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$2000 Gaming Rig - Suggestions Welcome

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June 14, 2012 10:10:44 PM

Hi Tom's Hardware Community,

This summer I'll be replacing my 6 year old gaming desktop which has been a long and faithful servant, any suggestions and advice for my new build would be much appreciated, thanks.

Planned Purchase Date: End of June(ish)

Budget: Up to $2,000 excluding peripherals

Usage: Gaming, image and video editing, watching movies and tv

Technological Expertise: Moderate; I'm not an expert, but I've done this before

Parts Not Required: All peripherals and the OS

Country: USA

Overclocking: Most likely

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200

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Tentative Parts List
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Case: Corsair Vengeance Series c70 - $140
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I like just about everything about this case except the half-clear, half-mesh window...but I'm open to alternative suggestions. I'm not sure I want a full tower, because even mid towers these days are pretty huge.

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5GHz - $360
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Seems like you can't really go wrong with this choice, but I'm open to alternatives. I think I like the sound of the new Ivy Bridge chips over the older Sandy Bridge architecture though.

Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth Z77 - $230
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I like the "no frills" attitude of this board. Has all the features I need, is durable, and looks awesome.

RAM: 16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 4x4GB 1600 - $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Corsair has always worked for me, but I've been away from the memory market for quite some time. This kit is low profile though, so it should fit under the heatsink. I would have preferred to go with 2x8GB, but it sounds like the Sabertooth board has some compatibility issues with 8GB modules.

GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 - $420
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It's Kepler, its affordable, its a no brainer?

Solid State Drive: Mushkin Chronos Deluxe MX 120GB SSD - $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Sounds like a solid recommendation, great price, good SSD controller, Mushkin has a pretty good reputation for reliability.

Disk Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 7200rpm - $120
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Seems to be a pretty safe choice. Should be fast enough for the types of things I won't have on the SSD, and it has a 64MB cache.

Power Supply: Corsair Professional Series HX750 750W PSU - $145
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
May be more power than I need? It seems reliable though. I'm not particularly attached to this choice if there is a clearly superior option for my build.

Optical Drive: ASUS Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Combo Drive - $55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Nothing fancy, should work.

CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-D14 CPU Cooler - $95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I've heard it's the best, its quiet, and I do want to OC a bit.

Running Total: $1765

I'm under budget a little, but I wouldn't cry if I spent less than $2,000. If there are some ways to "trim the fat" I'm more than happy to go for it and maybe substitute for some better performance in key areas where there's a clear upgrade. I appreciate anyone taking the time to look this over and provide me with useful feedback.

Cheers,
Andrew
a c 278 4 Gaming
June 14, 2012 10:34:58 PM

Quote:
Intel drives seem to be a tad overpriced, but they have a great reputation for reliability which seems to be the downfall of most other brands. I'm willing to go with a different option here, but I really don't want my primary HD to die on me, so minimizing the odds of that happening is a plus.


Intel drives are FAR, FAR from reliable. And that's mainly due to the awful Sandforce controller that's being used on it. That's the same drive I have and I'm constantly having issues with it. Plus the 320 series is old and outdated - you want to get a drive with a newer controller like the Vertex 4, and you also want to take advantage of SATA III. The 320 is a SATA II drive. I have an Intel 320 and hate it, I'm going to replace it with a Vertex 4 or M4 sometime in the next couple of months.

Quote:
Seems to be a pretty safe choice. Should be fast enough for the types of things I won't have on the SSD, and it has a 64MB cache.


The Caviar Black are good drives but you can get higher capacity secondary HDs for way less like the Samsung Ecogreen.

Quote:
I like just about everything about this case except the half-clear, half-mesh window...but I'm open to alternative suggestions. I'm not sure I want a full tower, because even mid towers these days are pretty huge.


It's Corsair so it's way better than a lot of similar brands. However, if you want an alternate suggestion - I highly, HIGHLY suggest checking out the NZXT Switch 810. See the link below.

Quote:
I've heard it's the best, its quiet, and I do want to OC a bit.


Yes - the D14 is one of the best on the market, and if you want to OC it's a far better choice than say an H100. Closed water blocks are never a good idea when strong air fans like the D14 give you the same results. If you're going to do water cooling, go with the real thing or not at all. That's my two cents.

