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Building a $2000 gaming computer, looking for input

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November 24, 2012 7:29:08 PM

As this is the first time I've ever embarked on assembling a computer myself, I want input from more experienced people before I actually build it, in case I've made any planning errors.

I'm currently playing my games on an HP HDX 18 gaming laptop. While I love my laptop dearly, it is just being left behind by the march of technology, and soon I won't be able to play new games on it at all.

So I set out to build a new computer for the first time. Since I'm designing it myself, I want enough processing power to be able to run modern games at high settings, without breaking the bank. I've picked out all the parts I need, at current prices it comes to about $2000. $3000, if you include the 3 monitors for eyefinity gaming.

I'm planning to go with Mineral Oil submersion for my computer. Anyway, without further delay, here are the components I've picked out:

OS: Windows 7 Professional 64 bit (To allow for maxing out my motherboards ram)

Motherboard: Gigabyte G1Assassin Rev. 2 : http://ca.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=4... " target="_blank">

Processor: Intel i7 3820 Quad Core 3.6Ghz http://ark.intel.com/products/63698/Intel-Core-i7-3820-... " target="_blank">

Heatsink: Phanteks PH-TC14CS http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Phanteks-PH-TC14... " target="_blank">
(I chose this heatsink because, with the motherboard lying flat, I want the oil to flow up through the fins as it's heated, and because of it's height, I calculated it should clear the ram.)

Ram: Patriot Viper 3 32GB 4x8GB Quad Channel 2133MHZ DDR3. http://www.patriotmemory.com/product/detail.jsp?prodlin... " target="_blank">
(I know that the processor I've selected will only support 1600mhz at factory clock, but, in case I decide to overclock later, I don't want my system to be held back by the ram.)

Video Card: Gigabyte AMD Radeon HD 7950 http://ca.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=4... " target="_blank">
(I'm planning to start with 2 of these cards in crossfire, leaving the possibility open for a 3rd later on.)

Hard Drives: 4 Seagate Barracuda 2TB drives in a RAID 10 configuration (7200RPM 64MB cache
http://www.seagate.com/internal-hard-drives/desktop-har... " target="_blank">

Power Supply: OCZ 1250w http://www.ocztechnology.com/ocz-zx-series-850w-1250w-p... " target="_blank">

UPS: OPTI-UPS Thunder Shield TS2250B 2000VA 1200W. I'm planning on putting a good surge protector between the UPS and my computer. I've read about a couple instances of the UPS "exploding" and taking components of the computer with it. I don't want that to happen to me.

Monitors: 3 ASUS Ve278Q 27" LCD http://www.asus.com/Display/LCD_Monitors/VE278Q/ " target="_blank">
(I'm going to be running these at 1920x1080.)



November 24, 2012 7:40:53 PM

Do not go with mineral oil. It costs a lot for the mineral oil, and good luck trying to do an upgrade. The oil will also get a bit funky after a while. It looks cool, but you sacrifice a lot.

I notice that you're overspending on a lot parts.

1) Get Home Premium. 90% of gamers get 8GB of RAM.
2) Again, overspending. Get an ASRock Extreme 4 or 6.
3) Bad choice for CPU. The i5-3570K is the best gaming CPU right now.
4) Way too much RAM. Get an 8GB 1600MHz kit.
5) PSU is way too big. Get 650w.
November 24, 2012 9:01:01 PM

obsama1 said:
Do not go with mineral oil. It costs a lot for the mineral oil, and good luck trying to do an upgrade. The oil will also get a bit funky after a while. It looks cool, but you sacrifice a lot.

I notice that you're overspending on a lot parts.

1) Get Home Premium. 90% of gamers get 8GB of RAM.
2) Again, overspending. Get an ASRock Extreme 4 or 6.
3) Bad choice for CPU. The i5-3570K is the best gaming CPU right now.
4) Way too much RAM. Get an 8GB 1600MHz kit.
5) PSU is way too big. Get 650w.


I've got quite a bit second hand experience with Mineral Oil submersion. The oil is a one time cost. I'm not sure what you mean by "get funky", other that contaminants in the oil, which I'm planning for. I've got myself a pump for extracting the oil, for when I need to work on the computer. The computer I want would need noisy cooling fans, regardless of liquid cooling systems. With Mineral Oil submersion, I don't have to worry about overheating, which means I can go farther with overclocking, if I so desire. I'm sticking with it.

