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Critique My Mid-Level Gaming Build $1000-$1500 Budget

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September 7, 2012 6:50:21 PM

Hello Everyone!

I'm looking to build a new mid-level gaming PC and would love any feedback you might be willing to share with me. Details below:


Approximate Purchase Date: This Week

Budget Range: $1000-$1500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: Everything!

Do you need to buy OS: Yes (Probably Windows 7 64)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg / Amazon

Location: Madison, WI USA

Parts Preferences: Prefer Intel CPU, Nvidia Card

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Your Monitor Resolution: 2048x1152

Additional Comments: Looking for help to ensure that there are no major compatibility issues with my current build. Also willing to reconsider certain parts if you feel like I could find better performance value elsewhere, except for the cpu/gpu. I'm pretty much married to those 2 items as they stand.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: My old system is 6 years old, (Core 2 duo e8400 3.0ghz, xfx nforce 780i, geforce gtx 460 (updated 2 years ago). I feel like updating my gpu again would be pointless as my cpu is often bottle-necking the system, so a full new build is the way to go.




So here's what I'm currently looking at:


CPU: Core i5-3570K ($230)

Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo ($35)

GPU: GIGABYTE GV-N670OC-2GD GeForce GTX 670 2GB ($400)

PSU: Corsair CX600 V2 600 W ($70)

SSD: Samsung 830 (128 gb) ($100)

Optical: Samsung SH-222BB ($17)

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1 TB ($80)

Mobo: AsRock Z77 Extreme4 ($ 135)

Case: Corsair Carbide Series 500R ($140)

Memory: Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 ($44)

Total Cost: $1251


Any feedback or input would be greatly appreciated. Happy to answer any questions as well. Thanks in advance for any feedback provided!

Best solution

September 7, 2012 7:08:50 PM

Looks very good!

Only 2 things:
I agree with zulug, but I have never used Patriot ram either. Right now newegg has that mobo with free 8GB of G-Skill ram (which I use and love).

Do you plan to SLi the 670? If so, you will need at least a 700W psu: http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-670-2-and-3wa...

Otherwise, looks very nice!
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September 7, 2012 7:20:59 PM

Thanks so much for the replies! I'm definitely not married to the Patriot Ram so I'll probably go with the G-Skill Ram bundle offer that comes with the Mobo mentioned by Maui and Zulug.

As far as SLI goes, I probably wouldn't be looking at doing that for another couple years, at which point just upgrading to a higher end single GPU might be more cost effective. So essentially, it's not a priority for me right now, but I like to keep the possibility open over the long run. I may just wait and upgrade the PSU at that time if I decide to SLI.

Thanks again for the input received so far!
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September 7, 2012 7:25:16 PM

yes you will be fine. you are good to go.
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September 7, 2012 7:25:21 PM

As a side note: I do plan on overclocking the CPU. Should the PSU be sufficient for that as long as I'm running a single GPU config?
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September 7, 2012 7:39:52 PM

Great! Thanks so much for your input, it's greatly appreciated!
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September 7, 2012 8:38:05 PM

Unless you are a die-hard NVIDIA fan boy, the 7970 GHZ is much faster than the 670 and can be found for a similar price.
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September 7, 2012 9:30:09 PM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $114.99 - $94.99 after $20.00 rebate FREE SHIPPING 10% off w/ promo code EMCNANC34, ends 9/13
Corsair Carbide Series 500R Black Steel structure with molded ABS plastic accent pieces ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-80PLUS-Certified-Modular-... $86.00 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Corsair CX 750 Watts 80PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V/EPS12V Power Supply CP-9020015-NA

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $157.98 save: $8.00
ASRock Z77 Extreme3 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Crucial Ballistix sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model BLS2KIT4G3D1609DS1S00

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $236.98 save: $11.00
Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I53570K
Sony Optiarc 24X DVD Burner, Bulk Package Black SATA Model AD-7280S-0B - OEM

