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Build Critique Request, $1600 Gaming Rig

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February 23, 2012 7:43:29 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: 2 weeks

Budget Range: $1600 is the max

System Usage: Gaming

Parts Not Required: Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, HDD, Disk Drive, Sound Card, Extra Fans

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: I preferr to only buy products from companies know for reliablility and high quality

Overclocking: Mild CPU overclock at the very most. (want to OC an i5 to 4.0 GHz)

SLI or Crossfire: Definitely not in the first year of the builds life

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: My goal is to build a reliable system that has system longevity in mind, so I've tried to find parts that are of the highest quality for thier price point. Any insights regarding the build below will be greatly appreciated!


Case:
NZXT Phantom White
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo:
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU:
i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler:
Hyper 212 EVO
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU:
GIGABYTE HD 7970 3GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XFX Double D 7970 Black Edition
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM:
G.SKILL Sniper 8GB 1.5V (2 x 4GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Sniper 8GB Low Voltage 1.25V (2 x 4GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


SSD:
Intel 520 120GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG 830 128GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Corsair Force Series GT 120GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU:
CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX850 V2 850W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX750 V2 750W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS:
Win 7 Home
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm tired of making compromises with graphical settings in-game, and wondering whether my computer can support new games at playable framerates. I've been planning on building a new rig to fit my needs for a while now and have done a fair amount of research on the topic. The build above is the result of that reseach, and im anxious to see what y'all think. I'm open to all suggestions and really would like to hear the opinions of the Tom's community.

Since this will be my first "from the gound up" computer build, I figured I'd run the build by y'all, before I dropped all that cash. >.<

I've completely disassembled my old computer numerous times, and replaced the stock CPU cooler so my confidence regarding assembling a "ground -up" build is very high. I can't wait!

Edit: the edits abound!
February 23, 2012 8:05:54 PM

I don't think anybody has responded because it doesn't seem like you need any help with this build ;) 

Best solution

February 23, 2012 8:55:46 PM
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boiler1990 said:
I don't think anybody has responded because it doesn't seem like you need any help with this build ;) 


Yeah, really - that's an excellent build.

The only problem I could see is the Corsair Force 3 as your primary HD. Maybe drop that to a 64GB Samsung 830 and use a 2TB Caviar Green as your secondary.

The XFX Double D is an OK choice - you might want to look at Sapphire's offering to be on the safe side:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Related resources
February 23, 2012 10:29:27 PM

i can't see any issues with that
February 23, 2012 11:59:11 PM

I would swap the graphics card for the Gigabyte 7970 OC WindForce (offers DIRT 3) or the Asus 7970 DirectCU II TOP (notice that this one occupies three slots), since they have better coolers and warranties, and go for a cheaper RAM with the same or better specs.

Nothing else to point out. :) 
February 24, 2012 4:17:54 AM

Hah, thanks for the vote of confidence guys, its much appreciated!

I took a look at those Samsung SSD's you suggested g_unit, and like what I see, thanks for turning me onto those. I'm gonna go with the 128GB drive for a little more flexibility and drive life.

I also hadn't looked at WD HDDs you suggested, the 2TB ones are a killer deal on Newegg atm, might have to snap one up. Really like the power saving aspect of those for storage drives.

In regards to the GPU, I really like what XFX has done with their cooling solution on that card. I've never really been comfortable with the one fan setup of all the reference models. Since I'm not feeling up to the task of installing my own aftermarket cooler on a GPU I don't mind paying a little more for XFX's. The mild OC is just an added bonus, not to mention its color scheme matches the mobo/ram/case lol.

I did a little more research and found this review by HardwareHeaven reporting lower load temps than the reference cards. Along with some other goodies. :bounce: 
http://www.hardwareheaven.com/reviews/1373/pg1/xfx-r797...

Thank you for your feedback g_unit, just the kind of critique I was looking for! Got me thinking and looking at products I hadn't considered.

I'll be checking over more RAM tonight, thanks for the suggestion curiousity!
February 24, 2012 10:44:27 AM

I strongly advise you to read my suggestion about the graphics card again. If it is still not clear, take a look at this.
February 24, 2012 2:13:24 PM

Does MSI have a 7970 with the Twin Frozr cooler? Their design is much more refined than most that are currently out, and their serial number-based warranty is nice if you like to upgrade and sell your old parts.

