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New PC build for gaming and for work

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August 29, 2011 9:43:00 AM

Hi all, I'm looking to build a good all-round fast computer that I will use for casual gaming and for working at home. Some of the work I do involves working with large images in Photoshop from time to time, but also using MS Office, Outlook and heavy web browser use.

With the gaming, I'm not looking for a graphics card that's overly high end. Games would be Crysis, Battlefield BC2 and upcoming BF3, and would be playing these games on my 1680x1050 res monitor.

Speed of starting up applications is also important, so I was happy to spend a bit on an SSD drive. I would install my office applications and maybe install a couple of my most used games on it too so they load fast as well. All other less used applications would be installed on the secondary HDD.

Mainly just want to check that all of the below components are compatible with each other, and if I should change any of these components out for less expensive options that would still give me pretty much the same performance. Here in New Zealand, the prices do vary a bit vs. other countries such as the USA.

CPU: Intel Core i7 2600K 3.4GHz Socket 1155
Motherboard: Asus P8Z68-V Pro
Memory: Kingston HyperX DDR3 PC12800/1600MHz CL9 XMP X2 Grey 2x4GB (KHX1600C9D3X2K2/8GX)
Graphics card: Asus GeForce ENGTX560 TI DCII/2DI/1GD5 1GB
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Eng (64-bit OEM)
Main HDD: Crucial m4 2.5" 256GB SSD drive
Secondary HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARX 64MB 2TB
Main optical drive: Samsung SH-S223C (DVD writer)
Secondary optical drive: LiteOn DH-4O1s (older Blu Ray reader I own from 2008)
Case: Cooler Master Silencio 550
PSU: Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 800W

Thanks in advance for any help.

More about : build gaming work

a b 4 Gaming
August 29, 2011 10:57:27 AM

The RAM you have is 1.65v. You want 1.5v RAM.
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August 29, 2011 11:58:06 AM

the intel 2500k is the same processor as the 2600k except for 100MHz and hyperthreading. but with 4 cores its really not needed.
even in benchmarks the performance is within 5%. save the $100. paying 50% more for 5% more performance is silly.

kingston memory is a lot more picky about which board its plugged into than it used to be so check that the one you get is on the supported ram list of the mobo or kingstons website.
why_me is right about the voltages.

your ssd would be nice, though expensive. i wont buy them until they get to about half of the current price. but anyways the Plextor PX-M2 is normally the same price as the one you have and about 20% faster

i always suggest radeons but thats because im running 3 27" monitors and a single nvidia card cant drive them all. that puts them a bit ahead for me.

the rest of your stuff seem quite nice.

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August 29, 2011 7:38:32 PM

Many thanks for the replies. I've changed the RAM to the below option:

Kingston ValueRAM DDR3 PC10600/1333MHz CL9 2x4GB (KVR1333D3N9K2/8G)

Checking the Asus website, the model KVR1333D3N9K2 comes up on the supported memory list.

Have also changed CPU to an i5 2500k. Unfortunately need to stick with the Crucial m4 as it looks like Plextor SSDs aren't available in New Zealand.

As I've saved a bit on the processor (and even a little on the RAM now), I thought about perhaps going for the Asus GTX 570 rather than a GTX 560 now. I do run 2 monitors, but don't plan on adding a third one at this stage due to space constraints.

How does the configuration sound now I've changed the RAM, CPU and Graphics card? Thanks again for the help.
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August 29, 2011 8:03:11 PM

- GTX 570 is obviously better than GTX 560 ti, so that's good. You're power supply can easily handle it too.

- For RAM, I don't think you should step down to 1333MHz RAM from 1600, although you do want to keep the RAM under 1.5v. Here are a couple options for lower voltage 1600MHz RAM:

G.Skill Sniper 1.25v
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Corsair Vengeance 1.35v
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

- I don't know much about the case you selected. I am sure you are going for something quiet, but try to make sure it has adequate airflow as well, otherwise some cases can become hotboxes.

- I would recommend getting an aftermarket heatsink for your CPU. Even if you are not going to overclock, it is a good thing to keep temperatures lower, and you can get a quiet one too. Here is my recommendation for a quiet heatsink:

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

- Lastly is the processor. Before you jump on the 2500k, keep this in mind: the 2500k is just about as good as the 2600k in gaming performance, but the 2600k is still a little better for things like Photoshop, and significantly better for rendering (if you plan to work with video as well). Otherwise, you will not be dissatisfied with either.
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a b 4 Gaming
August 29, 2011 8:12:00 PM

The Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold series unfortunately has pretty high ripple on all rails, but it is approaching the spec at 120mv on the 12V rail. So personally I wouldn't buy one of them for that reason, thus I wouldn't suggest it and if I was you I'd try and find something else which doesn't have a 'problem' with such high ripple.

