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High-End*ish* Build - Need opinions

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Last response: in Systems
August 23, 2012 11:02:58 PM

Hi, I want to build a mini tower desktop that is well balanced and can run games on ultra settings. Initially I had a budget of around £600 but my list has exceeded this sum and I wonder if I can make some savings. Any insight would be appreciated.

Motherboard: MSI Z77MA-G45 ~ £78.99

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 ~ £145

Video Card: Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 7850 ~ £148

Memory: Kingston 2x4GB 1600MHz ~ £35.90

Hard Drive: Seagate 500GB 7200RPM 16MB ~ £47.99

Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 450w ~ £35.99

Case: Fractal Design Define Mini ~ £69.98

DVD Drive: Samsung S222BB 22x ~ £13.99

Monitor: Samsung S22B300HS 1080p ~ £99.99

Total = £676

I decided to go with the Z77MA motherboard as it was the cheapest board that would support 7850 Crossfire with both video cards running at x8/x8 on PCIe 3.0 ... I'll buy another 7850 when I need the extra oomph. I went with the i5-3450 over the i5-2500k because of the Ivy Bridge support on PCIe 3.0 and it was £15 cheaper. I don't intend to OC the CPU and the i5-3450 appears to be provide the best value over performance at stock. The hard drive is expensive but I read somewhere that 7200RPM is good for latency in games ... Is the gap between 5400 and 7200 that vast (I mean in practical terms ... My maths is not quite that bad!)? I did decide to splash out on a Mini Tower case because I prefer a smaller case and it has sound dampening (A quiet desktop is a big bonus). Any thoughts or suggestions on my build would be good.

More about : high end ish build opinions

August 24, 2012 12:17:22 AM

5400 is slow. 7200 is a lot better. Get a bigger PSU. A 500w would be great for this build.
August 24, 2012 12:25:11 AM

1: id get something like the h77ma-g43 board instead. its cheaper and you dont need z77 since your chip cant overclock in the first place

2:get ram that is 1.5v. anything higher than that for intel systems is bad. something like corsair vengeance low profile is rather cheap at scan

3:7200rpm drives are faster than 5400rpm drives by a noticeable amount. if you dont use a lot of storage (less than 100gb), id actually recommend a SSD like the samsung 830 128gb from scan. they are much faster in pretty much every way. just that they dont have much storage

450w is fine for the system. the 7850 and the i5 3450 isnt that power hungry anyways
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August 24, 2012 12:27:02 AM

Yea, the 7850 isn't power hungry, but 500w gives you some headroom.

Also, if you get an ASrock board, they have the No-K OC option on their boards. At one click of the mouse, it can overclock your non-K CPU.
August 24, 2012 12:32:33 AM

yes but is a base clock thing. i prefer not to touch it.

either way you arent drawing much power. if he would like the extra wattage, he is more than welcome to upgrade. just have to take into consideration that the define mini doesnt have too much space for cables
August 24, 2012 10:30:15 AM

I should be fine with a 450w PSU if the following results are anything to go on. The build below includes my future upgrade of dual 7850s running Crossfire.

eXtreme PSU Calculator

System Type: 1 physical CPU
Motherboard: High End - Desktop
CPU Socket: Socket LGA 1155
CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3100 MHz Ivy Bridge
CPU Utilization (TDP): 90% TDP

RAM: 4 Sticks DDR3 SDRAM
Video Card 1: AMD Radeon HD 7850
Video Card 2: AMD Radeon HD 7850
Video Type: Crossfire


High rpm SATA: 1 HDD

DVD-RW/DVD+RW Drive: 1 Drive

USB: 2 Devices

Regular: 2 Fans 120mm;

Keyboard and mouse: Yes

System Load: 90 %

Minimum PSU Wattage: 373 Watts
Recommended Wattage: 423 Watts

Thanks for the heads up on the 1.5v Ram ... I'll look into picking up some Corsair instead. A quick search found this: ... Narrowly avoided.

About the AsRock ... I'm pretty sure I looked into their Micro ATX boards and I couldn't find any that would support dual PCIe 3.0 running at x8 each. At least not for a price that exceeded the MSI Z77MA-G45 and I want to be able to Crossfire 2 7850s in the future. I can Crossfire on a H77 board but I'll have to settle for PCIe 3.0 at x16 and PCIe 2.0 at x4 ... Doesn't seem well balanced to me :/ 

Thanks for all your replies!

August 24, 2012 12:39:04 PM

no. if you are running dual 7850s, id recommend a 650w. power supply calculators are not accurate since they cant factor in everything like capacitator aging.

if you are looking for a crossfire solution, it usually wont fit in a m-atx case. you will need a larger board and a larger case
August 24, 2012 3:45:14 PM

IIRC, you can't use multi-GPU setups on H77, need to get Z77 for that. Correct me if I'm wrong.
August 24, 2012 6:22:18 PM

you can do crossfire on them
August 24, 2012 9:12:48 PM

The i5-3450 and the 7850 aren't power hungry. All 3 run at around 100w each at load? Won't the extra 150w supplied by a 450w PSU be sufficient enough to power the the Mobo, Ram and other components?
August 24, 2012 9:48:16 PM

From AMD's website.

August 24, 2012 9:55:52 PM

The CPU requires 77w and the 7850s require 130w each at load ... Don't they just say to use a high PSU to cover their backsides? I did a few rough calculations and I came up with a total of 437w with a Crossfire setup.
August 24, 2012 10:10:36 PM

I found this:

The testbed build is more intensive than my build and yet at Crossfire the total usage throughout the system is recorded to be 369w ... and the GTX 580 is more consuming as a single card then 2 7850s slammed in together. Surely this backs up the fact that the 7850s can be run on a more conservative watt system.
August 25, 2012 1:08:33 AM

it doesnt matter. you want the system to use half of the rated power output of the psu at full load. more than that usually means much quicker cap aging and a much shorter lifespan especially if you are running 400w off of a 450w psu. not that the psu cant handle it, but its not that safe
August 28, 2012 10:07:06 AM

TheLittleTroll said:
it doesnt matter. you want the system to use half of the rated power output of the psu at full load. more than that usually means much quicker cap aging and a much shorter lifespan especially if you are running 400w off of a 450w psu. not that the psu cant handle it, but its not that safe

Right ok, I have looked into getting a XFX ProSeries 650w. It is nearly double the price of the 450w but if it'll keep my system from frying then I guess it's a good idea. I'm guessing the 550w would be too low if I want to go for half the rated power output ... That would be a £15 increase rather then a £30 increase. Do you know of any good articles I can read up on to better understand this quicker capacitor aging issue with PSUs?