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New gaming PC build - budget US$3,000 (excl. monitor)

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February 25, 2013 2:48:50 PM

Hi guys

I'm looking to build a new gaming PC. I don't expect to do much overclocking, and my target resolution is 2560 x 1600 (I intend to get the Dell U3011 monitor). I have already decided on the following components:

Ram: 16GB Corsair Dominator Platinum 1600MHz

SSD: Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 1.5TB

Case: NZXT Phantom 820

Shall be grateful for views on the CPU, MB, Display and PSU. My budget is US$3000 (including all the components above BUT NOT the monitor so my total budget is actually more like US$4000).

Thanks in advance for your views!

Regards,

Ruttiger
a b 4 Gaming
February 25, 2013 3:08:20 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3820 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor ($229.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X79-UD3 ATX LGA2011 Motherboard ($203.55 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($146.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($222.99 @ Mac Mall)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX Titan 6GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($1005.91 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX Titan 6GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($1005.91 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Phantom 820 (Black) ATX Full Tower Case ($229.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: OCZ ZX 1000W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($179.98 @ Outlet PC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 Full (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Dell U2713HM 60Hz 27.0" Monitor ($649.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $3975.29
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-25 12:08 EST-0500)
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February 25, 2013 3:10:59 PM

My thoughts:

1. It is premature to pick ram before you pick the motherboard. Not all ram works with all motherboards.
Go to the ram web site and access their configurator. You will get a list of supported ram kits.
DDR3 1600 is fine, there is little benefit from anything faster. Read this:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4503/sandy-bridge-memory-...
I would not pay a price premium for fancy heat spreaders. 1.5v ram does not actually need any. And... high profile ram spreaders can interfere with many cpu coolers.

2. With your budget, Look at a 3570K cpu and a Z77 based motherboard. No need for a premium motherboard, they all will OC the 3570K to good conservative values.
It is trivially simple and safe to oc from 3.4 to 4.0-4.3. Eventually, you will want to.

3. My take would be to keep things simple and buy the new Nvitia titan graphics card. $1000 is harsh, but it is the fastest single gpu card you can buy today.
Yes, sli gtx670 cards may give you higher fps, but a single card will avoid microstuttering issues, use a simpler motherboard, and need less power.

4. On the psu, buy only a quality brand like seasonic, antec, xfx, corsair, or pc p&c. No real value in silver/gold rating.
Modular is not a big benefit with your case either. 650-750W is about right. If you went sli, add 200w.

5. A $30 tower type cpu cooler like the cm hyper212 or xigmatek will be fine. If you want the best, a $80 noctua NH-D14 or Phanteks will do a little better.

6. I love the 2560 x 1600 displays. $1000 is a bit harsh for them, but I think the dell is about as good as it gets.
If you are willing to take a bit of a risk, look into the catleap 2560 x 1600 monitors that come from Korea via ebay. I have seen virtually all good reviews of them. They are priced about $600 for perfect pixel versions.
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February 25, 2013 3:20:57 PM

geofelt said:
My thoughts:

1. It is premature to pick ram before you pick the motherboard. Not all ram works with all motherboards.
Go to the ram web site and access their configurator. You will get a list of supported ram kits.
DDR3 1600 is fine, there is little benefit from anything faster. Read this:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4503/sandy-bridge-memory-...
I would not pay a price premium for fancy heat spreaders. 1.5v ram does not actually need any. And... high profile ram spreaders can interfere with many cpu coolers.

2. With your budget, Look at a 3570K cpu and a Z77 based motherboard. No need for a premium motherboard, they all will OC the 3570K to good conservative values.
It is trivially simple and safe to oc from 3.4 to 4.0-4.3. Eventually, you will want to.

3. My take would be to keep things simple and buy the new Nvitia titan graphics card. $1000 is harsh, but it is the fastest single gpu card you can buy today.
Yes, sli gtx670 cards may give you higher fps, but a single card will avoid microstuttering issues, use a simpler motherboard, and need less power.

4. On the psu, buy only a quality brand like seasonic, antec, xfx, corsair, or pc p&c. No real value in silver/gold rating.
Modular is not a big benefit with your case either. 650-750W is about right. If you went sli, add 200w.

5. A $30 tower type cpu cooler like the cm hyper212 or xigmatek will be fine. If you want the best, a $80 noctua NH-D14 or Phanteks will do a little better.

6. I love the 2560 x 1600 displays. $1000 is a bit harsh for them, but I think the dell is about as good as it gets.
If you are willing to take a bit of a risk, look into the catleap 2560 x 1600 monitors that come from Korea via ebay. I have seen virtually all good reviews of them. They are priced about $600 for perfect pixel versions.


