TechSpot PC Buying Guide: 2011 Kick Off

By Julio Franco ยท 107 replies
Jan 12, 2011
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  1. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    A quick skim and a quick question/recommendation.

    I would have thought that using Lynnfield specced RAM @ 1.65v is above Intel's maximum recommended threshold ( 1.5v + 5% i.e. 1.58v or a nominal max of 0.5v above Vcore).
    Obviously the Intel spec is conservative since people seem to be running 1.65v kits for the most part without incident, but maybe it might be apropos to make people aware that this is in the "use at your own risk" category.

    Possibly a 1.35v spec kit as an alternative:
    G.Skill F3-12800CL7Q-8GBECO ( 4x2Gb DDR3-1600 7-8-7-24 ECO 1.35v) at $148 shipped. The 2x2Gb version of the kit (F3-12800CL7D-8GBECO) is listed in the QVL. A CAS of 7 should offset the lower bandwidth -I doubt there is too much real world difference between 1600, 1866 and 2000 - specially if the timings need to be relaxed out to CAS9 at the higher bandwidth.
  2. Luay

    Luay TS Enthusiast Posts: 79   +13

    Thanks for the article. A few suggestions/recommendations for the Luxury system:
    Asus Sabertooth or Gigabyte UD5 for $250. MSI G65 for $200 is excellent as well.
    G.Skill F3 RAM kit is a bit cheaper and just as good.
    For graphics I would get HD6950CF for $600, albeit custom cooled , not reference.
    New (HD ready) sound card from Creative.
    Swap Crucial for OCZ Vertex 2 120GB (256Gb for what!?) and Caviar Black to Green to save another $100.
    I don't see any use for a Blue-Ray burner so please tell us if you know.
    Corsair AX850 please.
    Spend more on the case! SIlverstone Fortress FT02B-W or Lian Li PC-V1020B or Corsair Obsidian 800
    Hopefully the 30" 2560x1600 resolution displays' price will improve with new products such as Hazro HZ30Wi
  3. Luay

    Luay TS Enthusiast Posts: 79   +13

    the UD3 in the enthusiast build should not be recommended as a CF build unless you don't mind 4 lanes on the 2nd PCI-E slot. not enthusiastic at all.
  4. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    256 GB to run all your games and programs. I just checked my Steam folder, its 257 GB. I agree for cost cutting you may not need all that SSD, but if I'm buying a luxury system, I don't want to have to constantly uninstall programs to make them fit.

    Its needed to if you want to burn files over 8.5 GB onto an optical disk, and it doubles nicely as a BR player. If you don't need to burn files over 8.5 GB onto an optical disk, then you can probably just buy a DVDR drive.
  5. Any possibility of adding a blurb regarding a headset recommendation to the peripheral listings?
  6. Where is the grunt pc? you know the Grandparent, HTPC, NAS, WHS, student, office build or rebuild upgrade for around $150
  7. Mizzou

    Mizzou TS Enthusiast Posts: 823

    Very good reference material. On the Enthusiast and Luxury builds would probably include an aftermarket cooling solution.
  8. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,718   +860

    Heh...I don't know of too many people who know their specs like dividebyzero does. ;-)

    Very nice listings. As always, you're not going to please everyone.

    Just a few comments. As far as a sound card, I've recently purchased the ASUS Xonar Essence STX card and it is without a doubt, the best sound card I've ever owned. I'm hearing new sounds from songs I've been listening to for decades. And the software customization is incredible. In a nutshell, my computer is now my home stereo system because of that card.

    I don't see a need to spend more on the case for the Luxury system. Again, I have the HAF-X case listed and it is as functional a case as you'll find. Has received top-notch reviews from a number of tech websites and looks great to boot. What's the point in paying more for the same (if not less) functionality?

    Will also throw in my two bits for the GTX 460-SLI setup. Do the research - it's simply the biggest bang for your buck right now, especially with these cards going on sale for $150 now.

    As far as a blu-ray burner, why not? Media files (especially video) aren't getting any smaller and will no doubt get larger as time goes on. At some point in time you're going to need one if you're a big media fan. Completely appropriate for a luxury system.

    And lastly, that 30" Dell Ultrasharp U3011 monitor? That's what my tax return is going to this year. I'll let ya'll know how it works when I get it. :D
  9. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,869   +2,039

    Nice work on the update, seems like sound advice to me. Can't go wrong with any of those builds.

    Money well spent if you ask me ;) I picked up a pair to write off tax with late last year, I think I am in love :D
  10. DokkRokken

    DokkRokken TS Rookie Posts: 267

    Ain't the Xonar Essence the greatest thing since sliced bread? Pair it up with a nice set of Grado's, or Senn's and you'll be off to the races. Watch out though; if you thought being a PC enthusiast was tough on the wallet, it's going to be flattened once you begin to become an audiophile. :stickout:
  11. ruben1992

    ruben1992 TS Rookie Posts: 32

    Surely the ASUS P8P67 PRO should replace the UD3 in the Enthusiast build, it has UEFI and the second PCIe slot runs at 8x not 4x.
  12. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,869   +2,039

    The UD3 supports EFI.
  13. ++ to the P8P67 Pro on the Enthusiast. It's a bit more expensive but it has UEFI and 3x PCI-E x16. I'm not a fan of the cooler master case so I'd spend a bit more and get the Corsair 600T. Proper cable management and very nice drive cages.
  14. I'm wondering how well the phenom ii x2 555 be does if the the cores ARE NOT unlocked.. (in case it doesn't work). PC to be used mostly for gaming(mostly online MMOs - WoW up to Guild Wars 2, maybe Diablo 3, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, FPS like Battlefield: Bad Company 2) how will it perform? also perhaps playing movie on 46" 1080p television while doing other things on PC monitor. graphics cards will probably be 5770s CF'd or GTX 460 1GB to start, get another later in the year for SLI setup if I need to(also on that, does 1GB model vs 768MB memory make big difference on single 1920x1080/1200 23" monitor?). sorry for long post, I don't really know where to look for advice so I ask it all at once..
  15. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,333   +101

  16. thank you for replying quickly with links.
  17. No it doesn't.....
  18. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,869   +2,039

    If you are talking to me you might want to do some research, YES they do :p

    Check out the F5 BIOS update...
  19. TeamworkGuy2

    TeamworkGuy2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 191

    Thanks for the article TS and Julio,
    It is always nice when a website updates articles like these regularly.
    P.S. Users who are building a Windows computer should tack on the price of a Windows license.
  20. technoob back; so, just learned that apparently I can't have two GTX 460s with this processor because the AMD motherboards don't support SLI.. so go with pricier but worth it Intel platform or go with AMD[ATI] cards? also, are some motherboards better for unlocking cores/overclocking?
  21. In the enthusiast build, you wrote "The $225 dual-core Core i5 2500K absolutely smoked our previous pick, the quad-core Core i5 750." and I was like WTH? Then I googled a bit and was relieved to find out that the i5 2500k is a quad-core, not dual. I'd be crying if my i5 750 were losing out to a dual-core :p
  22. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,333   +101

    Fixed. Thanks for the note.
  23. On the Luxury system, isn't the sound card (HT Omega Claro Plus+) a PCI card? I believe the mother board in that build (Asus Maximus IV Extreme) doesn't have a PCI slot. So how does that work?
  24. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,333   +101

    The HT Omega card remained on the list from previous builds that supported PCI. We missed that incompatibility on our latest update. It'll be swapped out soon. :) Thanks for all the great feedback so far everyone.

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