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Critique my $2500 gaming build

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October 1, 2011 5:57:36 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: this week (10/1-10/5)

Budget Range: ~2500

System Usage: Gaming

Overclocking: Yes

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200

Additional Comments: Want to be able to run anything (e.g. metro, crysis 2, bf3) on full settings at >60 fps at the specified resolution, preferably with some headroom for games coming out in the next ~2 yr. Would like to know specifically if my GPUs will fit on the mobo and will be adequately cooled, as I know the ones I've selected are quite large. Would like to OC the GPUs if possible but not totally necessary.

Build:
Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 932 $140 (after MIR)

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K $220

HSF: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus $27

Mobo: ASRock Z68 Pro Gen3 $270

Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 $52

GPU: 2x Galaxy 58NLH5HS3PXZ GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB $830 (after MIR)

PSU: COOLER MASTER Silent Pro Gold Series RSA00-80GAD3-US 1000W 80 Plus gold $180 (after MIR)

SSD: Kingston HyperX SH100S3B/120G 2.5" $260

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB $80

Monitor: HP ZR24w 24'' 7ms S-IPS 19 ~$350 (I know it says $510 on Newegg but you can get it cheaper elsewhere)

Total: ~$2400

Thanks!
October 1, 2011 7:16:11 PM

Might also want to consider the Asrock Z68 Extreme 7 Gen3, only $10 more. Worth checking out anyway as it might have more nice features you want.

I would recommend getting the Corsair HX1050 instead for PSU. Even the high end Cooler Master's have some issues and you can find better quality at similar prices elsewhere.

For HDD Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB would be good way to go, on sale for $49.99 this weekend.
Cheaper, faster and more reliable.

Excellent choice on the display.

And yeah those GPU's look like they have in practice triple slot coolers, so need to be sure that there is 2 slots of space in between the pci-e 16x slots.
Should work ok for both asrock boards.
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October 1, 2011 7:30:32 PM

***EDITED BUILD WITH 3 6950 2GB GPU'S***

Asrock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 290$

i5 2500k- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 220$

Sony 24x DVD Burner- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 19$

Hyper 212 EVO- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 35$

Silverstone Raven RV03- http://www.amazon.com/Silverstone-Extended-90-Degree-Mo... 140$ cools better than the HAF X thanks to its unique design

MSI Twin Frozr II 6950 2gb- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... x3=840$

Gskill 8gb 1600mhz- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 50$

OCZ ZX 1000w- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 180$ after MIR

Samsung F3 1tb- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 60$ this drive is actually faster than the wd caviar black

Crucial M4 128gb- http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-2-5-Inch-Solid-State-CT12... 192$ way more reliable than the sandforce ssd's

Gateway 21.5" Full HD Led 2ms- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... x3=420$

Powercolor Active DP to DVI- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 25$ this is for the last monitor. with amd cards you need this for a tri monitor setup

Total=2471$
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October 1, 2011 7:48:11 PM

Are the Samsung F3s actually faster then the WD blacks?
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October 1, 2011 8:16:30 PM

Thanks for the replys guys,

rvilkman - Good call with the PSU. I'm going to spring for the HX1050. The improved modularity of this unit is another selling point that I hadn't considered.

mjmjpfaff - I think I'll switch to the crucial m4 ssd. Seems like you gain a good amount of reliability without losing too much speed. The triple monitor setup is very tempting. I'll have to think on it.
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October 1, 2011 8:39:44 PM

That HP monitor has a slow response time of 7ms. It's not a monitor that would be recommended for gaming. Slow response times = possible tearing issues.

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October 1, 2011 9:04:27 PM

Why_Me said:
That HP monitor has a slow response time of 7ms. It's not a monitor that would be recommended for gaming. Slow response times = possible tearing issues.

You're thinking of ghosting. Low refresh rates cause tearing.
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October 1, 2011 9:30:51 PM

The most important changes I made were picking 2 overclocked graphics cards with rear exhaust coolers (which cool better in SLI than ones that exhaust in your case), switching the cooling to PWM in a case with more efficient airflow, getting the best CPU cooler around to enable higher overclocks, upgrading the RAM, and choosing a monitor with a 2ms refresh rate to prevent ghosting.

Corsair Carbide Series 400R: $99.99 ($94.99 after rebate)

Antec High Current Gamer Series 900W: $114.99

3 x Thermalright TY-140: $14.99 each ($44.97)

ASRock P67 Extreme4 Gen3: $154.99

Intel Core i5-2500K: $219.99

Thermalright Silver Arrow: $82.99

Akasa Flexa FP5: $9.99

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB 1600MHz C8-8-8-24: $55.99

2 x EVGA SuperClocked GeForce GTX 580: $474.99 each ($949.98)

Patriot Wildfire 120GB: $254.99 ($214.99 after rebate)

Samsung SpinPoint F3: $59.99

ASUS VE248H: $199.99

Total: $2203.85 after rebates
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October 2, 2011 5:29:04 AM

That monitor is a terrible choice at ANY price point - let alone at 510/350 dollars. It has no redeeming features except being an IPS panel.

