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FINALLY ready to order! Any thoughts, folks?

I've been researching and shopping for months, and in spite of my crippling indecisiveness it looks like I'm ready to order in the next 20 hours (too late at night to do it now and I have to work in the morning).

In the mean time, would anyone like to contribute their thoughts on what I've put together here? Compatibility, part quality, PSU selection... name it :)

The rig is for relatively high-end gaming, and it'll my first rig EVAR! Building it should be a fun experience :) Plan is to get Windows 7 rather than 8. The goal was to come in right around $1000, and even with a 13% sales tax, I did it! Woot! (I'm taking into account a promo with the Radeon card for free downloads of Crysis 3 and Bioshock Infinite; ~$120 in savings). I also plan to buy a system SSD when I can snag a sweet deal. I'm willing to wait; maybe even until black Friday.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3350P 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.18 @ DirectCanada)
Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5 High-Density Polysynthetic Silver 3.5g Thermal Paste ($5.99 @ DirectCanada)
Motherboard: MSI Z77A-G45 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($118.71 @ DirectCanada)
Memory: 2x Crucial Ballistix sport 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($47.72 @ DirectCanada)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.79 @ DirectCanada)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($299.99 @ Memory Express)
Case: Cooler Master CM 690 II (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($81.63 @ DirectCanada)
Case Fans: 2x Cooler Master R4-S4S-10AK-GP 60.9 CFM 140mm Fan ($25.98 @ Newegg Canada)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($61.72 @ DirectCanada)
Optical Drive: LG WH14NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($65.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Total: $976.70
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-28 00:46 EST-0500)
24 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about finally ready order thoughts folks
  1. At this point I don't think anything you change is worth it, it looks like you really did your research. That is 8GB of RAM right? I notice it says 2x, but it's not listed as a kit on partpicker, just making sure. If you could give up the blue ray drive and some storage you could get an i5 3570k and overclock in the future, but that's somewhat pointless as I'm sure that 3350p will math the performance of that 7950 quite well. In all, respectable build my friend.
  2. 1. If you are planning on overclocking your CPU, you should get the i5-3570k. Overclocking benefits playing CPU heavy games while streaming. If you are not planning to overclock, then I would ditch the thermal paste and case fans, and downgrade your motherboard to z75.

    2. Do you really need that optical drive? You should be paying $18 maximum for a standard optical drive.

    3. If you are planning on getting an SSD later, get one now instead. I find it tedious having to shuffle my computer onto an SSD later on. You should be able to fit it in your budget if you ditch everything I suggested.
  3. I'd recommend getting a much cheaper motherboard and hard drive to fit in an SSD. That CPU doesn't support multiplier overclocking, so there's little reason to get a more expensive Z77 chipset motherboard. An SSD would be much faster than the HDD for loading times and such, negating the need for a high-performance HDD, letting you save on the hard drive to afford the SSD. I think that a decent 120GB/128GB could easily fit in your budget.

    It's better to start off with an SSD than to upgrade to one. Upgrading to an SSD can cause issues unless you do a cumbersome re-installation of Windows and everything else.

    Also, on overclocking, you can already overclock that i5-3350p to about 4GHz through Turbo and a little farther through BLCK, so unless you want to really go for a big overclock, there's no need for a Z77 nor a Z75 board with an expensive K edition CPU.
  4. Chairman Ray said:
    2. Do you really need that optical drive? You should be paying $18 maximum for a standard optical drive.

    While there might be cheaper blue ray drives, you won't find one for $18. He doesn't want just a standard DVD drive.
  5. Blu-ray drives require $100 software to use, and it doesn't come with the drive.

    You're overspending on some parts; the extra money would increase performance spent elsewhere. I'm starting LoL game atm... I'll build for you afterwards.
  6. Ok... so... you won't need the artic thermal paste (especially since you're not overclocking). You also won't need the extra fans. This build, price wise, is cheaper. However, it will function at a higher level.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($195.90 @ TigerDirect Canada)
    Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Newegg Canada)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($55.69 @ DirectCanada)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Memory Express)
    Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($299.99 @ Memory Express)
    Case: Cooler Master CM 690 II (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($76.50 @ Newegg Canada)
    Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($61.72 @ DirectCanada)
    Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.79 @ DirectCanada)
    Total: $897.57
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-28 02:41 EST-0500)
  7. Actually, there is free Blu-Ray playing software.
  8. If you want to overclock... or want to have the option... this build will significantly outmatch the first.
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($225.90 @ Amazon Canada)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($35.99 @ Newegg Canada)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($114.99 @ Canada Computers)
    Memory: G.Skill Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($56.79 @ DirectCanada)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Memory Express)
    Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 7870 XT 2GB Video Card ($259.99 @ Newegg Canada)
    Case: Cooler Master CM690 II Advanced ATX Mid Tower Case ($76.50 @ Newegg Canada)
    Power Supply: Antec High Current Gamer 620W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($72.99 @ Amazon Canada)
    Optical Drive: LG GH24NS72 DVD/CD Writer ($17.06 @ DirectCanada)
    Total: $930.20
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-28 02:49 EST-0500)
  9. eyeage said:
    If you want to overclock... or want to have the option... this build will significantly outmatch the first.
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($225.90 @ Amazon Canada)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($35.99 @ Newegg Canada)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($114.99 @ Canada Computers)
    Memory: G.Skill Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($56.79 @ DirectCanada)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Memory Express)
    Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 7870 XT 2GB Video Card ($259.99 @ Newegg Canada)
    Case: Cooler Master CM690 II Advanced ATX Mid Tower Case ($76.50 @ Newegg Canada)
    Power Supply: Antec High Current Gamer 620W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($72.99 @ Amazon Canada)
    Optical Drive: LG GH24NS72 DVD/CD Writer ($17.06 @ DirectCanada)
    Total: $930.20
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-28 02:49 EST-0500)


