Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Sweating the details - Gamer PC

Last response: in Systems
Share
March 19, 2012 3:58:04 AM

I used to build my computers but then stopped because I was sick and tired of my builds sucking. I figured I could get higher quality builds if I bought a pre-made gaming machine so I went with Alienware 3 years ago. This time, I was looking at gaming PC builders like cyberpowerpc.com or Digital Storm but I was convinced by my friend to try this again.

The big reason why I don't like building PCs are the small details. I don't know what bits I need other than the big parts (mobo, CPU, video card, etc.). I don't know if things will fit. I don't know how to manage cables, or whether it'll run cool, whether I'll have enough power plugs, or whether the cables I buy will reach.

So I need your help in making sure I build a great, quiet, powerful PC that rivals what I can buy from PC builders.

Thanks so much!


Approximate Purchase Date: After Kepler launches

Budget Range: $1500-2500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, monitors

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: Intel/NVidia

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: Yes - I have 3 monitors

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080, 1680x1050, 1680x1050

Additional Comments: Fast, stable and quiet!

----------------------

Case: Corsair Obsidian 550D
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: Core i5-2500k (Ivy Bridge version)
TBD

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

Power Supply: Seasonic x750 Gold
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Additional Fans: None needed

Memory: 8GB Kingston HyperX T1 2x4GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics Card: 2x GTX 680

Primary HD: Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Secondary HD: 1.5TB 7200 RPM WD Caviar Black
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Disc Drive: Does it matter anymore?

SATA Cables: BYTECC Model SATA-118C 18" Serial ATA-150/300 Cable w/Locking Latch
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Tools:
Need the right screw drivers and other tools

More about : sweating details gamer

March 19, 2012 4:57:11 AM

Wrist strap is useless. Just use a smooth countertop and touch the case metal sometime during assembly. Use MASSCOOL Shin-Etsu; it is 10x cheaper and does a better job. For Cooler, try the CM Hyper 212 EVO or the Noctua D14.
March 19, 2012 1:53:32 PM

Thanks!

How do you guys plan for powering the fans - My case can take like 6-8 fans, but I don't know if I can power all of them if I have a few hard drives.

Also, how about the SATA cables and so forth - do you just get longer cables and not worry about it later? Any tips on wiring and making it clean?
Related resources
March 19, 2012 3:17:25 PM

azeem40 said:
Wrist strap is useless. Just use a smooth countertop and touch the case metal sometime during assembly. Use MASSCOOL Shin-Etsu; it is 10x cheaper and does a better job. For Cooler, try the CM Hyper 212 EVO or the Noctua D14.


I definitely agree that the wrist strap is completely useless but both the Hyper 212 and Noctua D14 include really good thermal solutions so buying extra is kind of a waste, IMO.

Quote:
Also, how about the SATA cables and so forth - do you just get longer cables and not worry about it later? Any tips on wiring and making it clean?


Corsair cases have excellent cable management systems and are very user friendly. As long as you route your cables behind the motherboard tray you'll achieve the clean look.

Quote:
Graphics Card: 2x Kepler cards (or 2x GTX 570)


Until there's actual Kepler cards out and benchmarked, I'm not recommending waiting. Instead of 2 x 570, go with 2 x 7870 - you will not be disappointed, the 7870 has been destroying the 570 and even the 580 for 1/2 the cost: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7870-revi...

Quote:

Memory: 32GB Corsair Vengeance (4GB x 8)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820233263


32GB is way overkill on a gaming build - you'll barely use 16GB as it is.

Quote:
I used to build my computers but then stopped because I was sick and tired of my builds sucking. I figured I could get higher quality builds if I bought a pre-made gaming machine so I went with Alienware 3 years ago. This time, I was looking at gaming PC builders like cyberpowerpc.com or Digital Storm but I was convinced by my friend to try this again.


Digital Storm I hear is decent, Cyberpower is awful - they charge you too much money for last year's components. I haven't been a fan of Alienware since they got bought by Dell (and I'm not the biggest fan of Dell by any stretch of the imagination).

Quote:

Power Supply: Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 1000W Will I have enough plugs for the fans and everything else?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817171056

Fans: No idea. But I figure I should I get quiet fans, right? Will


I wouldn't go with this choice for PSU, IMO - this would be a far better choice: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You don't necessarily need the extra fans - most Corsair cases are well ventilated and include plenty to start with.

