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2 HD 7770s or 1 HD 7870?

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January 15, 2013 8:18:43 PM

So I'm planning a new build in a couple weeks and considering which components to buy. I want a screaming gaming machine that has no problems with most any game on the market on ultra settings.

I've boiled m choices for a CPU down to either a i7-2700K or i5-3570K. I like the i7 better but would get $40 off on a MB by buying the i5, so it's going to be a last minute decision I think. Probably make my choice in the store.

I am planning to get a motherboard capable of 4X Crossfire...if that helps.

What I'm really stuck on is the GPU purchase. I know for certain I am sticking with AMD so Nvidia suggestions are useless to me. I can get a HD 7770 for right around $100, while a HD 7870 would be closer to $250-$300.

Would 2 HD 7770s in Crossfire be a better setup than 1 HD 7870?

I am trying to decide the best value while considering 4 factors:

1) Best performance for current and future games (The future is unpredictable I know)

2) Overall cost

3) Some upgrading over the coming years is possible

4) This build must last 3 years or so

I have a budget of around $250 or so for the GPU now and may be able to add another $250-$300 within the next 3-6 months....hopefully prices will be lower by then.

I'm swinging more toward the 7870 and then adding another down the road, but if I could save now on the GPU cost it would allow for a better CPU. The ability to Crossfire 4 GPUs keeps bringing me to the thought of 4 HD 7770s over the coming year which would be easier (for me) to do than adding a 2nd HD 7870.

Anyway...I would love to see your thoughts on my upcoming build and get some input from folks with a little more knowledge.

More about : 7770s 7870

January 15, 2013 8:26:23 PM

first off, no i7, get the i5.

secondly don't start your build with crossfire, that's an upgrade path for the future, get the most powerful single card you can afford. and 1 7870 will destroy 2 7770's.
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January 15, 2013 8:38:15 PM

I got a i5-2500K for my last build because everyone said the same thing as you are (i5>i7 for gaming). However, when I looked at gaming benchmarks the i7 actually did outperform the i5 with the same GPU setup...hence I'm considering an i7 for my next build.

I definitely get what you're saying about not building with Xfire and using it as upgrade path. That makes sense for sure! I will probably go with the 7870 and buy another later on.

Any other GPU I should consider besides the 7870? I saw a 7970 but not really sure what that's all about (price is way out of my range too I'm sure)
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January 15, 2013 8:43:15 PM

the 7950 is nice, and has decent overclock headroom.
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January 15, 2013 8:48:03 PM

I have an XFX 7950, it's been amazing in most things I've thrown at it. The new Catalyst drivers elimanate all the 79xx-related bollockry of the past like micro-stuttering, plus it's a great option for CF.

It's more expensive than the 7870, but much less expensive than the 7970, I doubt you'd be dissatisfied with your purchase.
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January 15, 2013 8:48:22 PM

I feel if you are strictly using your computer for gaming and maybe watching videos I would stick with the i5 3570k. You will see diminished gaming results beyond that chip. I would say the 7950 is the better option for you. I wouldn't go off purchasing a crossfire configuration unless you needed it I would get the best card you could get which will provide you the best stability firstly and foremost and then if you needed more in the future you could expand with a 2nd one when the prices reach lower.

Here is a list of 7870's and 7950's and the price adjusted to lowest on top expensive on the bottom.
http://pcpartpicker.com/parts/video-card/#c=82,71&r=307...
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January 15, 2013 9:12:52 PM

Quote:
I feel if you are strictly using your computer for gaming and maybe watching videos I would stick with the i5 3570k. You will see diminished gaming results beyond that chip. I would say the 7950 is the better option for you. I wouldn't go off purchasing a crossfire configuration unless you needed it I would get the best card you could get which will provide you the best stability firstly and foremost and then if you needed more in the future you could expand with a 2nd one when the prices reach lower.


You are mostly correct. Other than a little bit of basic Wordpress stuff on my blog (which is about gaming) and the occasional Youtube video, my PC is used for gaming (not the Zynga stuff).

I can get the i7 for only about $50 more than the i5 though and so wonder if it might not be worth it at this price difference. Of course I suppose that comes to about $90 difference when considering the $40 discount on a Motherboard by buying the i5.

I've never seen that site before. Are those used prices or new? WOW! I'm really impressed. The 7950 will be the route I take I think, with less than a $50 price difference it's definitely worth it...judging by the benchmarks anyway.

I hope those are new prices...

