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Will this cooling system and power supply be sufficient? A lot of questions from a newbie

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June 7, 2013 6:08:19 AM

Good day guys,

I'm seriously considering building my first gaming pc, but this is really all very new to me and I'm not very experienced. I've done a lot of research in the process of understanding all this, and I have often ended up reading useful and insightful threads on this website. Hence my reason for signing up to ask your own opinions on the matter! I have a few questions lined up, so please bear with me (I really appreciate your time!)

I'm going for very high-end hardware which will be capable of playing 3D games (where available) with a respectable frame rate. My setup is as follows. I'll provide links to the products as I've seen them on Amazon.co.uk, which is the most relevant to me since I'm from England:

Power Supply:
Corsair AX850 Professional series 850W Plus Gold PSU

Motherboard:
Gigabyte Z77X-UP7

CPU Intel Core:
Intel 3rd Generation Core i7-3770K CPU

CPU Cooler:
INTEL BXRTS2011LC RTS2011LC Thermal Solution (Liquid Cooling)

Memory:
G.Skill 32GB Ripjaws X Quad Channel Memory Kit

Graphics Card:
Asus Nvidia GeForce GTX 690

Main Storage:
1) Crucial 256GB Internal SSD
AND
2) Seagate 3TB SATA3 hard drive

Optical Drive: Asus Blu-ray Writer Drive

OS: Windows 8 Pro

Case: I have shortlisted 3 which seem to suit my needs, but I can't quite decide which one is the best (if you have any better suggestions I'm all ears!):
1) Inwin MaNa 136 Midi Tower Mesh Gaming Case
2) Coolermaster HAF 922 Mid Tower
3) Nzxt Technologies Phantom with Green Trim Enthusiast Full Tower Case (I really love the look of this one but unfortunately it does not appear to be available in the UK).


ACCESSORIES:

Monitor: Asus VG278H 27-inch 3D Monitor with NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 glasses

Keyboard: Logitech G510 Keyboard

Mouse: Logitech G400 Optical Mouse - when choosing a mouse I read a lot of advice from users here who said that the mouse choice should be influenced by the tye of games you play - but I'm a pretty eclectic gamer! I don't particularly stick to one style at all. This mouse seemed to be a middle-ground well priced model.


I have also ordered some thermal CPU paste (for CPU installation) and an anti-static wrist band.

So to summarise, I have several questions which I'm hoping one of you patient people can enlighten me on!
1) Is the fan I have sufficient to cool this system? I only have one dedicated fan (the CPU cooler), which worries me slightly.
2) Is the wattage sufficient to power the system?
3) Is the hardware generally well suited to the needs I have described?
4) To further that question, is 32gb of RAM excessive? I've read in some places that 8gb is sufficient for any game, but many people disagree on this.
4) Is a static wristband necessary, and if so, where do I clip it to while I work with the motherboard? (I'm nervous about clipping it to any part of the motherboard itself)
5) Is Windows 8 the best option? I've heard a lot of negative reviews!

If you've stuck with me through all of that then I'm extremely grateful, and I just hope you can share your wisdom with me!

Thanks a lot for your time :) 

June 7, 2013 6:18:25 AM

Yohannas said:
Good day guys,

I'm seriously considering building my first gaming pc, but this is really all very new to me and I'm not very experienced. I've done a lot of research in the process of understanding all this, and I have often ended up reading useful and insightful threads on this website. Hence my reason for signing up to ask your own opinions on the matter! I have a few questions lined up, so please bear with me (I really appreciate your time!)

I'm going for very high-end hardware which will be capable of playing 3D games (where available) with a respectable frame rate. My setup is as follows. I'll provide links to the products as I've seen them on Amazon.co.uk, which is the most relevant to me since I'm from England:

Power Supply:
Corsair AX850 Professional series 850W Plus Gold PSU

Motherboard:
Gigabyte Z77X-UP7

CPU Intel Core:
Intel 3rd Generation Core i7-3770K CPU

CPU Cooler:
INTEL BXRTS2011LC RTS2011LC Thermal Solution (Liquid Cooling)

Memory:
G.Skill 32GB Ripjaws X Quad Channel Memory Kit

Graphics Card:
Asus Nvidia GeForce GTX 690

Main Storage:
1) Crucial 256GB Internal SSD
AND
2) Seagate 3TB SATA3 hard drive

Optical Drive: Asus Blu-ray Writer Drive

OS: Windows 8 Pro

Case: I have shortlisted 3 which seem to suit my needs, but I can't quite decide which one is the best (if you have any better suggestions I'm all ears!):
1) Inwin MaNa 136 Midi Tower Mesh Gaming Case
2) Coolermaster HAF 922 Mid Tower
3) Nzxt Technologies Phantom with Green Trim Enthusiast Full Tower Case (I really love the look of this one but unfortunately it does not appear to be available in the UK).


ACCESSORIES:

Monitor: Asus VG278H 27-inch 3D Monitor with NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 glasses

Keyboard: Logitech G510 Keyboard

Mouse: Logitech G400 Optical Mouse - when choosing a mouse I read a lot of advice from users here who said that the mouse choice should be influenced by the tye of games you play - but I'm a pretty eclectic gamer! I don't particularly stick to one style at all. This mouse seemed to be a middle-ground well priced model.


I have also ordered some thermal CPU paste (for CPU installation) and an anti-static wrist band.

So to summarise, I have several questions which I'm hoping one of you patient people can enlighten me on!
1) Is the fan I have sufficient to cool this system? I only have one dedicated fan (the CPU cooler), which worries me slightly.
2) Is the wattage sufficient to power the system?
3) Is the hardware generally well suited to the needs I have described?
4) To further that question, is 32gb of RAM excessive? I've read in some places that 8gb is sufficient for any game, but many people disagree on this.
4) Is a static wristband necessary, and if so, where do I clip it to while I work with the motherboard? (I'm nervous about clipping it to any part of the motherboard itself)
5) Is Windows 8 the best option? I've heard a lot of negative reviews!

If you've stuck with me through all of that then I'm extremely grateful, and I just hope you can share your wisdom with me!

Thanks a lot for your time :) 



Hello well let's see.

This setup is very good and well thought out. It will definitely work for your needs. Few things i can add First off pick the NZXT case. It looks overall to be a better choice and just looking at it from the inside makes me drool. HAF is also a solid choice i have a HAF X my self. But judging from the general orientation and hardware on the NZXT it will be easier and roomier after installation.

GTX690 is Generation 600 card. They are coming out with 700 series. You could presumably wait for a 700 series card that will match the GTX690. But if u don't want to than i stand by 690 100%. I have 680 my self and am buying 680 soon as possible.

Good cooler choice. It will work very well and since it;'s intel it will fit with the board better. You could also get Corsair H100i which is also solid cooler.

32GB ram is by no means excessive because u will not need page file so your SSD will be bigger with that. And also if you can afford it get it. Aside from that very solid component choice u are well prepared, nice touch on the wristband.

U could also have a look at the new Intel 4th generation cores that just came out. There might be a better option for the same price in there.

When building this read your manual's carefully. Do not force anything but do make sure everything is tight and well made. If you have problems or questions you can always PM, or write a thread about it.

I approve your config.


You clip the band onto the case. When you open it just clip it somewhere so it has direct connection with the chasis. Do not be nervous it will go perfectly well. Installation is very straight forward things only fit one way. The only thing difficult would be the installation of your watercooler but i assure you it has extensive guide with it. Just read well and mind what u are doing and don't be afraid we all started at the same place :) .

If u plan to not full watercool it. HAF is a solid choice HAF= High air flow. So if u want air u can't go wrong with a HAF. HAF 922 is sort of an older model though i think the HAF X is better with features and space. also haf 932 has a very sick window .

Most importantly no 1 fan will not be sufficient to cool the system. You will need at least a few fans to push air in and out for a good performance. The HAF will help with that since it comes with large 200MM fans. Just put few of those in and you are golden.


I use Windows 8 4 months before it was publicly released. I find it to be very well thought out system and people will always complain about everything. There are few nicks here and there but overall has been a very smooth sailing for me. Just learn to use windows key excessively and type everything u want to look for. Some people will suggest Windows 7 personally i switched to 8 and do not regret it one bit. And it is better optimized.
June 7, 2013 6:27:43 AM

There are a large number of areas in which you could improve price efficiency. What is your budget?

Edit: Shallowmist, I'm not sure how you can come to the conclusion that four times the optimal amount of RAM is anything other than excessive.
Related resources
June 7, 2013 6:48:21 AM

Jack Revenant said:
There are a large number of areas in which you could improve price efficiency. What is your budget?

Edit: Shallowmist, I'm not sure how you can come to the conclusion that four times the optimal amount of RAM is anything other than excessive.


I don't see what you are trying to achieve here. It's like the guy wants to build an insane computer. And your solution to this is YEAH USE 8GB ram to save money!!!!!!!. You know what probably when he wants to spent this much building something he doesn't give a damn about the price. And further more that RAM can be used for way more than just games.

If this was a i have 600$ and want to build a pc than i would not recommend 32. But if he is building a beast than hell yeah go for it. And as a note i have 16Gb and i fill that up, so don't you preach to me about excessive you do not know what he does on his computer. Building insane computer is building something that will work great in the future for things u haven;t planned. Not fitting it 100% to what u need right now at this second. So hence future proof it 32GB of ram. And by what definition is 8GB the MAXIMUM recommended. How did u make that calculation ? Based on what ? 800$ pc's running configuration. Because modders overclockers and enthusiasts start rolling from 16 on wards.
June 7, 2013 6:55:33 AM

Shallowmist said:
Jack Revenant said:
There are a large number of areas in which you could improve price efficiency. What is your budget?

Edit: Shallowmist, I'm not sure how you can come to the conclusion that four times the optimal amount of RAM is anything other than excessive.


I don't see what you are trying to achieve here. It's like the guy wants to build an insane computer. And your solution to this is YEAH USE 8GB ram to save money!!!!!!!. You know what probably when he wants to spent this much building something he doesn't give a damn about the price. And further more that RAM can be used for way more than just games.

If this was a i have 600$ and want to build a pc than i would not recommend 32. But if he is building a beast than hell yeah go for it. And as a note i have 16Gb and i fill that up, so don't you preach to me about excessive you do not know what he does on his computer. Building insane computer is building something that will work great in the future for things u haven;t planned. Not fitting it 100% to what u need right now at this second. So hence future proof it 32GB of ram. And by what definition is 8GB the MAXIMUM recommended. How did u make that calculation ? Based on what ? 800$ pc's running configuration. Because modders overclockers and enthusiasts start rolling from 16 on wards.


If he's using a 690, we shouldn't assume infinite budget. Dual 780/Titans would be a far worthier investment that 32GB of RAM.

