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Steve35 View Drop Down
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  Quote Steve35 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Looking for advice/critique on build
    Posted: 11 May 2012 at 10:11pm
Hello, everyone. New face looking for some advice/critique on a build as well as some questions.
 
Budget: No real budget per se, but willing to spend 3k.
Application: Mostly gaming with some occasional video editing and minor engineering work (prints, etc).
 
Case
-- HAF X (942)
Processor
-- I7 3770k 3.5
CPU cooler
-- Noctua d14
Power Supply
-- Corsair TX850 v2
Thermal paste
-- Arctic cooling MX4
Overclocking
-- No OC at this time, but may in the future. Will run with turbo boost enabled
Motherboard
-- Asus sabertooth z77
Memory
-- Crucial 16gb (2x8gb) Ballistix sport PC3-12800 ddr3 1600 CL9 1.5v
Video Card
-- Gtx 680 2gb
Primary Drive:
-- Intel, 240gb 520 series ssd
Secondary Drive (storage)
-- Samsung, 1TB spinpoint F3 sata 2, 7200rpm, 32mb cache
Sound
-- Onboard
Network Card
-- Onboard
Dvd Drive
-- Samsung BD/DVD/CD SH-B123L Black combo drive
Cooling fans
-- Stock case fans
 
Some questions/comments about the selections I made, if I may:
 
SSD: I picked 240gb mostly from a convenience standpoint. I realize 120 or 180 will be enough, just rather have the extra space, although I've read that the more you store on an ssd, the slower its performance becomes - no idea if this is true or not. Also, I chose the intel based on articles stating that while intel wasn't the fastest, it had more reliability. True?
 
HDD: Is a sata 3 hdd worth it and would having a hdd on the same bus as the ssd impact the ssd performance at all? Would it be better to just pair the ssd with a sata 2 hdd?
 
CPU cooler: I don't want the hassle of maintaining a liquid cooled system. I've read that you can let them go for up to 3 years, but draining and algae protection/prevention is required. I've read some folks doing maintenance every 6 months. No personal experience.
 
I've read good reviews on the Noctua, but I'm concerned about its size with respect to the motherboard, specifically the thermal armor and memory dimm slots. Will that be a problem? I tried to pick a low profile ddr3 with this in mind.
 
Memory: I'm looking at 16gb mostly because I have concerns about exceeding 8gb and I don't want the cpu reading directly from the ssd. I've read that this can accelerate the ssd wear. Also, I've read on your forums that the z77 is limited to the 1.5v sdram. Does that mean to use 1.5v and lower voltage ram and stay away from 1.6 variety?
 
Also, in regards to memory, I've read that there are issues where if you fill all the dimm slots that performance would be impacted. I've seen some articles stating that the asus z77s are the rare exception so should I go with 2 sticks or 4?
 
My apologies, in advance, for the long post and questions. I'm new to customizing and still learning.
 
Thanks in advance. Looking forward to any advice and/or criticism.
 
 
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  Quote Jmundy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2012 at 11:53am
Hello Steve35,
 
 
Welcome to AVAForums, we're happy to have you!
 
Your configuration is that of extreme performance, and high-end graphics...I like it!
 
Now, to address your questions...
 
SSD: Your choice of capacity is excellent; I previously purchased a 128GB SSD, and recently purchased another to introduce a RAID 0 setup, not just for performance, but to have the added capacity. It is recommended that you ensure you leave 20% of the SSDs capacity free from use, to keep performance optimal. As long as you follow that rule you will not see dramatic decreases in performance, which leads me to my next point: support for great garbage collection. The Intel SSDs are one of the more reliable SSDs, but Crucial also makes a reliable SSD with the M4 series. They also have the best garbage collection in the SSD industry, and are less expensive than the Intel SSDs...performance is relatively the same compared to the Intel.
 
HDD: No, using a HDD on the same bus as a SSD will not impact performance. I had this setup myself and did not experience issues. SATA III hard disks have improved performance over SATA II, but it's definitely not life changing.
 
CPU cooler: Custom liquid cooling systems are definitely more work than cleaning and air cooler. There are several factors that come into play with maintenance, and if I were to indulge in those details we would be here all day, but long explanation to short: it can be anything from 3 to 6, or even 12 month that you must drain the loop, clean the tubing and blocks, and rebuild. If you're the type of person that likes projects, building things, and keeping occupied then it's great. If you want something simple to manage then you can stick with air cooling and still receive great results. If you refuse to consider air cooling, then you can look into a closed-loop liquid cooling system, like the Corsair H series coolers. http://www.avadirect.com/corsair-liquid
 
I've also read great things about Noctua, but after reading reviews and looking at comparisons, the Cooler Master Hyper series coolers are right behind it, and $30 less, so that's something to consider.
 
