Help with a new Gamer/Enthusiast system for under $2000

Hi Everyone,

This is my first post! I found my self suddenly and incurably addicted to this website as soon as I decided to build a new computer (haven't built one from scratch before I usually buy and upgrade a refurbished one).

This computer is to be purchased as soon as possible!

I want to build a new System but I'm stuck between being a gamer and an enthusiast. I'm not very interested in upgrading this rig down the line I want it to be pretty much set once I build it. I'd like plenty of power for: Gaming, Video & Photo editing and some audio programs like Ableton. I like running big simulation games and big strategic games (think Total War and CIV on the most epic settings possible) I hate load times. A fast boot speed is important to me and I also like to multitask and have multiple programs running. I want to build a stable powerful computer for under 2000$ Canadian. Soooo I'll quit yapping here's what I've come up with so far.

CPU:Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor (at 300ish I feel like this is a lot of bang for the buck)
Cooling: As I'm building this myself I am a bit skeptical of water cooled systems but I do want to overclock once I'm comfortable with the new system. I could really use some suggestions when it comes to cooling.

MOBO:ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (This has been the most frustrating part of the whole process. I'm totally out of my depth when it comes to motherboards. I want around 2 usb2 and 2 usb3 ports on the back and connectivity for the same on the front of the case...other than that I have no idea what to look for.)

Memory:Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (16gb might be a bit of overkill but ram is pretty cheap. Is it better to go with 2x8 or 4x4 ...if I go with 8s 32 GB is really tempting. Can you notice a difference between 16 and 32?)

Storage:OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk

Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (cheap internal don't need more than 1 tb, really need something RELIABLE. Is Seagate reliable?)

Graphics:Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card ( Down the road I might add another one if the performance gains would be significant)

Case:Cooler Master Storm Enforcer ATX Mid Tower Case (feeling pretty confident about the case.)

PSU: Corsair Gaming 800W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply
Optical drive: Asus BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit)

I already have a Monitor, its a 27inch Hanns G http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3490529&csid=_61
Would like to be using it to its full potential.

So in summary.

MOBO: Help! Please! I'm lost.
Cooling: How hard is it to go Liquid?
Memory: so many cheap choices! I remember when RAM was sooooo expensive it hurt just to look at it.
Overclocking: I want to overclock but I haven't ever tried it before. Being able to experiment safely would be a big plus.
How difficult is it to put a MOBO into a case and set a heatsink on the processor?

In advance, many many thanks!

Learner
14 answers Last reply
More about help gamer enthusiast system 2000
  1. If you will be overclocking with that processor, you need a cooling fan. The Noctua NH-D14 should do the trick. You don't even have to mess with watercooling here.
  2. Water-cooling isnt needed for overclocking. A cheap heatsink like a 212 EVO will be enough for light/moderate overclocks.

    16GB is the most you will need. Get 2x8GB as then you have the option of 32GB later and you can take advantage of the dual channel controller.

    All HDD's are as reliable as each other IMO. I havent had a drive fail on me and I have a large variety of brands and many of them quite old.

    The case is good, though depending on your answer to the watercooling below it may not be suitable.

    Mobo: the Extreme4 is a good board, no reason to change it.

    Cooling: What do you mean by "liquid cooling"?
    We talking a pre-built like a H100 or a Custom Loop? For the pre-built, its the same as any other air heatsink.
    For custom, its complexity will depend on the parts/kit you pick. But it will be a lot more complicated regardless.
    However it isn't overly complicated unless you go to extremes. A simple CPU loop with something like a Raystorm kit will be relatively easy to set up (relative to a fully custom loops with GPU blocks and such).

    Memory: Yep, RAM prices have dropped a lot.

    Overclocking: For a moderate overclock of say 4.2 - 4.4Ghz, its really simple. Its just a matter of changing the CPU multiplier in the BIOS and making sure temps and stability are fine. Once you go above that you have to start altering the CPU voltage to keep it stable. If you go beyond that, you have to start messing with some of the more finer voltages that I haven't even got my head around yet.

    Depends on the Case and Mobo in question. But you should be putting on the heatsink outside the case anyway.
  3. Learnerkip said:
    Hi Everyone,
    Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (cheap internal don't need more than 1 tb, really need something RELIABLE. Is Seagate reliable?)Learner
    My add to HDD reliability is to stay with the rule of 2 is 1, 1 is none. If you want reliability get 2 drives and RAID them in mirror for peace of mind. IF you want more reliability go 2 drives RAID mirror and use synctoy or something on a schedule to back up the drive to an external USB3.0 external device or something. That's my 2c.
    TheBigTroll said:
    hard drive. caviar blue has more warranty and is the same price as the seagate barracuda.
    http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=74462&vpn=WD10EZEX&manufacture=Western%20Digital%20WD&promoid=1016

    On the Blues, individually they are fine but if you do go the RAID route, don't use blues, use Blacks, or splurge for RED series. Blue series WDs have a little known problem with RAID that causing partition read failures.

