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Questions about a new gaming pc build

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October 27, 2013 8:51:31 PM

I am in the process of researching a new gaming PC build. This is my first gaming PC that I will be constructing (and by constructing I mean choosing the parts for either ibuypower or cyberpower to build for me) and I would greatly appreciate everyone's input. I have been doing research for days and it is all a bit overwhelming to start from scratch and really try to make sense of it all. So, here it goes...

Processor: I am looking at three processors: i7 4770k, i7 4820k, and i7 4930k. I am most leaning toward the i7 4820k for the 1866 MHz native ram speed, high speed and number of PCIe slots, and potential for future upgrades (i want to have this pc for as long as possible), but I am curious on everyone's thoughts toward the i7 4770k and the i7 4930k (I have heard in the past that the six cores sometimes don't work as well as they should for gaming).

Ram: either 16 or 32 Gb DDR3 1866 MHz ram (corsair most likely). Either way I would use either 2 x 8Gb or 4 x 8Gb. My understanding though is that the i7 4820k and i7 4930k work on quad channels so it is always beneficial to have 4 sticks of ram in place, is this true?

Cooling: Asetek 550 LC CPU cooling system. Good price and effective cooling.

Power: 850 Watt corsair power supply

Storage 2 TB harddrive. I have read small bits of information that a PC should also have SSD memory built into it to install the operating system into, any advice on that? I will most likely also install a second hard drive and install them as Raid (forgot the nomenclature) where all data is backed up.

Sound: Asus Xonar DGX 5.1 channel surroud sound

Case: Thermaltake overseer full tower gaming case (2 USB 3.0, lots of cooling, and most importantly looks pretty awesome.

Motherboard: MSI X79A-GD45 Plus-- 5x PCI-E x16, and 6x SATA 6Gb/s I have little to no experience selecting motherboards but i was pointed in the direction of this motherboard. Any objections or suggestions? I know that getting high end parts are useless without the correct motherboard to allow those parts to run to there full potential, will this motherboard limit me in any way?

Videocard: This is where I am really starting to struggle.If money meant nothing obviously I would be installing GTX titans...but as we all know that is not the case. My first thought was the Radeon HD 7990..but after reading up on it a bit more (power hungry, very hot, and noisy) I have all but thrown that idea out the window (unless someone could convince me otherwise). Then there is the GTX 770 and GTX 780. I have no super strong feelings toward one over the other. The GTX 770 is a strong card for a decent price (and seems to be best value), the GTX 780 is a stronger card but a bit on the higher priced side. I have plans in the future when it becomes necessary to simply add a second video card in SLI (By then the price of the 770 or 780 will have come down a lot). In the meantime which card do I go with? My goals are to play Skyrim (loads of visual Mods), Farcry 3, Tomb Raider, and the games that will be coming out in the near future. I would naturally like to spend a little less money, but I do not want to regret my decision in the future. Any other suggestions with reasons for a video card are more than welcomed.

Any preference to ibuypower or cyberpower? I know Ibuypower has a 3 year warranty on any PC you purchase from them..

I know this was a long post...but when you are about to spend 2k - 2.5k on a PC that you have been dreaming about since you were 12 (now 25) you want to do this right, and where better to go for the best advice than Tom's Hardware?!




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October 27, 2013 9:24:14 PM

CPU: I would go with the 4770k because the other 2 parts listed are 2011 sockets and that is fine but you are going to be spending a lot more on the motherboard and for only 2 perks. 1. More PCIe lanes, which unless you are using 3-4 graphics cards you won't use, and 2. Quad channel memory, which unless you are using specific applications you won't see a difference with.

RAM: Yes if the processors have quad channel memory I would use four stick, just like if it has dual channel memory I would use 2 sticks. But you can always use a multiple of the channel that the CPU supports, so you can use 4 stick on dual channel but I wouldn't use 3.

Storage: Yes I would suggest an SSD for this build because if you are spending this much on a computer and you don't have an SSD, shame on you. A SSD is made from NAND flash, the same stuff that are in flash drives, but a higher quality of it and in larger quantities. So for this build I would probably get a 256GB Samsung EVO, they are around $180 but they are multitudes faster than HDD. Also the RAID you are looking for is RAID 1.

Motherboard: Since I am recommending a 1150 socket CPU I will recommend the MSI Z87-G45 Gaming. It is a great board and it has a lot of nice features. And it won't hold you back at all. But if you still want to go with the 2011 socket CPU that motherboard that you mentioned is a great board too.

Video Card: If you are buying right now I would get the 7990 because of a few reasons. 1. It will outperform the 780 and the 770 in most games. 2. It comes with 8 great games, and if you already have some you can make a friend really happy, or sell them to make some money back. But if you don't want to get it still I would recommend the 290X when it comes back in stock because it performs almost the same as the 7990 and it is a little less power hungry and a bit quieter, but it is still hot. But with the 290X it is designed to run hot.
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October 28, 2013 7:25:10 AM

Spartin503 said:
CPU: I would go with the 4770k because the other 2 parts listed are 2011 sockets and that is fine but you are going to be spending a lot more on the motherboard and for only 2 perks. 1. More PCIe lanes, which unless you are using 3-4 graphics cards you won't use, and 2. Quad channel memory, which unless you are using specific applications you won't see a difference with.

