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Veteran Gamer, Hardware Rookie - Looking for help/advice on first build.

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January 23, 2013 8:13:32 PM

Hi there,
As explained in the title, I'm a hardened gamer, but I only have a moderate knowledge of hardware, much of which I have acquired through-out this past week looking at reviews, builds and benchmarks.
For the past two to three years I've been gaming on a 2010 MacBook Pro as I was in the need of a great study computer.
Since my MacBook has to conk out, it's time for a much needed upgrade. As I said before, I don't have much knowledge on hardware and none what so ever on building a computer (I'll figure that one out probably).

To Skip Introduction - Start Here!

This is why I really need your expertise on the matter of getting the best build for a gamer like me. I hope that you will be able to check the build I have thought of for compatibility, quality and perfomance issues, as well as a couple of hardware suggestions.

I plan to be able to run BF3 and future games at Ultra Settings for the next three or more years. Maybe going for a dual display for multitasking.

The specs I have thought of are the following parts:
- Cooler: H80i Hydro Series CPU Cooler, Socket 1155/1156/1366/2011, AM2(+)/AM3(+)/FM1/FM2, 2700 RPM, 77 CFM, 37.68 dBA

- Tower: Corsair Obsidian 650D Midi Tower Black

- CPU: Intel® Core i7-3770K Processor Socket-LGA1155, Quad Core, 3.5GHz, 8MB, 77W, HD4000, Boxed w/fan

- GPU: MSI GeForce GTX 680 2GB PhysX CUDA PCI-Express 3.0, "Lightning"

- Motherboard: MSI Z77 MPower, Socket-1155 ATX, Z77, DDR3, 3xG3-PCIe-x16, SLI/CFX, VGA, HDMI, DP, WiFi, BT, UEFI

- RAM: Kingston DDR3 HyperX 1600 MHz 16GB Black CL10, 2x8GB, XMP HyperX Black Series

- HDD1: Kingston HyperX 3K SSD 120GB 2.5" SATA 6 Gb/s (SATA3.0), 555/510MB/s read/write, SandForce®

- HDD2: Seagate Barracuda® 2TB SATA 6Gb/s (SATA 3.0), 64MB Cache, 7200RPM, 3.5"

- PSU: XFX ProSeries XXX Edition 850W PSU ATX 12V V2.2, 80 Plus Bronze, Modular, 4x 6+2pin PCIe, 19x SATA, 16x Molex

- Optical Drive: Samsung DVD Writer, SH-224BB SATA, DVD±R: 24x, DVD±R DL: 8x, CD-R: 48x, Bulk, BLACK

- Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D PCIe PCIe-x1, 5.1 Surround, Core3D, Dolby Digital, THX TruStudio Pro, CrystalVoice

In advance, thanks a lot!
January 23, 2013 8:25:15 PM

EDIT: I have absolutely no knowledge of PSU and coolers, as well as complications that could occur with the use of a water cooler. If I even need a water cooler, if the Corsair H100i or I just need a normal cooler.

- Thanks again!
January 23, 2013 8:29:55 PM

This is what I would go with.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($223.79 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($80.76 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($124.99 @ Microcenter)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($38.50 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($118.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($407.86 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 300R ATX Mid Tower Case ($67.41 @ Mac Connection)
Power Supply: SeaSonic M12II 750W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($115.17 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.98 @ Outlet PC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1373.42
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-23 17:23 EST-0500)

The i7 isn't a good choice for gaming because hyperthreading is not used (except for the BF3 and Far Cry 3), you can save some cash and go with the i5. Water cooling is nice but has the potential to leak. The Noctua air cooler will give you good overclocks with less hassle. If you don't want to push it too far, the 212 EVO cooler will do just fine. There is no need for 16 GB of RAM, 8 is plenty. That motherboard is way too much for your needs. The Extreme is a good overlclocking board with SLI/CrossFire capabilities. The 7970 is a better GPU, especially if you plan to use multiple monitors in the future. I recommend a 3 monitor setup because with two, the center of the display is right were the two screens meet and is not good for first person shooters and 1st person views (Skyrim for example). There is really no need for an additional sound card. Integrated sound on motherboards are usually 7.1 channel with Dolby etc. That is a good brand PSU and you can go with it if you want to CrossFire in the future. A 750W would do fine though.
Related resources
January 23, 2013 8:44:59 PM

I second cball's build - it looks a LOT like what I'd build, with perhaps a few differences in brands.

