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Desktop Gaming Rig for Guild Wars 2

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July 30, 2012 2:08:14 AM

Hi everyone,

First time builder here, long time computer user (20 years). I'm planning on building my own desktop gaming rig for Guild Wars 2. The only parts I'm leaning towards right now are an i5-2550k and a GTX 680 video card. I'll go ahead and provide the breakdown:

Approximate Purchase Date: Aug 1-20
Budget Range: $1500-3000
System Usage: Gaming; Internet
Monitor Required: Yes
Parts to Upgrade: None. I'm moving back (yet again) from a laptop to a desktop.
OS Required: Yes.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg; NCIX (I live close to one)
Location: Vancouver, BC (Canada)
Parts Preferences: I prefer Intel and NVIDIA.
Overclocking: Yes, eventually.
SLI or Crossfire: No. I'm going with a single, powerful card.
Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 preferred.
Additional Comments: Basically I want a no BS computer that's powerful enough to run GW2 (and the latest games) on high with a smooth 60 fps. I only need one harddrive (prefer SSD). I don't want multi-threading or any other bells and whistles. I want high performance at SUPER LOW temps (don't we all?). Thus, I'm willing to spend some coin on an aftermarket cooler (Noctua DH, Hyper EVO, etc.) I'd be willing to do water cooling only if you guys think it's warranted.

Thoughts, advice?

Thanks!
-Jason
July 30, 2012 2:26:08 AM

Save a little cash and get GTX 670 FTW or a Radeon HD 7970.

The GTX 670 is almost as powerful to start out as the GTX 680 and if you get a factory overclocked card it's even faster. Plus they overclock super well.

The 7970 is worth considering as well, as it performs better at higher resolutions, and it costs less. Also, if you get a GHz edition, it's actually faster overall. These are also great overclockers!

If you're planning on overclocking, kudos for picking out a Sandy Bridge CPU. They overclock much better and without any headaches (usually). However, if you don't want to overclock, get a 3570K for about the same amount, as it's slightly faster per clock.

For a motherboard, the ASUS Sabertooth Z77 is expensive, but it's also a great motherboard that lasts a while and has a 5 year warranty. If you can't afford that, the ASUS P8H77 is a good board for much less.

For cases, you can't do much better then a NZXT Phantom for the money. It's pretty and functional!

If you want a good water cooler, the Corsair H80 is a great water cooling loop, and it's foolproof.

ASUS P8H77 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS Sabertooth Z77 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sapphire 7970 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PNY GTX 670 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core i5 3570K - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

NZXT Phantom - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Corsair H80 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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July 30, 2012 3:45:22 AM

Thanks for the prompt reply and the great suggestions, stant1rm!

I'm certain I would like to do some slight OC'ing, nothing crazy. Maybe boost the CPU up to the 4.0 GHz range. Nothing in the 4.5+ territory, as I don't see a point for what my needs are. I'm just obsessed with keeping temps really low as this the computer will see 8-10 hours a day of use, and 4-5 hours gaming on max settings. Am I overthinking the cooling options? Do I really need a water cooler?

Also, that Sabretooth board looks awesome! But is the upgrade to that Z77 chipset series worth it if I'm rolling anything in the i5 series? I don't really care about Virtu or iGPU, etc.

Thanks again,
-Jason
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July 30, 2012 4:24:41 AM

stant1rm said:
Save a little cash and get GTX 670 FTW or a Radeon HD 7970.

The GTX 670 is almost as powerful to start out as the GTX 680 and if you get a factory overclocked card it's even faster. Plus they overclock super well.

The 7970 is worth considering as well, as it performs better at higher resolutions, and it costs less. Also, if you get a GHz edition, it's actually faster overall. These are also great overclockers!

If you're planning on overclocking, kudos for picking out a Sandy Bridge CPU. They overclock much better and without any headaches (usually). However, if you don't want to overclock, get a 3570K for about the same amount, as it's slightly faster per clock.

For a motherboard, the ASUS Sabertooth Z77 is expensive, but it's also a great motherboard that lasts a while and has a 5 year warranty. If you can't afford that, the ASUS P8H77 is a good board for much less.

For cases, you can't do much better then a NZXT Phantom for the money. It's pretty and functional!