EDIT:

BTW...thank you! Your advice has been very helpful in my new decision to go with the 7950! Still up in the air about the i7/i5 though...I know the pros and cons there, it's just a personal thing since I don't think there would be any negative result from buying the i7...even if it isn't a great improvement for my purposes.
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January 15, 2013 9:16:27 PM

Yes those are all new items :)  It is the one stop place to figure out where cards are price wise. Also when you select a card or any other component it will show you the price over time and where it has been.

If you intend to do livestreaming, or recording, editing, or rendering it may be of use to have a i7 you don't gain much from a gaming standpoint but there are other uses.

And yes again they are new prices you are seeing correctly you aren't in best buy anymore :p 
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January 15, 2013 9:25:03 PM

Get the i5 3570k. Better architecture and TONS of overclocking room for squeezing the most performance out of your CPU.

7770 (and 7870?) has one Crossfire bridge, meaning that the most you can do it crossfire them. No 3x or 4x

1 strong GPU > 2 weaker GPUs
The 7870 will give more stable performance than crossfired 7770s and if you can afford to snag another down the road you'll have better performance with 2 7870s than 2 7770s.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/345818-33-radeon-7xxx...
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January 15, 2013 9:31:57 PM

bigshootr8 said:
Yes those are all new items :)  It is the one stop place to figure out where cards are price wise. Also when you select a card or any other component it will show you the price over time and where it has been.

If you intend to do livestreaming, or recording, editing, or rendering it may be of use to have a i7 you don't gain much from a gaming standpoint but there are other uses.

And yes again they are new prices you are seeing correctly you aren't in best buy anymore :p 

Actually Microcenter is usually where I buy my PC parts from (usually very reasonable)...but your point is made.

Looks like I will be shopping some new sources from now on, thanks to this thread.

I do a little bit of editing, now that you mention it. Just some minor stuff for posting video on my blog and Youtube. So I think I am still going to go with the i7 as I may get more into video editing down the road a few months/years.

Again...thanks (to everyone) for everything! I think I have a bit more good info to make my decision now. I'll let you all know how the build goes once I get going on it. I'm sure I'll have more questions through the process and will be depending on the expertise on this site for help.

One thing that pops in my mind right now is about SSDs.....

I'm planning to buy a SSD for the build and wondering whether to go with a smaller one (128gb+-) and HDD in RAID. Or should I get a SSD only and buy a bigger one (500gb+-). I'm not familiar with RAID function or running a 2 drive system at all really and not sure the best way to go with it. Is it possible/beneficial to run 2 SSDs...one for storage and one for rapid access?

I know....that's another topic for another thread. Just thought I would throw it out there...it's been on my mind the past few days. I have so much to learn when it comes to building machines, I know!
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January 15, 2013 9:33:09 PM

I'm still singing the 7950 in terms of recommendation from AMD. You get more ram a higher memory bit lane and 7950's typically are regarded as great overclocking cards however keep in mind this will vary from card to card. Get the best card you can get if you can get a 7950 get it skip the mid range cards 7850, 7870 and get a high end card if you can the 7950,7970 and call it a day :) 
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January 15, 2013 9:35:25 PM

Spaniard United said:
Get the i5 3570k. Better architecture and TONS of overclocking room for squeezing the most performance out of your CPU.

7770 (and 7870?) has one Crossfire bridge, meaning that the most you can do it crossfire them. No 3x or 4x

1 strong GPU > 2 weaker GPUs
The 7870 will give more stable performance than crossfired 7770s and if you can afford to snag another down the road you'll have better performance with 2 7870s than 2 7770s.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/345818-33-radeon-7xxx...

Hmm...that's more great info! Thank you!

I saw a motherboard that stated 4X Crossfire and assumed it meant 4 GPUs could run together.

As I said....I still have much to learn. This is only my 2nd build ever and the first one I would do much differently now than I did last year when I built it. I don't want to be saying the same thing about this build in a year from now.
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January 15, 2013 9:37:35 PM

You will always learn new things with computer builds. You get the best with what you can afford at the time. If you can get a 7950 for the price that is right for you then get it :D  more performance, more longevity
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January 15, 2013 9:49:05 PM

thedigitaldoom said:
Actually Microcenter is usually where I buy my PC parts from (usually very reasonable)...but your point is made.

Looks like I will be shopping some new sources from now on, thanks to this thread.

I do a little bit of editing, now that you mention it. Just some minor stuff for posting video on my blog and Youtube. So I think I am still going to go with the i7 as I may get more into video editing down the road a few months/years.

