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I need a micro motherboard for my Alienware Aurora.

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August 17, 2013 11:06:33 PM

Hi. I have an Alienware Aurora with an i7 920 CPU, Crossfire Sapphire 7950s, and 8 gig Gskill 1600xmp ram. I want to get a new CPU maybe the i5-4670k but my motherboard is old and doesn't support the new CPUs.

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August 17, 2013 11:10:54 PM

Pavel Pokidaylo said:
Hi. I have an Alienware Aurora with an i7 920 CPU, Crossfire Sapphire 7950s, and 8 gig Gskill 1600xmp ram. I want to get a new CPU maybe the i5-4670k but my motherboard is old and doesn't support the new CPUs.


Here ya go buddy:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($199.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken X40 98.3 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($82.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus GRYPHON Z87 Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($162.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $445.97
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-08-18 02:10 EDT-0400)

:) 
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August 17, 2013 11:17:10 PM

Hey thanks for the quick reply. That's a great price for the CPU. My Alienware already has a good liquid cooler for the CPU. I'll check out the motherboard but I was hoping for a cheaper one.
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August 17, 2013 11:19:05 PM

Pavel Pokidaylo said:
Hey thanks for the quick reply. That's a great price for the CPU. My Alienware already has a good liquid cooler for the CPU. I'll check out the motherboard but I was hoping for a cheaper one.


A cheaper but good one.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z87MX-D3H Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $109.99
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-08-18 02:19 EDT-0400)

:) 
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August 17, 2013 11:20:44 PM

You have a damn nice rig there. How much better you think your 2 770s are vs 2 7950s?
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August 17, 2013 11:24:37 PM

Pavel Pokidaylo said:
You have a damn nice rig there. How much better you think your 2 770s are vs 2 7950s?


Oh thanks bud! :) 

The 770's in SLI totally beats 7950's in crossfire. At first, I'm thinking of crossfiring 7950's because of its awesome price but because of poor drivers AMD has, I decided to get 770's in SLI instead and I'm totally happy, Most games can go 120fps+ and never goes below 60fps :) 
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August 17, 2013 11:38:36 PM

Yea I bought the first 7950 a few weeks before the 700 series was released. I ordered the second one this week but it came defective. The fans spin up but that's all it did lol. I sent it back for a replacement. I know the 770 is a better card but I can overclock my sapphire 7950 to 1150+ on the core without touching the voltage. I read on techpowerup that when they overclocked the 7950s they were at gtx 680 level. My computer is an Alienware Aurora and it's a decent case but its short so not much room to work with. I mean the GPUs will be really close to each other and the bottom GPU will be above the power supply.

After I sent back the broken 7950 I tried putting the working one into the bottom slot and it worked. I was playing Hitman for a few hours and I noticed the card reaching higher than normal temps. Usually, without overclocking, the card temps were 70 degrees when it was hot in my room and 59-65 degrees when it was cool in the room. When I was playing Hitman with the card in the bottom slot I noticed the temp reach 79 degrees after a few hours of playing. It was about the same temperature here in NY at the time and probably even hotter in my room but still. I'm concerned about the heat. With one card being right above the PSU and the other card right above the first card it may get too hot =/.
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August 17, 2013 11:41:38 PM

I also had to pay someone to rewire the whole computer because the wires coming up from the bottom would press up against the bottom cards fan. I ordered this Alienware with only one GPU so they didn't wire it in a way that would allow me to add a second card later on which pissed me off.
Why would they do that? I payed them good money and the thing is supposed to be made for Multi-GPU but they wired it in such a way that I would never be able to do it without rewiring the whole damn thing. The wiring was neat sure but still wtf...
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August 17, 2013 11:43:45 PM

By the way what Anti-Aliasing are you able to play with the two 770s? For me with one 7950 for example Crysis... If I turn on MSAAX4 the FPS goes to average of 30. It gets to as high as like 47 and as low as 20 sometimes.
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August 18, 2013 12:45:46 AM

Pavel Pokidaylo said:
I also had to pay someone to rewire the whole computer because the wires coming up from the bottom would press up against the bottom cards fan. I ordered this Alienware with only one GPU so they didn't wire it in a way that would allow me to add a second card later on which pissed me off.
Why would they do that? I payed them good money and the thing is supposed to be made for Multi-GPU but they wired it in such a way that I would never be able to do it without rewiring the whole damn thing. The wiring was neat sure but still wtf...