Quote:


Media Reader: nMEDIAPC ZE-C198 All-in-one USB Card Reader with USB 3.0/IEEE 1394/e-SATA Port/HD Audio Ports
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820132027


That's pretty much a junk flash card reader - anything that needs a mounting bracket is the biggest pain to install, IMO. If you want the best media reader I highly recommend this unit: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Installation on this reader is practically effortless and they're very solidly constructed units.
March 19, 2012 3:32:29 PM

Quote:

Until there's actual Kepler cards out and benchmarked, I'm not recommending waiting. Instead of 2 x 570, go with 2 x 7870 - you will not be disappointed, the 7870 has been destroying the 570 and even the 580 for 1/2 the cost: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7870-revi...



The rumor is that Kepler will release this week.

Quote:
32GB is way overkill on a gaming build - you'll barely use 16GB as it is.


What is 32GB good for? I'm planning on building this to last a while so I'm hoping to future proof this enough.

Quote:
I wouldn't go with this choice for PSU, IMO - this would be a far better choice: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Never heard of this brand - why do you recommend it.

But thanks for the feedback on everything else. I'm updating the build. However can someone provide more recommendations for good, quiet CPU fans? The CM Hyper 212 is a bit loud and the Noctua is huge which won't allow me to use the Corsair Vengeance RAM.
March 19, 2012 3:36:21 PM

So you plan to keep this for decades? o.0
March 19, 2012 3:37:49 PM

azeem40 said:
So you plan to keep this for decades? o.0


hehehe - well 3-4 years
March 19, 2012 3:40:24 PM

Oh so if I only need 16GB RAM I don't need the X79 Sabertooth right? I can get a cheaper Mobo with only 4 RAM slots?

Also, I keep seeing G.skill RAM - recommended more than the Corsair?
March 19, 2012 3:40:47 PM

Quote:
Never heard of this brand - why do you recommend it.

But thanks for the feedback on everything else. I'm updating the build. However can someone provide more recommendations for good, quiet CPU fans? The CM Hyper 212 is a bit loud and the Noctua is huge which won't allow me to use the Corsair Vengeance RAM.


Seasonic has an excellent reputation for making quality PSUs - and a lot of manufacturers including Corsair, Antec, and XFX use them as the OEM on a lot of higher end PSUs. Cooler Master is not a good choice as a lot of their PSUs have a bad reputation, fake labels and certification, and things like that. I hear good things about the Super Flower platform that Kingwin and NZXT use but I don't know much about it.

Like I said you don't need the extra fans to start with - the Obsidian series is extremely well ventilated and includes plenty of fans to start with - you're just wasting your money to start with.

Quote:
What is 32GB good for? I'm planning on building this to last a while so I'm hoping to future proof this enough.


The only reason you'd need 32GB is if you're planning on working with large files (video editing, Adobe CS5, etc). Gaming systems won't come close to utilizing this much RAM any time soon - the "future proofing" aspect of this part is pretty pointless, IMO.

I don't recommend the Corsair RAM because of the tall heat sinks - they're pointless and will make installing any air coolers you plan to use extremely difficult. Try something like this instead:
Kingston Hyper X: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
G.Skill Ripjaw Z: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Mushkin Enhanced Blackline: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
The rumor is that Kepler will release this week.


I hear this week, I hear August - I hear October - December, I'll believe the rumors when I see them.
March 19, 2012 3:51:27 PM

Yeah, I keep hearing noise about their release and that it is all over the place. Can't trust it, no sir.
March 19, 2012 4:11:24 PM

8GB is overkill for gaming, so 32GB is way overkill. Also, having too much ram can slow the computer down by a frame or 2 in benchmarks. So get 8GB, with the option to get more later if needed. 16GB and larger is only if you are doing heavy ram usage like video editing, or other large productivity work (and even then my 16GB is plenty for most projects).

Hyper212Evo is pretty quiet, but not silent. Still, it is super easy to mod. The Evo was not quiet enough for my editing rig so I slapped 2 silent 120mm Enermax fans on it in a push/pull configuration and now it makes absolutely no noise, and cools better than the stock fan did, while still costing less than the big Zalman and Noctua coolers, and I think it looks better with 2 metal shrouded fans on either end than the crappy black plastic it came with :)  ,

gSkill and Corsair are on par with eachother. They are both good standard ram that works pretty well. Personally I like Corsair better (Just because they have the longer track record) but they are both fine. Be sure to buy modules in 4packs if sticking with the 2011 board as it uses quad channel memory. Also, beware of tall heatsinks if you go with that monster Noctua heatsink.

