Help me plan a system upgrade...

Started Mar 20, 2013 | Discussions thread
Birk Binnard
Senior MemberPosts: 1,687
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Re: Help me plan a system upgrade...
In reply to malch, Mar 20, 2013

You are on the right track - I recently rebuilt my system to include an i7-3770S (S = low voltage) and an 840 Pro.  The 840 Pro is a truly spectacular drive, and it has a 5 year warranty to boot. The i7's 8 threads make quick work of rendering HD video.

For a motherboard I chose the ASUS P8Z77M which is a micro-ATX board. This board has all the necessary features but only one slot for a full-size video card - meaning it won't do SLI video.  That's ok for me because I don't do gaming.  The key thing is the Z77 chipset - this is the latest Intel offering and supports internal (CPU-based) video.

That means that if you are ok with using only 1 monitor you don't need a separate video card.  I use 2 monitors so I got a low-cost EVGA GT-630 card to handle them. I think I could use the internal video on the motherboard to add a 3rd monitor some day, but this is unlikely.

The case I used is the Thermaltake A30.  This is a small form factor case but it has room inside for 2 SSD's (and I have 2), 2 optical drives (I have a Blu-Ray R/W and a DVD/R) and internal bays for 2 3.5" HDD's (I have a 500GB and a 1 TB.)  In addition there is one slot for an external  3.5" drive which is where I have a multi-function card reader.

The P8Z77M supports USB3 and USB 2 - needless to say USB3 is far superior.

One tricky thing is the power supply - I had to search for one that had 6 SATA power connectors - most supplies have only 4.  The OCZ 650 has 6 (actually 8, 4 on each of 2 modular cables) and it has been working great. A modular PS is a good idea because the A30 case is small and eliminating extra cables is nice.

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Birk Binnard
www.birkbinnard.com/photography;

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