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~$1500 Range Desktop

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June 23, 2012 6:10:12 AM

Hello everyone! This is my first time build, and although I've tried my best to do my homework and due diligence on the parts, I'd appreciate any feedback and suggestions (especially if there are any issues with my build)!

Approximate Purchase Date: July or August.

Budget Range: $1000-$1400, before rebates.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming and surfing the internet.

Parts Not Required: Mouse and OS.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Amazon and Newegg, although if a better deal can be found elsewhere at a reputable site, I'm happy to chase it.

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU, and completely unrelated, I want to avoid a rig that relies on RAID.

Overclocking: Yes, hopefully 4.5+ ghz.

SLI or Crossfire: Yes, for the future.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: I'm a gamer, and I'm looking for smooth performance out of this rig on games such as Skyrim, Diablo 3, Watch Dogs, etc. I also plan on using my monitor as a TV for watching movies on. The thing is, I've designed two similar builds (one as a more budget-conscious version of the other), and I'm not sure how large the difference in performance between these two builds is, both in terms of gaming experience and overclocking ability. I'm hoping that one of you great folks here can educate me on that! :D  Also, almost all of my games are bought and run via Steam, if that makes any difference for my HDD/SSD options.

Higher-value build:
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($84.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($169.89 @ TigerDirect)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($46.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($377.55 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Storm Enforcer ATX Mid Tower Case ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Amazon)
Monitor: Asus VS228H-P 21.5" Monitor ($129.99 @ Amazon)
Keyboard: Lite-On SK-1788/BS Wired Standard Keyboard ($14.97 @ Newegg)
Total: $1372.33

Lower-value build:
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($22.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($127.86 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($46.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Western Digital Scorpio Black 160GB 2.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($48.21 @ NCIX US)
Hard Drive: Mushkin Chronos 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($92.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($246.97 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Storm Enforcer ATX Mid Tower Case ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Amazon)
Monitor: Asus VS228H-P 21.5" Monitor ($129.99 @ Amazon)
Keyboard: Lite-On SK-1788/BS Wired Standard Keyboard ($14.97 @ Newegg)
Total: $1078.93

More about : 1500 range desktop

June 23, 2012 7:23:43 AM

I like the cooler master case, and that would give you the least amount of problems with that big air cooler of yours. The ram is low-profile, so you should be fine. The optical drive will read and write dvd's, not blu-ray. PSU is overkill but will last you for many a build. Everything else checks out, and the cooler will keep it cool in overclocking, and the mobo will hold up fine when OCing.

Ask if you need any more clarification :) .
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June 23, 2012 8:09:38 AM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($84.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($121.50 @ Newegg)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($48.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Hard Drive: Mushkin Chronos 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($93.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($419.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 500R White ATX Mid Tower Case ($119.18 @ Mac Connection)
Power Supply: Corsair 650W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Amazon)
Monitor: Asus VE248H 24.0" Monitor ($184.98 @ NCIX US)
Keyboard: Microsoft SIDEWINDER X4 Wired Gaming Keyboard ($47.52 @ B&H)
Total: $1509.10
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
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June 23, 2012 8:01:06 PM

Thedancingman, thanks for the info! I realize the PSU is overkill, but I decided to go with a 850W PSU to accomodate PSU aging (planning on using whatever computer I build for the next 3-4 years) and the ability to have a second graphics card SLI'd/Crossfired with my build in the future, as I've heard that is a more cost-effective method than upgrading graphics cards more frequently.

Bigcyco, I appreciate the build, and I've decided to borrow some parts you listed (optical drive, and the monitor and video card look tempting). However, as far as the CPU goes, I've heard that the Ivy Bridge CPU's run cool at stock speeds, but heat up very rapidly once overclocked to a respectable level (something like 4.3 ghz), which I think would make overclocking troublesome, especially for a 24/7 overclock. This is the reason why I've listed the i5-2500k even though it's the same price as the i5-3570k. Is my reasoning correct? As for the motherboard, I did a little more research, and dug up some information on VRM design in relation to overclocking. However, I can't find any information on the MOSFETs used in the three boards I've been considering. Is there a difference in the VRM designs between the three boards I've been looking at? I mean, I notice that the Asus board has a 12-stage design, and the ASRock boards use 8-stage designs, but will that make a difference in how high I will be able to overclock?

Also, about the GPU's, how noticeable are improvements in memory bandwidth and texel rate when gaming? The GTX 670 offers approximately 25% increase in both over the 7870 at stock speeds, although I'm not sure what the difference is when both are overclocked. I'm just asking so I can judge whether the extra $80 will be worth it to me.

About my options with HDDs/SSDs, I've decided to go with an SSD. I've recently had my hard drive mechanically fail, and I lost all data due to this, so I'd like to have a separate backup disk to avoid being in this situation again. I don't think I'll ever need more than 256gb of storage, especially seeing how this is almost purely a gaming computer. I have heard that using an SSD to store programs on, and a hard drive to store files (I guess in my case, game save files mostly?) is one of the best options, but I have absolutely no idea how to set this up (just as a note, I want to completely avoid RAID to avoid more drastic SSD performance degradation, as RAID disables the TRIM command). Is this something easily done, or should I stick with placing all of my data on the SSD?
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June 23, 2012 8:04:32 PM

850W will not age much after 3-4 years if it is a good quality unit. It is still overkill. 750W will still handle CF/SLI even after 5 years.

