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Gaming Rig and General Questions

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May 6, 2012 7:33:18 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: whenever I decide what I want to buy.. could be tomorrow but I won't pull the trigger until I'm 100% on the build

Budget Range: Trying to stay close to $1000 but I have the money to get whatever I want. Not going to waste money on power I won't need/use/SEE (personally, I could careless about benchmark numbers as long as I can't see a difference)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (Diablo 3, SCII, SWTOR, WoW, Skyrim, and whatever the future holds for PC gaming), Surfing Internet, Movies, Programming

Parts Not Required: starting from scratch so I will have to buy everything

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg

Country: Southeast US

Parts Preferences: This is my first build so I don't have any preferences really.

Overclocking: Not opposed but I'm not sure if it will ever be necessary for me

SLI or Crossfire: 98% chance I never will but again I'm not necessarily opposed... I guess...

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080


Okay so this is the build I currently have sitting in my newegg cart but it changes on a daily basis...

Case: Corsair Carbide 400r --- $100 (all prices are from newegg including instant savings but not including mail-in-rebates)

CPU: Intel i5-3570k Ivy Bridge --- $250 w/ $20 newegg gift card

GPU: XFX Double D HD 7850 2GB --- $270 -------> hopefully the price will drop when 670 releases? probably not though...

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-D3H --- $145

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 --- $47

PSU: Corsair TX650 V2 --- $90

SSD/HDD: still can't decide between the two because I have an SSD in my macbook pro 13" laptop and I LOVE it but 120GB is not very much space especially on a gaming rig and anything over 120GB SSD's get super pricey.. opinion's?

Comments and Total Price: with no SSD or HDD it comes out at about $900 which is not so bad considering its Ivy Bridge and HD 7000 IMO but after you add in the drive, keyboard, mouse, and screen it will easily be pushing $1250+ if not more... This above build might be ideal but something tells me I might be getting more for my money if I drop to SB, Z68, 6870 (newest tech always comes with a price premium so why not buy last years parts if it can still run most of the games maxed out...?)

here come my questions...

1) i5 2500 vs i5 2500k vs i5 3550 vs i5 3570k ---> I'm gonna be blunt here (sorry if it comes off harsh) is overclocking really necessary or do people just do it so they can say my CPU is faster than yours? Do any games out there actually max out any of the above listed CPU's? From what I've gathered I don't think they do. So with that assumption being made (please correct me if I'm wrong) I would only OC if my CPU was no longer powerful enough and it started holding my system back. Will there be games that can max out the 2500/3550 anytime in the near future that would force me to OC them? If not, then I do not think I even need to buy the K edition. Some confirmation or correction would be greatly appreciated for the above mentioned statements.

2) What exactly does PCI 3.0 bring to the table? If I were to ditch IB and Z77 mobo for SB and Z68 would I be wishing I hadn't next year? To be honest IB doesn't sound THAT much better than the SB chips were from the reviews I've read and if I can save a little money here then I could potentially put it into my GPU which is what this computer should be all about since it is a gaming rig.

If I were to get the 2500 and Z68 I could probably do the HD 7850 (wouldn't even be able to utilize PCI 3.0 but I don't really know how big of a deal that is) but as the build currently sits that GPU might be a little pricey at $270. If I was going to back off the 7850 but keep the IB and Z77 then I would probably be looking at an HD 6870 or possibly a 6950. Or I could just go super save a penny and go 2500 Z68 HD 6870 or possibly 6950. Opinions?!?!?

I'm having a hard time prioritizing SB vs IB, PCI 2.0 vs PCI 3.0, HD 6000 vs HD 7000, and future proofing my system. I am not interested in paying a price premium just to have the newest stuff right when it comes out. If last years stuff will be enough power/not outdated in 12 months then I could care less about having the latest and greatest but if I am going to regret it 12 months from now I would rather just pay the premium and be done with it for the next 2-3 years atleast.

Anyone have some insight on this situation? Thanks to anyone that responds and feel free to have a response to only certain parts of my post and not answer every single question I had. I am very interested to hear what everyone has to say about all of this.

Thanks, John
May 6, 2012 7:39:54 AM

1) Yeah, most of the time it's because people want to say they overclocked their CPU to 10ghz. You COULD buy the locked version, but I would just suggest getting a unlocked version just so you have to option later down the road, you never know when it can't handle certain games.

2. Not much. It has 2x the theoretical bandwidth, but with a single card you won't card anywhere close to the limit.

3. I too don't like what I've seen from Ivy Bridge. I think you should go with 2500k, ASRock Extreme4 mobo, and a 7850. (Sapphire one is 250$, easy to OC)
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May 6, 2012 8:03:33 AM

gary1 said:
1) Yeah, most of the time it's because people want to say they overclocked their CPU to 10ghz. You COULD buy the locked version, but I would just suggest getting a unlocked version just so you have to option later down the road, you never know when it can't handle certain games.

