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Ordering a custom PC - haven't shopped in over 5 years, help! :-)

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November 12, 2012 6:15:44 PM

Hey - I haven't touched PC hardware in more than 5 years so I'm totally lost now on what good CPU, ram and cards are good nowadays. I know it's generally cheaper to build your pc yourself, but honestly, I don't have time nor the patience for it anymore (including all the necessary precautions, research, etc). .... BUT there's a company called PCZone in Canada that would assemble and test a custom build PC for me before shipping it.

My objective is to get a PC that can run games like Battlefield 3 / Crysis 2 / Dirt 3 etc... on max settings at 60 fps smoothly, and run future games at at least 45fps smoothly for the next 3 years or so.

It also needs to be able to run Camtasia studio 8 for 1080i video editing.
My current system is a core2duo 3.2ghz with 2gb ram and 512mb gefore 9600gt, and it can run today's game in low settings at 15-20fps (Direct x9, windows XP), but for HD video editing, it's really struggling.

Here are the parts I selected for my new pc among their suggestions:

CPU
1 x Intel i7-3770K 3.5GHz LGA1155 Ivy Bridge Processor BX80637I73770K 321.84$

Motherboard
1 x Asus P8Z77-V LX LGA1155 DDR3 Motherboard ATX 125.92$

Memory
1 x Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR3 1600MHZ CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9 Memory 83.09$

Primary Hard Disk
1 x Corsair Force Series GT CSSD-F120GBGT-BK 120GB SSD 2.5" SATA 3 6Gb/s HDD 119.72$

Video Card
1 x Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 OC 4GB DDR5 Video Card GV-N670OC-4GD 452.94$

Audio Card
1 x Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio 0.00$

Optical Drive
1 x Asus DRW-24B1ST 24x SATA Optical Drive DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B 18.93$

Cooling
1 x CORSAIR CWCH60 Hydro Water Cooler LGA1366, LGA1155, LGA2011 High-Performance CPU Cooler 66.66$

Power Supply
1 x OCZ ZS SERIES 750W OCZ-ZS750W Power Supply 89.25$

Case
1 x ANTEC NINE HUNDRED TWO V3 Gaming ATX Case 121.98$

Warranty & Software
1 x Complete assembly and testing of the system includes 6 months warranty 60.00$

Subtotal: 1460.33$
Shipping & Handling (FedEx Canada - Ground) 24.32$
Discount (Cash Payment Discount , Combo Deal) -40.56$
Tax $187.73
Grand Total 1631.82$

That is in the upper range (although not maxium) of my budget. I'm a little bit concerned about the limited SSD space of 120GB, but SSDs are very expensive. I have a lot of 7200pm drives that I could place into for extra file/video storage, so I don't need any other drives.

What do you think?? ANY THOUGHTS??
November 12, 2012 6:20:17 PM

Gaming on that 670 isn't going to need any more than 2GB of frame buffer. Unless you know that 4GB of RAM on it will help your video editing or something like that, you should get a 2GB model. 4GB models are just spending more money for the same performance.

http://pcpartpicker.com/part/zotac-video-card-zt6030210...
This Zotac GTX 670 2GB is cheaper and faster than that Gigabyte GTX 670 4GB.

Also, this Samsung 830 128GB SSD is a better buy:
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/samsung-internal-hard-driv...
Slightly higher capacity and lower price while still being one of the fastest and most reliable SATA3 SSDs on the market.
November 12, 2012 6:31:29 PM

blazorthon said:
Gaming on that 670 isn't going to need any more than 2GB of frame buffer. Unless you know that 4GB of RAM on it will help your video editing or something like that, you should get a 2GB model. 4GB models are just spending more money for the same performance.

http://pcpartpicker.com/part/zotac-video-card-zt6030210...
This Zotac GTX 670 2GB is cheaper and faster than that Gigabyte GTX 670 4GB.


Thanks a lot Blazorthon.
If I should stick to 2gb cards, my online store (I want to stick to them because they can build it for me) also has in stock a GTX 680 2gb instead of a 670, for almost the same price as my 670 4gb:
http://www.pcczone.com/zotac-geforce-gtx-680-2gb-ddr5-v...

