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$1700 Gaming Desktop Suggestions

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October 20, 2012 7:38:08 AM

Hey guys,

I am currently in the process of selling my existing desktop to upgrade to a new one. Im going to be doing mostly gaming on 1920x1080 with 5760x1080 on the occassion and will suffice for nothing less than a GTX 680 and some form factor of an i7, ivy bridge or sandy bridge-e possibly. Make some suggestions on hardware and cases! The price range is between 1500 to 1800 but can be extended by a small margin if necessary. Thanks for the input!
a b B Homebuilt system
October 20, 2012 7:41:22 AM

Don't get a 680. The performance over a 670 isn't worth the price premium. 7970 is a better value as well.
October 20, 2012 7:46:13 AM

After using AMD cards for years i finally have decided i'm not going to buy their products anymore. I have a 680 in my current desktop and love it. Would a 670 perform par with a 680 on 5760x1080? and in comparison to the 7970, how does it do?
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 20, 2012 8:05:00 AM

Also don't get an i7 for gaming just get an i5 3570k. For the mobo you could get an asrock z77 extreme6 or gigabyte z77 ud5h. For the 5760x1080 setup you should get a 7970. Get a good 850w psu for crossfire later like the corsair hx850w, seasonic x 850 or xfx pro850.
October 20, 2012 8:20:09 AM

Case: Azza Hurrican 2000 Full Tower Gaming Case with 4 Hot Swappable HDD Cage & (4) 230MM Fans

Extra Case Fan Upgrade: Default case fans

CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-980 3.33 GHz Six Cores 12M Intel Smart Cache LGA1366

Cooling Fan: Asetek 510LC Liquid Cooling System 120MM Radiator & Fan (Enhanced Cooling Performance + Extreme Silent at 20dBA) (Single Standard 120MM Fan)

Motherboard: (3-Way SLI Support) MSI X58A-GD45 Intel X58 Chipset SLI/CrossFireX Triple-Channel DDR3 ATX Mainboard w/ 7.1 Audio, eSATA, GbLAN, USB3.0, SATA-III, RAID, IEEE1394a, 3 Gen2 PCIe, 3 PCIe X1 & 1 PCI (All Venom OC Certified)

Memory: 12GB (2GBx6) DDR3/1600MHz Triple Channel Memory Module (Corsair Dominator)

Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 3GB 16X PCIe Video Card

Video Card 2: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 3GB 16X PCIe Video Card


Multiple Video Card Settings: Non-SLI/Non-CrossFireX Mode Supports Multiple Monitors

Power Supply Upgrade: 1,000 Watts - Raidmax RX-1000AE 80 Plus Gold Power Supply

Hard Drive: 80 GB Intel 320 2.5 inch SATA Gaming MLC Solid State Disk (Single Hard Drive)

Data Hard Drive: 1TB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM HDD

Optical Drive: Samsung SH-B123L 12X BLU-RAY Player & DVDRW Combo

Sound: HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO

Network: Onboard Gigabit LAN Network

Keyboard: Xtreme Gear (Black Color) Multimedia/Internet USB Keyboard

Mouse: XtremeGear Optical USB 3 Buttons Gaming Mouse

Flash Media Reader/Writer: INTERNAL 12in1 Flash Media Reader/Writer (BLACK COLOR)

Internal USB Port: Built-in USB 2.0 Ports

Operating System: Microsoft® Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit Edition)
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
October 20, 2012 9:23:24 AM

The HD 7970 is faster than a GTX 680 when playing at high resolutions.It also takes a smaller FPS hit when using AA and costs less.Therefore it's vastly superior.
For the most part AMD graphics cards outperform their Nvidia competitors, at the same price point.

I made you two PC's.
The first one is very upgradable and future proof while the second one isn't that future proof but it provides twice the graphics power.

First build:

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 ($26.82 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: EVGA 151-SE-E777-K2 EATX LGA2011 Motherboard ($169.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1.5TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($128.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($178.48 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($387.86 @ Newegg)
Case: Rosewill THOR V2 ATX Full Tower Case ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: OCZ ZX 1250W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($179.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Lite-On IHBS112-04 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($91.99 @ Amazon)
Other: Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) - from Newegg ($39.99)
Total: $1604.08
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

Second build:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($26.82 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Biostar TZ77XE3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($114.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Intel Extreme Master, Limited Ed 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($30.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($104.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card (CrossFire) ($387.86 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card (CrossFire) ($387.86 @ Newegg)
Case: Antec P280 ATX Mid Tower Case ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: OCZ ZT 750W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($79.98 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($91.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $1582.43
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

And uhh one last thing.Just ignore the build suggested by pushanthegreat.It uses old, outdated parts and its really not worth your money.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 20, 2012 1:26:35 PM

Some more details would be helpful, but here's a build making a few general assumptions:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($83.74 @ Mwave)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda Green 1.5TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($169.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($379.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($379.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Silverstone FT02B ATX Mid Tower Case ($229.00 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1784.65
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

That gives you a top shelf gaming CPU with lots of headroom to overclock, 16GB of RAM for future proofing (so long as you buy the motherboard from newegg to take advantage of their free RAM promotion), 256GB SSD to give you plenty of high speed storage space for games and apps, and two GTX 670s in SLI for beastly graphics performance. It pushes the limits of your budget a bit, but if needed you could save about $100 by opting for a less expensive chassis, of which there are many options.

