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Green Gaming Build

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July 3, 2011 7:57:07 PM

I'm not even sure it is possible to have a green (environmentally friendly) gaming build that is capable of playing newer games. Which for me would be Guild Wars 2, The Secret World, and Skyrim. And the Mass Effect games. I have scoured this forum and have found nothing that really applies to this year. Searched for articles, and builds outside of this forum. Came up with a dead end. Lots of people saying its possible..no hard evidence of the fact lol. So I turned to you guys. :hello:  I hope that you can help me. I'm extremely new (have no idea actually :lol:  ) so please don't get too technical. If a green build isn't possible, then a decent build within my budget is fine. Something that will last for awhile.. ummm say two years. Thanks for all of your help.


Approximate Purchase Date: The end of July

Budget Range: $1200- $ 1500 after rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, school, movies, music, surfing the web

Parts Not Required: Need everything but OS and speakers. Have a monitor in mind but not set in stone
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=24-236-...

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com or any other site that is just as good or better

Country of Origin: United States

Parts Preferences: by brand or type No preferences. Just reliable, good quality brands

Overclocking: Have a idea what this and SLI or Crossfire are.. Do I need them/it? I love games, but not hard core or at least not my idea of a hard core gamer :) 

SLI or Crossfire: ?? ^

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080, 1920x1200

Additional Comments: Wireless keyboard and mouse. If I have forgotten anything please let me know. Thanks again for any and all help :) 

More about : green gaming build

a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
July 4, 2011 8:57:57 AM

I can't say how green this will be, but it will satisfy your gaming needs.You can save money by getting combos :

CPU & Optical Drive : $228- i5-2500K & Asus DRW B4 (Great Processor & Decent DVD Writer)

Motherboard & SSD : $230- Gigabyte GA Z68X & OCZ Agility 3 64 GB ( SLI/Crossfire capable motherboard )

Cooler: $30- Xigmatek Gaia (Needed if you plan to overclock to around 4.4Ghz)

RAM : $75- GSkill Sniper (2X 4GB) ($15 off with promo code)

Power Supply: $100 -Antec High Current Gamer 750 Watts (Capable to power 2 Graphic cards)

HDD: $60-Seagate Barracuda 1TB(Same)

Monitor : $200- Asus 24" VE248H 2ms response (1920X1080)( My assuption is that you need a 24". You can go your own way if you like)

Graphic card: $350)- Sapphire Radeon 6970 (Great Card .It will allow you to play most games at extreme setting)

Keyboard & Mouse : $30- Logitech EX100(Should be decent)

Case: $90- Cooler Master Storm Enforcer

Total (Excluding Rebates) : 1395 USD

Rebates: 70 USD

IF this goes overbudget,then :
1. Drop the SSD. Save $130.
2. Get MSI Twin Frozr II 6950 worth $280. Save $70.
That should be enough.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
July 4, 2011 2:27:19 PM

Although I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "green," I will assume (accepting the risks thereof) that your philosophy may be similar to mine. I don't mind "using" whatever amount of power is necessary, but "wasting" it is something else.
First, ask yourself what graphics settings, if any, you might be willing to lower. A lot of games don't look all that great on low settings, but if you turn off AA and use "good" or "high" settings rather than "ultra" or "max," you won't need anywhere near as power-hungry a GPU as many people around here seem to think, and your games will still look great. For example, Guild Wars runs quite well (over 40FPS) on a HD4670 even at 1920x1080 with no AA and only shadow quality reduced.
Here's a very useful reference, showing the actual power used by graphics cards:
http://forums.atomicmpc.com.au/index.php?showtopic=264
Don't forget to consider idle load, where your GPU will spend a lot of its time unless this machine will only be used for games. For example, a GTX560Ti uses 153W vs 131W for a HD6870 at load, but 15W vs. 18W when idle.
Consider a low-power CPU (although "regular" ones may be able to be undervolted). The "S" versions of Sandy Bridge CPUs have a 30W lower TDP; but check some benchmarks, as in actual use there is probably not that great a difference, especially at lower work loads.
Perhaps the most meaningful thing you can do to reduce unnecessary power usage is to get an 80+ Gold (or Platinum, but there are only a couple of those out there yet) PSU instead of just 80+ or 80+ Bronze. All models of the Seasonic "X" series have received excellent competent technical reviews, from multiple sites like HardwareSecrets and Jonnyguru.
Other ideas:
1. Use low-voltage RAM, like G.Skill "ECO" modules (1.35V); they have some at 1.25V now too.
2. Use a SSD for your boot drive, and a "Green" drive for your data.
3. Remember though, that paying an extra $50 for something that will save you $30 on your electric bill may not be "worth" it, unless you're being energy-frugal as a matter of philosophy (in which case your philosophy may very well be much like mine).

