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$2000-$2500 Gaming rig, newbie builder w/ questions

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December 22, 2011 11:43:56 PM

So I need a new computer and figured I'd try building one. I've been researching and reading for about a month and think I've come up with a good build but I want a few people to look it over and give me the OK. I'd also like to get some advice on places I might have gone overboard, like the PSU. I also have some questions but I'll give my info and the build first then ask at the bottom.

When I started writing I didn't think this post would be so long, so a big thanks to anyone who reads through it and a bigger thanks to anyone who helps.

Approximate Purchase Date: Within the next month. Depending on feedback I might order the parts this weekend. I've entered the TH give away for the 3930k, motherboard, and SSD so I kinda feel I should wait to see if I get lucky but waiting is killing me.

Budget Range: I'd like to keep the hardware at or below $2000, but I am willing to go higher for longevity or performance. I'd like to keep the next $500 for things like OS, Windows Office, and anything else I've forgotten or don't know I need.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, streaming Netflix/watching movies, surfing the internet. I'm also going back to school next year for engineering so I might need it to handle some CAD work, but this is secondary. I plan to play mostly strategy games, i.e. Civ 5 and StarCraft 2, but I might give BF 3 a try. Not sure what is out there really. I haven't had a PC that I was happy with for gaming in a couple years. I want to get more into PC gaming and want this computer to run everything. One goal I have is to run Civ 5 on the largest map with max players on the highest settings without a hiccup. This build might be overkill for that, but I also want it to last awhile.

Parts Not Required: I'll need pretty much everything including OS. I plan on getting a new monitor and trying a gaming keyboard and mouse, but I don't want to include those in the budget for the system. I want to get the computer first, then the bells and whistles.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Not too concerned about this but I would prefer to get everything from the same place unless there are big savings elsewhere.

Country: US

Parts Preferences: I personally prefer Intel and NVIDIA. I don't want to start a AMD vs. NVIDIA war, I just prefer NVIDIA.

Overclocking: Not immediately but I would like to try a small overclock, maybe taking a i7-2600k to 4.0 or 4.5 depending on what it does to the life of the processor and the necessary cooling.

SLI or Crossfire: Yes, I'll explain my dilemma in a bit.

Monitor Resolution: Currently 1280x1024 but I plan on getting a Dell U2412M which runs at 1920x1200 so the system should be planned for that.

Build so far:

Case: SILVERSTONE RAVEN Series RV03B-WA Matte Black with Gray Trimming, Steel / Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

Corsair Special Edition White Graphite Series 600T Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD10EALX 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card: EVGA SuperClocked 01G-P3-1563-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I plan on using two of these in SLI, but I some have questions about that.

PSU: CORSAIR Professional Series HX1050 1050W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9B
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68 DELUXE/GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 BX80623I72600K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooler:COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Blu-Ray: SAMSUNG Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-/+R 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Combo Model SH-B123L/RSBP LightScribe Support
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD: Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That's what I have so far. I'd welcome any suggestions on the case. I like the 90 degree motherboard in the Silverstone but I prefer the looks of the Corsair. Also I wouldn't mind a smaller case but I haven't found one I like. I want a little more than a black box but not something weird like the Level 10gt.

For the HDD I don't really know if I need that much space. I don't have hardly any music and no videos. I only have a 250GB hardrive right now with no other storage and I still have 60 GB free on it. I'm thinking about dropping from a 1 TB to 500 GB for storage since I have the SSD for OS and games and getting more in the future when I need it or when prices come back down.

My graphics card dilemma bleeds into my questions about the processor and mobo as well. A couple graphics specific questions first. Can you mix different cards in SLI? For example could I get a GTX580 now and drop in a GTX6xx when they come out and have them play nice together? What exactly is the x16 and x8 when looking at PCI slots? Do I really need to find something with dual x16 to take advantage of SLI? I was trying to find this, preferably in PCI 3.0 (hence the motherboard), but then I read that it is hard to bottleneck a card even on x8. Also, how important is PCI 3.0 support, both now and going forward? My original plan was to get one 580 now and drop in another in six months or so. Then I read that the GTX 600 series is expected next year and you can get better performace from twin GTX 560 TI's for the same price as a GTX 580. Now I'm thinking about going with the 560's and when the GTX 600 series comes out swapping for one or two of those. Any thoughts?

