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Compatibility Checklist - Checked Multiple Times, Still Paranoid.

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November 4, 2012 5:48:02 AM

Hello. I need someone to verify the integrity of this build; to make sure that there aren't any compatibility issues or otherwise any other flaws.

I triple-checked the specs myself, but I'm still not 100% sure. Specifically, this post by Johnny Lucky says that the Nvidia GeForce GTX 600 series with PCIe 3.0 requires a motherboard and a CPU that support PCIe 3.0. Well, the motherboard supports it, but the CPU doesn't even mention PCIe 3.0 in its specs. I checked other similar CPUs within the price range and none make any mention of it either. Should I be concerned?

This is my first build ever and I want it to be as close to perfect as possible, with no hassle, failures, errors, crashes, etc upon first-time boot-up. So please help me :) 

Only component that I'm missing is the PSU. By far, the PSU is the most complicated part to buy for me. I'm saving that last bit for after I get the all-clear on this build from you guys first ;) 

BUDGET: $1300 - $1400
PURPOSE: Mainly gaming, with possibly light video editing as a hobby.


CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I53570K

GPU: EVGA 02G-P4-2680-KR GeForce GTX 680 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Internal SSD: SAMSUNG 830 Series 2.5-Inch 256GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) MZ-7PC256B/WW

Internal HDD: Western Digital WD Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Radioactive 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model 997006

SSD/HDD Accessory: BYTECC Bracket-35225 2.5 Inch HDD/SSD Mounting Kit For 3.5" Drive Bay or Enclosure

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN3-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case with USB 3.0 and Black Interior
November 4, 2012 5:58:59 AM

Wow. that is a LOT of money for just 8GB of RAM. The faster CL really doesn't make that much of a difference honestly. You could buy 16GB of memory for that amount of money.
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November 4, 2012 6:04:50 AM

BreadWhistle said:
Wow. that is a LOT of money for just 8GB of RAM. The faster CL really doesn't make that much of a difference honestly. You could buy 16GB of memory for that amount of money.


Thank you for the feedback. Yes, I'm aware that they are more pricey for your average 8 GB RAM. After some thinking, I decided that those are the ones I want to get. RAM cards with a CAS latency below 7 are simply too expensive for their capacity, but 7 was well within my budgetary bounds. If I can afford it, why not?


edit: Also, while you guys are inspecting my build, I would very much appreciate it if you could include a suggestion for a quality PSU that I could use for my build. Official guides in these forums weren't of much help or use to me because there's either simply too much information to learn or missing information (Johnny Lucky's page linked in the OP does not offer recommendations for my GPU).

If you guys can somehow condense all that information or skip straight to what I may need (approximations are good enough, I can take it from there), I would appreciate it very much.
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November 4, 2012 6:06:09 AM

PCI Gen 3 is backward-compatible with Gen 2, no issue there.
Thats an Ivy Bridge CPU, so PCI Gen-3 will be active on the board (if you used a Sandy Bridge, it would run at Gen 2 bandwidth)
Dont stress about Gen3 bandwidth either, Gen 2 8x is still enough for even the most powerful cards. Its largely just a future-proofing thing.

The build is all compatible except for the RAM. Its little known but on Intel systems you cant have RAM above 1.5v and that is at 1.65v. Would still work, but puts added strain on a memory controller not designed for more than 1.5v and degrades lifespan of the CPU.
Would swap it out for this kit (which is also much cheaper).
Mushkin Radioactive 8GB (2x4GB) 1600Mhz CL9 1.5v. $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EDIT 2:
In most cases, a higher frequency benefits more than lower timings. Though the performance boost is pretty negligible considering the added cost to attain that frequency/timing.

