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New build deliberation

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September 14, 2012 12:30:15 PM

Hi there, in short I'm stuck deciding which GPU option to go with and could really do with some advice for both this and my new build in general. It's been a few years since I built my last gaming rig and i'm slightly out of touch with the latest generation of CPU's and GPU's (although I have done a lot of reading lately, still not 100% confident).

I have around £1000-1100 to spend, however I don't need a full set of components as I will be taking some from my current gaming pc. Obviously I want to assemble a gaming pc that will be a significant jump from my current one, so for people to benchmark what is best here are my current specifications:

i3 530 @ 4.5ghz
Coolermaster Hyper 212 plus
Asus P7P55D-E LX Intel P55
G.SKILL RipJaw 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C8 1600MHz Dual Channel Kit
Powercolor ATI Radeon HD 5850 OC 1024MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card (running @ 840/1200)
Samsung F1 spinpoint 320gb HDD
OCZ StealthXStream 600W Silent SLI/Crossfire Ready ATX2.2 Power Supply
Zalman z9 case


I am gaming at 1080p and have absolutely no interest in multi monitor gaming nor 3D (colour blind and find it doesn't work for me too well).

Here is my proposed build:

Note I will be carrying over my HDD, DVD drive and PSU to this build.

Zalman Z11 Plus High Performance Mid Tower Case w/o PSU
i5 3570k
Antec Kúhler H2O 620 CPU Watercooler
2GB XFX Radeon HD 7870 Core Edition (I know people aren't keen on XFX but my 4850 from them yonks ago was a dream)
8GB (2x4GB) Corsair DDR3 XMS3 PC3-12800
Asus P8Z77-V LX
120GB Sandisk Extreme, 2.5" SSD, SATA III - 6Gb/s, Read 550MB/s, Write 510MB/s, 83000 IOPS Max
24" BenQ XL2420T 120Hz 3D Vision 2 LED Monitor


Ok, so now down to the problem. The GPU dilemma I have is due to the monitor, obviously to take full advantage of the 120hz I need a GPU that can reliably push 60+ fps at minimum. I WAS a pro call of duty player up until 18 months ago, so no surprise, this will be for mainly FPS gaming and since I have such an invested interest in competitive fps gaming, the 120hz IS noticeable to me. I am torn between a few options with regards to which GPU route to take, here's my thinking:

- 2 x 7850's (apparently outperform the 680 mostly in benchmarks)
- A single 7870 and potentially crossfire later (however my PSU is 600w's and has 2 x 6 PCI-E connectors, this is fine for the 7850 cf but won't be for this obviously)
- A single 670
- A single 660ti (potentially SLI later - again the PSU issue)
- 2 x 660 in sli (not the ti versions)


So, I said obviously my main focus is FPS games, but to give you a little idea of what I play I'll list some games I'm currently spending too much time on and plan to soon:

League of Legends (not very demanding I know)
Battlefield 3, I know this is a tough one, ideally I want to run it at a minimum of 60fps in 32 man servers (cba with 64 player ones :p )
Counter Strike: GO
The new CoD, although it will inevitably be awful like the last one
Guild Wars 2 - noticed my little i3 is bottlenecking badly on this
Starcraft 2
Borderlands 2
Diablo 3
Skyrim - 100 hours and still playing it :) 

So, that's pretty much everything I think.

One last question as well, are the AMD CPU's this generation really that terrible for gaming at my resolution? (The student in me always wonders if it's worth saving money with AMD).

Please feel free to make any alterations to my build you feel necessary, bearing in mind I don't need a PSU (yet anyway) nor do I need a HDD or disc drive.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

More about : build deliberation

September 14, 2012 12:51:58 PM

My recommendation for the GPU is to go for the single 670, I would recommend the MSI 670 ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) since their TwinFrozr IV cooler is very effective and pretty quiet. That 670 will have no problem with any game you throw at it, and down the road when you need more power you can always add another.

Is there any particular reason why you are going for a water cooling solution? I mean I dont know exactly how much that particular one costs, but the benefit over an air cooler is minimal...a few degrees C at the most and the Hyper 212 is an awesome HSF. Just putting that out there.

Your motherboard is ALMOST the one I would recommend. I would go with the P8Z77-V Pro instead of the LX. The main reason is because the LX has one PCIe 3 slot, the Pro has two for when you add a second 670.

As far as your question about AMD's CPUs. Stock, they cant come anywhere near Intel's CPUs. When you start getting into unlocking extra cores and overclocking...they can start to compete.
September 14, 2012 12:57:10 PM

dalmvern said:
My recommendation for the GPU is to go for the single 670, I would recommend the MSI 670 ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) since their TwinFrozr IV cooler is very effective and pretty quiet. That 670 will have no problem with any game you throw at it, and down the road when you need more power you can always add another.

Is there any particular reason why you are going for a water cooling solution? I mean I dont know exactly how much that particular one costs, but the benefit over an air cooler is minimal...a few degrees C at the most and the Hyper 212 is an awesome HSF. Just putting that out there.

Your motherboard is ALMOST the one I would recommend. I would go with the P8Z77-V Pro instead of the LX.

As far as your question about AMD's CPUs. Stock, they cant come anywhere near Intel's CPUs. When you start getting into unlocking extra cores and overclocking...they can start to compete.


Thanks for the reply, in all honesty the reason I want a water cooling solution is because of noise/dust. I used to regularly attend lans for Call of Duty and the dust I'd accumulate in my pc was a joke (my current CM 212 is a nightmare to clean). Plus it looks tidier and I'm slightly OCD :p 

I'm in the UK btw and the difference in price between the Antec and the 212 is roughly £20.
September 14, 2012 1:03:59 PM

Fair enough, its not a huge difference in price, and you are right it will be quieter in general. I mean when you are gaming your GPU fan will be ramping up which can get a bit noisy, but that is to be expected. I know what you mean about the air coolers being a nightmare to clean. I have a CoolerMaster N520 and it is rough to clean as well.
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