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SWTOR gaming rig, advice needed

Last response: in Systems
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July 28, 2011 4:12:43 PM

Alright, this is what I am thinking of so far based on things I have read on the SWTOR forum and here (Tom's Hardware):

CPU = Intel Core i5-2500K (plan on asking our computer guy about the overclocking)
MB: ASUS P8P67 PRO (REV 3.1) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
GFX: SAPPHIRE 100314-3L Radeon HD 6870 (eventually buy a 2nd)
RAM: Kingston Technology Hyper X Series KHX1600C9D3T1K2/8GX
CD-Drive: ASUS SATA 24X DVD Burner
OS: Windows 7 Pro – 64 bit

Now I need help making sure the MB is good for everything, picking a PS (would like at least bronze certified), picking a HD (would like a SSD but they are just too expensive), and figuring out if I need additional cooling outside of whatever the case (hoping to use my current case, can't remember what it has but I can look into it).

I think that comes out to around $800 so far and I was hoping to keep it under $1000. I'm flexible on that though as long as what I am paying for is worth it. From the sounds of things, that is the best CPU, GFX, MB, and RAM for the money. I hate that I have to buy a new OS since I just bought W7 Pro-32 bit not a year ago, what a waste of money that turned out to be! :x

Thoughts? Advice?
July 28, 2011 7:33:05 PM

I am thinking about the following PSU:

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

That brings it up to ~$1000 before a HD, case, etc. More than I wanted to spend so I am open to suggestions that would cut costs without hurting performance too bad.

Thanks in advance for any help or advice you can give. I appreciate it.
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July 28, 2011 8:04:13 PM

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850W is a little bit overkill, even putting in a second GFX card.

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

Take a look at that one and you may want to consider just going for a Radeon HD6970.

Yeah I wasn't sure on 750 vs. 850. I do plan to double the RAM (to 16), add the second GFX card, and take advantage of the overclocking the i5-2600k offers. You think 750 will be more than enough to do all of those things?

I wasn't sure on the certifications either. Some places I read bronze was more than enough, others said you can really benefit in terms of overall performance by going for silver/gold.

There is soooo much information out there, hard for someone like my to wrap my head around it all but I am trying to make sense of everything. Thanks for the comment!

Edit: Some places I have read that the wattage isn't as important as the voltage. What type of voltage should I be going for in a PSU for the type of computer I posted above?

Thanks.
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July 29, 2011 4:16:14 AM

Update

CPU: i7-2600K = $314.99
MB: ASUS P8P67 PRO = $179.99
GFX: GeForce GTX 560 = $249.99 (SLI support)
PSU: Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-750 = $94.99 (Bronze certified)
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB = $64.99
CD-Drive: ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X = $20.99
OS: Windows 7 Professional 64 bit = $89.99 (student discount)

HD/SSD: ???

Okay so that is ~$1015 (w/o shipping) w/o a HD/SSD. I have a 1 TB external HD but still trying to figure out what I need to do in terms of a HD...and the whole SSD confuses me. If I bought a SSD, is that my HD? Or do I still need to get a HD?

If I go with the i5-2600k, knock ~$100 off. I'm still on the fence on whether to go back to the SAPPHIRE 100314-3L Radeon HD 6870 which knocks another ~$75 off. I've seen some sites/articles say the i5-2500k and the Radeon HD 6870 are very comparable but much cheaper. Others say there is a significant difference. Who is right?

I am hoping to reuse my case but I need to figure out whether everything fits or not first. I will probably just reuse my current monitor, mouse, and keyboard for a while as well.

Would love to hear some more thoughts and advice. Like I said above, I was hoping to keep it under $1000 but I'm willing to go over if it is going to be worth it.
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July 29, 2011 4:16:26 AM

id rather get 1333 c7 ram than 1600 c9 ram its just way more efficent and overall it works faster...
as for the cpu, the 2500k is fine if you dont do much productivity and dvd encoding.
and the psu is also fine. 1s you start adding extra hdds and gfx cards you will be at roughly half or a little more than half the 850watts which is pretty much where the best performance is per watt. but the antec 1 is less than half price so is very very atractive.
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July 29, 2011 4:19:02 AM

Must have been typing my update as you responded. Thanks for the comments.

