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-   -   Plz Critique my Z77 Build for Gaming (Starcraft II). Red Theme. (http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/new-builds/58827-plz-critique-my-z77-build-gaming-starcraft-ii-red-theme.html)

RM - Ottawa December 30, 2012 06:54 PM

Plz Critique my Z77 Build for Gaming (Starcraft II). Red Theme.
Hi all,

I've just placed online orders and picked up other in-store items for this new Z77 build for my girlfriend. She's never had her own computer before and is currently playing on a laptop that overheats so this will be a very exciting first build:

The theme will be red and black, I did not find a red motherboard and am currently electing for the AsRock Z77 Extreme4. Now I've heard the power consumption is high on this board and AsRock may not be as reliable as Gigabyte/Asus/MSI. Should I keep this board? Our budget is $130 max for the mobo which opens up a lot of the mid range. I noticed there were multiple asus variations and a strong gigabyte candidate in this price range, what do you guys think for this? If there was a candidate that was "red" that would be a "bonus". :)

CPU: i7-3770k ($95+$38 shipping Intel Retail Edge Program)
Case: Zalman Z11 Plus HF1 ($50)
PSU: Corsair 600CX ($65)
MOBO: AsRock Z77 Extreme4 ($115) * Considering other boards I.E. Gigabyte or Asus
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600MHz CL9 Dual Channel Kit (F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL) ($35)
SSD: OCZ Vertex 4 120G ($110)
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 2TB ($80)
Led Lights: NZXT Sleeved LED Case Light Kit (Red) 2 Meter ($20)

Did I make good choices for the RAM and SSD? I wasn't sure if the Crucial/HyperX/Sandisk/Intel/Samsung were superior in any way, but chose it based on a positive review. I

I'd also like to know if this Power supply is a good choice. The biggest concern was price, and of course finding a reliable brand. I am hoping this $65 is well spent and that this guy will do the job.

Outside of Starcraft II, I can see this build being used for skype/facebook webcamming and possibly streaming. It won't be used for over clocking.. and I can understand this brings to question the Z77 board in the first place, but I was thinking based on light research that spending the $115 on the mobo is probably a good investment nonetheless. And yes this was a special case as having access to a very affordable i7-3730k. (Was originally going to go with the i5-2500).

Thanks very much for any feedback, I can make any final adjustments to the build throughout this week.

PS. Before starting this build, we already had an AMD 6970 video card. Any suggestions for aesthetics are also welcomed. So far the Zalman HF1 comes with red lights, (the gpu and RAM will be red), and the NZXT case lights purchased will be red! So fun.

Budget was originally meant to be $500, but has gone over only in ways I thought would bring in a lot of value and satisfaction~ If there are any inefficiencies, please let me know :)


Evil Genius Jr. December 30, 2012 07:35 PM

I have the extreme4 and highly recommend it. Great price, Great features and IMO great quality.

dustin1706 December 30, 2012 09:07 PM

Looks pretty good. You are doing the right thing by color coordinating it and putting it in an interesting case for her. Like as not she'll find the looks just as interesting as the specs. That mobo reviews quite well and the black and gold scheme would look good with red. It is fanless and it seems to have all of the features you need for an awesome price. I never really noticed before, but it seems that most of the boards with a red/black scheme are quite expensive. These days ram is ram (for the most part) so yeah, just going with something that is cheap and fits your colour scheme from a respectable manufacturer is fine.

For the PSU, since you are not putting too much hardware in the case I might consider going with something modular/semi-modular just to help make cable management easier. You could go with a TX550M which will give you: a 5 year warranty (instead of 3), the fan doesn't spin at low loads to remain silent, the sleeving is much better and it is semi modular. Plus it has a gold sticker to match your board :) It is $60 with a MIR at NCIX. Corsair Enthusiast Series TX550M 550W ATX Modular Power Supply Active PFC 120MM Fan 5 Year Warranty

For the SSD, yeah the vertex 4 is a good drive, and so are many others like the Samsung 830. Just take a look at a comparison chart and you'll see that many are very similar in terms of performance. I wouldn't commit to a specific drive, but just go with whatever is on sale when you order the parts.
Benchmark charts - AnandTech - Corsair Neutron & Neutron GTX: All Capacities Tested

If it won't be overclocked and will often be used for simple tasks like skype and netsurfing I would also suggest that you setup custom fan profiles for the cpu and gpu when you assemble and set it up. They often run much louder than they need to at idle.

Remember to search around and price match! You can usually save quite a bit that way.

clg December 30, 2012 09:25 PM

I've been told OCZ isn't exactly looking good these days, and if you want to actually be able to utilize your full warranty go with a more solid brand :)

snagglepuss December 30, 2012 10:32 PM

if you dont mind mATX you could go with the ASUS Maximus V Gene or ASRock Z77 Professional-M to keep with the colour scheme

Newegg.ca - ASUS Maximus V Gene LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
Newegg.ca - ASRock Z77 Professional-M LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

dont know how good these boards are or if they have the features you are looking for but they match the colours you are going for

Generic User #2 December 30, 2012 11:19 PM

you're SEVERELY overspecced with a 3770K + HD 6970. A 2500 with a gtx 650 Ti is more than enough for 1080p; a gtx 660 if you're picky about >60FPS. Assuming 1080p res of course.

don't worry about motherboard power consumption....it's basically nothing. As well, if you're not overclocking, your choice of motherboard is moot providing the chipset offers enough ports for you and you don't need any special features.

for the PSU, personally, I just go with a reputable brand (silverstone/corsair) and count the number of plugs (as opposed to counting the wattages needed). If you're not going to overclock, this will be more than good enough.

for the RAM, it is REALLY, REALLY hard to make a bad buy.

basically, your performance needs are more than accounted for; go for aesthetics.

the maximus v gene is one purdy board ;D I've already used in a client build.

great_big_abyss December 30, 2012 11:26 PM


Originally Posted by Generic User #2 (Post 681120)
you're SEVERELY overspecced with a 3770K + HD 6970. A 2500 with a gtx 650 Ti is more than enough for 1080p; a gtx 660 if you're picky about >60FPS. Assuming 1080p res of course.

It doesn't matter that the 3770 is too much processor for him, he's getting it at a killer deal, so why not?

Generic User #2 December 31, 2012 12:09 AM

okay, apparently i never wrote the 'disclaimer' line -_- of course, i'm not recommending he don't use it. But I still think it's important to say it in case someone else stumbles on this thread and uses it as a guideline.

RM - Ottawa December 31, 2012 01:36 PM

I'm thrilled to bits over the responses from you guys thanks very much, very humbling. <3. I've went ahead and changed the psu to the TX550M and am looking forward to the colour scheme and superior cable management. Thank you for the recommendation and great price from ncix.

I think we are starting to be in great shape thanks to the feedback: I also grabbed 2 of the Cooler Master R4-L2R-20 120mm Red fans on ncix. (In theory we should have maximum fans (7) for this case as it comes with the first 5.) On a final note, would anyone recommend swapping the SSD brand? As mentioned above there can be reason to steer away from OCZ for a more 'solid' brand. The typical price differences are negligible, so I'd just like to pick one that is a great performer with low maintenance and has your guys approval.

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