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$3000 gaming PC

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July 7, 2012 1:21:22 PM

Hi all,

I've come up with a parts list for a new PC and would like feedback/advice. The PC is to be used for gaming.

Approx Purchase Date: Next two months

Budget Range: The parts I've selected add up to $2.8K AUD. I want a machine that can play games at max graphics

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Emails, Internet Research, Work, Surfing for net porn

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I'm in Melbourne Australia so I've been checking out CPL's online parts catalogue (www.cplonline.com.au). I would like to select the parts and slip someone $50 to build it for me.

Country: Australia

Parts Preferences: Intel and Windows x64

Overclocking: Don't know how to do that yet

SLI or Crossfire: My understanding is that I need multiple graphics cards to do that, so at the moment the answer is "no"... but wouldn't mind the ability to double my graphics muscle in the future when prices come down and my PC's performance is no so crash hot?

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200

Additional Comments:

Below is my current parts list. I'll talk you through my logic and people can either confirm my understanding or tell me where I'm going wrong.

My intention is to source all the parts from the same place so I can ask them to build it for me. I can insert/remove individual parts myself but I've never put a machine together from scratch... so I am acutely aware that I may accidentally select incompatible components which is why I'll want assistance building.

Chassis: Cooler Master HAFX (I've read this unit has good dust filters??)
Power Supply: (Not sure!)
(I'm looking for a case that offers good dust protection with filters, hence why I've chosen the CM HAFX. Assuming no one can recommend a better case, what is a good value for money power supply?)

CPU: Intel Core i7 3930 LGA2011 six-core 3.2GHZ
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe LGA1155
(I've chosen the motherboard because it's forwards compatible with Ivy Bridge CPUs but still supports Sandy Bridge CPUs according to ASUS website. I've chosen a Sandy Bridge CPU because it's good value for money and it's a six-core, so it outperforms all the other Ivy Bridges which are only quads)

Monitor: Asus 23" PA238Q IPS Monitor
(Reasonably priced and good performance - or so I'm led to believe)

RAM: Gskill 16G (4X4G) 2133Mhz F3-17000CL11Q-16GBZL
(I'm told I only need 8GB but these chips are the same price as the most expensive 8GB on the CPL website, so I think what the heck?)

Primary HDD: WD Caviar Black 2TB
Secondary HDD: (None)
(Thought about SSD but read Tom's article about reliability. Yes I want a quick machine but I'm not so hardcore that I am going to take a chance on reliability)

Graphics Card: EVGA GeForce GTX680 2GB

Soundcard: (None - I'm going to use the motherboard sound which I'm told is adequate for gaming)

Optical Drive: Liteon DS-8A5S Slim Internal DVD-RW 24*24*24, 8*8*8 DVDRAM

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit OEM



Appreciate any help guys,

MelbGuy99 :pt1cable: 

More about : 3000 gaming

July 7, 2012 1:36:19 PM

i5 3570k
NZXT Switch 810
H100
16 GB G.Skills 1600
Samsung 830 SSD 120 (boot OS)
1 TB WD Black HDD
Corsair HX 850
2 EVGA 670 SLI
For gaming go with a TN panel
Benq 24 XL 120Hz
oops your motherboard Gigabyte UD5H
a b 4 Gaming
July 7, 2012 1:41:13 PM

^That's basically correct. Drop your original build entirely and follow the list above, with emphasis on the 1600mhz RAM.
Exceptions:
-The case can be basically whatever you want. If you want to go with the H100, it should have room for a 240mm radiator, but most full-sized cases above $80 or so do. Choose one by style alone and then check with us if it's got the features you want/need.
-You can go with a 750W PSU for two 670s. Check out Corsair, OCZ, NZXT and XFX.
-You may be able to fit two 680s into your budget. Get them if you want, with the knowledge that they're not nearly as good a value as the 670s. 670s cost 20% less than 680s but deliver only 7-10% less performance, if my memory serves me properly.
Are you interested in going with a 3D setup, triple monitors or both? If you want 3D, get a 120Hz monitor that comes with Nvidia glasses.
Related resources

Best solution

July 7, 2012 1:49:38 PM
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Intel Core i5 3570K 3.40GHz LGA1155 - $240.00
http://www.cplonline.com.au/online-shop/cpus/intel-cpus...

(6 cores provide you no advantage in gaming compared to their quad core overclockable counterpart. Core i5 3570K offers best bang for buck for now)

Coolermaster Hyper 612 PWM CPU Cooler - $59.00
http://www.cplonline.com.au/online-shop?page=shop.produ...

