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Long, long overdue gaming beauty required ~$2000

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May 16, 2011 5:36:00 PM

Hey everyone,

I've been building custom pc's for quite some time now, but I've been completely out of the hardware loop, so I turn to you guys for your advice.

I was looking through similar requests. There's a lot of info, but I see that they all differ slightly in their requests, so I will make me own here. I appreciate any input, since any solid recommendations here will translate into purchases for myself.

Basically, I'm looking for a solid gaming desktop pc. I built my first computer for HL2 with a nice Lian-Li case and the thing is still kicking and working better now than when I first built it (I'm using it right now). I'd like to repeat that success with a smart build.

Purpose: Gaming/Internet
Budget: About $2000 (Canadian) - I can go ~$200 over for shipping/tax/monitor
Websites: I like to ship from one place, unless you guys know some good combo deals. That being said, newegg.ca or tigerdirect.ca should cover it.
Country: Canada
Sidenote: Doesn't have to physically look nice. I just want it to be practical (i.e. cooling) when it comes to case features and the like.
Additional: I will require a monitor and a keyboard. Monitor-wise I'm thinking at least 23'' with a good resolution.

So, I'm looking for suggestions on the following parts:
CPU (I'm thinking i7? Intel vs AMD? What's good re: GPU?)
GPU (single or SLI'd?)
Mobo
PSU
Memory
HDD
Case
After-market cooling (not water - probably will only do light/safe oc'ing with some nice heatsinks)
Optical Drives
Monitor
Keyboard


Not that you guys care but I'm a hardcore gaming enthusiast (I used to work on a lot of mods back in the HL days) and I've really had to scale back my gaming in recent years. I've been waiting for this computer for, literally, years, and I want this to be a gaming-induced wet dream. If you guys can help me make it happen with your advice, I'd be extremely grateful.
a b 4 Gaming
May 16, 2011 7:13:08 PM

Fill out the form in sticky, link in my sig.

For ex, whether or not you need 2 GPU's depends on resolution.
Mobo choice would depend on whether you would make use of quick synch or not.
CPU wise, pretty much SB is the best choice with your budget.

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May 16, 2011 7:18:58 PM

With a fat budget like that, I'd build a i7-2600k, P67 board, 2x 2GB 6950s, a 2560x1600 monitor, 8GB (4x2GB) CAS7 1600Mhz RAM and the associated parts to power it. That or 2x 560 Ti's if you step down to 1920x1080.

Edit: Never mind about the 2560x1600 monitor, way out of the budget. Sitck with 23-24" 1920x1080 monitors.
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Related resources
May 17, 2011 1:24:05 AM

i5 2500k, asrock p67 extreme 4 motherboard, 2x6970's, 8gb 1600mhz ram (gskill), 850w psu, 1-vertex 2 120gb ssd or new intel 120gb ssd, this case is really nice- http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Graphite-Mid-Tower-Gaming... , psu- http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item... , this is a really good cpu cooler you could downggrade to a thermaltake frio hyper 212 plus or scthe mugen 2 if you wanted thought- http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item... , HDD- http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item..., keyboard logitech g110- http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item... , dvd drive- http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item..., monitor- http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item... . the 6970 in crossfire will be overboard for this monitor should really go with dual 6950's 2gb
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a b 4 Gaming
May 17, 2011 2:03:00 AM

Nothing can be recommended if unless certain things are listed. For instance if you want to CF or not, or if what your resolution is. Mjmjpfaff's build is OK, I'm not to fond of CF 6970 or 570 when the 560 Ti and 6950 can perform about the same in dual card.

Anyway back to filling out the form, if you have 1280x1024 and your using a 570, you're going to bottleneck yourself and instead of getting more frames, you're getting less frames because your GPU is basically getting restricted.

So fill that form out in banth's sig or go here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advic...

There are a few presets that can be modified to your needs in my siggy, check them out and save a bunch of money. Honestly 2000$ is a lot for a computer now.
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May 17, 2011 2:16:51 AM

If you're going to spend $2000, I would suggest spending $1450 on the computer (2500k, decent cooler, 6950s in CF, no SSD for now) and about $550 on three 1920x1080 monitors to game in Eyefinity. Otherwise your hardware isn't going to be used to its full potential and you might as well just do a $1000 build.
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May 17, 2011 2:50:09 AM

aznshinobi said:
Nothing can be recommended if unless certain things are listed. For instance if you want to CF or not, or if what your resolution is. Mjmjpfaff's build is OK, I'm not to fond of CF 6970 or 570 when the 560 Ti and 6950 can perform about the same in dual card.

Anyway back to filling out the form, if you have 1280x1024 and your using a 570, you're going to bottleneck yourself and instead of getting more frames, you're getting less frames because your GPU is basically getting restricted.

