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Gaming @ 2560x1440 - Revised 1/3/2013

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January 3, 2013 12:46:31 PM

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor
Motherboard: Asus SABERTOOTH Z77 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard
RAM: Corsair Vengeance Performance 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM (Storage)
SSD 1: Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB 2.5" SSD (Boot & Applications)
SSD 2: Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB 2.5" SSD (Games)
GPU: MSI Radeon HD 7970 OC 3GB (R7970-2PMD3GD5/OC)
Sound Card: Creative Labs Recon3D Fatal1ty Champion 24-bit 96 KHz
Case: Azza Genesis 9000 (Black) ATX Full Tower Case
PSU: Corsair AX850 Professional Gold 850W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V - Modular
ODD: Asus BW-12B1ST/BLK/G/AS Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer
Monitor: Asus PB278Q 27.0" LED Monitor
OS: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit)
Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K90 Wired Gaming Keyboard
Mouse: Corsair Vengeance M90 Wired Laser Mouse
GPU Cooler: Swiftech KOMODO-HD7970 Full Cover VGA Waterblock
CPU Cooler, Radiatior, & Pump Kit: XSPC Raystorm Extreme Universal CPU Watercooling Kit w/ RX360 Rev 2 Radiator/D5 Pump/Res

This is my current planned build for my new PC. I've decided to go with a high end water cooling system for the CPU & GPU as my goal is to have a relatively quiet system with high overclocking potential. The choice of GPU was determined by compatibility with the GPU water block and unlocked voltage. RAM selection is to allow for a RAM Cache to increase SSD & HDD Read speeds. I may use a portion of the RAM for a RAM Drive as well. I went with the 3570k vs a 3770k as this is mainly a gaming PC & most likely will not be used for video editing & such. I've considered the Asus Maximus V Formula as an alternative to the Sabertooth due to overclocking features, but personally prefer the Sabertooth. For the HDD, I may either upgrade this to a 3TB before purchase, but will most likely stick to the 2TB & just add another 2TB later. I went with dual 120GB SSDs to allow a dedicated SSD for the OS & primary applications, the additional one for games. Case was selected due to size, cost, water cooling options, and additional features (such as R-ATX Motherboard tray & optional front mounting PSU). The monitor of choice is a huge 27" LED at 2560x1440, which is a step up from my 24" LCD at 1920x1200. For more details on the water cooling options check performance-pcs.com

Please provide suggestions/feedback to help me with the final tweaks to this build.
January 3, 2013 1:32:18 PM

Well, if you are determined to go all out at all costs, I'd recommend getting the 3770K to go with the theme. BF3 does utilize hyperthreading and down the road I think more games will. With what you're spending, what's another $100?
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January 3, 2013 7:22:19 PM

J_E_D_70 said:
Well, if you are determined to go all out at all costs, I'd recommend getting the 3770K to go with the theme. BF3 does utilize hyperthreading and down the road I think more games will. With what you're spending, what's another $100?


Why? You're paying more for something that's rarely utilized if at all.

That build looks decent with a couple of things:

1. Drop the second SSD - on a RAID setup if one drive fails the whole thing fails - think of it like a group of mountain climbers wearing chains. You're better getting 1 x 256GB (not Sandforce based - Sandforce is getting beat in every benchmark by Indilinx, LAMD, and Bigfoot) and then getting a 2TB for mass storage. If an SSD is your primary drive it makes no difference what your second, third, fourth, fifth HDs are. Get something like the OCZ Vector or Samsung 840 Pro.

2. The Sabertooth is not worth purchasing - it's overrated, expensive, and the thermal armor traps more heat than it prevents. Get a cheaper motherboard from Asus or Gigabyte with Thunderbolt support and then you're saving money in that area.

3. You don't need the sound card and you certainly don't need 32GB of RAM - you'll never hit more than 16GB or even 8GB on most uses and especially gaming.

4. So far the proposed changes I've suggested would save you about $400 - enough to crossfire that 7970, and that's where you will drastically benefit. For that amount of RAM - you're paying a lot of money for absolutely no return. You're better putting that elsewhere. Plus the basic version of Windows 8 won't recognize more than 16GB of RAM, you'll have to get Windows 8 Pro for that.

5. As for the BD-R burner if you want to keep it fine, but playing BD movies on a PC is more of a pain than it's made out to be mainly because of the finicky software that accompanies BD-R drives - and that can also get quite expensive too.
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January 4, 2013 1:10:38 AM

1. I clearly stated that the 2 SSDs would be used separately. The 1st one as a boot/application drive, the 2nd one for games only. I'm aware that RAID 0 on SSDs isn't much better than just upgrading that SSD to a larger size.

