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In need of assistance with choosing nVidia/Intel PC components

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  • Intel
  • Nvidia
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Last response: in Systems
December 9, 2011 7:48:46 PM

So for a while now I've been wanting to buy a new PC, with nVidia for graphics and Intel for CPU. I've spent hours just searching the net and trying to come up with the best combination of parts to make the perfect PC for me. No luck.

At the moment I'm wanting something like an i5 2500k(and OC it to around 4ghz), a single gpu(like the GTX 580), 8gb of RAM and an SSD+HDD combo. Not planning on going multi-monitor, just using a full hd one. As for the motherboard - P67 or Z68(or is there another one)?

I just use PCs for gaming and simple tasks like watching movies and surfing the web. I do play the newest games out there so will definitely be needing powerful parts. From what I've seen on these forums, you guys are very knowledgeable about these sorts of things...so what do you guys recommend? :sol: 


Approximate Purchase Date: Within around 2 months or so, don't really care as long as it doesn't take too long...

Budget Range: around 1500 Euro max(2000USD, and around 1300 pounds)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, music, internet

Parts Not Required: I am planning on a new mouse & keyboard since my current ones are pretty old, so if you have any recommendations... Also have a monitor already. I have a PSU I can re-use(Corsair HX 650) but not sure if it will work with the new system. Also have a Samsung F3 I can re-use.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: any good European websites(preferably Netherlands)

Country: Netherlands

Parts Preferences: nVidia GPU & Intel CPU with good brand RAM like Corsair/Kingston(probably more good ones out there, not sure)

Overclocking: Will be OCing the CPU to around 4ghz i think and maybe some minor OCs to the gpu and ram etc.

SLI or Crossfire: Just single-gpu, not SLI, so will need a powerful single card!

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: I would want effective and good quality cooling solutions at a moderate price. Don't really mind fan noise since I'm either blasting tunes out of my speakers or wearing headphones. I have found a computer builder on a Dutch website, so I can use it based on you guys' advice(http://www.alternate.nl/html/pcbuilder/circleView.html?...).

More about : assistance choosing nvidia intel components

December 9, 2011 8:02:11 PM

When looking for build advice please use the template stickied at the top of this forum. It will help everyone better understand your needs/wants/budget. One thing I will recommend out of the gate is to not purchase an hdd if you have an old one you can use. Prices have doubled and won't be dropping for a few months, making it a complete waste of money if you have on you can reuse
December 9, 2011 8:43:56 PM

Cripple13 said:
When looking for build advice please use the template stickied at the top of this forum. It will help everyone better understand your needs/wants/budget. One thing I will recommend out of the gate is to not purchase an hdd if you have an old one you can use. Prices have doubled and won't be dropping for a few months, making it a complete waste of money if you have on you can reuse

OK I have done that. I do have a hard drive I can use and yeah, I noticed too at least here in NL that hard drivers are severely overpriced!
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December 10, 2011 2:40:07 AM

So can someone suggest a few parts or a complete build?
December 10, 2011 4:37:01 AM

From the sounds of it you're well on your way already. 2500k + 580 seems to be the template build right now. If you're dead set on sticking with nVidia there's little incentive from a gaming standpoint to look at LGA2011 (X79) and the newer pci-e 3 standard that AMD will be rolling out with their 7xxx series in a few weeks.

From a motherboard perspective you can pretty much pick the cheapest one you can find because you're not worried about SLI and pretty much all of the 1155 boards have tested out the same for overclocking. You might consider an option that allows you to one-touch OC like MSI's oc genie.

As for memory... find the cheapest set that's on your mobo's QVL. It makes virtually no difference, really.
December 10, 2011 4:43:44 PM

a4mula said:
From the sounds of it you're well on your way already. 2500k + 580 seems to be the template build right now. If you're dead set on sticking with nVidia there's little incentive from a gaming standpoint to look at LGA2011 (X79) and the newer pci-e 3 standard that AMD will be rolling out with their 7xxx series in a few weeks.

From a motherboard perspective you can pretty much pick the cheapest one you can find because you're not worried about SLI and pretty much all of the 1155 boards have tested out the same for overclocking. You might consider an option that allows you to one-touch OC like MSI's oc genie.

As for memory... find the cheapest set that's on your mobo's QVL. It makes virtually no difference, really.

Thank you for the reply! Looks like my research has paid off then!