So fill that form out in banth's sig or go here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advic...

There are a few presets that can be modified to your needs in my siggy, check them out and save a bunch of money. Honestly 2000$ is a lot for a computer now.


i did say that 6950 cf was the way to go at the end of my post. also what else is wrong with my build?
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a b 4 Gaming
May 17, 2011 3:10:45 AM

The 600T is just way to expensive for what it is. A mid-tower that isn't made of Aluminum. For that price, better to just spend a little more and get the HAF X, or just get the HAF 932 updated with USB 3.0, or just get an Antec 902 V3. I also think that waiting for other companies to release their SF-2200 120GB SSDs is a better decision. OCZ is the only provider of the SATA III SSDs currently for the SF controller, that allows them to price the Vertex 3 120gb to what they want, but when Patriot or G.Skill or other companies come in, the SATA III SF-2200 controller SSDs will be much cheaper.
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May 17, 2011 3:19:48 AM

ok i get it that is why the vertex 3's are so expensive, and i get your point on the case
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May 17, 2011 4:44:07 AM

Lots of info.. let me try to get through it. First off:

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP


Budget Range: $1500-$2000 CAD


System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Internet, Work station (standard office applications)


Parts Not Required: Speakers, Mouse


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg/tigerdirect/ncix - whatever works for Canadians


Country of Origin: Canada


Parts Preferences: None - unsure of the current state of the nvidia vs. ati battle. Ditto for amd vs. intel.


Overclocking: Yes - safe/minimal


SLI or Crossfire: Don't know the difference. Whatever works performance wise.


Monitor Resolution: Looks like for the price it will have to be at 1920x1080.


Additional Comments: Aesthetics are unimportant. Performance is #1. Preferably quieter though.

------------------------------

Regarding the resolution. I'm not sure whether to go 1080 or 1200? What would you guys suggest? The price difference doesn't seem that bad with the ASUS models. I kind of like the idea of the three monitors. Never thought of gaming like that before. What's the drawbacks of using that kind of a setup? Is it better to invest in more hardware or more displays?

Regarding the GPU. I see that a lot of you are mentioning comparable AMD/Nvidia cards in a dual setup. Does it make more sense to get two of those now, and upgrade with two similar ones in the future? Also, which one works better with the proposed CPU?

Regarding CPU: is the i7 too much overkill for a system like this?

HDD: I think I will hold off on SSD for now. I was thinking of opting for the WD Black drives. Is the samsung one posted above similar reliability but cheaper?

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May 17, 2011 4:50:27 AM

Just went through your higher end build Azn... is that all that it takes now? Are the GPU offerings not a bit skimpy?
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a b 4 Gaming
May 17, 2011 5:04:26 AM

Not skimpy at all, you can add another 6950/560 Ti if you feel it isn't enough.

An i7 2600K vs 2500K has virtually 0 difference. The 2500K will perform 99% to the 2600K's 100%. Gaming doesn't need HT so the 2600K is a useless 100$ spent.

Samsung's have been known to be the best for the buck. Because all HDD's are mechanical hard drives, you just need the best of the moderate. Doesn't sound that good of a saying but I'll explain. Moderate meaning SATA II (I say moderate instead of worse because HDD's do not make use of SATA III yet), and the Samsung F3 was the cream of the crop from the SATA II HDDs. As long as we're talking about mechanical harddrives there is virtually 0 difference in performance that is noticeable. That doesn't justify the extra 30-40$ WD charges customers for their Black series HDDs when they're louder and the same speed as the Samsung F3.

Regarding to your 2nd about the GPUs. Getting 2 now would defiantly last you, but one is fine. The 6850 I put in there because 2 of those is greater than a single 570 which costs the same. So that's why.

Going 1920x1200 I defiantly recommend going CF/SLI it's not that the 6950 or 560 can't handle it, just you won't get that eyecandy. Though I recommend 1920x1080 because it is cheaper, but that's just me.

More displays = more need for graphical power during gaming. Eyefinity (AMD's mulit-monitor support) is the best bet for 3 or more monitors. Nvidia cards can work with 2 but so can AMD's. I personally like Eyefinity, but keep in mind it'll require much graphical power.
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May 17, 2011 5:23:53 AM

Alright, I understand the 2500K - makes sense. I think I will stick with that.

Your suggestion on the HDD also makes sense to me. I think I may go with one or two of those.

As for the GPUs - if I went for the eyefinity, what would you recommend. If not, what else would you suggest?



