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Help with $1400 Gaming PC Build

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Last response: in Systems
July 3, 2012 5:55:42 PM

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Approximate Purchase Date: August 14 - 17, 2012

Budget Range: ~ $1400 before rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: watching movies, gaming, surfing

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, headset, monitor, speakers, OS

Preferred Websites for Parts: newegg , frys , ncix , amazon

Country: United States

Parts Preferences: Intel i5 3570k Ivy Bridge, Motherboard with Thunderbolt connection for an Apple 27” Thunderbolt Display, GeForce 570, 670, or 680 Video Card, Solid State main Storage Drive

Overclocking: Yes. New to overclocking, this being my first build, not looking to push the limit, but nonetheless, I’d do my research so it’s safe.

SLI or Crossfire: No. Probably not, unless someone can convince me to in the future.

Monitor Resolution: 2560 x 1440 Apple 27” Thunderbolt Display

Additional Comments:
Hey everyone. Planning a build in a little over a month. I like gaming, but not too hardcore; games like Skyrim, Wow, GW2 when it comes out, League of Legends, etc. I’ve always had an OK monitor/laptop screen, so, being the only actual part of the computer I care about looking at, I’m dead-set on getting the Apple 27” Display. There’s the Cinema and Thunderbolt Display, and my Thunderbolt preference is mostly novelty. The display then requires either a converter, the new Asus ThunderboltEX PCI-e add-on card that isn’t very available yet, or one of the 3 or 4 new motherboards out there that has a Thunderbolt connection. Also, the new Ivy Bridge and matching Z77 motherboard is just a personal preference.

A few questions about parts include:

I’ve read forums that say the GeForce 680 is the best performance per cost, and others that say the 670 is far more than I’d need to play games on the highest settings, and others that say I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the 570’s performance and the 670's. Though the games I play now aren’t the most demanding in graphics, it’s possible that I'd get into more demanding games in the future. I’d be ok going a little over my budget to get a video card if I would truly notice a difference, or if it was a better value and would last me much longer. 2 years from now, and probably over 2 generations of video cards, I’d be willing to upgrade my card. Also, with the non-gaming Apple display, will its 12ms response time and 60hz refresh rate be the bottleneck anyway?

I only plan on having dimms used at 1600mhz, but would memory rated for higher speeds and kept at 1600 be less likely to fry? I don’t know much about it. Or, would it be safe enough to overclock memory with an Ivy Bridge?

Also, I need help choosing a cpu heatsink/fan. I’ve done research on a few, but haven’t looked into a simple water cooling module versus a more traditional heatsink. Is it worth getting low-profile dimms so I don’t worry about them hitting the heatsink? Are there any risks in getting low-profile memory? Should I choose a heatsink based on its clearance above the memory slots? And, would I even need a very large heatsink if I only plan on overclocking the Ivy Bridge to 4.2ghz? Or should I not be so worried about the cpu’s life, and overclock it to 4.5?

With the Ivy Bridge, and if I decided on the GeForce 600 series, I’d be way above power requirements if I got a 750 watt psu, but would it be safer to stick with that, or is a 650 watt psu enough? If I decided on the GeForce 570, would I then need to get the higher wattage supply? Also, is 80 Plus a good enough rating? What advantage would there be for getting a Gold rated psu other than it being more efficient with power consumption? As a note, I’d prefer modular or full-modular to improve airflow with less clutter in the case.

As far as case, I’m not looking for 10 hard drive slots, or a huge amount of space, but I’d like very good air flow, and for it to be around $80-$130. Doesn’t need a window, but I’d like to mount a fan on the left panel, and wherever else the case can mount additional fans. Doesn’t need to be quiet as I use a headset most of the time, and I’d put a cool PC far ahead of noise, especially to overclock the Ivy Bridge.

For a Solid State Drive, does the read/write speed matter very much? Should I choose the lowest $1/GB ratio? Or get a "higher quality" drive?

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Intel Core i5 3570k - $215

Asus P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt - $260

EVGA GeForce GTX 570 -$320 or Zotac GeForce GTX 670 -$450 or EVGA SuperClocked+ GeForce GTX 680 -$540

80 Plus 700 Modular -$90 or Bronze 650 Modular -$130 or Silver 750 Modular -$145 or Gold 650 Full Modular -$140

Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO -$30 or Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 -$90 or Zalman CNPS12X -$100

NZXT Phantom 410 -$100 or Antec Nine Hundred -$100 or Fractal Design Arc Midi -$110


Thank you so much.

More about : 1400 gaming build

Best solution

July 3, 2012 6:07:59 PM

Quote:
I’ve read forums that say the GeForce 680 is the best performance per cost, and others that say the 670 is far more than I’d need to play games on the highest settings, and others that say I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the 570’s performance and the 670's. Though the games I play now aren’t the most demanding in graphics, it’s possible that I'd get into more demanding games in the future. I’d be ok going a little over my budget to get a video card if I would truly notice a difference, or if it was a better value and would last me much longer. 2 years from now, and probably over 2 generations of video cards, I’d be willing to upgrade my card. Also, with the non-gaming Apple display, will its 12ms response time and 60hz refresh rate be the bottleneck anyway?


