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Need advice on build (i7-3770 - radeon 7870 - what motherboard?)

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February 27, 2013 11:37:01 AM

hey guys and gals, i've been meaning to build a new machine and found your forum very useful and interesting so far. i have some experience in changing parts here and there, but i've never built a whole system from scratch. i'm currently using a 3 year old laptop which is clearly showing its age/limits, especially in the graphics department. since i find myself using it at the same location most of the time, i decided to switch to a desktop pc for the most demanding work.

usage:
up to 3 monitors and multitasking
heavy tabbed browsing with flash
image processing (lightroom, gimp, photoshop, etc)
watching movies
some gaming, nothing heavy (e.g. entropia universe)
programming and computing (c++, matlab, etc)
simple dev server experiments (php, mysql, etc)
video editing
virtual machines

other considerations/requirements:
quiet operation
no overclocking of either cpu or gpu
resale value (either of parts or complete setup) is somewhat important, although i've yet to sell any hardware i own =D
sli or crossfire: no experience with it, but looks like an interesting possibility for a future upgrade; also interested in gpu computing

i'd like to stick to a $800 - $900 budget, divided about equally among:
1) cpu
2) gpu
3) mobo + ram + psu + case + cables etc.

not to be included in this budget are:
operating system (windows 7 x64, possibly others on multiboot)
storage (ssd + hdd configuration, to be determined separately)
monitor(s) (probably one asus vs247h [recommended 1,920 x 1,080] as main)
other periferals

barring serious criticism i'll settle with:

1) intel core i7-3770 (3.4ghz - 3.9ghz turbo - 77w) - $300

2) gigabyte GVR787OC (amd radeon hd 7870 2gb gddr5 1100mhz) - $250 i don't know if a 7950 card would be worth the extra cost, considering i don't intend to overclock it.

3) this is where i need suggestions. my preferred choice would be a z77 mobo (integrated graphics must have no issues) and 2x4gb ram. in particular, how do i make sure the mobo can supply enough power to the cpu (i read some 1155 socket boards don't reach the required 77w)? is it able to take advantage of the cpu turbo setting? how powerful a psu will i need for my configuration?

price considerations don't have to be too strict; after deciding on each part i'll be looking for the best deals online.

hope i didn't forget anything. thank you all for your comments!
February 27, 2013 12:00:36 PM

id actually recommend a fx 8320 and do a little overclock to 4ghz (perfectly stable on all fx chips). they perform the same for half the price. just that they are mainly for budget workstations (under 1000 dollars). they do suck more power but its fine for most. if you are limited on power consumption, i can suggest a xeon which will be the same as a i7 3770k for the price of a i5

ill suggest a SSD as well.

get this
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Gkl4

ram
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=78420&promoid=1026

case.silence optimized
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=75051&vpn=FD%2DCA%2DDE...

if you need a hard drive recommendation, i can give you one
February 27, 2013 12:23:52 PM

thanks thebigtroll for the quick reply.

well, you kinda changed everything! the overclocked cpu needs an extra cooler, this probably reflects badly on consumption and quietness. also i don't need that much speed all the time. which xeon processor is comparable to the i7-3770k? note that i'm leaning towards the i7-3770 for virtualization reasons.

is there a reason you picked the nvidia gpu over the radeon besides the $15 price difference? (i see performance is quite similar)

what do you think of the 2x4gb ram configuration?

the ssd is a good idea, i was actually planning on a ssd+hdd combo. i'll keep in mind the other suggested hardware.

TheBigTroll said:
id actually recommend a fx 8320 and do a little overclock to 4ghz (perfectly stable on all fx chips). they perform the same for half the price. just that they are mainly for budget workstations (under 1000 dollars). they do suck more power but its fine for most. if you are limited on power consumption, i can suggest a xeon which will be the same as a i7 3770k for the price of a i5

ill suggest a SSD as well.

get this
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Gkl4

ram
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=78420&promoid=1026

case.silence optimized
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=75051&vpn=FD%2DCA%2DDE...

if you need a hard drive recommendation, i can give you one

Related resources
February 27, 2013 12:39:43 PM

the cooler is much quieter than a stock fan found on a intel CPU. in fact, id recommend getting rid of it if you ever want silence

i picked that GPu since you could use the cuda cores, but depends on your apps. the other reason i chose it is because the gigabyte windforce 2x coolers are the quietest

the xeon e3 1230v2 is the i7 3770 equivalent. i need to go now . ill respond later
February 27, 2013 3:20:44 PM

noted, i'll be researching the amd cpus since i'm not familiar with them, although i'm not sure i'm ready to give up intel's integrated graphics (same about the xeon). is the lga 1155 really becoming obsolete in comparison with amd's chipset?

if i were sticking with intel, would you rule out i7-3770 in favor of the k version in any case?

also, isn't the overclocking handled automatically by the board?

btw do you think 16gb ram is noticeably better than 8gb ram? i live in europe, looks like i can't apply for the ncix deals, 16gb would be around $100 for me.

as remarked above, i'm not too sensitive to price. i'm more interested in a good price/performance ratio and an overall balanced system.

