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New build, budget 2k-2.5


Oct 19, 2011
I've decided to get a new system as my current machine is aging rapidly ( Purchased early 2006). I'm looking for a build that will run games such as Elder Scrolls V and BF3 at very high settings at 1920x1080 ( native res of monitor ). The following is the hardware I have chosen so far for the build. I welcome any suggestions as to things to add or change.

LIAN LI Lancool First Knight Series PC-K9WX Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112337

Scythe Kaze Master Pro 5.25 Fan Controller http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811998077

ASRock P67 EXTREME4 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157229

TWO - SAPPHIRE Toxic 100312TXSR Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102951

Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-900 900W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371050

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115072

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory Model F3-17000CL9D-8GBXM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231476

Corsair Force Series GT CSSD-F120GBGT-BK 2.5" 120GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233191

SAMSUNG Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-/+R 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Combo Model SH-B123L/RSBP LightScribe Support http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151232

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185

Thermaltake CLP0554 80mm Sleeve CPU Cooler http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835106142


OK going down the list:

The case is nice, but the cooling could be better, especially given your budget. That case has no further cooling options available. It's maxxed at 3 fans, and will struggle with two cards.
Silverstone Raven

CM Storm Trooper

Nice MB choice.

I don't know... crossfire 6950 2GB is a bit extreme but OK, it should last a while.

The PSU is a bit overkill. Better to have a higher quality 750W
Your entire system will never break 550W from the wall, that will be fine. One of the best PSUs made.

Wow RAM just keeps dropping in price. That's fine.

I don't recommend Sandforce controlled SSDs. I would rather see an Intel drive in there:

If you want to play Blu-ray movies, just remember you will need the software as well. Usually $80-100 for it. If not you don't need the drive.

Not a good cooler. Here you go:



Oct 19, 2011
Thank you very much for your replies. I was particularly concerned about the power supply; I was actually concerned about it being to little power with those two cards. Is a good 750W PSU really sufficient? If so, that is great, as I'm certainly interested in the most efficient power source possible.

The case choice I made was a budget choice, I admit. How about my original choice? Corsair Obsidian Series 650D (CC650DW-1) Black Steel structure with black brushed aluminum faceplate ATX Mid Tower Computer Case http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811139006

I don't know much at all about the current offerings in air coolers. I made the choice based on reviews and, I'm sad to say, that it looks cool. I have a Zalman cooler on my current machine and I've never had any problems.

You are correct about the Blu-Ray. I figure that I'll eventually get a PS3 and hook it up to my TV, which is going to look better anyhow. The drive plus the software is close to 200 bucks, which I could use elsewhere in the build.

What is the opinion on sound cards? I haven't had one for years. Back in "the day" it was an essential piece of hardware, but is it really worth the additional cash these days? I have 2.1 sound right now and it works for me, though I might upgrade to a higher quality system. Does having a 5.1 or 7.1 system come in to play at all with games? I won't be watching many movies on my PC, i've decided, so is it even something worth considering?

I agree on the motherboard, I had a feeling I was getting a lot of value for my money with my choice.

Concerning peripherals, do you have any opinions there? I was going with a Razer Naga for my mouse, and I'm sort of up in the air about keyboards.

Case - I'm not a fan of that particular case ..... All have USB 3 and dust filters ..... all the ones below handle 3 GFX cards, HAF and Level 10 do eATX and 4 GFX cards. My three fav's, in order, are as follows:

1. Thermaltake Level 10 GT Snow ($290) - Expensive but I have not seen a case to match it in its price range. Features I had previously only dreamed about.

2. Antec DF-85 ($155) or Antec 1200 ($160) - Basically the same thing w/ different looks from builder's point of view ... solid case, great cooling, LED's turn off, air filters, tri GFX card capable.

3/ HAF -X ($180) I uses this when EATX capability is required and peeps don't wanna spring the the Level 10 .... or if they just like the looks.


Lots of other choices out there from Silverstone, Lian Li, etc but these if find have the best balance of features, buildability and cost from my point of view.

PSU's - The standout for me are the CPX form factor PSU's which is one of the major reasons for No. 2 above.....CPX fits in those cases (as well as P183 / P193) ONLY. In giving it a 10.0 performance rating jonny guru writes:


It is completely unmatched by any ATX unit on the market I can think of. You'd have to spend twice as much as this thing costs to find the next best thing, performance wise.
To see another performance analysis and how when paired together the case / PSU have an "unfair advantage" in the cooling and quietness department...


Personally, myself and most of the peeps I build for are interested in gaining that very last 0.1 or 0.2 GHz outta their boxes. To do that, the 1st thing ya need is a PSU with very stable voltage supply....ATX standard allows 5% variation but I start worrying if it much exceeds 1%. Places to start are the Antec SG / CP / HCP series, Corsaie AX / HX series, Seasonic X Series, XFX Black Edition. While I cringe when peeps make a judgement based upon just brand name alone as PSU vendors make PSU's for market niches aside from the enthusiast, you even have to check out reviews from trusted sources within product lines. Corsair's AX and HX series for example have certain models made by one OEM and others made by another. While one AX night get a 10.0 rating, another might get an 8.5

HX1050 (8.5) http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story5&reid=245
HX 1000 (9.0) http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story4&reid=89
AX750 (9.0) http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story6&reid=236
AX850 (9.5) http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story5&reid=197
HX 520 (9.0) http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story2&reid=18
HX620 (9.5) http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story2&reid=21
HX850 (10.0) http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story5&reid=153
AX1200 (10.0) http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story5&reid=189

By comparison, all the XFX Core Editions, generally considered 2nd tier to the Black Edition which is no longer made, all score 9.5 The HCG PSU you have selected scores a very respectable 9.5 as does the Seasonic X-750 recommended above which also gets the same 9.5 performance rating.


