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Old 03-28-12, 07:49 PM Thread Starter   #1
thideras
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Help a dragon build a computer


I've been considering a rebuild of my current system. To push me faster into a new computer, I've been having some stability issues, which has been frustrating to say the least. I've been putting off operating system reinstalls with the idea that I will eventually be upgrading. My current Linux install will start X about one out of ten times, but will boot to a shell prompt without issues. I'm running Fedora 14, which has been EOL for some time. After hours of troubleshooting and head banging, I've given up on the install. My Windows 7 install will randomly drop the network once (and only once!) after booting, within twenty minutes to an hour. Since I've built this system, my focus has changed from pure gaming performance to size, stability, noise. Once built, I slowly stopped following information on new hardware and I'm to a point where I don't know much about current hardware or what is being released. This puts me in a position where I don't know if I should upgrade now or wait. The issue is that I can't rely on my desktop to be fully functional right now, and that is not good. I use my system for most of my school work. While I can (and currently do) use my laptop, I prefer to sit in a chair, let my hands bask in the glory of a mechanical keyboard, and actually be able to read the screen.

This is why I come to my all-time favorite forum and ask for advice! I'm open to pretty much any suggestion. What you see below is going to be an combination of what I'm currently thinking and what I want. It may be confusing in some places, and I apologize in advance if that is the case.

-=-=-=-=-

To start, here is my current hardware list:

Processor: QX9650 @ stock (horrible, I know)
CPU cooler: ThermalRight Ultra 120 Extreme
Motherboard: Asus P5Q Deluxe
Memory: G.Skill 8gb (4x 2gb sticks) 800 Mhz 5-5-5-15 1.8v
Video card: eVGA GTX 260
Audio: Auzentech Prelude (PCI)
Power supply: Corsair HX650w
Hard drives:
--128gb Kingston something-or-other SSD
--1tb drive for Linux /home folders
--1tb drive for Windows install
Case: Cooler Master 830 Stacker
Monitors: 2x BenQ G2400W

Picture of current setup.

-=-=-=-=-

This computer mainly runs Linux (still deciding what to run, that is another thread), which will house my "day to day" applications, browsing, etc. This will be the lightest load, so having a system that can scale down power and noise wise would be a huge plus. I prefer nVidia cards, but I've heard that ATI/AMD has come a very long way. If anyone has good experience with their cards and can tell me how good/bad it is, that might change my preference as I'm aware that their idle power states can not be beat. Fairly often, I'll restart into Windows 7 for gaming. Right now, I'm playing Rift/Skyrim and I intend to add Diablo 3, maybe WoW for the expansion, and (for sure) Borderlands 2 in the fall. Heck, I may even give up Windows and gaming entirely, I have no idea. My mind changes so often that I have trouble following it most of the time. I just let out the leash and see where it takes me.

What I do in Linux is not stressful at all. I would guess that my most stressful situation is Firefox open with 70+ tabs, Thunderbird, Codeblocks, 10+ terminal sessions, Amarok (music) open and maybe a few other low-load programs. When it comes to loading up the system in Linux, I'm going to mainly leave that to my new server. Being quiet is the main thing I'm after, but having gobs of cores and memory would be pretty nice.

Processor: Considering the price difference between Intel and AMD, and my lack of need for performance, I'm heavily considering AMD. The only thing I'm not sure about is whether there is a new line of processors right around the corner. I'm willing to wait if it will be a month or two and the price/performance is worth it. The same goes for Intel if there is a huge performance difference. It doesn't hurt to have more.

Memory: Not too worried about this since I can slap in 8gb sticks regardless of which format I choose.

Motherboard: I'll be honest, I love ASUS boards. Every one that I have owned has been rock solid stable and well designed. I dislike Gigabyte for their horrible BIOS layouts, but that may have changed since LGA 775 (+/- voltage, what is this?!). Every other company I'm not familiar with. For size, I want to stick with a full ATX board. I dislike small motherboards, for some reason.

