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New build check over

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January 6, 2013 2:40:06 PM

Hi Everyone,

I'm looking to purchase a new computer and I want to spend around £900 for a relatively small/quiet gaming and virtualisation machine (for my work).

If any of you have time to have a look over these parts I'd appreciate any feedback you have big or small.

Case - Fractal Define Mini £71.98
Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-Z77MX-DS3 £98.12
CPU - i5 3570 £159.78
GFX - AMD 7870 ~£170
RAM - Corsair 32GB Vengeance 4x8GB £122.78
PSU - Corsair TX550M £57.00

HDD - Samsung 830 256GB SSD £149.10
HDD - 1TB Barracuda 7200.14 £54.59
Optical - LiteOn Standard DVDRW £12.98

Total ~£896.33

One thing I'm not sure on is to wait for the AMD 8870 to arrive and swap out the 7870 in this. Also I might in the future dump another GFX card in for Crossfire, do you think that PSU will handle it? I've tried it on a PSU calculator with the two cards and it's come out as ~430W

Thanks for your time in reading

Martin

More about : build check

January 6, 2013 3:08:55 PM

Some thoughts for you:

1. I do not find the Gigabyte GA-Z77MX-DS3 on their web site. But, from the name, It looks to be a M-ATX motherboard with a Z77 chipset. Good.

2. Nothing wrong with a 3570. But for perhaps 5% more for a 3570K, you have a potential for 25% better performance. I would put the 3570K as a 4 year cpu chip.
You need not OC initially, but it is really easy and safe up to about 4.3. And... at eventual resale time, the "K" will fetch more.

3. No game uses more than 2-3gb by itself. 8gb(2 x 4gb) is the usual recommendation. Ram is cheap, I would have no problem with a 16gb(2 x 8gb) kit.
Past that, you need more than windows 7 home premium to access >16gb. I would also look at low profile ram, and DDR3 1600 is as fast as you need.

4. A 7870 needs only a quality 500w psu. Here is a handy chart for other graphics requirements:
http://www.realhardtechx.com/index_archivos/Page362.htm

5. I would not plan on crossfire as a graphics upgrade for several reasons.
With a M-ATX motherboard the two cards will be next to each other, causing the top card to have heat issues.

Here is my canned rant on that:
-----------------------------Start of rant----------------------------------------------------
Dual graphics cards vs. a good single card.

a) How good do you really need to be?
A single GTX650/ti or 7770 can give you good performance at 1920 x 1200 in most games.

A single GTX660 or 7850 will give you excellent performance at 1920 x 1200 in most games.
Even 2560 x 1600 will be good with lowered detail.
A single gtx690 is about as good as it gets.

Only if you are looking at triple monitor gaming, then sli/cf will be needed.
Even that is now changing with triple monitor support on top end cards.

b) The costs for a single card are lower.
You require a less expensive motherboard; no need for sli/cf or multiple pci-e slots.
Even a ITX motherboard will do.

Your psu costs are less.
A GTX660 needs a 430w psu, even a GTX680 only needs a 550w psu.
When you add another card to the mix, plan on adding 150-200w to your psu requirements.

Even the strongest GTX690 only needs 620w.

Case cooling becomes more of an issue with dual cards.
That means a more expensive case with more and stronger fans.
You will also look at more noise.

c) Dual cards do not always render their half of the display in sync, causing microstuttering. It is an annoying effect.
The benefit of higher benchmark fps can be offset, particularly with lower tier cards.
Read this: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut...

d) dual card support is dependent on the driver. Not all games can benefit from dual cards.

e) cf/sli up front reduces your option to get another card for an upgrade. Not that I suggest you plan for that.
It will often be the case that replacing your current card with a newer gen card will offer a better upgrade path.
The GTX780 and amd 8000 series are not that far off.
-------------------------------End of rant-----------------------------------------------------------

I would plan on upgrading via the stronger single card route.
Even a GTX690 only needs a 620w. psu. I think I would look for a 650w psu to be able to handle any single card that might show up. An overprovisioned psu will only use the wattage demanded of it, and will run cooler and quieter.
Corsair is a good brand. Pick a tier 1 or 2 unit from this list:
http://www.eggxpert.com/forums/thread/323050.aspx

6. I would buy a oem cpu cooler up front. An inexpensive cm hyper212 will do the job. It will run cooler and quieter. And... the backplate mount is easier than the stock intel pushpins.

7. What do you want out of your case?
Size, quiet?, cooling? looks?
There might be some better options out there.
January 6, 2013 4:31:12 PM

Thanks very much for your reply, and actually after reading what you have said about crossfire/sli (I've also looked into the micro stuttering which was a concern) I think I will leave the Crossfire option!

What I was then thinking is changing the motherboard to the cheaper option GA-Z77M-D3H (you are correct Micro ATX)
The reason I went for the MX version was the extra bandwidth on the second PCI Express channel (which won't be need if I go for a single card)

I will add a CPU Cooler like you suggest, probably not a bad idea and will help if in the future I do overclock the processor. You make a good point about the resale value of the K chip so i think I'll go for that option too.

The reason I went for the Define mini was a combination of Size Sound and looks to be honest, I've read reviews that it does well acoustically.

The box will be running quite a few VM's for my work, I do a lot of SharePoint and FAST Search stuff which needs a lot of RAM with separate SQL + Exchange boxes bolted on too. (OS is all sorted)

Updates below:

Case - Fractal Define Mini £71.98
Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-Z77M-D3H £81.32
CPU - i5 3570K OEM £168.18
Cooling - Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO £24.45
GFX - XFX 7870 Core Edition DD AMD/ATI Graphics Card - 2GB ~£171.34
RAM - Corsair 32GB Vengeance 4x8GB £122.78
PSU - Corsair TX650M £71.58

HDD - Samsung 830 256GB SSD £149.10
HDD - 1TB Barracuda 7200.14 £54.59
Optical - LiteOn Standard DVDRW £12.98

Total ~£928.27

The thing now with the swaps and larger PSU is it's pushed the price up by £35, my ideal limit is 900 - perhaps worth the extra 35 quid ?

Many thanks again for the assistance
!