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$1500 Gaming Machine

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June 2, 2011 3:17:23 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: A.S.A.P

Budget Range: $1500, +/- $1-300

System Usage from Most to Least Important: HD Gaming, Multi-Monitors, Surfing, etc.

Parts Not Required: Mouse, Keyboard, Speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Open to suggestions, but prefer to stick within popular, trusted sites.

Country of Origin: United States

Parts Preferences: Intel i7, Nvidia GPU

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Yes, but future upgrade. Want the ability.

Monitor Resolution: Up there. Will be using dual 22" 2ms Samsungs, & a 42"-50" HDTV.

Additional Comments: Aesthetics are second to performance. Looking to get back into gaming. Money is not a huge barrier, but I'd like to keep it in my stated range if possible. I do not want to have to upgrade very much aside from memory and adding a GPU later on.

These are the parts I have selected thus far, and I'd like to get an opinion on them, and check for any noticeable bottlenecks or problems I could run into. I have not picked out a mechanical drive, or a DVD burner. This will be the first PC I have built personally, so any advice at all is noted. Such as... do I buy a HeatSync separately to the CPU?

ASUS p8Z68-V PRO LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel MOBO
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel i7-2600K CPU 3.4GHZ
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB DDR3 1600 RAM, Cas 8
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR 950W SLI Ready PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI 560GTX-TI GPU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel 510 SSD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CM 932 HAF Full Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thank you!!!

More about : 1500 gaming machine

June 2, 2011 3:42:00 AM

Thanks for the response!

As far as the Z68, what do I lose in stepping to a P67? What do I gain? Also I do plan on using SLI in the near future... but not right off the bat. Does this affect the switch to the board you've recommended?

As far as the PSU, I only chose a bigger one because of the 560GTX-TI, and the plan to SLI in the future.

Also, what is the deal with PhysX these days? Does the card still exist? Or do these 'Nvidia PhysX Ready' cards just have those features built in?
Related resources
a b 4 Gaming
June 2, 2011 3:59:06 AM

The main selling point of the Z68 is the ability to use the SSD in combination with a HDD for a kind of hybrid drive. It's best for a tighter budget where you would use a smaller (60GB) SSD. With a 120GB SSD it would be a waste to slow it down by linking it to the HDD.

Beyond that you have the onboard graphics and some ability to utilize those in transcoding.

Both boards SLI equally well.

GTX 560ti SLI on that machine will never break 600W. Or 550W. Maybe 500W. So, a 650W PSU would have been fine but I provided a bit more margin ;) 

PhysX is another one of those technologies buried by Moore's Law. Processors grow in power just too fast for it to ever keep up.

June 2, 2011 5:36:36 AM

"Beyond that you have the onboard graphics and some ability to utilize those in transcoding. "

Could you explain some more on this, if you have the time?

And as far as the HDD goes, should I just run 2 drives? The SSD for OS + Games? And then a secondary mechanical drive for data and what not? And how about the paige file for the OS? Is it safe for the SSD to consistently write?
a b 4 Gaming
June 2, 2011 6:50:49 AM

Yes the page file is OK. With 8GB of RAM you can and should reduce the size of it. Also Intel will provide you with a utility package that is handy for setting up the SSD. Yes you should just use a second drive for data.

I have a 160GB Intel 320.
I have Office, about 7 large Steam games (Metro 2033, Divinity II, Dead Space 2, etc.).
I have Win 7 Pro and Virtual XP Mode installed.
I have about 50GB left. Not bad at all. I could trim it down quite a bit if needed. I have a 640GB data drive as well.

Just read up on the Z68 chipset
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-z68-express-s...
June 2, 2011 9:21:24 AM

You could also save $100 or more by getting the 2500k over the 2600k (no discernable difference in gaming performance for 100 more MHz and Hyperthreading), and dumping the money saved into the GTX570 over the GTX560Ti....
a b 4 Gaming
June 2, 2011 9:18:37 PM

mdd1963 said:
You could also save $100 or more by getting the 2500k over the 2600k (no discernable difference in gaming performance for 100 more MHz and Hyperthreading), and dumping the money saved into the GTX570 over the GTX560Ti....