Not being sure where you are buying from I found this site which seems to have a good selection to see what you could get:
http://www.ascent.co.nz/category.aspx?majorcatID=51
And they have the Seasonic X-760/850, M12D 850W, Silverstone Strider Plus 750/850, Strider Gold 750/850, Thermaltake Toughpower XT 775/875, Corsair 750/850TXV2. All of which perform much better than the CM Silent Pro Gold and are the same price or cheaper and could power your build fine (assuming you want the option to add a second GTX 570, if not then a 500-650W PSU might be better).
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August 29, 2011 9:32:34 PM

Thanks again for the suggestions.

@PennyLife - Not too sure on the RAM. Looks like those options cost about 75% more than the value ram, however of course they have higher specifications. I'm looking to purchase most of my computer components from a store called AlphaCity, as most of their prices are the lowest in New Zealand. The different types of 1600mhz memory they stock can be found here: http://pricespy.co.nz/category.php?l=s73291708&cols=161...

Please advise of any good options here that would still keep the price below NZ$150 for 8gb of RAM if possible.

For cases, I think I've narrowed it down to the Cooler Master Silencio 550 or the NZXT H2. Cooling will be an important thing to consider so I'll do a bit more research on these 2 cases to start with.

Unfortunately the Xigmatek Gaia isn't available in NZ, but I was looking through other options and a good, inexpensive option might be the Cooler Master Vortex Plus? - http://www.coolermaster.com/product.php?product_id=6648...

Will probably keep the CPU as a 2500k now, as the Photoshop work is on occasion only, and not doing any video rendering.

@Silvune - Now looking at the Thermaltake Toughpower XT 775W, but interesting you should mention that this much power is really only needed if having 2 graphics cards. I probably wouldn't be looking 2, so I could go lower. Is there a 550w to 650w PSU you would recommend on this page: http://pricespy.co.nz/category.php?k=436#rparams=l=s732...

Apart from reliability, also wanting to think about power efficiency and a gold 80 plus PSU would be great, but if that comes at the expense of reliability or performance then I'll keep an open mind on this.
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Best solution

August 29, 2011 10:49:21 PM

Ah ok, I wasn't checking the prices over there, sorry. Looking at the website you provided, here are my revised suggestions:

CPU
Stick with the 2500K based on the description of your uses.

RAM
From the Pricespy site, you should be able to get 8GB of Corsair Vengeance Low Profile DDR3 for $123. This set runs at 1.5v.
http://pricespy.co.nz/category.php?l=s73291708&cols=161...

Power Supply
Ran a search on the website you provided with some filters, here is the link of the PSUs that fit the bill. Note that a high quality Bronze or Silver PSU is perfectly fine, don't get too caught up in requiring a Gold one (although obviously better).
http://pricespy.co.nz/category.php?l=s73291833#rparams=...

The lowest I would go from this list for your system is the Corsair 650HX (and it is good for your system, I recently used it for a very similar build, minus the SSD and second optical drive). Your sweet spot would be about a 750 watt power supply, the two I recommend would be the Corsair 750HX or the Seasonic X760 (both extremely good quality, but not saving you any money over the Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold you previously selected).

For the CPU cooler, the Cooler Master Vortex you selected is nice and quiet according to user reviews, and will at least keep your CPU much cooler at high loads.
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August 29, 2011 11:32:10 PM

I don't know about Photoshop but a GPU needed for Solidworks does not game well and visa versa.
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August 29, 2011 11:42:07 PM

ram1009 said:
I don't know about Photoshop but a GPU needed for Solidworks does not game well and visa versa.



Yea, you are right about that, but I don't think the OP is looking for the type of raw compute GPU needed for Solidwords or AutoCAD. Adobe's software does take advantage of current consumer GPUs.
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August 30, 2011 1:33:16 AM

Excellent. With the PSU, I decided to go for a slightly larger one just to be on the safe side, so I'm going with the recommendation for a Corsair CMPSU-750HX 750W.