    Not really. It'd be more of a trade-off between top CPU performance and top graphics performance. Keep in mind the fact that the i5-3470 can easily overclock to around 4GHz despite not having an unlocked multiplier and the fact that the Radeon 7950 overclocks much better than the Radeon 7870 XT. Also, the PowerColor model leaves a lot to be desired in cooling whereas the Gigabyte Radeon 7950 is about as good as it gets since it can usually hang even with its bigger 7970 brother in overclocking headroom thanks to good parts and one of the best coolers available.

    Basically, you're trading considerable graphics performance for a small CPU overclocking headroom boost. An i5-3470 at around 4GHz will hardly bottle-neck anything whereas there are always ways to make use of a faster graphics card and the lower noise and temps for the graphics card would most certainly be welcomed, so it seems like a poor trade to me.
  10. mclovits:
    Quote:
    At this point I don't think anything you change is worth it, it looks like you really did your research. That is 8GB of RAM right? I notice it says 2x, but it's not listed as a kit on partpicker, just making sure. If you could give up the blue ray drive and some storage you could get an i5 3570k and overclock in the future, but that's somewhat pointless as I'm sure that 3350p will math the performance of that 7950 quite well. In all, respectable build my friend.


    Thanks :) Yes, it is 8GB of RAM; I changed the text in the BBcode. I'm buying 2 singles. It's cheaper, in this case. And yeah, I really don't feel I can justy the extra $$ on the 3570K, especially since I don't plan to OC.

    Chairman Ray:
    Quote:
    1. If you are planning on overclocking your CPU, you should get the i5-3570k. Overclocking benefits playing CPU heavy games while streaming. If you are not planning to overclock, then I would ditch the thermal paste and case fans, and downgrade your motherboard to z75.

    2. Do you really need that optical drive? You should be paying $18 maximum for a standard optical drive.

    3. If you are planning on getting an SSD later, get one now instead. I find it tedious having to shuffle my computer onto an SSD later on. You should be able to fit it in your budget if you ditch everything I suggested.


    Ditch the extra fans, eh? Wouldn't have thought they were extraneous. And you raise a good point about the mobo; perhaps I should take a look around for a Z75... As for the optical drive, it's a blu-ray, CD, DVD reader/burner (tigerg hit the nail on the head). I figured it'd be nice to have a blu-ray player, and if I'm doing that, I might as well be able to write them, too, especially since those discs can nicely supplement by storage/back-up solutions. And yeah, maybe I should just spring for that SSD now. I can definitely see having to move all my files around and re-installing Windows being a pain. Only thing is just that the money is just a wee bit tight at the moment.

    blazorthon:
    Quote:
    ....on overclocking, you can already overclock that i5-3350p to about 4GHz through Turbo and a little farther through BLCK, so unless you want to really go for a big overclock, there's no need for a Z77 nor a Z75 board with an expensive K edition CPU.


    You think so? What chipset would you recommend? H77?

    eyeage:
    Quote:
    Blu-ray drives require $100 software to use, and it doesn't come with the drive.... you won't need the artic thermal paste (especially since you're not overclocking). You also won't need the extra fans. This build, price wise, is cheaper. However, it will function at a higher level.


    That blu-ray player comes with CyberLink PowerDVD (which actually retails at <$100): http://www.lg.com/us/data-storage/lg-WH14NS40.

    EDIT: Upon further research, it appears that PowerDVD isn't enough for blu-ray; powerDVD pro or ultra is required, and that is not included. Gyp. Also appears that powerDVD software has to be updated every couple years. Extra gyp. Seriously reconsidering the blu-ray player now.

