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Help with gaming PC – 3,000 budget – US-bought and overseas assembled

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November 1, 2012 5:54:38 PM

Hi! :hello: 

I am a 27 years old lawyer living in Brazil and getting married on 2013. Because my fiancée is going to the US to buy her wedding dress, this is my opportunity to build a new gaming PC!

I currently have a G73JW notebook, bought 2 years ago, which fulfilled its objectives and now needs to be replaced for high resolution max settings gaming.

So, my intention is to build my new gaming PC. And by build, I mean actually build it – get the parts, put them together, tighten the screws and so forth. Therefore, this build’s objective is twofold: buy an awesome gaming rig AND tickle my maker genes.

I have never really built anything from ground up, but I do know my way around hardware and have no fear of digging in. Here’s my situation:

- I live in Brazil, which means I have no access to the newest PC parts, and if I did, it would be too expensive. Therefore, since my fiancée is going to the US from November 20th to 28th, I will buy everything I need online and she will bring them to be assembled here;

- Because of the specific fact above, I need to choose parts that last long – both because of their quality and speed. If something breaks, I’m without a PC for at least 3 months, due to international RMA. If something gets too slow, god only knows when I will go to the US again to buy parts. Please consider this for your suggestions!

- With the exception of the case and monitor, which I will buy here due to the size, everything else will be bought on the US – not only PC parts, but tools and equipment such as cooling paste, etc.

- I already have a Razor mouse (Mamba) and keyboard and will keep using them.

Here’s what I intend to build so far, with comments for each part:

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/m9wK

CPU: Intel Core i7-3930K 3.2GHz 6-Core Processor ($499.99 @ Microcenter)
It was a tough choice between the 3930k and the 3770, especially because I do not intend to do any overclocking. However, considering that I want to try and have this thing last for as long as possible, I ended up going for the higher end option. The fact that it does not come with a cooler means more assembling fun (as explained above). Please note that I personally want an Intel processor, so AMD suggestions are not an option.

CPU Cooler: Xigmatek Dark Knight II SD1283 Night Hawk Edition 89.5 CFM CPU Cooler ($49.99 @ Newegg)
I have no idea if this is any good; I chose it based on price/reviews. 100% open to other suggestions.

Motherboard: ASRock X79 Extreme4 ATX LGA2011 Motherboard ($209.99 @ Amazon)
Once again, chosen due to reviews and open for suggestions.

Memory: Corsair Vengeance 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($189.99 @ Newegg)
I felt like 32gb would be a good option at this time. Corsair seems like a good brand and this model has reasonable reviews.

Storage: Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($128.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Mushkin Chronos 480GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($299.99 @ Newegg)

One fast booting SSD drive and the mandatory hdd.

Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 690 4GB Video Card ($999.99 @ Amazon)
Now, the reason why I chose the GTX 690 is based on a few facts: first, I do not want to buy ATI – this is due to my history with NVidia and ATI. Second, I get tingly when thinking about two GTX 690 working on SLI in the near future, something that would not be an option if I bought two GTX 680 SLI right now.

Power Supply: Corsair Professional 1050W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($205.98 @ Newegg)
I just want something safe, trustworthy and enough for two 690 SLI in the future.

Optical Drive: Lite-On IHBS112-04 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($72.98 @ Newegg)
Basic Blu-Ray driver.

Total: $2667.89

Questions I currently have, always considering my personal situation described above:
1. Is my choice for the 3930k instead of the 3770 a good one? Or is the added price not worth it?
2. Do I need to buy anything (other than monitor and case) to install everything above? Screwdrivers? Cooling paste? Screws?
3. If I buy an SSD and an hdd as seen above, is it enough to have a very fast booting machine? Is it insanely hard to configure and install, or so I just install windows on the SSD and I’m done?
4. Is there any better choice of CPU cooler?
5. Is there any better choice of motherboard?
6. Is there any better choice of RAM memory?
7. Is there any better choice of power supply?
8. Please, feel free to criticize and suggest.

I will post pictures of the final parts bought, the assembling and the working machine in the end!

