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Looking to Build a BF4 Gaming Machine, (3) Monitor Setup.. Help!

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November 28, 2013 4:22:17 PM

Ok, so I think this is the year, this is time time, tomorrow might even be the day... Unless, of course, some new tech is coming out in the next few days that will change everything..
I pretty much will only be playing BF4 on this rig. I already have a Synology for NAS/media serving, and I honestly wish I had more to say here in terms of usage, but I really don't.
Ideally, I'd like to be going the IPS route, but I end up something like $2k in the hole on monitors, that's probably not happening.

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP

Budget Range: $1500-$2000, not including monitors

System Usage from Most to Least Important: BF4, web browsing

Are you buying a monitor: Yes - ideally (3), not included in initial budget..

Parts to Upgrade: Fresh build, upgrading all

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, microcenter, but open to all...

Location: New York

Parts Preferences: Intel, Gigabyte Mobo

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Yes - either

Additional Comments: A window would be cool, quiet would be nice, was thinking water cooling?


So, where should I start? I see the i7-4470 @ $289, that might be an option, right? Then, should I go Gigabyte or Asus on the motherboard? I read somewhere awhile back that a 3GB GPU card is the way to go, not sure if that still holds true...
I was thinking of the HAF 932 for a case, and everything else I'm an open book. Any simple insight would be much appreciated.. I just need some direction...

Thanks
a b 4 Gaming
November 28, 2013 4:28:59 PM

The Core i7 isn't worth it for BF4 or most other games. A Core i5 is going to do just as well.
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November 28, 2013 4:32:42 PM

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2aGHf
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2aGHf/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2aGHf/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($197.99 @ NCIX US)
CPU Cooler: Corsair H80i 77.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($169.98 @ OutletPC)
Storage: Toshiba 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($84.99 @ Microcenter)
Video Card: PNY GeForce GTX 770 4GB Video Card ($369.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Rosewill THOR V2 ATX Full Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 850W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($101.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.98 @ OutletPC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($132.98 @ OutletPC)
Total: $1364.85
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-11-28 19:32 EST-0500)

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a b 4 Gaming
a c 170 B Homebuilt system
a b C Monitor
November 28, 2013 6:45:57 PM

If you are looking to play BF4 at 5760*1080 (or I guess 7680*1440, though that seems extreme) and you want to run with everything turned up then you are going to need a load of graphics power, and that probably means a multi-gpu setup. Something like a 280X/HD7970 Crossfire setup would get you running, as would a single GTX780Ti/R9 290X, but if you want to run 4x (or even 2x) MSAA then all of those setups will start to struggle. In the build below I went for a slightly eye wateringly expensive GTX780SLI combo. The R9 290/X might well represent a better solution once manufacturers start to release their own cooling solutions.

CPU can be an i7 if you like, but as mentioned it's not a great value for money investment. As your budget is large, the extra $100 might not be that big a deal. Similarly, I stuck with basic 8Gb of 1600Mhz 1.5V memory. You can go faster or more if you like but its pretty marginal performance increases for gaming.
By water cooling do you mean a closed loop AIO unit like a Corsair H100i or proper water cooling (XSPC RayStorm 750 RS240 type of thing is a good starting point)? AIOs offer pretty solid hassle free performance, but they aren't necessarily great value for money and can be very noisey when run at performance settings. I've stuck in a high end air cooler instead.
Nothing wrong the the HAF932, wouldn't be my first choice but if you like it then go for it. The massive side fan is likely to be very useful in a multi-card setup.
There are plenty of motherboard options but as you said Gigabyte I went for the mid range UD3H, it is likely to have everything you need and more. There are plenty of valid options from Asus and ASRock too.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.98 @ SuperBiiz)
CPU Cooler: Phanteks PH-TC14PE_BK 78.1 CFM CPU Cooler ($74.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD3H ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($58.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($449.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($449.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 932 Advanced ATX Full Tower Case ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 1000G2 1000W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($79.98 @ OutletPC)
Total: $1868.85
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-11-28 21:45 EST-0500)
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a b 4 Gaming
a b B Homebuilt system
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November 28, 2013 6:47:56 PM