Also, you will note that word "optimal", not "maximum", was used. I use 16GB myself, and consider it a perfectly reasonable option for high-end builds. It is, however, by no means the most efficient option, nor the most optimal.

I'm not saying "Oh, just buy a $1,250 machine and upgrade regularly", I'm saying that just because you have plenty to spend isn't a reason to make inefficient choices. I had a pretty much unlimited budget for my PC, but I didn't buy anything I wouldn't be using. Doesn't mean I scrimped (at all, in fact), but rather that I kept value-for-money in mind, as we should here.
June 7, 2013 7:04:35 AM

Jack Revenant said:
Shallowmist said:
Jack Revenant said:
There are a large number of areas in which you could improve price efficiency. What is your budget?

Edit: Shallowmist, I'm not sure how you can come to the conclusion that four times the optimal amount of RAM is anything other than excessive.


I don't see what you are trying to achieve here. It's like the guy wants to build an insane computer. And your solution to this is YEAH USE 8GB ram to save money!!!!!!!. You know what probably when he wants to spent this much building something he doesn't give a damn about the price. And further more that RAM can be used for way more than just games.

If this was a i have 600$ and want to build a pc than i would not recommend 32. But if he is building a beast than hell yeah go for it. And as a note i have 16Gb and i fill that up, so don't you preach to me about excessive you do not know what he does on his computer. Building insane computer is building something that will work great in the future for things u haven;t planned. Not fitting it 100% to what u need right now at this second. So hence future proof it 32GB of ram. And by what definition is 8GB the MAXIMUM recommended. How did u make that calculation ? Based on what ? 800$ pc's running configuration. Because modders overclockers and enthusiasts start rolling from 16 on wards.


If he's using a 690, we shouldn't assume infinite budget. Dual 780/Titans would be a far worthier investment that 32GB of RAM.

Also, you will note that word "optimal", not "maximum", was used. I use 16GB myself, and consider it a perfectly reasonable option for high-end builds. It is, however, by no means the most efficient option, nor the most optimal.

I'm not saying "Oh, just buy a $1,250 machine and upgrade regularly", I'm saying that just because you have plenty to spend isn't a reason to make inefficient choices. I had a pretty much unlimited budget for my PC, but I didn't buy anything I wouldn't be using. Doesn't mean I scrimped (at all, in fact), but rather that I kept value-for-money in mind, as we should here.


I did originally suggest getting 700 series cards if you would read more carefully. And i also suggested looking into a better CPU. Point is this whole argument is all because i opted for the 32GB of ram and u seem to be very much against it. Since obviously the 100 spent there would be sufficient to increase some major component with more than 5% power. I don't see 16/32 as unreasonable but i do think 8 is a sad recommendation. 690 is cheaper than titan now ain't it.
June 7, 2013 7:25:22 AM

Shallowmist said:
Jack Revenant said:
Shallowmist said:
Jack Revenant said:
There are a large number of areas in which you could improve price efficiency. What is your budget?

Edit: Shallowmist, I'm not sure how you can come to the conclusion that four times the optimal amount of RAM is anything other than excessive.


I don't see what you are trying to achieve here. It's like the guy wants to build an insane computer. And your solution to this is YEAH USE 8GB ram to save money!!!!!!!. You know what probably when he wants to spent this much building something he doesn't give a damn about the price. And further more that RAM can be used for way more than just games.

If this was a i have 600$ and want to build a pc than i would not recommend 32. But if he is building a beast than hell yeah go for it. And as a note i have 16Gb and i fill that up, so don't you preach to me about excessive you do not know what he does on his computer. Building insane computer is building something that will work great in the future for things u haven;t planned. Not fitting it 100% to what u need right now at this second. So hence future proof it 32GB of ram. And by what definition is 8GB the MAXIMUM recommended. How did u make that calculation ? Based on what ? 800$ pc's running configuration. Because modders overclockers and enthusiasts start rolling from 16 on wards.


If he's using a 690, we shouldn't assume infinite budget. Dual 780/Titans would be a far worthier investment that 32GB of RAM.

Also, you will note that word "optimal", not "maximum", was used. I use 16GB myself, and consider it a perfectly reasonable option for high-end builds. It is, however, by no means the most efficient option, nor the most optimal.

I'm not saying "Oh, just buy a $1,250 machine and upgrade regularly", I'm saying that just because you have plenty to spend isn't a reason to make inefficient choices. I had a pretty much unlimited budget for my PC, but I didn't buy anything I wouldn't be using. Doesn't mean I scrimped (at all, in fact), but rather that I kept value-for-money in mind, as we should here.


I did originally suggest getting 700 series cards if you would read more carefully. And i also suggested looking into a better CPU. Point is this whole argument is all because i opted for the 32GB of ram and u seem to be very much against it. Since obviously the 100 spent there would be sufficient to increase some major component with more than 5% power. I don't see 16/32 as unreasonable but i do think 8 is a sad recommendation. 690 is cheaper than titan now ain't it.


I did, in fact, read that. However, your comment was a bit more muted that what I would say. That being, "The GTX 690, having never been an efficient option in the first place, is now completely out of date and I would strongly recommend against using it. Dual 770s would be more powerful and cheaper, dual 780s would tear it to shreds."
The point of this whole argument is that someone asked for optimization advice and you recommended a suboptimal choice. If OP just wanted to build a huge doom machine for $10k and came out and said as much, that'd be one thing, but he was actively seeking to find out if he had an efficient selection.
Every $100 matters, particularly when you add 'em together. I can't count the number of builds I've seen that could be made more powerful by dropping some unnecessary bling for more powerful core components.
The 690 can't be SLIed without getting into all the problems of quad-SLI. Dual 780s is a cheaper, more effective option, and still powerful beyond all sensible use.
June 7, 2013 7:30:11 AM

I’ll give you my 2 bits for what it’s worth, just to go down your parts list.

Your PSU is great, plenty of power there I think.

MB: May as well go for a Z87 MB, Tom here has spoken highly of the ASUS Z87 Pro
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/z87-haswell-motherb...

CPU: i5 4670k

CPU Cooler: I really like the Swiftech H220 over all other AIO for many reasons (copper radiator, all others use aluminum/ 6Watt pump, all others ~2-3Watts), it is expandable so if you want to WC your GPU later you can, also add another radiator for better cooling, read this…
http://martinsliquidlab.org/2013/01/27/swiftech-h220-pr...
(Best water review place on the net, bar none)
http://www.swiftech.com/H220.aspx

Memory: 16GB is more than enough, but memory is a good buy now, may as well get it now over just getting 8GB. Get 2x8, if you need to add you can later.
G.Skill is good stuff…..

Graphics: GTX 690 is killer fast, but I would go Titan, less power and heat at about same performance, you can add another later.

Storage and optical look fine.

I know nothing about Win8, I like Win7, no comment here…

About a case, that is really a personal choice. I like the Fractal Arc Midi R2, all 140mm fans, can fit 2 280.2 radiators in it and it is a mid tower! Only has 2 5.25 bays though, but no big deal for me, not going to put optical in it, will use external and use USB flash drive for most stuff.
http://www.fractal-design.com/?view=product&category=2&...

Your questions:
1. you need more fans for a cool system
2. you have plenty
3. yes
4. 8GB is fine for gaming, but I personally would recommend 16GB, it is cheap now and what could it hurt?
5. on the case
6. perhaps read some more, I do not know.

Hope this helps a bit……
June 7, 2013 7:38:52 AM

endeavour37a said:
I’ll give you my 2 bits for what it’s worth, just to go down your parts list.

Your PSU is great, plenty of power there I think.

MB: May as well go for a Z87 MB, Tom here has spoken highly of the ASUS Z87 Pro
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/z87-haswell-motherb...

CPU: i5 4670k

CPU Cooler: I really like the Swiftech H220 over all other AIO for many reasons (copper radiator, all others use aluminum/ 6Watt pump, all others ~2-3Watts), read this…
http://martinsliquidlab.org/2013/01/27/swiftech-h220-pr...
(Best water review place on the net, bar none)
http://www.swiftech.com/H220.aspx

Memory: 16GB is more than enough, but memory is a good buy now, may as well get it now over just getting 8GB. Get 2x8, if you need to add you can later.
G.Skill is good stuff…..

Graphics: GTX 690 is killer fast, but I would go Titan, less power and heat at about same performance, you can add another later.

Storage and optical look fine.

I know nothing about Win8, I like Win7, no comment here…

About a case, that is really a personal choice. I like the Fractal Arc Midi R2, all 140mm fans, can fit 2 280.2 radiators in it and it is a mid tower! Only has 2 5.25 bays though, but no big deal for me, not going to put optical in it, will use external and use USB flash drive for most stuff.
http://www.fractal-design.com/?view=product&category=2&...

Your questions:
1. you need more fans for a cool system
2. you have plenty
3. yes
4. 8GB is fine for gaming, but I personally would recommend 16GB, it is cheap now and what could it hurt?
5. on the case
6. perhaps read some more, I do not know.

Hope this helps a bit……


My recommendations would run a wee bit differently (ASRock Extreme6 rather than ASUS PRO, GTX 780 rather than Titan), but overall thank you kindly for offering a reasonable suggestion to OP.
June 7, 2013 8:01:23 AM

Jack, The ASRock 6 and ASUS Pro are both very good MB's, either would work very good, really just color preference I guess.

The reason I did not recommend a 780 is because the Titan is closer to the original card in performance this person was looking at. I think the 780 is a better buy though, cost/performance wise. Like you said this person is building a very nice rig, so it just seemed more Titan than 780 :) 
June 7, 2013 8:09:07 AM

endeavour37a said:
Jack, The ASRock 6 and ASUS Pro are both very good MB's, either would work very good, really just color preference I guess.

The reason I did not recommend a 780 is because the Titan is closer to the original card in performance this person was looking at. I think the 780 is a better buy though, cost/performance wise. Like you said this person is building a very nice rig, so it just seemed more Titan than 780 :) 


Yup, as I said, quite minor quibbles. :) 

Honestly, at this (approximated) price range, I tend to want to fit dual 780s in, and I'm 85% sure that we could manage while staying within OP's original budget. That said, going for a single card, the Titan makes sense.
June 7, 2013 8:53:44 AM

Just got the heck of it and for conversation sake, NOT to argue, that is not why I comment this.

I always would recommend 1 graphics card for a new build, never SLI. To me it seems if you SLI a new build you are using your upgrade path right from the start and don't have much room to grow. So I think getting the very best graphics card you can afford at the time of the build is the wise way to go.

