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Questions about Higher-end Intel-based Gaming PC

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February 26, 2013 5:54:48 AM

Hey guys, I'm Aaron. I'm new here. Been lurking for a while, but just decided to make an account because I've got a few questions about a build I'm putting together. First, I'll just show off the build. Questions will be below it.


Final Build
Link: High-End Intel Gaming System - Total cost of $1280


Original Parts
Case: Cooler Master CM690 # This relates to question 3
Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth Z77 # This relates to question 1
CPU: Intel i5-3570K
GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) # This relates to question 2
SSD: Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB
HDD: Western Digital Blue 7200RPM 1TB
PSU: Corsair HX750
DVD Drive: ASUS 24x DVD Burner


Intended Usage
Gaming
Recording game footage
Light video/photo editing
Programming and game development (hobby/entry level)


Explanation
I've picked out the i5-3570k as, like I said, this is mostly a gaming PC. I know I also mentioned doing some video/photo editing, but I've decided that the level/amount of stuff I do doesn't merit the upgrade tot he i7-3770k.

The GPU is the Radeon HD 7950. From what I've read, the 10-20% increase in performance is well worth the 20% increase in cost compared to the HD 7870. After realizing the original PSU I had picked wasn't quite up to par as far as Crossfiring the HD 7950, I picked the HX750 because it seems like a very solid PSU, is modular, 80+ Gold, and can definitely support CrossfireX with the HD 7950 (and just about anything else). Note that I am NOT looking to Crossfire right now, but I wanted to make sure I had the option if I decided to later.

The HDD is just a decent 7200RPM drive. Nothing special. The SSD, on the other hand. was picked over a Samsung 840 Pro w/ 128GB. Partially because of the small discount, and partially because I may decide to upgrade it later (to a Samsung 840 Pro w/ 256GB) and put it in an external enclosure, so I don't quite need the slight increase in speeds for the smaller write sizes in the Samsung 840 Pro (if I understand the differences between the Samsung and the HyperX properly).

DVD drive is meh. Gotta have one just in case, right? OS install, mobo drivers, etc, and I think Blu-ray is overkill for me. No other media readers. I have a SD reader in my current PC, but my newer phone let's me access the SD card via USB charger, so I don't really need it anymore. Might grab one later if the need arises, or just buy an adapter.

I'm not currently looking to buy a new monitor, keyboard, or mouse just yet. I may get a free monitor from someone soon, and I will buy a second one of that if I get it. I'm looking at a gaming keyboard and mouse, but I am still thinking about them...

The motherboard, case, and memory, however, aren't quite so well explained... I've got a few questions about them before I lock it all in.


Questions
1. The motherboard I chose is the ASUS Sabertooth Z77. By all accounts I can find, it's a really solid mobo. Good ratings, good reviews (excluding the rare DOAs I've seen), and it seems to play well with the other parts I've chosen. However, I'm not really fully convinced it's worth the money. I've seen a few other boards that seem pretty popular, as well. I'd really like the board to last, and it seems very durable. Also, I'm slightly worried about heat issues (refer to Q4), and it seems to handle it pretty well. However, is it really worth the extra money?

2. Assuming I settle on the Sabertooth (or any other compatible mobo), I was curious about the memory I've picked. It's DDR3 1600, which seems pretty good from what I've found. I have looked at DDR3 1866 memory as well, but I've seen mixed opinions and reviews on it. Some say it CAN be worth it, some say it won't make a difference. It's not much of an increase in price, but some of what I've read says it's less than a 5% increase in performance. Does it run hotter? Is it worth it?

3. The case is another tricky part... the CM690 looks like a good case overall - I like the design, plenty of room, etc. However, after looking over everything, I realized it doesn't have USB 3.0 ports on the front. I know the mobo has a few, but I'd kind of like a few that I can access more easily in case I do upgrade the SSD and use the HyperX in an enclosure. Also, I'm thinking about the airflow in the case. It doesn't seem bad, but I'd like a case with good air flow (refer to Q4). All of that said, though, I'm having trouble finding a reputable case that I really like. I'm not opposed to using a Full ATX case, but I was looking at Mid-size cases. I've already looked at the Antec 900 and I don't quite like how it's designed (I like the V3, but Newegg doesn't sell it atm for some reason :\). I'm looking for a Black/Blue case (all black is fine). Any ideas, or should I just stick with the CM690 and get an extension for a USB 3.0 port?

