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Help on High End Custom Gaming PC Build - Constructive Criticism Welcome!

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April 9, 2013 11:34:04 PM

I'm building a high end custom gaming computer for the first time in many years and I've been researching the latest and greatest for weeks now. Here is what I've come up with and I wanted to get a few opinions before I click BUY on NewEgg / Amazon.

Case: Thermaltake Level 10 GT VN10001W2N No PS Full Tower Case(Black) ($249.99 amazon)

Power: Corsair Professional Series 860 Watt Digital ATX/EPS Modular 80 PLUS Platinum Power Supply AX860i
($199.99 amazon)

MoBo: GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UP7 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Extended ATX Intel Motherboard
($389.99 (-30 MiR)= $359.99 newegg)

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K Quad-Core Processor 3.5 GHz 8 MB Cache LGA 1155 - BX80637I73770K
($309.99 amazon)

CPU Cooling: Corsair Hydro Series Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler H100i
($109.99 amazon)

Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory Model F3-2133C9Q-32GXH ($299.99 newegg)

Memory Cooler: G.SKILL FTB-3500C5-D Fans
($14.99 newegg)

Video: MSI NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 OC 2GB GDDR5 2DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort PCI-Express Video Card N670 PE 2GD5/OC
($379.99 amazon)

Storage: (2x in RAID 0) - Samsung Electronics 840 Pro Series 2.5-Inch 256 GB SATA 6GB/s Solid State Drive MZ-7PD256BW
($219.99x2= $439.98 amazon)

Accessories: AeroCool Touch 2100 Touch control 5 sets of Fan/Temp. Up to 25W per fan channel, USB3.0, Audio/Mic, LCD Display
($63.99 newegg)

Arctic Silver 5 High-Density Polysynthetic Silver Thermal Compound AS5-3.5G - OEM
($7.99 newegg)

TOTAL PRICE (minus tax)= $2466.88

I was looking to stay around $2000, but I don't mind paying a bit extra for some nice stuff. I do plan on over clocking the CPU / Memory / Video to reasonable levels.

My main concern so far is with the memory. Some people say that the specific memory needs 1.6v and the i7 3770K doesn't support anything over 1.5? This doesn't sound right to me, I figured it would depend on the MoBo being capable of handling overclocked memory, which of course the Gigabyte UP7 does. If someone could please clarify this and add/subtract anything from this I would be deeply grateful to you all.

The last thing I kept toying with back and forth is either putting in a SLI MSI GTX 650 TI Boost setup or the one single GTX 670 or 680. I settled on the 670 to cut down on heat output from the case and future scalability to SLI 670's, but please advise.. This is just what I came up with from weeks of reading and flip-flopping back and forth on mobos/memory/video/etc..

The one thing that kills me on most of these Z77 MoBo's, is that the minute you put in more than 1 PCIe v2/3 card into any of the extra x16 slots, it automatically drops your video card down to x8... So if I want to put in a video capture card or something else that is x4/x6/x8, I then have to drop my video card to x8. Anyway!


THANK YOU ALL! :) 


More about : high end custom gaming build constructive criticism

April 10, 2013 12:04:45 AM

Currently I use 670sli and I can say for sure that a single 670 is not enough for high end gaming. You already picked a large case so don't worry about the heat when going SLI. You can put a powerful fan between the cards to blow hot air to the back, like this: http://img.techpowerup.org/120930/P1000267.jpg (my own rig).

Other observations:

- You don't need two SSDs in raid for gaming. Just one 128GB ssd (for OS and programs) and 2TB HDD (for games: recommended a fast model, like WD black) are more than enough. My SSD can load a level of Crysis 2 in 12 second, while the good old HDD can load in 19 secs. Why waste a bunch of money to shave off merely 5-10 second of loading time?

- Corsair H100i already have built in fan control software, so you don't really need a fan controller panel. You can buy it later if you really need it, but I want you to try Corsair Link first.
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April 10, 2013 12:41:21 AM

a bit overpriced if you ask me; with that money I could have a server motherboard with two E5-2620 and okey gpu (such as 7950 or Tahiti LE).

R4 Titan - Here you have a GTX Titan
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April 10, 2013 12:43:12 AM

First, you have made some really great choices for your components.
Are you going to run a single screen? For such a high-end if you went AMD 7950, 7970 or waited for the soon to come 8000 series you could run an crossfire setup and power three 24" screens. Just a thought. I have yet to add another screen, but I will soon in the future - I have heard nothing but positive things from having two or more screens to work on.

One comment on your PSU, I have two Corsair PSUs and I am very pleased with them. I have the HX 850 and it is an amazing PSU. The AX860i is even better. However, for a high-end rig, I would recommend going to the AX 1200 or the new 1200i PSU for the following reasons:

1. If you want to go SLI or Crossfire and add a second (or third) video card, the 1200i gives you more than enough capacity.
2. It is best if you run your PSU as approximately 50% capacity because that is where nearly all PSUs get their maximum efficiency. The Corsair PSUs approach 93% efficiency at 50% of their capacity - this is an amazing efficiency rating.
3. The AX 1200 (0r 1200i) run at 30% capacity with over 90% efficiency. This means you won't be hurt my using only 1/3 of the PSU capacity. You have a lot of components and adding a second card would quickly get you into the 50% capacity usage of the AX1200 where it gets amazing efficiency
4. The AX 1200 will run nearly silent at 50% capacity which is a big plus with the open architecture of the case that you have chosen.