There is one big difference between the ASUS and ASRock that sort of supports my recommendation for a Titan to start out with. the ASRock has 3 PCIe3 slots, the ASUS has only 2. The 3rd slot on the ASUS is PCIe2, so it would not take lanes from the 2nd PCIe3 slot if you plugged something into it, on the ASRock it would take some lanes. So on the ASRock in SLI (8x8) if you plugged something into 3rd slot you would have 8x?. On the ASUS even with the 3rd slot occupied you still have 8x8 for SLI because it is PCIe2. Hope I explained this right.

The ASROCK is tri-SLI capable, the ASUS is not. But I think if you need tri-SLI, you are ready for a new card at that point, bi-SLI is about as far as I would go myself anyway, just my thoughts, nothing more.

I also think about the power requirements of 3 graphics cards and the heat generated. the cost of a high power, high quality PSU should be considered also I feel. So for a "new" build with allowing for tri-SLI power from the get go when you start out with one just seems like overkill on the PSU that will not be utilized for while. But with that said I think buying a PSU that will handle SLI from the start is a good idea because that is the logical graphics upgrade path.
June 7, 2013 10:18:32 AM

endeavour37a said:
Just got the heck of it and for conversation sake, NOT to argue, that is not why I comment this.

I always would recommend 1 graphics card for a new build, never SLI. To me it seems if you SLI a new build you are using your upgrade path right from the start and don't have much room to grow. So I think getting the very best graphics card you can afford at the time of the build is the wise way to go.

There is one big difference between the ASUS and ASRock that sort of supports my recommendation for a Titan to start out with. the ASRock has 3 PCIe3 slots, the ASUS has only 2. The 3rd slot on the ASUS is PCIe2, so it would not take lanes from the 2nd PCIe3 slot if you plugged something into it, on the ASRock it would take some lanes. So on the ASRock in SLI (8x8) if you plugged something into 3rd slot you would have 8x?. On the ASUS even with the 3rd slot occupied you still have 8x8 for SLI because it is PCIe2. Hope I explained this right.

The ASROCK is tri-SLI capable, the ASUS is not. But I think if you need tri-SLI, you are ready for a new card at that point, bi-SLI is about as far as I would go myself anyway, just my thoughts, nothing more.

I also think about the power requirements of 3 graphics cards and the heat generated. the cost of a high power, high quality PSU should be considered also I feel. So for a "new" build with allowing for tri-SLI power from the get go when you start out with one just seems like overkill on the PSU that will not be utilized for while. But with that said I think buying a PSU that will handle SLI from the start is a good idea because that is the logical graphics upgrade path.


Interesting. Well, I admit that I differ on starting with an SLI. While I don't consider it to be a necessity in general, I find that there are some circumstances (needing a specific amount of performance which happens to be outside the range of any current single GPU, for example) where it is the only option. That said, I do agree that having an upgrade path is ideal.

On the ASRock vs. ASUS, I would never recommend a tri-SLI. Too many bugs, too much heat, too much price. You're spot-on that by the time you need a tri-SLI, you just need to upgrade.

Finally, I do agree about an SLI-capable PSU, though with a rapid enough upgrade rate I believe it can be avoided while still maintaining max settings, if not efficiently.

Lastly, I hope I've not come off as an ogre in this thread. I never wish to start arguments, but I felt that Shallowmist was severely misleading OP, which lead to my rather extreme reaction. I hope that I haven't adversely coloured your impression of me.
June 7, 2013 3:38:34 PM

Wow people, first off can I say how amazed I am with your responses? I'm very glad I asked these questions, this is all very helpful stuff. Unfortunately I'm not really sure what 'SLI' means; does it just means having more than one graphics card in the build? Sorry, like I said, I'm a complete beginner on this.

Likewise I'm unaware of the meaning of 'PCIe'; I've done a bit of Googling and it seems to be related to how th emotherboard connects to the different parts of the computer - am I correct? In this case, does a double PCIe mean that only two components can be added to the motherboard?

As for the choice of motherboard, I landed on the Z77X-UP7 because of its reported capacity for 3D gaming (http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Gigabyte/Z77X-UP7/10...). However if another motherboard goes recommended above it then I'm more than happy to make a change there. Do the other motherboards that have been mentioned so far compete on this front?

I've also found since posting this that the Computex conference is revealing newer versions of lots of this hardware (the RAM, the CPU, the graphics card). Are these readily available now? And if so, I'll be honest and admit that I don't know where to start, especially with the graphics card! There seem to be many conflicting opinions on the best configuration; I went for a single card because I read that it would increase airflow, although admittedly with so few fans in my build it may be slightly counter-intuitive.

So my questions now are:
1) Do other motherboards mentioned here as being superior to the Z77X-UP7 compete with it in every performance area? And crucially, are they wifi-ready? I should have mentioned this earlier but wifi compatibility is very important for me.
2) Do any of the newly announced graphics cards hold a candle to the Titan or the dual 780 setup that you guys have put forward? (Or is the 780 a new model? Apologies, I'm really uninformed in this area). I chose the 690 from the ones available before I realised that newer models had been announced, mainly because in all the tests and comparisons I saw, it outdid the Titan.
3) Is a new 4th-generation CPU worth the extra cost? I've read several articles (like this one on this website http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...) which highlight that the i7-3770K is cabable of giving 100% performance on current games. My worry is that it may not be futureproof, which is of course a big consideration with an expensive build.
4) Are the newly announced faster RAM memory parts worth waiting for?

Just to reiterate, I'm willing to spend a lot of money on some of the best hardware, as some of you have guessed, including the motherboard. And once again, I can't thank you enough for your support!

Best solution

June 7, 2013 4:02:52 PM
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Yohannas said:
Wow people, first off can I say how amazed I am with your responses? I'm very glad I asked these questions, this is all very helpful stuff. Unfortunately I'm not really sure what 'SLI' means; does it just means having more than one graphics card in the build? Sorry, like I said, I'm a complete beginner on this.

Likewise I'm unaware of the meaning of 'PCIe'; I've done a bit of Googling and it seems to be related to how th emotherboard connects to the different parts of the computer - am I correct? In this case, does a double PCIe mean that only two components can be added to the motherboard?

As for the choice of motherboard, I landed on the Z77X-UP7 because of its reported capacity for 3D gaming (http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Gigabyte/Z77X-UP7/10...). However if another motherboard goes recommended above it then I'm more than happy to make a change there. Do the other motherboards that have been mentioned so far compete on this front?

I've also found since posting this that the Computex conference is revealing newer versions of lots of this hardware (the RAM, the CPU, the graphics card). Are these readily available now? And if so, I'll be honest and admit that I don't know where to start, especially with the graphics card! There seem to be many conflicting opinions on the best configuration; I went for a single card because I read that it would increase airflow, although admittedly with so few fans in my build it may be slightly counter-intuitive.

So my questions now are:
1) Do other motherboards mentioned here as being superior to the Z77X-UP7 compete with it in every performance area? And crucially, are they wifi-ready? I should have mentioned this earlier but wifi compatibility is very important for me.
2) Do any of the newly announced graphics cards hold a candle to the Titan or the dual 780 setup that you guys have put forward? (Or is the 780 a new model? Apologies, I'm really uninformed in this area). I chose the 690 from the ones available before I realised that newer models had been announced, mainly because in all the tests and comparisons I saw, it outdid the Titan.
3) Is a new 4th-generation CPU worth the extra cost? I've read several articles (like this one on this website http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...) which highlight that the i7-3770K is cabable of giving 100% performance on current games. My worry is that it may not be futureproof, which is of course a big consideration with an expensive build.
4) Are the newly announced faster RAM memory parts worth waiting for?

Just to reiterate, Im willin got spend a lot of money on some of the best hardware, as some of you have guessed, including the motherboard. And once again, I can't thank you enough for your support!


An SLI is using two or more nVidia GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) together. Usually this takes the form of using multiple cards, but the 690 you had selected is in SLI in a single card, using a pair of 680s. Unfortunately, due to the heat issues that arise from dual-GPU cards, the 680s in the 690 perform worse than two distinct 680s would, which is in turn worse than two 770s would perform. The 690 is technically still the most powerful card nVidia produces, but it's a highly inefficient choice in all but a tiny handful of circumstances.

You've got the general gist of what PCIe means. The main thing that we were talking about is PCIe x16 3.0 and 2.0 ports, which are relevant to you primarily due to being where one places graphics cards.

3DMark isn't a measure of 3D gaming performance (at least not in the 3D-glasses sense), it's a benchmarking software. Also, your motherboard has only a miniscule effect on overall system performance, once certain minimums are hit. You would be much better advised to purchase an ASRock Extreme 6 and a pair of GTX 780s (each of which is close to the 690 in power for a much lower price) than to use a very expensive motherboard.

Parts being shown at Computex will release on their release dates, generally speaking. Couldn't really offer you more than that. However, airflow isn't something you need to worry about, at this price range. When you have enough capital to afford a really solid mid-tower or full tower, the airflow and heat concerns of a dual-graphics card system cease to be an issue.

1: Once again, motherboard is a really minor factor. A 150 pound motherboard is usually all you need, and what you would otherwise be spending on motherboard can be put into graphics and cooling, which will matter much more. I should note that I strongly recommend against gaming via wi-fi, but even if you choose to do so you don't need a motherboard with an adapter built-in. You can buy a solid PCIe wi-fi adapter for twenty to forty pounds which would serve you in good stead.
2: The 780 is about as new as it gets, and it is a powerful GPU. Not quite as strong as a Titan, but you can afford two of the darn things for only slightly more than a single Titan. As I recall, ASUS just revealed their 780 variant using their DirectCU II cooler, which should be absolutely excellent.
3: Honestly, an i7 isn't needed for a gaming build. An i5-3570k or 4670k would work just as well for less cost. The only thing you lose if hyper-threading, which isn't going to effect anything in 99% of games. To answer your question regarding Haswell, I personally consider it to be a better choice than Ivy Bridge, though the potential to get a CPU which overclocks poorly is unfortunate.
4: No. Flat-out no. 8GB of 1600mhz RAM is all you need for gaming, and 16GB of 1600mhz is far more than enough. Faster RAM isn't helpful for gaming except under an extremely small set of circumstances, none of which apply here.

You gain a lot more by buying a powerful yet efficient build (say, two 780s on a Z87 ASRock Extreme6 with a 4670k) and upgrading it regularly than by getting everything at the absolute maximum quality (past a certain point, the gains just dry up).

Edit: Ah, I see, you were talking about the benchmarks lower down the page. You will note the extremely small differences, however, between the motherboards (sans the X79, but given that they would have been using a different processor, I'm not sure how they justified including it in the comparison).
June 7, 2013 4:36:01 PM

This is a very interesting thread.....
It will take me a little bit to respond properly. Please bear with me.
June 7, 2013 4:39:44 PM

Thank you very much, you advice is extremely useful. You're not the first person I've seen saying that the motherboard has a negligible affect on 3D performance, and since this is a primary concern for me, I think I will also take your stellar advice on the motherboard front.