Should I get the 1.5gb or 3gb card? I myself am leaning towards 3gb since I'm planning on using the PC for the next few years. Will there be a vram/bandwidth bottleneck, or will I be able to use the full 3gb?

Do you know when the LGA2011 motherboards and cpus will be coming out? Also would the performance be worth the extra $(which I imagine will be quite costly)?

Also, do those one-touch OCs bump it up to let's say 4ghz or only like 10%?
December 11, 2011 4:55:54 AM

Koozwad said:
Thank you for the reply! Looks like my research has paid off then!

Should I get the 1.5gb or 3gb card? I myself am leaning towards 3gb since I'm planning on using the PC for the next few years. Will there be a vram/bandwidth bottleneck, or will I be able to use the full 3gb?

Do you know when the LGA2011 motherboards and cpus will be coming out? Also would the performance be worth the extra $(which I imagine will be quite costly)?

Also, do those one-touch OCs bump it up to let's say 4ghz or only like 10%?


LGA2011 is here. It's the Z79 chipset based on Sandy Bridge-E. Check out the article here to read the review of the 3930K.

For gaming today, right now, this instant, it's an easy pick. There's absolutely no reason to spend the premium dollars on a Z79 setup. Of course that could all change a year from now when pcie 3.0 gpus are mainstream. Looking at the past and the great debates that occurred between X58 (x16/x16) and P55 (x8/x8) and how it was shown that pcie bandwidth is REALLY tough to saturate I'd lean towards the conservative side and say pcie 3.0 is little more than marketing at this point and in the near future. if you're planning on production work then the extra cores of the 3930K could however be justified.

Concerning the one-touch OC options. Honestly I've never owned an MSI board though OC Genie does tend to get really good reviews. I know on my Asus board while it wasn't a "one-touch" it did bundle with 3 different levels of OC options that were accessible via the bios, they were progressively more aggressive with the top preset bringing my 860 from stock 2.8 to a touch over 3.6 which was stable and still fairly aggressive.

I'm not an nVidia guy but I did manage to find some benchmarks of the two different 580s. Here, the review is in French but the charts are easy enough to read. From the looks of it even at massive 3 monitor resolutions the 3GB version offered very little in terms of performance and was beaten by the 1.5 version in a few of the tests. On typical resolution setups the 3GB version could actually cost you performance and would rarely benefit.
December 12, 2011 5:34:22 PM

a4mula said:
LGA2011 is here. It's the Z79 chipset based on Sandy Bridge-E. Check out the article here to read the review of the 3930K.

For gaming today, right now, this instant, it's an easy pick. There's absolutely no reason to spend the premium dollars on a Z79 setup. Of course that could all change a year from now when pcie 3.0 gpus are mainstream. Looking at the past and the great debates that occurred between X58 (x16/x16) and P55 (x8/x8) and how it was shown that pcie bandwidth is REALLY tough to saturate I'd lean towards the conservative side and say pcie 3.0 is little more than marketing at this point and in the near future. if you're planning on production work then the extra cores of the 3930K could however be justified.

Concerning the one-touch OC options. Honestly I've never owned an MSI board though OC Genie does tend to get really good reviews. I know on my Asus board while it wasn't a "one-touch" it did bundle with 3 different levels of OC options that were accessible via the bios, they were progressively more aggressive with the top preset bringing my 860 from stock 2.8 to a touch over 3.6 which was stable and still fairly aggressive.

I'm not an nVidia guy but I did manage to find some benchmarks of the two different 580s. Here, the review is in French but the charts are easy enough to read. From the looks of it even at massive 3 monitor resolutions the 3GB version offered very little in terms of performance and was beaten by the 1.5 version in a few of the tests. On typical resolution setups the 3GB version could actually cost you performance and would rarely benefit.

I won't go with the Z79 setup then. From the looks of it, it's just way too expensive(it's not like I do any complex work on my PC requiring that much power anyway)...

About the one-touch OC thing - I will really be getting into OCing in the near future, so I don't need a 'magic OC button' but rather manually input every value, for the perfect OC(which requires indepth knowledge of OCing, which I will be working on).

Looks like I'll go with the 1.5GB card, 3GB is just overkill(unless in the next couple of years 1.5 is not enough(?)). I do use high quality texture(s) mods for games that have them(like Skyrim).

As for the motherboard, P67 or Z68? Keep in mind I'll only need one PCI-E x16 slot for the gpu. I would like some opinions on which boards(and brands are the best these days for the LGA 1155 chipset).

