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US$2000-$2500 WFH/gaming build, feedback please?

Current System:
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500k
Cooler: Thermaltake CLP-0556
MB: Foxconn H61S (mini-itx)
RAM: 8GB (2x4GB) G.Skill Ripjaws Series DDR3 1333MHz (Model F3-10666CL7D-8GBRH)
GPU: MSI GTX 670 2GB (Model N670GTX-PM2D2GD5/OC)
PSU: Silverstone ST45SF
Case: Silverstone SG06
SSD: Crucial M4 256GB (Model CT256M4SSD2)
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB
ODD: Plextor USB-powered external BD-ROM drive
Wi-Fi: Rosewill RNX-H150G
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate x64 retail
Monitor: Seiki SE39UY04
Speakers: Altec Lansing AVS200
Headset: Plantronics Calisto B70 (bluetooth, usb charging cable)
Keyboard: Qtronix Scorpius 98N Plus
Mouse: Logitech M-BT96a (usb optical, 2 buttons + wheel button)

Approximate Purchase Date: As soon as I've settled on the parts to order. If I get zero replies within 48 hours of posting this message, I'll just go with my tentative list.

Budget Range: US$2000-$2500 before shipping and rebates (I don't use rebates), flexible.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: working from home (applications I currently use for this: MS Outlook, TortoiseSVN, Chat Mapper, Adobe Flash, Skype, jEdit, Java, NetBeans, and TeamViewer), gaming (Skyrim, Dragon Age 2, Mass Effect 2, Spore, Torchlight 2, Fallout New Vegas, etc.; I'm not into pure first-person shooter games), other common tasks like web surfing, personal email, and finances.

Are you buying a monitor: No (the few monitors on the market that could be considered upgrades from my Seiki 39 inch 4k TV were way too expensive last I checked)

Parts to Upgrade: everything but the display. (technically, there are parts I could reasonably re-use from my current computer or my spare parts, but I'd rather go whole hog this time)

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Amazon, Newegg, Provantage, TigerDirect (since I already have accounts at those sites). I'm willing to consider signing up at other websites if they offer significantly better prices and shipping prices are reasonable (also, please make sure shipping can be calculated while signed out; I'm not sure I would trust a site that requires signing in before showing shipping costs)

Location: Fremont, California, USA

Parts Preferences:
CPU - Last I checked, Skyrim works best with Intel's Core i series, even at high resolutions.

CPU Cooler - even if I don't end up overclocking, I want an air cooler that has bolts (not plastic snap-in push pins) through the motherboard, and that fits my case.

Case - My Silverstone Raven RV03 felt too big without an ATX motherboard and an SLI/CF setup (plus several other drawbacks), and I initially liked the small size of my Silverstone Sugo SG06 case, but after struggling to install a mechanical hard drive, I'm starting to think it's too small.

I like the idea of mounting the motherboard horizontally, though, so I'm strongly leaning towards the Cooler Master HAF XB EVO. I think it might not feel as big as a tower-style case.

Keyboard: I need a wide backspace key (I've tried keyboards that had the backspace key the same size as a letter key, and couldn't stand them), and a slanted palmrest is nice as long as it's fairly low friction.

Speakers - I live in an apartment, so I figure I should avoid a subwoofer, and I don't really have good places to mount the extra speakers of a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound setup.

Headset - this won't completely replace the speakers, because I occasionally watch videos with my father in my room instead of out in the living room, and I'll probably use the speakers for console games, but for work I attend meetings via Skype, so I need some kind of headset. I'm not entirely happy with the headset I've got, because it's not very intuitive to determine whether it's already on, plus it uses up two usb ports - one for the charger and one for the bluetooth adapter. I like the idea of a 5.1 or 7.1 channel headset, since it wouldn't require the extra setup that a 5.1 or 7.1 speaker set would.

Overclocking: Yes. I understand the general idea, and I'll be careful to go a step at a time, but it would help if somebody could direct me to the best overclocking guide for my hardware configuration. Also, in case it isn't covered in the guide, how long should I wait to let the thermal grease cure before starting to overclock?

