Need Advice: ~$2,000 Sandy Bridge Gaming PC


Mar 12, 2011
Approximate Purchase Date: The sooner the better. :)

Budget Range: $2,000 - $2,200

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Work (Computer Programmer), Internet Surfing, Movies?, Photoshop?

Parts Not Required: OS, keyboard, speakers, and possibly monitor

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: Intel, ASUS, Corsair, G.Skill

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Yes/Future?

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments:
- My current computer is 2.5 years old and is a Core 2 Duo E8500 with HD4870, so I am looking to build a new one.
- I want a sandy bridge processor that I can overclock to ~5.0Ghz without custom water cooling.
- I would prefer to spend a little extra money on quality parts.
- It does not have to be completely silent, but I don't want it to be really noisy either.
- I have looked into the upcoming Z68 and don't feel that I would use its two main features (SSD Caching & Quick Sync)

Planned Build:
CASE: COOLER MASTER HAF X RC-942-KKN1 Black Steel/ Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case
PSU: CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600K
MOBO: ASUS MAXIMUS IV EXTREME (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Extended ATX Intel Motherboard
COOLER: CORSAIR Hydro H70 CWCH70 120mm High Performance CPU Cooler
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X + Turbulence II Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory Model F3-17000CL9D-8GBXLD
GPU: ASUS EAH6950/2DI2S/2GD5 Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
BOOT DRIVE: Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
DATA DRIVE: 2x Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive (RAID1)
OPTICAL: LG UH10LS20 Blu-ray Disc Combo Internal SATA 10x SuperMulti Blue LightScribe
MOUSE: Logitech G500 10 Buttons Dual-mode Scroll Wheel USB Wired Laser Gaming Mouse
Total Cost: $2,183.70

Other Notes:
- I plan to overclock the processor to ~5.0Ghz.
- I plan to unlock the HD6950 to be a HD6970 and then overclock it a bit.
- I believe the setup above will handle all current and 2011 games at max settings with only a single GPU. Therefore, I plan to purchase a second GPU for crossfire when it is needed in the future.
- I had planned to put the two 1TB drives in RAID0, but after reading about many issues doing that with those drives and thinking about it, I decided to do RAID1 for redundancy.
- I thought about getting a new 120Hz monitor, but plan to just use the monitor I have (Acer P244w 24" LCD)

What I am looking for advice on:
- Feedback on the build above.
- Should I purchase the second GPU now and set up crossfire?
- [strike]Should I purchase the 120Hz monitor now (thinking of this 24" ASUS or should I just get another decently priced monitor so I can have two? (I am not sure how a 60hz and 120hz monitors would play together, so if I got the 120hz one, I was thinking I would just use the single monitor.)[/strike]
- Anything else you want to comment on.

Thank you for any and all feedback! It is much appreciated!


Jan 22, 2011
On the H70, it's overpriced for the cooling performance, and it's loud. For a cheaper option go with the CM hyper 212+, it performs well for a lot less. The NH D14 will perform very well, and be quiet.
Nh D14
hyper 212+
You could save the $90 by just not doing RAID 1, because the overwhelming likelihood is that that drive won't fail.
There doesn't seem to be very much justification for a 120Hz monitor beyond 3D gaming, and as you have AMD that's only an option with 3D TVs, so save your money stick with 60Hz.
As for the ROG motherboard, well it doesn't really offer much beyond the P8P67 Deluxe, or WS Revolution if you must have an nf 200(for 16x/16x crossfire) if the few extra features are worth it to you then pay the extra money but IMO you should just save the money


Mar 12, 2011

Could I just replace the fans on the H70 with some Scythe fans to make it quieter? Or is it something other than the fans that make it loud? The NH D14 was the other cooler I was looking at and it actually cools better, but I like the H70 for the fact that it is a water cooler.

I had almost completely talked myself out of buying that monitor and what you said sealed it for me. I only wonder now if I should get another 60hz monitor, but I can always do that later.

Motherboard was definately the part that I have had the hardest time making a decision on because it was the only part I was waiting on coming back in stock. I want a window in my case and do not like the color scheme of those two mobos. I like the extra features of the ROG boards (my current board is an ROG board). I also understand that there is not much difference between 16x/16x and 16x/8x. I also understand that the ROG board is of higher quality, which I usually lean towards.

Thanks for the feedback!


If you think about this you'll probably realize the better cooler gives you a better chance of reach 5.0Ghz.

I also agree with ghr180 on the MB and RAID. But with your comfortable budget there isn't anything else you're leaving out to where the lower cost board would let you move up into a higher performance part in some other part of your system.



Mar 12, 2011

Thanks for the information. I had not heard of this cooler. After doing some research, I found that it does not perform as well as the H70, but it much quieter. However, I could get two Scythe fans for the H70 to make it quiet and it still outperforms the 620 by a small margin.

The Antec 620 is just becoming available it seems. Corsair's direct competitor is the H60 and it will be out in a couple weeks.

Also, in doing this additional research, I have found that some reviewers saw the H70 out-perform the NH D14.

I think I will get the H70 and replace the fans to make it quieter.

Thanks for your feedback!
If your going to spend $300+ on a mother board, you might as well get the #1 1155 mobo out on the market. This Gigabyte down below holds the record over clock in regards to the 1155 cpu's, and has beaten down that Asus board in review after review. It's the King of 1155 mobo's atm. $321.84
Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD7-B3 Intel P67 LGA 1155 ATX Intel Motherboard Combo Discount: -$10.00 Combo Price: $366.98
Thermaltake Frio Overclocking-Ready Intel Core i7 (six-core ready) & i5 Compatible Five 8mm Heatpipes Dual 120mm Fans Intel ...
Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600K $124.99 FREE SHIPPING
Seasonic SS-850HT 850W ATX12V v2.31,EPS12V v2.92 80Plus Silver Certified, Active PFC Power Supply - OEM


Going to share the sources of your research?

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