Also, 1080 seems to make better sense. It's a relatively small difference for a huge leap in price.
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a b 4 Gaming
May 17, 2011 6:06:15 AM

I'd go for it, Eyefinity is a pretty sweet thing to have. I personally think dual-monitor is useless unless you use more than 2 (IE 3). Eyefinity allows that and more. With that said, go for 2 6950 2GB, that should supply you with a hefty amount of power for future additions for monitors.
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May 17, 2011 6:37:00 AM

Hi:

I have an HP 2475 1920 x 1200 monitor and one ATI 6950 is enough. Your bottleneck won't be the monitor it will be the game requirements and so crossfire of two 6950s probably gets you the most bang for your buck. If you play something like Metro 2033 then the crossfire setup (or SLI if you like GTX) is the way to go.

I would recommend looking at the HP ZR24W monitor, the Dell U2410 and the HP 2475 if you watch movies and want to game. If gaming is the central focus and is more important then look at the Asus Tn panel monitors because they are the fastest LCD monitors. However, the TN panel monitors do not have the best picture, the IPS monitors (which are slower) have the best picture quality. Professional reviewers said that the above IPS monitors are fast enough to game with unless you are doing "fast twitch" gaming - then you will need a TN monitor. Cnet.com recommends this Asus monitor: http://reviews.cnet.com/lcd-monitors/asus-vh236h/4505-3... (note it is 23" and 1920 x 1080) but it is cheap and fast. TFT Central is a good monitor review site

While the comments about the 2500K vs the 2600K are correct as far as gaming, I still like the 2600K - for gaming only it is kind of wasting a $100 but I still like it

For a mobo, there is a great article in Tom's Hardware right now on Z68 boards. As a gamer you may not want the Z68 platform and may just want the P67. The Asus PRO 67 or the Asus Deluxe P67 are both good boards and are highly rated. A lot of people like Gigabyte and Asrock also.

For your budget two 6950s in crossfire would definitely give you a mean gaming machine that could play any game. This is probably your best bang for the buck setup and you could run eyefinity off of it to three screens if you wanted.

PSU: the Corsair 850 HX may be the best bang for your buck. It has a 7 year warranty and has won several editor choice awards. It was on sale last weekend on newegg for $119.00. It went back up to $149.00. Professional reviewers found it could put out over 1000 W and remain stable and efficient. It is also modular which is convenient.

Case: the Silverstone Fortress is the best air cooling case and it is very high quality. The Cooler Master HAF X 942 is also good at cooling but it is huge. Both are quiet and well made. The Fortress doesn't have USB 3.0 yet.

The newegg links are here: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
and here: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For cooling the Noctua NH-D14 may be the best out there but it is fairly expensive at $90.00. Every review raves about it and is has a 90% 5-egg rating on newegg, which is something you don't see every day. It is also huge - make sure it will fit in your case. Reviewers rave about its high quality and it comes with its own cpu paste. It is quiet and its cooling is second to none.

The Noctua NH-D14 link is here: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory: 2 x 4GB DDR3 1600 or 1866 CL8 or CL9 is the price vs performance sweet spot for memory on the Sandy Bridge platform. You don't gain a lot of performance benefit over 1866 and 8 GB. If you want to over clock the memory you may want to go a CL7 but it costs twice as much. The 2133 memory just did beat the 1866 or 1600 memory that much to be worth the extra cost. Tom's Hardware has an excellent article on memory.

Good luck with your build
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May 17, 2011 6:40:41 AM

Correction: sorry, it should read above that the 2133 memory did NOT beat the 1866 and 1600 memory by that much to be worth the extra cost.
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May 17, 2011 6:48:42 AM

If you are doing detail work with fine print or CAD or you want better resolution for your games, the 1920 x 1200 resolution is better. It is also more expensive. The quality of the fine detail difference is huge.
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May 17, 2011 4:22:56 PM

Excellent post flong, thanks a lot.

It seems, oddly to me, that my choices hinge on which monitor display setup I wish to go with.

I can go for one of the IPS ones, priced at about ~$650, or I can go for a triple display at 1080p for the same price.

I like the idea of 1200 res better. And the colour accuracy of the IPS monitors is more appealing to me than the responsiveness of a tn machine. I've been 'gaming' on a 17 inch laptop for 4 years... I think upgrading to a 24inch high quality display will be a pleasing and sufficient change.

That being said, I can only really afford one of those on my budget. I'm really not sure what to choose out of the monitors you mentioned. I've read through the reviews on the site that you mentioned except that the ones for the Dell and the HP2475w are quite outdated, and I'm not sure what kind of hardware upgrades they would have seen since.

I will post responses to the other components once I get to it. (Ongoing)
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May 17, 2011 5:16:38 PM

Ok here is what I have so far:

Monitor: ??? ~$600
Unknown. See above post. High quality 1920x1200. Whatever fits the bill. Still unsure of the relative difference between the ZR24W and the LP2475W.