MoBo - I personally see no reason to lock out P67 from the choice here but many are convinced that nothing but Z68 and even GEN3 should be among their choices. To decide whether ya "need" Z68, look here:


Personally, I can't see investing $2.5k in a box when the whole thing is built on a MoBo with only a 2 year warranty. The board gets good reviews, but the warranty thing is too much of an issue for me.

Of someone wants a box w/ Z68Gen3, this is what I am recommending. If it was my box however, I'd be waiting for the Deluxe or the RoG boards.

GFX - As a single card, I can almost see the 6950 over the 900MHz 560 Ti but in CF/SLI, I don't see case:

Guru3D uses the following games in their test suite, COD-MW, Bad Company 2, Dirt 2, Far Cry 2, Metro 2033, Dawn of Discovery, Crysis Warhead. Total fps (summing fps in each game @ 1920 x 1200) for the various options in parenthesis (single card / SL or CF) are tabulated below along with their cost in dollars per frame single card - CF or SLI:

$ 260.00 6950 Frozr OC (484/759) $ 0.54 - $ 0.69
$ 205.00 560 Ti - 900 Mhz (495/862) $ 0.41 - $ 0.48

As you can see above, the factory overclocked 6950 Frozr gets 759 fps at a cost of 69 cents per frame in CF to the factory overclocked 560's 862 fps costing 48 cents per frame. If the budget is there, I'd spring for the better cooler on the Asus model.

$205 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125363
$230 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121425

RAM - Don't see the $85 for the hi profile RAM.....specs are no better than low profile stuff from Corsair and Mushkin. The only cooling effect of these tall RAM coolers is that they "look cool". While they served a purpose (when they were effective) w/ DDR2, they are absolutely useless on DDR3.

At more than 2" tall in certain areas the Corsair Vengeance could pose a problem for users like me who use large coolers such as the Scythe Mugen 2. I was able to use the Corsair Vengeance only after I mounted the fan on my cooler on the backside. Size is definitely a concern with heat spreaders of this size and therefore I encourage users to check that they will have enough space under their heatsinks before purchasing the Corsair Vengeance kit.
The problem I have with the Corsair Vengeance is the same I have with many kits of RAM on the market. Companies insist on putting large coolers on their RAM and it limits the choice in CPU heatsinks that can be used within users system. DDR3 does not require these elaborate coolers with its lower voltages which translate to lower temperatures then RAM saw during the DDR, and DDR2 era. Corsair is correcting this with low profile versions of its Vengeance line but ultimately I would like to see the average size of coolers drop instead of having to look for specific low profile versions of a memory line.
$50 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233186
$50 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233196
$42 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226099
$54 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226219
$54 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226184

Cooler - Not impressed by the reviews on that cooler:

$30 - Hyper 212+

$50 Scythe Mugen 3

$80 Thermalright Silver Arrow

For more about coolers, look at the link below which compares some of the most recently released top performers:


For older ones, here's one source I like to use because it's not based upon the old LGA775 socket which has a totally different heat signature rendering the results suspicious at best:


1st Tier
Prolimatech Megahalems
Thermalright Venomous-X RT
Scythe Mugen 2 SCMG-2100
ProlimaTech Super Mega
Cogage Arrow
ProlimaTech Armageddon
Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme
Cogage TRUE Spirit
Xigmatek Balder SD1283
SilenX Effizio EFZ-120HA4

2nd Tier
Noctua NH-D14
Zalman CNPS10X-Performa
Coolink Corator-DS Heatsink
CoolAge CA-X120TF Wind Tunnel
Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme
Thermolab BARAM
Xigmatek Thor's Hammer S126384
Scythe Yasya SCYS-1000 Cooler
Noctua NH-U12P
Cooler Master V6 GT Heatsink
Thermaltake Contac-29 CLP0568
Zalman CNPS10X-Quiet


Jack, I hope you cut and pasted some of that :)

Jack is right from an engineering perspective about those cases, but since you originally linked a Lian Li case I figured you wanted something a bit sleeker. The Silverstone Raven line is a nice mix of functionality and style, while the Cooler Master Storm Trooper leans a bit more towards functionality.


Oct 19, 2011

I did indeed decide on the Raven as I prefer a more "monolithic", cleaner, simpler look.


I understand completely. I have owned a Silverstone Tj09 for many years now:


Not that I would recommend it now, but it was a great case at the time.

One thing about cases, you really can never judge them in pictures. Videos are a bit better but really you need to get your hands on them. I like to drop by Frye's and do just that, as they usually have a lot out on display.

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