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Advice on $1500-$2000 Gaming/Workstation Build

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December 23, 2012 11:54:31 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 2-3 weeks

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 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 $444.99 @ Newegg
or some Nvidia 670 GTX variant (which one, there are so many)? $349.99 - $459.99 @ Newegg

And do I need to SLI / Crossfire?

Memory (will this work with those motherboards?): Not sure which is best:
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

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?
Thinking about either of these, depending one which GPUs I get:
SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold 650W $99.99 @ Newegg
or
SeaSonic X750 Gold 750W $149.99 @ Newegg

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

Total: $1359.91 - $1444.19

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.
December 24, 2012 1:10:54 AM

Are you gaming on one monitor only? A single 670 or 7970 won't be able to power BOTH screens of the game, but if you were to have the game on one screen, desktop or whatever on another; sure. That's the beautiful thing about SLI/XFire: If you find yourself lacking power, you can just add another one.

BUT

If you have any intention of adding another high-end card, 650W PSU is out of the question. You need to be looking at 750W as a comfortable point.

Next, the processor. The leg-up that the i7-3770k has over the i5-3570k is the hyperthreading. Unless you do programming that runs on more than 8 threads, I don't think you'll notice the difference. However, since you are already under budget, you may want to spring for it. It is faster, after all.

You want an aftermarket cooler. Yes.

Everything else I see on here is good, and some of them are decisions that I have no opinion on!

Best of luck!
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December 24, 2012 1:19:50 AM

Nvidia tends to have the advantage due to Cuda for workstations(unless going for professional versions of brands)

And the i7 deal is only for in store buys. if you do have it near you, nice. Some Motherboards might be on sale over there too like Gigabyte ud3h or ASrock extreme4.

don't get WD black if you have an SSD already get Blue, Green or barracuda

Not a fan of NZXT 410, have one myself felt like i could have gotten a better one at the price. May look fancy but i got tired of it after the first day. Much more of a fan on these cases that look "slick".

http://pcpartpicker.com/part/fractal-design-case-fdcade...
^very great price right now, you will rarely find a case of this kind of quality this cheap.

http://pcpartpicker.com/part/corsair-case-500rwt
^great price once again if you do not mind the rebates

http://pcpartpicker.com/part/cooler-master-case-rc922xm...
^if you are not a fan of getting the rebates get this one instead. Has tons of fan filters and great cable management like the other 2
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December 24, 2012 1:30:06 AM

i8myhippo said:
Are you gaming on one monitor only? A single 670 or 7970 won't be able to power BOTH screens of the game, but if you were to have the game on one screen, desktop or whatever on another; sure. That's the beautiful thing about SLI/XFire: If you find yourself lacking power, you can just add another one.

BUT

If you have any intention of adding another high-end card, 650W PSU is out of the question. You need to be looking at 750W as a comfortable point.

Next, the processor. The leg-up that the i7-3770k has over the i5-3570k is the hyperthreading. Unless you do programming that runs on more than 8 threads, I don't think you'll notice the difference. However, since you are already under budget, you may want to spring for it. It is faster, after all.

You want an aftermarket cooler. Yes.

Everything else I see on here is good, and some of them are decisions that I have no opinion on!

Best of luck!


Thanks for the input. I probably will just game on a single monitor for now, as I hear that two 27" monitors will put the middle of the screen right where the bezel is, and be quite irritating. I just want to make sure that I can at least run my two monitors in normal office use. I'll spring for the 750W seasonic, if that's a quality PSU?

I'm springing for the i7-3770K because I have a microcenter near me and I want to future proof my build a bit.

Any recommendations on motherboards?
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December 24, 2012 1:35:08 AM

boulbox said:
Nvidia tends to have the advantage due to Cuda for workstations(unless going for professional versions of brands)

And the i7 deal is only for in store buys. if you do have it near you, nice. Some Motherboards might be on sale over there too like Gigabyte ud3h or ASrock extreme4.

don't get WD black if you have an SSD already get Blue, Green or barracuda

Not a fan of NZXT 410, have one myself felt like i could have gotten a better one at the price. May look fancy but i got tired of it after the first day. Much more of a fan on these cases that look "slick".

http://pcpartpicker.com/part/fractal-design-case-fdcade...
^very great price right now, you will rarely find a case of this kind of quality this cheap.

http://pcpartpicker.com/part/corsair-case-500rwt
^great price once again if you do not mind the rebates

http://pcpartpicker.com/part/cooler-master-case-rc922xm...
^if you are not a fan of getting the rebates get this one instead. Has tons of fan filters and great cable management like the other 2


Thanks for your input. I do have a microcenter near me, and that's why I'm going for the 3770K.

