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Hello.. looking for someone's thoughts on this build.

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January 9, 2012 3:54:25 AM

First off, I have zero experience in building computers. But in the last week or so.. looking at various components on Newegg and articles on various subjects from CrossFiring graphics cards or overclocking a processor has helped me get a better understanding of how things work and what to look for in compatibility.

My goal is to be able to run most games on maxed out settings at 1920x1080p at a frame-rate that never dips below 60. (my monitor is only 60hz, so.. yeah) I actually found a Youtube channel with someone having the same processor/graphics combo I want playing BF3 smoothly on Ultra.. but I know not all hardware is equal, and his specs won't necessarily match mine. I would also like to run Fraps to record gameplay, but I would rather have a stable frame-rate if it comes down to it.

So here it is..

Intel i5-2500k "Sandy Bridge" quad-core processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2x MSI HD 6950 Twin Frozr III 2GB (XFire)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Corsair Vengeance 2 x 4GB @ 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooler Master HAF 922 case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Corsair Enthusiast 850W power supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=17-139-...

Corsair Vengeance 1500 7.1 USB headphones
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm using my current 1TB harddrive from my Walmart welfare computer, also with Windows 7 on it.

Now, the part I'm not sure about. The motherboard needs to have 1600 speed memory, a LGA1155 socket, two x16 PCI slots, and CrossFire support. So far I cannot find one with those specifications. I do not want to have to overclock the motherboard to match the memory (unless someone on here tells me its safe), and I really don't want to use x8 slots either. I read an article that says that it cuts performance slightly on the 6950's. It also does not need a sound card since I'm getting USB headphones. (right?)



From what I can tell, my GPU/CPU combo is fairly popular, so I hope someone can help me. Give me any feedback!

Thanks!

More about : thoughts build

January 9, 2012 3:55:39 AM

Get a Hyper 212 EVO if you plan to OC.

EDIT: Also, if you're spending so much on CF 6950, get the 7970 instead. It is much better than your current config.
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January 9, 2012 3:59:25 AM

azeem40 said:
Get a Hyper 212 EVO if you plan to OC.

Will I need to overclock it? How much?
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January 9, 2012 4:00:26 AM

Read my edit above. :p 

You don't NEED to OC it, but OCing is pretty easy.
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January 9, 2012 4:05:49 AM

Is one 7970 better than two 6950's? Cause my budget is already being spread vastly.

And also, do I even need to get better GPU's? I was under the impression two 6950's could destroy every game at 1080p.
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January 9, 2012 4:06:01 AM

First task, read this:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut...

Second task, read this:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7970-benc...

As far as finding an x16/x16 1155 board, your only option is to go with an NF200 offering like the Extreme7. Of course, the downside to that is that NF200 boards start at $270 and go up from there.

The reality is that the bottleneck of x8 lanes at typical resolutions is negligible. At 1920x1080 it's not something you need to concern yourself with at all.

I'd strongly recommend you take a good look at the micro-stuttering article and reconsider 6950x2. With the 7970 shipping today it seems like the wise choice to make.

edit: If you don't plan on overclocking then the i5-2500k is a waste of money, grab an i5-2400 and an H61 motherboard. This is not my recommendation as overclocking has become as simple as selecting a pre-configured setting in bios or in MSI's case, just hitting a button. Really, it's that easy.
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January 9, 2012 4:09:24 AM

csx121 said:
Is one 7970 better than two 6950's? Cause my budget is already being spread vastly.

And also, do I even need to get better GPU's? I was under the impression two 6950's could destroy every game at 1080p.

Yes, the 7970 is much better.
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January 9, 2012 4:11:57 AM

For pure FPS horsepower 2x6950 will outperform a single 7970. The issue is do you want to deal with the problems associated with crossfire, from more expensive motherboards, psus, to microstutter, game support, immature (backburner) drivers, heat, and the other headaches that come along with it. For 1920x1080 the answer is simple, not no... but hell no.
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January 9, 2012 4:17:57 AM

Thanks guys.

So can someone whip me up a build based on the 7970?
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January 9, 2012 4:19:49 AM

Why? You won't need to change a single thing even if you decided to get the 7970. :) 
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January 9, 2012 4:22:55 AM

azeem40 said:
Why? You won't need to change a single thing even if you decided to get the 7970. :) 

Well, what kind of a motherboard do I need? You guys seem dead against CrossFiring, so I'll stay away from that.
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January 9, 2012 4:26:08 AM

I am not against it. It's just that it has some problems. 7970 is the safer route. Since you plan on OCing, get the P67/Z68 Boards; Z68 board if you're getting an SSD ever and P67 if you want to get an SSD but not utilize SSD Caching (no reason not to though :p ).
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January 9, 2012 4:55:48 AM

Okay.. is the PCIe 3.0 on the 7970 compatible with 2.0/2.1 PCIe's?
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January 9, 2012 4:57:21 AM

