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Prebuilt Gaming Rig hooked up to 1080p Plasma TV

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April 11, 2012 11:22:58 PM

I'm not an extreme gamer, but I do like having the tools to play whatever game I want. Don't laugh at me, but I mostly play MMORPGs. Rarely do I play any FPS or other genres. My main objective is to be able to play FFXI, WoW, Starcraft, Diablo III on ultra settings as well as any near-future MMO that will be worthy. I want a system that will immerse me into the game both visually and sound.

Approximate Purchase Date: Before Diablo III comes out - May 15, 2012

Budget Range: 2000 to 2600 for everything.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: 95% gaming. I have a work laptop and another forinternet browsing and multimedia/iTunes.

Parts Not Required: Monitor and Speakers.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Prebuilt only. After reading a handful of online articles and forums, I found these three makers below.
http://www.digitalstormonline.com - Epoch
http://www.falcon-nw.com - Fragbox or Talon
http://www.cyberpowerpc.com - Not sure. I got dizzy from all the choices.

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: From what little I know, I want...
Intel i7 Quad or Six Core
Nvidia GTX 680 (x1)
256GB Solid State Drive (128GB models appear to be faster; I can make due if needed)

Overclocking: No. I'm in the dark about overclocking so I'll stay away.

SLI or Crossfire: Huh? I just want 1 Nvidia GTX 680 (with possibility of adding another later)

Monitor Resolution: Samsung 64" Plasma 3D HDTV on 1920x1080p resolution. Me on the couch with keyboard, mouse and some long USB cables. Please tell me there's a reliable wireless solution for me.

Sound: PC will connect to my 5.1 receiver. Will I need a sound card? Is there a wireless microphone available? If I can change/alter my voice while chatting online (e.g. Ventrilo), that'd be hilarious. Not really necessary though.

Additional Comments: I want a super quiet, low maintenance PC. Upgradeability is not a major concern but I do want a wee bit of wiggle room. If I can get all this with the performance I think I'm after, I'll be happy. I'm not sure what will be overkill and what I do need so I'd appreciate any help I can get.

Will I need liquid cooling? If so, what stage would I need?
Will adding sound dampening materials make a difference with my set up?

I was really impressed with size of the Fragbox on Falcon Northwest's website since it's small enough to put in my TV stand next to me PS3, cable box, etc. If I have to get a large or mid tower case, I'll have to think about where to put it.

Customized two rigs from the websites I listed:

Digital Storm - Epoch ($2384 before tax/shipping)
Chassis Model: Special Deal Hot Seller - Corsair Carbide 300R
Processor: Intel Core i7 3820 3.6GHz (Turbo Mode up to 3.8GHz) (Quad Core)
Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth X79 (Intel X79 Chipset) (Features USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s)
System Memory: 16GB DDR3 1600MHz Digital Storm Certified Performance Series (Highly Recommended) (Hand Tested)
Power Supply: 850W Corsair TX850 V2 (Dual SLI Compatible)
Hard Drive Set 1: 1x (120GB Solid State (By: Corsair) (Model: Force GT Series CSSD-F120GBGT-BK) (SATA 6Gbps)
Optical Drive 1: DVD-R/RW/CD-R/RW (DVD Writer 24x / CD-Writer 48x)
Internet Access: High Speed Network Port (Supports High-Speed Cable / DSL / Network Connections)
Video Card(s): 1x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 2GB (Includes PhysX) (EVGA)
Sound Card: Integrated Motherboard Audio
Extreme Cooling: H20: Stage 2: Digital Storm Vortex Liquid CPU Cooler (High-Performance Edition)
Chassis Airflow: Standard Factory Chassis Fans
Noise Reduction: oise Suppression Package Stage 2 (Optimized Airflow & Fan Speeds with Noise Dampening Material)
CPU Boost: Standard Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 Automatic Overclocking
Windows OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (64-Bit Edition)
Recovery Tools: Windows Recovery Toolkit (Bundled with Windows 7 CD)
T-Shirt: FREE: Digital Storm T-Shirt - Black (Large)
Warranty Plan: Life-time Expert Customer Care with 3 Year Limited Warranty
Technical Support: Life-time U.S. based technical support and customer service by our own in-house technicians
Upgrades: UpgradesLife-time labor free upgrades for component upgrades purchased directly from Digital Storm
Assembly: AssemblyHand built by the industry's most skilled technicians using premium grade components
Stress-Testing: Stress TestingStrict 72-hour stress-testing and benchmarking to ensure rock solid stable operation
Quality Control: Quality ControlAnalyzed by an extremely dedicated production manager that is obsessed with perfection
Special Packaging: Special PackagingExpanding StormShield foam to protect and secure internal components from shipping abuse
Certificate of Ownership: Certificate of OwnershipPersonalized Certificate of Ownership for your new specialized Digital Storm system signed by our engineers

