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Max $1500 gaming build, need graphics help

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July 1, 2014 7:26:13 PM

Parts list, sans memory and graphics (see below).

Comments on parts:

  • i5-4690k - I'm pretty much set on since I don't see a good reason for anything else.
  • Noctua NH-D14 - I like Noctua and plan on a healthy but not crazy OC, so this seems like a good fit.
  • Asus Z97-A - I want a Z97 board but have very little preference beyond that (relevant Newegg search). Any thoughts?
  • G.Skill Ripjaws X DDR3-2133 2x4GB - I'm getting these used for free, so there you go.
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB - Already bought this. For Windows and all regular programs.
  • WD Green 2TB - This is going to be mostly document/music/picture/video storage and irregular programs, so I don't think I need a Black. Don't really want a Barracuda, either.
  • Video card - Big shrug. My needs are below and I'm approaching this with an open mind, so...:pt1cable: 
  • Fractal Design Define R4 Black Pearl - I'm looking for a spartan/minimalist case with 4+ front USB ports, a front door, good airflow with the Noctua/video fans, and good cable management. I'm also looking at the Corsair Obsidian 550D despite only having two front USB ports and being further outside my budget. Suggestions here are much appreciated.
  • Corsair AX760 - I'm leaving room for a possible second video card down the line, an eventual sound card down the line, and a wattage buffer. I like my current Corsair PSU but I'm very open to suggestions here. I can probably go less expensive here, right?
  • Whatever my cheap BD writer is - Ho-hum.


  • I play more CPU-oriented games than the average gamer. Paradox games (CK2, EU4, etc.) / other strategy games, and super-heavy emulation on the PCSX2 and Dolphin.

    That being said, I'd like to be able to run more GPU-oriented games (Dark Souls II, Bioshock Infinite, whatever) very well today and at least "well" (60 FPS @ medium) three years from now. I'm only on a 1080p 60Hz monitor + a 900p monitor right now, but I will be upgrading that before I upgrade my system. On that note...I'm thinking I want at least 3 GB of VRAM, but I can't find a clear answer or consistent research on the importance of 3+ GB. But between my eventual monitor upgrade, healthy future-proofing, and occasional heavy modding (e.g. for Skyrim) my gut says to splurge on a card with more than 2 GB VRAM.

    I don't have any brand loyalty toward NVIDIA or AMD, so I'm almost completely open to suggestions. I'm at $950 with the parts listed right now and am looking for a card in the $350-$500 range (and would rather have a mix of value & quality rather than all value at $350 or all quality at $500). If I'm under budget I'll just bank the rest for a possible SLI/CrossFire upgrade in a few years.

    I do occasional video editing/encoding, but not nearly enough for it to be a serious consideration.

    TIA! :) 
    July 1, 2014 7:30:19 PM

    Looks good...
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    a b 4 Gaming
    July 1, 2014 7:31:04 PM

    I think a crossfire 760 is a cool idea. If you need the extra vram, which you may at some point but not now, I would get the r9 290. It performs better than the 4gb gtx 770 and costs around the same.
    I think anything above this is really not cost effective or will not provide true relevence for much longer based on the decreased percentage gains after the 300-400 price point in graphics card,
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    a b 4 Gaming
    July 1, 2014 7:37:25 PM

    You also might want to get a wd blue or red for their ability. '

    Also if you want to try liquid cooling the corsair h100i is only 90 with a promotion.
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    a b 4 Gaming
    July 1, 2014 7:39:55 PM

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($238.99 @ Amazon)
    CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($78.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: Asus Z97-PRO ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($179.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($82.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Crucial MX100 256GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($109.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Storage: Western Digital WD Green 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($81.69 @ Amazon)
    Video Card: Asus Radeon R9 290 4GB DirectCU II Video Card ($399.99 @ NCIX US)
    Case: Corsair 500R Black ATX Mid Tower Case ($111.99 @ Amazon)
    Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 750W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($114.99 @ NCIX US)
    Total: $1390.61
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available

    The highest you should go for gaming. Also has room for a nice 1080p monitor.
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    a b 4 Gaming
    July 1, 2014 7:44:02 PM

    In my opinion, the R9 280X is one of the best "bang for the buck" cards that you can get: http://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-GDDR5-3GB-Graphics-GV-R9...

    No, it's not a 290 or 290x, but those are pretty overkill in my opinion, and the price/performance ratio only falls off from there (with another 15fps max for an extra $200) The 280x pretty much tears through most modern games on Ultra, is overclockable, and will future-proof very well.

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    a b 4 Gaming
    July 1, 2014 7:45:14 PM

    Well for a single monitor, 1080p display people would say that a 770 would suffice, and it does, but not for long. It just holds 60 frames in BF4 on Ultra presets, so in terms of "futureproofing" you have a better chance with something like a R9 290.

