New Z77 build

Hi there,

I am spec-ing up a new PC.

Main purpose:
Video editing: Premier Pro (or maybe Vegas)
Photo: lightroom
Virtualization: Virtualbox
I won’t be overclocking

My requirements:
Near low power consumptions: I always leave my pc on and don’t want something that will consume 500 watt 24/7
Quiet ish: Had a dell dimension 9200 that used to sound like a jet taking off (constantly), I’m not having that now, I’m too old and grumpy to put up with this. lol

My pick
AsRock Fatal1ty Z77 Professional
Intel Core i7 (3770) 3.4GHz Quad
GTX 660ti
Corsair TX 750v2
WD Caviar Black *6
Corsair 16GB 1600MHz CL10 DDR3 Vengeance Memory Kit
Case: Can’t decide

GPU was thinking gtx 570 as it seems to be a great performer with premier pro, but then read about 680, then 660ti - Initially I’ll only be using 2 monitors but like the idea of being able to use 3 or maybe even 4 later on. 570 runs hotter? Is power hungry? – 660ti and 680 aren’t on premier approved gpu list – Is this relevant at all – I have heard about hacks to a file, this is fine but I want something that works, if it gets too complicated or going to be unstable/unreliable, I am not interested. I see I can get a 680 with 4GB, is that overkill?
Motherboard: I need vtd, lots of esata ports (external one too)
1 * win 7
1 * Imaging drive for image backup/restore
2 * 1TB onboard RAID1 (Video input) - Why: Fast read
2 * 1TB onboard RAID0 (Video Output) – Why: Fast write
MEMORY: 16GB should be enough for now, I can also add some if required - These Corsair OK?
CASE: Can’t decide
PS: I did look at x79 with i7 3820 but it’s not cheap and power consumptions seem to be a little on the high side so I went for z77 instead.

CPU: Is the stock cooler going to be good enough – even when proc maxes out?
GPU: GTX660ti Would that be good? Better than 570 performance wise and power wise, how about 680 (4GB – would that help)? Remember, potentially 4 monitors, 3 would be fine though.
HDD: Does set up look good – I haven’t looked into RAID 5 but I would be more comfortable with a controller if I was to go RAID 5 and controllers aren’t cheap. What’s your thought? Not experienced in video editing: Am I missing a volume here for ultimate set up? WD Black ok? Is Blue enough? I'm thinking noise/cooling here against performance. I haven't looked into SSD - Should I and why? 3gbs vs 6gbs what's your thoughts?
Power Supply: I like a bit of head room for scalability but I’m having a hard time here as I get different figures depending on when I go to measure. Is 750 way too much? Is Corsair TX v2 good, non modular is fine there?
CASE: I’m struggling – I need something that can accommodate for 6 and maybe more HDD, a large GPU and have enough airflow and run quiet. I will need to back stuff up to external drive. USB 3 vs e-sata drive – which is best? Also, straight to case build in dock ( or external dock with lead...would there be a performance degradation with external dock and say a 6' cable?) Finally, would I need to consider any extra cooling in case?
WHERE TO BUY: I’m in the UK (South London) – I have looked on Amazon, and it seems to be ok pricewise, any recommendation? I am also happy to travel a bit and collect if I can get a good deal ordering it all from same retailer and get the gear quicker :)
ANYTHING ELSE: if there is anything else you can think off, I’m happy to hear

Thanks guys.
11 answers Last reply
More about build
  1. Here, I will answer some questions but not all since I'm no expert. :lol:

    CPU: The Stock cooler is 'good enough' for your build, but you say you're not overclocking. Your Z77 board will be useless and a H77 will be suffice. Basically the difference is that a Z77 motherboard allows overclocking and Crossfire/SLI while a H77 does not(I don't look at H77 boards so i don't know). H77 is also, obviously, cheaper. So the choice is up to you.

    GPU:I think it would be better to grab the single GTX 670 4GB. The extra VRAM will help if running 3 monitors. You can always buy another one later on.

    Have you considered using AMD Radeon cards instead? A overclocked 7970 beats a GTX 680, and eyefinity is a much better solution for multiple monitors.

    Power Supply: There is nothing bad about having to much power supply in your build. I personally would do it also. 750W can also SLI Dual 670's. Corsair, XFX, and seasonic are the best manufactures of psu's. Non-modular is not bad it's just more clutter. Modular is preferred from many so you can leave out cables you don't want.

    Possibly cannot answer your other questions sorry.
    Also, what is your budget? :)
  2. Thanks JetD,

    The reason I picked the z77 is because I am concerned about the vt-d support on the H77 motherboard. Also, as far as I know, the h77 only have 1 nic. For visualization, dual nic is a big plus for me.