Falcon NW - Fragbox ($2447 before shipping)
Chassis: Fragbox standard black, No side window (unless I need it?)
Power Supply: SilverStone 750W Modular & Short Cables
Motherboard: Maximus IV Gene-Z (default; only choice)
Processor: Intel Core i7 2600K 3.4GHz
Processor COoler: CoolIT Systems ECO II 80
Memory: 8GB HyperX (2x4GB) 1600MHz
Video Card: Geforce GTX 680
Sound Card: On-Board Audio (default; only choice)
Networking: On-Board Ethernet
Hard Drive: Crucial 256GB SSD 6Gb/s
Optical Drive: LG 24x DVD Writer (I have PS3 for Bluray for movies; is PC better?)
Media Reader: Internal Media Reader (included)
64-bit OS: Windows 7 Home Premium
Warranty: 3 years
Tech Support: Lifetime
April 11, 2012 11:43:00 PM

Some one will ask so...any reason you don't want to build one?
April 12, 2012 1:09:52 AM

Between the two I like the Falcon better but they both contain unnecessary stuff. You don't need water cooling for one thing. I'd like to see a better "name" brand PSU in the Fragbox. Having pointed all that out you know you could save a lot building that same system yourself. That's what this site is all about. :) 
Related resources
April 12, 2012 3:07:38 AM

Ballpark, just how much would I save?

Reason why I don't want to build one?
Not enough experience. Never built a PC before.
Based on what my budget is, I'd hate to be at my own fault for having things go wrong.
Currently, I don't have much free time for shopping and building a great system.
GTX 680s are hardly in stock (on newegg at least). Hoping prebuilt shops will have inventory.
Diablo III is just a few weeks away!

I know a lot of the stuff in those prebuilts will have unnecessary stuff, but it's most likely because I don't know what to choose and what's necessary. Beyond that, I'm sure these companies have to do certain things to turn a profit. I don't mind paying a little extra if they back their work with a long warranty and lifetime tech support.
April 12, 2012 11:06:42 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... = 190.00 mobo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... = 80.00 PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... = 320.00 CPU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... = 53.00 RAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... = 500.00 GPU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... = 100.00 HDD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... = 17.00 CD/DVD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... = 33.00 Media reader
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... = 100.00 Windows 7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... = 110.00 Case
This totals out to about $1500.00.
Now that leaves about $1000.00 for shipping, cables, whatever. You could probably do better than this if you shopped around. I didn't spend a lot of time compiling this list and stayed with the same motherboard/CPU as in the falcon. I added a better power supply. I had to guess on the case and picked something similar. You could save another $100.00 by switching to the i5-2500k which is really all you'll need. I included the media reader which you also might not need and could save by removing. I didn't include a HSF because the one that comes with the processor is sufficient in your case.
I agree with your position in your last post. It's probably what is right for you.
The above "exercise" was in response to your request for a "ballpark" on how much you could save. If I just stated $1000.00 or so you might not believe it.
April 12, 2012 5:10:02 PM

Wow, you are awesome Chaz21! Thanks for putting that together.

Another reason why I allowed for a bigger budget is to get components that will make a PC super quiet. My last PC was over 8 years ago and it was louder than a jet engine. From all the research, hearsay, and links I've encountered, I concluded that SSD, liquid cooling to reduce the amount of fans and sound dampening materials in the case will contribute towards that.

Some of the things I don't know since I haven't shopped for a PC or parts in a while:
Are the higher end 7200RPM HDDs just as quiet?
While modern CPUs and GPUs have better performance gains relative to heat output, are the fans that cool them better at producing less noise?
Is Liquid Cooling only needed for overclocking? It's also for noise suppression, right?