Either way they have 3 year warranties and Samsung VRAM. OCing a GPU is pretty easy, and since it's software controlled there aren't many risks to the GPU itself (unlike BIOS flashing)
February 24, 2012 2:16:51 PM

It has not been released yet.
February 24, 2012 3:01:52 PM

Epoch_ said:
Hah, thanks for the vote of confidence guys, its much appreciated!

I took a look at those Samsung SSD's you suggested g_unit, and like what I see, thanks for turning me onto those. I'm gonna go with the 128GB drive for a little more flexibility and drive life.

I also hadn't looked at WD HDDs you suggested, the 2TB ones are a killer deal on Newegg atm, might have to snap one up. Really like the power saving aspect of those for storage drives.

In regards to the GPU, I really like what XFX has done with their cooling solution on that card. I've never really been comfortable with the one fan setup of all the reference models. Since I'm not feeling up to the task of installing my own aftermarket cooler on a GPU I don't mind paying a little more for XFX's. The mild OC is just an added bonus, not to mention its color scheme matches the mobo/ram/case lol.

I did a little more research and found this review by HardwareHeaven reporting lower load temps than the reference cards. Along with some other goodies. :bounce: 
http://www.hardwareheaven.com/reviews/1373/pg1/xfx-r797...

Thank you for your feedback g_unit, just the kind of critique I was looking for! Got me thinking and looking at products I hadn't considered.

I'll be checking over more RAM tonight, thanks for the suggestion curiousity!


1. The Samsung 830 is an excellent choice, as is the Crucial M4 (which I have and has been problem free since I got it).

2. Yeah the HD prices have peaked but they're starting to come back down for the most part. The 2TB green is a steal - I wouldn't use it as the primary but it's great for a secondary storage.

3. Actually I've read numerous articles (including here and elsewhere) where having two fans on your video card can actually obstruct your system's air flow. That's why I generally don't recommend cards like the Twin FROZR (my general distaste for MSI aside - I'm sure they're decent cards) and go with single-fan card solutions. I never recommend aftermarket GPU coolers because an EVGA tech told me one time that they will void your warranty if they find out you've been using one. I'm sure it goes the same for other GPU manufacturers.

4. Oh I didn't catch the part about low voltage RAM - yeah SB won't mix well with 1.25V - you need 1.5V for Sandy Bridge setups, try something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
February 24, 2012 3:37:51 PM

Quote:
Actually I've read numerous articles (including here and elsewhere) where having two fans on your video card can actually obstruct your system's air flow.

I think that depends on how the fans are directed, since the size of the card is the same. Some coolers do work better than others in some instances. Proper research should prevent any major issues.

Quote:
I never recommend aftermarket GPU coolers because an EVGA tech told me one time that they will void your warranty if they find out you've been using one. I'm sure it goes the same for other GPU manufacturers.

EVGA's warranty terms conflict with that. As long as the "aftermarket modification" isn't the cause of the hardware failure, they will still technically replace it (may have to fight a little bit). That's why I actually prefer EVGA to other manufacturers (that and they have good customer service and products).

From EVGA's US/Canada Warranty
"Removal and or Defacing of Serial/Part number sticker(s) on ANY EVGA products WILL void ALL warranties.

All products must be returned in the originally sold condition. Products received by EVGA for replacement that include 3rd-party attachments (CPU Heatsink Backplate, Memory chip heatsinks, etc) will be returned to the address on the package.

There must be no physical damage to any component including the PCB, GPU/chipset, CPU Socket, or damage that is caused by:
inadequate or improper repairs carried out by any person or entity which is not authorized by the manufacturer to perform warranty services on its behalf;

negligence, accidents, modifications, defective installation or misuse and use of inappropriate spare parts;

fire, immersion in liquid, lightning, earthquake, inadequate ventilation, Acts of God, incorrect application of main voltage howsoever arising, or any other cause beyond the control of EVGA;

any other goods which can be used with the Product, but are not the Product itself;

consumable or wearing items requiring replacement as part of normal service, including (but not limited to) dry cells and rechargeable batteries.

