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Need help/advice for Gaming PC

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March 20, 2012 6:41:53 PM

Hello!

I've been meaning to get myself a new PC, and usually I stick to a machine for 5 or more years once I acquire it. So, I've been doing research, but it seems every benchmark I read and every article about new tech gives more questions than answers.

For budget, it's a bit hard for me to set a pattern. But to leave some sort of reference, in the end, prices here are 3 times higher. So a US$450.00 GTX 580 could be acquired for ~R$1300.00 .

With that in mind, the setup I kind of settled for (which I'm ok with the price) is like this:

- Asus p8z68-v pro gen3
- Intel Core i5 2500k
- 2x Corsair Vengeance 4gb 1600mhz
- 850 W Corsair font
- 1 tb 7200rpm sata3 HD (from seagate)
- NZXT Phantom (Full Tower Case)

The Phantom tower is an item I'd rather not trade for anything else. Love this one's design.

For graphics, I was considering the radeon HD 6870, though I believe I could spend a tad more on the 7870 depending on how it's price is going to be here (new releases get too overpriced here).

I plan to buy it in early June (which is when I finish saving money for it), and maybe it's too far ahead, but on the other hand I could adjust should anything too drastic happen.

And now, the questions and stuff that's been bugging me:

Are there much better choices at that price? Or much cheaper choices with same performance/features?

What is that 'SSD as HDD cache' I've been reading about? I sort of grasp the concept, but how do I make that work? How big should it be? Is it motherboard dependant, or anything on that line?

PCIe 3.0, USB 3, SATA 3... I've got to admit that when talk start to get into 'hub' 'controllers' 'lanes', etc... I am clueless. What "USB ports that are disabled if the PCI is being used as 16x/16x" mean?

Since part of the plan is being able to upgrade it later, PCIe 3.0 feels like a must. But is it? Is there a reason not to worry about it?

More importantly, is that Motherboard choice a solid one?

Do I even have to worry about that if I don't plan any X-Fire or SLI? Or even multiple HDDs?

At this point I really prefer to stick to one card. But then, I could probably see myself buying another GPU to crossfire at year's end. I don't really plan on getting 3 monitors to play with, but while I won't actively go in that direction, how much would it cost to be ready for that?

Sometimes I've got to admit I would like to maybe tap into some light overclocking. But how does it work with stock fans, and how far can it go with air cooling? If I could get a non-stock (good) cooler how much harm could it make?

That's it. Sorry for the long post, but I guess it works better to explain what it is that I want from the PC and future intentions, than just ask if something is good now, while it could be not so good in a month.

Btw, it could be a good thing to consider future releases (that will happen before early june).

Thanks in advance,

-Dan

More about : advice gaming

March 20, 2012 7:25:02 PM

still confused at what your budget is. you mention that it's $1300 with a 580 but later say you're considering a 6870 or 7870.

Also SSD caching stores info from frequently used programs onto the SSD. It's recommended for smaller ones, like a 32GB. If you have a 60GB+ SSD, I'd just put the OS on it and use the HDD as a slave. I've seen caching best described as a "poor man's SSD."

The mobo seems legit and PCIe 3.0's definitely a good thing. It also supports quad SLI and CrossfireX, which is awesome.

The Cooler Master Hyper 212's a pretty standard answer for a good heatsink. Generally stock heatsinks are loud and bad for overclocking. I've got one and I can OC my 2500k to 4.4GHz easily for everyday use, but at 4.6 I'm looking at frequent BSODs. 4.5 seems stable too, but I'm afraid of it because of the poor performance @ 4.6.

If you plan on CF or SLI'ing more than 2 cards, make sure they support 3-4way. A lot of cards don't.
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Best solution

a c 92 B Homebuilt system
March 20, 2012 7:59:13 PM

Quote:
If you plan on CF or SLI'ing more than 2 cards, make sure they support 3-4way. A lot of cards don't.


Only NVIDIA cards and a few of the higher end cards support 3 or 4 way SLI and it's very rare to see a Crossfire setup that runs more than 3 cards, the average user doesn't use more than two.

Quote:
The Phantom tower is an item I'd rather not trade for anything else. Love this one's design.


Good choice.

Quote:
At this point I really prefer to stick to one card. But then, I could probably see myself buying another GPU to crossfire at year's end. I don't really plan on getting 3 monitors to play with, but while I won't actively go in that direction, how much would it cost to be ready for that?


If you get a Radeon card like the new 7870 - you only need one card to run on 3 x monitors.

Quote:
More importantly, is that Motherboard choice a solid one?


I definitely recommend Asus and Gigabyte more than any other brand.

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Sometimes I've got to admit I would like to maybe tap into some light overclocking. But how does it work with stock fans, and how far can it go with air cooling? If I could get a non-stock (good) cooler how much harm could it make?


I've heard rumors of people being able to take the 2500K to 4.5GHz on stock cooling but I'm not sure how accurate my source on that is.

Quote:
Do I even have to worry about that if I don't plan any X-Fire or SLI? Or even multiple HDDs?


Not sure I understand this question - are we talking future Crossfire / SLI planning or the ability to use multiple HDDs?

Quote:
For graphics, I was considering the radeon HD 6870, though I believe I could spend a tad more on the 7870 depending on how it's price is going to be here (new releases get too overpriced here).