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005O65JXI/ref=ox_sc_a... $33.49 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan (RR-212E-20PK-R2

http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Extreme-2-5-Inch-Solid-SD... $171.67 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
SanDisk Extreme SSD 240 GB SATA 6.0 Gb-s 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SDSSDX-240G-G25

http://www.amazon.com/MSI-DisplayPort-PCI-Express-N670-... $409.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping | Price after rebate: $399.99
MSI NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 OC 2GB GDDR5 2DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort PCI-Express Video Card N670 PE 2GD5/OC

http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Premium-64bit-System-Buil... $90.93 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit (Full) System Builder DVD 1 Pack

Total: $1,302.03 *not including shipping, rebates, & promo codes


http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/GTX_670_Power_Ed... <---- review of that MSI GTX 670 w/benchmarks

http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z77%20Extreme3/ <----- another look at that Asrock board along with a link to the latest bios

http://www.corsair.com/carbide-series-500r-mid-tower-ca... <----- another look at that case


http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-Caviar-Cache-Desk... $67.06 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Western Digital Caviar Blue 500 GB SATA III 7200 RPM 16 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive - WD5000AAKX
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September 7, 2012 10:00:00 PM

Yeah if you plan to sli 670's in future you need a better PSU nVidia itself recommend 500W for a single 670. Add 170W for SLI & recommended is 670W.
http://www.nvidia.in/object/geforce-gtx-670-in.html#pdp...


For testing conducted for SLI 670, the resulting system consumption for SLI is 433W of which 293W are attributed to the gpu cards.
http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-670-2-and-3wa...


If you use this psu calculator considering your components, the result is 664W (overclocked processor & used 680x2 to simulate gpu OC:
http://extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine


All points out to 750W being more than enough.Also change ram to one of these sets RAM:G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM:Crucial Ballistix sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model BLS2KIT4G3D1609DS1S00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM:G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C9D-8GAB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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September 7, 2012 10:19:11 PM

mastrom101 said:
Unless you are a die-hard NVIDIA fan boy, the 7970 GHZ is much faster than the 670 and can be found for a similar price.
There is nothing wrong with his GPU choice and define your idea of much faster There are a few issues: 1) People make claims without backing it up with proof, 2) People make blanket statements, when the reality is that certain games favor certain hardware, 3) People make a few FPS advantage seem like a "win", when it usually falls within the margin of error and makes no difference in terms of performance.4)People try to include overclocking as some sort of win when there is no guaranteed higher OC it's possible not Guarantee let's not sip on the red or green kool aid to hard mate.;)

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September 7, 2012 11:10:30 PM

bigcyco1 said:
There is nothing wrong with his GPU choice and define your idea of much faster There are a few issues: 1) People make claims without backing it up with proof, 2) People make blanket statements, when the reality is that certain games favor certain hardware, 3) People make a few FPS advantage seem like a "win", when it usually falls within the margin of error and makes no difference in terms of performance.4)People try to include overclocking as some sort of win when there is no guaranteed higher OC it's possible not Guarantee let's not sip on the red or green kool aid to hard mate.;)

Looking at the OP's resolution (I missed that part of his post the first time), I'm wondering if a 3GB or 4GB card would be better?


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $339.99
Galaxy 66NNH7DV6WXZ GeForce GTX 660 Ti GC 3GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

or...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $439.99
Galaxy 67NQH6DN6KXZ GeForce GTX 670 GC 4GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
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September 7, 2012 11:30:10 PM

Why_Me said:
Looking at the OP's resolution (I missed that part of his post the first time), I'm wondering if a 3GB or 4GB card would be better?


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $339.99
Galaxy 66NNH7DV6WXZ GeForce GTX 660 Ti GC 3GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

or...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $439.99
Galaxy 67NQH6DN6KXZ GeForce GTX 670 GC 4GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
I think he would be best off with http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... but since he prefers nvidia i personally go with your second link Galaxy 670 Galaxy makes top notch gpu's their just not as well known with high resolution screens it's best not to go with 2gb models that's for sure lol
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September 8, 2012 12:21:17 AM

Video cards are so much more than just FPS. It is a larger construct of value proposition based upon your desired level of gaming.