TheBigTroll said:
the cooler is much quieter than a stock fan found on a intel CPU. in fact, id recommend getting rid of it if you ever want silence

i picked that GPu since you could use the cuda cores, but depends on your apps. the other reason i chose it is because the gigabyte windforce 2x coolers are the quietest

the xeon e3 1230v2 is the i7 3770 equivalent. i need to go now . ill respond later

February 27, 2013 4:14:48 PM

all the k version has that the non does not is overclocking

to a certain degree. a i7 3770 can only hit 3.9ghz on max turbo
March 3, 2013 6:46:47 PM

thanks for the details..i did some research trying to incorporate your suggestions and i realized that

1. power consumption does matter to me (the fx cpu is almost twice as demanding as the i7)
2. at stock speeds the i7 beats the fx (i have no intention of overclocking)
3. i'll get an aftermarket cooler anyway if it helps keep noise down (those meant for intel chipsets seem somewhat cheaper also)

so i came to this configuration, price point ~$850:
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Hhm2

i think every component is solid, but will the psu be powerful enough?
March 3, 2013 8:47:56 PM

nice to see you're still following this =)

TheBigTroll said:
you wont need the intergrated graphics

you're right..but it would be nice to have in case of emergency

TheBigTroll said:
use the ram i suggested. cheaper and lets you have space for more in the future if you ever do upgrade

can't find the exact one for sale here, at least not without huge markups, but i'll keep looking. about the configuration, i'm worried that in the future i might not find the same kind of modules and i'll end up having to replace the old ones

TheBigTroll said:
psu. you will need a little more wattage
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=59615&promoid=1257

great suggestion

TheBigTroll said:
stick back to the case i suggested

i'm trying to see first if the components fit in the atx case i have (especially the gpu), but i'll keep it in mind
March 3, 2013 9:12:49 PM

well its said to buy the amount of ram that you plan to have as like you said, they can be incomptable in the future since it could have gone through several revisions
March 4, 2013 12:48:08 PM

TheBigTroll said:
well its said to buy the amount of ram that you plan to have as like you said, they can be incomptable in the future since it could have gone through several revisions

i understand now that 2x8gb makes for better stability..what do you think of this ram choice?
KINGSTON HyperX KHX16C10B1K2/16X
http://www.kingston.com/datasheets/KHX16C10B1K2_16X.pdf

the mobo says it doesn't support all xeon features..but if this only refers to ecc then it's unimportant. so my final build would look like this:
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/HrMr
March 4, 2013 6:24:16 PM

why cant you purchase from us.ncix. the ram is exactly the same, just with different heatspreaders

the other things are cheaper as well


fewer ram dimms tend to put less stress on the CPU ram controller. its minor but yeah
March 4, 2013 9:41:32 PM

whew, i managed to order everything except the cooler, from 3 different sellers

TheBigTroll said:
why cant you purchase from us.ncix
the checkout is focused on north american customers..even if they shipped to europe, the shipping + customs would make me worse off in the end ;) 

thank you so much for all the valuable info, i'll post back as the build progresses!
March 4, 2013 10:10:23 PM

well i dont see your point of listing the parts in the US pcpartpicker. there are a variety of other countries listed
March 13, 2013 3:12:12 PM

i got my last parts today and finished building the machine (all the necessary cables and adapters were included, whew!). i can happily say that it booted right away. installed win 7 x64 ultimate in a few minutes, now running great with a windows experience index of 7.7 (cpu and ram) :bounce: 

i documented the assembly step by step, i may write a post on it including the exact costs involved.

TheBigTroll said:
well i dont see your point of listing the parts in the US pcpartpicker. there are a variety of other countries listed

unfortunately, mine is not, and i can't pick and choose from different european countries..but knowing the us prices i can easily guess my costs
March 12, 2014 1:09:58 AM

suissidle:
My configuration is a Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H mobo, Intel I7-3770, 32GB of Kingston Black DDR3-1600, and a 240GB SSD boot drive of which I'm using 60GB, and a 1500GB main data drive (Seagate 3.5"). Boot time is 23 SECONDS!

Total power consumption for entire system, computer, 27" Samsung monitor, cable modem, WNDR3700 router, and 8-channel managed switch, is 135 Watts. Of that, 30 Watts is for the peripherals, so the computer itself burns 105 Watts. Note that I am NOT using a separate graphics board, but just the internal video in the CPU, at 1920 x 1080. The video is fine for routine operations, but gets a little slow for high end gaming, which I DON'T do - EVER. I'm using a Zalman CNPS8900 Extreme cooler instead of the stock screamer. It's quiet and blows air down toward the CPU and therefore to the sides for cooling the RAM and the chipset. Total cost for system, not including drives, case, or PSU, was slightly under $800 in June 2013.
!