As for GPUs, two 780s looks to be a brilliant option after doing some more article hunting. However, in the UK the Titan is not that much more expensive than the 780 (in terms of the amounts I'm looking to spend). Would dual Titans just be overkill, or would it make the system more futureproof?

The only questions that remain to me are which case would be suitable and which fans and cooling systems to look out for. Can you possibly give me some advice as to that? For the case, a side panel window is not important to me, but I would like one that generally looks good (like the Nzxt Technologies case I mentioned in my original post but which unfortunately I can't find available in the UK).

As for a cooling system, I'd like to fit as many fans as I could logically fit into the build to ensure maximum cooling and minimal risk of anything going wrong, while still considering the noise of the moving parts, which I would like to keep to at least sub-Xbox 360 levels (which is notoriously loud!) What is your advice?

I really feel like you need some kind of prize for being so darn helpful!
June 7, 2013 4:41:08 PM

(Thanks Enveavour, I'm waiting patiently for more of your own imput! :)  )
June 7, 2013 5:04:30 PM

Yohannas said:
Thank you very much, you advice is extremely useful. You're not the first person I've seen saying that the motherboard has a negligible affect on 3D performance, and since this is a primary concern for me, I think I will also take your stellar advice on the motherboard front.

As for GPUs, two 780s looks to be a brilliant option after doing some more article hunting. However, in the UK the Titan is not that much more expensive than the 780 (in terms of the amounts I'm looking to spend). Would dual Titans just be overkill, or would it make the system more futureproof?

The only questions that remain to me are which case would be suitable and which fans and cooling systems to look out for. Can you possibly give me some advice as to that? For the case, a side panel window is not important to me, but I would like one that generally looks good (like the Nzxt Technologies case I mentioned in my original post but which unfortunately I can't find available in the UK).

As for a cooling system, I'd like to fit as many fans as I could logically fit into the build to ensure maximum cooling and minimal risk of anything going wrong, while still considering the noise of the moving parts, which I would like to keep to at least sub-Xbox 360 levels (which is notoriously loud!) What is your advice?

I really feel like you need some kind of prize for being so darn helpful!


I'm happy to help.

How much more, precisely? One of the flaws of Titans, actually, is that there are no non-reference cooler versions (at least that I know of), meaning that your overclocking potential is compromised. Compare the 780s, which already have a good non-reference cooler option (made by EVGA), and will soon have a better one in the form of the ASUS DirectCU II.

My favourite cases are the NZXT Phantom 630 and Phantom 820, though the Silverstone Fortress 2 (as well as some of their other cases, such as the Raven 3 and Temjin 11) has pretty much unmatched GPU cooling.

More fans =/= better cooling. Some cases (looking at the Silverstones, here) manage better cooling with four fans than many could with 10. If quiet and cool is the order of the day, Silverstone is an excellent brand to choose. Depending on your exact price range, you might want the more humble Fortress 2 USB 3.0, or even the monstrous but outrageously excellent Temjin 11.
June 7, 2013 5:38:04 PM

Wow people, first off can I say how amazed I am with your responses? I'm very glad I asked these questions, this is all very helpful stuff. Unfortunately I'm not really sure what 'SLI' means; does it just means having more than one graphics card in the build? Sorry, like I said, I'm a complete beginner on this.

Your most welcome. If you are using 2 Nvidia cards together (connected electrically), they call that “SLI” (Scalable Link Interface). If you do the exact same thing with 2 AMD cards they call it “CrossFire”. It is the same thing with 2 names. The meaning of SLI has changed 3 times over time, it’s actual meaning is not important really as it has always did the same thing. The short answer is “Yes”

Likewise I'm unaware of the meaning of 'PCIe'; I've done a bit of Googling and it seems to be related to how th emotherboard connects to the different parts of the computer - am I correct? In this case, does a double PCIe mean that only two components can be added to the motherboard?

PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express), it is where you plug in your graphic cards, or anything else that uses that bus protocol. PCIe3 is basically double the clock rate of PCIe2. The x?? number is the number of data lanes, so X16 is twice as fast as X8, X8 is twice as fast as X4.

As for the choice of motherboard, I landed on the Z77X-UP7 because of its reported capacity for 3D gaming (http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Gigabyte/Z77X-UP7/10...). However if another motherboard goes recommended above it then I'm more than happy to make a change there. Do the other motherboards that have been mentioned so far compete on this front?

The Z77X-UP7 is an excellent board, better is some ways than either the Extreme6 or Pro, but the Maximus Formula is better than all of them. It is not just the bench marks that make a good board, much more to it. This is one of those “what do I want this system to do” things. You want real performance then X79 outguns them all in raw sheer power, at near twice the cost. A big waste of horse power to play a game on. I do it this way, I want to play games, want a quality board, have a budget, some things I want (such as WiFi) and some I don’t need (10 SATA ports as 6 will do me fine). I set a price range and see what everyone has to offer in that range. Around $200 is my personal range, give or take a few bucks, I am not out to set records but don’t want junk or stuff I don’t use. I like the new Z87, so I will go Z87 over a Z77. Not so much the Haswell over Ivy, but you can’t have everything. I like the Z87 more than I don’t like the Haswell.

I've also found since posting this that the Computex conference is revealing newer versions of lots of this hardware (the RAM, the CPU, the graphics card). Are these readily available now? And if so, I'll be honest and admit that I don't know where to start, especially with the graphics card! There seem to be many conflicting opinions on the best configuration; I went for a single card because I read that it would increase airflow, although admittedly with so few fans in my build it may be slightly counter-intuitive.

Forget about Computex, nothing life changing is coming out of there that is not available right now. It is confusing, that is for sure. You say “; I went for a single card because I read that it would increase airflow, although admittedly with so few fans in my build it may be slightly counter-intuitive.” The fans on your components do not constitute “air flow”, they are just to cool the device (CPU, GPU). Air flow is case fans, built into the case to pull in outside ambient air and expel heated air from the case. If you WC the CPU the fans will be on the radiator, if you WC the GPU it will be the same thing. There are some hybrids buy I do not care for them, such as the new ASUS GTX 770, both air and water cooled.

So my questions now are:
1) Do other motherboards mentioned here as being superior to the Z77X-UP7 compete with it in every performance area? And crucially, are they wifi-ready? I should have mentioned this earlier but wifi compatibility is very important for me.

All 3 of them have WiFi I believe and any of them are fine boards, pick your best colors. But the UP7 is a Z77 and only takes Ivy or Sandy CPUs.

2) Do any of the newly announced graphics cards hold a candle to the Titan or the dual 780 setup that you guys have put forward? (Or is the 780 a new model? Apologies, I'm really uninformed in this area). I chose the 690 from the ones available before I realised that newer models had been announced, mainly because in all the tests and comparisons I saw, it outdid the Titan.

No. The 690 is a duel GPU board, a lot of heat and you are SLIing just to run it, and it uses a lot of power. That is why the Titan is better in my eyes, almost as powerful with a lot less power and heat.

3) Is a new 4th-generation CPU worth the extra cost? I've read several articles (like this one on this website http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...) which highlight that the i7-3770K is cabable of giving 100% performance on current games. My worry is that it may not be futureproof, which is of course a big consideration with an expensive build.

They are both good CPU’s, and only ~$10-20 price difference. The socket is the key (LGA 1150) as it may be good for the 5th Gen CPU, the LGA 1155 has ended with Ivy.

4) Are the newly announced faster RAM memory parts worth waiting for?

No, I think 1600 is fine, 1866 if you want. And 16GB is my recommendation over 8GB because you just may decide to something other than just gaming like video work and memory is needed for that.

Just to reiterate, I'm willing to spend a lot of money on some of the best hardware, as some of you have guessed, including the motherboard. And once again, I can't thank you enough for your support!
June 7, 2013 6:04:51 PM

Yohannas said:
Thank you very much, you advice is extremely useful. You're not the first person I've seen saying that the motherboard has a negligible affect on 3D performance, and since this is a primary concern for me, I think I will also take your stellar advice on the motherboard front.

As for GPUs, two 780s looks to be a brilliant option after doing some more article hunting. However, in the UK the Titan is not that much more expensive than the 780 (in terms of the amounts I'm looking to spend). Would dual Titans just be overkill, or would it make the system more futureproof?

The only questions that remain to me are which case would be suitable and which fans and cooling systems to look out for. Can you possibly give me some advice as to that? For the case, a side panel window is not important to me, but I would like one that generally looks good (like the Nzxt Technologies case I mentioned in my original post but which unfortunately I can't find available in the UK).

As for a cooling system, I'd like to fit as many fans as I could logically fit into the build to ensure maximum cooling and minimal risk of anything going wrong, while still considering the noise of the moving parts, which I would like to keep to at least sub-Xbox 360 levels (which is notoriously loud!) What is your advice?

I really feel like you need some kind of prize for being so darn helpful!



Your welcome, I hope you find Jack and I useful. Kind of the cool thing is we see things a bit different so you get 2 points of view to consider. In the U.S. a Titan is ~$1000 and a 780 is ~$650, so there is a big price difference, here the 780 is a wise move. But if in the U.K. they are closer then the Titan would look much better. Both are GK110 core, the 780 is just crippled a bit, not much.

You do not have to buy 2 cards now, a Titan or GTX 780 will rock with any game you throw at it. The only real reason to go SLI is to run multiple displays, then SLI is nice, but I think the titan will run 3 screens OK alone. When the 800 series comes out both card prices should drop, then is the time to add another one if needed.

One other thing, the 780 has 3GB of GDDR5, from everything I have read it will always be that (Nvidia wants it that way). The Titan has 6GB, better for multi screens. Some say they may release a 5GB 780 but it does not work out with the memory bus right (from EVGA), so who knows. This should be enough info on graphics to help you start out or really confuse you, .

As I said I like the Swiftech H220, it comes AIO and is expandable. You can add your GPU if you wish and a radiator also if you want cooler.

Cases are like cars, I like quite elegance like the Fractal, others like flashy designs. There are so many nice ones, you thought the other stuff was hard to pick out, cases are even harder. NZXT makes real good stuff.
June 8, 2013 1:32:57 PM

It's really great to have both your viewpoints! The price difference between a Titan and a 780 actually is quite significant: I must have been tired and looking at the wrong product listing or something!