Yes, if needed. However if the budget allows I will always advocate getting more CPU than you need. I have a house full of CPUs that at one time or another were overkill, and are now obsolete. Less than $100 for hyperthreading sounds like a good deal to me. And I voted with my wallet :) 
a b 4 Gaming
June 2, 2011 9:27:45 PM

Overall the build looks outstanding. About the only problem that I do see with the system is that you have selected the Intel Core i7-2600K. Most of the time when a person selects this processor or the Intel Core i5-2500K they are going to try to overclock them. I would advise that if you are going to overclock that you get a good 3rd party HSF (heatsink/fan). The Cooler Master Hyper 212+ is good on the low end and on the higher end look at the Noctua NH-D14.

Christian Wood
Intel Enthusiast Team
June 3, 2011 12:29:19 AM

Getting a gtx 570 with another in the future will give you a much more significant increase in performance than having an i7 2600k over the i5. The i5's lack of hyperthreading actually means it catches up to the i7. Theres less than 1% difference in gaming fps.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
^This PSU is $156 after shipping. The seasonic is around $172 after shipping, with the hx also being fully modular and of the same quality. Perhaps you want to step down $15~, it'll help towards the gpu. The hx 850 is $20 more than the tx 950, but is modular and of reasonably higher quality (Its the next tier, and arguably better than the top tier corsair..)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
the sabertooth is an excellent motherboard that will yield high overclocks.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$290 GTX 570. Only $60 each more than your 560Ti's. So dropping down to an i5 will allow you to get the $60 increase in gpu, with $40 out of the next $60 (for the next 570) already in the kitty.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/330?vs=306
Gtx 560ti vs gtx 570.
around an 18%~ increase in performance across the board, and it adds only 7-8% extra to the cost of your system beyond the gtx 560 ti. ($120 out of 1500).

In contrast i5 vs i7

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/287?vs=288

1-1.5~ difference in GAMING, with the i5 even winning (ccause of lack of hyperthreading) in a crysis 1680x1050 res bench.
June 3, 2011 12:33:55 AM

ntensive995 said:
"Beyond that you have the onboard graphics and some ability to utilize those in transcoding. "

Could you explain some more on this, if you have the time?

And as far as the HDD goes, should I just run 2 drives? The SSD for OS + Games? And then a secondary mechanical drive for data and what not? And how about the paige file for the OS? Is it safe for the SSD to consistently write?

Onboard graphics is rather unimportant to you - you are getting 2 'discrete' graphics CARDS.
utilize those in transcoding - Onboard graphics used in transcoding... again not affecting u
a b 4 Gaming
June 3, 2011 12:56:08 AM

Vibhas has good points, IF the budget works out that way. A correction though:

Quote:
This PSU is $156 after shipping. The seasonic is around $172 after shipping, with the hx also being fully modular and of the same quality.


Corsair HX series PSUs are not fully modular. They are mostly modular with some wired cables... some of the ones you will use the most. The cables you use the most will wear out first. Same quality? Well, that's debatable. They are very good, but not identical. The Corsair AX series is based on the Seasonic X series, and so that would be the same quality.


Also keep in mind that gaming benchmarks are performed in a pristine environment. There are no virus scans in the background or Ventrilo sessions or surprise Windows updates.
June 3, 2011 5:26:56 AM

Proximon said:
Vibhas has good points, IF the budget works out that way. A correction though:

Quote:
This PSU is $156 after shipping. The seasonic is around $172 after shipping, with the hx also being fully modular and of the same quality.


Corsair HX series PSUs are not fully modular. They are mostly modular with some wired cables... some of the ones you will use the most. The cables you use the most will wear out first. Same quality? Well, that's debatable. They are very good, but not identical. The Corsair AX series is based on the Seasonic X series, and so that would be the same quality.


Also keep in mind that gaming benchmarks are performed in a pristine environment. There are no virus scans in the background or Ventrilo sessions or surprise Windows updates.

Haha, Its just cause the AX850 got reviewed at 9 @ jonnyguru http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
the HX 850 got a 9.6,
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...