For the CPU and mobo I have a few questions. My big dilemma with this isn't so much 2600k vs. 3930k, which are what I'm debating between, but more LGA 1155 vs. LGA 2011. I know Ivy bridge will be on 1155 but those supposedly won't have much of a performance boost so I'm not sold on that route. I'm more concerned that the Z68 platform and the LGA 1155 won't be able to support things in two or three years. I'm not sure whether to bite the bullet now and get the 3930k for longevity or go with the 2600k for the savings, and get a new mobo and CPU in a couple years.

As for overclocking, I don't know anything about how to overclock so that is not on my immediate horizon, but I am interested. My big concern is what it does to the longevity of the CPU and other parts. If you just cool it enough will it last as long as a non overclocked CPU? And at what point would I need to switch from air to water because I'm not sure that is a line I'm willing to cross just yet?

Also, like I said, I entered the TH giveaway so I would like to select parts that, if I win, I can simply move everything over and have it work, maybe returning the other CPU and mobo.

As for the PSU I erred on the side of bigger is better. I would like it and the case to last me for as long as possible. I also went with something north of 1000w because I could see myself running three video cards at some point. Also, I don't know what is coming down the road and would like this to work with as much of it as possible.

I don't know much about RAM but the vengance was TH approved so I went with that. What is the difference, if any between the colors? Is there any tangible benefit with stepping up to 1866 that would make it worth the extra $70? I also thought about going with 2x8gb sticks in case I went with the 3930k but I decided it wasn't worth the extra $100.

Don't know much about coolers but this one seems popular. What is the difference between this one and the EVO hyper 212? I would like to stay away from water because it scares me and I don't think I need it since I won't be aggressively overclocking. Do I need more cooler than this if I do decide to overclock somewhere a little north of 4.0 on a 2600k?

I don't have my heart set on Blu-ray but I figured what the hell and threw it in.

I was looking for an SSD in the 120GB neighborhood. I plan to use it for my OS, common apps, and games. I figured this would be more than enough. The Crucial seems really popular so that's what I picked.

Any suggestions on a thermal compound would be helpful. I've heard the Artic whatever has curing problems so I'm not sure if I want to go with that.

I plan on running Windows 7 Home Premium as I've heard there is no real benefit to Professional or Ultimate for me.

Like I said, I'm planning on getting a Dell U2412M either with my system or shortly there after. I'm also looking at a Razer Black Widow Ultimate Keyboard:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and either a Logitech G9x mouse:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or a Razer DeathAdder:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'd like to try a R.A.T. but I'm not sure I want to spend that much without getting my hands on one first. I don't know much about gaming keyboards and mice and I don't have anywhere I can go play with them so any help is awesome. And again, I don't want to include the price of monitor, keyboard, or mouse in my system budget.

Is there any thing I'm missing that I need? Like I said this is my first build so any feedback is welcome.
December 23, 2011 1:25:47 AM

Forgot to mention I'd like to run Skyrim and give The Witcher 2 a shot.
December 23, 2011 1:57:28 AM

OH MY GOD that is a lot of text. Let's tackle this one by one....

Build Hardware

Quote:
Case: SILVERSTONE RAVEN Series RV03B-WA Matte Black with Gray Trimming, Steel / Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811163185

or

Corsair Special Edition White Graphite Series 600T Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811139005


What exactly are you looking for in a case? Size? Ease of building/use? Flashy/minimalist/intimidating looks?

I have the Raven RV02 and it's actually a very efficient cooling design. I was able to keep 3x470s under 65C at full load all cram-packed in there. From what I've heard, the design changes in the RV03 were improvements (sometimes, changes aren't...)

The Corsair certainly isn't bad, but Corsair is a bit more expensive compared to other brands. They're good, just not great value.

Other good choices include the Cooler Master HAF 912/922/932/942, NZXT Phantom, and some of the Thermaltake cases. Antec's designs haven't changed much, so I tend to not recommend them.

Quote:
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD10EALX 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822136767


The Samsung F3 1TB is worth the $10 difference (it's usually cheaper, but these floods have screwed up pricing beyond all belief). It has a higher platter density than the WD and Seagate drives, giving it faster speeds. It's just as, if not more, reliable than WD. Seagate is garbage nowadays, and I wouldn't recommend them.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
Video Card: EVGA SuperClocked 01G-P3-1563-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814130610


EVGA is the way to go with Nvidia cards (personally my favorite, though MSI uses Samsung VRAM on their Twin Frozr cards, which OC better). I've owned a lot of EVGA cards and never had any issues, and dealing with their customer support is pretty painless. They're also based in Cali, which makes RMA very easy (did their step-up program, and it was basically an RMA).

