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High End Gaming Rig - B: $2200 - Need Advise

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October 23, 2011 3:39:58 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Nov 11th

Budget Range: $2200 Before Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming

Parts Not Required: Keyboard & Mouse

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: Intel i7 2600k / ASUS Z68 Mobo

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Yes

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 or 1920x1200

Future Games @ Max Settings: Batman Ark City / MW3 / BF3 / Old Republic / Diablo 3 / DOTA 2 / CS:GO



I would like to compare 3 builds. One based on ATI, Nvidia (PhysX), and 3D. Also want to possibly take advantage of SSD caching. I plan on just putting my Windows on the SSD.


ATI Build so far:

•CPU: Intel Core i7-2600 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600 {299.99}
•MOBO: ASUS P8Z68-V PRO LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS {194.99}
•RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM {69.99}
•HSF: Thermaltake CLP0575 Frio OCK Universal CPU Cooler Ultimate OverClocking King {65.99}
•SSD: OCZ Agility 3 AGT3-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) {154.99}
•HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive {64.99}
•GPU: 2x SAPPHIRE 100311-2SR Radeon HD 6970 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP {699.98} (349.99ea)
•PSU: Antec High Current Pro HCP-850 850W TX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.92 CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Power Supply {149.99}
•DVD: Sony Optiarc 24X DVD Burner {18.99}
•Case: Antec Lanboy air Blue Black / Blue ATX Mid Tower Computer Modular Case {169.99}
•Monitor: ASUS VE278Q Black 27" 1920x1080 2ms Full HD HDMI LED Backlight LCD Monitor w/Speakers 300 cd/m2 ASCR 10,000,000:1 {329.99}

Subtotal: $2,199.88

CPU/Mobo Combo Discount -$20.00

Shipping: $9.95

Grand Total: $2,209.83


Rebates
Case - $20
GPU's - 2x $30 = $60
SSD - $30

After Rebate Total: $2109.83



______________________________________________________________________________________________________



Nvidia Build:

GPU: 1x MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 3072MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP {594.00}

Same build less the ATI Cards -$699.98


Subtotal: $2,093.90

Shipping: $9.95

Grand Total: $2,103.85

After Rebate Total: $2053.85


**This build would provide PhysX


______________________________________________________________________________________________________



3D Build:

New Monitor: Acer HN274Hbmiiid Black 27" 2ms 3D Full HD HDMI WideScreen LCD Monitor w/Speakers 300 cd/m2 ACM 10,000,000:1 {679.99}

Same as the Nvidia build minus the monitor. -$329.99


Subtotal: $2,443.90

Shipping: $0.96

Grand Total: $2444.86

After Rebate Total: $2394.86


**This build would provide PhysX & 3D. Glasses are included with monitor


______________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Questions:

Performance of a GTX 580 3GB comparable to 2x 6970's CF?

What are everyones thoughts on PhysX and/or current 3D tech?

Are there any compatibility issues anyone can spot?

Better parts options for each goal that I am trying to achieve?


Comments:

From my understanding: Performance ATI > Nvidia | Features Nvidia > ATI

Reading articles about Nvidia's 3D vs ATI's, ATI is just not up to par.

Roughly $300 more to go 3D. I am willing to spend a little more if the 3D tech is worth it.




~ Please critique and offer suggestions. I really appreciate the help/input.


Thank You!
October 23, 2011 4:41:23 AM


The i7 doesn't make much sense here for a gaming-only PC. The i7-2600K and i5-2500K perform almost identically in games. The only reason any of us here would recommend an i7 is for heavily threaded applications (constant video/photo work, and some server-grade apps). Just get the i5-2500K and save yourself $100 - it literally would just be wasted.


Solid RAM. Good choice. Personally a fan of the blue :) 


Although this cooler looks great (considered buying one a while back), it's very noisy (uses terribly loud fans). The new i5/i7 chips run very cool, so something like the Hyper 212+ would give you very similar performance. Mine topped out at 55C on one of my cores; my watercooling loop does about the same. Don't let its price deceive you ;) 


Go for the Crucial M4 128GB. The Sandforce 2000-series controllers that OCZ uses has been having some reliability issues. The M4 has been the most reliable SSD for many months now.


Samsung F3 - more reliable and the fastest 7200RPM drive out there. Seagate's drives have gotten really bad in the last few years, and the 6 Gbps controller is a marketing ploy, because even the F3 can't saturate the 3 Gbps speeds.


Since you're running a single monitor @ 1920x1080/1200, I'd go with a 1.5GB GTX 580. The 6970 is great at higher resolutions (2560x1440), but the 580 is a better single card at 1920x1080. The extra VRAM (i.e. 3GB model) will only help if you're running more than one monitor (i.e. AMD Eyefinity or NVidia Surround).

Here's a great place to compare GPU benchmarks. It even allows for SLI/CF GPUs: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/GPU11/188


Never quite understood this case. Any good mid or full tower will cool just as well as the Lanboy Air, and others generally have more features. Also with the mesh side panels, you'll be dealing with dust and noise a lot more, since you don't have any solid panels.


A 27" monitor should have a better resolution than just 1920x1080. You should be able to find a higher-res monitor for about the same price.



Quote:
Performance of a GTX 580 3GB comparable to 2x 6970's CF?

Discussed this in the GPU section.

Quote:
What are everyones thoughts on PhysX and/or current 3D tech?

PhysX doesn't add much to games these days - it is usually automatically assigned to a GPU or your CPU, and you'll never notice it running. At most you get ~10% framerate boost in newer games, and with something like a 580 you can't physically see the difference once you get above 60FPS.

