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< $4K Enthusiast Rig for Gaming

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October 10, 2011 7:56:57 PM

sorry, missed the template but here is what I have so far:

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Approximate Purchase Date: 10/12/2011 (or sooner)

Budget Range: ~$4K USD

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (hard core gamer), Movies (already have four other systems for development and testing) , Game Play Capture using a BlackMagic PCI Express card...worried about slot space on that one..

Parts Not Required: Monitor (unless I find one with a larger screen and higher res than 1920x1080 - 59" Plasma)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg Preferred Account

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: Prefer Intel + nVidia (bad history with AMD drivers and support)

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Yes / Maybe

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (but open to suggestions)

Additional Comments: Needs to be somewhat quiet (but could always add noise dampening later), needs to be stable, modular for ease of upgrades and maintenance, good airflow in case

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I'm struggling...

I'm trying to determine what the best route to go is for building a new system to handle upcoming games (BF3/Batman Arkham City/Skyrim/etc) and don't want to really deal with settling for something that will run ok at medium settings.

I'm looking at spending hopefully less than $4K USD, but I'm just not sure what direction to take...

I've had bad history with AMD, so I'm kind of hesitant to look at the ATI cards.

My initial thoughts were looking at getting the following:
Intel Core i7 2600k
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

(2) Gigabyte GV-N590D5-3GD-B GTX 590s (unsure if I'd have room to throw a third card in for dedicated PhysX??)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

(2) OCZ Vertex 3 120GB SSD (1 for os/boot, 1 for game/apps) - Already have NAS data storage so not worried about extra
space
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Titanium Sound Card (not sure if this is really needed as I game on a 59" 1080p Plasma with a Bose Surround sound
System...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Any thoughts? is this viable, or is it overkill to get 70+ fps with these?

Updated to remove incompatible hardware...still trying to find replacement motherboard/memory. Will be updating video cards soon...
-Jason

More about : enthusiast rig gaming

October 10, 2011 8:20:28 PM

Personally, I wouldn't go with 590's, 3 580's would not only save you a bunch of money, but it also will give the same results.
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October 10, 2011 8:26:11 PM

Hello Kierstad;

Only the single 59" 1920x1080 resolution monitor?
No AMD EyeFinity or NVidia 3D Surround triple monitor setup?
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October 10, 2011 8:27:13 PM

bloodcraze said:
Personally, I wouldn't go with 590's, 3 580's would not only save you a bunch of money, but it also will give the same results.

Any cards in particular that you would recommend?

Also, with three 580s requiring the space in between for air flow (I'm not entirely crazy about liquid cooling), would I have room left over for at least the Soundblaster Titanium? Doubt there'd be room for the HDMI Capture card :/ 
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October 10, 2011 8:29:13 PM

WR2 said:
Hello Kierstad;

Only the single 59" 1920x1080 resolution monitor?
No AMD EyeFinity or NVidia 3D Surround triple monitor setup?

Heh, I used to use my (3) 24" 120hz 3d monitors, but it was more frustrating than it was worth. I spent hours trying to get the glasses configured right, only to run into performance issues with my current system:

Core i7 920 OC'd 3.4GHZ
12GB DDR3 1333 Ram
Velociraptor Drive
(2) GTX 460s in SLI

Just didn't have enough power to give playable frame rates for me.

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October 10, 2011 8:29:57 PM

Your ASUS P6T7 WS Supercomputer X58 socket 1366 motherboard is a type mismatch with the Core i7-2600K CPU which is a socket 1156 P67/Z68 CPU.
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October 10, 2011 8:31:17 PM

Since you mentioned 2x GTX 590s I thought you were headed in the triple monitor direction.
Still have the monitors?
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October 10, 2011 8:39:03 PM

WR2 said:
Your ASUS P6T7 WS Supercomputer X58 socket 1366 motherboard is a type mismatch with the Core i7-2600K CPU which is a socket 1156 P67/Z68 CPU.

Doh thanks for catching that. I'll have to find a different one...or possibly a different cpu? I think the main reason i was looking at that one was the number of pcie slots.

--- Edit ---
Details show that it's 1155?
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October 10, 2011 8:39:29 PM

WR2 said:
Since you mentioned 2x GTX 590s I thought you were headed in the triple monitor direction.
Still have the monitors?