32Mbit or 64Mbit EEPROM EFI? I have no idea what that is(type of BIOS?). Some boards have 32, and some 64.

Also here are some motherboards I found that look alright:
ASRock Fatal1ty P67 Performance €109,90
ASRock P67 Pro €86,90 (only USB 2)
ASRock P67 Pro3 €88,90 (up to DDR3 2000)
ASRock Z68M/USB3 €87,90
ASRock Z68 Pro3 €97,90
ASRock Z68 Pro3-M €102,90
ASRock Z68 Pro3 Gen3 €104,90
Intel DP67DE €102,90
Intel DZ68DB €112,90

The differences between the two Intel boards: http://ark.intel.com/compare/50089,55744

The ASRock boards have a 2-year warranty and the Intel boards have a 3-year warranty.

All the ASRock boards apart from the P67 Pro3 support up to 1600 RAM(however because the 2500k CPU only supports up to 1333, how does it work then?), the Intel both supporting up to 1333. I'm leaning towards 16GB(4x4) of Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 RAM; will that still work the same as on the ASRock boards if I get an Intel board?

"Why no ASUS boards?" Simple, the website I'm going to buy the PC from does NOT have any ASUS P67/Z68 boards with just one PCI-E x16 slot. The reason I included some Z68 boards is since they are quite cheap and I got nothing to lose over the P67(or do I?).

One more thing - how about the brand for GPU & RAM, any thoughts?

A lot of questions, I know, but this really helps me and others who will read this! ;) 
December 12, 2011 6:38:39 PM

The only real advantage that Z68 holds over P67 is SSD caching. It allows you to use a smaller SSD that acts as a prebuffer for a larger HDD enabling your most used programs and OS to operate as if they were on an SSD full-time.

Pretty much all the boards since p55 have benchmarked REALLY close to each other regardless of price. In terms of quality you have Asus, Gigabyte, EVGA in the upper tier with ASrock and MSI sliding in just a touch behind but have been closing the gap for awhile now. Asrock and MSI tend to be less expensive than the other three but typically comes at the cost of quality control aspects like VRM cooling, less expensive capacitors, and thinner pcbs.

As for GPU, I'll be going with XFX this go around for their lifetime transferable warranty. Their cards do tend to go for small premium over say HIS or Power Cooler but for an investment of that dollar amount it's a nice bit of insurance.

RAM, I'm in the camp that believes it doesn't really matter. Find the cheapest set that's on your mobos QVL and run with them. I'd just make sure that it's a set that's got plenty of Newegg reviews with positive ratings.
December 13, 2011 12:16:39 AM

a4mula said:
The only real advantage that Z68 holds over P67 is SSD caching. It allows you to use a smaller SSD that acts as a prebuffer for a larger HDD enabling your most used programs and OS to operate as if they were on an SSD full-time.

Pretty much all the boards since p55 have benchmarked REALLY close to each other regardless of price. In terms of quality you have Asus, Gigabyte, EVGA in the upper tier with ASrock and MSI sliding in just a touch behind but have been closing the gap for awhile now. Asrock and MSI tend to be less expensive than the other three but typically comes at the cost of quality control aspects like VRM cooling, less expensive capacitors, and thinner pcbs.

As for GPU, I'll be going with XFX this go around for their lifetime transferable warranty. Their cards do tend to go for small premium over say HIS or Power Cooler but for an investment of that dollar amount it's a nice bit of insurance.

RAM, I'm in the camp that believes it doesn't really matter. Find the cheapest set that's on your mobos QVL and run with them. I'd just make sure that it's a set that's got plenty of Newegg reviews with positive ratings.

Well since I'll be using my SSD as a boot drive...SSD caching has no use?

What did you mean by VRM cooling and thinner pcbs? No idea what that means...

EVGA has to be the best quality for motherboards(my personal opinion). I am quite hesitant about going with ASRock, however sadly these ASRock and Intel boards were the only ones with just one PCI-E x16 slot...should I just go with a board that has 2 PCI-E slots? What about Intel? You didn't mention anything about them. Now I know Intel is really good quality however I'm wondering if those two boards can also overclock nicely since they aren't really 'gaming boards'.

Also, let's say I get 1600MHz RAM, yet the motherboard and processor both support up to 1333MHz - what happens? RAM speed gets decreased, or doesn't it matter? XMP?

