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New/upgrade video game computer, targeting $1,000

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September 9, 2012 5:48:57 PM

It's been… four and a half years since I last built a computer for video games. I'm here to share my excitement and get some feedback on my proposed build. Let me know your thoughts.

Approximate Purchase Date: October 1, 2012

Budget Range: $1000 Before Rebates, Before Shipping

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming only

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: CPU, mobo, RAM, video, PSU; adding SSD
Parts to Reuse: case (Antec Solo 2008), SATA DVD, two SATA HDDs, X-Fi Titanium sound card

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: amazon.com, newegg.com

Location: Phoenix, AZ, USA

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 1600x1200

Additional Comments: My preference is for quiet components that don't run hot. I'm not interested liquid cooling. Games I'm looking to play are newer (to me!) games like Skyrim, Witcher 2, Metro 2033, Borderlands 2, Civilization V, the new XCOM, the new SimCity.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I last built a gaming computer in 2008. It's long outdated.

Draft Parts List:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($215.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($47.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($404.62 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Cooler Master 600W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($110.17 @ Newegg)
Total: $1013.75
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-08 22:29 EDT-0400)

Best solution

September 9, 2012 6:03:31 PM

Looks decent.

I made a few subtle changes. I'm not too fond of OCZ SSDs or Cooler master PSUs. The Samsung 830 128gb SSD is far more reliable and just as fast as the OCZ vertex 4. The Seasonic 620w PSU is a far better option than the Cooler Master PSU. The Seasonic uses better quality parts and has 20 extra watts of power. It's also a bit more efficient and modular.

Everything else looks like solid choices. I know you stated in your original post that you didn't want to overclock. In that case, you could go with a cheaper board and CPU. I, however, encourage you to give overclocking a try. You don't have to rush straight into it. Just prepare for the future; in case you decide you want to dabble in the overclocking arts. You could easily gain 15-25% of performance in games. The aftermarket cooler that I'm recommending (Hyper 212 Evo) is so much better than the stock cooler that comes with the CPU. It's more efficient at dissipating heat without the noise.

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 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($47.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($96.49 @ B&H)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($404.62 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 620W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($83.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $1012.06
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-09 14:00 EDT-0400)
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September 9, 2012 6:06:47 PM

I do not recommend using a Cooler Master PSU. Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, XFX, and PCP&P are much better brands for PSUs.
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September 9, 2012 6:07:58 PM

DeusAres said:
Looks decent.

I made a few subtle changes. I'm not too fond of OCZ SSDs or Cooler master PSUs. The Samsung 830 128gb SSD is far more reliable and just as fast as the OCZ vertex 4. The Seasonic 620w PSU is a far better option than the Cooler Master PSU. The Seasonic uses better quality parts and has 20 extra watts of power. It's also a bit more efficient and modular.

Everything else looks like solid choices. I know you stated in your original post that you didn't want to overclock. In that case, you could go with a cheaper board and CPU. I, however, encourage you to give overclocking a try. You don't have to rush straight into it. Just prepare for the future; in case you decide you want to dabble in the overclocking arts. You could easily gain 15-25% of performance in games. The aftermarket cooler that I'm recommending (Hyper 212 Evo) is so much better than the stock cooler that comes with the CPU. It's more efficient at dissipating heat without the noise.

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 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($47.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($96.49 @ B&H)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($404.62 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 620W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($83.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $1012.06
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-09 14:00 EDT-0400)


The Vertex 4 is a huge improvement over the previous OCZ SSDs. It is as reliable as the Crucial M4 and Samsung 830, but is faster than even the Samsung 830, especially in random write throughput.
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September 9, 2012 6:17:49 PM

blazorthon said:
The Vertex 4 is a huge improvement over the previous OCZ SSDs. It is as reliable as the Crucial M4 and Samsung 830, but is faster than even the Samsung 830, especially in random write throughput.

Most people use SSDs for their amazing read speeds; write speeds are rather irrelevant.

The Samsung drive exceeds in reading; whereas the Vertex 4 exceeds in writing.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/533?vs=639

My advice to the OP is to figure out which is more important to you...read speeds or write speeds? Keep in mind, loading games quickly relies on read speeds.
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September 9, 2012 6:21:46 PM

DeusAres said:
The Seasonic 620w PSU is a far better option than the Cooler Master PSU. The Seasonic uses better quality parts and has 20 extra watts of power. It's also a bit more efficient and modular.


Hmmm... that Seasonic is listed as 24A for 12V. The EVGA card specs suggest 30A is required. Thoughts?

DeusAres said:
I know you stated in your original post that you didn't want to overclock. In that case, you could go with a cheaper board and CPU. I, however, encourage you to give overclocking a try.


I'll consider it, though I'd be interested in your thoughts on the "cheaper" stuff to which you alluded.

Thanks
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September 9, 2012 6:22:13 PM

blazorthon said:
I do not recommend using a Cooler Master PSU. Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, XFX, and PCP&P are much better brands for PSUs.


Noted, thanks.
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September 9, 2012 6:29:10 PM

DeusAres said:
Most people use SSDs for their amazing read speeds; write speeds are rather irrelevant.

The Samsung drive exceeds in reading; whereas the Vertex 4 exceeds in writing.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/533?vs=639

My advice to the OP is to figure out which is more important to you...read speeds or write speeds? Keep in mind, loading games quickly relies on read speeds.


