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Need advice on a NZD$3000 Gaming Computer

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December 28, 2011 9:12:32 PM

Hey guys, thanks in advance for the help

I'm looking to build a NZD$3000 (New Zealand Dollars) gaming computer. It'd probably be the equivalent of a USD$2000 computer, approximately. I've picked out some parts but I would like some help with the rest.



Approximate Purchase Date: Within the next month

Budget Range: NZD$3000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, surfing the web, word processing

Parts Not Required: Mouse, Keyboard, Monitor, Speakers, OS. I also have a 1.5TB internal HDD for storage that I can use

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: www.pbtech.co.nz or www.amazon.com (but have to take into account exchange rate and shipping costs, and possible tax of 15%)

Country: New Zealand

Parts Preferences: Parts that I was thinking of were:
  • i7-2600k
  • GTX580
  • a z68 motherboard
  • Corsair CMZ8GX3M2A1600C8R (it was recommended on this site somewhere)
  • 128GB SSD
  • blu-ray drive
    Obviously I don't have the specific ones there so it would be useful if I could get help on that.

    Overclocking: Maybe

    SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

    Monitor Resolution: 1080p

    Additional Comments: If you could give advice on the specific parts it would be great. Also recommendations on case, CPU Cooler and PSU which I haven't looked into, and anything else that I might need. Also if you think that I could do better with some other part let me know. The one thing I wasn't sure about was GTX580 vs 2xHD6950 in Crossfire vs HD7970, but I don't think the 7970 will come out in New Zealand any time soon, and getting a GTX580 may future-proof my computer a bit better (I can just get another one and run SLI later I guess)

    Thanks again for any help you can give
  • More about : advice nzd 3000 gaming computer

    a b 4 Gaming
    December 29, 2011 1:37:05 AM

    Do not waste a GTX 580 on a 1080p monitor. If you aren't using higher resolutions then 1080p then anything much more expensive than $150-200 is a complete waste of money because it will already perform so high you won't see any benefit at all no matter how sensitive you are.

    If you don't want a higher resolution monitor than something like the GTX 560 ti is the best you should get on the Nvidia side, maybe... just maybe.. a GTX 570.

    On the AMD side you should get either a Radeon 6870 (similar to the GTX 560 ti) or a Radeon 6950. Price per performance AMD wins by a good margin so I recommend a 6870 since they can be found as cheap as $150 yet perform similarly to the more expensive GTX 560 ti.
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    a b 4 Gaming
    December 29, 2011 1:47:11 AM

    Sorry, all my prices are in USD not NZD... I don't know the exchange rates but my reasoning still stands.
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    a b 4 Gaming
    December 29, 2011 2:01:14 AM

    Oh and dual radeon 6950s are MUCH faster than a single GTX 580, its no contest. They would be similar to a Radeon 6990 or GTX 590 in total performance while crossfired.

    The Radeon 7970 is 10-25% faster than the GTX 580 so two of them would be like 30-40% faster than even a GTX 590 or Radeon 6990.

    The GTX 590 and Radeon 6990 are neck and neck in performance, only beating each other in certain tiltes that prefer AMD or prefer Nvida cards. The GTX 580 is about 60% of the speed of a GTX 590 or Radeon 6990 if I remember correctly, maybe closer to 65%.
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    December 29, 2011 2:30:03 AM

    While there wouldn't be much improvement with a better graphics card on a 1080p screen, I would prefer a graphics card that would still be able to play games for the next few years at least. It seems that getting a HD6950 might be the best bet for now, and then get a second one when I need it, with prices being lower once the 7000 series graphics cards are released?

    Would a single HD6950 be able to play BF3 on high settings on a 1080p monitor though?

    Any help on other parts of the computer would be much appreciated too :) 
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    a b 4 Gaming
    December 29, 2011 3:16:34 AM

    A single 6870 can play BF3 at max settings for a 1080p monitor and still has a performance to spare. Also, for gaming the i5-2500K and the $100 more expensive i7-2600K have near identical performance, the difference is impossible to notice regardless of how sensitive you are.

    This is because the main advantage of the i7s over the i5s is Hyper-Threading and games just don't use enough threads for Hyper-Threading to matter.

