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Building a rig for Skyrim Need recommendation for GPU

Last response: in Video Games
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October 5, 2012 11:23:15 PM

I am going to buy a new rig on Monday and I do not have the time or patience to build my own so I've decided on iBuyPower to build it. I am mostly going to play Skyrim, Deus EX HR, Crysis 2, and maybe some Witcher 2 enhanced.

My main requirements that I can NOT live without are that the "rig" must play (at least) the first 2 games listed above at 1920x1080 and be at 60fps constant with no dips in framerate at all.

My main components are listed below and my main questions are; What gpu do I need? And what is the minimum GPU required to meet the above requirements (so I can buy 1 step up)?


Processor 1 x Intel® Core™ i7-3770K Processor (4x 3.50GHz/8MB L3 Cache)-Intel Core i7-3770K
Motherboard 1 x ASRock Fatal1ty Z77 Performance
Memory 1 x 8 GB [4 GB X2] DDR3-1600 Memory Module-Corsair Vengeance
Video Card 1 x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 - 4GB-Single Card
Power Supply 1 x 1200 Watt Toughpower Grand-1200M
Processor Cooling 1 x Corsair Hydro Series H60 Liquid CPU Cooling System-ARC Dual Silent High Performance Fan Upgrade (Push-Pull Airflow)
Video Card Brand 1 x === High Performance === ASUS Brand Video Card
Primary Hard Drive 1 x 256GB OCZ Agility3 SSD
Data Hard Drive 1 x 120GB OCZ Agility 3 SSD
2nd Optical Drive 1 x 24X Sony Dual Format/Double Layer DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Drive-Black
Optical Drive 1 x 24X Sony Dual Format/Double Layer DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Drive-Black
Operating System 1 x Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
Advanced Build Options 1 x Tuniq TX-2 High Performance Thermal Compound
^All adds up to about $2703 after the case and other unimportant stuff

My "budget" is The closer to $2000 the better but if necessary I can go above but $2750 MAX.
And yes I know I went a little overboard with cooling (No I don't plan to OC anything) if I went "Way off the deep end" on something please tell me.

I already have a 120Hz 1920x1080 Monitor, a keyboard, mouse, and some Logitech G35's.

Thanks in advance.
October 6, 2012 2:39:42 AM

Uhm, yeah, that system will handle anything out this year and probably next year.

Put it this way, I play Skyrim on my rig (read sig) without OC'ing my 6850 on Ultra @ 1920 x 1080 with AA x8 & AF x16 and the only time I'll see my FPS below 55 is when things get hairy on screen (multiple mobs, dragon + breath + snow fall) and even then they won't dip below 48 FPS or so.

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October 6, 2012 5:55:05 AM

Well your rig is more than enough for today's games and for some in the times to come. It's most definitely overkill for Skyrim and Deus Ex HR which run more than fine and pretty on max settings on my rig (see signature). Im those, my FPS barely drops belowe 45. I have some issues in Crysis 2 (fps drops to 30) but then that's just one game for me!

I'd say that the minimum GPU for the first two would be a GTX 660Ti.

What I feel is that you're going a bit for an overkill with the CPU, PSU and the Thermal paste, etc. Unless you're in the Sahara desert, really don't see those required! :) 

Instead of the i7, why not get the i5-2500K? It's a great CPU for gaming and the turbo almost matches your listed i7 (3.8GHz as opposed to 3.9GHz). That will shave off a 100 bucks straight.

Next, your Mobo and PSU are SLI ready. Are you looking at going SLI in the future? If 'certainly not', then its over the deep. If you're looking at SLI'ing, you'll have to get another 690, which is currently 1k. DUDE!! Too much!! :) 

Think about getting a GTX670/ 680 (OC'd version from Asus, etc) for now, play around a bit and then you can get another 670/ 680 (OC'd) and go SLI. That would be more than enough! The point of concern being, if you go SLI in future, you're looking at busting another 1k on the 690 (or a bit less, depending on the time and availability of the card), so add that cost as well.
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October 6, 2012 6:21:42 AM

I made you a much, much better ibuypower system that costs less than 2000 dolars.