Again...thanks (to everyone) for everything! I think I have a bit more good info to make my decision now. I'll let you all know how the build goes once I get going on it. I'm sure I'll have more questions through the process and will be depending on the expertise on this site for help.

One thing that pops in my mind right now is about SSDs.....

I'm planning to buy a SSD for the build and wondering whether to go with a smaller one (128gb+-) and HDD in RAID. Or should I get a SSD only and buy a bigger one (500gb+-). I'm not familiar with RAID function or running a 2 drive system at all really and not sure the best way to go with it. Is it possible/beneficial to run 2 SSDs...one for storage and one for rapid access?

I know....that's another topic for another thread. Just thought I would throw it out there...it's been on my mind the past few days. I have so much to learn when it comes to building machines, I know!


When you RAID discs together, they must be identical. So no RAIDing a SSD and a HDD. Normally, nowadays, people get a SDD around 128 to 256MB to store the operating system and games and Word etc. on it. They get a cheap HDD with 1TB or so to store movies and music files etc.

You may be right about the I7. If you read today's Tom's Hardware article on best CPU's for the money, you will note that they removed all the dual core ones. The switch has been made by games to require a quad-core processor. This means it is only a matter of time that more will be needed. An I7 will help, not now, but in three years for sure.

And yes, the 7950 is the sweet spot now for AMD, as the 670 is for Nvidia.


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January 15, 2013 9:51:28 PM

bigshootr8 said:
I'm still singing the 7950 in terms of recommendation from AMD. You get more ram a higher memory bit lane and 7950's typically are regarded as great overclocking cards however keep in mind this will vary from card to card. Get the best card you can get if you can get a 7950 get it skip the mid range cards 7850, 7870 and get a high end card if you can the 7950,7970 and call it a day :) 

Will do!

I hadn't even considered the 7950/7970 cards before this thread.

I was planning to go as inexpensively as possible but what you all are saying makes sense. Might as well pour in the extra cash for the best while I have it, rather than regretting my decision later on when making changes isn't financially feasible.

I will be shopping for a 7950 or 7970 from now on, until buy day. Like I said...the last thing I want to be doing 6 months from now is kicking myself for not building the machine I should have when I had the chance...like I am now for last year's build.

One more question on the CPU though (again, sorry, I know it's off topic here):

Would you recommend an Ivy Bridge or Sandy Bridge? I got Ivy Bridge last year (2500K) because I was exploring a new idea (for me) of Overclocking. My excitement has faded since then and don't really think I will ever much get into overclocking CPUs. It was fun for a minute, but the novelty wore off I guess.

So, I can get a Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge for around the same price (i7-2700K=$219 & i7-3770K=$229 OR i5-2500K=$149 & i5-3570K=$189). I know the Sandy is better for OC, but as I said, pushing the chip to the limit really isn't all that exciting to me (although I may like to do a little OCing still). I do have a new water cooler, but it's only a H60 so nothing extreme.
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January 15, 2013 9:53:02 PM

4x crossfire means it supports up to 4 cards. There are some cards with the proper connections to hook up all 4, but the 2 from your OP are not among them.

SSDs, from a cost vs storage standpoint, tend to be used by most as OS drives with more traditional HDDs used for storing the rest. You can RAID 2 HDDs or 2 SSDs and gain the benefits, but I would strongly advise against trying to RAID a SSD and HDD. RAID would work as fast as the slowest drive,negating your SSD and cutting the capacity of the HDD.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/276907-32-raid-config...
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January 15, 2013 9:55:40 PM

If you are starting a build from scratch unless you are trying to cut corners on a overclocking board and you were looking at z68 boards then I would go with the 3570k its faster then the 2500k not by much but it is and is a better value at the time and place. I would buy better fans with that water cooler by the way the unit runs fine as long as you don't overclock it to hard it probably has around the same value as a Cooler Master Evo does for overclocking.
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January 15, 2013 9:58:19 PM

H60 and i5 3570k = 4.0+ overclock and nice, low temps.

Another thing to keep in mind with Ivy Bridge is PCIE 2.0 versus 3.0.

3.0 is underutilized at the moment, by which I mean games currently use a little less bandwidth than the 2.0 and nowhere near 3.0. However, going forward this might change as newer more demanding games are released. Ivy Bridge (and the 7950) gives you some wiggle room for both today's games and games yet to come.
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January 15, 2013 10:04:49 PM

babernet_1 said:
When you RAID discs together, they must be identical. So no RAIDing a SSD and a HDD. Normally, nowadays, people get a SDD around 128 to 256MB to store the operating system and games and Word etc. on it. They get a cheap HDD with 1TB or so to store movies and music files etc.

