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~$1500 Build sans Monitor

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January 22, 2012 9:23:47 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: This week
Budget Range: 1500 max
System Usage: Gaming
Parts Not Required: Acer 24" 1920x1200 monitor (already had), Silverstone RV03 case ($144), keyboard, mouse.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg/amazon
Country: US
Parts Preferences: Not really.
Overclocking: Yes
Sli or Crossfire: Yes
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200
Additional Comments: Due to the 7000s and Kepler being released soon, i'm reluctant to put much money into a single high end card (>$300). I think the cards that are already cheap are less likely to devalue as much as the next generation rolls out, and the 6870 CF for $288 seems like a good deal. looking for best $/FPS for about a year then upgrade to kepler. Since it looks like these 6870s likely case vent some of the hot air, i'll probably add 2 case fans (1 in/1 out) for more venting while maintaining the positive pressure.

ASUS P8P67 DELUXE (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 $209
Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz $229 (-$15 combo with mobo)
G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 $44
SILVERSTONE Strider Gold ST75F-G 750W ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V 80 PLUS GOLD Certified 100% Modular, Active PFC Power Supply $139
2 x SAPPHIRE 100314-3L Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 $145 each after rebate = $290
THERMALRIGHT SILVER ARROW DUAL14CM ROUND FAN HEATSINK $77
Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) $180 (on amazon)
SAMSUNG Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-/+R 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Combo Model SH-B123L/RSBP LightScribe Support $60
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit Full Version OEM

Appreciate any comments/suggestions.
Including the case I already bought (Silverstone Raven 3 for $144) this comes out to ~$1450

+brian

More about : 1500 build sans monitor

a b C Monitor
January 22, 2012 9:54:20 PM

Don't get the Silver Arrow. I had one and it ultimately was running my computer *HOTTER* rather than cooler. I swapped it for the EVGA M020 and it's cooled my PC down 10'C with no problems.

Instead of dual 6870's, get a single 6950 or 6970. I have dual GTX 550s in my system and I actually prefer a single, stronger card rather than two weaker cards.

Silverstone for the most part makes pretty quality PSUs, but you should definitely do some research on the OEM behind the product before you buy it.

Also check the QVL from your motherboard manufacturer to make sure it's capable of running low voltage RAM before you buy. After this week I learned that Intel is really strict about RAM speeds and voltages, and having the wrong RAM not only has the potential to be disastrous but if Intel finds out about it, they will void your warranty.

Other than that I think it's a really good build, I say go for it.
January 22, 2012 10:55:44 PM

Quote:
Don't get the Silver Arrow. I had one and it ultimately was running my computer *HOTTER* rather than cooler. I swapped it for the EVGA M020 and it's cooled my PC down 10'C with no problems.


That may be the first bad thing i've read about the silver arrow. Everything I have read is the Silver Arrow or Noctua d14 are the best air cooling available. The usual complaint is you can get something good enough cheaper (e.g. 212), but extra cooling doesn't hurt.

Quote:
Instead of dual 6870's, get a single 6950 or 6970. I have dual GTX 550s in my system and I actually prefer a single, stronger card rather than two weaker cards.

My rationale:
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/GPU11/188
1 6870 = 44.5 fps for $145, or $3.25/fps
1 6950 = 51.4 fps for $240, or $4.7/fps
1 6970 = 58.4 fps for $300, or $5.1/fps
2 6870 = 74.8 fps for $290, or $3.9/fps

You will have some increased PSU and cooling costs with CF, but I think I would take those anyways. As mentioned above, I have some concerns about investing in a higher end single card due to the soon to be released next generations. I'm looking for best bang for buck for about a year and the upgrade to kepler most likely.

Quote:
Silverstone for the most part makes pretty quality PSUs, but you should definitely do some research on the OEM behind the product before you buy it.


I personally don't know a lot about silverstone, but they seem to have a pretty good rep amongst the boards I have researched on.