Edit: Z-4 offered up a nice gaming build, but I see nothing remotely "green" about it. You'll have to let us know more about what tradeoffs you may be willing to make, as well as what other attributes you'd like to have, e.g. lots of LEDs and other bling is hardly green, but maybe you want quiet; you probably WON'T be overclocking this build, but you may still want an aftermarket cooler because they are quieter.
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July 4, 2011 7:23:12 PM

z_4 said:
I can't say how green this will be, but it will satisfy your gaming needs.You can save money by getting combos :

CPU & Optical Drive : $228- i5-2500K & Asus DRW B4 (Great Processor & Decent DVD Writer)

Motherboard & SSD : $230- Gigabyte GA Z68X & OCZ Agility 3 64 GB ( SLI/Crossfire capable motherboard )

Cooler: $30- Xigmatek Gaia (Needed if you plan to overclock to around 4.4Ghz)

RAM : $75- GSkill Sniper (2X 4GB) ($15 off with promo code)

Power Supply: $100 -Antec High Current Gamer 750 Watts (Capable to power 2 Graphic cards)

HDD: $60-Seagate Barracuda 1TB(Same)

Monitor : $200- Asus 24" VE248H 2ms response (1920X1080)( My assuption is that you need a 24". You can go your own way if you like)
I posted the 27" cause I don't plan on sitting right there at my desk :) 

Graphic card: $350)- Sapphire Radeon 6970 (Great Card .It will allow you to play most games at extreme setting)

Keyboard & Mouse : $30- Logitech EX100(Should be decent)

Case: $90- Cooler Master Storm Enforcer

Total (Excluding Rebates) : 1395 USD

Rebates: 70 USD

IF this goes overbudget,then :
1. Drop the SSD. Save $130.
2. Get MSI Twin Frozr II 6950 worth $280. Save $70.
That should be enough.

Looks good to my untrained eye :D  Thanks so much


Onus said:
Although I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "green," I will assume (accepting the risks thereof) that your philosophy may be similar to mine. I don't mind "using" whatever amount of power is necessary, but "wasting" it is something else.
First, ask yourself what graphics settings, if any, you might be willing to lower. A lot of games don't look all that great on low settings, but if you turn off AA and use "good" or "high" settings rather than "ultra" or "max," you won't need anywhere near as power-hungry a GPU as many people around here seem to think, and your games will still look great. For example, Guild Wars runs quite well (over 40FPS) on a HD4670 even at 1920x1080 with no AA and only shadow quality reduced.
Here's a very useful reference, showing the actual power used by graphics cards:
http://forums.atomicmpc.com.au/index.php?showtopic=264
Don't forget to consider idle load, where your GPU will spend a lot of its time unless this machine will only be used for games. For example, a GTX560Ti uses 153W vs 131W for a HD6870 at load, but 15W vs. 18W when idle.
Consider a low-power CPU (although "regular" ones may be able to be undervolted). The "S" versions of Sandy Bridge CPUs have a 30W lower TDP; but check some benchmarks, as in actual use there is probably not that great a difference, especially at lower work loads.
Perhaps the most meaningful thing you can do to reduce unnecessary power usage is to get an 80+ Gold (or Platinum, but there are only a couple of those out there yet) PSU instead of just 80+ or 80+ Bronze. All models of the Seasonic "X" series have received excellent competent technical reviews, from multiple sites like HardwareSecrets and Jonnyguru.
Other ideas:
1. Use low-voltage RAM, like G.Skill "ECO" modules (1.35V); they have some at 1.25V now too.
2. Use a SSD for your boot drive, and a "Green" drive for your data.
3. Remember though, that paying an extra $50 for something that will save you $30 on your electric bill may not be "worth" it, unless you're being energy-frugal as a matter of philosophy (in which case your philosophy may very well be much like mine).