You may be right about the I7. If you read today's Tom's Hardware article on best CPU's for the money, you will note that they removed all the dual core ones. The switch has been made by games to require a quad-core processor. This means it is only a matter of time that more will be needed. An I7 will help, not now, but in three years for sure.

And yes, the 7950 is the sweet spot now for AMD, as the 670 is for Nvidia.


Ah yes, I knew that and forgot! I used the wrong term with RAID. I'm still trying to understand everything and terminology escapes me often. My apologies.

What you are talking about though...using a SSD in conjunction with a HDD for storing the OS and caching startup programs...is that only beneficial/possible with a small SSD and HDD setup? Or would it be something to consider with 2 SSDs...such as a 500gb SSD for storage and a 128gb for startup?

Does that sound idiotic? Would 1 SSD work just as well as 2?

Possibly I'm overthinking and over-stupidifying...a large (1tb+)HDD with a 128gb SSD might be the best solution for my purposes (and probably is). I'm just trying to sort this all out before I open my wallet. I do want to build the best machine I can for my needs, but want to avoid wasting money on unnecessary, frivolous items that are completely pointless.
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January 15, 2013 10:16:16 PM

It doesn't sound idiotic just not true. The SSD argument yes you can raid 2 drives for extra speed yes. However for the cost it isn't worth it. You are better off to get a 1 tb drive for example and having a SSD. The SSD will work with the OS and if you have the space running some programs. A 128 gigabyte hard drive would be good for the os and a game or two. It would help with loading and most importantly windows responsiveness which slows down games more then you think. Also your computer will start up much caster probably in the ballpark of 15-30 seconds tops given your system specifications. I would say get 1 large storage drive and 1 small ssd I have a 256 samsung 830 if that is out of your price range then a 128 will do. SSD's in general are a nice pick me up performance wise not something you necessarily something you need per say but something that helps.
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January 15, 2013 10:24:28 PM

bigshootr8 said:
If you are starting a build from scratch unless you are trying to cut corners on a overclocking board and you were looking at z68 boards then I would go with the 3570k its faster then the 2500k not by much but it is and is a better value at the time and place. I would buy better fans with that water cooler by the way the unit runs fine as long as you don't overclock it to hard it probably has around the same value as a Cooler Master Evo does for overclocking.


OK...I'm looking at the Z77 boards (ASRock Extreme 6 or ASUS Maximus specifically) since my last one was a Z77 (ASRock Pro 3) and I'm totally happy with it. I definitely will have plenty of fans to go with the H60. My last build has a CM EVO in it now and I actually was planning on buying another one for this build but caught this H60 on clearance the other day when shopping for something not at all related. I got it for only $30, which is what I paid for the CM EVO so figured I couldn't go wrong at that price.

I suppose I will go with the Ivy Bridge. I wish I had some patience, I would just wait on the Haswell to release in June (reportedly), however I will never be able to wait that long before getting started on this build. I'm just too ADD to try and show that much restraint...LOL.

Thanks for the PCIe 3.0 advice Spaniard....it's actually something I had already locked into my purchasing decision. But it's nice to know you were looking out for me with the advice. It's probably nothing to concern with right now, as you mention, but 2-3 years from now it could be very important.

Thanks again to all who have commented here. It's nice to get some helpful advice and response. I'm so used to gaming forums where sarcasm rules and folks love to point out (and berate you because of) areas of ignorance rather than offering positive advice and knowledge. So great to be a part of productive conversation for a change!
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January 15, 2013 10:30:44 PM

Quad SLI/CF is a terrible idea on non X79 platform due to lack of PCI-E lanes provided by CPU, you'd end up with 4x/4x/4x/4x on Z77 board unless you buy Asus Extreme V Maximus with PLX chip (waste of money, could get 3930K with a decent LGA2011 board). It gets worse when you plan on doing it with low end cards.
Stick with the 3570K/Cooler Master 212 Hyper EVO and a single most expensive GPU you can afford, preferably 7970, 7950, 670 or 7870XT in that order. 680 is a stupid buy at this time if you're on a budget of any kind because you can always do better than that.
Also Intel 330 180GB SSD is an amazing deal at only $120.
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January 15, 2013 10:36:40 PM

thedigitaldoom said:
Thanks for the PCIe 3.0 advice Spaniard....it's actually something I had already locked into my purchasing decision. But it's nice to know you were looking out for me with the advice. It's probably nothing to concern with right now, as you mention, but 2-3 years from now it could be very important.

