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[Need Advice] Future Proof Gaming/All Purpose PC (Eyefinity)

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  • Gaming
  • Systems
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September 9, 2012 7:56:10 PM


For my first build i want an up to date gaming/all purpose PC that is future proof and up-gradable.

-----

Budget Range: £600-£800

Approximate Purchase Date: next few months

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, CAD, Productivity

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Have been looking at ebuyer.com

Location: England

Parts Preferences:I want Intel and ATI/AMD graphics (3 screens 1 card)

Overclocking:I will be in the future

SLI or Crossfire:I will be in the future

Are you buying a monitor: Yes / No - Currently I have 1 Dell 17" E176FP and 2 NEC 15" LV15s (all VGA)
(May need to buy 17"DVI + 17" VGA for Eyefinity)
Your Monitor Resolution: Current 1 1280x1024, 2 1024x768



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Use:
Initially i want to run 3 low res screens (1280x1024),e.g. i want to be able to watch tv on the side whilst browsing the internet and using other programs, games(low-mid settings).
I want to run games on mid settings in Eyefinity.
I also want to be able to run a game on one monitor and run at high settings.
I want to do a bit of CAD (even though i wont have a workstation card).
Also video editing/converting.
Maybe screen capture?
and more

Spec i have chosen so far:

Mobo: Asus P8Z77-V PRO - £145

CPU: Intel Core i5 3570K - £178

GPU: Sapphire HD 7850 OC Edition 2GB - £175

PSU: Coolermaster GX 750W - £85

RAM: G-Skill 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600Mhz RipjawsX Memory Kit - £36

HDD: Seagate 3TB Barracuda Hard Drive - 3.5" SATA-III - 7200RPM 64MB Cache - £108

Case: Antec 300 Three Hundred Two Case - with USB3.0 - £48

Video Adapters: HP DisplayPort To VGA Adapter - £26
Sapphire DVI-I (M) to VGA HD-15 (F) adaptor - £3

Total: - £804

Upgrade options:

Graphics Card: Crossfire
Maybe a workstation card
Monitors: 1920x1080
RAM: add 2 x 4GB (to fill slots)
CPU: Overclock / i7
SSD: SSD for use with Intel Smart Response

Ultimately, after upgrades i want to be able to play games like BF3 on Eyefinity, and higher res monitors (1920x1080).

The Questions:

-Are the components i have chosen a good choice for my initial requirements and upgrade options?
-Can i use 3 x VGA monitor for 3 screens(not Eyefinity) or will i have to use 1 DVI monitor?

-Are all the components and my upgrade options compatible?

-Are there and bottlenecks before or after upgrades?

-Are the components good value for money?

-Is ebuyer.com a good price / good place to buy any experience?

-Is it too much to hope for Eyefinity 1920x1080 BF3 and screen capture, after upgrades?

-ANY thing i have missed ANY ideas ANY comments?

Thanks alot for ANY help, I have done plenty of research, but this is my first build so i feel i need you guys to check it over for me.

More about : advice future proof gaming purpose eyefinity

September 9, 2012 8:19:55 PM

- You might need to run adaptors if all your screens do not have DVI or VGA

- Get a 7970 if you want to futureproof, that 7850 does not have the grunt to run all that at 1080p if you upgrade your monitors in the future. Don't Crossfire or SLI, the drivers are a real pain.

- The PSU is junk. Literally:

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2010/11/22/cooler_master...

Get a Corsair TX 750 v2.

Get a HAF XM.

Rest looks OK.

a b 4 Gaming
September 9, 2012 8:51:48 PM

I saw the budget and the request and thought, "no way." But your list is not bad to start.

That said, I would change some stuff. I will use scan as the prices are often good, just to compare.

ASRock Z77 Extreme 4 £110.12 Inc VAT
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asrock-z77-extreme-4-int...

i5 £176.58 Inc VAT
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/29-4intel-core-i5-3570k-...

8GB Corsair £35.76 Inc VAT
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/8gb-%282x4gb%29-corsair-...

Antec TP-750W £70.50 Inc VAT
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/750w-antec-true-power-ne...
Do NOT get the Cooler master. This is a better PSU, and there are several others that are preferable to the CM.

NZXT Tempest 210 £49.82 Inc VAT
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/nzxt-tempest-210-all-bla...
Review http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/NZXT-Tempest-210...

