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New build/upgrade - need advice!

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September 10, 2012 5:20:43 AM

I'm in the process of choosing components for a new build as my old motherboard and memory failed. Previously I had a Q6600 system with a GTS 250. I'll be re-using my Antec Earthwatts 750 psu, but everything else will be new. This PC will be used strictly for gaming and media. I play Skyrim, GW2, Witcher 2, and generally like to keep up with newer RPG releases. I generally like to see good framerates on max settings @ 1920 x 1080.

I've already purchased an Antec Three Hundred case and a Cooler Master Evo 212 HSF.

Here are the other components I'm thinking about buying:

i5 2500k - I know the 3570 puts up slightly better numbers and uses less power, but Newegg has the 2500k for $200 right now. I don't think the 4% performance increase is worth the extra $30 I'd be spending on the 3570.

ASRock Z77 Extreme4 - well-reviewed, overclocks well, free 8 gigs of G Skill DDR3 1600. $140 shipped.

EVGA GTX 480 - the part I'm most conflicted on. Puts up numbers comparable to the GTX 570, and blows everything else in its price range out of the water. I don't care about power usage, temps, or noise. I refuse to buy ATI - I guess I could go for an SLi setup with cheaper cards, or just shell out a bit more for nVidia's 200-300 range.

More about : build upgrade advice

September 10, 2012 5:43:13 AM

For me, the heat difference is more about part longevity. I'm always looking for a well cooled card, whatever it is.
So, I would say a well-cooled GTX 570 would trump a stock cooled GTX 480
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But then a card that is much stronger while running even cooler, for $50 more....
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But then my last Nvidia card was an 8800GT, very hot, so maybe I over react.

I would have argued against the Antec 300 for similar reasons. It has no options for cable routing, so that mass of cables from your EA-750 is going to negatively impact air flow... how much is debateable, but it certainly won't help.

I just had this discussion in another thread where the choice (in the UK) was between the Antec 300 and the NZXT 210 Tempest
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That is a nice deal on the RAM, although I think they marked up the board a bit.

Keep in mind that the Sandy Bridge memory controller can get stressed out. Intel Specifies that the memory should not exceed 1333Mhz 1.5V CL 9. There have been cases where the CPU died because of this and Intel will ask when you RMA what the RAM settings where.

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September 10, 2012 8:31:39 AM

I probably should have done more research on the case, but I'm not opposed to spending some extra time and effort zip-tying the crap out of my cables. Cable management wasn't terrible in my ASUS Vento, so I guess I didn't even think about it since I'll have a ton of extra space to work with.

Is there a noticeable performance difference while gaming with 1333 vs. 1600 memory? I'll look up benchmarks, but I can't imagine it'd be an issue to leave the memory clocked a bit lower.

Is 85c load going to kill a card all that quickly? I'd rather it was cooled a bit better as well, but it's so hard for me to pass up the performance of a 570 at the $200 (no rebates) price point. I'm not planning on overclocking my GPU. I suppose the warranty on the older cards is only 3 years, though...
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September 10, 2012 8:47:42 AM

No difference in gaming with the RAM at defaults. The only actual real world difference you ever see is in long stressful tasks like video rendering, and that depends on the exact program.

It's always seemed to me, over the years, that the hotter the GPU the more prone to failure. How many times have I heard that some particular game broke a card? Every time it was some exciting new game with great graphics that had to be maxxed out, and the video card died after some marathon. I remember all the complaints about Oblivion, WoW, Age of Conan.... but less these days. Could it be that heat is less a factor now?

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September 10, 2012 9:21:47 AM

85 deg C should not be able to kill the card that easily. Regarding air flow, just make sure the cables are tied properly, and use intake fans along with exhaust to maintain a good air flow.
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September 10, 2012 9:36:59 AM

I'm not entirely sure, but I've seen it quoted that the max safe temp for a GTX480 is something like 105 C. I'd feel safe at 20 C below that, and that seems to be what many experience in well-cooled cases. I can't justify buying a 570 when the 480 beats it price/performance-wise - if I could get a 570 with a lifetime warranty for less than 250, it'd be a different story. Same goes for the 660 Ti - if I'm gonna shell out 300 bucks for a brand new card, I want a lifetime warranty to go along with it. It's a shame that EVGA doesn't guarantee their cards like they used to, and unfortunately for me XFX only makes ATI cards now.
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