Quote:
PSU: CORSAIR Professional Series HX1050 1050W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817139034


WAY overkill - even with 2x560Tis and an OCed CPU, you'd have plenty of headroom with a 750-850W PSU. There are a lot of good options in this power range, but the HX/AX series are really the high-end PSUs.

Quote:
RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9B
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820145347


You definitely don't need more than 8GB RAM for gaming. Plus, if you ever find that you need more RAM, you just need to buy a kit with matching voltages, speeds, and timings (doesn't need to be same brand). I'd stick with G.Skill, Corsair, or Patriot, and spend a few extra bucks on an 8GB kit with lower Cas Latencies (preferably lower than 8) @ 1600MHz.

Quote:
Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68 DELUXE/GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813131791

CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 BX80623I72600K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819115070


Not much wrong with this. I've had good success with my Gigabyte board, and it was somewhat cheaper than Asus' options when I bought it in April. Shop around, save some $$ ;) 

Quote:
Cooler:COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835103065


One of the best coolers for the $$ out there. Used two in my air-cooled builds, and would still be using one if I hadn't switched to watercooling.

Quote:
SSD: Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820148442


Best SSD purchase you could make. Most reliable drive right now, since OCZ's stuff keep crapping out on everybody.



Accessories

Quote:
Like I said, I'm planning on getting a Dell U2412M either with my system or shortly there after. I'm also looking at a Razer Black Widow Ultimate Keyboard:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6823114012

and either a Logitech G9x mouse:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6826104261

or a Razer DeathAdder:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6826153055

I'd like to try a R.A.T. but I'm not sure I want to spend that much without getting my hands on one first. I don't know much about gaming keyboards and mice and I don't have anywhere I can go play with them so any help is awesome. And again, I don't want to include the price of monitor, keyboard, or mouse in my system budget.


What exactly do you need the Dell 2412 for? In general the IPS displays have slower response times, and I've heard of issues with IPS displays and gaming. However, I am madly in love with Dell monitors, and would highly recommend their Professional (P) series - great colors, great build quality, and overall great feel. I have a P2411H and am never buying anything other than Dell panels from here on :) 

Will be back to discuss mice and keyboards in a bit...



Questions

Quote:
My graphics card dilemma bleeds into my questions about the processor and mobo as well. A couple graphics specific questions first. Can you mix different cards in SLI? For example could I get a GTX580 now and drop in a GTX6xx when they come out and have them play nice together? What exactly is the x16 and x8 when looking at PCI slots? Do I really need to find something with dual x16 to take advantage of SLI? I was trying to find this, preferably in PCI 3.0 (hence the motherboard), but then I read that it is hard to bottleneck a card even on x8. Also, how important is PCI 3.0 support, both now and going forward? My original plan was to get one 580 now and drop in another in six months or so. Then I read that the GTX 600 series is expected next year and you can get better performace from twin GTX 560 TI's for the same price as a GTX 580. Now I'm thinking about going with the 560's and when the GTX 600 series comes out swapping for one or two of those. Any thoughts?


You must match the GPU (e.g. the 580 will not work with a 6XX card), and if there is a difference in the VRAM amount, the card with more VRAM will be limited to the VRAM of the card with less (if you mix a 2GB card with a 1GB card, your usable VRAM will be 1GB per card = 2GB total).

The x16/x8 rating is the amount of information that can be passed through the PCI-Express bus. The difference between two slots running at x16/x16 and x16/x8 is ~5%, and another 5% between x16/x8 and x8/x8. Most P67/Z68 boards are x16/x8, which is fine for SLI.

Right now nothing can really saturate PCI-E 3.0, so don't really worry about it. It's a nice feature, but I don't think it will really be usable for some time.

If you're thinking about swapping out for the GTX 600s, just get one 560Ti. You'll get very good performance at 1920x1080/1200, and can just put the money for the other card into a better 600 single card.