It wasn't said from the standpoint of the GPU which is already 3.0 but from the CPU. Sandy Bridge supports up to 2.0 whereas Ivy Bridge support up to 3.0.

Newer architecture, excellent OC headroom, support for PCIE 3.0, etc is why I recommended the i5 vs the i7.
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January 15, 2013 10:37:13 PM

Don't wait for Haswell. It will probably only be about 10% faster than Ivy Bridge per clock cycle. Its greatest usage will be for portable computers where it will draw considerably less power. Also its on-chip graphics will be doubled so it will be fine for some laptop uses. That will really save power, bypassing the graphics card!

But for us PC desktop users, Haswell will just be a nice thing.
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January 15, 2013 10:37:25 PM

I don't think you need anything out of the ordinary board wise. You probably couldn't tell me the difference between this board and the 6 board. The only reason I would go with the higher priced boards is if there was a port I wanted for example the UP4 and UP5 from gigabyte come with 2 thunderbolt ports. And in terms of fans that's fine I was thinking more on the line of SP120's static pressure fans that give kind of that push pull feel.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Haswell will have minor performance increases but the big selling point with the CPU iteration is that is really low on power consumption which is nice however you won't lose much by going with ivy bridge. I have a sandy bridge cpu and for me it doesn't make sense to jump to ivy bc of what I already have I'm waiting for Broadwell or Skylake :sol: 
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January 15, 2013 10:45:06 PM

As others have said, for mid-range cards grab the strongest one you can. If you can got up to a 7950 grab that, if not then go with the 7870.

For the CPU debate of Ivy vs Sandy, Ivy does more per clock cycle and uses less power. Generally Ivy doesn't OC as well. As you said you will not be delving deep into OC'ing, you probably will be alright with an Ivy Bridge CPU. You can still overclock it if you want to, you just probably won't be able to get as high of an OC as you could on a Sandy, but it will be balanced out by the Ivy doing more work per cycle. IMO I would go Ivy.

For the i7 vs i5 debate, from a gaming aspect, the performance difference between the two is negligible, considering the price difference. I think the money would be better spent on the video card...

For SSDs, they are great for improving load/boot times and responsiveness, but they do not help with FPS. So if you have enough money left over AFTER getting your CPU and GPU (I would not sacrifice GPU/CPU performance for one), I would seriously recommend getting one. 10-15 second boots (after post) and 50-75% faster game loads. Whats not to like? LoL. Common setups seem to be a 128 or 256gb SSD (based on what you can afford) with the OS and some games on it and then a second 500gb-2tb HDD for other games and storage. You could raid 2 SSDs together if you wanted, but IMO its not really worth the extra cost. If you want to sink that much money into it, I would go back and re-evaluate your CPU/GPU, lol.

Also, I will second bigshootr and the Extreme4 (I have no complaints about mine), unless like he said, you need one of the ports offered on the Extreme6.
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January 15, 2013 10:51:57 PM

I'll go ahead and third the ASRock Extreme4. Solid board that has been serving me well and has everything I need.
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January 15, 2013 11:43:11 PM

babernet_1 said:
Don't wait for Haswell. It will probably only be about 10% faster than Ivy Bridge per clock cycle. Its greatest usage will be for portable computers where it will draw considerably less power. Also its on-chip graphics will be doubled so it will be fine for some laptop uses. That will really save power, bypassing the graphics card!

But for us PC desktop users, Haswell will just be a nice thing.

Ah...thank you for that info! I wasn't aware of that at all. I just kept seeing people recommending waiting for Haswell, if they could, instead of going with IB. I won't stress over it then since I'm not all that worried about power consumption (at least not so much as with performance).

OK..SO...

Here's what I'm looking to buy now, after the advice and info I've gained here:
(List has been updated to reflect my current choices)

CPU: i5-3570K = $190
http://microcenter.com/product/388577/Core_i5_3570K_34G...

Motherboard: ASRock Extreme 4 (<--Updated) = $135
http://microcenter.com/product/387554/Z77_Extreme4_LGA_...

RAM: Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB (2X 8GB)= $73
http://microcenter.com/product/385182/Ballistix_Sport_1...(PC3-12800)_CL9_Dual_Channel_Desktop_Memory_Kit_(Two_8GB_Memory_Modules)

SSD: Samsung 840 Pro Series (<--Updated)= $149
http://microcenter.com/product/402607/840_Pro_Series_MZ...(SSD)

HDD = $85
http://microcenter.com/product/334293/Barracuda_1TB_7,2...

GPU = $310
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/sapphire-video-card-100352...

