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New Machine (BF3, School)

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January 21, 2012 1:04:55 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: (e.g.: this week (the closer the better))

Budget Range: <$2000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Stata, Matlab, Mathematica, Word Processing, Casual Photoshop, General Usage

Parts Not Required: Everything Required - including monitor/mouse/keyboard/speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: No Preference

Country: USA (New York City)

Parts Preferences: No clue

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Monitor Resolution: No Clue

Additional Comments: This will be a gaming machine that will double as a school/work computer (currently pursuing economics/statistics/mathematics/finance studies at a major university)

More about : machine bf3 school

January 21, 2012 2:57:08 AM

Hi! This should be a pretty easy build, I am also assuming that you can get to a MicroCenter from where you live (I'm pretty sure they have a Micro Center in NY) and find these items at a discounted price.
This is the setup I would go:

CPU: Intel i5 2500k $225
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics: EVGA GTX 570 $340
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MoBo: ASRock Extreme 3 $122
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-750 750W $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: CM HAF 912 $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200RPM HDD $85
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD: OCZ Solid 3 60GB $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: G.SKILL Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) $37
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Heatsink+Fan: CM Hyper 212+ $30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD-ROM: SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner $16
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS: Win 7 Home Premium 64Bit $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $1215

Explanation: This is a great build that you can make even better by adding better components (which will also bring the cost of the system up). I chose the i5 2500k because it is one of the best CPUs for your money, the i7 2600k is another great CPU but the extra money isn't worth the hyperthreading ability and extra 100Mhz stock clock. If you wish to spend more money on your computer, you can definitely go with the i7 2600k, however, you probably will find better performance increases by buying a better graphics card. The gtx 570 is a great graphics card, it will handle anything you throw at it, if you're willing to buy a system around $1500, I would definitely go with another one of the gtx 570s or even the new Radeon 7970. The ASRock extreme 3 is an AMAZING motherboard. It is extremely well priced for the features, such as PCIe 3.0 and SLI/CF capabilities. The Antec 750W PSU is more than enough for mild overclocking and SLI/CF, it is also pretty reliable. The HAF is a great series of cases, they are in the mid range price section and offer outstanding air flow. The case was also designed to fit longer graphics cards such as the gtx 570. The Seagate Barracuda is a 500GB drive to last for now, if you wish to upgrade to 1TB, go ahead, however, I do not recommend it with HDD prices sky high. The 60GB OCZ SSD is a boot drive, you should store your windows 7 and any heavy used applications on there (like word and such). 8GB of RAM from G.SKill is way more than what you will be needing, it's only 2 sticks so you have the ability to upgrade to 16GB later if you wish. The CM Hyper 212+ is a great HSF and it allows for cool temperatures and great overclocking. The DVD and OS are pretty self-explanatory
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January 21, 2012 3:21:30 AM

Here's what I came up with without including graphics:

($230) Intel i5-2500K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
In your price range this processor is the absolute minimum. I have a feeling that of your listed usages gaming is going to be the most demanding. If you really tax matlab then you could justify the i7-2600K but most people won't notice the difference in matlab.

($55) Thermaltake Frio
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The stock cooler is garbage.

($205) ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This board will get you x8/x8 SLI mode for two graphics cards, a nice port cluster, good overclocking potential, and a really reliable brand. However if you ever want to run an x4 peripheral (like a RAID card) in that third x16 slot then you'll likely want a different board but most people don't care about that.

($47) G.Skill Ripjaw 8GB (2x4GB) RAM at 1600mhz, CL9, and 1.5V
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Some people use more than 8GB of RAM. I have programs that I have written myself that use over 12GB of RAM. However most everyone will have plenty at 8GB - especially for gaming. If you find yourself needing more RAM you can add another 8GB (2x4GB) kit later.

($190) Crucial M4 128GB SSD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SSD's don't help your FPS in gaming, but they are a gigantic overall system upgrade. If you've never used one before then sometimes it's hard to justify the price per gigabyte, but once you've used an SSD you'll never go back. Also, if you have programming applications (like matlab) that use a lot of i/o then you will notice a huge difference with an SSD.

($130) Hitachi 2TB HDD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The SSD isn't enough space - you need a standard HDD for mass storage.

