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Gaming rig <$2700 (Config listed, need suggestions)

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September 28, 2010 7:44:34 PM

So I have made a few post on here and gotten some general direction. It's now time to make an official build post to throw ideas at.

PLEASE make suggestions, I need all the help I can get and am open to any ideas! The only thing to really keep in mind is I want to keep the build as far under $2700 as possible. My main hang ups are with the motherboard and ram, not sure on the direction to go.

I still have a lot more reviews to go through and research to do but here is what I was thinking about:

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- Cooler Master Haf X

- i7 950 (haven't yet researched their OC limit)

- 2 x GTX 480's (minimal gain over 470 for price but still thinking about it)

- EVGA Classified board (thinking about a couple asus instead for 6gb sata and usb 3.0 ... not sure what model yet)

- Corsair ax1200 PSU (Throwing everything into a PSU calc it says around 872-988 with 4ghz 1.37v OC. 988w is with max CPU utilization and system load so I may not need 1200 but didnt want to cut it close with 1000w)

- G.Skill PI 6GB (3x 2GB) (low cas/timing ... not sure about OC)

- Corsair Force SSD 120GB (was thinking about 2 60gb in Raid 0 but at a slightly higher cost just for higher transfer rates but it would be bottle necked by the Seagates anyways)(Would also be a pain having 2 since there is only 1 ssd adapter with the case)

- Corsair H50 for CPU

$$$ PRICE $2639.91

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**Parts being recycled into build**

- Windows 7 Premium
- Lite-on 20x DVD-RW
- LG 8X BD-RW
- Xonar Slim 1.3 (bitstreaming via TMT3)
- 3X Seagate ST31000528AS HD's 7200 rpm 3gb sata 32mb cache
- 1 Front bay multi card reader (may not incorporate this)

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I will be using this rig for gaming, of course, and watching Blu-Ray movies mostly, not much else. Just started playing Mafia II, looking forward to CoC Black Ops among various other games.

Sound runs through my Denon AVR 2310 5.1 and video to my 52" Samsung LCD (1920x1080). I currently have 12 USB devices connected which was an insane pain because they apparently have to be connected in a certain order or my system won't post. Even with externally powered hubs, it was chaos.

Sound is an issue but from my experience with the GTX 470 I don't think it will be bad on the 480. I can handle the loud fans under high load when gaming; my speakers drown out the noise. Idle noise is perfect for watching movies accept for my CPU cooler. Hopefully the H50 will help there and the large HAF X fans will be quiet as well.


Thanks!!
September 28, 2010 7:51:55 PM

What's your monitor/resolution?

IMO drop for dual 470s+an 1000 watt PSU.
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September 28, 2010 7:56:14 PM

sp12 said:
What's your monitor/resolution?

IMO drop for dual 470s+an 1000 watt PSU.


1920x1080

As for the 470's I am really thinking about that. Besides the cost, it's hard for me to turn down the extra performance.

Regardless, would you still not recommend going with a 1200w for future upgrades?

I currently have a 1000w Corsair but planned to keep it in the current rig that only has a single 470 and give it to my fiance. Although, I could always keep that power supply for the new rig and get her a 850w or something for the other rig, that should handle a GTX 470 and e8400 oc to 3.6ghz.
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September 28, 2010 8:03:10 PM

Ummm maybe a single 470 unless you have to max Metro, and invest the rest in a decent monitor.

Though really for gaming you could drop to an i5-760/4GB of ram and never noticed the (sub 1%) difference.
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September 28, 2010 8:10:31 PM

sp12 said:
Ummm maybe a single 470 unless you have to max Metro, and invest the rest in a decent monitor.

Though really for gaming you could drop to an i5-760/4GB of ram and never noticed the (sub 1%) difference.



The Samsung LCD makes an awesome monitor IMO. Having gone through stores, there is nothing else I really want to replace it in terms of traditional monitors. Down the road I might get an LED but to be honest I have not done much research with regard to LED and gaming.

Why only a single 470? Playing Mafia II now and am aggravated with the frame rate (<20) using 1 470 and all settings maxed + Physx (I am a max junky). That could also be attributed to my CPU, dual core and OC'ed but still last gens. I have also not done much research into the gains vs what I have and an i7 950, let alone an i5.