I have just seen an article here on this site about Gigabyte's intention to ship a WindForce 450W with 'select' Titans. (http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Gigabyte-GTX-Titan-Win...) This seems to address the problem of a non-reference cooler, but the WindForce 450W is a CPU cooler, and will not cool the GPU, am I correct in thinking this? As a related question, am I also correct in thinking that this would replace (and outperform) the Intel CPU Liquid cooler that I had originally picked out? If it does replace it but it does NOT outperform it, I don't think that this will be a good option.

If this cooler looks to be a good idea then from all you guys have said I think a single Titan will be more than great for now, possibly supplemented with an extra GPU in a year or two. The fact that a 690, as you have said endeavour, is a dual GPU board is definitely swinging me towards a Titan (even though they cost exactly the same amount of money on Amazon.co.uk).

And the case really does seem to be becoming the hardest part to decide upon! Thanks to both you guys for your own opinions on the subject. I think, unlike my cars, I would like a flashy case for my first build. The ones you have both mentioned are giving me great food for thought!

So now I'm wondering if either of you guys have any more information to throw at me about the Windforce 450W. Since it's a tri-fan cooler, will a full-tower case be necessary, and might it also limit my choices of case due to its size? More crucially, would it facilitate more stable overclocking of a Titan?

Thank you once again, and I apologise for my late replies! It is a lot of information for me to process so I don't want to rush through this process :) 
June 8, 2013 2:09:22 PM

Yohannas said:
It's really great to have both your viewpoints! The price difference between a Titan and a 780 actually is quite significant: I must have been tired and looking at the wrong product listing or something!

I have just seen an article here on this site about Gigabyte's intention to ship a WindForce 450W with 'select' Titans. (http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Gigabyte-GTX-Titan-Win...) This seems to address the problem of a non-reference cooler, but the WindForce 450W is a CPU cooler, and will not cool the GPU, am I correct in thinking this? As a related question, am I also correct in thinking that this would replace (and outperform) the Intel CPU Liquid cooler that I had originally picked out? If it does replace it but it does NOT outperform it, I don't think that this will be a good option.

If this cooler looks to be a good idea then from all you guys have said I think a single Titan will be more than great for now, possibly supplemented with an extra GPU in a year or two. The fact that a 690, as you have said endeavour, is a dual GPU board is definitely swinging me towards a Titan (even though they cost exactly the same amount of money on Amazon.co.uk).

And the case really does seem to be becoming the hardest part to decide upon! Thanks to both you guys for your own opinions on the subject. I think, unlike my cars, I would like a flashy case for my first build. The ones you have both mentioned are giving me great food for thought!

So now I'm wondering if either of you guys have any more information to throw at me about the Windforce 450W. Since it's a tri-fan cooler, will a full-tower case be necessary, and might it also limit my choices of case due to its size? More crucially, would it facilitate more stable overclocking of a Titan?

Thank you once again, and I apologise for my late replies! It is a lot of information for me to process so I don't want to rush through this process :) 


No, that cooler is for the Titan, nothing at all to do with the CPU. And you will have to install it, please read the link you provided carefully. You would be better off getting the stock Nvidia cooler. Or you could get one set up for water cooling:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


The Swiftech H220 is the best AIO CPU cooler available today for the reasons I have explained above. The Intel cooler you are going to get is not that good, actually it performs rather poorly, but it seems like you are stuck on it. the Intel CPU cooler will only cool the CPU only, nothing else, you cannot add the GPU to it.
June 8, 2013 11:51:50 PM

Now that you mention it I don't know how I didn't read 'GPU cooler' in that article. Sorry, I got a bit confused there. The reason I'm not looking at the H220 cooler is because I can't find it on Amazon.co.uk. If this one on Newegg (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) is the one that you mean, then I don't believe it is available on Amazon.co.uk. But if the intel cooler really doesn't perform that well, then an alternative is in order. You seem highly experienced and I trust your judgement, do you know how I might manage to get my hands on one of these H220s, or could you suggest alternatives?

As for the Titan, I'm afraid I don't understand the difference between the one in your link and the one I originally linked (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asus-GeForce-Graphics-Express-D...). Could you possibly take me through the difference?

Perhaps it would be useful to show you this link: http://www.tested.com/tech/pcs/454052-small-quiet-fast-... It was from the Youtube video on that page that I started my research. That's why the components I originally listed are similar to the ones used on that page. I notice that this setup does not include a GPU cooler, yet uses a Titan. Is this something to avoid doing myself? If it will avoid all this confusion and the stock Nvidia cooler would definitely be sufficient, then I will use that. I'm assuming the stock cooler would come with the graphics card when I bought it?
June 9, 2013 1:40:43 AM

Yohannas said:
Now that you mention it I don't know how I didn't read 'GPU cooler' in that article. Sorry, I got a bit confused there. The reason I'm not looking at the H220 cooler is because I can't find it on Amazon.co.uk. If this one on Newegg (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) is the one that you mean, then I don't believe it is available on Amazon.co.uk. But if the intel cooler really doesn't perform that well, then an alternative is in order. You seem highly experienced and I trust your judgement, do you know how I might manage to get my hands on one of these H220s, or could you suggest alternatives?

As for the Titan, I'm afraid I don't understand the difference between the one in your link and the one I originally linked (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asus-GeForce-Graphics-Express-D...). Could you possibly take me through the difference?

Perhaps it would be useful to show you this link: http://www.tested.com/tech/pcs/454052-small-quiet-fast-... It was from the Youtube video on that page that I started my research. That's why the components I originally listed are similar to the ones used on that page. I notice that this setup does not include a GPU cooler, yet uses a Titan. Is this something to avoid doing myself? If it will avoid all this confusion and the stock Nvidia cooler would definitely be sufficient, then I will use that. I'm assuming the stock cooler would come with the graphics card when I bought it?


Frankly, the only thing I recommend buying from Intel is CPUs. Their other products are never feature in builds here for a reason. As to alternatives, for liquid cooling the NZXT Kraken x60 is a marvelous cooler (it beat Corsair's extremely high-end H100i at max settings while in silent mode), though it requires a case which can fit a 280mm radiator (many NZXTs can, but from other brands it's less common). Alternatively, if you felt confident enough, a custom loop would give you the absolute best performance, in exchange for the highest cost, the most maintenance required, and the most skill required to install. You could also link the GPU endeavour linked into it.

That Titan is designed to be put into a custom liquid cooling loop. It does not have a fan, and would likely overheat if you didn't connect it to said loop. In a loop, however, it would have nigh-unmatched cooling. The one you had originally uses a single centrifugal fan to cool it, which is standard for nVidia reference coolers.

You don't need a good cooler to run a graphics card, but it helps to keep noise and temperature down, and allows for higher overclocks without risking the card. It's also better looking. :p 
The stock cooler comes as part of the stock card, as do most non-reference coolers (exception to that Gigabyte you linked). For the record, a Titan with the Gigabyte cooler (which you would have to install yourself) would likely be the single best graphics card on the market today, and wonderfully overclockable. Gigabyte makes awesome coolers.
June 9, 2013 6:08:40 AM

Thanks for your continually informative answers! Unfortunately my experience level is nil; I seriously doubt that I could manage to make a custom loop work. I aslo don't think I'm going to be overclocking in the foreseeable future, at least until I gain more experience with computer building and managing (I hadn't even heard the term 'overclock' until last week!). Just to confirm, when you say that a Titan with a Gigabyte cooler could be best, do you mean this one: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gigabyte-nVidia-Titan-PCI-E-Gra... ? Is the cooler included in that product listing, and if not, how do I go about getting hold of it? (My intuition tells me that I can see the fan in the product photo, but my inexperience makes me unsure!)

I've been looking at more information on reviews, test results and forums on CPU coolers, and it looks like the Swiftech H220 is completely unbeatable, and also very reliable. As I've said though it's not in stock (apparently even in the States there are stock issues) so I am happy to wait until it comes back into stock before I build this system.

As to the case, I think I've settled on a high-end NZXT 820. It's expensive but I just can't resist its aesthetics, connectivity and (hopefully) longer lifespan. With this in mind, how do you envisage that these parts will fit into the 820 case with regard to any extra fans I might need? I have looked at reviews on extra fans and the Noctua NF-F12 seems to be the preferred one. Obviously I'd like to keep the whole system as cool and cosy as I can.

For reference, taking all your advice into account here is a revised list of components:

Power Supply:
Corsair AX850 Professional series 850W Plus Gold PSU

Motherboard:
AsRock Z77 Extreme6

CPU:
Intel Core i7-3770K

CPU Cooler:
Swiftech H220 (when I can get my hands on it)

Memory:
Kingston 16gb (2 x 8gb) Hyperx Blu

Graphics Card:
Gigabyte Nvidia Titan

Main Storage:
1) Crucial 256GB Internal SSD
AND
2) Either the 2TB Seagate Barracuda or the 2TB Western Digital Caviar Green (I'm undecided). I moved from 3TB because I read of problems that can occur down the line when a HDD larger than 2TB is used, and admittedly I doubt I'll need the extra space.

Optical Drive: Asus Blu-ray Writer Drive

Once again, thank you to both of you for dealing so carefully and effectively with my constant questions!
June 9, 2013 9:04:30 AM

Good morning, please give me a bit to post a proper comment, I will check with ST for H220 distributors in the UK..
June 9, 2013 9:11:12 AM

Also, just to throw this question to the polls too: I've been looking at motherboards, and I've found two other boards in addition to the AsRock Extreme6 which look suitable, I'm just wondering if they're 'better' in a connectivity sense. The fist one is the Asus P8Z-77 Pro, which has built-in wifi and would mean I wouldn't have to buy an adaptor. The second alternative is the Asus Sabertooth, which has thermal armour and two fans, helping with cooling (and not to mention making it easier to install for a first-time builder like me). The warranty for the Sabertooth is also reportedly longer (5 years).

So each board has its advantages and disadvantages, but I'm at a loss to decide. I've read lots of forums and reviews and everybody seems to have different ideas of what's best, so I'll outline what my system will be used for. I will be primarily gaming, at first with one graphics card and no overclocking but in time I plan to add an extra GPU and to overclock. I may also be playing games with more than one monitor, and I will definitely be playing some games in 3D. So there will be quite a bit of demand on the system, in time. With those needs in mind, do either of the alternatives to the AsRock Extreme6 look better?

Thanks again.
June 9, 2013 11:59:13 AM

I normally do not take this much time with everyone but your building a machine I could only dream of, not many people have the resources to put together such a nice system, you’re a lucky guy and will have something that rocks your socks! This is going to be a long post so please bear with me. Your very inexperienced with building a set up from what I have read here yet deserve to understand why I am suggesting what I do, not just go get this or that because I think it is best.

