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First Gaming Build...for son, xmas

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November 3, 2011 5:11:45 PM

Gang,

I've built about a dozen systems, but gaming does not interest me.

Here are the components I have purchased so far:

Antec 900v2 Case
Corsair 850 watt silver modular PS
8gb (2 x 4gb) PC14900
GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 MB
Sapphire Radeon 6970 2gb graphics card
LG BD-ROM
Cable extensions to make things neat.

Here is what I will add:

I will get a 120gb SSD for the boot drive. I have two Agility 3 by OCZ, one that periodically blinks out, one that runs solidly. I need to update the BIOS in the one. I may get the Kingston, but I want the 2283 controller, I think it is, with the higher speeds.

Storage: 1tb, perhaps Hitachi Deskstar SATA-III. I have two of these in my system and they work well.

Processor: i5-2500K, or i7-2600K. Here is what I don't know: are there many games built to take advantage of hyperthreading? If yes, I'll spring for the i7. If there really aren't games that utilize hyper-threading, I won't.

So my big question surrounds the processor, i7 or i5. I don't see him multi-tasking, per se, but there will be an anti-virus, Network Magic, etc all running in background. Does this mean that the i7 becomes worth it? He mainly plays COD.

My second question surrounds memory: any real difference going up to 16gb for a gaming rig?

Thank you,
Art

More about : gaming build son xmas

November 3, 2011 5:18:04 PM

The i5 2500k is one of the best processors in terms of price/performance.

No you will not need Hyperthreading - so you don't need I7 (I5 is already quadcore - enough for everything).

I would say right now 16GB won't do much for gaming. I would say 8GB is the sweet spot right now.

Edit: Currently the Crucial M4 is one of the most stable and fast SSD's currently out there. Also intel recently introduced a new firmware update toolbox and they are somewhat reliable as well.
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a c 246 4 Gaming
November 3, 2011 5:31:02 PM

I like a lot of Antec's cases, but the 900 is not a good choice - there literally is no room for cable management. For the price go for the Corsair Carbide 400R instead.

8GB RAM is all you need but most motherboards wont natively support 14900 for the time being, you'll have an easier time finding 12800 (1600MHz) for not a lot of money.

Get a 6950 instead of the 6970 - with a firmware update, the 6950 becomes just as powerful as the 6970 and it's nearly $70 - $80 cheaper. XFX and Sapphire are pretty reputable brands in the ATI/AMD department.

Don't get Hitachi hard drives as they have a really limited life span, try Western Digital or Seagate instead. Samsung sold their HD division to Seagate so they're off the table for now.

When you get an anti virus program, avoid resource hogs like Norton and McAfee, go with something like Vipre, Panda, AVG, or even Bit Defender to a certain extent, that will minimize your system resources.

And have you picked out a PSU yet? I'd recommend going with something from Seasonic, Cougar, Corsair, or PC Power & Cooling around the 650 - 750 watt range.

And don't include things like cable extensions, tool kits, static wrist straps - anything of that sort in your budget - you most likely will not need them and probably will not use them again so put that money toward getting better hardware.
Related resources
November 3, 2011 5:34:12 PM

I would not spring for the i7 in a gaming rig, this will not really give him any better performance as no games support this. Most people get the i5 as it gives them the same performace pretty much in games. the GPU makes mor of a difference in games than the CPU. THe i7s work better in multi threaded applications like Photoshop and other editing software.

As for the memory, 8GB is all he would really need and some people would say that even that is pussing it. I personally would get 16 because it is so cheap and it would make it more future proof. If you do get more than 8GB you should disable the Page File in Windows 7 to help speed things up. This is one of the only real reasons to get it, for now.
November 3, 2011 7:11:34 PM

Thank you for the replies. My main thought on the i7 was that there will be background programs running. The other item I saw was that in Civ 5, which apparently is a multi-threaded application, the i7 produced an FPS rate approximately 20% higher than the i5. As a non-gamer, I wanted to check if multi-threading is definitely here and on its way for such games.

The MB will support the PC14900, so I think I'll be OK, and thank you for the advice on the larger HD. I'll probably go with two, one for storage and the other for backup and set him with some non-stop backup program. Then if I can get him to sync his documents on his laptop for college to the main machine, I should be worry free.