Quote:
For the CPU and mobo I have a few questions. My big dilemma with this isn't so much 2600k vs. 3930k, which are what I'm debating between, but more LGA 1155 vs. LGA 2011. I know Ivy bridge will be on 1155 but those supposedly won't have much of a performance boost so I'm not sold on that route. I'm more concerned that the Z68 platform and the LGA 1155 won't be able to support things in two or three years. I'm not sure whether to bite the bullet now and get the 3930k for longevity or go with the 2600k for the savings, and get a new mobo and CPU in a couple years.

For gaming and CAD work, you don't need anything better than 1155. Almost all of the games are now GPU-limited because the i5/i7 chips are so effective. Don't bother with 2011; you won't be able to tell the difference in games, but you'll sure feel it in your wallet.



Quote:
As for overclocking, I don't know anything about how to overclock so that is not on my immediate horizon, but I am interested. My big concern is what it does to the longevity of the CPU and other parts. If you just cool it enough will it last as long as a non overclocked CPU? And at what point would I need to switch from air to water because I'm not sure that is a line I'm willing to cross just yet?

There's always a risk of damaging hardware, but in general your biggest enemy is heat. The Hyper 212+ can support some great OCs at temps below 60C (seen 4.5+ done around 60C before), so no worries there.

OCing with the 1155 chips is relatively simple; most of the i5-2500Ks/i7-2600Ks can hit 4GHz without upping the voltage. You won't see a change in the lifetime of the CPU unless your cooling isn't working and the chip is baking.

In short, heat = bad.


Quote:
Any suggestions on a thermal compound would be helpful. I've heard the Artic whatever has curing problems so I'm not sure if I want to go with that.

Arctic Silver 5, MX-2, and Ceramique 2 are all popular choices. Really any of these will work well for the CPU. Keep in mind that Silver 5 is electrically conductive so just make sure not to carelessly spread it around as you will bridge circuits and fry components. MX-2 and Ceramique2 are non-conductive, but they're still messy if you get it everywhere.

It's not that hard to apply thermal paste though ;) 



Related resources
December 23, 2011 2:04:49 AM

To your first question about the sli config. you can't put in a 580 and a 570 and so on. Also the gtx 560 ti cant go into a 3 way sli it. But you can go up to two way sli. For the mobo you dont really need the deluxe the pro would be better. Also i your main use is gaming a i5 2500k is fine. The 2600k is another $100 and it would be a better choice if you want to go into video editing or any type of production. For the RAM you don't need high clock if you dont want to do some high over clocking. A 1600 RAM kit would be fine. Also the cooler you choose is a good choice if you dont want to over clock to super high speeds. Also for the durability of the the products if you do slight overclocks than your ok with the cooling and good air flow. The HX 1050 got "ok" reviews but there are better ones out there. Lastly a 2011 cpu will bottle neck the gpu's. What I mean by this is the 3930k is "too fast" for the 560's so it will never have a chance to work at full performance.
Ok also the new ivy bridge and the future mobo's will have pci-e 3.0 while now most have 2.0. Also I think Nivida said the new 600 gpu's will be released in January. Not in stone though. Ok so hope this helped.
December 23, 2011 2:13:51 AM

As far as keyboards go, mechanical boards like the Blackwidow Ultimate generally have a better feel (Razer sometimes has quality issues). In general it is a good keyboard and has some nifty features.

You could save by getting a normal backlit keyboard with some gaming keys, but it's up to you. Read reviews and shop around.


I would highly recommend the RAT mice. They are about the same price as Razer's high end mice but IMO are made much better. They are machined aluminum and the RAT 7 is fully adjustable to your hand (palm, thumb, pinky, weight, DPI), making it one of the most comfortable and most well reputed mice. I love my RAT 5 and wish I had gotten the 7.

I'd also recommend a good mouse mat. If you prefer a smoother experience, you could go with a metal mat (I have the Steelseries SX and LOVE IT; my RAT flies); if you prefer a more controlled mouse feel, there are a multitude of cloth mats that will work. Keep in mind that the metal mats are pretty large but tend to track better than cloth with laser mice.

To address your Skyrim/Witcher games: My 560Ti clocked at 950MHz runs Skyrim without any slowdown on High, and can run Ultra well (I tweaked it down due to some minor glitching; YMMV with GPU OCs). Skyrims textures are poor enough that High doesnt make a difference in the appearances.