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2aMxJ
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2aMxJ/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2aMxJ/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($197.99 @ NCIX US)
CPU Cooler: Corsair H80i 77.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($169.98 @ OutletPC)
Storage: Toshiba 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($84.99 @ Microcenter)
Video Card: PNY GeForce GTX 770 4GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($369.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: PNY GeForce GTX 770 4GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($369.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Rosewill THOR V2 ATX Full Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 850W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($101.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.98 @ OutletPC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($132.98 @ OutletPC)
Total: $1734.84
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-11-28 21:47 EST-0500)

seems about right :) 

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December 12, 2013 11:34:05 AM

Does anything change here? I think I would go H100 over the 80... But, any new developments? R9 290x come in to play? Thoughts? I'm finally leading up to pulling the trigger for real for reals...
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a b 4 Gaming
December 12, 2013 11:41:27 AM

The 290Xs with better coolers seem to be just around the corner, Gigabyte just announced their Windforce version.
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a b 4 Gaming
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December 12, 2013 11:41:28 AM

the 290x is a great card but coolers havent been fixed and still has loads of issues, so if u can wait for a month or so maybe they will fix this, but if ur buying now the card i suggested is quite good or the gtx 780 or 780ti.

well 2x770s 4 gigs will maxout any game. so i wouldnt worry mang.

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December 12, 2013 11:46:25 AM

Not a lot of movement really. The 290X is probably not a great buy even though relative to the GTX780Ti it's pretty well priced. The R9 290 just does nearly the same thing for over $100 less.

Both of them still have no custom cooler cards though, and I'd be very curious to see how those turn out. As it stands, the R9 290 is definitely a great value card when you consider it's performance, especially if you can live with it's quirks, but it's probably not for everyone.
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December 12, 2013 11:52:00 AM

meh the quirks outlive the good points of the 290x :p 

but the price is right.
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December 12, 2013 12:04:02 PM

On the 290X I'd agree, as the price is too high, but the 290 is only definitively beaten by the GTX780Ti and 290X, and people are selling pre-flashed versions which are amazing value for something of that performance level.

If you can live with the noise, it's an absolute no-brainer.
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December 12, 2013 12:07:32 PM

eh im sensitive to sound so no thanks to airplane jet engines :D 

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a b 4 Gaming
December 12, 2013 1:40:02 PM

Like I said, Gigabyte already announced their Windforce version of the 290 and 290X.
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December 12, 2013 3:25:40 PM

Well, would the fans only spool up on hardcore gameplay? Because, 1) this unit will be in my room, but I will be the only one using it, and 2) I'd imagine I'll leave this thing on all the time... Furthermore, 3) I was planning on some tinkering down the line, perhaps even going custom closed loop for cooling.. So, that $100 could be spent on a gpu block, n'est pas?

Edit: What's a month? I've already waited (2) friggen years to finally bite the bullet...

Other question - I was going to get a mac mini to serve up plex, however I'd imagine I could probably just use this for that, right?


Sooo.. This happened.. :
[PCPartPicker part list](http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2jnsN) / [Price breakdown by merchant](http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2jnsN/by_merchant/) / [Benchmarks](http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2jnsN/benchmarks/)

