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Battlefield 3 Build - $2k

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September 8, 2012 8:05:07 PM

Hey everyone. It has been a long time since I have posted on THG and a lot has changed since then (I have been keeping up with the updates). I have been researching a lot over the past few months, but I still don't think I can come up with a config on my own, so I need help from you all.

1) What will you be doing with this PC? Gaming? Photoshop? Web browsing? etc
Gaming (BF3, Skyrim, GW2), minor video editing, web browsing, watching youtube in 1080p quality.

2) What's your budget? Are tax and shipping included?
$2k, although if REALLY necessary, I can stretch it a bit ($100 to $200 more)
3) Which country do you live in? If the U.S, please tell us the state and city if possible.
U.S. Dallas, TX

4) If reusing any parts, what parts will you be reusing? Please be especially specific about the power supply. List make and model.
None.
5) Will you be overclocking?
Yes.
6) What is the max resolution of your monitor? What size is it?
2560x1440; 27"
7) When do you plan on building/buying the PC?
September 14 when my paycheck comes
8) What features do you need in a motherboard? RAID? Firewire? Crossfire or SLI support? USB 3.0? SATA 6Gb/s? eSATA? Onboard video (as a backup or main GPU)? UEFI? etc.
Maybe CF/SLI support, if I need it, USB 3.0, SATA 6GB/s, UEFI.
9) Do you already have a legit and reusable/transferable OS key/license? If yes, what OS? Is it 32bit or 64bit?
Yes, 64-bit W7 Home Premium.

Thanks!

More about : battlefield build

September 8, 2012 9:05:40 PM

This is a great build for gaming.

cpu - i5 3570k http://www.microcenter.com/product/388577/Core_i5_3570K...

cpu cooler - cm hyper 212 evo http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

mobo - gigabyte z77 ud5h http://www.microcenter.com/product/386359/GA-Z77X-UD5H_...

ram - g.skill ares 8gb http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

gpu#1 - evga gtx 670 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

gpu#2 - evga gtx 670 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

hdd - wd 1tb http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ssd - samsung 830 128gb http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

psu - corsair tx750 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

case - corsair 500r http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

optical drive - samsung http://www.microcenter.com/product/382892/22X_DVD%c2%b1...

If you want you can get a i7 3770k and 8gb more ram for the video editing but you did say minor editing so what I have should be fine. The total even if you add the i7 and extra ram will be under $2000.
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September 8, 2012 9:16:52 PM

What's the total on that? So CF/SLI is needed for 2560x1440?
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September 8, 2012 9:36:33 PM

fire r a g e said:
What's the total on that? So CF/SLI is needed for 2560x1440?


The answer is yes if you want to maintain 60+ in FPS. Also his build left you $300 so get a 256 Gb samsung SSD instead of 128(+100ish) and a 3TB HDD(+50)

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September 8, 2012 9:41:19 PM

If you have a microcenter close by, you can save ~$100 if you get both the i5 and mobo from there.

I would go for 2x: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
instead of the evga ones. These run quieter and cooler. Also uses a better PCB and more power phases.

Get a 256gb SSD instead of a 128gb. A 2k budget should not have such a tiny ssd. Gives you a lot more room to work with and 256gbs are faster than the 128gbs.

Could go for a better cooler if you want to OC high like this: http://www.amazon.com/ThermalRight-HR-02-MACHO-Thermalr...

Many would argue the 212 Evo is more than enough, but the quality is shoddy from my experience.
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September 8, 2012 9:41:47 PM

fire r a g e said:
But according to http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/05/10/nvidia_geforc... my fps will average 51.5fps on 2560x1600.

Sherlock, where did you find those benchmarks? What article? Could you link it for me?


Click the picture itself as I embedded the link, the Q3 PC uses a stock EVGA 670(not even FTW), the Q2 uses an ASUS 680 Top.

I recommend the Gigabyte 670($399.99) over either the ASUS(paying $20 for cooling+ a back plate??) and EVGA(680 stock cooler will run hotter and noiser than custom cooler like ASUS and Gigabyte).