That depends on where "here" is, but you definitely can't go wrong with the 7870 - I'm planning to upgrade my GPU to the Sapphire model once Newegg gets them back in stock and I get my tax refund.

Here you go:

Case: NZXT Phantom - $129.99
PSU: Corsair TX750 V2 - $104.99 ($15.00 MIR)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3H - $159.99
CPU: 3.30GHz Intel Core i5-2500K - $219.99
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo - $34.99
RAM: 8GB Crucial Ballistix Sport 1600MHz 1.5V - $44.99
SSD: 64GB Crucial M4 - $94.99
HD: 1TB Seagate Barracuda ST 7200RPM - $109.99
Optical: Lite On DVD Burner - $17.99
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 2GB GHz Edition - $359.99
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium - $99.99

Total: $1,377.89 ($1,277.89 without OS)
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March 20, 2012 8:03:22 PM

flossbandit said:
still confused at what your budget is. you mention that it's $1300 with a 580 but later say you're considering a 6870 or 7870.

Also SSD caching stores info from frequently used programs onto the SSD. It's recommended for smaller ones, like a 32GB. If you have a 60GB+ SSD, I'd just put the OS on it and use the HDD as a slave. I've seen caching best described as a "poor man's SSD."

The mobo seems legit and PCIe 3.0's definitely a good thing. It also supports quad SLI and CrossfireX, which is awesome.

The Cooler Master Hyper 212's a pretty standard answer for a good heatsink. Generally stock heatsinks are loud and bad for overclocking. I've got one and I can OC my 2500k to 4.4GHz easily for everyday use, but at 4.6 I'm looking at frequent BSODs. 4.5 seems stable too, but I'm afraid of it because of the poor performance @ 4.6.

If you plan on CF or SLI'ing more than 2 cards, make sure they support 3-4way. A lot of cards don't.


Well, $1300.00 for the 580, and between $650 and $800 for the 6870. I'm not sure how I got into my skull that the 7870 would be between them, but I did.

Well, I didn't add an SSD on that planning because it would depend on how much I will spend on the GPU. Meaning I wouldn't spend $1300 on the GTX580, but probably would on the HD7870.

If I go with a cheaper GPU and the difference was enough for an SSD I'd probably go with it.

I don't really see myself going past 2 graphic cards, but this PCI lane talk annoys me because it sounds like that kind of detail that will screw you badly if you ignore it. But by the time I would get a third card I believe I would probably buy some new card rather than an 'old' model on 'old' tech.

One important thing though is framerates and to some degree graphic quality. At this point I really care about some anti-aliasing, and it's been more than my 6770 can handle. I don't use over the top AA, but at least 4x MSAA is needed. I am at a point I have to choose between rest and entertainment (like most people). But the lack of sleep and rest is making my eyes hurt when I get framerate drops and now screen tearing is being torture. V-Sync really helps at that but again, it's more than my current rig can handle.
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March 21, 2012 11:39:44 AM

Best answer selected by patosaiex.
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a c 92 B Homebuilt system
March 21, 2012 4:09:18 PM

Quote:
Well, $1300.00 for the 580, and between $650 and $800 for the 6870. I'm not sure how I got into my skull that the 7870 would be between them, but I did.


The 7870 is actually on par with the GTX 580 (and uses a completely redesigned architecture on top of that), check out these benchmarks: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7870-revi...

Quote:
Well, I didn't add an SSD on that planning because it would depend on how much I will spend on the GPU. Meaning I wouldn't spend $1300 on the GTX580, but probably would on the HD7870.


Are you saying $1300 total with 7870 or 580? Personally I'd rather put that money in the GPU as you can always add an SSD later on. GPU and PSU are the most important parts of any build and I can't stress that enough. Storage is kind of an afterthought as most cases made after 2009 (Phantom included) make it really easy to add / remove drives.

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If I go with a cheaper GPU and the difference was enough for an SSD I'd probably go with it.


I wouldn't compromise on the GPU if I were the one building this - get the SSD later on.

Quote:
One important thing though is framerates and to some degree graphic quality. At this point I really care about some anti-aliasing, and it's been more than my 6770 can handle. I don't use over the top AA, but at least 4x MSAA is needed. I am at a point I have to choose between rest and entertainment (like most people). But the lack of sleep and rest is making my eyes hurt when I get framerate drops and now screen tearing is being torture. V-Sync really helps at that but again, it's more than my current rig can handle.


The 7870 will be a huge, huge improvement over the 6770 - the 6770 is based on 3 year old architecture where the 78XX and 79XX have been completely redesigned from the ground up.
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March 21, 2012 5:30:23 PM

You can't overclock a 2500k on stock cooling.

My 2500k was hitting 77c while playing dirt 3 stock clocks and stock cooler. Also reapplied the thermal paste multiple times.
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a c 92 B Homebuilt system
March 21, 2012 9:56:24 PM

xxsjxx1 said:
You can't overclock a 2500k on stock cooling.

My 2500k was hitting 77c while playing dirt 3 stock clocks and stock cooler. Also reapplied the thermal paste multiple times.


That's kind of what I figured - I thought the people who said they could take the 2500K to 4.5 on stock cooling were either lying to brag about it or don't know the first thing about OC'ing. Either way it really discredits their case now that I think about it.
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