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First time Battlefield 3 build

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November 29, 2012 2:32:15 AM

Okay after browsing I realized my first post was pretty dumb so i'll give it another go. This is my first build and is intended for playing battlefield 3. Here's what i've got so far:

CPU: Intel Core i7 2700k ($199 @ local Micro Center)
CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER RR-T812-24PK-R1 ($59 @ Newegg.com)
Motherboard: ASUS P8Z77-V LK LGA 1155 Intel Z77 ($98 @ Newegg.com)
Graphics Card: HIS IceQ X² H797QM3G2M Radeon HD 7970 3GB 384-bit GDDR5 ($350 @ Newegg.com)
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 ($40 @ Newegg.com)
SSD: Kingston HyperX 3K SH103S3/120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC ($100 @ Newegg.com)
Power Supply: Rosewill Green Series RG530-S12 530W 80 PLUS Certified ($55 @ Newegg.com)

Total: $902

So what do you guys think. Will this setup get me to where I can play battlefield 3 on all Ultra settings?


More about : time battlefield build

November 29, 2012 11:41:25 AM

Are any of those components overkill? If possible i'd like to see if I can take the price down a little bit. I just dont know where I would have any wiggle room to go for cheaper components
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November 29, 2012 12:16:35 PM

drop down to an i5 to save some cash, and get cheaper ram if possible.
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November 29, 2012 12:41:05 PM

Yep get a i5
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November 29, 2012 1:33:20 PM

You said this is your first "build", but not first PC. Are you reusing mouse, keyboard, monitor, and a relatively large hdd for storage?

What about an OS? If you have a retail copy of win 7 you're all good, but if it's an oem copy you'll need a new one.

Here's my suggestions. Dropped the cpu cooler(use boxed for non k i5) and added a decent case. Hope you like...

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($149.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: ASRock B75M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($64.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($97.91 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($366.97 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.49 @ SuperBiiz)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($53.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $839.32
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-29 10:29 EST-0500)

You may want to get the case at amazon for 50.99 with free shipping versus at superbiiz. Shipping at Superbiiz can be really expensive.
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November 29, 2012 4:38:30 PM

Quote:
You said this is your first "build", but not first PC. Are you reusing mouse, keyboard, monitor, and a relatively large hdd for storage?


Some information I left out of my first post. I want to hook this bad boy up to my Optoma gt750e 3D gaming projector if at all possible. I honestly cant think of anything more fun than playing BF3 in 3D on a 120" screen.

As far as the processor goes, that i7 I had mentioned was significantly discounted at my local micro center which was the main reason I picked it. Would the i7 futureproof the setup more than the i5 enough to warrant the extra $50?

My biggest concern after some internet browsing is the GPU. Do you think the HD 7970 3GB will be beefy enough to run ultra settings in 3D? Or would a different GPU (or possible SLI or crossfire gpus) work better?

Building a PC has always been an idea in the back of my mind that I never researched much... So I've got a lot to learn still. But now that I have a job and can afford it, I want to go ahead and build myself a nice machine to play BF3/maybe watch the occasional blu-ray on.

Thanks for the help guys

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November 29, 2012 5:10:10 PM

I don't think the i7 will be worth it. The i5 I specced is more than fast enough now. Time may prove me wrong, but I don't think so.

My understanding of 3D is you should have 120fps split between two 60fps fields. If the framerate drops below 120, perhaps 3d will cease to function?

I'm not a fan of multi gpu setups, and once you OC a hd7970 past ghz ed. speeds it is the fastest single gpu card you can get. You may want to turn a few setting down a smidge and leave the rest at ultra. If a mildly overclocked hd7770 can provide competitive frame rates at 1920x1200 on all ultra(save for 3 things which are ambient occlusion switched from horizon based to screen space, fxaa instead of traditional mulit sample aa, and motion blur off which lets you see your ground pounding opponents better as you move around in vehicles), and the original hd7970 was enough to compete at 3x1920x1200 on high or better(improved a couple times by driver updates both in the middle of the year and just recently), I think I can say fairly confidently that a custom cooled hd7970 you overclock yourself should allow to crank up pretty much all the settings in BF3 and get around 120fps or better(that's 1080p 3d, right?).

