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Sooth Slayer

Seeking advice on a $1500 build

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Yeah SSD's are great but if you are prepared to wait a minute or so more do they really offer an advantage for gaming?

A minute or so? Don't exaggerate... have you ever seen a game that takes as long as a minute to load?

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New Build:

Component	Model							Retail		Shipping/Tax	Sub-total	MIR	Total
CPU:		Intel Core i5 2500K					$179.99 	$15.59 		$195.58 	-	$195.58 
GPU:		MSI N580GTX Lightning GeForce GTX 580			$524.99 	$8.50 		$533.49 	$25 	$508.49 
RAM:		Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 2133	$99.99 		-		$99.99 		-	$99.99 
HDD:		Kingston HyperX 120GB Internal SSD			$229.99 	-		$229.99 	$50 	$179.99 
PSU:		P&C Silencer Mk II 750W High Performance Power Supply	$109.99 	-		$109.99 	$20 	$89.99 
DVD:		LG 22x DVD±RW Burner					$18.99 		$1.64 		$20.63 		-	$20.63 
Case:		COOLER MASTER RC-692-KKN2 CM690 II Advanced		$89.99 		$7.99 		$97.98 		$10 	$87.98 
Mobo:		ASUS P8Z68 DELUXE/GEN3					$254.99 	-		$254.99 	-	$254.99 
Cooler:		Antec Kuhler H2O 620					$66.99 		-		$66.99 		$8 	$58.99 

	Total:							$1,575.91 	$33.72 		$1,609.63 	$113 	$1,496.63

CPU and DVD are from MicroCenter, everything else is from Newegg. I have been comparing between different retailers (okay, I've been typing the make/model into Google shopping and sorting by lowest price), and MC and Newegg come out on top every time. In the few cases where Newegg was beaten, it was beaten by some unknown, unreviewed website, and not by enough to justify foregoing Newegg's reliable reputation.

 

GPU:

I think a single-card solution is the way to go; I don't want to have to deal with micro-stuttering. As far as single-card solutions go, it seems like the 580 is the best option in the ~$500 range. And from what I can tell, the MSI Lightning is the best option for a 580. I took a look at the Zotac AMP! 1.5GB version ($470 after tax and MIR from MC), but it doesn't have the same performance potential as the MSI.

 

Mobo:

There are some great articles on Tom's Hardware that compare many different mobos. In the end, the MSI Z68A-GD55 just doesn't have the performance I'm looking for, and the MSI Z68A-GD80 is too close in price to the ASUS to warrant the switch.

 

RAM:

I'm torn between CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 and Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 2133. I know there isn't much (if any) performance gain above DDR3 1600, but at the same time, there's only a $5 difference. Considering that I could probably underclock the Blackline to the same timings as the Vengeance, it almost seems like a wash. I'm still torn on the CAS 9 vs 7 debate.

 

HDD :

I was able to find a nice looking SSD at a nice price. Hurray!

 

PSU:

I'm happy with the MK II. The Corsair TX750 V2 is currently $95 AR at Newegg, but I think the MK II is a better performer.

 

Thanks, everyone, for the tips! I'm pretty happy with this build, but am still, as always, open to input.

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A minute or so? Don't exaggerate... have you ever seen a game that takes as long as a minute to load?

 

UHHH, YES! And now I am so spoit to my SSD performance that games can feel like a minute or more to launch if I switch back.

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GPU:

I think a single-card solution is the way to go; I don't want to have to deal with micro-stuttering. As far as single-card solutions go, it seems like the 580 is the best option in the ~$500 range. And from what I can tell, the MSI Lightning is the best option for a 580. I took a look at the Zotac AMP! 1.5GB version ($470 after tax and MIR from MC), but it doesn't have the same performance potential as the MSI.

 

RAM:

I'm torn between CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 and Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 2133. I know there isn't much (if any) performance gain above DDR3 1600, but at the same time, there's only a $5 difference. Considering that I could probably underclock the Blackline to the same timings as the Vengeance, it almost seems like a wash. I'm still torn on the CAS 9 vs 7 debate.