Well we learn from experiences buddy. Now the lesson is, when you're getting a new rig, don't get a PREBUILT one like the overpriced Alienwares. With my 770's I can maxed out the Aliasing and still get 60+fps. Anyway what Crysis? I haven't tried the 3rd one but I played Crysis 2 with Blackfire graphics mod and Maldo textures + 4X MSAA and the highest it got is 104fps, it averages 78fps and the lowest it gets when in intense battle is 61fps which is really good.
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August 18, 2013 5:09:37 AM

I paid $1400 for the Alienware and before I bought it I checked how much it would cost me if I just ordered all the same parts and it came out to the same price. Then I would have to pay someone like 100 bucks to put it together and I wouldn't have warranty.
I've never had any problems with this rig and I really like the case. My only gripe is that it's short so having two video cards in it means one on top of the other and also above the power supply. And of course I didn't like having to pay someone to rewire it just so that I could put in another card. If I had payed extra money and ordered the rig with a second card in it it would have been wired for it. They shouldn't have wired it this way just because I only got it with one card. But besides that I really like it. I'll have to see how the cooling will be with the two cards in it before I can really complain about the height of the case though.

I was talking about Crysis 3. I played it on this rig with the 7950 in it. I played with all settings maxed except Shadows/Shading and AA. The shadows/shading really slowed it down and so did the higher levels of AA. I know the shading makes it look better but even without having it maxed the game still looked really good and ran at 60fps.

If you never go below 60fps playing with maxed AA that's very impressive. Even if it's 4XMSAA. 8XMSAA is just nuts.

My next rig will be custom built though. Simply because you have more freedom with it. When I ordered this Alienware I didn't know much about computers and it looked cool lol. I mean I still like it a lot but I would have really loved it if it were a little taller so that I could have more space for DUAL-GPU setup. But we'll see how it goes when the replacement card arrives this week. Hopefully they don't overheat :) 
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August 18, 2013 5:23:44 AM

Also I have another question maybe you can answer it. Now I have the old i7 920 which is a first gen CPU and it's stock clocked. Crysis 3 seems to me to be a GPU oriented game because my GPU utilization is 100% in it. I believe that means that the CPU is NOT bottlenecking the GPU. However, in other games I'm pretty sure I see a bottleneck. I know that if my FPS is the same as my monitors refresh rate and the GPU usage is at 50% for example, it just means that the GPU doesn't need to work any harder. I also know that if my FPS is not equal to my monitors refresh rate but the GPU usage is at 100% it means that the GPU is not powerful enough to produce such FPS.

I'm sorry this is so long it's just a complicated thing lol.

Anyway, here's my question. In Crysis 3 I constantly see GPU usage at or near 100%. But there are many games where I only see at or near 100% GPU usage some of the time. And most of the time it's not at 100%. A lot of times it will be around 50%. So just because I see constant 100% usage in Crysis 3 does not mean that my rig is free of bottlenecks?
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August 18, 2013 9:14:30 PM

Pavel Pokidaylo said:
Also I have another question maybe you can answer it. Now I have the old i7 920 which is a first gen CPU and it's stock clocked. Crysis 3 seems to me to be a GPU oriented game because my GPU utilization is 100% in it. I believe that means that the CPU is NOT bottlenecking the GPU. However, in other games I'm pretty sure I see a bottleneck. I know that if my FPS is the same as my monitors refresh rate and the GPU usage is at 50% for example, it just means that the GPU doesn't need to work any harder. I also know that if my FPS is not equal to my monitors refresh rate but the GPU usage is at 100% it means that the GPU is not powerful enough to produce such FPS.

I'm sorry this is so long it's just a complicated thing lol.

Anyway, here's my question. In Crysis 3 I constantly see GPU usage at or near 100%. But there are many games where I only see at or near 100% GPU usage some of the time. And most of the time it's not at 100%. A lot of times it will be around 50%. So just because I see constant 100% usage in Crysis 3 does not mean that my rig is free of bottlenecks?


If you see 100% gpu usage, that only means the GPU does most of the job but that doesn't mean the cpu is not bottlenecking it. A 100% usage just also means that it's a really intensive game. Some games are not that demanding that's why they only reach 50% the other reason why they only get 50% usage is because the game is well optimized. Anyway, to ensure that no bottlenecks will occur, it's always better to pair a current gen cpu to a current gpu. Also, I'll pirate Crysis 3 and let you know my performance result :) 
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August 19, 2013 12:23:08 AM

Yea I'll get a new mobo and cpu soon. Crysis 3 is a great game too.
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August 19, 2013 4:41:45 PM

Pavel Pokidaylo said:
Yea I'll get a new mobo and cpu soon. Crysis 3 is a great game too.


