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Thoughts and suggestions: Gaming pc build / triple monitors / $3000 ex

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January 12, 2012 3:58:42 AM

Thoughts and suggestions: Gaming pc build / triple monitors / $3000 ex peripherals

Threshold issues
Approximate purchase date: Next week or so

Budget: Approximately $3000 ex peripherals and software before rebates.

Purpose: Gaming - to drive 3 x Dell U2410s in SLI at 5760*1080 or 3240*1920 (ie, pivoted) at 40+ fps on high+ settings. Also, to maintain reasonably low temperature and noise levels.

Preferences: To be a step back from the bleeding edge in components - ie drivers available, issues identified and sorted. To have components of approximately equivalent quality. To balance avoiding overkill and retaining some redundancy in order that no component is required to run at 100% of its capacity for the build to achieve its Purpose.

Country: Australia. All prices quoted are Newegg for the ease of most posters (unless N/A there but available here in Aus) although FYI my Australian buy prices will be perhaps $100-200 higher in total (see Static Ice for an Australian equivalent of Newegg if you are interested).

OC?: Yes, but nothing ambitious - never done it before - preliminarily thinking of mid 4s.

SLI/CF?: Yes, see Purpose above.

Resolution: 5760*1080 and 3240*1920 (see Purpose above and Monitors near bottom).

Please let me know your thoughts and suggestions. I have read through the Guide to Choosing Parts. Thanks.

Summary
MoBo: ASrock z68 Extreme7 Gen3 $270
CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K (8MB Cache, 3.4GHz) $320
GPU: 2 x MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme 3GB in SLI $685 (N/A currently on Newegg but available in Aus)
Sound: Creative SB X-FI Titanium Fatality Pro $150 (N/A currently on Newegg but available in Aus)
RAM: 16GB of GSkill RipjawsX F3 2133MHz [17000CL11Q-16GBXL] $140
SSD: OCZ Vertex 3 240GB [VTX3-25SAT3-240G] $375
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200RPM 64MB Cache [ST1000DM003] $130
OD: Pioneer BDR-206BKR $150 (N/A currently on Newegg but available in Aus)
PSU: Corsair AX1200 Gold $280
CPU Cooling: Corsair H100 $120
Case: Cooler Master HAF X EATX $200
Total: $3,200 per Newegg

Extras: Some extra/replacement fans including for push/pull configuration on the Corsair H100 and possibly a fan controller - still working out the details but so far the Noiseblocker NB-Multiframe M12-P (PWM) and Cooler Master Mega Flow 200s are looking good.

Rationale
MoBo: ASrock z68 Extreme7 Gen3
-Compatible with 2 x GPUs at 16x/16x (cf: the Extreme4) (http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=Z68%20Extre...).
-Can handle 3 580s if that becomes necessary to avoid micro stutters etc (although hopefully that won't be required)
-Compatible with CPU (LGA1155) and RAM (see below).

CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K (8MB Cache, 3.4GHz)
-More than fit for Purpose; the SB-E CPUs offer marginal benefit but cost quite a lot more (certainly pushing the system beyond Budget unless other components are compromised).
-OC capable / widespread.

GPU: 2 x MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme 3GB in SLI
-Why 2 x 580s? Fit for Purpose and within Budget; 2 x 590s would push system beyond Budget; anything less probably not fit for Purpose out of the box.
-Why this 580 3GB? Reviewed favourably against comps. Compatible with MoBo.

Sound: Creative SB X-FI Titanium Fatality Pro
-Why this sound card? Reviewed favourably against comps for gaming (only purpose).

RAM: 16GB of GSkill RipjawsX F3 2133MHz [17000CL11Q-16GBXL]
-Why 16GB? Possibly overkill, but I could only find a positive assurance from G.Skill/a customer for compatibility of the 2133 RAM in 16GB format with the MoBo (http://gskill.us/forum/archive/index.php?t-9305.html), none for the 8GB, and given Purpose / cost I'm happy to err on the side of possibly surplus capacity.
-Why this 2133MHz? Reviewed favourably against comps. Compatible with MoBo.

SSD: OCZ Vertex 3 240GB [VTX3-25SAT3-240G]
-Reviewed favourably against comps. The Max IOPS didn't seem worth it for the Purpose for the extra $100.
-240GB possibly more than I need but then again the 180GB HDD on my laptop filled up pretty quick. Also, various reviews suggest performance marginally scales with capacity.

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200RPM 64MB Cache [ST1000DM003]
-For the high spin rate and cache.
-Capacity sufficient.
-I settled on this (flippantly) over the WD Caviar Black because I read about an award of damages against WD in favour of Seagate re behaving badly and wasn't otherwise finding anything to decide me.