Any recommendations on the three mobos I listed?

What's the advantage to getting a WD Blue or Green vs. the black I have selected?

Any specific reasons you don't like your Phantom 410? It looks real solid to me, I kinda had my mind made up about it. But if there are serious flaws I'll reconsider.
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December 24, 2012 1:54:19 AM

I have the Asus P8Z77-V Pro in my recent build, and I'm really happy with it. I think it mostly comes down to personal preference, and whoever will provide you with the best warranty. I heard good things about Asus boards and customer service, so thats what I went with.

WD Blue and Green use less power, and are slower and cheaper than the Black.
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December 24, 2012 1:58:35 AM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U9B SE2 37.9 CFM CPU Cooler ($59.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme6 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($159.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Mushkin Silverline 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($66.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($169.95 @ B&H)
Video Card: Galaxy GeForce GTX 670 4GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($417.00 @ CompUSA)
Video Card: Galaxy GeForce GTX 670 4GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($417.00 @ CompUSA)
Case: Corsair 500R White ATX Mid Tower Case ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($84.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-222BB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $1572.88
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-23 22:58 EST-0500)

the blue and green are slower but not significantly and and since you do have an SSD already you will not see much performance decrease.

Out of the 3 mobos i would go ASrock extreme6 has everything you will need not to mention it can compare to a lot of high end boards.

410 has mid range build quality like the flimsy plastic parts(which get in the way) not as fun to build inside unlike 500R, uses flimsy rubber grommets and falls out easily(but the metal is rolled so it won't cut) and a 500R pretty much has almost everything the 410 has(no windowed panel) but better quality.

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December 24, 2012 2:00:50 AM

JohnGalt1 said:
I have the Asus P8Z77-V Pro in my recent build, and I'm really happy with it. I think it mostly comes down to personal preference, and whoever will provide you with the best warranty. I heard good things about Asus boards and customer service, so thats what I went with.

WD Blue and Green use less power, and are slower and cheaper than the Black.


I heard that the V-Pro has had some issues with the GTX 670, so I'm a bit weary about it. Which GPU do you have in your build?

I'll probably stick with the WD black because I don't mind spending a bit extra for more speed.

Thanks for your input.
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December 24, 2012 2:05:15 AM

boulbox said:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U9B SE2 37.9 CFM CPU Cooler ($59.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme6 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($159.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Mushkin Silverline 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($66.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($169.95 @ B&H)
Video Card: Galaxy GeForce GTX 670 4GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($417.00 @ CompUSA)
Video Card: Galaxy GeForce GTX 670 4GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($417.00 @ CompUSA)
Case: Corsair 500R White ATX Mid Tower Case ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($84.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-222BB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $1572.88
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-23 22:58 EST-0500)

the blue and green are slower but not significantly and and since you do have an SSD already you will not see much performance decrease.

Out of the 3 mobos i would go ASrock extreme6 has everything you will need not to mention it can compare to a lot of high end boards.

410 has mid range build quality like the flimsy plastic parts(which get in the way) not as fun to build inside unlike 500R, uses flimsy rubber grommets and falls out easily(but the metal is rolled so it won't cut) and a 500R pretty much has almost everything the 410 has(no windowed panel) but better quality.


Any reason for picking the higher end cooler? I only intend on doing some mild overclocking, I'd like to save the cash if the hyper 212 will do just as well.

I know the ASRock Extreme6 is cheaper, but how does it compare quality wise with the ASUS P8Z77-V Pro?

Is the XFX PSU a better quality PSU than the Seasonic? I've heard good things about Seasonic in this forum.

I'll definitely look into the 500R as per your suggestion. It looks pretty nice.

