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First Build, 1000-1300€ needs finetuning

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October 13, 2012 10:04:52 PM

Good day, wise men (and women) of Tom's Hardware!
I come before you with the humble request of criticizing my new build and checking if all the parts fit together.
Also, this is the first time I build a PC, so not everything might be ideal.

The obligatory questions:
Approximate Purchase Date: Around next week
Budget Range: 1000-1300 €
System Usage Primarily gaming (Planetside 2, The Witcher 2, Skyrim with a ton of mods, Minecraft (RAM hog!), maybe Borderlands 2, etc.)
Are you buying a monitor: No
Do you need to buy OS: No, got Windows 7 64bit Professional
Location: Germany
Parts Preferences: No watercooling
Overclocking: Yes, as far as reasonable with air cooling
SLI or Crossfire: No
Your Monitor Resolution: 1080p for now
Why Are You Upgrading: Current PC is getting old, and playing Planetside 2 with 10fps is not fun at all.

The planned build:

Case:Corsair Vengeance C70 Black, 115€
CPU:Intel i5 3570k, 201€
CPU Cooler:Thermalright HR-02 Macho Rev.A, 36€
Mainboard:ASUS P8Z77-V, 151€
GPU:Sapphire Vapor-X Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition, 3GB GDDR5, 402€
or: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 OC, 4GB GDDR5, 404€
RAM:Corsair Vengeance 1600MHz 2x4GB, 35€
Power Supply:Corsair TX550M, 70€
HDD:Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 64Mb Buffer, 68€
SSD:Samsung 830 128Gb, 81€
Total: 1159€
Might probably also add a couple of case fans, if necessary.

Now I have a few specific questions:
1.) Would the cooler fit the case? I compared the dimensions of both, but without knowing how far from the side the motherboard sits, it's hard to find out. Also, is it good enough?
2.) While the 7970 GHz appears to be the overall superior card, Planetside 2 seems to be biased towards Nvidia cards (Physx etc.).
This makes the choice hard for me, especially since the price is practically identical.
3.) Is the PSU big enough, considering overclocking the CPU and probably the graphics card, too?
4.) I find it hard to choose between mainboards; I chose the ASUS one since it apparently has a better fan control than the ASRock ones. (?)

Other than that, I am of course open and thankful for improvements or hints!
October 13, 2012 10:56:01 PM

The CoolerMaster Hyper 212Evo is generally considered to best low cost CPU cooler.
Everything else seems reasonable, although, if you use the HD7970 GHz, it's fairly power hungry, so would suggest 600, or 650W, with that.
That board is OK. The Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H would be an alternative.
October 13, 2012 10:56:42 PM


Ascy said:
Case:Corsair Vengeance C70 Black, 115€


A decent case, especially if you are into the military-esque design/styling. It does suffer from sub-par airflow though, so if you are planning to do some heavy overclocking, then you may need to invest in a case fan.

Otherwise, the Corsair 500R is a very good case, with better airflow (and about €10 cheaper)
http://www2.hardwareversand.de/Midi/50915/Corsair+Carbi... (Gunmetal Grey)
http://www2.hardwareversand.de/Midi/50916/Corsair+Carbi... (White)

Ascy said:
CPU:Intel i5 3570k, 201€


Good.

Ascy said:
CPU Cooler:Thermalright HR-02 Macho Rev.A, 36€


Good - and yes, it will fit in both the C70 and 500R cases.

Ascy said:
Mainboard:ASUS P8Z77-V, 151€


Good.



Good cards, although at the moment, they aren't really comparable. With the release of AMD's new Catalyst drivers, the 7970 stock will best a 670. Now, you are pitting a 7970GHz against a 670 OC and again, for almost all games, the 7970Ghz will best a 670 and even a 680 if you overclock.

Ascy said:
RAM:Corsair Vengeance 1600MHz 2x4GB, 35€


Good RAM - the low profile version is necessary, as it will conflict with your CPU cooler otherwise. I'd recommend the G.Skill Ares RAM kit over this (you get slightly faster timings for the same price): http://www2.hardwareversand.de/1600+Low+Voltage/56826/8...

Ascy said:
Power Supply:Corsair TX550M, 70€


Good.



Fine - a Caviar Green version with more space is also acceptable.