Total cost is just under $1000 (slightly over w/ PSU/fans/etc.)...Not Bad At All IMO!! $1500 was my full budget but wanted to leave a little for myself to buy some new software and stuff.

Do you think this should be able to run any and all games on the market w/ highest settings? Good for say, the next year or so (until I could buy a 2nd 7950 to Xfire)?


I think it looks like a pretty killer machine on paper!

I couldn't get anything close to it built for the same cost on any of the custom build sites I checked....which I found funny because everything I read on most sites said that it would probably be more expensive to DIY a high-end gaming rig.

..Please feel free to let me know what you think, or what you would change and why.
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January 15, 2013 11:48:03 PM

I would wait and see with the gaming experience that you have before adding a 2nd card. Its better to have a single card in most cases on a single screen than it is to have 2 cards powering a single 1080p screen. Also, I like that you went with low profile memory however if you are not doing things like editing, rendering or photo editing I would say 8 gigabytes is a safe point to go with. If you just want 16 to have 16 that is up to you. Also no complaints hard drive wise. And yea you still have the Extreme6 up there :p  which is cool if you end up with one or the other you are fine. The standard 840 is great however if you can maybe get the pro instead. The write speeds are higher and the NAND is better in the 840 Pro however the standard 840 great on its own :) http://microcenter.com/product/402607/840_Pro_Series_MZ...(SSD) Can't go wrong with a samsung ssd (FACT)
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January 16, 2013 12:00:18 AM

Spaniard United said:
I'll go ahead and third the ASRock Extreme4. Solid board that has been serving me well and has everything I need.

I'm quoting you, but this is in reply to all who supported the Extreme 4:

The X4 was the very first board I had considered when first putting this build into a mental 'grocery list'. I've looked at many others in the past few days and considered everything from the ASUS Maximus (as mentioned earlier) to the ASRock Pro 3 (which I have now, and like a lot). After all of the consideration and especially after what I've read and learned in this thread...I think I've decided to go with (my first choice) the Extreme 4.

I know I posted the X6 in my parts list but I did so only because it was a small $25 price difference. I figured it must be a better board and why not go 4 it for a few extra $$?

Now I'm doing a little comparing and see the only big difference is 2 extra USB 3.0 ports on the X6. Not so sure it's worth $25 for 2 extra USB3.0 ports.

If I find something of greater value in the X6 I may end up sticking to it, but for now I think I will actually go for the Extreme 4.

Thanks to all who brought up this point! I will be doing some more research on the 2 but the X4 appears the best choice for now.
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January 16, 2013 12:11:54 AM

bigshootr8 said:
I would wait and see with the gaming experience that you have before adding a 2nd card. Its better to have a single card in most cases on a single screen than it is to have 2 cards powering a single 1080p screen. Also, I like that you went with low profile memory however if you are not doing things like editing, rendering or photo editing I would say 8 gigabytes is a safe point to go with. If you just want 16 to have 16 that is up to you. Also no complaints hard drive wise. And yea you still have the Extreme6 up there :p  which is cool if you end up with one or the other you are fine. The standard 840 is great however if you can maybe get the pro instead. The write speeds are higher and the NAND is better in the 840 Pro however the standard 840 great on its own :) http://microcenter.com/product/402607/840_Pro_Series_MZ...(SSD) Can't go wrong with a samsung ssd (FACT)

Ya...read my last post...I think I am going with the Extreme 4. Like you said, can't really go wrong either way.

I also was first thinking that 8gb RAM was fine, but the price is decent to double it so I figured why not go ahead. Might be cheaper to double it at build and buy it all at once than to buy half now and end up buying 8gb more later. I look at RAM as something that I can't 'overdo', so why not get as much as possible, when possible. I also liked that this was 2X 8GB sticks...leaving room to max the motherboard out at 32GB later on if needs be. Might be overkill, but who cares? It won't hurt anything and only a few extra $$ on the bill.

I will definitely look for the 840 Pro! I really have no idea what brand of SSD to look for so I'll take your solid advice on the matter. I figured there really was no 'Bad' way to go with SSD but would like to go with what's good, now that I know what that is.
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January 16, 2013 12:24:29 AM

The cheaper SSD's use a cheaper NAND or ram of sorts and people end up disappointed because you pay for what you get sometimes you know? And Either board would be fine between the 4 and the 6 I like your attitude though if you see something that isn't that much more and you feel like spending it that's cool. And same goes with the ram you don't necessarily need 16 but hey if it fits your range and you at some point can make use of it that is cool to.
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January 16, 2013 12:27:32 AM

Yea, personally I would pick the 840 pro over the 840 non-pro as well. But then you probably are getting pretty close to the price range for some higher end 240GB Sandforce drives. So you may have to take size and performance into account.

