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$1500-$2000 Dual 1440p Monitor Workstation/Gaming PC

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December 20, 2012 10:27:54 PM

Hello all,

I'm totally new at building PCs. I'm tired of getting by on laptops and want to build a powerful workstation that I can also play games on.

Approximate Purchase Date: build completed within the next 2 months

Budget Range: $1500-$2000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Programming, virtualization (VMware Workstation), gaming, movies
Are you buying a monitor: No


Do you need to buy OS: No? (Linux FTW, not sure if my windows 7 student edition is OEM though)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Microcenter, Newegg, Amazon

Location: United States

Parts Preferences: Intel processor

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Your Monitor Resolution: Dual 2560x1440 monitors

Additional Comments: My main concern is being able to drive two 2560x1440p monitors, in desktop applications as well as in gaming. I don't need to be able to run games at the most ultra high settings (although it would be cool =p ). However, I do want to be able to play games at a high resolution and smoothly at decent to above average settings.


Current build-in-progress:


CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5Ghz Quad-Core Processor - $229.99 @ Microcenter

CPU Cooler: Suggestions? Do I need one? I may want to do some mild overclocking. I see people recommending this guy often:
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler $29.99 @ Newegg

Motherboard: I've researched a bit and found that these seem to be good choices. Which to choose I don't know, and why I come to you all for advice. I'm leaning toward the P8Z77-V Pro.

MSI Z77 MPower LGA1155 - $194.99 @ Microcenter
ASUS Sabertooth Z77 LGA 1155 - $239.99 @ Newegg
ASUS P8Z77-V Pro LGA1155 - $199.99 @ Newegg
ASRock Z77 Extreme6 LGA 1155 - $159.99 @ Newegg

Video Card: Not sure about this one, which would be better for two 1440p monitors:

Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition
or some Nvidia 670 GTX variant (which one, there are so many)?

And do I need to SLI / Crossfire?

Memory (will this work with those motherboards?): Not sure which is best, they all seem the same apart from speeds:
-G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) $79.99 @ Newegg
-G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) $79.99 @ Newegg
-G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) $79.99 @ Newegg
-G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) $82.99 @ Newegg
-G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) $89.99 @ Newegg

Case: I'll take recommendations. NZXT seems to have some cool cases, although it seems their customer support is terrible. Thinking about one of these:

NZXT Phantom 410 CA-PH410-B3 Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Orange Trim $99.99 @ Newegg
NZXT Phantom 410 CA-PH410-B1 White Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower $99.99 @ Newegg


Power Supply: Suggestions for a real solid, high quality PSU?

SSD: SAMSUNG 830 2.5" 256GB $199.99 @ Newegg

Hard Drive: Western Digital WD Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $109.99 @ Newegg


Please lend your expertise in recommending me a solid rig. I've never done this before, and I think I've done a good amount of the leg work. Just need to hear from some people with experience who know what works and what doesn't, what's good and what's junk.
a b C Monitor
December 21, 2012 2:38:27 AM

Quote:


Motherboard: I've researched a bit and found that these seem to be good choices. Which to choose I don't know, and why I come to you all for advice. I'm leaning toward the P8Z77-V Pro.

MSI Z77 MPower LGA1155 - $194.99 @ Microcenter
ASUS Sabertooth Z77 LGA 1155 - $239.99 @ Newegg
ASUS P8Z77-V Pro LGA1155 - $199.99 @ Newegg
ASRock Z77 Extreme6 LGA 1155 - $159.99 @ Newegg


Don't purchase the Sabertooth - it's too expensive for very little payoff. The thermal armor actually traps more heat than it prevents. Get the Asrock Extrmee 6 out of those options.

Quote:

Memory (will this work with those motherboards?): Not sure which is best, they all seem the same apart from speeds:
-G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) $79.99 @ Newegg
-G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) $79.99 @ Newegg
-G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) $79.99 @ Newegg
-G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900)$82.99 @ Newegg
-G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) $89.99 @ Newegg


Get the low profile Ares series if you plan on using an aftermarket cooler. 1866 RAM will not benefit you.

Quote:


Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition
or some Nvidia 670 GTX variant (which one, there are so many)?


The Sapphire Vapor X is a good choice, I'd also recommend the Gigabyte GTX 670.