Ascy said:
SSD:Samsung 830 128Gb, 81€


Great SSD. If you can fit it into your build, a 256GB version is recommended as it has better performance compared to the 128GB version (albeit probably not too noticeable for normal workloads).

Ascy said:
Now I have a few specific questions:
1.) Would the cooler fit the case? I compared the dimensions of both, but without knowing how far from the side the motherboard sits, it's hard to find out. Also, is it good enough?


Yes, it will fit.

Ascy said:
2.) While the 7970 GHz appears to be the overall superior card, Planetside 2 seems to be biased towards Nvidia cards (Physx etc.).
This makes the choice hard for me, especially since the price is practically identical.


See above, under graphics card.

Ascy said:
3.) Is the PSU big enough, considering overclocking the CPU and probably the graphics card, too?


It's fine for one card.

Ascy said:
4.) I find it hard to choose between mainboards; I chose the ASUS one since it apparently has a better fan control than the ASRock ones. (?)


They are both good motherboards. Fan control is a very minor issue (ASUS boards do have great software bundled with their boards though).

Hope this helps!
Related resources
October 14, 2012 10:55:29 AM

Glad to see some answers! :) 

malbluff said:
The CoolerMaster Hyper 212Evo is generally considered to best low cost CPU cooler.

Indeed it is, but I'm also not opposed to pay a bit extra to get better and quieter cooling. (although I'm not sure if a high-end fan like the Havik140 or DH-14 would be overkill)

malbluff said:
Everything else seems reasonable, although, if you use the HD7970 GHz, it's fairly power hungry, so would suggest 600, or 650W, with that.

Thanks, I'll keep that in mind!

malbluff said:
That board is OK. The Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H would be an alternative.

Are there any significant differences, or is it mostly personal brand-preference at this level?


evilqueens said:
A decent case, especially if you are into the military-esque design/styling. It does suffer from sub-par airflow though, so if you are planning to do some heavy overclocking, then you may need to invest in a case fan.

Would I be right to assume that this is largely due to the HDD cages blocking the front intakes? If so, it should be possible to mount the hard drives in the 5,25" bays above and remove the cages altogether.

evilqueens said:
Good cards, although at the moment, they aren't really comparable. With the release of AMD's new Catalyst drivers, the 7970 stock will best a 670. Now, you are pitting a 7970GHz against a 670 OC and again, for almost all games, the 7970Ghz will best a 670 and even a 680 if you overclock.

Thanks, that's what I thought. It's just annoying that certain games are preferring a brand of graphics card over another. Also boo for no PhysX, but oh well, can't have everything.

evilqueens said:
I'd recommend the G.Skill Ares RAM kit over this (you get slightly faster timings for the same price)

Good find, must have overlooked that one!

evilqueens said:
Hope this helps!

It most certainly did, thank you both!
October 14, 2012 12:13:56 PM

The Asus V is excellent quality, feature rich board. Was just pointing out that the Gigabyte is also very good, and has all the features, most people need, at lower price. Personally, I like Asus; just something to be aware of.
October 14, 2012 10:47:09 PM

Ascy said:
Indeed it is, but I'm also not opposed to pay a bit extra to get better and quieter cooling. (although I'm not sure if a high-end fan like the Havik140 or DH-14 would be overkill)


This depends on the level of your overclock. If you want to push your overclock, you will need a better CPU cooler (Noctua NH-D14, Thermalright Silver Arrow, the top end Phanteks cooler, etc.). These are generally considered to be the best top end air coolers and will usually allow a 4.7-4.8GHz overclock permitted that your chip can handle it.

The CM Hyper 212 Evo is the best CPU cooler at its price point given its performance.

Ascy said:
Are there any significant differences, or is it mostly personal brand-preference at this level?


I believe the Gigabyte boards are very similar - just a few different features here and there. The pricing probably fluctuates, so just look for a good deal and go with whichever board.

Ascy said:
Would I be right to assume that this is largely due to the HDD cages blocking the front intakes? If so, it should be possible to mount the hard drives in the 5,25" bays above and remove the cages altogether.


I believe this is one of the reasons. Also, just the placement of their fans on the hard drive cage causes this to be exacerbated. I've never thought about this - but I suppose if you have a mount that allows you to put a HDD in a 5.25" bay, then this would work.
!