Cooler: As stated at the beginning, I'm looking for something quiet. I will be attaching dual 38mm Panaflo (or other high quality fan) for high pressure. I won't keep the processor at stock speed, so a good quality heatsink is worth it to me. I'm not interested in crappy pre-built/AIO "water cooling" kits.

Video card: As previously stated, I'm not sure how well ATI/AMD cards work with Linux, which is my main OS. I prefer nVidia because, honestly, it is as simple as dropping in the binary and restarting. I remember reading about ATI/AMD cards that are able to drop into a very low power state (<20w) when idle, which would be a nice feature.

Hard drives: Staying the same, not interested in changing these.

Solid state drive: I'm interested in upgrading my Kingston something-or-other to a good and reliable drive. I've hard some brands have a nasty habit of suddenly going offline and never returning. While I can understand random failures, I want this to be rock solid stable and very reliable. Size wise, I don't need much. My Linux install takes under 10gb of space and Windows is just over double that. I intend to run my games (if any) off the mechanical drives, so something quick and small is fine.


Audio: I intend to keep my Prelude, unless there is a newer one out there that works much better. There is a bug in the Windows driver where it suddenly dumps static to the speakers for five seconds (and scares the living crap out of me!) and then goes completely silent until I fiddle with the panel -- this is something I would drop the card for if there was an alternative. Again, this has to work with Linux or I'm absolutely not interested.

Power supply: I'll keep my Corsair HX650w.

Case: This is the fun one! I'm currently using my custom painted Cooler Master 830 Stacker (see above). While I adore the looks and layout of the case, I don't think it will fit my new goal of "small and quiet". To get a feel for what I wanted, I started looking around on Newegg and found this Lian Li case. I like everything but the lack of fans -- one seems pretty low flow. I like how small and compact the components are and I've always wanted to own a Lian Li case. While it will be difficult for me to part with my case, if you can find me a good one, I'd most certainly switch. As stated above, it will need to fit an ATX board. I'm open to fun and interesting suggestions.

Overall: Quiet and small are my two main goals, but I would like to be able to play newer/future games should I get the urge to play them. Money is not an issue as long as I can justify the quality or performance. So, I don't really have a budget, within reason.

I hope that is detailed enough to foster suggestions. Enlighten me, Overclockers.

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Last edited by thideras; 04-20-12 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 03-28-12, 09:46 PM   #2
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Amateur opinions:
Ivy Bridge by Intel is due out April 29. Depending on pricing an IB cpu/Z77 motherboard would be the best choice.
There are a number of AMD vs Sandy Bridge comparisons.
Tomshardware has their latest Quarterly "Builders Marathon" up, worth looking at Sept/Dec/latest builds.

For gaming price performance the I3 2120 and especially the I5 2400 and I5 2500K are just better.
AMD FX CPUs are better in some multitasking situations but then there is I7 2600Ks and Sandy Bridge-E.

If you have access to MicroCenter AMD Motherboard/CPU deal you can sorta justify the purchase, especially FX performance has improved considerably with updates in software and heat management.
For gaming an I5 2400 is better in almost all benchmarks.
AMD does offer more PCI-e lanes and PCI from on chip.

If you can wait for Ivy Bridge.
If not, a Z68 or Z77 motherboard and I5 or I7 would be the best bet.
Easy overclocks for K chips, less heat, more performance.

Z77 is quad memory 1.35 volt specification.

Asus P8Z68 V/GEN3 or P8Z68 V-PRO/GEN3 (~$170-200) are what you want, full ATX boards,

I5 2500K is the best gaming chip, I7 2600K best multitasking short of SB-E.
Though you could probably do well on a ~$120 motherboard and an I5 2400.

The Intel advantage is they run cooler and more efficiently, that case, using a Noctua NH-D14 SE or a Thermalright Macho or Thermalright True Spirit 14 would likely be fine. Even a Cooler Master HYPER 212 EVO probably.
Especially with a latest generation video card. Panaflo are dated noise/performance wise.
Scythe Gentle Typhoon are top rated, but the Noctua and Thermalright do very good fans. The Macho may be too large (it was a passive heatsink till they put a fan on it), no second fan needed

Pure gaming the Nvidea GTX680 is impressive, the AMD/ATI HD 7950 or 7970 are more versatile but cost more. Please read reviews. Do not know about Linux.