I haven't run Witcher 2, but I feel like even a single 560Ti will handle it well.
December 23, 2011 2:48:58 AM

I have not seen two consecutive long posts like the two above , wow thats a lot of typing. I will be somwhat shorter in my post as most of what you have listed is pretty good. The thing you could consider is this , the 2600k is a great cpu but there are only two things that seperate it from the 2500k which is $100 cheaper. The hyperthreading and 3.3ghz vs 3.4ghz and if your main interest is in gaming the you will not need hyperthreading and the .1ghz isn't going to be noticed once you overclock or before for that matter and you can overclock the 2500k just as much as the 2600k. I would only get the 2600k if you were using the computer for work and were going to utilize the hyperthreading. That means a savings of $100 which you could put towards a GTX 570 and later on it would not be overly expensive to pick up another for SLI. With Nvidia the cards do have to be the same for SLI.

EVGA SuperClocked 012-P3-1572-AR GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
$359.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
December 23, 2011 8:21:48 AM

About Skyrim and Witcher 2, I would go for the 560 SLI. Then it will run on ultra without problem, while you will have some trouble maxing out these games with one card.

Also the PSU and the RAM are way too much.
December 23, 2011 10:31:31 AM

Quote:
OH MY GOD that is a lot of text.


Yeah, sorry about that. I can get long winded when trying to explain myself.

I made some changes. I switched out the HDD for the samsung. I stwitched the PSU to the 850W Silverstone Strider Gold +. Dropped to 8GB RAM, still Vengance but with a lower latency. I dropped the motherboard down to the pro version instead of the deluxe. I also switched to two 560s for a single superclocked 570. If I find that isn't enough the other changes mean I think I can affoard a second 570 in a month. Also, if NVIDIA's new cards do come out next month I would rather ditch one card than two. I threw in some MX-4 thermal compound and I'm sitting at $1733.94 for hardware, not including OS, monitor, keyboard, or mouse.

Thanks for the advice on the mice. I think I will go with a R.A.T. after all. Now to decide between the 7 or 9.

Any recomenddations on other keyboards? I only know what I've read in TH's article about mechanical keyboards. They all tend to look the same at times.

As for a monitor I just want an excellent 23-24 inch 1080p monitor. I've been using TH and their gift guides as a reference. The U2412M got good reviews and made it into the gift guide so I figured it was worth it. I looked for the P2411H, but couldn't find it. What should I look for in other monitors and any recomendations?

As for the case I'm looking for something that will last several builds, has enough room inside for at least two large graphics cards, preferably three, and will be able to cool them well. I really like the looks of the Corsair Graphite 600T and was looking at the NZXT phantom for a while, but the Raven has me really interested for cooling. I'm not really fond of the looks of the HAF series. I guess if I had to use one word for what I want a case to look like I would say "sleek."

When picking the OS do I need to get the $200 home premium or can I get away with the same thing but OEM? I know the OEM is supposed to go to retailers but does that make any difference for me?
December 23, 2011 10:56:09 AM

- If you're only gaming do not spend money in i7-2600k. Go for the i5-2500k instead, you WON'T lose anything. CAD won't need an i7 either, the i5-2500k is more than enough.

- I think OEM windows just don't get phone support or something like that, for common users it's not a big deal.

- I know you like Nvidia (I do like too), but did you check the 7970 review? It looks awesome.

- If you still going Nvidia, are you interested in 3D gaming?

- Hint: To max out Witcher 2 (including ubersampling) you'll need SLI GTX 580 btw, without ubersampling, a single GTX 580 is enough.
December 23, 2011 12:08:08 PM

I think I'm gonna stick with the 2600k. I know I won't get much for gaming but I like the hyperthreading. I tend to have several windows open at a time and I'm hoping it will help with that.

I looked at the 7970 and it is nice but it didn't beat a 580 by that much. And I can't get it till the ninth at the earliest. AMD always strikes me as second fiddle and if I'm going to spend this much I'd rather just go with the company with a track record for better performance over all. Sorry AMD guys.

I have zero interest in 3d gaming. That is something I will have to see in person or have it become so common as to be mandatory before I will likely use it.

What is ubersampling? Do other games use it? Could I max out with a pair of superclocked 570's? I'm starting to hesitate on getting 580's if NVIDIA's new cards are so close. I kinda doubt they will let AMD sit at the top of the sinlgle GPU card pile for long.
December 24, 2011 12:02:19 PM

Ok, I think I have my build.

