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Advice on my potnetial gaming build

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December 3, 2012 3:23:17 PM

Hello. I'm building a new gaming pc, and I was hoping to get feedback on whether or not this would be a good system.

Case: Corsair Obsidian Series 650D
Mobo: ASUS P8Z77-V PRO LGA 1155 Intel Z77
PSU: CORSAIR HX Series HX850 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91
CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W
GPU: EVGA 02G-P4-2680-KR GeForce GTX 680 2GB 256-bit GDDR5
RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (should I get 16gb? Is it worth it?)
Hard Drive: OCZ Vertex 4 VTX4-25SAT3-256G 2.5" 256GB SSD (should I go with a 10,000rpm hard drive or 7200 hard drive instead? If yes, then which one?)
CPU Cooling: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2
Case Cooling: Cooler Master 200mm MegaFlow 200 (for front intake), Noctua NF-P12-1300 120mm case fans (two for top of case, 1 for back. All exhaust... unless there is a better airflow setup)
Optical Drive: LITE-ON Black Internal 12X Blu-ray Combo SATA Model ihes112-04
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit

I would appreciate any feedback, advice, suggestions, etc. Thanks!
December 3, 2012 3:28:31 PM

overkill on the power supply, i would pick 7970 over 680
stick with ssd and a mechanical one
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December 3, 2012 3:31:04 PM

I would get a 120/128GB ssd and a 1TB hdd. Might want to look at a 7970GHz instead. You could drop to a Corsair 650 or 750W. Everything looks good though.
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December 3, 2012 4:08:11 PM

alvine said:
overkill on the power supply, i would pick 7970 over 680
stick with ssd and a mechanical one


Thank you for the advice! I may want to do and SLI configuration in the future. Is the 850w power supply still too much then? Also, what is the advantage to having an SSD and a regular hard drive?
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December 3, 2012 4:33:30 PM

mrbowler said:
Thank you for the advice! I may want to do and SLI configuration in the future. Is the 850w power supply still too much then? Also, what is the advantage to having an SSD and a regular hard drive?


Even when you SLI later it your PSU won't be an overkill. Imagine running 650W PSU at constant 90+% all teh time it won't last long for sure. 850W will give you a nice head room so your PSU won't work that hard. Less work = less heat and noise.

Good build.

PS: I'd keep 256SSD and would add 1+TB HDD later (7200 blue or black WD)
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December 3, 2012 4:59:28 PM

maxinexus said:
Even when you SLI later it your PSU won't be an overkill. Imagine running 650W PSU at constant 90+% all teh time it won't last long for sure. 850W will give you a nice head room so your PSU won't work that hard. Less work = less heat and noise.

Good build.

PS: I'd keep 256SSD and would add 1+TB HDD later (7200 blue or black WD)


That was my thinking with the 850w over the 750w psu. I see a lot of people using an SSD with an HDD. What is the advantage of that?
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December 3, 2012 5:07:21 PM

Using an SSD is purely for speed. You install your OS, a few games and/or apps you constantly use and don't have to wait for load times. You use the HDD as your storage drive. Think music, movies, documents etc.

Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but if you severely under use the wattage for your PSU, don't you lose efficiency? Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum are ratings based on efficiency at high load percentages.
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December 3, 2012 5:11:02 PM

If you only game and don't store lots of photos, videos, etc then just leave it at the SSD. People only combo with a HDD if they have lots of data.

All your games can go a 256GB SSD. If that's not enough room, we may need to talk about gaming addiction intervention :) 
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December 3, 2012 5:16:28 PM

J_E_D_70 said:
If you only game and don't store lots of photos, videos, etc then just leave it at the SSD. People only combo with a HDD if they have lots of data.

All your games can go a 256GB SSD. If that's not enough room, we may need to talk about gaming addiction intervention :) 


My games will fill my 1TB drive easily if I download them all... (maybe you are right though about the intervention)

I use steamMover to keep a few games on the SSD without keeping the whole library there.
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December 3, 2012 5:23:48 PM

^Yep. The 750w is the sweet spot for SLI - roughly 80% load. That's what power supplies are DESIGNED to run at, by the way, so doing it constantly won't hurt it at all.

That being said, the 680 is not worth it. Either go with the faster 7970GHz, or the 670, which is $100 cheaper and has only 5% worse performance.
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December 3, 2012 5:25:18 PM

J_E_D_70 said:
All your games can go a 256GB SSD. If that's not enough room, we may need to talk about gaming addiction intervention :) 


... wait, what? My gaming drive has well over 500GB of installed games, emulators, and .isos. I mean yeah, it's a little overboard, but we're gamers, right? :p 
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December 3, 2012 5:35:29 PM

Well, guess I am the minority :)  I have one MMO, one FPS, and one single player whatever at any time. Plus I am fire and forget--once I complete a game I don't have any desire to ever look at it again.

Same with movies--get them from redbox so they don't take up shelf space since I'll never watch them again.
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Best solution

December 3, 2012 6:18:54 PM

This is very long, but I think it's good advice. You MAY even wish to print it off. I've built 100+ systems.

