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Need Lots of Advice on ~$3000 Gaming PC Build

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October 21, 2012 10:56:27 PM


Approximate Purchase Date: 2-4 weeks (or until specific items become available e.g samsung 840 pro ssd)

Budget Range: ~$3000AUD but don't really have a set limit

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming at highest settings for present and future games at 1920x1080 and possibly higher

Are you buying a monitor: Yes

Parts to Upgrade: Building a New PC

Do you need to buy OS: No (But may receive free Windows 8 Pro, and yes I know and agree its balls)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: www.pccasegear.com

Location: Melbourne,Victoria,Australia

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU

Overclocking: Maybe, but would like to have the option and capability

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe, if its needed please refer to my long list of (noob) questions below

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (possibly 2560 x 1600,but again this is one of my numerous questions)

Additional Comments: I generally play a whole range of game genres but mainly RPG and FPS, and once again would like the system to be able to play such games at max settings for at least a few years

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I've never had a desktop pc, but I've built countless pcs for other ppl as a job and favour for friends, but haven't done so in over 2 years (which is why I need advice)


Current List of Researched Part Options:
I have very limited experienced in selecting pc parts I've done considerable research, and while I'm willing to spend a considerable amount of money, I want to make sure that its not wasted and spent on the better products. I have compiled an initial list of possible parts but need help narrowing it down and advice on whether I have overlooked some products or something.
The option/part that I'm leaning towards will be highlighted in green.

Case - Thermaltake Level 10 GT Snow Edition/NZXT Pantom 820 Case White/Coolermaster Haf X nVidia Edition $279/$265/$219
Power Supply - Corsair TX-750 V2/Corsair Ax750 Gold $141/$215
MOtherboard - Asus Sabertooth Z77/Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP7/Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP5-TH/Asus Maximus V Extreme/Asus P8Z77-V Premium $249/$455/$315/$445/$495
CPU - Intel Core i5 3570k $233
CPU Cooler - Corsair Hydro Series H100/CoolerMaster TPC 812 + Artic Silver 5 Thermal Compound $145/$75+$9
Memory - Corsair Vengeance CMZ16GX3M2A2133C10 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3/Corsair Vengeance CMZ16GX3M2A1600C10 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 $209/$99
Solid State Drive - Samsung 830 Series 256GB SSD Retail Box/Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD $209/(?)[Maybe~$280]
Hard Drive - Western Digital WD Black 2TB WD2002FAEX $175
Optical Drive - Lite-On IHES312 12X Blu-Ray DVD Combo Drive $55
Graphics Card - 2 or 1(Refer to Questions) EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB FTW/EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB FTW SIG2/ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II 2GB/MSI GeForce GTX 670 Power Edition OC 2GB (Maybe 2x) $499/(?)[Maybe~$579]/$455/$479


As I said before I need advice on which parts to get and whether they are even all compatible, and would really appreciate it if you provided your thoughts and suggestions. Below will be a (long) list of questions I have and feel free suggest other parts besides those I have selected.

Questions:
1. Which Case would you recommend? (Please bear in mind that while I'm primarily looking for great cooling and features, I also want it to look good)
2.(a) Which Power Supply would you recommend? (I can't decide whether to get a fully modular power supply or not.)
2.(b) Is 750W enough if I get two graphics cards and overlock, or should I get 850W or even more?
3.(a) Which Motherboard would you recommend?
3.(b) Is there any point getting a thunderbolt board in preparation for the future, or am I just wasting my money?
4. Which CPu Cooler would you recommend? (Is the H100 overkill?)
5. Which Memory Kit would you recommend? (Is there no difference between 2133mHz and 1600mHz for me and is 2133mHZ therefore a waste of money?)
6. Which SSD would you recommend? (I'm heavily leaning towards the 840 Pro the only issue is when it will be available for me to purchase. So is it worth waiting and will it be much longer?)
7.(a) Which Graphics Card would you recommend? (I'm heavily leaning towards the EVGA GTX 670 FTW, my main problem is whether the Signature II Edition is much better to justify waiting untill mainstream consumers can get their hands on it and paying more?)
7.(b) Should I get one or two graphics cards? (In other words, should I just get 1 now as that will be enough for todays games, and then get another in the future when I need it and it's cheaper?)
8. Do I need additionally cooling such as extra case fans or liquid cooling systems for the graphics cards and what not?


That concludes the extensive list of questions and please try to answer with numbers as it'll make it that much easier to read and understand your opinions. (Of course this doesn't apply if your also providing general system and parts advice)

A big thanks in advance to all the considerate individuals who sacrifice some of their valuable time to (read this long ass post) and help me out.
October 22, 2012 12:18:04 AM

