First time assembling my own system

By PoisonHeadcrab · 18 replies
Jul 3, 2012
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  1. Hey everyone,

    As you may see I'm fairly new here, having discovered this site not even a week ago when I started reading up lots and lots of articles and reviews on the current hardware available to build me a solid High-End system that would suit my needs.
    So now that I have decided upon the following parts, I'd be thankful to know if may have missed something important or if there's anything that seems like an utter waste of money:

    Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth Z77
    CPU: Intel i7-3770k
    Graphics: Gainward GTX 680 Phantom 4 GB (If I'd anywhere like to have an extra edge it'd be the graphics card. Additionally I chose the 4 GB model because I do quite some photoshopping, video editing and 3d modelling/mapping plus I'd like this card to be able to keep up with games for at least 3-4 years)
    Memory: G.Skill DDR3 1600 MHz 4x4GB
    Storage 1: OCZ Vertex 4 512 GB (I'd like a good SSD to keep my OS and all my programs on. 512 GB, because on my current PC even the 300 GB partition can't hold all my Steam games, and the heavy programs that I have, also I intend to have a virtual machine running some time as well, so there's no way a 256 GB drive would be enough)
    Storage 2: Seagate Barracuda 2 TB SATA3 7200 rpm
    Case: CoolerMaster Storm Trooper
    Power Unit: Corsair TX850 V2 850 W

    (Haven't really decided on the optical drive yet, will probably go with the one from my current PC at first, and get a good one later)

    So if there's any tips or recommendations you could make I'd be very thankful to hear them. :)
  2. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    I think this will be an excellent system. What HSF will you be using? Hopefully not the retail one with the rest of the machine being so top-notch. It might also be worth going with a pair of 8GB DIMMs instead of 4x4. It should be fairly close in price but give you a better upgrade path in the future.
  3. PoisonHeadcrab

    PoisonHeadcrab TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    You mean the fan above the CPU? I was actually planning to use the one that's supplied with the processor. Shouldn't that be enough? And if not which one should I use?
    Cooling along with power distribution is a topic I'm probably least familiar with here.
    And I thought about the 2x8GB DIMMs too, but figured it doesn't really matter since by the time I'd need to upgrade from 16 GB I would probably buy a completely new set anyways, likely with the rest of the system. Although is there any practical difference maybe like performance-wise or in certain situations?
  4. Coodu

    Coodu TS Booster Posts: 173

    An aftermarket cooler would be a good addition I think. I'm using a Thermaltake Frio OCK at the moment and it's quite the beast.

    For future though I also plan to swap to one of Corsair's Hydro series coolers, which are also quite stellar.

    If you've got the budget for it, keeping the CPU cool under the hammer when gaming is that much better with an aftermarket cooler. Although I have a friend who overclocks his Sandy 2500K on air with stock cooler, lololol ;)

    Power distribution looks fine for that system, no need to change that. In my opinion the memory layout is your choice really, and your definitely right about 16GB upgrade, hopefully that's a long time :p
  5. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    An aftermarket HSF is absolutely recommended given the kind of system you're putting together, you'll be able to overclock the processor and get more out of it.

    Also second the recommendation of getting a 2x8GB kit, otherwise you'll be filling all 4 DIMM slots with no room to upgrade. Also there's less probability of failure and also brings overclocking benefits.

    The 4GB GTX 680 is just not good value unless you're gaming on 3 screens and/or have an SLI setup. There is no difference between a 2GB and 4GB 680 at single monitor resolutions and in fact I'd say the 670 is far better value at 1920x1080. I don't know where you live but in the UK a 2GB GTX 670 is ~£300 and a 4GB GTX 680 is ~£500, no way is the extra £200 worth it. You're much better off saving that £200 and upgrading your GPU in a year or two's time because the GPU market moves very fast and top of the line GPUs often become obsolete within a year.
  6. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 3,000   +1,319

    Yea an aftermarket cooler is good for higher end processors.

