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Buying New Gaming PC: 4 GB GTX 770 SLI vs. single 3 GB GTX 780 Ti for 1080p Monitor and Other Component Questions.

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 28, 2013 1:13:12 PM

I'm sorry if I'm asking a lot of questions, but I'm not really that tech savvy when it comes to PC components. It's simply not an option for me to build my own PC. I will not be paying for all of this on my own and the person helping me get this wants me to get a manufactured PC with a warranty and tech support. I've heard good things about Cyberpower PC, and I like that you can really customize your setup with them, so I plan on buying from them. I'm looking to spend between roughly $2,000 to $2,500 on this rig. I will be using this solely for gaming and web browsing/general use. I don't do any video editing or graphics programming or anything fancy like that.

I'm a little confused as to which of the above listed GPU setups would be better. I know this setup is probably overkill for a single 1080p monitor, but it leaves me open for a future upgrade to a 4K monitor when they become more affordable.

I know SLI can suffer from micro-stuttering, but I've read that Nvidia has pretty much fixed that issue. Some people have noted that the 3GB of VRAM on the 780 Ti might not be enough in the future, so would I be better off with 2 4GB GTX 770s in SLI, since it will have 4 GB of memory usage, with the better performance of the SLI multi-GPU setup, or am I better off getting a single GTX 780 Ti, avoiding micro-stutter altogether and the fact that SLI is not used or supported in some games? I could always get a second GTX 780 Ti in the future when the price drops substantially, but is it hard to install an SLI setup? This is the issue I'm the most uncertain on, as some people recommend a single GPU and some people say that a multi-GPU will absolutely kill a single GPU.

I have Crysis 3 and I want to be able to run it maxed out at silky smooth frame rates, but I will mainly be using it for MMO games like Guild Wars 2, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Rift, etc. and also some Steam games I have like The Witcher, Path of Exile, and eventually, maybe, Dota 2.

I know Guild Wars 2 is a CPU intensive game, so I plan on getting an i7 4770K and getting it overclocked by 20%. Is this a good solution, or should I go with an overclocked i5 4670K?

I plan on getting the Corsair Hydro Series H60 120MM liquid cooling kit. Is this a good choice?

I've read that more than 8 GB of RAM isn't necessary for gaming, but then I've also read that up to 12 GB would be handy. Would getting 16 GB of Memory be good for future proofing, and also is it worth getting 2133 Mhz over 1600 Mhz memory? I plan on Corsair Vengeance, as I've read that it is the popular choice for gaming.

I plan on getting a Corsair Gold Certified 850 watt PSU.

I'm planning on a 2 TB 7,200 RPM HDD, as I've read that solid state drives don't really make much of a difference for gaming. Am I correct in thinking this? Is it necessary to get a hard drive cooling fan like the Vigor iSURF II?

I don't know much about motherboards, but I currently have selected the ASRock Z87 Extreme 4 ATX, since it's the cheapest SLI motherboard they offer, but I'm open to other suggestions.

I'm not super picky about sound, so I plan on the Sound Blaster Audigy SE, as it seems really popular on Newegg. Does that sound right, or should I go for something like the Asus Xonar DX? I have a Logitech 2.1 THX speaker system, but plan on getting the Logitech G930 7.1 headset for when I play online with my friends.

I've heard that Window 8 is a complete disaster, so am I right in assuming I should get Windows 7 64-Bit Edition, or is Windows 8 worth the headaches in order to get DirectX 11.2?

That covers pretty much everything. Any and all help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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December 28, 2013 1:51:58 PM

Well the 850 watt gold certified psu will run up to 2 780 ti's in sli.

two 770s will outperform a single 780ti by about 30% in most games, but then you have the possibly issues that come with dual cards.