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe.

Your Monitor Resolution: 3840x2160

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I'm hoping to speed up scene transitions in Skyrim (currently 30-40 seconds when playing at 3840x2160; currently significantly modded, but the slow scene transitions happened even with vanilla Skyrim, and it is installed on the SSD; I asked about this problem here: http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-1864975/long-scene-transitions-skyrim-normal-playing-3840x2160.html but got no replies), and get better framerates in DA2 (currently around 26-27 fps with the Dragon Age 2 Texture Mod by trufflesduval installed, but screen space ambient occlusion, diffusion depth of field and high-quality blur turned off and at 2xAA; 0xAA gets me lower frame rates, which is confusing), plus some future-proofing (in case upcoming games start benefiting more from hyperthreading and/or extra system RAM, or my usage changes to include programs that can benefit from those). Also, I had a Gateway keyboard that started having trouble acknowledging the left windows and left alt keys, and I'm not entirely happy with my older Qtronix keyboard either.

Here's what I've tentatively chosen:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($329.99 @ NCIX US)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-C12P SE14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($64.99 @ Mwave)
Motherboard: ASRock Z87 Extreme4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Microcenter)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($149.99 @ B&H)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($228.99 @ Mac Mall)
Storage: Western Digital Green 4TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive ($177.69 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB Video Card ($705.91 @ Newegg)
Wireless Network Adapter: TP-Link TL-WDN4800 802.11a/b/g/n PCI-Express x1 Wi-Fi Adapter ($39.99 @ Microcenter)
Case: Cooler Master HAF XB EVO ATX Desktop Case ($89.99 @ Microcenter)
Case Fan: StarTech FANBOX 37.3 CFM 80mm Fan ($8.81 @ Amazon)
Case Fan: StarTech FANBOX 37.3 CFM 80mm Fan ($8.81 @ Amazon)
Case Fan: BitFenix BFF-SPRO-20025KK-RP 148.7 CFM 200mm Fan ($17.98 @ OutletPC)
Case Fan: Cooler Master COOLER MASTER JetFlo 120 95.0 CFM 120mm Fan ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic M12II 650W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($96.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Asus BW-12B1ST/BLK/G/AS Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($78.54 @ Amazon)
Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K70 Wired Gaming Keyboard ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Mouse: Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball ($39.88 @ Amazon)
Speakers: Creative Labs Inspire T10 10W 2ch Speakers ($32.99 @ Amazon)
Headphones: Rosewill RHTS-8206 5.1 Channel Headset ($44.38 @ Amazon)
Total: $2382.89
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-11-15 20:44 EST-0500)

I think I'm okay on compatibility and parts fitting into the case, but please let me know if I've chosen any bad quality parts, or if you think I should add or change any parts for other reasons.

Thanks in advance for any feedback.
9 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about 2000 2500 wfh gaming build feedback
  1. Best answer
    The above build looks pretty good, but I would suggest a better CPU cooler (H100i). I don't see the problem with a subwooofer. Look for a 7200 RPM hard drive. The 670 to 780Ti isn't a huge leap. I would recommend two 780's. The PSU is a bit low on wattage. The wireless card is overpriced. You have a lot of fans, maybe drop a few.
  2. I had a bad experience several years ago with a Zalman Reserator 1 V2, so I'm reluctant to go the liquid cooling route (even sealed-loop). How much better is the H100i compared to the NH-C12P SE14? Also, I've read many posts where a Corsair Hydro series cooler required some plastic washers to get it to mount securely to the cpu.

    Is 7200 rpm really necessary for my storage drive when I have an SSD as my boot drive? Perhaps I can go smaller on the mechanical hard drive though.

    Two 780s is a decent idea, though it stretches my budget a bit.
    I realize my chosen PSU isn't enough for SLI, but I thought it would be enough for a single 780 Ti (and cpu o/c).

    For the wireless card, what model would you recommend?

