I've decided to buy a kick ass new gaming and 3D render box. I've got most of the parts picked out but, while in the past I would have built it myself, I'm not going to bother this time. One reason for that is I am hoping to get it overclocked from the system builder. I've never really messed with overclocking seriously and I'd rather have it arrive at my door in a known-working overclocked state.
I'll get to my parts list in a minute, which I'd welcome feedback on. But since I'm going to have the thing built for me, my biggest decision at the moment is what system builder to go with. I have a number of options I've found mostly through looking at Reseller Ratings' top rated businesses but would appreciate some more personal recommendations from DC-ers. Remember I'm hoping to have it overclocked by the system builder so they'll need to be experienced with that. They'll also need to carry the critical components of my build, of course. Finally, they should be US-based and ideally not located in California (for tax reasons).
Here are the retailers in current consideration, in no particular order. All have an 8 out of 10 or above on ResellerRatings.com
and at least 20 reviews each:
- Puget Systems
- Digital Storm
- Main Gear
- Stealth Machines
- Origin PC
- High quality case, good cooling, preferably no side windows or front door (cases available depend on system builder)
- 700W+ PSU with 80+ cert (Antec, Enermax, Silverstone, PC Power and Cooling, Thermaltake, Coolermaster)
- Decent, reasonably priced socket 1155 motherboard with USB3 and eSATA (ASUS, Gigabyte, etc. - not too particular about this)
- Core i7 2600k overclocked 20-50% (promised overclocking level available depends on system builder)
- Liquid or high-end quiet air cooling (noise is a definite factor)
- 16GB RAM (4x4GB, preferably 1600Mhz)
- 120GB or larger SSD (probably Intel 510, though possibly OCZ Vertex 3, Crucial M4, or Kingston HyperX)
- 2-3TB 7200RPM SATA HD (Western Digital Caviar Black or Seagate Barracuda XT, the latter being available in 3TB so preferable)
- Geforce GTX 570
- Basic SATA CD/DVD-RW
- Onboard audio
- Built-in memory card reader supporting SD and Compact Flash
As I said, noise is a consideration, so whenever possible I'm adding quieter case fans, fan gaskets, etc.
So far Puget is looking pretty strong. They have an excellent rep, great customer service (one of their reps contacted me directly via email after I saved a quote on their site to see if I had any questions and he was able to bring down my build cost a few hundred with some intelligent suggested changes), and while they're more expensive than some other options, they're definitely not out of the park on that. They also offer 30-45% overclocking, among the highest available that I've seen so far. Cyberpower is less well rated, but definitely comes in with the best price and options, including superclocked graphics card and some other freebie extras.
Edit: Any info on the imminent release of new hardware that may affect price or ideal components in this price/performance bracket is also useful. I know the i7 2700k is coming soon but from what I hear it will not slightly more expensive than the 2600k and as a result won't necessarily affect the latter's price. The 2600k has a known OC capability and I don't see it worth taking a risk nor waiting for the 2700k in that regard.
I also know AMD's new Bulldozer is coming out in just a week or so. From what I can see the fastest available version initially will be 3.6Ghz and will be a little bit cheaper than the 2600k. But judging by preliminary benchmarks I don't think it will reliably topple the 2600k, especially when the latter is overclocked. It does have an interesting "all cores turbo" feature that's sort of like built-in overclocking, but I haven't seen much as far as detail or performance on that. Also new AMD/ATI graphics card, the 7000 series, but I don't know much about it...
All feedback is welcome!