Here is Tom's SSD chart. Its worth a read through.

Also, the nice part about 16gb of ram is you can disable your page file to save writes to your SSD/increase performance a little on a HDD without worrying about running out of ram. I tried with 8gbs but found times where I would run out.
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January 16, 2013 12:29:26 AM

Well I would say though that the reason why Samsung is well regarded is that they make there own NAND. That they don't use a Sandforce controller. Even OCZ doesn't anymore. Kingston does and I believe Intel does still.
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January 16, 2013 1:55:50 AM

bigshootr8 said:
The cheaper SSD's use a cheaper NAND or ram of sorts and people end up disappointed because you pay for what you get sometimes you know? And Either board would be fine between the 4 and the 6 I like your attitude though if you see something that isn't that much more and you feel like spending it that's cool. And same goes with the ram you don't necessarily need 16 but hey if it fits your range and you at some point can make use of it that is cool to.


Like I said...I have a build budget of about $1500 (That's all the wife would allow...lol) so, as long as I stay under that, I don't mind putting a couple extra bucks into an item here or there. I want the best performance possible for the budget I have. I'm going to do my best not to get into the penny-pincher mindset...at least not to the point where it ends in a build that I regret.

It's also easy to be a little more free with the budget right now...while it's on paper! Hopefully by beginning the planning phase now (3-4 weeks before buying), I will be better prepared to build a solid performing machine when shopping day comes. That's all I'm really doing right now...figuring out a shopping list for a shopping trip that's still a few weeks away. Hopefully I will end up with the best machine I can get by working on this list over a couple weeks with some advice from folks who know much more than I do.

My first build was done last year and I made no plans, asked no advice, did little to no research and then went shopping with absolutely no idea what I needed to purchase in order to get the PC I wanted. I ended up blowing 100% of my $1500 budget and getting a PC that's regretful. It works well enough (on low-medium settings) for most games I suppose, but it's no where near worthy of the budget I blew on it. Now it's going to my son!

I will not let that happen again! If I regret this year's build a year from now it will be because of great advances in the tech....not because I didn't get the best I could with the budget I had available. So, ya...I'm open to spending a few extra bones here and there as long as it's not totally wasted money.

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January 16, 2013 2:20:05 AM

A Bad Day said:
I would only get the i7 if you know if your favorite games support more than four cores. There were at least 17 games that supported hexacores back in 2010



NO. The i7 is a quad core processor, NOT an 8-core. I see this all the time; what the i7's have is hyperthreading, which is NOT supported by any game. (The ones that say they do have been tested - they run faster with hyperthreading disabled than with it on.)


There is no reason to buy an i7 unless you have a specific task that will be performed a lot that you know makes use of hyperthreading. That's what it comes down to, really.

You're WAY better off putting the saved money into a better graphics card; the higher the better.


EDIT: also, if you're buying this in 6 months, than please don't buy the graphics card till the last minute - by then the 700 series and 8000 series from Nvidia and AMD will have been released, and they're going to have significant power gains for competitive prices.
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January 16, 2013 2:33:25 AM

xFriarx said:
Here is Tom's SSD chart. Its worth a read through.


Very nice! Thanks for the link!

The article helps to make some sense of the SSD market and the products in it. Of course, no matter the SSD it would be much improvement over HDD...which I think should be common sense for most. I was totally lost though once you get into the SSD realm.

Still just a little bit foggy as to whether the difference in performance between a lower tier SSD and higher tier SSD would justify the pricing difference. I mean...even this article points out that performance on an app basis or even day to day basis between SSDs might not be all that detectable. Sure...it may be measurable (as the article states)...but I'm more concerned with noticeable on a day-to-day basis.

What I think I really need to get more clarity on is whether the noticeable performance difference between a Tier 1 SSD and Tier 4 SSD would justify a price variance of 30%-50%. Right now I'm thinking I might prefer to take more SSD space over more SSD performance....but that's me.

At the PC enthusiast level it might make more sense to go with the top tier SSD, but at a gamer's level I just need more clarity. Will definitely be doing more research into the subject over the coming days/weeks.

Again...thanks for the info and link. It was quite informative...for me at least.
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January 16, 2013 2:52:01 AM

DarkSable said:
NO. The i7 is a quad core processor, NOT an 8-core. I see this all the time; what the i7's have is hyperthreading, which is NOT supported by any game. (The ones that say they do have been tested - they run faster with hyperthreading disabled than with it on.)


