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Multipurpose-leaning-towards-gaming-PC. What do you think?

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August 12, 2012 6:15:08 AM

Hello, everyone.

So I'm building a computer for the first time ever. For the past 6-ish years I've been using laptops, which has been perfectly fine for watching videos and playing music - that is, after we got a new laptop last year, an N-Series Fujitsu Lifebook - but as far as games go it's been adequate at best, just barely so for newer games like Skyrim, Civ5, or Deus Ex: HR. And since some of my friends' older, at the time high-end systems beat this laptop easily, I kinda started wanting something better for myself as well.

So here we are.

I've been looking at parts for a few months now while saving up the money and improving my general knowledge on all the components. As I mentioned in the title, it'd be a multipurpose computer that'd be used especially for games and multimedia playback/storage, the usual stuff like Internet browsing and productivity software, as well as audio editing. (I'm a budding audiophile)

So anyway, here's my setup so far:

Chassis: Zalman GS1200
Motherboard: AsRock X79 Extreme7
CPU: Intel i7-3930K
CPU Cooler: Zalman CNPS12X
Video Card: Club 3D AMD Radeon HD 7950
Memory: Undecided, but I'd initially like 2x8GB
HDD: Western Digital 2TB Caviar Black, for storing media and games. Probably going to need a second HDD though.
SDD: Undecided, but getting a 120GB drive. I'd install the OS and probably most non-game programs here.
Power Supply: Undecided, but probably going to need a 600W at least.
BD-Drive: Asus BW-12B1LT

So there it is, as I've figured it so far.
Unfortunately I'll also need to have a WiFi connection on this, because our apartment's wiring layout sucks, so I can't have a computer near the router. The signal I get with laptops and Android phones is... Fair. Good enough. Anyway, I need either an internal card for it or an external USB device. I'm leaning toward the USB option, since I can't seem to be able to find any good internal cards with wireless capabilities. Does anyone have any suggestions on that?

Or well, anything else concerning this build too. What do you think?
August 12, 2012 6:20:19 AM

Nothing you do, even the sound editing, will require X79. Consider the IVB LGA 1155 socket CPUs and motherboards.
August 12, 2012 6:41:13 AM

For your purposes, the X79 platform is way overkill. For audio/music editing, even an i5 will probably be sufficient.

I would suggest an i7-3770k (even that could be downgraded without issue) and an AsRock Z77 Extreme4. Both should serve you fine for your purposes.
Intel i7-3770k. $340
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
AsRock Z77 Extreme4. $135
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU cooler is decent, though similar performance can be had for cheaper. Depends if you think the extra $20 is worth the aesthetic value. Here's the one I recommend.
Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO. $35
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For gaming on a single monitor, the GTX670 is the better choice. It will outperform a 7950. Also Club 3D isnt all that great of a manufacturer, they have almost no name in the industry.
Gigabyte GTX670. $400
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

16GB of RAM will be plenty for your needs, a 4x4GB should be enough. Only reason for 2x8GB is for upgrading to 32GB, which you wont need to. This is a low profile kit of fairly standard RAM, should suit you just fine.
G.Skill Ares 16GB (4x4GB) 1600Mhz CL9 1.5v. $89
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Nothing wrong with WD, but I prefer Seagate. Their drives are often significantly cheaper and perform a bit better. Between this drive and the 2TB Caviar Black, there is a $60 difference and they are identical on paper.
Seagate Barracuda 2TB 7200RPM. $120
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD's are a very turbulent part of the PC market right now, so its almost impossible which is the best drive. But I recommend the OCZ Vertex 4, its cheap, among the fastest (trades blows for the fastest) and if OCZ keep producing updates will only get faster.
OCZ Vertex 4 128GB. $115
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For the PSU, 600W should be fine for the build (though I suggest 650W since 600W units tend to be barren of features). If dual Crossfire/SLI is a possibility, you will want a 750W unit. Get a unit from Corsair, Seasonic or XFX, make sure its atleast 80+ Bronze and preferably modular.
Corsair 650M Enthusiast, 80+ Bronze and semi modular. $110
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for wireless capabilities, you might as well get an internal WIFI card. Something like this will be fine.
Intellinet Card. $27
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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August 12, 2012 6:43:09 AM

I recommend the Samsung 830 128GB, on sale at newegg for $99.99.
August 12, 2012 7:05:05 AM

