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System Builder Marathon, June 2012: $2000 Performance PC

Case And Cooler Installation

We started with Antec’s venerable Nine Hundred, a part that was recently updated to include front-panel USB 3.0 via an internal motherboard header. Always a favorite of Newegg customers, this updated version was recently included in our Customer Choice PC.

Zalman’s CNPS12X typically uses an included multi-fit AMD/Intel support plate and screws to hold the cooler against the CPU. Four T-nuts slide into holes that match the mounting locations on the motherboard, while four slip-on collars hold the T-nuts in position.

A quartet of self-adhesive washers protect the surface of the motherboard from being gouged by metal mounting hardware. ASRock’s Z77 Extreme6 has dual-position mounting holes, where those circled in white offer the best alignment.

Four standoffs hold the support plate against the back of the motherboard in this LGA 1155 installation. A different set of standoffs would have employed the integrated support plate of an LGA 2011 installation.

Cross brackets are attached to the top of these standoffs using an included set of thumb screws.

The CNPS12X then uses a cross bracket and socket-head screws to hold the base of its sink against the CPU. An included ball-end Allen wrench eases access to these screws.

Note that the base of the sink clears our chosen RAM by just over 1/8”. Memory this size can be carefully manipulated into the other slots without removing the sink, though patience and a steady hand are required.

  • Trialsking
    Very nice build, if only I had $1800 to spare
    Reply
  • rohitbaran
    Well, is GTX 680 availability good enough now?
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    i would never buy a green 5400 RPM over a 7200 RPM drive, no matter the cost.
    Reply
  • Now imagine if two GTX 670 were available!!
    Reply
  • vakuma5000
    Awesome Build!!

    I have the exact same GTX 680 from ASUS, and I love it. Managed to get 1337Mhz out of the core and 6800 out of the memory. I achieved that with only 115% power limit. If I raise the power limit any higher, i start to loose performance and stability. That is a truly awesome memory oveerclock you got out of it! Congrats!

    Very much looking foreward to the value comparison.
    Would LOVE to see the 1800$ build win the value comparo!
    GO GTX 680!!

    My vote goes towards keeping a gaming focus as opposed to a more "all-in-one" type build.
    Love the System Builder Articles, love Toms!
    Reply
  • strandiam
    So many great cases to choose from with so many great features....
    Reply
  • vakuma5000
    Unfortunately GTX 680 availability is still pretty spotty.
    Had to spend 2 days on newegg, refreshing the page every few mins to get the model i wanted.
    However, it IS looking better. They are listing them more often on newegg, and they don't sell-out as quickly as they were a few weeks ago.
    Check newegg daily from 5:30pm to 6:30 pm CST, and you should be able to catch one.
    The GTX 670's are in stock right now.
    Good luck rohitbaran!
    Reply
  • slicedtoad
    should we keep the gaming focus or move back towards higher-cost do-it-all machines?
    Personally, I'm happy with the gaming focus. Don't know how others feel but gaming performance is more important than productivity benchmarks for me. I compile a lot of code and do some video encoding but I find gaining fps in games is more important than shaving seconds off my work. Besides, productivity follows gaming performance close enough.

    On another note, I dislike value comparisons when things like SSD size and optical drives have made an impact in price. A larger SSD does nothing for a benchmark but is awesome in practice. I'd prefer only comparing the combined price of the gpu, cpu, cooler(s) and mobo in the value chart. That's not a perfect solution but it annoys me that things like high quality PSUs, nice cases, blu-ray burners and large SSDs throw things off so much.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    strandiamSo many great cases to choose from with so many great features....Perhaps the award-winning NZXT Phantom 410 next time?
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/mana-136-midgard-ii-phantom-410,3203-5.html
    Reply
  • sam_fisher
    CrashmanPerhaps the award-winning NZXT Phantom 410 next time?http://www.tomshardware.com/review 203-5.html
    My only dislike about this build is the case, for a $2000 PC I would prefer a case that was tidier and larger than the Antec Nine Hundred (especially with the layout of the HDD bays). The NZXT Phantom 410 would be much better for that budget.
    Reply