Case 1 x Erebus GT Full Tower Case
Processor 1 x Intel® Core™ i5-3570K Processor (4x 3.40GHz/6MB L3 Cache)-Intel Core i5-3570K
Motherboard 1 x ASRock Z77 Extreme4 -- 2x PCI-E 3.0 x16, 4x USB 3.0
Memory 1 x 8 GB [4 GB X2] DDR3-1600 Memory Module-Patriot Intel Extreme Masters Limited Edition
Video Card 1 x AMD Radeon HD 7970 - 3GB-CrossFire Mode (Dual Cards)
Case Lighting None
Power Supply 1 x 1050 Watt - Corsair CMPSU-1050HX
Processor Cooling 1 x Liquid CPU Cooling System w/ Triple Radiator-3x Standard 120mm Fan *FREE Upgrade from Default CPU Cooling System*
Video Card Brand 1 x Major Brand Powered by AMD or NVIDIA
Primary Hard Drive 1 x 1 TB HARD DRIVE-**FREE Upgrade to 256GB OCZ Agility3 SSD
Data Hard Drive 1 x 2 TB HARD DRIVE -- 64M Cache, 7200rpm, 6.0Gb/s-Single Drive
2nd Optical Drive None
Optical Drive 1 x 24X Sony Dual Format/Double Layer DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Drive-Black
Sound Card 1 x 3D Premium Surround Sound Onboard
Speaker System None
Network Card 1 x Onboard LAN Network (Gb or 10/100)
Monitor None
Keyboard 1 x iBUYPOWER Standard Gaming Keyboard
Mouse 1 x iBUYPOWER Standard Gaming Mouse-Blood Red
Operating System 1 x None- Pre-formatted Hard Drive Only
Warranty 1 x 3 Year Standard Warranty Service
Rush Service 1 x Rush Service Fee (not shipping fee)-No Rush Service, Estimate Ship Out in 5~10 Business Days
Video Camera None
Meter Display None
Flash Media Reader / Writer None
2nd Monitor None
Free Stuff 1 x [Free] 16GB Corsair USB 3.0 Flash Drive-Free with Any System Purchase over $1499
Free Stuff 1 x [FREE Game Download] - Sleeping Dogs-Free with purchase of AMD Radeon HD 7870 or above
Free Stuff 1 x [FREE Game Download] - NEXUIZ-Free with purchase of AMD Radeon HD 7770 or above
iBUYPOWER Labs - Noise Reduction None
iBUYPOWER Labs - Internal Expansion None
iBUYPOWER PowerDrive 1 x PowerDrive Level 2 - Up to 20% Overclocking
USB Expansion None
Intel Smart Response Technology None
Case Engraving Service None
Subtotal $1,964.00

just use all the free upgrades and it's an awesome PC.

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October 6, 2012 4:46:51 PM

EDIT: Rebuilt Rig at CyberPowerPC.com due to about $700 being spent on something else that may or may have come in a box similar in size to an 80 inch flatscreen :whistle: 

Case: Thermaltake Level 10GTS Mid Tower Gaming Case w / EasySwap HDD bays, 2x Front USB 3.0 Ports, & Headset
Holder
CPU: Intel® Core™ i5-3570 3.40 GHz 6MB Intel Smart Cache LGA1155
Cooling Fan: Intel Certified CPU Fan & Heatsink
Motherboard: GIGABYTEGA-Z77X-D3H Intel Z77 Chipset DDR3 ATX Mainboard w / IRST, Lucid Virtu
MVP, Ultra Durable4 Classic, 7.1 HD Audio, GbLAN, 3x Gen3 PCIe x16, 3x PCIe x1 & 1 PCI (All Venom OC Certified)
Memory: 8GB (4GBx2) DDR3/1600MHz Dual Channel Memory (Corsair Vengeance)
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 2GB 16X PCIe 3.0 Video Card (EVGA FTW Edition)
Video Card 2: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 2GB 16X PCIe 3.0 Video Card (EVGA FTW Edition)
Power Supply Upgrade: 750 Watts - Corsair CMPSU-750TXV2 80 Plus Power Supply - Quad SLI Ready
Hard Drive: 1TB SATA-III 6.0Gb/s 32MB Cache 7200RPM HDD (64GB Sandisk Sata III Boot Drive + 1 TB Single Drive


How does this go with Skyrim at max settings + 1920x1080?