Edit: Z-4 offered up a nice gaming build, but I see nothing remotely "green" about it. You'll have to let us know more about what tradeoffs you may be willing to make, as well as what other attributes you'd like to have, e.g. lots of LEDs and other bling is hardly green, but maybe you want quiet; you probably WON'T be overclocking this build, but you may still want an aftermarket cooler because they are quieter.


jtt283 Our philosophies are the same :)  When I said green I was mainly looking for low power usage. I would be willing to go with whatever components as long as I am able to play the games I listed..and maybe a few more , smoothly with no lag in instances or boss fights or when fighting with large groups. I don't need ultra or max settings, bling or LED's Tho they do look nice >.> lol I need a build that will last for a few years till I'm able to upgrade again or when I absolutely have to upgrade. Also I am willing to pay more now if it will save me money and electricity consistently every month. I am a no frills kinda gal. Just being able to play what I want on a computer that is quiet, gives me no trouble with lag or other issues caused by sub par components is enough for me, and if I am able to do that while not wasting energy.. well that will be a banner day :love: 
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
July 5, 2011 12:08:20 AM

Well then, if you're going for minimum power use but still want decent settings, then a HD5770, HD6770, or GTX460 would probably be good GPU choices. The HD5770 uses 18-29-78-100 watts (idle-2D-3D typical-3D max) and the 1GB GTX460 uses 17-35-132-155 watts.
You mention quiet, so check out the Seasonic X-560 or X-650. Both of them only run their fans when needed, so at low loads (e.g. during movie-watching or music-listening) it will be silent. They are 80+ gold for efficiency.
Overclocking means to tell your mobo BIOS to run the CPU at faster than its advertised or "stock" speed. It is often used to get more value out of a slower chip, but it eats more power so you probably won't do that.

...to be continued (my wife has dinner on the table)
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Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
July 5, 2011 2:37:07 AM

Ok, here is a build. I am certain it can be refined in some areas. Had my recent build been Sandy Bridge, I would have done something similar (although I had already accumulated some of the parts).

SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold ((SS-650KM Active PFC F3)) 650W ATX12V V2.3/EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD ...
Model #:X650 Gold
Item #:N82E16817151088
$179.99 -$40.00 Instant $139.99
A little more power than you need, but too close in price to the 560W model. Has 4x PCIE power connectors if you ever decide you want to run two video cards. Fanless under low load.

EVGA 01G-P3-1370-TR GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
Model #:01G-P3-1370-TR
Item #:N82E16814130570
$169.99 -$10.00 Instant $159.99
Your willingness to play at less than the highest possible settings in all the latest most demanding games makes this GPU enough. Do not be convinced you "need" to spend more, although a GTX560Ti doesn't use a whole lot more power but is stronger. The power savings of the weaker GTX460 isn't huge (21W lower at typical 3D load, but actually 2W more at idle) Weigh the strength of your "green" philosophy vs. benchmarks.

Intel Core i5-2400S Sandy Bridge 2.5GHz (3.3GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 65W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52400S
Model #:BX80623I52400S
Item #:N82E16819115075
$200.99 $200.99
At low loads, likely won't use a lot less power than the more usual 95W Sandy Bridge chips, but under heavier loads it won't ramp up as much. These Intel chips are all so fast, that any argument for a 95W unlocked "K" model is not relevant to your proposed uses. If you were doing professional video work, then maybe. Otherwise, if your desire to be "green" is really strong, a 35W i3-2100T would probably suffice, although personally I wouldn't go that way. You might find yourself wanting a stronger CPU within the year. With the economy about to get worse, I don't think that's a good idea.

