New ~$2000 system build, Opinions?


Jul 18, 2011
Ok I have just over 2K to spend....

I've already purchased:

120gb OCZ vertex 3 SSD
Seasonic Gold 750W PS

Picked both up for Just under $400

The no brainer is the i7 2600K - ~$314
EDIT: I know the i5 is an excellent alternative, but given the amount of time I plan to hold on to this system, every ounce of performance is important. If I was giving up something significant with that last $100 I might give it up, But I can still make my budget on the i7.

As far as Motherboard the easy question is which chipset, Z68, but I've seen several that have great features. With new Z68 motherboards popping up weekly, I don't want to miss something good because I bought to soon. The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z LGA 1155 Intel Z68 is at the top of my list but Boards by Gigabyte, MSI and ASRock all have interesting alternatives. Current choice ( - ~$360
If you want to suggest a MB please state the features you think make it better then my choice
EDIT: I see a significant difference between P67 and Z68. I am however, considering a less expensive board.

Video card, I really like single card solutions as they use less power, generate less heat and less noise. I've found that SLI or X2 cards are often put out to pasture faster by new DX versions than an inability to draw a scene fast enough. If I run into that problem I can always add a 580 in the future when the cost comes down or pick one up used. I'll probably be running 1920x1080 a fairly easy rez for the 580. So SLI is not a priority. Here is what I'm looking at (
. ~$479

Memory...Keeping in mind that OC'ing performance is something I want to keep on the table, though I don't OC until I feel there is a need. Memory by Corsair, Gskill, and Patriot all receive good remarks and since the last time I bought memory I bought DDR2 I'm looking for some strong suggestions here. I'm willing to spend as much as $180 for good memory and my thought is 16gb is what I figured I pick up, but I keep reading 8gb+ is a waste.
EDIT: I think I'm going to go with 8gb.

Monitor...This has been one of the hardest choices...TN/ IPS, 23", 24", 27"....3D ready? I don't do professional photography so I don't need the color reproduction of an IPS panel. I think there are some good TN panels out there that have great speed, good color and good feature sets. 120hz is a must and 3D capability is something I'd consider important. As far as size, I have a 23" now and given how far I sit from it, I just don't need anything in the 25"+ range. 23" or 24" are two sizes I'd be completely happy with. My choice so far is ASUS VG236HE Black 23" 1920X1080 2ms (

For a cooler I'm looking at CORSAIR CWCH50-1 9 The interesting thing about my setup is in the summer I have an AC vent right net to the PC I vent right into the case. This will keep temps flowing into the case at at about 40F-45F. In the winter I simply move the input from the AC duct from the vent to the window. It's ghetto, but it's served me well, and I don't give a rats ass about aesthetics. These are around ~$70
EDIT: The Antec Kuhler H2O 620/920 is an excellent alternative to the Corsair H2. I'll hawk both of these coolers for a deal, but the flexibility of the hoses on the Antec cooler makes it a winner

Case: [strike]I think Corsair is making the Cadillac of cases, but I found this XION case for $75 that seemed to have all the features I wanted for about 1/2 the price of the Corsair and had two external hot swap bays on the front of the case. it also has access to the rear of the MB (t\for the cpu mounting screws) as well as the ability to run cables behind the back wall of the case. ([/strike]
EDIT: I've decided that I'm leaving nothing to chance. I've decided to go with the Corsair CC600TM.

I don't need any hard drives as I have more 1tb Hitachi Ultrastars then I need. If I want extra performance I could RAID 0 3-4 of them together, but I think the SRT combined with the vertex SSD will hide some of the Hitachi's slowness. I plan to dedicate 40gb to SRT with the other 80gb for a C: drive.

Looking for opinions.....

Mainly I want to know if there are feature sets I'm missing in the choices I've made.

Intel's SRT on the Z68MB, 120hz for the monitor and UEFI BIOS options are a few excellent features that arguably anyone building a new PC shouldn't overlook.

I primarily game on my PC and am looking forward to Battlefield 3, but I do a little video editing and a few other things here and there....

I should mention that I plan to build the next 2-3 months picking up stuff, mostly from Newegg as it goes on sale/ rebates. Some things are likely to cause changes (Bulldozer?). The CPU, MB, Vid card and memory will be the last components I purchase as new parts may come out/ prices may fall.

Opinions welcome......


Unless you do a bunch of video editing I'd recommend the 2500K chip over the 2600K. The difference is 100 MHz at the cost of $100. Hyperthreading and 100MHz or better build elsewhere?

Again, unless you are going to do a bunch of video transcoding I'd recommend the P67 chipset over the Z68. True the Z68 is the successor, but it offers little except Virtu and Quicksync, which are for video encoding apps. The P67 is about $30-$50 cheaper for comparable model.

Why would you buy into a Maximus at double the cost if you are not doing SLI/Xfire? The Maximus is a killer product, but, it is dedicated for gamers with 2 or 3 GPUs in SLI/Xfire.

If you want a good mobo with the possibility of SLI or Xfire go with the ASRock Z68 Extreme 4 or P67 Extreme 6.

BTW the 16 X 16X PCI of the Maximus only outperforms the 8X 8X PCI of the ASRock where you are running multiple displays. The Max IV is overkill for your use.

The GTX 580 is a good card. Your alternative is the AMD 6970. But I am a fan of Nvidia and like the GTX 580.

RAM is good at 8 GB. For gaming and certain apps 16 GB is slower than 8 GB. I'd add Crucial to the list for consideration.

For a closed water loop CPU cooler I recommend the Antec H20 620. It is much better rated than the Corsair Hydro series (see and with a second fan is virtually as good as the Antec H20 920. It is also very quiet.

That monitor is great. You can do 3D with it and the GTX 580.

I'd recommend the Corsair 600T case over the XION. Its' cooling is great and the fans are very quiet.

Regarding Bulldozer, I saw the specs in February and was impressed with the pre-release news. But I built a Sandybridge 2500K on the hardware not the vaporware. I think that the Bulldozer may be delayed again because they went back to the design board when they (AMD) saw the Sandybridge in action. I hope that they come out with a great chip, but Sandybridge (and Ivybridge) will be hard to compete with and harder to beat.


Jul 18, 2011

See my edits above, thanks for the input.