But yeah, everything else he said nailed it on the head - there were a lot of places where you were throwing money away from no increase in performance.
January 23, 2013 8:47:28 PM

Thanks a lot for your replies.
Sorry for not mentioning it before, but yeah, I had planned to OC it, however I have no experience with this kind of thing.
Thanks Cball1311 for the build and suggestions - much appreciated! I do realise that I might have over done it by a bit. I had intended to use the computer for BF3 at max settings as well as being able to stream League of Legends (maybe). The dual screen setup would be to multitask while playing League of Legends and BF3 as I'm a student and would like that liberty. I don't know if this adds extra complications or if I used the proper terms. I probably will have to downgrade my MoBo.
If I bought to computers similar to the build you suggested and my own build the price difference is only around 40% more expensive. But I've just received a fairly big donation so I'm not short on money and would like some top notch equipment.
Is the difference in performance/currency that huge, so that it really won't pay off to go with a similar build to mine?
January 23, 2013 8:53:03 PM

Just save the cash and buy more games, another monitor, gaming keyboard/mouse, headset, or whatever :D  . You will have an equal amount of performance with the build that I suggested, even with two monitors.

January 23, 2013 9:04:04 PM

Thanks a lot mate, much appreciated. Your build seems great for the money and made me think a lot more about price vs. perfomance, rather than picking 'the best' that was still affordable.
Do you have any experience/knowledge about hardware being sent overseas as I live in Denmark? Stuff is rather pricey in Denmark it seems. My build would have cost 2,400$ in Denmark -.-
January 23, 2013 9:09:01 PM

country of origin? also maxbudget and website of preference?

January 23, 2013 9:17:45 PM

Thanks for the build Noob12 and site! I'll have to look into the builds tomorrow as to what best suits my needs, but it definitely seems that I need to trash my current build and evaluate on the two above. But as far as I can tell the first build is better when OC'd and the second better when stock? Would it require much knowledge to tune the first build in-order for it to be superior? ;) 
With that said I'm off the bed. Have a good one and sleep well ;) 
January 23, 2013 9:19:45 PM

More posts :D 
Sorry for not following the template, only so it post-thread and I can't edit. I live in Denmark and my budget is around 2,500$.
I'm planning on buying a computer within a month depending on when I get the money,
January 23, 2013 9:21:14 PM

*saw
January 23, 2013 9:27:31 PM

2500$ us , and howmuch in deutch currency?

January 23, 2013 9:31:28 PM

Around 1,850 € , although it seems that it's much too much to blow on a gaming rig, but it is what I'm willing to spend if it's worth it.
January 23, 2013 9:34:34 PM

do you want windows+keyboard+mouse+monitor in there?

January 23, 2013 9:39:50 PM

I'm sorry Noob12, but I don't quite comprehend the abbreviation "HT"?
And Iceclock, I've been playing on a MacBook 13" using a Logitech G3 for the past 3 years. I own no hardware of value, so I need all the above.
The only thing I own that is usable are my Astro A40's and Gunnars ;) 

For screen/keyboard/mouse I was looking at the Asus VE248H/Razer Blackwidow Ultimate 2013/Logitech G500. Maybe you have an opinion on that. And thanks!.
January 23, 2013 9:46:19 PM

Much appreciated Noob12, as I said half an hour ago though, I'm headed off to bed and my laptop is at 6% with a broken recharger (so I have to share one). I'll get back to it tomorrow. Thanks, hf and nn. :) 
January 23, 2013 10:03:13 PM

hey tuper. got ur build in a sec.

January 23, 2013 10:14:57 PM

ok

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/de/p/zdgE
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/de/p/zdgE/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/de/p/zdgE/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (€206.85 @ Amazon Deutchland)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler (€78.33 @ Amazon Deutchland)
Motherboard: MSI Z77A-GD55 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (€123.89 @ Amazon Deutchland)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (€79.95 @ Amazon Deutchland)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (€80.82 @ Amazon Deutchland)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (€125.65 @ Amazon Deutchland)
Case: Thermaltake VN700M1W2N ATX Full Tower Case (€98.89 @ Amazon Deutchland)
Power Supply: XFX 850W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (€98.49 @ Amazon Deutchland)
Optical Drive: Sony DDU1681S-0B DVD/CD Drive (€25.98 @ Amazon Deutchland)
Keyboard: SteelSeries 6Gv2 Wired Standard Keyboard (€79.90 @ Amazon Deutchland)
Mouse: Corsair Vengeance M90 Wired Laser Mouse (€54.57 @ Amazon Deutchland)
Other: windows 7 64 (€85.00)
Total: €1138.32
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-24 01:14 CET+0100)

January 23, 2013 10:58:28 PM

I strongly second Cball's build. Spot on. Anything beyond is rapidly diminishing returns. Better to put the saved money aside and add to it over time to have the cash to do this again in four years :) 

I'd put bf3 on the ssd to minimize map load times but I'm impatient like that.
January 23, 2013 11:05:50 PM

the build i chose is quite fine, maybe 8gigs would suffice tho.