Now get a cooler
Arctic Cooling Freezer i30 £29.16 Inc VAT
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/arctic-cooling-freezer-i...
Review http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2012/04/03/arctic-free...
(That is one good cooler for the price)

I enjoyed the research on this one :) 
I think you can do the rest yourself.... but you need an ACTIVE display port adapter and given the price that one may not be.
Related resources
September 9, 2012 8:52:17 PM

Thanks for the reply

- I ONLY have monitors with VGA i know i will need DP to VGA and DVI - I to VGA, but can i use 3 analog signals?
DVI - D is digital so that would leave HDMI, will i be able to go HDMI to VGA to HDMI to DVI?

- If I were to use two 7850s would this handle BF3 (mid-high) eyefinity 1280x1024 res ?

- What is the reason for the case? size or heat (if I overclocked)?
a b 4 Gaming
September 9, 2012 8:57:01 PM

No, you need one with DisplayPort or an Active DVI to DisplayPort adapter (must be dual link DVI).
a b 4 Gaming
September 9, 2012 9:03:26 PM

For balanced gaming performance, I suggest you budget twice the cpu budget for your graphics card. The graphics card is the most important component for gaming. In this case, I would suggest a card more like a 7970 or GTX670 if your budget permits.

For your side monitors, I suggest you simply buy a cheap graphics card to run them, leaving the full power of your graphics card for gaming. It should cost less than the adapters you listed.

If you may want more ram, buy it all up front.
Ram is cheap. Gaming only needs 8gb, but I can't argue against getting 16gb. Get just two sticks regardless, either 2 x 4gb or 2 x 8gb of low profile ram.
Ram is sold in kits for a reason.
Ram from the same vendor and part number can be made up of differing manufacturing components over time.
Some motherboards can be very sensitive to this.
That is why ram vendors will not support ram that is not bought in one kit.
Although, I think the problem has lessened with the newer Intel chipsets. Still,
it is safer to get what you need in one kit.

Using a SSD for smart response is useful only with very specific activity patterns. As a rule, it is better to use a ssd for the os and some apps.
I highly recommend one. A budget like yours demands one. Look for a 120gb or larger SSD from Intel or Samsung.

A GTX670 needs only a 500w psu or t50w for sli.
A 7970 needs 550w, or 800w for cf.

My take... save up front with a 650w psu, and a less expensive motherboard.

I suggest you buy a simple aftermarket cpu cooler like the cm hyper212. They are not expensive and will keep your cpu cooler and quieter.
As a first time builder, the backplate mount will be much easier that the tricky intel pushpin mount for their cooler.

The coolermaster GX is a tier 4 (not recommended) psu on this list:
http://www.eggxpert.com/forums/thread/323050.aspx
Stick with a tier 1 or 2 unit.
September 9, 2012 9:08:10 PM

Proximon said:
I saw the budget and the request and thought, "no way." But your list is not bad to start.

That said, I would change some stuff. I will use scan as the prices are often good, just to compare.

ASRock Z77 Extreme 4 £110.12 Inc VAT
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asrock-z77-extreme-4-int...

i5 £176.58 Inc VAT
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/29-4intel-core-i5-3570k-...

8GB Corsair £35.76 Inc VAT
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/8gb-%282x4gb%29-corsair-...

Antec TP-750W £70.50 Inc VAT
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/750w-antec-true-power-ne...
Do NOT get the Cooler master. This is a better PSU, and there are several others that are preferable to the CM.

NZXT Tempest 210 £49.82 Inc VAT
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/nzxt-tempest-210-all-bla...
Review http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/NZXT-Tempest-210...

Now get a cooler
Arctic Cooling Freezer i30 £29.16 Inc VAT
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/arctic-cooling-freezer-i...
Review http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2012/04/03/arctic-free...
(That is one good cooler for the price)

I enjoyed the research on this one :) 
I think you can do the rest yourself.... but you need an ACTIVE display port adapter and given the price that one may not be.


- Can I just use the stock cooler if i am not overclocking

- Why would you suggest changing the case and RAM
September 9, 2012 9:22:26 PM

azeem40 said:
No, you need one with DisplayPort or an Active DVI to DisplayPort adapter (must be dual link DVI).


