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High End Gaming Rig - $1500 budget

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July 20, 2011 11:23:38 PM

Hi all -

Looking to upgrade my early 2007 gaming rig in advance of BF3 coming out this October. This will be my 4th build in the last 4 years (gotta love PC gaming)...

Current system specs:
Q6600 2.4GHz
4GB (2x2GB) G.Skill DDR2 1000
Xigmatek HDT-S1283
DFI LANParty DK P35-T2RS
8800GT
Antec True Power Trio 650w PSU


Approximate Purchase Date: Mid-August - Early September
 
Budget Range: $1500 Before Rebates
 
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming mostly, some surfing.
 
Parts Not Required:
Case - CoolerMaster CM690
Monitor - LG Flatron W2053TQ
DVD Drive
HDD
Mouse/Keyboard

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, Amazon.com
 
Country of Origin: US (Oregon)
 
Parts Preferences: Have had Nvidia and ATI/AMD cards over the years. No allegiance either way…just looking for maxed out performance. Also looking for decent headroom for a moderate (>4GHz) overclock on air.
 
Overclocking: Yes
 
SLI or Crossfire: Yes/Maybe
 
Monitor Resolution: 1600x900  

Additional Comments: Open to suggestions on SLI/CF vs. single GPU. I don't currently have plans to upgrade my monitor, so I'm stuck at 1600x900 for the near future. That said, I'd like some flexibility with a GPU setup that would max at a higher resolution, most likely 1920x1080, when I can upgrade down the road. I don't have a huge office to accommodate a ginormous monitor.

Updated 7/23 7:44pm Pacific!

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor

MB: ASRock P67 EXTREME4 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

HSF: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model

PSU: XFX PRO750W XXX Edition Semi-Modular 80Plus Silver 750 Watt Power Supply

GPU: 2 x MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III PE/OC Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity

Total = $1204.43


Add SSD

SSD: OCZ Agility 3 AGT3-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Total = $1414.42


Please have a look and let me know what you think. I opted to overkill on the GPU and try CF with this setup to really max out the setup. I think there's room to improve on the mobo - ideally, I'd like a board that can yield decent overclocks with durable parts.

Any help you can provide would be awesome!

Thanks,

venk
July 20, 2011 11:55:09 PM

looks good change your cpu cooler to this though- http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-Sleeve-RR-B10... it is a better cooler

for you gpu these are good options too- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... or http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... , http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... the last card is a very good deal, but the others have better cooling

here is a gold rated 850w psu for less- http://www.amazon.com/OCZ-Fully-Modular-80PLUS-Performa...

look into an ssd or using 2 monitors 1080p isnt worth it just get 2 screens that would give you a resolution of 3200x900 a little better than 1920x1080 :D  - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... you can set them up in portrait mode if you dont have enough space for a widescreen setup

here is a good ssd- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... dont mind the bad reviews most of newegg's reviewers are idiots. you can also get that ssd in 60gb versions. also look at the ocz agility 3 and crucial m4

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July 21, 2011 5:41:13 AM

Interesting suggestions. Thanks.

I'm definitely curious about an SSD for the OS and a few apps, mostly games. Guru3d did a review of that Corsair and definitely touted the strengths of an SSD vs. HDD. That said, I'm debating if the performance boost for gaming is significant enough to justify the spend, or if that $200 is better served elsewhere (gpu).
July 21, 2011 10:22:32 AM

$1500 can get you a build with dual HD6970's. Check my sig.
July 21, 2011 12:35:53 PM

Venk, I have a very similar build that I put together about 3 months back, with the i5 2500K, dual 6950s and 8 GB of Ripjaw RAM (went with an 850 PSU, no SSD, and Asrock p67 Extreme 4 mobo, which I love). Very, very pleased with the system (everything but the case, that is -- the Antec 900 V2 wasn't the best choice).