Again, there are a few choice settings you may want to lower a touch, but other than that your gaming experience should be quite epic.
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November 29, 2012 5:26:47 PM

If you run Ultra, except switch MSAA and Motion blur off in BF3, it is surprisingly easy to get high framerates. Even with a 7850, I can get up to 70-90fps. And I think the game actually looks better. 4xMSAA generates kind of a hazy softness over everything just to eliminate a few jaggies.

Anyway, the good news for the OP is that his projector is 720p. That means we have a relatively easy performance target.
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November 29, 2012 6:07:21 PM

Why didn't I think to google the projector? The model number was right there!

Yeah. With a few tweaks made lowering settings for better visuals/competitive edge(fxaa better than msaa?), a 7970 might be overkill in this instance.

Edit: that HIS 7970 on sale is over 12.3 inches long. Check case clearance before purchasing. Why I suggested the sapphire instead. Maybe it's too much gpu.
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November 30, 2012 12:42:21 AM

The decision on the graphics processor is making my head spin. It seems like everything I'm reading points to a different GPU being the best. And I'm reading all of this on the internet so it must be true.... what to do what to do.....

Anyway I'm not dead set on a AMD graphics card. What are the opinions around here about NVIDIA vs AMD? Does one side provide better performance in GPU heavy games such as battlefield? And then there is the added dimension of overclocking. Does either brand lend itself to overclocking gains more than the other?

Honestly I've seen so many contradictory opinions on this website and others. I'll probably just take whatever you guys say as the gospel because you are the people responding to this post.
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November 30, 2012 3:16:43 AM

AMD's current graphics chips from hd7750 on up are based on a relatively new and radically different architecture(less than a year old, from right before Christmas actually). Since the release of hd7970, the driver team at AMD has made great strides in performance, both mid year and just recently. At pretty much all relevant price points(around 100 bucks and up) amd delivers better performance per dollar. Somewhat surprisingly, nvidia is delivering better performance per watt this round with their 28nm gpu designs. The difference isn't huge, but it adds up in the long run. Increases in performance for newer model amd cards may be catching up(as long as they're not using more power in the process).

The most recent drivers from amd scored a pretty sizable boost in performance on their cards in bf3(the cards based on the latest architecture, any way).

You may want to consider if physx is important to you(proprietary in game effects from nvidia used in a few games, of which bf3 is not one of them).

Other than that they are pretty similar. Both companies have issues with drivers from time to time.

Oh, yeah. Generally, all new cards built using a 28nm process are really good overclockers. There are exceptions(mainly a couple nvidia parts).

Some cards have more potential than others(ie 7850 vs 7870. the former starts lower and has more room to grow, but the latter starts closer to peak).

gtx660 is limited due to starting tdp and available power connectors. The gtx650 already starts very fast. Those are the 2 nvidia cards with issues.
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November 30, 2012 3:27:52 PM

Out of curiousity, if the i5 is enough for this game, what type of activity would require the i7? It just seems like such a good deal to me its so hard to turn it down, but ultimately if i will never ever use the i7 i'll just go with the i5 and shave a couple of bucks off the price.

Another concern of mine is futureproofing this build as much as possible. I imagine on future games, having the i7 will work to my advantage. Now I hope I don't upset anyone by asking this but... what about the AMD FX line? Do you guys see the FX-8350 being a viable option with its 8 glorious cores? In the future I imagine developers will utilize those extra cores more but I dont know if that would make it any more advantageous than the i7.

Also, can someone point me in the direction of some killer information on overclocking the GPU? Honestly it just sounds like a fun thing to mess around with so I'd like to give it a try when I get set up but I just dont know anything about the process. All this voodoo is so confusing to me as of right now but I'm sure i'll be able to make some sense of it eventually
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November 30, 2012 6:07:59 PM

In games, you will see little to no benefit from a i7 over an i5. Both are similarly clocked quad core processors, but the i7 can run 2 threads per core while the i5 has that functionality disabled. The extra threading capability of i7 is useful in some productivity apps, but pretty useless in games.

Well, some games might make use of six cores on a socket 2011 i7, but that is major overkill for pretty much any game right now.

