First ever build, $1600-1800 budget, advice and suggestions please

Approximate Purchase Date: This week.

Budget Range: $1600-1800 before rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Internet (many dozens of open tabs open for many days) and watching video are primarily what I do right now, but with a proper setup I would like to get back into gaming, play around with compiling Android, and likely some folding@home (for science!). I never know what I'm going to get into until I get into it, so I really just need an all around capable and mostly future-proof machine.

Are you buying a monitor: No

Do you need to buy OS: Yes. On the fence about Windows7 vs. Windows8

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Amazon preferred, Newegg if cheaper, other sites if the price is right.

Location: Bozeman, Montana USA

Parts Preferences: Meh. Intel CPU, no other specific prefs.

Overclocking: Yes, in the future.

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe probably, in the future

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200 single screen, but likely will dual display eventually

Additional Comments: I would like a system that is going to be dual boot-friendly (separate drives). A quiet machine would be nice.

Here's the working parts list I've come up. Looking for input on compatibility, bottlenecking, and not wasting my money:

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K Quad-Core Processor 3.4 GHz 4 Core LGA 1155
http://www.amazon.com/Intel-Core-i5-3570K-Quad-Core-Processor/dp/B007SZ0E1K/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1353794176&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=i5-3750k

CPU cooler: Corsair Cooling Hydro-Series All-in-One High-Performance Liquid CPU Cooler CWCH60
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Cooling-Hydro--High-Performance-CWCH60/dp/B004MYFOE2/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1353801848&sr=1-3&keywords=cpu+cooler

Thermal Compound: I’ve got a tube of Arctic Silver lying around.

MoBo: Gigabyte Intel Z77 LGA 1155 AMD CrossFireX/NVIDIA SLI Dual LAN Dual UEFI BIOS ATX Motherboard GA-Z77X-UD5H
http://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-CrossFireX-NVIDIA-Motherboard-GA-Z77X-UD5H/dp/B007R21JK4
I’m not dead-set on a GB motherboard by any means, though they seem to be favored around here. I’m also considering the GA-Z77X-UD3H but it doesn’t sound like it’s too friendly to dual boot. Any thoughts?

GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 660 SUPERCLOCKED 2048MB GDDR5 DVI mHDMI DP Graphics Card
http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-GeForce-SUPERCLOCKED-Graphics-02G-P4-2662-KR/dp/B00966IREK/ref=sr_1_13?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1353793767&sr=1-13&keywords=Radeon+HD+7870
I’m pretty clueless about GPUs. I’m basing this off of the latest “Best GPUs for the money” article. I’m very much open to suggestions. I don’t need a sound card, do I? I’ve read that these boards aren’t compatible with some PCI cards (or maybe that reviewer didn't know what he was talking about).

PSU: Corsair AX750W Professional
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Professional-Watt-Modular-AX850/dp/B003PJ6QW4/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1352067394&sr=1-1&keywords=corsair+ax850
This is overkill, I know. Leaving room for a second GPU, another HDD or two, etc. I went with the AX series because of the 80 plus gold certification. Any energy that doesn’t turn into heat translates into money saved and quieter fans.

Chasis: Corsair Obsidian 800D
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Obsidian-Black-Computer-CC800DW/dp/B002JLAU58/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1352067356&sr=1-1&keywords=corsair+obsidian+800d
Okay, I know this is a spendy case, but it’s aesthetically tasteful, isn't crusted with obnoxious LEDs and will leave me room to grow and circulate lots of air.

RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8 GB ( 2 x 4 GB ) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) 240-Pin DDR3 Memory Kit for Core i3, i5, i7 and Platforms SDRAM CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Vengeance-240-Pin-Platforms-CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9/dp/B004CRSM4I/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_t_1
Is this optimized for my setup? I don’t necessarily want oversized heat-sinks, just something that will look sexy (but clean) through that large display window. I should have plenty of clearance in that big ol’ box.

Optical Drive: Lite-On LightScribe 24X SATA DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive IHAS424-98 - Retail (Black)
http://www.amazon.com/Lite--LightScribe-Layer-Drive-IHAS424-98/dp/B002SIMPXM/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1352067310&sr=1-1

SSD: OCZ Technology 256GB Vertex 4 Series SATA 6.0 GB/s 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive (SSD) With Industry's Highest 120K IOPS And 5-Year Warranty
http://www.amazon.com/OCZ-Technology-2-5-Inch-Industrys-Warranty/dp/B007RARHSO/ref=sr_1_3?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1353795152&sr=1-3&keywords=ssd
Any input is appreciated.

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 1 TB SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache Internal Desktop Hard Drive Bulk/OEM - WD1002FAEX
http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-Caviar-Internal-Desktop/dp/B0036Q7MV0/ref=sr_1_7?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1353795532&sr=1-7&keywords=hdd+internal
The drawback I see with this one is that it isn’t shipped by Amazon and probably won’t arrive within 2 days via Prime like the rest of the components. Seems like a good deal, though.

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116992
I’m hearing a lot of negative things about Windows 8, any thoughts?