January 23, 2013 11:11:15 PM

J_E_D_70 said:
I strongly second Cball's build. Spot on. Anything beyond is rapidly diminishing returns. Better to put the saved money aside and add to it over time to have the cash to do this again in four years :) 

I'd put bf3 on the ssd to minimize map load times but I'm impatient like that.


Thanks J_e_d_70, I appreciate it. I try to get the best for the OP while saving them some cash and not loosing performance.

@iceclock
You do come up with some masterpiece build dude. I do get impressed from time to time :) 
January 23, 2013 11:14:37 PM

your build is quite good as well cball, cant say otherwise :D 

January 24, 2013 4:28:38 AM

Tupper said:
I'm sorry Noob12, but I don't quite comprehend the abbreviation "HT"?
And Iceclock, I've been playing on a MacBook 13" using a Logitech G3 for the past 3 years. I own no hardware of value, so I need all the above.
The only thing I own that is usable are my Astro A40's and Gunnars ;) 

For screen/keyboard/mouse I was looking at the Asus VE248H/Razer Blackwidow Ultimate 2013/Logitech G500. Maybe you have an opinion on that. And thanks!.


HT = Hyper Threading, I dont know if anyone replied to that one.
Both cball and iceclock's builds are exactly what you're looking for. I personally dont like Razer peripherals as they come off to me as cheap quality unless you get the top notch stuff.. thermaltake has some pretty nice mechanical keyboards otherwise you could go a brand like Ducky or Filco? a mechanical keyboard will serve you better in the long run. Also i'm not an expert on mice but I know Logitech have some very ergonimical gaming mice that do the job great. otherwise I hear Corsairs new ones aren't too bad if you like a smaller mouse. Others might encourage you to go with Razer though so i guess its purely a personal thing.
January 24, 2013 7:26:54 AM

I'd like to thank all of you for your invaluable help and guidance. As to which build I'll go with I'm unsure, but it will be either Cball's or iceclock's.
Coming from a League of Legends and Reddit community I'm absolutely amazed by the helpfulness of this community. For the time being I will probably never be able to help and guide hardware noobs on the same level as you helped me, however as I said in the title I'm a veteran gamer and therefore have a stash of codes that I would like to hand out to all that helped me.
Currently I own a code for the following games:
Steam Codes
- Dungeon Defenders + All DLCs
- The Binding of Isaac + Wrath of the Lamb DLC
- Legend of Glimrock
Steam Gift-ables
- Frozen Synapse
Beta Keys
- 5x FireFall Closed Beta Keys

Please PM me if you are interested ;) 
January 24, 2013 12:47:10 PM

reddit community= nope.

gamers are helpful but depends of who u fall on.

toms= heavenly tech goodness and helpfulness.

glad to help u.

January 24, 2013 2:07:20 PM

my build is quite fine, thank you :) 
January 24, 2013 2:30:27 PM

revised build according to op :(  and noob refrain from saying such comments, brings nothing to help the op.

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/de/p/zk4J
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/de/p/zk4J/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/de/p/zk4J/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (€206.85 @ Amazon Deutchland)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler (€78.33 @ Amazon Deutchland)
Motherboard: MSI Z77A-GD55 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (€123.89 @ Amazon Deutchland)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (€79.95 @ Amazon Deutchland)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (€125.65 @ Amazon Deutchland)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card (€457.03 @ Amazon Deutchland)
Case: Corsair 400R ATX Mid Tower Case (€91.89 @ Amazon Deutchland)
Power Supply: XFX 850W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (€98.49 @ Amazon Deutchland)
Optical Drive: Sony DDU1681S-0B DVD/CD Drive (€25.98 @ Amazon Deutchland)
Keyboard: SteelSeries 6Gv2 Wired Standard Keyboard (€79.90 @ Amazon Deutchland)
Mouse: Corsair Vengeance M90 Wired Laser Mouse (€54.57 @ Amazon Deutchland)
Other: windows 7 64 (€85.00)
Total: €1507.53
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-24 17:29 CET+0100)

1507 euros with the case and videocard u requested

!