Having experience with two Crucial M4 SSDs I may just go with their 128GB version. But, more to the point, I'm less concerned about performance comparisons between SSDs (unless extreme) and more interested in exceeding the performance characteristics of a standard mechanical hard drive.

All that said, I'll give both arguments some thought.
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September 9, 2012 6:36:49 PM

fluxbit said:
Hmmm... that Seasonic is listed as 24A for 12V. The EVGA card specs suggest 30A is required. Thoughts?



I'll consider it, though I'd be interested in your thoughts on the "cheaper" stuff to which you alluded.

Thanks


They recommend 30amps for the entire system (cpu, gpu, and mobo). In reality, the gtx 670 only requires a max of 15amps on a single 12 volt rail.

You'll be just fine with the Seasonic PSU I recommended.

As for the cheaper mobo and CPU, here's my suggestions (but only if you DO NOT plan on overclocking in the future)...

ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP LGA 1155
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core i5-3470 Quad-Core Processor
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0087EVHVW/?tag=pcpapi-20
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September 9, 2012 7:05:48 PM

DeusAres said:
Most people use SSDs for their amazing read speeds; write speeds are rather irrelevant.

The Samsung drive exceeds in reading; whereas the Vertex 4 exceeds in writing.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/533?vs=639

My advice to the OP is to figure out which is more important to you...read speeds or write speeds? Keep in mind, loading games quickly relies on read speeds.


The Vertex 4 also has better read speeds, just not to as much of an extent. The 830's advantage is in that it uses less power.
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September 9, 2012 7:52:18 PM

DeusAres said:
They recommend 30amps for the entire system (cpu, gpu, and mobo). In reality, the gtx 670 only requires a max of 15amps on a single 12 volt rail.


Iiiiiiinteresting… I read the EVGA page completely different. "Minimum recommended power supply with +12 Volt current rating of 30 Amps."
http://www.evga.com/products/moreInfo.asp?pn=02G-P4-267...

DeusAres said:
As for the cheaper mobo and CPU, here's my suggestions (but only if you DO NOT plan on overclocking in the future)...


Excellent, thank you. Here's the adjusted build based on your suggestions. At this point, we've shaved $100 off the total. I'm wondering if there's anything useful we can do with that $100…? If not, I may go back to your Z77/3570K build with the cooler. :) 

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($184.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($87.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($47.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ B&H)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($404.62 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 620W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($83.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $909.13
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-09 15:44 EDT-0400)
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September 9, 2012 9:03:19 PM

A mere 24 amps total on the 12V rail(s) should be enough for that system, but it wouldn't leave much in the way of expansion options. That Seasonic PSU with two 24 amp 12V rails could handle GTX 670 SLI with ease.
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September 9, 2012 9:15:00 PM

I'd like to point out a few things.

If you are thinking about overclocking your cpu(not really required since not even the first
desktop i5 quads would be a major bottleneck to current games), you should really consider
overclocking your gpu. These new 28nm chips beg you to do so. It is some free performance
you leave sitting on the table if you don't at least try.

That said, if you take a reference clocked gtx 670 from around 900mhz to 1200 and turn
up the voltage to do so, you can definitely exceed 15A of +12v power(180w). The max
possible on most gtx670 models is 225 due to the limits of the peg slot and 2 6pin
connectors, but a few with overclocking specifically in mind sport a 6pin and an 8pin.
Normal tdp for gtx670 is 170w, btw(not that it actually would use anywhere near that
much in something like Furmark, let alone actual games).

Finally, that Seasonic 620w psu is not limited to 24A on the +12v rail. It actually has 2
+12v rails that each provide 24A on +12volts(288w) for a total +12v output of 576w.

Edit:blazorthon beat me to the 2 +12v rails point.
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September 9, 2012 9:36:40 PM

fluxbit said:
It's been… four and a half years since I last built a computer for video games. I'm here to share my excitement and get some feedback on my proposed build. Let me know your thoughts.

Approximate Purchase Date: October 1, 2012

Budget Range: $1000 Before Rebates, Before Shipping

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming only

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: CPU, mobo, RAM, video, PSU; adding SSD
Parts to Reuse: case (Antec Solo 2008), SATA DVD, two SATA HDDs, X-Fi Titanium sound card

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: amazon.com, newegg.com

Location: Phoenix, AZ, USA

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 1600x1200

Additional Comments: My preference is for quiet components that don't run hot. I'm not interested liquid cooling. Games I'm looking to play are newer (to me!) games like Skyrim, Witcher 2, Metro 2033, Borderlands 2, Civilization V, the new XCOM, the new SimCity.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I last built a gaming computer in 2008. It's long outdated.

Draft Parts List:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($215.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($47.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($404.62 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Cooler Master 600W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($110.17 @ Newegg)
Total: $1013.75
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-08 22:29 EDT-0400)

No plans on over clocking and no plans on dual vid cards then look at a cheap z77 board or even a B75 board and pair it up with a Ivy Bridge i5 3470.
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September 10, 2012 8:34:00 PM

Thanks, everyone, for your assistance.
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September 10, 2012 8:34:37 PM

Best answer selected by fluxbit.
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October 1, 2012 4:56:48 PM

Just built the 3470/H77 system over the weekend. Thanks again to DeusAres and everyone for their help.

Completed build: http://pcpartpicker.com/b/y0M
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