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First Build: $4000 (plus monitor) Radeon R9 295X2 Based Gaming PC

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May 15, 2014 6:18:32 PM

Hi everybody,

I'm doing my once in four or five year gaming PC refresh. I need a new PC to play games on high end settings for the next five or so years with. I'm also using it for hobby game development, but just an HTML5/WebGL game currently so no extra spec requirements for that. Also getting a new, bigger monitor. Here's the build I'm considering:

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/3KN5e

I'm wondering:

- Does it look okay to you in general? Anything I should fix or further optimize about it? Am I wasting my money anywhere? I was originally shooting for $3000 but the new super high end video cards got me excited. Anyone want to try to talk me down from this crazy $1500 Radeon gizmo?

- This will be my first self-built PC. Is it a bad idea to try to assemble such an expensive system as my first build? I'm especially anxious about installing the Radeon card with its fan and everything.

- Do I have to get separate case fans? I see this in some parts lists and I don't know if it's required or optional or what.

- Will it be pretty loud? My current rig is optimized to be quiet with this weird convection cooled graphics card that has no fan. I assume this one will be louder, but am I like going to like go deaf? Is there anything I can add pretty easily that will make it quieter?

- Will I be able to dual boot to Linux (Ubuntu or Mint)? Not a deal breaker if I can't, but I'd like to. Do you think the Linux graphics drivers will be sketchy?

Thanks!
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May 15, 2014 6:28:46 PM

you can spend half that and still play games on max for the next 5 years easy. also dual booting w/linux will not be a problem. but all of that seams rather unnecessary and will most likely not be utilized. especially with that monitor. high end stuff is cool and all but the thing is games only use so much. all that is wasted on games. if you were doing developing sure you could max that ram, cpu, and gpu.
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May 15, 2014 6:41:13 PM

Probably could spend $1,500 - $1,800 and get the same level of performance. Just ask people to list their realistic dream builds and there will be a bunch of great examples that factor in value as well.

Most of us are addicted to building new systems and the ones with money probably do so every 6 months following reviews and price drops (except they sell their old parts while the prices are still high). It is not so much getting greatest and the newest. It is just assembling everything. Plus it is always good to have a modern back up rig ready to go.
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May 15, 2014 7:01:33 PM

For a system like that I would update the RAM to a minimum of 1866 CL7 0R CL8. I would split the SSD from 1TB to several 250GB SSDs.

There are several components that really don't belong to a system of this cost. Why use a $40 keyboard on a$ 4 - 5000 system.
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May 15, 2014 7:20:28 PM

Terrible timing, it sucks to build now because we're near a generation jump. That rig will only be "state of the art" for a matter of months. You'll probably junk it well before 2019; Heck I'd say by next year you'll be building new again(u sound like an enthusiasts with the $$).

Current graphics card technology dates to late 2011. We've got nothing but refreshes/name changes for the past couple of years now. But TSCM will be moving the whole industry to the 20nm fab process soon. And the new tech is promising double the performance per watt and early "Maxwell" GPU's are proving it.

The 295X and the Titan Z are the last of the old tech(the only way to get more performance from 28nm is to burn more electricity). By next year neither will be desirable. Graphically too weak and inefficient(vs. the next generation). Plus crossfire/SLI can really be a pain.

Grab a i7-4790K when it's released next month, drop it in an Asus Hero board(LGA 1150) with two Trident sticks(2 x 8gb) and a 280X or GTX 770. Junk the GPU next year when the successors are released; pair it with a 4K monitor and enjoy your rig till ~2019.
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As for the keyboard, get a decent mechanical. Like Razer Stealth or a similar competing product.

And don't use Artic Silver 5. No one buys that old goop anymore. Tom's did a big paste review last year:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/thermal-paste-perfo...
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May 15, 2014 10:55:06 PM

Thanks for the feedback.

I upgraded the monitor, RAM, keyboard, and thermal paste.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/3KWFY

I realized after you mentioned 4K and after further research that the whole selling point of these crazy expensive two-chip-in-one video cards is the decent performance at 4K. And then I found this Samsung monitor that seems to be a legit under-$1000 4K monitor (see review here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5YXWqhL9ik). So I think I'm going to go with that. It actually reduces the total price by a few hundred dollars.