Could you explain, No to what and need one what with DisplayPort

The 7850 has DisplayPort(DP), DVI-I, DVI-D and HDMI outputs
September 9, 2012 9:29:10 PM

geofelt said:
For balanced gaming performance, I suggest you budget twice the cpu budget for your graphics card. The graphics card is the most important component for gaming. In this case, I would suggest a card more like a 7970 or GTX670 if your budget permits.

For your side monitors, I suggest you simply buy a cheap graphics card to run them, leaving the full power of your graphics card for gaming. It should cost less than the adapters you listed.

If you may want more ram, buy it all up front.
Ram is cheap. Gaming only needs 8gb, but I can't argue against getting 16gb. Get just two sticks regardless, either 2 x 4gb or 2 x 8gb of low profile ram.
Ram is sold in kits for a reason.
Ram from the same vendor and part number can be made up of differing manufacturing components over time.
Some motherboards can be very sensitive to this.
That is why ram vendors will not support ram that is not bought in one kit.
Although, I think the problem has lessened with the newer Intel chipsets. Still,
it is safer to get what you need in one kit.

Using a SSD for smart response is useful only with very specific activity patterns. As a rule, it is better to use a ssd for the os and some apps.
I highly recommend one. A budget like yours demands one. Look for a 120gb or larger SSD from Intel or Samsung.

A GTX670 needs only a 500w psu or t50w for sli.
A 7970 needs 550w, or 800w for cf.

My take... save up front with a 650w psu, and a less expensive motherboard.

I suggest you buy a simple aftermarket cpu cooler like the cm hyper212. They are not expensive and will keep your cpu cooler and quieter.
As a first time builder, the backplate mount will be much easier that the tricky intel pushpin mount for their cooler.

The coolermaster GX is a tier 4 (not recommended) psu on this list:
http://www.eggxpert.com/forums/thread/323050.aspx
Stick with a tier 1 or 2 unit.



You say about budgeting 2x the CPU for the graphics card, so would that balance out if i got a second 7850?

I am trying to build it in stages and crossfire seemed like a good way to upgrade in the future, a 7970 would be too much with the rest of the computer.

If i Cross-fired 2 7850 would i still be limited, (i may not need high res displays, but high settings to Eyefinity i want)?

- Can i use the stock cooler if i am not over clocking.
September 9, 2012 9:43:00 PM

Quote:
For your side monitors, I suggest you simply buy a cheap graphics card to run them, leaving the full power of your graphics card for gaming. It should cost less than the adapters you listed.


I have used that set up using the iGPU and NVS quadro.

Would this work for Eyefinity and gaming on 3 monitors?
September 9, 2012 10:01:05 PM

A 7970 would not be too much, a pair of 7850's will cause driver issues with games.
September 9, 2012 10:38:34 PM

Smeg45 said:
A 7970 would not be too much, a pair of 7850's will cause driver issues with games.


Ok thanks.

-Do you think i would need a bigger case for this graphics card? or If i overclock ?

-Also will i need an aftermarket CPU cooler if i do not overclock, can u use stock cooler.
a b 4 Gaming
September 9, 2012 10:47:44 PM

sam1991 said:
You say about budgeting 2x the CPU for the graphics card, so would that balance out if i got a second 7850?

I am trying to build it in stages and crossfire seemed like a good way to upgrade in the future, a 7970 would be too much with the rest of the computer.

If i Cross-fired 2 7850 would i still be limited, (i may not need high res displays, but high settings to Eyefinity i want)?

- Can i use the stock cooler if i am not over clocking.


A 3570K is a very strong cpu, and can drive any graphics configuration very well.
It woyld haveno problem with a GTX690(very expensive) I think you would do well with a 7970, or a GTX670 which are somewhat equivalent cards.
As a rule, I would not build ustarting with cf/sli when a strong single monitor will do the job.

Here is my canned rant on cf/sli:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dual graphics cards vs. a good single card.

a) How good do you really need to be?
A single GTX560 or 6870 can give you great performance at 1920 x 1200 in most games.

A single GTX560ti or 6950 will give you excellent performance at 1920 x 1200 in most games.
Even 2560 x 1600 will be good with lowered detail.
A single 7970 or GTX680 is about as good as it gets.

Only if you are looking at triple monitor gaming, then sli/cf will be needed.
Even that is now changing with triple monitor support on top end cards.

b) The costs for a single card are lower.
You require a less expensive motherboard; no need for sli/cf or multiple pci-e slots.
Even a ITX motherboard will do.