Memory: Due to the amount of RAM you're using, you will not need Windows Virtual RAM page filing; I just set mine to 256Mb to keep my system from blue screening, and saves me 8GB of constant usage from my SSD. Yes, socket 1155 processors require 1.5v RAM kits, anything over can cause instability or even slowly bleed your processor of it's life.
 
I recommend two sticks to start, so you can upgrade your RAM in the future, should you need.
 
No apology required, we welcome length posts and hope to continue assisting you further!
 
 
 
Joseph Mundy
Assistant Sales Manager
1-216-503-6361
joseph.mundy@avadirect.com
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Steve35 View Drop Down
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  Quote Steve35 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2012 at 12:20pm
Thank you very much for your informative response.
 
In regards to your response to CPU cooling, yeah, I don't really want the hassle of water cooling - I fully intend on going air cooled with something like the noctua d14.
 
I just want to be clear...the noctua will fit in the sabertooth z77, correct? I believe the memory I selected ( Crucial 16gb (2x8gb) Ballistix sport PC3-12800 ddr3 1600 CL9 1.5v ) is proper for the motherboard and the graphics show it to be low profile or relatively so.
 
Also, I wanted to compliment you all on your configuration layout. It took more work on my part to educate myself on parts and such, but, thus far, without having to contact someone directly, your site offers superior options/customization readily available at the fingertips.
 
Another reason I'm seriously considering - and will probably buy from - avadirect, is that you are located in Ohio. I'm in PA and don't really like the idea of buying from somewhere that's on the opposite coast. There are others on the east coast, but you guys offer more value, by far, from what I can see.
 
Thanks again. I'd just like some more feedback on the noctua cooler. I see some pictures with it installed in a z77, but just want to ask a professional for his feedback first. Once I have that, and finalize my build, I'm looking forward to doing business with you all.
 
Warmest regards.
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  Quote crypt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2012 at 12:38pm

Steve35,

    I think you did a great job coming up with a solid rig. I love computers and love seeing what others want in their rigs. I love to learn along the way too so the more feedback in posts or longer they are the better.  I think you'll love the Intel SSD mine has worked great from day one.  Your lucky to be so close to OH cheaper shipping :).  My relatives lived in Levittown (Fairless Hills area) so I'm fimilar with PA :).
 


Edited by pdwe - 14 May 2012 at 12:46pm
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Steve35 View Drop Down
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  Quote Steve35 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2012 at 4:50pm
Thanks, pdwe.
 
Good to hear that the intel works well for you.
 
Yeah, PA is nice. I enjoy some of the nice valleys that are tucked away in various spots - I currently live in one. I'm about 2 hours or so from levittown - I think.
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  Quote Steve35 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2012 at 4:54pm
Well, it looks like that gtx 680 is out of stock - no real surprise there.
 
Are there any staffers out there that know if the gtx 670 is in stock? May as well go with the 4gb since it's cheaper than the 680 anyway.
 
I'd consider the radeon 7970, but I have no experience, at all, with radeon's 3rd party vendors, whereas I do have experience with evga. I also have horror stories with regards to ati's drivers which is why I've used nvidia for a long time now. I've heard that ati has gotten better, but never bothered to chance it.
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  Quote Jmundy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2012 at 5:12pm
Hello Steve35,
 
 
Yup, unfortunately, the GTX 680s are not due to be available until a week. The GTX 670s, from what I have heard, are readily available and easier to obtain; I depends on how long you're willing to wait. :-)
 
Radeons are more available than GeForce cards, but that's how AMD gets you! They make their cards more available, for those impulse buyers, so you pull the trigger quickly and they rope you in! I have nothing against AMD, but that's just a way companies will use marketing tactics to gain your investment into their products.
 
I too have heard horror stories about ATI graphics support; it's actually stopped me from buying a few of their cards, but there are those that have no problems. Vedran, our Technical Support/RMA representative has had no issues with his personal rig, and has not mentioned any recent issues pertaining to our customer's systems with ATI cards. Both ATI and NVIDIA have close performance for the price, so it really comes down to your preference and comfort level with each company.
 
 
Joseph Mundy
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1-216-503-6361
joseph.mundy@avadirect.com
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  Quote Steve35 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2012 at 6:05pm

Ok, thanks. I wasn't sure if 670s were available or not because the product info popup doesn't have any kind of status listed - it's just blank.

 
And, no, I don't mind waiting as long as the expected shipment is large enough to handle demand and I don't get stuck waiting on backlogged parts. I'll mull it over and make a decision soonish.
 
The 670s are pretty close to the 680s. Not sure how much real world difference there is between the two. Seems the largest difference is the texture/pixel rate where I'm not even sure if there are any current games out at the moment where it would make a difference.
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  Quote Jmundy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2012 at 9:57am
Hello Steve35,
 
 
Very good, sounds like you have some research to do!
 