1. What is the best playable experience I can get with current games with THIS card?
2. What is the power draw for THIS card?
3. How is the driver support for THIS card?
4. How loud is THIS card?
5. How much does THIS card cost?
6. How is the vendor support/warranty for THIS card?The [H] reviews seem to cover all these items. Thus when I do decide to buy a card i'm not dealing with a "well, I looked at canned benchmark" as my soul source of information.But again i like to find three reviews from respectable reliable sources that consist of the same results .
OP here is a good start on that card Why Me mentioned http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/Galaxy-GeFo... <--- review w/benchmarks
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/06/04/galaxy_geforc... <--- review of that card w/benchmarks
You should visit the GPU section of [H]ard|OCP http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/05/14/geforce_680_6... <--- review of 680_670_vs_radeon_7970_7950 w/benchmarks
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September 8, 2012 12:45:42 AM

Another big issue is finding updated benchmarks for 7970/ 7970ghz and gtx 670/680 i personally don't use TH benchmarks as it seems when it comes to gpu's they favor amd i could be wrong just my opinion i have no way of proving that.Techpowerup.com and hardwarecanucks.com and [H]ard|OCP and Guru3D.com are the sites i use for finding out info mostly.
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September 8, 2012 1:58:08 AM

bigcyco1 said:
There is nothing wrong with his GPU choice and define your idea of much faster There are a few issues: 1) People make claims without backing it up with proof, 2) People make blanket statements, when the reality is that certain games favor certain hardware, 3) People make a few FPS advantage seem like a "win", when it usually falls within the margin of error and makes no difference in terms of performance.4)People try to include overclocking as some sort of win when there is no guaranteed higher OC it's possible not Guarantee let's not sip on the red or green kool aid to hard mate.;)


I have a NVIDIA card.

The 7970 GHZ is comparable to a 680. It surpases the 670.
Here are some benchmarks:

http://www.hwcompare.com/12508/geforce-gtx-670-vs-radeo...
(Theoretical)

http://media.bestofmicro.com/B/6/342546/original/skyrim...
http://media.bestofmicro.com/A/V/342535/original/metro%...
http://media.bestofmicro.com/A/2/342506/original/battle...
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6025/47469.png
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6025/47467.png
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6025/47453.png
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6025/47471.png
http://tpucdn.com/reviews/AMD/HD_7970_GHz_Edition/image...
http://tpucdn.com/reviews/AMD/HD_7970_GHz_Edition/image...


That's a pretty big list to show you the 7970 GHZ outperforms a 670. I think that makes my argument quite conclusive. I used different benchmark sites and different games as well. Some of these are even PHYSX enabled games!

IMO, the 7970 is comparable to a 670, GHZ is about a 680. Both of these scenarios have trade-offs, the 6X0 has more features, while the AMD cards have more raw performance.

My build:

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/gLuu

Want more computer?

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/gQJU

i7, Blu-Ray, Bigger HD, Modular PSU

Good Luck!


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September 8, 2012 2:01:34 AM

mastrom101 said:
I have a NVIDIA card.

The 7970 GHZ is comparable to a 680. It surpases the 670.
Here are some benchmarks:

http://www.hwcompare.com/12508/geforce-gtx-670-vs-radeo...
(Theoretical)

http://media.bestofmicro.com/B/6/342546/original/skyrim...
http://media.bestofmicro.com/A/V/342535/original/metro%...
http://media.bestofmicro.com/A/2/342506/original/battle...
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6025/47469.png
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6025/47467.png
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6025/47453.png
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph6025/47471.png
http://tpucdn.com/reviews/AMD/HD_7970_GHz_Edition/image...
http://tpucdn.com/reviews/AMD/HD_7970_GHz_Edition/image...


That's a pretty big list to show you the 7970 GHZ outperforms a 670. I think that makes my argument quite conclusive. I used different benchmark sites and different games as well. Some of these are even PHYSX enabled games!

IMO, the 7970 is comparable to a 670, GHZ is about a 680. Both of these scenarios have trade-offs, the 6X0 has more features, while the AMD cards have more raw performance.

