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First time building a machine!

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I've wanted to build an amazing gaming machine since I was in the 6th grade and eleven years later I'm finally about to scrape together enough money to do it! I spent the past weekend trying to get myself up-to-date as much as possible, but figured I couldn't go wrong getting guidance from some people who have done this before.


I'm not entirely sure on my budget yet, but it is probably going to be $2000-$2500. I'm not sure how interested I am in overclocking everything if that will reduce the lifespan of my parts. I would definitely like to see this thing last...


All I really know is that I plan on going with an i7-2600K. As far as mobos, I want something that gives me room to expand later if I don't go with SLI/Crossfire off the bat. Looking at this list here: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/category/category_slc.asp?Recs=10&Nav=|c:6975|&Sort=1 can anyone give me a recommendation? I'm not sure what to look for beyond LGA1155 and multi-GPU support. Comparing those top two from ASUS (the Sabertooth and the Deluxe B3), it looks like the main different is the support of higher frequency RAM. Would this be worth the investment?



Either the Cooler Master HAF 912 mid-tower or HAF 932 full tower.

Looks and physical presence on/under my desktop mean nothing to me. I'm only concerned with function, specifically airflow and real estate for a large heatsink/GPU(s). The fact that the mid-tower is $100 cheaper doesn't hurt.



Noctua D14 $90 - I read in another thread on this board that this thing would be overkill for the 2600k because it tends to run cool anyway, but could it be worth the investment to extend the lifespan even further? I read several raving reviews on this thing and really like the fact that it's quiet. I'm a little concerned with it not fitting in a mid-tower case though. Also, can a good heatsink like this also help to cool the rest of the components?

Open to suggestions, but I'm willing to pay for something that will help this rig keep going.



No idea. I hadn't gotten around to looking at different models yet, but I definitely want at least 8gb. Something to keep in mind is that the Noctua extends over the first slot or two so RAM with extended heat fins will not fit. The potential to OC would be nice, even if I don't do it right away.


Hard drives:

I want an SSD for the OS and most commonly used apps/games and a decent speed TB+ HDD for everything else.



I'm willing to invest a lot here.. I want to be able to set every single setting to max in upcoming games like Battlefield 3 and Skyrim. Keeping that in mind, what should I get?

I also remember hearing somewhere that Nvidia cards tend to be better with Intel processors. Is this true?


If it doesn't fit in my budget, I would rather get one top-of-the-line card now and get a second later than get two decent cards that will need to be updated.


I figure the appropriate power supply depends on whether I go SLI/Crossfire or not.



I'm not interested in paying a premium for brand new releases that are still overpriced. I'd rather be a month or two behind than be fleeced.




If it's relevant, I play on a 27" LG monitor in 1920x1080.

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I'm not really up on the intel side of things, but I do know that that is a very good processor. If you want maximum performance, go with Sli over crossfire (unless you want to get 2 HD6990's which would be around $1400)

if you go Sli, you could get 2 580's (around $1000)


as far as cases go for a performance build. I would recommend a full tower. It doesn't necessarily have to be the Haf 932. There are other's with good airflow and enough space for cheaper.


the D14 is the best air cooler on the market today as far as I know. Its a very good choice, but kind of expensive.


as far as ram is concerned timing of the sticks isnt really as important as the speed the ram runs at. 8 gigs of ddr3 1600 should be fine.

This looks good


for SSD's, I would wait for the vertex 3 line to come out, then the prices of the vertex 2's should come down a little. you probably wont want anything smaller than the 120gb version.


1+tb 7200rpm hdd's arent too expensive anymore. you should be able to find a sub $100 one fairly easily

this one has good reviews


for a psu, you will probably want to look at a 1000+ watt from a reputable brand

this may be a little lower wattage, but all the reviews are great, or you could get this. Its more expensive, but its more powerful as well

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Welcome to OCC tneux64! :thumbsup:


Glad to see that you are looking into your hardware before you buy - always a wise thing to do.



Solid choice there but when do you expect to finish this build by? If the answer is: "not anytime soon", I would probably wait for bulldozer CPUs from AMD to come out so that you can compare performances between the two breeds from intel and AMD.