 

HDD :

I was able to find a nice looking SSD at a nice price. Hurray!

 

 

Depending on the games you play and the resolution you might find a GTX 570 or an HD 6950 will deliver the performance you want and with a nice savings. I do however agree that I personally perfer a single card approach.

 

Do not get caught in the latency arguement, it is a none issue. I have done a lot of testing on this over the years and in actual usage there is no difference. In various none memory specific benchmarks you MIGHT see a 1% to 2% boost but that is a crap shoot at best and in memory benchmarks the difference is still single digit percentages at best. Your two RAM selections are great and I would offer a thris withKingston HyperX DDR3 1600, less money and your computing experience will be the same. Plus it means you HyperX your PC with that sweet SSD. :thumbsup:

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GPU:

I think a single-card solution is the way to go; I don't want to have to deal with micro-stuttering. As far as single-card solutions go, it seems like the 580 is the best option in the ~$500 range. And from what I can tell, the MSI Lightning is the best option for a 580. I took a look at the Zotac AMP! 1.5GB version ($470 after tax and MIR from MC), but it doesn't have the same performance potential as the MSI.

 

RAM:

I'm torn between CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 and Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 2133. I know there isn't much (if any) performance gain above DDR3 1600, but at the same time, there's only a $5 difference. Considering that I could probably underclock the Blackline to the same timings as the Vengeance, it almost seems like a wash. I'm still torn on the CAS 9 vs 7 debate.

 

I would pick this RAM instead - I happen to agree with Computer Ed. Only difference is this RAM is cheaper than the Kingston and you seem to like Corsair (great brand).

 

Far as GPU goes, the new architecture is right around the corner. They promise to double the performance of current models and reach the speeds of a 6990. Whether that holds true is something we will have to wait and see, but if it is true... damn, I sure would hate to spend so much money on a graphics card solution that doesn't just get beat (that's how PC hardware works) but gets completely trounced (that's sux) in a couple months. Don't get me wrong the MSI Lightning is indeed an impressive card, but is it really worth the extra $200+ over a GTX 570? Here are some Guru3D benchmarks. Since your primary goal is to stick with a single graphics card solution, being this close to new architecture launch, I'd recommend flying with a solo GTX 460 and tuff it out to see how well nVIDIA and ATI can deliver on their promises. I know this is probably advice you may not want to see, but that is how I feel about expensive graphics card solutions at this time.

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Far as GPU goes, the new architecture is right around the corner. They promise to double the performance of current models and reach the speeds of a 6990. Whether that holds true is something we will have to wait and see, but if it is true... damn, I sure would hate to spend so much money on a graphics card solution that doesn't just get beat (that's how PC hardware works) but gets completely trounced (that's sux) in a couple months. Don't get me wrong the MSI Lightning is indeed an impressive card, but is it really worth the extra $200+ over a GTX 570? Here are some Guru3D benchmarks. Since your primary goal is to stick with a single graphics card solution, being this close to new architecture launch, I'd recommend flying with a solo GTX 460 and tuff it out to see how well nVIDIA and ATI can deliver on their promises. I know this is probably advice you may not want to see, but that is how I feel about expensive graphics card solutions at this time.

I entirely agree with this, however as for new generations right around the corner, we're looking at a few more months still. It looks like both vendors will use a bottom-to-top strategy. That is releasing the low-end cards first. Rumors say AMD will be able to release its first cards at the end of the year, so I would expect the top dogs only towards the end of Q1 next year. NVIDIA will start off later so it's only going to be worse.

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So will the first card be the 7950?

 

If a 7950 comes close to a 6990 in raw power I really wouldn't bother waiting for a 7970 or 7990 ...assuming I went with a cheap graphics card solution at this time.

