First Timer: $2-3k Gaming Build

Approximate Purchase Date: Over the summer, picking up parts as they go on sale

Budget Range: $2-3000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Surfing, Programming

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I like Newegg, though I shop locally at Canada Computers also

Country: Canada

Parts Preferences: NZXT Case, PSU and Fans. Asus where it applies for anything else.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: Yes

Monitor Resolution: 5760x1080 (2D Surround)

Additional Comments: Main roadblock right now is choosing between Sandy or Ivy.

Might consider rolling out the i7-3930k on a P9X79 and step up to the 2011 socket.

Also; I've never had a need to overclock anything and I don't see any need in doing so now.

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Purchased:

Case: NZXT Phantom White Enthusiast ATX Full Tower
I picked this up about a month ago, on sale at CC. Lots of space to work with, solid cooling with all the fans and it looks sexy.

GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB OC Edition
Initially, I was actually looking at the step down from this since this was a little pricey, but I walked into CC and found it on sale for $329.


The List:

Monitors: 3x Asus 25" 2ms HDMI LED
I really like Asus' monitors, and I'd like three of the same so it looks uniform.

Mobo: Asus Sabertooth Z77
Pretty slick board, supports what I need.

Chip: Intel's i7-2700k or i7-3770k
And so the debate begins again. I stepped up to the i7 over the i5 (which was my originally debate) due to the main reason I multi-task alot.
Now it's a question of; is the new Ivy really worth the extra money. Primarily gaming rig, from the reviews I've read I'm leaning towards Sandy.
That being said, does Sandy support PCI-E 3.0? If not, I'm leaned towards Ivy.

GPU: GeForce GTX 680 2GB - Eventual SLI
I'm debating returning my 7950 and picking this up instead. Running it SLI down the road tops pretty much any other setup.

Memory: 16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600
Probably don't need 16gb of ram for gaming, but hell, its dirt cheap now.

PSU: NZXT 850W Gold

SSD: 120GB Corsair Force GT

HDD: 2TB Seagate Barracude XT
17 answers Last reply
More about first timer gaming build
  1. -I'd get 120 Hz monitors for a gaming build $330 each
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236092

    -On the CPU, if ya into serious overclocks, the IB CPU has thermal issues at high overclocks. I don't see anything on ya list that requires Hyperthreading tho....so ya could save with a 2500k

    -For RAM, the high heat spreaders are a problem; use one of these instead so as to avoid clearance issues w/ cooler.
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100006519%2050001459%2040000147&IsNodeId=1&bop=And&ActiveSearchResult=True&CompareItemList=147|20-233-186^20-233-186-TS%2C20-233-196^20-233-196-TS%2C20-233-199^20-233-199-TS

    -I did notice that you stated a preference for "Eyefinity" but that's just an AMD brand name.....nVidia offers the same thing.
    http://www.nvidia.com/object/3d-vision-surround-technology.html

    -I'd return the 7950 and get the Asus 670 DCII TOP. Thi 670 gets 999 fps in Guru 3D Game Test Suite.....7950 gets 25% less at 746.
    http://www.guru3d.com/article/asus-geforce-gtx-670-directcu-ii-top-review/24

    Guru3D uses the following games in their test suite: Hard Reset, COD-MW2, Far Cry 2, ANNO 1404, Metro 2033, ANNO 2070, BFBC2, BF3, Crysis 2, AvP, Lost Planet 2. Total fps (summing fps in each game @ 1920 x 1200) for the various options in parenthesis (single card / SL or CF) are tabulated below along with their cost in dollars per frame single card - CF or SLI:

    GTX 670 - $ 400 ( 917 / 1539 ) $ 0.44 - $ 0.52
    670 DCII Cu TOP - $ 420 ( 999 / 1679 ) $ 0.42 - $ 0.50
    7970 - $ 480 ( 872 / NA ) $ 0.55 - $ 0.96
    7970 DCII Cu - $ 580 ( 924 / NA ) $ 0.63 - $ 1.08
    7950 - $ 400 ( 746 / NA ) $ 0.54 - ERR

    In the table above for example, the Asus 670 Cu DCII TOP costs $420 each and gets 999 fps in single card configuration at a cost of $0.42 per frame and 1679 in SLI at a cost of $0.50 per frame. The AMD cards w/ NA did not complete all games in the test suite. This should be resolved in an upcoming driver fix. The factory OC'd 7

    Here's my "base" $2000-ish build. The case is similar to yours so ignore that.

