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$1,500 New PC Build - Many questions

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October 25, 2013 10:30:24 PM

Edit: I may have accidentally posted this at the wrong section. Oops. :(  How do you request a move?

Hi Tomshardware,

It's been a very long time since I'm building a new PC, and it's a transitional time in the GPU market, so I need advice. A lot of advice. My habits and usage cases are as follows:

Primary usage: gaming, internet, watching stuff, doing work, etc. That said, while I like ultra graphics settings as much as anyone, I am not a big FPS gamer. CPU power is absolutely essential because I play a lot of Paradox games -- if you don't know what they are, basically they crunch an obscene number of stats to paint pretty maps of armies and things in real time and munch CPU cycles doing it.

- I don't upgrade very often, unless I really need to or something breaks. This buy has a higher time horizon than the typical 2 years upgrade cycle of enthusiasts.
- I never overclock, ever. If you're wondering why I picked the Haswell K, it's because it is basically the same price as the non-K on newegg right now. However, I'm not sure if the $20 markup over the 4570 is worth it. Opinions?
- My last PC was ad-hoc in terms of peripheral qualities (case, PSU -- I wasn't exactly "cheap" on that though -- and motherboard). I want to invest this time in quality and reliability; ergo, Seasonic. Is it worth it to jump $20 or so up to the G series, even?
- I'm an AMD fan, and I know I can save a lot going that route with cheaper AM3+ motherboards, but I need the single-threaded, single-core workload superiority of Intel CPUs (see above).
- SSD non-negotiable. Load times rawr. (Needs to read up on transferring Steam games between drives again...). That said, the 840 is $13 cheaper than the EVO. Is the difference worth it?
- Do want IPS panel. I've only heard a lot about the Dell U23XX series for mainstream eIPS, but this ASUS is going for very cheap. Am I taking a big risk here?
- I've heard newegg sends coupons after purchases. How do you take advantage of that via staggered purchases? Any experiences?
- Is the motherboard choice okay? I have no experience with Intel motherboards. Usage note: no overclocking, no SLI/Crossfire, but USB 3.0 and future-proofing needed. Quality of sound chip irrelevant -- I'm getting the Asus Xonar to be used with the headphone and with the 3rd party driver.
- Win7 to be purchased from, uh, this site (reputable?). I play a lot of old games (viva GOG) with potential incompatibilities, and I have no interest to suffer Modern UI.
- No Microcenter nearby, Frys is around though. Amazon and newegg preferred, though I am willing to try NCIX.

And the big and confusing question: at 1080p resolution, is the graphics card overkill? Which one should I pick? R9 280x or 270x or 7870GHZ or 7970 something or wait for the R9 290 on October 31 to see if it is indeed the "sweet spot" $250 Hawaii card or...argh. Help.

While the $1,500 price tag is definitely no budget-minder, a compromise with minor performance or quality loss at significantly cheaper prices are most welcome. If you think I'm wasting money somewhere stupid, please talk me down. I want the pretties and the speed, and I use my PC a whole lot -- but I'm not awash in money to waste either. This is a big purchase.

Specific parts may change as prices move around, promotions come and go, I wait for replies or procrastinate. Everything is needed for this new computer except keyboard, mouse, speakers (eh, I'll get by), and network adapter.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($31.51 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z87-D3HP ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($125.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($63.75 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($174.99 @ Amazon)
Moar Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.25 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Asus Radeon R9 280X 3GB Video Card ($316.13 @ Newegg)
Sound Card: Asus Xonar DGX 24-bit 96 KHz Sound Card ($28.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 500R White ATX Mid Tower Case ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic S12II 620W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($71.30 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($18.49 @ Amazon)
Monitor: Asus VS239H-P 23.0" Monitor ($167.48 @ Newegg)
Headphones: JVC HARX700 Headphones
Total: $1382.85
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-10-26 00:51 EDT-0400)

Real price ~$1420.00 (not counting unreliable mail-in-rebates) + $70.00 for a Windows 7 Professional from here.

More about : 500 build questions

October 25, 2013 11:14:48 PM

I seem to know less than you , but I still have a few things to say
-Overclocking is definitely something you should consider , especially if you're paying for a cpu that supports it
with very little effort and tweaking you could get 15% increase in CPU performance as long as you get a good
aftermarket cooler
-SSD , I recommend passing on the evo and getting the 840 Pro , It does better in benchmarks and has a lower reported failure rate
- I dont think that the 280X would be an overkill , Because you said you wanted a future proof system and in that case the 208X would do just that , Its also great deal in terms of value
Recommended Builds by Price
Builds by $$$ Last Update: CHRISTMAS 2013 PCPartPicker is used for component selection. All prices in USD (GBP for UK builds) OS, drive, and monitor not included. Always run 64-bit Windows for best performance All builds are fully compatible out... See full content
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October 25, 2013 11:21:28 PM

