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Modest Gaming Build Advice - Any Glaring Issues?

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April 24, 2012 9:12:43 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Within 2-3 weeks

Budget Range: $1,400 - $1,700 AR

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Some Media Serving to PS3, General Home/Work Productivity

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor Speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg or Amazon

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: No particular preference

Overclocking: Yes - Modest

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: The best the GPU can manage

Additional Comments: Going for simple, cool and as quiet as possible but not necessarily silent

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Hello guys. My current build is a bit over 3 years old now, so it's time for a refresher. As is the norm for me, I'm planning to build a modest gaming/utility PC with an eye for value, price/performance and efficiency. Here is a list I've put together, so please feel free to comment and/or point any alternatives or other suggestions.

CPU: i5-3570k (Ivy Bridge)

MOBO: ASRock Z77 Extreme6 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Profile Desktop Memory Model

GPU: SAPPHIRE 11199-03-20G Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card OC

* GPU Note: Going for value here that still includes high end performance

Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2

PSU: SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold ((SS-650KM Active PFC F3)) 650W ATX12V V2.3/EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply

Case: Corsair Carbide Series 500R Black Steel structure with molded ABS plastic accent pieces ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

SSD: Crucial M4 CT256M4SSD2 2.5" 256GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

** Also considering the Samsung 830 here - May just boil down to price

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD10EALX 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

DVD Burner: LITE-ON 24X DVD Writer 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model iHAS424-98 LightScribe Support


Including an OEM copy of Windows 7 Home Premium, this prices out to right around $1,650 before MIRs. Thanks in advance for pointing out any flaws or any alternative suggestions you may have.
April 24, 2012 9:38:58 PM

Here are some thing I would differently:
Get the Asrock Z77 Extreme 4 MoBo instead of the Extreme 6
Get the Carbide 400r instead of the 500r (or keep it if you really prefer it)
Get a 128 Gb SSD instead of 256
Then, with the money you save, get either a Sapphire Radeon 7970 or an EVGA gtx 680
April 24, 2012 9:44:44 PM

l0v3rboi said:
Here are some thing I would differently:
Get the Asrock Z77 Extreme 4 MoBo instead of the Extreme 6
Get the Carbide 400r instead of the 500r (or keep it if you really prefer it)
Get a 128 Gb SSD instead of 256
Then, with the money you save, get either a Sapphire Radeon 7970 or an EVGA gtx 680


I definitely agree with this - drop the SSD to 128GB and upgrade your GPU to one of those options. If you can get a 680 that would be ideal. If not the 7970 is an excellent choice as well.

I'd also try upping the PSU to a 750W or 850W for future expansion opportunities.

Otherwise I don't see anything wrong with this build.
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April 24, 2012 10:44:51 PM

Okay, thanks for the suggestions. I don't want to budge on the case or motherboard, so that leaves the SSD. A downgrade to 128GB would save a nice chunk of change, but I'm a bit nervous about hitting space limits. I'll have to take a closer look at my C drive at home and really get a handle on how much OS/Game/Software/Misc space I'm going to need. You guys are probably right though ... it's probably not even near 128GB, more likely something closer to half of that.

For the PSU, do you think a Seasonic 750W (I like high end PSUs) will allow for another GPU (whether it be 7970 or GTX680) in the future? I can't think of any other expansion I do would besides SLI/Crossfire, and even that is questionable. Maybe I should just pay the extra $40 for a 850w (vs a 750w) or I guess I could go with a Corsair HX-850.

Regarding the 7970s, what do you guys think about the slew of available card makers at the $500ish price point. I've read about wanting to avoid reference cards, but have no idea how to distinguish them. (EDIT - I've figured out the reference cards ... you can tell just by looking at them).

Well here are the non-reference 7970s that I'm looking at:

XFX Double D FX-797A-TDBC Radeon HD 7970 Black Edition 3GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

ASUS HD7970-DC2-3GD5 Radeon HD 7970 3GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support

SAPPHIRE 11197-01-40G Radeon HD 7970 3GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card OC Version

GIGABYTE GV-R797OC-3GD Radeon HD 7970 3GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support

None of them really stand out to me. Any thoughts?


I know from past experience that I prefer a GPU with reasonably quiet fans. The fan on my PNY 9800 GTX (yeah I know I'm a bit behind the curve heh) sounds like a turbo engine when it's under load.

Thanks again.
April 24, 2012 11:16:15 PM

I have the Radeon 7950, the little brother of the 7970, the Sapphire GHz Edition and I can't hear it at all. IMO, Sapphire makes the best Radeon cards.
April 25, 2012 12:57:26 AM

azeem40 said:
I have the Radeon 7950, the little brother of the 7970, the Sapphire GHz Edition and I can't hear it at all. IMO, Sapphire makes the best Radeon cards.


Yeah I'm looking at their 7970 OC version linked above. Reviews I'm reading are very good on it, although it seems to be the same with all the cards I linked. Man it's not easy picking a GPU these days heh.
April 25, 2012 12:58:16 AM

No kidding. I switched around from the 6950 to 6970 to CF 7850 to 7870 to 7950 lol.
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