Should I consider buying a Zotac GeForce GTX 680 2GB for 484.50$ instead of a Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 OC 4GB for 452.94$?

On a $1700 purchase, the $30 difference won't matter to me.
Related resources
November 12, 2012 6:33:10 PM

The GTX 670 that I recommended is faster than the GTX 680 that you just gave a link to, so I won't recommend that 680.

The issue with the 680 is that thanks to its insufficient memory interface, it's only a few percent faster than the 670 overall, so a 670 with a good factory overclock tends to win. The 670 that I suggested has a huge factory overclock and is quite a bit better than a GTX 680.

If you want a 680 that beats my 670 suggestion, you'd have to get this one:
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/zotac-video-card-zt6010210...
November 12, 2012 6:41:01 PM

blazorthon said:
The GTX 670 that I recommended is faster than the GTX 680 that you just gave a link to, so I won't recommend that 680.
The issue with the 680 is that thanks to its insufficient memory interface, it's only a few percent faster than the 670 overall, so a 670 with a good factory overclock tends to win. The 670 that I suggested has a huge factory overclock and is quite a bit better than a GTX 680.
If you want a 680 that beats my 670 suggestion, you'd have to get this one:
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/zotac-video-card-zt6010210...



... then I guess I am really lost when it comes to determining which card is faster. There is a huge list of cards I can chose from, but I think most if not all 680 are out of stock (I'm not willing to wait for out of stock items to arrive). Here is the list of cards I can chose from - price indicated is only the variation from the default selected card.

XFX HD7950 Black Edition Ghost 3GB DDR5 Video Card FX-795A-TNBC +21.41$
XFX HD7950 Core Edition 3GB DDR5 Video Card FX-795A-TNFC +10.51$
XFX HD7770 Core Edition 1GB DDR5 Video Card FX-777A-ZNF4 -169.78$
XFX HD7770 Core Edition 1GB DDR5 Video Card FX-777A-ZDF4 -162.96$
XFX HD7950 3GB DDR5 Video Card FX-795A-TDFC +22.36$
Sapphire HD 7770 GHz Edition OC 1GB GDDR5 Video Card 11201-02-20G -165.16$
Sapphire HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB GDDR5 Video Card 11201-00-20G -177.25$
Sapphire HD 7970 OC 3GB GDDR5 11197-01-40G Video Card +108.82$
Sapphire HD 7870 GHz Edition OC 2GB GDDR5 11199-03-20G Video Card -63.21$
Asus HD7770 1GD5 DDR5 Video Card HD7770-DC-1GD5-V2 -156.06$
Sapphire HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB GDDR5 11199-00-20G Video Card -63.90$
XFX HD 7850 2GB DDR5 Core Edition Video Card FX-785A-CNFC -73.32$
XFX HD 7850 2GB DDR5 Double Dissipation Video Card FX-785A-CDFC -69.80$
XFX HD 7850 2GB DDR5 Core Edition Video Card FX-785A-CNJC -81.38$
EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB DDR5 Video Card 02G-P4-2670-KR +93.97$
Asus GTX670 2GB DDR5 Video Card GTX670-DC2-2GD5 +112.19$
Asus GTX680 2GB DDR5 Video Card GTX680-DC2O-2GD5 +223.29$
Asus GTX680 2GB DDR5 Video Card GTX680-DC2T-2GD5 +232.97$
EVGA EVGA GeForce GTX 680 2GB DDR5 Video Card 02G-P4-2680-KR +184.47$
EVGA GeForce GTX 670 Superclocked 4GB DDR5 Video Card 04G-P4-2673-KR +146.23$
EVGA GeForce GTX 670 FTW 2GB DDR5 Video Card 02G-P4-2678-KR +103.89$
EVGA GeForce GTX 690 4GB DDR5 Video Card 04G-P4-2690-KR +730.43$
XFX HD7750 1GB DDR5 Core Edition Video Card FX-775A-ZNP4 -188.38$
Asus HD7870 2GB DDR5 Video Card HD7870-DC2TG-2GD5-V2 -34.83$
Gigabyte GeForce GTX660 Ti 2GB DDR5 Video Card GV-N66TWF2-2GD [299.32$]
EVGA GTX660Ti 2GB DDR5 Video Card 02G-P4-3660-KR +3.13$
EVGA GTX660Ti SC 2GB DDR5 Video Card 02G-P4-3662-KR +12.14$
EVGA GeForce GTX 680 FTW+ 4GB DDR5 Video Card 04G-P4-3687-KR +285.20$
Gigabyte GTX670 2GB DDR5 Video Card GV-N670OC-2GD +94.28$
Gigabyte GTX670 2GB DDR5 Video Card GV-N670WF2-2GD +94.34$
EVGA GeForce GTX680 FTW+ LE 4GB w/Backplate 4GB DDR5 Video Card 04G-P4-3685-KR +253.34$
EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti SC+ 3GB DDR5 w/Backplate Video Card 03G-P4-3663-KR +37.81$
Asus GTX 680 DirectCU II 2GB DDR5 Video Card GTX680-DC2-2GD5 +203.55$
Asus GTX 660 DirectCU 2GB DDR5 Video Card GTX660-DC2-2GD5 -60.79$
Asus GTX 650 DirectCU 1GB DDR5 Video Card GTX650-DC-1GD5 -174.95$
Asus GTX 670 DirectCU II 4GB DDR5 Video Card GTX670-DC2-4GD5 +152.61$
Asus HD 7770 1GB DDR5 Video Card HD7770-1GD5 -163.63$
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB DDR5 Video Card GV-N65TOC-1GI -150.61$
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650 Ti 2GB DDR5 Video Card GV-N65TOC-2GI -132.81$
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660 Ti 3GB DDR5 Video Card GV-N66TOC-3GD +45.91$
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 OC 4GB DDR5 Video Card GV-N670OC-4GD
November 12, 2012 6:50:59 PM