Do you really want 2011? 1155 is almost as fast for gaming (and has a higher OC potential due to less heat), and will be faster once IB comes out within a month. Don't get me wrong; 2011 is a great format if you want to do productivity work, need 8 ram slots, or require the bandwidth of 2-4 PCIe3 x16 slots, but if you are only running 2 GPUs (even high end modern GPUs), then you will be fine with an IB cpu running 2 PCIe3 x8 slots without bottlenecking your cards. If it means waiting a month to cut a few hundred dollars off to get a larger SSD, better fans/controllers or better GPUs, then I would plan on waiting for IB rather than SB-E. It will be less heat/noise, more OC potential, and faster for gaming.

For GPUs, expect the 680 to be released within the next week or 2, and then the duel GPU 690 to be released soon after if ATI releases theirs next month. Then expect them to release the 670 in a few months, 660 a few months later, etc. Afterwards they will fill in with Ti chips to get a few more sales. So if you are going with the 680 then go ahead and wait a little bit, but if you intend to do something like the 670 then expect to wait 3-6 months, or else go with AMD this time around.

Games only use 4 cores, so an OC'd i5 is every bit as good as the chip you picked out for gaming. If you are concerned about future consoles allowing game companies to use more cores then you are still out of luck as games only use real cores, and not HT cores, so that leaves a lot of wasted CPU that you paid for and will never use. I mean, you have the budget, so I don't mean to be a wet blanket, but just realize that you are literally trowing money away on parts that will never be used because they were not designed for this application. If you don't mind waiting then get the IB version of the 2500k and OC it to the moon paired with 2 GTX680s with custom coolers, that will be your best money on parts in the near future.
March 19, 2012 4:30:04 PM

gear02 said:
Thanks!

How do you guys plan for powering the fans - My case can take like 6-8 fans, but I don't know if I can power all of them if I have a few hard drives.

Also, how about the SATA cables and so forth - do you just get longer cables and not worry about it later? Any tips on wiring and making it clean?


Just for reference on the PSU question I have an Antec Green 500w powering 2 fans for pushpull on my heatsink/fan and 3 case fans with an overclocked and 2 cores unlocked amd phenom x4 960T at 3.5ghz, a gigabyte 6850 factory OCd and I have no issues with power. Most people overkill on the PSU wattage if you get a good brand you can power plenty i would suggest 600w
March 19, 2012 5:38:02 PM

Dude great info guys, especially caedenv. I have to digest it a bit, but I'm starting to understand why people were buying the 2500k rather than the 3820. I always thought to just buy the fastest part possible :) 

March 19, 2012 5:44:19 PM

"Overclocking: No"

If he's not overclocking, why does he need an aftermarket CPU heatsink?

8gb of RAM is plenty. Get two sticks of 4 each and by the time you need 16 you'll want a new computer anyway because that Coolermaster PSU will have burned it up anyway.

Follow the advice others have given you on the i5 and the Seasonic PSU.

Good luck this time around with your build!
March 19, 2012 5:49:48 PM

catatafish said:
"Overclocking: No"

If he's not overclocking, why does he need an aftermarket CPU heatsink?

8gb of RAM is plenty. Get two sticks of 4 each and by the time you need 16 you'll want a new computer anyway because that Coolermaster PSU will have burned it up anyway.

Follow the advice others have given you on the i5 and the Seasonic PSU.

Good luck this time around with your build!


Well I think I needed a heatsink because the 3820 doesn't come with one, but I can definitely buy the retail 2500 that comes with one.

I need to think about this some more and update the specs.
March 19, 2012 6:11:34 PM

Imo, Intel's retail Heatsinks are terrible. I have had so many problems with them its not funny. I'd just buy the cheap hyper 212 and be done with it.

Again your PSU is crap...do what gunit suggested. (wish people would learn to stop picking bad psu's lol)

Again wait for ivy bridge and kepler..Both will release this week barring a major breakdown. India stores have already received kepler 680's in store and are selling so expect them thursday. Ivy Bridge also has been confirmed to be released this week to.

Yes there is proof.

http://www.overclock.net/t/1231113/gigabyte-gtx-680-2gb... (sorry for link, but its the only way I know how to get it)

8gbs will be enough for you and you can still enable dual channel which will be faster. I know your trying to futureproof and this will do the trick. If you want to waste money then get 32gbs because you will never use over 5gbs I gurantee it.

March 19, 2012 7:15:03 PM

OK - updated the system.