Here's a $2K build I typically recommend:

Case: NZXT Switch 810 - $169.99
PSU: PC Power & Cooling Silencer MKII 750W - $109.99
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H - $199.99
CPU: 3.5GHz Intel Core i7-3770K - $359.99
Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 - $85.99
RAM: Crucial Ballistix sport 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - $129.99
SSD: OCZ Vertex 4 - $129.99
HD: 2TB Samsung Ecogreen F4 - $119.99
Optical: LG Blu Ray Burner - $79.99
Video Card: EVGA Geforce GTX 670 FTW Edition - $419.99
OS: Windows 7 Pro - $139.99

Total: $1,805.90
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June 14, 2012 10:50:04 PM

Hey g-unit,

Good call on the SSD, dunno how I missed that it wasnt SATA III. The OCZ Vertex 4 sounds like a good suggestion.

With the Samsung Ecogreen, do you think the downgrade from 64MB cache to 32 will be very noticeable? I have a hard time believing I would exhaust 1TB of permanent storage anyways. Thanks a bunch for the feedback!
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Related resources
a c 278 4 Gaming
June 14, 2012 11:33:31 PM

AAClayton said:
Hey g-unit,

Good call on the SSD, dunno how I missed that it wasnt SATA III. The OCZ Vertex 4 sounds like a good suggestion.

With the Samsung Ecogreen, do you think the downgrade from 64MB cache to 32 will be very noticeable? I have a hard time believing I would exhaust 1TB of permanent storage anyways. Thanks a bunch for the feedback!


Not at all. I'm running a primary SSD setup with a 1TB second HD (Caviar Green) and a second 320GB HD that I salvaged from an old build and I don't notice any lag or downtime with what I run on my system. My work PC runs a Samsung Spinpoint and a Crucial M4 and same thing - no difference whatsoever.

More info on the Vertex 4: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/vertex-4-everest-2-...
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June 14, 2012 11:36:32 PM

If you just want to overclock a bit on the CPU ie moderate overclocking up to 4.2 Ghz or so, get a Hyper 612 it does the job just fine. If you gonna spend 85-90 bucks on a gigantic aircooler like the D14, you either want to overclock it to at least 4.4-4.5 Ghz or you need to go watercooling. Corsair H100 does perform better than D14 when you heavily overclocking:
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1801/12/
The problem is are you willing to spend another 10-15 bucks to get it over the D14 or not since it costs 102 bucks intead of 85-90 like the D14.
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June 15, 2012 12:17:51 AM

Hey Jacknhut,

Thanks for your advice. Part of what I found so compelling about the DH-14 is that it remains so quiet while cooling an overclocked CPU. Does the Hyper 612 also run fairly quietly? I do feel like a $90 heatsink might be overkill for the amount of overclocking I plan to do (probably around 4.2GHz), but I had just seen such amazing reviews of the Noctua heatsink that convinced me it might be the best choice regardless. I'll do a bit more research into the Hyper 612 and others.

Any other heatsink suggestions I should compare while I'm at it?
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a c 278 4 Gaming
June 15, 2012 12:21:12 AM

AAClayton said:
Hey Jacknhut,

Thanks for your advice. Part of what I found so compelling about the DH-14 is that it remains so quiet while cooling an overclocked CPU. Does the Hyper 612 also run fairly quietly? I do feel like a $90 heatsink might be overkill for the amount of overclocking I plan to do (probably around 4.2GHz), but I had just seen such amazing reviews of the Noctua heatsink that convinced me it might be the best choice regardless. I'll do a bit more research into the Hyper 612 and others.

Any other heatsink suggestions I should compare while I'm at it?


Check out this article - there's tons of great suggestions: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/LGA-2011-i7-3960X-A...
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a c 223 4 Gaming
June 15, 2012 1:13:26 AM

Case - I'm partial to the 500R
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU - Stick w/ Ivy Bridge if you are going to use a light to moderate OC ..... if you interested in big OC's, then SB is the way to go.....IB gets awful hot at big OC's.

MoBo - Great choice

RAM - Again great choice

SSD - I'd move to a current generation SSD and one with premium toshiba toggle mode flash ..... best performance, longest life and the ones from Mushkin are ridiculously cheap. Intel 520, OCZ vertex 4, neither can compete with teh Deluxe in spee dor longevity.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/4328/mushkin_chronos_d...

Quote:
To sum it all up with a bow on top, you get amazing performance, extremely long service life and a hassle free low price point on a drive that literally has very little competition in the marketplace.