I am back to being on the fence about the i5 vs. the i7. Would I need a more powerful PSU if I go with the i7?

I'll look into the 1333, wasn't quite sure what the difference was in all of the different models.

Thanks.
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August 6, 2011 10:20:07 AM

Build update #4:

Case: CoolerMaster HAF 932
MB: ASUS P8Z68 Pro
CPU: i5-2500k (OC'd to around 4.5-4.8+ GHz)
GPU: GeForce 570 (with ability to add a second card if I want to)
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws X 8GB DDR3 1600 (eventually double to 16GB if needed)
HD: Western Digital Caviar 1 TB
SSD: Crucial C300 64GB
CD Drive: ASUS SATA 24X DVD Burner
Cooling: CoolerMaster Hyper 212+
PSU: Antec Gamer Series 750w (Bronze certified)
OS: Windows 7 Pro 64-bit

Thoughts?

Edit: Comes out to ~$1,300 with current sales/rebates which is sure to fall over the next 10-12 weeks. Still debating a few things (CPU, GPU, MB) but getting closer.
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August 6, 2011 10:22:28 AM

honestly, I feel the i7 2600K isn't worth the extra $100. the 2500K can overclock about the same and the extra cache doesn't seem to make much a difference. if you put that extra $100 toward a better video card (like a GTX 570) you'd get a lot more gaming performance. (that is your goal, right?)

also, I'm still not entirely sold on these new Z68 boards. the P67's are still very good boards and are a great value. I believe the only difference between P67 and Z68 is SSD Cacheing and onboard graphics. (neither of which you'd need being on a budget and using a discreet video card) If you won't be overclocking, there's some good P67 boards for around $100(like MSI and Biostar), though I understand you have your heart set on Asus. (the P8P67 Pro is a very good board, by the way) I've owned a few P67 in the past year and I would have gotten the P8P67 Pro if it was in stock (had to get the deluxe). But anyways, I've heard very good things abuot the MSI boards too, so it's something to consider if your budget is tight. All P67's should give you at least 4.5Ghz overclock anyways.

As for RAM, I prefer to go with raw speed over latency. Gaming seems to favor raw MHz (I've got a 8GB set of G.Skill 2133MHz ram) but on a budget the 1600MHz stuff is very good.

In fact, I'm building a $800 computer for a friend of mine and these are the parts I chose under a strict budget for max gaming performance:

XFX 550W PSU ($50)
MSI P67S-C43 ($100)
EVGA GTX 560 ($180)
i5-2500 ($200)
G.SKILL Ripjaws X 4GB 1600MHz ($40)
1TB or 1.5TB hdd ($50-$65)
LITE-ON DVD burner ($19)
Win 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit ($99.99)
cheap case around $40

some prices have changed since then though, and I had to make a lot of compromises to fit the budget. with a better PSU, motherboard, and case, the CPU would have had to be downgraded to the dual core i3. but since this won't be overclocked the board is more than enough, and a decent brand 550w is enough to power a gtx560.

if you go with a 570 i'd probably recommend at least 600 watts in a good brand, or 800+ in a cheap brand. people often overestimate the power requirements of computers, so don't listen to everything you hear. a quad core with a GTX560 probably won't go past 300w-400w of total power during gaming. but you still want some headroom for efficiency and reliability reasons. (though the good brand PSU's can overshoot by a good margin too, you don't want to be running a rig long term like that) anyway my point is, don't get convinced you need some super 1kw PSU by people on forums... a good brand with lower watts is often the better choice. although if you plan on going dual video cards later on, you may want to factor that in too. (maybe 750+ for 560's and 850w+ for 570's)

sorry for any typos, it's 6am here... good luck on the build! remember, everyone has their own opinions. sorting through what YOU want, and choosing what to compromise on is ultimately YOUR choice. But I know all the info out there can be overwhelming. Make an informed decision, and never look back. You'll only start regretting and remorsing on purchases if you start second guessing yourself. (something I still struggle with)
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August 6, 2011 10:40:24 AM

Wow thanks.