RAM: Yes if the processors have quad channel memory I would use four stick, just like if it has dual channel memory I would use 2 sticks. But you can always use a multiple of the channel that the CPU supports, so you can use 4 stick on dual channel but I wouldn't use 3.

Storage: Yes I would suggest an SSD for this build because if you are spending this much on a computer and you don't have an SSD, shame on you. A SSD is made from NAND flash, the same stuff that are in flash drives, but a higher quality of it and in larger quantities. So for this build I would probably get a 256GB Samsung EVO, they are around $180 but they are multitudes faster than HDD. Also the RAID you are looking for is RAID 1.

Motherboard: Since I am recommending a 1150 socket CPU I will recommend the MSI Z87-G45 Gaming. It is a great board and it has a lot of nice features. And it won't hold you back at all. But if you still want to go with the 2011 socket CPU that motherboard that you mentioned is a great board too.

Video Card: If you are buying right now I would get the 7990 because of a few reasons. 1. It will outperform the 780 and the 770 in most games. 2. It comes with 8 great games, and if you already have some you can make a friend really happy, or sell them to make some money back. But if you don't want to get it still I would recommend the 290X when it comes back in stock because it performs almost the same as the 7990 and it is a little less power hungry and a bit quieter, but it is still hot. But with the 290X it is designed to run hot.


Thank you for you advice. Is it best to avoid new graphics cards when they are fresh on the market (to give time to work out unforseen kinks)? I have read the r9 290x runs at 95°C max..you mentioned it is designed to run hot but will that kind of temp be harmful through years of use (to itself and to surrounding components)? It is possibly to add extra aftermarket cooling to a vieo card?

I know the 7990 runs two 7970 cards, but does this mean it runs them in crossfire with two cards or are both cores added to one card to run? are there any differences between a 7970 crossfire setup (do they use the same number of PCIe slots, power cnsumption, ect..)?

I do not see your recommended motherboard as an option on ibuypower unfortunately (and i don't trust myself to purchase and install on my own). i do see a G41 though, and a gd65 gaming. Any other suggestions possibly?

edit: I have read the specs on both motherboard and they seem identical with the gd65 having a few extra internal connections and minor differences. I did read that 3 PCIe 3.0 ports are pressent in both but setup is either (16x,4x,4x) or (8x,8x,4x). Does this mean i couldnt run two video cards in the future both at 16x?

Also i glancingly read about people using an added nvidia graphics card simply to have physx...what do they mean by this?
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October 28, 2013 10:15:23 AM

For the 290X it has a blower style fan so it will exhaust from the card out the back of the machine. And since it is designed to run at 95C it won't have any bad effects from the extra heat. You can wait for some of the other companies to put out their coolers like the Windforce 3, Twin Frozer, and DCuII.

The 7990 runs 2 7970s in crossfire on a single board. The upside to this is that you use a little less power and it only uses a single PCIe 16x slot instead of 2. But it creates about the same amount of heat as 2 cards and it only gets cooled by a single cooler, so I would suggest one of the triple slot coolers out on the market for it.

The GD65 Gaming works just fine too. It's almost the same thing but it adds a couple more features, and if you have the money to spend it's also a great board.

Unless you get a really high end board that has a PLX chip to allow more PCIe lanes or if you go with a 2011 socket system you will only have 16 PCIe lanes to use for your whole computer. That is not a big deal though because each graphics core only really uses between 4-8 PCIe lanes even though they have 16x connectors. So you can run 2 graphics cards no problem but I wouldn't recommend running more than 2 because of PCIe lane restriction, and bad scaling for more than 2 cards.

Some people do add nVidia cards to their systems as a dedicated PhysX card. But unless you have one laying around it usually not worth doing, because you will get better performance from putting the money that you spend on the extra card into a better main card. And the PhysX card would only ever do something when you have PhysX enabled, which only some games have. Also in some cases a dedicated PhysX card actually holds back a higher end card.
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October 28, 2013 11:19:16 AM

Spartin503 said:
For the 290X it has a blower style fan so it will exhaust from the card out the back of the machine. And since it is designed to run at 95C it won't have any bad effects from the extra heat. You can wait for some of the other companies to put out their coolers like the Windforce 3, Twin Frozer, and DCuII.

The 7990 runs 2 7970s in crossfire on a single board. The upside to this is that you use a little less power and it only uses a single PCIe 16x slot instead of 2. But it creates about the same amount of heat as 2 cards and it only gets cooled by a single cooler, so I would suggest one of the triple slot coolers out on the market for it.

The GD65 Gaming works just fine too. It's almost the same thing but it adds a couple more features, and if you have the money to spend it's also a great board.

