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Advice on motherboard and component selection for high-end gaming rig

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November 4, 2011 11:12:29 PM

Hi,

I'm planning on building my first gaming rig and so far I've selected the CPU and GPU but would like advice on selecting the motherboard and perhaps also memory and power components.

So far the components I've picked are as follows:
CPU - Intel Core i5-2500K
GPU - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 (with upgrade path to 2xGTX 580 in SLI in future)
SSD - Crucial SSD m4 128GB
Monitor - Dell 24" LCD UltraSharp U2412M

I'm planning on gaming at maximum quality at 1920x1200 resolution and I'd also be interested in overclocking both the CPU and GPU to achieve the necessary performance.

Now I'm trying to pick the motherboard, power and memory and would like some advice. I'm quite interested in perhaps fitting the rig inside a microATX case having been inspired by this build. As a result my first pick for a motherboard would be Asus Maximus IV Gene-Z. I'm a bit concerned however, since microATX build seems to need a bit more experience which I currently lack. I'm also getting a non-liquid cooled GTX590 and am not sure if the card (two cards if I upgrade later) can be cooled sufficiently with this kind of build. This motherboard also does not seem to leave much room for extra components when the need should arise.

What are your opinions concerning that? Would that be a good choice or could you recommend something else? What kind of memory and power components would fit into that kind of a build?

Thank you in advance. I don't have much experience in building computers myself, but this forum has been most helpful so far and I'm quite sure I'll manage :) .

Sander

More about : advice motherboard component selection high end gaming rig

a c 435 V Motherboard
a b 4 Gaming
November 5, 2011 10:04:34 AM

If you want an atx board for expansion, then get an atx case, such as the antec 300 http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...; if you need a power supply, this is the minimum I would get: antec EA-750 watt earthwatts series for around $100 at newegg (link broken). With a good case and power supply, you can get any motherboard you choose.
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November 5, 2011 10:31:37 AM

o1die said:
If you want an atx board for expansion, then get an atx case, such as the antec 300 http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...; if you need a power supply, this is the minimum I would get: antec EA-750 watt earthwatts series for around $100 at newegg (link broken). With a good case and power supply, you can get any motherboard you choose.


You don't think that I could cut it with microATX?
a b V Motherboard
a b 4 Gaming
November 5, 2011 11:23:10 AM

microATX is great for many things, but the amount of heat you will be dealing with having potentially 2 580's will be a bit much. Best to have a little more space, and another fan or 2. If you are going to water cool then you could get away with something smaller, but that adds to the complication of things. I'm not saying you cant SLI on a smaller rig, it would just be a real screamer of a system. Much better to have more volume at a slower fan speed to keep things quieter.
As for a mATX board; that is fine if you can find one that will suit your needs (my current rig is mATX in an ATX case). But the feature set of larger boards is nicer, and you tend to have less trouble down the line trying to fit custom coolers, and larger fans when the board is spread out properly.

I picked up a ThermalTake case similar to this a few years ago:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Only difference is that mine has an all mesh front (which looks very nice) with space for 2x120mm fans on front and I have been very pleased for a $40 case.

I just ordered parts yesterday for my video editing/gameing build (can't wait till they arrive! then I can really tell you if they work well). I went with the extreme3 gen3 mobo:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I picked it at the suggestion of many on tom's here as it has a great feature set for the price, and also seems to be of good quality parts (though I think the gold caps are a bit much, but whatever).

And for power I went with OCZ 750W which has good reviews and a $25 rebate at the moment:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
For power you may want something more in the 800-1000W range to power 2 580s, but there is one reviewer claiming that it will work fine. I'm sticking with the 570s as that will fit my needs.

For Ram it really doesn't make much of a difference these days. Personally I went with 16GB of Corsair XMS3 1333 because I need bulk quantity of ram over speed, but from what I understand the performance bump in gaming from 1333 to 1600 is only 3-5% so it is your call. I also hear that for gamers too much ram can hurt performance, so if this is a game only rig I would only do 4-8GB.

Lastly, check microcenter for your CPU as they have great prices on processors.
November 5, 2011 12:00:46 PM

CaedenV said:
microATX is great for many things, but the amount of heat you will be dealing with having potentially 2 580's will be a bit much. Best to have a little more space, and another fan or 2. If you are going to water cool then you could get away with something smaller, but that adds to the complication of things. I'm not saying you cant SLI on a smaller rig, it would just be a real screamer of a system. Much better to have more volume at a slower fan speed to keep things quieter.
As for a mATX board; that is fine if you can find one that will suit your needs (my current rig is mATX in an ATX case). But the feature set of larger boards is nicer, and you tend to have less trouble down the line trying to fit custom coolers, and larger fans when the board is spread out properly.

I picked up a ThermalTake case similar to this a few years ago:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Only difference is that mine has an all mesh front (which looks very nice) with space for 2x120mm fans on front and I have been very pleased for a $40 case.

I just ordered parts yesterday for my video editing/gameing build (can't wait till they arrive! then I can really tell you if they work well). I went with the extreme3 gen3 mobo:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I picked it at the suggestion of many on tom's here as it has a great feature set for the price, and also seems to be of good quality parts (though I think the gold caps are a bit much, but whatever).

And for power I went with OCZ 750W which has good reviews and a $25 rebate at the moment:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
For power you may want something more in the 800-1000W range to power 2 580s, but there is one reviewer claiming that it will work fine. I'm sticking with the 570s as that will fit my needs.

For Ram it really doesn't make much of a difference these days. Personally I went with 16GB of Corsair XMS3 1333 because I need bulk quantity of ram over speed, but from what I understand the performance bump in gaming from 1333 to 1600 is only 3-5% so it is your call. I also hear that for gamers too much ram can hurt performance, so if this is a game only rig I would only do 4-8GB.

Lastly, check microcenter for your CPU as they have great prices on processors.


Thanks for a nice and thorough answer.

It's a sad to hear that microATX is hard to aircool with 2xGTX580 as I was starting to fall in love with the idea of a very compact and discreet looking rig that can match larger towers in performance. I really liked the Fractal Design ARC Mini case that was used in the above-linked microATX build and the Asus Maximus IV Gene-Z seems to have most all features I need and seems excellent for overclocking. I'll check your suggestions.

I guess as for memory, 8GB is enough so the memories linked in my second post should be fine for this build.

Unfortunately I can't use most of your suggested vendors as I live in europe and the local offerings differ a little.
November 5, 2011 12:22:29 PM

But would it be possible to aircool a single GTX580 in this case? In that case I would simply have to take into account that if I'm going to upgrade to a second GTX 580, I'll also have to install a liquid cooling solution.
a b V Motherboard
a b 4 Gaming
November 7, 2011 2:05:42 PM

Yes, a single 580 would be fine so long as the case has good airflow, but do expect your temps to be a little higher than what you see reviewed online as most people will be running with larger cases. And to run 2 may not require liquid cooling (though it would do the trick), there are a few good aftermarket coolers that will do the trick. The biggest problem would be having enough airflow between the top and bottom cards. I am looking into some for the opposite reasoning. I want something quiet that will still keep my 570 cool and am looking into this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
On their website it says it can do disapate 300W of heat, and the GTX580 eats ~250W, so it should do the trick. Just keep in mind that this cooler blows hot air into the case, so you will need a good push/pull system with your case fans to evacuate all that hot air.
Zalman also makes a good cooler, but it is but ugly, and not quite as effective:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Unfortunately my budget is done with the parts I recently bought, so I guess I will have to live with the noise for a little bit. But I suppose it will be good for now :) 

Good Luck!
!