4. I've also been thinking about Overclocking and Heat... First off, I'm not extremely interested in hardcore overclocking at the moment, but I was looking to push the CPU and GPU just a bit. That being said, I'd like to avoid aftermarket cooling simply because I'd like to not have to spend the extra money. How much do you think I could overclock the CPU and GPU without having to worry about heat issues? I'd prefer to stick with no additional cooling, but I'm open to it if anyone can convince me it's really necessary. I have looked at the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO and I would get this, if anything, but do I really need it?

5. This is more of a general question. I've done quite a bit of homework on this system, and I'm pretty confident it will all work together. However, as this is my first build, I'd like to double check that. Does anyone foresee any potential incompatibilities in the setup?



Lastly, sorry for the wall of text. I know it's a lot for a single post, but I'd rather explain myself than type like a derp. Also, I hope the BBCode helped at least a bit. :p  Don't worry about responding to every single part of what I've said. If you can help with any of it, I'd appreciate it greatly. :D 

Lastly, for all those who have read through this entire post, I award you +1 internets.

-Aaron
February 26, 2013 6:51:47 AM

Just build it and enjoy
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February 26, 2013 6:54:50 AM

That doesn't really say much... at the very least, it's all compatible? Like I said, I THINK it is, but I'd like to make sure.
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February 26, 2013 7:09:24 AM

The sabertooth is not really worth the extra money, I think a gigabyte z77x ud3h or ud5h would suit your needs better

1866 is not really necessary for most games especially since it's not an APU

I would say look into the other cases if you need USB3
This is my personal favorite
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/cooler-master-case-sgc1000...
all the below cases are USB3 and mid towers
http://pcpartpicker.com/parts/case/#u=1&sort=a6&t=3

I would say only about 3.8-4ghz would be possible on the stock cooler before heat becomes an issue, The 212 EVO is a great cooler

Since you're not planning to OC much and you're recording, you should consider the Xeon e3 120v2/1240v2. They can OC up to 4.1 and 4.2ghz respectively and offer hyper threading and 2mb more Cache but no IGPU. They cost the same and only $30 more than the 3570k respectively
The hyperthreading should help maintain more stable fps when recording as well as in editing stuff
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/intel-cpu-bx80637e31240v2
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/intel-cpu-bx80637e31230v2

Everything looks compatible though :) 
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February 26, 2013 8:05:16 AM

Thanks for the help, stickmansam! I've gotta say, it's nice being on a forum where people actually help. :p 

Well as far as the memory goes, I'll stick with the 1600. No need to waste extra money on little to no difference, even if it's just a few dollars. :p 

As for the case, even though I was going to try and find a black/blue case, I think I may go with the Storm Enforcer. It's quite a nice look case, even though I'm partially against black/red. xD

Lastly, about the processor... as far as performance goes, I see that the E3-1240v2 does better overall than the 3570k, though it only shows a very slight increase in single core performance (which would be the thing affecting gaming). That being said, it would speed up the video stuff, as you said, so it may be worth the buy. However, I have a question - I found several people who seemed to dislike the built-in gpu in the 3570k... why is that? I see no drawbacks from it, but I do see the slight benefit of being able to utilize a mobo with integrated video, though that may not ever be used...

Last, I am assuming that the E3-1240v2 works in the mobos you suggested, correct? If I understand it, the Xeon processors were designed as server processors and are meant for H77 boards, but also work in Z77 boards.

All in all, thanks for the input! I'm that much closer to having this thing ready to order. :p 



EDIT: One last thing... I've looked over the two mobos you suggested and I do like them both. However, I feel like I'm missing something... The UD5H is $40 more than the UD3H, but there's almost no difference. All I can see is a few different USB ports, whether a PS/2 port is there, and a slightly different configuration of PCIe slots. What am I missing? Also, if I get the Xeon, is there a better board for it? I don't really see the need for the integrated video support. :p 
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February 26, 2013 8:27:35 AM

They dislike it due to that fact it's not that fast for gaming and sorta useless for most who get an i5 3570k sicne most who get a k series cpu tend to have discrete graphics. its a nice touch if youneed more outputs than you GPU can handle though you can't use it to output to a multi-monitor gaing rig (can use as side screen though for monitoring apps)

Yep the Xeon's will work with those mb's. They are meant to be used in any board that can support them but yeah server boards :p 
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February 26, 2013 9:13:20 AM

Well after looking into it a bit more, I think I've decided on the UD3H simply because the benefits the UD5H offers seem to be mostly superficial benefits that offer little real-world improvement. Other than that, I'm still trying to decide if I wanna switch to the Xeon or not... xD
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February 26, 2013 9:36:00 AM

the xeon can be pushed to 4.2ghz while the 3570k peaks out arround 4.6ish

so its 4.2ghz 4c+4ht vs 4.6/4.7 4c

the loss in gaming cpu power by going xeon assuming good clockspeed scaling is about 10%
but gains in video amount to 10-20%
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Best solution

February 26, 2013 9:41:11 AM

Links are broke, there is some extra gibberish at the front of the URL. Can still see what your linking too by getting rid of it though.