    Case - $ 130 - Corsair 500R White http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811139010
    PSU - $ 105 - Corsair TX850 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139022
    MoBo - $ 210 - ASUS P8Z77 pro http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131819
    CPU - $ 350 - Intel Core i7-3770K http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116501
    Cooler - $ 50 - Hyper 612 PWM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103103
    TIM - $ 5 - Shin Etsu http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835150080
    RAM - $ 50 - (2 x 4GB) Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 (White) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233186
    GFX - $ 430 - Asus GTX 670 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121638
    GFX - Later - Asus GTX 670 Same
    HD - $ 100 - Seagte 1 TB, 64 MB cache http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148840
    SSD - $ 120 - Mushkin Chronos Deluxe http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226318
    DVD Writer - $ 58 - Asus Model BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135247
    Monitor $ 330 ASUS VG236H Black 23" 120 Hz Monitor http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236092
    Keyboard - $ 100 - Logitech G510 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823126100
    Mouse - $ 55 - Logitech G500 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826104318
    OS - $ 100 - Win 7-64 Home Premium http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116986

    Total Cost is $2,039 in Canada w/o KB, Mouse and OS which ya didn't have on ya list......$2,318 w/ those items .... about $105 less in US.
  2. here's my recommendation for you-
    case-nzxt phantom white full tower
    optical drive-Samsung 22x dvd burner
    hard drive-Samsung F4 2TB
    gpu-Asus DCII gtx 670 2GB
    psu-NZXT hale82 750w modular
    ram-Mushkin Enhanced blackline 8GB 1600mhz 1.5V
    motherboard-Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H ATX
    cpu-Intel i5 3570k 3.4GHz
    case fan-nzxt 200mm fan with led on/off switch
    cooler-CM Hyper 612 PWM
    ssd-Mushkin Enhanced Chronos Deluxe 240GB
    total-US$1574(sorry,i hope you can search the parts on your desired site)
    note-
    case of your choice.Asus DCII is very highly rated cooler and has a lot of overclocking potential-
    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GTX_670_Direct_Cu_II/33.html
    hale 750w is rebranded seasonic and very highly rated unit.it has more than enough power to run a 670 SLi+overclocked setup.
    UD5H is a solid overclocker,has plenty of features and other good stuff for it's price.
    throw that 200mm fan on top of the phantom for better ventilation.
    612 will easily take you 4.5GHz and is fairly quiet due to PWM(pulse width modulation)fan.another good option is scythe 3100 ninja rev.3
    240GB ssd will take care of OS,main games and other stuff.
    every part is high quality and more importantly compatible.
    good luck with your build and enjoy.
  3. Updated my original posting.

    I'm not overclocking anything. Honestly, I shouldn't need to for 3 or 4 years with this build.

    Stepping down my monitors slightly from 3x 27" to 3x 25" as I don't really have the space.

    I've been doing some more research on the video cards as well after your suggestion JackNaylorPE.
    Returning the 7950, and stepping up to the GTX 680 with the money saved from the monitors.

    I was not aware of their 2D Surround and I prefer their cards anyways so, awesome.

    Thanks for the suggestions so far!
  4. Thugnificants said:
    Updated my original posting.

    I'm not overclocking anything. Honestly, I shouldn't need to for 3 or 4 years with this build.

    Stepping down my monitors slightly from 3x 27" to 3x 25" as I don't really have the space.

    I've been doing some more research on the video cards as well after your suggestion JackNaylorPE.
    Returning the 7950, and stepping up to the GTX 680 with the money saved from the monitors.

    I was not aware of their 2D Surround and I prefer their cards anyways so, awesome.

    Thanks for the suggestions so far!

    http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=10530BD8687&vpn=P8Z77%20WS&manufacture=ASUS $322.79
    ASUS P8Z77 WS ATX LGA1155 Z77 DDR3 CrossFireX SLI 4PCI-E16 SATA3 DVI USB3.0 Motherboard | 4 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (dual x16 or x16, x8, x8 or quad x8) *2

    http://usa.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8Z77_WS/ <----- another look at that Asus board

    http://www.directcanada.com/search/?kw=gtx%20670 $430
    GTX 670 2GB

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5818/nvidia-geforce-gtx-670-review-feat-evga <----- gtx 670 review w/benchmarks

    http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=15180AC1911&vpn=P1750BNLG9&manufacture=XFX <----- in order to power two of those card

    http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=16950AC9748&vpn=P11250BEFX&manufacture=XFX <----- Three or four of those cards and just because your budget says you can. :)

    http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=16950BD1212&vpn=BX80637I73770K&manufacture=Others $349.79
    Intel Core i7 3770K Unlocked Quad Core Hyperthreading Processor LGA1155 3.5GHZ Ivy Bridge 8MB Retail

    http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=16950DR7773&vpn=SVP200S3/240G&manufacture=KINGSTON $217.46
    Kingston 240GB SSDNow V+200 SATA 3 2.5
  5. The OP is going to have a hard time choosing between these three builds, cuz they are all so good. :P
  6. azeem40 said:
    The OP is going to have a hard time choosing between these three builds, cuz they are all so good. :P

    No doubt lol, definitely not something I'm about to complain about though. I appreciate the help!

    Was thinking it over today at work, might consider rolling out the i7-3930k on a P9X79 and step up to the 2011 socket.

