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1440p Gaming Rig - What would you buy?

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November 1, 2012 11:48:04 PM

I'm looking at getting a 2560x1440 IPS monitor and a rig to power it.

Budget $3000 or more - but I'm pretty keen to spend only what's going to have real-world performance benefits i.e. noticeable gaming improvements. AMD, Nvidia, Xfire, SLI I have no real brand loyalty - only what works best for smooth, flawless gaming at hi-res.

So what would you buy?

More about : 1440p gaming rig buy

November 1, 2012 11:53:57 PM

Does the $3000 include the monitor, or is that for just the rig? Also, do you plan on overclocking?
November 2, 2012 12:21:13 AM

Yes it's inclusive of the monitor, and yes it would be OC. But theres plenty more money where that came from if you think there would be *noticeable* performance gains in gaming.
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November 2, 2012 12:37:03 AM

Actually those monitors are not that expensive atm. Especially because the popular thing these days is to get a Korean made 27" 2560x1440 since they are only about $250-350 per monitor. I am actually debating about getting three of them at that price for Triscreen gaming at an insane resolution.
November 2, 2012 12:39:16 AM

Okay, here's what I came up with for a well rounded high performance overclocking-friendly single display gaming machine:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Xigmatek GAIA SD1283 56.3 CFM CPU Cooler ($19.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($33.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($189.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card ($413.78 @ NCIX US)
Case: Corsair 500R Black ATX Mid Tower Case ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 620W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($82.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1206.69
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

Obviously you would add whichever monitor and OS you like. That HSF should be fine for moderate overclocking, you could spend more and get something like the Noctua NH-D14 if you're really serious about it and want to push the limits. You could scale your storage up or down as needed. You could also spend a bit less on the PSU, but there's plenty of room in the budget and the peace of mind from getting a quality unit is worth it in my opinion.

There's really nothing you could add to this build to make it perform better for gaming on a single display.
November 2, 2012 12:44:11 AM

This build will be able to play any game that is currently out, and those that are to be released for QUITE a while to come with maximum details.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($26.22 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($103.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card (CrossFire) ($413.78 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card (CrossFire) ($413.78 @ NCIX US)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 932 Blue ATX Full Tower Case ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional 850W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Asus PB278Q 27.0" Monitor ($698.95 @ B&H)
Total: $2372.65
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

The second card for crossfire may not be entirely necessary, but if you want the smoothest gameplay possible on that monitor, it might as well be thrown in. However, the best course of action would be to simply buy the one, and if you feel the performance is not up to expectations, but a second one to crossfire AFTER.
a c 271 4 Gaming
a b C Monitor
November 2, 2012 12:48:26 AM

ckholt83 said:
Okay, here's what I came up with for a well rounded high performance overclocking-friendly single display gaming machine:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Xigmatek GAIA SD1283 56.3 CFM CPU Cooler ($19.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($33.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($189.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card ($413.78 @ NCIX US)
Case: Corsair 500R Black ATX Mid Tower Case ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 620W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($82.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1206.69
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

Obviously you would add whichever monitor and OS you like. That HSF should be fine for moderate overclocking, you could spend more and get something like the Noctua NH-D14 if you're really serious about it and want to push the limits. You could scale your storage up or down as needed. You could also spend a bit less on the PSU, but there's plenty of room in the budget and the peace of mind from getting a quality unit is worth it in my opinion.

There's really nothing you could add to this build to make it perform better for gaming on a single display.


