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First gaming/streaming build - could use some advice

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September 30, 2012 1:35:33 PM

Hey Everyone!

The reputation of this site is so off the charts its ridiculous, so I thought I'd ask around here for the advice/reassurance I'm looking for with this build. I appreciate your time and consideration in advance.

The point of this build is to achieve fluid 1080p streaming of Diablo 3, StarCraft 2, and maybe other games using XSplit+DXTory combo (since XSplit alone is woefully inadequate). My goal is to stream at 30fps+ if I can; I know the fps in game without streaming will be fine (60+ easy). My internet is 40 down and 5 up, so I think it's doable. I'd also like some head room for improvements in the future assuming gaming software catches up at some point. Budget is somewhat of a concern - but not too much. In short, I'm willing to pay what it takes for a solid system - but I don't want to just default at buying the most expensive stuff out there. So far, here is what I've got:

i5-3570k
Asus P8Z77-V PRO
16GB of Patriot Viper 3 Black Mamba Extreme RAM @ 2133MHz (can upgrade to 32GB)
H100 Cooler
Seagate 1TB HDD (7200RPM)
Vertex 4 128GB SSD
Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 (can upgrade via CrossFire if ever needed)
XFX 850W Pro Series XXX Edition PSU
Corsair 400R Case

My experience level is fairly low, so please have mercy on my ignorance. Here are some questions/concerns:

1) Consistency of components: I don't want to drop a Ferrari engine into a Pinto, so are these components consistent with each other such that there aren't any glaring bottlenecks or overkills?

2) i5 3570k vs i7 3770k vs i7 2600k: I've read so many forums on this topic and as soon as I start to feel like I'm comfortable with an answer, I read someone else's post that plunges me back into uncertainty. I understand gaming doesn't use the hyperthreading of the i7 and the SB runs cooler and OCs higher then the IB - but the IB architecture is inherently faster when running identical clock speed to a SB. I'd like to OC a bit just because I can, but I'm not sure what running a 5GHz+ monster would really get me other than stroking my own ego? Is running the 3570k at 4.4-4.6GHz on the H100 a reasonable goal? Will that meet my performance requirements?

3) Motherboard Choice: I've heard/read mixed reviews on the P8Z77-V PRO. Some people say its crap and I should go with a ASrock, others say it's great! Keeping my system goals and a desire to OC in mind, is this a decent choice? I know there are better boards out there, but will this get the job done and leave me with enough adaptability for future upgrades?

4) PSU Choice: I'm getting a deal on the XFX and it's received pretty good reviews. I feel like the 850W is overkill, but I've read its nice steady, clean, efficient power that isn't loud and doesn't run up too much heat. I'd like to be able to OC and leave space for CrossFire 7870s - is this enough head room in power? or am I so overkill that you're laughing at your screen as you read this?

The last concern is longevity. I'm not looking to get something so crazy that I'm retired before it is ever challenged, but also not something I'd have to replace in 2 years like I'm doing with my AMD based system. I'd like this system to handle stuff for another 3-5 years or so. Will this do that? Any overall impressions of the build?

Feel free to comment, make recommendations, shame my ignorance, or ignore me entirely, but any feedback is very much appreciated. If you do make a recommendation or call out a component as crap/awesome, please provide rationale/links. I trust unsupported claims about as much as I trust MSNBC. I very much value your time and am exceedingly grateful for the help. This community is awesome and I'm really looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
September 30, 2012 2:01:09 PM

Everything checks out, but you are wasting money on the RAM you chose.
You don't need 16gb of RAM nor 2133MHz. For justification purposes- Only 8gb of RAM is recommended for gaming, and even then it's already plenty. The difference of 1600MHz and 2133MHz is only visible on benchmarks and not on actual, real life play.

IMHO, OC-ing is just for bragging rights, and is only ever needed if your CPU is bottlenecking the GPU since even stock speeds are already blazing. That said, it never stopped me from OC-ing just for the hell of it. I'm sure you'll see a performance boost if you get it to 4.4GHz. You don't need an H100 for that though. The Noctua NH-D14 should suffice.

The P8Z77-V PRO is a great board, but the thing is, the ASRock z77 Extreme 6 is pretty much the ASUS board, but with alot more extra features and it costs cheaper. See comparison.

PSU is overkill even with Crossfire 7870s. A 750w is all you need. If the deal you're getting though places the 850w's price anywhere near a 750w or even lower, then by all means go for it.

I'm sure this system would last for at least 3 years. If anything, all you'll ever need to change is the GPU since GPUs improve so fast. But the 7870 would probably still a strong option for games especially when Crossfire'd in the future.


Where are you buying these parts btw? Maybe we can help you pick them out.
September 30, 2012 3:20:40 PM

+1 for excella
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September 30, 2012 4:40:09 PM

excella - Thanks for the post, +1 and I'm taking your recommendations to heart.

I'm changing my RAM accordingly, you saved me some $$ there -- thank you!

I actually just got the P8Z77 in the mail yesterday as a birthday present, so I can try to send it back and get the ASRock Z77 Extreme6 - but it looks like I can't get it on TigerDirect, only NewEgg. It's still unopened, but what I save in the return will probably get eaten up by shipping costs and it'll be a wash anyway (I got the P8 for like $200 on sale vs. $190 for the ASRock). Stick with the P8 since I already have it? Or is the ASRock enough of a step up to justify the return?

As for the XFX PSU it's a $5 difference between the 850W and 750W for the 80 Plus Silver cert Pro Series and a $10 difference between the 850W/750W if I go with the 80 Plus Bronze Core Edition. The Core Edition is $20 cheaper overall than the Pro Series - so I figured I might as well go with the 850W Pro Series. Besides, if I'm not using the full 850W don't I fall in a more favorable spot on the overall efficiency curve? Can I expect cleaner power with less variance at sub-max loads? Forgive me if I'm way off base, don't know much about PSUs.

I guess the H100 is a little overkill, I'm just getting freaked out about all the IB overheating posts I see. The Noctua NH-D14 does look nice, and if I ever need my case to fly the fans look like they could generate enough lift. On the note of coolers though, some dude at work said the heating issues of the IB is more a factor of its internal heat transmission to its internal heatsync rather than from the heatsync to the cpu fan/liquid coolant system. If that's the case, it sounds like no matter what I choose I'll have to be very careful when OCing the IB.

I'm looking at buying/building before mid-October, so I've literally got the debit card in hand ready to go. Most of the stuff I've got lined up on TigerDirect, but since I live in FL I think I'm going to try NewEgg for the rest instead (I have to pay tax on TD purchases) :( 

Thanks again, looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts! Thank you for your time!!
September 30, 2012 4:52:37 PM

I would say just stick with the ASUS since you already have it. It's a great board anyway, just overpriced.

Anything with 80 plus is generally good. Doesn't matter if it's bronze, silver, gold; the difference isn't that big. The 850w Pro series sounds like a great deal from what you've said so far.

The guy at work is correct. You'll need to go through a hell of mods with the CPU to OC above 4.5GHz without the temps skyrocketing. Since you're aiming for 4.4-4.6 anyway, the Noctua will do just fine.

Since we're on the page of coolers anyway, you'll want low profile RAM so the heat fins won't conflict with the gigantic CPU coolers.
G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB)
CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB)

Newegg is a great place to buy stuff. They have a very reliable RMA service so no worries. :) 
!