Changed the mobo and CPU to a LGA 1155 chipset and getting an Ivy Bridge 2500k

Memory down to 8GB, changed brand to Kingston HyperX T1

Cooling: CM Hyper 212 Evo

Power Supply: Seasonic X750 Gold (changed from the recommended Platinum)
March 19, 2012 7:23:50 PM

hotthree said:
Imo, Intel's retail Heatsinks are terrible. I have had so many problems with them its not funny. I'd just buy the cheap hyper 212 and be done with it.

Again your PSU is crap...do what gunit suggested. (wish people would learn to stop picking bad psu's lol)

Again wait for ivy bridge and kepler..Both will release this week barring a major breakdown. India stores have already received kepler 680's in store and are selling so expect them thursday. Ivy Bridge also has been confirmed to be released this week to.

Yes there is proof.

http://www.overclock.net/t/1231113/gigabyte-gtx-680-2gb... (sorry for link, but its the only way I know how to get it)

8gbs will be enough for you and you can still enable dual channel which will be faster. I know your trying to futureproof and this will do the trick. If you want to waste money then get 32gbs because you will never use over 5gbs I gurantee it.


Yeah if I had a dollar for every Raidmax, Coolmax, Ultra, or Diablotek PSU suggested I'd be rich. :lol: 

When is Ivy being released? I heard the official word from Intel was July / August, not this week - what are your sources on this?

As for your source on the NVIDIA cards - it sounds like this guy is making it up and bragging about it.

Quote:
Do you really want 2011? 1155 is almost as fast for gaming (and has a higher OC potential due to less heat), and will be faster once IB comes out within a month. Don't get me wrong; 2011 is a great format if you want to do productivity work, need 8 ram slots, or require the bandwidth of 2-4 PCIe3 x16 slots, but if you are only running 2 GPUs (even high end modern GPUs), then you will be fine with an IB cpu running 2 PCIe3 x8 slots without bottlenecking your cards. If it means waiting a month to cut a few hundred dollars off to get a larger SSD, better fans/controllers or better GPUs, then I would plan on waiting for IB rather than SB-E. It will be less heat/noise, more OC potential, and faster for gaming.


The reason I suggest 2011 on higher end builds has nothing to do with gaming performance (well maybe a little) but the fact that you can run PCI-E 3.0 out of the box without having to buy a new CPU - which to me if you buy two CPUs is a *HUGE* waste of the build. I'm more of a "plan for later" person when it comes to building and it looks like Z68 and P67 will be dead ends where X79 will be around for the next 3 - 4 years with minimal upgrades. If you have the best video card on the market, would you really want it watered down with a motherboard that can't support it?

Quote:
gSkill and Corsair are on par with eachother. They are both good standard ram that works pretty well. Personally I like Corsair better (Just because they have the longer track record) but they are both fine. Be sure to buy modules in 4packs if sticking with the 2011 board as it uses quad channel memory. Also, beware of tall heatsinks if you go with that monster Noctua heatsink.


The best RAM manufacturers around are G.Skill, Mushkin, Corsair, Kingston, and Crucial - Corsiar makes great products but they can have questionable reliability. I personally like Crucial the best as I've bought quite a few of their products and have had *ZERO* fails - the M4 I'm using as my SSD is amazing and has been relatively flawless.
March 19, 2012 8:34:48 PM

Quote:
The reason I suggest 2011 on higher end builds has nothing to do with gaming performance (well maybe a little) but the fact that you can run PCI-E 3.0 out of the box without having to buy a new CPU - which to me if you buy two CPUs is a *HUGE* waste of the build. I'm more of a "plan for later" person when it comes to building and it looks like Z68 and P67 will be dead ends where X79 will be around for the next 3 - 4 years with minimal upgrades. If you have the best video card on the market, would you really want it watered down with a motherboard that can't support it?


I think it's a different philosophy. When I was thinking of futureproofing, I mean buying a huge machine that can run games for 3 years without upgrading. I did that with my Alienware and it can still run Mass Effect 3 at decent framerates. But I'd never think about upgrading it midway. I tihnk if I were to upgrade midcycle, I'd consider buying a new CPU and mobo combo.

March 20, 2012 4:29:19 AM

gear02 said:
Quote:
The reason I suggest 2011 on higher end builds has nothing to do with gaming performance (well maybe a little) but the fact that you can run PCI-E 3.0 out of the box without having to buy a new CPU - which to me if you buy two CPUs is a *HUGE* waste of the build. I'm more of a "plan for later" person when it comes to building and it looks like Z68 and P67 will be dead ends where X79 will be around for the next 3 - 4 years with minimal upgrades. If you have the best video card on the market, would you really want it watered down with a motherboard that can't support it?


