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Semi-High End Gaming Computer

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February 18, 2012 2:27:42 AM

I'm looking at building my second computer, the first one I built around five years ago. At that time I didn't do a lot of research into parts but this time I want to make sure everything is as good as it can be, as I'll be spending a lot on this.

I want the computer to be a behemoth at playing games. I want it to be able to play all games at max but also not fizz out after a year or two. So I understand if some of these parts can be swapped out for a less powerful one for cheaper, and still play current games fine but I really want to make sure I don't have to upgrade again for a while even if it means going slightly overkill.

That being said, if there is a part that could be replaced and it is significantly cheaper, with only a very slight drop in performance, I'm fine sacrificing some power but I still want it to be good in the future.

Below are the parts I've come across through browsing other threads here and elsewhere. I already have an SSD drive that's not included here. The powersupply is more then needed right now because in the future I want to be able to crossfire even if I'm not doing so right now so the current PSU needs to support that in the future. I'm also fine with Nvidia over AMD, though in previous help I received elsewhere recommended the 7970 over a 580.

Part list permalink / Part price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i7-2700K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($355.98 @ Mwave)
CPU Cooler: Zalman CNPS9500 AT Ball Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: MSI Z68A-GD65 (G3) ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($149.99 @ NCIX US)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($41.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($568.49 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF X ATX Full Tower Case ($179.99 @ Microcenter)
Power Supply: Cooler Master 850W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($129.89 @ SuperBiiz)
Optical Drive: Asus BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($57.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1514.31

More about : semi high end gaming computer

Best solution

February 18, 2012 2:56:07 AM

Drop the 2700K to a 2500K. You can always swap it out later on for an Ivy Bridge cpu later on if games other than FSX take advantage of hyper threading. Dump that Cooler Master psu seeing how it sucks, and upgrade on your mobo and go to 1600hz RAM instead of that 1333. I would look at a Corsair 500 case also to save a few bucks but not lose out on size, cooling, and other extra's.

So let's try this....

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $34.99
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 Continuous Direct Contact 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with latest Intel 2011/1366/1155 and AMD FM1/AM3+

http://www.amazon.com/XFX-Semi-Modular-80Plus-Certified... $134.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
XFX PRO Series 850W XXX Edition Semi-Modular 80Plus Silver 850 Watt PSU ATX 850 Energy Star Certified Power Supply P1850BNLG9

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005E983JW/ref=ox_sc_a... $131.16 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Corsair Carbide Series 500R Mid Tower Gaming Case CC-9011012-WW

or...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0055Q7BR4/ref=ox_sc_a... $99.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Corsair Carbide Series 400R Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case - CC-9011011-WW

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $149.99
ASRock P67 EXTREME4 GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=P67%20Extre... <----- another look at that board

http://www.asrock.com/microsite/PCIe3/ <------ Gen 3 + Ivy Bridge + PCI-E 3.0

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $41.99 FREE SHIPPING
Patriot Signature 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory with heatshield Model PSD38G1600KH

http://www.amazon.com/Asus-24xDVD%C2%B1RW-Serial-Intern... $22.88 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25
Asus 24xDVD±RW Serial ATA Internal OEM Drive DRW-24B1ST (Black)
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February 18, 2012 2:56:49 AM

Quote:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820220570 $41.99 FREE SHIPPING
Patriot Signature 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory with heatshield Model PSD38G1600KH


Patriot is an OK RAM vendor - they're like a tier 2 or 3 vendor at best. There's way better out there.

It could certainly use a bit of tweaking. For starters the 2700K is serious overkill on a gaming system. Drop that to the 2500K and invest the difference elsewhere.

Zalman coolers are OK - there's definitely better, and I would not get a Cooler Master PSU.

