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Homebuild Gaming System Advice and Opinions

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July 2, 2012 9:20:38 PM

Hi there. I am new to the forums and this is also my first build attempt. I will cut to the chase and tell you all what i want from this PC and then I will get to the MoBo/GPU dilemma I have.

Code :

Approximate Purchase Date: I will be Purchasing the 1st few parts on Thursday 5th July and then the rest within the following 4-6 weeks
Budget Range: £800 - £850 but obviously the lower, the better.
System Usage from Most to Least Important:This system will be used for Gaming only. Games like F12012, BF3, CoD etc etc
Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse or monitor.
Country:England
Overclocking:I will be o/cing this machine and hopefully be getting results of 4.5-5.0ghz from just air cooling
SLI or Crossfire:I will eventually using SLI/crossfire but not until I need it
Additional Comments:I have a bit of a choice dillema. I have 2 different Mo/Bo's in mind. One is this:-

Asrock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 (Socket 1155/Intel Z68/DDR3/S-ATA 600/ATX) £95.63

This would leave me a bigger budget for a GPU, and these are the cards I have narrowed it down to:-


VTX3D Radeon HD 7950

**B Grade** MSI GeForce GTX 580 OC Twin FrozR II 1536MB GDDR5 PCI-Express G (GX-116-MS)

If im honest, I would probably prefer this option but have heard mixed reviews about the AsRock board. The other option I have is a Asus board but this would give me around £50(ish) less to spend on the GPU. The combo I have found within the budget is as follows


Asus P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 S1155 Intel Z68 DDR3 ATX

with this GPU

EVGA 1280MB GeForce GTX 570 HD Superclocked NVIDIA Graphics Card

I have looked at the comments on the Asus board and it seems like a very good board for O/cing but is it going to be worth cutting the budget on the GPU to have the better board or will the AsRock board do the job and have the better GPU, also, I will eventually buy another GPU so would need to be a board that can handle that as well.

What im trying to say is, if you were in my position, what combo would you go for.

Now for the rest of the setup im going for.

Intel Sandybridge i5-2500K Unlocked Core i5 Quad-Core Processor (3.30GHz, 6MB Cache, Socket 1155)

Noctua NH-D14 Dual Radiator and Fan Socket LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA775, AM3, AM2+, AM2 CPU Cooler

Revoltec Thermal Grease Nano

Corsair CML8GX3M2A1600C9B LP Vengeance Memory 8GB 1600MHz CL9 DDR3 Two Module Kit

ZS750W-UK | OCZ Technology OCZ ZS Series 750W Power Supply (UK)

Seagate Barracuda© SATA 6Gb/s 1TB Hard Drive ST31000524AS

So, that is my setup Im going for. Im going for the 750w PSU because of the future prospect of 2 GPU's. If there are any sugestions on changes that will benefit the system and if you think anything is missing from the list , Im willing to listen as long as it doesnt effect cost to much. Like I have already mentioned, This system will be for gaming only and will be O/C'd to a minimum of 4.5ghz.

I still need to find a large case with at least 3 fans built in for good air flow. I have a budget of £70 for the case so any suggestions on that would be great and also any compatible wi-fi cards suggestion.

Finally, i have done a lot of research but there may some compatibility mistakes, so if there is any that gets noticed, please point them out.

So, what are your opinions on this setup. Do you think it will handle the modern games like BF3 etc, and how future proof is it looking.
Thanks for sticking with me on this and i really hope to get the advice I need. Once I have the parts I will be setting up a thread on how it all goes and my journey O/cing it. Thanks in advance and I look forward to the opinions.
July 2, 2012 10:00:43 PM

First off the Noctua D14 comes with a really good, non-conductive thermal compound so I wouldn't recommend spending the money there. OCZ power supplies are really hit or miss. If you want 750W go with Corsair or Seasonic.

I'll post a build I recommended in another thread:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£176.78 @ CCL Computers)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler (£26.65 @ Scan.co.uk)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£119.75 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£64.90 @ Dabs)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£62.34 @ CCL Computers)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card (£260.73 @ CCL Computers)
Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case (£78.48 @ Scan.co.uk)
Power Supply: Corsair 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£83.19 @ Ebuyer)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer (£13.98 @ Novatech)
Total: £886.80
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)

A little bit over but I think it will be a more balanced system - better CPU, PSU, RAM, and HD. The fan included isn't as good as the D14 but it gets the job done and the case accommodates for a better air flow setup. The GPU is better than the 570 and 580 but about on par with the 7950.
Related resources
July 2, 2012 10:09:56 PM

I think your idea of the ASRock board is just fine. Consider MX-4 for the TIM... it's much easier to use and will do just about the same job.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Arctic-Cooling-MX-4-Thermal-Com...

ref http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/274824-29-thermal-com...