As said in my original post, I have a lot more reviews and research to do. :) 

Thanks for the suggestions.
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September 28, 2010 8:19:27 PM

Your issue isn't the GPU. http://www.techspot.com/review/312-mafia2-performance/p...

The 470 is more than capable of pushing Mafia with AA/Physx at 1920 with over 30 FPS mins. If you're willing to drop Physx then you can get 60FPS, many people will tell you Physx isn't really worth enabling even if you have dual 480s.

If you like your monitor, that's good too, but realize 1920 isn't a super-demanding resolution.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/2832/16 i5s are actually a bit faster than the 1366 chips per clock.
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September 28, 2010 8:46:35 PM

sp12 said:
Your issue isn't the GPU. http://www.techspot.com/review/312-mafia2-performance/p...

The 470 is more than capable of pushing Mafia with AA/Physx at 1920 with over 30 FPS mins. If you're willing to drop Physx then you can get 60FPS, many people will tell you Physx isn't really worth enabling even if you have dual 480s.

If you like your monitor, that's good too, but realize 1920 isn't a super-demanding resolution.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/2832/16 i5s are actually a bit faster than the 1366 chips per clock.



Yes, as I said I suspect it's mostly to do with my CPU, not GPU and while >30fps is great I would like higher which is where SLI 470 or 480 would help.
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September 28, 2010 9:01:56 PM

If you already have a 470 then it really doesnt make sense to get a pair of 480s. There are 3 options that make alot more sense:

1> get a 480 and use the 470 as a PhysX card
2> get another 470 which can be used as either PhysX or in SLI
3> get a 460 (1GB) as a PhysX card.

other than Mafia and Batman, there are not many PhysX games and not many upcoming so to me its of dubious value.

It does sound more like you have a CPU issue than GPU, though. If gaming is your primary function then the most cost effective way to hit top end CPU power would be a i7 760, P55 motherboard with x8/x8 SLI and 4GB DDR3-1600 cas7 RAM. Keep your 470 and see if that isnt enough for you.

Raid 0 is silly with SSDs. You get the SSD for its seek speed, not its throughput. A 120GB Corsair Force, OCZ Vertex 2, Gskill Pheonix or Patriot Inferno <all the same> is very affordable at under $250 now and dropping. You could save more by waiting for thanksgiving-XMAS- new year sales. Wont help your FPS, but will make your system more responsive.

Even if you go x58, EVGA classified is a waste of money. The EVGA x58 SLI will handle 2 GPUs in SLI +a third for PhysX and has USB3/SATA3 for $200
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September 28, 2010 9:27:07 PM

dndhatcher said:
If you already have a 470 then it really doesnt make sense to get a pair of 480s. There are 3 options that make alot more sense:

1> get a 480 and use the 470 as a PhysX card
2> get another 470 which can be used as either PhysX or in SLI
3> get a 460 (1GB) as a PhysX card.

other than Mafia and Batman, there are not many PhysX games and not many upcoming so to me its of dubious value.

It does sound more like you have a CPU issue than GPU, though. If gaming is your primary function then the most cost effective way to hit top end CPU power would be a i7 760, P55 motherboard with x8/x8 SLI and 4GB DDR3-1600 cas7 RAM. Keep your 470 and see if that isnt enough for you.

Raid 0 is silly with SSDs. You get the SSD for its seek speed, not its throughput. A 120GB Corsair Force, OCZ Vertex 2, Gskill Pheonix or Patriot Inferno <all the same> is very affordable at under $250 now and dropping. You could save more by waiting for thanksgiving-XMAS- new year sales. Wont help your FPS, but will make your system more responsive.

Even if you go x58, EVGA classified is a waste of money. The EVGA x58 SLI will handle 2 GPUs in SLI +a third for PhysX and has USB3/SATA3 for $200


The 470 is staying in my current rig which is going to my fiance. So regardless of what I buy, I don't have any video cards to recycle into the new build aside from an older MSI 8800 which could be used for Physx but I am not sure how well that would work when paired with a 470 or 480, if at all.

The only reason I was considering EVGA classified is because they seem to be getting great reviews and I am partial to their customer service. Aside from that, I don't care about the manufacturer.