I believe it is, but I could be wrong.
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January 9, 2012 4:59:29 AM

Yes, it's backwards compatible. Toms review of the 7970 was done on 1155 and there was no visible bottlenecking of it on a pci-e 2.0 x16 lane, even at 5760x1080. Now, if you plan on crossfiring the 7970 down the road, you might consider making the jump to LGA2011 which naturally supports pci-e 3.0. The only way to get 1155 to do it is by upgrading to Ivy Bridge when it releases and trusting that your motherboard manufacturer didn't use cheap ass x8/x8 switches like Gigabyte just got nailed for.
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January 9, 2012 5:01:22 AM

i like my asrock z68 extreme 3 gen3 and i recommend it to you freely.
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January 9, 2012 5:04:46 AM

BTW, OP, if you live near a Microcenter, the CPU is $40 less than newegg, and the MOBOs are $50 off.
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January 9, 2012 6:04:55 AM

Case (same)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

Processor (same)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

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

Memory (same)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power supply (same)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Headphones (same)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Current harddrive with Windows 7 64-bit.

Current cheap, wired keyboard and mouse.

Current multi-media drive.



Does this all work out? Not missing anything? I checked everything to the best of my knowledge.

Also, it will run BF3 on Ultra at a smooth 60+fps at 1080p?



Thanks, guys.
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January 9, 2012 7:50:02 AM

I advise against the pro3 motherboard.
Pick one of these (gen3):
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...

Also 2x6950 1gb will outperform the 7970 for less money. Since you are getting the PSU, why not get the crossfire cards too while you are at it.

The memory you chose is high profile. I would get these: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also the cpu cooler looks expensive, you won't be needing something so expensive if with up to 35bucks you can have a nice 4.5ghz OC.
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January 9, 2012 8:31:13 AM

Definately go with the AMD Radeon 7970 instead of crossfired cards. Single card rigs are almost always simpler in terms of driver support, and more efficient in terms of power consumption.

Wait until ASUS or GIGABYTE come out with their custom board/cooler designs. The GIGABYTE Windforce edition of the Radeon 7970 is expected out very soon. I strongly recommend against the reference design as these are noisy and run hot compared to the Windforce/DirectCU/Frozr Coolers that GIGABYTE, ASUS and MSI respectively fit to their cards. That XFX unit also looks very good!!

For the motherboard, Getting a Gen 3 compatible motherboard isn't 100% necessary. The PCIe 3.0 cards will be definitely be backwards compatible with PCIe 2.0 and 2.1, and won't even saturate all the lanes. In fact, As far as I understand a Gen 3 motherboard like the MSI Gen 3 or ASRock or ASUS won't even operate in PCIe 3.0 mode until an Ivy Bridge CPU is dropped into the system.

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January 9, 2012 10:17:37 AM

Thanks for the help guys.

Now, I'm loosely thinking about 1560x1440 gaming. This monitor to be specific:

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=computer+monit...



My question is - would the 7990 be able to run games maxed at this resolution? I'm aware a PC-noob like me should stay away from something like this, but a video I saw of gameplay at that resolution really caught my eye.. If not, are you able to set up dual 7990's? I know the card isn't out yet, but the specs of it were leaked. Please tell me anything else you know about 1600p gaming or the kind of system I would need for it.


Thanks.
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January 9, 2012 10:58:30 AM

The "7990" when it is released (Its the dual GPU version of the 7970 - or two GPU processor chips on one PCIe Card) will be able to run games at maximum settings @ 1560x1440.

The 7970 (Single GPU version) should be able to run games either at maximum, or close to maximum at that resolution. If not, There is option of up to Quad Crossfire (4 GPU cards in total!!) if you need some extra grunt.

EDIT: For current games, you should get more than playable framerates at 1560x1440. ultra settings of BF3 the 7970 got 69fps ... so you should get at least 60 at 1560x1440. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7970-benchmark-tahiti-gcn,3104-7.html
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January 15, 2012 5:29:57 PM

ukee1593 said:
The "7990" when it is released (Its the dual GPU version of the 7970 - or two GPU processor chips on one PCIe Card) will be able to run games at maximum settings @ 1560x1440.

The 7970 (Single GPU version) should be able to run games either at maximum, or close to maximum at that resolution. If not, There is option of up to Quad Crossfire (4 GPU cards in total!!) if you need some extra grunt.

EDIT: For current games, you should get more than playable framerates at 1560x1440. ultra settings of BF3 the 7970 got 69fps ... so you should get at least 60 at 1560x1440. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7970-benchmark-tahiti-gcn,3104-7.html

I hope you realized I did a typo.. it was supposed to be 2560x1440. Yeah, it seems the 7990 should do fine. 1440p is like half the amount of pixels compared to 3x 1080p.

Now, whoever said my PSU was overkill: do I only need 750W? 500W is recommended for the GPU and 200W-300W for the CPU depending on how much its overclocked. Seems like that number is already being pushed.

Thanks.
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