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Planning out a build for college, need feedback

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Disclaimer: I know that many of these prices will change by the time I go to purchase everything, and that some components may go end of life!!! The main purpose is to ensure the tech matches what I need, and to get a rough idea of how much I need to save up!!!

Hi. I am currently making plans for my first custom built PC. As the title states, I'm planning to build this around the summer before my freshman year in college. Right now I am going to be a senior in high school. Based on my current income and assuming I spend very little between now and then (about 10-12 months from now), my estimated budget is around $1500 to $1600. I would like to not have to upgrade this rig until I graduate from college.

First up, uses. These are ordered in terms of time spent on the use and what will be most affected by hardware:
1. Gaming.
Games I will be playing are TF2, DoD:S, EVE, Tribes Ascend, Planetside2, Skyrim, Borderlands 1&2.
Games I may play are CS:S, BF3, Crysis 2, GW2 whatever else may come out that strikes my fancy.
I'd like to be able to run all of the games in the first list at at least 60fps, on mid to high end settings. The second list is less likely, so I'm not as worried about them.

2. Animation/rendering. I'm in the beta of Source Filmmaker now, but cannot run it well on my laptop. Once I get this, I will be doing a lot more. I will probably be rendering at 720p. I may also do so FRAPSing or capturing replays for MP games.

3. Programming: I plan on going for a Comp. Science major, so I'm going to be a lot of programming.

4. Graphic Design: Though I plan on majoring in Comp. Science, I may try to get a minor in some form of graphical design. So doing stuff with PS, Illustrator, stuff like that.

5. Word processing, web surfing, etc.: I plan on keeping my laptop, so I'll be using it for this mostly.

I have come up with three rigs, one based on last gen hardware, and two based on current gen, with slight variations. I would suspect the former will be more susceptible to issues with components going end of life. This is why I have the newer rigs. I have made PCPartPicker rigs for all three

Z77 SB: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/hE9s
Z77 IVB (cheaper): http://pcpartpicker.com/p/hE8s
Z77 IVB: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/hE91

For those that would prefer to not sort through those, here are overviews of all three, with current prices (as of 9/16/2012).

Z77 SB
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($199.98 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($22.98 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($125.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($43.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($101.92 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card ($192.55 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($99.98 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Rosewill Hive 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($24.97 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Asus VS229H-P 21.5" Monitor ($144.99 @ Amazon)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($90.73 @ Amazon)
Keyboard: Microsoft SIDEWINDER X4 Wired Gaming Keyboard ($51.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1179.92
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

Z77 IVB (cheaper)
CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($215.98 @ NCIX US)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($27.98 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($125.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($43.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($101.92 @ Amazon)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($219.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($99.98 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Rosewill Hive 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($24.97 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Asus VS229H-P 21.5" Monitor ($144.99 @ Amazon)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($90.73 @ Amazon)
Keyboard: Microsoft SIDEWINDER X4 Wired Gaming Keyboard ($51.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1228.36
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

Z77 IVB
CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($215.98 @ NCIX US)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($27.98 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($125.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($42.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ B&H)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card ($244.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Define Mini MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($99.98 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Rosewill Hive 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Monitor: Dell U2212HM 60Hz 21.5" Monitor ($238.98 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($90.73 @ Amazon)
Keyboard: Microsoft SIDEWINDER X4 Wired Gaming Keyboard ($47.52 @ B&H)
Total: $1346.35
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

Which spec I end up going with depends on my funds and what is available from each. I may mix and match, or start from scratch. . Obviously if I have the money, I will get the current gen build. But I'd like to have something in reserve in case there are any unforseen issues.

So, what I like to know from you guys is:
1. Do both these rigs match up with what they will be used for, and if not, why? What do I need to change?
2. Are there any compatibility issues (not enough headroom for OCing, voltage mismatches, etc.)?
3. How good is that ASUS monitor?
3. Am I completely crazy and do I need to re-evaluate how much I'm willing to spend to get what I want?

Explanations are always preferred, mainly because I want this to be a learning experience as much as anything else. I've already learned a helluva lot just from the research that went into these builds

Wow, that was a lot longer than I expected. Thanks to everyone who has read through this whole thing, and thanks in advance to anyone who responds.