Building is really enjoyable compared to just buying a box, especially when you make something this nice, and you will learn a heck of a lot doing it. OK on with the show as they say…..
(I’ll just go down your parts list from your comment this morning)

PSU: Outstanding choice here, just for an alternative if stock issues arise is a SeaSonic X Series X-850, pretty much which ever one is cheaper, perhaps one is on sale when you order, either will serve you well. (both the same price)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard / CPU: First off I would recommend to stop looking at Z77 boards and CPU’s, go for the Z87 MB’s and Haswell CPU’s. You say gaming is the primary use of your machine, the CPU choice is straight forward and will save you ~$80 over a i7-3770K, the i5-4670K.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For a Z87 board, you want WiFi then get a board with WiFi and don’t mess around adding it. All of the MB’s we have talked about here have a Z87 version, good deal. You did not get stuck on one board and started looking around, good for you! Boards are like beer, they have a loyal brand following, I like all beers, cheers! You talked about the Pro and Sabertooth, both very good indeed, ASUS just made a new cheap ROG board called the Hero. MSI’s new MPOWER is a real eye catcher also (I am not an ASUS fanboy). We have ASUS, Gigabyte, ASRock and MSI as the major contenders in the board game, all make good stuff. If you compare them spec for spec they all feature out pretty much the same at given price point. So I look at other things in placing a value on one, such as the power system, stuff on the board I will never use (everything on a board cost money and you pay for it), quality of components, layers of the PCB, the BIOS software… well a lot of things. I have seen a lot of pissing contest here about MB’s, I don’t want to start that here on this thread. Your making a top quality build here that will last many years, it should anyway, the 2 most important things in a system are the PSU and MB, in that order, everything else is just stuff that comes and goes as time goes on.

Say we put an absolute cap of $250 and shoot for <=$200, this range should give you a very solid platform to build on. Let’s see who’s up to bat and what they have going for them. (in U.S. dollars from New Egg to keep it simple and relative in pricing, you will have to shop for sales and stuff in the U.K. of course)(and some very new releases and very top end will not be listed @ NE yet also, this is just to get an overview)

ASUS: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

Z87-Deluxe $290
Sabertooth Z87 $260
Z87 Expert $240
Maximus VI Hero $230
Z87 Pro $210
Z87 Plus $180
I don’t like the stuff below this point

ASRock: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

Z87 Professional $250
Z87 Extream6/ac $200
Z87 Extream6 $190 (sale $170)
Z87 Extream4 $160
Z87 Extream3 $140
Should not go cheaper with ASRock stuff

MSI: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

Z87 MPower Max $260
Z87 MPower $240
Z87-GD65 $190
Z87-G45 $160
That is it for them we can use

GIGABYTE: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

GA-Z87X-UD5 $230
GA-Z87X-OC $200
Z87X-UD3H $180 (sale $170)
Z87X-D3H $160
Finished here

There you have it, all the contenders. I think any of these boards would be OK but some would be better investments in the long term even if they are more expensive. Lets move on and we can talk about MB’s more later, you can check out some of them, perhaps find some reviews.

CPU cooler: The H220 can be found here in the U.K.: http://www.specialtech.co.uk/spshop/customer/home.php 107 of your money
The NZXT Kraken x60 would be my second choice also. We are talking apples and oranges here although. Please don’t get the Intel, you will not be happy with it at all.
The H220 comes with a 120.2 radiator (120mm x 240mm, using 2 x 120mm fans), the x60 comes with a 140.2 radiator (140mm x 280mm, using 2 x 140mm fans). As you can see the frontal area of the radiator is much greater with the x60, and it performs better with lower temps (do the math). With that said, the x60 has an aluminum radiator, the H220 is copper/brass, more efficient and will last longer and no corrosion issues to deal with (no corrosion inhibitor needed in the water). The x60 pump is good enough for the CPU ONLY, you could not add anything to it. The H220 you can add the whole system in with their 6Watt pump when you get around to it.

Just for your information, Corsair has also came out with a 140.2 kit called the H110, don’t bother with it. Cooler Master has came out with a expandable AIO kit much like the H220 called the Eisberg 240L. It also has a copper radiator in 120.2, but the pump is German made and very noisy, also has the reservoir in the pump/head assembly, I don’t like that at all, and the tubing is smaller I think. Reviews reveal it is not that good of a performer, I don’t know why (it is also much more expensive than a H220, $180). Because they use venders for the parts like everyone else, swiftech is about the only company that makes all their own stuff in house. As of this time the H220 is still the best AIO/Expandable set up there is.

I would not advise you to tackle a custom WC setup right now, perhaps later. You have plenty to do to get up and running, don’t overwhelm yourself in cooling. You can always sell your AIO later and make a custom loop if you feel the urge down the road, I would be happy to help you with a parts list. Just something to keep in mind, the XSPC product line of starter kits are the best way to get going on one, you save a lot of money. Pumps and blocks are like video and CPU, they come and go with the flavor of the day. The radiator is like the PSU, don’t skimp on them because they will last through several builds if you buy good stuff.

MAKE SURE YOUR CASE CAN ACCOMIDATE A WCing SET UP! Some say they can but they really cannot. So just chose carefully, plan for expansion of at least 2 radiators.

Memory: I would highly recommend high quality memory such as G.Skill, Crucial or Corsair over Kingston. Yes 16GB (2 x 8, 1.5V, do not get 1.65V stuff, LP is getting popular in 1.35V and G.Skill even has 1.25V, they are fine as lower voltage gives longevity to the memory controller and produces less heat and perhaps more headroom for OCing, G.Skill LP did not OC too well, Crucial did the best if I remember right) is the way to go.

Just a note about memory and slots, you will hear a lot of talk about 2 or 4 slots to populate for nice over clocking. Some say 2 only, others say it does not matter. ASUS uses “T” branch in etch topography in their memory buss as apposed to daisy chain most others use. This solves many timing issues in higher clock rates because it delivers signaling closer because the etch is the same length and width for all 4 slots .

Graphics: All graphics cards come with a cooler, does not matter what you buy, it will come with some type of cooler. The stock Titan cooler is very good, no real need to go after market custom (Nvidia will not allow it anyway). That GigaByte Titan that comes with a WindForce cooler is cool, but you have to install it yourself. Something to think on also, it does not expel head out the back, it dumps it in the case. Yet it should cool better than stock, much like the new ACX from EVGA. So it is better cooling with the need for better air flow in the case, such is life, no big deal. The one set up for water from EVGA is very nice, it would hook right into the H220, the price is attractive also when you get what you are getting. The Hydro Copper EVGA uses is actually made by Swiftech, small world. That Gigabyte you picked out is just fine, it will rock!

Just an aside here: Notice in that Gigabyte that came with a WindForce, they talked about warranty a little. That is one thing you need to be careful about if moving a graphics card from air to water cooling, the warranty. In the Nvidia graphics world EVGA is about as good as it gets, they make very good cards. But mostly they do not care if you WC one of their cards, they stand behind their warranty regardless if you rip off the fans and put on a block. I do not know of any other company that does this in graphics. That is why gigabyte stated changing the cooling on their card would not void the warranty like it normally would with their product. I wonder if you threw on a block instead of the WindForce they would be OK with that, it is about the same thing.

Storage: If you are only gaming perhaps get a ~500GB SSD and forget about the hard drive. Or just run on the 256GB until you need more then add another 256GB. If you find the need for massive mass storage add a hard drive, I prefer Western Digital over SeaGate, yes I think staying at or under 2TB is a good idea.

Optical drive: what are you going to use it for?

Hope this helps in some way, we could talk about MB and cases if you want in a bit, getting tired of writing……..

PS: Heck you are building a beast, if you want a i7 may as well grab one, the i7-4770k would be the one you would be using..
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

June 9, 2013 2:43:25 PM

Hoo boy, lots to respond to, here. I may have to post an initial set of comments and then update it piece by piece, as I have a rather busy day today.

Regarding case: The NZXT Phantom 820 is an absolute dream, and I say that as an owner. It cools well, looks amazing, and has space for anything you'd care to put in it. It would definitely support damn near any closed-loop cooler, and is well set up for a custom loop should you wish to use one at a later date. Also, you can change the colours of the LED strips. This shouldn't matter to me as much as it does, honestly, but I can't help myself.

Regarding Titan: The Titan you linked comes stock with an acceptable cooler, which, as endeavour said, uses a centrifugal fan which will vent air out of the case. It also comes with a Gigabyte Windforce cooler which you could install in place of its stock cooler. Should you wish to overclock your GPU at some point, I would consider that if not a "must" a "really really advisable choice". I should again note that if the Titan is more than marginally more expensive, the 780 would be a wiser choice, as it nearly matches the Titan.

On motherboard: I disagree with endeavour about the ASRock Extreme6. It's an excellent board in all its incarnations. That said, as a Sabertooth owner (Z77), I can attest to it being an excellent board. However, the Extreme6 should be all you need, and is significantly cheaper. I differ with endeavour also on Wi-Fi: the motherboards that have it tend to be utterly overpriced, so I advise simply going for an efficient motherboard and adding a high-quality adapter on.

On RAM: I second endeavour in this regard. Corsair, G.Skill, and Crucial are the names you want on your ram. With a liquid cooler, low-profile isn't a must, though it looks massively less silly. 16GB is entirely reasonable for a high-end build, though be advised that you could get by with 8 should you wish to cut costs.

On CPU Cooler: +1 to endeavour. The H220 is an absolutely awesome cooler, and the Kraken x60 makes a good second choice. That said, I should note that a humble Noctua DH14 air cooler would likely meet all your needs in in regards to CPU cooling.

On Storage: It would be hypocritical to advise against a 500GB SSD, as I have one myself, but I should note that if you intend to store anything big on your computer (videos, for example, particularly from recording programmes like Fraps) you would be advised to get at least 1TB of HDD storage, more if you intend to store a lot.

On Processor: I completely agree with endeavour that Haswell is the way to go. An i5-4670k should serve you in good stead, particularly with the sort of overclocks an H220 or Kraken x60 allow.

On PSU: I'm not a big fan of gold/platinum PSUs, unless they're relatively cheap. The gains in efficiency are marginal, and the price increases tend to be vast. That said, that PSU (and those suggested by endeavour) is made by SeaSonic, so you should have no issues with reliability. However, you could likely get an XFX (also SeaSonic-made) in that wattage for $80 less.

If I've missed anything, just let me know. I was trying to be thorough in my responses, but I was also in something of a hurry.
June 9, 2013 4:16:02 PM

I wish I could show my appreciation to you guys in some way for all your support. I honestly don't know where I'd be without you! I hope this thread is useful for anyone else who takes the time to read it in the future!

There is a lot to respond to here, so I'll just go through the changes I've made after your most recent posts!