The product must be returned to EVGA in the original factory configuration and condition. All aftermarket modification must be reversed before sending in the product for replacement."
February 24, 2012 4:58:04 PM

Quote:
There must be no physical damage to any component including the PCB, GPU/chipset, CPU Socket, or damage that is caused by:
inadequate or improper repairs carried out by any person or entity which is not authorized by the manufacturer to perform warranty services on its behalf;

negligence, accidents, modifications, defective installation or misuse and use of inappropriate spare parts;


I think they said that aftermarket GPU coolers fall under "inappropriate spare parts". I think that's right.

Quote:
fire, immersion in liquid, lightning, earthquake, inadequate ventilation, Acts of God, incorrect application of main voltage howsoever arising, or any other cause beyond the control of EVGA;


What qualifies as an "act of god", I wonder? :lol: 
February 24, 2012 5:44:22 PM

I appreciate the additional feedback guys!

Thanks for the review curiousity, their procedure and the number of cards they used in the test made for some pretty conclusive results. It does what the XFX card does, only better. I found a review from guru3d that shows the same results, so I've decided to go with the Gigabyte card. That warranty is a nice touch also your right. ;) 

You know, I distinctly remember reading that about low-voltage RAM and Sandy Bridge not getting along, silly me thanks g_unit for jogging my memory. Switched back to the initial RAM I had chosen. I like that its low profile, black, and the same specs as all the other sticks in that price range. Checked my mobo mem list and its supported as well.

I can't deny the findings about the cooling solution that Gigabyte added to their 7970, but I appreciate the comments regarding the GPU g-unit. I'm definitely going to do some reading regarding that possible airflow problem you mentioned. I've got a pretty robust fan setup planned so I'm estimating air flow won't be an issue, especially in this case.

Thanks again for your advice and critique guys, I think it's about all it can be! Any doubts I had about the build are gone and my confidence is high. Time to start preparing the "clean room" I'll be assembling in. :lol: 


February 24, 2012 6:06:57 PM

Epoch_ said:
Approximate Purchase Date: 2 weeks

Budget Range: $1600 is the max

System Usage: Gaming

Parts Not Required: Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, HDD, Disk Drive, Sound Card, Extra Fans

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: I preferr to only buy products from companies know for reliablility and high quality

Overclocking: Mild CPU overclock at the very most. (want to OC an i5 to 4.0 GHz)

SLI or Crossfire: Definitely not in the first year of the builds life

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: My goal is to build a reliable system that has system longevity in mind, so I've tried to find parts that are of the highest quality for thier price point. Any insights regarding the build below will be greatly appreciated!


Case:
NZXT Phantom White
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo:
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU:
i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler:
Hyper 212 EVO
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU:
GIGABYTE HD 7970 3GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XFX Double D 7970 Black Edition
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM:
G.SKILL Sniper 8GB 1.5V (2 x 4GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Sniper 8GB Low Voltage 1.25V (2 x 4GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


SSD:
SAMSUNG 830 128GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Corsair Force Series GT 120GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU:
CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX750 V2 750W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS:
Win 7 Home
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm tired of making compromises with graphical settings in-game, and wondering whether my computer can support new games at playable framerates. I've been planning on building a new rig to fit my needs for a while now and have done a fair amount of research on the topic. The build above is the result of that reseach, and im anxious to see what y'all think. I'm open to all suggestions and really would like to hear the opinions of the Tom's community.

Since this will be my first "from the gound up" computer build, I figured I'd run the build by y'all, before I dropped all that cash. >.<

I've completely disassembled my old computer numerous times, and replaced the stock CPU cooler so my confidence regarding assembling a "ground -up" build is very high. I can't wait!

Edit: Re-updated in light of suggestions made below


Good build, maybe size up to an 850w psu.

750w = dual 7950's

850w = dual 7970's
February 24, 2012 6:48:42 PM

Why_Me said:
Good build, maybe size up to an 850w psu.

750w = dual 7950's

850w = dual 7970's

I had a sneaking suspicion someone was going to say that. I'm glad you did, there's nothing worse than an unchecked sneaking suspicion.

I will heed your advice, it would be a shame to have to buy a GPU and another PSU in a year or so. Spend it now or you'll end up spending more later...now where did I hear that. *cough* Tom's

Thank you, I appreciate the suggestion Why_Me!
February 25, 2012 11:10:26 PM

Best answer selected by Epoch_.
!