A few examples:
Antec Eleven Hundred

Rosewill Thor V2

Corsair Carbide 500R

Cooler Master Storm Sniper
October 20, 2012 5:10:59 PM

Thank you all for your replies! I believe I'm going to use a combination of ckholt and kamen's suggestions. All of you are recommending ssds, I know they're quick, but does anyone know how the cheetahs and velociraptors perform? Are they worth it, so I don't have to deal with raid arrays and such?
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
October 20, 2012 5:41:45 PM

Case : COOLER MASTER Storm Scout Black Steel Mid Tower Case. ($69.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard : GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD3H LGA 1155. ($149.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU : Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo). ($229.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU : EVGA Superclocked GeForce GTX 680 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 x2 ( 2 Way SLI ). ($449.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM : CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 . ($41.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU : Antec High Current Pro 850 Watt 80 PLUS GOLD Certified. ($119.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD : Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache. ($79.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD : Kingston SSDNow 120GB SATA III. ($84.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU COOLER : COOLER MASTER V6 GT DynaLoop CPU Cooler Universal bracket & Dual Fan. ($49.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

TOTAL = $1727.
October 20, 2012 6:29:08 PM

Even more! 2 680's are very tempting... For gaming, are an i5 and i7 really going to be that much different? I'm pretty set on ivy bridge though then, unless someone can convince me otherwise?
a b B Homebuilt system
October 20, 2012 8:11:59 PM

For gaming, an i5 and i7 are going to be pretty much identical. Ivy bridge is definitely the way to go.

A pair of 680s vs a pair of 670s is pretty much just $200 down the drain. You're better off sinking that money into other components.

A velociraptor is similarly a waste of money for you, a relic from the pre-SSD era with only niche uses now. An SSD is going to blow the doors right off any HDD solution, RAID or otherwise. You also wouldn't be using a RAID with the SSD in case that was confusing, you would just be installing your OS and programs on there, and keeping any large data files like music or pictures or video on the slower (preferably green for less power wasted) secondary hard drive.
October 20, 2012 8:32:36 PM

Alright, thank you. SSD and ivy bridge it is then! My friend has a z68 and OCZ SSD and for hours i was trying to setup SSD caching for him, but could never get it to work. Any input on that? Is it worth it? Or just install the OS on the ssd and a couple games?
a b B Homebuilt system
October 20, 2012 8:58:43 PM

If you get the 256GB SSD, you should be able to install the OS and a BUNCH of games. I am currently using a Crucial/Dataplex SSD caching setup, and while it's nice for totally hands off ease of use, it's also definitely not as fast as a pure SSD. If you did want to go the caching route, 64GB is the largest size drive supported by the software.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 20, 2012 9:09:25 PM

Keep in mind, I am also recommending the 670s to you as a 680 owner myself. I missed buying the 670 I wanted by a few seconds when they first came out, and then rage/impulse purchased a 680 instead. Looking back, I'd rather have the extra $150. :p 

Oh yeah, and are you planning on overclocking at all? If not we save you a good chunk of change by swapping out the Noctua HSF. Hell, even if you are overclocking you'd probably be fine with a less expensive Hyper212+ or a Xigmatek Gaia unless you really want to push the limits of your chip.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
October 20, 2012 9:20:00 PM

ah dude are you really comparing 2 gtx 680 with 2 670 ahh.....
October 20, 2012 10:54:56 PM

I may be doing a slight overclock. Regardless, whether I choose to go any higher in the future, I will be purchasing third-party cooling. Currently have a frio and love it, but am looking at the H100s and if it's not too much of a hassle, would like to give it a try. Liquid cooling, yes or no?
a b B Homebuilt system
October 21, 2012 5:16:29 AM

If you're only doing a slight overclock, watercooling is a definite no. I wouldn't even spend a ton of money on an aircooler in that case, just get one for $20 and call it good. And if you did want to do watercooling, you'd probably want to skip the H100 and go for the full kit.

And absolutely I am comparing 680s to 670s. Compared to a 680, a 670 gives you a lot more bang for your buck. :p 
October 21, 2012 3:26:40 PM

Alright guys, how does this look? http://pcpartpicker.com/p/kXXE
Of course, with another 670, but apparently driver issues have been worked out with the 7970s, so i i guess i would be willing to look into those as well. Which is better? can anyone modify the build to make it any cheaper without performance loss?
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
October 21, 2012 3:47:47 PM

yea seems good , but you can buy only 2 tb hard drive and buy a bigger SSD , hard drives now is old fashion technology comparing to ssd they are terribly fast.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 21, 2012 11:26:17 PM

Spending more than you need to on the HSF and the motherboard, unless there's some specific feature on that board you really want. I wouldn't go with the MSI 670 either, they were recently caught dangerously overvolting their cards. Power supply wattage is too high still, and OCZ is not the best brand for PSUs.

The 7970s are generally better than the 670s on paper and in benchmarks, but the AMD fans are likely to blow the difference out of proportion. Some game developers prefer nvidia as well, so it's not even a universal improvement. You're talking about a couple FPS difference in either direction though, it's not a huge gap between them and I think you'd be perfectly happy with the performance of either pair, so if you have a strong preference for one brand there's no reason not to stay with them.

You can check out the benchmarks and see for yourself here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7970-ghz-...

Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
October 21, 2012 11:43:04 PM
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Here's a slightly revised build using a single 670, a less expensive HSF, and the NZXT Phantom case:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Xigmatek GAIA SD1283 56.3 CFM CPU Cooler ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda Green 1.5TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive ($87.27 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($169.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($379.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: NZXT Phantom (White) ATX Full Tower Case ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1252.18
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

Mind that's still 16GB of RAM if you buy the motherboard on newegg and take advantage of their Free Memory promo. This is also with the 256GB SSD and 1.5TB secondary HDD. Adding a second 670 back in would put it around 1630.
October 22, 2012 2:59:09 AM

Best answer selected by susejchristo.
October 22, 2012 3:01:06 AM

Definitely best bang for my buck right here. I will be purchasing soon. Thank you all for your responses, they've helped out a ton. And, i'm spending less than I thought I would be, so even better.
Thanks again.
!