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Help prioritizing 1st Gaming build

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December 1, 2012 6:36:46 PM

Hi, cutting to the chase...

Build Experience ------- 1st ever complete build, have upgraded single components of a pre built rig in the past. Last pre built pc bought on 11/12/2003.

Purpose of build ------ Gaming 100%

Budget ------ $1500-$1600 (Parts in Australia are within a 0-10% price margin of USA parts)

Build Date ------ Will begin purchasing parts on 12/03/2012

Desired build life cycle ------ 5 years without upgrading (tolerating diminishing graphical returns). Rebuilding a new system from scratch in 5 years time should I desire.

Advice needed ------- I have been out of the pc loop for such a long time that my ability to accurately prioritize an optimal gaming build has been severely compromised. I have mostly chosen well reviewed/recommended parts and I am hoping for some advice/constructive criticism regarding the parts In my build.

Are there better value parts and have I spread my budget correctly amongst the necessary components?

My current build;

Case: Fractal Design Define R4 ($143)

PSU: Corsair TX750 v2 ($148)

MOTHERBOARD: Asus Sabertooth Z77 ($247)

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K ($224)

CPU FAN: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO ($33)

RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB ($86)

VIDEO CARD: ASUS GeForce GTX 680 DirectCU II TOP Edition ($615) [GTX 680 is a must, will consider other chipsets]

SSD: Crucial 256GB M4 ($180)


TOTAL SPEND: $1676

Does this build make sense, where can saving be made with the minimum of compromise?
December 2, 2012 8:49:43 AM

Hey mate. That's all looking good to me. Some really nice choices there. Some parts I would change to save a bit of money, and some personal preferences:

I will link from PCCaseGear an Aussie site, obviously you might have a better supplier, but they present all the info well on that site.

Case - The Fractal R4 is a well recommended case, looks nice too, but $140... you can get more or less all those features for less $

Corsair Carbide 400R Black Mid-Tower Case = $115
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Fractal Design Arc Mid Tower = $125
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Mobo - Besides looking cool, I don't think the thermal plating on the Sabertooth does much. You can definately save some money here if your looking to:

ASRock Z77 Extreme4 =$135
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

or if you have preference for Asus

ASUS P8Z77-V = $195
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

RAM - 8 GB is plenty for a gaming system, althought 16GB kits have come down a lot, it still seems massive overkill to me:

Corsair Vengeance CML8GX3M2A1600C9 8GB = $46
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

GPU - I can't justify the price of gtx 680 when you consider the minimal performance gains over an overclocked gtx 670. The 670 will give you 60+ fps on more or less any game at very high settings at 1920x1080. Keep the 750W PSU and in 12 months time if you find games are demanding more, put a 2nd one in :) 

ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II = $439
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

See GPU performance comparison:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-670-rev...

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-670-tes...

Maybe around 5% depending where you look.

Also just cheecking you dont need an optical drive or HDD?
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a b 4 Gaming
December 2, 2012 9:37:22 AM

That is a heavily overpriced 680, I agree with the above poster.
You are basically paying ~$200 for a 5% increase from the 670.
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a b 4 Gaming
December 2, 2012 2:24:18 PM

error169 said:
Hi, cutting to the chase...

Build Experience ------- 1st ever complete build, have upgraded single components of a pre built rig in the past. Last pre built pc bought on 11/12/2003.

Purpose of build ------ Gaming 100%

Budget ------ $1500-$1600 (Parts in Australia are within a 0-10% price margin of USA parts)

Build Date ------ Will begin purchasing parts on 12/03/2012

Desired build life cycle ------ 5 years without upgrading (tolerating diminishing graphical returns). Rebuilding a new system from scratch in 5 years time should I desire.

Advice needed ------- I have been out of the pc loop for such a long time that my ability to accurately prioritize an optimal gaming build has been severely compromised. I have mostly chosen well reviewed/recommended parts and I am hoping for some advice/constructive criticism regarding the parts In my build.

Are there better value parts and have I spread my budget correctly amongst the necessary components?

My current build;

Case: Fractal Design Define R4 ($143)

PSU: Corsair TX750 v2 ($148)

MOTHERBOARD: Asus Sabertooth Z77 ($247)

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K ($224)

CPU FAN: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO ($33)

RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB ($86)

VIDEO CARD: ASUS GeForce GTX 680 DirectCU II TOP Edition ($615) [GTX 680 is a must, will consider other chipsets]

SSD: Crucial 256GB M4 ($180)


TOTAL SPEND: $1676

Does this build make sense, where can saving be made with the minimum of compromise?


good choice on the case but if you want to spend less, there are many other options

get a asrock extreme4 z77 motherboard instead. check pccasegear

8gb of ram is enough. pccasegear has some corsair low profile 2x4gb ram for 49 bucks

get a gtx 670. performs the same pretty much out of the box. id get a windforce gtx 670 from gigabyte. if the msi power edition gtx 670 is the same price, get that instead

if the samsung 830 256gb is the same price or within 10-15 dollars, get that instead




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December 3, 2012 4:47:48 AM

Thanks for the replies,

I forgot to mention that I am not comfortable with overclocking or SLI, unless the component is factory overclocked. Maybe the scene has changed quite a bit and has become safer/more user friendly?