Edits:
7/31/12 - Changed PSU, changed Z77 rig GPU.
8/1/12 - Changed last gen rig mobo (on recommendation of a friend in my clan), changed Z77 rig RAM to 1600 variety.
8/3/12 - Changed Z77 graphics card to a cheaper one. And decided to pick up a fan controller for the Z77 rig as well.
8/10/12 - Changed SSD on both to Samsung 830 128GB, keyboard on both to the Microsoft Sidewinder X4, and the optical drive on both to a standard Lite-On DVD burner.
8/16/12 - Last update (hopefully), added TP-LINK TL-WN722N Wireless Adapter to both rigs, and changed monitor on the Z77 rig to a Dell Ultrasharp U2312HM.
9/16/12 - Changed the two specs in OP to the three I'm considering now. Also posted PCPartPicker links for all of them.
Edited by SamMeeDee - 9/16/12 at 1:47pm
post #2 of 31
I would say something based around a GTX 670/680 and an 3570, the lucid virtu will help out with rendering. smile.gif
   
Studio PC
(14 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i5 3570k Asus Sabertooth Z77 Asus Radeon 7970 (Refrence Card) Asus Radeon 7970 (DirectCU II) 
RAMHard DriveOSOS
Patriot Viper Extreme Divison 2 Seagate Barracuda Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit Ubuntu 12.04 64Bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
HP 2509b Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 Enermax Platimax 850W NZXT Phantom 
Mouse
NZXT Avatar S 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
AMD Phenom II X4 840 Biostar N68S3+ Corsair XMS3 Western Digital Caviar Blue 
Hard DriveOS
Hitachi Deskstar Ubuntu 12.04 Server Edition 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
FX-8150 ASUS Sabertooth 990FX XFX 7750 core Patriot Viper Extreme Division 2 
OSMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Windows 8 Pro BenQ GL2450 BenQ GL2450 M-Audio Oxygen 61 
PowerCase
Cooler Master GX 650w Cooler Master HAF 922 
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Studio PC
(14 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i5 3570k Asus Sabertooth Z77 Asus Radeon 7970 (Refrence Card) Asus Radeon 7970 (DirectCU II) 
RAMHard DriveOSOS
Patriot Viper Extreme Divison 2 Seagate Barracuda Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit Ubuntu 12.04 64Bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
HP 2509b Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 Enermax Platimax 850W NZXT Phantom 
Mouse
NZXT Avatar S 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
AMD Phenom II X4 840 Biostar N68S3+ Corsair XMS3 Western Digital Caviar Blue 
Hard DriveOS
Hitachi Deskstar Ubuntu 12.04 Server Edition 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
FX-8150 ASUS Sabertooth 990FX XFX 7750 core Patriot Viper Extreme Division 2 
OSMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Windows 8 Pro BenQ GL2450 BenQ GL2450 M-Audio Oxygen 61 
PowerCase
Cooler Master GX 650w Cooler Master HAF 922 
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post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 
I accidentally submitted the thread early, anyone who already saw this thread, reread OP, it is now complete.
post #4 of 31
PSU is overkill and unreliable. Get an XFX 550W for $75.
post #5 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by azeem40 View Post

PSU is overkill and unreliable. Get an XFX 550W for $75.

PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151093

RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147096

REASON FOR RAM: http://www.overclock.net/t/1210482/samsung-2x4gb-low-voltage-ddr3-1600-kit-ocing-to-2400-discussion/0_20
Edited by Xinoxide - 7/29/12 at 4:21pm
post #6 of 31
Just what I wanted. Someone to cross out my suggestion as if it was not helpful. -.-
post #7 of 31
Fixed it. I just instantly knew of ( IMO ) a better unit at the same pricepoint. crossing you out was perhaps a little overcboard.
post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 

Switched the PSU. Iffy about changing the RAM, as I may or may not have stated in OP, I have no intention on OCing my RAM. From what I've heard, the only benefit you get from doing so is in higher benchmarks. Plus, and not to be totally vain here, the Samsung sticks don't look very cool.

post #9 of 31
Thread Starter 

Also, the Sapphire 7850 I wanted is now not available, so I went with and XFX Double D 7850.

post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by ch3co View Post

From what I've heard, the only benefit you get from doing so is in higher benchmarks. Plus, and not to be totally vain here, the Samsung sticks don't look very cool.

What you heard is right. Don't spend for anything over 1600 unless your hardcore. But you might have to set the XMP in the BIOS to get the 1600. XMP- extreme memory profile, no OC needed, sometimes your RAM will run slower out of the box... thumb.gif
Magic Box
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 3770k MSI Z77A-GD65 MSI N440GT Mushkin Silverline (16gb) 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 830 Asus DVD Burner Hyper 212+ Windows 8.1 Pro 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung SyncMaster Razer Blackwidow Ultimate OCZ ModXStream Pro 700w NZXT Tempest 410 Elite 
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Magic Box
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 3770k MSI Z77A-GD65 MSI N440GT Mushkin Silverline (16gb) 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 830 Asus DVD Burner Hyper 212+ Windows 8.1 Pro 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung SyncMaster Razer Blackwidow Ultimate OCZ ModXStream Pro 700w NZXT Tempest 410 Elite 
MouseOther
RoadMice Shelby GT500 Lamptron Fc5v2 
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