I hear your warning about the 28nm GPU chipsets going obsolete soon. I'm sure you're right that the sane, cost-effective thing would be to get a $300 card now and wait until next year for the new wave. But I'm impatient and I prefer to upgrade as seldom as possible (I actually don't love messing with my hardware -- I prefer to upgrade once and get it out of the way for a long time, which I know is probably against the sensibilities of most people on a hardware enthusiast forum, sorry!)

As far as splitting the SSD... that's in order to set up RAID? To make loading my games even faster? I sort of feel like they will already be so much faster just from the SSD speedup (vs. HDD) that the complexity of setting up RAID overwhelms any extra speed benefit. I'll think about it some more though.

Thanks again, all!
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May 15, 2014 11:08:16 PM

Never mind I'm an idiot :) 
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May 15, 2014 11:22:14 PM

WeylandUtani, it is ok. I know how you feel since I was and am still like that.

I changed a little bit. I am the laziest builder of them all. I just buy prebuilds and swap out the PSU, add RAM and a video card.

The main thing is the pricepoints. The latest and greatest is just to make people feel better it has no impact on performance. I am so confused about the 4-5 year refresh but it is your first build
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Best solution

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May 15, 2014 11:35:16 PM

Tweaked for my liking :) 

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/3KXnB
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/3KXnB/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/3KXnB/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i7-4930K 3.4GHz 6-Core Processor ($574.98 @ SuperBiiz)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Eisberg 240L Prestige 60.2 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($159.99 @ NCIX US)
Thermal Compound: Gelid Solutions GC-Extreme 3.5g Thermal Paste ($12.98 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth X79 ATX LGA2011 Motherboard ($309.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($71.10 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($71.10 @ Newegg)
Storage: A-Data Premier Pro SP900 64GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 500GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($244.99 @ Micro Center)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($83.97 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: XFX Radeon R9 295X2 8GB Core Edition Video Card ($1499.99 @ TigerDirect)
Case: NZXT Phantom 530 (Black) ATX Full Tower Case ($120.07 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Antec High Current Pro 1200W 80+ Gold Certified ATX Power Supply ($229.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Optical Drive: LG WH14NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($67.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro - 64-bit (OEM) (64-bit) ($129.98 @ OutletPC)
Monitor: Samsung U28D590D 60Hz 28.0" Monitor ($599.99 @ B&H)
Case Fan: Corsair Air Series AF140 Quiet Edition 67.8 CFM 140mm Fan ($17.98 @ OutletPC)
Case Fan: Corsair Air Series AF140 Quiet Edition 67.8 CFM 140mm Fan ($17.98 @ OutletPC)
Case Fan: NZXT FZ-200mm NONLED 103.0 CFM 200mm Fan ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Case Fan: NZXT FZ-200mm NONLED 103.0 CFM 200mm Fan ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Keyboard: Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Wired Gaming Keyboard ($119.00 @ Mechanical Keyboards)
Mouse: Logitech G400s Wired Optical Mouse ($39.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $4636.99
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-05-16 02:35 EDT-0400)


I added some fans for ultimate cooling. The 64GB ssd is for Linux only and could be scrapped. The 128GB ssd is for windows and programs, the 500GB ssd is for games, and the two 2TB for data. I like two 2TB better than one 4TB. I think the two 8GB RAM kits presents a better value than 4x4GB. There was nothing wrong with the psu you selected but I prefer Antec, XFX, or SeaSonic whenever possible.
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May 16, 2014 4:38:37 PM

Thanks CTurbo. This looks good to me. I'm gonna go with your full list. I hope I can find spots to stick all these fans. :) 
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May 16, 2014 5:08:32 PM

That is a very nice build list. Now where did I put that extra ..... $4741.76.:D 
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May 16, 2014 7:44:47 PM

I looked up the specs and those fans will fit assuming the 240mm Cooler Master radiator reaches to the bottom two 120mm spots. It comes with a 200mm in front and 140mm in the rear. You can add two 200mm fans up top, a 140mm in the side, and a 140mm inside the case.
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