I have to say that Crossfire was a good choice. Three years ago I never would have touched SLI or Crossfire, as I didn't feel the performance gains were worth the extra money, power and heat that dual GPUs required, but that's obviously changed. And as I'm sure you know from reading Tom's, some of the dual card configs offer better price performance than a single high-end Halo card. So yeah, two 6950s will definitely get the job done.

However, Zero_ makes a good point -- if you have a little extra dough and aren't going to invest in a new monitor because of space issues, then it makes sense to at least look at moving up a level with two 6970s.
July 21, 2011 3:33:34 PM

robwright said:
Venk, I have a very similar build that I put together about 3 months back, with the i5 2500K, dual 6950s and 8 GB of Ripjaw RAM (went with an 850 PSU, no SSD, and Asrock p67 Extreme 4 mobo, which I love). Very, very pleased with the system (everything but the case, that is -- the Antec 900 V2 wasn't the best choice).

I have to say that Crossfire was a good choice. Three years ago I never would have touched SLI or Crossfire, as I didn't feel the performance gains were worth the extra money, power and heat that dual GPUs required, but that's obviously changed. And as I'm sure you know from reading Tom's, some of the dual card configs offer better price performance than a single high-end Halo card. So yeah, two 6950s will definitely get the job done.

However, Zero_ makes a good point -- if you have a little extra dough and aren't going to invest in a new monitor because of space issues, then it makes sense to at least look at moving up a level with two 6970s.



I'll need to check on that ASRock board. I'd be curious to hear what you love about it. I feel like there's some fat to trim on my mobo selection. I originally landed on that board because it looks to have a good selection of IO ports, decent PCIE layout and the z68 features seemed a nice to have. I've got to take a second look at the reviews. I'm not totally sure I need to go with the Z68 chipset, given I won't be doing much with the onboard video.

Agreed on the move to go to CF. I know it could be construed as irresponsible, given I'm gaming at 1600x900, but it does seem like you can get more for you're money and from what I've read, scaling seems to be better now than a few years back.
July 21, 2011 8:31:27 PM

venkman781 said:
I'll need to check on that ASRock board. I'd be curious to hear what you love about it. I feel like there's some fat to trim on my mobo selection. I originally landed on that board because it looks to have a good selection of IO ports, decent PCIE layout and the z68 features seemed a nice to have. I've got to take a second look at the reviews. I'm not totally sure I need to go with the Z68 chipset, given I won't be doing much with the onboard video.

Agreed on the move to go to CF. I know it could be construed as irresponsible, given I'm gaming at 1600x900, but it does seem like you can get more for you're money and from what I've read, scaling seems to be better now than a few years back.



I'll start with the basics: the Asrock board was attractively priced ($160, I believe), and it comes with a lot of options -- it's got USB 3.0 and a floppy drive connector. I don't use either currently, but I will eventually use the former (maybe even install the front panel 3.0, which comes with the board) and I'll maybe use the latter. You never know.

About the only thing it doesn't have is dual Ethernet ports, but whatever. The board's layout/design gave me minimal headaches/challenges in terms of connections and ports and whatnot, which I'm a big fan of, and the thing is sturdy as hell. It's also extremely easy to setup, tweak and overclock, and the software add-ons (Instant Boot, Xfast) are nice bonuses. So for me, as someone that never likes to spend too much on a mobo and put that money saved toward a CPU or second graphics card, the Asrock offered the best value.

As for Crossfire, I feel ya. I was so anti-SLI/CF years ago that my friends don't even recognize me now. But the tech has come a long way, and both vendors' dual GPU configs are pretty impressive now in terms of performance gains and scalability.
July 22, 2011 5:05:27 AM

robwright said:
I'll start with the basics: the Asrock board was attractively priced ($160, I believe), and it comes with a lot of options -- it's got USB 3.0 and a floppy drive connector. I don't use either currently, but I will eventually use the former (maybe even install the front panel 3.0, which comes with the board) and I'll maybe use the latter. You never know.