2. Not much. It has 2x the theoretical bandwidth, but with a single card you won't card anywhere close to the limit.

3. I too don't like what I've seen from Ivy Bridge. I think you should go with 2500k, ASRock Extreme4 mobo, and a 7850. (Sapphire one is 250$, easy to OC)


Thanks. This was very helpful. Why do you recommend the asrock extreme4? What does it have that the Gigabyte Z77X D3H mobo doesn't have considering its $40 more and last years tech?

To be honest I don't know much about motherboard features so I basically picked one that had LGA 1155, was around $150, and had a nice color scheme.. haha

EDIT: are you talking about the Z68 or Z77 extreme 4? If your talking about the Z77 then never mind about my questions. Its actually $5 cheaper. Why asrock over gigabyte though?
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May 6, 2012 8:08:13 AM

gary1 said:
Oh sorry the ASRock Z77 Extreme4. It seems like the go-to budget board for Z77, I'm sure the Gigabyte board is very good as well, just heard good things about the Extreme4.


Ohh okay I gotcha. And yeah sorry I thought you were talking about the Z68 for some reason. I got confused. Makes since now. Thanks for your help and opinions.
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May 6, 2012 8:18:14 AM

@ the OP.

If you don't think your going to mess with over clocking and add a second card later on (most people never add that second card) then have a look at this.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $269.98 save: $10.00
ASRock B75 PRO3 LGA 1155 Intel B75 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Intel Core i5-3450 Ivy Bridge 3.1GHz (3.5GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2500 BX80637I53450

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=Z75%20Pro3 <----- another look at that board


http://www.amazon.com/HD7870-DC2-2GD5-DisplayPort-Utili... $349.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
ASUS HD7870-DC2-2GD5 Radeon 2GB DDR5 VGA/DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort GPU Tweak Utilities PCI-Express 3.0 Graphics Card HD7870-DC2-2GD5

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/HD_7870_Direct_... <----- review of that Asus card w/benchmarks


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $104.99 FREE SHIPPING
ADATA S510 Series AS510S3-120GM-O 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - OEM
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May 6, 2012 8:46:56 AM

Why_Me said:
@ the OP.

If you don't think your going to mess with over clocking and add a second card later on (most people never add that second card) then have a look at this.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $269.98 save: $10.00
ASRock B75 PRO3 LGA 1155 Intel B75 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Intel Core i5-3450 Ivy Bridge 3.1GHz (3.5GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2500 BX80637I53450

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=Z75%20Pro3 <----- another look at that board


http://www.amazon.com/HD7870-DC2-2GD5-DisplayPort-Utili... $349.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
ASUS HD7870-DC2-2GD5 Radeon 2GB DDR5 VGA/DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort GPU Tweak Utilities PCI-Express 3.0 Graphics Card HD7870-DC2-2GD5

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/HD_7870_Direct_... <----- review of that Asus card w/benchmarks


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $104.99 FREE SHIPPING
ADATA S510 Series AS510S3-120GM-O 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - OEM


Hmm this is interesting. Thanks for the suggestions. How does the 3450 compare to the 2500k stock and what about an OC'd 2500k vs a 3450?

The 7870 is tempting but its quite a lot more than the 7850. $250 is really the most I wanted to spend on a GPU but I guess your saying with the money I saved by getting the 3450 I could get the 7870. Do you really think the 7870 is worth another $100? In the benchmarks I just looked at it seems the gains aren't huge per say.

So far, I'm thinking I like the sound of the 2500k, some Z77 board since there the same price as the Z68's basically, and an HD 7850. Will the 7850 be able to max out Diablo 3, SCII, WoW, SWTOR, and Skyrim at 1080p?

How much better is the 7850 over the 6870? Originally I had the 6870 in my cart which is around $170. Worth the extra coin for the 7850?

P.S. - any point in waiting for the GTX 600 series card that is priced around $250? I read some where the other day that the lower end cards (less than the 670) are getting delayed until sometime in Q3? I will be making this purchase this summer so I guess that's out of the question if what I heard is correct.

Thanks for the help.
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May 11, 2012 2:51:53 PM

I wouldn't go up to the 7870, the 7850 is fine.

Dropping down to the 6950 would probably be ok too, but the gains from 7000s over 6000s are actually pretty large.

They make a whole lot less heat and that makes a big deal in regards to overall system performance. Other than getting DOA parts, the number one biggest cause of stability problems for most people is heat either directly or indirectly.

If you don't care to OC, you would be fine with the 3450. It is cheaper than the 2500k and performs about the same. To be quite honest, OCing the processor is usually not worth doing except to say you did it. Most games can't even come close to crushing a stock 2500k anyway.

I don't think I have ever heard of a game where you don't have a completely smooth 46+ FPS with a stock 2500k unless the person is doing something <insert word here> like using 2x video cards and even then the problem is that they are not using 1x a better card and it has nothing to do with flaws in the 2500k.

IMHO there is no point in waiting around for newer Nvidia cards to get cheaper or for them to release more models that fall into whatever range. Just decide based on whatever is available today.

Not like Nvidia usually prices their cards below AMD or anything. The best you could do is wait for AMD to drop its prices in response to new Nvidia cards, but you could actually have a computer in the mean time which is better than saving $20.

I would get the 3450, the Asus z77, and the 7850.
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