CPU: $220
The 2500K

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
Mobo:

GPU: x 2 - $500
I've always gone with nVidia before. No reason really, it was just a superior card when I first bought from them and I've stuck with it ever since. I have no preference. If ATi does better with the Sandy Bridge setup, then I can go with that too. I remember there being a bit of a performance boost for nVidia on intel builds. Is that still the case?
Also: Can anyone advise as to *which* card? (i.e. which manufacturer?)

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=EN...

PSU: $200
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Ram: $125
Is this sufficient?

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=20-220-5...

Air cooler: $100
Will this fit in a HAF X ?

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

HDD: x2 - $140
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

DVD Drive: $20
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

Case: $190
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Keyboard: $60
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...
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May 17, 2011 6:03:30 PM

Raptor, what was your reasoning for going for a single 570 vs. sli'ing lower end cards?
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May 17, 2011 6:09:08 PM

How about a build with free shipping and better prices through directcanada.com?

CPU: Core i5-2500k
http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12200BD1527&v...
$220.20

CPU Cooler: Thermaltake Frio
http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=14660AC7712&v...
$55.08

Motherboard: ASRock P67 Extreme4
http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=16950BD6214&v... Extreme4 (B3)&manufacture=Others
$171.72

Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600 CL9 1.5v
http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=15380BD5211&v...
$80.62

GPU: 2x XFX HD 6950 2GB
http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=16950BD8514&v...
$540.42

HDD: WD Black 1TB
http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=25350DR0783&v...
$84.69

Optical: ASUS 24x DVD Writer
http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=10530DR5213&v...
$21.32

PSU: Corsair 750HX
http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11180AC5235&v...
$135.49

Case: Cooler Master HAF 932 Advanced
http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11130AC0874&v...
$159.85

Monitor: 3x ASUS VE247H
http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=10530MN1186&v...
$539.07 ($10 MIR available, not sure if you can use this on all threeor if it is limited to only one)

-----

Total: $2008.12 shipped before monitor rebate(s)

-----

A couple notes...

- Crossfire scales better than SLI (current generation cards)
- A quality 750 watt PSU is more than enough for a system overclock and dual cards, whether they be 560s or 6950s
- $10 shipping per item (Newegg) will add up!
- There's really no reason to go dual GPUs right now unless you are doing a multiple-monitor setup or 30" 2560x1600 display.
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May 17, 2011 6:12:37 PM

QuickSilver402 said:
Raptor, what was your reasoning for going for a single 570 vs. sli'ing lower end cards?

Budget, and the fact that I'm adding another 570 in about a month or so. I couldn't swing both cards at the same time, so I got the best card I could afford which was 1 570 @ $310 at the store. I know I probably should have gotten a 6950 instead but what can I say, PhysX and the nVidia drivers lured me. The second 570 will put me at the kind of max performance that will last me hopefully for 2-3 years when I'll upgrade to that generations cards. I also didn't consider the 6970/6950 because while 2GB vram is nice, my gaming will all be done at 1920x1080 where it's not as apparent. If I had a 2560x1600 screen they would have been my choice, as a CF 6970 system is pretty close in performance to SLI 580s while being WAY cheaper. Arguments could have been made for a way overclocked 560 Ti, but I figure that a mild OC on a 570 is worth the difference between a 250 dollar 560 Ti, and a 310 dollar 570.
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May 17, 2011 6:13:33 PM

I would also suggest NCIX for Canadian shopping.
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a b 4 Gaming
May 17, 2011 6:22:01 PM

To give you a little ground work on helping you select the board for your build.
-H67 chipset based board if you are a gamer unless you have a fairly low budget you should avoid these boards because they won’t provide a lot the higher end features that you might be looking for. Also you can’t overclock the core clock speed of the processor on the H67 board.
-P67 chipset based board these are the main gaming boards today and there are a number of very good ones out that can fit your needs well with. Take a look at the Asus P8P67 Pro boards. The only real draw back on these boards is that you can’t take advantage of the IGP (intergraded graphics processor) at all with a P67 board.
-Z68 these new boards have only be released for a week now and they are being heavily tested all over the place now. There are a couple features on the Z68 that are not available on the P67 or H67 chipset boards. First the Z68 has support for SSD caching that can give you SSD like performance off from a smaller sized SSD. The other feature that a look of people look for in these board is support for Lucidlogix Virtu software that can switch between the dedicated video card and the Intel HD 3000 graphics and the Intel QuickSync technology for digital encoding to get you the best performance for the software that you are running. If you go with a Z68 board make sure that the board that you selected a board that has both graphics ports and the Lucidlogix Virtu software on it.

Christian Wood
Intel Enthusiast Team
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May 17, 2011 6:32:27 PM

Hunter: Thanks for the suggestion. I've never been to that site before. Prices are definitely better.

