My New Build (Part 1)
by, 08-14-2012 at 12:24 AM (893 Views)
So after my last major upgrade (and my only upgrade) to my current Core 2 machine, I've decided it's finally time to move on. Not to AMD (for numerous and far too detailed reasons) but to a current Sandy Bridge E platform. Roughly compared to a Core 2 Quad Q9650 (even though my Q9550 is overclocked at 3.6 Ghz), the i7-2700k should give me a good 40% boost in some apps (mostly MT and dependent on CPU) and enough of a boost in games and general productivity to hopefully last me the next 4 years.
So far, I've purchased these:
CASE: Cooler Master Storm Trooper
PSU: Corsair AX750 (750W)
MOBO: ASUS P8Z77-V LK
SSD: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB)
[08/14/2012] Just Ordered:
HSF: Thermaltake Water2.0 Extreme (closed loop water cooler)
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws-X 32 GB (4x8 GB), blue heatsinks, matched
My current picks for the rest of the parts are:
GFX: Gigabyte GTX670 (the one with three fans)
Logitech G110 Keyboard and maybe a LG BD Burner (if I still have funds at that point).
Originally I had set my budget at $1500. Right now it's looking closer to $1800 after all is said and done.
Here's why I chose the parts I chose:
Simply put, I'm tired of working with microATX towers and midtowers. Even some of the more spacious and/or compartmentalized ones were still cramped on the fringes where I had to plug in headers or screw in something. Tired all the extra time and struggling I spend in that regard.
So full tower. Hell I would love to have bought a Cosmos II or the Corsair 800D, but honestly, $250+ is way, way out of my price range. I don't have that kind of money and as is I'm basically using the funds for one of my classes to help pay for this rig as is.
So with that said, after many long reviews and trips to MicroCenter and TigerDirect, I ended up picking the Cooler Master Storm Trooper (no relation to those clones from Star Wars). It's a full-tower and not quite as nice as the Corsairs out there, but the turnable HDD enclosure bays were what initially drew me in. The fact that I can turn them (and their attached fans) to face in 3 different directions was just awesome. One of the problems with many cases is that you are locked into a certain direction when it comes to mounting HDDs and fans down there.
Other features are nice, like the nice looking upper front panel, dust filters top, bottom, and front (unfortunately none at sides). The inclusion of 2 USB 3.0 ports was a MUST along with a internal header cable rather than the male header other cases offered. The breaking point as to why I ended up not buying a Corsair 650D in the end. It breaks asthetics of a new build to have a cable snaking out the back to plug one of the ports on your back I/O panel.
After refreshing myself with the newest and latest PSU hardware, I was surprised to see that not much has changed other than Seasonic's newish X series PSUs (which are awesome to say the lesat). So the AX750 is a Seasonic X-750 with a slight update (in that it is latest revision of the X-750). So essentially that makes 2 Seasonic powered rigs in my arsenal (my current one and the future one). Might end up dislodging Sparkle/FSP and my Antec rigs as the sole power unit for all my future builds.
Oh and it's fully modular. A step up from my HX520 which is now dubbed "semi-modular" because the main cables still snake out from the unit rather than be a modular cable on the modular board. I've heard from friends and MC people that modular PSUs lose some wattage and power output capability compared to non-modular units. After doing some intensive reading on both, it's basically irrelevant. Sure there might be some very minor (and insignificant) loss in having a modular back panel instead of leads straight out, but that's nothing when you factor in the cost of conversion from AC to DC by any PSU. Anyways, if you have a solid PSU from a reliable manufacturer, it's not going to matter if you have a modular unit or not. It'll perform well, last a long time, and put out every watt you demand from it up to its rated max (and probably some until the OV and OC circuits kick in).
Wasn't willing to spend a ton of money on a ASUS ROG board or some other manufacturer's flagship boards. I do plan on some moderate overclocking but the extra MOSFETs really don't play any major role in my overclocks unless I was doing some major OC (idk like if I needed liquid nitro). I don't plan on any major OC, just maybe hitting 4.0 or 4.2 GHz down the road.
USB 3.0 front header was a must as well as inclusion of extra USB 3.0 ports (which this board has 4 on the back). Otherwise, I didn't bother looking at any other brands and just went straight for an ASUS board. Not to say MSI, ECS, Biostar, or even Gigabyte are bad boards. I like ASUS boards and they have always held a special place in my heart and mind. Never had an issue and none of the ones I use or used in friends' builds have died or caused problems.