Yeah the more and more I hear people say save the $100, the more I think about the i5. I went ahead and made the switch on this latest build (which I'm guessing I threw up while you were typing, my bad).

I'm still very much debating the CPU, GPU, MB, and SSD, it will come down to prices in the end. I'll know a lot more 10-12 weeks from now too so maybe the decisions will be easier to make.

Thanks for the detailed response!
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August 6, 2011 10:47:03 AM

It's still early and things will come down in price. in fact, there should be new CPU's and GPU's out too by the time SWTOR releases. keep watching slickdeals and other deal sites, and buy things on sale if you have time.

as for SSD, i personally wouldn't get anything under 120GB. the 64's aren't quite as fast, and they're around, what, 55GB formatted? that's not much to work with. Win7 can take up a lot of space over time, plus you'd want at least one game on the disk and some programs. and don't forget to factor in some free space for TRIM to work properly.

I still haven't got an SSD yet because of budget reasons though. (picked up a pair of $50 1TB samsung's for raid0 in the meantime) but i must admit I am itching for a good SSD. there's a lot of good 120/128's out now with that new SandForce controller.
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August 6, 2011 10:50:24 AM

also, with how weird this economy has been. (cheap prices during summer is almost unheard of) I expect black friday to have some REALLY good deals.
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August 6, 2011 10:51:59 AM

Well I was figuring just our OS yes. On update #2 I threw in a 128GB SSD thinking OS (~20GB) + SWTOR (~40GB guessing, before expansions). As things stand, I just can't justify the cost for just a couple seconds on load times. We will see what happens but the less recognized brands sort of scare me. There seems to be a lot of buzz over the OCZ SSDs for example but I've read a lot of bad reviews from customers.

Quote:
also, with how weird this economy has been. (cheap prices during summer is almost unheard of) I expect black friday to have some REALLY good deals.

We will see. I think there is a good chance I wont be able to wait that long but I'm sort of hopping for an early 2012 release just so I can save a few dollars. Haha
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August 6, 2011 10:58:35 AM

you may end up regretting not waiting if you buy now. but that's for you to decide.

and if you're talking about bad newegg reviews, keep in mind that people post reviews more often when something is NOT working as intended, as apposed to working just fine. so the reviews can be somewhat skewed.

I do know OCZ has a great community. heard some good things about the new patriot SSD though. but the drives with the new sandforce controller are gonna be at least $200+ so you gotta figure out for yourself if you really need the best or not. and for reliability, just make sure you have a backup. personally I don't trust any hard drive or SSD with my data.

remember a boot drive is not only just for booting, program load times and such are important. I/O bottlenecks can be a real PITA... we've all seen that solid red HDD LED and "Not Responding" of programs. but if you can deal with that once in awhile to get better FPS in gaming, then i'd say put more budget toward the gaming parts. afterall, you're only gonna be loading the game once in awhile right?

Edit: and also, the more you wait for an SSD the better the deals will be. the 120/128's may be at the same price as the 60/64's come next year. (or even around black friday perhaps) But there's always something new/better around the corner...
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August 6, 2011 11:03:46 AM

Well they are stress testing in Sep by opening Beta up a little more. My current computer (7 years old but it did a great job those 7 years) wont run the game based on their minimum requirements. They have also said they will announce a release date in Sep and it seems most games go live 4-8 weeks after the date is announced (putting it around late November). However, they also made a statement that they were aiming for a late Q3 release which could push it into 2012 looking at their fiscal year.

