First Sandy Bridge rig


Aug 25, 2011
I put together a rig based on Sandy Bridge.

Motherboard: $330 - Asus Maximus IV Extreme

Processor: $315 - Intel Core I7 2600k, 3.4 GHz

Memory: $160 - Corsair Dominator GT (8 GB, 2x4GB)

Graphics Cards (2 in crossfire): $370 each, $740 total - Asus EAH6970 2GB

Case: $280 - Corsair Obsidian 800D

System SSD: $135 - Corsair Force GT 60GB

Storage Drive: $200 - Western Digital Velociraptor 600GB - 10,000 RPM

Power Supply: $190 - Corsair Professional Series 850 Watt

Optical Drive: $65 - Lite-On Blu Ray Reader, DVD writer

OS:$100 - Windows 7 Home 64 Bit

CPU Water Cooler: $120 - Corsair Hydro Series H100

Since this is my first try at a Sandy Bridge rig, any comments, suggestions and/or criticisms are appreciated,



May 27, 2009
For gaming, the i5 2500k is where the buck stops. After that, you're adding money but not performance. Also, it's my personal preference to go with a single, high-end card rather than go for crossfire or sli. This is due to microstutter, which I am sensitive to and you can read about here and here.

Try something like

i5 2500k ($230)
Gigabyte z68 UD4 ($160)
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8 GB, Cas 8, 1600 MHz, 1.5 V ($70)
MSI GTX 580 Lightning ($530)

Some will say it's better to get a regular 580 and overclock it yourself, but for $30 more than the regular price, the lightning has a custom pcb with extra power phases and the twin frozr III cooler. I think if you plan on overclocking your card, this is the one to do it with.

Corsair AX850($170)
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB($50)

And then, I'd throw in a 60 GB SSD to use as a Cache with the Z68's SRT technology. It's not big enough to be a boot drive.

For a case, you could go quite a few ways.

Silverstone Raven ($155)
HAF 932($140)

Those would both work perfectly, but I could understand if you still wanted to get the Corsair.

Total: About $1500 if you get a $100 60 GB ssd and the HAF 932.


Aug 29, 2006
Your really into corsair aren't you. Don't know why you need a velociraptor drive when your getting a SSD though. You could save $150 on the HD or put it into getting a larger SSD. The only reason to buy a velociraptor is for fast access, but that's also the only reason to buy a SSD atm. Personally I would pass up the water cooling. Those things are super loud, you can OC the 2600k on air pretty far using the Hyper 212 or an equivalent cooler like the V8

+1 $289.99
ASRock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard <----- A better look at that motherboard


1) Few games use more than two cores, so hyperthreading on the 2600K is not much use. A 2500K will OC just as high as a 2600K spend the $100 elsewhere.

2) At 1080P resolution, just get a single GTX580. Some games do not do well with dual gpu's. If you really think you might have second thoughts, get a EVGA card. They have a 90 day trade up program where you can just pay the difference for a better card. You won't need it.
If you think you might want triple monitor gaming, or a 2560 x 1600 monitor, then sli would be appropriate.
With a good single card, you will preserve your option to go sli later. That said, I think the next upgrade will be kepler next year. At that time a top end card like the GTX580 will sell better.

3) The motherboard is waay to expensive. It is intended for record seeling overclockers, and triple and quad sli users.
You can get a Z68 motherboard with all you need for half the price.

4) 8gb of ram is the sweet spot for gamers. But, sandy bridge is largely insensitive to ram speeds or latency. The memory controller is that good. Synthetic benchmarks may look impressive, butt there is little difference between the slowest and fastest ram in terms of real FPS or application speed. Think 1-2%. Better to spend the difference on more ram. Also, fancy heat spreaders are largely marketing. Ram runs just fine with minimal or no heat spreaders. Only if you are seeking insane overclocks aould it make sense to get expensive ram.
Here is a 8gb(2 x 4gb) kit of corsair DDR3-1600:
You could get the version with tall heat spreaders for the same price, but these low profile sticks will work with air coolers without interference.

5) As a first time builder, I would avoid liquid cooling. That said, the all in one units are ok. But, there is really no need for one.
A $30 Xigmatek gaia or cm hyper121 would do the job. Or, you could spend more for a noctua NH-D14. It will be quiet, and the cooling is about as good as it gets.
Sandy bridge chips have an upper OC limit which is different for each sample. It turns out that better cooling does not let you OC past this limit.

6) A SSD for the os and some apps is probably one of the best perfoemance components you can buy.
But, 60gb is too small. Look for 80gb to 120gb.
Also, today, I would only buy Intel 320 or 510 ssd's. They have had fewer issues.

7) The velociraptor was a fine drive in it's day for the OS. primarily because of the 10k rpm and consequent better random response time.
But here, the SSD takes over that role. It would be better to get a 1tb drive such as the WD black for overflow and storage. Because a large drive is denser, it actually will have better sequential performance than the velociraptor.

8) The Corsair850 is a good unit, and appropriate for cf 6970. It is a gold certified, but expensive. If you get a single GTX580, all you need is a good 600w unit which is much cheaper. But to accomodate the possibility that you might want sli GTX580, I suggest the PC P&C silencer 950W unit. It is silver certified, and only $130. Use it regardless, there is hardly a better psu buy out there:

9) Lastly, for a first build, take the time to download and read, cover to cover, the case and motherboard manuals.

-----------good luck----------


Jan 1, 2011

you should get 2 more screens for a 3 screen setup. the res would be 5670x1080. pretty awesome huh?

Here is a build for under 2k that will give you more than sufficient performance at that resolution

ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution & Corsair 8gb 1600mhz- 303$

Corsair H60 & i5 2500k- 277$

Aftermarket fans for the h60- x2=17$

OCZ ZX 1000w- 200$

Silverstone Raven RV03- 140$

Corsair Performance 3 128gb- 180$ get this today if you can

Samsung F3 1tb- 50$

Lite-On DVD Burner- 19$ get this today if you can too

PowerColor 6950 2gb- 265$x3=795$

DVI to DP- 25$ for the third monitor

win7 oem 64bit- 100$



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