Quote:
Also check the QVL from your motherboard manufacturer to make sure it's capable of running low voltage RAM before you buy. After this week I learned that Intel is really strict about RAM speeds and voltages, and having the wrong RAM not only has the potential to be disastrous but if Intel finds out about it, they will void your warranty.


The mobo is on the QVL for the Ram, the QVL for the mobo seems old and hardly listed any 8gb sets. I'm hardly married to the snipers, just the cheapest name brand I like.

Quote:
Other than that I think it's a really good build, I say go for it.


Thanks! I'm getting anxious!

+brian
Related resources
January 22, 2012 11:10:48 PM

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz $229
Asrock Extreme3 Gen3 $122
Silverstone Raven 3 $144
G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 $44
Gigabyte 7970 $550
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit Full Version OEM $100
SAMSUNG Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-/+R 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Combo Model SH-B123L/RSBP LightScribe Support $60
Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-750 750W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS BRONZE $100
Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) $180
Thermapaste: $50
a b C Monitor
January 22, 2012 11:21:17 PM

Quote:
That may be the first bad thing i've read about the silver arrow. Everything I have read is the Silver Arrow or Noctua d14 are the best air cooling available. The usual complaint is you can get something good enough cheaper (e.g. 212), but extra cooling doesn't hurt.


I've tried tons of different fans - my computer mainly runs hot due to 3 HDs (1 SSD), 2 video cards and 2 optical drives (do a lot of movie watching and CD/DVD burning). I've tried tons of different fans and have had mostly mixed results. I've had the best results with the Cooler Master Hyper 212 (27'C on idle, 35'C on full use) and the EVGA M020 (35'C on idle, 44'C on full use). I've had the worst results with the Silver Arrow (44'C on idle, 57'C on full use) and the Xigmatek Gaia (motherboard wouldn't register my CPU and gave temp read errors left and right, motherboard ultimately died as result).

Quote:
The mobo is on the QVL for the Ram, the QVL for the mobo seems old and hardly listed any 8gb sets. I'm hardly married to the snipers, just the cheapest name brand I like.


It's just a guideline. Manufacturers don't necessarily have the time and resources to check every part out there. As long as your RAM meets the specifications of what they recommend it will be good. What I usually do is check the speeds, timing, and voltage against a few parts they've listed and as long as it meets those you're good.

The low voltage thing is a warning - After what Proximon posted about Intel's RMA policies and that they're really strict on RAM speeds and voltage, I'm not taking any chances anymore. Having the wrong voltage RAM has the potential to be disastrous and can ultimately lead to losing a motherboard. And motherboard manufacturers - especially Asus and Gigabyte - don't take that kind of thing lightly.

Quote:
I personally don't know a lot about silverstone, but they seem to have a pretty good rep amongst the boards I have researched on.


They definitely are one of the more respected PSU manufacturers out there. They're in the top tier for sure. That would be Corsair, Seasonic, Antec, PC Power & Cooling, Enermax, and XFX. Bottom tier would be Wintec, Diablotek, Coolmax, HEC, Ultra, and things like that. You should read this article on choosing a good PSU: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/power-supply-psu-re...

Quote:
Thanks! I'm getting anxious!


Oh I know the feeling. :lol: 
January 22, 2012 11:29:32 PM

somekidxd said:
Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz $229
Asrock Extreme3 Gen3 $122
Silverstone Raven 3 $144
G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 $44
Gigabyte 7970 $550
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit Full Version OEM $100
SAMSUNG Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-/+R 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Combo Model SH-B123L/RSBP LightScribe Support $60
Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-750 750W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS BRONZE $100
Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) $180
Thermapaste: $50


This is shaving off cost on Mobo and PSU in favor of a big honking GPU (and costs about $100 more than OP system).

Thermal paste for $50? I must be missing something there.

From Anadtech:
crysis warhead, 1920x1200 enthusiast quality + 4xaa
1 x 7970 = 50.3 fps at a cost of $550
2 x 6870 = 74.8 fps at a cost of $244.