(Very good air cooling solution)

Asrock Z77 Extreme4 Motherboard - $145.00
http://www.cplonline.com.au/online-shop?page=shop.produ...

Quote:
I've chosen the motherboard because it's forwards compatible with Ivy Bridge CPUs but still supports Sandy Bridge CPUs according to ASUS website.


Well, all Z77 are backwards compatible with sandy bridge. Did you know that?

Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2x4G) 1600Mhz DDR3 - $79.00
http://www.cplonline.com.au/online-shop?page=shop.produ...

8GB is sufficient for gaming & all other tasks you mentioned.

Primary: Crucial M4 64GB SSD - $99.00
http://www.cplonline.com.au/online-shop/hard-drives/ssd...

Secondary: Seagate Barracuda 2TB - $118.00
http://www.cplonline.com.au/online-shop/hard-drives/35q...

Liteon IHAS324 DVD-RW SATA 24X - $21.00
http://www.cplonline.com.au/online-shop?page=shop.produ...

Antec High Current Gamer 750W Power Supply - $135.00
http://www.cplonline.com.au/online-shop?page=shop.produ...

Ready for SLI.

Asus GeForce GTX670 2G - $529.00
http://www.cplonline.com.au/online-shop?page=shop.produ...

GTX680 is much costly compared to GTX670 & offers very little performance increase. GTX680 Not Recommended.

Coolermaster HAF 912 Advanced USB3 Case - $99.00
http://www.cplonline.com.au/online-shop?page=shop.produ...

Matter of personal preference.

Asus 23" PA238Q IPS Monitor - $355.00
http://www.cplonline.com.au/index.php?page=shop.product...

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit OEM - $175.00
http://www.cplonline.com.au/online-shop?page=shop.produ...

Total : $2054 :) 
July 7, 2012 2:03:06 PM

I can't really add anything more to the suggested builds above. but i would personally go for an ib chip, like the 3570k, than an sb-e chip. it's *really* overkill for gaming, and since you're not rendering or cad'ing or anything intensive like that, your money would be better spent elsewhere that's more relevant to your priorities, like an ssd, a gg monitor or a case with good airflow. even a good mouse/keyboard/headphone set would be a better investment.

also, if you're oc'ing, keep in mind that the ib chips run at higher temps than the sb chips at the higher clocks. so ~4.5 GHz+. people on this forum will recommend either the 2500k or the 3570k. the choice will depend on how hard you're oc'ing it. if you're going for mild oc's, which for a beginner like you is likely, then a 3570k will be great.

I've also found pccasegear to be a pretty decent place to get pc parts. they stock a lot of stuff there, and it's all online. their price is decent as well. well, they're as cheap as aussie prices go :p  which is to say not that cheap compared to newegg :( 
July 8, 2012 3:15:02 AM

Hi all,

Thank you Redeemer, Kajabla, Ujaansona, Bennaya so much for all your advice. Definitely saved me a lot of money plus re-directed my investment where it'd deliver the best performance increase. Just goes to show more cores is not necessarily better (for gaming). Not only that but you suggested a few extra bits that I missed.

I've read everyone advice to come up with the following revised list:
Chassis: CM HAF 912A
Power Supply: Antec HGC-750
Extra Front Fan: CM 120mm fan
Extra Side Fan: CM 140mm fan
Extra Top Fan: CM 120mm fan

CPU: Intel i5 3570K
Cooler: CM Hyper 612 PWM
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe LGA1155
RAM: Corsair CMP8GX3M2A1600C9 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3

Primary HDD: Samsung 830 Series 128GB SSD
Secondary HDD: WD Caviar Black 1TB WD1002FAEX

Graphics: Asus GeForce GTX670 2G
2nd Graphics: (None for now, wait for price to drop and then buy)

Monitor: Asus 23" PA238Q IPS Monitor

Optical Drive: Lite-On IHAS324 24x DVDRW

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit with SP1 OEM


If I source via PC Case Gear it all rolls up to $2.5K AUD which is only marginally higher than CPL. I've read some scary things about MSY and CPL but there have been some good comments I've read about PC Case Gear... so I'm thinking about going there instead.


Any other thoughts on this build?
One extra question: Why did everyone recommend 1600MHZ ram? I would have thought 2133 MHZ would be better because it's faster... what's the catch?
Also the build above is air cooled and not water cooled (which I know nothing about). I'm not intending to be a hard core over-clocker, so would I be right in assuming the build is ok? I've put the extra fans because the room my PC sits in is very warm + it tends to collect a lot of dust.