Ah yes, thank you. This is all very good advice. Yeah, I'm going to have to reconsider the MB/CPU... I realized it was maybe a bit over the top for my needs, but I don't really have much frame of reference to go by, so I went with overkill :p  That being said, I do want a system that'll last and be powerful enough for as long as possible.
I don't think I'd SLI/Crossfire. As far as I've heard the benefit isn't worth the investment, so I'd rather just get one good card, preferably AMD. The only reason I'd get a second card is if I got a second monitor, but that one wouldn't be for gaming.
August 12, 2012 7:17:27 AM

Get the 7970 GHz Edition.
August 12, 2012 7:18:43 AM

On a single monitor the benefits of SLI/Crossfire are largely wasted unless your using low end cards. Triple or Hecta (six) monitor gaming is where it is really useful. Dual screens wont need any extra hardware as you can only game on one.

Currently the GTX670 is the card to get if you cant go all the way to a HD7970. It will outperform a 7950 no problem. Though with the big downgrade on the mobo and CPU, you could probably afford the 7970.
Gigabyte HD7970. $440
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

August 12, 2012 8:09:43 AM

azeem40 said:
Get the 7970 GHz Edition.

Honestly, I did consider that, but it seemed a little pricey combined with the hardware I had picked out :D  Which, yeah, is a strange thing to say considering my choices... But now that I'm switching things it's on the table again, I guess.

manofchalk said:
On a single monitor the benefits of SLI/Crossfire are largely wasted unless your using low end cards. Triple or Hecta (six) monitor gaming is where it is really useful. Dual screens wont need any extra hardware as you can only game on one.

Currently the GTX670 is the card to get if you cant go all the way to a HD7970. It will outperform a 7950 no problem. Though with the big downgrade on the mobo and CPU, you could probably afford the 7970.
Gigabyte HD7970. $440
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A friend of mine has a dual monitor setup, and whenever he runs a full screen program (like a game) and activates something on the second screen, the full screen program minimizes to the taskbar. Then there are the different refresh rates of the two screens on the same card, which he claims causes FPS lag. I've only talked about it with him though and haven't done any further reading on this yet. But yeah, I'm not looking at getting two monitors immediately.
But the 7970 is definitely an option now, as you say, because of the downgrade :) 

And yeah, I've had some trouble deciding on the SSD because there's so much info on them and there are so many of them. Newegg doesn't ship internationally it seems (I live in Finland atm) but the OCZs are available here at least. No luck with the WiFi card though, and they seem to be pretty scarce here unless I go for a D-Link. If the mobo has an integrated internet card, as they usually do I guess, would a USB device - like a stick by Buffalo - do?
August 12, 2012 8:22:42 AM

I am running three screens, two on the card and one from integrated, all different resolutions, different refresh rates (all different cable types as well) and I have had no issues. Maybe he's using Eyefinity, which essentially treats the monitors as one instead of separate, which would lead to his FPS being lowered to the slowest monitor.

Whenever I play a game, the other screens go black or sit at the desktop depending on the game. If you do click outside the game, it will minimize, but that's to be expected. I could set it to play across the screens, but I suspect it wouldn't work that well.

USB wireless will work no doubt, just internal cards will likely perform better. D-Link is a decent NIC maker, no reason not to get one of theirs.

BTW, I am using a program called Ultramon to manage my multiple screens, its fairly easy to use. You could use Eyefinity, which is free with with any AMD card, but be careful with making "Eyefinity groups".
August 12, 2012 12:25:08 PM

Well, since I plan on getting at least one more screen at some point I'll definitely look into that. All I know is that my friend extends his desktop onto the second monitor, and that he has one video card.

I think I'll try the USB and the card, since neither option is very expensive, and see which works best. I'm just a little apprehensive when it comes to D-Link because of a crappy router I once had by them. Though this was years ago.

Seriously though, thanks you guise. Just saved me around 400€ and a lot of regrets here.
August 12, 2012 12:50:27 PM

Ah yes, one more thing: DRAM or Flash based SSD? Honestly, I can't seem to find good info on this anywhere. I don't even know what practical difference choosing between one of the other would make.
August 12, 2012 1:03:48 PM

I wouldnt look at the technology behind an SSD for its performance, I would look at the actual SSD's performance. Too many other variables like the controller that have to be taken into account.

As far as I'm aware, there's Toggle and NAND flash, dont think they use DRAM, but I could be wrong.
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