If the sound card is PCI check for slots on motherboard.

An Intel build with either top card should pull under 400 watts running prime.

Look at some of the Fractal Design cases too.

Last edited by woboy; 03-28-12 at 09:52 PM.
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Old 03-28-12, 09:53 PM Thread Starter   #3
thideras
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I appreciate the input, as I know there is a lot of information to process! I'll take this into consideration and do some research. The main issue I had with Intel based builds was cost. I know that they perform better, but the motherboard/CPU prices seemed to be a lot higher compared to AMD-based ones with the same features. I think the video card suggestions you are giving me are way (way!) more than what I need. I don't want to be dropping $200+ on a video card when I'm only using it occasionally.

While I'm sure there have been improvements since the older Panaflo fans, I don't agree they are outdated to a point where it is worth dropping $20+ a fan when I have more than 6 Panaflos next to me.

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Old 03-28-12, 11:52 PM   #4
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Cooler: I'd just grab a mounting kit for your TRUE: http://www.frozencpu.com/products/13...e_Spirit_.html

Unless you go down to the $125 price mark, AMD really can't touch Intel. The FX chips just aren't worth it, not with the heat/power consumption compared to Sandy Bridge. The 2500K just really just the way to go, personally I believe it's priced extremely aggressively for the performance it gives. There are also some cheap, quality Intel motherboards around, just not as many as AMD.

Solid-State: Speed of Sandforce with reliability of Intel. Can't beat the 520 series.

Case, I'd go with a CM 690 II. Great promo code that expires TODAY. I've done a 6950 Twin Frozr + Hyper212+ in it, and I can barely tell when the system is on. If you really want to go Lian-Li, I've built with this before, and it's a great case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811112320

Video card, if you're looking good power for sub-$200, gotta go with AMD on that one. 6870 would be your best choice.

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Old 03-29-12, 03:19 AM   #5
midlight21
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Here's an AMD recommendation for you:

CPU - AMD Phenom II X4 960T Zosma $125 / Newegg
MB - ASUS M5A97 AM3+ $90 / Newegg
SSD - Crucial M4 or Intel here in whatever size you want/need
RAM - Corsair Vengeance is good, Gskill Ripjaws or Sniper too
CPU Cooler - CoolerMaster Hyper 212+ or the new Evo version, cheap and good. Or reuse your TRUE as suggested.


I have and love the Zosma and it consistently unlocks to a 5 or 6 core. I have the M5A97 as well. It's shorter than a normal ATX board which may help in your chosen Lian Li case. The I/O plate sucks though. Took a good 5 tries before I got a good fit with the I/O devices onboard and that was screwing in the mobo, unscrewing, adjusting, screwing it in again, and again, and again. That's my only complaint thus far. I didn't suggest a video card as I'm not a huge gamer. Better that someone else make suggestions there.

I would however wait until Ivy Bridge comes out to see if it drops the 2500k price any. If it drops, the 2500k would be a better buy than the 960T and would yield better performance.

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Old 03-29-12, 09:51 AM   #6
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Case is excellent but large.
HD 6870 is very good, Nvidea :

MSI N560GTX-TI Twin Frozr II/OC GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
Free NBA2K11 game coupon w/ purchase, limited offer

Was: $244.99 Now: $219.99
Save: $25.00
$189.99 after mail-in rebate card
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Free Shipping

SSDs Intel have the best reputation for reliability, Crucial M4 and Samsung 830 are close for less money.

Asrock Motherboard includes includes PCI slots $128 shipped.