I think it's a different philosophy. When I was thinking of futureproofing, I mean buying a huge machine that can run games for 3 years without upgrading. I did that with my Alienware and it can still run Mass Effect 3 at decent framerates. But I'd never think about upgrading it midway. I tihnk if I were to upgrade midcycle, I'd consider buying a new CPU and mobo combo.


Yeah to me it's completely pointless to build a new system with an upgrade path already in mind - then you have extra parts lying around with no use for them. My philosophy on builds is to plan ahead and be glad you did later as opposed to planning for now and buying the same part twice.

Quote:
According to this source (http://us.generation-nt.com/intel-ivy-bridge-processors...), Ivy Bridge is now April 29th. Is it worth the wait?


I don't know - even the hardcore Ivy fans around here are only admitting that the i5-3770K is only a 10% increase in performance over the 2500K - it's not that much when you think about it.

Quote:
I've been waiting for Kepler because I read somewhere that it's a huge shift (something about how 3 GTX580s in SLI can be replaced by 1 GTX680).


If that's true I'll believe it when I see it but right now to me that's all the PR noise / hype machine at work. I'm really skeptical about Keppler and the insane amount of overhype it's been getting. Right now a single Radeon 7870 will destroy a GTX 580, and that's saying a lot.
March 20, 2012 4:32:23 AM


Quote:

If that's true I'll believe it when I see it but right now to me that's all the PR noise / hype machine at work. I'm really skeptical about Keppler and the insane amount of overhype it's been getting. Right now a single Radeon 7870 will destroy a GTX 580, and that's saying a lot


Yeah, and my concern is that when the 680 launches, they're going to be $500 a card or so. Has that been the typical launch price for cards?

I'm thinking I might as well get two 7970 for a lower price than wait for 680 and then pay a lot more for two.
March 20, 2012 4:36:53 AM

gear02 said:
Quote:

If that's true I'll believe it when I see it but right now to me that's all the PR noise / hype machine at work. I'm really skeptical about Keppler and the insane amount of overhype it's been getting. Right now a single Radeon 7870 will destroy a GTX 580, and that's saying a lot


Yeah, and my concern is that when the 680 launches, they're going to be $500 a card or so. Has that been the typical launch price for cards?

I'm thinking I might as well get two 7970 for a lower price than wait for 680 and then pay a lot more for two.


Yeah - for the high end cards like the 680 $500 - $600 is typical. Same with the Radeon 7970s.

I'm not expecting much of a price drop to be honest. I'm getting a 7870 but at the same time I know the $350 price tag for it is pretty steep - I'm guessing the new cards will be priced comparable to the current ones - ~$350 range for 670, ~$500 range for 680, ~$700 for 690.
March 25, 2012 7:47:10 AM

ok - reviving my thread as I have a few questions.

RAM Question:
I'm switching the MOBO to a ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 and I want to get 16GB RAM - I know it's overkill for gaming, but I figure it will come in handy somewhere else. My understanding is that I should get PC3 12800 (DDR3 1600) and fill all the channels so 4x4GB. Correct?

Is it worth getting PC3 17000 or higher?

SSD Question:
Any recommendations between the Muskin Chronos Deluxe or the Crucial M4?

PSU Question:
Finally, PSU - I do want to SLI at some point in the future. How much wattage should I aim for? I'm planning on an SSD, and potentially 3-4 other hard drives. I'm also aiming for a Gold 80 Plus rating to be more efficient (and hopefully keep cooler and quieter). Also, I'm aiming for Corsair HX, Antec, or Seasonic brands.

Sound and network card question
Does anyone get additional sound cards anymore? How about a "gaming" network card?

Oh and I snagged one of the GTX680 from Newegg :)  and I decided to get the Noctua NH-D14.
March 25, 2012 7:50:43 AM

No, get 2x8gb and fill 2 of the 4 for dual channel capabilities.

No, do not get higher than 1600MHz RAM. There is no real-world benefit to it.

I would go with the Crucial M4 mainly cuz it is cheaper.

For a GTX 680, even if you SLI, get the 750W XFX Black Edition PSU. It is silver certified and ultra quiet.
March 25, 2012 6:06:00 PM

Any other suggestions? I'm headed to Fry's soon ;) 
!