I use just one ATI 6950 with my computer (2600K CPU) and so my PSU runs at close to 50% capacity. According to the reviews I have read, the HX 850 gets between 92%-93% efficiency at 50% capacity (platinum level). Also, I am not sure if the fan even turns on. To date I have never heard the PSU fan come on.

I also owned the HX750 with and I-7 920 setup and the PSU fan would come on all of the time because of the lower capacity and it was noisy. That is why I recommend over-sizing your PSU. It really doesn't cost that much more and you get a lot of bang for your buck.

If you are sure that you are only going to run one video card, then the 860i is more than enough PSU. But with such a high end rig, why not go SLI or Crossfire.

My final thought would be to add at least 2 TB of HD space to add to your SSD. You chose the best SSD available right now but you will need the HD space for photos, videos and other items that take a lot of HD space.

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April 10, 2013 12:59:53 AM

Stick with on 256 GB PRO Samsung SSD and couple that with either a single 2 TB HD or two 1 TB HDs. You will be able to use the 256 GB capacity of the Samsung and it is always nice to have extra capacity on your SSD. Also the 256 GB is faster than the 128 GB. The 256 GB also goes on sale regularly and you can get screaming deals.

I use this setup with a Vertex 4 128 GB SSD for my Windows 7 OS. I store all of my data in one file on a second SSD (Corsair 120 GB GT). Then to provide a safe backup, I copy that single file to one of my 1 TB HDs once a week. This is so simple and foolproof. I have had problems with auto backups on external HDs. This system takes very little time and it protects all of my important data.

I don't think that you need to run your SSDs in Raid 0 unless you are a real speed demon. SSDs by themselves are wicked fast. Also running a raid configuration is a pain in the a**. I ran two HDs in Raid 1 for backup redundancy and they were always having some problems of some kind. You may want to try a single SSD first and see if it is fast enough for your needs. If so, it is a lot simpler to use than a RAID setup.

Also, some SSDs don't have TRIM function for RAID setups.
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April 10, 2013 1:17:42 AM

silapakorn said:
Currently I use 670sli and I can say for sure that a single 670 is not enough for high end gaming. You already picked a large case so don't worry about the heat when going SLI. You can put a powerful fan between the cards to blow hot air to the back, like this: http://img.techpowerup.org/120930/P1000267.jpg (my own rig).

Other observations:

- You don't need two SSDs in raid for gaming. Just one 128GB ssd (for OS and programs) and 2TB HDD (for games: recommended a fast model, like WD black) are more than enough. My SSD can load a level of Crysis 2 in 12 second, while the good old HDD can load in 19 secs. Why waste a bunch of money to shave off merely 5-10 second of loading time?

- Corsair H100i already have built in fan control software, so you don't really need a fan controller panel. You can buy it later if you really need it, but I want you to try Corsair Link first.


Thank you for the great input. Between your recommendation and flong777, I think I'll axe the SSD raid setup to save some dough. I'll probably also wait on the Aero fan control (I really just wanted it for the cool looks in the front). I can also re-route this extra money to another 670 as you suggested now or a bit down the line if I find that Crysis 3 won't run on max settings :) 
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April 10, 2013 1:25:42 AM

flong777 said:
First, you have made some really great choices for your components.
Are you going to run a single screen? For such a high-end if you went AMD 7950, 7970 or waited for the soon to come 8000 series you could run an crossfire setup and power three 24" screens. Just a thought. I have yet to add another screen, but I will soon in the future - I have heard nothing but positive things from having two or more screens to work on.

One comment on your PSU, I have two Corsair PSUs and I am very pleased with them. I have the HX 850 and it is an amazing PSU. The AX860i is even better. However, for a high-end rig, I would recommend going to the AX 1200 or the new 1200i PSU for the following reasons:

1. If you want to go SLI or Crossfire and add a second (or third) video card, the 1200i gives you more than enough capacity.
2. It is best if you run your PSU as approximately 50% capacity because that is where nearly all PSUs get their maximum efficiency. The Corsair PSUs approach 93% efficiency at 50% of their capacity - this is an amazing efficiency rating.
3. The AX 1200 (0r 1200i) run at 30% capacity with over 90% efficiency. This means you won't be hurt my using only 1/3 of the PSU capacity. You have a lot of components and adding a second card would quickly get you into the 50% capacity usage of the AX1200 where it gets amazing efficiency
4. The AX 1200 will run nearly silent at 50% capacity which is a big plus with the open architecture of the case that you have chosen.

I use just one ATI 6950 with my computer (2600K CPU) and so my PSU runs at close to 50% capacity. According to the reviews I have read, the HX 850 gets between 92%-93% efficiency at 50% capacity (platinum level). Also, I am not sure if the fan even turns on. To date I have never heard the PSU fan come on.