- If you can get it at the same price, the i5-4670K is worth getting, it's a better quality chip.
- Since you don't update often, get the highest quality PSU you can, I'd keep an eye out on X-series or even XP series sales 650W X-series has been available for under $100.
- Also powerusage etc with the Intel's is good, so i think you are doing the right thing here.
- I would say the difference is worth it, the EVO has a nicer cache solution, it will wear much less than the regular 840 making it the better drive. Probably in most cases it is also the faster drive
- Asus makes good monitors, so i think you'll be fine on that
- Well if you are not in a particular hurry to get your stuff, look for sales on newegg over a period of a couple of weeks, there are sales consistantly on items, including the ones on your list
- Since you don't plan on doing overclocking that mobo should do fine for you, another possible choice would be GA-Z87X-UD3H, $20 more though.
- I don't know about that site, but yeah going for Win7 is fine, I don't really like Win8 myself and my Win7 Ultimate works just fine :) 
- Definately shop around for prices, but you should be able to get pretty nice deals between newegg and amazon. Usually if you are lucky NCIX or some other site might have a deal on your specific component, but pcpartpicker helps you at least make a reasonable deal. So you'll know you are not missing out on great deals elsewhere

Overall your build looks solid, 'maybe' you could go for CAS9 1866Mhz memory but it's not a huge deal.
Pricing is anyway very close and there is no huge performance difference. And 'maybe' upgrade the PSU further, generally though even that Seasonic is still good.
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October 25, 2013 11:49:37 PM

If you were at least open to the possibility of overclocking the K would be worth it. As you said you will not overclock, ever, there is no reason to spend the extra $20, you may as well light the 20 on fire.
Power supply is very solid. But spend the 4 bucks and get the Modular.
Stick with the 840 Evo, much better drive for only a tiny bit more money.
Monitor, since you have a couple bucks to spare consider the Asus Vn247h-p.
MB: Same as the CPU, you're paying for the ability to overclock which you indicated you will not do. May as well stick with a H87.
Ditch the sound card. If you had a quality pair of headphones I would say it may be worth it to invest in a quality sound card but I seriously doubt there will be any discernible difference between that sound card and the Realtek ALC892 on a pair of budget headphones.
Video is fine.
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October 26, 2013 12:59:28 AM

If you seriously don't wish to upgrade for a long period, overclocking and future crossfire/SLI should definitely peak your interest. Overclocking increases your cpu speed and makes it run faster. It's definitely worth in a year or two.
Crossfire in the future can allow your rig to play modern games in the future without a huge upgrade.


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($31.51 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock Z87 Extreme4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($63.75 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($98.99 @ Mac Mall)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.01 @ Amazon)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 770 2GB Video Card ($379.50 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 500R White ATX Mid Tower Case ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic M12II 850W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($18.49 @ Amazon)
Monitor: Asus VS239H-P 23.0" Monitor ($167.48 @ Newegg)
Total: $1343.69
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-10-26 03:58 EDT-0400)

Overclockable.
Downgraded SSD for 120gb. It should still be plenty for the os and games.
GTX 770 can max out anything right now. Also, SLI 770s are beast when you choose to SLI.
Seasonic psu. Big enough for future SLI.
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October 26, 2013 1:03:19 AM

Thank you everyone for your input so far.

Responses:

dyalibya -- I don't overclock for 3 reasons: warranty, I don't trust myself to get it right, and overclocking wears the parts down (slightly) faster, going against my tendency to hold out. The Pro certainly has better benchmarks, but unfortunately it will add a hefty extra to the price tag. I'd love the superior reliability of a mature MLC tech but...

Nonetheless, thanks for the advice on the 280x. Might as well, right? ^^"

~~~

rvikman -- With regards to CPU, my choice is really between i5 4470 vs 4570 vs 4670K. Primarily, I'm curious if the few Ghz gain between them is worth it. Although, if the K version is a better quality chip as you say (makes sense, given that Intel allows the overclock on them...), it might be worth the premium.

EVO has superior wear leveling? Given the TLC NAND, that's *very* nice to know.

I honestly have no idea which brand of motherboard is better. Could you further explain why the Gigabyte might be superior?

My intention regarding buying strategy is to definitely buy the Corsair case first, no matter what. I once saw it on sale for a very nice price, didn't bother buying, regretted badly, and now it's back on sale. Other pieces...the promotion of them last until 10/31, so I still have room to wait for potential "Halloween" deals. And hey, if I get newegg coupons to use from the purchase, I get to save a little too!

~~~

Deuce65 -- So the performance gain from 4570 to 4670(K) is negligible? I will consider getting an even better PSU. Do you know the model number of the one you suggests?