    And thermal paste... it seems like a reasonable investment to make for such a small price. Couldn't hurt, right? ...Right? As for your recommended build, the only significant difference I see in CPUs is a 0.1-0.3GHz processor speed increase, which doesn't seem too significant for $16 extra, plus it has integrated graphics that will be wasted on my system (if I understand video cards correctly). The 3350P would be more fully utilized, no? You've recommended a motherboard that is (almost) the same price as the one I picked, but from a slightly less reliable brand. Your second mobo recommendation was cheaper, and was a Z77. Your RAM recommendation (an extra $8 for 1ms less CAS lag), and your downgraded optical drive and storage recommendations are also noted (I *am* thinking about an HDD downgrade in the name of an SSD).

    eyeage and blazorthon (again):
    Quote:
    If you want to overclock... or want to have the option... this build will significantly outmatch the first.


    Quote:
    Not really. It'd be more of a trade-off between top CPU performance and top graphics performance.


    I'm not really thinking much about that. Certainly not on any large scale. Thanks, though!
  11. You can use either H77 or B75. Both support overclocking through Turbo. H77 has the added advantage of a few more connectivity features and occasionally also some Lucid features (depending on the board) and can be worth a little more money because of that, but only if you'll use the features. It won't perform any better outside of them.
  12. blazorthon said:
    H77 has the added advantage of a few more connectivity features and occasionally also some Lucid features (depending on the board).


    Lucid features?
  13. HyperFormance, Virtual V-Sync, etc. Some H77 boards have these. They're also present in some Z77 boards and early versions of them are present in some Z68 motherboards. Virtual V-Sync is a type of V-Sync that isn't limited to power of 2 fractions of the monitor's refresh rate and HyperFormance offsets the small performance hindrance caused by it.
  14. @OP

    ASRock is an off-shoot of ASUS. Surely that name rings a bell? ASRock might not be the "big hitter" like some names, but if you look a bit deeper, you'll see they've been making a name for themselves recently. Quality, performance, price, gives the ASRock a lot of nods lately.

    Now that I see the ASRock board is $119, I wouldn't recommend it. In the states the price difference is significantly more (in the opposite direction). As the Pro-4 is $89 here. An oversight on my part. Looking a bit more closely, I would recommend THIS gigabyte board instead for the 3470.

    Thermal paste is a waste of money, especially if you aren't going to overclock (and really, even if you are). The stock CPU fan comes with the paste already on it. Considering you aren't going to overclock, it doesn't even need to be a consideration.

    While the CPU speed difference isn't much between the two (01-0.3GHz), what happens if your GPU craps out? Without IGP you'll be without a PC for a couple weeks. That is, unless you go spend more money on a cheap GPU (you probably won't find one for $16). Not to mention the 3470 IS a better processor. For the small amount of price difference, I'm not sure why you wouldn't jump to the 3470.

    Can you show me where the Blu-ray drive comes with power-dvd? I don't see it. The one you have listed is an OEM model, that comes with nothing. I even went to the comment section to see if it came, but wasn't listed. First "review" said "Con: This doesn't come with software and it costs about $100".


    @Blazothorn
    If he planned to Overclock, the 7870XT will OC to the level of the 7950. I gave him a better processor (some games are CPU intensive, afterall), and a card that is nearly as good as the 7950. Now, I did so to keep his costs down, I am not saying the 7870xt is a better card, and I would go with the 7950 if budget allows. Again, the second build being better relies on him overclocking, which the OP said he has no interest in doing, so the point is mute.
  15. The 7950 is a much better card for overclocking than the 7870 XT. The 7870 XT does not keep up at all.

    http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/5120/powercolor_pcs_radeon_hd_7870_tahiti_le_2gb_myst_video_card_review/index6.html







    Those are just the first few examples. Almost all situations turn out with the 7870 XT overclocking only somewhat better than your average 7870 while the 7950 pulls way ahead, undoubtedly mostly due to its superior memory interface.

    As you said, it's not really relevant for the thread since OP is against overclocking, but that doesn't mean that I shouldn't set the record strait ;)
  16. Well "setting" the record straight. You're talking about a $100 difference in price when comparing the x2 vs the 7870xt. I was saying that an Overclocked 7870XT = the performance of a non-overclocked 7950. So, again, I'm not saying the 7870xt is a better card than the 7950. I'm saying that, for the price, overclocked, it performs as well as a 7950 that isn't overclocked (my mistake for not making that more clear). It's good to have/consider all the facts when trying to debate a point.
  17. Btw.. I'm playing BF3, on ultra settings (without AA, as I'm on 1440p) with a sapphire 7870XT overclocked, and I'm generally in the 80FPS range. It helps to mention that you see no performance gains past 60FPS on a 60Hz monitor, and can actually see visual performance losses. When I run the FFXIV ARR benchmark, I'm getting higher scores than people in the forums with "better" cards, that aren't overclocked. Everything in perspective, my friend, everything in perspective.
  18. eyeage said:
    Well "setting" the record straight. You're talking about a $100 difference in price when comparing the x2 vs the 7870xt. I was saying that an Overclocked 7870XT = the performance of a non-overclocked 7950. So, again, I'm not saying the 7870xt is a better card than the 7950. I'm saying that, for the price, overclocked, it performs as well as a 7950 that isn't overclocked (my mistake for not making that more clear). It's good to have/consider all the facts when trying to debate a point.


