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Looking for advice on a gaming computer rebuild

Last response: in Systems
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October 5, 2012 3:52:19 PM

I've found some components that look good, but I'd appreciate feedback and advice. I especially want to know if I can do better for my motherboard, and if I need to upgrade my power supply. My hard drives, optical drives, case fans, and peripherals have all been fine.

Approximate Purchase Date: By the end of October.

Budget Range: ~$1,200

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming almost exclusively; my other needs don't use much in the way of resources.

Parts to Upgrade: Motherboard, CPU, RAM, GPU, heatsink. Current PSU is a Corsair 750W; I don't remember the exact details right now. My case is a CoolerMaster HAF 922 mid-tower.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Strong preference for Newegg unless the deal is amazing. I trust their RMA program after getting burned on bad components previously; I'll pay for mental security.

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200

Why Are You Upgrading: My motherboard is defective (long and pointless story), my CPU is three years old, my graphics cards two-and-half years old, and my memory could use a boost. My current heatsink is a Scythe Mugen 2, which is very effective but also large, and makes handling RAM awkward. The one I'm looking at should have a better profile and give me more space to deal with my RAM.

Components I'm Considering:

Motherboard ($250): ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
I have no idea if this "thermal armor" actually does any good, but the other specs on the board look very solid. ASRock motherboards have given me serious problems before, but I've heard that ASUS is good.

CPU ($290): Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core
The cheapest modern i7 CPU - plenty of power for my needs.

RAM ($55): G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Model F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM
Above-average timings and great latency, though I'm not thrilled about the cooling fins. Hopefully they'll play nice with the new heatsink. I don't think I really need more than 8GB right now.

Graphics ($248): GIGABYTE GV-R787OC-2GD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16
This was on the September TH Graphics Card list for the sub-$250 price point. Looks solid, and a single-card setup gives me the option of upgrading to Crossfire later (with a PSU upgrade, of course).

CPU Heatsink ($70): Noctua NH-C14 CPU Cooler with Dual Fans
This is one of the top heatsinks on FrostyTech, and according to its measurements, should give me more room than my Scythe Mugen 2.
October 5, 2012 4:22:05 PM

if you´re just going to be gaming then the 2600k is a little overkill, the i5 3570k is you´re best bet and you can go with a better graphic cards tha in the end is what matters most, like a hd 7950 or a gtx 670

What about the psu?
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October 5, 2012 4:33:06 PM

There's no point in pairing a 2600K with a Z77 board as you lose a lot of the board's intended functionality. And for gaming you won't use the i7's intended functionality. Games these days are far more reliant on the GPU and far less reliant on the CPU.

And again I'll say that the Sabertooth is overrated and expensive for what you get. The plastic covers do nothing to help heat issues. You can get a full featured board for $100 less. Invest that difference in upgrading your GPU to a 7950 or 7970.

Try this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($229.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U9B SE2 37.9 CFM CPU Cooler ($59.98 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($154.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card ($449.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1129.93
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

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October 5, 2012 4:33:50 PM

Hi. I made you a semi build that i think you're going to like very much.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3820 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor ($229.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($25.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: MSI X79A-GD45 (8D) ATX LGA2011 Motherboard ($169.50 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($387.86 @ Newegg)
Total: $863.32
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

Compared to your build it uses a Sandy Bridge-E CPU which uses a bit more power and overclocks a bit harder but since it uses LGA 2011 it's very future proof.
I also included two dual channel memory kits because LGA 2011 systems usesally use Quad Channel RAM.I also included a really really good graphics card.
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October 5, 2012 5:05:36 PM

Kamen_BG said:
Hi. I made you a semi build that i think you're going to like very much.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3820 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor ($229.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($25.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: MSI X79A-GD45 (8D) ATX LGA2011 Motherboard ($169.50 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($387.86 @ Newegg)
Total: $863.32
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

Compared to your build it uses a Sandy Bridge-E CPU which uses a bit more power and overclocks a bit harder but since it uses LGA 2011 it's very future proof.
I also included two dual channel memory kits because LGA 2011 systems usesally use Quad Channel RAM.I also included a really really good graphics card.


Future proofing is a gigantic moot point. The 3820 is no better than the 3570K is for gaming. It's just a lot costlier and then the motherboards are far more expensive. Plus you're using dual channel RAM in a quad channel configuration - that won't work very well. If you're gaming, any remaining funds you have in a rig go to the GPU, I can't stress that enough.

Also in order to use the Hyper 212 on LGA 2011 you need to purchase a separate LGA 2011 adapter for it.
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October 5, 2012 8:50:11 PM

pit_1209 said:
What about the psu?


It's a 750W Corsair.

g-unit1111 said:
There's no point in pairing a 2600K with a Z77 board as you lose a lot of the board's intended functionality. And for gaming you won't use the i7's intended functionality. Games these days are far more reliant on the GPU and far less reliant on the CPU.

And again I'll say that the Sabertooth is overrated and expensive for what you get. The plastic covers do nothing to help heat issues. You can get a full featured board for $100 less. Invest that difference in upgrading your GPU to a 7950 or 7970.

Try this:

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($229.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U9B SE2 37.9 CFM CPU Cooler ($59.98 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($154.99 @ Newegg)
...
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card ($449.99 @ Newegg)


The CPU and motherboard both look fine, and I definitely like the savings. I figured that thermal armor was probably pointless, too. Why do you recommend that cooler in particular?

As for the SSD, I'm going to have to think about that. It's very tempting, but I'm not sure if I want to put $200 into that right now. I've got plenty of good HDD storage, and while I'd love the speed... it's two hundred bucks.

Kamen_BG said:
Hi. I made you a semi build that i think you're going to like very much.
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($387.86 @ Newegg)


What are the actual differences between this card and the one g-unit1111 recommended? There's a $60 difference, but damn-all in the way of technical details explaining it.
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October 5, 2012 10:16:14 PM

SSD:

You can get a 120GB SSD and install your games (including STEAM) to a separate hard drive.

Be aware that your SSD will fill up over time but eventually level out. Without games it probably won't go over 80GB ever as long as major downloads are on your separate hard drive as well.

*I also agree with these basics:
- Z77 motherboard
- 3570K Intel CPU
- 8GB 1600MHz RAM (2x4GB)

I love my Asus GTX 680 TOP edition graphics card.
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October 5, 2012 11:38:32 PM

Graphics cards:
If you buy an AMD card such as an HD7970, I strongly recommend you get:
a) one of the new cards with POWER BOOST, and
b) a good cooling solution

*Please note that the BORDERLANDS 2 deal should still be on for GTX660Ti and above GTX600 series. If you're buying that game anyway ($60) you may wish to factor that into your calculations.

An HD7970 is SIMILAR to a GTX680, but there are overclocked versions of each which drastically affect your choice, as well as NVidia specific features.

For example, the ASUS TOP GTX680 averages about 10% more performance than a stock GTX680.

(I have several games that I'm glad for having the extra performance such as Witcher 2.)
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