IB is only much hotter at a very high OC. At 4.2 GHz, it performs the same as a 4.5 GHz SB i5-2500k and gets only like a few degrees hotter. Not enough of a difference to impact gaming.

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June 23, 2012 9:02:05 PM

Thanks for the info, especially on the PSU! I'm thinking I'll scale down to a 750W PSU now, I'll just have to dig through the ones I looked at previously. As for the CPU, now I'll consider IB. I was aiming for 4.5-5.0 ghz with i5-2500k, so I guess if I went with IB, I should shoot for 4.2-4.7 ghz? And heating won't be too much of an issue at those speeds with the Noctua D-14 in the CM Enforcer case?

I'd love it if someone could answer my questions about the motherboards, as I stand to save $50 on that if i make the switch. Same for the graphics card, 7870 vs 670 (25% increase in memory bandwidth and texel rate).
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June 25, 2012 1:39:34 AM

Updated original post with the new modified build. As this will be my first build, feedback (even if it's just confirmation) would be greatly appreciated!
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June 25, 2012 7:43:10 PM

Bump. I also heavily edited the original post to reflect the current parts I'm considering, as well as my questions.
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June 29, 2012 10:50:44 AM

capt_davy said:
Updated original post with the new modified build. As this will be my first build, feedback (even if it's just confirmation) would be greatly appreciated!
It's good to go with the second build you have posted the first is a no go as the 7950 is not worth buying at that price you would be cheating yourself badly buying that card at that price when you could get gtx 670 for 399.99 that runs circles around the 7950 go with your second build 7850 is worth it for the price ;) 
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June 29, 2012 7:16:10 PM

bigcyco1 said:
It's good to go with the second build you have posted the first is a no go as the 7950 is not worth buying at that price you would be cheating yourself badly buying that card at that price when you could get gtx 670 for 399.99 that runs circles around the 7950 go with your second build 7850 is worth it for the price ;) 


Alright, thanks for the input, it's good to hear that the 7850 isn't a bad buy :) . So right now, I'm deciding between the 7850 (probably will wait for the gtx 660, that comes out soon right?) and the gtx 670. Obviously the 7850/660 is no competition for the 670, but considering that I'll be gaming and watching movies 1920x1080 at 1080p, is it worth the $170 price increase?
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June 30, 2012 11:27:02 AM

capt_davy said:
Alright, thanks for the input, it's good to hear that the 7850 isn't a bad buy :) . So right now, I'm deciding between the 7850 (probably will wait for the gtx 660, that comes out soon right?) and the gtx 670. Obviously the 7850/660 is no competition for the 670, but considering that I'll be gaming and watching movies 1920x1080 at 1080p, is it worth the $170 price increase?
Yes the 660 is due sometime next month hopefully it's worth the wait i am waiting for it as well :)  As for your other question yes the 670 is worth the extra 170 especially for gaming but for movies i see no real benefit
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June 30, 2012 8:26:18 PM

bigcyco1 said:
Yes the 660 is due sometime next month hopefully it's worth the wait i am waiting for it as well :)  As for your other question yes the 670 is worth the extra 170 especially for gaming but for movies i see no real benefit


Alright, thanks! Looks like I'll aim to purchase the 670 then.
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Best solution

June 30, 2012 8:42:28 PM

bigcyco1 said:
Yes the 660 is due sometime next month hopefully it's worth the wait i am waiting for it as well :)  As for your other question yes the 670 is worth the extra 170 especially for gaming but for movies i see no real benefit


After the driver updates the 7970 is in fact actually faster than the gtx 670 though overclocking the 670 will surpass the 7950

I got the gtx 670 ftw myself and do not regret it, only problem is the fan is too loud! Need to buy myself that arctic extreme cooler :p 
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June 30, 2012 9:40:48 PM

ggil24 said:
After the driver updates the 7950 is in fact actually faster than the gtx 670 though overclocking the 670 will surpass the 7950

I got the gtx 670 ftw myself and do not regret it, only problem is the fan is too loud! Need to buy myself that arctic extreme cooler :p 


Well, won't the 670 perform better after future driver optimization? And in any case, I thought more games were optimized for Nvidia drivers than AMD drivers.
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June 30, 2012 10:07:40 PM

capt_davy said:
Well, won't the 670 perform better after future driver optimization? And in any case, I thought more games were optimized for Nvidia drivers than AMD drivers.


It all comes down to a matter of preferences, i myself prefer nvidia over amd
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July 1, 2012 1:53:21 AM

Best answer selected by capt_davy.
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July 1, 2012 2:10:21 AM

capt_davy said:
Well, won't the 670 perform better after future driver optimization? And in any case, I thought more games were optimized for Nvidia drivers than AMD drivers.
The 670 is faster than 7950 the 7970 is a little faster than 670 but not the 7950 trust me ;) 
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July 1, 2012 2:11:44 AM

Woops i made a mistake by writing the 7950 is faster than the 670, the 7970 is faster than the gtx 670 NOT the 7950
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July 1, 2012 8:13:25 AM

capt_davy said:
Well, won't the 670 perform better after future driver optimization? And in any case, I thought more games were optimized for Nvidia drivers than AMD drivers.
You thought correct :lol: 
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