Nov 10, 2012
The idea behind this build is to play any current or future (next 2-3yrs) games at 2560x1440 resolution with max or near max graphics settings. I will most likely be overclocking the CPU, GPU, & possibly the RAM, but will not be going crazy with it like a full water cooled build would allow. I'm posting the list and encouraging feedback.

Here's the main components list:

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i 77.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($108.98 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus SABERTOOTH Z77 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($239.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance Performance 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($179.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($159.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($159.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Corsair Neutron Series GTX 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($229.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($359.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF XB (Black) ATX Desktop Case ($121.44 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair 860W 80 PLUS Platinum Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($233.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus BW-12B1ST/BLK/G/AS Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer
Monitor: Asus PB278Q 27.0" Monitor ($699.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 Professional Full (64-bit) ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K90 Wired Gaming Keyboard ($139.47 @ Newegg)
Mouse: Corsair Vengeance M90 Wired Laser Mouse ($60.97 @ Newegg)
Total: $3054.75
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-29 02:14 EST-0500)

Comments - I'll also be adding some Cooler Master fans to the case, 200mm (top), 120mm (rear), 2x 80mm (bottom).
The purpose of the 32GB RAM is to make a 16GB RAM Cache (http://www.corsair.com/blog/vengeance-32gb-memory-caching-performance-tests) to increase the performance of both the SSD (boot drive) & the HDDs (storage drives), which will most likely be in a RAID 1 configuration for data redundancy.
The PSU choice should allow room for growth if SLI or a GPU upgrade is needed in the future.
Is Neutron GTX 240GB SSD optimal for this build? I've considered either going with a GT or GS 240GB as well as splitting it into 2x GT 120GBs (one for OS/Applications & the other for Games).

Please let me know what you think. I don't personally know anyone I can discuss this with to help me with my sanity check. Thank you for your time & support.
There is 3 words that don't go good in the same sentence.
"Computers being future proof" Unless you buy a I7 and a GTX 690 your not gonna be future proof for 3 years. Sure you can run Max settings now but in 2 years your gonna be lucky to do medium. There is no guarantee any system will run any game with max settings that hasn't come out yet. For all we know even grand theft auto 5 will be just as bad with PC was GTA 4 was. Just an example. If you want a baller system I'd drop some things you don't need. Such as 32 gb of ram. Unless your running all programs ever made..or just video coding or such i say 16GB is plenty. so bam that knocked off maybe 100$ from your cost. 2 3TB HDD's? you just need 1 dude. Bam another 159$ to put towards a 3770K ...

Now after reading into your post a bit more i realize your thinking SLI down the line. 860w will be plenty enough for a second 670. Now instead of getting a i7 your could get a better board for overclocking. But nothing wrong with the sabertooth.
That is a lot of system in such a small case.

I would get another card to Crossfire/SLI with if you are playing at that resolution, dual 7970's is what I would go for.

No need for RAM above 1600Mhz or for them to be high profile.

Would get 2TB Barracuda's personally because it works out better $/GB.

Downgrade the PSU, Platinum efficiency is a 10% difference from Bronze and there's a 100% price hike to achieve it. Not worth the efficiency, as I doubt that during its lifetime it will make up the extra cost.
Though if you must have a high efficiency.

There is no need for Windows 8 Professional. The standard Windows 8 supports more than 16GB of RAM, unlike Windows 7.

Dont even give him the impression thats going to be future proof, it aint.

If you want a future-proof build, invest in the case. That pile of metal and plastic isn't going to go out of date like everything inside of it. Same with cooling.

When considering a case with future proofing in mind, think ahead of what you want right now. Right now your after a fairly beefy gaming rig, with no water-cooling (the H100 doesnt count). That may change in a few months (literally, I had no intention of getting "extreme" with my build, 4 months later and it has $200 of water-cooling kit in it) when you start eying up water-cooling kits and their performance, but will be limited by the case you have bought.
Or maybe you want to video edit and that requires lots of HDD's, not much room for drives inside that case.
So think future proof bearing in mind that you might change your mind later on.