Type|Item|Price
:----|:----|:----
**CPU** | [Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor](http://pcpartpicker.com/part/intel-cpu-bx80646i54670k) | $229.98 @ SuperBiiz
**CPU Cooler** | [Swiftech H220 55.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler](http://pcpartpicker.com/part/swiftech-cpu-cooler-h220) | $149.99 @ NCIX US
**Motherboard** | [Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD4H ATX LGA1150 Motherboard](http://pcpartpicker.com/part/gigabyte-motherboard-gaz87...) | $179.99 @ SuperBiiz
**Memory** | [G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory](http://pcpartpicker.com/part/gskill-memory-f312800cl9d8...) | $52.99 @ Newegg
**Storage** | [Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk](http://pcpartpicker.com/part/mushkin-internal-hard-driv...) | $162.95 @ Newegg
**Storage** | [Toshiba 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive](http://pcpartpicker.com/part/toshiba-internal-hard-driv...) | $84.99 @ Amazon
**Video Card** | [PNY GeForce GTX 770 4GB Video Card](http://pcpartpicker.com/part/pny-video-card-vcggtx7704x...) (2-Way SLI) | $389.99 @ Microcenter
**Video Card** | [PNY GeForce GTX 770 4GB Video Card](http://pcpartpicker.com/part/pny-video-card-vcggtx7704x...) (2-Way SLI) | $389.99 @ Microcenter
**Case** | [Cooler Master HAF 932 Advanced ATX Full Tower Case](http://pcpartpicker.com/part/cooler-master-case-rc932kk...) | $158.86 @ NCIX US
**Power Supply** | [SeaSonic Platinum 1000W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply](http://pcpartpicker.com/part/seasonic-power-supply-plat...) | $223.98 @ SuperBiiz
**Optical Drive** | [Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer](http://pcpartpicker.com/part/asus-optical-drive-drw24b1...) | $16.99 @ Newegg
**Operating System** | [Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (OEM) (64-bit)](http://pcpartpicker.com/part/microsoft-os-fqc04649) | $131.98 @ OutletPC
| | **Total**
| Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available. | $2163.69
| Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-12 18:49 EST-0500 |
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December 13, 2013 12:14:26 PM

Any a' yous guys got any idearz?
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a b 4 Gaming
a b B Homebuilt system
a b C Monitor
December 13, 2013 2:04:54 PM

looks good but one 780gtx ti would be better than 2x 770s.

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a b 4 Gaming
December 13, 2013 2:30:57 PM

iceclock said:
looks good but one 780gtx ti would be better than 2x 770s.


Not really. I mean, you do get rid of the inconvenient aspects of SLI, but the raw performance of a pair of 770s is clearly superior to a single 780 Ti. Unfortunately, to get the 4GB versions, the price does get pretty steep. But then the 780 Ti is also overpriced.
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December 13, 2013 3:25:03 PM

well its up to op but i suggested twin 770s or the 780ti. unshur witch would be better.

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December 18, 2013 7:25:45 AM

Here's the next question.. If I were to go with a 290x, and I did eventually plan on water cooling.. I wouldn't need to wait for the non-reference cooled cards then, right?
This whole screen tearing situation is almost making me want to go with a single card, and single IPS over eyefinity.. Why can't they just make this chit work right?! I guess G-synch is a step in the right direction...
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December 18, 2013 8:22:34 PM

Depends what you had in mind really.
In the past you mainly had custom water block+loop options for graphics cooling but these days there are AIO solutions like this which definitely reduce the complexity. For both it theoretically shouldn't make much difference whether you have a reference card or not, however speculation suggests that some of the custom cards will have custom PCBs and potentially other improvements. I'd still say if you were in the market for a 290X it's worth waiting, even if you decide to go for a reference card, as it's quite possible costs will drop.
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December 19, 2013 12:00:39 PM

id get a 280x or wait for the 290x that have fixed coolers.


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December 19, 2013 12:13:10 PM

So, I just found an Asus Maximus VI Hero, with an i7-4770k (NIB) for $425... I think that is a smart move, right?
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a b 4 Gaming
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December 23, 2013 7:27:01 AM

sounds not bad. id do it sir. what else u got?

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December 23, 2013 11:18:51 AM

Nothing yet.. Guy sold the stuff on me.. Oh well, hunt still on... Here's another question.. I'll easily be able to run this as a Plex server for my house, right? I was debating ordering a Mac Mini for that... But, hell, I'd save $700+ by just dumping it into my rig.. Makes sense to me!
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December 26, 2013 12:29:07 PM

now what?