Pretty good price there on an adequate PSU.

Cm Storm enforcer has a 200mm fan up front and a 120mm... like 3 fans. It also has front USB 3 ports
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/coolermaster-storm-enfor...
July 2, 2012 10:28:46 PM

Thanks for the advice so far guys. I will have a look into the stuff that's been mentioned above as soon as I get a chance. It's good to know that some improvements can be made. I could probably extend the budget a lil bit but that would also mean adding on another week or 2 as I'm buying parts on a weekly basis but please keep the advice coming.
How do you think that setup would do though when o/c'd up to and beyond 4.5ghz on a game like battlefield 3 or another high end game.
July 2, 2012 10:32:31 PM

there isnt much of a performance gain between 4ghz and 4.5ghz other than the fact that it produces tons of heat.

the highest id ever go on ivy bridge is 4.5ghz and after that, there is no real performance gain
July 3, 2012 5:01:11 AM

TheBigTroll said:
there isnt much of a performance gain between 4ghz and 4.5ghz other than the fact that it produces tons of heat.

the highest id ever go on ivy bridge is 4.5ghz and after that, there is no real performance gain

That's why I am gonna use the i5 2500k as its o/cing potential is massive and the sandy bridge runs a lot cooler than the ivy bridge.

I am working on another setup now with a mixture of things from previous posts. If there is anything else I could do to make this a better gaming rig , please let me know as that is all I'm after. I'm hoping after o/cing that this will run games on there highest settings or as close to there highest settings as possible. I would also be looking at o/cing the GPU as well so any advice on a GPU that is good for o/cing and in a budget of around £250, let me know.
July 3, 2012 5:33:22 AM

Here is another configuration I've been looking at.

partpicker option 2

It's slightly over budget but the benchmark results come back at a good score on the gaming side of things. What do you think.
July 3, 2012 5:52:15 AM

That's the thing im still making my mind up on. Can't decide between radeon or nvidia for the GPU. There are so many mixed reviews. I just want the best one for gaming. I am gonna play around on part picker to see what the best options I can have. Still thinking that if I get the asrock mobo I can get a better GPU.
July 3, 2012 6:00:18 AM

At $400, the price of most Radeon 7950s, you can get the GTX 670, which is better.
July 3, 2012 6:42:18 AM

azeem40 said:
At $400, the price of most Radeon 7950s, you can get the GTX 670, which is better.

I did like the look of the 670 but thought it maybe out of my price range. I'm gonna put a few more setups up and get the opinion from people on what's best for gaming. I think I will go with the Asrock mobo as this will leave me more for the GPU.
July 3, 2012 8:17:10 AM

Here is another configuration I've been looking at.

partpicker option 2

It's slightly over budget but the benchmark results come back at a good score on the gaming side of things. What do you think.

Here's 2 more options to look at. I like option 3 because it uses the gtx680 and I imagine that when I SLI it further down the road, that would be a beast, but option 4 has the better mobo. Its so hard just choosing parts but I need to get my mind made up by Thursday as that's when I will be starting to buy stuff.

option 3

option 4

Option 1 is my opening post and option 2 can be found above. What do you guys think.
July 3, 2012 9:19:25 AM

I have decided that I'm going to be using the Asrock mobo as I think a better GPU will benefit me more for gaming. The GPU I can afford now irate the hd7970 or the gtx680. A lot of mixed reviews on which one is better so if someone can help me with a decision, that would be great.
I will be posting a updated list of parts that I don't think I will be changing unless convinced otherwise.
July 3, 2012 10:34:17 AM

azeem40 said:
At $400, the price of most Radeon 7950s, you can get the GTX 670, which is better.