Anything important I’m leaving out? I’m a first time builder, so if I’m forgetting anything at all that will be needed for a complete system build, please let me know. Keyboard, mouse, and speakers TBD. Thanks in advance for any help that can be offered.
20 answers Last reply
More about first build 1600 1800 budget advice suggestions please
  1. I would not recommend the H60 over a nice air cooler like the Noctua NH-D14.
  2. Get this gpu instead. More powerful and cheaper
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161410
    Everything else looks good to me. I would get windows 7. Windows 8 looks better for touch screens.
  3. lt_dan_zsu said:
    Get this gpu instead. More powerful and cheaper
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161410
    Everything else looks good to me. I would get windows 7. Windows 8 looks better for touch screens.


    Oh, oops. I accidentally a link. I was actually looking at the 7870 series, but this IceQX intrigues me. You think it's worth the extra $70?
  4. Deemo13 said:
    I would not recommend the H60 over a nice air cooler like the Noctua NH-D14.


    Wow! Just look at the size of that thing. People on Newegg really seem to like it. I was just thinking liquid cooling mostly for the novelty of it, but performance is king.
  5. You are making a huge mistake. The graphics card is the most important item. You need to get an Nvidia 670 or 680 or an AMD 7950 or 7970 for a build of that cost. You can get a 670 or 7950 for about $300 nowdays.
  6. I wouldn't get liquid cooling just to get it. Also the one with the special cooler would be good. It is a little more than the one I showed, but if you get it on newegg the price will be offset by the free game.
  7. babernet_1 said:
    You are making a huge mistake. The graphics card is the most important item. You need to get an Nvidia 670 or 680 or an AMD 7950 or 7970 for a build of that cost. You can get a 670 or 7950 for about $300 nowdays.

    I don't see how the 7870 is a huge mistake, that card is still really good. Maybe he should consider a 7950, but that might be out of his price range.
  8. lt_dan_zsu said:
    I don't see how the 7870 is a huge mistake, that card is still really good. Maybe he should consider a 7950, but that might be out of his price range.


    This guy is costs the same as the 7870 recommended above: http://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-Mini-Displayport-PCI-Express-Graphic-GV-R795WF3-3GD/dp/B007581QHG/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1353818509&sr=1-1&keywords=radeon+7950

    I could do $300 for GPU, but I hesitate to go beyond that at this point.
  9. get this 7950 from newegg.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202006
    it is the same cost, just as good, and it is just as good. Also it comes with 3 free games unlike the one on amazon.
  10. lt_dan_zsu said:
    I wouldn't get liquid cooling just to get it. Also the one with the special cooler would be good. It is a little more than the one I showed, but if you get it on newegg the price will be offset by the free game.


    Thank you, thank you! This is why I came here. You guys are awesome.
  11. Oh, and about that 7870 I listed, I am sorry. I thought it said 199.99. There is no reason for it to be that expensive.
  12. No, get this 7950:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125414

    GIGABYTE GV-R795WF3-3GD Radeon HD 7950 3GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

    A 7950 with triple cooling fans so it runs cool, quiet, and fast. Of course you get the three free games and $300 in cost.
  13. the sapphire and gigabyte ones are really no different.
  14. lt_dan_zsu said:
    the sapphire and gigabyte ones are really no different.


    I'm for sure getting one of those two. The only difference beside the extra fan is that the GB lists core clock speed as 900MHz and the Sapphire at 850MHz with "Boost clock" at 925MHz. Is that anything other than completely negligible? Other than that, there's a $20 rebate with the Sapphire, so I'm kind of leaning that way.
  15. burnmatoaka said:
    I'm for sure getting one of those two. The only difference beside the extra fan is that the GB lists core clock speed as 900MHz and the Sapphire at 850MHz with "Boost clock" at 925MHz. Is that anything other than completely negligible? Other than that, there's a $20 rebate with the Sapphire, so I'm kind of leaning that way.


    The Gigabyte is about 6% faster, not a huge deal. However, the Sapphire has better reviews and is $20 bucks cooler. You can overdrive either one of them. The sapphire may be the better board.
  16. I would get the sapphire. They are both going to overclock anyways. Boost basically mean its contant clock while gaming anyways.
  17. Okay, looks like I've got this sorted out. I've made the following revisions:
    PSU: Corsair AX850 -- right link, but I listed the AX750. derp)
    GPU: Going with the SAPPHIRE 100352-2L Radeon HD 7950 3GB -- Great find, thanks!
    Cooler: Noctua NH-D14
    OS: Windows 7 Home Premium -- I really don't need XP mode, saves $40

    Forgot the Wireless card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833166073

    Total: $1646

    Anything else? I'm giddy with excitement about finally making this happen. Thank you all so much for the assistance.

    EDIT: I forgot the OD. Found a $35 BluRay combo drive by LG: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136252 ... most pleased.

    Cheers!
  18. Instead of the H60 I'd go with the H80i. It has like a 50% thicker radiator for more surface area comes with 2 fans for push pull and has the corsair link technology built in allowing precise control of fans and able to monitor the waters temp.
  19. laststop311 said:
    Instead of the H60 I'd go with the H80i. It has like a 50% thicker radiator for more surface area comes with 2 fans for push pull and has the corsair link technology built in allowing precise control of fans and able to monitor the waters temp.



    Agree ... H80 is value for money for the Water Cooling ... i have this H80 and love it so much ...
  20. I would invest more money into buying a better video card like the GTX 770
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