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Please Advise for $3000 Gaming/Development Build

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March 21, 2012 4:04:47 PM

Hi all. I asked a question about a build a couple of weeks ago, and now that I officially have my monies (a second job will do that for ya) I am ready to plonk down. I would like to see what the group can do with these constraints:

Approximate Purchase Date: Monday or Tuesday of next week. 3/26/2012

Budget Range: Approximately $3000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, C++/C# Development, Movies, Transcoding, Internet

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com

Country: Virginia, USA

Parts Preferences: Originally I was going to go with a Bulldozer (FX-8150) but was advised against it, so I guess it will be an Intel, nVidia GPU, I would like to build an SLI rig this go-around. I plan on using a Fractal Design Define R3 case, a Samsung 830 SSD @ 256GiB (My work laptop has one, it is amazing), and an additional 2TiB rotating disk for storage, probably a WD Caviar Black.

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Yes, SLI

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: In the Fractal case I plan on replacing the 2x120MM Fractal fans with 3x120mm Noctuas. I will be playing World of Warcraft, Battlefield 3, Skyrim, Metro 2033, Darksiders, and other fairly hungry games, and would like to run them as close to max detail as possible. In addition I will be doing quite a but of programming on the machine using Visual Studio C++ and C#, possibly with some 3D modeling thrown in. I will hold on to the rig for approximately 4 years, and will likely make no hardware changes to it in that time other than replacing any failed components.

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March 21, 2012 4:10:33 PM

OK, how much 3D modeling will u be doing?

For gaming, this WILL PLAY EVERYTHING! You don't need to spend $3000!!!

I5-2500k
Asus P8Z68 PRO GEN3
2x Sapphire 7950
TX850 PSU
WD Cav. Black 2TB
Crucial m4 256GB (best SSD out there)
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March 21, 2012 4:11:25 PM

The 7950 will at least match the 680, plus it is more power efficient and cooler (temps).
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March 21, 2012 4:17:06 PM

Sorry, I forgot to add the build I have currently under consideration:

Fractal Design Define R3 Titanium Grey w/ USB 3.0 $109.99
SeaSonic Platinum Platinum-860 $219.99
ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 $194.99
Intel Core i5-2550K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz $229.99
G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 $124.99
SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC256B/WW 2.5" 256GB $379.99
Western Digital Caviar Black WD2002FAEX 2TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s $219.99
2x EVGA 02G-P3-1568-KR GeForce GTX 560 Ti $559.98 ($279.99 ea)
Pioneer Black Internal BD/DVD/CD Writer SATA BDR-207DBKS $89.99
2x CORSAIR Survivor 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Model CMFSV3-32GB $91.98 ($45.99 ea)
3x Noctua NF-P12-1300 120mm $69.87 ($23.29 ea)
nMEDIAPC Black Aluminum Panel PRO-LCD-B Media Center Programmable LCD $34.99
Noctua NH-C12P SE14 140mm SSO CPU Cooler $74.99

The media panel is just a silly vanity item that would let me see temps and other info I could program it with when I have the case door open. The USB sticks are because I need some tough flash memory.

This machine is well under my budget, but I didn't know how/what to tweak from here.
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March 21, 2012 4:20:13 PM

angaddev said:
OK, how much 3D modeling will u be doing?

For gaming, this WILL PLAY EVERYTHING! You don't need to spend $3000!!!

I5-2500k
Asus P8Z68 PRO GEN3
2x Sapphire 7950
TX850 PSU
WD Cav. Black 2TB
Crucial m4 256GB (best SSD out there)


Probably not a great deal of modeling, but making miscellaneous game models in Blender and some simple test rendering/playing around.

I was worried about doing Crossfire, because I had seen on Toms that the Radeons had more issues with "microstuttering" than the GeForces with SLI. Is there any real truth to that? I have never done a Crossfire/SLI buold before, this will be my first, so I don't even know if I will notice any stuttering.
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March 21, 2012 4:21:56 PM

I have a 2x 7950 setup and it is working fine, no noticable lag, artifacts, or stuttering. Also the 7950s are much cooler and power efficient, and a recent TH article shows that AMD cards scale better in SLI setups.
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March 21, 2012 4:22:47 PM

Also really, please don't spend $3000! Because after you go over $1500 every $500 buys you like 3 FPS.
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March 21, 2012 4:28:29 PM

Interesting. I was under the impression from looking at all of the Tom's benchmarks that recent games like BF3 and Skyrim would tear the crap even out of >$2500 builds and it would be tough to maintain playability on max detail.
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March 28, 2012 10:21:58 AM

Best answer selected by cldudley.
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