True yesterday, but 7950 prices just dropped. Looks like they dropped in the UK as well.
July 3, 2012 12:00:02 PM

Let's take price out of the equation with these 2 gpus. What one, between the gtx670 and the hd 7950 will be best for gaming once it has been o/c'd. It will be running with the i5 2500k CPU on a asrock board. I may even start a poll on this.
July 3, 2012 1:21:39 PM

no point of sandy bridge. ivy bridge at 4.5ghz is a bit faster than sandy bridge at 4.8ghz. overclocking the CPU wont even give you much benefit in games tops maybe 2-5 frames. focus on the GPU overclocking instead
July 3, 2012 1:47:54 PM

TheBigTroll said:
no point of sandy bridge. ivy bridge at 4.5ghz is a bit faster than sandy bridge at 4.8ghz. overclocking the CPU wont even give you much benefit in games tops maybe 2-5 frames. focus on the GPU overclocking instead

From looking at benchmarks and reviews online and the fact that I only want it for gaming, it seems the sandy bridge would do for me. It is also a bit better on the budget gore as well, if i had to pay the extra for the ivy bridge, i would have less to spend on a gpu.
I will also be overclocking the GPU any way. I'm just trying to find out which GPU to buy that would be the best for o/cing and playing modern games with.
July 3, 2012 1:56:05 PM

take into account that ivy bridge supports PCI-E 3.0 which means that it has double the capable bandwidth that sandy bridge has. it helps a bit in graphics cards since the card will never run out of bandwidth
July 3, 2012 2:16:10 PM

TheBigTroll said:
take into account that ivy bridge supports PCI-E 3.0 which means that it has double the capable bandwidth that sandy bridge has. it helps a bit in graphics cards since the card will never run out of bandwidth

But how much of an effect will me getting the ivy bridge with a £200 card compared to a sandy bridge with a £300 card. What would have the biggest effect for gaming?
I thought I had settled on the sandy setup but now thinking about a ivy setup. I hope putting it all together is easier than actually choosing the parts.
July 3, 2012 2:18:52 PM

the price difference between ivy bridge and sandy bridge isnt a hundred dollars. if it is 100 dollars, just go sandy. if it is only 20-30 dollars more, go get ivy brdge
July 3, 2012 2:27:47 PM

From Dabs.com:
XIGMATEK Aegir SD128264 Double Layer H.D.T Cooling System
Quicklinx:7KHXWS00 | Mfr#: CAC-SXHH6-U02
Usually shipped in 3 days £34.99 £34.99

Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) Ballistix Sport DDR3 1333MHz CL9 1.5v 240pin
Quicklinx:7Y8RWS00 | Mfr#: BLS2CP4G3D1339DS1S00CEU
In stock £34.99 £34.99

ASRock Z77 Extreme 4 S1155 Intel Z77 DDR3 ATX
Quicklinx:80XRWS00 | Mfr#: Z77 Extreme 4
In stock £109.99 £109.99

Seagate 1TB Barracuda SpinPoint SATA 3Gb/s 7200RPM 16MB 3.5"
Quicklinx:80WJWS00 | Mfr#: HD103SJ / ST1000DM005
In stock £63.58 £63.58

Fractal Design Core 3000 Mid-Tower Case
Quicklinx:7TMMWS00 | Mfr#: FD-CA-CORE-3000-BL
In stock £52.99 £52.99

XFX 650 Watt Core Edition Full Wired Power Supply
Quicklinx:7NSXWS00 | Mfr#: P1-650S-UKB9
In stock £67.99 £67.99

Intel Core i5-3570K S1155 3.4GHz 6MB
Quicklinx:7YXJWS00 | Mfr#: BX80637I53570K
In stock £179.98 £179.98

Best Value Palit GeForce GTX 670 2GB PCI-Express 3.0 HDMI
Quicklinx:82MMWS00 | Mfr#: NE5X67001042-1042F
In stock £299.98 £299.98

Delivery (16.571kg) £4.89
Total (inc VAT) £849.38
July 3, 2012 2:29:15 PM

TheBigTroll said:
the price difference between ivy bridge and sandy bridge isnt a hundred dollars. if it is 100 dollars, just go sandy. if it is only 20-30 dollars more, go get ivy brdge
I will look into the prices now, cheers for the advice. I'll let you know what i come back with.
July 3, 2012 2:44:06 PM

metal orient said:
From Dabs.com:
XIGMATEK Aegir SD128264 Double Layer H.D.T Cooling System
Quicklinx:7KHXWS00 | Mfr#: CAC-SXHH6-U02
Usually shipped in 3 days £34.99 £34.99

Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) Ballistix Sport DDR3 1333MHz CL9 1.5v 240pin
Quicklinx:7Y8RWS00 | Mfr#: BLS2CP4G3D1339DS1S00CEU
In stock £34.99 £34.99

