As the title says, I'm building a new PC. It will replace my old OC'd Q6600/Abit IP35 Pro/4GB DDR2 1066/5870 setup.
I've been doing quite a bit of research and tech forum browsing for the past month or so catching up on new developments since the last time I built a PC. I'm looking to spend around $1200 now and another $4-500 most likely whenever I get around to a new video card in a few weeks.
I'll be using the computer for both gaming and as a graphics workstation. I don't do much 3D, video or motion graphics at the moment. Mainly dealing with very large photos, multi-layered PSDs, and complex vector work in Illustrator.
Here's the basic part rundown so far:
- i7-3770K which I intend to overclock.
- Probably a Corsair H100i, but I'm absolutely open to suggestions for any closed-loop liquid cooling system.
- ASUS Maximus V Formula although I've considered the Gene as well.
- Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2x8) DDR3 1600
- Samsung 840 Pro 128GB as my OS/software drive.
- WD Blue 1TB as my storage drive. I'll add a second later as needed. I also have a new 1TB Black I'll be bringing over from the old PC.
- For my video card, I'll be stuck with the 5870 for a little while. Eventually I'll probably pick up a 680. That'll be even more research.
- Corsair HX650 PSU (I am a fan of Corsair, in case you were wondering. Though I'm not entirely set on their products.)
- Windows 8
The case has been a bit of a dilemma.
Ideally, I'd like something quiet. Or at least quieter than my current build. My preference ranges from something monolithic and simple like my current Antec P182 SE to something like an NZXT Phantom. Mid to reasonable Full ATX towers.
Here are some of the cases I've looked into. Again, any input or suggestions are welcome:
I read quite a few reviews complaining about the build quality and materials feeling relatively cheap. Also, I'm not particularly in love with the features, given other mid tower options in the price range.
|Fractal Define R4||Strong contender. The main issue with this case and other mid towers is that the ASUS M5 Formula is considered an extended ATX motherboard (barely, as it's only .5" deeper...but that could be all it takes to not fit).|
I've seen pictures of installs with standard ATX mobos in this case, and several of them mentioned it already being a little tight. So I'm not sure if the mobo would fit comfortably while still allowing easy wire management.
Perhaps if I went for the Gene instead.
Also, I'm hearing conflicting reports on whether a 240mm closed loop liquid cooler can fit without removing all the HDD bays.
|Fractal Define XL||The R4's bigger, older brother. It definitely has more room than the R4.|
I've heard some horror stories about that angled exhaust fan in the top butting up against some mobos.
Another thing to consider is yet more reports of trouble with liquid cooling systems in this case.
|Corsair Vengeance C70||I usually prefer doors on my cases instead of visible ODDs, front fans, and empty bays, but I really like the look of these.|
It doesn't quite provide the same sound dampening of the others but I've seen some really good looking builds using this.
Also that H100i would be basically guaranteed to fit. Not really blown away by the rest of the interior, though. And it seems kind of small.
The green one looks kinda badass.
|CM Storm Trooper||I think I'd have to see this one in person. Seems like I could get tired of that look pretty quickly. I've already mentioned my thoughts on doors.|
Also, I really don't need a handle. The case will be tucked away beside my desk and rarely--if ever--moved from that position.
|Antec P280||A direct upgrade from my P182. Unfortunately the design and features of this case seem a bit outdated. I've also read plenty of people saying the quality of materials Antec used for this are crap compared to 180s and 182s.|
Weird thing: The front panel cables on these are apparently almost too short for most motherboards.
|Nanoxia Deep Silence 1|
or Deep Silence 2
|Sexy and silent.|
I love the design of these cases.
Too bad I'd have to import this from across the pond, possibly pushing the price up to $200 for a case that seems amazing from the pictures I've seen...but I really don't know much more about.
If anyone has any experience with these or read any trustworthy reviews they'd like to share, I'm all ears...or eyes.
I wouldn't necessarily mind importing one. Quiet PC seems to have them for decent prices with reasonable shipping. I'm guessing that estimated 1-4 days is not at all accurate for overseas shipments though.
Looking into these more, I'm not as impressed by the build quality. Yeah, they use a ton of dampening material, but aside from that there are some odd cut corners and design decisions.
|NZXT Phantom 630||Possibly my strongest contender. It's the latest entry of NZXT's Phantom line of cases. I actually really like the look. Reminds me of my car. And like my car, I'd probably tint that side window.|
It's also got a really nice interior and some great little features like that tilting fan mount and the fully modular drive bays with two more 2.5" SATA spots behind the mobo.
The main problem is it's kind of huge, apparently. A full 4" or so taller and a bit deeper/wider than my 182. At least I definitely wouldn't have to worry about space.
Also, it's obviously no silent case. Although from what I understand, given the impressive air flow you can achieve with this, it's pretty quiet for a performance PC.
Another debate was whether or not I should wait for Intel's Haswell line later in June or just upgrade now.
Everything I've read about Haswell is promising better performance, of course, but nothing mind-blowing. I'm thinking I'd be perfectly fine with the overclocked 3770K rather than waiting for Haswell and undoubtedly spending quite a bit more than planned on a higher-priced mobo and memory. I've already waited close to a year to do this. There's always going to be something else on the horizon.
EDIT: Corrections/updates. I was off in my understanding of ASUS' EATX dimensions.