There's are noticeable differences between the GTX 670 and 680. Very few game benchmarks have shown the GTX 670 to have a slightly higher price-per-performance ratio than the GTX 680, but not quite enough to disregard the GTX 680 all together. I would really analyze the performance you desire, and the price you're willing to pay, in order to come to the most educated decision you can make. Overall, just make sure it's a result that you're most happy with; I myself have jumped the gun on a graphics card purchase, only to regret and wish I chose a different option. Cry
 
Gaming benchmarks are as close to documenting real-world results as it gets, which is why many reviewers use them to conclude where graphics performance stands compared to other models on the market. Synthetic benchmarks are exact, but not always realistic when applied to real-world applications.
 
 
 
 
Joseph Mundy
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1-216-503-6361
joseph.mundy@avadirect.com
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Steve35 View Drop Down
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  Quote Steve35 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jun 2012 at 8:34pm
After a fair amount of research, this is what I came up with:
 
  • INTEL Core™ i7-3770K Quad-Core 3.5 - 3.9GHz TB, HD Graphics 4000, LGA1155, 8MB L3 Cache, 22nm, 77W, EM64T EIST HT VT-x XD, Retail
  • NOCTUA NH-U12P SE2 CPU Cooling Fan, Socket 1155/1156/1366/775/FM1/AM3/AM2, 2x 120mm Fans, Copper/Aluminum, Retail
  • ARCTIC COOLING MX-4 All-Around Thermal Compound, Electrically Non-Conductive
  • ASUS Sabertooth Z77, LGA1155, Intel® Z77, DDR3-1866 32GB /4, PCIe x16 SLI CF /1+1*, SATA 6Gb/s RAID 5 /4, 3Gb/s /4, DP + HDMI, USB 3.0 /6, HDA, GbLAN, ATX, Retail
  • CRUCIAL 16GB (2 x 8GB) Ballistix Sport PC3-12800 DDR3 1600MHz CL9 (9-9-9-24) 1.5V SDRAM DIMM, Non-ECC
  • ZOTAC ZT-60101-10P, GeForce® GTX 680 1058MHz, 2GB GDDR5 6008MHz, PCIe x16 SLI, 2x DVI + HDMI + DP, Retail
  • INTEL 240GB 520 Series SSD, MLC SandForce SF-2281, 550/520 MB/s, 2.5-Inch w/ 3.5-Inch Bracket, SATA 6 Gb/s, Retail
  • SAMSUNG 1TB SpinPoint F3, SATA 3 Gb/s, 7200-RPM, 32MB Cache, Retail
  • RAID No RAID, Independent HDD Drives
  • SABRENT CRW-UINB Black 65-in-1 Card Reader/Writer Drive, 3.5" Bay, Internal USB
  • PLEXTOR PX-LB950SA 12x/16x/48x BD/DVD/CD Blu-ray Disc™ Burner w/ Lightscribe, SATA, Retail
  • LG ELECTRONICS GH24LS70 Black 24x DVD±R/RW Dual-Layer Burner w/ Lightscribe, SATA, OEM
  • COOLER MASTER HAF X (RC-942-KKN1) Black Tower Case w/ Window, EATX, 9 Slots, No PSU, Steel/Plastic
  • CASE FAN LED Fans Maximum Package, Red
  • CUSTOM WIRING Standard Wiring with Precision Cable Routing and Tie-Down
  • CORSAIR TX850 V2 Power Supply 850W, 80 PLUS® Bronze, 24-pin ATX12V v2.31 EPS12V 2.92, 4x 8/6-pin PCIe
  • MICROSOFT Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Edition w/ SP1, OEM
  • SERVICE Use Name from Billing Address as OS Login
  • SERVICE OEM System Recovery (bootable CD/DVD only)
  • ACCESSORY AVADirect System Documentation and Media Binder
  • MICROSOFT Office Home and Student 2010, OEM, No Media
  • SYMANTEC Norton™ Internet Security 2012, 3 Users / 1 Year, Retail
  • LOGITECH MK200 Media Combo Keyboard & Mouse, Black, 8 Function Keys, USB, Retail
  • GAMING PC Silver Warranty Package (3 Year Limited Parts, 3 Year Labor Warranty)
  • SERVICE Standard Shipping (UPS, DHL, or Fedex)

I had considered the gtx 670, at length, but after doing research on its construction it...just doesn't give me a warm fuzzy with regards to pushing it/longevity. The overall construction and that heatsink (reference) just screams Damocles sword to me.

I'm holding off on the soundcard for now. May add one in the future. I want to test the onboard before I throw 100ish more dollars at the build.