    Thats about as good as its gonna get (without building a workstation using dual processors) nice selections there.
  7. PoisonHeadcrab

    PoisonHeadcrab TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    Thanks for all the advice, but thing is, I don't really plan on overclocking anything just yet and I'm a little tight on budget with this system already. Unless the stock fan would be a serious impairment to the CPU, I'm probably gonna get an aftermarket one only if I decide to overclock. Pardon me if that's a stupid question but does cooling actually affect the performance of a processor much, apart from it's health?
    About the graphics card, I was rather aiming to get at least 3-4 years out of it, although I see now, how in the long run it could be more efficient to get cheaper ones more regularly...
  8. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 3,000   +1,319

    A better cooler will not particularly improve performance, but it will keep it healthier and quiter. With a processor of that calliber I would recommend getting one even if you arent overclocking (you can get a better than stock one for probably less than $50)
    Anyway, a GTX 680 will easily give you 3-4 years (I would think).
    I would say get a GTX 680, but 4GB is unneccessary, as mentioned, especially at 1080p. a GTX 680 will last slightly longer then a 670, so I would get a slightly cheaper 2GB 680.
  9. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    You don't have to get an expensive cooling solution, a Cooler Master Hyper Plus (or Evo) is a massive improvement over the stock HSF. Considering how little it costs it's really recommended.
  10. PoisonHeadcrab

    PoisonHeadcrab TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    Wow ok, if even an under 50$ fan would be much better than the stock one, it's indeed a very viable option. I'd still would like to try to run it with the stock fan once and see how that works, would it be hard to replace it after a complete installation with thermal paste and so on?

    And about the 4 GB graphics, like I said, I use a lot of memory-heavy editing applications, and I'm pretty sure that will increase even further with future software and games aswell, so I was trying to get on the safe side here. ;)
  11. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 3,000   +1,319

    Its hardER to replace after installation, but its still not very hard.Most heatsinks are installed on the motherboard with the CPU before the motherboard is installed in the case, so you would probably want to do it before hand, although its not a very big deal after.
    dont underestimate 2 GB. I do some heavy 3d work sometimes, and some heavy video editing, and 2 GB of video memory is enough. (I use my bros PC for it mostly). Alot of software apart from games also can use normal RAM, so I just dont believe its worth it.

    But if you have the money, theres no reason not to, it definitely will help, just not a whole lot.
  12. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Well depending on your case you might have to take the whole mobo out to replace the CPU fan. The Intel stock HSF is designed to fit into low profile/slimline desktop PCs so are terrible at cooling. Read any reviews of aftermarket HSFs (e.g. this one) and you'll see that the difference between a $50 and $100 cooler is probably a few C but the difference between a $50 and stock cooler is huge.

    And what ikesmasher said, Photoshop and video editing use normal RAM and you have 16GB of that. Only time you'd need 4GB of VRAM is at multi-monitor resolutions and high levels of AA in games.
  13. PoisonHeadcrab

    PoisonHeadcrab TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    I'm probably gonna go with the CM Hyper 612s if I can't find a 212 Evo anywhere for the CPU cooler.

    I must say I've already bought/ordered most of the components already. The case looks and feels awesome, can't wait to see how it will look with all the stuff and lights in it. :D
  14. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Posts: 231   +17

    if I can just interject, I have an AMD FX-6100, which is a notoriously hot CPU. Anyway, I'm running it under the Coolermaster Hyper TX3 EVO, which is running in push pull config (just 2 old coolermaster 92mm fans)
    it idles around 28 degrees celcius, and under load never even reaches 45 degrees.
    I must say, for $23, I would highly reccomend the Hyper TX3 EVO. but make sure you find another 92mm fan to run in push-pull.
  15. PoisonHeadcrab

    PoisonHeadcrab TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    In a last-minute decision I bought a Scythe Mugen 3 cooler now. May be not as silent as the CM 612s (same price) but I thought I'd rather get a little more performance out of the money. I'm probably gonna begin assembling now, even though the SSD is still stuck in shipping. By the way, is there actually any difference in what thermal paste I use or is it all the same basically?
  16. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

  17. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Arctic MX-4 works pretty well for me. But just as important as the brand of thermal paste is the way you apply it - if you trap any air bubbles it pretty much negates the effectiveness of the thermal paste. Check some videos on youtube if you're not sure.
  18. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    Be careful which videos though - some of those guys posting on youtube are *****s and swear by a method just because it was the way they were taught. I think you can't be afraid to research your own methods to see if it's really the optimal method for your situation/needs. That link I posted has plenty of info on application as well and data to back up these methods.
  19. PoisonHeadcrab

    PoisonHeadcrab TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    Wow, that's a lot of thermal pastes for a review!
    Looks quite informative though, thanks a lot for the link.

    Also I just unboxed my CPU and I see now why everyone was recommending me an aftermarket cooler. ;)

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