($20) ASUS Optical Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

($200) OCZ 1000W Z-series PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Normally I don't recommend OCZ PSU's but this one is a really great unit with lots of power. You can power two 580's and a healthy overclock with this one.

($100) Your favorite case. There are a lot of cases in the world and there is a lot of personal preference. Here are two good choices:
Antec Nine Hundred: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CoolerMaster HAF 922: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

($150) Monitor: 22" ASUS Monitor wth 1920x1080
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This is a no-frills monitor with decent gaming performance. You can definitely spend more here, but I wouldn't if it were me.

($14) Logitech Wired Keyboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
An expensive gaming keyboard is not as important as an expensive gaming mouse. The one thing you want, though, is to make sure your keyboard is wired. You don't want to lose keyboard connectivity when you're trying to return the flag.

($68) Logitech G9x 5700dpi Gaming Mouse
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
You're going to want high DPI for gaming. Anyone who says a mouse is just a mouse and the $15 ones are fine has never used a good mouse. It makes a difference.

So far that's $1409 with plenty of room for graphics.

Now for graphics, which are the most important part of the system. My choice would be a single GTX 580. You'll be able to run almost everything that's out right now at the highest available settings. However, this is only the option that you want if you plan on adding a second card later when you can afford it. If you're not going to add that second card later then you want to go with two cards right now. Two GTX 560ti's will be about the same price as a single GTX 580 and will be better than a single GTX 580. Note that if you go with two 560ti's then you can use a weaker power supply.

($500) MSI Twin Frozr II/OC GTX 580 1.5GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
There are cheaper cards and there are cards with a higher factor overclock, but I picked this one because it cools well. Two 580's put out a LOT of heat. Cooling is important.

($500) 2x EVGA Superclocked GTX 560ti
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
There are a lot of 560ti's and I'm not an expert at picking the right one. Make sure to get 1GB cards and stay away from the 448 core cards.

($530) 2x MSI N560GTX-Ti Hawk GeForce GTX 560 Ti
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
If you want one of the best factory overclocks you can find in a GTX 560ti and you're willing to pay for it then I think the Hawk is the one. However it's not that hard to get an overclock yourself.

If you go with a $500 graphics option then you're at $1909. That leaves room for Windows 7 if you need it. You also may need to buy a couple of little extras like thermal grease, SATA cables, or extra case fans.
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January 21, 2012 3:49:15 PM

@danraies
You have a great build there, however, I feel that build is slightly overpriced, even though OP has a $2000 budget. The more he can save, the more he can spend on something else. I see a few problems, starting with the motherboard, the ASUS motherboard is overpriced for the features, the ASRock board is fine for a system. The second problem is the HDD, I really doubt the OP needs a 2TB drive, and even then, I recommend him getting a drive from either Western Digital or Seagate. The third problem is the PSU, 1000W is WAY overkill, he's not going to be QuadSLIing so he only needs 850W MAX.
Finally, I would recommend getting this gfx card if you're going to spend $500 on one:
http://www.amazon.com/Diamond-Radeon-GDDR5-Graphics-797...
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January 21, 2012 4:19:08 PM

@r0aringdrag0n I disagree about the ASUS motherboard. I think it's okay to pay a little more for the ASUS brand name and a few of the extra features. I have no problem with the ASRock board, though. I recommend that board all the time in slightly lower priced gaming builds but it's pretty sparse on features (like the port cluster and it doesn't have a usb 3.0 header) and it only offers a 2 year warranty which bothers me a little in a $2000 machine. Either way is fine - I think it comes down to personal preference.

I picked the HDD that I picked because the 1TB drives on newegg weren't much cheaper. Personally, I have no problem filling 1TB so for the price difference I wouldn't buy a 1TB drive. Also, what's wrong with Hitachi? They perform really well. Seagate drives are great but I personally feel like WD drives are overpriced.

I've heard arguments that 850W isn't enough for two 580's and a healthy overclock, but I don't claim to be an expert on that. I've seen you around and I know that you know what you're talking about so if you say a quality 850W unit will do the job then I'll concede that point. For the record my 850W recommendation would be the Corsair HX850

I didn't go with the 7970 because some video and engineering applications use CUDA. The 7970, however, is a stronger card than the 580.