OD: Pioneer BDR-206BKR

PSU: Corsair AX1200 Gold
-Why 1200W? 1000W would probably be sufficient but a number of reviews suggest PSUs run better at less than 100% and there was no 1000W that received equivalently glowing reviews. Feels like the right balance of prudence and cost.

CPU Cooling: Corsair H100
-Reviewed favourably against comps.
-Reviews suggest that when the extra fans are installed for a push/pull configuration this is very quite and very cool, further improving performance against comps.
-To enable CPU OC, and to achieve low temps / noise regardless.
-Compatible with HAF X (including with extra fans for push/pull configuration).
-Compatible with LGA 1155

Case: Cooler Master HAF X EATX
-Reviewed favourably against comps, especially for air cooling and USB 3.0 (although the USB 3.0 arrangement is unfortunate it won't be seen).
-Will sit out of sight so not fussed on appearance.
-Compatible with the Corsair H100 (including with extra fans for push/pull configuration).

Monitors - while not part of the build or Budget, FYI here is the rationale:
-3x24s feel big and immersive enough for me: 5760*1080 for racing/fps and 3240*1920 for Civ etc.
-these 24s can pivot, are IPS, review favourably against comps and can handle cables from both the pc and the 3 Xbox 360s (ie, Forza MS3).
-3x27s would be bigger and presumably more immersive, but I couldn't find any leading brand 27s that pivot. Also, some reviews suggest 27s really need to step up from 1920*1080 (which would blow the Budget).
-3x30s definitely means a step up from 1920*1080 and smash the Budget. Also, I don't there are any pivoting 30s.

Reviews principally (but not exclusively) sourced from (no particular order):
-Tom's Hardware
-Anand Tech
-Hardware Revolution
-bit-tech
-Legit Reviews
-Various overclocker forums
January 12, 2012 5:11:52 AM

You should look at mwave they look pretty good. Its like newegg but in Australia.

http://www.mwave.com.au/

Edit: Just realized that Static Ice website.
January 12, 2012 5:41:55 AM

dual 7970s would outperform dual 580s.
Related resources
January 12, 2012 6:00:46 AM

Click more information and see the configuration for u
January 16, 2012 1:05:02 AM

angaddev said:
dual 7970s would outperform dual 580s.


Thanks. I spend a fair bit of time googling all sorts of combinations of "review", "7970", "crossfire", "dual" etc... and this is kind of where I got to. In relation to 2x580s vs 2x7970s, the reviews seem to agree with you (in most but not 100% of cases, though not always by the greatest margin). However there are references and suggestions here and there that inVidia is slightly better at stability and support for multi GPU setups. The issues seem to have been worked out (before or after release) for the 580s. The 580s seem to be the best option one step back from the bleeding edge? Also, some suggestion that produce less noise than the 7970s (but draw slightly more power?) Here is some of the stuff I found.
http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/gpu_displays/his_hd7...
http://www.hardwareheaven.com/reviews/1362/pg1/amd-rade... [nb the gtx 580 they use is a 1.5mb geforce, not the 3mb msi lightning extreme]
http://www.kitguru.net/components/graphic-cards/zardon/...
http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2218445
http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-7970-crossfire-...
http://www.anandtech.com/show/5261/amd-radeon-hd-7970-r...
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...
http://forums.overclockers.com.au/showthread.php?p=1397...
http://forum.beyond3d.com/showthread.php?t=59176&page=7...
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/graphics/display/radeo...
http://www.slashgear.com/amd-radeon-hd-7970-review-roun...
http://www.engadget.com/2011/12/22/amd-radeon-hd-7970-r...

January 16, 2012 1:07:02 AM

hitechgowthaman said:
Click more information and see the configuration for u


Thanks. Sorry, I'm not sure I followed you. It took me to your profile.
January 16, 2012 1:09:55 AM

2484543,1,1088710 said:
Thoughts and suggestions: Gaming pc build / triple monitors / $3000 ex peripherals

[SNIP]

SSD: OCZ Vertex 3 240GB [VTX3-25SAT3-240G] $375

[SNIP]

FYI for those interested, I decided to switch to the crucial m4 SSD after double checking all the components and discovering complaints about this ssd and the bsod.

Here are some of the sites I looked at:
Crucial M4 or Vertex 3:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/277523-32-vertex-cruc...
http://www.destructoid.com/review-ocz-vertex-3-vs-cruci...
http://www.guru3d.com/article/crucial-m4-128gb-ssd-revi...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/277184-32-crucial-wai...
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/storage/2011/09/08/cru...

Crucial M4 [CT256M4SSD2]:
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/storage/2011/05/16/cru...
http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/pc-components/s...
http://thessdreview.com/our-reviews/crucial-m4-256gb-sa...
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4253/the-crucial-m4-micro...
January 16, 2012 1:10:55 AM

With the horrible reputation that AMD has for driver support, I would personally stick with GTX 580's currently. The 7970 IS faster, but if the last 2 or 3 generations of ATI/AMD GPU's are any indication, there are lots of driver issues to follow with this card.
January 18, 2012 1:08:08 AM

If you can wait, Nvidia's 600 series will b out soon...I know its "bleeding edge" but for the same approximate money, you can get more performance then the 580s or same performance with less watts (less heat & energy used) from the new 600series gpus...better for system.

