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Looking for advice for gaming PC build

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January 29, 2013 1:20:24 PM

Hey all,

I haven't built a PC in 7 years. The previous one I built was a gaming PC that served me well over its 7 year lifespan, and it is what I am using to type this message. Well, its days are about at an end, and I'm looking to build a new PC.

Primarily, it will be used for gaming and other everyday tasks, such as internet, office, etc, but nothing draining on the system other than games. My budget is around $1500, but I'm willing to go up a bit if needed, and can cut back if something is not necessary. I've put together a build, and I'd be much appreciative if you all could look it over and give your thoughts, advice, suggestions, etc about the build.

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/AgN0
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/AgN0/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/AgN0/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($229.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($80.77 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Microcenter)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($84.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($129.99 @ Adorama)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card ($424.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 922 ATX Mid Tower Case ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 750W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($149.99 @ 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: $1536.64
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-29 10:19 EST-0500)

I haven't done this in 7 years, as I said, so I might be a bit rusty when it comes to the latest and greatest. Your input is greatly appreciated. What do you all think?

More about : advice gaming build

a b 4 Gaming
January 29, 2013 1:33:09 PM

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

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Thermaltake CLP0564 101.6 CFM CPU Cooler ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Microcenter)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($38.78 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Galaxy GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($244.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Galaxy GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($244.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Phantom (Black) ATX Full Tower Case ($95.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 850W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($122.75 @ Amazon)
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: $1373.41
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-29 10:31 EST-0500)

Base Total: $1473.41
Mail-in Rebates: -$70.00
Total: $1403.41

notbad but u dont need a 7970, since 2x660tis would destroy it.

also got u a cheaper but stable ssd drive. 850 watt ps.

decent cooler. good hd. 3770k is useless for gaming as it aint any faster in gaming than ur 3570k ur gonna overclock. hyper-threading isnt supported in gaming and can actually messup performance.

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January 29, 2013 1:42:10 PM

Thanks for the input. I was actually hoping you specifically would post since I have seen many of your other posts while combing through the forums and they all seem to be well thought out and high quality.

Ok, the two graphics cards... I have never done Crossfire or SLI (or whatever... sorry... I'm not up to speed on exactly what it is called...) but I'd be interested in learning if it really would increase performance.

That SSD... I'm looking to run the OS and highly used programs on it, and maybe the occasional game, so I want one that is going to last. My current HDD has lasted 7 years, and for that I am very thankful. I have had hard drives fail before and it is unpleasant, to say the least.

As far as the CPU, I went with the i7 with the future in mind. I saw that you had mentioned in previous posts that the 3570k is best for gaming and that the i7 is not going to increase performance. Do you think it will matter in the future? What about for other basic PC tasks... will there be a noticeable difference in the i5 vs the i7?

Finally, that PSU... I've always heard to go with Seasonic, Corsair, or Antec. Is XFX a quality part manufacturer? I just want to make sure the PSU is stable.

Thanks... I really do appreciate you taking the time to help me out here.
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a b 4 Gaming
January 29, 2013 1:47:13 PM

xfx is made by seasonic :) , and there highquality, better than antec id say.

benefits of sli or crossfire:

http://www.tweaktown.com/asktheexperts/96/what_are_the_...

no the i7 wont increase performance unless u do 3d design, audio recording, video encoding.

overclock the 4core 3570k will do everything the 3770k can do.

also if u dont want to overclock, i can recommand u a non overclocked cpu, that performs on par with the 3770k but for less.

thanks for the input. appreciate to know my help is welcomed.

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a b 4 Gaming
January 29, 2013 1:53:28 PM

A very good list, but I have a few comments:

1. Nothing wrong with a 3770K, but for $50 less, the 3570K will be just as good for gaming.
The reason is that very few games use more than 2-3 cores, making the extra hyperthreads largely irrelevant.

2. Normally, 8gb of ram is ok. But since ram is so cheap, I concur with 16gb.
The problem with your selected kit is the tall heat spreaders. They will impact the cpu cooler. Buy a low profile kit instead. 1.5v ram does not need heat spreaders at all; they are mostly marketing.
And... ram faster than 1600 will have negligible benefit to your FPS. Read this on ram speed scaling:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4503/sandy-bridge-memory-...
I might suggest this kit: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

3. The Samsung 840 pro is as good as it gets.
Consider the 240gb size. 120gb is ok for the os and a few games, but 240gb will let you install a lot of games. You could then not need a hard drive at all.
If you ever needed bulk storage for large files such as video's, a hard drive can easily be added later.

4. As a matter of personal preference, I currently favor the Nvidia drivers and the EVGA direct exhaust type coolers.
The reference coolers get heat directly out of the case. Other coolers depend on case cooling.
Perhaps a card like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I have seen some studies that indicate that nvidia is doing a better job on consistency of frame times. I do not know if this is valid for 7970 and GTX680.
Here is the initial one I saw: http://techreport.com/review/23981/radeon-hd-7950-vs-ge...
You might want to do some more research.
The amount of Vram has been used for marketing purposes, but does not make any difference in actual gaming fps.
http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Video-Card-Pe...
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a b 4 Gaming
January 29, 2013 1:58:41 PM

Let me add, for a new build, consider a top quality IPS monitor, like a 2560 x 1440 unit.
Yes, they will be expensive($700). But a great monitor will last for several generations.