    For your motherboard how much you want to overclock your CPU and how many RAM slots you want is really what decides your motherboard's cost. If you don't want to overclock your CPU then the dirt cheap H67 motherboards can be found at $70-80 and will server you well. If you want the cheaper, price effective overclock of up to around 4.4GHz then a P67 or Z68 motherboard that costs about $100-125 is the price point to look for. If you want the expensive, price-ineffective overclock then your motherboard should cost around $135-175 for Sandy Bridge i5s and i7s.

    No CPU overclock means buying a cheap H67 motherboard with a $189.99 i5-2400 using the stock cooler that ships with the CPU is the option of choice. The cheap overclock means getting a slightly more expensive $219 i5-2500K with a budget Z68 or P67 motherboard using a cheap $25-35 cooler. The expensive overclock usually means getting the expensive $299.99 i72600K or even more costly $369.99 i7-2700K paired with an expensive $135-175 motherboard and a $60-100 cooler. Some people buy even more expensive motherboards and coolers.

    The expensive overclock is not really any more beneficial to gaming than the cheap overclock which isn't much better than the stock settings but the overclocks offer greatly increased performance outside of the games as well. The improvement in gaming performance from the overclocks is only seen if you have high resolutions with the maxed out settings and have ridiculously fast graphics setups like a GTX 590 or Radeon 6990 or even better than those two. High resolutions being 2560x1600 and the triple display 5760x1080 resolutions.

    What motherboard, CPU, and cooler you use will depend on how much you are willing to pay for how much performance.
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    a b 4 Gaming
    December 29, 2011 3:57:41 AM

    I will give basic advice.

    Drop the 2600K and get the 2500K it has
    all the gaming power ever needed for a cpu.
    Spend the extra money on a better graphics
    setup 570's or 6970's or at least 6950's

    2000 US dollars is a huge amount for a computer.
    The builder things on this website are not really
    that balanced, although they offer a lot of ideas.
    I won't start telling you what motherboards to buy
    get the features you want but the Asus sub brand(s)
    are all pretty decent at 150 for a Z series motherboard
    8 GB of RAM no more than that for your uses or you are
    wasting cash.

    An 850 watt PSU get a decent one corsair or Antec or OCZ if you
    are running short on cash after GPU's they will all CF or SLI the
    cards I listed above.

    Get a decent cooler for 50 US dollars at the most.
    A cooler master v6 gt although old is starting to shine
    as the price drops. Closed loop liquid cooling is a fools game.
    They work well they are pricey but they are not that quiet
    and radiators can get to be a pain depending on the case.

    Case is all preference and cooling. Panels and lights and
    the like is worthless, please look for USB3.0 connectors
    in the front if it is not too pricy.

    SSD of 120 OS and games will reach that fairly quickly.
    Everything else is on a cheap 1TB drive.

    Keyboard and mouse and speaker should be bought locally.
    I almost feel that way about monitors but if the price is right
    then jump online and get it.
    Share
    December 29, 2011 4:40:20 AM

    See Tom's extensive testing of BF3 on a variety of cards on the 1st link, and some initial results on the 7970 on the 2nd.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/battlefield-3-graph...

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7970-benc...

    Ultra detail settings + any AA at 1080p is a tall order for any single GPU setup

    Worth keeping in mind the vast majority of games atm are not as demanding as BF3.

    Your parts list looks to be on the right track. Regardless of which GPU you go with, I'd wait for AMD 7XXX to launch and see how things are effected.

    Also as a side note... Amazon might not ship to NZ.. they don't to AUS :) 
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    December 29, 2011 7:02:01 AM

    Thanks for all the advice :) 

    I think trying to reach ultra detail on BF3 would be a bit too much, and it's a good point about Amazon; a friend of mine recently built a pc and I think he got some of his parts from there.

    At the moment it looks like:
    i5-2500k
    HD6950
    Asus z68 motherboard
    the 8GB of RAM mentioned above (Corsair CMZ8GX3M2A1600C8R from the builder marathon)
    850W PSU, from a decent brand
    cooler master v6GT
    intel SSD 320 (to go with the 1.5TB HDD I already have)
    LG WH12LS38 BD-RE (or similar blu ray drive)
    a case.