Also I had OCZ Max Iops and say stay away from their SSDs. It may be fast (faster then what you have picked) but fast isnt that great if it randomly BSODs. So I choose a larger model that (accroding to TomHardware's SSD Heirarchy chart) is faster than a 120gb Max Iops and more reliable....the Samsung 830 256gb....$399 right now and has more GB then what you picked.

The Seasonic 1250W PSU destoys that Corsair PSU....Seasonic is the best. They make PSUs for other companies...Its also cheaper then that Corsair :o  . Get it instead. Clean power and all ONE 12V rail, so no overloading that 12V rail like can happen with most PSUs which have split 12V rails.....I personally own the XFX 1000W Black edition...its made by & identical to the the Seasonic 1000W Platinum...but cheaper and has a bigger cooling fan in it. :sol: 
AND.....the Seasonic 1250W has "hybrid" cooling. Means it will keep its fan off until a certain wattage or Celcius is reached. So its silent most of the time and near silent when ur gaming (you will have game sound on so you wont hear it at all).

Samsung has new PLS panel monitors coming out in March....like the Samsung SA970...supposed to be awesome....if you can wait. So gorgeous too.

Oh and I currently use a Noiseblocker PL-2 & a 1450rpm Gentle Typhon in push pull on my H70 cpu cooler.....they are nice....low drone of wind not fan sound only....the Noiseblocker is a very sexy fan too....i would just get all NoiseBlockers if possible (the ones u choose think have better specs then mine too). The fans that came with the Corsair H70 were LOUD :cry:  ....they HAD to be replaced. Seeing as you are going to use a H100 with 4 fans in push pull......a swap is a must.
January 18, 2012 2:26:50 AM

The 6gb 7990 is what you really want to hold out for. Even with 3gb of VRAM multi-monitor resolutions will be limited.

Also you should consider the u2412m, the difference between it and the u2410 is that it's 98% sRGB vs 102% and led backlit vs CCFL. It will have more backlight bleed, but also doesn't suffer from the pink/blue tint issues that have plagued the u2410. That and the price is substantially less. If you contact Dell Small Business directly you can get the u2412m for 299 each with free shipping.

The u2410 isn't a 1920x1080 monitor either, it's 1920x1200. The same applies to the u2412m.

I'd also strongly consider moving to lga2011 for this build considering it'd actually be cheaper to buy an Extreme3 + 3820 than the Extreme7 + 2600k. You'll get natural pci-e 3.0 and 40 ondie lanes vs the 20+20 virtual lanes of the nf200.

Good luck.

Best solution

January 18, 2012 3:36:31 AM
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You should definitely go with 2 7970's. they are more powerful. cheaper and they consume less power. if you want a quieter version of the card get one with an aftermarket cooler on it.

I have to agree with a4mula. the i7 3820 (285$) will be out in 2 weeks or so and if you pair it with an asrock x79 extreme3 (215$) you get an x16/x16 solution for less $.
the 3820 can be overclocked unlike what many people think the cpu multiplier can be put up to 43x which gives you a cpu speed of 4.3ghz. you can go past 4.3ghz though because you can use higher bclk frequencies- http://www.anandtech.com/show/5276/intel-core-i7-3820-r...

go for 1866mhz memory. it is the highest the 2011 (x79) platform can take without needing to overclock the memory.

Go with the new samsung 830 256gb ssd it is faster and just as reliable as the crucial m4

for the 2 7970's all you need is 850w of power

the silverstone Fortress is the 2nd best air cooled case on the market- http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cases/2011/04/08/silve... only bested by the 600$ silverstone Temjin tj11- http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... it does not fit the h100 but that cpu cooler is overpriced for how well it cools. here is a great air cooler that can handle overclocks way past 5ghz- http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

this psu will do for the 2 7970's (since they really only need 850w) and it is more efficient so you will save on the electric bill :D 
if you want to save $ on the psu there are these- http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...




January 18, 2012 4:02:15 AM

Don't skimp on ur PSU. The more efficient it is the faster it will pay for itself. You also want one that has good stable, clean power as EVERYTHING relies on it. Don't compromise here. Ur video cards and system stability need a gr8 power source. I got my XFX 1000w black edition platinum certified PSU (same as/made by Seasonic) for $222 shipped FYI. Tigerdirect has them cheap too.
January 25, 2012 2:30:29 AM

Best answer selected by teamk.
a b 4 Gaming
January 25, 2012 3:33:40 PM

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