A few questions on some of the things you specified:

CPU Cooler: Will halving the price on the cooler still allow me to OC the 2500K enough, without sacrificing too much security?

Case: I think I may go with the HAF X just because it looks cooler. I know it's $25 more, but when I'm spending 2K... f!@& it.

Ram: is 1600 good enough? I could push it to the 1833 for the extra $35.

Monitor: It seems to be that if I solve the monitor issue the GPU is also solved.

What I gather so far:

At $600 a piece, the IPS LCD monitors provide higher quality resolutions (1920x1200) and better quality colours. Their steep price means I can only get one 24'' monitor. This would mean I'd probably opt for a better, single GPU (GTX 570 or 6970)

The other option is to go for the tn LCD monitors which I can get 3 for the price of one IPS one. This would require that I get dual GPUs - probably the 6950 (at least that's what I gather from this thread) so I can run things in eyefinity.

Any suggestions/arguments either way?



Raptor: NCIX is warehoused in BC I believe, and I'm across in Toronto. I get smacked with rather uncool shipping charges. Seems to me as though the canadadirect site has the best priced products that I've seen so far.


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May 17, 2011 6:47:51 PM

Thanks for the reply Christian.

Judging by the options only the p67 or z68 would interest me. However, looking briefly at the features you mention in your post, it appears to me that a z68 board would be optimal for video/graphics editors and not particularly handy for someone whose most demanding PC venture will be the next FPS game.

I could be, and of course most probably am, wrong.
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May 17, 2011 7:01:06 PM

QuickSilver402 said:
Hunter: Thanks for the suggestion. I've never been to that site before. Prices are definitely better.

A few questions on some of the things you specified:

CPU Cooler: Will halving the price on the cooler still allow me to OC the 2500K enough, without sacrificing too much security?

Case: I think I may go with the HAF X just because it looks cooler. I know it's $25 more, but when I'm spending 2K... f!@& it.

Ram: is 1600 good enough? I could push it to the 1833 for the extra $35.

Monitor: It seems to be that if I solve the monitor issue the GPU is also solved.

What I gather so far:

At $600 a piece, the IPS LCD monitors provide higher quality resolutions (1920x1200) and better quality colours. Their steep price means I can only get one 24'' monitor. This would mean I'd probably opt for a better, single GPU (GTX 570 or 6970)

The other option is to go for the tn LCD monitors which I can get 3 for the price of one IPS one. This would require that I get dual GPUs - probably the 6950 (at least that's what I gather from this thread) so I can run things in eyefinity.

Any suggestions/arguments either way?


CPU Cooler: That is a top-5 rated cooler, but I can't remember the site, lol. I'm sure someone here knows. You should be able to hit 4.7GHz easily with good temps.

Case: They look the same to me...The 932 Advanced has internal USB 3.0 support while the X routes a cable to the rear I/O shield. They are virtually the same size...it's your money though.

Ram: Is 1% faster worth $35? Not to me.

If you were doing lots of photo/video editing, I would suggest an IPS panel and a single 560, 570 or 6950, 6970. IPS panels are superior to TN panels when it comes to picture quality. That's been established. However, you stated your intended use for the rig is gaming/internet. TN panels are still pretty damn good when it comes to picture quality, especially LED-lit ones (better contrast). This is the reason I suggested the 6950s in CF outputting to three 1080p TN displays in Eyefinity. Watch some youtube vids. It's pretty cool.
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May 17, 2011 7:15:39 PM

Thanks hunter. Pretty convincing...

Sold on the ram/cooler. Need to double check the looks of the cases. I think the only difference may be the side window not being there on the advanced. If so, I'll go with the advanced.

I'm going to check into the eyefinity thing now.

Would those monitors be your best (cost effective) choice for the eyefinity setup?

As a side note, I just remembered that my old comp is running on an ASUS VW246H. Excellent monitor, although I think the one you posted is better.
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May 17, 2011 8:06:36 PM

One more thing: For eyefinity this deal about "display port not HDMI" keeps on popping up. Will I need to get a separate adapter with those monitors?
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May 17, 2011 10:23:22 PM

Well, the VH236H is 23" and the VH247H is 24". Also, the former is CCFL and the latter, LED.

And as far as the HDMI issue, just use DVI cables...you'll have four outputs. If that doesn't work, get DVI to Display Port adapters.
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May 18, 2011 1:45:47 AM

raptorjesus said:
Budget, and the fact that I'm adding another 570 in about a month or so. I couldn't swing both cards at the same time, so I got the best card I could afford which was 1 570 @ $310 at the store. I know I probably should have gotten a 6950 instead but what can I say, PhysX and the nVidia drivers lured me. The second 570 will put me at the kind of max performance that will last me hopefully for 2-3 years when I'll upgrade to that generations cards. I also didn't consider the 6970/6950 because while 2GB vram is nice, my gaming will all be done at 1920x1080 where it's not as apparent. If I had a 2560x1600 screen they would have been my choice, as a CF 6970 system is pretty close in performance to SLI 580s while being WAY cheaper. Arguments could have been made for a way overclocked 560 Ti, but I figure that a mild OC on a 570 is worth the difference between a 250 dollar 560 Ti, and a 310 dollar 570.