Motherboard: I have short-listed two from the ones that you suggested, endeavour: the Asus Sabertooth and the Asus Z87 Pro. The reason I'm considering the Z87 Pro is purely for the wifi chip, but I really would feel more comfortable overall with the Sabertooth and a wifi adaptor. That being said, can one of you suggest a decent adaptor?

CPU: The difference between an i5 4670K and an i7 4770K is £100, which is considerable. However, the step up to next-gen games with the release of the new consoles may mean that the difference in performance between the two chips becomes more substantial, that's my worry. I'll need to make the decision once I tally up the total cost of the rig.

GPU: I think I will go for a Titan, as, even though it is more expensive and the performance boost might not be so significant compared to a 780, if I decide to go down the SLI route later on I will end up with greater performance overall with a Titan.

Case: After what you said, Jack, I'm very happy with my choice of case! When I saw the product images it was love at first sight - the LEDs really do look great.

RAM: I have done some research into lower-voltage RAM and have found that the Crucial Ballistix Tactical 16GB is the best option (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...). It is so readily available to US customers and yet here in the UK it's almost impossible to find! So far I've only managed to find one listing of this product with the 1.35 voltage, but it was not available.

Storage: I think I am going to go for a 500GB SSD and then if I need it later on I will buy a 2TB HDD. I'll see how I get on with a 500GB SSD for now (I already have a 1TB external hard drive, which is swaying my decision).

CPU Cooler: Endeavour, I cannot thank you enough for finding a UK listing for the H220. I searched for about 30 minutes and couldn't find anything! Jack, I've seen quite a few recommendations for the Noctua DH14, but at the end of the day I've read such unanimously glowing reviews of the H220 that I simply can't say no to it! It's a brilliant alternative though, should I ever find I need one (I had already decided that in lieu of the H220 I would buy the Noctua DH14!)

Endeavour, the optical drive will be used for playing some Blu-ray DVDs that I have lying around the house. At the end of the day I figured - why stick to a DVD/R drive when I'm building such an ultra-performance machine?

So this time I only have one question: can you recommend a good wifi adaptor? Chances are, since the Sabertooth plus a wifi adaptor could cost upwards of £200, I might stick to the AsRock Extreme6 after all.

Now I just need to shop around...!
June 9, 2013 4:48:24 PM

LOL, you make me smile Yohannas......
give me a minute or 2 as to gather my thoughts, I want a picture when your done :) 
Jack, going to address a couple of your comments, but yes all 3 PSU's are made by SeaSonic indeed :)  (that is a good thing)
June 9, 2013 6:27:18 PM

MB: Well if you want a Extream6 with WiFi your in luck, that is why they make the Extream6/ac I listed above for you. I reread my MB overview for you that Jack says he disagrees we me on, that is funny as I never suggested one over the other, just presented them. I highlighted a few personal cool ones I thought were nice but never said one was any better or worse than any other by name.

But now I will, the ASUS Pro is a better board than the Extream6/ac for your use. I do not care what you get, they are both top notch hardware. And Jack will disagree of course, that is very cool because he likes the ASRock. There is only $10 difference and both have WiFi that you want, it is better to get it with the board unless your going on the cheap ($100) and need to buy one for $20 and then hope it works right.

The reason it is better for you is just what I said in my last post, I will go briefly over a couple things again, but remember that both are fine boards and you should get the one you like, it is your machine. The E6 has 2 x PCI slots you will never use that you are paying for. They are not natively supported by the PCH (Z87) so must be implemented with an add on controller, they do this for people with PCI cards they need, a compatibility thing, you do not have this issue. PCI has officially died with the Z77 and will no longer be supported by Intel, so you could never buy a card to even use that slot really.
The PCH only natively supports 6 x SATA 6Gb/s ports, the ASRock has 10 and the ASUS 8, how many SSD’s and HD’s will you use in your build? Right now you are talking about using 2, 1 for a SSD and 1 for optical, if you add another SSD and put a hard drive in and also add another optical, that comes to 5, or 6 with 2 more hard drives. Unless you RAID you are buying something you will never use, 8 is plenty for your use here. This is another thing you are wasting money on, when ASRock spends money adding SATA them must save in other areas to keep cost down. Do you think you will need a Mini PCIe for anything? Most likely not, again something you pay for that is unused. The Pro has 8 channel audio, the E6 has 7, nothing to write home about.

Here is where ASUS did something right this time that few others do. Make only 2 x PCIe 3.0 slots and a single PCIe 2.0 slot that will not steal lanes from the 2nd 3.0 slot. This is a love or hate thing, to me it is a smart or wishful thing. Short and brief, if you ever need 3 graphics cards, you need to change cards, so tri-SLI to me is dumb, many many others would disagree. Please do not take this as disrespect, please, but explaining my point would be difficult because you are new to this stuff, yet I will briefly try. In the ASRock you have 3 x PCIe 3.0 slots in the ASUS you have 2 PCIe 3.0 + 1 x PCIe 2.0. OK, here is the catch, the cool part, Jack already knows all of this stuff so this is just for you, I like you to understand what I am trying to say so you can make a good choice that works for you, not either of us.

The PCIe 3.0 is where the graphics sub-system (cards) plug into, a x16 has 16 serial data lanes and a x8 has a 8 lane and so forth. The 3.0 is roughly twice as fast as the 2.0 protocol, so you want to not plug a graphics card into a 2.0.

ASRock works like this with their 3 x PCIe 30 slots 16 x 0 x 0 or 8 x 8 x 0 or 8 x 4 x 4. Pro has 2 like this 16 x 0 or 8 x 8. Therefore you can use that 3rd 2.0 slot without stealing 4 lanes from your 2nd slot and screwing your SLI all up, can’t do that with ASRock.

With all of that said, you are buying stuff you will not use, so ASRock cannot to afford to place that cost into other areas such as the power system, audio, test and diagnostic buttons and switches, BIOS implementation and so fourth. I think ASUS has a better power system than ASRock, that is the important thing to me. Their BIOS set up is better I think also. I can’t go on here, but I hope my time doing this helps you look at MB’s from a bit different prospective than just specs on paper, on paper the Extream6/ac has more bells and whistles than the Pro hands down. More PCIe 3.0 slots, more SATA ports, has PCI slots the Pro does not, has an eSATA port the Pro does not, has a Mini PCIe card slot the Pro does not, supports 2 x USB 2.0 (1.1 compatable) the Pro does not. The ASRock has 2 x USB 2.0 + 4 x USB 3.0, the ASUS just has 6 x 3.0 (better if you do not have very old USB1.1 stuff).

On paper the ASRock crushes the Pro, but the Pro is a much better board where it counts and is built better with better components, that is why they are priced the same, just got to figure out if quality of build vs, feature rich is what you are looking for.

CPU: unless you are going to be doing video rendering or very intensive image processing a i5-4670k is all you will ever need for gaming, both i5 or i7 will be out dated when games fully utilize 4 physical cores and need virtual cores to play (only real difference between i5 and i7 with a bump in cache), I think most run on 2 now, could be wrong.

GPU: your good to go with either a Titan or GTX-780, both are great and both SLI great. Just a note, tri-SLI does not scale very good anyway, you don’t get the bang for the buck like bi-SLI. That is why you only need 2 x PCIe 3.0 slots in the first place, why pay for 3. for 3 displays 2 cards work like a charm, I think the Titan is the only card (less the GTX 690 and HD 7990) that will drive 3 screens pretty well.

CASE: your all set with the NZXT

Memory: you have that covered, don’t be afraid of 1.5V stuff, it is fine. G.Skill would be my 2nd choice at 1.5V

Storage: sounds good

CPU cooler: the X60 would be my second choice, the DH14 is about 2.73 pounds (1240g). That Haswell runs hot. The backplate for the Sabertooth is made to support the weight, have a backplate for the Gryphon also, man I starting to sound like a fan boy, slap me please!

That’s it for now..
June 9, 2013 9:52:57 PM

Yohannas: God, I wish most of the folks we advised were as nice as you are. Just being so consistently pleasant is so much more than most people do...
Sadly, I can't recommend an adapter. I avoid Wi-Fi like the plague (and advise the folks I advise on computers to do the same), so I'm rather out of the loop on which adapters are good choices.
I doubt that the i7 will be that big of a performance gain, but at this price point it's not a terribly huge investment, so I'll leave that to your judgement.
Glad to hear that you were looking at the Noctua. I'm a rather big fan (please forgive that pun) of it.
There's just one thing I would advise, if you're getting the 820: change the back fan. The 200mms are great, but that 140mm is way too loud. Tom's did that when they tested the case as well, as I recall.

endeavour:
Deepest apologies, I parsed your formatting as indicating that you recommended against everything other than the ASUS's. That was a complete mistake on my part. I am very sorry.
You make a solid argument in favour of the PRO. While I'm still not fully sold on it, you've moved me up to "neutral". Well done, sir.
You're quite right that I disagree about the built-in Wi-Fi, however. Sorry to be predictable. :) 

In general, +1 to everything he said, though I'll note again that I don't recommend a reference cooler Titan. It's functional, but why spend more for less overclocking and cooling?
June 10, 2013 6:11:44 AM

Once again you guys have helped me get my head around something that was really confusing me! Endeavour, your explanation of the Pro's superiority for my needs over the Extreme6 has most definitely swayed me; it makes complete sense. I was considering the Sabertooth (which incidentally has the same PCIe setup as the Pro), and after shopping around, the Sabertooth with a Wi-Fi adaptor will cost me about £223, whereas the Z87 Pro, which of course wouldn't require an adaptor, would cost around £162. I just don't think I can justify £60 for the better aesthetics (in my opinion!) and thermal armour that the Sabertooth offers (unless you guys think it's just a better motherboard overall, and would justify the £60 (~$90).

Jack, I can understand why you don't recommend Wi-Fi! Even in my limited experience I've suffered with it, and I know how unreliable it can be. Unfortunately 6 months of the year I live in a place that can't bring a wired LAN connection to the room where the desktop would sit, so in those months limited multiplayer would be the way to go!

As for the reference/non-reference question, say I were to go down the 780 non-reference route, would this card offer performance similar to the Titan? (http://www.scan.co.uk/products/3gb-evga-gtx-780-supercl...) Is that the EVGA non-reference version which you were referring to? It is £175 (~$270) cheaper than a Gigabyte Titan, which comes with the WindForce cooler.
Note, however, that it says 'preorder' and doesn't say when it will be available.
--EDIT: I've actually found this EVGA card even cheaper at a different site, for 589.99, and it's in stock. I've tried to do research on whether it will actually match or come close to a Titan but nobody seems to have a solid answer. I hope you guys can help! :) --

How would I go about changing the fan on the back of the Phantom 820? Would it involve buying a replacement blade or simply replacing it with a non-stock fan (like the Noctua NF-F12)?

