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First Build - $1500 Gaming/Music Production Rig

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November 30, 2012 7:27:09 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Likely within the next week or so.

Budget Range: ~$1500 roughly

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, music recording/editing, internet, movies

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, speakers, secondary HDD, optical drive

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Amazon

Country: USA

Overclocking: Maybe in the future; I like the option

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Been working on this build for a couple days. Lots of reading and comparing prices. Experienced advice or suggestions welcome! This will be my first build and I'm hoping it will be a fairly solid rig for the next 4-5 years with upgrades as needed.

I really like the CM Storm Scout case but it has a minor conflict with the Sabertooth Z77. The MB has an onboard USB 3.0 header but the case doesn't have that port. Will this affect me enough that I should look into another case?

Thanks for taking a look!

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($199.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Zalman CNPS9500 AT Ball Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus SABERTOOTH Z77 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($224.98 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($65.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($359.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Cooler Master Storm Scout ATX Mid Tower Case ($64.98 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($94.99 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Asus VW246H 24.0" Monitor ($187.49 @ Amazon)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Full (32/64-bit) ($168.07 @ Amazon)
Total: $1596.46
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-30 16:11 EST-0500)
November 30, 2012 7:36:21 PM

The Sabertooth is way too expensive for what you get and that thermal armor that Asus uses does nothing to prevent heat. Also pairing a 2500K with a Z77 motherboard forfeits the key feature of Ivy Bridge and that's PCI 3.0. There's better coolers that you could get instead of the Zalman as well. Ignore the warnings about USB 3.0 headers - if you really need one you can add one later.

For that price try this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($229.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U9B SE2 37.9 CFM CPU Cooler ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($152.86 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($37.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung Spinpoint F4 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($239.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($389.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk II 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($22.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $1458.75
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-30 16:35 EST-0500)
November 30, 2012 8:54:39 PM

^ yea what he said

this is what my build to be more of my preference though
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V LX ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Samsung 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($95.98 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($169.95 @ B&H)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($359.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 500R White ATX Mid Tower Case ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1226.84
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-30 17:48 EST-0500)

this is pretty much all you need there are parts to upgrade if you would like.

If you are going to go heavy on Gaming then get a 7970 GHz(just put this non GHz because it is priced pretty nice)

If you do upgrade to a 7970 GHz then grab the 850W from XFX

Case: is a preference the 500R is a great case, has some eye candy and great airflow but doesnt have a windowed side panel.(Also chose this case because it is great for its current price, a better build quality than most cases too)

SSD: i recommend not upgrading since this SSD is a great price and you don't really notice a whole lot of difference of speed from top SSDs Ex:vertex 4 vs 830

The DIMMs(Ram) might look ugly but you will not be looking at it much and if you are considering the timing on it(11) you can overclock these pretty nice getting the normal 9-9-9-24 1600 timing pretty easy and it will be about 1.4V
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November 30, 2012 9:05:06 PM

You will certainly need more space for recording than the SSD alone. I'd do a big HD plus a matching external to backup to and keep safe. Nothing sucks worse than going to load up a 32 track project and have the drive die on you and you can't replace the recordings. Backups are a must with recording.
November 30, 2012 9:28:42 PM

getochkn said:
You will certainly need more space for recording than the SSD alone. I'd do a big HD plus a matching external to backup to and keep safe. Nothing sucks worse than going to load up a 32 track project and have the drive die on you and you can't replace the recordings. Backups are a must with recording.


Yeah maybe with the config I put up you could get a 2 TB green drive for backups and then partition 1TB for work and the other TB for whatever else and then have it set to do a weekly / daily backup.
December 1, 2012 4:11:26 PM

Great suggestions! So here's my updated rig (a little over my original budget but I don't really count the monitor because I have a few I could use instead.) Also, I do have a 500 GB WD Black that I am planning on reusing in this build as well as a bevy of optical drives. Planning on picking up an external 1 TB at some point soon though for extra backup/security. The SSD is dedicated for my OS and my DAW and maybe a game or two.

How's the BitFenix Shinobi case with some additional fans?

I'm pretty sold on the Sabertooth Z77 based on the great reviews I've read. I just wanted a really reliable MB. Not really worth it though with this configuration?

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U9B SE2 37.9 CFM CPU Cooler ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus SABERTOOTH Z77 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($224.98 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($65.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($189.90 @ B&H)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($359.99 @ Amazon)
Case: BitFenix Shinobi ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.98 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Asus VW246H 24.0" Monitor ($183.95 @ SuperBiiz)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Full (32/64-bit) ($167.03 @ Amazon)
Total: $1606.79
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-01 13:01 EST-0500)
December 1, 2012 5:15:03 PM

stilbon said:
Great suggestions! So here's my updated rig (a little over my original budget but I don't really count the monitor because I have a few I could use instead.) Also, I do have a 500 GB WD Black that I am planning on reusing in this build as well as a bevy of optical drives. Planning on picking up an external 1 TB at some point soon though for extra backup/security. The SSD is dedicated for my OS and my DAW and maybe a game or two.

How's the BitFenix Shinobi case with some additional fans?

I'm pretty sold on the Sabertooth Z77 based on the great reviews I've read. I just wanted a really reliable MB. Not really worth it though with this configuration?

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U9B SE2 37.9 CFM CPU Cooler ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus SABERTOOTH Z77 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($224.98 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($65.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($189.90 @ B&H)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($359.99 @ Amazon)
Case: BitFenix Shinobi ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.98 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Asus VW246H 24.0" Monitor ($183.95 @ SuperBiiz)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Full (32/64-bit) ($167.03 @ Amazon)
Total: $1606.79
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-01 13:01 EST-0500)


The Sabertooth still is not worth purchasing - spend less on the motherboard and pay more for a case. Spending $1600 on a build and $70 on a case is a definite no. Go with the Gigabyte Z77X-UP4 TH and that will save you $50. Get at least a Phantom 410 or Corsair 500R.
!