Staredit Network > Forums > Technology & Computers > Topic: Computer Build
Computer Build
Jul 26 2012, 5:40 am
By: Vi3t-X  

Jul 26 2012, 5:40 am Vi3t-X Post #1

Hi everyone,

I'm looking to build another performance desktop, and wanted suggestions (or an entire build).

The budget is about $900 CDN, and I have until January/February 2013 to bargain-hunt. It is okay to go over budget by up to ~$50. (This may be extended to September 2013 if necessary, parts updated of course.) The budget has been limited to make room for a monitor and potentially a speaker set. I expect to use this system for about four years.

Things to note:
> I can probably cheap out a bit on the HDD. Picked up a WD Essentials 3TB a while back, so I won't be having any storage problems for a while. Might even opt for an SSD (ADATA S510)
> Not sure whether or not to go for the i5-2500K or the i5-3570K. Looking at a $10 price differential, but considering the i5-3570K because of native 1600MHz memory support and reportedly "cooler" temperatures.
> Although I'm not entirely convinced that I'll need the memory to go up to 1600MHz, it does make it somewhat reassuring that the build will be somewhat future-proof. I'm looking at G.Skill Ripjaws, and the difference between 1333MHz and 1600MHz is 50 cents and the timings are the same, so I think I'll just go for it.
> Looking to buy high end GPU. Likely will be running dual-monitor setup while playing games (but only on one screen).
> I'm not certain on buying a set of speakers, but if I do, I'll probably have to get a sound card(?) The last time I had one of those was when Creative first came out with Sound Blaster. :P
> Case airflow is paramount. I'm seriously considering buying an aftermarket cooler for the GPU as well, because my HD5850 can idle as high as 70*C at 50% fan speed (95*C at load and 100% fan speed...)
> I'll be excluding rebates from the final price because tech companies don't like sending money back to Canadians. :(

As for the monitor, does anyone think it's worth getting a Yamakasi Catleap 27" IPS for ~$300? Pros and cons of IPS and large screens?

Thanks in advance for your time and help!

Post has been edited 1 time(s), last time on Jul 26 2012, 7:58 pm by Vi3t-X.


Jul 26 2012, 1:41 pm Roy Post #2

An artist's depiction of an Extended Unit Death

What are you going to use the computer for? I have an i5-2500k myself, and it's more than I need.

Probably cheaper than the Ripjaws: or

I have a GTX 680, but that's because the 670 was sold out when I was trying to buy one. I don't think you really need a card that powerful, though, even for the next 4 years. Maybe this?

Mobo: comes with integrated audio, so you won't need to worry about a sound card.

I don't know much about cases, but my CM690 is working out just fine: (the price on it is high right now, though).

There's some ideas for now.

Jul 26 2012, 3:33 pm Excalibur Post #3

The sword and the faith

Did a quick PCPartPicker build:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ NCIX)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($25.99 @ Computer Valley)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($139.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($54.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Hard Drive: A-Data S510 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($79.99 @ NCIX)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card ($199.99 @ NCIX)
Case: Fractal Design Define R3 Black Pearl ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 520W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($60.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer ($16.79 @ DirectCanada)
Total: $908.71
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-07-26 11:26 EDT-0400)

Did the whole thing using PCPartPicker's Canadian setting, so you should be good to go.
A word on your expectations: A GPU will never run as cool as a CPU that is in the same tier as it. Case and point, if you build a gaming rig, the GPU is going to be as high end or higher than the CPU and will run hotter. Stop resisting, its just how things go.

Now as for my choices:
Although there may be some better deals, this was a quick runthrough and as always in depth deal hunting will yield bigger savings.
There are also some newer parts coming down the pipe that weren't available for me to throw in here yet, such as the new Fractal R4, which is about the same price with some improvements. There's a review on anandtech if you want to check it out. I have an R3 that I recently moved my build to. Its a great case and with a few extra fans (Scythe Gentle Typhoon 15s are awesome.), the airflow is really nice. After having a CM690 I, I can safely say I don't recommend them unless they're on sale.
A new 7000 series GPU may be nice, but for performance per dollar, I still think the 2GB 6950 is a great value. 200$ CDN is not a bad price considering how it preforms. Although newer is usually better, I really don't see much use in going beyond the 6950 with current prices. That's just my opinion.
The memory looked solid though you may find some a bit cheaper from less reputable brands or with lower frequency or timings. I went for what I thought was a good balance.
The SSD also looked solid with some minor review research, so I'd figure OS drive that and just store on your 3TB.
I also only threw in the CPU cooler because you seem to be cooling focused. I am as well, and I've never run a build with a stock CPU cooler. Just doesn't sit right with me.