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6950, wait for the 7000 or 600 series. Period. Simple, elegant, smart. DO NOT GO WITH THE 580!! It is just a really stupid waste of money considering there will be something twice as fast in a couple months. The 6950 is playing BF3 at max settings and even plays crysis two with max settings and they both have decent frame rates. Do not go that high end with out a good reason. Unless you have 8 monitors in your room that you want to hook up, it just inst a smart investment. Go with the ivy-7000 series combo and call it done.

 

As for the guy talking about the SSD... Well I am glad to hear you found the holy grail and now have eternal life to wait for a HDD. For the rest of us, the use of an SSD is as pleasurable as breathing. It is just SOOOOO much better. I don't have one on my desktop because I am waiting for my friend to pay me the 200 dollars he owes me.........grrrrr. However, I have a 120Gb in my laptop. Yes.....my laptop. It isn't even a gaming laptop and I bought the Vertex 3 max iops edition to boot. ((((get it? to boot? :haha: ))))). You have no idea how much easier life becomes when you submit yourself to the SSD revolution. Considering that my laptop doesn't even get through windows 7 boot animation, I would say it is well worth the 240 I spent on my 450 dollar laptop.

 

I would keep with the mushkin black. You just can beat that price to performance ratio there.

 

Please find a better case. You have a kick a$$ computer and plan to make it more kick a$$ find a case that is a piece of art that you like to give your kick a$$ computer a kick a$$ look. For cases I use xodize (even though its probably spelled wrong). They offer a lot of choices to inspire an artistic flare to your build rather than just putting it together and calling it done.....

 

Badish SSD choice. The only thing is this one is a tiny bit better, and it is on sale here..........http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=62873&vpn=MKNSSDCR120GB&manufacture=Mushkin%20Enhanced&promoid=1368.....You save 10 bucks that I would then turn around and fix your cooling option.

 

First off the cooler you are looking at dropped 10 bucks, so yay for that choice. However, it is a bad investment. To put it simply if you want to skimp, do it with a better company and get the h40 from corsair. Even then I still think it is a horrid waste of money. The plain truth is the close-loop water cooling units are getting to release their second generation line up. The h100 along with all the other except the h70 and h40 are off the market because they are being refitted and tunned up for x79 and ivy bridge. I would go with the CM 212 evo, and call it quits until corsair releases the new H series and invest in something much better.

 

Mobo, psu, ram, SSD (respectively), and cpu all get thumbs up. the rest of it can be much better if you handle it with a bit more planning and of course waiting.

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...it can be much better if you handle it with a bit more planning and of course waiting.

I've done a little more thinking, and a lot more reading, and have basically reworked this build from scratch. Here's the new model:

 

Component	Model									Retail	Ship/Tax	Sub-total	MIR	Total
CPU:		Intel Core i5 2500K							$179.99 $15.59 		$195.58 	-	$195.58 
GPU:		Sapphire 0312-3SR Radeon HD 6950					$278.99 -		$278.99 	-	$278.99 
	ZOTAC ZT-40408-10P GeForce GTX 460 					$149.99 $7.56 		$157.55 	$30 	$127.55 
RAM:		CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600				$46.99 	-		$46.99 		-	$46.99 
HDD:		Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2CCA 2.5 128GB SATA III SSD w/ Transfer Kit	$214.99 -		$214.99 	-	$214.99 
PSU:		XFX Core Edition PRO650W						$89.99 	-		$89.99 		$30 	$59.99 
DVD:		LG 22x DVD±RW Burner							$18.99 	$1.64 		$20.63 		-	$20.63 
Case:		COOLER MASTER RC-692-KKN2 CM690 II Advanced				$89.99 	$7.99 		$97.98 		$10 	$87.98 
Mobo:		Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3						$89.99 	$7.79 		$97.78 		$10 	$87.78 
Cooler:		Scythe MUGEN 3 SCMG-3000						$49.99 	-		$49.99 		-	$49.99 

	Total w/ HD 6950						      $1,059.91	$33.01 		$1,092.92 	$50 	$1,042.92 
	Total w/ GTX 460							$930.91	$40.57 		$971.48 	$80 	$891.48 


 

Proc, Mobo, and DVD are from Microcenter, and the HD 6950 is from Amazon. Everything else is from Newegg.