SILVERSTONE RAVEN Series RV03B-WA Matte Black with Gray Trimming
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EVGA SuperClocked 012-P3-1573-KR GeForce GTX 570 HD w/Display-Port (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SILVERSTONE Strider Gold ST85F-G 850W ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V 80 PLUS GOLD Certified 100% Modular, Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ8GX3M2A1600C8R
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 BX80623I72600K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-/+R 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Combo Model SH-B123L/RSBP LightScribe Support
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ARCTIC COOLING Arctic Cooling MX-4 AC-MX4 4 gram (g) All-Around Thermal Compound
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Dell UltraSharp U2412M (469-1137) Black 24" 8ms LED Backlight Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 DC 2,000,000:1 (1000:1)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SteelSeries 6Gv2
http://steelseries.com/us/products/keyboards/steelserie...

Cyborg R.A.T. 7 or 9

Not sure which mouse yet. They seem identical except the 9 is wireless. That would be nice but I'm not sure it is worth the extra $65.

My plan with the GPU is to go with one 570 now and either get another in a couple months or a pair of NVIDIA's new cards depending on what they are like and when they come out.

I'm probably gonna order either tonight or tomorrow. Any last minute thoughts/advice/suggestions? If not thanks for the help everyone.
December 24, 2011 12:23:40 PM

Unless you absolutely hate wires or a wire couldn't reach your computer, just get the wired version. The 7 and 9 are exactly identical (minus the wireless features), and the RAT cables are long and actually very nice - braided nylon around the rubberized wires.

In case you didn't know, there is a white version as well. You have to go to Cyborg's site to get them though.
December 24, 2011 12:49:42 PM

I think I'll go with the regular 7. The white is kinda cool but not really $15 cool.
December 24, 2011 12:56:42 PM

I just saw you changed the case back to black - thought you were still going for the white color scheme.
December 24, 2011 1:41:44 PM

It might be a minor reason to not go with a case but I decided on the Raven instead of the Corsair because supposedly the Corsair doesn't have much of a manual and the Raven has a really good one. For a first time build I thought this would be really nice to have.
December 24, 2011 1:47:03 PM

While I'm at it any advice on a headset?
December 24, 2011 2:36:34 PM

The Raven is also a bigger case than the Corsair (full vs. mid towers), and IMHO has one of the most effective/efficient air cooling designs. Difficult to watercool, but great for air :) 

What sort of headset are you looking for? Just a solid mic/earpiece or something like a 5.1/7.1 surround sound headset that happens to have a mic? :D 
December 24, 2011 2:41:55 PM

Probably the latter. Something with a solid, easy to use mic for voice chat is all I really need but 5.1/7.1 are a bonus. I've convinced a buddy to start playing SC2 with so I really just need a mic for that but surround would be nice for Skyrim or if I start playing shooters.

I haven't done any looking or research yet so I don't really know what is out there. I just thought I'd see what people recommended while I'm ordering all this stuff.
December 24, 2011 4:07:31 PM

Thanks for the catch on the monitor. I didn't realize it had an 8ms response time. Wow.

I actually think I'm gonna go with this:

SAMSUNG S24A350H ToC Rose Black 24" 2ms Full HD HDMI LED BackLight LCD Monitor 250 cd/m2 DCR 1,000,000:1 (1,000:1)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

We have a couple of Samsungs at work and they are great. I'm not sure if this is the same one or not. Samsung seems to have a great reputation for excellent displays, both tvs and monitors, so I think I would prefer them to ASUS.
December 24, 2011 7:13:15 PM

Samsung, Asus and Dell (professional series) all are good monitors. I simply prefer Dell's P-series.

As for headsets, look at the Roccat Kave (ncix.com) and the Cooler Master Storm Sirus. Both are 5.1 headphones with dedicated channels.

I have the Kaves and the build quality is phenomenal and the subwoofers are strong enough to shake them off of my head. Theyre a little big because of the padding, but once they're adjusted right they don't feel heavy.

The Sirus headset also gets good reviews and has one more dedicated channel than the Kaves. Each has several speakers so it is truly a surround sound experience (not virtualized like most headsets)
December 24, 2011 7:14:54 PM

Nevermind. I switched to this:

Samsung BX2350 23" 2ms LED BackLight LCD monitor 250 cd/m2 1000:1
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I dropped to the 23" to try to get better pixel density. Seems to me the same resolution on a slightly smaller screen should give the appearance of a sharper image. It's also $100 off right now on Newegg.