You don't have to answer all these questions. I've been googling a lot lately. In the end, while it may be overkill, I don't want to hear my PC at all.
April 12, 2012 5:57:39 PM

I'm just completing a build using mostly new parts (well really only two of the HDD's are being reused) and all I have to do is the wire management/cosmetic stuff. It's sitting on a work table with no sides on and has been running for two days now. It has 5 - 120mm fans in it plus the CPU fan. It is the quietest computer I have ever built. My point being that with the new parts/cases being made today quiet is really relative. Like I said to me this computer is super quiet - and it wasn't built with that in mind. I'm sure yours will be quiet also as long as your parts are good. SSD's produce no noise at all and they are great. Remember that water cooling still involves fans. I think you'll find that there is no comparison between the noise of 8 years ago and what you might consider noise in today's computers. Anyhow good luck with your build. :) 
April 12, 2012 6:31:42 PM

i game in the same situation you want to be in Blueberry. Coupled with a plasma and nice surround, i too much enjoy the immersion :) 

Audio wise, i recommend using either Amd or Nvidia's hdmi sound solution on their graphic's cards (Both brands both do exceptionally well) as its less hassle when combining hdmi appliances. The reason being for gpu's using hdmi nowadays i think. With your choice of the 680, you're set to rock if you decide to take advantage of it's sound chip.

The setup i have currently is a 5870 hdmi connected to a Yamaha receiver and then the receiver hdmi outputting to the tv.

As for both keyboard and mouse I’m using Bluetooth. I've had my setup for a couple years now so there could be better out now. Albeit where i sit to play is approx about 5meters and don’t experience any input lag within this distance.

Further information if interested;

Keyboard: Logitech mx5500 - comes with usb Bluetooth receiver
Mouse: Microsoft 4 button - got this mouse because I’m left handed mouse player, the mx5500 combo comes with a right handed mouse.

All the best :) 
April 12, 2012 9:17:26 PM

BlueberryCake said:
Wow, you are awesome Chaz21! Thanks for putting that together.

Another reason why I allowed for a bigger budget is to get components that will make a PC super quiet. My last PC was over 8 years ago and it was louder than a jet engine. From all the research, hearsay, and links I've encountered, I concluded that SSD, liquid cooling to reduce the amount of fans and sound dampening materials in the case will contribute towards that.

Some of the things I don't know since I haven't shopped for a PC or parts in a while:
Are the higher end 7200RPM HDDs just as quiet?
While modern CPUs and GPUs have better performance gains relative to heat output, are the fans that cool them better at producing less noise?
Is Liquid Cooling only needed for overclocking? It's also for noise suppression, right?

You don't have to answer all these questions. I've been googling a lot lately. In the end, while it may be overkill, I don't want to hear my PC at all.



You may want to make a new post asking for build input where you ask for sound as a variable. If this will be your 1st time build, I'd stay with air cooled stuff. The case, case fans, and a fan controller are all things to consider. At that price range you could have beast of a rig.
April 12, 2012 9:39:21 PM

Haha, Chaz. You have me pegged. The sound from PCs back then scarred me so now I'm probably overreacting now. I applaud your ability to build quality PCs and thanks again for all your input.

Bozu, yes. Mine will be set up the same way. Thanks for the additional input on the graphics card's HDMI output and the bluetooth keyboard/mouse combo. I will definitely check that out.
April 12, 2012 9:46:14 PM

BlueberryCake said:
Haha, Chaz. You have me pegged. The sound from PCs back then scarred me so now I'm probably overreacting now. I applaud your ability to build quality PCs and thanks again for all your input.

Bozu, yes. Mine will be set up the same way. Thanks for the additional input on the graphics card's HDMI output and the bluetooth keyboard/mouse combo. I will definitely check that out.

:D 
April 18, 2012 3:16:09 AM

Okay. I gave in. GTX 680 was finally available at Newegg. Bought everything from my wish list and I'm gonna build my own PC. After reading more threads, articles and reviews, it makes more sense considering my level of expectations and wants. I'm saving around $800 in comparison to the prebuild I wanted previously and getting a lot more as well.
April 18, 2012 12:03:38 PM

Glad to hear it. Just take your time - and enjoy the experience! Best of luck. :) 
April 18, 2012 1:20:36 PM

Well said Chaz. All the best Blueberry :) 
!