We will just have to wait and see but I plan to put it off as long as I can (within reason).
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August 6, 2011 11:05:37 AM

Ahh, the beta... yeah. Well, I don't know how many people will actually get into it. I'm hoping to be one of them too.

I sure hope they don't push the release date to 2012!!!
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August 6, 2011 11:08:47 AM

As far as I know, the closed betas have already started. So, with open betas in september I think it should be on track for a december release. (was kind of surprised the release date was that far away from the beta. Aion for example only had like a one month open beta. and I think the same for Rift and FFXIV)
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August 6, 2011 11:11:32 AM

Yes closed has been open for some time. They aren't actually having a true open beta from what I've read. They will open their servers up a few times on the weekends to really stress test their servers but that is about it. I don't think they have plans for a true open beta.
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August 6, 2011 11:13:31 AM

Quote:
Yes closed has been open for some time. They aren't actually having a true open beta from what I've read. They will open their servers up a few times on the weekends to really stress test their servers but that is about it. I don't think they have plans for a true open beta.


I think probably will closer to release. but who knows.
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August 6, 2011 11:48:53 AM

This topic has been moved from the section Video Games to section Systems by Mousemonkey
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August 6, 2011 12:18:21 PM

good call on moving topic.

also, one thing i forgot to mention with i5 2500k vs i7 2600k is hyper threading. OVERRATED! (IMO) when I had an i7 930 I ran it with HT disabled. most games don't use more than 2-4 threads anyways, and while windows *tries* to allocate threads to separate physical cores, it sometimes makes threads on logical cores residing on the same physical core. that, adn the additional overhead of HT kind of makes single/dual threaded apps slightly slower. for example, look at IntelBurnTest, it gets higher GFlops with HT disabled.

I think the main thing I miss from going from a i7 to a i5 is the i7 sticker on my case :p  (and bragging rights to a limited extent)
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August 6, 2011 2:41:07 PM

BTW, I have the AX850 you linked in the second post there. like I was saying about power, It's really overkill for what you're building. I kinda regret buying it. mine makes a high pitch sound when it's idle, and I'm not too fond of the 120mm fan. If i was to do it over again, I'd probably get a 750w thermaltake toughpower grand just cause it looks so badass and I can get away with a 750w easily. (wouldn't mind trading my AX850 for a TPG 750 either) but on a budget, there's many good PSU's out there. hardwaresecrets and hardocp have good PSU reviews.

also, I wouldn't worry too much about bronze/silver/gold certifications. it's just a few percent differences in power efficiency, and won't make a real impact in your power bill. but I'd definitely recommend at least 80plus if not 80plus bronze just because those usually show that it's a decent PSU. the PSU's that don't meet 80plus certification are usually garbage. also, depending on how much your PSU is loaded will depend on it's efficiency too. they're most efficient usually around 50% output, with efficiency dropping <25% and >75%
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August 6, 2011 3:44:54 PM

I think that Antec is probably what I'll go for. It is on sale plus a rebate so that may be the first part I buy, not sure it will be much more than 50% off even down the road.

Found a student copy of W7 Pro 64-bit for $30 as well so that saves $60-$100.
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August 8, 2011 2:15:59 AM

jfish26101 said:
I think that Antec is probably what I'll go for. It is on sale plus a rebate so that may be the first part I buy, not sure it will be much more than 50% off even down the road.

Found a student copy of W7 Pro 64-bit for $30 as well so that saves $60-$100.


good choice, I have the $30 win7 pro also ^^
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August 8, 2011 3:37:06 AM

Yeah someone from the DMB baseball sim league that I run was telling me about it. Heck of a deal given what Microsoft charges.
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August 11, 2011 9:51:46 PM

jfish26101 said:
Yeah someone from the DMB baseball sim league that I run was telling me about it. Heck of a deal given what Microsoft charges.


although if you reinstall frequently, or upgrade hardware, it's a royal PITA. they give you like 3 changes, then it fails to activate. everytime I reinstall i have to call microsoft for manual phone activation just to answer a dumb question "how many computers is this copy of windows installed on".