Going to spend a couple of hours comparing the 670 to the 680, had my heart set on a 680 and don't want to get upgrade urges on the 670 as I want to build from scratch in 5 years time so this system has to last, and 6-12months of "max settings" would be nice.

Figured the motherboard was overkill, not sure about the PSU also. Corsair are well respected, but are there other brands that offer similar quality with better value for money? A silver or gold rated PSU for $150 would be optimal.

As for ram, if I am running modded games with massively detailed textures wouldn't the 8 gigs get taxed?
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a b 4 Gaming
December 3, 2012 4:58:18 AM

Another Aussie here, definitely agree that Nvidia cards are a fair bit overpriced over here in Aus.

It has become a lot easier to overclock than back before unlocked multipliers. It can still get fairly complicated if you overclock quite hard, but a 3570k will do 4.2Ghz without needing to get into any gritty stuff like voltages.

The 670 and 680 are the exact same card if you look closely (the 680 does have some more CUDA cores). Only difference is how highly its clocked, you can easily clock a 670 to 680 performance.

Corsair and Seasonic being such big brand in PSU's has led to such a big price tag on them, so you will have to go for less known alternatives.
This is the PSU I use, its has very good reviews and is apparently only just under a Gold rating. Best of all it fits right into everything you want.
Silverstone Strider Plus 750W, 80+ Silver Fully modular. $145
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Skyrim?
Modded games require more VRAM and wider memory buses, not more system RAM.
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a b 4 Gaming
December 3, 2012 9:53:56 AM

overclocking is too easy. you just change the multiplier number from 39 to 42 and you get 4.2ghz. press apply and you have more performance
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December 3, 2012 10:10:49 AM

CASE: Fractal Design Define R4

MOTHERBOARD: ASRock Z77 Extreme4

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K

CPU FAN: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO

RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2x8)

VIDEO CARD: ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP Edition

SSD: Samsung 830 256gb

With this build could I safety use a PSU lower Then 750w? If so what the lowest safe wattage?
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a b 4 Gaming
December 3, 2012 10:14:45 AM

You could use a 550W PSU on that build. I recommended the Silverstone 750W as that will give you the headroom for Crossfire/SLI (which you can do on that mobo) later on and fit your requirements.
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December 3, 2012 10:33:13 AM

Looks like the GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP Edition is difficult to source right now, would the msi gtx 670 power edition oc 2gb be the next best alternative in terms of value for money?

Undecided on SLI, driver support on games is still a little suspect right?

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a b 4 Gaming
December 3, 2012 10:41:16 AM

The MSI 660ti and 670 power editions were found to have a questionable design decision made to them that overvolts a particular chip inside it well above its rated voltage. Essentially there are fears that this can impact its long term life.

I advise getting the Gigabyte model.
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Though if your willing to jump to AMD, for $5 less I would get the HD7970 instead, better performance.
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Crossfire/SLI support has improved a lot in recent times. There are still some games that can run into issues with it, but all the games of note (BF3, Crysis type games) are all fine.
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December 3, 2012 10:58:04 AM

Damn I was almost 100% on the msi, back to the drawing board..

Do you have a link where I can read more about the msi issues? google was no help. Could this issue not have been corrected through a firmware/bios update?

Thanks for your patience though, the GPU is pretty much the last part I have to nail down.
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a b 4 Gaming
December 3, 2012 6:30:42 PM

id rather get a msi. its a very good card and performs as well as the asus. the thing that is bad is that overvolting (which is not possible on any other 670) can easily damage the chip. as long as you dont touch the volts on the chip, it would be perfectly fine
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a b 4 Gaming
December 4, 2012 3:16:07 AM

Ah, you found it.
Dont bother with OC cards, its exactly the same hardware. For 5mins work you can save yourself $20.

Just to throw a spanner in the works, really do suggest you have a look at the HD7970. IMO opinion (which can be backed up if asked) its the better card.
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December 4, 2012 8:27:56 AM

error169 said:


I forgot to mention that I am not comfortable with overclocking or SLI, unless the component is factory overclocked.


You really need to solid on this before purchasing.

If you absolutely, positively have no intention to overclock never ever no way, no how... and never ever conceive of a situation where you would use multiple GPUs... you can definitely save some money, because you are investing in parts that cost extra to allow for those features. No reason to purchase a 'K' model CPU with unlocked cores if you are keeping them at stock and no reason for purchasing a mobo that accommodates multiples GPU's and has allowances for overclocking etc if that isn't where you are heading.
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