Upsized to Micro-ATX

Think I finally landed on a build!

CPU : i5 3570K (I know the 8350 is faster for cheaper, but when i overclock I don't want the power bill to cost more as Australia's average price per kilowatt is $0.24)

Cooler : Xigmatek Dark Knight Night Hawk Edition

Ram : 2 x 4 Corsiar Vengeance DDR3 1600mhz CAS 9

Mobo : ASRock Z77 Pro4-M

PSU : Seasonic 520W Modular Power Supply 80+Bronze

SSD : SanDisk Extreme 120GB

GPU : EVGA GeForce 660Ti FTW Signature 2 (Like EVGA's quality, warrenty and service, and the card is super sexy and matches the case and mobo)

DVD/RW : Samsung (Who gives a shit about DVD/RW)

Case : Fractal Design Arc Midi (Small, but sexy)

Total, shipped to my door is $1225.


Well, for small factors, Intel has a better platform anyway. I haven't seen any mATX boards with AMD's latest series of chipsets (though I think ASRock as an ITX board); they all seem to be re-branded AM3 boards.

There are better GPU's for the money, such as the Radeon 7950, but it sounds like you're pretty attached to that card in particular. However, without a side-panel window, I really wouldn't put any emphasis in aesthetics.

I did look into m-ATX cases with side-panel windows, but came up dry. I also tried looking for a less expensive case that didn't feel outright cheap, but also came up dry. I did find the Silverstone Temjin TJ08-E. I like the styling better, and it comes with a single front-intake 180mm Air Penetrator fan, which creates positive air pressure, and directed right at the CPU. I'd mount the cooler's fan in a pull config for maximum performance. Also has a removable motherboard tray, which should make building it a lot easier.

I'd also spring for the CM Hyper 612. Solid copper base plate with 6 heatpipes. It's a lot more heatsink in the same price range. I have the original Dark Knight, with the same 3x 8mm HDT heatpipes; about the only difference is mine is nickel plated copper instead of a ceramic coating, and if anything, I would think ceramic coating would degrade performance. Honestly, I'm a bit disappointed with it, though it's not bad either as I have a 4.5GHz OC with my 2500k, but it gets up to 68c (~42c over ambient). I didn't live up to the price I paid for it ($50). As I've said, without a side-panel window, internal aesthetics don't mean much, so I'd spring for a beefier, albeit, less attractive cooler.

Last bit of advice is the SSD. I'd go Plextor M5S, which is basically a Crucial M4 with 256MB of DDR cache added on. It features 8 more GB's of space, blazing fast (71,000 IOPS random read vs 23,000 of the SanDisk), and delivers consistent performance since it doesn't rely on compression like SandForce SSD's, thanks to the Marvell Controller. At the same price $115, there really isn't any reason not to get it.

I like the Fractal better, but that CoolerMaster heatsink looks like it will keep the CPU Cooler (pun intended). As for the Plextor, HOLY SHIT that thing is "STUPID FAST". Also forgot to say that I will be video rendering, hence the 660Ti, but I like the AMD cards a tiny bit more.

Well, with Nvidia GPU's, if you want high quality sexy cards, EVGA is the route to go, though I'd give ASUS a look too, especially if you're going to be any overclocking on the GPU. I love the DirectCU II platform. Very custom, from the PCB, to power delivery, to the heatsink. In the States, the ASUS card is more, but not in Australia apparently.

I've been eyeing that evga 660ti, it is very sexy. Build looks solid,