    That should be much cheaper than $3000 I think :)  I'll have a look at prices later.

    Could someone suggest a good brand for the graphics card and also a case that they like. I'd prefer if it had good airflow because my current one doesn't and it's rather annoying (My HDDs get up to 50C :S). I've got some magazines lying around that I'll have a look at too but it would be nice if I could get an opinion from you guys :) 
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    December 29, 2011 7:49:25 AM

    Looking like a great build. Nice move with the 850w PSU for potential 2nd 6950 down the track :) 

    For AMD cards I like Sapphire, Asus, MSI & Gigabyte.

    Solid cases with good air, they aren't crazy priced:

    CM 690 II
    http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=CHACLM0692&name...

    CM Storm Enforcer
    http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=CHACLM3000&name...

    Fractal ARC
    http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=CHAFRD0004&name...(-USB3.0-)

    Corsair Carbide 400R (sorry for AU link)
    http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

    Lian Li Lancool First Knight PC-K59 (again sorry for AU link)
    http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
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    December 29, 2011 9:40:25 AM

    phantom is great tooo for the price!!!
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    December 30, 2011 12:54:18 AM

    I've heard quite a bit about that cooler hellfire - which would be better; that or the v6gt?

    Those cases look great Formata thanks for that :) 

    I'm going away for a few days but when I get back I'll decide on a final build I guess and find prices. I'll probably need one last check to make sure everything's compatible and I've got everything.

    I'll also probably wait until the 7870 is released to see what sort of price it is over here and whether it gets released here straight away.

    Thank you guys so much for your help, it is much appreciated :) 
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    a b 4 Gaming
    December 30, 2011 1:53:14 AM

    I'm sure we all say your welcome.
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    January 1, 2012 11:05:46 PM

    This is what I'm probably going to get:

    CPU: Intel Core i5-2500k - NZD$312.80
    GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 2 GB DDR5 DL-DVI-I/SL-DVI-D/HDMI/DP PCI-Express Graphics Card 100312-3L - NZD$342.11
    Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Gaming Performance MotherBoard - NZD$294.40
    RAM: CMZ8GX3M2A1600C8 - NZD$105.26
    SSD: Crucial 128 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s CT128M4SSD2 - NZD$263.16
    Optical: Pioneer DVR-219LBK 24x Internal DVD/CD Writer - NZD$28
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo - NZD$56.35
    Case: COOLER MASTER CM690 II ADVANCED USB3.0 X2 - NZD$228.85
    PSU: Corsair Enthusiast Series 850-Watt - NZD$164.47

    Shipping: 139.76

    Total(Based on exchange rate of .76): $1935.16 (+$49 if I don't build it myself)



    A few last questions/comments:
  • I didn't mention before but I also use a second monitor (not to play games on) that is at 1440x900. When I game it just has Facebook or something similar on it. Will this affect my choice of graphics card substantially?
  • I couldn't find any decent motherboard on the amazon website that ships out of the USA, so I had to use the NZ websites. I don't suppose anyone can find a decent one on amazon for <USD$200? Also, is this any good? It's a decent amount cheaper than the one I've included
  • Related to the above point, since I am getting a SSD and don't need to utilise the internal graphics, could I just get a p67 board instead?
  • The DVD drive is just the cheapest one I could find.
  • Any other recommendations for a case? I just chose the one that looked decent. I've heard of this one before as well

    I'm very excited for my computer :D 
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    January 1, 2012 11:08:44 PM

    Sorry for the double post; is the only difference between the graphics card I chose above and this sapphire one the heatsink? And in that case, will which one I choose make much difference?
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    January 2, 2012 1:02:13 AM

    sapphire makes good graphics.they have good customer service too.you can also go with extreme3/gen3.it is a good mobo for very less price.690 is a great case but i would take 912.it has better cooling,huge space etc.
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    a b 4 Gaming
    January 2, 2012 2:41:04 AM

    THe Cooler mastrer v6 vs the hyper 212 is about6 or 7 C under load
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    January 2, 2012 11:18:40 PM

    Best answer selected by Tzoi.
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