HD - That or the F3 or 7200.12 .... tho if u have the budget, the Seagate Barracuda XT 2 TB kicks butt

GFX - The Asus 670 DCII TOP has a custom PCB, beefier VRM (8 phase), better cooler and just generally kicks butt. The following reviews cover the EVGA 670 Superclocked and the Asus DCII Cu TOP

http://www.guru3d.com/article/evga-geforce-gtx-670-sc-r...
EVGA gets 3DMark Score of 8691 outta the box and 9443 OC'd
Idle temp is 29C / load temp is 78C
Noise is 37 dBA Idle / 43 dBA under load

Asus gets 3DMark Score of 9340 outta the box and 9839 OC'd
Idle temp is 30C / load temp is 72C
Noise is 37 dBA Idle / 38 dBA under load

It also beats the EVGA FTW edition

That makes the Asus 7% faster outta the box, 6C cooler and almost 1/4 as loud under load (every 3 dBA is a doubling of sound level).

PSU - HX series is a great choice, not as efficient but has less ripple and more stable voltages which is more important than saving 43 cents a year in electricity. If using moderately overclocked CPU and twin GPU's, 750 is fine.....if going for bigger overclocks on the CPU and GPU's, the 850 would be a better choice. Then again looking at the pricing, with just $17 apart, the 850 looks like the way to go:

HX850 = $175 - 10% Promo - $20 MIR = $137.50
HX750 = $145 - 10% Promo - $10 MIR = $120.50

Optical - I'd opt for the $50 Asus
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooler - The DH-14 is a great cooler .... the best ?, I'd say no. That would have to go to the Phanteks, which generally edges it out in thermal performance but certainly edges it out in looks and has 5 year warranty to the Noctua's 1 year....and it's cheaper too.

http://www.vortez.net/articles_pages/phanteks_ph_tc14pe...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If ya wanna save $30 the Hyper 612 PWM and Scythe Mugen 3 are just 2-3C behind the Phanteks and Thermalright Silver Arrow
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June 15, 2012 2:01:30 AM

Hi JackNaylor,

Thanks a bunch for the advice. That 500R Carbide case actually does look pretty great, I'll have to watch some unboxings and reviews, but I didn't actually see that one before when shopping around. Good suggestion. The Mushkin SSD also looks like a great deal. The ASUS optical as well.

I definitely like the sound of the ASUS 670GTX above the EVGA counterpart, but the ASUS ones are always out of stock. I'll get one if I can around the point that I'll be building though. I'm a bit worried about the DCII-T though, because it sounds like alot of ASUS' superclocked cards are unstable and red screen alot. I might go for just one of the stock ASUS 670GTX though if I can get my hands on one.

Good point with the PSU, for only a $17 difference I might as well go 850 and have some spare overhead.

I'll do some research on the air coolers, the Hyper 612 does sound pretty promising for builds doing less ambitious overclocks...
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a c 278 4 Gaming
June 15, 2012 2:17:54 AM

AAClayton said:
Hi JackNaylor,

Thanks a bunch for the advice. That 500R Carbide case actually does look pretty great, I'll have to watch some unboxings and reviews, but I didn't actually see that one before when shopping around. Good suggestion. The Mushkin SSD also looks like a great deal. The ASUS optical as well.

I definitely like the sound of the ASUS 670GTX above the EVGA counterpart, but the ASUS ones are always out of stock. I'll get one if I can around the point that I'll be building though. I'm a bit worried about the DCII-T though, because it sounds like alot of ASUS' superclocked cards are unstable and red screen alot. I might go for just one of the stock ASUS 670GTX though if I can get my hands on one.

Good point with the PSU, for only a $17 difference I might as well go 850 and have some spare overhead.

I'll do some research on the air coolers, the Hyper 612 does sound pretty promising for builds doing less ambitious overclocks...


I personally prefer EVGA leaps and bounds over Asus because their warranty is among the best in the industry (10 year vs. Asus 3 year) and their service and support department is one of the easiest to work with. Not to mention I really hate the gigantic Asus monster 3-slot card design. Plus EVGA also gives you a lot of bonus tools like their excellent Precision overclocking tool and 3Dmark.

850W is major overkill on the 670 - you can even run 2 x 670 on a 750W PSU and not even come close to using the full wattage.
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June 15, 2012 8:42:48 AM

Today is your lucky day, newegg has this Seasonic X 750W Gold PSU on sale for $119.99 Input Promo Code EMCNDJE26 when checking out and the price will be adjusted.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?SID=mcq5ILbD...

That PSU is even better than Corsair HX, top notch in quality and efficiency, made directly be Seasonic. I suggest you buy that PSU first before the newegg change the price back up or the code is used up by others.
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June 15, 2012 5:11:36 PM

Aah, yeah, that looks like a nice PSU. I'm actually away from home for another 2 weeks, so I can't order any components until I'm closer to returning. Hopefully there will be some nice sales or promotions close to the end of this month.
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!