Thanks again!



July 8, 2012 3:16:18 AM

Best answer selected by Melbguy99.
a b 4 Gaming
July 8, 2012 3:18:03 AM

Faster =/= better.
July 8, 2012 4:22:16 AM

Glad to be of service. :) 
Now, about your questions:
1)In real world going from 1600MHz to 2133MHz will provide no performance gain at all, as azeem40 said above. Instead of going for 2133MHz, you can get the 1600MHz & run it on a tighter timing, (e.g. 8-8-8-16) to get some performance improvement.
2)You need water cooling only if you are an extreme overclocker.
a b 4 Gaming
July 8, 2012 4:23:44 AM

The only way I see OCing being good to get is if you get those Samsung DIMMs.
July 8, 2012 5:20:40 AM

Thanks Ujaansona and Azeem40. You've definitely been of service. :) 

One last question... I want to make sure I pick RAM compatible with the motherboard I've chosen (still tossing up between Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe LGA1155 or Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB LGA1155).

Here's the thing... the website I am using PC Case Gear http://www.pccasegear.com/ (or even the CPL site I mentioned earlier) does not appear to have much RAM compatible with those two motherboards... at least not unless stratospheric prices are involved.

The only compatible memory I can find is 16GB or 32GB and has a hefty price tag. The cheaper RAM does not seem to be compatible with the motherboards I'm thinking of (yes? no? maybe?)

$245 - G.Skill Ripjaws Z F3-2400C10Q-16GZH 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3


$239 - G.Skill Trident X F3-2400C10Q-16GTX 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3


And those are the two cheapest options I found that explicitly state they're compatible. I frankly can't even tell the difference between those two products!


Can you find cheaper RAM on that website for that motherboard, preferably 8GB? Do I just have to suck it up? When I looked up the other (cheaper) RAMs they all claim to be for 2nd generation motherboards.
a b 4 Gaming
July 8, 2012 5:22:20 AM

That list is not extensive, so not all RAM is listed. I can assure you that the RAM you chose is compatible.
July 8, 2012 5:24:11 AM

azeem40 said:
That list is not extensive, so not all RAM is listed. I can assure you that the RAM you chose is compatible.


Cool. But could you spot anything cheaper on the website? I was under the impression that RAM was cheap. (If I'm mistaken, I'm mistaken... just want to make sure I don't pay extra if there is a cheaper alternative... which sounding by your reply there is not on that website at least???)
July 8, 2012 5:35:35 AM

ujaansona said:
No need to get $200 RAM! That's way overpriced! get Corsair Vengeance CMZ16GX3M4X1600C9 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3 - $129.00! Corsair Vengeance is an OUTSTANDING RAM & it is compatible with the motherboards you have chosen.
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...


Two words: LIFE SAVER!

Thanks a bunch! :) 
July 8, 2012 6:52:47 AM

Hey there. Sorry to chime in at the last minute, just trying to save you a potential headache. Your build list is all looking good, just be careful with that RAM. The model you want is exactly the same as that link above, but the 'low profile' version: 8GB is plenty for gaming, See this link:

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

The problem with that Vengeance RAM with those large heatspreaders is that they get all up in the space where your CPU Cooler goes. If you look on the spec of that mobo you'll notice how the RAM slots are pretty close to the CPU socket. Once you mount that huge beast CM 612 onto your CPU, you'll see why low profile memory is they way to go.

Do you need 'ultimate' windows for any reason? On a general gaming build 'Home Premium' is a pretty comprehensive package:

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Also if you're not comfortable with MSY... I won't try and sway you... hey you can be unlucky anywhere right... BUT if you pick up that case from MSY (which they have in stock) you'll cut your shipping from PCCaseGear in half. We pay so much to ship huge boxes around these days.
July 8, 2012 8:42:53 AM

The only thing you might notice with that kit is that it's 1.65V. Intel recommend 1.5V memory for use with the current gen CPUs. From what I've seen with other Asus mobos they will regulate the voltage back to 1.5C anyhow... but I play on the safe side. If you're looking for a cheaper set, that's still good quality:

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
July 8, 2012 9:00:05 AM

^ Thanks Formata. I missed the HyperX 1.65v specs. :D 
Melbguy99, get the G.Skill Ares set that Formata has suggested.
July 8, 2012 9:06:52 AM

Formata said:
The only thing you might notice with that kit is that it's 1.65V. Intel recommend 1.5V memory for use with the current gen CPUs. From what I've seen with other Asus mobos they will regulate the voltage back to 1.5C anyhow... but I play on the safe side. If you're looking for a cheaper set, that's still good quality:

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...