1) Professional is only $30 more than Home Premium; I want to max out my ram, since ram isn't that expensive. Just because 90% of gamers do it doesn't mean I have to do it.
2) From what I've learned, a good motherboard is essential for a high powered gaming computer, especially if you want to do any overclocking. On the sites I'm shopping on, the G1 was the best choice with the LGA 2011 chipset, and not the most expensive either.
3) How is the i7 3820 a bad choice for a CPU? How is the i5-3570k better? "Right now" implies that I'd have to upgrade rather soon. I want a CPU that can still perform in 2-5 years.
4) I know 32GB is a lot of ram. But, seeing as ram is relatively cheap, I want to max it out. You didn't answer my question in regards to cpu overclocking.
5) Get a 650W Power supply for running 3 Radeon 7950s, a quad core cpu, and 4 7200rpm hard drives? Isn't that a bit dangerous? I'd be running pretty close to the PSU's maximum limit if a game were to max out all 3 cards. Besides, the one I've found is a great PSU, and I found it for only $200.
Related resources
November 24, 2012 9:43:24 PM

the problem with oil is that it makes everything harden over time. also note, you have a failure, it will take you 2 weeks to drip dry that thing.


to your components

-x79 is useless for gaming. i5 3570k performs better at games. games like powerful cores, not more cores. and the cores on a i5 3570k is more powerful due to it being ivy bridge over sandy bridge
-by the time you are upgrading, it would most likely be under 5 years, therefore useless to get a i7
-32gb of ram is stupid. i have 8 and cant use 2 when i fire up 50 tabs and use them all
-there is no point of pro. i have ultimate but its obtained using other sources. and ultimate is useless. there is no difference between the versions whatsoever
-id get a full heatsink like a noctua nh-d14 or the phanteks version.
-have you tried 3x monitors before? because from what i experienced, fps gaming sucked. racing was awesome though
-anything more than 2 cards diminshes in terms of performance. id get a 750-850w and do it fine. 1250w is for 4 cards (which is the dumbest thing you could get for gaming)
-do you have that many files to store? like 300 1080p movies?. hard drives dont work in oil
-get a good SSD like a ocz vertex 4 256gb. hard drives dont work
-if you dont have a sound card for a decked out gaming rig, you are doing it wrong

therefore id get this
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/pi9V
November 24, 2012 10:43:02 PM

How, exactly, is the X79 useless for gaming? I want information to go on, not just statements. Google doesn't have any relevant search results for "x79 useless for gaming"

How is the i5 3570K more powerful than the i7 3820? As for the performance boost of ivy bridge over sandy bridge, the heat issues doesn't really seem worth the small performance increase. If I were to go with conventional cooling, as you suggest, I want it to be quiet.

The i5 3570K clocks slower than the i7 3820, and I wouldn't be able to overclock it as much. While the Multithreading on the i7 3820 wouldn't have a big impact in most games, there are times when it could come in handy. I've played a few indie games that have had massive amounts of number crunching to do, and my poor dual core 2.8 could not keep up without slowing the timescale down big time. When converting massive Fraps videos into a more compressed format, the video converter could go a lot faster with multithreading.

Okay, I'm starting to lean towards less ram, but I still want to know the correlation between ram frequency and overclocking of the cpu.

I play many types of games, RPG, FPS, simulation games. When playing games where I have to look around a lot, having a wider field of view would really help. That, and I have a second monitor hooked up to my laptop already that I use all the time. That monitor you linked me isn't the size I'd like, and it's on Amazon.com, which doesn't ship to Canadian addresses. Searching the sites I can order from yields very little in the way of "Borderless" monitors; I do like the idea though.

I read a lot about the performance increase from multiple cards being less and less as you go along, which is why I decided on 2, seeing as running 3 1900 by 1080 monitors would be a lot of strain on one card.

For me, the time it takes for a game to load isn't as important as how that game performs when I'm running it. A couple seconds difference isn't going to bother me. While the extra price, and less storage space of an SSD at this point in their evolution doesn't seem worth it.

I have a 1 TB External HDD that is chock full, and I found the 2TB drives for 90 bucks each anyway, so I figured I'd go for it. Better to have more space than I need, rather than less. I know about the dangers of putting hard drives in oil, I'm not planning to put them inside the case, they're going to be separate. Not like they need extra cooling anyway.