If you will be gaming on a single monitor, sli/cf is probably not necessary.

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-----------------------------------------------------------
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a b 4 Gaming
January 29, 2013 2:06:33 PM

i think the ps i chose is quite good, gives headroom for upgrades, also the hyperx is a very good ssd for the price, doubt the 840pro is that much better.

well sli is also useful for more performance for ur bucks imo.

if someone can afford it i recommand sli and crossfire over single cards.

budget depending of course.

most games support sli and crossfire, ur referring to older issues with sli and crossfire.

micro-stuttering has to do with the 7000 series somethimes having micro-stutters not crossfire.

that is all.



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a b 4 Gaming
January 29, 2013 2:14:46 PM

I agree with geofelt, my opinion is stick with a single gpu when possible, you get great performance out of them, easier cooling, less power requirements, and not everything can run with sli or crossfire. You'll even run into problems with those setups on occasion. I wouldn't start with a dual card setup anyway, if you just stick with a single gpu, you can always add a second later if you feel like it, where as if you start with a 2 gpu setup, unless you have a huge and expensive motherboard and psu, you won't be able to do an easy upgrade without scrapping both cards you have and totally replacing them. That's just my opinion tho :-) good luck with your build!
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a b 4 Gaming
January 29, 2013 2:16:51 PM

yes well the problem with gettng one now and one later, its possible the cards stop been manufactured and wont get the 2x boost u was looking for.

again this is ur opinion on sli and crossfire, not facts.

id prefer to get him a crossfire or sli setup to begin with, versus hed have to hunt down a second card later.
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January 29, 2013 2:17:17 PM

My two cents:

Looks like you are a build and hold type of guy. I like that and your build !! Here's my minor changes

1. CPU i5 3570k
2. CPU Cooler: CM 212 Evo - it's good and very quiet
3. Case is fine. I have the 912 (about $50) I love it however - it is HUGE !!! Will fit anything ... twice
4. SSD: I'd rec Samsung (yours is a great pick), Crucial, and Intel
5. I looked into SLI and Crossfire. I have your exact mobo ( i love the bios - it's amazingly simple). My short rant - when it's time I'll buy a new (single) GPU vice two. With GPU's ever evolving I prefer a new card - put it in - it works. Just easier for me. While I'm at it ... The AMD 8xxx are out soon - 2nd quarter 2013. This will drive all prices of existing cards down. They already are dropping (like yesterday) ...
6. PSU. Your's is great. I'd like to get a Seasonic ... someday. I own a Corsair and PC Power and Cooling. They are fine - however, I view Seasonic in a league of their own. That said, sometimes perfection is the enemy of good enuff !!

Good Luck !!

ps. You cannot beat Microcenter CPU & Mobo combo deals. Only catch is you have to go to the store to pick them up. Iceclock ... ty !
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a b 4 Gaming
January 29, 2013 2:18:35 PM

nice suggestions :) 

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January 29, 2013 2:35:50 PM

iceclock said:
xfx is made by seasonic :) , and there highquality, better than antec id say.

benefits of sli or crossfire:

http://www.tweaktown.com/asktheexperts/96/what_are_the_...

no the i7 wont increase performance unless u do 3d design, audio recording, video encoding.

overclock the 4core 3570k will do everything the 3770k can do.

also if u dont want to overclock, i can recommand u a non overclocked cpu, that performs on par with the 3770k but for less.

thanks for the input. appreciate to know my help is welcomed.

Actually there are quite a few Antec PSU's made by SeaSonic. It just depends on the model.
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a b 4 Gaming
January 29, 2013 2:36:50 PM

yes i know, but that was before. still unshur if seasonic still make antec psus today tho.

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January 29, 2013 2:39:16 PM

As for the 690, don't bother. SLI 670's will be a lot better buy than the 690. You will still have the same driver problems as you would with the 670's on the 690 because the 690 is a dual GPU graphics card.
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a b 4 Gaming
January 29, 2013 2:40:26 PM

meh 690 is overexpensive for same price 2x4gb 670 overclocked beats a 690. theres always the 7990 but i really dislike dual-gpu videocards.

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January 29, 2013 2:46:02 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Corsair H100 92.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($84.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Microcenter)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($74.98 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.98 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($129.99 @ Adorama)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card (CrossFire) ($369.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card (CrossFire) ($369.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 922 ATX Mid Tower Case ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1746.85
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-29 11:45 EST-0500)

Obviously this is above budget... If you want to go below budget just drop one of the 7970's :D 
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a b 4 Gaming
January 29, 2013 2:47:39 PM

meh, my build is quite better for the price, also the hyperx is quite good, no need for 840pro,

and 16 gigs of ram is useless in gaming.

also the 850watt xfx ps is better for same price.

and third no need for water coolers. as an air cooler can do the same thing without the problems of possible leaks.