It's 9:46PM and I'm going to sleep and if this setup will work with NEVER going below 60fps EVER in Skyrim then I will buy tomorrow, or if anybody thinks that going with an i7-3770 3.40 GHz 8MB Cache, a GTX 680 2GB - EVGA Superclocked - Signature 2 Edition, would be a better buy then please say so.
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October 7, 2012 10:21:14 PM

Finally went and bought it. The specs are;

CARE: Professional Wiring for All WIRING Inside The System Chassis
CASE: Thermaltake Level 10GTS Mid Tower Gaming Case w/ EasySwap HDD bays, 2x Front USB 3.0 Ports, & Headset Holder
CD: 24X Double Layer Dual Format DVD+-R/+-RW + CD-R/RW Drive
CPU: Intel(R) Core™ i5-3570 3.40 GHz 6MB Intel Smart Cache LGA1155
FAN: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo Gaming Cooling Fan
HDD: 1TB SATA-III 6.0Gb/s 32MB Cache 7200RPM HDD (64GB Sandisk Sata III Boot Drive + 1 TB Single Drive Only)
KEYBOARD: AZZA Multimedia USB Gaming Keyboard
MEMORY: 8GB (4GBx2) DDR3/1600MHz Dual Channel Memory (Corsair Vengeance)
MONITOR: 24" Widescreen 1920x1080 Sceptre X246W-1080P LCD
MOTHERBOARD: ASUS P8Z77-V LK Intel Z77 Chipset DDR3 ATX Mainboard w/ IRST, Lucid Virtu MVP, 7.1 HD Audio, GbLAN, 3x PCIe x16 (2 Gen3, 1 Gen2), 2 PCie x1 & 2 PCI (Extreme OC Certified)
MOUSE: AZZA Optical 1600dpi Gaming Mouse with Weight Adjustable Cartridge
NETWORK: Onboard Gigabit LAN Network
OS: Microsoft(R) Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit Edition)
POWERSUPPLY: 850 Watts - Thermaltake Toughpower Grand TPG-850M Gold Modular 80 Plus Power Supply
VIDEO: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 2GB 16X PCIe 3.0 Video Card (EVGA FTW Edition)
VIDEO2: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 2GB 16X PCIe 3.0 Video Card (EVGA FTW Edition)

That should play Skyrim with all settings either maxed or enabled <(If they're just toggles) @60 fps and 1920x1080 right?
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October 7, 2012 10:32:55 PM

nvmind, you will do fine :p 
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October 8, 2012 12:33:35 AM

nocturnal7x said:
nvmind, you will do fine :p 


Care to elaborate?
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October 8, 2012 3:29:50 AM

I'd advise to grab AMD cards for skyrim. It's one of the few games on the market where AMD cards do better than nvidia
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October 8, 2012 4:46:36 PM

That is some serious overkill for Skyrim. Ultra @ 1080? Yeah, you'll do that easily @ 60 FPS +. You should also give BF3 a go, you would find it very enjoyable at those settings
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October 8, 2012 5:31:16 PM

Thanks. BTW how is my cooling? I read that the case I got had overkill cooling for my needs, I always try go overboard when it comes to cooling. Also I already played and beat BF3 and when it comes to games I'm a "Play the campaign with a trainer and dump it" kind of person. I hate multiplayer because the only way it would be fun for me would be if I could use a trainer, but IMO it is wrong and unfair to cheat online. (If mentioning trainers is against the rules please PM me and I'll delete that part)

EDIT: And how would this rig play the following games?

Batman: Arkham City
Dishonored
Dead Rising 2: OTR
F.E.A.R. 3
GTA IV
Just Cause 2
Postal 3 <IMPORTANT!!!
Saints Row The Third
The Witcher 2 Enhanced
Crysis 2
Red Faction Armageddon
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October 8, 2012 6:14:42 PM

IMO, you can never have too much cooling as long as the intake and exhaust is proportionate. Too much intake and you have dust build up slowing down your components. Too much exhaust and you don't have enough fresh air cooling your components.

This is for Batman: Arkham City with SLi 670's



And here's the rest of the review including benchmarks from Techpower Up on GTX 670 SLI
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October 8, 2012 6:23:29 PM

WTF!! I just called cyberpowerpc and they said they are backed up and can't rush my order even though I paid for "Overnight production" to have it ready to ship on "the next business day", that's crap.

