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($1200) New Gaming Rig

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November 10, 2012 4:31:46 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Cyber Monday - Nov 26

Budget Range: ~$1200CAD before tax/rebate. Not including monitor, second gpu (purchasing 2nd gpu in a few months)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, web/media development, surfing internet

Are you buying a monitor: not at the moment, but I will be looking for two 27" at 1920x1080. i plan to use one monitor for full screen gaming. i use dual monitors when i am doing my web/media dev work.

Do you need to buy OS: no

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: memory express and use their price matching policy (any canadian store)

Location: Vancouer, Canada

Overclocking: no

SLI or Crossfire: yes. i plan to purchase another gpu sometime next year when the price gets cheaper

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080. i will be using two monitors, but plan to only game on one while using the other for skype/vent...

Additional Comments: I tend to play online FPS (Battlefield, Planetside...). I also have put together a build but unsure if it is any good: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/n8IP.

I also have a few questions:
  • 1) During the summer, my room heats up to about 30*C. I do have a small fan circulating the air. Would an ordinary case provide enough air flow even if I were to XFire 7950?
  • 2) Is it worth to upgrade from the i5-2450 to i5-3570 for an additional $20? Would I see much of a performance increase?
  • 3) When selecting the 7950, I noticed that there are different clock speeds from different manufacture. Does it effect performance for which speed/manufacturer I select, or should I pick the cheapest one? In addition, when I am to purchase a second 7950, does it have to be the exact same model to take advantage of XFire?
  • 4) What should I be looking for in a motherboard? Right now, I've only been looking for a good mobo that has 2 X PCIe 3.0 slots. I am wondering in-case I see another mobo on sale on CyberMon.
  • 5) What sort of case do you suggest? I am not very picky about the case as it is tucked away under the desk out of sight. I was suggested the Corsair 550D, but it seems rather expensive for a tower I won't ever see.
  • More about : 1200 gaming rig

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    November 10, 2012 6:22:40 AM

    Yes, an ordinary case would do the job just fine, although you'd probably want to make sure that there are side fans and at least one empty slot of space between the two 7950s to be on the safe side.

    Don't bother going from a 3470 to a 3570. The only CPU upgrade worth going for in your situation would be a 3570K with overclocking.

    Different clock speeds means different performance. For the Radeon 7950, performance increases fairly linearly compared to linearly increases GPU frequencies and memory frequency increases have much less of a performance impact. You don't need to have the same model to do CF (heck, for CF, it doesn't even need to be the same card most of the time, just the same family), but it is ideal to be the same model or at least the same GPU and memory frequency if not the same model.

    Pretty much any decent motherboard with at least two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots that can run in x8/x8 should do the job nicely.

    For 7950 CF plans, I'd go with a fairly high end case with great air circulation. It doesn't need to be a very expensive case, but something around $80-120 is probably ideal, although a much cheaper case paired with some extra fans would probably do the job quite well too and possibly for a little less money. Your chosen case is a little on the expensive side, but it's not way up there.

    Give me a minute or two, I'll get a build recommendation for you.
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    November 10, 2012 6:27:06 AM

    blazorthon said:
    Yes, an ordinary case would do the job just fine, although you'd probably want to make sure that there are side fans and at least one empty slot of space between the two 7950s to be on the safe side.

    Don't bother going from a 3470 to a 3570. The only CPU upgrade worth going for in your situation would be a 3570K with overclocking.

    Different clock speeds means different performance. For the Radeon 7950, performance increases fairly linearly compared to linearly increases GPU frequencies and memory frequency increases have much less of a performance impact. You don't need to have the same model to do CF (heck, for CF, it doesn't even need to be the same card most of the time, just the same family), but it is ideal to be the same model or at least the same GPU and memory frequency if not the same model.

    Pretty much any decent motherboard with at least two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots that can run in x8/x8 should do the job nicely.

    For 7950 CF plans, I'd go with a fairly high end case with great air circulation. It doesn't need to be a very expensive case, but something around $80-120 is probably ideal, although a much cheaper case paired with some extra fans would probably do the job quite well too and possibly for a little less money. Your chosen case is a little on the expensive side, but it's not way up there.

    Give me a minute or two, I'll get a build recommendation for you.