My build:

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/gLuu

Want more computer?

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/gQJU

i7, Blu-Ray, Bigger HD, Modular PSU

Good Luck!

guess you missed my post where i said i think this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... would be OP best option ;)  personally if i had to choose between 670 or 7970 i go with 670 if i was choosing between 670 or 7970 ghz i would go non-reference 7970ghz non-reference i prefer for any card the Galaxy 67NQH6DN6KXZ GeForce GTX 670 GC 4GB is pretty much on par with a gtx 680 since he says he prefers Nvidia Card @ OP resolution i think it's his best option
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September 8, 2012 2:25:39 AM

bigcyco1 said:
guess you missed my post where i said i think this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... would be OP best option ;)  personally if i had to choose between 670 or 7970 i go with 670 if i was choosing between 670 or 7970 ghz i would go non-reference 7970ghz non-reference i prefer for any card the Galaxy 67NQH6DN6KXZ GeForce GTX 670 GC 4GB is pretty much on par with a gtx 680 since he says he prefers Nvidia Card @ OP resolution i think it's his best option


That card looks solid too. It's his choice, if he loves green that much, than go for the 670. if he wants a better performing card, go with the 7970 GHz
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September 8, 2012 2:49:19 AM

mastrom101 said:
That card looks solid too. It's his choice, if he loves green that much, than go for the 670. if he wants a better performing card, go with the 7970 GHz
Yeah my buddy recently bought the SAPPHIRE Vapor-X 7970ghz he let me use it for a day and i was like

Uploaded with ImageShack.us made my 570's look like a joke :(  :lol: 
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September 8, 2012 3:50:03 AM

Just got a dumb question(noob here). I notice in everyones posts about builds and no one losts a sound card or wireless card. Is that already included in something.
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September 8, 2012 4:44:22 AM

timberpups said:
Just got a dumb question(noob here). I notice in everyones posts about builds and no one losts a sound card or wireless card. Is that already included in something.

Unless your a serious audiophile the onboard sound is fine.

As far as wireless and gaming go then have a look at this.

http://www.amazon.com/TP-Link-Wireless-Gigabit-Router-T... $81.00
TP-Link N750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router (TL-WDR4300)

http://www.tp-link.com/dk/products/details/?categoryid=... <----- another look at that router

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1983/1/ <---- review of that router


http://www.amazon.com/TP-Link-PCI-Express-Adapter-TL-WD... $41.95
TP-Link 450Mbps Wireless N Dual Band PCI Express Adapter (TL-WDN4800)

http://www.tp-link.com/en/products/details/?model=TL-WD... <----- another look at that dual band wireless adapter
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September 8, 2012 4:45:23 AM

Why_Me said:
Unless your a serious audiophile the onboard sound is fine.

As far as wireless and gaming go then have a look at this.

http://www.amazon.com/TP-Link-Wireless-Gigabit-Router-T... $81.00
TP-Link N750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router (TL-WDR4300)

http://www.tp-link.com/dk/products/details/?categoryid=... <----- another look at that router

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1983/1/ <---- review of that router


http://www.amazon.com/TP-Link-PCI-Express-Adapter-TL-WD... $41.95
TP-Link 450Mbps Wireless N Dual Band PCI Express Adapter (TL-WDN4800)

http://www.tp-link.com/en/products/details/?model=TL-WD... <----- another look at that dual band wireless adapter
+1 that question isn't from org. poster though :lol:  still nice of you to answer bud ;) 
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September 8, 2012 5:16:55 AM

bigcyco1 said:
+1 that question isn't from org. poster though :lol:  still nice of you to answer bud ;) 

oops
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September 8, 2012 6:55:44 AM

Son-Of-A-QA said:
since you have over 200$ unused you should get a H100 liquid cpu cooler

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and if your planning on OCing then this will keep your cpu safe from being fried

I can think of three air coolers right now off the top of my head that run head to head with the H100 and do it for a lot cheaper and quieter.
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September 8, 2012 6:58:56 AM

Silver Arrow and NH-D14 are the only two I can think of. What is the third?
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September 8, 2012 7:07:37 AM

Don't buy H-100 not worth it's price also has a high risk of failure here just a couple sources to get my point across:
Source 1 -- http://www.guru3d.com/news/corsair-has-bad-batch-of-h10...