Thanks for the advice Formata. I'm anxious to make sure everything is compatible... not just on paper but space-wise as well. So no, don't apologise for chiming in late... I very much welcome your insights

OK, I see Ujaansona has just seconded the GSKILL Ares RAM.

Couple more newbie questions from me to help improve my understanding:
1) The GSKILL Ares RAM... how are you able to tell it's compatible with the motherboard? I get confused because when I check the description of the GKILL ARES RAM it does not list the ASUS P8Z77 as a compatible motherboard. If I was looking at this product by myself, how would I tell it's compatible with the ASUS P8Z77? (That's why I ended up looking at that other expensive RAM because it was the only one to explicitly mention the P8Z77 motherboard)
2) On an unrelated note... what's your opinion on having two Geforce GTX670 2GB's? Overkill for gaming? Is one more than enough?
July 8, 2012 9:21:57 AM

1)Major motherboard manufacturers generally never provide a full compatibility list including ALL kind of RAM/PSU available on the market, because there are simply too many of them! The compatibility lists are just a general guideline, it's not absolute. There are hundreds of compatible Single, Dual, Triple & Quad channel memory kits out there. It's impossible to list them all.
2)Single GTX670 is enough upto 1920x1080 resolution. If you want double or triple monitor gaming, you may need to add another.
July 8, 2012 9:25:05 AM

ujaansona said:
1)Major motherboard manufacturers generally never provide a full compatibility list including ALL kind of RAM/PSU available on the market, because there are simply too many of them! The compatibility lists are just a general guideline, it's not absolute. There are hundreds of compatible Single, Dual, Triple & Quad channel memory kits out there. It's impossible to list them all.
2)Single GTX670 is enough upto 1920x1080 resolution. If you want double or triple monitor gaming, you may need to add another.


Thanks again Ujaansona.

Fully get your point about the lists being incomplete. How'd you know though that that RAM was compatible? Experience because you deal with this stuff regularly?

OK just to confirm... so two graphics cards is to run multiple monitors? If I'm committed to having 1 monitor, then 2 cards is major overkill???
July 8, 2012 9:42:01 AM

Quote:
Experience because you deal with this stuff regularly?

You can say so! Almost 6+ years of them! ;) 

On a serious note: You can also learn how different parts are compatible, what to suggest for different builds etc. What you really need is to study about these things. Read all the expert reviews of computer hardwares, learn the history of evolution of computer hardware & you will gradually start to understand these things.

Now, how do we confirm that G.Skill memory works on P8Z77-V DELUXE?
See the asus website lists P8Z77-V DELUXE's Memory requirements as follows:
http://in.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8Z77...

Quote:
4 x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR3 2800(O.C.)/2600(O.C.)/2400(O.C.)/2200(O.C.)/2133(O.C.)/2000(O.C.)/1866(O.C.)/1800(O.C.)/1600/1333/1066 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel Memory Architecture
Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)

Any RAM by any vendor that meets those requirements are compatible. Simple, right?
G.Skill Ares specs are: 8GB (2x4GB) PC3-12800 (1600MHz) DDR3 RAM, 1.5v, 240pin DIMM, Unbuffered, 9-9-9-2N, ARES low profile heatspreader.

Let me just show you how a single GTX670 performs.
Read this complete review: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Gigabyte/GeForce_GTX...
It' a bit big though. ;) 
July 8, 2012 10:04:24 AM

ujaansona said:
Quote:
Experience because you deal with this stuff regularly?

You can say so! Almost 6+ years of them! ;) 

Let me just show you how a single GTX670 performs.
Read this complete review: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Gigabyte/GeForce_GTX...
It' a bit big though. ;) 


Thanks for answering all my annoying Q's... I'm big not just on asking the questions but on understanding "the WHY" behind the answer.

That Gigabyte OC version of the 670 really rocks!!!
July 8, 2012 10:24:54 AM

All good info there. Gigabyte are making awesome GPUs these day. This site even gives them the nod for 670s. It's not the OC edition, but the same Windforce cooling system

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-670-tes...