I also owned the HX750 with and I-7 920 setup and the PSU fan would come on all of the time because of the lower capacity and it was noisy. That is why I recommend over-sizing your PSU. It really doesn't cost that much more and you get a lot of bang for your buck.

If you are sure that you are only going to run one video card, then the 860i is more than enough PSU. But with such a high end rig, why not go SLI or Crossfire.

My final thought would be to add at least 2 TB of HD space to add to your SSD. You chose the best SSD available right now but you will need the HD space for photos, videos and other items that take a lot of HD space.




First off, thank you for the lengthy reply and incite. This has helped me greatly in my decision making. I'm going to take your advice on the PSU and go with the larger Corsair model as suggested. I currently only run 1x 52" Samsung at 1080p, but I may very well try out a triple monitor setup down the line a bit, so I want to keep my options open. I use 2 screens at work and I've setup a few 3 and 4 screen setups before, which really do make a lot of difference when doing day-to-day work on your computer, but no experience with multiple screen gaming.

As mentioned in my last reply, I'm going to take your advice as well and remove the RAID 0 SSD setup and put in a 2 TB Hard drive or some other configuration of standard hard drives.

Thanks again for all the great advice. :cheese: 
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April 10, 2013 1:29:06 AM

Valentin_N said:
a bit overpriced if you ask me; with that money I could have a server motherboard with two E5-2620 and okey gpu (such as 7950 or Tahiti LE).

R4 Titan - Here you have a GTX Titan


I'd prefer to spread the money around a bit more evenly. I can't ever see myself buying a Titan or even a GTX 690. If my bank account had several more zeros in the balance, then I would build a quad titan setup ;) 
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April 10, 2013 1:52:48 AM

Enigmatic Squid said:
Valentin_N said:
a bit overpriced if you ask me; with that money I could have a server motherboard with two E5-2620 and okey gpu (such as 7950 or Tahiti LE).

R4 Titan - Here you have a GTX Titan


I'd prefer to spread the money around a bit more evenly. I can't ever see myself buying a Titan or even a GTX 690. If my bank account had several more zeros in the balance, then I would build a quad titan setup ;) 


Now you can :) ; here is a build that costs 2000$ with titan as gpu.
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April 10, 2013 1:05:19 PM

Just a side note, my friend has the case you have listed, and it looks sooo amazing :) 

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April 10, 2013 8:09:14 PM

Awesome to hear :)  Well I purchased everything today with the addition of a LG blue ray burner and I'll have to post some pictures once I get it all built. Thanks again to everyone for the input, now I pray nothing comes DOA Xp
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April 11, 2013 2:52:49 AM

Enigmatic Squid said:
Awesome to hear :)  Well I purchased everything today with the addition of a LG blue ray burner and I'll have to post some pictures once I get it all built. Thanks again to everyone for the input, now I pray nothing comes DOA Xp


So what parts will you take?
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April 11, 2013 3:42:54 AM

I know you already know this but be careful with your motherboard when you install the CPU and the cooler. I damaged my CPU holder on my board and almost had to buy it. I am sure your much better than I am with this.

Good luck with your build, it is an awesome build and will be an unbelievable gaming machine and computer in general.
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April 11, 2013 11:01:11 PM

Thank you all again for the input.

I ended up with the same build, but I removed one of the Samsung SSD's. I also bumped the PSU up to the Corsair 1200i. I stuck with the one MSI GTX 670, but I may purchase another one at some point and do SLI. I also tagged on these items:

ROCCAT Kone XTD Max Gaming Mouse

Lite On 12x Internal SATA BD Writer Retail Pack iHBS312-98

Seagate Barracuda 3 TB HDD SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST3000DM001


I look forward to everything coming in next week so I can put this beast together and start my OC'ing adventure. I also bought some extra tools (new electronic screw driver / ESD gloves / etc..) to make the install go smoothly.

Save/Follow this thread and I promise to post some pics here in the next week or two of the finished product.

Cheers! :cheese: 
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April 12, 2013 1:15:10 AM

You are going to have an amazing computer - really. You have chosen some of the best components available.

Good choice with the 3TB Barracuda - it is one of the fastest HDs out there and it has had some great reviews. The 670 is a great choice and in SLI they have been reviewed well.

Good luck with your build
Enigmatic Squid said:
Thank you all again for the input.

I ended up with the same build, but I removed one of the Samsung SSD's. I also bumped the PSU up to the Corsair 1200i. I stuck with the one MSI GTX 670, but I may purchase another one at some point and do SLI. I also tagged on these items:

ROCCAT Kone XTD Max Gaming Mouse

Lite On 12x Internal SATA BD Writer Retail Pack iHBS312-98

Seagate Barracuda 3 TB HDD SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST3000DM001


I look forward to everything coming in next week so I can put this beast together and start my OC'ing adventure. I also bought some extra tools (new electronic screw driver / ESD gloves / etc..) to make the install go smoothly.

Save/Follow this thread and I promise to post some pics here in the next week or two of the finished product.

Cheers! :cheese: 


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