Intel cores get more work done per clock cycle than amd cores(for the most part). It mainly boils down to intel cores being 4 way superscaler and phenom or athlon cores being 3 way superscaler. FX chips are pretty different. The top end 8000 series have 8 2 way superscaler "cores" split up into 4 modules of 2 cores each. the cores in a module share a floating point unit, but both have complete integer pipelines. Depending on the workload(fp intensive or int intensive), a fx 8000 series cpu may be slower or faster than a similarly clocked core i7(the modules act a bit like hyperthreaded cores). Much of potential performance hinges on how well the OS allocates workloads to modules/cores. Right now fx is slower in games than intel cores clock for clock. fx processors also use a lot more power than the mainstream i5s and i7s(but the socket 2011 i7s are close).

Overclocking a graphics card isn't too hard. Higher end ones seem to have plenty of bandwidth, so more focus is placed on pushing the clock rates on the units in the gpu core. A popular test program is furmark. It will stress you gpu more than any game. You want to monitor temperatures as well so they don't get out of hand. One thing people do is set the gpu fan speed so the noise is as high as they can tolerate, bump up the clocks a bit(say 25mhz), and test. If the test runs error free and temps are ok, move it up some more. If you get to the point where temps are still fine but you get errors, you can try bumping the voltage up a bit. That helps stabilize the overclock. keep in mind that power usage increases linearly as you raise clock speed, and exponentially as you raise voltage. I wouldn't exceed +.1v or +10% of stock voltage, whichever is lower(better for the longevity of your card).

Of course if you both raise voltage and clockspeed(and why would you raise voltage if you weren't going to increase clockspeed?), you multiply the percentage increases by each other to get the new power use. Most cards don't use anywhere near the rated tdp while gaming, but they will definitely use more than they normally do when you overclock. Test times of say 20 minutes with cooldowns between. when you reach a limit(max safe voltage, errors, high temps or some combination), back off by 25mhz and test overnight. If you get no errors and temperature monitoring shows it stayed in safe levels, that should be a good long term overclock. If not, back down another 25mhz and try again.

After you've overclocked the core, you can try to overclock the ram too. Keep in mind that current cards use a form or error correction. you won't see any errors, but when you push too high your performance will start to decrease because it's starting to take extra time to fix the errors and display correctly.

Otherwise, the process for overclocking the ram is similar to the one used when overclocking the gpu. Hope this helps.
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December 1, 2012 2:18:29 AM

This is a lot of information to absorb. Especially since someone walks past my cubicle every 10 seconds so I have to act like I'm being productive. But rest assured it is much appreciated.

So jtenorj, if you were building a gaming rig right now for the purpose of pwnin 10 yr olds in BF3, which video card would you go with to get the most bang for your buck? Still the 7970? Or would you drop down to a cheaper model and OC?

Thanks for all the help thus far. It helps to have someone who can give good explanations (like your P=C*Vdd^2*F explanation :sol:  )
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December 1, 2012 12:12:30 PM

You could maybe get by with a less powerful card. Battlefield 4 is coming up in the future though. the 7970(especially once overclocked) is the best bang for the buck at the high end and will do the most to future proof your rig(as far as a single gpu setup goes any way. sli/crossfire have too many issues imo).
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December 5, 2012 6:07:35 AM

Hey I think i've finally decided on everything for my build. I figured I'd post back here to see if you had any last minute changes I should make before I buy.

CPU: Intel i5 3570k
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V Lk
GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB
Memory: Corsair vengeance 8GB
SSD: Kingston HyperX 90GB
PSU: Corsair HX750
External: Asus Blu-ray burner
Case: Rosewill Blackhawk atx-mid
OS: Windows 7 Home premium 64-bit

let me know what you think!
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December 5, 2012 10:58:29 AM

If you intend to overclock the cpu( and why buy a k edition cpu if you don't?), you should have better than the boxed cooler. If not overclocking, get a non k i5 and a cheaper mobo like h77 or b75. Do you think a 90GB ssd will be big enough for the OS, your games and any other programs you want to install? If I spec a ssd, I usually go at least 120-128 GB(240-256 is better if you find a good deal). It's up to you, but more capacity up front means you are less likely to have to uninstall and reinstall programs(less writes/rewrites is better for the life of an ssd). That psu is overkill by a few hundred watts imo. You can get an external drive if you want it to be portable, but an internal drive is generally cheaper. The antec three hundred two is a feature packed case with understated style. just a few bucks more than the haf 912 I specced in my suggested build near the top of the thread. in additon to the features of the haf 912, the 300 2 has front usb 3.0 ports. if you want more bling, you can toss a led fan in front and mod the side of the case with a window. It'll save you some money over the rosewill blackhawk. I guess you need a copy of windows 7. while a bit bigger ssd will cost more, the costs for cpu, mobo and cooler go down when you go non k. a less expensive but still quality psu will save some coin too. round it out with a cheaper feature packed case and you should easily defray the cost of a windows license. Here is the build I specced closer to the top of the thread with the 300 2, a blu ray burner and windows 7:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($149.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: ASRock B75M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($72.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($40.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($94.71 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($359.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Antec Three Hundred Two ATX Mid Tower Case ($57.40 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($53.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Asus BW-12B1ST/BLK/G/AS Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $979.59
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-05 07:53 EST-0500)