As far as your liquid cooler, i would go with an h-80, as it is just a thicker radiator and performs better for just a little more cost (assuming you just want a radiator that fits in a single 120mm fan mount space

the hard drive is fine, but for gaming, if you wanted to put your most played games on an ssd along with your operating system, you will not get better fps, but loading screens will be almost non-existant in most games compared to a mechanical drive, so it's up to you. No you do not need a hard drive cooling fan if you just have even moderatly poor airflow in your case

the motherboard you picked out is actually not a bad one at all for your needs, so i'd stick with that

Personally i hate windows 8 as well, and windows 7 home premium is good unless you are wanting MORE than 16gb of ram (8gb is more than enough for gaming)

as far as the speed of ram, for gaming you will not even get a single fps difference going with 2133 over 1600 mhz. (MAYBE 1 fps at best case)

with the motherboard you picked, you would better off NOT getting a sound card at all, as asrock has pretty good onboard audio and works with up to 5.1 (personal opinion and many reviewers will tell you the same thing) An external dac is much better and can be had for around the same price)

I would say go with the 4770k processor INSTEAD of getting a sound card, as it is money much more well spent
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December 28, 2013 1:54:05 PM

Personally, as i know many people have problems with dual cards, i'd go with the single 780ti, as you will also save money on your power bill with it, and it will max any game to date on a 1080p screen and be silky smooth. This also allows you to buy a second 780ti when the time comes to upgrade to 4k
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December 28, 2013 2:24:10 PM

Wow quite a list. Hopefully I can try to make a bit of sense of your build here. I'll from easy to questionable.

Windows 8 is the way to go. Don't bother with anything else.

#1 a $2,000 - $2,500 Budget is outstanding (but is completely overkill as you mentioned if you are only doing 1080p gaming), I didn't see a mention of a monitor.

#2 8GB of memory (1600Mhz) is more than enough (as you mention you' won't be doing video editing, photoshop, or autocad)

#3 2TB is great for serious storage (you don't need a cooler. Heat comes into question when you're cramming all your parts in a small case. Which I hope you won't do)

#4 SSD are outstanding. They will help you tremendously in games where there is a great loading time. If speed Is your concern choose from the top listed by tom (Samsung Pro gave gotten the best raves) http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-recommendation-...

#5 My honest opinion Audio componets are a humongous waste when done in 2.1 set up (don't bother) just get some decent speakers (you don't need a audio card being your motherboard will output audio options up to 7.1)

#6 the PSU is a bit much you would be fine with at Gold 750W PSU (XFX, Seasonic, Corsair, Antec are the most sought after)

#7 My honest opinion for the gaming you're doing right now (you listed the games) up to a GTX760 or a R9 270X is more than enough. 4k is quite a distance away. You're looking to save at least $200 right now should you choose these option (right now a 780TI is $500 vs $300 for a 4GB GTX760) and there are the Frame Rates on Crisis 3 for either card (http://anandtech.com/bench/product/1038?vs=1043)

#8 the CPU a i5 4670K is great for overclocking (again you dont' do any intense work with pc. This is more than enough. If it isn't you can upgrade when you find it convenient)

#9 The cooling option you chosen isn't that great (plus is loud). Your best bet is Air cool a cheap and efficient alternative is the Cooler Master EVO 212 $30 or you can go Uber nice with a Noctua NH-U14S ($70) last cooler you'll ever need (and ultra quiet)

#10 Didn't see you monitor option or your Case option

Here is a guestimate of what it would be should you build it yourself (as reference only and you have a microcenter near by you're looking to save an extra $100 on all the listed components)

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2rK1X

Best Luck
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December 28, 2013 2:26:08 PM

If you're only gaming, the i5 will actually be better in most situations... however, with the new console generation having 8 cores, you're likely to see more games provide better multi-tasking, which means the i7 is a little more future-proof. You don't necessarily need the K version, though. The non-K is still very fast and actually has more features enabled... though those will make little difference in gaming. There isn't really a lot you'll notice about overclocking a Haswell i7 on modern games and wot, though, considering your GPU (even the best ones) will be the limiting factor. Yes, even for Guild Wars. Intel's so far ahead in CPU space that it's dual-core solutions can compete with AMD's hex or even Octo-core solutions, and game designers are going to make sure their games run well on those chips. I wouldn't bother with liquid cooling for a non-extreme edition chip, though. A 212 EVO will have more than enough headroom for a sizable overclock, be much cheaper, and much, much easier to set up and maintain. I can't recommend the ~2kg air coolers, though. They might be awesome for keeping it cool, but if your computer shakes too much in moving, it can literally snap your motherboard in half. Also, make sure you have good case cooling if you go with any CPU cooler that does not blow air directly down onto the motherboard, or you may burn it out.