    If you're looking for that sweetspot, that mix between performance and value, I would go with the R9 290, and if not then the 280X is my best high-end value pick.
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    a b 4 Gaming
    July 1, 2014 7:49:49 PM

    I would read his original post before commenting, he says he is running two monitors which the 770 can do well. I think the r9 290, as stated is the way to go. The sapphire is a well reviewed model of this. So if you want the extra gram,get the r9 290. If you want good performance with 2 gb get the 770, and if you a sli setup the gtx 760 will deliver.
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    a b 4 Gaming
    July 2, 2014 5:39:50 AM

    Hakuromatsu the gtx 770 is a great card, but it is a refresh of the gtx 680. It can not handle 4gb of gram effectively.

    Therefore the gtx 770 2 gb is the best choice for the gtx 770.

    The amd r9 290 sapphire tri-x linked is the best card in your price range since it outperforms the gtx 770 4gb by a great deal and is around the same price.
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    July 2, 2014 8:44:01 AM

    schau314 said:
    Hakuromatsu the gtx 770 is a great card, but it is a refresh of the gtx 680. It can not handle 4gb of gram effectively.

    Therefore the gtx 770 2 gb is the best choice for the gtx 770.

    The amd r9 290 sapphire tri-x linked is the best card in your price range since it outperforms the gtx 770 4gb by a great deal and is around the same price.


    Hm, the more I research the more I tend to agree. I'm starting to lean toward the Sapphire Tri-X. A few questions about it:

    1. From what I've read it looks like the Sapphire Tri-X cools the card well but dumps a lot of heat into the case. With the case (and CPU cooler) I've picked, will I have any airflow problems?

    2. I keep hearing "NVIDIA has better drivers" again and again and again but not many specific examples of why they're better. I have an AMD card right now and have run into some minor issues over the years, but I have no idea how NVIDIA is supposedly so much better in this regard.

    3. If I want to crossfire the R9 290 in three or so years, would it be a waste of my money, and would I even need to crossfire it? I get the impression that SLI is more effective than CrossFire. If I eventually upgrade to 1440p/1600p, I'm going to start having trouble running games at medium in about 2018, right?

    4. On that note, how does that 760W Corsair PSU look now? Can I go with less if I don't crossfire the card, or do I need more if I plan on crossfiring?

    5. Will the release of Tonga next month drop the price of the 290, or will that only affect the 280/280x?

    That ended up being more questions than I though :lol: 

    TIA again!
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    July 2, 2014 8:46:28 AM

    Oh, here's another one:

    6. What's the consensus on the reliability of buying lightly-used cards from miners? There are a lot of used R9 290s being peddled out there in the low $300s. My gut says probably not worth the risk.
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    a b 4 Gaming
    July 2, 2014 9:29:35 AM

    Hakuromatsu said:
    Oh, here's another one:

    6. What's the consensus on the reliability of buying lightly-used cards from miners? There are a lot of used R9 290s being peddled out there in the low $300s. My gut says probably not worth the risk.


    "lightly-used" and "miners" is not something that goes together. Odds are those cards have been running a massive overclock nonstop for months and are nearly burnt out, so the miners are attempting to offload them before they die.
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    July 2, 2014 9:32:06 AM

    Okay, I'll stick to new then.
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    a b 4 Gaming
    July 2, 2014 9:33:45 AM

    Well for buying a used card, I have a great used gtx 760 that I bought for 160 so I would buy locally for that especially if mining is a factor, be careful.

    For tonga you can wait but noone really knows.

    The 290 is pretty power hungry, i doubt you need to crossfire it but you might want to research the crossfire power supply. Also the r9 290 is bad in crossfire because of excessive heat. I also think you will buy a new card by 2018 instead of cross firing, it is not worth it because of scarcity at that point for less power efficiency and old tech.

    Nividia has better drivers sometimes but the card is the most important. The 290 is good except for heat.

    For the cooling I would look up other thread for cooling the area, also look up optimum case flow to make sure you have the correct idea.
    Anything else?
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    July 2, 2014 2:03:12 PM

    schau314 said:
    Well for buying a used card, I have a great used gtx 760 that I bought for 160 so I would buy locally for that especially if mining is a factor, be careful.

    For tonga you can wait but noone really knows.

    The 290 is pretty power hungry, i doubt you need to crossfire it but you might want to research the crossfire power supply. Also the r9 290 is bad in crossfire because of excessive heat. I also think you will buy a new card by 2018 instead of cross firing, it is not worth it because of scarcity at that point for less power efficiency and old tech.

    Nividia has better drivers sometimes but the card is the most important. The 290 is good except for heat.

    For the cooling I would look up other thread for cooling the area, also look up optimum case flow to make sure you have the correct idea.
    Anything else?


    Thanks.

    Here's an updated build. I also switched out the PSU since there's a phenomenal Newegg promo on a Seasonic right now. I think I'm going to go with something like this but I'll keep things open here for a bit more.
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    a b 4 Gaming
    July 2, 2014 5:05:27 PM

    Looks good. I don't see the point in buying expensive motherboards, but then again overclocking isn't my biggest concern. I think it looks good, you may want a couple cheap case fans for that 290.
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    July 3, 2014 8:24:46 PM

    Thanks all; I've gone ahead and ordered everything. Ended up being $1,278 (would've been about $1360 with memory), so I'm happy.
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    July 10, 2014 9:15:36 PM

    Graphics card go for 780 6GB or wait for 780ti 6GB, If u going to play high resolution like 4K
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