    Thoughts anyone?
  7. For gaming, you won't see a difference. It is just wasted getting an X79 chipset for gaming.
  8. ^+1,you don't need a lot of pci e lanes or 64gb ram for gaming.
  9. Well I do more than just gaming, that's just my main use for it :P

    I'm just using a laptop right now which has an i7-2600 and 8gb and find myself waiting for it. I'd prefer if my $3k desktop can actually keep up with me. Only reason I'm looking into the 2011 socket for higher end processors.

    Also from what I've read, Ivy isn't really a big step up anyways considering Sandy is easily overclockable to greater speeds (not that I'll be doing that lol).

    Perhaps just the 3820 with a Sabertooth X79 instead?

    I know it's still the X79 with slots I won't use but the expandability is nice to know is there should I ever upgrade further or even sell to someone who might.
  10. why 3820?? it's like having a ferrari with 2 cylinders.you can easily fit a 3930k in your budget.
  11. hellfire24 said:
    why 3820?? it's like having a ferrari with 2 cylinders.you can easily fit a 3930k in your budget.

    Bahaha, yes it does fit into my budget..

    That being said. As much as my budget will accommodate the more expensive options;
    If I can get something cheaper that will perform almost as well, that would be prefered.

    I ask because I'm not sure. I suggested the 3930k and was just told it'd be a waste.

    From reviews I've read; the 2011 socket seems to sound like the higher end option.
    So the 3820k would give me what I need for now, then in a few years I could upgrade to something a little more extreme.

    If the 3930 is going to give a hugely noticeable increase in performance though, it's a definite possibility.
  12. cons of 3820-
    high power consumption.
    locked multipliers and overclocking is pain in the but.
    not a big leap over cheaper and cooler 2600k-
    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/print/core-i7-3820.html
    Quote:
    Conclusion

    Until today LGA 2011 platform seemed like a niche solution targeted at those users who need extreme performance – this is the only desktop platform for contemporary six-core Intel processors available today. However, now there is also a Sandy Bridge-E LGA 2011 processor with four computational cores available, and as we have just shown in our review, it doesn’t fit that well into the original platform concept. Core i7-3820 turned out to be a niche processor for a niche platform, and there are only two more features besides its relatively low price that could attract potential users. First, it is the support of 40 PCI Express 3.0 lanes, which may be useful for building fully-functional CrossfireX and SLI configurations with the latest generation and upcoming graphics accelerators. And second, it is a quad-channel DDR3 SDRAM controller, which advantage is not high bandwidth, but the ability to support memory capacities beyond 32 GB. However, no one is talking about unprecedented computational performance of the platform any more.

    It turns out that the top LGA 1155 processors do not lose any of their appeal against the background of the new Core i7-3820. They not only allow building noticeably more affordable and energy-efficient systems. Their performance appears just as good as that of Core i7-3820 based systems, and in some cases, such as games and regular general-purpose applications, LGA 1155 processors can even outperform LGA 2011 ones. Moreover, Core i7-2700K and Core i7-2600K can also be successfully overclocked and in this mode offer even higher performance than the overclocked Core i7-3820.

    Taking into account all of the above mentioned arguments, we will continue to recommend specifically Core i7-2700K or Core i7-2600K out of all Intel’s quad-core offerings existing today. Compared with the new Core i7-3820, the one-year-old Sandy Bridge solutions offer better platform price-to-performance as well as performance-per-watt.

    However, if some of the features of the LGA 2011 platform are more appealing to you, then you should first of all consider the junior six-core Core i7-3930K. Its performance is substantially different from that of quad-core LGA 2011 and LGA 1155 CPUs, but its price is not as high as that of an extreme Sandy Bridge-E processor – Core i7-3960X. As for Intel’s decision to expand their product line on the “lower”, it will hardly affect the popularity of this platform. It is fairly difficult to call Core i7-3820 and an LGA 2011 mainboard an attractive combination, so it will hardly become increasingly popular

    and one more comparison-
    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/523?vs=287
    but the six core 3930k is noticeably faster-
    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/552?vs=523
    moral of the story:you can easily do heavy multitasking with a high end SB(2600K) without spending $500+ on it.
  13. Thanks Hellfire!

    I think with that write up, I may aim towards the 3930k then.
    Get my Ferrari with its 12 cylinders :P

    The 2011 platform is just more appealing with its 6 core potential.
    If I were to stick with the 2600k I lose out on that possibility.
  14. good call!
    BTW,gemballa ferrari enzo is my favorite car!
  15. Haha nice.

    So with that..
    It seems my budget will extend over $3k lol

    Monitors and GPUs are nearly 2000 by themselves. FML.
  16. Alright I can build the tower for under $3k..

    Then I need to buy my 3 monitors, mouse, keyboard and possibly speakers.
    I left them off OP because I know what I'm getting. Razer!

    But I like that setup. Does the 680 have a DCII option?
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