My very average Gigabyte card(seen a lot people on OCN with higher stock boost)
My card: Gigabyte N670-OC/GD2, Windforce 3X 980/1058 core/boost.
Have yet to OC with, just got the card last weekend.

1150 Max Boost(+92 Mhz in Kepler Boost)
3005/1502.5 Max Memory
Max Temp 51
Max Fan Speed=56%(not audible over case fans)
Custom fan profile->constant 30% until 30C, 35C-40% ,40C-47%, 50C-55%, 64C-79% fan, 70C-100% fan to counter throttle down.




3D mark 11 (stock CPU with no OC)


I recommend Rosewill Thor V2: Maybe not as fancy as the Corsair 500R but also come with 4 Fans, 3 Fans(230mm) larger than Corsair's largetst(1 200mm),+ 2 USB2.0 front port. In this review It proved to be the best case for air cooling 4 Way GTX 590 SLI(way hotter than your 670 could ever be)
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September 8, 2012 9:42:41 PM

I don't plan to OC real high (past 4.2 GHz) as I hear after that point, voltage tweaks are needed, and IVB runs hotter when you mess with the voltages.
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September 8, 2012 9:58:08 PM

fire r a g e said:
I don't plan to OC real high (past 4.2 GHz) as I hear after that point, voltage tweaks are needed, and IVB runs hotter when you mess with the voltages.


a Hyper 212 Evo will keep your CPU running cool at that OC.
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September 8, 2012 10:00:57 PM

I do not have room for a full tower case, so it must be a mid-tower.
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September 8, 2012 10:04:09 PM

fire r a g e said:
But according to http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/05/10/nvidia_geforc... my fps will average 51.5fps on 2560x1600.

Sherlock, where did you find those benchmarks? What article? Could you link it for me?


I recommend against paying much attention to old benchmarks. They usually aren't accurate if they don't use current drivers. Also, benchmarks that don't have identical hardware (beyond just the graphics card) at identical performance levels (if overclocked anywhere, overclocks should be identical) are not going to line up similarly. The CPU and even the memory and to a slight degree, the storage too can impact gaming performance. The software/operating system and drivers can also have significant impact. When comparing benchmarks, these all need to be taken into account and adjusted for (oftentimes not the easiest thing to do) if you want a valid comparison.
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September 8, 2012 10:08:28 PM

I have never heard of an instance where driver updates will hinder performance.
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September 8, 2012 10:11:37 PM

Then would you kindly show me a current benchmark?
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September 8, 2012 10:12:45 PM

fire r a g e said:
I have never heard of an instance where driver updates will hinder performance.


Catalyst 12.7 increased performance on the Radeon 7000 cards so much that old benchmarks of them with previous drivers are all useless. That's just one example. Even Nvidia has made some driver improvements with their GTX 600 cards (although not as much as AMD made), so a review from March is pretty much useless.
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September 8, 2012 10:18:56 PM

For exceptional Battlefield 3 performance, this is my suggestion:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($215.99 @ NCIX US)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($27.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($38.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($95.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($199.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 690 4GB Video Card ($999.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Corsair 650D ATX Mid Tower Case ($149.93 @ Mac Connection)
Power Supply: Corsair 750W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($94.98 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-222BB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($16.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1950.82
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-08 18:17 EDT-0400)

SSD big enough to store OS, apps and games.

Keep in mind that you will get more than good enough performance with something like a 1300-1500$ build.
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September 8, 2012 10:20:15 PM

I am no big fan of SLI, so that is the reason that I picked one GTX 690 instead of two GTX 670s.
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September 8, 2012 10:21:25 PM

I took a look at the benchmarks for the 650D, and although it is quiet, the temps seem high. Is this true?
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September 8, 2012 10:27:39 PM

fire r a g e said:
Then would you kindly show me a current benchmark?


