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$1500-1700 3D Graphics Creation/Gaming PC

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November 28, 2012 12:32:05 AM

COMPLETE PART LIST BELOW.

First build. Upgrading from an embarrassingly old Toshiba laptop. Crushingly inexperienced. Help appreciated.

Approximate Purchase Date: This week? Sooner the better, yes - however, if I have good reason to wait (e.g. prices will be lower), I'll be happy to do so. On the flipside, if y'all make me feel confident, I'll pull the trigger tomorrow.

Budget Range: ~1700. If I can miraculously shrink it down to $1500 or so so I can purchase a new drawing tablet/few toys, even better. Details on what needs to stay/can be changed below.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: CG/multimedia, gaming, light programming. I've been slowly starting to get into 3D programming/game dev as well, but I don't expect any hardware roadblocks.

If I can play the latest and greatest in 1080, hey, that doesn't hurt at all.

Are you buying a monitor: Yes: an ASUS VS Series VS247H-P 23.6"

Parts to Upgrade: New build. List below.

Do you need to buy OS: Yes, going for Windows 7.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: N/A.

Location: North Jersey/NYC region. I'd prefer to shop online, but if there's something REALLY good in store someplace, I'll take a trip.

Parts Preferences: One of my major must haves is a nvidia gpu - my main program of choice is Blender, an open source 3D graphics program. Cycles, it's rendering engine, does not function on AMD architecture and won't be supported/worked on in the foreseeable future - it's lame, I know. Something about AMD compiling issues, kernels, openCL, I dunno. All I know is I had to switch out a 7970 and nearly cried.

Other than that, I have no real preference, aside from not wanting something that'll break. That's a given though, I suppose.

Overclocking: Maybe, depending on the difficulty. I've never done it before and will be looking into it after the build is complete (adding in an aftermarket cooler so I'll be ready, regardless).

SLI or Crossfire: In the future, certainly? If the price of another GTX 670 is within my means, I'll definitely pop it in there. In fact, that's one of the reasons for going with the 670 over 680: affordability. More on that in a moment, though.

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Additional Comments: Alright, so I'm embarrassingly ignorant with regard to building a PC. I've upgraded here and there in the past, but never built one from scratch. I think I did an okay job with the research (thanks in particular to TH and this forum... you guys rock!), but am still hesitant and nervous (as you can imagine). Here's a partlist.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($297.28 @ TigerDirect)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($25.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus SABERTOOTH Z77 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($224.98 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($65.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($49.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Transcend 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($174.00 @ B&H)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($329.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 650D ATX Mid Tower Case ($134.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 750W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($56.23 @ Amazon)
Monitor: Asus VS247H-P 23.6" Monitor ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($79.99 @ CompUSA)
Keyboard: Logitech K200 Wired Standard Keyboard ($14.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Mouse: Cooler Master SGM-2001-BLON1 Wired Optical Mouse ($19.58 @ NCIX US)
Total: $1713.98
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-27 21:01 EST-0500)

I have no idea how to go about shopping for mobos in particular - please, please help. I humbly tuck my tail between my legs and ask for your advice, o wise ones. I know that board is WAY more than what I need (the potential forward compatibility/future proofing is nice, but unnecessary), but have no idea how to go one tier lower or whatever.

I want the computer to be respectable for multimedia work/gaming without killing me - you'll notice I went with the i7 simply because I hear the 8 threads are super helpful/efficient. I really have a terrible frame of reference, as my ancient laptop now is essentially a form of automasochism. Or autosadism. I never know the right word.

In any case, 16 gigs of memory is definitely going to help with baking some physics sims. I do need advice on the video card - I hear the 680 is just marginally more powerful than the 670. Is this the case? Will I see any perceivable difference if I go with the 680? Should I go for 4GB? Help.

In addition, is that 750w PSU going to stay with me if I add another 670? It isn't necessary to the build that it's SLI ready, and PSUs aren't bank breaking, anyway. I like modularity, though.

EDIT: also editing to say I'm willing to go with a slightly smaller monitor if it's cheaper/reliable. I really, really don't need much, but 23.6" at that price seems really cool.

Regardless, I'd like to hear any input. As always, if you can price out something cheaper, feel free to let me know. As I've said before, this is my first build and I'm sure I made some stupid mistakes. Let loose, and thanks so much for taking a look.

This forum is awesome.

(Also - what's the deal with these fugly cases out on the market? By god.)
November 28, 2012 4:24:56 PM

Well, some of my deals are running out and my current spec'd build is ~$1833, which is just out of my comfort zone.

Any ideas? In particular, that mobo, and maybe a slightly smaller monitor? I'd also look into cutting down the PSU.

Also, is there any quantifiable difference between 2x8 vs 4x4 memory?

Thanks again.
November 28, 2012 11:10:55 PM

Man... no one? :( 
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December 1, 2012 3:57:57 PM

The build looks fine. Only one thing... Why such a cheap/crappy monitor? Get an IPS panel (better color reproduction, better viewing angles, usually wider color gamut) like this one:

Dell U2312HM

http://www.logicbuy.com/deals/dell-u2312hm-ultrasharp-i...

Shop around, I'm not an US resident so can't really recommend where to buy, but the difference in image quality will be quite significant. After all you don't end up buying a new screen every 2 years, its worth to get a good one. I woudn't recommend smaller screen. The more screen estate the better, trust me ;-)

2x8GB will leave you 2 memory banks open, so if you'd like to go 32gb in the future you'd be fine.

Also you would be perfectly fine with a Asus P8Z77-M PRO mobo $139.99 (open box one for $104.99 on NewEgg as of now).

For the SSD drive, consider getting Intel 240GB SSD 330. Intel and Samsung are said to be the most reliable in the SSD space.

The rest is good. Just don't skimp on that screen ;-) Good luck!
December 1, 2012 4:23:17 PM

Man, where were you when I needed you? :) 

I ended up pulling the trigger on a build quite similar:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($314.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Asus SABERTOOTH Z77 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($224.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($65.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($67.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Transcend 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($174.00 @ B&H)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($359.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Cooler Master HAF XM (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($113.98 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($56.23 @ Amazon)
Monitor: Asus VS247H-P 23.6" Monitor ($169.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Keyboard: Logitech K200 Wired Standard Keyboard ($14.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Mouse: Cooler Master SGM-2001-BLON1 Wired Optical Mouse ($19.58 @ NCIX US)
Total: $1817.69
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-01 13:07 EST-0500)

As for the monitor - how much better is it than the one I got? To my uneducated eyes, the Asus beats out the Dell in contrast (50m:1 vs 2m:1), latency (2ms vs 8ms), connectivity (Asus includes an HDMI port, though that's relatively unnecessary). It seems to at least stand up to the Dell, except the IPS feature, which - I'm gonna be honest - I have no idea about. Viewing angle is a nice little upgrade, though.

I suppose we'll see. Remember I'm on a lame laptop, so EVERYTHING is going to be an upgrade. I'm also used to modelling/gaming hunched over my screen.

I do hope the screen lasts me a few upgrades, though. Hopefully I don't catch the 3D or 4k bug. Yeash.

I chose the Transonic SSD as, well, this. Besides, it had really good price/GB, so, y'know. I cheapo'd out.

I did act out of ignorance with regard to the mobo, though. Hey, if push comes to shove, though, I'll at least have some OC overhead/forward functionality.

Ah, well. Thanks for getting around and providing input. I hope I made the right choice of monitor, you've got me nervous!
!