I need help with my first build

Hello everyone,
I'm planning on building my first gaming computer and would love to hear some tips and advice from the community.
I would like it to run games on Max settings.

Budget: $2,300

Current Gear (will change if needed):

ASUS Intel Z77 ATX DDR3 2400 LGA 1155 Motherboard P8Z77-V PRO

Intel Core i7 3770 processor 3.4 4 LGA 1155

Power Supply:
Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold (SPG) 1000 Watts Modular Power Supply

Corsair Vengeance 16 GB (2x8GB) DDR3 1600MHz PC3 240 Pin DIMM Memory

Hard Drive:
Western Digital Caviar Green 2 TB Desktop Hard Drive

Video Card:
MSI Radeon HD7870, 2GB GDDR5, Mini DisplayPortx2, DVI-I, HDMI, PCI Express 3.0 Graphics Card R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC

Sound Card:
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD Internal Sound Card with THX SB1270

Do I need to change anything so far?
10 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. kylemmpc said:

    Do I need to change anything so far?

    Yes, everything.

    The i7 is not for gaming.

    Your PSU is way overkill for even two GPU's.

    You have way more ram then you will ever need.

    For $2300, you should be getting at least a GTX670.

    Try something more along the lines of this:
  2. @cranked: I think your link is broken, but I completely agree with you.

    CPU: i5 3570K, games only take advantage of 4 cores, so there is literally no reason to go higher than this unless doing 4GPUs in which case you would want a quad core LGA2011 platform. Microcenter has killer CPU prices.
    GPU: GTX670, a single card is likely enough, but you have room in the budget for 2, so I would either get 2 now, or plan on getting a 2nd one down the line
    Power supply: 500W for a single GPU, 700-750W for duel GPU. Quality is key, and too big can be just as bad as too small. 80+ bronze is a requirement, and from a reputable brand. Modular is a nice plus, but not required.
    Ram: 8GB is already overkill for games, and 16GB will not be needed until long after this system is laid to rest. Get a 2x4GB kit, if you somehow find that you need more (unlikely) then you can always add more later. Get 1600 from Corsair (my brand of choise) or gSkill (which is also good).
    HDD: Green drives are SLOW. They are perfectly fine to store bulk data on (movies, pictures, etc), but far too slow for a system drive. Either get a 7200rpm system drive, or else keep this drive for documents, and also get a 120-256GB SSD for your system drive. For SSDs I have had good luck with Mushkin and OCZ in a few builds, but other brands like Samsung, Crucial, and Intel are of better quality.
    CPU cooler: While you cannot OC Ivy Bridge as high as you could a Sandy Bridge chip, you ought to still be able to hit 4.2-4.6GHz with little issue, but you need a cooler like the Hyper 212 Plus or Evo before overclocking. If not overclocking then save a buck and get the non-K version of the processor.
    Sound card: Sound cards are largely unnessessary these days. If you are a true audiophile then get a motherboard with optical output and pair it with Creative xFi MB2 software. It is about as good, for much less cost and headache.
    OS: Win7 Home 64bit
    Mobo: Something in the $140-200 range, preferably made by ASUS, but there are a few other decent companies out there.

    This should bring you to ~$1600 in total for a single GTX670, or $2000 for 2x GTX670s

    Keys and mice should be ~$50-75
    Monitor should be ~$200 or less

    That should keep you in budget, and game MUCH better than your original post
  3. Hmm, when I click on it, it works.
  4. Some components are a bit mismatched .....

    Superb MoBo choice ..... might consider the Sabertooth for the 5 year warranty for $20 more. If it's just "gaming", the i5-3570 should suffice; if ya adding CAD, video editing and other apps that require HT, grab the i7-3770. In either case, you'll want the k version.

    These combos will make up for the price difference between the Sabertooth and the Pro version

    w/ 3570k save $20
    w/ 3770k save $15

    I'd grab the 3570k and put the $140 ya save into a better GFX card. However, if ya looking for big OC's , say above 4.6 Ghz, get a i5-2500k SB CPU

    Forget CM for the PSU, thay have yet to make one worth buying, I'd look for a 9.5 to 10.0 performance rated PSU of 750 watts if not overclocking GPU's / CPU ..... 850 watts if ya OC'ing CPU / GPUs.