Thanks for all your input.
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December 24, 2012 2:28:07 AM

xfx psu is made by seasonic. if it's mild overclocking then just get 212 evo. Also the high Vram GPUs are needed for multi monitors so i went with a 4GB 670, you can also get 2X 7970GHz if you would prefer
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December 24, 2012 2:42:32 AM

boulbox said:
xfx psu is made by seasonic. if it's mild overclocking then just get 212 evo. Also the high Vram GPUs are needed for multi monitors so i went with a 4GB 670, you can also get 2X 7970GHz if you would prefer


I'll probably stick with the 212 evo.

Is the Galaxy 670 a good model? I know there are other manufacturers who make 670s like ASUS and Gigabyte. Also do you think I could get away with a single GPU? I may want to add another at a later date, but I rather not lay out $900 for 2 GPUs right off the bat.

Again thanks for all your help.
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December 24, 2012 3:07:01 AM

boulbox said:
Galaxy 670 4GB is a great model, i have one and it overclocks great other choices are these though

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

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

getting away with a single GPU with that kind of res is pretty hard.


I won't be overclocking my GPU, but I'll probably go with the Galaxy, the reviews on newegg seem solid. What's your opinion on the EVGA GTX 670 FTW? I was considering that model as well, and it's quite a bit cheaper. I assume it's because it has 2GB instead of 4GB.
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December 24, 2012 4:03:40 AM

not only that, it has only 1 fan for cooling which is not bad but doesnt cool as well as the other ones. Also if not OCing get the ASUS one instead. Uses 2X6pin instead of the 1 6pin and 1 8pin which helps in OCing. And the ASUS one has a backplate(makes it heavy) but gives a lot of support for it
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December 24, 2012 6:31:17 AM

2560x1440x2 = 7.32 Million pixels, whereas the typical 1-monitor-1920x1080 setup only has 2.07 Million pixels. You are REALLY going to want the 4GB of VRAM.
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December 24, 2012 8:06:23 AM

zerobuild said:
I heard that the V-Pro has had some issues with the GTX 670, so I'm a bit weary about it. Which GPU do you have in your build?

I'll probably stick with the WD black because I don't mind spending a bit extra for more speed.

Thanks for your input.
I have the board and 670 no issues whatsoever maybe something else was the cause of these issues you heard of
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December 24, 2012 2:36:07 PM

boulbox said:
not only that, it has only 1 fan for cooling which is not bad but doesnt cool as well as the other ones. Also if not OCing get the ASUS one instead. Uses 2X6pin instead of the 1 6pin and 1 8pin which helps in OCing. And the ASUS one has a backplate(makes it heavy) but gives a lot of support for it


I think I'll still stick with the Galaxy, as the stats on Newegg show the ASUS having a slower core clock speed, being larger in size, and costing about $5 more for whatever reason. What are the ramifications of having a 6 and 8 pin power connector? Would the SeaSonic X750 Gold 750W be able to handle that? And what is a backplate? Both cards seem to have metal near the inputs, I figured that's what a backplate was.
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December 24, 2012 2:47:35 PM

i8myhippo said:
2560x1440x2 = 7.32 Million pixels, whereas the typical 1-monitor-1920x1080 setup only has 2.07 Million pixels. You are REALLY going to want the 4GB of VRAM.


Thanks for your input, I'll stick with a 4GB GTX 670 then.
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December 24, 2012 6:45:23 PM

zerobuild said:
I think I'll still stick with the Galaxy, as the stats on Newegg show the ASUS having a slower core clock speed, being larger in size, and costing about $5 more for whatever reason. What are the ramifications of having a 6 and 8 pin power connector? Would the SeaSonic X750 Gold 750W be able to handle that? And what is a backplate? Both cards seem to have metal near the inputs, I figured that's what a backplate was.



nothing much, the galaxy and the gigabyte one uses something like a 680 PCB so it will use more power and can overclock very high(even though it is limited since it is already clocked at a great speed).

If wanted to overclock there are many threads on how to do it(did mines the fast way) and i am getting +70 GPU clock and +287 mem clock. But of course everyone's GPU is not the same so you may be able to achieve higher clocks or lower clocks than mine.
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