Basic math check benchmarks using Anandtech "BENCH" CPU comparison tool. Intel I3 2100 vs 960T or closest equivalent. ( use X6 1090T)

or FX 6100 vs I5 2400 (use FX-8150)
Both are comparisons with more capable chips but demonstrate differences. Even the I3 2100 or 2120 wwould be good choices

Last edited by woboy; 03-29-12 at 10:12 AM. Reason: revise
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Old 03-29-12, 10:49 AM   #7
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I like your title, Corey

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Old 03-29-12, 11:12 AM Thread Starter   #8
thideras
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knufire View Post
Cooler: I'd just grab a mounting kit for your TRUE: http://www.frozencpu.com/products/13...e_Spirit_.html

Unless you go down to the $125 price mark, AMD really can't touch Intel. The FX chips just aren't worth it, not with the heat/power consumption compared to Sandy Bridge. The 2500K just really just the way to go, personally I believe it's priced extremely aggressively for the performance it gives. There are also some cheap, quality Intel motherboards around, just not as many as AMD.

Solid-State: Speed of Sandforce with reliability of Intel. Can't beat the 520 series.

Case, I'd go with a CM 690 II. Great promo code that expires TODAY. I've done a 6950 Twin Frozr + Hyper212+ in it, and I can barely tell when the system is on. If you really want to go Lian-Li, I've built with this before, and it's a great case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811112320

Video card, if you're looking good power for sub-$200, gotta go with AMD on that one. 6870 would be your best choice.
Is the TRUE still competitive? I've seen other heatsinks suggested over the TRUE that were <$80. Regarding the processor, is there any new technology coming out soon? I don't want to get hardware now and find out there was a huge performance difference (or less heat output, etc) in the next release. For example, suggesting someone buy a Pentium 4 right before Conroe came out. For the case, I'm really really picky, and I seriously mean it. I owned the first 690 and did not like it, and I don't think I'll like the second revision either. The Lian-Li you suggested is "interesting" to say the least. It does not fit my idea of what their cases normally look like. Blobs of plastic with horrible lines is not my idea of a good looking case. I'm also very interested in how the internals are laid out and how well you can hide wires -- almost more than the looks. For the video card, is the 7 series worth waiting for? I like the suggestion of the Intel SSD, as that is what I was considering (and forgot to mention!). Is there a well done and thorough comparison of the current (or future, if we are that close to a release) Intel/AMD processors?

To give a full history of cases I've owned.

ThermalTake Armor
ThermalTake M9 (review)
Cooler Master CM 690
Cooler Master 830 Stacker (silver)
Cooler Master 830 Stacker (painted, current case)
Mountain Mod Ascension
Antec 1200
Antec 300

Other threads:
http://www.overclockers.com/forums/s...d.php?t=555773
http://www.overclockers.com/forums/s...d.php?t=593025
http://www.overclockers.com/forums/s...d.php?t=666132

I don't mind spending a bit more for a really good case, but it has to look good, have good airflow and have great cabling routes. The only thing that has changed between the above threads is I'd like something a bit smaller.

Regardless, I appreciate your input thus far -- it keeps me thinking, even if I don't use the suggestions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by midlight21 View Post
Here's an AMD recommendation for you:

CPU - AMD Phenom II X4 960T Zosma $125 / Newegg
MB - ASUS M5A97 AM3+ $90 / Newegg
SSD - Crucial M4 or Intel here in whatever size you want/need
RAM - Corsair Vengeance is good, Gskill Ripjaws or Sniper too
CPU Cooler - CoolerMaster Hyper 212+ or the new Evo version, cheap and good. Or reuse your TRUE as suggested.


I have and love the Zosma and it consistently unlocks to a 5 or 6 core. I have the M5A97 as well. It's shorter than a normal ATX board which may help in your chosen Lian Li case. The I/O plate sucks though. Took a good 5 tries before I got a good fit with the I/O devices onboard and that was screwing in the mobo, unscrewing, adjusting, screwing it in again, and again, and again. That's my only complaint thus far. I didn't suggest a video card as I'm not a huge gamer. Better that someone else make suggestions there.