Source 2 -- http://forum.corsair.com/forums/showthread.php?t=99472


Source 3 -- http://forum.corsair.com/forums/showthread.php?t=99361 temperatures, the NH-D14 and H100 preform almost the same, except that the NH-D14 is much more quiet.The H-100 has to have it's loud stock fans on high to barley beat the NH-D14 by 4c that's not worth $25.00 $30.00 more for they are terrible cooling/value, it's sad that consumers see "Water-cooling" (IMO this is "fake" water cooling in that it's all in a closed loop) and they think it'll cool the best. However the temps speak for itself, a $75.00 $85.00 air cooler can practically cool within a margin of error , if not beat, a $110 closed-loop WC solution with the dBA being similar. Sad. Anyway i would suggest (the Ncotua NH-D14 or Thermalright Silver Arrow) And "here's you a review" with noise levels and cooling performance compared to the Silver Arrow.


http://www.anandtech.com/show/5054/corsair-hydro-series...


Notice how the H100 only beats the Silver Arrow by 1.2 degrees when on max, and 1 degree when on medium, which is basically just bumping into limitations of any cooling system that's not sub-ambient. Looking at the overclocked results when such a limitation isn't present, the H100's lead expands to 1.3 degrees on max, only ties it on medium.


Now look at this noise chart.


http://www.anandtech.com/show/5054/corsair-hydro-series...


Notice how the Silver Arrow is significantly quieter than the H100 unless you set the H100 to its lowest setting. The Silver Arrow is a whopping 4.6c cooler than the H100 on low, and the H100's lead in noise is only 1.3 dB. On medium it's 5 dB louder (which only tied the Silver Arrow in cooling), and remember dB is a logarithmic scale, 5 dB is not a small difference. On max, the only setting that beat the Silver Arrow in cooling, it's an astounding 9.3 dB louder. That's nearly ten times as loud.


The H100 is louder and more expensive than top of the line air coolers and can only outperform them when it's producing much more noise. Nearly ten times as much noise, to be precise. If you are strictly considering budget and performance, the Corsair units are far and away a pointless investment compared to air cooling solutions that perform pretty much on-par for less money.


This is the main point i been trying to make on forums when people recommend H-100.It's misguided misconceptions like these as to why so many people don't understand watercooling in the first place. A Rasa 240 RS kit starts at about $20 more than your H100 and will beat it hands down any day of the week. I'm not sure where you are shopping but H-100 retail @ $109.99 then take into account replacing those loud fans cost.Bottom line...


XSPC Rasa 240 for $129 You either choose a good air cooler that will provide the same cooling ability based on logic, you buy a LCS Corsair/Antec unit to say you 'watercool' but don't get much better results than air cooling, or you step up into actual watercooling.
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September 8, 2012 7:28:15 AM

azeem40 said:
Silver Arrow and NH-D14 are the only two I can think of. What is the third?
The Phanteks but it cost quite a bit usually sometimes you can find it for $85.99 ;) 
The Phanteks has a 5 year warranty, and some feel it looks better than most color section on fans on other two some find horrible. http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/coolers/display/super-...
http://www.vortez.net/articles_pages/phanteks_ph_tc14pe...
http://www.kitguru.net/components/henry-butt/phanteks-p...
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September 8, 2012 7:59:40 AM

azeem40 said:
Silver Arrow and NH-D14 are the only two I can think of. What is the third?

http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Heatsink-Technology... $69.21 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Cooler Master TPC 812 CPU Heatsink Cooling Pad with Vapor Chamber Technology (RR-T812-24PK-R1)

http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=265... <----- review of that CM cpu h/s @ Frosty Tech

http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm <----- that same CM cpu h/s on Frosty Tech's Top 5 list
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September 18, 2012 3:08:23 AM

Best answer selected by pkgt.
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