It's pretty sad that it's easier to use a cracked copy than a legal copy. this kinda BS only hurts paying customers.
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August 12, 2011 1:11:36 PM

I know you were debating using an SSD or not so I thought I would post my experiences upgrading my computer for SWTOR and what I noticed after I did in other mmo's.

I like you was debating an SSD or not and I eventually decided to get one and I must say wow, it was amazing. Firstly the pc is fully booted in under 30 seconds for me, that's windows 7 and all the other programs it loads on startup.

Next playing MMO's I find it equally amazing and the load time's for me were almost non existent. These load times aren't just when you load onto a planet or area, but also as you move through the areas and the game has to load more data and as you enter buildings, change zones etc. It was a very noticeable upgrade as MMO's use the HD heaps.

Just my ramblings on my SSD
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August 12, 2011 1:56:05 PM

@pauliega: that's a good point. now you're making me want to get an SSD again... lol

anyway, @OP: after saving some money on win7 already, you could trade a little framerate by dropping the GTX570 down to a GTX560Ti (they're not far behind) in return for faster loading screens with a SSD.

decisions decisions! haha

Edit: and/or drop that mobo down a notch. (you probably don't need an uber overclocking mobo like that.) although we all want what we don't need =) and on that note, I still stand behind those cheaper MSI boards. If i wasn't trying to get as much OC'ing as I can out of my CPU, I would have definitely went with a cheaper board like that.
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August 20, 2011 1:40:05 PM

Pauliega said:
I know you were debating using an SSD or not so I thought I would post my experiences upgrading my computer for SWTOR and what I noticed after I did in other mmo's.

I like you was debating an SSD or not and I eventually decided to get one and I must say wow, it was amazing. Firstly the pc is fully booted in under 30 seconds for me, that's windows 7 and all the other programs it loads on startup.

Next playing MMO's I find it equally amazing and the load time's for me were almost non existent. These load times aren't just when you load onto a planet or area, but also as you move through the areas and the game has to load more data and as you enter buildings, change zones etc. It was a very noticeable upgrade as MMO's use the HD heaps.

Just my ramblings on my SSD

Thanks for sharing. I have my W7 and PSU and set aside $1,200 more and have been looking for deals. At this point, I will probably get a SSD but I really hope I can wait until Nov/Dec to buy hoping the prices fall.

Just an update, below is the build I am currently aiming for:

Build update #5:
Case: CoolerMaster HAF 932
MB: ASUS P8Z68 Pro
CPU: i5-2500k or i7-2600k (OC'd to around 4.5-4.8+ GHz)
GPU: GeForce 570 (with ability to add a second card if I want to)
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws X 8GB DDR3 1600 (eventually double to 16GB if needed)
HD: Western Digital Caviar 1 TB or SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1 TB
SSD: Corsair Force Series 120GB SATA III SSD or Crucial M4 128GB SATA III SSD
CD Drive: ASUS SATA 24X DVD Burner
Cooling: CoolerMaster Hyper 212+
PSU: Antec Gamer Series 750w (Bronze certified)
OS: Windows 7 Pro - 64 bit

The striked out components have been purchased so I'm stuck with them even if someone thinks I could have done better. :p 

The SSD and CPU are still up in the air, as are the case and cooling unit (but I feel pretty good about those based on various comments/reviews around the net). Which ones I select will be determined by how good the sales are.

I bolded the MB because the more I read, the less it seems there is a clear distinction between the various P67 and Z68 MBs. I've read a lot of peopled that prefer MSI or Gigabyte to ASUS which has me wondering if I should just go with the cheapest version of whatever board I decide on. Anyone have any additional feedback they could give on the MB (or any of the components but lets leave the i5 vs. i7 debate out of it for now :D  )?

Thanks.
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