1. A motherboard will physically outlast its own obsolescence, you will want to replace it before it breaks. I had an MSI AM2 motherboard that was still working when I eventually threw it out, so this even applies to low quality boards.
The Sabertooth is fairly overpriced for what it offers, and its Thermal Armour does a better job of trapping heat than dissipating it. Though I will admit it looks awesome.

2. If you can find 1.5v 1866Mhz RAM for the same price as 1600Mhz, then why not get it. But in general its not worth getting RAM faster than 1600Mhz. The timings often suffer to achieve that frequency and the voltages rise, and it is little known, but modern Intel chips aren't meant to have RAM above 1.5v used with them.

3. If your after Blue and Black cases, have a look at Corsair and Antec's offerings, they work very well with blue colour schemes. Also remember that you can always swap the fans out yourself.

4. CPU you pretty much have to get aftermarket cooling for a decent overclock, a 212 EVO will get you to about 4.4Ghz before you'd start running what I would consider hot. GPU is fine to overclock, that Sapphire already has a decent cooler on it.

5. If you do decide to get aftermarket cooling, the hair combs they glue to Vengeance RAM could become an issue. Would go for a low profile kit.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Some general advice
Seagate Barracuda's are cheaper and perform similarly to a WD Black.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The Gold rating on that PSU may not be worth the extra cost, the difference between Bronze and Gold 750W units is about 5% efficiency and $30. Though admittedly you do get modularity on the HX.

I cant contribute on the Xeon debate, all the benches I'v seen of it compare to other Xeon chips and not mainstream ones.

A lot of people (including I) don't like the integrated graphics included with the 3570k. Quite simply if you are buying that kind of chip, you aren't going to be running integrated graphics. From what I'v seen of the underlying chip layout, the HD4000 iGPU takes up a fair bit of space as well, would have preferred they stuck with HD2000 which is smaller.
That way there is a greater area on the heatspreader for the cores to cool too (which opens up another can of worms, the use of TIM instead of fluxless solder in Ivy CPU's).

Share
February 26, 2013 10:12:07 AM

Thanks for pointing out the broken links! I was linking them with quotes around the URLs because of how I do it in a few other environments... didn't think to test it on here though. :p 

As for the mobo, I decided on the UD3H. It's a lot less in cost, and I don't really lose any features by picking it instead.

I think I'm gonna go with the Storm Enforcer case, as I do like the overall look for it. Thanks for giving me the idea for switching the fans out. I had completely overlooked that option amongst the sea of info I've taken in the past couple days.

Also, I did decide on the low-profile memory at your suggestion. I was unaware that the 212 EVO got that close to them, so better safe than sorry.

Lastly, I decided to stick with the 3570K. While I said I'm not too interested in overclocking right now, I will probably want to later, and the 3570K was practically built for it. That being said, I've also decided to pick up the 212 EVO for additional cooling, even if I don't think i'll need it right now. :p 

Thanks, guys, for your help! I think I've finally locked it all down now. I'll probably get it within a week or so, and I'll post some results when I can. :D 
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February 26, 2013 10:13:08 AM

Best answer selected by iAreNubcake.
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February 26, 2013 10:23:40 AM

I don't think there would be issues with the 212 EVO and high profile memory initially, but if you wanted to fill all the RAM slots or get a larger cooler (Noctua NH-D14 lets say) you would have run into issues.

Coolermaster Megaflow 200mm fans are what I recommend if you do decide to change the front intake to a blue fan.
Or a cheaper option is to drill the current LED's out and solder in your own blue LED's. Though I can understand if you don't want to start modding straight away (or ever), took me a while before I was game enough to modify my rig :p .
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February 26, 2013 6:26:54 PM

Heh, I'm definitely not going to start ripping things apart straight away. I think I'm gonna be pretty happy with the rig once it's all put together. Even if the 212 EVO wouldn't quite be a problem, even though the spiked RAM looks "cooler," the low-profile is more tasteful. :p 

As for the fans, I've got a Cooler Master 200mm red LED fan in the build since it's a public build, but I think I will swap it out with 2 blue fans when I actually buy it (one to replace the front, one for the top).

Again, thanks a bunch for all of the help. :D 
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