The NVidia 3D is ok. I had the ASUS VG236H 3D monitor combo kit and it was a great monitor, but I ran out of games to play with 3D. That's probably the biggest shortcoming. I'd pass and spend the money on 3x24" screens if I had the money.
October 23, 2011 5:18:06 AM

Quote:
•CPU: Intel Core i7-2600 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600 {299.99}

The i7 doesn't make much sense here for a gaming-only PC. The i7-2600K and i5-2500K perform almost identically in games. The only reason any of us here would recommend an i7 is for heavily threaded applications (constant video/photo work, and some server-grade apps). Just get the i5-2500K and save yourself $100 - it literally would just be wasted.



I plan on going i7 for future expandability.



Quote:
•SSD: OCZ Agility 3 AGT3-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) {154.99}

Go for the Crucial M4 128GB. The Sandforce 2000-series controllers that OCZ uses has been having some reliability issues. The M4 has been the most reliable SSD for many months now.



I did read that some of the OCZ seem to have reliability issues. The crucial does look like a safe bet. I will consider. Thanks!


Quote:
•HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive {64.99}

Samsung F3 - more reliable and the fastest 7200RPM drive out there. Seagate's drives have gotten really bad in the last few years, and the 6 Gbps controller is a marketing ploy, because even the F3 can't saturate the 3 Gbps speeds.



According to the specs, The Barracuda writes & reads faster.


Quote:
•GPU: 2x SAPPHIRE 100311-2SR Radeon HD 6970 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP {699.98} (349.99ea)

Since you're running a single monitor @ 1920x1080/1200, I'd go with a 1.5GB GTX 580. The 6970 is great at higher resolutions (2560x1440), but the 580 is a better single card at 1920x1080. The extra VRAM (i.e. 3GB model) will only help if you're running more than one monitor (i.e. AMD Eyefinity or NVidia Surround).

Here's a great place to compare GPU benchmarks. It even allows for SLI/CF GPUs: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/GPU11/188




Seems to look like the ATI CF option blows the single Nvidia card out of the water. Roughly for the same price range.




Quote:
What are everyones thoughts on PhysX and/or current 3D tech?

PhysX doesn't add much to games these days - it is usually automatically assigned to a GPU or your CPU, and you'll never notice it running. At most you get ~10% framerate boost in newer games, and with something like a 580 you can't physically see the difference once you get above 60FPS.

The NVidia 3D is ok. I had the ASUS VG236H 3D monitor combo kit and it was a great monitor, but I ran out of games to play with 3D. That's probably the biggest shortcoming. I'd pass and spend the money on 3x24" screens if I had the money.



Looking at this video, seems to show me a lot of results with PhysX:


Related resources
October 23, 2011 6:37:48 AM

For that amount of money your PC should at least have a 580. Take the money saved moving to the 2500K and buy a 580 at least. A nice one at that. I like AMD cards as well but the 580 is a a good amount better.
October 24, 2011 12:10:16 AM

you are spending 2200$ and not looking into a tri monitor setup!?!?
here is a comparison- http://promos.asus.com/US/Eyefinity/index.htm
monitors- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... x3=450$
the i7 will be considered slow by the time it can be used fully by games so it is really not worth it.
2 6970's are a great option for a tri monitor setup the extra VRAM is useful in displaying those huge resolutions.
the Frio coolers are very loud. i think the scythe cpu coolers are a great deal and they cool extremely well for how quiet they are. the scythe mugen 3 is a great deal @ 50$- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
70$ for that ram!! not worth it considering faster 1866mhz ram is faster and cheaper http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The Antec Lanboy air does not have any better cooling than most cases. many people around here like the HAF series but the lack of air filters turns me off. Silverstone makes great cases. their unique 90 degree rotation setup gives it great cooling and all of their cases are very quiet. the rv03 is the newest of their 90 degree rotation cases- http://www.amazon.com/Silverstone-Extended-90-Degree-Mo...
October 24, 2011 12:27:47 AM

Quote:
I plan on going i7 for future expandability.

Again, if you're only gaming, the i7 is a waste. I'll leave it at that.

Quote:
According to the specs, The Barracuda writes & reads faster.


The F3 has a higher platter density, so it can read faster than most drives. I'm not sure how it compares with the new Barracudas, but I'd personally stay away from Seagate's drives. The failure rate is just far too high for hard drives.


Quote:
Seems to look like the ATI CF option blows the single Nvidia card out of the water. Roughly for the same price range.

2 things to consider:

1) Once you reach 60FPS, your games don't look any better. 60FPS looks the same as 120. I agree with mjmjpfaff that you should be looking at a 3 monitor setup.
2) Future expandability. If you need a performance boost or decide you want more monitors later down the line, you could just drop in a second 580 and you're good to go. The same can't be said for the 6970s because there are no games that use a third GPU properly (unless you plan to use one GPU for each monitor, in which case 3x6970s is a good option).


Quote:
Looking at this video, seems to show me a lot of results with PhysX:

I have several issues with that video. There are too many factors involved, namely that they're comparing an old GPU with a new one, and that definitely has an effect on the features each one can power. I'd be more concerned with the loss of DX11 features when comparing the 8800GT to the GTX560. Those trailers are also doctored, more often than not (it is a marketing trailer).

Like I said earlier, PhysX is light enough to run on your CPU or the main GPU. However, not enough games have ever used PhysX to make it a huge selling point. My 6950s make everything I play look fantastic - even "NVidia-designed" games.
October 24, 2011 12:40:29 AM

I have to agree with everyone here. No sense of getting an i7 over an i5.

I don't get what you mean by expandability. Any cpu has expandability.
October 24, 2011 1:09:32 AM

Second/thirding/whatevering the getting a spinpoint over the barracudas, they're much better harddrives. Also, remember to check amazon and other sites for better prices.
!