Hmm... Would you be open to buying the computer without the video card (or with the cheapest option) and buying the video card separately? Installing a video card yourself is extremely easy to do.

If not, then out of those options, I'd probably go with the Sapphire 7970 OC.
November 12, 2012 6:59:37 PM

blazorthon said:
Hmm... Would you be open to buying the computer without the video card (or with the cheapest option) and buying the video card separately? Installing a video card yourself is extremely easy to do.
If not, then out of those options, I'd probably go with the Sapphire 7970 OC.


Yeah, I would be open to installing the video card myself - I've done it before. Just not the CPU / motherboard. I would still want it from the same store though. Do you have any recommendation of the best card in stock under $600 on that website, if not already in the list? http://www.pcczone.com/computer-hardware/video-cards/
November 12, 2012 7:04:25 PM

gapagos said:
Yeah, I would be open to installing the video card myself - I've done it before. Just not the CPU / motherboard. I would still want it from the same store though. Do you have any recommendation of the best card in stock under $600 on that website, if not already in the list? http://www.pcczone.com/computer-hardware/video-cards/


Here is the 670 that I was talking about, not a bad price either:
http://www.pcczone.com/zotac-geforce-gtx-670-amp-editio...

However, I must note that there is a good AMD alternative:
http://www.pcczone.com/gigabyte-hd-7970-ghz-edition-3gb...

This 7970 GHz Edition is generally considerably faster than even that 670 is. It also consumes more electricity, but AMD's Never Settle deal gives you almost $200 in free games that come with it. However, IDK if the store that you're buying includes the free Never Settle gifts from AMD, so IDK if you'd get the freebies if you buy from that store. Pricing, although not bad, certainly isn't the greatest at that store either.
November 12, 2012 7:28:08 PM

They seem out of stock. What about:
EVGA EVGA GeForce GTX 680 2GB DDR5 Video Card 02G-P4-2680-KR
Seems like great bang for the buck.
November 12, 2012 7:48:27 PM

Not even close. That card is weaker than the Zotac AMP! GTX 670 that I suggested despite being a good deal more expensive than it.