Try this - it's a bit more balanced, you get a better PSU and motherboard with PCI-E 3.0 for the 7970:

Case: NZXT Phantom Black - $129.99
PSU: Seasonic X750 Gold - $179.99
Motherboard: Asus P8Z68-V Pro - $189.99
CPU: 3.30Ghz Intel Core i5-2500K - $229.99
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo - $34.99
RAM: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1333MHz 1.5V - $39.99
HD: Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB - $129.99
Optical: Lite on DVD Burner - $17.99
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 - $559.99

Total: $1,521.94

Notes:

- Better PSU included
- Case is a bit sleeker than the HAF X
- Replaced CPU with i5-2500K
- RAM is from one of the best vendors in the industry and is complaint with Intel RMA guidelines
- Included secondary storage option to pair with SSD
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February 18, 2012 3:05:37 AM

g-unit1111 said:
Quote:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820220570 $41.99 FREE SHIPPING
Patriot Signature 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory with heatshield Model PSD38G1600KH


Patriot is an OK RAM vendor - they're like a tier 2 or 3 vendor at best. There's way better out there.

It could certainly use a bit of tweaking. For starters the 2700K is serious overkill on a gaming system. Drop that to the 2500K and invest the difference elsewhere.

Zalman coolers are OK - there's definitely better, and I would not get a Cooler Master PSU.

Try this - it's a bit more balanced, you get a better PSU and motherboard with PCI-E 3.0 for the 7970:

Case: NZXT Phantom Black - $129.99
PSU: Seasonic X750 Gold - $179.99
Motherboard: Asus P8Z68-V Pro - $189.99
CPU: 3.30Ghz Intel Core i5-2500K - $229.99
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo - $34.99
RAM: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1333MHz 1.5V - $39.99
HD: Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB - $129.99
Optical: Lite on DVD Burner - $17.99
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 - $559.99

Total: $1,521.94

Notes:

- Better PSU included
- Case is a bit sleeker than the HAF X
- Replaced CPU with i5-2500K
- RAM is from one of the best vendors in the industry and is complaint with Intel RMA guidelines
- Included secondary storage option to pair with SSD

A few things I don't understand. First off is that $190 Z68 board, and then the $180 750w psu. Gold, Silver, Bronze...it's a fine line separating them. XFX and mid and upper tier Corsair psu's are manufactured by Seasonic.

As far as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd tier RAM...the days of over clocking your RAM is all but finished. No need to get low latency RAM in order to over clock your cpu hence the reason CL9 is the hot item these days. 1600 is a minor upgrade from 1333 but it's still an upgrade.
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February 18, 2012 3:24:09 AM

Quote:
A few things I don't understand. First off is that $190 Z68 board, and then the $180 750w psu. Gold, Silver, Bronze...it's a fine line separating them. XFX and mid and upper tier Corsair psu's are manufactured by Seasonic.


The board has PCI-e 3.0 and is one of the more solid and stable offerings from Asus. It's either that or a low end Asrock board, and on a mid end build I'd rather have a better motherboard than the 2700K.

I know it's a fine line separating gold, silver, bronze PSUs but on mid - high end builds I always try to go for energy efficiency over, say a 1200W PSU which in about 90% of cases isn't necessary.

Quote:
As far as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd tier RAM...the days of over clocking your RAM is all but finished. No need to get low latency RAM in order to over clock your cpu hence the reason CL9 is the hot item these days. 1600 is a minor upgrade from 1333 but it's still an upgrade.


Actually there is - ask Proximon. After the information he posted about Intel's RMA guidelines - they completely frown on any RAM above 1333 and if you need to RMA your CPU, they will actually void your warranty if they find out you've been using anything above 1333.

Also you cannot throw away the box or the stock fan either - if you have to RMA your CPU, Intel will require numbers from all 3 before they'll even consider it.
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February 18, 2012 3:29:43 AM

g-unit1111 said:
Quote:
A few things I don't understand. First off is that $190 Z68 board, and then the $180 750w psu. Gold, Silver, Bronze...it's a fine line separating them. XFX and mid and upper tier Corsair psu's are manufactured by Seasonic.


The board has PCI-e 3.0 and is one of the more solid and stable offerings from Asus. It's either that or a low end Asrock board, and on a mid end build I'd rather have a better motherboard than the 2700K.

I know it's a fine line separating gold, silver, bronze PSUs but on mid - high end builds I always try to go for energy efficiency over, say a 1200W PSU which in about 90% of cases isn't necessary.

