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Old September 1, 2011, 12:24 AM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 3
Default First Time Build Questions

Hi, I'm a complete novice currently trying to put together a build at NCIX. With the help of people on the forums there I have a pretty good idea of which components I would like to use, but still have a lot of questions. When searching for reviews on a lot of the components I was considering, I ended up at Hardware Canucks time and again and am hoping it wouldn't hurt to post some questions on the forums here.

I will use the system for gaming, photoshop, and have been thinking about getting an HD video camera. I am trying to stay under $2500 Canadian. I prefer Intel systems and will be using an older 5 speaker/sub woofer, keyboard, mouse, and 19" ultra-sharp (which will be upgraded to 23" ultra-sharp in the near future which I would like use at 1920 x1080.) I have been searching forums and reading reviews as much as possible for the past couple of weeks. I don't want to rule out overclocking, but probably won't if the system runs everything I need it for well enough. I plan to order it assembled as soon as possible, but just need to learn a little more before making the final decision.

I realize some of the components might be overkill for the uses I have mentioned, but want to leave options open in the chance I might become more of an extreme gamer. Here is what I have so far, I'll post questions at the bottom. This site has been a great help so far and I plan to keep coming back to learn as much as I can. Hopefully one day I will be able to confidently choose components for future builds and assemble them myself. But for now I hope those who are more knowledgeable would be kind enough to help get my first attempt at a build right, it would be greatly appreciated.

CPU: Intel i5 2500K 3.3 GHz

CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14

Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-V Pro Z68

Memory: Corsair Vengeance Lowprofile 8GB 2x4GB DDR3-1600

GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 580 Fermi 772MHZ 1536MB

Case: Silverstone Fortress FT02B-W

Power Supply: Corsair Professional HX850W 850W

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB

SSD: Intel 510 - 120 GB or Crucial M4 128 GB

Blu-Ray Writer: LG BH12LS35 Blu-Ray Writer

1. How would you use the SSD? Just get a 64 GB and put windows on it, get a 120 GB and put windows and games on it, or use the Smart Response Tech that comes with the motherboard? How to explain to NCIX which configuration I chose? If I went with one of the first two options, would Raid have to be enabled when installing windows? Any other advice?

2. Would the onboard sound card be good enough? Was thinking about the ASUS Xonar DX 7.1, but thought this might be an item I could drop to keep the cost down a little. I do listen to some music, but am mainly concerned with the sound card holding back games. I have an older Dell 5 speaker/subwoofer set.

3. If someone is familiar with the FT-02 Case, can they see any issues with the build. I seem to remember seeing something about optical drives, but have been to so many sites, forums, and reviews, I can't remember the details. I have seen videos on U Tube with the NH-D14 in a FT-02, so I know it fits and chose the low profile RAM to be safe. I really like the look of this case. The dust protection and air cooling are a big plus with me as well.

4. I know I have more questions, hopefully I will remember them. Any help on questions 1-3 would be greatly appreciated and would be grateful for any suggestions or advice on the build. Thanks to all who have read this long post to this point.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old September 1, 2011, 12:36 AM
supaflyx3's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Langley, BC
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My System Specs


Personally i would get a larger SSD and put windows and commonly used apps on it (adobe suite etc). Get a cheap 500GB drive for applications and games, and a 2TB drive for media, you'd probably want this if you get an HD camera.
If you plan on editing HD video, go for a 2600K, the hyperthreading will vastly increase rendering times. Other then that it looks good.
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Old September 1, 2011, 08:06 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 237

My System Specs


120 GB is lots for OS and apps

unless you use a lot of apps or some such

my OS is at 60 GB, i know if i cleaned it up i'd be down to 40 ish
my programs drive...is sitting at 15 GB

put your games on another drive
they'll load faster that way as well. cause OS/swap is on the one drive, games on another

i use on board sound and i used to be very picky about that, as stand alone cards used to make a large difference in games performance, etc
i know one day i'll buy a stand alone card again, just to see the difference against the new onboard sound, but for now...its doing fine

interesting case
its really expensive though. there are other options that would be considerably cheaper. most cpus don't get that hot today
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Old September 1, 2011, 09:43 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 60

My System Specs


If you aren't overclocking than the stock heat sink will work fine.

I'm running the i5 2500k on the stock heat sink, when I play games, it gets up to mid 50's, only gets into the 70's when I stress test it. (haven't done this too much)

If you want to overclock, but not extreme, then a much cheaper heat sink should do fine. I know the coolermaster 212 plus is popular, though I haven't used it.

edit: for the case, make sure that your video card will fit. The case manual should give a max video card size.