Also, the Zotac card says Available, so it should be in stock.
November 12, 2012 8:03:54 PM

MSI GTX 670 power edition!Great cooling and OCing capabilities.
I recommend going with 4 x 4gb or 2 x 8 gb instead of single 16gb stick.
Also unless you plan on OCing the CPU the i7-3770 non 'k' series is cheaper and is the same as an non-OCed i7-3770k.The 'k' series is for OCing.
November 12, 2012 11:08:25 PM

blazorthon said:
Not even close. That card is weaker than the Zotac AMP! GTX 670 that I suggested despite being a good deal more expensive than it.


I don't doubt your expertise for a second, but can you explain me how you can tell?

For me, all I can figure out is that 4gb > 3gb > 2gb and 680 > 670 > 660; and clock seem to be the same, but I didn't pay a lot of attention to it.
November 12, 2012 11:28:01 PM

blacknemesist said:
I recommend going with 4 x 4gb or 2 x 8 gb instead of single 16gb stick.

I am, it's just that they're selling the 4x4gb as a package, which makes it look like 1 item, but it's 4 sticks.
November 13, 2012 12:59:00 AM

gapagos said:
I don't doubt your expertise for a second, but can you explain me how you can tell?

For me, all I can figure out is that 4gb > 3gb > 2gb and 680 > 670 > 660; and clock seem to be the same, but I didn't pay a lot of attention to it.


Memory frequency (especially memory frequency) and GPU frequency are the main indicators in this situation (these are not always the only factors and usually aren't the only factors, don't go purely off of these two in other situations because it's unlikely that it'd be accurate in most other such situations).

The 680 is not always faster than the 670. There are several 670s that beat most 680s despite being cheaper and using less power.

Also, memory capacity is not an indicator of performance and anything over 2GB or 3GB is not going to make a difference in almost every situation imaginable.
November 13, 2012 1:00:48 AM

blacknemesist said:
MSI GTX 670 power edition!Great cooling and OCing capabilities.
I recommend going with 4 x 4gb or 2 x 8 gb instead of single 16gb stick.
Also unless you plan on OCing the CPU the i7-3770 non 'k' series is cheaper and is the same as an non-OCed i7-3770k.The 'k' series is for OCing.


MSI PE has reliability issues due to raised voltage without proper build quality for the raised voltage. They fail more often than almost all other models and sometimes by large margins in failure rates too rather than just a little less reliable.
November 13, 2012 1:21:44 AM

Thank you everyone who responded, you've all been very helpful. :)  Thank you especially Blazorthon for all your extensive research & advice. Here's the final setup I've decided to purchase:

CPU
1 x Intel i7-3770 3.4GHz LGA1155 Ivy Bridge Processor BX80637I73770 288.22$
Motherboard
1 x Asus P8Z77-V LX LGA1155 DDR3 Motherboard ATX 125.92$
Memory
1 x Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR3 1600MHZ CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9 Memory 83.09$
Primary Hard Disk
1 x OCZ VERTEX 3 SATA III 2.5" 256GB SSD VTX3-25SAT3-256G 205.79$
Video Card
1 x Asus GTX670 2GB DDR5 Video Card GTX670-DC2-2GD5 411.51$
Audio Card
1 x Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio 0.00$
Optical Drive
1 x LG GH24NS70 SATA Dual Layer Black 29.15$
Cooling
1 x CORSAIR CWCH60 Hydro Water Cooler LGA1366, LGA1155, LGA2011 High-Performance CPU Cooler 66.66$
Power Supply
1 x OCZ ZS SERIES 750W OCZ-ZS750W Power Supply 89.25$
Case
1 x ANTEC NINE HUNDRED TWO V3 Gaming ATX Case 121.98$
Warranty & Software
1 x Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit English 1PK DVD OEM (GFC-00599) 91.30$
1 x Complete assembly and testing of the system includes 6 months warranty 60.00$

I hope this machine is going to kickass! :-)
November 13, 2012 1:42:26 AM

Glad to help.
!