1. SSD/HDD:
I generally recommend a 120GB for Windows/apps and a 2TB or 3TB Hard Drive for GAMES (including STEAM folder), downloads, media, backups etc.

- Many people think an SSD is way better for gaming. It's actually closer to an average 25% boost in loading times though this varies a lot. My new Seagate 3TB drive has STEAM on it and loading times are awesome.
- It depends how many games you have as well.

2) Backup Image:
- Use a tool like Acronis True Image (Seagate or WD have a free version) and make a compressed backup of your C-Drive on the SSD to a Hard Drive. I recommend once per month (I have mine automated to once per week).

3) Windows 7?
- I actually recommend Windows 8 64-bit but it's too long to discuss here. I added START8 to get the Start Menu back. There are several solid reasons though to get Windows 8 (security, file system improved, boot times improved..). Windows 8 will improve and you can avoid most of the changes.

Not a big deal though and there are still some driver and software hiccups to sort out.

4) 10,000 RPM hard drive?
No. The SSD will be used for Windows and it's way faster than an HDD. The ONLY reason to get a faster HDD is for gaming load times. As I said, I recommend something like the Seagate 3TB 7200RPM drive (or maybe a WD 2TB Black). If you ONLY use the drive for non-gaming usage get a 5400RPM drive to reduce noise.

5) Graphics Card?
It comes down to budget. I bought the Asus GTX680 (TOP; 1137MHz version) and still think it's the best single-GPU card. It's a 3-slot card with excellent build quality and is incredibly QUIET for its performance (mainly due to a large heatsink, thus the three slots.)

However it's also $540. I have quite a few games though that wouldn't run quite as well with a lesser card (Metro 2033, Witcher 2, BF3, and several more).

It really comes down to BUDGET. If you can afford it, get that card. If your budget is lower get an HD7970 or a GTX670. Just make sure to get a quality brand (Asus, Gigabyte, Sapphire Tech) with a good cooling solution.

My recommend:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It is a quality card. It performs nicely (see the benchmarks) and is far quieter than most similar cards. It will max out the quality of many games. Two games included. (The HD7970 is also a good card, but carefully compare the BENCHMARKS yourself and decide if the value is there. For a single monitor, the 3GB vs 2GB of VRAM is not important).

6) RAM:
16GB is absolutely not needed for gaming. You will see ZERO improvement. However, there are a few games that will benefit from low-latency 2133MHz DDR3. It's about the same price for 8GB of 2133MHz DDR3 as for 16GB of 1600MHz.

I've actually researched this and conducted my OWN TESTS (by underclocking). I have tested FIVE GAMES that benefitted and one got a 15% boost which is surprising.

Example of 2133MHz DDR3, 8GB kit (low-latency):
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=63757&vpn=996997&manu...

7) COOLING:
Your CPU HSF is a fine choice. I have an i7-3770K (gaming basically same as i5-3570K) and I can tell you there's little point in overclocking it for gaming.

FAN TIPS:
You may wish to make sure most of your fans have a 4-pin connection so you can setup a fan profile and control the speed to reduce noise. Also, many people forget the important FRONT CASE FAN(s) for proper air flow.

I have to replace my Noctua NH-D14 fans with 4-pin versions as my new motherboard (like most) can't vary the speed of 3-pin fans. Just FYI.

Fan setup example:
-1 or 2 FRONT CASE FANS (120mm, 4-pin for motherboard, or constant low-speed 16dB noise)
- 1 or 2 TOP/REAR CASE FANS (same as above or similar)
- CPU HSF (make sure it has a 4-pin fan and setup your fan profile in BIOS and Software)
- Tape cardboard inside of case to cover any unused fan slots or you ruin the air pressure

Good luck.
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December 3, 2012 6:30:43 PM

Swordkd said:
Using an SSD is purely for speed. You install your OS, a few games and/or apps you constantly use and don't have to wait for load times. You use the HDD as your storage drive. Think music, movies, documents etc.

Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but if you severely under use the wattage for your PSU, don't you lose efficiency? Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum are ratings based on efficiency at high load percentages.


Here is a great example how PSU works under different loads...notice the temperatures...My goal is always to get your PSU work at 40-60% You get the best efficency at around 50%
not 80% load.
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December 4, 2012 4:01:55 AM

Best answer selected by mrbowler.
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December 5, 2012 6:23:59 AM

maxinexus said:
Here is a great example how PSU works under different loads...notice the temperatures...My goal is always to get your PSU work at 40-60% You get the best efficency at around 50%
not 80% load.


I basically agree with this, but it requires a little more explanation:
1) modern quality PSU's have very little variance (say 3%) over such a large range it's not really a factor.

2) Fan Speed tends to stay at the lowest level below 50% and ramp up after that so it's good to aim for 50%

3) Overclocking can use a lot more power, as can a more powerful card.

*It's generally academic though and calculating can be a pain. For this PC, buy a PSU between 650W and 850W of quality brand and forget about it. 850W is basically overkill unless considering a second card in SLI/Crossfire and I don't recommend that due to micro-stutter.

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