I played Crysis 3 for like 5 hours. And just for benchmarking sake, I turned up all the settings to Very High, 16X AF, And 8X MSAA. Man, Crysis 3 is a damn-stressful game to play. Well, The highest it got is 101fps and then drops to 33fps on some parts but yeah, it averages to 72fps. But if I turn the AA to FXAA, I get better results, HIGH: 130FPS LOW: 62FPS AVERAGE: 86FPS.

Anyway regarding your rig, Expect to get your cards run a bit hot because your case can only fit micro-atx, and because its micro-atx, Dual-cards are too close to each other and close to each other means it can get hot. Now, if you can ditch your case and get a new one, you can just get an ATX board + you don't have to worry about your card getting hot compared to Micro atx because ATX has an extra space so dual card setups can breath more and run cooler than having micro-atx. As for Crossfire 7950's, I believe you can get a bit better performance in Crysis 3 if you crossfire because Crysis 3 is an AMD optimized game. :) 
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August 19, 2013 5:17:33 PM

I thought about that. I'm going to try it with this rig and see how it goes. If it gets really bad I may have to get a new case. I really like this case besides the proximity of the GPUs part =/
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August 19, 2013 5:19:37 PM

Metro Last light is another game that can bring GPUs to their knees. Max settings with 4XSSAA I'm seeing as low as 12fps lol.
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August 19, 2013 5:25:12 PM

Pavel Pokidaylo said:
Metro Last light is another game that can bring GPUs to their knees. Max settings with 4XSSAA I'm seeing as low as 12fps lol.


I have that one and Have no problem playing that game on Maxed out settings, Maxed MSAA, everything with Advance PhysX on. It runs constantly at 60+fps. It's only Crysis 3 that kinda pushed my rig, though I can still maxed it out no problem.
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August 19, 2013 6:42:14 PM

I'll have to see what kinda fps I get in Metro with everything maxed once I get my second card. If I OC them both it should be really close to your 770s.
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August 19, 2013 7:05:50 PM

Pavel Pokidaylo said:
I'll have to see what kinda fps I get in Metro with everything maxed once I get my second card. If I OC them both it should be really close to your 770s.


If you can afford an i7-4770k and pair it with your 7950's in crossfire, you will have a good time in gaming :D  If you play lots of Crysis 3 and Metro last light, i7's really benefits because of it's extra logical cores.
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August 19, 2013 8:27:57 PM

Was going to ask about that. Does MSAA require a faster CPU? Also I thought for games there wasn't really a need to go above an i5-4670k.
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August 19, 2013 8:57:46 PM

Pavel Pokidaylo said:
Was going to ask about that. Does MSAA require a faster CPU? Also I thought for games there wasn't really a need to go above an i5-4670k.


MSAA doesn't necessarily need a faster CPU but you still need it to prevent bottleneck, a powerful GPU with high VRAM still matters. That thought was long time ago. Ever since Crysis 3 was released, it gave us gamers a warning or kind of a hint that from now on and in the future, more and more games will use more than 4 cores. I say it's totally worth it.
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August 20, 2013 5:26:11 AM

According the info here on Toms, on the bet CPU for the money page, they say they don't recommend anything above 220 dollars for gaming. So basically the i5 4570k or w.e. After that there are rapid diminishing returns in price/performance. But they do say that the i7s have that Hyper Threading Technology which can be a benefit in some games. Goddamnit now you're making me want more powerful stuff. Now I want the i7 and 2 770s like you have lol. Although I doubt I'll be getting the 770s since I just got these 7950s. But maybe I could spend 100 bucks more and get the i7 over the i5.

If I'm going to stick with this Aurora case I'll have to buy a new Micro Mobo if I want to upgrade the CPU. The thing is that thing has a feature that lets me control the lights on the case and it has the thermal controller that lets me control the fans and stuff. I've read that if I buy a different motherboard those things won't work. I guess they are not super important but still.

First things first though, I'm going to get the second card and see how the temps are with both of them under load. If the temps are to my liking I'll probably just stick with this case but if they get too high I'll probably need to buy another case. I need to start making more money so I can buy more powerful hardware lol.
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August 20, 2013 11:31:51 AM

Pavel Pokidaylo said:
According the info here on Toms, on the bet CPU for the money page, they say they don't recommend anything above 220 dollars for gaming. So basically the i5 4570k or w.e. After that there are rapid diminishing returns in price/performance. But they do say that the i7s have that Hyper Threading Technology which can be a benefit in some games. Goddamnit now you're making me want more powerful stuff. Now I want the i7 and 2 770s like you have lol. Although I doubt I'll be getting the 770s since I just got these 7950s. But maybe I could spend 100 bucks more and get the i7 over the i5.

