System Usage from Most to Least Important: Photo editing, general multi-tasking, non-3D gaming, video editing
Parts Not Required: No peripherals required
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Any UK-based companies though I lean towards Scan.co.uk and have free delivery with them.
Country of Origin: U.K.
Parts Preferences: Intel-based system
SLI or Crossfire: No
Additional Comments: As per the above, I am looking for a system which will easily handle multi-tasking and work with two monitors. I've eyed up the Intel Z68 system with the on-board graphics as nothing I use requires a separate GPU (or does it?). I'm looking for something which will run quietly (is water-cooling an option at this, or near to this, price range?) and will include 2TB of storage as well as an SSD drive from which I will run Photoshop, Lightroom and a few other programs.
Is anyone able to offer any input? I'm a small fish lost in a big sea on this one...
If it helps, I'm inclined to shoot for the Samsung SpinPoint 2TB drive for its reliability and low power consumption as the secondary HDD will be used mainly as a storage device for 1.3GB of photos and videos. I'm also inclined to insert a tertiary HDD containing movies and my music collection, and this would likely constitute a second SpinPoint drive. For a low-power, quiet drive, are there better alternatives at this size-point than the Samsung?
As for the motherboards and processors, this is where my problems really start. I've lost track of what's what and what's compatible. If I budget just over £100 for the motherboard (is Z68 the right thing to opt for as a non-gamer? Or will I still need to buy an additional graphics card for photo/video editing? If so, I'd like this as a later upgrade, funds permitting...), should that suffice? I want an Intel processor but I'm lost amongst all the model numbers nowadays and don't know what fits best for my price range.
What about the water-cooling? A possibility or not? I won't need a ridiculous setup as I'll not be overclocking but there will be some multi-tasking going on which could warm up a rig.
Also, as a quick aside - I'd consider using the two 2TB drives in a RAID 0 setup - do most MoBos come with a hardware controller as standard?
Current considerations: I think I'll opt for a P67 mobo as I've no need for SSD caching (with a 128GB SSD in the build) and I can add on a cheap GPU to provide some extra graphics clout. Wise?
With this in mind, I'm looking at the Asus P8P67 and the AsRock P67 Extreme4. I am tempted by the Bluetooth connectivity of the Asus board but the AsRock seems to be well-reviewed at a less expensive pricepoint than the Asus. If I opted for the Asus, should I be concerned by the Pro/Deluxe assignation? And it appears the AsRock is actually £15 more expensive than the basic Asus - does that tip the scales in the Asus' favour?
Don't get the P67 board, as you do not want to overclock this is a complete waste.
The H67 boards will allow you access to the IGP (integrated graphics) and are cheaper. As it stands maybe get the 2500K, for the HD 3000 graphics with a H67 board and miss out on a discrete GPU but if you want a discrete card I understand that photoshop works best with nVidia cards so the green team for you.
Probably worth getting 8GB of RAM while you're at it, look for 1600Mhz, CAS9 and 1.5v RAM e.g.
No chance to get a watercooling set up for £500, also no point.
Metal Orient, both very useful posts so thank you very much! Especially helpful to know I was barking up the wrong tree with the P67 as I've no intention of OCing given my tendency towards a stable, non-gaming PC. Besides the OCing potential, am I losing out on anything more prescient by opting for the H67 over the P67? Both boards will require an additional GPU, will they not?
The setup you've recommended for me is helpful as well though I can cut out the DVD/RW as I have an existing drive which fits the bill. I'll also be adding in an SSD for running Windows, Photoshop and a few other programs but that'll only tip the budget over by £80.
I had read several articles regarding the overpricing of Corsair RAM - should I be concerned by this and look elsewhere for a better deal on the 8GB sticks?
Also, many of the better H67 boards seem to be M-ATX - should I be concerned about using these boards in place of full-size ATX boards?
No problem at all, i don't think you're losing out on anything else. The H67 does not require a discrete as it can access the IGP in the CPU, but a discrete GPU is recommended.
What have you read about Corsair RAM? i was always under the impression it was well regarded. As to XMS 3 RAM, these modules can be set to run at 1600Mhz but this comes with an increase in voltage, but as you won't be running them above the stated voltage they should be fine. If you could direct me towards these articles that would be great.
The only difference between ATX and m-ATX, as far as i know is just dimensions. m-ATX will come with less features but this is as a result of having less area to work with.
Having read on a bit about the H67, it seems a few sites have derided in account of their being no perceptible reason for it being inferior to the P67 and it has left me once again feeling as though I ought to, for a few pounds more, opt for a P67 (not least because everyone else on this forum choosing a new machine with the Intel 2500K chipset is opting for a P67 or Z68).
The comment regarding Corsair arrived as a result of reading a few different sources but it may have just been the odd remark here and there that stuck with me.
I think it's just that Sandy Bridge overclock hilariously well, and apparently easily too. Most people you'll read reviews from will overclock the processor so for them an H67 board is a joke.
I'd say in your position it has benefits and is cheaper, as you won't have to buy a discrete GPU, but this is your build so your choice. There is also H61 which is even cheaper than H67 and has a few features knocked off i daresay but i don't know what.
The Intel i5 chip is OEM (which I believe means it's missing a heatsink...should I opt for the retail package or get an OEM heatsink?). Other than that, are the PSU and case the best for the money and does the entire package find itself free of compatibility issues?
Am I missing anything at all to get my system up-and-running? Early additions will be a second Samsung 2TB HDD and a GPU (but that'll take a whole other run of research as I've no idea where to begin with that).
Yeah may as well get retail as you wouldn't need an aftermarket heat sink.
Well you won't be up and running until you have a GPU but i think everything would be fine. Bear in mind you can only have 3 HDD or SSD's on that PSU.
My maths brings the price of the build to £657.30, technically scan's.
I believe they would be good price performance-wise, but i was rather hoping someone else would help out for second opinion and all that. You'll have to wait to get the RAM anyway.
I must say, as helpful as you have been (very helpful - though the forums won't let me "thumbs up" your post!), a second opinion would have been treasured. I'll have to redo my maths as that's some discrepancy. And there is no on-board graphics engine - I'd literally have no display capabilities without a GPU? For now the 3 drive limitation of the PSU isn't an issue - it can always be revisited down the line.
Sticking with the P67 board as the decent Z68 boards cost approximately £90 more - that's the sort of money that'd allow me to buy a P67 and a good (GeForce GTX 460) GPU to go on to it, thus surpassing the on-chip GPU on the Z68 boards.
Interesting to note that OCing is a possibility but, as I stated, I'm keen on low power consumption, quiet and stability above all so I'll be content with the stock clock speeds.
So no compatibility issues with the aforementioned setup with the addition of the GTX 460? Also, I'm now considering the OCZ Vertex 3 over the Crucial M4 - the latter being £15 more expensive - what are your thoughts?
Also, thinking of adding on the Corsair XMS3 1600mhz RAM as opposed to the 1333mhz RAM as the former has received far better reviews for multi-tasking.
ABSOLUTELY ZERO point in getting p67 board for no overclock. get an h67 or h61 motherboard and 2400 i5 processor, it will feel identical... then spend the extra cash on better graphic card or more ram...
Some other sites to check out/ shop around maybe, but I think Metals covered most of the salient points,
you know scan already
another one to try is putting the components details into nextag, amazon or a similar comparison site, they usually show up the cheapest option for your item, and that has saved me a fair whack on builds