ASRock Z77 Extreme 4 S1155 Intel Z77 DDR3 ATX
Quicklinx:80XRWS00 | Mfr#: Z77 Extreme 4
In stock £109.99 £109.99

Seagate 1TB Barracuda SpinPoint SATA 3Gb/s 7200RPM 16MB 3.5"
Quicklinx:80WJWS00 | Mfr#: HD103SJ / ST1000DM005
In stock £63.58 £63.58

Fractal Design Core 3000 Mid-Tower Case
Quicklinx:7TMMWS00 | Mfr#: FD-CA-CORE-3000-BL
In stock £52.99 £52.99

XFX 650 Watt Core Edition Full Wired Power Supply
Quicklinx:7NSXWS00 | Mfr#: P1-650S-UKB9
In stock £67.99 £67.99

Intel Core i5-3570K S1155 3.4GHz 6MB
Quicklinx:7YXJWS00 | Mfr#: BX80637I53570K
In stock £179.98 £179.98

Best Value Palit GeForce GTX 670 2GB PCI-Express 3.0 HDMI
Quicklinx:82MMWS00 | Mfr#: NE5X67001042-1042F
In stock £299.98 £299.98

Delivery (16.571kg) £4.89
Total (inc VAT) £849.38

thats given me a few things to think about.
July 3, 2012 3:41:49 PM

Right, Ive had alittle look at the i5 3570k and this is the setup I came up with. Ive also been able to look at my budget and add another £50 on to it so it now stands at £850-900 but the lower the better.

ivy bridge setup

Im still unsure about the ivy bridge because of the comments about o/cing and temps so at the moment im still going for the 2500k unless convinced otherwise.
July 3, 2012 4:26:39 PM

Ivy bridge has the same performance at lower clocks and all the extras from the z77 chipset (like native USB 3.0 and PCIE 3.0) unless you want the bragging rights of high clocks ivy is the better choice.
July 3, 2012 5:28:12 PM

metal orient said:
Ivy bridge has the same performance at lower clocks and all the extras from the z77 chipset (like native USB 3.0 and PCIE 3.0) unless you want the bragging rights of high clocks ivy is the better choice.

It's performance that I'm after. I want to be able to play games at their highest possible level. I said that I would be happy with 4.5-5 ghz on the sandy bridge so I s'pose the equivalent is about 4.3-4.7 on the ivy bridge.

So with the previous setup I posted. You would recommend a z77 board. But which one so it can fit within my budget and still handle what I want. I could probably spend £40 less on the GPU and still get a gtx 670.

Just when I thought I had my mind made up I'm now deciding on a mobo and CPU again. Pretty sure I'm sticking with the gtx 670 as I've seen no evidence of a better GPU in this price range.
July 3, 2012 8:36:05 PM

TheBigTroll said:
check out this board. the z68 pro3 never could have supported SLI

http://www.dabs.com/products/asus-p8z77-v-lk-s1155-inte...

its the p8z77-Lk from asus so i dont see any wrong going with it

That's a good price as well. I've been reading up a lil bit more about the ivy bridge and overclocking and I'm starting to sway towards that now. Seems like it'll do the job and will be better when I SLI further down the line.
July 3, 2012 8:36:15 PM

bendy86 said:
It's performance that I'm after. I want to be able to play games at their highest possible level. I said that I would be happy with 4.5-5 ghz on the sandy bridge so I s'pose the equivalent is about 4.3-4.7 on the ivy bridge.

So with the previous setup I posted. You would recommend a z77 board. But which one so it can fit within my budget and still handle what I want. I could probably spend £40 less on the GPU and still get a gtx 670.

Just when I thought I had my mind made up I'm now deciding on a mobo and CPU again. Pretty sure I'm sticking with the gtx 670 as I've seen no evidence of a better GPU in this price range.


What didn't you like about the dabs build?
July 3, 2012 8:54:20 PM

metal orient said:
What didn't you like about the dabs build?

I'm currently doing a build on part picker that has taken some influences from that build. Will finish it in a bit, still got a few bits to research before I make my mind up. It was a good price though.
July 4, 2012 2:35:23 PM

Right, so this is where I'm at now. I've used partpicker just to list as I think I can get some of the parts cheaper elsewhere.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£176.78 @ CCL Computers)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler (£56.58 @ Ebuyer)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V LK ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£108.98 @ Dabs)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£41.51 @ Amazon UK)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£62.99 @ Scan.co.uk)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card (£299.99 @ Novatech)
Case: Cooler Master Storm Enforcer ATX Mid Tower Case (£64.67 @ Scan.co.uk)
Power Supply: OCZ 700W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£64.30 @ Ebuyer)
Total: £875.80
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)

I've heard that the grease that comes with the noctua cooler is of really good quality so not sure whether I need to buy any other grease.