The new consoles also bring about updates to RAM requirements. For future games, 8GB will be a -minimum-. If you do only get 8, make sure you leave slots for an upgrade to 16 in the future. Note, however, that increasing the amount of ram you have will improve hard disk performance and lifetime, and given that unless you get a nice SSD that will be the biggest bottleneck on the system, and that improved SSD life is very good anyway, I cannot recommend less than 16GB of RAM, especially if you're spending in the 2k+ range.

As far as RAM speed goes, the faster your processor, the more hungry it's going to be for RAM. If you really intend to pull a 20%+ overclock, you'll almost certainly want the faster RAM, to avoid wasting clock cycles. Like your CPU, however, in most games CPU / RAM speed is not the bottleneck; you will not notice a difference, unless you're also using the computer for heavy multitasking or CPU-bound design software.

As far as SSD's are considered, in-game, they don't make much difference (unless you only have, like, 4GB of RAM and are running things in the background while gaming). What they will make a huge difference with, however, is system boot times and responsiveness. It's the difference between a start menu taking 5 seconds to open and / or load items and opening instantly with everything pulled up. Seriously, load times pretty much disappear for items on the SSD, and it speeds up your regular type hard drives, too, since they aren't under constant load from system files. There is nothing you can do to make your system feel faster than getting an SSD.

Hard drive cooling isn't strictly necessary, but you want to make sure they have some airflow, as it causes them to fail far less often. For this reason, most cases have fans in front of the hard drive mounts. This is typically sufficient, even if you have lots of hard drives.

The 780Ti will max out it's 3GB on intense games at 4k, this is true, however, likely due to the huge amount of memory bandwidth it provides, it will still outperform cards (and sometimes even multiple cards) with more memory. Under such conditions, it will still pull even with a r9 290x that has not maxed out its buffer; it's truly a beast of a card, and even for 4K, the fastest on the market currently. You might, however, be better off waiting for a 6GB version or Nvidia to pull out Maxwell, which, if nothing else, will reduce the price on the 780Ti.

Sound card is absolutely not necessary. Even if you are somewhat picky about sound, you need to spend roughly $200 on speakers before you'll be able to tell much difference between sound on the motherboard and a dedicated card.

Windows 8's main problem is the horrid GUI. It's actually much more efficient than Windows 7 on a lot of tasks, but the usability is crippled for me, so I've stuck with 7 on everything but my test laptop. I've yet to see anything actually use DirectX 11.2.
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December 28, 2013 6:48:32 PM

Thanks for the help everyone. It looks like most of you recommend a SSD. From what I read, it seems like my best available option appears to be a 250 GB Samsung 840 EVO. Does that sound correct? Also, what do you guys recommend for storage. I have a lot of games, and they do offer a 3 TB drive as a second drive option. Would this setup be the way to go?

How would you decide what games to put on the SSD? The ones played the most often will probably be World of Warcraft (I have a friend who comes over most nights to hang out, and he plays on my PC, as well as his laptop, simultaneously. LOL.), Guild Wars 2, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and possibly Rift, Forsaken World, and Path of Exile. These are all online games though, so will a SSD really help me with load times that much in online MMOs?

Also, Cyberpower offers something called Intel Smart Response Technology that supposedly " combines SSD and Standard HDDs into a single volume for fast performance while maintaining large storage capacities." Is this worth getting?

Is getting a Fan Controller/Temperature Display a good idea. I'm assuming the answer is yes, and if it is, then they have offerings by Aerocool and NZXT. Which would be the better option?

For those that were curious, I already have a Viewsonic 27" 1080p monitor, and I have no plans to replace it anytime soon, as I've had it for only about a year and a half. The case I plan on getting with this PC build is the "Corsair Carbide AIR 540 w/ USB 3.0, Dual Chamber Direct Airflow, Full Side Panel Window."

I'll be getting this case fan upgrade " Maximum Enermax 120MM Case Cooling Fans for selected case (Maximum Silent Operation) (500-1,200 RPM T.B. Silence Black Color with Blue LED Twister Bearing 8-14 dBA)," and for purely no reason, other than it will look cool, the "12in Meter Light - 8 speed (Green Color)." The PC SKU I'm working with is the CyberPower Z87 Configurator, if you guys want to look up specifics on the build.
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December 28, 2013 7:06:13 PM

Thanks for all the advice, everyone. I really appreciate all the help.
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