Make sure you get B3 revision P67 chipset motherboards to allow you to overclock your CPU.



Here is a good thread to check out for recommended cases. There are some decent mid-tower cases which will provide you ample room and cooling like my Lian-Li K-62 so you aren't restricted to full towers.



I really doubt that the few degrees difference in temperature will affect the life of your CPU that drastically. Most likely something else will break before the CPU regardless of how much cooler you get it with the D-14 compared to the Hyper 212+



Look for DDR3 dual channel ram kits like a 2x4gb set (for a total of 8gb) This will to allow your CPU to utilize dual channel mode, which will increase your memory performance.

I would look for sticks which are rated to run @ 1600MHz or even 1333MHz with 9-9-9-24 or 8-8-8-24 timings (respectively). The difference is speed is not really noticeable in day to day performance, so I would save money here.

Focus primarily on 1333MHz sticks as 1600MHz are generally used just to provide more head room when overclocking a CPU using BCLK. Since your CPU doesn't really allow you to overclock via BCLK you wont really need high frequency RAM.


To find out more about RAM read up on this article :)



The claim that nVidea cards operate better with intel processors is not true. Any processor will work well with any GPU, they are really not correlated in any significant way.


The GTX580 is a good card and will provide you will all the juice you will need to max out games and even more so if you get two. The 6970 is also a very good card but not as powerful as the 580.



I would wait until you have your build pretty much solid before recommending you a PSU.

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I'll take a stab at this:


1. Case:


- Purely a personal choice. I own the HAF 932, and while I like it...it's getting ready to be switched out for another case. Full tower is a must for all of the gear that you plan to pack in it and it will give you room to upgrade later down the road.


2. Cooler:


- If you are not going to overclock, then save your money and run the stock Intel cooler. Running a better cooler at stock speeds and voltages will not increase the CPU life and other than looking pretty inside your case, will serve no other purpose. I wouldn't spend $90 on an air cooler today when you can pick up decent H2O kits for about $30 more. It's your choice and money, but the best doesn't always mean its the best for you.


3. RAM:


- Once again, if you don't plan on overclocking...go with the standard DDR3 1600 that has decent timings and doesn't require too many volts. GSkill and Corsair have always been my favorites, but there are alot of great companies out there. If you decide to stick with the Noctua HSF, then be careful about buying high performance RAM with large heatsinks on them like the Ripjaw and Dominator Series.


4. HDD:


- If you plan on running just your OS and major applications from the SSD, save your money and stick with a 60GB or 80GB unit. It will have plenty of space for the OS and games and will save you around $100. Pick up a 7200rpm 1TB drive for everything else and you'll be set.


5. GPU:


- This is the hardest choice. I run both SLI and Crossfire solutions on a daily basis, and I love both. The GTX 580 cards are beastly and will run any game that you want at 1080p, but the 6970s and 6990s are great cards as well. You going to eat up most of your budget right here.


6. PSU:


- If you end up running all of the gear that you would like, I would recommend going ahead and picking up a 1K PSU. It will be overkill if you start small, but you won't have to worry about upgrading it later on down the road. Buy a modular unit that is certified and approved. You are going to spend another big chunk of your budget right here. Don't skimp and buy a no-name PSU with flashy lights and fans.


Overall, your $2K - $2.5K budget will be stretched to do everything you want, but it can be done. Buy a good motherboard, power supply, and single video card up front...the rest can upgraded or added to later for less money.

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First, I'd recommend not shopping at TigerDirect.


If you're looking for case recommendations, here's a good thread to go to: http://forums.overclockersclub.com/index.php?showtopic=182931&st=0


The Noctua NH-D14 is a great air cooler, and definitely worth using to cool the i7 2600k. Depending on how good the chip you get is, you'll most likely only get to 4.5GHz overclock for 24/7 operations without going over the maximum recommended temp of 72.6C. I've yet to pass 66C when folding 24/7, but that's with a 120.2 radiator water-cooled, which will be much better than the best air cooled unit. Read here for more info regarding i7 2600k overclocks: http://forums.overclockersclub.com/index.php?showtopic=181398&st=0&p=1880662entry1880662


As far as motherboards, both the ASUS Deluxe or Sabertooth are good choices.