Also, what are people's opinions on the mother board. Will it be good for overclocking?

I'm going to start to buy some parts tomorrow so I kind of need to start making my mind up really.

Remember, the sole purpose of this console is for gaming. Will it run the best games out there at top settings once overclocked
July 5, 2012 12:07:49 PM

It has begun!!!! I have just purchased my 1st part towards my homebuild. It's the cooler so it still leaves me with a few options I can change if needed. I've purchased the noctua NH-D14 as I'm gonna be running the IB CPU i5 3570k which will need a extremely good cooler once overclocked and there doesn't seem to be a better air cooler out there(and if there is, I don't wanna know now).
I got it from ebuyer for £55. Looking forward to the next part purchase now.

I was just wondering if the grease/paste that comes with it will be good enough or will I need to purchase a better one.
July 5, 2012 12:11:42 PM

id recommend not going with a reference 670. they are loud ass. if you are, id get the EVGA one since they beefed up the heatsink. the ftw is a better choice

the power supply you chose is pretty much garbage. its loud, not very efficent, and from what i saw in reviews, lots of people have bad units. pick up a xfx 750w or a corsair tx750w v2 power supply instead
July 5, 2012 1:56:26 PM

TheBigTroll said:
id recommend not going with a reference 670. they are loud ass. if you are, id get the EVGA one since they beefed up the heatsink. the ftw is a better choice

the power supply you chose is pretty much garbage. its loud, not very efficent, and from what i saw in reviews, lots of people have bad units. pick up a xfx 750w or a corsair tx750w v2 power supply instead

Thanks for the advice. I'll look into them now. I don't have much room left to keep on budget though.

What do you think of the rest of the setup though. Do you think it'll handle the modern games, and like I said before, in 6-12 months time, I will probably SLI anyway, hence the bigger PSU.
July 5, 2012 2:07:59 PM

Changed a few bits now. What do we think?

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£176.78 @ CCL Computers)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler (£61.37 @ Scan.co.uk)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£109.99 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£41.51 @ Amazon UK)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£62.99 @ Scan.co.uk)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card (£299.60 @ Scan.co.uk)
Case: Cooler Master Storm Enforcer ATX Mid Tower Case (£64.67 @ Scan.co.uk)
Power Supply: Corsair 650W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£70.38 @ Scan.co.uk)
Total: £887.29
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)

I feel like I'm very close to a final choice now but keep the advice coming. I've just changed the PSU to a 650w unit which I hope will run the gtx 670 in SLI eventually. I've also changed the GPU to a EVGA card.

Like I said, this is for gaming purposes only.
July 5, 2012 2:18:52 PM

you need 750w to SLI. get the xfx 750w
July 5, 2012 2:41:31 PM

So looking at that review, a 650w should be enough. If I go upto 750w, it's quite a jump in price as well.

I'm confused now.

Also, will I need low profile ram so there is enough room for the noctua NH-d14 without it infringing on anything.
July 5, 2012 2:56:55 PM

metal orient said:
You do not need 750W, 2 GTX 670's even highly overclocked ones uses less than 200W each.
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/GTX_670_Power_Ed...


the 650w power supplies are more meant for 2 way lower end SLI/crossfire. often the 650w psu s dont have enough connectors. 750w is a safter bet
July 5, 2012 3:06:09 PM

TheBigTroll said:
the 650w power supplies are more meant for 2 way lower end SLI/crossfire. often the 650w psu s dont have enough connectors. 750w is a safter bet

I could extend my budget a little bit but that would mean waiting longer til I can afford the parts. I'm gonna have a look at the power spooky thread and see what I learn from there.
I may settle for a 750w just to be safe. Thanks again fellas.
July 5, 2012 3:52:50 PM

TheBigTroll said:
the 650w power supplies are more meant for 2 way lower end SLI/crossfire. often the 650w psu s dont have enough connectors. 750w is a safter bet


Its a rare that 650w PSU that doesn't have 4 6 PCIe cables. Traditionally you would need bigger PSU's as the old graphics cards were so power hungry but today's high end require very little.

!