 

GPU:

The HD 6950 comes with the option to unlock it to the HD 6970, but it's also more than twice as expensive as the GTX 460.

 

Case:

I'm happy with the CM690, but I'll a shop around.

 

Thank you very much for all of the feedback, it's helped quite a bit! I think I'm pretty close with this build, what say you?

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I've done a little more thinking, and a lot more reading, and have basically reworked this build from scratch. Here's the new model:

 

Component	Model									Retail	Ship/Tax	Sub-total	MIR	Total
CPU:		Intel Core i5 2500K							$179.99 $15.59 		$195.58 	-	$195.58 
GPU:		Sapphire 0312-3SR Radeon HD 6950					$278.99 -		$278.99 	-	$278.99 
	ZOTAC ZT-40408-10P GeForce GTX 460 					$149.99 $7.56 		$157.55 	$30 	$127.55 
RAM:		CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600				$46.99 	-		$46.99 		-	$46.99 
HDD:		Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2CCA 2.5 128GB SATA III SSD w/ Transfer Kit	$214.99 -		$214.99 	-	$214.99 
PSU:		XFX Core Edition PRO650W						$89.99 	-		$89.99 		$30 	$59.99 
DVD:		LG 22x DVD±RW Burner							$18.99 	$1.64 		$20.63 		-	$20.63 
Case:		COOLER MASTER RC-692-KKN2 CM690 II Advanced				$89.99 	$7.99 		$97.98 		$10 	$87.98 
Mobo:		Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3						$89.99 	$7.79 		$97.78 		$10 	$87.78 
Cooler:		Scythe MUGEN 3 SCMG-3000						$49.99 	-		$49.99 		-	$49.99 

	Total w/ HD 6950						      $1,059.91	$33.01 		$1,092.92 	$50 	$1,042.92 
	Total w/ GTX 460							$930.91	$40.57 		$971.48 	$80 	$891.48 


 

Proc, Mobo, and DVD are from Microcenter, and the HD 6950 is from Amazon. Everything else is from Newegg.

 

GPU:

The HD 6950 comes with the option to unlock it to the HD 6970, but it's also more than twice as expensive as the GTX 460.

 

Case:

I'm happy with the CM690, but I'll a shop around.

 

Thank you very much for all of the feedback, it's helped quite a bit! I think I'm pretty close with this build, what say you?

 

 

If that works for you, then great. The mobo and the SSD were better off as the last revision.

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Motherboard:

Though that is a great price on that board, I can't help but think they purposely trying to clear stock and get rid of boards with PCI-e 2.0. Now that Gen3 boards are out I would go with a Gen3 board. Honestly I think it is worth it to spend a little extra money here. If you want something cheaper than your first selection, I would consider this or a similar MSI offering - ASUS P8Z68-V/GEN 3.

 

SSD:

The Crucial M4 is definitely a solid choice and one that is highly recommended around here. It lacks some of the speed that a SF-2281 drive has but also shouldn't have any of the firmware issues a SF-2281 drive has. I have a Patriot Wildfire and the speed is indeed Primo! Though it has also been the headache of my system, despite that I will say... it is looking like they starting to get things right with the firmware updates. I would still call SF-2281 drives a gamble at this time ...mostly because I need more time before I feel confident the last firmware update fixed all the issues.

 

I can't speak for the Mushkin drive that TjjAngel found but that is definitely an attractive price that warrants some looking into. I would research into that drive before you make your decision. Great find if the drive performs as solid as it should.