    Thank you for your feedback :) 

    In my post, I have already posted my build but am unsure if it is any good: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/n8IP
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    November 10, 2012 6:38:56 AM

    icu222much said:
    Thank you for your feedback :) 

    In my post, I have already posted my build but am unsure if it is any good: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/n8IP


    Not bad, but there are a few better options to some of your choices and I'll fill in recommendations for the parts that you left out.

    http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/p/n9iH

    Have a look at that.

    If you're going for a K edition i5, then you might as well get a decent cooler for some overclocking and this cooler is plenty to reach some decent frequencies such as probably around 4.3GHz to 4.5GHz, depending on the overclocking capability of the i5-3570K that you get.

    This motherboard is a better board, but fairly similar in price to your choice when you consider the gift card that you can use to pay for the memory.

    There's literally no advantage going from 8GB to 16GB for gaming except for extreme multi-tasking that would probably hurt performance anyway, so I see no reason to recommend a 16GB kit to you and this 8GB kit is plenty.

    A slight price increase for a full 50% capacity for the hard drive increase isn't bad. Even if you don't use it, it'll still be a little faster, so it's easily worth the small price increase.

    Vertex 4 is a faster SSD than the Intel 330 with a nearly identical price and similar reliability.

    I went for a cheaper case than the 550D.

    This PSU has enough power delivery for your system even with some room for overclocking, although it wouldn't be unreasonable to spend a little more. It's also a modular PSU, a convenient feature that is rare in such high-quality yet cheap PSUs.
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    November 10, 2012 7:21:15 AM

    blazorthon said:
    Not bad, but there are a few better options to some of your choices and I'll fill in recommendations for the parts that you left out.

    http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/p/n9iH

    Have a look at that.

    If you're going for a K edition i5, then you might as well get a decent cooler for some overclocking and this cooler is plenty to reach some decent frequencies such as probably around 4.3GHz to 4.5GHz, depending on the overclocking capability of the i5-3570K that you get.

    This motherboard is a better board, but fairly similar in price to your choice when you consider the gift card that you can use to pay for the memory.

    There's literally no advantage going from 8GB to 16GB for gaming except for extreme multi-tasking that would probably hurt performance anyway, so I see no reason to recommend a 16GB kit to you and this 8GB kit is plenty.

    A slight price increase for a full 50% capacity for the hard drive increase isn't bad. Even if you don't use it, it'll still be a little faster, so it's easily worth the small price increase.

    Vertex 4 is a faster SSD than the Intel 330 with a nearly identical price and similar reliability.

    I went for a cheaper case than the 550D.

    This PSU has enough power delivery for your system even with some room for overclocking, although it wouldn't be unreasonable to spend a little more. It's also a modular PSU, a convenient feature that is rare in such high-quality yet cheap PSUs.



    Thank you. I've been doing some reading, and some people suggest that it is better to get a high end card instead of CF two mid cards. They didn't provide any reasoning for that though. Do you have any insight into this?

    Also, would I see a noticeable gaming performance increase if I were to overclock the i5-3570k to ~4.3GHz?

    Also, would there be an issue with CF if I were to use dual monitors? I heard this was an issue several years ago where you would have to disable your secondary monitor if you were to use your second GPU.
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    November 10, 2012 8:05:58 AM

    It's usually better to get a single GPU card, but these days multi-GPU tech with the high end cards has improved greatly and the difference really isn't bad. Many older cards would run into stuttering, scaling issues, and driver issues often, but those are mostly issues of the past these days. Besides, there is no single GPU card available riht now that comes anywhere near the performance of two 7950s, especially when overclocked.

    I think that you'd see a noticeable improvement at 4.3GHz. Whether or not you will, I can't say. Some people don't see such things as well as some other people. I'd probably see a noticeable difference even if I wasn't looking for it and I'm not nearly the most sensitive to this as some other people I know, so you'd probably see it, but that's not a guarantee.

    There shouldn't be any issue with dual-monitor setups like you asked about, although it may be easier to have the second monitor run off a GPU outside of the CF system such as the integrated GPU of the i5-3570K (if it lets you use it when you have discrete cards, this is generally up to the motherboard) or maybe a dirt cheap dedicated video card for it such as a Radeon 6450.
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    November 12, 2012 1:18:38 AM

    Great. Thank you for your input :) 

    Also, since I am going to over clock my CPU, do I need to invest in a higher quality motherboard? If so, what sorts of motherboard characteristics should I be looking for? Originally, I did not play to OC, so I just looked for the most affordable motherboard that supports CrossFire.
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    November 12, 2012 5:35:32 AM

    http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/part/asrock-motherboard-z77e...