2. If I were to change my selected motherboard, I would go with an Asus Maximus V Formula, which would actually cost a bit more, but would probably be a better choice considering the main goals of this build.

3. a. The sound card is something that I've considered just dropping completely & going with onboard sound instead, making another benefit of switching to the MVF motherboard instead of Sabertooth.
3. b. I know I mentioned the reasons behind going with a 32GB kit instead of a more reasonable 16GB kit. Allowing for portions of the total RAM to be used as a RAM Drive &/or RAM Cache. If you don't understand these concepts, I suggest you do some research. You may even have a desire to try them yourself as they do offer a lot of benefits.

4. a. I do plan on adding in an additional 7970 for CF in the future for added performance, but this will be after the newer Radeons hit the market & prices of the 7000 series drop quite a bit. However, this will require an additional GPU waterblock & most likely an additional radiator added to my water cooling loop. Until then, a 7970 GHz Overclocked will do just fine in 1440p. I may have to tone down the AA or other settings in games, but that's something I'm okay with.
4. b. The added cost of the 32GB RAM vs a comparable 16GB RAM kit is actually quite low.
4. c. Windows 8 64-bit does support 32GB RAM, in fact it supports up to 128GB. F.Y.I Windows 8 Pro 64-bit supports up to 512GB.

5. I went with the Blu-ray Burner because it was a nominal increase in price over a Blu-ray Reader/DVD burner drive. The reason for having a drive with Blu-ray gives me flexibility in case of future game manufacturers using that technology over DVDs in the next few years to cut down on disc counts for their game installs. It also allows me to watch 1080p quality movies on my quite large LED monitor while sitting a few feet away from it instead of using the living room setup all the time. I understand you believe there are issues with Blu-ray on PCs, but I'm sure I'll be able to work out the kinks.
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January 4, 2013 1:16:03 AM

J_E_D_70 said:
Well, if you are determined to go all out at all costs, I'd recommend getting the 3770K to go with the theme. BF3 does utilize hyperthreading and down the road I think more games will. With what you're spending, what's another $100?


If that's the case, why didn't you shell out the extra $100 for a 3770K? I bet I know why. Minor added benefits don't outweigh the added cost. Bottom line, a 3570K overclocks just fine, handles gaming just fine, and for the most part is does just fine compared to it's bigger brother. If I were that concerned with those extra bells & whistles, I may as well have gone with a X79 setup using a 3930X. In my opinion, the 2nd or 3rd chip down in a category is usually more worthwhile & will manage to keep up with the upcoming groups for a while.
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January 4, 2013 2:20:33 AM

Quote:
2. If I were to change my selected motherboard, I would go with an Asus Maximus V Formula, which would actually cost a bit more, but would probably be a better choice considering the main goals of this build.


Why would you go with a more expensive motherboard with features that you'll most likely never use? To me it doesn't make a lot of sense to spend more money in this area.

Quote:
3. b. I know I mentioned the reasons behind going with a 32GB kit instead of a more reasonable 16GB kit. Allowing for portions of the total RAM to be used as a RAM Drive &/or RAM Cache. If you don't understand these concepts, I suggest you do some research. You may even have a desire to try them yourself as they do offer a lot of benefits.


I know what a RAM disk is, but on a gaming machine you won't really benefit from it. If you were using this for say a hardcore Photoshop and rendering / video editing rig then I would say go for it because that's when you need all the RAM you can get.

Quote:
4. a. I do plan on adding in an additional 7970 for CF in the future for added performance, but this will be after the newer Radeons hit the market & prices of the 7000 series drop quite a bit. However, this will require an additional GPU waterblock & most likely an additional radiator added to my water cooling loop. Until then, a 7970 GHz Overclocked will do just fine in 1440p. I may have to tone down the AA or other settings in games, but that's something I'm okay with.


Are you going to go with a custom loop with water blocks attached to your GPU(s)?

Quote:
5. I went with the Blu-ray Burner because it was a nominal increase in price over a Blu-ray Reader/DVD burner drive. The reason for having a drive with Blu-ray gives me flexibility in case of future game manufacturers using that technology over DVDs in the next few years to cut down on disc counts for their game installs. It also allows me to watch 1080p quality movies on my quite large LED monitor while sitting a few feet away from it instead of using the living room setup all the time. I understand you believe there are issues with Blu-ray on PCs, but I'm sure I'll be able to work out the kinks.


Actually that's not going to be the case at all. Physical media is becoming obsolete at a very frequent pace - everything is moving toward cloud computing and online distribution (iTunes and Steam among others), the days of games requiring physical media will come to an end very soon.
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