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Building a BF3 Gaming Rig, Need Some Recommendations

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February 13, 2013 1:48:10 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Anywhere from today to a couple weeks


Budget Range: $2,000 to $2,500


System Usage from Most to Least Important: BF3, surfing, movies


Are you buying a monitor: Yes, maybe start with (1) 24"-27" 3D, and go for (2) more down the line


Parts to Upgrade: Whole new system


Do you need to buy OS: Yes



Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, whomever, also can send friend into a microcenter


Location: Long Island, NY


Parts Preferences: Intel, Noctua, Nivida


Overclocking: Yes, eventually


SLI or Crossfire: Yes


Your Monitor Resolution: Debating between 27" Asus 3D, or ditching 3D, and going with (3) IPS


Additional Comments: Will be in my room, so noise (when not gaming) is an issue. I'll be leaving it on (perhaps start folding@home as my pops has Parkinsons, and I like the idea of my computer helping).


And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: My business has offered to setup a home office, and they'll most likely be paying for the whole thing...


Here are the parts I've kind of thrown together.....:
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/DbQZ


Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor
Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler
ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard
DDR3-1600, or 2133? Just have placeholder ram listed for now
Samsung 840 Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Disk
Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card x 2
Cooler Master HAF 932 Blue ATX Full Tower Case
Corsair Professional 850W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply
Asus VG278H 120Hz 27.0" Monitor - or go with (3) 24"?

This will be my first complete homebuild, excited for it! But, I admit I don't know nearly as much as most of you guys in terms of hardware/etc. I appreciate any help you can offer!
February 13, 2013 2:04:28 AM

Solid build. However, there are some things you can improve on. Get DDR3 1600 Memory as there really is no significant improvement past 1600. Get the Samsung 840 Pro series. It costs more than the regular 840, but its one of the best SSD's out there. If you need the money, you could just cut down the HDD to 1TB and add 1TB later.
Get 2 of these: http://pcpartpicker.com/part/msi-video-card-n670pe2gd5o... They have better coolers than the EVGA and are factory overclocked, so it will perform better than the standard 670. The Monitor Choice is really up to you, as both options are good.

Since you have a Microcenter nearby, I would recommend buying your CPU and Mobo there as the i5 3570k is $190, and the Mobo is $50 off with CPU combo. Also, you can buy your GPU and RAM there as well. You can buy everything else off of Newegg though.
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February 13, 2013 2:27:03 AM

I would go with a single 680 w/ 4GB of RAM - SLI isn't a true 1 to 1 ratio of power with both cards running in tadem and it can and will have micro-stuttering in some instances. I personally would lean toward Evga's FTW+ model:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It's $180 cheaper than purchasing the 2 cards you selected and if you ever felt you were getting shortchanged on ultra-high end performance, you could always add an additional card. I don't envision you needing that any time soon since 1 of these will eat BF3 alive on maxed out settings with AA & motionblur.

I would recommend going with the Samsung 840 Pro over the regular 840 - it's $230 for the 256GB model on newegg right now and more than double the write speeds.

I haven't seen the ASUS high refresh rate monitors in action, but at 27" it feel like you would be better off just buying a couple of 24" - here's an Acer 24" with the same refresh rate for $250:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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February 13, 2013 3:37:47 PM

Thanks for the input guys.. Now, the question is... Can (1) 680 run (3) monitors? I'm hoping for ultra settings here - as I've never played on anything more than like medium or so.. But yeah, do I need SLI for (3) monitors? I was thinking (1) 27" with (2) 24".. But, perhaps just (3) 24" would be the way to go?
What about the 680 FTW+ vs the 680 Classified? I'd imagine the .03 Ghz difference isn't worth the $50, or is it?
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Best solution

February 13, 2013 4:08:14 PM

seaneboy said:
Thanks for the input guys.. Now, the question is... Can (1) 680 run (3) monitors? I'm hoping for ultra settings here - as I've never played on anything more than like medium or so.. But yeah, do I need SLI for (3) monitors? I was thinking (1) 27" with (2) 24".. But, perhaps just (3) 24" would be the way to go?
What about the 680 FTW+ vs the 680 Classified? I'd imagine the .03 Ghz difference isn't worth the $50, or is it?


I personally would go for dual 670s as opposed to a single 680. The performance is comparable to the $1K GTX 690 within a couple of FPS.

