Build advice for $1200 range

hey guys,

Budget Range: as title says $1200 (bit of give if needed in both directions)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming - Fps / MMO > Movies > Surfing web

Are you buying a monitor: no.

Parts to Upgrade: I'll be providing link to my build.

Do you need to buy OS: Yes. Still on vista from a system I bought in 2007. I would like to try win7 or 8 which ever you guys think.

Preferred Website & Location: I'm an Aussie, I think most prices are +10-15% difference from US. Provide websites from anywhere, i'll do the price scanning on the Aus side if needed :sol:

Parts Preferences: I was digging the option of using both
Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 Motherboard
AMD FX-8350 8 Core Processor
but found some benchmarks to lead me into an i5 and z77 board - thoughts on this?

This is my build I've been accumulating over the last couple days and is what I would love your opinions on.

New edit:
PCPartPicker part list:
Price breakdown by merchant:

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($229.00 @ PCCaseGear)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($39.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($135.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($65.00 @ Scorptec)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($99.00 @ Scorptec)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($419.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($125.00 @ Scorptec)
Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts Green 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($89.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Total: $1200.00

Would love to add an ssd but no idea where to start with them.

Thanks in advance !
5 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Best answer
    In general you've done a great job of putting together parts.

    Some points:
    1) Make sure the CPU fan can be controlled. I looked at the MANUAL for this motherboard and I am quite baffled. Here's why:
    - the main CPU fan connection is 4-pin on the motherboard suggesting you require a PWM fan for it to be controlled
    - the CPU #2 fan (for dual-fan CPU heatsinks) is only 3-pin suggesting only 3-pin VOLTAGE-controlled fans work here
    - *however, the BIOS setup has support for controlling the FAN SPEED of CPU 1 and 2 fans at the same time.
    **I STRONGLY SUGGEST you contact Asrock to verify which CPU and Chassis fan connections on the motherboard are for PWM or Voltage.

    2) I would recommend this CPU HSF instead, though READ MY POINTS:
    - Make sure BOTH FANS can be controlled (CPU_1 and CPU_2 on motherboard). They are 4-pin PWM fans.
    *No matter which CPU HSF you get, just make sure that the fan or fans it has can have their SPEED CONTROLLED by the motherboard (likely the SOFTWARE will allow better fan control too such as the LOWEST SPEED until 40degC then ramp up).

    3) Hard Drive:
    For little more money you can get a 2TB hard drive.

    4) SSD?
    I would recommend a 128GB SSD for Windows/Apps. You really want TWO drives anyway so you can do periodic IMAGE backups of the Windows drive. Install Steam and other Games to the Hard Drive, as well as anything else space consuming.

    5) Crossfire?
    - 2xCrossfire/SLI causes micro-stutter (many claim it's minor but most don't understand that it's not just the obvious stutter but also a SLUGGISHNESS that it introduces)
    - SLI is superior to Crossfire (well documented) so if this is still a serious consideration you may wish for a GTX670 or GTX680 instead.
    - If your purchase is way off in the future, it's likely better to just wait and get the newest single-GPU card (i.e. HD9790 or GTX880).

    4) PSU:
    If you decide against Crossfire (I recommend it) then a cheaper 650Watt PSU would suffice.

    5) OS?
    - Windows 8 64-bit OEM, and
    - Start8 from Stardock
    *Windows 8 is superior to Windows 7, however the new StartScreen is unusable mainly because over 99% of all programs don't work with it directly so they just launch you back to the normal Desktop.

    Better to just bypass it for now by using Start8.

    - verify FAN CONTROL (PWM/Voltage) method for the motherboard
    - make sure the CPU HSF can have its fan or fans speed controlled
    - Crossfire?
    - Windows 8 64-bit OEM
    - Start8
  2. there is australian partpicker version by the way, use menu in top right corner
  3. butremor said:
    there is australian partpicker version by the way, use menu in top right corner

    I found that out last night, lol
    Thanks again though :lol:
  4. photonboy said:
    In general you've done a great job of putting together parts.

    :love: You are why I've come to love this website. The knowledge and thought out replies are amazing!

    I've opted for the Antec EarthWatts Green 650W - it's cheaper and can hold an 670x2 with room to spare (according to benchmarks))
    I wasn't sure myself to go with a 7970 or 670. I have heard good things about the 670 OC abilities and think your suggestion is more than enough to bump it into the rig.
    Do you have a preference on brands for nvidia cards? I've only heard of the good cooling from Gigabyte cards myself.

    Thanks for the heads up on the SSD and Fan, i'll do some digging.
  5. Best answer selected by marqol.
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