Unless you get a really high end board that has a PLX chip to allow more PCIe lanes or if you go with a 2011 socket system you will only have 16 PCIe lanes to use for your whole computer. That is not a big deal though because each graphics core only really uses between 4-8 PCIe lanes even though they have 16x connectors. So you can run 2 graphics cards no problem but I wouldn't recommend running more than 2 because of PCIe lane restriction, and bad scaling for more than 2 cards.

Some people do add nVidia cards to their systems as a dedicated PhysX card. But unless you have one laying around it usually not worth doing, because you will get better performance from putting the money that you spend on the extra card into a better main card. And the PhysX card would only ever do something when you have PhysX enabled, which only some games have. Also in some cases a dedicated PhysX card actually holds back a higher end card.


I don't know what part of heaven you orginated from, but thank you for all of your help. You have taken quite a few of my worries away and given me a strong direction to build my system. If it is ok I will ask a few more questions.

Looking at different PSU options I have the corsair 850W unit in mind..but when the sytem is built, total recommendation is 850W. Is it safe to go with the 850W corsair or should I look into the 1,000W AZZA Titan? I do not know that brand name, but it is very close in pricing (which makes me want it but simultaneously scares me). I know it is best not to max out a PSU so should I bite the bullet and get a known brand with power to spare? And if i happen to choose the 290x, and want to add it as new card in crossfire a few years from now...what power supply Wattage should I get? (or should i just uprade the PSU later with the new card snce it will probably be years from now)?]

I have always had a crush on intel when it comes to processors so at first I did not even consider AMD..but should I? I am seeing some very competitive pricing but I worry about regretting my decision in the future. My recollection is telling me AMD runs hotter, but I will have a fairly nice liquid cooling system built into it.
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October 28, 2013 9:01:13 PM

caseybrunet said:
Spartin503 said:
For the 290X it has a blower style fan so it will exhaust from the card out the back of the machine. And since it is designed to run at 95C it won't have any bad effects from the extra heat. You can wait for some of the other companies to put out their coolers like the Windforce 3, Twin Frozer, and DCuII.

The 7990 runs 2 7970s in crossfire on a single board. The upside to this is that you use a little less power and it only uses a single PCIe 16x slot instead of 2. But it creates about the same amount of heat as 2 cards and it only gets cooled by a single cooler, so I would suggest one of the triple slot coolers out on the market for it.

The GD65 Gaming works just fine too. It's almost the same thing but it adds a couple more features, and if you have the money to spend it's also a great board.

Unless you get a really high end board that has a PLX chip to allow more PCIe lanes or if you go with a 2011 socket system you will only have 16 PCIe lanes to use for your whole computer. That is not a big deal though because each graphics core only really uses between 4-8 PCIe lanes even though they have 16x connectors. So you can run 2 graphics cards no problem but I wouldn't recommend running more than 2 because of PCIe lane restriction, and bad scaling for more than 2 cards.

Some people do add nVidia cards to their systems as a dedicated PhysX card. But unless you have one laying around it usually not worth doing, because you will get better performance from putting the money that you spend on the extra card into a better main card. And the PhysX card would only ever do something when you have PhysX enabled, which only some games have. Also in some cases a dedicated PhysX card actually holds back a higher end card.


I don't know what part of heaven you orginated from, but thank you for all of your help. You have taken quite a few of my worries away and given me a strong direction to build my system. If it is ok I will ask a few more questions.

Looking at different PSU options I have the corsair 850W unit in mind..but when the sytem is built, total recommendation is 850W. Is it safe to go with the 850W corsair or should I look into the 1,000W AZZA Titan? I do not know that brand name, but it is very close in pricing (which makes me want it but simultaneously scares me). I know it is best not to max out a PSU so should I bite the bullet and get a known brand with power to spare? And if i happen to choose the 290x, and want to add it as new card in crossfire a few years from now...what power supply Wattage should I get? (or should i just uprade the PSU later with the new card snce it will probably be years from now)?]

I have always had a crush on intel when it comes to processors so at first I did not even consider AMD..but should I? I am seeing some very competitive pricing but I worry about regretting my decision in the future. My recollection is telling me AMD runs hotter, but I will have a fairly nice liquid cooling system built into it.


In general I would recommend having you full system under load reach around 85-90% of the PSU max load, because that is around to best efficiency on PSUs. But if you know you are going to upgrade within about 18 months I would look for a PSU that would fit the upgraded build. But if it will be more than 18 months-ish than I would get a new PSU than, because PSUs degrade over time, and it does take a while for it to degrade but upgrading the power supply will cost a little more upfront but it gives you a backup PSU so if things go wrong you can use it as a temporary PSU, and you will have better efficiency over a longer time. So with your build I would suggest a 900 or 950 watt PSU, but if you are getting one of the AX series than you will be fine, because they are 80 PLUS Platinum certified, which is very efficient. And personally I would go with an AZZA PSU, because they aren't that great, but also not too bad if you need to get the wattage and don't have too much money they aren't a really bad option.

For the most part if you have the money and you want the power Intel is still the way to go, but, if you want to get a mid-high performance CPU for not too much AMD is great. For pure gaming, they are about the same, but most other things Intel will outperform AMD. It mostly comes down to your budget and you processing needs and wants.
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