In terms of spending lots on parts: For the Case and PSU, those you can likely use on your next build as well, so it's likely worth spending the money to make sure you have really good ones. (This is obviously not a reason to spend extra on CPU GPU and mobo, you need other excuses for those. )
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Old September 1, 2011, 10:24 AM
francisw19's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Alberta
Posts: 243

You're build looks pretty good...not much I would change, personally.

The 2500K will be great for gaming. The hyper-threading on the 2600K usually doesn't bring much more performance in games. AFAIK, Photoshop doesn't make much use of 8 threads either. I was recently talking with another user that runs a Xeon X5680 machine (6-core, 12-thread) and he mentioned that Photoshop doesn't make use of all the threads on his system while applying effects. No experience on my own machine...just passing along what I've heard. So, just some food for thought.

Agreed with the guys above about the SSD...120GB is plenty for your OS and most programs. It seems to be a pretty common config these days. Most people will grab another mechanical disk for storage and things like that. Something to consider too is that you may want to move your Photoshop working directory/temp files to a separate mechanical disk just to keep the writes down on your SSD.

Regarding the sound card, I run the Xonar DX and I really like it. I game with headphones usually, so I bought this card for the Dolby Headphone support and have been quite pleased with it. An add-in sound card isn't necessary, but it depends on your taste in sound. I listen to a lot of music and personally I find on-board audio a bit lacking in some ways...it's kinda hard to describe. So, I've usually preferred to get a sound card. On the gaming side, I suppose one could argue that sound quality even plays a role as you'll hear sounds you might otherwise miss, for instance. YMMV though...if you want to keep the cost down a bit, maybe start out with on-board audio and see how that serves you. You can always upgrade later on if you feel you need something more.

Regarding the FT-02 case, I thought the same thing with the optical disks. I was considering this case some time ago, but never did get it because of the tight fit between the back of the optical disk and the bottom GPU (if you run SLI or Xfire). You should be OK with just one GPU, but it might limit your upgrade options. The Raven RV-02 Evolution is quite similar...so you could consider that as well. AFAIK, it has a bit more room with the optical disk because the front panel is designed a bit differently. But, the esthetics may not be what you're looking for. Regardless, the Silverstone cases with the rotated motherboard seem very well designed...I've heard a lot of good comments about them.
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Old September 1, 2011, 03:15 PM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 3

Thanks guys, your input has really helped. I just want to make sure I have this right.

I would go with the 120 GB SSD for Windows and apps like Office, Photoshop, etc.?
Then 1 TB Caviar Black for Games and storage?
Do not enable Smart Response Caching Technology that comes with the motherboard?
If Smart Response is not enabled then no need to enable Raid when installing Windows?

Maybe a 2 TB Cavair Green for backups and redundant storage of critical files?

Thanks again guys. Getting closer and closer to placing the order.
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Old September 1, 2011, 04:09 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Port Coquitlam,BC
Posts: 546

My System Specs


No, if you're not using smart response there's no reason to raid...

Fyi there's a forum member selling that sound card:http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum...cacharias.html

HWC Overclocking Team, breaking hardware for fun!

Team Thread
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Old September 3, 2011, 10:12 AM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 33

My personal opinion after buying computer parts for the past 15 years is not to waste money on very expensive GPUs like the 580 and go for cheaper things like 560SLI or 460SLI which have similar performance but costs less and which tend to have better resale value over time. The higher end components that run hotter in my experience also tend to have higher failure rates.
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Old September 5, 2011, 02:54 PM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 3

Thanks for responding test tube, I have struggled with the decision on which way to go with the GPU. I will have to decide soon as I hope to pull the trigger on this build tomorrow.

Thanks guys for the advice on the SSD. I will go with the 120 GB and set up as you recommend.

supaflyx3, thanks for your help. Photoshop and gaming would be the main uses for this computer, along with a little productivity and internet. Editing video would be occasional. If the 2600k did the editing with less stress on the system, I would take another look at going with it. But, if the only advantage was speed, I think I could live with the 2500k. But, the reviewers here say the 2600k had a very stable overclock. Ah, decisions, decisions.

Thanks francisw19, i will skip the sound card for now, but will think about getting the Xonar DX later. I e-mailed a tech and he said the optical drive would fit in the FT-02 with room to SLI the GTX 580.

I really appreciate the advice everyone has given me, it has been a great help.
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