Thanks!
November 3, 2011 7:28:36 PM

Did I screw up by not using an NVidia graphics card with an Intel MB? Originally I expected to use the AMD 1090T or 1100T, but decided on the i5 after buying the graphics card. Is there any magic in keeping Intel/NVidia, or AMD/Radeon at this point?

I read about unlocking the 6950 to the 6970, and it seemed to depend on the version of the GPU and some could not be unlocked.

If I should go to a 570GTX/2560mb, perhaps, I will, and sell this NIB 6970.

The power supply is an 850 watt Corsair Silver certified modular unit, so I don't know if he could do SLI or CrossfireX, but it will certainly handle a single card.

Thoughts on 6970 v. 570 GTX (and yes, I've been reading some threads on it) given an Intel CPU?
November 3, 2011 7:47:05 PM

My recommendations

i5 2500k
Stay away from sandforce driven SSD's, get a plextor M2, crucial M4 or intel SSD instead
4GB of system memory is enough for a gaming machine look for fast timings G-Skill 6-8-6-24 1600 its around $60
either 570 or a 6970 will be fine, though a 6970 has more memory and will scale a lot better in x-fire
mix matching amd or intel brand do not matter
November 3, 2011 8:13:54 PM

Ahh, I've always wondered where/when timing trumps clock speed for memory, and gaming is such a place. I will check the other SSDs.

As noted, I have two Agility 3 x 120gb, and one has never hiccoughed, while the other periodically "disappears" from the system.

For the future I feel better with 8gb (2 x 4gb) so looking at the Mushin Redline CAS 7 memory as a compromise.
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a c 246 4 Gaming
November 3, 2011 8:30:09 PM

kzeroro said:
Did I screw up by not using an NVidia graphics card with an Intel MB? Originally I expected to use the AMD 1090T or 1100T, but decided on the i5 after buying the graphics card. Is there any magic in keeping Intel/NVidia, or AMD/Radeon at this point?

I read about unlocking the 6950 to the 6970, and it seemed to depend on the version of the GPU and some could not be unlocked.

If I should go to a 570GTX/2560mb, perhaps, I will, and sell this NIB 6970.

The power supply is an 850 watt Corsair Silver certified modular unit, so I don't know if he could do SLI or CrossfireX, but it will certainly handle a single card.

Thoughts on 6970 v. 570 GTX (and yes, I've been reading some threads on it) given an Intel CPU?


It'll handle SLI and Crossfire without batting an eye.

And GPUs are not CPU dependent - you can use AMD GPUs on Intel machines, NVIDIA GPUs on AMD machines, and vice versa. It doesn't matter.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
November 3, 2011 8:43:44 PM

does the mother board you chose support Intel Smart Response Technology ? If so you could use your good SSD ( although a little large ) and select the 1tb HD and run them in unison.

the processors...... not so much hyper threading if that was the question but there are games that are multi threaded. That's where the 2600 shines over the 2500. 2500/4core-4threads/2600 4cores 8threads...... BC3/FarCry2 for examples.

16gigs of memory are not needed for gaming. I have 8 in mine and don't use it all. But good for other apps I use.
November 3, 2011 9:01:41 PM

i would recommend core i5 and 8gb ram is enough, about the case you'd better off with corsair carbide 400r or 500r since the antec case have bad cable management like gunit said, that case also don't have hot swap and tool less drives and kinda outdated
November 3, 2011 9:08:17 PM

WOW! Wish I had a Dad like you...
You didn't mention a monitor.
Seems like 16 Gb memory is way too much unless doing Photoshop. PSU seems to be overkill but certainly a nice one.
Merry Christmas, Son...
November 3, 2011 10:39:03 PM

Thanks for the input.

The Z68 MB supports Smart Response, but if the OS and applications are both on the SSD, isn't the unnecessary? My understanding of Smart Response (I'll read more) is that it is most beneficial when the OS is on the SSD, but applications are on the standard HDD.