Now, having said all that - if I were working on a $1500 budget (about your price plus monitor/keyboard/mouse) then my build would have looked almost exactly like yours. I don't like the High Current series and I think that 60GB is too small for a boot drive, but for the most part I think you've got it exactly right. $2000 is kind of an uncomfortable budget to work with sometimes.
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January 21, 2012 4:34:29 PM

those programs dont use cuda. i know matlab doesnt atleast. matlab can only use more then one core if the user can program the code to do so
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January 21, 2012 5:10:08 PM

cbrunnem said:
those programs dont use cuda. i know matlab doesnt atleast. matlab can only use more then one core if the user can program the code to do so


None of the programs use CUDA, no, but based on the stated path of study I figured you never know what you might need. A friend of mine is an engineer and she runs FEA programs sometimes that she claims are crippled without CUDA. I've got no problem with a 7970 - it's the fastest card you can get today.

I do, however, use matlab (and several other programming languages) quite a bit. It is correct that matlab doesn't use CUDA but writing multithreaded programs is not difficult. If you're writing even moderate programs then you should know how to make use of multithreaded code.
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January 21, 2012 5:18:04 PM

it is possible but i do not know how to do it. i guess it just depends on the classes you are taking.

i know that a single task cant be spread over more then 1 core. like if you have a loop just to count to a million while multiplying a few numbers, you cant have one core count while another multiplies. that is my understanding but i could be wrong.
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January 21, 2012 7:21:14 PM

cbrunnem said:
i know that a single task cant be spread over more then 1 core. like if you have a loop just to count to a million while multiplying a few numbers, you cant have one core count while another multiplies. that is my understanding but i could be wrong.


That is correct and by design. You shouldn't be able to run a loop over multiple threads because quite often step 47 of the loop depends on the first 46. You can't run a loop over multiple threads in any language that I know. But if you have two loops that are performing independent tasks then you can do them in different threads. Also, if you have a list of a million things that you would normally do in a loop but they are independent of one another then there are ways to put each in it's own process.
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January 26, 2012 12:14:03 AM

Thanks for the input guys. I should probably have mentioned that $2,000 is not an absolutely hard ceiling for this - if I'm going to see a significant increase in performance from another 10-20% I can swing it. I arrived at the $2,000 limit quite arbitrarily to begin with.

I know this is difficult to quantify, but what I am really looking for is the ability to play BF3 and the next few iterations of FPS on reasonably high settings - i.e. settings and FPS that won't cause me to be at a disadvantage to any significant degree.

Of course, if my budget is excessive for this purpose, I'd love to save some money for something else.

Thanks!
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January 26, 2012 12:21:08 AM

cfx 7970's and either a 2500k or 2600k and you will be fine fror a while
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Best solution

January 26, 2012 12:25:37 AM

2496785,11,1098308 said:
I know this is difficult to quantify, but what I am really looking for is the ability to play BF3 and the next few iterations of FPS on reasonably high settings - i.e. settings and FPS that won't cause me to be at a disadvantage to any significant degree./quotemsg]

Graphics is going to determine your budget (which you've probably figured out by now). After you decide your graphics we can haggle over motherboards and SSD's, but graphics should be your first choice.

Tom's did a pretty comprehensive review of different cards in BF3:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/battlefield-3-graph...

Here's a quote. The question is "What do I need to run BF3 on ultra?" The monitor I recommended has 1920x1080 resolution.
Quote:
Honestly? If you have your sights set on 2560x1600, you probably want an SLI-based configuration. Even the GeForce GTX 590 gets beat up pretty badly at that resolution.

It’s entirely possible to get a good experience out of a GeForce GTX 580 at 1920x1080 or lower, though in real-world game play you still run into occasional stuttering.

A GeForce GTX 570 handles 1680x1050 pretty well. However, I’m willing to bet that you didn’t buy a $300+ card to play on a 17” screen. Two GTX 570s should handle Ultra quality with aplomb at 1920x1080.


I haven't seen a benchmark on BF3 yet (though I'm sure there's one out there somewhere), but I'd guess that the 7970 will do just fine.
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November 14, 2012 10:02:31 PM

Best answer selected by Mark11B2P.
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