Thank you for the help! :wahoo: 

Mandatory new build info:
Purchase date: November 20th.
Budget Range: From USD 2,000 to 3,000
System Usage: Gaming – everything else is subsidiary but should run very fast for working and multitasking.
Are you buying a monitor: No.
Parts to upgrade: Everything.
Do you need to buy OS: No.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Any online shop.
Location: Delivered to Orlando, will be brought to Brazil and assembled here.
Parts Preferences: Nvidia Graphics Card and Intel Processor.
Overclocking: No.
SLI or Crossfire: Maybe
Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080.
Why Are You Upgrading: To max every game on Ultra settings, for as long as possible.
November 1, 2012 7:56:05 PM

1: is she going to be near a microcenter? I do not see one in orlando and there cpus are mostly in stores only.
2: I understand that this is supposed to last you years but an i7 3930k isn't worth the cost.
3: I would suggest this i7 3770k and a z77 mobo
4: if you want to sli the 690 (can you?) You may need a bigger power supply.
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November 1, 2012 9:27:40 PM

Thank you for the suggestions!

1. I'm buying everything on Amazon online and having it delivered at the hotel.
2 and 3. Noted and agreed. Other people said the same. I'm downgrading to the 3770k.
4. Hmmm that is worrying. I'll look into SilverStone Platinum series, as someone suggested.
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November 1, 2012 9:33:58 PM

I am not saying that that power supply isn't good because it looks awesome but a gtx 690 is 2 Graphics cards in 1. So if you have 2 gtx 690's in sli you may need a lot of power I do not know if 1050 would be enough it may be just do some research.
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November 1, 2012 10:06:15 PM

I entered your 3770K system in pcpartpicker.com and came up with 808 watts with two 690's.

I'd get a top quality power supply that was platinum rated. Remember, the more efficient it is, the less heat generated. Maybe something like this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PC Power and Cooling Silencer Mk III Series PPCMK3S1200 1200W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS PLATINUM Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

Single +12V rail and modular.
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November 2, 2012 2:02:45 PM

Thank you for the help!

After reviewing all the suggestions and comments, below is the updated setup. Everyone will notice that:
- The internet is 100% sure that the 3930k is not worth it. Since I trust the internet, I`m going for the 3770k.
- I do know that the 3770k comes with its own cooler, but am adding a 212 EVO as recommended (and it should be fun assembling it).
- New motherboard to accompany it! Everyone seem to be 50%MSI/50%Asrock, so I`m just choosing the one I liked best.
- Replacing the gtx690 for two gtx680. I am thinking about building a 3-monitor high resolution setup and that could be taxing on the gpus. Moreover, if for bad luck I get a DOA GPU, at least I have another for the PC to work while RMA takes place.
- Changed the memory sticks slightly. Despite the fact that a lot of people think 16gb should be more than enough, 32gb is being bought due future-proofing combined with low prices on memory and possible DOA sticks.
- Samsung SSDs were very well recommended, which led me to replace my SSD for the 830 Series.
- Smaller and better recommended PSU.
- Brand change on the blu-ray.
- Much cheaper!

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($329.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($26.22 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: MSI Z77A-GD65 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($149.99 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($79.24 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($79.24 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($213.16 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($128.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 680 4GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($529.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 680 4GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($529.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic Platinum 860W 80 PLUS Platinum Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($184.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG WH14NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($74.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $2376.78


I am open to further discussion and will update everything with pics in the coming weeks. My fiancée gets there on the 20th and back on the 28th, when rig building will commence.
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November 2, 2012 3:15:07 PM

leogobbo said:
Thank you for the help!

After reviewing all the suggestions and comments, below is the updated setup. Everyone will notice that:
- The internet is 100% sure that the 3930k is not worth it. Since I trust the internet, I`m going for the 3770k.
- I do know that the 3770k comes with its own cooler, but am adding a 212 EVO as recommended (and it should be fun assembling it).
- New motherboard to accompany it! Everyone seem to be 50%MSI/50%Asrock, so I`m just choosing the one I liked best.
- Replacing the gtx690 for two gtx680. I am thinking about building a 3-monitor high resolution setup and that could be taxing on the gpus. Moreover, if for bad luck I get a DOA GPU, at least I have another for the PC to work while RMA takes place.
- Changed the memory sticks slightly. Despite the fact that a lot of people think 16gb should be more than enough, 32gb is being bought due future-proofing combined with low prices on memory and possible DOA sticks.
- Samsung SSDs were very well recommended, which led me to replace my SSD for the 830 Series.
- Smaller and better recommended PSU.
- Brand change on the blu-ray.
- Much cheaper!