What's really confusing, although not surprising, is that you all are recommending older technology apposed to the newer stuff. It seems I need to do a lot more research as I was excluding items that, as indicated here, would be better. I often forget that newer isn't always better, especially when it
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September 28, 2010 9:29:09 PM

What was recommended that was older? The 1156 processors are actually newer, hence the lower TDP, better turbo, better overclocking, and such.

I say if you must max with Physx, 3 480s, if you're willing to drop Physx, a single 470.
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September 28, 2010 9:52:04 PM

sp12 said:
What was recommended that was older? The 1156 processors are actually newer, hence the lower TDP, better turbo, better overclocking, and such.

I say if you must max with Physx, 3 480s, if you're willing to drop Physx, a single 470.


I am not familiar with the Intel hierarchy or their release dates. I wrongfully made the assumption that they were older.

As for the 3 480's it seems there isn't much of a performance boost over standard sli, although the same could be said for the 480 over the 470. I could also get 3 470's or 2 480's and a 470 for dedicated Physx but I have seen some benchmarks with Mafia II hitting over 60fps max with 2 480's.
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September 28, 2010 10:36:22 PM

Pyro2008 said:
I wrongfully made the assumption that they were older.
Intels numbering is stupid confusing. There is no way to figure out what is newer, more powerful, dual or quad core and hyperthreaded or not without looking at specs for each model of CPU you are looking at. They have even released a dual core that has a software unlock for hyperthreading.
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September 28, 2010 10:38:10 PM

Pyro2008 said:
The 470 is staying in my current rig which is going to my fiance.
You could buy her a 460 and get yourself a second 470. Then you could compare SLI with a 470 + 470 physX and see which runs better.
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September 29, 2010 12:24:03 AM

I am still reading more but found the following article which is a good read if true:

http://tech.icrontic.com/articles/making-sense-of-lynnf...

Also looking at the best gaming CPU article here on Tom's site it put's the i5 760 and i7 930 close but seems to give it to the i7. Considering the 950 has dropped to the same price, it would still seem like the i7 950 is a good buy. I could also go with 2 470's or 480's and then a third card for Physx or use the 880gt I have, unless that low end of a card will bottleneck the whole process.
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September 29, 2010 12:24:12 AM

please stop recommending GTX4x0 as a phisx card

it is a terrible waste SLI of any GTX480/470 will be more than enough
to run phisx and a good framerate
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September 29, 2010 3:05:31 AM

spentshells said:
please stop recommending GTX4x0

it is a terrible waste SLI of any GTX480/470 will be more than enough


?
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September 29, 2010 4:14:00 AM

I think the point is, as wikipedia states:
Quote:
Any CUDA-ready GeForce graphics card (series 8 and newer, having 32 or more cores and 256MB or more of video memory) can take advantage of PhysX without the need to install a dedicated PhysX card.


Or, check the PhysX FAQ.

In short, with modern cards, you don't need a dedicated PhysX card, the primary (or SLIed) GPUs should do just fine.

Whether or not PhysX is actually worth it is another matter entirely.
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September 29, 2010 4:22:07 AM

coldsleep said:
I think the point is, as wikipedia states:
Quote:
Any CUDA-ready GeForce graphics card (series 8 and newer, having 32 or more cores and 256MB or more of video memory) can take advantage of PhysX without the need to install a dedicated PhysX card.


Or, check the PhysX FAQ.

In short, with modern cards, you don't need a dedicated PhysX card, the primary (or SLIed) GPUs should do just fine.

Whether or not PhysX is actually worth it is another matter entirely.


I know they can handle Physx but it has been shown in many benchmarks that having a dedicated Physx card improves fps by allowing the primary GPU to handle other tasks.

Quote:
A new configuration that’s now possible with PhysX is 2 non-matched (heterogeneous) GPUs. In this configuration, one GPU renders graphics (typically the more powerful GPU) while the second GPU is completely dedicated to PhysX. By offloading PhysX to a dedicated GPU, users will experience smoother gaming.

Finally we can put the above two configurations all into 1 PC! This would be SLI plus a dedicated PhysX GPU. Similarly to the 2 heterogeneous GPU case, graphics rendering takes place in the GPUs now connected in SLI while the non-matched GPU is dedicated to PhysX computation.
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September 29, 2010 9:54:10 AM

But the point is that it's better to SLI your other card than to run it as Physx.

