Replacing the guts of my PC

Hi Everyone,

I've used TH for years. Today I decided to register and post. I'm buying some new hardware for my PC and would appreciate any input from the community. Don't know if I've provided way too much info or not enough but here goes.

Approximate Purchase Date: This week

Budget Range: like to keep it under $1000.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: CPU, mobo, RAM, video card, power supply

Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Parts Preferences: I usually stick to Asus for motherboards as I've had three of them in the past and I've never had any issues.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: I'm a big believer in quiet PC's. The latest games I've been playing: Hitman Absolution, Dishonored, Battlefield 3, ARMA II (DayZ) and I'll be getting Dead Space 3 and Elder Scrolls online during 2013

Why Are You Upgrading: I've noticed that my current build (Shown here) is starting to struggle with frame-rates, anti-aliasing and overall performance when running the latest games. I compare my PC (built 3 years ago) to a friends system (about 10 months old) and the difference in performance is large.
The fact that my current build has lasted 3 years is great, and installing a SSD has helped but I feel that it may be time to upgrade.

I intend to keep all my peripherals (monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, case) and the SSD but I'll replace the rest of the PC internals. The new PC system I was considering is summarized here:

Hardware I'm buying (as stated on the suppliers website)

CPU: Intel Core i7 3770 LGA1155 CPU 3.4Ghz 8Mb Cache Ivy Bridge $299.00

Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V 4xDDR3 2xPCI-E16 GBL SATA3 USB3.0 RAID HDMI DVI VGA $125.00

RAM: Corsair 8GB (2x4GB) Vengeance CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9 DDR3 $53.00

PSU: CoolerMaster 850W Silent Pro MII Modular $158.50

VGU: Sapphire ATI HD7950 OC 3GB GDDR5 1MDP/HDMI $325.00

Total: $960.50

1. Would an 850W power supply be enough to run this setup?
2. Is there any advantage in Using Triple Channel RAM for the Ivy Bridge CPU?
3. The VGU states it's an Overclocked version. Do I need to actually overclock the card to get the 900 MHz clock speed? Or will it just do it automatically?

Would also appreciate any other feedback or general guidance.

Thanks in advance.
9 answers Last reply
More about replacing guts
  1. 1. More than enough, the system as is could easily run off 650W. Get 750W if Crossfire/SLI is a concern.
    This PSU is about the best value you will get down here in Australia. All the usual names in PSU's (Corsair, Seasonic and XFX) are either overpriced or dont exist here. This Silverstone unit has quite good reviews.

    2. Nope, get Dual Channel.

    3. The card comes with a higher clock speed, when you put it in the system it wil already be at its advertised speed. I dont bother with Factory Overclocked cards, why pay $20 more for 5mins work? They are also quite conservative overclocks as well, my Sapphire 7870 is clocked further than the overclocked version of the card.

    If your just gaming, then downgrade the CPU to an i5-3570k. The i7's Hyperthreading doesn't do much for gaming performance. Also the "k" edition processors can overclock, which you want since you have a Z77 board.

    You will want to get low profile RAM, so it doesnt conflict with any large CPU heatsinks you may put on the rig.

    Why are you getting an M-ATX board? That case will support up to XL-ATX, why would you get a board two sizes smaller?
  2. 1. I have an opportunity to use my friends old PSU: Thermaltake Litepower 700W ATX PSU
    He said he'll let me have it for free I just wasn't sure if 700W was enough for the hardware I was intending to upgrade. I picked out the 850W just in case but I'll probably buy that after everything else. If the 700W isn't enough then I'd buy the Coolermaster or the Silverstone as you suggested.

    2. Dual Channel it is.

    3. Yeah I didn't think the factory OC cards would be that much of an advantage, but I was looking at the non-OC version and it was an extra $30: (
    Are there some better characteristics in this version of the HD7950 that I'm missing? 2 Mini Display Ports aren't really useful for me, I don't have anything that can use those ports.

    RAM Size Ahhh I didn't consider the physical size when it came to RAM. Yes I have a large CPU heatsink so Low-Profile is the way to go. I'll go with the COrsair ones you linked.

    CPU I was just under the assumption that the higher the processor the better. When would the i7's hyperthreading help you? Running multiple applicaitons at once?
    I chose a Z77 board because I heard they are specifically designed to use use the added PCIe 3.0 bandwidth in tandem with an Ivy Bridge CPU:
    Do you think it's worth it?