Hi geofelt - thanks for the tips. I agree with the monitor - not many choices out there that offer 30" and 2560 x 1600. The other options are the HPZR30W of the professional NEC monitor. Although the Dell UltraSharp U2713HM does offer 2560 x 1440 resolution, I already own a 27" monitor and my flat won't have room for 3 monitors I will go with the Dell.

On the CPU - I was thinking about the i-7 3930K based on this article here: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o..., which means I will need a X59 motherboard. What do you think of the Asus X59 Sabertooth?
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February 25, 2013 3:38:24 PM

X79 - I'd get the ASRock Extreme4 or Extreme6 (depending on your connectivity needs). Keep in mind with the 3930K you're operating at PCIe2.0 speeds even tho the mobo supports 3.0. The other option is to get a 3770K (in case the new consoles push better threading) with a ~150 Z77 mobo.

Either way, you're going to need to overclock a resonable amount to get the most out of this system. It's really wasted potentional and could become a bottleneck - it already takes me 4.1GHz to stay under 100% CPU utilization in BF3 with a single card.

And not sure if I'd go dual titans... You'd have really playable framerates (even on FC3 and C3) on a pair of 7970Ghz editions and save yourself >$1K.
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February 25, 2013 4:00:09 PM

J_E_D_70 said:
X79 - I'd get the ASRock Extreme4 or Extreme6 (depending on your connectivity needs). Keep in mind with the 3930K you're operating at PCIe2.0 speeds even tho the mobo supports 3.0. The other option is to get a 3770K (in case the new consoles push better threading) with a ~150 Z77 mobo.

Either way, you're going to need to overclock a resonable amount to get the most out of this system. It's really wasted potentional and could become a bottleneck - it already takes me 4.1GHz to stay under 100% CPU utilization in BF3 with a single card.

And not sure if I'd go dual titans... You'd have really playable framerates (even on FC3 and C3) on a pair of 7970Ghz editions and save yourself >$1K.


Thanks J_E_D_70 especially for the heads-up about 3930K not supporting PCIe3.0 - did some Google and found that some people had the same issues before although this seems to be fixable with a patch...BUT THEN AGAIN even the official Intel website says that the 3930K does not support PCIe3.0...which makes it rather impossible to match with a GTX Titan, right?

Sorry for the noob questions/comments...
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February 25, 2013 4:01:30 PM
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February 25, 2013 4:57:41 PM

Ruttiger said:
Hi geofelt - thanks for the tips. I agree with the monitor - not many choices out there that offer 30" and 2560 x 1600. The other options are the HPZR30W of the professional NEC monitor. Although the Dell UltraSharp U2713HM does offer 2560 x 1440 resolution, I already own a 27" monitor and my flat won't have room for 3 monitors I will go with the Dell.

I think the dell 30" is as good as it gets. A top monitor is one of the most future proof pc purchases you can make today.
I had two Samsung 305T and one failed. I miss it terribly, but am making do with a 27" side monitor.

On the CPU - I was thinking about the i-7 3930K based on this article here: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o..., which means I will need a X59 motherboard. What do you think of the Asus X59 Sabertooth?


In general, games are much more dependent on the graphics card than the cpu.
I can't imagine that you could be disappointed with a titan or GTX690.
Few games can use more than 2-3 cores, making the 6 cores of a 3930K and the added hyperthreads largely irrelevant.

I know your budget is high, but I still would not try to spend it all.
The X59 platform is more expensive, and is intended for those who want 3 or more graphics cards. The only logical reason for that is if you are a professional player.

The difference in pci-e 2.0 vs. 3.0 is negligible with even today's cards. If you will use one or two top end cards, the distinction is minor.

I think the sabretooth in either X59 or Z77 form is overpriced.
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February 25, 2013 10:57:12 PM

geofelt said:
In general, games are much more dependent on the graphics card than the cpu.
I can't imagine that you could be disappointed with a titan or GTX690.
Few games can use more than 2-3 cores, making the 6 cores of a 3930K and the added hyperthreads largely irrelevant.

I know your budget is high, but I still would not try to spend it all.
The X59 platform is more expensive, and is intended for those who want 3 or more graphics cards. The only logical reason for that is if you are a professional player.

The difference in pci-e 2.0 vs. 3.0 is negligible with even today's cards. If you will use one or two top end cards, the distinction is minor.

I think the sabretooth in either X59 or Z77 form is overpriced.