    As far as fans, the 80mm ones would only cool the lower compartment with the drives, so I'll drop those. I'm fairly sure I want the top 200mm fan as intake and the 120mm fan as rear exhaust for the top compartment, though if you can find a comparison of temperatures with and without fans installed installed in those places, you might be able to prove them unnecessary.

    Based on your suggestions (including the ones I'm uncertain about), how does this build look:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($329.99 @ NCIX US)
    CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i 77.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($99.99 @ TigerDirect)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z87 Extreme4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Microcenter)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($149.99 @ B&H)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($228.99 @ Mac Mall)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($99.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($484.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($484.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Wireless Network Adapter: TP-Link TL-WN881ND 802.11b/g/n PCI-Express x1 Wi-Fi Adapter ($17.99 @ Microcenter)
    Case: Cooler Master HAF XB EVO ATX Desktop Case ($89.99 @ Microcenter)
    Case Fan: BitFenix BFF-SPRO-20025KK-RP 148.7 CFM 200mm Fan ($17.98 @ OutletPC)
    Case Fan: Cooler Master COOLER MASTER JetFlo 120 95.0 CFM 120mm Fan ($16.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: SeaSonic M12II 850W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($119.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: LG UH12NS30 Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($40.00 @ Newegg)
    Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K70 Wired Gaming Keyboard ($129.99 @ Newegg)
    Mouse: Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball ($39.88 @ Amazon)
    Speakers: Creative Labs Inspire T10 10W 2ch Speakers ($32.99 @ Amazon)
    Headphones: Rosewill RHTS-8206 5.1 Channel Headset ($44.38 @ Amazon)
    Total: $2529.10
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-11-16 01:19 EST-0500)
  3. I don't know why mastrom101 hasn't replied yet (it's been over 24 hours), and I don't know why others haven't chimed in, but I've noticed some things:

    1. I can't find a direct comparison between the NH-C12P SE14 and the H100i, but I found comparisons of each to the NH-D14, and based on those I agree that the H100i is significantly better (since the NH-D14 won't fit my case with top fan installed).

    2. I did say my budget was flexible, so I think I can handle a 4TB 7200rpm drive as well as the two 780s (I think 2x 780 Ti would be stretching it too far though, unless I cut back significantly in other areas).

    3. I did some web-searching for the best fan configuration for the HAF XB, and didn't find any that showed comparative results, so after I've built this I will experiment with different configurations (in terms of which fans are intake and which are exhaust for the upper compartment, that's 8 possibilities with all 3 positions filled) and post my results (I'll test before overclocking; once I find the best config, then I can start on overclocking). Right now I'm thinking I'll start with all 3 as intakes (including the H100i in push+pull config by combining the fans it comes with and the fans the case comes with) and let the air go out the sides and video cards, but I'm open to alternative suggestions.

    4. The Zotac 780 has a limit of 1 per customer at SuperBiiz, so I'll have to get at least one of them elsewhere. (or would it be best to get both from TigerDirect?)

    5. I probably should have said my budget was including shipping, since I'm using that to decide between vendors to buy parts from, and the BBCode markup generated by pcpartpicker includes shipping costs in the total. NCIX US is out, because it won't show me shipping costs in the cart - it says I have to start checkout first.

    This is what I'm looking at now (including vendor selection):