I understand about the cable management and maybe I got duped, but the reviews I read about the 900 v3 (or is it v2?) did not complain about cable management, while reviews on the original 900 (which I use) did. So I am hoping for some improvement, but maybe I blew it. I'm not going to worry about it now.

I'll stick with 8gb RAM, and at least that can be upgraded (to get rid of the pagefile) at a later time without forcing discussions with Microsoft and other vendors that think you've migrated software to another PC, as happens when changing HDs, MBs, or CPUS.

Roger roger on mutlithreading as compared to hyperthreading, but isn't it the hyperthreading of the i7-2600K that enables it to process an even greater number of multithreaded applications? Just wondering.

Finally, nobody has commented on the cooling. I'm thinking of the stock cooling for the CPU, but am open to recommendations. Sadly on my own build I used the i5-2400S, 95 watt processor, thinking it really used less power--and added a much better CPU cooler! So all I could do with that one was open Turbo-Boost to 3.7ghz, but that helps.

A coworker of mine (38) still says she wishes she had me as a dad...and yes, we're firmly middle-class...I'd just rather spend the money on something fun for him than (frankly) there being more money for my wife to get me something I probably don't need.

Monitor? Looking at a 2s GTG 23.5" ASUS for $154, HDMI, DVI and VGA; I don't think it has DisplayPort.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 3, 2011 11:18:35 PM

You may want to take a look at the NZXT Phantom Case:

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

It has a lot of features for the price. And looks just flat out awesome. Lots of space to work in. Kinda reminds me of an Alienware system in someways and is available in white, black, & red among other color combos. The video on the link above is very informative.
November 3, 2011 11:32:31 PM

cooling they have variety and if you don't overclock i wouldn't worry about it too much or you could buy a cheap cooler like cooler master 212 or any around $30 budget, and about monitor with display port the cheapest seem around $200+, you could buy active display port to dvi for around $30 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... to connect up to 3 monitors with single gpu, that monitor look fine to me
November 3, 2011 11:53:11 PM

The CM 212+ CPU cooler is inexpensive, not cheap! There are better coolers but the CM is an aluminum block as large as a Quarter Pounder box plus the pwm fan. Just make sure you install the backplate before installing the MB. If you've got all that gear and a 2500K there will come a time when you want to clock it.
Those ASUS monitors are great.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 4, 2011 12:37:09 AM

I used this GeminII S cooler from Cooler Master before as well as the CM212. The CM212 probably cools better but I did not like it because it was so huge. I like the the low profile of the GeminII S and plus it does a good job of cooling and looks great. The only thing you have to be cautious of is using it with RAM that has really tall heatsinks like GSKILL's RipJaw Ram as there is not a lot of clearance underneath.

However the CM212 is just legendary in performance and value. I don't think you could go wrong with either one.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
November 4, 2011 1:11:35 AM

$ 30 is cheap for ~$1k system, since you have high end cpu would u consider a $10 cooler ? u rather using the stock since the different is minimal, talking about budget cooler that give you best price/performance than it would be the cheapest since most of the coolers would ended up to $50 or + price .
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
November 4, 2011 12:40:35 PM

I'm getting confused. Is this machine for running benchmarks or for playing games ?
November 4, 2011 1:23:27 PM

Haha...good reply Swifty. I don't play any computer games, or console games, never have, so this is new and I just want to do it right. I know that on my machine I appreciate the SSD (which I also added to my wife's XPS17), etc. I guess I'm wanting to measure twice, cut once, and I know he plays Civ so when I saw that deal on Civ 5, it made me pause.
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
November 4, 2011 1:41:34 PM

I would stay away from the Antec cases entirely and go with a different brand. Antec makes a lot of good stuff, but cases aren't their strong point.

A quick browse over to the cases forum should have a listing for the really cost effective ones.

Also, it depends on the game whether it is more CPU intensive or GPU intensive. There are some games out now that bring processors to their knees and do very little to top end video cards.

As far as hyper threading goes, I am no expert, but it is my understanding that this doesn't so much help multi-tasking as much as it helps programs run more efficiently IF they are coded to use it (which most aren't).

I could be wrong, but that is my understanding of it. Feel free to confirm that and then not get the hyper threading one.
!