    Actually, it's more like a $50 difference and the 7950 Gigabyte WindForce X3 has a significant enough factory overclock to make it worth spending the extra $50 on. The 7950 would also use considerably less power, granted that is not really important. Still, I see your point now (I did mistake what you were saying, thanks for the clarification).

    eyeage said:
    Btw.. I'm playing BF3, on ultra settings (without AA, as I'm on 1440p) with a sapphire 7870XT overclocked, and I'm generally in the 80FPS range. It helps to mention that you see no performance gains past 60FPS on a 60Hz monitor, and can actually see visual performance losses. When I run the FFXIV ARR benchmark, I'm getting higher scores than people in the forums with "better" cards, that aren't overclocked. Everything in perspective, my friend, everything in perspective.


    Simply increasing the MSAA setting would let you make use of the greater performance with ease, so that's kinda a null point. You can almost always make use of increased graphics performance by increasing AA intensity and/or more.
  19. blazorthon said:
    Actually, it's more like a $50 difference and the 7950 Gigabyte WindForce X3 has a significant enough factory overclock to make it worth spending the extra $50 on. The 7950 would also use considerably less power, granted that is not really important. Still, I see your point now (I did mistake what you were saying, thanks for the clarification).

    Bait and switch? Benchmarking vs one card, then calling out the price of another... picking and choosing doesn't bode well in your favor. To say all 7950s perform the same is akin to saying all z77 chipset boards perform the same (not exactly, but you get my point).

    My only suggestion to the OP in regards to a 7950 purchase is to buy strictly from newegg. Doing so, gives you two free games (one of which is crysis3). It makes AMD THE cards atm. The 7800 series comes with free games as well, you just get tomb raider instead of crysis3. I plan to sell my card for $60 or so to recoup some of the card price.

    blazorthon said:

    Simply increasing the MSAA setting would let you make use of the greater performance with ease, so that's kinda a null point. You can almost always make use of increased graphics performance by increasing AA intensity and/or more.


    But, increasing something for the sake of increasing it, isn't sound logic. When discussing AA and 1440p. Turning up AA does nothing to improve my visual experience (because I have so many pixels I don't notice any jagged edges). On 1080p, with 16xAA, I am still crunching out greater than 60FPS. I do, however, have my card overclocked. At stock speeds it did just fine, but not as well as it is doing now.

    7870XT isn't even offered in Canada anymore. Seems it sold out (probably a reason for this). So, while it was an option, it now isn't. I'm sure the OP will enjoy a 7950. I've considered sending my 7870 XT back to get one, but then I remember that the 7870XT is more than adequate, so there's no point in wasting the money. I'll just toss a 7950 in crossfire later if I find the XT to be lacking.
  20. Best answer
    double post
  21. Alright, alright. Everybody put your dicks away :P

    I made some changes to the rig, made my purchase, and caught some deals that expired tonight. Here's what changed:

    Removed Thermal Compound

    Removed Case Fans

    (Figure I can buy these later if I really need them)

    Changed Optical Drive to LG GH24NS72 24X SATA Internal DVD Writer Black OEM ($17.06 @ Direct Canada)

    On that last note, eyeage: you probably didn't catch my edit above, but that's for the best as I think it's misinformed anyway. Long story short, I didn't realize the blu-ray drive was OEM. It would have otherwise come with the necessary software (which, who knows, may have had to be updated after just a couple years for ~$50—gyp), as was indicated at the bottom of the LG webpage I provided.

    Also, that promotion you're talking about with the free games was one of the primary reasons I sprung the extra $$ on the 7950. I didn't buy at Newegg, but rather at NCIX.ca. Still got the promo. All this card talk was a moot point, anyway, as I bought the card a week ago in prep for the build.

    I also purchased the OEM of Windows 7 Home Premium (64bit) tonight. Technically not allowed as I'm not a re-seller, but Bill doesn't know that. Better than pirating it, amirite?
  22. Just sell it to your mom/gf for $1 and you're legit
  23. In addition: Hope I provided you with some helpful advice in the end. Hope you enjoy your computer :)
  24. Best answer selected by SyntaxSocialist.
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