Quote:

Case: I'll take recommendations. NZXT seems to have some cool cases, although it seems their customer support is terrible. Thinking about one of these:

NZXT Phantom 410 CA-PH410-B3 Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Orange Trim $99.99 @ Newegg
NZXT Phantom 410 CA-PH410-B1 White Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower $99.99 @ Newegg


Yeah the Phantom 410 is a great choice you can't go wrong there.

Quote:
Power Supply: Suggestions for a real solid, high quality PSU?


Here you go:

- PC Power & Cooling Silencer MKII: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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December 21, 2012 9:22:10 PM

Quote:

Don't purchase the Sabertooth - it's too expensive for very little payoff. The thermal armor actually traps more heat than it prevents. Get the Asrock Extrmee 6 out of those options.


What advantages does the ASRock Extreme 6 have over say the ASUS P8Z77-V Pro?

Quote:

Get the low profile Ares series if you plan on using an aftermarket cooler. 1866 RAM will not benefit you.


After thinking about it for a bit I'm gonna go with either the
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
or the
G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)

Quote:

The Sapphire Vapor X is a good choice, I'd also recommend the Gigabyte GTX 670.

But will I be able to game with two 2560x1440 monitors on these cards? I'd like to get away with a single 670, but I'll SLI or get a 7970 GHz if need be.
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Related resources
a b C Monitor
December 21, 2012 11:38:26 PM

Quote:
What advantages does the ASRock Extreme 6 have over say the ASUS P8Z77-V Pro?


The Asrock is pretty much the same feature wise - it's $50 less and includes a front mounted USB 3.0 bracket.

Quote:


After thinking about it for a bit I'm gonna go with either the
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
or the
G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)


Go with the Ares.

Quote:
But will I be able to game with two 2560x1440 monitors on these cards? I'd like to get away with a single 670, but I'll SLI or get a 7970 GHz if need be.


As long as the card you get has a double link DVI connector or an HDMI connector you're good. The 670 and 7970 are rated for 2560 x 1440 resolution.
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December 22, 2012 12:38:02 AM

Quote:
The Asrock is pretty much the same feature wise - it's $50 less and includes a front mounted USB 3.0 bracket.


What does a front mounted USB bracket give me?

Quote:
As long as the card you get has a double link DVI connector or an HDMI connector you're good. The 670 and 7970 are rated for 2560 x 1440 resolution.


I see that those cards can do 2560x1440. But will I be able to play games with TWO 2560x1440 monitors connected to a single 670?
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a b C Monitor
December 22, 2012 5:14:19 PM

Quote:
What does a front mounted USB bracket give me?


It's just a convenience thing and it gives you a couple of extra ports.

Quote:
I see that those cards can do 2560x1440. But will I be able to play games with TWO 2560x1440 monitors connected to a single 670?


If you're going to be playing games on this setup I'd actually recommend getting 3 smaller monitors instead of two larger monitors. The reason being is that most first and third person games will place your characters in the middle of the screen so if you have a dual monitor setup you'll get 1/2 the picture cut off. With a triple monitor setup you won't have that problem.
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December 22, 2012 5:32:00 PM


Quote:
It's just a convenience thing and it gives you a couple of extra ports.


The ASRock Extreme6 is listed on newegg as having "Onboard USB: 2 x USB 3.0 + 6 x USB 2.0", whereas the ASUS P8Z77-V Pro has "Onboard USB: 4 x USB 3.0 + 8 x USB 2.0". Which was one of the main reasons I was going for the ASUS, it has 4 USB 3.0.

Quote:
If you're going to be playing games on this setup I'd actually recommend getting 3 smaller monitors instead of two larger monitors. The reason being is that most first and third person games will place your characters in the middle of the screen so if you have a dual monitor setup you'll get 1/2 the picture cut off. With a triple monitor setup you won't have that problem.


That's a good point, I hadn't considered that. However, my main use case is, as stated above, programming and virtualization. So I could probably do fine with running games on a single monitor and have a browser or other programs open in the other monitor. I want to make sure that whatever GPU I choose I won't have any issues running two 2560x1440 monitors. Could you suggest a specific 670 that would work? I've looked at a few models, some have 2gb ram and others have 4gb ram. I'm also still considering the 79070 GHz edition. I believe you had mentioned the Sapphire Vapor-X, is that the correct model?

Thanks for all your help so far.
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