One of those will will have you at very high to max settings at 60fps on 1080p for some time.
July 8, 2012 11:16:41 AM

ujaansona said:
I'll be happy to answer any more questions you might have.( & I don't think asking questions is annoying habit at all!) :) 
Few good tech websites which provide expert reviews on different computer parts & more:
www.tomshardware.com
www.xbitlabs.com
www.techpowerup.com
www.hardwaresecrets.com


hehe You might regret saying that, I gotta lot of Q's... :) 

My brother just asked me a Q.... if quad cores are optimal for gaming, why go i5-3570K instead of i7-3770K? The price differential is an extra $124 (which isn't large in a grand scheme of things for a CPU).

Now I've done a search and other people say that the 3770K doesn't improve gaming performance or, alternative argument: the overclocked 3570K beats the 3770K (but I assume not an oc'd 3770K?)?

What's your thoughts? Would spending the extra $124 for the 3770K help "future proof" the CPU for a little bit longer? Are there any articles that you know of that prove the 3570 is superior to the 3770 (if so, what's the WHY behind the answer)?
July 8, 2012 11:34:51 AM

We generally advice 4 cores for gaming cause, nowadays games rarely utilize more than 2 cores. Very few games actually use 4 cores & none benefits from 4cores(physical)+4cores(HT). Buying i7 only makes sense when you use it for professional level video editing, Transcoding, VM etc. Today games are much more dependent on the GPU rather than the CPU. You'll be surprised to know in real world gaming it's very hard to tell the difference between a 3rd generation intel dual-core CPU & a quad core CPU in most of the games, provided that you use a good GPU!

Read these articles for a nice overview:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-a...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-a...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ivy-bridge-benchmar...
July 8, 2012 12:14:29 PM

ujaansona said:
We generally advice 4 cores for gaming cause, nowadays games rarely utilize more than 2 cores. Very few games actually use 4 cores & none benefits from 4cores(physical)+4cores(HT). Buying i7 only makes sense when you use it for professional level video editing, Transcoding, VM etc. Today games are much more dependent on the GPU rather than the CPU. You'll be surprised to know in real world gaming it's very hard to tell the difference between a 3rd generation intel dual-core CPU & a quad core CPU in most of the games, provided that you use a good GPU!

Read these articles for a nice overview:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-a...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-a...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ivy-bridge-benchmar...


Thanks for that article. Very interesting read. That article is very recent 19th June 2012 and according to that article... I should be getting an i5-2500K... the i5-3570K is mentioned as an extravagance!

As for the i7-3930K... that's listed as "beyond the point of reason"

The i7-3770K is on average 16.0% faster than the i5-2550K (the SB equiv of i5-3570K). However the performance increases all related to graphic/video editing software and zipping files.

It's amazing considering that if I visit the INTEL website CPU Comparator, it lists the i7 Extreme Processor family as designed for hardcore gaming.... Tell me how many schmucks like me would roll up to that Intel website, read it, click on a Dell or Alienware website and get slugged a few grand for technology that delivers no performance benefit?

What a scam!
July 14, 2012 5:32:46 AM

Hey guys... I've got my new PC, using it right now! Thanks for all your help, it's running sweet. Just transferring my old data over... who'd have thought something so simple could have so many hidden and annoying traps.

ujaansona: Your case recommendation is awesome. Functional, comprehensive and looks great!
July 14, 2012 11:02:27 AM

I'm so glad that you have posted your feedback. Thank you very much! :) 
July 15, 2012 2:43:34 AM

ujaansona said:
I'm so glad that you have posted your feedback. Thank you very much! :) 


No, thank you. All of you. If it wasn't for the help of all the people who posted, including yourself, I'd have spent $$$ for tech I didn't need and may have had incompatible parts. :) 
Anonymous
a b 4 Gaming
October 12, 2012 1:19:11 PM

Hi man... The problem is you can not use 1155 socket motherboard for i7-3930 as it is compatible for it , so you should choose dome motherboard with 2011 socket...
October 14, 2012 2:11:58 PM

Quote:
Hi man... The problem is you can not use 1155 socket motherboard for i7-3930 as it is compatible for it , so you should choose dome motherboard with 2011 socket...


Good point. Out of interest the specs for socket 1155 on my mobo say that it supports 22m and 32m CPU architecture (hence why I made the mistake earlier of assuming a Sandy bridge i7-3930 would fit a 1155), but I couldn't find any Sandy Bridge CPUs which fit a 1155.

Is 1155 purely an Ivy bridge socket? Is the "Sandy bridge compatibility" simply a functionality which will never be needed because no one will design a Sandy Bridge for a 1155?
!