Yes, still have the monitors...one of which has been collecting some dust :/ 
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October 10, 2011 8:41:05 PM

cmadrid said:
You're going to need a Z68 or P67 motherboard to go with a sandybridge CPU..

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

You should be fine with 2 580s, but if you really want something to spend your money on the Mars 2 is sexy ;) 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

you can only buy it in a combo at newegg.


I looked at the mars II but it just seems massively expensive for what you get out of it. And I don't necessarily like the combos they have built around it.

With the 2 580s though, would that get bogged down with trying to run things on high/ultra settings or worse yet if I did ever try 3d again?
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October 10, 2011 8:41:39 PM

The P6T7 will NOT work with the I7-2600k. The motherboard is a LGA 1366 board and the CPU requires an LGA 1155 board.


Edit... :o  Boy thats what I get for not refreshing often enough. EVERYBODY beat me with the socket mismatch! :cry: 
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October 10, 2011 8:42:18 PM

clarkjd said:
The P6T7 will NOT work with the I7-2600k. The motherboard is a LGA 1366 board and the CPU requires an LGA 1155 board.

Yes, that was pointed out earlier...updating it now so it doesn't add to my own confusion...thanks!
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October 10, 2011 8:43:17 PM

Kierstad said:
I looked at the mars II but it just seems massively expensive for what you get out of it. And I don't necessarily like the combos they have built around it.

With the 2 580s though, would that get bogged down with trying to run things on high/ultra settings or worse yet if I did ever try 3d again?
Just 1 GTX 580 should outperform 2x GTX 460 in SLI all by itself.
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October 10, 2011 8:44:37 PM

I wouldn't buy the Mars 2 either.. unless I had just recently hit the lotto lol
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October 10, 2011 8:46:42 PM

Kierstad said:
--- Edit ---
Details show that it's 1155?
1155 is correct - sorry about that 1156 typo.
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October 10, 2011 8:48:18 PM

WR2 said:
1155 is correct - sorry about that 1156 typo.

No problem, just wanted to make sure I was seeing it correctly too.

So, I looked at the ASRock that cmadrid suggested, the only downside is it looks like I could only go 2-way SLI, not 3, nor would I be able to fit the Titanium and HDMI Capture card in...bummer.
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October 10, 2011 8:50:41 PM

Kierstad said:
No problem, just wanted to make sure I was seeing it correctly too.

So, I looked at the ASRock that cmadrid suggested, the only downside is it looks like I could only go 2-way SLI, not 3, nor would I be able to fit the Titanium and HDMI Capture card in...bummer.

Also the 1155 motherboards are only dual channel for the memory, so you need to get a dual channel kit and you would be limited to 16 GB of RAM.
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October 10, 2011 8:53:22 PM

clarkjd said:
Also the 1155 motherboards are only dual channel for the memory, so you need to get a dual channel kit and you would be limited to 16 GB of RAM.

Yeah, just noticed that...how much of a difference would that be though? i.e. Triple channel vs Dual Channel?
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October 10, 2011 9:00:56 PM

I'm starting to wonder why I should go with Core i7 2600k socket 1155?

Is it forwards compatibility with the new processors slated next year?

In my current system I have a Core i7 920 OC'd to only 3.2GHZ (haven't had time to really get deep into overclocking to know what the right settings are without frying it :)  ).
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October 10, 2011 9:01:17 PM

Kierstad said:
Yeah, just noticed that...how much of a difference would that be though? i.e. Triple channel vs Dual Channel?

Performance wise, not much. most games won't use over 4 GB anyway,
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October 10, 2011 9:04:03 PM

clarkjd said:
Performance wise, not much. most games won't use over 4 GB anyway,

Hmm odd because a certain game I'm beta testing right now is swapping to RAM heavily (but maybe that's my outdated video cards causing that). I think my current cards only have ~1GB memory per card. Last time I was logged in for over three hours ram usage was over 4.6GB, not huge, but rather be safe than sorry lol.
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October 10, 2011 9:07:37 PM

Kierstad said:
Hmm odd because a certain game I'm beta testing right now is swapping to RAM heavily (but maybe that's my outdated video cards causing that). I think my current cards only have ~1GB memory per card. Last time I was logged in for over three hours ram usage was over 4.6GB, not huge, but rather be safe than sorry lol.
The point of having RAM is to use it - which Win 7 does pretty well. That 4.6GB RAM usage is not limited to the game in progress.
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October 10, 2011 9:10:43 PM

WR2 said:
Triple Channel vs Dual Channel RAM is less important than the overall performance of the CPU.
That's part of the reason a Dual Channel Core i7-2600K quad core can outperform a Triple Channel Core i7-970 hex core in many applications (games especially).

