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Looking for Advice on New Gaming PC System

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June 16, 2011 1:18:17 PM

Hello All,

First time posting on Tom's...I have been reviewing the site for quite some time, gaining as much knowledge as I possibly can before making my next purchase, a new computer for gaming. Very impressed with what I have read so far, but would like some additional help/clarification before going forward.

I consider myself a gaming hobbyist. I play about 10 to 20 hours a week depending on work/family. I'm looking to upgrade primarily due to the impressive line of games coming out (BF3, Diablo 3, Old Republic, Guild Wars 2) in the near future. I currently only play WoW. I want to get something very fast, but don't think I need to get something "over the top".

As of now, I am thinking about purchasing a pre-made set up (Yes I know its cheaper to build on my own, but for the type of rig I want I would rather just pay a bit extra and get something so if it doesnt work/ breaks I can just send it back).

What I am looking to get is as follows (pardon my descriptions):

Processor - i7 2600k - Want the most recent processor so that I can get as much out of my new rig over the next 4-5 years.

RAM - 8GB DDR3 1600 MHz (16GB I think would be overkill from what I have read, and can always add later...I am comfortable replacing graphics cards & memory).

Cooling - Something quiet, but Liquid Cooling makes me nervous (leakage ruining equipment). Thinking Arctic Freezer 7 (only if its fairly quiet) but not sure if necessary if not overclocking.

Overclocking - Not sure if I really need it. Also would have to get higher performance fans, which would make more noise. Overclocking interests me. From what I read here it is safe but still cautiously optimistic that doing this will be worth it for me. I'm thinking having top end RAM & a SSD HD would help more performance wise than OC'ing

Storage - 1 SSD 128 GB (for my OS and the games I will play). 1 TB Reg HD (for files, normal apps (iTunes, Office, et al)).

GCard - GeForce 570 or 580. Probably 570 as it’s a bit cheaper and don’t think there is much of a diff between the two. Will not go SLI (multiple screens) so single card probably the way to go. Want to stay in NIVIDA family.

Power Source - 750 watts should be more than enough.

OS - Not sure if getting the basic Windows 7 vs. Professional or Ultimate really makes a difference for gaming. Was going to get the mid level one, but that may not be necessary.

Looking to spend around $2,500. Impressed with Falcon Northwest builds so far. Velocity Micro seems good as well but a bit more exp that what I think I can get from Falcon. Dell is a no go (upgrades are ridiculously OP & no Sandy Bridge rigs yet for the cases I liked) and scared of ibuypower/cyberpower due to inconsistent reviews. Reliability/Service is important to me. I'm not a complete tech noob, but need help (finance guy). Also, would there be any benefit to waiting a few months before purchasing? My thinking I would only save a few hundred as RAM/SSD/GC get cheaper. I don't think any new processors are due to come out (Sandy Bridge is fairly new).

Thanks in advance for any help/assistance/recommendations you can lend. :sol: 

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a b 4 Gaming
June 16, 2011 2:04:59 PM

I don't think you'll be very satisfied with buying a pre-build higher end rig. Most of them are either ridiculously overpriced or skimps on the little parts like the PSU, RAM, Mobo, HDD etc.

But to comment on what you have:
CPU: Drop to the 2500K, gaming wise there no need for the 2600 as the extra threads are only uses in one or two RTSes.

RAM: check the difference between the RAM upgrades, if 4GB is substantially cheaper (eg. $80 less), get that and buy your own set. Though for gaming, 4GB is enough and 8GB is plenty.

Cooling: Don't get a water loop unless youre sure on what to do, not sure about the quality of the pre-built loops, but unless youre OCing like crazy it wont be needed anyways. the AC7 is a lower-end cooler though. If they offer it, a Noctua with PWM fans could cool well and stay quiet, or you can look at the enclosed loops from Antec, Corsair, Coolit etc.

OC: If youre not comfortable with OCing, you dont have to. Just dont pay for it. moderate SB overclocking is ridiculously easy and 4Ghz is a breeze.

Storage: You might want to look at what SSD is offered. IMO with your high budget go with a Vertex 3/ Intel 520. 128GB seem like the older Indillix drives.

GPU: What your resolution? For your current needs, a GTX560Ti should even be sufficient. You get a cooler running card than the GF110s and performance isnt that far behind. I would recommend a decent SLI Mobo though. (ideally with the Z68 chipset, but I'm not sure if the pre-builds let you choose), adds a nice upgrading option down the road.

PSU: 750W is plenty for even 2 560Tis, however make it is from a reputable brand (Corsair, Antec, Seasonic, XFX*, PCp&C*, Enermax, OCZ*, Silverstone*) and not generic glossy black boxes with light-up fans. Just remember a bad PSU could damage all the parts in your setup.

OS: Performance wise there no difference, but you do get XP-mode with professional IIRC. WIkipedia has quite a nice comparison lol. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_7_editions

AMD's Bulldozer is coming out in the next few moths and could be something interesting. From the Intel side there is the SB-E, which are essentially Sandy bridges (2500K, 2600K) with quad channel memory, more PCIe lanes and more cores.
!