Quote:
Solid build. However, there are some things you can improve on. Get DDR3 1600 Memory as there really is no significant improvement past 1600. Get the Samsung 840 Pro series. It costs more than the regular 840, but its one of the best SSD's out there. If you need the money, you could just cut down the HDD to 1TB and add 1TB later.


I agree with this - no difference past 1600MHz. Also the 840 Pro is a solid SSD choice but alternately I'd recommend the OCZ Vector. The performance of that drive matches and even exceeds the 840 Pro.

Here's a build I would suggest:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($80.49 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($148.98 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($52.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($71.68 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: OCZ Vector Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($369.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($369.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: NZXT HALE 90 750W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($132.72 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($18.98 @ Outlet PC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1775.77
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-13 13:08 EST-0500)
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February 13, 2013 4:14:43 PM

Thanks for the insight G-unit... I was hoping you'd chime in on this thread, too ... As it's got more answers. How is the airflow in that Phantom case? I'd imagine there will be a lot less room than the HAF 932, will it fit everything in there?
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February 13, 2013 4:40:43 PM

seaneboy said:
Thanks for the input guys.. Now, the question is... Can (1) 680 run (3) monitors? I'm hoping for ultra settings here - as I've never played on anything more than like medium or so.. But yeah, do I need SLI for (3) monitors? I was thinking (1) 27" with (2) 24".. But, perhaps just (3) 24" would be the way to go?
What about the 680 FTW+ vs the 680 Classified? I'd imagine the .03 Ghz difference isn't worth the $50, or is it?


If you're going to be doing Nvidia surround, go with 3 monitors of the same size. If you're wanting to game on a single monitor and multitask to the other 2, then go with a 27" primary display and 23/24" secondaries. Nvidia surround does take some power - the Classified is massive so I have opted to not recommend it unless you have a Frye's nearby to where you can test it in your case rather than have to deal with returns. The FTW doesn't have that addition to additional chunk on the top so it can fit in most towers. I wish ASUS would release a factory overclocked 680 w/ 4GB of RAM, that would be my personal choice if they had one on the market.

My only preference to going with a better single card is that you can just purchase another card for an SLI setup when you feel you need for more performance. Going with a dual card setup when there is a more powerful option on the market will force you to sell off your hardware when you want an upgrade, just seems like a waste of capital.

Wish we had a date on the 700 series - might be worth it to wait or get a midrange GPU that can handle BF3 on high @ 1080p.
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February 13, 2013 5:49:56 PM

seaneboy said:
Thanks for the insight G-unit... I was hoping you'd chime in on this thread, too ... As it's got more answers. How is the airflow in that Phantom case? I'd imagine there will be a lot less room than the HAF 932, will it fit everything in there?


Yeah the air flow in the Phantom is one of the better ones you could go with. The Phantom is a full tower, the Phantom 410 is a large mid tower so it should have enough room for everything. Like the HAF 932 it should have a removable drive cage in case you don't have enough room.

Quote:
If you're going to be doing Nvidia surround, go with 3 monitors of the same size. If you're wanting to game on a single monitor and multitask to the other 2, then go with a 27" primary display and 23/24" secondaries. Nvidia surround does take some power - the Classified is massive so I have opted to not recommend it unless you have a Frye's nearby to where you can test it in your case rather than have to deal with returns. The FTW doesn't have that addition to additional chunk on the top so it can fit in most towers. I wish ASUS would release a factory overclocked 680 w/ 4GB of RAM, that would be my personal choice if they had one on the market.


It's better to have all monitors the same regardless of what GPU you go with.
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February 14, 2013 4:18:52 PM

Ok, so a few cans of worms just opened up on me... First off, why wouldn't I go for the 4gb 670s? Someone please give me a reason not to - and remember, if it's only money, it's only money...
Secondly, I just read up a bit on this whole Catleap situation - now, I'd imagine having (3) 24" is a cooler experience than the (1) Catleap, right?
Thirdly, I read a few places that BF3 actually runs a bit better with HT, should I upgrade the CPU? Then again, I've also read a few places that it hurts it, but those were older threads, and I'm willing to bet that this has since been fixed..
EDIT:
Switched to 670 4GB, switched to Samsung 840 Pro, changed to NZXT Hale 750 80 + Cert
List here: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/DvrM

How do you guys neatly post the item: link w/name, price @ vendor so neatly? Or is that manually typed up?
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February 14, 2013 7:59:40 PM

seaneboy said:
Ok, so a few cans of worms just opened up on me... First off, why wouldn't I go for the 4gb 670s? Someone please give me a reason not to - and remember, if it's only money, it's only money...
EDIT:
Switched to 670 4GB, switched to Samsung 840 Pro, changed to NZXT Hale 750 80 + Cert
List here: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/DvrM

How do you guys neatly post the item: link w/name, price @ vendor so neatly? Or is that manually typed up?