 

PSU:

It is more expensive, but I like this gold cert PSU - SeaSonic 650W - $129

Or this Corsair for $120 with $20 MIR - Corsair HX650

 

 

edit:

 

VIDEO CARD:

The 6950 will give you more time to decide when to upgrade to the newer architecture so you can wait for the new kid prices to come down a bit, and to see how nVIDIA and ATI stack up against each other. Though keep in mind, it will be the more expensive graphics solution over all as you are spending $290 now and whatever your next card will cost. I would make sure that card can be unlocked to a 6970 because not all of them are capable of it.

 

The 460 is obviously the cheaper solution and you may have to make some sacrifices along the way in terms of graphics settings on newer games, so if you go with the GTX 460 make sure you are ok with that and won't be kicking yourself for not spending the extra money. We can make all the suggestions in the world but it is your money and you have to live with what you purchase. So if the GTX 580 makes you happy, go with that. I just can't back that decision at this point in time with new architecture on the horizon. Especially when you can spend roughly the same amount and get more performance overall.

Edited by Fogel

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The final decision?

 

Component	Model							Retail	Ship/Tax	Sub-total	MIR	Total
CPU:		Intel Core i5 2500K					$179.99 $15.59 		$195.58 	-	$195.58 
GPU:		ZOTAC ZT-40408-10P GeForce GTX 460			$149.99 $7.56 		$157.55 	$30 	$127.55 
RAM:		CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600		$46.99 	-		$46.99 		-	$46.99 
HDD:		Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2CCA 2.5 128GB SSD w/ Transfer Kit	$214.99 -		$214.99 	-	$214.99 
PSU:		XFX Core Edition PRO650W				$89.99 	$5.99 		$95.98 		$30 	$65.98 
DVD:		LG 22x DVD±RW Burner					$18.99 	$1.64 		$20.63 		-	$20.63 
Case:		COOLER MASTER RC-692-KKN2 CM690 II Advanced		$89.99 	$7.99 		$97.98	 	$10 	$87.98 
Mobo:		ASRock Z68 Extreme4 Gen3				$139.99 $12.12 		$152.11 	-	$152.11 
Cooler:		Scythe Mugen 3 SCMG-3000				$49.99 	-		$49.99 		-	$49.99 

	Total:							$980.91	$50.89 		$1,031.80 	$70 	$961.80 

 

SSD:

I really don't want to mess with the SandForce controller. They've been working on the firmware thing for a while now, which says to me that either their engineers are a bunch of incompetents, or it's a more serious issue that requires a more serious fix. They may well manage to get it figured out and unlock the potential of these drives with a simple patch. It's also possible that it turns out to be a design flaw and they have to physically fix the hardware. My biggest concern is that whatever they do to fix it impacts performance, and these drives never reach their full potential. This is all speculation, but with the M4, I don't have to worry about any of that. I know that not everyone is having an issue with the SandForce controllers, and there's nothing to say that the one I got wouldn't work, but I still think I'd rather side-step the issue all together.

 

Mobo:

You've convinced me on the Gen3. I'm looking at the ASRock Z68 EXTREME4 GEN3, as I'd make good use of its PS/2 port. I should note that this pricing is based on a Microcenter bundle. My local MC is currently sold out of this mobo, and their next shipment isn't until next Fri. If everything else is good, I'd be okay ordering the other parts, and then waiting until next Fri to see if they get any more in stock. If they do, great! Let's hope the prices haven't changed. If they don't, no loss. I can always order from somewhere else, though it'll cost about $50 extra.

 

PSU:

The Corsair is nice, but I don't really see any reason to pick it over the XFX. As for the SeaSonic, I don't think it's worth the $65 premium to go from bronze to gold.

 

GPU:

FWIW, that 6950 ships with the 6970 BIOS already onboard. There's a switch on the card that lets you select between the stock and unlocked BIOS.

 

I've given up on the 580. As you say, there really isn't any way to justify the expense. I think I'll go with the 460 for now, and upgrade to the next gen when they start becoming available. Later on, say, 12 months from now, I can pick up an Ivy Bridge, and then 12 months after that look into PCI-e 3. Sound like a plan?

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