The 680 can be changed to a 670. Its is a 5% performance difference (can be made up with overclocking) at 20% more cost.
Also not EVGA, as they use reference design cooling that runs louder and hotter than a custom design.
Gigabyte GTX670. $400 ($20 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Or jump over to a HD7970 Ghz for $50 more and enjoy some free games (Far Cry 3, Hitman Absolution and Sleeping Dogs) and better performance than the 680.
Sapphire Vapor-X HD7970 Ghz. $460 ($20 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For the PSU, a good ~600W supply will be enough unless you are considering Crossfire/SLI (which you can do on this rig), then get 750W.
Make sure to get a unit from a good brand like XFX, Seasonic or Corsair.

EDIT: I assume given the component choices you will be overclocking. You will want to throw on a good aftermarket cooler for the CPU, as stock wont take you that far.
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November 4, 2012 6:19:09 AM

manofchalk said:
PCI Gen 3 is backward-compatible with Gen 2, no issue there.
Thats an Ivy Bridge CPU, so PCI Gen-3 will be active on the board (if you used a Sandy Bridge, it would run at Gen 2 bandwidth)
Dont stress about Gen3 bandwidth either, Gen 2 8x is still enough for even the most powerful cards. Its largely just a future-proofing thing.

The build is all compatible except for the RAM. Its little known but on Intel systems you cant have RAM above 1.5v and that is at 1.65v. Would still work, but puts added strain on a memory controller not designed for more than 1.5v and degrades lifespan of the CPU.
Would swap it out for this kit (which is also much cheaper).
Mushkin Radioactive 8GB (2x4GB) 1600Mhz CL9 1.5v. $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EDIT 2:
In most cases, a higher frequency benefits more than lower timings. Though the performance boost is pretty negligible considering the added cost to attain that frequency/timing.

The 680 can be changed to a 670. Its is a 5% performance difference (can be made up with overclocking) at 20% more cost.
Also not EVGA, as they use reference design cooling that runs louder and hotter than a custom design.
Gigabyte GTX670. $400 ($20 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Or jump over to a HD7970 Ghz for $50 more and enjoy some free games (Far Cry 3, Hitman Absolution and Sleeping Dogs) and better performance than the 680.
Sapphire Vapor-X HD7970 Ghz. $460 ($20 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For the PSU, a good ~600W supply will be enough unless you are considering Crossfire/SLI (which you can do on this rig), then get 750W.
Make sure to get a unit from a good brand like XFX, Seasonic or Corsair.

EDIT: I assume given the component choices you will be overclocking. You will want to throw on a good aftermarket cooler for the CPU, as stock wont take you that far.


Really grateful for your feedback. Thank you very much :) . I did not even know about Intel's instability when dealing with RAM cards that require more than 1.5V. Truly a life saver, you are :) .

Excellent advise on the GPU. Thank you!


edit: A major goal with this build was to future-proof as much as possible, so yes, I will attempt to overclock all the processors in the future. I must learn how to do so first, though, so I won't be getting a CPU fan right away.

And because I wanted this build to be as future-proof as possible, I did choose components that support SLI (Not sure what Crossfire is. I'll research into it more later). But I won't be getting a second GPU right away. Definitely later when a single high-end GPU won't be enough. So I guess for now, I'll get a 600W PSU and upgrade that to a 750W when I'm getting a second GPU. Thanks a ton, mate :D 
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Best solution

November 4, 2012 6:36:46 AM

Just remember that future-proofing is impossible over a time-frame of 2+ years. You are better off getting a rig that will support easy upgrades and additions rather than premium processors and graphics cards.

Crossfire is the same as SLI except with AMD cards.

Getting a 750W now will be cheaper in the long run.
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November 4, 2012 6:44:14 AM

manofchalk said:
Just remember that future-proofing is impossible over a time-frame of 2+ years. You are better off getting a rig that will support easy upgrades and additions rather than premium processors and graphics cards.

Crossfire is the same as SLI except with AMD cards.

Getting a 750W now will be cheaper in the long run.

Best answer I've ever gotten on the forums. Have I not thanked ye enough? haha. Thanks a million, mate. You really put my mind at ease.
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November 4, 2012 6:44:17 AM

Best answer selected by rladngus.
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