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January 2, 2014 6:49:46 AM

Welp, I've been busy recently, and have to get back on the config-horse... And having all sorts of thoughts.. For example - one option I've been mulling around, is simply starting with a high end card, and a 1440p - maybe another monitor (general usage), then, when the video cards come down, going SLI/Eyefinity, and picking up another monitor, with the card.
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January 2, 2014 8:38:23 AM

Perhaps if you wanted to save some money you could use GTX 760 4GB in SLI. That will work because a: there is enough vram. b: 760 sli outperform 780. It may not be as good as 770 4gb sli or above, but it does the job.
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January 2, 2014 2:54:21 PM

I'm definitely in 'paralysis by analysis' mode... I honestly think I've been here for literally 3 years... Everytime I begin specing something out, a new species is born, and being a somewhat elitist, I must learn, and acknowledge if this is necessary for me to add to the mix.
Of course there are different degrees of being an elitist, but I like to try and get as close as I can...
So, in my debate, I'm wondering if I should just go with a single screen - perhaps at 1440p, with another on the side - obviously not for gaming, moreso productivity. Or, do what I initially was setting out to do,and go triple screen... I definitely am leaning towards water cooling at the moment, and definitely want to set out on that endeavor...
I think what I need to do is make a complete list, including every little bit that I am thinking about incorporating, and compare one versus the other...
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January 2, 2014 3:00:37 PM

I would go with double R9 290 non X. Price difference is big between 290 and 290x when it comes to performance difference which is small especially with BF4.
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a b 4 Gaming
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January 2, 2014 3:14:31 PM

seaneboy said:
Thanks for that tidbid.. How about this - Asus R9 280x at $339... That might be something I need to jump on, no? Does the Asus 280x overclock, or unlock to the 290x?
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1018335-REG/asus_...


It's decent, but I'd be pretty wary right now as the prices on those are bouncing around a lot. They were comfortably under $300 but to find one in stock and shipping you might need to pay $350-400 at which point it makes little sense.
The 280X comes from the same family line as the HD7950, HD7970 and HD7970Ghz.
It is entirely unrelated to the R9 290 and R9 290X which are based on the same chip.
As you have waited this long, I'd definitely wait to see what happens to prices when the full wave of manufacturer cards hits. The R9 290 is definitely by far the better value of the two, but it'll be interesting to see how much performance 3rd parties will allow it to have (without wrecking their own sales of the 290X).
If you are in doubt about your future intentions, I'd definitely go with a single card. It might not explicitly be the best performance/dollar, but it is likely to be less influenced by drivers/software updates and more flexible for upgrades.

As for what setup to go for. I've always wanted a multi-monitor display, but every time I've used one I've found it a little frustrating, more for nerdpoints than anything. A single, perhaps super-wide, higher resolution screen might well be a better investment for gaming, but it's really up to you. My vision isn't fantastic, especially my peripheral vision, so I really don't benefit from the experience in the way a lot of people would.
To me, a two monitor setup doesn't make a lot of sense for gaming. It works very well for design/productivity tasks, or for multitasking, but for 1st/3rd person gaming it doesn't work well at all.

For water cooling, there is a big difference between AIOs and a proper water cooling setup. Closed loop coolers are certainly interesting, but their performance:cost ratio relative to air is questionable. Perhaps the most interesting development in this field is that you can now use them to cool graphics cards too, simulating a full custom loop water cooling setup (albeit at significantly reduced performance) at a lower price point.
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January 2, 2014 5:34:07 PM

Interesting. .So perhaps I should actually focus on the video card last. Sounds like it makes sense..
As for multi-monitor - I know I must go at least tri-setup if I am going to game on multi monitors.. However, I work daily on a dual 23" setup in portrait, and I thoroughly enjoy it. So, if I were to go dual - I would only use (1) for gaming, and the other for whatever the hell else I would be doing while gaming, surfing web? Probably not much, but anyway... Yeah, you can't game on dual monitors - especially with BF4 as the crosshairs will be down the crack in between the screens!
I do like the closed loop systems, but I do want a bit of the bling factor of my own custom loop, let alone I really want to build it! So, perhaps going single card, and water cooled would be the start.. Then, when I get the itch, buy a second card, and perhaps more monitors...
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!