1) Tough call on the case. Cooling is very subjective amongst manufacturers. I would rely heavily on what reviews are available (also very subjective) and aesthetics that conform to your desires. Of the three you listed, I'd probably lean towards the NZXT case.
2a) As long as you have a larger case and a few cable ties, I wouldn't worry about going for a modular power supply.
2b) I'd lean towards an 850 watt PSU for an immediate SLI configuration.
3a) Of the ones you have listed, the least expensive one that still supplies all the latest technology you need: PCI-E 3.0 slots/SATA 6.0 and USB 3.0 ports. Assuming all these boards support all these technologies AND have enough ports/slots to even support some upgrades in the future, then the least expensive would be my choice.
3b) Can't answer that one.
4) Stock until you are sure you're ready to overclock.
5) Check your motherboard specifications. The highest numbered RAM without an (OC) following is what *I'D* get. For instance, if the specs state DDR3 2400(OC)/1600/1333/1066, I'd go with DDR3-1600.
6) I really don't see any need to go with such a large SSD. For most people, an 128GB SSD would be sufficient. I've been running my all-purpose system off of an 80GB HDD for years.
7a) The GTX670 Signature2 Series card is equal in price (after rebate) to the GTX680 Signature2 series. If you don't mind waiting for a rebate, go with the GTX680.
7b) If you are even considering SLI or Crossfire, go with it immediately. Do not plan on purchasing a second card later. Limited availability may make the cost of the card skyrocket or a better single card solution may be available by the time you're ready to SLI/Crossfire.
8) Not immediately. I think you should probably stress test your system for both heat and sound before spending any money on additional or third party cooling.

-Wolf sends
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October 22, 2012 4:43:51 AM

Wolf knows what he is doing, I'm sure, but I would take issue with 6. If you are spending $3000 on a computer then I think at least a 240gig SSD is worth it. That way you can keep your favorite 3 - 4 games on there as well as office or whatever other software you use on a regular basis. I find myself using about 80% of my SSD at any given time.

Word to the wise, treat that little thing like gold and don't skimp on PSU. I just lost my SSD to a PSU blowout and it wiped all my data (I even had a seasonic PSU). I hope SanDisk decides to replace it because those frickin' things are expensive.
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October 22, 2012 5:03:22 AM

Quote:
Word to the wise, treat that little thing like gold and don't skimp on PSU. I just lost my SSD to a PSU blowout and it wiped all my data (I even had a seasonic PSU). I hope SanDisk decides to replace it because those frickin' things are expensive.


Ouch that sucks, I've seen PSUs blow up and take out other hardware, I'll never buy cheap PSUs again.

Quote:
1. Which Case would you recommend? (Please bear in mind that while I'm primarily looking for great cooling and features, I also want it to look good)
2.(a) Which Power Supply would you recommend? (I can't decide whether to get a fully modular power supply or not.)
2.(b) Is 750W enough if I get two graphics cards and overlock, or should I get 850W or even more?
3.(a) Which Motherboard would you recommend?
3.(b) Is there any point getting a thunderbolt board in preparation for the future, or am I just wasting my money?
4. Which CPu Cooler would you recommend? (Is the H100 overkill?)
5. Which Memory Kit would you recommend? (Is there no difference between 2133mHz and 1600mHz for me and is 2133mHZ therefore a waste of money?)
6. Which SSD would you recommend? (I'm heavily leaning towards the 840 Pro the only issue is when it will be available for me to purchase. So is it worth waiting and will it be much longer?)
7.(a) Which Graphics Card would you recommend? (I'm heavily leaning towards the EVGA GTX 670 FTW, my main problem is whether the Signature II Edition is much better to justify waiting untill mainstream consumers can get their hands on it and paying more?)
7.(b) Should I get one or two graphics cards? (In other words, should I just get 1 now as that will be enough for todays games, and then get another in the future when I need it and it's cheaper?)
8. Do I need additionally cooling such as extra case fans or liquid cooling systems for the graphics cards and what not?


1. I absolutely hate the Level 10 - it's an ugly, overrated, plastic monstrosity that's difficult to work with. If I were personally paying that much for a case I'd get the NZXT Switch 810 - it's a lot cleaner look and better build quality plus has built in room for 2.5" drives.

2. Yes 750W is plenty but be sure to get a quality PSU from Corsair or Antec, avoid crap like Raidmax.

3. I would not purchase the Sabertooth as the "thermal armor" traps more heat than it prevents. Get something with Thunderbolt support for future HDs and other devices that will take advantage of it. Try the Gigabyte Z77X-UD4 TH.

4. Don't get an H100 - the plastic water blocks are crap compared to what a real radiator can do. If you go liquid cooling use the real thing or don't use it at all. Get a strong air fan like the D14 instead.

5. I usually use G.Skill Ares or Mushkin Blackline but Mushkin isn't available in Australia. For Ivy Bridge you will need DDR3 1600, timing 9-9-9-24, and 1.5V is a must.

6. I've heard good things about the 840 Pro but the OCZ Vertex 4 is excellent as is the old favorite Crucial M4 and the 830 as well.

7a. Yes the EVGA 670 is a good choice, I hear the Gigabyte model has a better cooler. Alternately consider the Sapphire Vapor X 7970 GHz edition.

7b. I kind of have differing opinions on SLI / Crossfire. If you want to do so, it would be wise to add a second before the end of the line that way you're not scrambling to find one. But if you want to, the option is there if you get a solid PSU and a motherboard that will support SLI / Crossfire.

8. I'm incredibly hesitant to recommend after market GPU coolers or do anything that will void warranties. I've had EVGA techs tell me that aftermarket GPUs will void the cards' warranty if they find you've been using one.

As far as extra fans or anything else like that read this: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-airflow-hea...
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