EDIT: I'm done with CyberPower, I'm ordering a rig from Alienware since I've had their rigs before and they never broke on me.

:sarcastic:  Would a rig with an i7 x4 @ 4.1 GHz, and a GTX 690 work ok :sarcastic: 
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October 8, 2012 10:37:21 PM

Need help quick!!

I've decided on AMD cards, but should I get 2x AMD Radeon HD 7970 - 3GB or 2x AMD Radeon HD 7950 - 3GB - HIS IceQ?

Thanks in advance.

EDIT: Well with (no) thanks to the community I was able to make a decision (without help :mad:  ), and I decided it would be cheaper to just swap the cards so I bought a CyberpowerPC Gamer FTW GLC8800 with Intel i7-3770K CPU, 8GB DDR3, AMD Radeon HD7770, 1TB HDD, 24x DVD+-RW, Liquid Cooling, Fan Control, Media Reader & Win 7 Home 64-Bit and an EVGA GeForce GTX690 Signature and will swap the cards when I get the card and the pc. AMD GPU's take the same slots on the mobo as Nvidia GPU's right?
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October 9, 2012 5:40:46 PM

Really? Nobody is even answering any of my questions anymore... WTF!! Can someone please confirm that I should be able to swap the cards easily? Or at least provide some kind of guide to do so.
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October 9, 2012 6:15:24 PM

The 7970 is the best card in AMD's arsenal (besides the dual gpu 7990 but good luck getting your hands on that) so the choice is pretty simple, if you want the best, X Fire 7970's

EDIT: That thing came with a Radeon 7770 which will be a total bottleneck for your i7.

Here's the 7770 vs 7970. Yeah, it's ugly. Here's the Single 7970 vs Crossfire 7970's

Your posts are very confusing. The PC comes with the 7770 but you bought a GTX 690? So you spent $1150 for the computer and another $1050 on the GTX 690?
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October 9, 2012 6:49:06 PM

dscudella said:
The 7970 is the best card in AMD's arsenal (besides the dual gpu 7990 but good luck getting your hands on that) so the choice is pretty simple, if you want the best, X Fire 7970's

EDIT: That thing came with a Radeon 7770 which will be a total bottleneck for your i7.

Here's the 7770 vs 7970. Yeah, it's ugly. Here's the Single 7970 vs Crossfire 7970's

Your posts are very confusing. The PC comes with the 7770 but you bought a GTX 690? So you spent $1150 for the computer and another $1050 on the GTX 690?


Yes. I don't need (or want) the 7770.

I could have gotten a cheaper pc but the Level 10 GT is EPIC IMO, so I got that one.

EDIT: I have an off topic question (I hope asking it here is OK); I have some old pc parts like an ATi HD 9600 GT 64MB, and an Intel Pentium 2, that both work, should I just toss them? Or do they have any sort of usefulness?
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October 9, 2012 7:01:38 PM

We have a section here on the forums for classified ads, you could post them there. Just read the rules first, their are stipulations. Someone might want them for an old dos box or win 95 machine. You never know.

I think you'll be happy with that rig & the GTX 690, it literally is the best card on the market right now.
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October 9, 2012 7:04:48 PM

dscudella said:
We have a section here on the forums for classified ads, you could post them there. Just read the rules first, their are stipulations. Someone might want them for an old dos box or win 95 machine. You never know.

I think you'll be happy with that rig & the GTX 690, it literally is the best card on the market right now.


Thanks. Any guide to swapping them? Or do I just unplug the pc and swap them and plug it back in<(Which I'm assuming is NOT the recommended way)

EDIT: I had to borrow some $ from my grandparents to buy this stuff, lol at least they still treat me like a kid and get me what I want for my B-Day Which was not that long ago, and all I asked for was an IOU for use later. :D 

EDIT 2: BTW what are the differences (excluding brand name) between these ASUS GTX 690, EVGA GeForce GTX690 Signature, and EVGA GeForce GTX690?
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October 9, 2012 11:15:42 PM

