My main Core2Duo system from 2008 was beginning to show its age and I decided it was time for a desktop upgrade. That system was originally built in 2003 and has been through several upgrade cycles already so I decided to start fresh this time with a new case and new components.
My goal for this build was to create a performance oriented desktop capable of a variety of different tasks. I use my main desktop for various applications including:
- Video Editing (primarily video lectures)
- Light photo editing
- Program development & compiling (primarily C# and VB.net)
- Movie watching and ripping
- Multimedia lesson planning
- Day-to-day use (Email, web-browsing, etc)
Storage wasn’t a concern for this build as all data is eventually stored externally on the network.
After a lengthy research process, a lot of product reviews, and more than a few glances at MaximumPC’s Best of the Best list I decided on the following components:
- Intel Core i7-3930K Sandy Bridge-E (OC to 4.4GHz stable @ 1.34V [-0.15 offset] : 20 pass LinX)
- CORSAIR H100 water cooler (78° max load on LinX, 34° idle @ 4.4GHz)
- ASUS P9X79 PRO
- G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 16GB DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000)
- GIGABYTE GV-R787OC-2GD Radeon HD 7870
- SAMSUNG 830 Series 128GB SSD x2 in Raid 0
- Corsair Special Edition White Graphite Series 600T Steel
- CORSAIR Professional Series HX850 (CMPSU-850HX) 850W
- LITE-ON 12X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 12X DVD-RAM 8X BD-ROM
- Arctic Silver 5
Kudos to Newegg.com for a pleasant shopping, ordering, and shipping experience.
The build went together easily. Corsair has really designed a well thought-out case with the 600T. Overclocking was a breeze, the P9X79 Pro is built for it and there is a lot of online documentation for suggested settings. SSD optimization in Windows was a little tricky but not impossible. Aesthetic cable routing took longer than anything.
Overall I’m more than pleased with the build. From power on to fully useable desktop takes just 14 seconds. Complete shutdown occurs in just 4 seconds. Programs open virtually instantaneously and I can perform multiple tasks without issue. I’ve gamed, coded, edited, and transcoded 2 hour videos (sometimes at the same time!) and nothing has made this rig break a sweat.
It’s important to note that only transcoding has really tapped the two extra cores on the i7-3930K, so if gaming is your ultimate goal you may be better served with the 1155 socket as you will likely never utilize the full potential of the 2011.
That being said the 2011 is a serious workhorse capable of handling even the most intensive computing tasks in stride. I believe it currently offers the best upgrade path over the course of the next several years. It comes at a bit of a price premium, but certainly delivers today and likely for years to come.