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New gaming rig - need opinions

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October 22, 2011 4:17:45 AM

Hello dear Tom readers, I've been a long time follower (10 years) and this is my first post. Sad, I know...

I'm buying a new computer - my 5 year old Q6600 @ 3.0 GHz needs to be upgraded. I have a budget of maximum 1000$ (which doesn't include HDD or graphics card) and I wish to build a computer that has the following qualities, in order of priority ;

1a) Quiet
1b) Future Proof, so USB3 is a must (PCIE3 not necessarily). I tend to keep comps for a long time
2) Case has to have filters - lots of dust in my home. My wife seems to think being pregnant should give her some time off...
3) Ability to OC the CPU properly

The parts I'll be transferring from my old PC are : 6870, 120 GB Intel 320 SSD, 2 x 500 GB HDs. I upgrade my vid card every two generations (8800 GTS 320mb, then a 4870, then a 6870) so I'll wait a bit before upgrading again.

I have 2 builds prepared and I was wondering if the 225$ extra I would be spending on the 1st PC will make he happier and be more future proof. Just so you know, personality wise, I enjoy quality items.

My profile is ; I do lots of officework, video editing (with Microsoft Essentials), Starcraft 2, Mass Effect (3 coming out soon), Civ 5, various RTS, and when they are released SWTOR and Diablo 3. I have a 24 inch screen @1200p, and I have bad vision so AA makes no difference for me.

1st build

Motherboard ASROCK Extreme4 gen 3 P67 186,84 $
Processor Core i5 – 2500k 219,69 $
CPU Cooler Corsair H100 95,25 $
Memory G.Skill F3 8GB F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2 1.25V 56,62 $
Graphics none
HDD none
Optical ASUS DRW-24B1ST 19,24 $
Case Corsair 400r 89,69 $
PS Seasonic X-660 GOLD + 129,99 $
OS Windows 7 64 bit Home Premium SP1 99,99 $

Total 897,31 $

OR

2nd build
Motherboard ASROCK Extreme3 gen 3 Z68 145,80 $
Processor Core i5 – 2500k 219,69 $
CPU Cooler Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus 25,30 $
Memory G.Skill F3 8GB F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2 1.25V 56,62 $
Graphics none
Harddrive none
Optical ASUS DRW-24B1ST 19,24 $
Case Rosewill challenger 54,99 $
Power OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W 49,99 $
OS Windows 7 64 bit Home Premium SP1 99,99 $

Total 671,62 $

I know some of you can probably find cheaper prices, but remember I'm Canadian. I buy most of my parts from DirectCanada.com and Canadacomputers

Thanks for your help !

More about : gaming rig opinions

October 22, 2011 4:36:43 AM

Both builds are adequate, I think the first build has more 'staying power'.. Since you tend to keep your computers for a long time you should consider getting the 500r instead of the 400r, the top is filtered.. You could save money on the cooler to keep your budget in the same range if you want.. H100 is pretty sweet tho
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October 22, 2011 4:51:37 AM

The 1st build will last longer, and the Hyper 212 will work for both builds perfectly.
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October 22, 2011 5:04:42 AM

1st build is better.
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October 22, 2011 11:03:19 AM

And secondly, if I wish to make my build "future proof", would 16gb of ram be preferable ?
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October 22, 2011 11:27:26 AM

8 gigs is plenty. I'd just use 2 sticks and chuck in another 2x4 gigs (of the same model) if you find that you're running out.
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October 22, 2011 12:00:03 PM

I would agree, the first build is better, and going with the 500r for the extra dust filters is better.
I realize it is stretching your budget, but IMO cleaning the H100 is much easier than cleaning ANY air cooler installed directly on the cpu. Talking from experience.

Also agree with the 16GB comment, however, recently in a similar 'upgrading situation'. It's hard to get a matching pair of 8Gb compatible dual ddr dimms, so if you can, just do 16GB now.
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October 22, 2011 1:06:05 PM

Thank you Tom's readers, your opinions are taken highly into consideration.

Now last option - in 2 years, I'll be getting a good vid card and thinking at load it will pull around 300w. Adding up all my components together, at full load, I will be pulling around 550w.

Is the seasonic 660w gold a good enough PSU for this load ? Are there options of a similar quality cpu that`s cheaper?

Thanks !

Here is the updated build

ASROCK Extreme4 gen 3 P67 186,84 $ (the extreme3 doesn`t have front Usb 3)
Core i5 – 2500k 219,69 $
Corsair H100 95,25 $
2x G.Skill F3 8GB F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2 1.25V 113,24 $
ASUS DRW-24B1ST 19,24 $
Corsair 500r 115,50 $
Seasonic X-660 GOLD + 129,99 $
Windows 7 64 bit Home Premium 99,99 $

Total : 979,74 $
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October 22, 2011 1:14:47 PM

OCZ ZS Series 750 Watt, not modular, for 75$.... would save me 60$, but is it worth it ?
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October 22, 2011 1:21:37 PM

Dersid said:
OCZ ZS Series 750 Watt, not modular, for 75$.... would save me 60$, but is it worth it ?

I think it might be, it depends on the rating. I think that OCZ has bronze + rating, and the seasonic has GOld rating.
That means roughly at full load the OCZ will give you ~605W and the Seasonic ~580W. So it is not a large difference.

I would however suggest you go with the biggest you can get, since your capacitor aging will already be higher by the time you introduce your new high-end card,
and I see you are already running 3 HD's.

Go take a look here to work out your +- power use, I found it a rather good measure for all the builds I have done both for myself and others.
http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp

Take a look at the capacitor aging setting and crank that up a little bit to get an idea of how your power use will look later on.
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October 22, 2011 2:18:05 PM

Did take a look at capacitor aging... I put it at 50% and it with a 6870, it tells me minimum 632W, recommended 682W

If I put a 6970, it changes to minimum 787W, recommended 837W (when in reality there's only a 100W difference between the two).