Thanks everyone for their input. Ok so after doing a bit more research (and thinking it over), here is what I think would be my build:

CPU: intel i7-3770K
Mainboard: Asus Sabertooth Z77
Ram: Corsair Dominator Platinum 1600MHz 16B (8G x 2)
Display card: GTX Titan
SSD: Samsung 840 Pro
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 1.5TB
PSU: Antec Quattro 1200W (for future use if/when I add another Titan)
Case: NZXT Phantom 820
Heatsink: Thermaltake Frio OCK

Better, worse, stupid, smart, decent? All views welcome and thanks for reading!
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February 25, 2013 11:26:43 PM

Titan is sli will only need about 850W.
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February 26, 2013 1:07:36 AM

To geofelt re power supply - thanks indeed I realise that but then I've always wanted a 1000W PSU just to have a bit of head room, and the website that I check (I'm not based in the US) have the Antec Quattro 1200W listed as the same price as the 1000W version so might as well get the higher spec - or not?
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February 26, 2013 2:54:15 AM

Ruttiger said:
To geofelt re power supply - thanks indeed I realise that but then I've always wanted a 1000W PSU just to have a bit of head room, and the website that I check (I'm not based in the US) have the Antec Quattro 1200W listed as the same price as the 1000W version so might as well get the higher spec - or not?

It is not wrong to overprovision the psu a bit.
One negative is that when a psu loafs, it will be inefficient.
You normally want to be operating in the more efficient middle third of it's range.
Since the trend is to more power efficient parts, I don't think I would go past 950w assuming that a second titan is a reasonable possible upgrade.

I might pick this seasonic X series 850W unit. It has reserves you should never need:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Or the 1050W version if you must have >1000w:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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February 26, 2013 11:28:24 AM

Cool thanks in that case I think I will go for the 1000W PSU

A bit more thought on the Motherboard - I quite like Asus product, so apart from the Sabertooth, any other good choices for the Z77 chipset? How about the following:

1. ASUS P8Z77-V DELUXE Socket 1155
2. ASUS P8Z77-V PRO Socket 1155

Thanks again in advance for all views.
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February 26, 2013 1:59:27 PM

Ruttiger said:
Cool thanks in that case I think I will go for the 1000W PSU

A bit more thought on the Motherboard - I quite like Asus product, so apart from the Sabertooth, any other good choices for the Z77 chipset? How about the following:

1. ASUS P8Z77-V DELUXE Socket 1155
2. ASUS P8Z77-V PRO Socket 1155

Thanks again in advance for all views.


Those are fine.
An even less expensive option might be the ASUS P8Z77-V LK
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Newegg has a comparison option. Try entering all your candidate motherboards and you will see that there is no difference among all the candidates regarding the major factors that you want:
sli capability, Z77 chipset, 6gb sata, etc.
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February 27, 2013 1:08:25 PM

Thanks again. Think I've changed my mind again - and may swap the MB to a Maximus V Formula since I may do some OC (say up to 4.6GHz). For the cooler, I'm thinking of swapping it to a NZXT Kraken X40.

How does that sound?
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Best solution

a b 4 Gaming
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February 27, 2013 1:31:35 PM

Ruttiger said:
Thanks again. Think I've changed my mind again - and may swap the MB to a Maximus V Formula since I may do some OC (say up to 4.6GHz). For the cooler, I'm thinking of swapping it to a NZXT Kraken X40.

How does that sound?


Each cpu chip has a upper limit of OC, regardless of your cpu cooling capability or motherboard.
Since price seems to be no object, the Maximus is about as good as it gets.
If you do have any budget concerns, any Z77 motherboard will serve you well at half the price.
But 4.6 is a very strong OC which your particular chip sample may not be capable of.
My advice is to not be greedy, and take what you can get with a conservative oc. Most likely, that will be in the 4.2-4.4 range.
Past that, you need to fool with voltages and the possibility of instability.

As to coolers, I am not much in favor of the all in one liquid coolers in a full sized case. They have a place in a small form factor case where cooler height is an issue.
The all in one coolers do not cool any better than a good tower type air cooler.
They are also more expensive, more prone to failure with moving parts, and do not use the quieter fans available on air coolers.
On a budget, a $30 cm hyper212 or Xigmatek will do the job.
For the best, look at a noctua NH-D14 or a phanteks cooler at about $80.
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February 27, 2013 1:47:35 PM

Cool dude - thanks for tips and the quick response again! Looks like I'm all set.
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February 27, 2013 1:47:53 PM

Best answer selected by Ruttiger.
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