Quote:
As far as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd tier RAM...the days of over clocking your RAM is all but finished. No need to get low latency RAM in order to over clock your cpu hence the reason CL9 is the hot item these days. 1600 is a minor upgrade from 1333 but it's still an upgrade.


Actually there is - ask Proximon. After the information he posted about Intel's RMA guidelines - they completely frown on any RAM above 1333 and if you need to RMA your CPU, they will actually void your warranty if they find out you've been using anything above 1333.

Also you cannot throw away the box or the stock fan either - if you have to RMA your CPU, Intel will require numbers from all 3 before they'll even consider it.

If you look at my first post on this thread I suggested the 2500K in my first sentence. Ivy Bridge if you want hyper threading along with PCI-E 3.0 hence the reason I posted that Gen 3 board in that same post.

As far having to RMA a cpu...a board that supports 1333, 1600, etc.... isn't going to hurt the cpu or the board. As long as the RAM is low voltage (1.5v or lower) these 1155 boards will run them all day...if they didn't then they wouldn't support it would they?
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February 18, 2012 3:40:35 AM

I'll be switching the 2700k for a 2500k since it seems that is a common suggestion and has been mentioned otherwise being overkill. As long as future CPUs will fit into my motherboard, I have no problem going down to the 2500k.

I don't need extra hard drive to supplement the SSD, as I already have upwards of 5TB. As for the disk reader, I was hoping to have it at least read Blu-Ray and write DVD, I don't need it to write Blu-Ray though.

As for everything else you're talking about, its going a bit over my head so I'm going to have to read it over again, but I'll definitely step down to 2500k if you think so and make some other changes.
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February 18, 2012 3:42:46 AM

Quote:
As far having to RMA a cpu...a board that supports 1333, 1600, etc.... isn't going to hurt the cpu or the board. As long as the RAM is low voltage (1.5v or lower) these 1155 boards will run them all day...if they didn't then they wouldn't support it would they?


Some motherboards say they'll support up to 2133 but most will natively support only 1600 or lower. Overclocking your RAM to get to those speeds that aren't listed can lead to very bad things. I think what Intel is advising is that if you leave your RAM alone you'll be fine. Some of the more hardcore overclockers will set their memory multipliers way higher than what the motherboard can support and that's what can lead to very bad things down the road.

Quote:
I don't need extra hard drive to supplement the SSD, as I already have upwards of 5TB. As for the disk reader, I was hoping to have it at least read Blu-Ray and write DVD, I don't need it to write Blu-Ray though.


BD-R and DVD burners are super cheap right now. Here's the BD-R burner I use and it works great, no problems:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

However this one doesn't include playback or burning software as it's an OEM - so try this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Of course there's always the top of the line Plextor B950: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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February 18, 2012 3:50:15 AM

g-unit1111 said:
Quote:
As far having to RMA a cpu...a board that supports 1333, 1600, etc.... isn't going to hurt the cpu or the board. As long as the RAM is low voltage (1.5v or lower) these 1155 boards will run them all day...if they didn't then they wouldn't support it would they?


Some motherboards say they'll support up to 2133 but most will natively support only 1600 or lower. Overclocking your RAM to get to those speeds that aren't listed can lead to very bad things. I think what Intel is advising is that if you leave your RAM alone you'll be fine. Some of the more hardcore overclockers will set their memory multipliers way higher than what the motherboard can support and that's what can lead to very bad things down the road.

The peeps that over clock their RAM with these 1155 boards are old school twits stuck in the past while failing to ever read up on these 1155 boards. No reason at all these days to over clock your RAM. Run the RAM at the stated specs and call it good. In order to o/c your RAM you have to raise the voltage and once you do that with these 1155 boards is when you run into problems.

I can remember when you had to o/c your RAM by moving up the FSB in order to o/c your cpu, but those days are over with. I still see people on here purchasing that crappy old school 1.65v RAM for these boards and I'm thinking ..."wtf"? I think they see the higher voltage and in their mind higher is better.
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February 28, 2012 1:17:46 AM

Best answer selected by Onitheris.
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