About the only thing it doesn't have is dual Ethernet ports, but whatever. The board's layout/design gave me minimal headaches/challenges in terms of connections and ports and whatnot, which I'm a big fan of, and the thing is sturdy as hell. It's also extremely easy to setup, tweak and overclock, and the software add-ons (Instant Boot, Xfast) are nice bonuses. So for me, as someone that never likes to spend too much on a mobo and put that money saved toward a CPU or second graphics card, the Asrock offered the best value.

As for Crossfire, I feel ya. I was so anti-SLI/CF years ago that my friends don't even recognize me now. But the tech has come a long way, and both vendors' dual GPU configs are pretty impressive now in terms of performance gains and scalability.


Decided to swap out the z68 as I would have little use for the onboard video, Virtu, etc. Plus the layout and USB 3.0 drive header is a nice add on. Went with the AsRock P67 Extreme 4, after discussing. Looks solid.

Also swapped the Gaia for a 212+.

Now time to see about inching up to a pair of 6970s. Whatever is left may go towards an SSD.

Edit: anyone have any thoughts on this MSI 6970 in CF for this setup?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thanks again!
July 22, 2011 12:54:59 PM

venkman781 said:


Also swapped the Gaia for a 212+.

Now time to see about inching up to a pair of 6970s. Whatever is left may go towards an SSD.

Edit: anyone have any thoughts on this MSI 6970 in CF for this setup?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thanks again!


50-50 call between the Gaia and 212+. Go for whatever is cheaper.

The product link you gave appears to be deactivated.
July 22, 2011 4:28:57 PM

Zero_ said:
50-50 call between the Gaia and 212+. Go for whatever is cheaper.

The product link you gave appears to be deactivated.

i looked aroung on the tomsharware site and foung that the hyper 212+ beat the gaia by a few degrees
July 23, 2011 12:34:12 AM

Zero_ said:
50-50 call between the Gaia and 212+. Go for whatever is cheaper.

The product link you gave appears to be deactivated.


Yep. Looks like those MSI 6970s are not going to come from newegg at the moment.
July 23, 2011 3:12:07 AM

The XFX cards in my sig ($1500) are the cheapest on Amazon atm going at $339.
July 23, 2011 7:49:44 AM

Zero_ said:
The XFX cards in my sig ($1500) are the cheapest on Amazon atm going at $339.


For the 6970 route, I'm considering going with two of these MSI Lightning cards, as I'm partial to the cooler and the overclock potential seems solid.
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

That said, those MSI 6970's come at a premium...and that would put me up to $1384.43...not much room for anything else once shipping gets involved.


I've read good things about the Twin Frozr III 6950 - very cool temps, quiet - so I'm leaning towards a pair of those as a possibility.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Review here: http://www.guru3d.com/article/msi-r6950-twin-frozr-iii-...

I could then spend that $200 elsewhere (perhaps on an SSD big enough for my OS and a few games). I'm not certain that at my current resolution (or even at 1920x1200) that the gains had by a 6970 are worth that much extra cash.


Edit: Updated OP to add in OCZ Agility 3.
July 25, 2011 6:46:15 PM

So I'm considering throwing a little bit more dough (~$150-175) towards an 850w PSU...here's a few options I'm looking at below. Any suggestions? Does not necessarily have to be rated 80 Plus Gold...

OCZ ZX Series 850W Fully-Modular 80PLUS Gold High Performance Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandybridge Core i3 i5 i7 and AMD Phenom
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XFX PRO850W XXX Edition Semi-Modular 80 Plus Silver Certified 850 Watt Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX850M 850W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular High Performance Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SILVERSTONE ST85F-P 850W ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
July 25, 2011 8:09:50 PM

I have the Corsair model. As with any power supply, the only compliment I can give it that it wasn't DOA when I fired up my system for the first time. And it's still working, hasn't overheated yet. So I got that goin' for me, which is nice....
!