    Learnerkip said:


    I say no to OCZ. I'm sure lots of people have them and are fine, but I look at the company profiles of the OEMS/vendors I buy my kit from, and OCZ is in serious trouble. layoffs, major profit loss, and reshuffling of management is not somewhere I would want to put my money. At your spending bracket, Samsung 840 series or even grab an 830 series on the cheap will be a solid investment for over the life of your system.

    One other if your on the quick advice, Seasonic is rotating out their X series GOLD P/S's, You can get them at a serious discount right now, and are bomb-proof. Corsair gets some of their series from Seasonic as an OEM, and I'm a fan of going to the rivers source for my gear.
  4. there is no point of raiding drives unless you are doing a NAS build, but by then you should be using red drives
  5. Watercooling is more of a hobby(unless you live in a place that is very hot and is deemed necessary),

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($319.99 @ NCIX)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($28.91 @ DirectCanada)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($179.99 @ Newegg Canada)
    Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($79.49 @ Newegg Canada)
    Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($194.99 @ Canada Computers)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($74.47 @ DirectCanada)
    Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($359.99 @ NCIX)
    Case: Cooler Master HAF XM (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($113.80 @ DirectCanada)
    Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($94.99 @ NCIX)
    Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Canada Computers)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Newegg Canada)
    Total: $1546.60
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

    other cases i suggest is corsair 500R, Fractal design define, and CM storm styker

    also you can switch the 670 into a 7970/GHz i went with a 670 because of its price.

    here is another build featuring the 7970GHz
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($319.99 @ NCIX)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($28.91 @ DirectCanada)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($179.99 @ Newegg Canada)
    Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($79.49 @ Newegg Canada)
    Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($194.99 @ Canada Computers)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($74.47 @ DirectCanada)
    Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card ($409.99 @ NCIX)
    Case: Cooler Master HAF XM (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($113.80 @ DirectCanada)
    Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 850W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($99.99 @ NCIX)
    Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Canada Computers)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Newegg Canada)
    Total: $1601.60
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

    photoshop does use openCL(AMD) so you might find a benefit from using amd instead of Nvidia.
  6. boulbox: did you see the price for a asrock extreme4 in canada? i can buy a ud5h what that money
  7. Gaming and your other uses are not mutually exclusive.....the video editing does push you in a specific direction in two areas:

    CPU - i7 for the hyperthreading
    GPU - nVidia for CUDA acceleration

    CPU - 3770k

    Motherboard - I'd do Asus for the enthusiast end. This one's $40 more but ya get $20 in the combo
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.1032410

    RAM - Stick with the Vengeance .... 16GB more than enough for gaming but photo and video editing benefit greatly from more RAM. If ya stick w/ the 4 x 4, I'd recommedn these low voltage, low profile models:
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233199

    If ya think ya might need 32 GB for the video / photo editing ..... start with 2 x 8Gb
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226337

    RAM - Nothing i can say bad about the Vertex 4 other than its price ... and 128 GB too small for your "enthusiast" uses:

    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226226

    Hard Drive - http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=708&Itemid=60&limit=1&limitstart=10

    Quote:
    For a hard drive, the Barracuda XT series offers the best performance available from a 7200 RPM mechanical storage device. It's not quite as fast as the Seagate Momentus-XT Solid State Hybrid Drive, but then again that product series doesn't offer storage capacities beyond 500GB.

    Seagate Barracuda XT = excellent drive, good warranty
    Seagate Barracuda = average drive, chinsy warranty

    Graphica - the AMD GFX will deny you access to CUDA acceleration which will be a big hurt on the video editing and at $470 still a bit pricey.

    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/HD_7970_GHz_Edition/33.html

    Quote:
    ....if the HD 7970 GHz Edition was $450 I'd definitely consider it, until that happens I'll happily take a GTX 680, or even GTX 670, which offers better price/performance at not much lower [gaming] performance.