Now, whether physx is actually worth anything or not is an entirely different matter.
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September 29, 2010 2:25:54 PM

sp12 said:
But the point is that it's better to SLI your other card than to run it as Physx.

Now, whether physx is actually worth anything or not is an entirely different matter.


You can run 2x480's and an 8800GT in SLI? And if so, the 8800 doesn't hurt the overall performance?
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September 29, 2010 3:16:14 PM

No, sp12 is talking about a homogenous card setup.

Dual 480s (or 470s) - just SLI them and turn on PhysX if you want, taking the performance hit. Using a 470 or a 480 as a dedicated PhysX card is a waste of money.

If you have a heterogeneous setup, yes, use the weaker card for PhysX. If you have 3 cards, 2 of which are the same, SLI them, and continue to use the weaker card for PhysX.
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September 29, 2010 5:27:22 PM

coldsleep said:
No, sp12 is talking about a homogenous card setup.

Dual 480s (or 470s) - just SLI them and turn on PhysX if you want, taking the performance hit. Using a 470 or a 480 as a dedicated PhysX card is a waste of money.

If you have a heterogeneous setup, yes, use the weaker card for PhysX. If you have 3 cards, 2 of which are the same, SLI them, and continue to use the weaker card for PhysX.


Yeah, I never had an intention of dedicating a 470 or 480 to Physx because few enough games even use the technology. That's why I was asking about the 8800gt.
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September 29, 2010 5:29:41 PM

If you have the 8800 already, it cant hurt to try it and see if it helps or not.
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September 29, 2010 7:52:41 PM

dndhatcher said:
If you have the 8800 already, it cant hurt to try it and see if it helps or not.



Yeah, it's just laying around.

Any further suggestions with the motherboard and ram? Looking primarily based on that x58.
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September 29, 2010 7:59:22 PM

Pyro2008 said:
Any further suggestions with the motherboard and ram? Looking primarily based on that x58.

dndhatcher said:
Even if you go x58, EVGA classified is a waste of money. The EVGA x58 SLI will handle 2 GPUs in SLI +a third for PhysX and has USB3/SATA3 for $200

Any 3x2GB DDR3-1600 less than 1.6V cas7 Geil, Mushkin, Gskill RAM will do. The motherboard will default to 1.5V so thats what I target for RAM voltage. Less voltage is better, lower cas is better.

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September 29, 2010 8:02:42 PM

dndhatcher said:
Any 3x2GB DDR3-1600 less than 1.6V cas7 Geil, Mushkin, Gskill RAM will do. The motherboard will default to 1.5V so thats what I target for RAM voltage. Less voltage is better, lower cas is better.


I trying to find the article now but I was reading something the order day that had conflicting info. Basically, you want to stay away from 1.65v and anything over could damage the CPU. It went on to say 1.65v was best for overclocking though.

What do you think about the ram I listed above?

Also, on another forum the MSI Big Bang XPower was recommended, any comments on that board?
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September 29, 2010 8:19:18 PM

Eh, the standard is actually 1.5 volts, and lower ram is better for CPU overclocking. The higher voltage ram would no doubt overclock higher (it is getting more voltage after all), but at what cost to CPU overclocking/longevity?
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September 29, 2010 8:27:15 PM

My impression, from reading forums like this one, is that MSIs support is not as good as ASUS, EVGA or Gigabyte so I avoid them. ASRock used to be part of ASUS, but is now under new management so they are an unknown as far as support policy and follow through.
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September 29, 2010 9:27:47 PM

dndhatcher said:
My impression, from reading forums like this one, is that MSIs support is not as good as ASUS, EVGA or Gigabyte so I avoid them. ASRock used to be part of ASUS, but is now under new management so they are an unknown as far as support policy and follow through.


Ok, that work's out anyways because upon further inspection, the Big Bang wont work for me anyways as it has no PCI slots for my Xonar card. That said, it looks like getting a board to fit 2x4X0 cards in SLI, an 8800 GT and a Xonar 1.3 PCI card is going to be a pain!
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