I'm off to go place my order. Thanks for all the help guys.
December 24, 2011 8:02:16 PM

So yeah. Had some ID theft protection issues with my credit card. Got that cleared up but I have to cancel my first order and resend it.

Good news is this gives me time to add a sound card. However I have a question. Can I drop a Sound blaster x-fi titanium in this set up and two of these 570's?

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

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

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

I like the look of those Kave's. I think I'll pick up a pair but it sounds like I need the sound card. With the savings you guys have helped me with I can swing both the card and the headset.
December 24, 2011 8:24:35 PM

You'll be able to fit a PCI or PCI-E x1 sound card in your system. PCI-E x1 will fit in a better spot, but most cards are PCI.

The sound card isn't necessary but you will want it. A dedicated card will give you much greater amplification and a better bass sound :) 

I was originally told that I should get a sound card with Dolby Digital Live Encoding for surround sound headphones, because other cards (such as the one you selected) simply virtualize the surround sound and push it to different channels (which defeats the purpose of the headset). I'm not entirely sure how true this is since I'm not a sound guy, but that's what I'm rolling with. It may just be for watching movies, which is actually quite nice with good headphones.

I have the HT Omega Striker 7.1 and it works well. I don't like the driver/config software because it's buggy and took me a few reboots to get it working fully (wouldn't recognize the number of channels). The front panel audio also doesn't work well but that may be because I have it set up with the individual channels, and front panel is the "front" channel.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here are some other ones that are PCI-E x1 and have the Dolby Digital features:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
December 24, 2011 9:02:17 PM

Cool. I went with the ASUS one. I wanted to avoid the problems you had and after reading some of the Newegg reviews it seems like Creative has pretty bad customer support.

Thanks for the help. Lets see if I can get the order processed this time.
December 24, 2011 9:13:18 PM

I believe Asus uses Creative chips (which doesn't surprise me - Creative basically owns the sound card market). Audio drivers are kind of a pain - most of them are ok, but are quite finicky sometimes. Just be patient with them :) 
December 24, 2011 10:02:38 PM

Braca said:
I think I'm gonna stick with the 2600k. I know I won't get much for gaming but I like the hyperthreading. I tend to have several windows open at a time and I'm hoping it will help with that.

I looked at the 7970 and it is nice but it didn't beat a 580 by that much. And I can't get it till the ninth at the earliest. AMD always strikes me as second fiddle and if I'm going to spend this much I'd rather just go with the company with a track record for better performance over all. Sorry AMD guys.

I have zero interest in 3d gaming. That is something I will have to see in person or have it become so common as to be mandatory before I will likely use it.

What is ubersampling? Do other games use it? Could I max out with a pair of superclocked 570's? I'm starting to hesitate on getting 580's if NVIDIA's new cards are so close. I kinda doubt they will let AMD sit at the top of the sinlgle GPU card pile for long.


honestly, i think you're wrong about the 7970. it blows the 580 out of the water in most tests. the fact that it got 20 FPS more than the 580 on BF3 (arguably the most graphically intense game on the market atm) should be enough proof. not only will it be a bit more futureproof than the 580, but it will run at lower wattage and it could only become stronger since it was tested with beta drivers.

also, for a mouse, i would suggest the logitech G400 is amazing. it fits your hand very well and the adjustable DPI are good for any type of gaming. fast and responsive too.
December 24, 2011 10:38:46 PM

You're probably right about the 7970. I should have added the caveat that it didn't excite me much for what I intended to play. I'm not that thrilled with AMD so I wasn't too interested to begin with. I just scanned the game benchmarks on TH and only really looked at Skyrim, which they said was CPU bottle necked anyway. I was trying to look at the review at work so I didn't even scan the non game benchmarks. I also skipped them because I'm still getting back into PC gaming and don't really understand them that well yet and their particular relevancy. Actual FPS in game matters more to me than the synthetics right now.

It is already a powerful card to be sure. However, for the only game in the benchmark I am currently interested in, Skyrim, the cards weren't really allowed to run. Yes given time, better drivers, and manufacturers tweaking the card and it should be damn nice.

That being said, I'm not an AMD guy, at this point mostly for personal preference. If I'm looking for future proofing, which I am to an extent, I would much prefer to get what I have decided on to get me by comfortably and see what NVIDIA comes out with than rush out and get the newest thing.
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