There is no reason to buy an i7 unless you have a specific task that will be performed a lot that you know makes use of hyperthreading. That's what it comes down to, really.

You're WAY better off putting the saved money into a better graphics card; the higher the better.


EDIT: also, if you're buying this in 6 months, than please don't buy the graphics card till the last minute - by then the 700 series and 8000 series from Nvidia and AMD will have been released, and they're going to have significant power gains for competitive prices.


Ya...I was already quite familiar with the hyper-threading and 4 core thing in the i7s. Not really certain what hyper-threading does or any of the details on it, but knew for sure the i7 is 4 core with hyper-threading adding 4 'virtual' cores (or however you look at it). I do think I will look more into the details on HT though and see if it's something of value at all to me and the things I do or will be doing soon.

I actually am just waiting for the end of this month to get here to buy my parts. I'm using a portion of our Income Tax return to buy everything for this build. February is pretty much the only month that allows us to go on splurges in this family. Having a single income family with 4 kids really keeps the monthly money flowing only where it needs to go, if you know what I mean. It's a fair trade-off though...my kids aren't being raised by strangers in a day-care or by (well-meaning) grandparents who think kids are better when they are spoiled rotten, like many children are nowadays.

Anyway....I'm pretty sure this purchase won't wait for 6 months...I just don't have the patience to wait that long. It may be something I could look forward to for next year though. Although I won't be able to build a whole new PC next year, upgrades to the upcoming build aren't out of the realm of possibility. I will definitely be keeping up on the next generation of GPUs to see what they bring to the table.
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January 16, 2013 6:21:36 AM

I gotcha yea that makes sense gotta take care of the bills and when you get the okay to spend a little you aren't afraid to spend up to or near your budget :p  And yea while the i7 isn't a octo core it does help with multi threaded applications so it wouldn't necessarily to have one.

Quote:
Still just a little bit foggy as to whether the difference in performance between a lower tier SSD and higher tier SSD would justify the pricing difference. I mean...even this article points out that performance on an app basis or even day to day basis between SSDs might not be all that detectable. Sure...it may be measurable (as the article states)...but I'm more concerned with noticeable on a day-to-day basis.


Well since we are talking about the 840 I'll break it down for you the 840 non pro uses TLC NAND which is a cheaper NAND and doesn't perform as well as the MLC NAND with the 840 pro.

A quote from a review to kind of explain it :) 

Quote:
Now before you go, huh what ? TLC (tender love 'n care) I do have to explain the introduction title. Samsung very recently released the new 840 series SSDs. The new 840 uses TLC NAND flash (TLC is short for triple level cell) cells whereas the PRO models (as tested today) still use the popular MLC NAND. TLC is short for triple level cell, but it’s simpler to state that each TLC NAND cell is able to hold three bits of data while MLC was only able to record two bits. A TLC NAND flash chip will hold 50% more data than an MLC NAND flash chip with the same number of cells. The increase in density however makes that NAND type a bit slower. In fact as such the 840 Pro series uses MLC NAND, and the more affordable basic 840 SSDs use TLC. With TLC NAND reportedly beings a good chunk slower and having less write cycles, really you might want to be on the lookout for the PRO models, as we'll test today.

http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/samsung_840_pro_ss...
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January 16, 2013 6:35:30 AM

Also there is another article that goes into Synchronous vs. Asynchronous which is becoming less and less of a common place Asynchronous you will normally see synchronous now I did a little digging and saw that both the 840 and the 840 pro are both synchronous its just the different form of NAND.
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/08/07/nand_flash_fa...
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January 27, 2013 12:16:01 AM

Thanks to all for the help. Bigshootr8, you have been very helpful and I appreciate the added explanation. I got a little off my original topic without meaning to... thanks for keeping with me.

I've got my build down now (at least on paper) and will post back here once I get it all finished to let you all know how happy I am with it.

BTW...I decided to go with the Pro level SSD. I'm going to hold off on a final decision for which one until buying day, to see pricing at the time. I definitely want to make sure I get all the best possible equipment I can, but if I can save a buck or two on less important items (ie. 128gb vs 256gb SSD, etc.) in order to put it into more important items (ie. HD 7850 vs HD 7970) then I will like to do so. These decisions just can't be made in advance IMO.

Again, I'll let you all know how it goes once I get it all up and running (just a couple weeks left :D  )
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January 27, 2013 12:18:15 AM

Best answer selected by thedigitaldoom.
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