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Getting the Best Bang for Buck

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  • Overclocking
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October 24, 2012 8:29:09 PM

I have recently picked up a new rig for gaming. I have always been a computer guy(actually an IT guy myself), but have never really focused on performance computing. I know this setup is not the top-of-the-line build, but from my research it seemed that this was the best configuration within my budget.

Core i5 2500k(stock cooler w/ arctic silver)
8GB Corsair Vengeance(2x4GB modules)
Asus P8Z77-V LX
EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Superclocked 2GB
128GB OCZ Vertex 4(OS+my primary game which is Guild Wars 2)
1TB WD Caviar(for all other games and programs)
Antec 900 case(cooling is pretty good with this case)
Windows 8 Pro(ive got the RTM through dreamspark)

There are a couple of upgrades that I want to do when I get the money which is an aftermarket CPU cooler, and 2 more sticks of the corsair. In the meantime there is a lot of performance things that are available to me that I would like to learn more about and be able to utilize. I am going to list them below. Any feedback on any of them, or if you have any other ideas that would benefit me, would be greatly appreciated. I know many of you have spent lots of time researching and studying this stuff, so I am not just looking for a quick and all inclusive rundown of these technologies, but any information would be appreciated.

1. The Motherboard - Asus has its 1 click overclock functionality built in with the windows app. I have heard that while this will work, it is not as good as overclocking from the BIOS. I also know very little about BIOS overclocking as well. And regarding the BIOS, I am completely unfamiliar with anything but the basics of UEFI. Any information there would be appreciated too.

2. Graphics - I currently have the EVGA precision loaded and have tweaked the RAM and GPU clocks but havent really had much in the way of testing these changes out except gaming. I can currently play GW2 on max settings and get around 55ish FPS. My monitor is a 23inch LCD, 1920x1080 resolution native 60hz refresh rate. I have heard that your FPS cant exceed your refresh rate. What is the situation there? Additionally I have the capability with my board to run the Lucidlogix Virtu MVP software. Will this really net me the performance gains, and is there any relevant information i need to know about going that route?

3. Hard Drive - Ive got the Vertex 4 running completely SATA 3. I mostly took the Win8 defaults which setup TRIM. I disabled the page file. That is all the tweaking i have done there. Is there anything else i can do there to make that run better?

4. Anything else? Are there any other avenues that I should be exploring to make this system give me the best bang for my buck?

Thanks everybody in advance and appreciate the help.

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October 25, 2012 2:09:41 PM

Anybody?
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October 25, 2012 2:30:12 PM

1. I would not recommend overclocking with a stock cooler. If you do, follow any of the guides on overclocking the i5-2500K. It's very easy and most guides are step by step. Make sure to monitor the temperatures because the stock heatsink is not made for high overclocks.

2. You're FPS can't exceed you're refresh rate because the monitor will only update the frame a certain number of times per second (e.g. 60 times for 60 hz). So, if you're graphics cards is producing 65 frames per second and your monitor is updating 60 times per second then you loose five frames. However, this is not completely true because sometimes a graphics card will take longer to render certain frames than others.

More importantly, you probably have v-sync on which means that you get either 60fps, 30fps, or 15fps.

3. Keep the paging file.

4. Don't buy 8 more GB of RAM. Spend your money on something else.
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October 25, 2012 3:06:52 PM

Thanks for the info. Also, does anybody else have any Win8 related tweaks?
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October 26, 2012 5:41:25 PM

Anybody else please?! I especially would like to see some feedback about the use of Virtu MVP. Also with some additional questions as well on the Nvidia settings:

Should I explicitly tell the computer to make the GPU handle PhysX, or leave the default of auto assign?

Should I use the K-boost that is available to me in the Precision X voltage settings?

@jsrudd: As for the page file, I turned it back on. Instead of my SSD, i put it on my 1TB HD as a 2GB page file.

Feedback for this has been disappointingly light. Please folks, any help would be great!
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October 26, 2012 6:47:41 PM

Core i5 2500k(stock cooler w/ arctic silver) - get hyper evo 212. I clock my 3570k to 4.2 Ghz and still get only 50 degree. If you want to clock to like 4.5 ghz, get D14, or that huge H100
8GB Corsair Vengeance(2x4GB modules) - good choice, but u want Dominator or Gskill to OC ram
Asus P8Z77-V LX - should have gotten V LK, it has extra sink and angled sata connectors.
EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Superclocked 2GB - don't know which games you play so can't comment
128GB OCZ Vertex 4(OS+my primary game which is Guild Wars 2) - good choice (let's hope it don't die soon lol. I've read many threads on this forum saying this guy chewed over 3 vertex 4 in 6 months.)
1TB WD Caviar(for all other games and programs) - good planning
Antec 900 case(cooling is pretty good with this case)
Windows 8 Pro(ive got the RTM through dreamspark)


- Memory - Get 32 GB of ram. Reserve 8 GB for system. Use 24 GB for RamDisk. RamDisk is insanely faster than any disk. You can put your most important game on ramdisk. RamDisk is not same as ReadyBoost in case you wonder.
- Graphic - The VirtuMVP doesn't do jack. I ran my game before and after enabling it, still can't play Witcher 2 in Ultra with my OC 7870.
- HDD - You can also disable cache on the ssd. Disable paging file. You have 8 gb of memory and that's more than enough. Putting the pagefile on a different drive only makes your os slower. Put all your important files on the Vertex 4, like , wow, gw2, BF3, Dark Souls, Witcher 2. These games require mass read/write. Unimportant on WD (games, music, video, unimportant programs like Office, chrome, filezilla, adobe, etc...)
- OC - OC a video card only gives you 0-9% in performance improvement. No OC can make your card 50% faster, that's impossible. And so if you can't play game or your computer is slow performing certain task, OC can only do so much, and may be so little to the point where you won't notice a difference.

Don't have windows 8 yet.
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October 26, 2012 7:09:15 PM

There's a small problem with the Noctua D-14 and the Antec 900, as I have both (actually, the 900-2, great case). The size of the D-14 blocks the bracket for the side fan of the 900-2 (which is why I'm switching to WC) so you will have to turn the fan bracket inside out. I use the D-14 to cool an i7 3770 OC'd to 4.22 (auto OC) and it only gets to 45C (+25-27C over ambient) on a prime 95 torture test (8hrs). SB CPUs run cooler (I think).
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October 26, 2012 7:20:26 PM

Squirrel: My main game is Guild Wars 2, and playing some SWTOR. Also, will be doing some Bops 2 and Borderlands 2.
If the D-14 will not fit with my 900, what is something else you suggest?
Do you have any experience with K-boost?
Ill have to research the RamDisk some more.
I disabled caching last night on the SSD.
Can you elaborate a little more on the page file? Whether to use or not, and where to put it.
Equus: Thanks for the info on that not fitting the 900 case. Is there any other cooler that you recommend? Keep in mind that I have a slight budget.

Thanks for the help and keep it coming!
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