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January 29, 2013 2:51:33 PM

I think 16gb might be in good interest of the OP because of the 7 year life span of his computer, he might not build another for 7 more years. For an extra $35 i think 16gb might be a good investment. He won't need a ram upgrade for a really long time.
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January 29, 2013 2:54:39 PM

All of this advice has been really helpful so far. I'm pretty much down to selecting a case and the video card setup.

I have noticed that each person that is suggesting a build has a different suggested case... is there any reason for this? I understand the arguments for the video cards, but no one has really said anything about why one case would be superior to another for the price.

As far as video cards go... I'm split between doing the SLI and just having one powerful video card. I know with one card I would be sacrificing some performance, but I feel that it would be easier to replace one card than two if ever need be. Also, I have heard of problems that arise with the use of SLI with some games. I don't know what the facts are with regards to that, if any. Then again, having two cards seems to provide better performance and more power... so I'm torn.

Just on a side note... what do you all think about having a sound card? Is there any point to having one? No one ever makes any mention of them, and I've never used a dedicated sound card in the past, so I really don't know that much about them and what the perks are of using one.

Thanks again everyone, all of your advice is really helping me understand why I am getting the parts that I'm getting.
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a b 4 Gaming
January 29, 2013 2:57:02 PM

ive got a sound-card and for gaming, music it rocks.

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

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Thermaltake CLP0564 101.6 CFM CPU Cooler ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Microcenter)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($73.74 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($369.99 @ Newegg)
Sound Card: Creative Labs Recon3D Fatal1ty Professional 24-bit 96 KHz Sound Card ($99.98 @ Outlet PC)
Case: NZXT Phantom (Black) ATX Full Tower Case ($95.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 850W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($122.75 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1389.36
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-29 11:56 EST-0500)

Base Total: $1469.36
Mail-in Rebates: -$50.00
Total: $1419.36

this is the revised build for u

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January 29, 2013 3:01:49 PM

iceclock said:
ive got a sound-card and for gaming, music it rocks.

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

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Thermaltake CLP0564 101.6 CFM CPU Cooler ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Microcenter)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($73.74 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($369.99 @ Newegg)
Sound Card: Creative Labs Recon3D Fatal1ty Professional 24-bit 96 KHz Sound Card ($99.98 @ Outlet PC)
Case: NZXT Phantom (Black) ATX Full Tower Case ($95.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 850W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($122.75 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1389.36
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-29 11:56 EST-0500)

Base Total: $1469.36
Mail-in Rebates: -$50.00
Total: $1419.36

this is the revised build for u

I second this :whistle: 
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a b 4 Gaming
January 29, 2013 3:05:56 PM

hells yea :D 

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a b 4 Gaming
January 29, 2013 8:14:47 PM

skaphilear said:
All of this advice has been really helpful so far. I'm pretty much down to selecting a case and the video card setup.

I have noticed that each person that is suggesting a build has a different suggested case... is there any reason for this? I understand the arguments for the video cards, but no one has really said anything about why one case would be superior to another for the price.

As far as video cards go... I'm split between doing the SLI and just having one powerful video card. I know with one card I would be sacrificing some performance, but I feel that it would be easier to replace one card than two if ever need be. Also, I have heard of problems that arise with the use of SLI with some games. I don't know what the facts are with regards to that, if any. Then again, having two cards seems to provide better performance and more power... so I'm torn.

Just on a side note... what do you all think about having a sound card? Is there any point to having one? No one ever makes any mention of them, and I've never used a dedicated sound card in the past, so I really don't know that much about them and what the perks are of using one.

Thanks again everyone, all of your advice is really helping me understand why I am getting the parts that I'm getting.


Cases are a personal thing. They need to hold your parts, but that is not usually a problem since most gamers will have only a ssd and perhaps a large storage drive. They need cooling for graphics cards mostly, but if you have two 120mm intake fans or equivalent, you will have adequate cooling.
Some like windows, lights and "bling". Personally, I like smaller cases and quiet operation. My case is a Silverstone TJ-08E, a Micro-ATX case that is quiet and cool. As a practical matter, you can use only a single graphics card. My thought is that if I ever need more, a GTX690 is available, but more likely I would sell the GTX680 in favor of the upcoming GTX7xx or amd 8xx cards.

Onboard HD 7.1 sound seems fine to me. I would try it first. I am told that if you are a professional gamer, a discrete sound card can make a difference. Perhaps.
The original rationale for a discrete sound card was to offload sound processing from the cpu. With today's faster multicore cpu's that is no longer of any consequence.
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a b 4 Gaming
January 29, 2013 9:08:49 PM

u dont need to be professional, just better movies, better music, better gaming, it does make a big difference, and usually people get a addin sound-card when theyve already got a good soundsystem or purchasing.

i know that geo, used to be about cpu load reduction, but know its about added sound quality.

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