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$1200-$1500 i5 2500k gaming rig; Advice please

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December 23, 2011 2:47:52 PM

First, let me thank you in advance for reviewing my new baby and offering your suggestions and support. I will be online for the next ~6 hours and periodically (ever 2 hours or so) after that. Please feel free to ask me any questions, or criticize some of the choices I have made; I realize I need a lot of help.

My last build was summer of 2005; I received tons of support from this forum; and I'm happy to report my baby just turned 6 over the summer and I've only had to replace the graphics card & a few harddrives.


Approximate Purchase Date: Want to order by Christmas (Unless you guys think some of these parts may come on sale just after)

Budget Range: $1200-$1500

System Usage from Most to Least Important:
SC3 : Skyrim : Shogun TW : media server for 52" 1080p : video editing : jenna haze

Parts Not Required:
Mouse / Monitor / Speakers / Keyboard (Have everything but the rig)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I'd pay $10 more for the part from Newegg because of my experience with their RMA. tiger / amazon only if the deal is outrageous.

Country: Midwest USA

Parts Preferences: would rather stick to a brand name MOBO and PSU, everything else can be value; but with the budget I'd rather have performance

Overclocking:
Yes (looking for a mid level OC)

SLI or Crossfire:
No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 & a 52" 1080P



Current Configuration as of 7:00 EST 12/23/11:

CODE:
BOLD = Decided | plain text = pretty sure | italics = unsure. in need of help

CPU: i5 2500k
$220 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HTSNK: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO
$35 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MOBO: ASUS P8Z68-V/GEN3
$190 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) low profile cas 9
$42 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: ASUS ENGTX570 DCII/2DIS/1280MD5 GeForce GTX 570
$350 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX
$130 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD: Mushkin Enhanced Chronos MKNSSDCR120GB 2.5" 120GB SATA III
$185 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: **Holding off until ~ 2Q 2012** Will go RAID 5 or 1+0 at that time.

CASE: NZXT Phantom PHAN-002OR
$125 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS: Win 7 Pro OEM
$130

Optical Drive: ASUS 24X DVD Burner Black SATA Model DRW-24B3LT LightScribe Support
$26 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total as of right now: $1417

Most confused about:

-PSU: Is it sized correctly?,
-Case: Enough Room?,
-MOBO: Good enough or overkill?
-GPU: Should I wait for next gen?
-HTSNK: I have a big case whats the best one?
December 23, 2011 2:49:51 PM

kyman73 said:


System Usage from Most to Least Important:
... jenna haze


ROFLcopters
December 23, 2011 3:11:18 PM


Solid choice - not much to say here.

Quote:
HTSNK: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO $35
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm not sure about the size, but with one fan my 212+ didn't block a RAM slot. With 2 fans, it blocked one slot, so I just moved the kit into the second channel (no performance difference). You may need to do the same depending on how it turns out.

Quote:
MOBO: ASUS P8P67 EVO (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 $190
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
NOTE: In need of help; too many choices.
Requirements: Solid enough for a mid OC | USB 3.0 | PCIE 2.0 x16 8x-8x | DDR3 1600 standard | Reputable Brand

Asus' stuff always seemed a bit expensive for my taste. Gigabyte IMO has the right balance among quality, features, and price. They have solid products, good warranties, and most of the same features as other comparable boards for a little less. I'd look at something like the UD3 or UD4; there aren't many differences.

Quote:
RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 unbuffered CAS 9 $48
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
NOTE: Will it work with my HTSNK & MOBO?

You may have the issue as I noted with the cooler, but you can run them in the second channel just fine.

Quote:
GPU: GIGABYTE GV-R695OC-1GD Radeon HD 6950 1GB x 2 $480
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Keep in mind the 7XXX series is on it's way in, and should come in at about the same price point for comparable cards.

Quote:
PSU: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 650W $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
NOTE: http://support.asus.com/powersupply.aspx says I need at least 1100 watt; but the Dec. 2011: $1200 Enthusiast PC ran 2x 6950's off of this PSU... I need help!

Most manufacturer PSU calculators are terrible. With 2x6950s you're looking at a 750W PSU. The TX750 or XFX Core 750W should be good choices, and are made by Seasonic (the best in the biz).

Quote:
SSD: Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC $110
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
NOTE: I'm unsure about which to go with because I've not had much time to research SSD, I'm looking to have windows 7 pro and 2-3 games and that's about all I would need.

64GB might not be enough to hold a few games. Windows will take up ~25GB after updates, and you should keep about 10GB free to preserve SSD life, and you'll lose a little space to drivers, utilities, etc. You could do it, but you just need to be aware of your size restrictions.

Other than that, the M4 is the best drive you could buy now.

Quote:
CASE: Full tower ATX: beyond that I have no idea.
Order of Importance = Room for 4 x HD's & 2 x 6950 > Cooling performance > looks

You have LOTS of choices here. Most cases now have good cooling designs - you just need to set up the build appropriately.

For instance, the CM HAF 932 can cool as well as the Raven RV02, but if you don't get the right style of GPU and don't point the fans the right way you won't see the results.

My advice - shop around, see what you like, and then bring them back here to discuss cooling layout and the like. The case is one of the few things that you get to show a little personal taste in ;) 
Related resources
December 23, 2011 5:10:23 PM

boiler1990 said:
Keep in mind the 7XXX series is on it's way in, and should come in at about the same price point for comparable cards.


UGH! Haha had to spoil my fun, and here I thought I had it nailed down. I was browsing and I see that the 7950 could drop as early as January 9th. I don't know if I really want to wait that long, especially since the two reports I read placed it in the $300-$400 range. I'll have to think on this

boiler1990 said:
With 2x6950s you're looking at a 750W PSU. The TX750 or XFX Core 750W should be good choices, and are made by Seasonic (the best in the biz).