SEN Global Moderator and Resident Zealot
The sword and the faith.

Sector 12
My stream, live PC building and tech discussion.

Jul 26 2012, 3:35 pm Vi3t-X Post #4

The computer will basically be used for gaming, watching movies, and doing school work. That being said, I am willing to pay a bit extra to ensure that games can run at max settings with a second monitor for 3-4 years.

As for the GPU, I'm looking at a sub-$300 range. Cards of interest include the GTX 570 and HD 7850. My only concern with nVidia cards is that they heat up a lot, and I don't want the card burning out (especially since I'll be taxing it with two monitors and games).

And I'm sure on-board audio is fine for monitor speakers, but if I get a 2.1 or 4.1 speaker set, I doubt that'll suffice. :P

Other than that, thanks for your input. :)


Jul 26 2012, 3:48 pm Vi3t-X Post #5

Just curious, why was there a huge dip in part cost mid-June? It dropped some $250.

Oh, and I'm aware that the GPU will run hotter, but idling at 70*C to 75*C, with load exceeding 95*C, does not put me at ease. :P


Jul 26 2012, 4:22 pm Excalibur Post #6

The sword and the faith

Not sure why. And it doesn't put me at ease either. But if my GPU is properly dusted, has a good airflow coming over it from the case, and still runs at such a temp, I know its normal and there isn't much I can do. Depending on who you buy from the warranty may allow you to take off the cooler and apply new thermal compound which may help lower temps. I'd recommend some AC MX-3.

SEN Global Moderator and Resident Zealot
The sword and the faith.

Sector 12
My stream, live PC building and tech discussion.

Jul 26 2012, 5:41 pm Vi3t-X Post #7

Actually, I just dusted out my GPU and replaced the thermal with MX-4. Temperature dropped, but not by much. :P


Jul 27 2012, 12:29 am Roy Post #8

An artist's depiction of an Extended Unit Death

The price drop looks like an issue with the CPU's records on PCPartPicker; it says it was $0 for a good portion of June. Probably a data entry issue.

For the GPU, if you're gonna go with nVidia and you're concerned about heat, you should throw down the extra hundred and get a GTX 600 series. They run much cooler than the 500's (the GTX 670 will idle about 5C cooler than the 570 on idle, and 10C cooler under load). However, the 7950 will run slightly cooler than the 670 and it'll put a smaller dent in your wallet. I have a Gigabyte 3-fan setup on my card, and it runs very cool (and quiet). Try this: Gigabyte 7950 ($330 until August).

Quote from Vi3t-X
And I'm sure on-board audio is fine for monitor speakers, but if I get a 2.1 or 4.1 speaker set, I doubt that'll suffice. :P
Meh, mine sounds fine through my speakers and headset.

If you want to save a few bucks on RAM for CAS 9 instead of CAS 8:

Alternate case for the same price as Excalibur's (if you'd prefer a full tower case):
The promo on that might actually be expired, though.

Jul 27 2012, 3:52 am Vi3t-X Post #9

Well, considering that I have some time on my hands, I think I'll just the 7950 out. If the price ever drops below $300 in the Toronto area, then maybe I'll buy it.

Two things concern me about this generation of cards though.
1) There is only one DVI port, and I don't have any DisplayPort cables (nor do I want to buy them for extra).
2) The thing is huge. Do I have to compensate in case size for that?

Post has been edited 1 time(s), last time on Jul 27 2012, 4:03 am by Vi3t-X.


Jul 27 2012, 12:49 pm Roy Post #10

An artist's depiction of an Extended Unit Death

It has an HDMI port, so if you have an HDMI cable you're already set. If you don't have the cable and/or your monitors don't have HDMI ports, you can get a DVI to HDMI cable for $5-$10. Since they're both digital outputs, there shouldn't be a loss of quality through the conversion.

The card should fit in any mid or full tower case. It shouldn't be any longer than your motherboard, and the height isn't more than the I/O panel on it. I wouldn't be concerned about it.

Jul 28 2012, 6:14 pm ShadowFlare Post #11

There is no "conversion" when going from HDMI to DVI or DVI to HDMI, as they use the same type of signal. They are the same thing with a different connector, except that HDMI can also carry audio (and potentially other things) and as far as I know HDMI doesn't support dual-link mode for higher resolution graphics output (DVI ports/cables don't always support this either, though).


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