On PC Part Picker in the right hand corner there's a button that says "BB Code Markup", click on that, then copy and paste.

Quote:

Secondly, I just read up a bit on this whole Catleap situation - now, I'd imagine having (3) 24" is a cooler experience than the (1) Catleap, right?
Thirdly, I read a few places that BF3 actually runs a bit better with HT, should I upgrade the CPU? Then again, I've also read a few places that it hurts it, but those were older threads, and I'm willing to bet that this has since been fixed..


That's debatable. The 1440P resolution will greatly help with finer details - but you can't beat 3 1080p monitors. However if you want to go the 3X route get 3 23.6" monitors instead of 24".
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February 15, 2013 2:43:58 PM

So, this is as far as I've gotten, switching to the 4GB GPU's, and now I'm on the monitor hunt. In all honesty I'm getting anxious to make the purchase... I've been on and off searching for about a year now... But, I'd much rather take the time, than have buyers remorse- despite the fact that I most likely won't even know the difference as the last card I had was a BFG Tech something or rather..
My final round of questions - which monitor should I go with? Is the option of portrait vs landscape more of a preference, or is there an obvious "right/wrong"? I would like to have the option of going portrait if/when I do some excel work at home, but I guess it's not really a necessity.


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($80.54 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($148.98 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($52.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($157.99 @ Adorama)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($219.99 @ Adorama)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 4GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($423.98 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 4GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($423.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 932 Blue ATX Full Tower Case ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: NZXT HALE 90 750W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($132.72 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Asus BW-14D1XT Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $2171.12
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-15 12:40 EST-0500)
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February 15, 2013 5:59:18 PM

Quote:
So, this is as far as I've gotten, switching to the 4GB GPU's, and now I'm on the monitor hunt. In all honesty I'm getting anxious to make the purchase... I've been on and off searching for about a year now... But, I'd much rather take the time, than have buyers remorse- despite the fact that I most likely won't even know the difference as the last card I had was a BFG Tech something or rather..


BFG hasn't been around for a long time. I think they merged with EVGA or maybe Sapphire but I can't remember.

Quote:
My final round of questions - which monitor should I go with? Is the option of portrait vs landscape more of a preference, or is there an obvious "right/wrong"? I would like to have the option of going portrait if/when I do some excel work at home, but I guess it's not really a necessity.


No consumer monitors are available that go into portrait mode - there's maybe one or two but they can get quite expensive.

You don't need the BD-R drive - Blu Ray movies don't really translate well to playing on the PC and games on BD-R will most likely never happen as everything is moving toward cloud and online distribution.
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February 15, 2013 6:26:37 PM

LOL yeah, it was probably 2004... And even that computer was from 2000 when I bought one for college.
As for the monitors - so it sounds like the asymmetrical bottom bezel is not going to be a problem then. I thought some did though, swivel/tilt/pivot - perhaps rotate is the correct terminology?
Anyway, so which 23.6" 3D should I be looking at? This appears to be the only 23.6 that is 3D capable on Newegg, which I find hard to believe.. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=24-009-...
I'm hoping to have the BD-R so I can burn some movies to play on my PS3 downstairs. Perhaps I could just take the money and run a wire up and just use PS3 Media Server... Or, maybe just re-purpose my parents old machine into a movie server and just stream...
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February 19, 2013 3:30:35 PM

Best answer selected by seaneboy.
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February 22, 2013 12:13:19 PM

G-unit,
Two last questions... First off, what motherboard should I be looking at with the potential of going tri-sli in the future? I can't seem to find any, which is kind of weird.
Secondly, what monitors should I be looking at? There is a very limited selection of 23.6 120Hz units. I was also even debating the whole Catleap idea...
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