As for the monitor, unfortunately the VN247H-P isn't an IPS. Sounds like it's a great gaming monitor going by online reviews but, I'm not playing online FPS where the response time really counts, and I'd love to see what the IPS fuss is all about. Color accuracy, vibrancy, viewing angles and all that.

As for motherboard -- what is the difference between Z87 and H87?

The headphones included (JVC HARX700) are, according to the internet (reliable source, I know), one of those hidden gems for audiophiles on the cheap. They will, I think, benefit from the sound card. Honestly I wouldn't even have gotten the Xonar if I had not been forced to get one for my current PC, which among its many problems include having the onboard sound chip die on me. The result, with the hassle free 3rd party driver, was surprisingly nice.

~~~

Edit: realchaos, thanks for responding!

SLI/Crossfire might be in consideration. Given current trends (a 2500K still being perfectly good for most things), I trust that the Haswell will also last comfortably over the life of its use. I see that you suggested an ASRock motherboard instead for a similar price -- is that a better board, and if so, could you explain?

Regarding the SSD -- the size is kind of important to me as I "calculated" (read: did elementary magical air-math) that the extra headroom would drastically reduce the need to move games around from it to the secondary drive, which would be an annoyance and a major source of NAND wear.

That Seasonic 850W looks very interesting! I'm curious how it is almost cheaper than the much smaller unit I selected when both are on sale.

Finally, on the graphics card, I believe right now AMD is the better value. NVIDIA hasn't fully adjusted to AMD's new launches (+more to come) yet, price-wise, and I fear I will deeply regret spending now for the 770 when in a few weeks it could be at least $50 cheaper.

~~~

Thanks again for the comments. :) 
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October 26, 2013 5:13:54 AM

Pretty much 'yes' on everything, but regarding the monitor have you considered models with Gsync?
Gsync lets you have all the benefits of playing with Vsync disabled, without the tearing.

Why get the 'K' series if you are considering a non-overclocking motherboard?
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October 26, 2013 10:30:06 AM

TheLastDoomguy said:
Pretty much 'yes' on everything, but regarding the monitor have you considered models with Gsync?
Gsync lets you have all the benefits of playing with Vsync disabled, without the tearing.

Why get the 'K' series if you are considering a non-overclocking motherboard?

I checked up on what Gsync is -- and it seems to be a technology not yet on the market, no?

As for why I chose the K CPU, that is because it was the same price as the i5 4670 yesterday so why not. Today, Newegg has a promo code to the effect that the 4670 is now ~$16 cheaper and very close to the 4570 price, so I guess I'll pick that one instead. ^^
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October 26, 2013 10:41:56 AM

-If you seriously don't plan to overclock, then you won't be able to crossfire/SLI later. The best non-overclocking combo is the i5-4430 + H87 chipset motherboard. H87 chipset motherboards are cheaper because they don't have the ability to overclock or SLI/crossfire like Z87 chipsets.
-I doubt the GTX 770 will drop in prices soon. It's still a great card for the price. However, with the saved money on the processor and motherboard since you're 100% about not overclocking, the R9-290X offers great performance for it's value. At about $550, it can compete against the $650 GTX 780.
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October 26, 2013 11:15:21 AM

^What would I trade going down to a H87, aside from overclocking ability and SLI/Crossfire?

As for the R9 290x. I admit, it looks ridiculously delicious, but even cutdowns on many other parts it will still add more than $100 above my current list + the only card reviewed so far is the one with the rather bad stock cooler. I've pushed my budget to get to the original price point, so it's a hard jump to get that much higher... :( 
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Best solution

October 26, 2013 11:25:40 AM

Aside from overclocking and SLI/crossfire, you won't lose anything.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-4430 3.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($174.99 @ TigerDirect)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H87-D3H ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($63.75 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($98.99 @ Mac Mall)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.01 @ Amazon)
Video Card: MSI Radeon R9 290X 4GB Video Card ($585.91 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 500R White ATX Mid Tower Case ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic M12II 850W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($18.49 @ Amazon)
Monitor: Asus VS239H-P 23.0" Monitor ($167.48 @ Newegg)
Total: $1443.59
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-10-26 14:22 EDT-0400)

Dropped the cpu cooler since you're not overclocking.
Downgraded to a non-overclocking based build.
120gb SSD is fine. OS will take about 30gb, so you'll have about 80-90gb for games.

I know the r9-290x is out of stock right now, but I would definitely wait for it to come back in stock if you want the best performance for your money.
The reference cooler isn't that great, but you're not overclocking anyways so it's fine.
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October 26, 2013 11:40:15 AM

Got it. I'll take your advice and keep an eye on the custom R9 290X parts as reviews come up.

I will stagger my purchases over the next few days or a week or two, but for now I think there are a lot of points to mull over from the advices given.

I'll select the last answer as the "solution," but thank you everyone for your input. I rarely come by the forums side of things on this site yet you guys are so helpful!

:) 
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