Thanks again :)  Looking forward to your responses!

Just as a side note which is not so useful to us but might be to anyone later reading this thread, after a bit of digging the best Wi-Fi adaptor looks to be the Linksys AE3000. But I may be wrong of course!
June 10, 2013 6:30:38 AM

I've just noticed that the Noctua NF-F12 is a 120mm fan, not a 140mm and so wouldn't be suitable for replacing the fan on the 820. Any suggestions? After some Googling I've found the Thermalright TR TY-140 to be a good option.
June 10, 2013 3:53:44 PM

The Sabertooth is a great board (at least, my Z77 one is), but it also suffers in price efficiency. I personally never recommend it to anyone trying to be even mildly budget-conscious. The PRO should be a fine choice.

Have you considered punching through the wall? I had a similar problem with the layout of my current house, and managed to fix it by making a small hole and running a cable through. Definitely worthwhile, in my opinion.

The EVGA was, if I'm reading the thread correctly, the liquid-cooled Titan variant. If you're shopping for 780 variants, I recommend the (soon to be released) ASUS DirectCU II version. That said, it wouldn't preform as well as a Titan, particularly a Titan overclocked using that Windforce. The ultimate question here is essentially efficiency vs. sheer power, as well as simplicity versus difficulty. A reference-cooled Titan would be powerful and simple to install, but overclock poorly. A non-reference 780 would be price-efficient and overclock well, but couldn't match the Titan for power. A Gigabyte Titan with the Windforce cooler installed would be the most powerful option, and should overclock marvelously, but would require you to physically modify the card, in addition to being expensive.

In the 820 review (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/phantom-820-compute...) Tom's used a 120 mm Noiseblocker NB-eLoop S-Series B12-1, whose performance they seemed happy with. I'm still looking around for alternatives, myself, as I favour 140mm fans.
June 10, 2013 8:54:48 PM

“How would I go about changing the fan on the back of the Phantom 820? Would it involve buying a replacement blade or simply replacing it with a non-stock fan (like the Noctua NF-F12)?”

I must be missing something here, why do you need to change it, just wondering?

-----------------------------------------

I think you will be very happy with the Pro.

-----------------------------------------------

Yohannas, I recommended on a past comment to not try and do a cooler swap on a graphics card with your experience, it is a pretty expensive toy and not hard at all to mess up. Everyone has to start somewhere of course, but perhaps this card is not the one to learn on. It’s a bit more intricate than slapping a CPU cooler on, you have memory and VRM’s to deal with, thermal pads and TIM also. I would highly recommend a card you can plug in for now, you can always after market later.

I think the Titian is a GREAT powerhouse for a single GPU, but I also think the GTX-780 is a better cost/performance value, it’s a hard pick here. Personally I would grab a good quality 780 and OC it, the EVGA is my personal pick but all of them are good. Their new ACX cooler is pretty trick, as far as I know it is unique compared to all existing stuff others put on the 780. I could try to explain it but perhaps just check out this review.

EVGA GTX 780 Superclocked ACX Graphics Card Review

In short I would say grab a 780 and save some money, OC it and you will be right next to a stock Titian. EVGA also makes a 780 with a hydro copper on it, the cost is good, they are charging very little to install the Swifttech block. But DO NOT consider it unless you get a H220 to hook it up to. Actually I think you may be better off with an air cooled GPU at this time.
June 11, 2013 12:07:59 AM

endeavour, he was thinking of replacing the stock rear fan because of my comment (and that of TH) that it is quite noisy. The 200mms are great on the Phantom, but the rear fan whines and it gets quite annoying. I can attest to this from personal experience.

+1 regarding the 780, though as I've previously said I prefer ASUS's cooler. The loss you take from getting a 780 is quite minor, and can be compensated for by overclocking. Though the Gigabyte is a great option, I wouldn't recommend tampering with your card's cooling if you're not experienced, and a $1k GPU is definitely not what I would recommend as a learning experience.
June 11, 2013 2:59:03 AM

Endeavour, I agree with you completely in that I won't be trying any complicated setups with expensive cards, since it's my first experience with PC building. Overall I am 95% sure that a 780 would be the better choice over a Titan: almost as powerful, and much cheaper. While it would be nice to have that overclocking potential with a Gigabyte Titan, the complicated install and significantly higher price don't justify it over a non-reference 780. This review even showed that the overclocked EVGA version out-performed the Titan in some tests (both my link and also yours, endeavour, confirm this!) (http://hothardware.com/Reviews/EVGA-GeForce-GTX-780-wit...)

I have had a look at the Asus Direct CUII version you mentioned, Jack, but I can't seem to find much information about it, particularly any comparisons to the EVGA version. It's a simple case of which one has more potential - which can OC better and give better performance. Do you have any insight into that, or is it simply a waiting game?

With the E3 Conference giving lots of very positive information about the PS4, I'm now hesitating on whether building this PC rig is the best idea - annoying for me to say at this point, I know! Specs-wise I have no doubt that the PS4 won't hold a candle to the rig that I (we!) have picked out, but I hate the idea of buying a PS4 further down the line and find I'm no longer using my PC as much as I should. I may wait a month or two and see how the situation develops.

Thanks for the link to that 820 review, it was very useful! It just makes me more sure that I've chosen the right case.

So all in all I think now the only question that remains about the setup is that of the GPU - will the EVGA ACX 780 or the Asus Direct CUII 780 be the better card?

Thanks once again guys! And be reassured that your perseverance with a zero-experience newcomer like me won't be for nothing. Sooner or later, PS4 or no, I WILL be building this PC!
June 11, 2013 4:46:01 AM

Yohannas, the reason that you can't find much information is that said card is yet to be released. I based my recommendation on the track record of ASUS and the specs of that cooler, in comparison to the same for EVGA. The EVGA wouldn't be bad, mind you, but I have a lot of faith in ASUS, and I've yet to hear a single complaint against any of the DirectCU II-cooled cards presently available.

The PS4 does appear to not be terrible (which is quite an endorsement, coming from someone who views consoles as poorly as I do), but I don't really see why it would supplant your PC. You can play 95% of the same games on a PC, and even do so with a controller and connected to your TV, if you want to. I just can't see a circumstance where you'd end up using the PS4 more.

Definitely an excellent choice. There are a few cases that beat it in cooling, but none that beat it in style, and at this level of performance more cooling is just more bragging rights.

As said, the ASUS isn't out yet, but ASUS has a great track record, as does that cooler. I would bet my bottom dollar that it would be the superior option. That said, EVGA make fine cards, and I doubt you would have issues with their 780.

The biggest issue that the ASUS would have, to my mind, is the fact that it doesn't have a set release date at current. If you're in a great hurry to get this build up and running, that could be a sizable downside. If not, I would consider it worth the wait.

In conclusion, can we clone you and replace all the other OPs with said clones? I want all my advice threads to be this nice...
June 11, 2013 7:25:13 AM

Trust me, it's me who should be thanking you! Niceness is a given, why be anything else? But being this ready and willing to advise a complete newbie in such great detail is a very rare trait. I'd like to thank both of you from the bottom of my heart!

I've ordered some of the components online, so it's a sure thing now. The only component I'm still shaky on is the graphics card; I can wait a month or two and see what happens with that (I'm actually living in Italy at the moment and won't be home for a month anyway!).

Again, and I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but I really, really appreciate all the time and effort you've both put in to help me. I'm extremely glad that I started this thread and I would advise anyone who's unsure to do the same. So once again: THANK YOU!!!
June 11, 2013 8:59:36 AM

One final question which is probably going to sound quite stupid! When I buy all the components, will all the screws, cables and other such things that are required to install them be provided, or do I need to go searching?
June 11, 2013 6:05:33 PM

Glad to hear you are going to put your machine together and make it ROCK! Your most welcome for the assistance, it was a pleasure indeed to get a new guy going in a good direction making such a nice system. Now that you have a solid parts list and gathering them up perhaps read a bit on the BIOS software, over clocking and things like that. It will give you a head start to know what to look for when you put the juice to it for the first time.

You’ll have plenty of good questions while you are fine tuning it, that is the fun part, much more enjoyable than just plugging in a PS4.

Finding a ASUS 780 DC-II may be a challenge as it’s a pretty new release, but the time between announcing and stock is normally pretty short with ASUS. May want to go to their site, get on the forums and find the 780 thread, I am sure they are talking about it. ASUS graphics usually simmer up to the top of the shootouts in best overall because of the cooling, they historically are very conservative on factory clock settings, but with a good cooling they have good OC overhead. EVGA’s Precision X is about the very best graphics OC software, it works on all cards, does not need to be a EVGA card, you just need to download it. The BIOS and OC package with the Pro is about the best in the industry, you did good there.

If you can find an H220, that Haswell runs HOT! Air is OK, good water is much better. I wish Intel would sell a CPU without an IGPA and move the memory controller back to the PCH for desktop game rigs, but the trend is integration. I just can’t see building your specs with CPU air.

All the nuts and bolts you need should come with the hardware you get, perhaps tie raps for cable management, but some cases provide them now days.
June 12, 2013 3:24:10 AM

+1 to everything endeavour said. I agree in particular about the ASUS stock OC vs. potential OC. If you want to not tamper with the settings at all, the EVGA will be stronger, but if you OC I would bet strongly on the ASUS.

I'm thrilled that we were able to help. It's always a pleasure to help someone, and that's been even more the case due to the pleasant nature of this thread. If you have any questions later on, feel free to PM me, I'd be happy to help in any way I can.
June 12, 2013 12:19:39 PM

Thank you once again, I'll get straight onto the Asus forums. With what you've said, the Asus sounds like the best card for me, as I do intend to fine-tune the computer once it's all up and running. But of course it's still early days for that!

Once again, thanks for everything. If I need any more help or have any more questions I'll be sure to PM you, Jack. Thank you for all your support, both of you!
June 13, 2013 7:11:57 PM

Thanks, I saw that review and it threw me into a dilemma between the EVGA and the Asus. There are lots of advantages to each one but I decided on the Asus in the end, for a number of reasons. The Asus is louder (but only by 1dbA in idle), it's expected to cost more and out-of-the-box performance is lower. At the same time though its overclocking potential is a tiny bit better than the EVGA, its power consumption and temperatures are quite a bit lower, it has a backplate and, in my opinion, it looks better.

I've started looking at mechanical keyboards, and I'm on the hunt for a good-quality Cherry Brown switch one, preferably with backlights. I've seen that Ducky have announced a new Shine model, the Shine 3, and showcased it at Computex. But things look a bit shaky, and from what I can gather they're not even sure whether or not it'll go into production. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hb5eNzm7oiY

Anyway, we'll just have to wait and see!
!