The final thing I need to double check on is the RAM again, as looking at the model numbers of the quoted RAM modules, I couldn't see them in the Asus P8Z68-V Pro qualified vendor list. Not sure if this is something to be worried about.:

http://support.asus.com/QVL.aspx?SLanguage=en&p=1&s=39&...

As the 8GB of Corsair Vengeance Low Profile DDR3 for $123 is not in stock, the next best retailer was $178 but I think I'll just go with that unless I should only be looking at RAM listed in the PDF from Asus above.
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August 30, 2011 1:49:17 AM

Well $123 vs. $178 is a significant bump in price, so it is your call on that one. Depending on how much you found the 1333 MHz Kingston RAM for, that still may be a viable option. Won't perform as well, but shouldn't really bottleneck you either.

Don't worry about RAM/Motherboard compatibility too much. As long as you get 2 sticks and it is XMP certified (which it is), it will almost always work. Motherboard manufacturers do test a good number of sticks, but they don't test everything that is on the market simply because there are too many different items to test.

That PSU is great, I have a Corsair 750HX in my brother's system, Corsair 850HX in mine, and they are both rock solid.
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September 8, 2011 4:53:15 AM

Hi all, well computer is all fully up and running now, and thought I'd report back on what I purchased and how it's performing. These were the components:

CPU: Intel Sandy Bridge Quad-Core I52500K HT 3.3GHz 6M LGA1155 Processor
CPU cooler: Cooler Master Vortex Plus
Motherboard: Asus P8Z68-V Pro
Memory: Corsair CML8GX3M2A1600C9 Vengeance LP 2x4GB DDR3-1600 CL9
Graphics card: Asus GTX 570
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Eng (64-bit OEM)
Main HDD: Crucial m4 2.5" 256GB SSD drive
Secondary HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARX 64MB 2TB
Main optical drive: Lite-On IHAS524
Secondary optical drive: LiteOn DH-4O1s (older Blu Ray reader I own from 2008)
Case: Cooler Master Silencio 550
PSU: Corsair 750w Hx-750 Atx Power Supply

Overall, an excellent system and really enjoying the speed the Crucial m4 SSD drive offers, but thought I'd mention a few small things I found along the way:

- For the Cooler Master Silencio 550 case, I found that it was necessary to completely remove the middle block of hard drive bays so I could fit the GTX 570. No problems though, as I had enough room in the bottom block of bays/slots for the 2 hard drives

- Also with this case, it felt to be running quite hot, GPU temp was around 75 Celsius. Thought it may be a good idea to add some more cooling capacity so added a spare Evercool Fox 1 cooler. Has added a little more noise, but doesn't bother me

- Added a spare sound card as well - an X-FI Xtreme Music PCI card as my phone system software for work, called SwyxIt , was constantly reporting sound card in use. Putting the X-FI in solved that issue. After adding this card, it did add about 15 seconds to the boot time

Thanks again everyone for your helpful replies :-)
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September 8, 2011 5:24:45 AM

Hi HiDef, congratulations on the build and thanks for the update.

When you say the GPU temp was around 75 Celsius, is that at idle, light load (HD video), or load?

Looking at the case on the Cooler Master website, I see that the case comes with 2x80mm fans installed, and has room for a total of 3x120mm fans. If your GPU and CPU temperatures remain consistently high, I would recommend removing the 2 80mm fans and installing 3 120mm fans instead. You don't need to break low temperature records or anything, but the higher the operating temperature of the components, the shorter the lifespan.

Otherwise, I'm glad the system is running smoothly and I'm sure you are enjoying it. I have to say, that is one of the best all-around builds I have seen anybody put together in a while.
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September 8, 2011 5:45:36 AM

Hi PennyLife, thanks for the reply. The GPU temp of 75C was at load - playing Crysis at 1680x1050 with highest settings.

Thanks for checking out those specs. It may be worth looking at larger fans indeed. If the temps remain high, I will definitely look into these. Haven't had a chance yet to test with the additional fan I installed but will report back when I next play the game.
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September 8, 2011 5:46:09 AM

Best answer selected by HiDef.
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September 8, 2011 6:17:57 AM

75 Celsius at load is nothing to worry about, so that's good.

Next up, getting an HD screen! (lol just kidding, but once you start building, the upgrades never end!)
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September 8, 2011 10:19:25 AM

Excellent. The Fox 1 fan brought the max temp down to about 68C while playing Crysis at the above settings, CPU temp maxes out at 60C as well while gaming. Haha yep that's the next investment, gotta do some saving!
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