That's 1/2 cost for 50% more FPS.

I understand lots of folks like single GPUs for a variety of reasons, but i'm mostly looking at best bang for buck till I do a kepler/ivy upgrade likely next year.

+brian
a b C Monitor
January 22, 2012 11:30:59 PM

So the 7970 is not worth the $?
a b C Monitor
January 22, 2012 11:37:04 PM

azeem40 said:
So the 7970 is not worth the $?


Yeah I'm not sure I agree with that either.

A single 6950 would be better than two 6850's. A single 7970 would be better than two 6970's. I don't know who wrote that article but I would definitely question that.

Quote:
I understand lots of folks like single GPUs for a variety of reasons, but i'm mostly looking at best bang for buck till I do a kepler/ivy upgrade likely next year.


I honestly think building a PC with an upgrade path already in mind is pretty pointless. You should get by fine with the 2500K for a while, having an extra +-.4GHz and a couple of extra cores isn't necessarily going to make much of a difference. Ivy isn't going to be the deal breaker everyone thinks it is when it's already going to use a lot of existing technology and not offer a lot of improvements over what's out there now. You certainly don't want to be upgrade-proof (which is why I think LGA2011 was a dumb idea) but you always want to have all your options open for sure.

Quote:
Thermapaste: $50


$50 for thermal paste? I think you're getting ripped off there.

Quote:
This is shaving off cost on Mobo and PSU in favor of a big honking GPU (and costs about $100 more than OP system).


There's some real penny-pinchers on this board who will definitely cut corners on things like that to get the biggest GPU or the biggest whatever. That's not how you want to pursue a build. It's definitely better to get a more balanced system than anything else.
January 23, 2012 12:25:44 AM

g-unit1111 said:
Yeah I'm not sure I agree with that either.

A single 6950 would be better than two 6850's. A single 7970 would be better than two 6970's. I don't know who wrote that article but I would definitely question that.


My numbers come from grabbing numbers off these two pages:
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/GPU11/188
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/GPU12/372

I have no means to verify their results, but they do seem to do a lot of testing and the results seem pretty consistent. Across the board (sli and cf), 2 last generation cards are better than 1 current generation card in most tests.

I am limiting my results based on my needs. Such as the 7970 would certainly do better where more than 1gb of vram is needed.

g-unit1111 said:
Quote:
I understand lots of folks like single GPUs for a variety of reasons, but i'm mostly looking at best bang for buck till I do a kepler/ivy upgrade likely next year.


I honestly think building a PC with an upgrade path already in mind is pretty pointless. You should get by fine with the 2500K for a while, having an extra +-.4GHz and a couple of extra cores isn't necessarily going to make much of a difference. Ivy isn't going to be the deal breaker everyone thinks it is when it's already going to use a lot of existing technology and not offer a lot of improvements over what's out there now. You certainly don't want to be upgrade-proof (which is why I think LGA2011 was a dumb idea) but you always want to have all your options open for sure.


True, this system will hopefully last as long as possible. The option to upgrade comes built into the asus p67 deluxe (and many higher end mobos these days).

+brian
a b C Monitor
January 23, 2012 1:23:09 AM

Quote:

My numbers come from grabbing numbers off these two pages:
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/GPU11/188
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/GPU12/372

I have no means to verify their results, but they do seem to do a lot of testing and the results seem pretty consistent. Across the board (sli and cf), 2 last generation cards are better than 1 current generation card in most tests.


I'm not sure I agree with those benchmarks. The problem when they do those is that they don't tell you what other equipment they use to test or how they even got those numbers to begin with. They just test the video cards on whatever equipment they happen to be using at the time. The thing is everyone's system is going to be different and every system will give you different results. I wouldn't agree with this source even slightly.

Quote:
True, this system will hopefully last as long as possible. The option to upgrade comes built into the asus p67 deluxe (and many higher end mobos these days).


The Z68 board will provide better options for upgrading with PCI-E x 3.0 and smart SSD caching.
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