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($329.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($26.22 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: MSI Z77A-GD65 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($149.99 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($79.24 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($79.24 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($213.16 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($128.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 680 4GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($529.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 680 4GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($529.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic Platinum 860W 80 PLUS Platinum Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($184.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG WH14NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($74.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $2376.78


I am open to further discussion and will update everything with pics in the coming weeks. My fiancée gets there on the 20th and back on the 28th, when rig building will commence.

I'll add a couple thoughts to your build based on what your setting is and what your long term goals were for this build:

If you want to hen-peck a little to shift some money around, I would suggest trimming back to a non-K version i7. Your not going to overclock so put that money somewhere else. Stay on the 212 cooler, its miles better than the OEM, and in the future you can OC a little on the locked CPU.

Power supply efficiency ratings are a bit of marketing ploy, the higher you go up the faster the diminishing returns come in. Yes there is reduced heat but if your not running 90%load all the time, and back again to you not overclocking, it's not money well spent. Drop down to GOLD, or even SILVER what you really want to look at is AMP load/draw across single rail not so much the total wattage. +12V@62A rail would be plenty and headroom for growth.

At 1080p resolution all your video card configs are overkill. one 680 factory OC'd card will drive 99% of all games maxed out if your staying at 60hz. If you are "thinking" about 3LCD, go with 1 680 and wait till you sure. by the time you go 3 LCD surround you will save 150-200 on a second 680 card.

A note on your reason to drop back from a GTX 690. They are top-binned cherry picked cards, they probably have they lowest % chance of DOA of any card you will buy, and if for some reason you do have to RMA it back, your Core i7 CPU has built in HD4000 GPU onboard, you just switch to the onboard video on your motherboard till the RMA comes back get by. Think of it as a spare tire. I have a GTX 690 sitting on my desk at home right now and the thing is a work of art that is hard to appreciate until you've had it in your hands. Overkill at 60hz yes, but great for added lifecycle of your build.

I don't agree with people thinking you can get a 2nd 690 later though, by the time GPU series go end of life the highest end card is the first to go unavailable so if you want to go quad-SLI (massive diminished returns btw) you either have to jump in when they are available or really have an eye on the changing GPU market to time the late season purchase.

I agree with you on 32GB ram, it's the cheapest thing on any build. Heck custom case fans cost more than RAM now. Max it out and forget it's there.

Also, congratulations on getting married!
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November 2, 2012 4:13:32 PM

@tinman12 - Thanks for the thoughts!

While I originally had no intention to overclock, the idea is growing on me. Everyone is saying overcloking this system could warrant pretty nice gains and could be fun for me to learn as well. So, I guess I`m keeping the 3770k.

As for the power supply, it is important to note two things: 1) I`m scared to hell of needing RMA; 2) It is HOT in Brasilia where I live (today, average 40 Celsius). I thought a better PSU would run cooler and be more reliable. What do you think?

Your idea of buying one 680 for the moment and seeing if I need another in the future is quite reasonable. I might just do that in the end, have not fully decided. One advantage of the 690 is that it would be easier for my wife to bring to Brazil, as it is smaller than 2 680.

Thanks for the congratulations! We will get married on the Caribbean so it should be fun!
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November 2, 2012 4:34:58 PM

leogobbo said:
@tinman12 - Thanks for the thoughts!

While I originally had no intention to overclock, the idea is growing on me. Everyone is saying overcloking this system could warrant pretty nice gains and could be fun for me to learn as well. So, I guess I`m keeping the 3770k.

As for the power supply, it is important to note two things: 1) I`m scared to hell of needing RMA; 2) It is HOT in Brasilia where I live (today, average 40 Celsius). I thought a better PSU would run cooler and be more reliable. What do you think?

Your idea of buying one 680 for the moment and seeing if I need another in the future is quite reasonable. I might just do that in the end, have not fully decided. One advantage of the 690 is that it would be easier for my wife to bring to Brazil, as it is smaller than 2 680.

Thanks for the congratulations! We will get married on the Caribbean so it should be fun!


They are right on that (OC'ing) and once you are comfortable with the system stability OCing definitely can be a lot of frustrating fun. For $30 its a good future bet.

I used to play online with friends in Columbia, and more than heat; humidity is your #1 danger on PC build down there. Both need good planning but you want to keep air moving through your system all the time especially in a positive air pressure setup. Positive pressure will reduce chance of dust build up inside. Dust+moisture on your components invite cascade failures and some serious RMA time. Get yourself a few extra good quality case fans to add some more air pressure and flow inside the case.
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