    I'll have a look at the GTX 670 4GB. Will that work with premiere pro out of the box, do you know? I won't be overclocking anything in that build. I prefer stability and reliability over performance. I was just thinking, there is onboard video, could i use that in conjunction with gpu as a multi display set up?

    With regards to the PSU, I thought I would be using most of the cables with all these hard drivers anyway? So you think 750 will be fine with either GPU mentioned/

    Cheers. :pt1cable:
  3. Here's a lot of information I hope helps.
    Please note that I'm not familiar with how much RAM you require, the ideal graphics card setup (though I linked some info) or whether RAID0 has any speed benefit if RAM is sufficient to buffer the work already (I suspect there's no need for RAID0).

    If you are doing actual video EDITING (not transcoding) you might see a benefit to 32GB of DDR3 RAM rather than investing in RAID0. RAID1 is for redundancy and if that's absolutely critical then a 3x (WD 2TB Green) RAID1 setup might be ideal.

    Make sure to get the i7-3770K, the "K" stands for overclockable. You don't have to (I don't for gaming) but there's a very small difference in price. In practice you can get up to a 20% overclock over stock (4.6/3.9GHz) but you should use default stock settings to start with.

    CPU HSF:
    Get an after-market cooler. There are some $30 that are far better than the included cooler which runs too noisy (even in idle). You're looking for:
    - an 1155 compatible cooler with fan mounted facing REAR of case
    - one with a 4-pin CPU FAN (not 3-pin) so the speed can be properly varied (low noise when not needed)

    The new GTX600 series runs far cooler but they also don't run GPGPU as well as they should. They did this largely to push the more expensive NVidia Quadro cards. AMD has excellent GPGPU but I don't think the programs you use currently benefit from them.


    In these scenarios, there appears to be a bottleneck somewhere which limits the effectiveness of the more expensive cards. A GTx650 didn't do much different than an expensive GTX680!!

    Unless you play games, consider the GTx650. Look for one with a large, quiet fan.
    *For three or four monitors, just get TWO of these cards or investigate a different card altogether. This requires more thought than I have time for now. Again, if you plan to do any gaming it changes the graphics scenario completely. You need to investigate carefully how many monitors are supported (and whether that is 2x DVI, or 2xDVI + DisplayPort etc on a single card?).

    SSD - for Windows and applications
    - (OCZ Vertex 4, newer Intel, Samsung 830/840)
    - 120GB is adequate for most.

    HDD - for mass storage
    *Make sure to use a program like Acronis True Image (Western Digital has a good free version if you have a WD drive installed) and make a backup IMAGE of your SSD to restore Windows in case of drive hardware or software failure.

    RAID1 is for reliability not speed. The same data is spread over multiple drives. Three is optimum. With two there's no way to RELIABLY rebuild if one fails.

    This is for faster reading and writing, but if a single drive fails all data is lost.

    Are you certain with 16GB or more of RAM that the Hard Drives will ever be a bottleneck?

    Have you researched to figure exactly how much you can use?
    - most motherboards support up to 32GB now
    - you MUST have Windows 7/8Pro to support 32GB
    - Windows 7 Premium or Windows 8 supports up to 16GB

    Case and Fans:
    - get a case that mounts the PSU at the bottom
    - The optimal fan/noise layout for you is:
    a) 1x120mm FRONT CASE FAN
    (4-pin MOLEX 16dB quiet, or get a 4-pin version you can CONTROL in software)

    b) 2x120mm top/rear CASE FANS (ideally 4-pin temperature controlled. Some case fans come with built-in fans like Antec but the absolute quietest is 4-pins setup via the motherboard software)

    This largely depends on the graphics cards. A quality 550W is adequate for your rig plus a GTX680 though most recommend a 650W. So 750W is overkill in general unless you think you may get a high-end card some day.

    If you get TWO GRAPHICS cards for multiple monitors (two monitors each card?) make sure your PSU has the proper outputs. Here's an EXAMPLE of a single GTX650 which MIGHT be okay:

    I'm guessing it likely has NO power supply inputs (just the motherboard). If you get a better card it might have a single 6-pin so if you get TWO cards you'd need two 6-pin adapters.
  4. Wow, a lot of stuff here, very interesting. Thanks.

    I have win 7 home right now but will be upgrading to ultimate (thinking of smashing it with 64 MB actually!)
    I can’t use the 3770K K procs don’t support vtd.

    I’ll have a look at 650ti - it's not on approved list of gpu by adobe, will it be ok out of the box?. Thanks – Manufacturer matters at all? I can fit any 2 gpus on that z77?