I would however wait until Ivy Bridge comes out to see if it drops the 2500k price any. If it drops, the 2500k would be a better buy than the 960T and would yield better performance.
I'll consider your suggestion, thank you. My only worry is that the current Phenom processors are not that much faster than my QX9650. I'd like my upgrade to be an upgrade, as well as fixing my current issue.


Quote:
Originally Posted by woboy View Post
Case is excellent but large.
HD 6870 is very good, Nvidea :

MSI N560GTX-TI Twin Frozr II/OC GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
Free NBA2K11 game coupon w/ purchase, limited offer

Was: $244.99 Now: $219.99
Save: $25.00
$189.99 after mail-in rebate card
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Free Shipping

SSDs Intel have the best reputation for reliability, Crucial M4 and Samsung 830 are close for less money.

Asrock Motherboard includes includes PCI slots $128 shipped.

Basic math check benchmarks using Anandtech "BENCH" CPU comparison tool. Intel I3 2100 vs 960T or closest equivalent. ( use X6 1090T)

or FX 6100 vs I5 2400 (use FX-8150)
Both are comparisons with more capable chips but demonstrate differences. Even the I3 2100 or 2120 wwould be good choices
I'm not set on keeping this audio card, it would be more of a convenience than anything.

------------

After re-reading my thread and the responses here, I think I should condense it down into specific questions.

1) Does AMD/Intel have any new hardware coming out soon?
----If yes, how soon?
----If yes, how will it compare with current hardware, performance and price?
2) For a cooler, what is the current high end, regardless of price? I can find comparisons to my TRUE.
3) For the video card, is ATI still a pain in the butt to work with or is it much easier? If you have personal experience, I would appreciate any input (even "it just worked").
----Do either nVidia or ATI have a very lower power state (<20w) while idle?
---------If yes, is it only certain models?
----Is the new line of cards worth waiting for? (6xx and 7xxxx)
4) Regarding the case, see above -- I'm picky.
5) For the audio card, what are the good PCIe ones? I might have to message someone specific to help me out here.
----The card has to work well in Linux

Basically, I'm figuring out what hardware I can buy now and what I should wait for. I'm not in a huge hurry. As I stated above, I don't want to buy a Pentium 4 and have Conroe released the next month. Reliability/quality is my absolute top priority, followed by noise and performance. This is my main computer and I literally do everything on it. The few days that this one has been down is incredibly frustrating.

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VM Server 2: Dell R710 | 2x E5645 | 288 GB RAM |
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Old 03-29-12, 05:55 PM   #9
midlight21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thideras View Post
I'll consider your suggestion, thank you. My only worry is that the current Phenom processors are not that much faster than my QX9650. I'd like my upgrade to be an upgrade, as well as fixing my current issue.
Understand. You're better off going with Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge then. Ivy Bridge is supposedly (rumored) to be released end of April now. April 29th was the date I saw most.

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Old 03-29-12, 06:49 PM Thread Starter   #10
thideras
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Good information. I'll have to do some research into it!

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VM Server 2: Dell R710 | 2x E5645 | 288 GB RAM |
8x 300 GB Savvio | XenServer
"That's not overkill, or a lot. That's just thiderastic." -txus.palacios
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Old 03-30-12, 10:28 AM   #11
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I like your title, Corey

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Old 03-30-12, 06:11 PM Thread Starter   #12
thideras
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My system is more unstable than I originally thought. I'm at near stock settings on the processor (3.2 Ghz) and the memory/GPU are completely stock. I got about 20 minutes into Rift before it locked up hard; I couldn't even restart using the reset button. I fired up LinX and FurMark to see if it was the power supply and both chugged along like nothing was wrong. I don't get it.

Anyone else have suggestions/answers?