Do not purchase a Xigmatek fan - they are not worth it. Too many loose parts, incredibly cheap thermal paste, and the fans are a pain in the ass to attach to the heatsink. Get a Hyper 212 Evo, or Corsair C70, something, anything else. Otherwise that's not a bad build at all.
November 2, 2012 1:07:56 AM

ckholt83 said:
Okay, here's what I came up with for a well rounded high performance overclocking-friendly single display gaming machine:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Xigmatek GAIA SD1283 56.3 CFM CPU Cooler ($19.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($33.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($189.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card ($413.78 @ NCIX US)
Case: Corsair 500R Black ATX Mid Tower Case ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 620W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($82.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1206.69
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)



That's a nice build - Very sensible. I'd probably go a Noctua NH-D14 or Hyper 212 Evo, a more reliable SSD (Intel / Samsung / Crucial ) and a nicer case.
November 2, 2012 1:13:22 AM

azathoth said:
This build will be able to play any game that is currently out, and those that are to be released for QUITE a while to come with maximum details.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($26.22 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($103.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card (CrossFire) ($413.78 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card (CrossFire) ($413.78 @ NCIX US)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 932 Blue ATX Full Tower Case ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional 850W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Asus PB278Q 27.0" Monitor ($698.95 @ B&H)
Total: $2372.65
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

The second card for crossfire may not be entirely necessary, but if you want the smoothest gameplay possible on that monitor, it might as well be thrown in. However, the best course of action would be to simply buy the one, and if you feel the performance is not up to expectations, but a second one to crossfire AFTER.


Not concerned about the Micro-Stuttering AMD cards seem to suffer from? I hear you get smoother gameplay out of 1 7970 rather than 2.
November 2, 2012 1:15:04 AM

AusExpat said:
That's a nice build - Very sensible. I'd probably go a Noctua NH-D14 or Hyper 212 Evo, a more reliable SSD (Intel / Samsung / Crucial ) and a nicer case.


All very reasonable changes. I have the NH-D14 myself, it is a beast. I've also used the Hyper212 several times and it's a good performer for the price, I just don't usually advocate Cooler Master any more on general principle, so I've started looking at other options.

I also usually recommend Samsung SSDs, and if you don't mind spending a bit more money for the same capacity, the 840 Pro is a fantastic choice and comes out in a few days: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case is very much a matter of preference, and it's certainly something you could spend more on to find something that really suits you. I picked out the 500R because it's at a sweet spot for price right now on sale, but there are about a million options here. :) 
a c 271 4 Gaming
a b C Monitor
November 2, 2012 1:19:14 AM

AusExpat said:
That's a nice build - Very sensible. I'd probably go a Noctua NH-D14 or Hyper 212 Evo, a more reliable SSD (Intel / Samsung / Crucial ) and a nicer case.


I wouldn't get a D14 on a $1200 budget - maybe the U9B if you want a step above. I have a Vertex 4 - there's nothing wrong with it.
November 2, 2012 1:19:43 AM

AusExpat said:
Not concerned about the Micro-Stuttering AMD cards seem to suffer from? I hear you get smoother gameplay out of 1 7970 rather than 2.


Yeah, I would say an SLI setup is overkill right now, it would only be useful for futureproofing and could actually worsen performance because of micro stuttering. I would say to just hang on to the cash for now, and only add a second card in the future when you actually start to feel the need for more power. Or, just replace the single card with a newer shinier model at that point, which is how I prefer to do it.
a b 4 Gaming
a b C Monitor
November 2, 2012 10:52:23 AM

Don't go for dual cards, you could play at that resolution on the HD 7870 2GB. Since you have the budget for more though, I'd grab a single HD 7970 3GB.

http://www.techspot.com/review/550-best-gaming-graphics...

This shows that even at the slightly higher 2560x1600 resolution, you can average over 30FPS on ultra high settings with the HD 7870 2GB even on Metro and BF3. The HD 7970 3GB should put you at around 50, 60+ if you overclock it.
a b 4 Gaming
a b C Monitor
November 2, 2012 11:13:48 AM

To directly answer the question, for that resolution I would get an i5-3570K and a single HD7970, but I'd want a PSU able to handle a second one if needed. Microstutter is more of an issue with low-mid range cards like the HD7770. I'd probably get a Seasonic-built 750W-850W modular PSU.
The rest is niggling. I like the Xigmatek Gaia (have two), g-unit doesn't. I won't touch CM anything because the company is dishonest, others don't care. The CPU and GPU I listed is what I would buy for that resolution.

!