Reviews with the GTX 660 Ti that also have your graphics card included in the tests might be new enough. Reviews of the Radeon 7970 GHz Edition that include our cards in the tests might also be new enough, but that's as far back as I'd go.
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September 8, 2012 10:28:58 PM

Got a link to those benchmarks?
I just picked that case because I personally like the look of it.
As always, find a case that you like yourself, not one that someone just says is good.
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September 8, 2012 10:29:34 PM

But not in the same way as two separate cards.
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September 8, 2012 10:29:46 PM

A GTX 690 is still using SLI. It's just SLI with the two GPUs on the same card. It's no different except for maybe slightly higher scaling and slightly lower stutter (the differences probably aren't noticeable by human eyes).
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September 8, 2012 10:31:17 PM

nafoni said:
But not in the same way as two separate cards.


The only difference is that the GPUs are closer and have a more direct PCIe link between them, but the SLI tech and method used is still the same. They can scale very slightly better and have very slightly less stutter, but again, it isn't a perceptible difference. Any issues with two graphics card in SLI would be present on the GTX 690. You're just paying more money for it to be on a single card.
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September 8, 2012 10:31:36 PM

nafoni said:
I am no big fan of SLI, so that is the reason that I picked one GTX 690 instead of two GTX 670s.


You do realize GTX 690 is a SLI card in itself right?
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September 8, 2012 10:36:07 PM

I do realize that it may suffer from the stuttering that some people report SLI setups do, but it's more efficent + it's only one card = less problems.
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September 8, 2012 10:37:02 PM

nafoni said:
I do realize that it may suffer from the stuttering that some people report SLI setups do, but it's more efficent + it's only one card = less problems.


You're paying almost another $200 for about the same performance and power consumption. It should be compared it to GTX 670s, not GTX 680s. It is not more efficient than two 670s by much if at all (they're also significantly more efficient than a 680) and at that point, you're basically paying 20-25% more money just for it to be a single card that is also probably louder than two 670s.
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September 8, 2012 10:38:23 PM

nafoni said:
But not in the same way as two separate cards.

It is still considered SLI because it is a dual GPU card. It works in the same way as having two cards.
OP, I have a suggestion for you too.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($229.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 612 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($142.86 @ Newegg)
Memory: Samsung 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Sandisk Extreme 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($154.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($419.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($419.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 500R Black ATX Mid Tower Case ($94.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair 750W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1727.77
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-08 18:40 EDT-0400)

SLI 670s have more power than one 670 at about $200 less. The 500R is a great case that has better thermals than other Corsair cases.
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September 8, 2012 10:40:29 PM

Well, this is all just my opinion. If I had a budget as high as this I would go with a GTX 690 myself, but it looks like he'll be going with 2x670s considering how many of you are against me :) 
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September 8, 2012 10:40:50 PM

jacknhut said:
To the OP, since you plan to games at 2560-1440 res, I suggest you take a look at the Gigabyte HD 7970 OC Windforce 3 here:
http://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-Radeon-Mini-Displayport-...

The card costs 419 bucks after 20 MIR, which is very close to the price of GTX 670 but it is voltage unlocked and you can pretty much get to 1200 Mhz core without any voltage increase (1250-1300 Mhz core w/ voltage increase). Couple that with the 3 GB memory which can be overclocked to 7 ghz, you got yourself a better performing card than a GTX 670 at 1250 GPU/7 Ghz mem.

Look at this review of the similar clock HIS 7970 Turbo w/1180 Mhz Core at 2560 resolution
http://www.guru3d.com/article/his-radeon-hd-7970-x-turb...


Yes, AMD is also considerable. It'd be more power consumption, but performance would probably be somewhat better in most games at this resolution. Also, a Radeon 7950 overclocks equally well to a 7970 that has the same cooler, especially when the PCB is the same too, so stepping down to the similar 7950 for even less money would be an even better idea for AMD.
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September 8, 2012 10:41:04 PM

To the OP, since you plan to games at 2560-1440 res, I suggest you take a look at the Gigabyte HD 7970 OC Windforce 3 here:
http://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-Radeon-Mini-Displayport-...

