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2 grand gaming/photo-editing build

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October 6, 2012 2:57:19 PM

It's that time again: New PC! Mainly I'm using it for photo editing, but gaming comes in a close second.

Approximate Purchase Date: This depends on your answers. Either in 7-14 days or during Cyber Monday. Is it worth it to wait?

Budget Range: $2000 ceiling

System Usage from Most to Least Important:
1. Porn :na: 
2. Photography editing
3. Games (Currently The Secret World, but I play FPS games, Minecraft, Skyrim, etc)
4. Possibly CAD and Solidworks. Possibly.
5. Audio on Sennheiser HD 598

Are you buying a monitor: 2 monitors

Parts to Upgrade: The whole freakin thing, minus OS SSD, keyboard, mouse, and speakers.

Do you need to buy OS: Already picked up Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg and Amazon, but I could be persuaded to another site.

Location: State of Denial, which is located within Boston, MA

Parts Preferences:

Intel processor. Nvidia. I likes EVGA. I hear good things about that G.SKILL mobo, and the BenQ monitors. You know what, let's be honest, I chose most of these items from different build lists. I can probably be easily convinced of the benefit of choosing one over another.


Here's pretty much the same thing as the list below:
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/juPO

Case:
COOLER MASTER HAF X RC-942-KKN1 Black Steel/ Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Additional HD:
Western Digital WD AV-GP WD20EURS 2TB 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Monitors (2):
BenQ XL2420T Black-Red 24" 5ms (2ms GTG) HDMI Widescreen Height & Pivot Adjustable LED-Backlit 120Hz 3D-Ready LCD Monitor 350 cd/m2 DC 12M:1 (1000:1)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card:
EVGA 04G-P4-2673-KR GeForce GTX 670 Superclocked+ w/Backplate 4GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Ram:
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C9D-16GXM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo:
GIGABYTE G1.Sniper 3 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Extended ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Processor:
Intel Core i7-3770 Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I73770
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Blu-ray Player:
.........I don't even know where to freakin' begin.

Overclocking: Eventually I'll be brave enough to mess around with it.

SLI or Crossfire: Eventually.

Your Monitor Resolution: 1080, but I can be convinced to go higher if there's a good reason.

Additional Comments: The ceiling can extend a little beyond $2k, but not by waaaaay too much. I needs some leftover moola for a Wacom thingers.

I'll need storage space for all those photos I take.

Do I need a sound card? I have a pair of Sennheiser HD598 attached to a Mixamp 5.8 TX. (Oh yeah, is it worth it to combine the two, or should I leave it on the Astros?) and Klipsch speakers on Cambridge Soundworks woofer.

If it can bake chocolate cakes... I'll be willing to up that ceiling.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: My girlfriend has my ancient Dell. I'm sick and tired of listening to her complain about the choppiness of the game at crowded locations, so I'mm getting a new comp and she gets my PC with the GTX 570.

Thanks everyone!

Best solution

October 6, 2012 3:53:52 PM

Thanks for the really in-depth post, wodiesan. I'm looking into what we can do to get everything you want under your budget, but it's a bit of a squeeze at the moment. Let me show you what I've got so far:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($309.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($122.62 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($95.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 4GB Video Card ($424.86 @ NCIX US)
Sound Card: Asus Xonar DS 24-bit 192 KHz Sound Card ($39.68 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Phantom (Black) ATX Full Tower Case ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone 750W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Monitor: BenQ XL2420T 120Hz 24.0" Monitor ($370.99 @ Amazon)
Monitor: BenQ XL2420T 120Hz 24.0" Monitor ($370.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $2045.09
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

My concerns and adjustmens:

1. This is a little over budget and doesn't yet include an optical drive of any sort. This is my primary issue here.
2. The Gigabyte G1.Sniper is a really nice mobo, but is really overkill even for an SLI setup (unless you plan on tossing another two or three 670s into it, which I assume you won't).
3. I'm not certain what advantage the AV-GP has over the Caviar Green, but the Green is a handful cheaper for the same storage (for which I can't imagine speed's a concern, as it's mostly static data like photos, right?).
4. I'm a bit unsure of what to do with the video card - gaming on two monitors is silly, and 1080p doesn't really need the extra VRAM. Is there something else you're using that warrants buying the 4GB model over the 2GB?
5. The HAF X is great, but also pretty pricey. I'm going with the presumption that you're wanting a full tower for the expandability and roominess, which the NZXT Phantom also provides for about $50 less. But, if you're just wanting the HAF X aesthetic, the HAF XM is a $100 mid-tower version of it.
6. No, it's not needed that you get a sound card - as far as I know, the on-board audio is perfectly capable of doing 7-channel surround sound just fine. But even an affordable card like the Xonar DS will put out much clearer and better-quality sound.
7. The PSU is kind of expensive, but it's a solid unit - highly efficient, reliable, modular, and leaves room for SLI.
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October 6, 2012 9:21:42 PM