How long does it take for capacitors to reach 50% ?
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October 22, 2011 2:34:32 PM

Dersid said:
Did take a look at capacitor aging... I put it at 50% and it with a 6870, it tells me minimum 632W, recommended 682W

If I put a 6970, it changes to minimum 787W, recommended 837W (when in reality there's only a 100W difference between the two).



How long does it take for capacitors to reach 50% ?

I am not exactly sure about the time it takes to age, it depends alot on quality of components, and since all yours are high quality, I won't worry about anything above 20-30% aging,if even that.

Looking at those ratings, I'd say you could most probably get away by using the seasonic, would be relatively safe with the Corsair, and very safe with say a 850W or so.
That said, those ratings are the 'worst' case scenario, so since you are very close to the calculator values, I'd say go with the Corsair and you shouldn't have any trouble. Plus you save a few bucks.
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October 22, 2011 2:37:59 PM

Thanks for all the help !
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October 22, 2011 2:49:58 PM

MoBo - Has short warranty

RAM - costs more than equivalent Vengeance models - $ 50 - (2 x 4GB) Corsair Vengeance
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seasonic PSU the far better choice

No CUDA should be crimping ya video editing. Use this when ya next upgrade
http://www.studio1productions.com/Articles/PremiereCS5....

H series coolers are not only a waste on SB, but they noisy as hell.

Case Alternate - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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October 22, 2011 3:10:34 PM

Go with the 212 for the cooler on build one - and the Seasonic PSU (quality over [not much more] quantity).
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October 22, 2011 4:01:37 PM

All right, more info to go on !

Here is the updated build

ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 (changed from ASROCK, more SATA6 and better warranty on ASUS)
Core i5 – 2500k
Corsair H100 (I want to try water cooling)
1 x G.Skill F3 8GB F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2 1.25V (changed from 2x of these, but is 8GB enough when using an SSD and disabling page file?)
ASUS DRW-24B1ST
Corsair 500r
Seasonic X-660 GOLD + (awesome PSU, but there are awesome 750W PSUs also for the same price or cheaper... I will never do crossfire or SLI though)
Windows 7 64 bit Home Premium

Total is 936,27$
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October 22, 2011 4:01:59 PM

Reading up quickly on the H100, since your requirement is to OC the cpu properly, and you have the budget, I see it is true, they are very noisy. Since your requirements state silence, rather go with the hyper 212+ then, or maybe go with the Noctua NH-D14 since you can save cash if you go the ram route he suggested.

I don't agree that the Seasonic is by far the better choice in your situation. It is cutting it very close. Rather spend more then on the PSU (750W + models) if you don't like the corsair route.

Where are you getting your prices, newegg? So I we can go take a look at options for you.
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October 22, 2011 4:16:54 PM

The noise on the H100 is quite high with the fans on high... but on low, it's whisper quiet with only a 5 degree difference than on high.

I won't be massively overclocking, it seems the 2500k gets to 4.5Ghz quite easily and this cooler should do an adequate job. This is why I chose it as the "silent cooler", but I have the option of putting on high for additional cooling if my priorities or other variables change.

This is why it's so hard for me to build a system - It has to be very flexible, because I keep them for so long.

It seems that the only thing remaining now is the PSU choice... is 660W down the road, adequate if I only build systems with 1 high end vid card ?


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October 22, 2011 5:04:54 PM

You could start off with the fans on low or medium, then if you need to OC higher you can get some quieter fans
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October 22, 2011 5:11:51 PM

cmadrid said:
You could start off with the fans on low or medium, then if you need to OC higher you can get some quieter fans

I agree with this.
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October 22, 2011 8:20:26 PM

Dersid said:
All right, more info to go on !

Here is the updated build

ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 (changed from ASROCK, more SATA6 and better warranty on ASUS)
Core i5 – 2500k
Corsair H100 (I want to try water cooling)
1 x G.Skill F3 8GB F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2 1.25V (changed from 2x of these, but is 8GB enough when using an SSD and disabling page file?)
ASUS DRW-24B1ST
Corsair 500r
Seasonic X-660 GOLD + (awesome PSU, but there are awesome 750W PSUs also for the same price or cheaper... I will never do crossfire or SLI though)
Windows 7 64 bit Home Premium

Total is 936,27$


8gb isnt enough to turn off the page file as some apps use page file first. So to truly turn it off, you need 16gb using some of it as a ramdisk. I just move the page file to the hdd.
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October 22, 2011 8:38:32 PM

Yes,I would in any case recommend 16Gb still if you can afford. Even if you move your pagefile to the HD.
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October 22, 2011 10:03:53 PM

Thanks for all the help guys - here is what I ordered ;

Intel Core i5 2500K $219.69

Corsair Cooling Hydro Series H100 Extreme Performance $95.25

G.SKILL F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2 Sniper SE 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 1.25V Memory Kit 2 $56.62ea $113.24


ASUS DRW-24B1ST 24X SATA DVD $19.24

Corsair Carbide Series 500R Mid-Tower Gaming Case $115.50

MSI Z68A-GD65 (G3) Z68 ATX $191.93

Seasonic X-760 Fully Modular 80PLUS Gold 760W 134,99$ (only 5$ more than the 660w)

Windows 7 64 bit SP-1 99,99$


Total : 989,93$ + tax... = 1118$

Thanks for all the help !
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October 22, 2011 10:42:36 PM

All in all, that is a pretty nice rig. You will enjoy it :)  GL
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!