The 2ms refresh is only grey to grey. The more relevant black to black rate is 12 ms :ouch: 

Also, you surely need at least one HDMI port if you're buying a monitor in 2011 for any more than 120 odd bucks.

If you're OK with a TN panel, get this $290 SAMSUNG 24" 2ms Full HD HDMI LED BackLight LCD Monitor.

Get an HDMI cable for under 10 bucks (I think) and you're good to go.

CPU: Now, surely at that price point, you can spend 80 odd bucks extra for the 2600k, I think. Not that the extra threads are of paramount importance for gaming, but more power never hurts no one :p 

PSU: A GTX 580 requires 244 W according to its specs. But more than the wattage, the amperage (current) on the +12V rail(s) might become a touch short if you decide to OC the cards and add more drives in the future. Getting a 80+ gold PSU at these consumption levels is an absolute necessity 'coz the power bills as it is, will be extremely high.

A gold 900/1000 will be just fine IMO. But if you want the PSU to be headache free with plenty of headroom for expansions in the long run get the Corsair AX-1200. It has a 7 year warranty and can handle anything you can throw at it in the future. Expensive, but absolutely worth it.
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October 2, 2011 5:53:17 PM

calguyhunk said:
That monitor is a terrible choice at ANY price point - let alone at 510/350 dollars. It has no redeeming features except being an IPS panel.

The 2ms refresh is only grey to grey. The more relevant black to black rate is 12 ms :ouch: 

Also, you surely need at least one HDMI port if you're buying a monitor in 2011 for any more than 120 odd bucks.

If you're OK with a TN panel, get this $290 SAMSUNG 24" 2ms Full HD HDMI LED BackLight LCD Monitor.

Get an HDMI cable for under 10 bucks (I think) and you're good to go.

I think you can get a TN panel that's just as good and has more than just HDMI for less, and suggested one above. I do think you should go with a TN panel for gaming in general, because of its lower response time (not refresh rate, as calguy thought).

calguyhunk said:
CPU: Now, surely at that price point, you can spend 80 odd bucks extra for the 2600k, I think. Not that the extra threads are of paramount importance for gaming, but more power never hurts no one :p 

You will never see the extra power, because you won't be running an application that will use it. It's a waste of money.

calguyhunk said:
PSU: A GTX 580 requires 244 W according to its specs. But more than the wattage, the amperage (current) on the +12V rail(s) might become a touch short if you decide to OC the cards and add more drives in the future. Getting a 80+ gold PSU at these consumption levels is an absolute necessity 'coz the power bills as it is, will be extremely high.

A gold 900/1000 will be just fine IMO. But if you want the PSU to be headache free with plenty of headroom for expansions in the long run get the Corsair AX-1200. It has a 7 year warranty and can handle anything you can throw at it in the future. Expensive, but absolutely worth it.

I like the AX1200 too. It's not necessary though: the one I suggested would be fine, and $165 less expensive. Your power bill savings with a more efficient PSU would not come close to that.
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October 2, 2011 8:43:48 PM

Nim Chimpsky said:
response time (not refresh rate, as calguy thought).
Thank you sir, for teaching me the difference between refresh rate and response time. With nice bold letters too!
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October 2, 2011 10:03:26 PM

If you're still tempted by a triple monitor setup, consider this build. This review shows a 6990/6970 TriFire setup beating a GTX 580 SLI setup at 5760 x 1080 with high AA every time.

Corsair Carbide Series 400R: $99.99 ($94.99 after rebate)

Corsair Professional Series Gold AX1200: $279.99

3 x Thermalright TY-140: $14.99 each ($44.97)

ASRock P67 Extreme4 Gen3: $154.99

Intel Core i5-2500K: $219.99

Thermalright Silver Arrow: $82.99

Akasa Flexa FP5: $9.99

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB 1600MHz C8-8-8-24: $55.99

Sapphire Radeon HD 6970 (top slot): $349.99 ($329.99 after rebate)

Sapphire Radeon HD 6990 (bottom slot): $709.99

Patriot Wildfire 120GB: $254.99 ($214.99 after rebate)

Samsung SpinPoint F3: $59.99

Total: $2,258.86 after rebates
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October 3, 2011 2:58:33 AM

the 6990 is supposed to be unbearably loud though
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October 3, 2011 2:59:42 AM

it is probably worth it to get an asrock z68 extreme7 gen3 and 3 6970's
but at that budget i dont think you can get 3 6970's in. get 3 6950 2gb's and a dp to dvi adapter- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
3 6950's is more powerful than 2 580's. and cheaper. that seems to be the way to go. ill edit my build above to a tri 6950 2gb build.
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October 3, 2011 3:20:28 AM

mjmjpfaff said:
it is probably worth it to get an asrock z68 extreme7 gen3 and 3 6970's
but at that budget i dont think you can get 3 6970's in. get 3 6950 2gb's and a dp to dvi adapter- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
3 6950's is more powerful than 2 580's. and cheaper. that seems to be the way to go. ill edit my build above to a tri 6950 2gb build.

I would do the same, but it would make the build more expensive and less future-ready: there isn't a PCIe 3.0 board at the moment that can do x8/x8/x8 CrossFire.
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!