vertically into the top exhaust fan.

Still weighing in whether to change motherboard to suggested ASRock Extreme4, but I probably won't. I like the 12-phase power and with the conversion to dual RAID 0 SSDs, I'm going to need the extra 6Gb/s ports.
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September 12, 2012 5:01:42 AM

Best answer selected by broknlink.
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