Hey the 570 is a hell of a card - you made a great choice. It is more expensive but I think if you have the budget it should be considered :-).
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May 18, 2011 2:10:53 AM

QuickSilver402 said:
Hunter: Thanks for the suggestion. I've never been to that site before. Prices are definitely better.

A few questions on some of the things you specified:

CPU Cooler: Will halving the price on the cooler still allow me to OC the 2500K enough, without sacrificing too much security?

Case: I think I may go with the HAF X just because it looks cooler. I know it's $25 more, but when I'm spending 2K... f!@& it.

Ram: is 1600 good enough? I could push it to the 1833 for the extra $35.

Monitor: It seems to be that if I solve the monitor issue the GPU is also solved.

What I gather so far:

At $600 a piece, the IPS LCD monitors provide higher quality resolutions (1920x1200) and better quality colours. Their steep price means I can only get one 24'' monitor. This would mean I'd probably opt for a better, single GPU (GTX 570 or 6970)

The other option is to go for the tn LCD monitors which I can get 3 for the price of one IPS one. This would require that I get dual GPUs - probably the 6950 (at least that's what I gather from this thread) so I can run things in eyefinity.

Any suggestions/arguments either way?



Raptor: NCIX is warehoused in BC I believe, and I'm across in Toronto. I get smacked with rather uncool shipping charges. Seems to me as though the canadadirect site has the best priced products that I've seen so far.


Here is the best Sandy Bridge RAM article ever at Bit-Tech: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/memory/2011/01/11/the-...

The conclusion???? 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) 1600 or 1866 RAM produces nearly as goog performance as the super expensive 16 GB of 2133 RAM. So 2 x 4GB of CL8 or CL9 1866 RAM is the price vs performance sweet spot for SB builds

Back to monitors. The HP2475 and Dell U2410 are wide gamut (more colors are available) monitors. The HP Z24 W is not wide gamut but is still a great monitor. The reason they are expensive is that they produce a "true" color picture when properly calibrated and they can distinguish subtle shades of gray to black. They also have better resolution than the cheaper monitors and better viewing angles.

Well you ask what the hell does it matter??? :-). It matters because when you are watching a movie or playing a game, if you combine these high quality IPS monitors with a high quality GPU, you get a phenomenal video quality. Read some reviews of the HP 2475 and you will see statements like, "the jungles in Crysis never looked this lush before we tried this monitor." Or, "the fine detail of this monitor is excellent, we could make out minute print sizes that were just blurs with other monitors." This is true for the U2410 and the Z24 W also. I had a Samsung monitor that was highly rated with 1980 x 1020 resolution and I took it back because the text was so blurry. It did well with movies but it colors were inaccurate.

The new trend in monitors is going to 120hz or LED back-lighting but the reviews I read still don't produce a better picture than the IPS monitors - and frankly Im surprised. I have had the HP 2475 now for almost three years and it is still one of the top monitors. I expected it to be outdated by now. However it appears that monitor technology moves much slower than CPU changes.

I would suggest that you start a dedicated thread on in the forum to ask for suggestions for the best monitors. You will probably get some new options. Probably, the IPS monitors will still be the best picture / video quality though. To give you an example, the Iphone 4 is an IPS screen and no one would argue it is not cutting edge. Still there may be new monitors out there that I am not aware of. A dedicated thread in the monitor section would provide better answers.
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May 18, 2011 4:19:23 AM

Thanks Flong.

In the event of an IPS monitor, should I opt for a single, better card - or still stick with the dual 6950?
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May 18, 2011 5:02:38 AM

I just thought of something...