Nov 10, 2012
This is exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for, keep it coming. I am fully aware that my case selection limits component quantity growth and doesn't give much room for water cooling solutions & I am perfectly fine with that. The case is $100 and if I do need to upgrade the case 1-2 yrs later, I wont mind. I was originally looking a Full Tower cases (Cosmos II, Obsidian 800D, Phantom 820) but realized that was just way too much case for my needs & current budget. I completely understand you'll never be able to future-proof a computer, but you can devise a steady upgrade plan to keep up without having to do a whole new build. As for the GPU, I've opted for the MSI 670 PE/OC primarily for the performance/cost ratio. It can handle that res with high/fairly high game settings. If I were to spend $500 on a GPU, I would go w/ the Asus Matrix 7970, but that's overkill for what I need, costs about $125 more, & is very hard to find in stock. I'll take note of the Windows 8 Pro suggestion. I've just always gone with the 64-bit Pro/Ultimate Editions when available. Currently running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. I should have also mentioned that I'm not a beginner in terms of hardware knowledge or experience as I've build almost all of the computers I've ever owned, but am out of touch with some things as I haven't build a computer in nearly 6 years. I've spent several months gradually catching up on things.
No point in the ASUS Matrix, its an oversized card that will perform no better than another 7970. If I were to get a 7970 right now, this is what I would get.
Sapphire Vapor-X HD7970. $380 ($20 rebate)
Same price as the 670 after the rebate and it performs better when large resolutions are a concern. The extra GB of VRAM and wider memory bus really do help.
I do suggest getting two in Crossfire though, no single GPU card will perform very well at that resolution.

I think you can fit a full tower case in a $3000 budget, I managed on a $1700 ($Aus). At the very least a mid-tower.
Coolermaster HAF-XM. $130


Nov 10, 2012
So if I switch my case to an Azza Genesis 9000 @ $150

& switch my GPU to the Sapphire 7970 3GB @ $380
The one u linked is not the Vapor-X (GHz edition btw), that one is about +$50

This would only bring the cost of my build up about $50 due to the case change and give me much more room to add extra HDDs, a fan controller, & future option of water cooling of both CPU & GPU. It also might actually save money on the optional case fans that the HAF XB doesn't come with since the Azza Genesis 9000 includes them.

I could also switch the HDDs to 2x Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 2TB @$110/ea
Doing so cuts overall costs by $140, while losing 2TB of HDD space, which is fine

Switching Windows 64-bit Pro to Standard @ $100
this saves $40

The reason I went with 3570k instead of 3770k is I shouldn't need the HT which is primarily used for video editing & such, which I have no interest in whatsoever. Plus, it costs $100 less and still overclocks fairly well and is a sound CPU for a Z77 gaming build.

With all the adjustments, I have (based on budget) a couple options.
1 - change the GPU to a Sapphire Vapor-X 7970 GHz 3GB @ $445
2 - CF the Sapphire 7970 3GB @ $380 x2 = $760
this option would raise the overall cost a bit, but would improve fps at 1440p and makes better use of the PSU

On note of the PSU, this is something I have to dig into more to see what is ideal for me. I would prefer a fully modular, black sleeved/individually sleeved, gold/platinum rated, single 12v rail, variable speed cooling fan PSU, with a solid warranty.
CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX850 @ $190
COOLER MASTER Silent Pro Hybrid RS-850-SPHA-D3 850W @ $200
as examples of alternatives to the CORSAIR AX860i 860W @ $230

I understand that a lower efficiency PSU would cut initial costs & probably wouldn't make much of a difference in energy costs due to efficiency in the long run compared to Gold/Platinum rated PSUs, but we're talking over the course of 4-5 years. Added heat from a lower grade efficiency would also be a factor (albeit a small factor). This is something that I probably wont budge on unless I find some research that backs it up.

I've also looked at modifying my RAM choice and still like my selection.
a the kit gives me a lot of options in terms of RAM Disk & RAM Cache, with plenty of room to spare for programs to use. LP RAM isn't needed as an aftermarket CPU Cooler wont be a potential issue since I'm going with the Corsair H100i. I chose the 1866MHz model vs a 1600MHz model because I'm using this RAM for RAM Disk/Cache as well and that performance margin does help and it's a strong price point as higher frequencies cost quite a bit more at that size. Another thing of note is the timings of 9-10-9-27 are quite nice. I could also lower the frequency & reduce the timings if I chose.