I wouldn't waste the money on that Apple display - it's meant for people who need ultra high resolutions for graphic design programs (CS5, etc). If you're going to be gaming you can pay like 1/3 the cost and get the same display. I'm really guessing that the people who tell you won't be able to tell the difference between the 570 and 670 don't know what they're talking about. The 670 is a better value and far more energy efficient than the 570 is.

Quote:
I only plan on having dimms used at 1600mhz, but would memory rated for higher speeds and kept at 1600 be less likely to fry? I don’t know much about it. Or, would it be safe enough to overclock memory with an Ivy Bridge?


Overclocking your RAM is a bad idea to begin with as your motherboard won't be able to handle it. Anything over 1600MHz - you will not notice the difference in performance. By default your motherboard runs the lowest speeds and timings it can handle. I also wouldn't waste money on a Thunderbolt-capable board yet - there's nothing on the market that takes advantage of it right now so those ports would be useless.

Quote:
With the Ivy Bridge, and if I decided on the GeForce 600 series, I’d be way above power requirements if I got a 750 watt psu, but would it be safer to stick with that, or is a 650 watt psu enough? If I decided on the GeForce 570, would I then need to get the higher wattage supply? Also, is 80 Plus a good enough rating? What advantage would there be for getting a Gold rated psu other than it being more efficient with power consumption? As a note, I’d prefer modular or full-modular to improve airflow with less clutter in the case.


650 is plenty for a single, actually kind of overkill. You can get by with 600W even. Me personally I like to keep all my options open so I get 750W minimum - that leaves more than enough room to add a second GPU down the road.

Quote:
For a Solid State Drive, does the read/write speed matter very much? Should I choose the lowest $1/GB ratio? Or get a "higher quality" drive?


The differences lie in the controllers - Sandforce (Corsair Force 3, Patriot Pyro, Intel 320, etc) is faster but far from stable. Marvell drives (Crucial M4, Samsung 830, Plextor PX-M3) are slower but more reliable. Indilinx (OCZ Vertex 4) is a combination of the two.

Check out this build:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($214.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F4 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($399.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 300R ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair 650W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1272.90
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
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July 3, 2012 6:16:48 PM

What display would you recommend? I liked the higher-than-1920x1080 resolution and LED backlight.

So the 600 series is definitely worth it? Then should I spend a bit more on a 680? Or stick with 670?

What do you mean by not stable in the SSD? Reliability ensures that it doesn't dump data or something?
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July 3, 2012 6:24:23 PM

t3nn1spr3p said:
What display would you recommend? I liked the higher-than-1920x1080 resolution and LED backlight.

So the 600 series is definitely worth it? Then should I spend a bit more on a 680? Or stick with 670?

What do you mean by not stable in the SSD? Reliability ensures that it doesn't dump data or something?


1. You can get higher resolution monitors for way less money than Apple charges with that ridiculous $1,000 display. Maybe try something like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/CROSSOVER-27Q-LED-27-LED-MONITO...

2. Yes absolutely - the 680 and the 670 are essentially the same card performance wise, the 670 is a bit more affordable.

3. I have a Sandforce drive and it's caused nothing but problems - like when Windows updates often times it won't register the update causing the OS to freeze and crash until I run system restore - those kinds of things. If you get a drive like the M4, it will be problem free for the most part.
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July 3, 2012 6:30:57 PM

Alright. Thank you very much.

Also, is the Cooler Master Evo enough to keep the 3570k cool if I try to overclock to 4.5ghz? Or should I stick to 4.2?
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July 3, 2012 6:54:12 PM

Best answer selected by t3nn1spr3p.
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July 3, 2012 6:55:03 PM

stick to 4.2ghz on the hyper 212 evo. you wont even see much of a difference
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July 3, 2012 7:00:12 PM

t3nn1spr3p said:
Alright. Thank you very much.

Also, is the Cooler Master Evo enough to keep the 3570k cool if I try to overclock to 4.5ghz? Or should I stick to 4.2?


The Evo can max out at 4.2 - 4.3. If you want to go to 4.5, you'll need a different cooler like the Noctua D14.
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July 3, 2012 8:50:53 PM

But going to 4.5 isn't worth it with the Noctua NH-D14?
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July 3, 2012 10:01:10 PM

t3nn1spr3p said:
But going to 4.5 isn't worth it with the Noctua NH-D14?


only for higher resolution gaming and SLI setup
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July 4, 2012 12:16:04 PM

not really. the CPU is just supposed to prevent bottlnecks with the video card but it doesnt exsist really even in SLI
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