compare the cost of this build to the what you specced in your last post. You do have a decent sized hdd for music, pics and vids right?
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December 5, 2012 4:11:39 PM

buy the i5 3570k you may not want to oc it now but you might want to later, i've known few people who tried to save a few bucks off i to buy some cig but regrets come last. unless your 1000000000000% sure you won't
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December 6, 2012 4:10:46 AM

Tavo_Nova said:
buy the i5 3570k you may not want to oc it now but you might want to later, i've known few people who tried to save a few bucks off i to buy some cig but regrets come last. unless your 1000000000000% sure you won't


Yep. That's me. Got an i5-2310 because I "don't want to mess with that overclocking crap". Now 6 months later I am almost ready to buy a 3570K. Should have just spent the $40 upfront.

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December 7, 2012 8:48:47 PM

damn I changed over to the night shift at work and as a result have spent my time sleeping instead of browsing for parts. :sleep: 

I know I'm going to want to overclock at some point and the i5-3570K is only $170 at my local microcenter so I think i'm deciding on that. I'm also pretty set on that Sapphire 7970 you made me aware of. In the future, if I were to want to run crossfire 7970s, would a 550W psu still cut it? I dont have a problem really with spending the money up front if it will leave me open to experimenting further in the future.

My boss just kicked me up to a 12 hrs a day/ 7 days a week schedule till christmas so i'm thinking I might as well reward myself by spending all my overtime money on a badass computer that will leave me open to expanding in the future.

I liked that case you spec'd jtenorj so I went ahead and got that. And also I got a corsair 128GB SSD that I found on sale. so far thats all I got
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December 7, 2012 10:13:49 PM

if you can get a 3570k for only 170 at microcenter, that's pretty sweet. You will need a mobo that will let you adjust the multiplier. z75 mobos are pretty cheap and feature packed.

A recent article at techreport has come to my attention regarding the current performance of higher end cards like hd7950 and gtx660ti. They used window 8 for testing, but a gtx660ti with older drivers outperformed a hd7950 with 12.11 drivers. One can only wonder what the results might have been had they used windows 7 for testing. I know you specced windows 7 in you build. The two sites I trust most for gpu reviews are techreport and hardocp. If they could test some of these higher end cards from both camps with the latest drivers on both windows 8 and windows 7, that would be awesome. It's probably also wishful thinking on my part and that of others.

Edit: Oh, yeah. The xfx 550w is more than enough for any one single gpu card. I'm not a fan of multiple gpu setups. If that's something you think you want to do with hd7970s or similarly power hungry cards, you'll need a psu with a higher wattage rating. Just get something quality from corsair, xfx, antec, seasonic or the like. Glad you like the features of the antec three hundred two.
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December 7, 2012 10:18:27 PM

theshadymaple said:
damn I changed over to the night shift at work and as a result have spent my time sleeping instead of browsing for parts. :sleep: 

I know I'm going to want to overclock at some point and the i5-3570K is only $170 at my local microcenter so I think i'm deciding on that. I'm also pretty set on that Sapphire 7970 you made me aware of. In the future, if I were to want to run crossfire 7970s, would a 550W psu still cut it? I dont have a problem really with spending the money up front if it will leave me open to experimenting further in the future.

My boss just kicked me up to a 12 hrs a day/ 7 days a week schedule till christmas so i'm thinking I might as well reward myself by spending all my overtime money on a badass computer that will leave me open to expanding in the future.

I liked that case you spec'd jtenorj so I went ahead and got that. And also I got a corsair 128GB SSD that I found on sale. so far thats all I got


No, a 550w PSU will not be good enough for two 7970s. You'll want to step that PSU up to at least a 750w if you plan on Crossfiring in the future.
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