Quote:
1) Does AMD/Intel have any new hardware coming out soon?
----If yes, how soon?
----If yes, how will it compare with current hardware, performance and price?
2) For a cooler, what is the current high end, regardless of price? I can find comparisons to my TRUE.
3) For the video card, is ATI still a pain in the butt to work with or is it much easier? If you have personal experience, I would appreciate any input (even "it just worked").
----Do either nVidia or ATI have a very lower power state (<20w) while idle?
---------If yes, is it only certain models?
----Is the new line of cards worth waiting for? (6xx and 7xxxx)
4) Regarding the case, see above -- I'm picky.
5) For the audio card, what are the good PCIe ones? I might have to message someone specific to help me out here.
----The card has to work well in Linux

Basically, I'm figuring out what hardware I can buy now and what I should wait for. I'm not in a huge hurry. As I stated above, I don't want to buy a Pentium 4 and have Conroe released the next month. Reliability/quality is my absolute top priority, followed by noise and performance. This is my main computer and I literally do everything on it. The few days that this one has been down is incredibly frustrating.

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Old 03-30-12, 10:49 PM   #13
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Basically everything new will be out for the time being by end of April. The AMD chips aren't worth it in my opinion, so it'll be down to the 28nm Ivy Bridge or 32nm Sandybridge E. Ivybridge E replaces that and comes in at 28nm in Q3 or Q4. That's about it. I'd say those are the only legit choices. If you were to buy tomorrow it'd be a Sandybridge E system with CPU choices from the 300s to 1000. And if you waited until the end of April you'd have (lower tier) choices from Ivybridge.

Ivybridge is the midrange platform going forward and Sandybridge-E is the enthusiast platform until the end of the year. Ivybridge replaces Sandybridge which replaced 1156 while Sandybridge-E replaces 1366.

Since you're waiting and you don't want astronomical cosmic superpower you'd be good with an Ivybridge system.

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Old 03-30-12, 10:51 PM Thread Starter   #14
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Awesome, thank you for the good explanation. I think I'll wait until it gets released. Now I just need input on the other parts.

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Old 03-31-12, 12:20 PM   #15
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Video cards,
the new HD 7XXX cards are faster, more powerful, and more efficient , unfortunately they are also priced higher than their older 5xxx and 6xxx performance justifies.
Reviews and comparisons should be consulted.
The Nvidea 680 is better at gaming than the 79xx series card at less cost, by sacrificing shared computational ability
I do not know the time schedule for further releases from Nvidea.

In general people believe running games at the highest eye candy possible is preferred.
You will have to decide what level of performance of the games you wish to play is satisfactory.

Cases,
Rosewill THOR V2 $130
Fractal Design R3 Titanium $125
Corsair Carbide Series 300R or 400R ~$100
Cooler Master Silencio 450RC $65
Lian Li PC-K70B $90
PC 9F $120
PC K60B $80

Coolers are a combination of size, noise, performance, size, and price.
SPCR (Silent PC Review), FrostyTech.com, would be a good start.
Hardwaresecrets and tomshardware have reviews and ranking.

Asus and Creative are the probably he most common sound cads, lots of "discussion.
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Old 03-31-12, 12:38 PM   #16
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i got this case Fractal Design R3 black version and love it. it comes with sound deadening installed works very well.

just to give you an idea on what it looks like with stuff inside it.

click the pic




i got the same cpu you have. qx9650 with 8gb ram on a dfi p45 board. it still works very good but the i5 2550k i got to replace it with is like 3 times the cpu the qx9650 is... clocked the same at 4ghz it was noticeably faster.

not saying you need to go with the cpu i did but you will notice an improvement over what your using now.

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Old 03-31-12, 12:52 PM Thread Starter   #17
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Thanks for the processor suggestion. The case is not something that I like, however. It looks like an ugly version of the Antec 300.

The door on the front seems to severely lower the airflow to the front fans and looks hideous while open. The insides don't seem to have places to hide wires and the layout is very similar to the 300. The cost is also substantially more than a 300.

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Old 03-31-12, 03:22 PM   #18
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I've owned a few Coolermaster cases and a few Antec, and several Lian-Li. I will never buy anything else that is not Lian-Li

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Old 03-31-12, 03:22 PM Thread Starter   #19
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Which are you using?

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Old 04-01-12, 08:03 AM   #20
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