    RIAD1 – You should get much faster read on a mirror, you get 2 heads looking for the data
    Rebuilding a mirror should be straight forward. Isn't it a matter of popping replacement in and let it rebuild?
    Doubt you can add hot spare with mirror on z77 – Think mirror would have to be 2 drives there.
    RAID 0: not worried about losing data. If a drive goes pop, no sweat. So you think from a performance point of view, raid 0 is pointless for output. If so, I'll stick to one drive - how fast should it be?

    Case, I can now start looking for one. Why do I need psu that fits at bottom?

    If I use ssd for win, should I put pagefile and temp folder on a platter? I’m thinking of limited write and wearability of ssd

    On old pc I had clonezila on separate drive with grub to boot to iso and restore if needed. Clonezila is slow and a pain. I used ghost at work many years ago, that was sweet, easily scriptable and blazing fast.

  5. Also, I think I might be rendering, I'll be converting projects to whatever format to watch that rendering?
  6. Ok, decided, this is my final spec...

    Cooler Master Cosmos 2 USB 3.0 XL ATX Case :p

    EVGA GF GTX 670 2GB FTW Graphics Card

    LG BH10LS38 .AUAR10B 10x Internal Blu-Ray BDRW Retail Kit

    3 x Western Digital WD1002FAEX Caviar Black 1 TB 7200 RPM Internal Hard Disk Drive

    1 x Intel 2.5 inch 520 Series Solid State Drive (240GB, SATA 6Gb/s, 25nm, MLC)

    2 x (= 32 GB total) Corsair 16GB 1600MHz CL10 DDR3 Vengeance Memory Kit

    AsRock Fatal1ty Z77 Professional Motherboard (Socket 1155, Intel Z77, Up to 32GB DDR3, ATX, 4 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s, Supports NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX, Digi Power Design, 16 + 8 Power Phase Design)

    Intel Core i7 (3770) 3.4GHz Quad Core Processor 8MB L3 Cache 5GT/s Bus Speed (Boxed)

    With regards to the PSU wattage, I am a little confused. I get the following estimate adding a couple of HDD and a PCI card for potential expansion - Minimum 472 - Recommended 522
    Asus: Minimum 700 Watt

    Now this is a big difference. Not sure how they work it out but they can't both be wrong by that much.

    I had the corsair TX v2 range in mind but not sure if I need 500 or 900?
    Is there an issue in getting a higher wattage than required? I don't want to waste money or compromise my gear.

    Finally, in the UK, is Amazon the best place to buy?

  7. Anyone?
  8. Sorry, Haven't been on in a while.

    Is there any reason to go with that HUGE case!?

    And i think you should go with a K series processor so you can overclock since you already have a z77 motherboard. overclocking may reduce CPU life but it will still outlive you. If you are not that sure with overclocking just get a Hyper 212 evo.

    For your PSU wattage, It is not bad to go over what you need. 750W will be Surely enough for your whole system. You could go for 850W for a lot of headroom. Modular or Non-Modular it doesn't matter, sometimes when you have a lot of grommets you can go non-modular. Also, PSU calculators sometimes give you wrong estimates.

    A 600T or HAF XM will do you good.

    I live in the U.S and i do not know much of the sites, just Ecost.
  9. Hi, thanks. I like the idea to be able to expand and I want the box to breathe.

    Can't use a K series processor, it won't work.

    Do you think with the above spec i will need extra cooling.

    Also, I have heard that the paste on some intel procs isn't very good, what's your thoughts. Would that only apply to overclocked processors?

    Is the stock cooler on proc going to be good enough?

  10. Extra Cooling won't be needed unless you want it superb quiet and replace all the fans with noctua. :/ The Cosmo Case is very large so it's unlikely you will have airflow problems.

    Don't know where you heard that the paste is bad for some processors, Just don't add a humongous blob of thermal paste onto the chip. Only add a line down the middle or a simple dot in the middle. The weight of a cooler will spread it out and the heat will spread it even more.

    stock cooler will be enough, but I don't know how loud it will be. I suggest a Hyper 212 evo to get lower temperatures and noise levels.
  11. Hi,

    I bought a similar conf. few months ago : Asrock Z77 Fatal1ty Pro, Core i7 3770, Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo, GTX560Ti, GSKill Ares Orange 32 GB RAM (4*8Gb), Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 2Tb, SSD Samsung Series 830 128 Gb, A+ Case CS500

    Runs fine under Linux, a little bit noisy, but ... I didn't manage to use VT-d (virtualization with VGA passthrough), neither the GTX 560Ti nor the embedded HD4000.
    I spent hours and hours, trying Debian Squeeze/Wheezy or Ubuntu LTS 12.04, KVM or Xen, and the best result was virtualized Win 7 detecting HD4000 but no using it .... :fou:

    Perhaps l'll let a try to VirtualBox

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