TX750 isn't showing as crossfire compatable on the tech specs. Between these two which would you go for?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...|17-341-049^17-341-049-TS%2C17-139-006^17-139-006-TS


boiler1990 said:
My advice - shop around, see what you like, and then bring them back here to discuss cooling layout and the like. The case is one of the few things that you get to show a little personal taste in ;) 


I liked the look and extra help with the cable management that the NZXT has. Looks big enough to hold two cards and then my HDD's. What do you think
December 23, 2011 5:23:50 PM

I would choose the Corsair if you have the money. It has more watts than the other one (if you look at the amps on each rail), which means it should provide you more power to your components and it's certified SLI so it has at least been tested. Plus the warranty and Corsair is a more recommended PSU brand than OCZ.
December 23, 2011 5:32:58 PM

-2500k is a no brainer

-Hyper 212 is a great budget cooler....$1500 is not a budget build....Scythe Mugen 3 or 212's big brother gets ya an extra 7C of cooling for $50....Silver Arrow will get ya 3C more for $82

-Decide whether ya want P67 or Z68..... hard to find something to "require" Z68 if ya read this:
http://www.ukgamingcomputers.co.uk/difference-between-h...

I'd do P8P67 Pro, WS Revolution or P8Z68-V Pro/GEN3

-Yes, RAM will work w/ ya MoBo but not w/ ya heatsink....what's the attraction to these tall, toothy heat sinks ?
Get same RAM in low profile version.

-As a single card the factory OC'd 6950 (484 fps) versus the factory OC'd 560 Ti is (495 fps) a toss up, bit when paired, ypu should consider that the 560 Ti has a 103 fps advantage and is cheaper.

Guru3D uses the following games in their test suite, COD-MW, Bad Company 2, Dirt 2, Far Cry 2, Metro 2033, Dawn of Discovery, Crysis Warhead. Total fps (summing fps in each game @ 1920 x 1200) for the various options in parenthesis (single card / SL or CF) are tabulated below along with their cost in dollars per frame single card - CF or SLI:

$ 240.00 6950 Frozr OC (484/759) $ 0.50 - $ 0.63
$ 215.00 560 Ti - 900 Mhz (495/862) $ 0.43 - $ 0.50

103 fps is a lot to give up, especially while paying more for it. Especially given the beastly OC potential of the 560 Ti (up to 30+% over reference)

http://www.pureoverclock.com/review.php?id=1201&page=17

-This case is superbly reviewed and available at a great price
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

If ya need a 10.0 jonnyguru performance rated unit for extreme OC's, the HX850 or CP-850 (latter requires compatible Antec case). If 9.5 performance rating works for ya (it will for 98% of us) XFC Core Edition is only $90. The XFX 850 gets the same 9.5 jonnyguru performance rating as the Corsair TX750 V2 but gives ya an extra 100 watts and puts $10 back in ya pocket. The XFX is made by Seasonic. The Corsair TX was made by Channelwell .... no definitive word on the V2 version but it has Seasonic look.

-Crucial M4 is a Tier 5 SSD.....Tier 3's are 21% faster according to THG rankings ... with SF bug addressed by firmware update, see no reason to take the performance hit. And most peeps w/ 64GB SSD's soon find they are a bit cramped.... your budget allows double the size so why not.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-price-ssd,3070...

-No ability to watch BR movies ?

Here's where I'd go with a $1,500 budget ($1,420)

Case - $ 115 - Corsair 500R White http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU - $ 90 - XFX Core Edition 850 PSU http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MoBo - $ 210 - ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU - $ 220 - Intel Core i7-2500K http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Cooler - $ 50 - Hyper 612 PWM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
TIM - $ 5 - Shin Etsu http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM - $ 41 - (2 x 4GB) Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 (White) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GFX - $ 230 - Asus GTX 560 900Mhz http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GFX - Later - Asus GTX 560 900Mhz Same
HD - Later - Spinpoint F3 1TB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SSD - $ 210 - Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120 GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
DVD Writer - $ 58 - Asus Model BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Card Reader $ 50 AeroCool FP-01 55 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OS - $ 140 - Win 7-64 Home Professional http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
December 23, 2011 6:00:48 PM

Specs for PSUs aren't always complete on newegg. As long as the PSU has 4 of the 6/8 pin PCIe power cables you're fine (which the TX750 does).
December 23, 2011 6:12:17 PM

Personally I'd wait for the 7970, which is what I am doing now that I mention it.

Read Micro-Stuttering and GPU Scaling in Crossfire and SLI

It's really hard to to recommend any 2 card crossfire or sli setup in my opinion based on this. If you can spring for a nf200 board and a 3rd 6950 then that would work also.
December 23, 2011 6:39:17 PM

a4mula said:
Personally I'd wait for the 7970, which is what I am doing now that I mention it.

Read Micro-Stuttering and GPU Scaling in Crossfire and SLI

It's really hard to to recommend any 2 card crossfire or sli setup in my opinion based on this. If you can spring for a nf200 board and a 3rd 6950 then that would work also.


A very interesting read and a phenomenon that I didn't even know existed as I've never had a dual GPU setup before. Thank you for pointing this out.
December 23, 2011 9:57:01 PM

I've changed quite a few of the items, please review and let me know what you think.
December 23, 2011 11:41:36 PM

A single 570 is going to hold its own at 1920x1080 in the vast majority of games even at the highest settings. The BF3 card shootout showed the 570 as pulling down 49 FPS at ultra at your resolution so I'd say it's a solid pick.

It's a setup that will probably show its age in 2 or 3 years, but should get you there without too many problems.
!