G.SKILL PHOENIX EVO FM-25S2-115GBPE 2.5" 115GB SATA II Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Model #:FM-25S2-115GBPE
Item #:N82E16820231463
$209.99 -$42.00 Instant $167.99
The 100GB-105GB of usable space you'll get out of this should be sufficient for your OS and a fair number of applications and games.

Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EARS 1TB 5400 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Model #:WD10EARS
Item #:N82E16822136490
$64.99 -$5.00 Instant $59.99
Meh. Not much to say about this drive. If you download a lot of movies or rip them from your DVDs, you'd probably want a bigger one, or more than one of these.

Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model 996988
Model #:996988
Item #:N82E16820226184
$77.99 $77.99
This is low-voltage (1.35V) RAM. Mushkin has a good reputation for memory. G.Skill does too, but not worth the price difference.

ASRock Z68 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Model #:Z68 Extreme4
Item #:N82E16813157250
$199.99 -$10.00 Instant $189.99
You can go cheaper here (Gigabyte has a $130 board that would probably be my second choice), but what I like about this one is it includes a PLEX chip to get around the tradeoffs that a lot of other boards impose due to the limited number of PCIE lanes on the current Sandy Bridge chips.

NZXT H2 H2-001-BK Black Steel / Plastic Classic Silent ATX Mid Tower Chassis
Model #:H2-001-BK
Item #:N82E16811146072
$99.99 $99.99
Case is a big personal choice item, but this one appeared to be designed to be quiet, is attractive (to me), and has some other nice features (like the hard drive dock on top). Lian Li makes high quality cases as well, and if you want something really solid, check out the Antec Sonata.

Subtotal: $1,096.92

I did not attempt to choose a keyboard and mouse. Those are just too personal I think. You may want to reconsider wireless though, as they can introduce response delays in games. My own KB and mouse are wired. I'd recommend a tilt-wheel on your mouse; I get great use out of mine, set to "back/forward" for browsing, and "Previous target/Next target" for Guild Wars. For a FPS title (I don't have any [current ones] right now), I'd probably set it to some combination of weapon actions, like "Next/Reload" or some such.
Oops, just noticed I'm missing an optical drive; a Sony Optiarc with Lightscribe support will add about $22. Otherwise, hopefully I've left enough in your budget for the monitor as well as the keyboard and mouse. If you have a digital camera, you might consider a memory card reader ($15-$20) worthwhile. If you get one though, DON'T connect it until after your OS is installed.
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July 5, 2011 3:12:53 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Intel Core i5-2400S Sandy Bridge 2.5GHz (3.3GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 65W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52400S

a much green option

G.SKILL Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

it has only 1.25 vcore.

rather go to a 6850 from a gtx 460, load power consumption is much less
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/313?vs=291

cheers!
go green
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July 5, 2011 3:31:37 AM

Best answer selected by papastln06.
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July 5, 2011 3:50:10 AM

Thanks so much jtt283. I appreciate you taking the time to source it all out for me. The build looks great. I had forgotten about the memory card reader myself, and I will take your advice about the keyboard and mouse.. have heard the same thing from some friends. There is plenty in the budget to get everything else I need. I left myself some wiggle room to play around in. So optical reader, memory card reader, monitor, keyboard and mouse. Got it!

Thanks so much again. You have made me a happy camper :bounce: 
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
July 5, 2011 3:59:38 AM

Thanks. Hopefully you'll find some combo deals or other specials too. The HD6850 manu described is another decent choice, but I play some of the games (you may or may not not) where it is soundly beaten by the GTX460, like Civilization V; it also offers PhysX, which is little-used, but I like the effects in Sacred 2.
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July 5, 2011 3:11:46 PM

Thanks I will take a look :D 
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July 5, 2011 3:24:51 PM

Pretty much all of the mid to high range hardware especially motherboards and processors come with applications that allow for you to set the standard in the power consumption bracket. Get the best of what you can get with your budget and follow the instructions your gear comes with. Outside of that high performance gaming is just power consuming. Also and I know this will be controversial but ati cards seem to do well green wise. AMD Boards and CPUs usually come standard with power settings for the green guys. Not sure about intel boards and processors.
Brian
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