    Recommended Case / PSU Combos:

    Antec DF-85 w/ CP-850

    Corsair 500R ($15 MIR) w/ HX850 (10$ off Promo and $10 MIR)

    8 GB will do just fine for gaming .... Corsair DDR3-1600 CAS 9 low profile; get 2 if ya really want the 16GB

    As for the HD , green = slow

    SSD - $115 Mushkin Chronos Deluxe (fastest SSD, longest life memory)

    HD - $210 2TB Seagate XT

    For a hard drive, the Barracuda XT series offers the best performance available from a 7200 RPM mechanical storage device.

    Sound Card - Redundant, already on MoBo

    GFX - Here's the numbers:

    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:

    Card - Cost ( Single / 2-way SLI /CF ) $ / Frame - $ / Frame SLI/CF
    GTX 680 - $ 500 ( 989 / 1578 ) $ 0.51 - $ 0.63
    680 DCII Cu TOP - $ 520 ( 1077 / NA ) $ 0.48 - ERR
    GTX 670 - $ 400 ( 917 / 1539 ) $ 0.44 - $ 0.52
    670 DCII Cu TOP - $ 430 ( 999 / 1679 ) $ 0.43 - $ 0.51
    7970 - $ 480 ( 872 / NA ) $ 0.55 - ERR
    7970 DCII Cu - $ 580 ( 924 / NA ) $ 0.63 - ERR
    7950 - $ 400 ( 746 / NA ) $ 0.54 - ERR
    7870 - $ 360 ( 701 / NA ) $ 0.51 - ERR
    7850 - $ 260 ( 596 / NA ) $ 0.44 - ERR
    7770 - $ 150 ( 375 / NA ) $ 0.40 - ERR
    7750 - $ 110 ( 291 / NA ) $ 0.38 - ERR

    In the table above for example, the Asus 670 Cu DCII TOP costs $430 each and gets 999 fps in single card configuration at a cost of $0.43 per frame and 1679 in SLI at a cost of $0.51 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 nVidia card w/ NA was not tested in SLI.

    Looking at the above, ya have to like the 670 ..... looking at the various offerings, ya have to love the Asus 670 DCII TOP
    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

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

    Those twin Asus 670's will give 2.4 times the performance ..... 1679 fps compared to the 701 for the 7870d.

    Cooler - This depends on how high ya wanna go and what ya wanna spend.

    $30 - Hyper 212 .....I wouldn't use on an overclocked IB CPU tho

    $50 - Hyper 612 PWM or Scythe Mugen 3 for $4.2 - 4.4 Ghz

    $80 - Phanteks PH-TC-14 $20 off w/ promo code) or $85 Thermaltake Silver Arrow for 4.4 Ghz and up

    TIM - Shin Etsu ... all the performance of AS5 but w/o AS5's curing issues

    $435 for Sabertooth w/ 3570k
    $275 for 500R w/ HX850
    $55 for RAM
    $325 for SSD/HD
    $860 for twin 670 DCII TOP
    $87 for Cooler / TIM


    With $163 left over .....

    Maybe new KB / Mouse ? ..... (both have promos currently)

    Keyboard - $ 85 - Logitech G510
    Mouse - $ 50 - Logitech G500

    New 120 Hz monitor ?

    Monitor $330 ASUS VG236HE Black 23" 120 Hz Monitor
  5. cranked said:
    Hmm, when I click on it, it works.

    It works... I think my router needs to be reset :D
  6. Hey guys, thanks for all of the advice.
    Does this look better, or do i still need to change some things?

    ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 TUF Series Motherboard on Intel Z77 Platform z77 ATX DDR3 1600 Intel - LGA 1155 Motherboard

    Intel Core i5 3570K Processor 3.4 4

    Antec Dark Fleet DF-85 ATX Full Tower Gaming Computer Case

    Power Supply:
    Antec CP-850 850W

    CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600

    Hard Drive:
    Seagate Barracuda XT ST32000641AS 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache

    Mushkin Enhanced Chronos Deluxe MX MKNSSDCR120GB-MX 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

    Video Card:
    EVGA GeForce GTX680 SuperClocked 2048MB GDDR5, DVI, DVI-D, HDMI, DisplayPort, 4-way SLI Ready Graphics Card Graphics Cards
  7. To me, the Sabertooth is way overpriced, you are paying a high premium just for looks. You could get a comparable mobo for much cheaper.

    That PSU is still way bigger than you need. You could get a 600W and be fine or a 750W if you ever plan to CF.

    Make sure that vengeance ram is low pro so you don't run into any possible issues with an aftermarket cooler.

    Unless you have a ton of cash and like to spend it on PC components, I would recommend going with the 670. It's almost as powerful for 75% of the cost. Not that there is anything wrong with the 680, just a little overpriced on a performance/cost ratio.
  8. Best answer
    Much better build overall!
    I am going to agree with cranked:
    PSU is fine, just a bit large. You can run 2 GTX680 GPUs on 750W. If overclocking both cards then you may want the extra overhead... but in general a single card (much less two) can max out most games at 1080p, or even higher. Duel GPU is really only needed for multi display gaming (tripple head, or 5/7 monitor setups).

    Sabertooth is a beautiful board, but way overpriced. Remember that parts dictate speed, and the chipset dictates features. Anything beyond a $130 board you are spending on aesthetics, companion chipsets for extra features, and better quality capacitors. A better quality board means more consistent performance over a (hopefully) longer lifespan, it does not mean a necessarily higher OC as that tends to be limited more by the chip, not the board. Still... if you have the money it is a beautiful board, and I would be lying to say that I would not buy one if I did not have other bills to pay.

    For the GTX680 there is a steep diminishing return on your !/$. According to Tom's review of the cards (found here:,3200-15.html ) there is only a ~5% performance difference between the two cards, along with a 25% price difference. That is $100 for an extra 5% in FPS. This means (generally) that if your 670 cannot hack it, then neither will a 680, which means that you would have to do SLi. And if you have to purchase 2 of the cards for SLi to do what you want, then really it is a $200 difference, which is money best spent on monitors, SSDs, RAID, and (most importantly) games. Add to your consideration that the 670 runs cooler/quieter, less wattage load on the power supply, and has better OC scaling. All around it is the way to go, and even if I had the disposable income I would likely still get the 670 and OC it.

    Not my taste in case aesthetics, but it should be pretty good and get the job done. To each his own when it comes to PC cases.

    Ram should be good, and you have space to jump up to 16GB in the future if games finally get demanding enough to require more than 8GB

    As I said previously, Mushkin makes great cheap drives, but there are better quality drives available if you have anything 'mission critical' that is being stored on it. Typically though, you should have a backup of all your documents anyways, making the event of possible drive failure only a pain of replacing the drive.

    I love seagate drives. They are big, cheap, and reliable. My only complaint about them now that I have a nearly silent system is the spindle whine. Not terrible, especially if you have a single drive, but I have 3 drives and the whine is noticeable. Look into the Samsung F4 2TB drives. They are 5400/5900rpm drives that have amazing performance for their slow spin rate, and they are super quiet. One of the highest rated drives on Newegg, and perfect for quiet storage of files that do not need a whole lot of performance (like pictures, music, and video). But like I said, the drive you picked should also be quite good, and perform a bit better.

    Add an aftermarket CPU cooler as you do not want to run the stock cooler with even the smallest overclock. I personally use the Hyper 212 EVO, and replaced the stock fan with 2 silent fans, but there are a ton of other excellent cooler on the market. Most tower coolers are in the same ballpark for cooling effectiveness, so look for one that fits your personal aesthetic tastes and go from there. I really like the newer Zalman 120 and 135mm fan coolers as they are extremely quiet, and look more interesting than your typical box cooler.

    All in all, much improved build. I think you will be much happier with this than your first build attempt!
  9. Best answer selected by kylemmpc.
  10. TY for BA
    be sure to let us know your final build, and let us know how it works for ya :)
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