Originally had my eyes set on a OCZ Vertex 3 (256 GB). Then the Vertex 4 came out. Then I read about the numerous firmware issues people have and that the latest 1.4/1.5 FW for the Vertex 4 cuts performance in half after 50% of the drive has been filled. That pretty much ended my like for OCZ drives in general. If FW updates means instability for owners and problems for many, then I'd rather go with another company. And, who the hell makes a decision like: "Oh we see most of you don't use half of the space on your SSD, so we'll make our drive firmware go into storage mode once you hit 50%." Seriously, I think the biggest reason why people buy SSDs nowadays is for the sheer performance over traditional HDDs and their speed. If that is going to suffer because of some stupid decision on OCZ's part, then screw that.
So, the Kingston HyperX 3K and the Samsung 830 were my second and third choices. I ended up with the Kingston. Yes, it uses 3,000 P/E NAND vs. the 5,000 P/E NAND on the first-generation HyperX drives. Not going to matter to me. Most of my data write/read cycles still lies on my 2 1.5 TB WD green HDDs (where almost all of my data now resides). Sure I'll have games and rather demanding game development software installed, but in the end, the NAND flash won't fail before I build a new machine or this new machine becomes antiquated. If anything, the other components in the SSD will probably fail before the NAND flash does.
The Samsung 830 is nice and very good sequential write speeds, but garbage collection was not desirable. In fact it was a post operation (meaning done after writing/reading). I'd rather it do it during my use of the drive rather than me having to let it idle so it can clean house. Yes, very reliable rivaling Intel's own SSDs and uses own controllers and NAND flash (as I'd expect from the Korean juggernaut). Maybe as a second and/or third drive or in a future build. The mostly plastic shell didn't inspire any confidence in me either. If I'm paying so much more for a SSD, I want some nice metal finishes and such, not plastic.
I know I've harped numerous times about the poor NAND write/read cycles. Well, forget what I said previously. NAND flash in SSDs have: 1) higher P/E cycles, 2) better quality, and 3) faster and more efficient (thanks to dedicated controllers and onboard RAM) than anything you'd see if a typical USB flash drive. Hell, it's like comparing...err...forget the analogy. You know what I'm getting at.
Water cooling. No more fan noise (god my A70's non-PWM fans irritates me to no end). Cooler temps, almost no noise, and generally outperform most air coolers for those of us buying on a budget. Unfortunately, they still cost more than 95% of the air coolers out there.
The Tt mentioned above seems to be better than the Corsair H100. The Tt is made my Asetek (same OEM for Intel's water coolers) and the Corsair one is made by CoolIT. In the end, the fact that it outperforms the H100 in a push-pull configuration, has more silent fans, and tubes that are more flexible shot it over the H100. Yeah, it costs more too.
The max I can get. I've gone back to no paging file, which has it's drawbacks. Mainly if my system runs out of RAM, then paging file (aka virtual memory) is re-enabled by Windows. If I refuse, my PC crashes, no dumps are made, and I could lose my working set of data and/or corrupt any HDD I was using at the time of the crash. This is more so of a problem now that my use of game dev software has increased (running UDK, Maya, and Photoshop side-by-side as an example) seriously taxes the paltry 4 GBs I have on my LAN/Dev rig. And knowing this, it'll probably easily tax the 8 GBs of my current C2Q machine. So I'd rather have the 32 GBs now and not have to worry about it later. If I do end up needing a page file, well, the SSD is great for that. Or perhaps a second much smaller SSD specially for that?
2nd best video card from nVidia if we discount a possible (or already released?) GTX690 (dual-gpu on a single card). No more AMD/ATI for me, not with our team's use of Maya. Just tired of trying to figure out which Radeons get along with Maya (or rather which Radeons Maya will accept). I forsee this as a generally bad decision since AMD cards are historically nowadays smaller, more efficient, less power hungry, cooler, and generally cheaper compared to their nVidia counterparts. Plus no paid-for/sponsored or crap reviews where nVidia pushes for raves and positive reviewing rather than letting reviewers be objective or honest. Ugh, hate that, but I can't do much complaining if I'm tied down to it because of software that I use.
New keyboard time. Finally some backlighting too. This Logitech Media one is getting a bit old and the amount of crap stuck under the keys boggle my mind. However, I need to stop eating at my computer. The oils and stuff from eating is too much trouble to clean. USB ports on my keyboard and a volume dial. Well calculator button and volume dial were a must, so G110 was logical choice for me. Yes, I use setpoint with my G700, so I'd like to keep fully in the Logitech ecosphere for my peripherals for the time being. No more miss-and-match for me.
I probably should get it along with a spindle of BD disks. Would love to empty the hundreds of GBs of software and files I've accumulated but too lazy to sort through because of school. That way, I can free up my HDD space for current tasks and development work. Plus if I ever buy a BD movie, I can play it withotu needing a separate player.
I will take some pictures and post them when I'm done. Complete with commentary.
Thoughts, comments, suggestions, feedback, rants, and rages are welcome as always!