The card costs 419 bucks after 20 MIR, which is very close to the price of GTX 670 but it is voltage unlocked and you can pretty much get to 1200 Mhz core without any voltage increase (1250-1300 Mhz core w/ voltage increase). Couple that with the 3 GB memory which can be overclocked to 7 ghz, you got yourself a better performing card than a GTX 670 at 1250 GPU/7 Ghz mem.

Look at this review of the similar clock HIS 7970 Turbo w/1180 Mhz Core at 2560 resolution
http://www.guru3d.com/article/his-radeon-hd-7970-x-turb...

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September 8, 2012 10:43:12 PM

jacknhut said:
To the OP, since you plan to games at 2560-1440 res, I suggest you take a look at the Gigabyte HD 7970 OC Windforce 3 here:
http://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-Radeon-Mini-Displayport-...

The card costs 419 bucks after 20 MIR, which is very close to the price of GTX 670 but it is voltage unlocked and you can pretty much get to 1200 Mhz core without any voltage increase (1250-1300 Mhz core w/ voltage increase). Couple that with the 3 GB memory which can be overclocked to 7 ghz, you got yourself a better performing card than a GTX 670 at 1250 GPU/7 Ghz mem.

Look at this review of the similar clock HIS 7970 Turbo w/1180 Mhz Core at 2560 resolution
http://www.guru3d.com/article/his-radeon-hd-7970-x-turb...

So should I get two 670s or one? Cuz the benchmarks on Anandtech say that one 670 can run at 2560x1600 with 60fps.
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September 8, 2012 10:44:56 PM

fire r a g e said:
So should I get two 670s or one? Cuz the benchmarks on Anandtech say that one 670 can run at 2560x1600 with 60fps.


It depends on what you want to do. If you play at higher settings than what Anand did in their review, then you can make use of your greater performance if you go for a second 670.
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September 8, 2012 10:45:12 PM

nafoni said:
Well, this is all just my opinion. If I had a budget as high as this I would go with a GTX 690 myself, but it looks like he'll be going with 2x670s considering how many of you are against me :) 

670 SLI($800) is only 5% less in FPS than a single 690($1049) and $250 less, when the difference is as big as a 256 GB top tier SSD you have to balk at the that price.

@OP, if you are going to game at 1440P+ realm you do want the Readon 7970's Vram advantage. 670 & 670 SLI's sweetspot is 1080p & 120Hz.
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September 8, 2012 10:45:17 PM

I am getting so many mixed replies that Idk what to choose. Also, I don't care if the power consumption is higher. The 7970 can't be too much worse in power consumption.
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September 8, 2012 10:45:51 PM

nafoni said:
Well, this is all just my opinion. If I had a budget as high as this I would go with a GTX 690 myself, but it looks like he'll be going with 2x670s considering how many of you are against me :) 

Actually, if the fps is good enough with one 670/7950/7970, I will just get a single card. Those anandtech benchmarks use the latest NVIDIA drivers, and www.hardocp.com/article/2012/08/23/galaxy_gtx_660_ti_gc... uses the most current AMD Catalyst drivers. At 2560x1600, it seems one 670/660ti/7950 runs fairly well.
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September 8, 2012 10:46:37 PM

fire r a g e said:
I am getting so many mixed replies that Idk what to choose. Also, I don't care if the power consumption is higher. The 7970 can't be too much worse in power consumption.


It isn't much worse. It's only somewhat worse. Before we make recommendations between AMD and Nvidia, you could tell us what games you play. If you play games that tend to favor Nvidia, then you would have a good reason to choose Nvidia even if you don't personally favor either company. If you play games that don't favor Nvidia, then AMD is a more practical and cheaper option that can generally overclock better, so it would probably be better to go for AMD if your games don't favor Nvidia.
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September 8, 2012 10:47:33 PM

fire r a g e said:
So should I get two 670s or one? Cuz the benchmarks on Anandtech say that one 670 can run at 2560x1600 with 60fps.