Your psu costs are less.
A GTX560ti needs a 450w psu, even a GTX580 only needs a 600w psu.
When you add another card to the mix, plan on adding 150-200w to your psu requirements.
A single more modern 28nm card like a 7970 or GTX680 needs only 550W.
Even the strongest GTX690 only needs 650w.

Case cooling becomes more of an issue with dual cards.
That means a more expensive case with more and stronger fans.
You will also look at more noise.

c) Dual cards do not always render their half of the display in sync, causing microstuttering. It is an annoying effect.
The benefit of higher benchmark fps can be offset, particularly with lower tier cards.
Read this: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut...

d) dual card support is dependent on the driver. Not all games can benefit from dual cards.

e) cf/sli up front reduces your option to get another card for an upgrade. Not that I suggest you plan for that.
It will often be the case that replacing your current card with a newer gen card will offer a better upgrade path.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I expect the 8xxx or "son of kepler" to be a better upgrade when you might want to upgrade.

Even with a mild overclock, the stock cooler will do the job. Up to a point.
Under load, it will spin up and get noisy.

I would get a "K" to preserve the overclocking option. If you are certain that you will never overclock, you can save by using a cpu like the i5-3330:
http://www.ebuyer.com/393557-intel-core-i5-3330-3-00ghz...
And a much cheaper H61 based motherboard.
September 9, 2012 10:52:42 PM

sam1991 said:
Ok thanks.

-Do you think i would need a bigger case for this graphics card? or If i overclock ?

-Also will i need an aftermarket CPU cooler if i do not overclock, can u use stock cooler.


Stock coolers run hot. Even if I never OC I normally get an aftermarket cooler to reduce heat. I'd get a CM Hyper 212+. For the case HAF X or XM if you want a midtower.
a b 4 Gaming
September 9, 2012 11:05:13 PM

sam1991 said:
Ok thanks.

-Do you think i would need a bigger case for this graphics card? or If i overclock ?

-Also will i need an aftermarket CPU cooler if i do not overclock, can u use stock cooler.


The purpose of a case is to hold your parts.
So long as the case will hold your motherboard and the drives, the size does not matter.
What does matter is the amount of airflow. With newer 22nm cpu chips and 28nm graphics, the cooling problem has lessened. If a case has two 120mm intake fans, or the equivalent in output, then you should have no issue with ventilation.

Past that it is personal preference. From a functional point of view, there are many $50 cases that will do the job.
But if looks matter to you, then go ahead and bust your budget for a case you lust after. You will be looking at it for several generations of new builds.
a b 4 Gaming
September 9, 2012 11:38:51 PM

You have a lot of good advice here, more than I was expecting :) 

You mentioned CAD as a priority behind gaming. For this reason, I feel like the i5-3570K is absolutely needed. If I were to change it at all I would look for a non-K i7, perhaps the i7-2600 or 3770, because that would get you hyperthreading and you don't seem eager to OC.

I was shopping at Scan and chose the best 8GB kit I could find with low heatsinks. More likely to have issues with large CPU coolers.

I felt the case would be an upgrade to the Antec 300. It has more cooling options and far better cable management... well, the 300 has no cable management options really. Given the price difference it made sense to me. Looks are similar.

Maybe you will have driver issues with crossfire and Eyefinity... I don't see any here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k25gzlvvFSA
a b 4 Gaming
September 9, 2012 11:58:56 PM

sam1991 said:
Could you explain, No to what and need one what with DisplayPort

The 7850 has DisplayPort(DP), DVI-I, DVI-D and HDMI outputs

The monitor needs to have a displayport OR use an Active DVI-D to DisplayPort adapter if it doesn't.
a b 4 Gaming
September 10, 2012 12:01:59 AM

There is also a guide by one of our own TH members in AMD section of Graphics Cards.
September 10, 2012 1:24:50 AM

Thank allot for all the replies.

I am still thinking to keep the motherboard so i can overclock and crossfire in the future, i hear what people have said but it still seems like the best way to go from low res mid setting upto high res high settings Eyefinity.

However the 7970 is just a bit too much, could a 7950 do low res low-mid settings Eyefinity and high setting on a single display?

thank again
September 10, 2012 5:52:43 AM

I have a 7950 and it will definitely do high settings in Eyefinity at least.
September 10, 2012 6:55:12 AM

Yes, a 7950 will do it.
!