I haven't looked for a sound card, because the Motherboard I picked out has a pretty good one built in.
November 25, 2012 12:54:28 AM

does toms hardware recommend a x79 chip for gaming? yes, but they state there are dimmishing returns (ie no performance gain.). the only reason they would recommend one is that there is support for 4 GPUs natively and more memory

how? hm. lets ask what is ivy bridge? what is it supposed to do? well its supposed to replace sandy bridge architecture by having a smaller die while having more transistors. its supposed to be 5-8% faster clock for clock and core for core. sandy bridge e is just a larger version of a i7 2600k die with more cores and a bigger mem controller. even though the i5 is a lower end chip (hardly low end), it is still faster core for core (how to test is single threaded apps)

video converting is even faster on the i5 due to it having a IGPU to do that. way faster than on the CPU.

well your poor 2.8ghz dual core is old so that doesnt make any sense when comparing the i5 and the i7

no correlation. ivy can run faster ram but faster ram is useless. no performance gains in gaming. and breaks intel warranty on the spot

should have stated that you are canadian. also, larger 27 inch 1080p is inferior to a 21.5inch 1080p monitor due to lower pixel density. 23 inch is the sweet spot. 24 also works

get 3 of these. VA panels are like IPS quality but slightly faster
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=69380&vpn=GW2450...

its actually not that much. you can still run at 30fps for the most part. just that 2 can help make it look better

you are kidding me right? 2000 dollars on a pc and no SSD? its not a couple seconds. its like minutes. i can power on, log in to steam and fire up COD in 50 seconds. it will take you 50 seconds just to boot and another 20 to get it all up and running

you are also kidding me. its better than onboard crap but now where near what the dx can do

hard drives are cheap here
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=66010&vpn=ST2000...

2 7970s
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=67172&vpn=FX797A...
November 25, 2012 1:07:42 AM

Listen to TheBigTroll. He's giving you good advice.
November 25, 2012 2:31:54 AM

Guess im to late TheBigTroll said everything needed to be said

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($195.90 @ Amazon Canada)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($68.99 @ Computer Valley)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4 TH ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($149.99 @ Canada Computers)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($14.99 @ Memory Express)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Storage: A-Data XPG SX900 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($149.99 @ Canada Computers)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card ($479.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Case: Cooler Master Storm Stryker (White) ATX Full Tower Case ($129.99 @ NCIX)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 850W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($114.99 @ NCIX)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-222BB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($17.93 @ DirectCanada)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($85.92 @ TigerDirect Canada)
Total: $1478.67
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-24 23:31 EST-0500)
November 25, 2012 2:58:22 AM

TheBigTroll said:


larger 27 inch 1080p is inferior to a 21.5inch 1080p monitor due to lower pixel density. 23 inch is the sweet spot. 24 also works


The reason I'm looking at getting 27" is because, with 1920 by 1080 desktop resolution, I have to either lean forward or zoom in a web page to avoid eye strain reading text. Would the Pixel Density of a 27" be that noticable when sitting 3 feet away?
November 25, 2012 3:03:48 AM

you would probably have to lean forward anyways to read text on a 27" unless you press zoom quite a few times
November 25, 2012 11:40:18 AM

im always on zoom for any monitor. just that 21 inches looks a bit sharper than 27. generally the difference between 21 and 23/24 is unoticeable but 27 starts. its not major for most people

plus, getting 24 is cheaper by a fair bit
December 12, 2012 2:27:23 AM

After lengthy consider and research, I've decided to go with the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP5-TH motherboard, because of the esata port (for my external hard drives) and the power and reset buttons built onto the motherboard.
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

I'm looking at getting the i5-3570k, as was suggested, but I have a few questions about how the integrated graphics card on the processor will affect my computers behavior.

I've read that the computer can switch to the integrated graphics to lower power consumption during states where high-graphics performance is not needed. How well does this work, and what options are there?

Can the integrated graphics run with my 2 crossfire X cards, boosting my computers graphics power?

Can I turn off the integrated graphics card, if I decide that's what I want to do?



I'm looking to get 8gb of 1600mhz DDR3 ram, but I'm curious about somthing first: Is there any performance difference between, say, 2 sticks of 4gb and one stick of 8gb?\

Also, I don't have much knowledge with sound cards. What should I look for?
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