If you want a good water cooler, the Corsair H80 is a great water cooling loop, and it's foolproof.

ASUS P8H77 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS Sabertooth Z77 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sapphire 7970 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PNY GTX 670 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core i5 3570K - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

NZXT Phantom - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Corsair H80 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

No, these chips have locked voltage, so they don't OC super high.
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July 30, 2012 4:26:04 AM

If you're overclocking, and paranoid about temps, the H80 is amazing. It keeps my Core i5 2500K at a max of 71C @5.1GHz after 2 hours of Skyrim, and a max of 59C @ 4.5GHz after 5 hours of Skyrim straight. Since with the stock cooler and at stock speeds it hits 62C under full load, I feel like the H80 is worth it, absolutely. It's also so easy to install. 20 minutes max.

If you're only going for 600MHz OC, go for the Ivy Bridge chip (Intel Core i5 3570K). It'll hit 4GHz pretty easy, and it's slightly faster per clock compared to the Sandy Bridge Chip you were looking at (Intel Core i5 2550K). Plus the integrated graphics an be useful for trouble shooting.

I personally think that if you're really paranoid about temps, the Sabertooth is the only way to go. It's got ASUS Thermal Armor to protect the board from heat and it really works. My board is like 22C under full load. It's seriously unreal. Also the Sabertooth has ASUS Thermal Radar which is a total of 12 (Yes 12!) thermal sensors to give you a really accurate view of your temps. Plus, the 5 year warranty is a nice feature.

Any advantage of the Z77 Board paired with a Ivy Bridge CPU is you have PCI-3.0 support. Right now, it's not a big deal, but later on it will be, especially for high end GPU's a year or two from now. If you plan on upgrading your video card in a couple of years, definitely get the Z77 + 3570K.

RAM is something I forgot to mention. 8GB is pretty standard, and all you need for gaming. 16GB to future proof somewhat if it's in your budget. I like and use the G.Skill RipJawsX DDR3-1866 RAM. It's great.

If this is your first build, splurge a little on the PSU. It's one of the only components you can pretty much always salvage for your next build. While you could run this system off a 500W PSU without much trouble, I highly recommend you get a 850W or better PSU so in case the next video card you get gulps watts you're ready for it. Good brands are Antec, Seasonic, OCZ, PC Power & Cooling, and Corsair.

Hope this helps!
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July 30, 2012 4:27:59 AM

I definitely recommend getting the i5-3570k, especially for light overclocking; it's faster than the i5-2500k at stock speeds and at light overclocking. The i5-2500k only surpasses the 3570k at more than 4.5GHz. Also, the 3570k supports PCIe 3.0 and USB 3.0.

If you want to overclock, you need a Z77 chipset, H77 does NOT support overclocking. In my opinion, the Sabertooth is a waste of money, I would go with ASRock Z77 Extreme4 since it's just as good for much less.

I don't think it's necessary to spend money on a water cooler, the Hyper 212 EVO will keep the i5-3570k at around 30 C at idle and 50 C on load at stock speeds for a great price.

The EVGA GTX 670 FTW is the one of the best price/performance cards on the market as it performs slightly better than a stock GTX 680 for nearly $100 less (U.S. price).

With that budget, it's nice to add in an SSD as well so that you can put Windows 7 and other more used applications on it.

Here's a build I would recommend:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($229.99 @ NCIX)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($34.98 @ NCIX)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($149.99 @ NCIX)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($60.78 @ NCIX)
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ NCIX)
Hard Drive: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($109.99 @ NCIX)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($469.99 @ NCIX)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 922 ATX Mid Tower Case ($99.98 @ NCIX)
Power Supply: Corsair 650W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($89.99 @ NCIX)
Optical Drive: Asus BW-12B1ST/BLK/G/AS Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($89.98 @ NCIX)
Monitor: Asus VH238H 23.0" Monitor ($181.89 @ NCIX)
Total: $1627.55
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-07-30 00:28 EDT-0400)

For some reason Windows 7 wasn't working with Part Picker so here it is: http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=45271&vpn=GFC-02050&m...
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July 30, 2012 5:30:55 AM

Thanks to both of you guys for your insight. Gives me lots to think about over the next few days.

-Jason
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!