If I'm going to stick with this Aurora case I'll have to buy a new Micro Mobo if I want to upgrade the CPU. The thing is that thing has a feature that lets me control the lights on the case and it has the thermal controller that lets me control the fans and stuff. I've read that if I buy a different motherboard those things won't work. I guess they are not super important but still.

First things first though, I'm going to get the second card and see how the temps are with both of them under load. If the temps are to my liking I'll probably just stick with this case but if they get too high I'll probably need to buy another case. I need to start making more money so I can buy more powerful hardware lol.


I think the best you can do for now is to stick with your 7950's, they are still powerful card especially when crossfired. How many fans do you have in your case? Cuz from what I know, you can plug in the fans at the motherboard itself so you can control it via software or through BIOS. Lastly, do you live near microcenter? Because i7's there are pretty cheap. The other option you have is to get the last year model Ivy Bridge i7-3770K the performance between this and haswell is so close, plus Ivy's motherboard's are now cheaper so you can get a really full-featured excellent motherboard.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($249.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: Gigabyte G1.Sniper M3 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($168.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $418.98
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-08-20 14:40 EDT-0400)
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August 21, 2013 4:56:54 AM

I know I have one fan in the front that blows air to the PCI slots and there is a plastic thing that covers the cards. The plastic cover is meant to protect the cards but more importantly it's meant to keep the cool air that's being blown in by the fan on the cards. I'll find a pic of it and post it.
I was talking smack though lol. Always want the best haha but I'm not gonna be swapping my GPUs anytime soon. Besides if my 7950s won't be able to provide the performance I want (even when overclocked) then I doubt the 770s would be able to. I'd have to have a GPU setup upwards of SLI 780s or Titans. But we'll see what happens when the working card finally gets here. Should be either today or tommorow for sure.

Anyway, I have that fan for the PCI slots and also have a fan for the hard drive. I can control them Via the thermal controller. I've never messed with it before but two days ago I played around with the PCI fan. I raised it to 100% and it sounded like a turbine but it did help with cooling a little bit. I had my card overclocked and it was hot in my room. The temperature of the card reached upwards of 77 degrees. But when I raised the fan speed to 100% the card would not go above 74 degrees. I'd say it's a grand total of 4 degrees cooler with the fan set at 100% but I mean playing like that is impractical. I can't wait for the damn thing to get here already so that I could test it out and see.

As for the CPU/Mobo. First I need to see how adding this second card will improve performance. After that I have a few options of what I can do.
1. Either find out if this motherboard really does not allow overclocking of the CPU. If it does not then I can buy a new motherboard and overclock this i7 920. If it does allow overclocking then I can just try to overclock the CPU. The motherboard is an MS-7591 and its x58 chipset.
2. Buy both a new CPU and motherboard.
3. Buy a new CPU, Motherboard and Case.

There are complicatons though. First of all if I do buy a new motherboard and put it in this case I don't think the lights or the thermal controller will work. It's an Alienware Aurora with the original motherboard. I've read that it won't work with another motherboard. Maybe I can buy one from Alienware? I guess the lights are not that important but what about the thermal controller? Will the fans even work? lol =/

The other thing is the micro motherboard and the proximity of the GPUs. Being so close together may cause heat issues which I don't want.
I'd hate lose this case but right now it's looking like that may happen. If I do buy a new case/motherboard/cpu I can keep the old stuff in the Aurora and add one of my old video cards like the 6770 or 5770 and try to sell it.
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August 21, 2013 10:42:56 AM



If I were you, I'd buy a new case. Aurora's case is too demanding to use based on what you told me. You also told me that the thermal controller and the lights will not work if you use a different motherboard. What's your max budget that you can afford a Mobo, CPU and Case?
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August 21, 2013 10:59:05 AM

Right now 0 dollars lol. But when the time comes I think I'd like to spend around 300-400 at most for those 3 things.
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August 21, 2013 11:00:15 AM

Did you see the best gpu for the money: august? They put the 7950/7970 back up there and tied with 770/760 lol.
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August 21, 2013 11:12:30 AM

Pavel Pokidaylo said:
Did you see the best gpu for the money: august? They put the 7950/7970 back up there and tied with 770/760 lol.


Yeah because the price/performance ratio of 7950's is pretty good. Plus, you get free games.
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August 21, 2013 11:20:09 AM

All of these cards are so close in performance. The 760/670/680/770 and 7970/7950 and even the 660ti are all really close. The more expensive ones give a little more performance but you can't really go wrong with any of these I think.
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