Would you recommend the 3GB card over the 1.5GB simply for futureproofing, or don't you think games will use that much VRAM in the next couple of years even with HD texture mods(& maxed out Anti-Aliasing)?

Another thing; 32Mbit or 64Mbit EEPROM EFI? I have no idea what that is(type of BIOS?). Some boards have 32, and some 64(would be good to know which one I should get).

Thanks again for your ongoing replies, looking forward to a reply. ;) 
December 15, 2011 9:13:25 PM

Bump? Still need some help here...
December 15, 2011 11:17:22 PM

Koozwad said:
Well since I'll be using my SSD as a boot drive...SSD caching has no use?


SRT applies not only to your OS but also to you most used programs. While the overall performance is lower than using a SSD directly there are benefits as well. The install and forget nature of the technology shouldn't be understated. Here's a technology that's going to speed up everyday operations while also boosting whatever apps are used by you the most and you never once have to micromanage, juggle which apps do and do not get installed, or worry that your going to thrash your drive. Unless you're an enterprise user or have specific apps like Photoshop that really shine with SSDs then SRT to me is a no brainer. Instead of using it as a boot drive, just configure it for SRT and never again worry about it.

Quote:

What did you mean by VRM cooling and thinner pcbs? No idea what that means...


Voltage Regulation Modulators - These are the phase power converters that take your 110/220 AC power and convert it to the 12V/5V DC power that your pc uses. Motherboards that sacrifice quality in this area can lead to a shortened lifespan on not only the mobo but also the cpu. It can also hamper your ability to overclock by limiting the ability to overvolt.

PCB - Printed Circuit Board - This is the copper lament that makes up the actual 'board' of the motherboard (or any other integrated circuit board). Thinner boards are more easily damaged, susceptible to twisting via weight torque of larger GPUs and/or HSF. This is also a consideration of overall board temperature as the copper base helps to spread and dissipate heat.

Neither of these are major concerns as long as you stick with a quality vendor for your motherboard. Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, EVGA are all known for having high quality parts.

Quote:

EVGA has to be the best quality for motherboards(my personal opinion). I am quite hesitant about going with ASRock, however sadly these ASRock and Intel boards were the only ones with just one PCI-E x16 slot...should I just go with a board that has 2 PCI-E slots? What about Intel? You didn't mention anything about them. Now I know Intel is really good quality however I'm wondering if those two boards can also overclock nicely since they aren't really 'gaming boards'.


Every modern motherboard will ship with a minimum of one x16. If it has more the only thing to be aware of is if you stick something in it, it can have the effect of lowering the x16 to an x8 lane.

Intel typically only produces reference boards, that while are suitable for high production low cost mass manufacturing, isn't exactly what you're looking for in an enthusiast board. They don't typically spend the money on higher quality components or include some of the features that companies that specialize in motherboard production will.

Stick with Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, EVGA, Asrock. The difference in overclocking between any of their boards will be negligible regardless of price.

Quote:

Also, let's say I get 1600MHz RAM, yet the motherboard and processor both support up to 1333MHz - what happens? RAM speed gets decreased, or doesn't it matter? XMP?


XMP is Extreme Memory Profile. It's supported by all current generation motherboards and it's a automated system that matches the memory's supported speed to that the of the DMI. It can also be used to generate the appropriate timings and RAM voltages required to overclock memory. The only time you'd need to concern yourself with any of this is if you were considering extreme overclocking such as is supported with L2N. Otherwise find the cheapest RAM that's on your motherboards Quality Vendor List. It makes no difference.

Quote:

Would you recommend the 3GB card over the 1.5GB simply for futureproofing, or don't you think games will use that much VRAM in the next couple of years even with HD texture mods(& maxed out Anti-Aliasing)?


I've already stated that unless you plan on running multiple monitors at massive resolutions then there is no reason for the 3GB card. Even at 2560x1600 the benchmarks show the 3GB version provides no benefit at all.

Quote:

Another thing; 32Mbit or 64Mbit EEPROM EFI? I have no idea what that is(type of BIOS?). Some boards have 32, and some 64(would be good to know which one I should get).


I have no idea. EEPROM is a newer bios technology that I haven't bothered to investigate.
December 16, 2011 6:40:32 AM

Alright, thank you. That has helped me quite a bit. I will be going with the ASUS Maximus IV GENE-Z motherboard. Also will be getting 16GB Corsair Vengeance RAM, and a Crucial M4 64GB SSD. I think I might just go with a GTX 570, not sure yet of the brand, but I'll look into that.