Why not go 3D?
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May 18, 2011 6:06:21 AM

This is what I have put together for your needs,

CPU- i5-2500k
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Heatsink- Noctua NH-D14
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

PSU- Corsair HX 850W
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

CASE- HAF X
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

DVD Burner- Asus 24X
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

MOTHERBOARD- ASUS Sabertooth P67 (REV 3.0)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

RAM- G.Skill Sniper Low Voltage (Low heatsinks, so it can fit under the DH-14)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

HDD- SAMSUNG F3 1TB
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

GPU- MSI R6950 Twin Frozr II OC 6950 CrossfireX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Monitor- Dell UltraSharp U2410 (Excellent reviews on Cnet) (I could not find this monitor on NeweggCA, so I looked on the US version.)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

------

Grand Total $2,260

------

I know this is over your budget, but I believe that the performance gain will justify the 100+ increase.
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a b 4 Gaming
May 18, 2011 6:10:40 AM

^ Wtf.... So if you suggest SLI 580, why suggest a power supply that cannot power two of them? There is no reason to get 580 SLI when you only need to spend $520 on CF/SLI 6950 2GB/560 Ti 1GB which would save you 320$ that could go towards another monitor or 2 for that matter. You don't need a DH-14 for the 2600K/2500K especially not when 32nm is in play, many state 5.1ghz+ overclocks with the Hyper 212+. Now overclocks don't always just depend on the cooling. It also depends on the grade of your CPU, if it is only an OK grade 2500K, you'll only get 4.6ghz out of it no matter what cooling you have, 5.1ghz is a chance not a given.

Overated motherboard that's not worth the cost. Might as well get the Z68 boards or the Extreme4 P67/Z68.

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May 18, 2011 6:15:38 AM

aznshinobi said:
^ Wtf.... So if you suggest SLI 580, why suggest a power supply that cannot power two of them? There is no reason to get 580 SLI when you only need to spend $520 on CF/SLI 6950 2GB/560 Ti 1GB which would save you 320$ that could go towards another monitor or 2 for that matter. You don't need a DH-14 for the 2600K/2500K especially not when 32nm is in play, many state 5.1ghz+ overclocks with the Hyper 212+. Now overclocks don't always just depend on the cooling. It also depends on the grade of your CPU, if it is only an OK grade 2500K, you'll only get 4.6ghz out of it no matter what cooling you have, 5.1ghz is a chance not a given.

Overated motherboard that's not worth the cost. Might as well get the Z68 boards or the Extreme4 P67/Z68.


Whoa, you are completely right about the power issue!! I did not even notice that, I am sorry. I have tweaked my recommendation thanks to your valuable insight. I do believe that having the DH-14 will give him better peace of mind when he plans to overclock.
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a b 4 Gaming
May 18, 2011 6:28:41 AM

^ I suppose. But still strongly relying on the CPU grade.
http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1597548
The guy gets to 5ghz on a Mugen 2 Rev. B which is only 40$ as opposed to the 90$ noctua. But he will get piece of mind, true there. But I haven't really seen any temp comparisons so I don't know.
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May 18, 2011 7:56:14 AM

QuickSilver402 said:
Thanks Flong.

In the event of an IPS monitor, should I opt for a single, better card - or still stick with the dual 6950?


I'm not a gamer but Tom's Hardware recommends the 6950s in crossfire as the best video card for $540 (more like $500) for gamers. Considering you can get the 2 GB XFX 6950 for $244 after rebate it is the best price Vs performance video card. One 6950 will easily run an IPS monitor. I am only going to get one for my build - but I am a not a gamer. You are a gamer and right now from what I am hearing from gamers, two 6950 cards in crossfire puts you in gamer heaven - I'll take their word for it ha, ha.

You can't lose either way, three Asus Tn monitors in eyefinity would certainly rock; not the best movie and color quality but what the hell, it would be amazingly fun just to play with. Probably it makes games amazing. Note only ATI cards have eyefinity

Conversely, if your a purist and you want the best color and picture quality and best resolution - you will be thrilled with the 1920 x 1200 IPS monitor. Everything will look a whole grade of quality better. If you can save a few extra bucks go for the Dell 27" IPS monitor here: http://reviews.cnet.com/lcd-monitors/dell-ultrasharp-u2...

If you watch the Dell website it goes on sale for $750 and it has a picture second to none and it is 27 freakin inches big - whoa baby, come to mama ha, ha. The review by Cnet is listed above. This was the monitor I really wanted but it was something like $1300 when it came out. It has even BETTER resolution than the 1920 x 1200 monitors if you can believe that and when calibrated correctly it has great color accuracy. It is also reasonably fast for an IPS monitor.

In the end is like asking which do you like best, chocolate or vanilla? Only you can answer that question.

Before you buy a monitor take time to start a separate thread in the monitor section to get some more information. Good luck :-)
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May 18, 2011 8:05:35 AM

aznshinobi said:
^ Wtf.... So if you suggest SLI 580, why suggest a power supply that cannot power two of them? There is no reason to get 580 SLI when you only need to spend $520 on CF/SLI 6950 2GB/560 Ti 1GB which would save you 320$ that could go towards another monitor or 2 for that matter. You don't need a DH-14 for the 2600K/2500K especially not when 32nm is in play, many state 5.1ghz+ overclocks with the Hyper 212+. Now overclocks don't always just depend on the cooling. It also depends on the grade of your CPU, if it is only an OK grade 2500K, you'll only get 4.6ghz out of it no matter what cooling you have, 5.1ghz is a chance not a given.