I'll be submitting this build shortly unless someone has some feedback for me on why I may want to change something. Thanks for the help up to this point.

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  Quote crypt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jun 2012 at 11:25am
Steve35,
 
I really like this build alot.  I think your choice of SSD is a very solid one. The M4 is the one I'm going to try first but, Intel SSD will be my 2nd I try leter on. I've always been a plextor guy had great luck with them in every build I've done in my life.
 
I'll be interested to hear your thoughts on the HAF X case. After alot of research I'm leaning towards HAF X myself on my upcoming build.
 
Congrats
 
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  Quote Jmundy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jun 2012 at 12:38pm
Hello Steve35,
 
 
I second crypt's comment, very nice build!
 
I have no objections at this point, the only recommendation I have would be consider the HX power supply over the TX. It may not mean much to you, considering we will be building the system, but the Corsair HX series power supplies offer modular cables, so we only need to connect what will be used. Not only, does this make nice with the case when providing cable management, but if you were to add hardware in the future it would prevent you from having to cut zip-ties in our wire-management just to use a single cable, or multiple. It's not a large price different either, but keep in mind that the price difference will buy you the peace of mind that your case will receive the best airflow, and the easiest transition into adding new hardware.
 
Other then that, you built yourself a very solid configuration, sir!
 
 
Joseph Mundy
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joseph.mundy@avadirect.com
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  Quote Steve35 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jun 2012 at 9:41pm

Have no experience with consumer modular parts, but the case clutter/air flow argument is worth exploring so I went ahead with your suggestion on the HX series psu.

 
In a previous life I was a nuke electrician. Anything modular just brings to mind higher resistant connections and gradual carbonization of said "looser" connections which lead to higher resistance later in life (stability?). Although, funny enough, periodic maintenance on this sort of thing is just to periodically disconnect and reconnect to "clean" contact surfaces. I'll have to see what the modular plugs look like when I get it. Being that it is a consumer item, probably best to just leave the connections as is since the stuff the unwashed masses get tend to break too easily from repeated operation.
 
Eh, I tend to over-analyze things anyway and always shoot for perfection when it comes to electrical maintenance/power distribution. The articles I skimmed through stated that there is merit to the modular concerns, but not enough for it actually effect application.
 
With that said, order has been submitted and still have to fill out that authorization form. Thanks for the help/advice.
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  Quote vikonic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jun 2012 at 12:37pm
Steve35,
 
I'm sure that you will be happy with the modular power supply. It makes adding new parts to your desktop a breeze. It also makes it very simple to do clean wire management. Our assembly staff doesn't have any problems hiding even the biggest bundles of cables of the non-modular PSU, but this often creates a problem for a consumer who wishes to add many of their own customer parts such as several hard drives, and other units that require power.
 
Having a modular PSU allows us to do our part when it comes to clean wire management, and allows you for an easy upgrade of new parts with a simple plug and play.
 
Also, the cables will not be used often. So the wear and tear on the plugs and the modular cables is almost non existent. Their main purpose is expandability.
 
Finally, I want to thank you for doing business with AVADirect and purchasing your Custom PC from us. We look forward to continue seeing you on the forum as an avid member and I hope you enjoy your new system.
Vedran Ikonic
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  Quote Steve35 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jun 2012 at 8:31pm
Originally posted by crypt

Steve35,
 
I really like this build alot.  I think your choice of SSD is a very solid one. The M4 is the one I'm going to try first but, Intel SSD will be my 2nd I try leter on. I've always been a plextor guy had great luck with them in every build I've done in my life.
 
I'll be interested to hear your thoughts on the HAF X case. After alot of research I'm leaning towards HAF X myself on my upcoming build.
 
Congrats
 
 
Sure thing. I'll let you know what I think about the case once I get it. I had originally played with the idea of going with the corsair 800d but just decided on the HAF X. The only thing I'll probably do with the case once I get it is swap out the stock filter(s) with a higher quality one. I hear the stock filter lets too much through.
 
I'll probably monitor the build for a bit to see if there's some truth to it and if there is I'll replace them.
 
Not sure if external links to other vendors is frowned upon here so I won't link them, but if I decide on those replacement filters I could pm the link to you if you want. They're magnetic dust/fan filter set (5 piece) filters, made specifically for the HAF X. They're pricey. Haven't compared prices yet to see if they can bought cheaper but the average price is probably 70 bucks. They appear to be easily cleaned and appear like they'll last awhile.


Edited by Steve35 - 14 Jun 2012 at 8:37pm
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  Quote vikonic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2012 at 2:32pm
Steve35,
 
For the sake of additional information, feel free to post third party links. As long as these links aren't used for advertising purposes, it's all good.
Vedran Ikonic
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support@avadirect.com

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