    ASRock Extreme 4 Z77 is easily the most expensive board that I'd recommend. The cheapest price for it that I can find is $140. If you aren't comfortable paying that much for the motherboard, I can probably find a slightly cheaper board that will still do the job.

    Also, this is the board in the build that I suggested above, just to clarify.
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    November 12, 2012 1:17:41 PM

    Earlier, you mentioned that different speeds of the GPU does effect performance. What if I were to overclock the GPU? Would it be better that I purchase the cheapest card, the manually OC the card to the speed a higher card?
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    November 12, 2012 1:57:10 PM

    No, it wouldn't be better because some of the better cards tend to overclock to the highest frequencies because they're made with better components. Besides, the card that I recommended, despite being one of the best (maybe even the best) 7950, is still one of the cheapest and you couldn't really save much money at all going with an inferior card.
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    November 12, 2012 2:18:15 PM

    Cool, thanks. Sorry for all the questions... I am just trying to get as much information as possible before making my purchase.

    I also want to confirm that a 550 watt power supply will be enough - even when I overclock as CF? I'm looking at PcPartPicker, and they calculated my system will require 590 watt of power.
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    November 12, 2012 2:34:34 PM

    Cool, tnx ;) 

    How does the Corsair TX750 (both v2 and v1) pair up?
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    November 12, 2012 3:22:31 PM

    Very well, but they're not fully modular and less efficient than the XFX that I mentioned despite being even more expensive.
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    November 14, 2012 4:29:17 AM

    Would 750 watt power supply be cutting it close? After reading other posts, people are suggesting a minimum of 700 watt to CF 7950s. I'm not sure if they took into consideration of OC-ing the CPU/GPU, and the additional drives I have (I plan to add in another hard drive so I will have 2 hard drives and 1 ssd).

    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/325953-28-750w-850w-crossfire-7950
    http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/radeon_hd_7950_cro...
    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20120203205120AA5ZOpp
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    November 14, 2012 4:30:19 AM

    750W is not cutting it close for two overclocked 7850s. For two overclocked 7950s, it would be cutting very close, but these are just 7850s, not 7950s.
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    November 14, 2012 4:34:11 AM

    My build is CF 7950.
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    November 14, 2012 4:46:49 AM

    Which power supply would you suggest?
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    November 14, 2012 6:05:49 AM

    Sorry, not thinking... Been through so many threads today I might be starting to jumble them up since it's getting late.

    Let's do the math.
    At stock, the reference 7950 usually uses around 140-160W in gaming. Two would use 280-320 or about 300W. The Ivy K editions, when overclocked, consume maybe around 100W (mostly guessing there, but I'd bet on it). Throw in say another 40-70W for the rest of the system and we're still well below 500W, lets call it 480W at the most to be on the safe side. Throw in a roughly 40-75% buffer and you get about 670-840W. A 750W PSU with sufficient +12V power delivery such as those that I linked to falls well within that and would be at about 55-70% rated power load during gaming, which is excellent. For overclocking, let's throw on another say 40-80W, depending on how far you overclock them. Our ~480W number just became ~600W. Throw in a 40-75% buffer and that's 840-1050W with about 950W being a sweet spot.

    So, the 750W with overclocked 7950s is definitely cutting it close because it probably can't even fit in a proper wattage buffer (you don't want to load a PSU up more than 80% and ideally, staying under 70% and over 40% is the best for efficiency and minimal wear and tear on the unit). It would do the job, but it'd be running at a fairly high load of up to around 80% during gaming.

    You'd want a PSU such as one of these:
    http://pcpartpicker.com/part/pc-power--cooling-power-su...

    http://pcpartpicker.com/part/xclio-power-supply-stablep...

    Bottom is better, but more expensive.
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    November 15, 2012 4:20:23 AM

    No problem. I understand, and I'm assuming most people are trying to get their builds ready for the sales. I really appreciate the time you have spent on my build, and also educating me on why you picked each part.

    I haven't heard of PC Power & Cooling before, but the reviews look promising :) 

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    November 15, 2012 5:42:40 AM

    Glad to help.

    PCP&P is actually one of the older PSU companies. They're usually around lower high-end to upper mid-ranged in quality and do the job quite well.
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    November 22, 2012 1:31:12 AM

    Best answer selected by icu222much.
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