So if we consider jonny's word to be law, the hx850 wins.

a b 4 Gaming
June 3, 2011 5:49:28 AM

Well, scores change over time :)  at the time of the 850HX review he only had the now ancient Antec Signature and CP-850 to compare to.

Jon also had ripple issues on the +5VSB (with the AX850) that were never seen elsewhere, and may have been equipment related. [H] is just as rigorous or more so and saw nothing like that:
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2010/10/07/corsair_ax850...

June 3, 2011 9:26:31 AM

This all is extremely helpful and very interesting.

I think I am going to take the advice on the 570. Is there a particular make you would absolutely recommend? There are so many of them that it is hard to keep up and make up my mind.

Also, with the RAM... should I stick with the Corsair I'd selected? Or go with this?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I am also still debating on the case. Do I need a full sized? Am I better off spending less on my case? If I plan on OC'ing everything, should I get a bigger one + an additional cooler? Water cooler?

Ultimately I simply want the ultimate performance for gaming, and would rather not have to bother upgrading for at least 1 year. Even if this means an increase in my spending. I am however not a fan of paying premiums for parts that only increase my performance 5% or so. Thank you all for your discussion and your help with this. I have been out of the loop so long now. I know a great deal about computers, but they change so much it's hard to keep up... especially when you haven't touched a PC game in over 3 years.
June 3, 2011 9:27:43 AM

And as far as the i5 > i7... will this change in the near future? Where games will begin to utilize fully a quad core processor? And hyperthreading?
a b 4 Gaming
June 3, 2011 9:52:28 AM

That's the question certainly. If and when, I can't say. Here is some final food for thought... look at the last two graphs in this post:
http://www.overclock.net/intel-cpus/564056-i7-ht-vs-off...

That's Left 4 Dead, with no extra programs running in the first graph, and L4D with heavy background processes running in the second graph. See the difference?

Any time you buy a quad or better cored processor, it's a bit like buying a truck. It's not going to really run any faster than that dual core, it's just going to haul a bigger load.

Go with the extra RAM. It's cheap and sooner or later you WILL need it. You will always need more RAM eventually. The first machine I built had 4MB. The minimum recommended has grown ever since... 256MB, 512MB 1GB, 2GB(about 3 years ago), 4GB, and 8GB will be the minimum quite soon.

The bigger the case the easier to work in and the more opportunities for fans. Or radiators if you ever get the urge. But don't go with water cooling without a larger budget. Real water cooling is very expensive. Cheap water cooling is a gimmick that does no more than air cooling.
June 3, 2011 11:07:46 AM

go wid the radeon 6950 1gb cfx..its going to last a long time and kicks 560ti's ass
June 11, 2011 9:41:50 AM

Okay, so I have increased my spending and done a little more research. This is the total build that I am willing to order today. I am posting it here to try and see if anyone finds any bottlenecks, problems, or recommendations. I'd rather not increase spending any further. Though I need to add in that I plan on purchasing another 580GTX in roughly a month to enable SLI. Thus the bigger PSU. Is there anything that I am missing? I am also planning on OC the CPU to at least 4.4GHZ if possible.

D-85 Antec Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS P8P67 Revolution MOBO (I want the 16x16 NF100)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

i7 2600k CPU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GTX 580 (Any specific brand I should get? This had great reviews.)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Corsair TX950 ***(Any recommendations here? Keep in mind I want to SLI 580s)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

8GB G.Skill Ripjaw X Series 1600 1.5v
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Crucial RealSSD C300 SSD (OS Drive + Some games)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1TB WD Caviar Black 7200RPM Data HDD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS DVD Burner/Reader
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

Win7 Home Premium 64bit OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Again, any information is greatly appreciated! Thank you again!!!
June 11, 2011 7:02:28 PM

Bumping, about to order in an hour or so.
a b 4 Gaming
June 11, 2011 8:38:03 PM

I like this build. Have you checked the case for compatibility with the longer card? I'm just not familiar with it. All looks good otherwise.
June 12, 2011 7:37:36 AM

well..luks gr8
!