Overated motherboard that's not worth the cost. Might as well get the Z68 boards or the Extreme4 P67/Z68.


I just read two reviews where Z68 boards were OC to 6 ghz, not 5 ghz. Granted, if you get a bum CPU you may not get this high. In BOTH reviews, the limiting factor was CPU heat. Hands down the Noctua blows the doors off the Hyper 212 in cooling and quality and it is only $40 more. It is higher quality, quieter, more efficient and one of the top three rated coolers in existence. It also comes with a high quality CPU thermal compound so that saves you another $10 and now we are $30 apart in price. The Hyper 212 is a good cooler - I agree. But in this case you get what you pay for.
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May 18, 2011 8:16:26 AM

QuickSilver402 said:
I just thought of something...

Why not go 3D?


Now your just being mean ha, ha, ha

So far the 3D monitors pretty much suck unfortunately because it sounds like a really cool idea :-)
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May 18, 2011 6:12:09 PM

If you don't go with eyefinity, there's no point in hitting your budget limit. Flong, those ASUS monitors have a wonderful picture, so good that I think gaming in Eyefinity trumps the picture quality advantage of an IPS panel. Especially for racing and flying sims, and FPS.
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May 18, 2011 6:20:58 PM

Flong,

Thanks a lot for your help. You seem to share my understanding when it comes to computers.

Could you recommend a mobo? I'm completely lost when it comes to them. I've noticed a lot of people talking about the Pro67 boards or the "Sabertooth" ones. I looked at your previous post where you stand behind the new z68 chipset. Any thoughts on a mobo thats in that performance vs. price sweet spot?

Also, thanks for aiding me in the IPS vs. Tn debate. I am indeed a purist, and one significant setback that I've found for a triple monitor eyefinity setup is that the two side monitors become very distorted. I've noticed this already in the "peripheral" vision in games before. If you move your screen quickly you can see the textures stretch and expand. I don't think I'll be ok with this happening on two entire monitors. I'd prefer just having one mouth-watering display in front of me and using that as my main screen.

Secondly, I noticed that having the screens set up in landscape is not actually the best set up for viewing (too much distortion). I'd much prefer having three set up in portrait, but for that it seems you need 3 IPS screens regardless.

I've started a dedicated thread for the monitor issue last night. So far I've only been told that if I'm not doing high-end editing, I won't need the IPS monitor. Hopefully they will still recommend something. I looked over your suggestion for the Dell U2711. It's pretty pricey but everyone says its incredible. I may end up going with that.
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May 18, 2011 6:23:47 PM

nd_hunter said:
If you don't go with eyefinity, there's no point in hitting your budget limit. Flong, those ASUS monitors have a wonderful picture, so good that I think gaming in Eyefinity trumps the picture quality advantage of an IPS panel. Especially for racing and flying sims, and FPS.



Is the argument: If I spend that much then it's only worth it going for a multi-monitor display setup? i.e. A lower-end GPU setup could handle the higher res on a higher quality single monitor?
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May 18, 2011 6:29:36 PM

In my opinion, yes. My sig rig cost roughly $1000 with G110 keyboard and MX518 mouse. I got my monitor later. I can play anything maxed with good frame rates. I was able to tighten the timings on my memory to improve performance, get a good OC on my CPU and GPU, and everything runs pretty cool under load. I couldn't be happier.
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May 18, 2011 6:36:43 PM

And what monitor did you opt for?
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May 18, 2011 7:23:13 PM

It's an ASUS 1080p LED 5ms monitor. 21.5" I believe
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May 18, 2011 8:23:01 PM

Here is where it stands so far:

CPU:
i5 2500K

GPU:
2x6950 XF
(Will probably opt for cheapest version of card, unless someone can present a good argument for getting 2x MSI Twin Frozr OC ones)


Mobo:
Biggest unknown. Looking at a few here:

ASRock P67 EXTREME4 B3 ATX LGA1155 DDR3 3PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 SATA3 USB3.0 CrossFireX SLI Motherboard

or

ASUS P8P67 Pro REV3.0 ATX P67 LGA1155 DDR3 3PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 2PCI Sandy Bridge B3 Motherboard

Or z68?


RAM:
G.SKILL Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 Memory

PSU:
Corsair 750HX

HDD:
SAMSUNG F3 1TB

Heatsink:
Noctua NH-D14

Case:
CoolerMaster HAF X

Optical Drive:
Whatever is on sale.

Keyboard:
G110 Logitech

Monitor:
Unknown. Leaning towards the Dell u2711. Seems to have all the features of the 2410 while being bigger and without most of the problems.
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