    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GTX_670_Direct_Cu_II/33.html

    If using Adobe products, they lock CUDA usage to only "Adobe tested" cards .... but you can unlock CUDA on any CUDA capable card by following the directions here:

    http://www.studio1productions.com/Articles/PremiereCS5.htm

    Case - Storm Enforcer gets a 8.95 rating, Corsair 500R gets a 9.25 rating

    http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=767&Itemid=61&limit=1&limitstart=5
    http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=725&Itemid=61&limit=1&limitstart=6

    PSU - The HX850 (10.0 jonnyguru performance rating) would be my recommendation over the GS800 which has not been very well reviewed.

    Cooler - Hyper 612 PWM at $50 budget over anything cheapert.... 5-7C extra over Hyper 212
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103106'

    and Phanteks PH-TC14 (5 year warranty and decent aesthetics) at $80 over Noc DH-14 (1 year warranty and colors fugly as all hell)

    http://www.ncix.com/search/?categoryid=0&q=Phanteks
  8. Wow this is great feed back!
    I really like this part picker website, is there an easy way to copy paste my builds on it back into this forum?

    good to know that I don't have to fool around with water cooling. I'm loving these case suggestions too! Two more quick questions. How difficult is it to hook up the front usb connections? I had a previous case with audio and usb on the front that constantly stopped working and were very flaky but I didn't set them up. If I have the usb on the front set up will the ones on the back all still work?
  9. Front USB is "easy as cake, piece of pie" .... fans if the movie "2010: The Year We Make Contact" will recognize the pun.

    Just follow the directions in the case manual. And yes, back ones will still work .... the cheaper MoBos are somewhat limited in this regard as to number of USB ports. Just make sure ya keep track of USB 2 versus USB 3.

    Simple overclocking

    http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/core_i7_3770k_and_3750_review_with_z77,13.html

    http://www.overclock.net/t/1247413/ivy-bridge-overclocking-guide-with-ln2-guide-at-the-end
  10. I do most of my shopping from Newegg. The best advice I can give is to try to do the bulk of your shopping from the same vendor. This make returns easier and saves a bit on shipping.

    I am a fan of most of the parts listed. I would like to point out a few things I would do (and have done) for this system.


    Thermaltake V9 BlacX Case $99.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811133182

    The case has a top-mounted, dual docking station that supports
    any size sata drive. If you have AHCI enabled in the bios AND
    Windows, you can hot swap hard drives.


    ASRock Z77 Extreme4 - $134.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157293

    I went with an i5-2500k processor. I was able to get that procesor to 4.7 ghz by doing nothing more than bumping up the multiplier in bios, that was all. I attribute that to this motherboard.


    Corsair XMS3 8gig PC316000 - $59.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145325

    My only regret with this ram was not buying 2 kits.


    Intel Core i5-2500k - $219.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115072


    Again, this thing overclocked with nothing more than a bump in bios. The overclock bump made the ivybridge performance gain negligable.


    Antec High Current Gamer 900W PS - $129.00
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371050

    Overkill for this system but gives you room to grow.


    Kingston HyperX 120 gig SSD - $109.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820239049

    This little drive is awesome. This bundle is even better. Comes with a drive tray, an enclosure for making the drive a portable USB 2.0 drive, a screw driver, and a sata cable. I have purchased 2 of these (one for me and one for the wife) and we're tickled pink. Windows 7 64 bit loads in under 10 seconds.


    Seagate Barrcuda 3TB - $149.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148844

    You'll need a storage drive if you use an SSD OS drive. I own 3 of these and I am happy with them.


    EVGA GeForce GTX670 FTW 2GB - $369.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130787

    The price to performance of this card is just there, honestly. I have ALWAYS had good luck out of EVGA on everyting I have owned, so I always recommend them.


    Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 pro - $29.00
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835186134

    These little coolers are AMAZING for the price. I had a fan die on ONE of the 8 I have purchased. One phone call to the company and they overnighted a new fan, free of charge.


    Total: $1273.00

    Keep in mind, this doesn't include an optical drive or operating system. If you have a college email, you SHOULD qualify for the discounted Windows 8 soon.

    Good luck!
  11. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130785 how does this stack up against the 7970?

    I have 450 or so set aside for the video card. How do you think these cheaper cards like the gtx670 will stack up in the future? Perhaps its better to get a gtx670 now and then another one in 6 months or so?
  12. also found this case!
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147107
    Pros comes with so many fans! also i really like all the usb on the top of the case

    cons.... any? Now I just need to make sure the MOBO can support this many USB need at least 4 on the back as well.
  13. evga ftw is inferior to pretty much any after market cooling solution avaliable to the gtx 670. closed coolers just wont perform as well as a open air cooler
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