Thanks for the explanation. Still trying to wrap my head around whether or not it's possible or even feasible to do the following:

3-way SLI with 3 GTX 580s or 2-way SLI with 2 GTX 580s and 1 lower end GTX card for dedicated PhysX, and still have room and airflow for sound card and hdmi capture card?

Is a discrete sound card even really needed anymore? Currently since I'm using mini-HDMI out to my plasma, I still get surround through my Bose system and it seems just fine...that's without discrete sound...

Is there any benefit to getting a gaming-grade networking interface such as the Killer NIC?
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Best solution

October 10, 2011 9:11:02 PM

As others pointed out, you have the wrong socket board, and the wrong RAM for that cpu. You want a socket 1155 board, and DDR3 Dual Channel RAM.

Dual gtx 580's in SLI. This psu down below will easily push two of those cards and leave you plenty of juice left over for o/c, etc..

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $219.99 - $209.99 after mail-in rebate card
CORSAIR Professional Series HX1050 1050W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Power Supply

or...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $199.99 - $179.99 after mail-in rebate card FREE SHIPPING
OCZ ZX Series 1000W Fully-Modular 80PLUS Gold High Performance Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandybridge Core i3 i5 i7 and AMD Phenom

or...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $199.99 FREE SHIPPING
ENERMAX REVOLUTION85+ ERV1020EWT 1020W (Peak 1120W) ATX12V / EPS12V v2.92 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $524.99 - $499.99 after mail-in rebate card FREE SHIPPING
MSI N580GTX Lightning GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

or...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $499.99 - $474.99 after mail-in rebate card
MSI N580GTX Twin Frozr II/OC GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

two sets of this RAM down below...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $64.99 FREE SHIPPING
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL9D-8GBXL

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $34.99 FREE SHIPPING
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R1 Continuous Direct Contact 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with latest Intel 1366/1155 and AMD FM1/AM3+

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $274.99 Free Shipping
ASRock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=Z68%20Extre... <----- A better look at that board

http://www.asrock.com/microsite/PCIe3/ <----- PCI-E 3.0

http://www.asrock.com/microsite/IntelZ68/index.asp <----- Z68 Features

http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/4272/asrock_z68_extrem... <----- Review of that board with benchmarks

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/z68a-gd80-p8z68-del... <----- Review of that board done last week here on Toms. It earned Tom’s Hardware Best Enthusiast-Class Award
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October 10, 2011 9:11:29 PM

WR2 said:
The point of having RAM is to use it - which Win 7 does pretty well. That 4.6GB RAM usage is not limited to the game in progress.

Well, according to process explorer it was tied to the game process, nothing else. Overall I was using about 8GB of RAM at that point in time.
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October 11, 2011 1:05:00 AM

Best answer selected by Kierstad.
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October 11, 2011 1:17:58 AM

I want to thank everyone that's provided feedback, I honestly hate to think of how more stressed I'd be trying to figure this out all on my own.

Here's what I have so far based off of suggestions and some further research:

ASRock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3 Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core i7-2600K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

(3) MSI N580GTX Lightning Extreme GTX 580
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Enermax MAXREVO EMR1350EWT PSU (Did some calculations and most suggestions were over 1200W - Hope this is enough?!?)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

(2) G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2x4GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

(2) OCZ Vertex 3 120GB SSD in RAID for Boot
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Corsair Graphite Series 600T Case (mostly so I don't have issues mounting the radiator :/ )
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Comes to around $3500 USD.

I'll end up eventually going liquid cooling, but for now, this seems like it should be pretty solid based on the advice that I've received.

Thanks for all of your input, it's greatly appreciated!
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October 11, 2011 2:11:13 AM

Wish I had that kind of money to spend! Looks nice.. if you're going to definitely go for liquid cooling later you may want to get a bigger case like the Corsair 800D
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October 11, 2011 3:28:35 AM

cmadrid said:
or something from http://caselabs.net/

Ah thanks for that link! I'll definitely check those out. For now, I had to kind of ignore the higher end cases, but once I go liquid cooling, I'll need to up it.
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October 11, 2011 4:10:50 AM

You're welcome. They make some really sweet cases
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!