Does anyone have a step by step guide or something on how to do it? Or is there anyone here (or elsewhere) that I can IP chat with to walk me through it? It'll be here tomorrow evening (my timezone is GMT 8:00 or "USA Pacific Time") and I'm pretty sure I know how to do it but I might need some help with the driver swap from AMD CCC to Nvidia.
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October 10, 2012 6:26:37 PM

Anyone have a guide or something? I'm kinda gonna need some help when it gets here...
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October 10, 2012 6:34:50 PM

It's not hard. You're swapping out one piece of hardware for another. Download the NVIDIA drivers first. Turn off the PC, let it discharge, ground yourself, remove the 7770, install the 690, turn the pc on, uninstall the AMD drivers, restart the computer, install the NVIDIA drivers you already downloaded, restart the pc and game away.
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October 10, 2012 6:52:11 PM

dscudella said:
It's not hard. You're swapping out one piece of hardware for another. Download the NVIDIA drivers first. Turn off the PC, let it discharge, ground yourself, remove the 7770, install the 690, turn the pc on, uninstall the AMD drivers, restart the computer, install the NVIDIA drivers you already downloaded, restart the pc and game away.


And how would I ground myself? It's been a long time since I've done anything that required grounding, so I'm a little rusty. Does it somehow involve a rubber mat? I have some Response Gear service boots (I'm pretty sure the soles are rubber) would those work? And woudn't I uninstall the AMD drivers before installing the Nvidia card?
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October 11, 2012 1:21:48 AM

OK. I got the PC and the GPU but the GTX 690 looks like it needs 2 8-pin power cords from the PSU but I can only see 1 6-pin cord in the PC, do I need a new PSU or have they hidden the additional cords in the big space behind the motherboard?
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October 11, 2012 1:42:56 AM

Why does nobody respond to my posts if I've edited them?
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October 11, 2012 1:49:04 AM

loismustdie555 said:
OK. I got the PC and the GPU but the GTX 690 looks like it needs 2 8-pin power cords from the PSU but I can only see 1 6-pin cord in the PC, do I need a new PSU or have they hidden the additional cords in the big space behind the motherboard?


There are 3 options, they do make adapters which take two other connectors and make them into an 8 pin connector. They also make PSU's which come with 2 8pin connectors, and lastly, with modular PSU's you can buy an 8 pin plug to plug directly into the PSU to connect to your card.
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October 11, 2012 1:56:35 AM

The GTX 690 came with 2 dual 6-pin to single 8-pin connectors but my PSU only has 1x 6-pin connectors, and it's not a modular PSU. And there's a s***load of wires going to all kinds of stuff in the case through all kinds of nooks and crannies, how the **** am I supposed to rewire all that stuff? Does such a thing as a modular external PSU exist?
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October 11, 2012 3:30:36 AM

bystander said:
It might be a better idea to return the PSU you bought, and get another 750-850 watt PSU.


Yeah, that would work except for the fact that I bought the pc preconfigured from Amazon.com. How difficult would it be to swap the PSU for a better (modular) one and route all the wires to all the components in the PC?
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October 11, 2012 3:37:19 AM

With all the owrk you'll be doing you should have just bought the components yourself, like we told you and built it yourself. Then you would know exactly what you're doing. No, an external PSU is never a good idea.

Ok, that was mean but you came to a hardware forum demanding answers. You need to do the homework first then come to us with questions. it takes longer to type out the question on the forum than it does to google it. Youtube has videos for everything, we have guides here as well.

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October 11, 2012 4:11:31 AM

I would be able to build a computer by myself except I have no f***ing idea how to apply thermal paste nor do I want to learn to do so!! Anyways, Should I pay my local Fry's store to swap the PSU and install the gpu or should I do it myself? Both are an option but there is a few things I should mention;

1. I'm the most impatient man I know and if Fry's couldn't do the swap and have the PC ready to pick up in a couple of hours I would SERIOUSLY prefer to do it myself (No offense to them or anyone else getting paid for fixing pc's but I'm f***ing impatient and ADHD and OCD don't make my life easy).

2. I need the rig up and running before 3:00 tomorrow because I kinda promised a several of my friends (Which I haven't seen in a few years)that I would be hosting a 2 hour Crysis 2 death match at my place at 3:00, and a 1 hour Quake 3 death match after that...

So... What's the recommended course of action?

Sorry if I'm coming across as rude, I'm not trying to.
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