    Motherboard size My mistake, I linked the wrong Mobo on Umart. I've eddied the Original Post. I was intending to get the full ATX size:
  3. I would avoid that Thermaltake PSU. They dont have the best reputation in PSU's, that unit isnt 80+ certified (so efficiency and voltage control is unknown) and its used.

    In that case go with the overclocked version, its cheaper and has better cooling by the looks of it.
    I looked for non-reference cards that may have more useful display outputs but couldnt find any, afraid if you want to connect a third screen you will need an adapter.

    In a nutshell a thread is a "resource" the CPU provides to programs to run on, typically a CPU provides one thread per Core (Quad cores have four threads). Hyperthreading can leverage an extra thread per core using the leftover resources of the core.
    The i7's hyperthreading helps in multi-threaded applications like video editing or number crunching, which can use multiple threads at a time. While some games can use multi-threaded performance (BF3 is an example) it still primarily relies on single-threaded performance.

    Do you intend to Crossfire/SLI later on? Just with that mobo you will face bandwidth issues if you try, I suggest getting a P8Z77-V LK if you want to stick with ASUS, or a Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H or AsRock Z77 Extreme4 if your willing to jump ship.
  4. Yeah I had a look around the forums and there's a scathing response to Thermaltake's Power Supplies overall. It was pretty much new and my friend replaced it because his PC kept shutting down. We assumed the system just needed more power (he ended up buying an 850W PSU) but now it looks like it may have just been a quality/reliability issue. Maybe he has a warranty claim :P. Anyways, I'll add the Silverstone unit to the list if you think 750W will be enough.

    I'm unlikely to hook up more than one screen (in the lifetime of this system I may consider adding two but even that is a stretch). I'll stick with the factory OC version.

    I'll consider one of the i5 series for CPU. I don't do any video editing or highly intensive number crunching.

    I don't intend to run crossfire or SLI. Though the P8Z77-V LK is only another $25 over the LX and it also has more SATA III and USB 3.0 ports:

    It also states it has a USB 3.0 Header. I assume the the LX cannot support front USB 3.0 ports then?
  5. If you don't intend to to Crossfire/SLI, you could downgrade to a 650W without issue. Though if you get a board with that capability then it may be worth getting a 750W if you change your mind down the mind.

    Looking at an image of the LX board I can see a USB3 header just under the the 24pin connector.
  6. Great!

    So my final build is looking like this:

    Intel Core i5 3570K LGA1155 CPU 3.4Ghz 6Mb Cache Ivy Bridge $232.00

    Asus P8Z77-V-LK MB, Socket 1155, Intel Z77 Chipset, 4x DDR3, SATA3, USB3.0, PCIE3.0, 8 CH, GbLA $149.00

    Corsair 8GB (2x4GB) CML8GX3M2A1600C9 DDR3 1600MHz CL9 Low Profile Vengeance module for AMD, Intel Du $49.00

    SilverStone ST75F-P 750W Power Supply, 80Plus Silver $143.00

    Sapphire ATI HD7950 OC 3GB GDDR5 1MDP/HDMI $325.00

    Total: $898.00

    Still under $1000 like I was aiming :)

    I decided to take the i5 3570k CPU because I read that this ASUS board has a software suite which allows some overclocking options. Maybe this would be a good way to familiarize myself with how to overclock and what advantages it gives (if I'm interested in learning that later).

    Thanks for all your help Manofchalk. I'll probably place an order to Umart tomorrow :D

    If there's any other input you or anyone else can think of, please let me know.
  7. Oh, one more thing. If I was going to put that $100 i saved to improve another part of the computer, where would you recommend it go?
  8. I assume you have a HDD, that SSD is gonna fill up real quick otherwise.

    The core of the build is good, the obvious upgrades of an SSD and better mouse/keyboard are pretty much covered. $100 isn't enough for another monitor, so that's out. Guessing by that subdued case LED lighting isn't what your after.
    If you have a decent sound system (~$100) you could get a sound card, but wouldn't be worth getting something above $30 or so.
    Actually a decent pair of Headphones might be a good to have if you dont already.
  9. Ahh yeah I already beat you to it, I have a pair of Logitech G930's. Well thanks again. Everything covered.
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