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($334.93 @ SuperBiiz)
    CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i 77.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($99.99 @ TigerDirect)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z87 Extreme4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Microcenter)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($149.99 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($219.00 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Seagate 4TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($205.12 @ Amazon)
    Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($501.66 @ TigerDirect)
    Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($484.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Wireless Network Adapter: TP-Link TL-WN881ND 802.11b/g/n PCI-Express x1 Wi-Fi Adapter ($17.99 @ Microcenter)
    Case: Cooler Master HAF XB EVO ATX Desktop Case ($89.99 @ Microcenter)
    Case Fan: BitFenix BFF-SPRO-20025KK-RP 148.7 CFM 200mm Fan ($21.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    Case Fan: Cooler Master COOLER MASTER JetFlo 120 95.0 CFM 120mm Fan ($16.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: SeaSonic M12II 850W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($119.99 @ Amazon)
    Optical Drive: LG UH12NS30 Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($40.00 @ Newegg)
    Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K70 Wired Gaming Keyboard ($129.99 @ Newegg)
    Mouse: Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball ($39.88 @ Amazon)
    Speakers: Creative Labs Inspire T10 10W 2ch Speakers ($32.99 @ Amazon)
    Headphones: Rosewill RHTS-8206 5.1 Channel Headset ($44.38 @ Amazon)
    Total: $2669.85
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-11-17 09:40 EST-0500)
  4. The Corsair liquid cooler are built well and will be better than most air coolers. I strongly recommend them. If you read reviews of them, they are rated well.

    Not necessary, but worth it imo.

    http://pcpartpicker.com/part/rosewill-wireless-network-card-rnxn250pce


    Your revised build looks good. My only other suggestion is picking up a speaker system with a subwooofer. The additional bass is definitely noticeable.
  5. mastrom101 said:
    The Corsair liquid cooler are built well and will be better than most air coolers. I strongly recommend them. If you read reviews of them, they are rated well.

    Not necessary, but worth it imo.

    http://pcpartpicker.com/part/rosewill-wireless-network-card-rnxn250pce


    Your revised build looks good. My only other suggestion is picking up a speaker system with a subwooofer. The additional bass is definitely noticeable.


    This, subs give you amazing sound quality.
  6. All right, updated build:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($334.93 @ SuperBiiz)
    CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i 77.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($99.99 @ TigerDirect)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z87 Extreme4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Microcenter)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($149.99 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($219.00 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Seagate 4TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($205.12 @ Amazon)
    Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($501.66 @ TigerDirect)
    Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($484.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Wireless Network Adapter: Rosewill RNX-N250PCe 802.11b/g/n PCI-Express x1 Wi-Fi Adapter ($19.48 @ Amazon)
    Case: Cooler Master HAF XB EVO ATX Desktop Case ($89.99 @ Microcenter)
    Case Fan: BitFenix BFF-SPRO-20025KK-RP 148.7 CFM 200mm Fan ($21.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    Case Fan: Cooler Master COOLER MASTER JetFlo 120 95.0 CFM 120mm Fan ($16.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: SeaSonic M12II 850W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($119.99 @ Amazon)
    Optical Drive: LG UH12NS30 Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($40.00 @ Newegg)
    Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K70 Wired Gaming Keyboard ($129.99 @ Newegg)
    Mouse: Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball ($39.88 @ Amazon)
    Speakers: Creative Labs A220 9W 2.1ch Speakers ($34.18 @ Amazon)
    Headphones: Rosewill RHTS-8206 5.1 Channel Headset ($44.38 @ Amazon)
    Total: $2672.53
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-11-17 15:51 EST-0500)
  7. Okay, I've ordered the parts except for the video cards (I think I hit some kind of daily limit on my card :( I tried to look up what my limits were ahead of time, but couldn't find them; I can just wait a few days and then order them, though). The promo at SuperBiiz had ended, so I didn't bother using that vendor, and I tried to sign up at microcenter, but it just reloaded the signup page without showing any error message. Thus I'm only ordering from Amazon and Newegg so far. I'll probably order the video cards from TigerDirect.
  8. In case anyone's still interested, I cleared up the declined payments, and my video cards are coming from Newegg now (since it was easier to tell the bank to stop the payment to TigerDirect than to be sure of which Newegg order to stop). Most of my other parts have come, except for the external speakers which are being shipped from further away, and the 200mm fan which I discovered I'd forgotten to actually order before :( but it's ordered now.
  9. I received the video cards today and got things set up, but the wireless signal for the trackball wasn't reliable :( :(
    I switched back to the mouse from my old build for now, and from a brief search, there's apparently no wired version of that trackball, and I'm not the only one unhappy about it. I can't find any other trackball that even looks worth considering.
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