For memory, you can fit in G.Skill Ripjaws even with the Noctua NH-D14 installed. They were going for $75 or even less at Newegg (not sure now), and can be ran at 1600MHz at 1.5v with 9-9-9-24-1T timings. They won't overclock to 1866MHz though, but it's not going to vastly improve the speed of your system, anyway.

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I linked to Tiger Direct because the Sabertooth was unavailable on Newegg (where I've had good experiences and plan on ordering from again).


4.5GHz OC is what I was aiming for since it seems to be about as far as you can go without giving yourself trouble.


4GB G.Skill Ripjaw modules are only $55 so I'll probably just go with that.


I'm leaning towards the Hyper 212+ at this point, seems like a good value, though I may end up with the NH-D14 depending on how my budget turns out (things are actually looking up and I may have close to $3000 to spend). Any comments on the Hyper 212+?


As far as the GPU, I think I'll go with 2 EVGA GTX 580's. Basing the brand just on the fact that they seem to be the most popular on Newegg and I've seen the name around a lot more than some of the other slightly cheaper models.


So would you recommend the Lian Li K62 then? Would it be compatible with all of the above? How much easier, if at all, would it be to go use a full tower case (in terms of fitting everything)?


I think I want to stick with at least a 120GB SSD. Any suggestions on which to get? And Savan mentioned that I should wait for the Vertex 3 series to get a 2 cheaper, any idea when this will be?

edit- Would it be worth paying for a SATA III drive? Looks like they read/write a bit faster and the price isn't necessarily dramatically higher. Not sure how much you actually get out of that faster speed in overall performance though.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820139113 for $175 after rebate looks pretty nice, and well-reviewed too.

Edited by tneux64

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edit- Would it be worth paying for a SATA III drive? Looks like they read/write a bit faster and the price isn't necessarily dramatically higher. Not sure how much you actually get out of that faster speed in overall performance though.


Anyone who owns a K62 will tell you it is a great case and you should have no trouble working with it. It will be a little on the full side with to GTX 580's but everything will fit just fine. They are great to work with.

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The Hyper 212+ is solid for the price, but I don't think you'd be able to go higher than 4.3GHz with it. Probably 4.2GHz or 4.3GHz will be the highest if you don't want your temps reaching close to 72.6C.


I'd easily recommend the Lian Li K62, and it would be compatible with everything mentioned so far. A full tower case will let you fit everything easier, and some may provide better cooling and cable management.


Here's a list of SSD's I've used, and haven't gone bad, yet:

Crucial RealSSD C300 128GB

Mushkin Enhanced Callisto Deluxe 240GB

Intel X25-M G2 160GB

Corsair P128 SSD

Kingston SSDNow V Series 64GB

Super Talent UltraDrive GX64GB


Just pick one that you find that has a price range you're okay with (I wait for some good deals).


Vertex 3's won't get cheaper by very much for a long while, yet.

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I think I'm set:

NZXT Phantom Full tower ($140)


WD 1TB 7200RPM ($90)

EVGA GTX 580 (x2) ($1000, gaahhh)

PC Power & Cooling Silencer (910W) ($200, $140 after rebates)

G.SKILL Ripjaws 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600 ($100)

i7-2600k ($330)

Noctua NH-D14 ($90)

Kingston SSDNow 128GB ($225 plus a $50 mail-in rebate!)


Total before taxes: ~$2,350


Anymore comments?

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I think you should go full bore and get the Corsair AX1200, especially if you're ever thinking of overclocking your GTX 580's.


You can also save $25 - $35 by getting a Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB rather than a WD 1TB 7200. They're faster, quieter, more reliable, and cheaper.

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Will do. I might have to hold off a month on one of the two GTX 580s to get the better PSU, but even one should be good enough for the moment :D

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WOW!!!!! All i can say is WOW!


Those specs look absolutely blazing!!! Yea, yer be gaming at max settings and nothing to bottle-neck you.


It's gonna take a full month to wipe the silly grin off yer face after you fire that bad boy up for the 1st time.

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