I actually have a spare Corsair Neutron GTX 120GB for the OS.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1. As long as the build is well thought-out, will run porn at awesome resolutions and won't try to stab me in my sleep, I'm fine with a little breech past the ceiling.

2. I plan on another 670 eventually. Maybe running 3 screens by the summer. Would the ASRock be fine for that?

3. Sounds good. I wasn't quite clear on the benefit of one over the other. I think I picked it due to a CNET listing.

4. Those BenQs are 1080 native. Would it make sense to bump up the resolution on both of those to utilize the potential? As for 4gb over 2gb... I honestly have no idea. Newegg ratings were the deciding factor on the videocard. I go through photos in Adobe Lightroom and eventually want to install Solidworks for school-related work. I don't know if the 4GB hold any benefit over 2GB for that.

5. The Phantom was my second choice. I could easily move that to the first spot.

6. I'll take a look-see.

7. Perfect!

Thanks a lot for taking time to review my build!
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October 6, 2012 9:56:09 PM

wodiesan said:
1. As long as the build is well thought-out, will run porn at awesome resolutions and won't try to stab me in my sleep, I'm fine with a little breech past the ceiling. Fair enough, but if you're wanting a BluRay player, that'll be an extra $50ish on top of that.

2. I plan on another 670 eventually. Maybe running 3 screens by the summer. Would the ASRock be fine for that? Definitely - the Extreme4 has 2 PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and supports SLI and Crossfire. As long as you don't want to Tri-SLI, the Extreme4 should meet your needs.

3. Sounds good. I wasn't quite clear on the benefit of one over the other. I think I picked it due to a CNET listing.

4. Those BenQs are 1080 native. Would it make sense to bump up the resolution on both of those to utilize the potential? As for 4gb over 2gb... I honestly have no idea. Newegg ratings were the deciding factor on the videocard. I go through photos in Adobe Lightroom and eventually want to install Solidworks for school-related work. I don't know if the 4GB hold any benefit over 2GB for that. If you're planning on adding a third BenQ to game on 3 screens, then you'll definitely want to keep the 4GB card, as VRAM is the most limiting factor at resolutions that high. The two 670s would have plenty of GPU power, but 2GB of VRAM just wouldn't cut it.

5. The Phantom was my second choice. I could easily move that to the first spot.

6. I'll take a look-see. Yeah, it's best you decide on that. I've no real knowledge of what's what in terms of the brand and model qualities, but the ASUS Xonar line seemed to come highly regarded (although that can be misleading at times).

7. Perfect!

Thanks a lot for taking time to review my build! The way I see it, you put the effort in making a detailed post, so I should return the favor as best I can.


I'd also recommend considering a 7970 over the 670 - at $400 and 3GB of video RAM, it'd be more ideal for Crossfire/multi-monitor gaming (from a cost : performance perspective), but I'm not sure how that'd compromise the photo-editing performance. I can't imagine it'd be that great of a difference, but I don't really know how Adobe takes advantage of CUDA so take that with a grain of salt.

Edit:
wodiesan said:
Oh, and would this pair of monitors be better?
Dell Ultrasharp U2410

I would say they are better (they're IPS-panel monitors, which have much better picture than TN-panel monitors), but I can tell you that if you're wanting to keep those monitors in the $2k budget you'd have to cut back in places you wouldn't want to. Or go even more over budget, heh.
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October 6, 2012 10:40:51 PM

wodiesan said:
Slickdeals shows a percentage off the current discount on the Dells: http://slickdeals.net/f/5287990-24-Dell-U2410-UltraShar...

Oh, cool, I was just going by the listed price. Definitely get those Dells, since you're doing photo work - like I said, the IPS panels provide a much better picture than TN panels like those BenQs (not to say the BenQs aren't good monitors). The difference in refresh rate shouldn't really be a huge deal, most can't tell the difference between 60 and 120Hz anyway.
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October 7, 2012 8:15:46 PM

Best answer selected by wodiesan.
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