I suggest 2 Gigabyte HD 7970 OC linked above for the same price as the 2 GTX 670. At high resolution (2056-1440 or higher), the HD 7970 has the advantage especially when you start overclocking them.
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September 8, 2012 10:50:23 PM

Sorry for double post.
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September 8, 2012 10:50:25 PM

fire r a g e said:
Actually, if the fps is good enough with one 670/7950/7970, I will just get a single card. Those anandtech benchmarks use the latest NVIDIA drivers, and www.hardocp.com/article/2012/08/23/galaxy_gtx_660_ti_gc... uses the most current AMD Catalyst drivers. At 2560x1600, it seems one 670/660ti/7950 runs fairly well.


If you play at similarly intensive settings to Anand, then one card is the better way to go than two. If you want to play at much higher settings, then two cards isn't unreasonable, especially if you have the budget for them.
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September 8, 2012 10:50:52 PM

blazorthon said:
It isn't much worse. It's only somewhat worse. Before we make recommendations between AMD and Nvidia, you could tell us what games you play. If you play games that tend to favor Nvidia, then you would have a good reason to choose Nvidia even if you don't personally favor either company. If you play games that don't favor Nvidia, then AMD is a more practical and cheaper option that can generally overclock better, so it would probably be better to go for AMD if your games don't favor Nvidia.

BF3
Skyrim
GW2
Metro 2033

I plan on playing with no AA or AF as I cannot tell the difference between it turned on or off.
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September 8, 2012 10:51:25 PM

fire r a g e said:
BF3
Skyrim
GW2
Metro 2033


I'd go AMD given your game choices for Metro 2033 (favors Radeon 7900), Skyrim (trade blows), and BF3 (trade blows), but I'm not sure of which way GW2 goes.
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September 8, 2012 10:52:46 PM

fire r a g e said:
Actually, if the fps is good enough with one 670/7950/7970, I will just get a single card. Those anandtech benchmarks use the latest NVIDIA drivers, and www.hardocp.com/article/2012/08/23/galaxy_gtx_660_ti_gc... uses the most current AMD Catalyst drivers. At 2560x1600, it seems one 670/660ti/7950 runs fairly well.


You can run 2560-1600 res with single card, but the minimum fps won't be pretty. Don't be surprised to see minimum fps to drop to the 20s when there are lots of actions, especially in BF3 with Ultra Graphics. Thats why I suggest dual card to get the minimum to stay in the 50-60 fps.
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September 8, 2012 10:53:41 PM

blazorthon said:
I'd go AMD given your game choices for Metro 2033 (favors Radeon 7900), Skyrim (trade blows), and BF3 (trade blows), but I'm not sure of which way GW2 goes.

I hear GW2 favors NVIDIA over AMD.
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September 8, 2012 10:53:44 PM

blazorthon said:
That's also a good point. However, minimums are unlikely to dip that low if OP overclocks, especially with AMD (Radeon 7900 has good minimums, undoubtedly related to its memory bandwidth).

Yes, I plan to OC my card(s). How do I know what voltages to use if I go beyond the OC the cards get at stock voltage?
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September 8, 2012 10:53:58 PM

Dont have to worry about GW2 a single GTX 670 can play the game at very high FPS with everything maxed. I play GW2 with a single GTX 670 usually pulling 80+ FPS with everything maxed.

EDIT: It is just not a very demanding game.
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September 8, 2012 10:54:35 PM

JamesSneed said:
Dont have to worry about GW2 a single GTX 670 can play the game at very high FPS with everything maxed. I play GW2 with a single GTX 670 usually pulling 80+ FPS with everything maxed.

Is that at my res?
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September 8, 2012 10:54:47 PM

jacknhut said:
You can run 2560-1600 res with single card, but the minimum fps won't be pretty. Don't be surprised to see minimum fps to drop to the 20s when there are lots of actions, especially in BF3 with Ultra Graphics. Thats why I suggest dual card to get the minimum to stay in the 50-60 fps.


That's also a good point. However, minimums are unlikely to dip that low if OP overclocks, especially with AMD (Radeon 7900 has good minimums, undoubtedly related to its memory bandwidth).
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