Hi folks. I've decided to get back into PC gaming and I wanted a review of this system I've setup and am near purchasing. I've been doing the mac thing for a long time now and have very little confidence in my system knowledge these days and wanted to see if you guys think this system will do what I want and includes everything it should.
The purpose of this PC will be to play SW:TOR and FFXIV, along with PC RPGs such as Skyrim. I don't plan to do use the computer for any other purpose. I want to future proof the computer for a couple years by having the capability to SLI a second GPU in a year and over clock the CPU as needed.
i7 is useless for games
850W is overkill unless SLi is in the future (550W is plenty for a single card setup)
As much as I love Zalman there are much better and cheaper coolers on the market (hyper 212), they just aren't as pretty
I got 850W because I wanted to SLI in about a year, and I read that 850W is comfortable wattage for two GTX 570s and over clocked CPU. I will look into the Hyper, I just don't know anything about heat sinks anymore, so I went with the brand I used back when I was into flash and a see through case.
Why do you say i7 is useless for gaming? Would I get similar performance out of an i5? It would be nice to be able to save $100. One thing to note about why I picked up a higher end CPU is because I read that FFXIV needs a good CPU because of how it's written, and FFXIV 2.0 being released in a year will probably be written the same way.
The GTX 570 is a great card for FFXIV, and will enable you to run all maxed out except for General Draw Quality of 8 and no AO, forcing Vsync and tripple buffer in driver.
With these settings you should see ~40 FPS in town and ~60 FPS outside.
With its current engine, for a smooth gameplay, an SSD is almost a must have.
HyperThreading which is basically what differentiates the i5 2500(k) and the i7 2600(k) does nothing for games, the only game where I have seen it make a difference is another SE game, The Last Remnant, and it made the game go into "slowmotion" when a HT core was being used, so was actually detrimental to gameplay.
As to a cooler, I agree, drop the Zalman, their days at the top are long gone, the Cooler Master 212+ is a nice cheap decent cooler, but can be a bit noisy with the stock fan, another option could be the Scythe Mugen which costs a bit more, about what the Zalman costs, but also delivers better cooling and noise ratio.
LothDK, I wanted to ask you a bit more about FFXIV settings. Do you mean that I should force Vsync and triple buffer in the driver's settings or that will be done automatically? Like I said, it's been a while since I've been into PC gaming.
Looks like a solid build with the i5-2500K instead of the i7-26. As those above me have said, albeit some more eloquently than others, in gaming, there really is little difference between the two. The i5 lacks HyperThreading (a feature I turn off on my i7 anyway) and 2MB of L3 Cache. Neither of those will make a significant difference in a gaming environment. Kick the i5 up a few bins and it'll have you set for years.
An 850 Watt power supply is probably a little overkill for that system even with future expandability in mind. A 700 or 750 should easily support two 570's down the road, saving you a little more if you wished.
As far as cases go, I see no reason to go beyond $50-60. After having built quite a few "flashy" systems over the years, the idea of simplicity is really starting to appeal to me. The NZXT Gamma and Sentry series are good options, Antec 300 Illusion, or Rosewill Challenger all offer solid cooling options with good build quality. Sure, you can go big with an Antec 900 or something, but then you'll hear every acoustic nuance of your expensive, fairly inefficient new space-heater.