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Building a gaming system (first timer)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 10, 2013 3:19:43 PM

So I've been lurking around these boards for a while reading up on some gaming systems that you guys put together. First off, the knowledge and skill that some of you guys possess is awesome it made me want to get back into building PCs. Not to say I'm some kind of guru I'm not I just dabble and it's been quite a while. None the less, you guys are very intelligent and I had a few questions if any of you guys could help me out.

I'm looking to put together a gaming system. I'm by no means rich so I am slightly limited in what I can spend. I would like to be able to play DayZ, which is the main reason I'm building a gaming system, Battlefield 3, you know the new games like those with no problems.

I'm pretty much set on basing this system around the i5 3570k processor priced at $219.99 which seems to be the popular choice for the budget I"m working with.

I thought about pairing it with the SAPPHIRE 100352-2L Radeon HD 7950 3GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card which is priced at $309.99

I wanted to know which motherboard I should purchase to maximize the performance of the processor and the graphics card for sweet graphics. Any recommendations would be extremely helpful.

To be honest I'm not even too sure if the processor and video card that I've chosen are compatible with each other or if I picked the best processor and graphics card for my money. So again any help, recommendation, ideas would be great because you guys are way more knowledgeable than I am. Thanks again guys
a b 4 Gaming
February 10, 2013 3:26:55 PM

Your CPU and video card choice are good. Motherboards I would recommend for you are:

ASRock Z77 Extreme6
Asus P8Z77-V
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H
MSI Z77A-GD55

If you're on a more limited budget (and even if you aren't), there's many Z77 below $200 that will probably suit your needs. And to be honest, I really don't see any reason someone should spend more than $200 for Z77 motherboard (this is a mainstream platform) unless they need some special feature (ie. thunderbolt, PLX chip)
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February 10, 2013 3:32:04 PM

Don't worry those are the best two for the price. The only thing you need to worry about for compatibility is the CPU and motherboard, any new GPU will work in any modern motherboard.

You have a few options, first would you consider adding in a second card in the future (this is called CF, crossfire, for AMD and SLI for Nvidia). This will be about ~160% the performance compared to one card but then you generally run into more compatibility problems in games, although they can almost always be resolved. This is considered a good thing to do in the future for more performance instead of buying a new top model card.

Non CF board- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CF board- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I consider ASUS to be one of the best motherboard brands but there are also many other good ones. There are motherboard better and worse but these two would fit the build just fine.
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February 10, 2013 3:41:56 PM

EzioAs said:
Your CPU and video card choice are good. Motherboards I would recommend for you are:

ASRock Z77 Extreme6
Asus P8Z77-V
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H
MSI Z77A-GD55

If you're on a more limited budget (and even if you aren't), there's many Z77 below $200 that will probably suit your needs. And to be honest, I really don't see any reason someone should spend more than $200 for Z77 motherboard (this is a mainstream platform) unless they need some special feature (ie. thunderbolt, PLX chip)


Thanks for the reply! Will those motherboards allow me to upgrade some of the main components easily? If so, which one would you recommend?
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February 10, 2013 3:46:46 PM

andrewcarr said:
Don't worry those are the best two for the price. The only thing you need to worry about for compatibility is the CPU and motherboard, any new GPU will work in any modern motherboard.

You have a few options, first would you consider adding in a second card in the future (this is called CF, crossfire, for AMD and SLI for Nvidia). This will be about ~160% the performance compared to one card but then you generally run into more compatibility problems in games, although they can almost always be resolved. This is considered a good thing to do in the future for more performance instead of buying a new top model card.

Non CF board- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CF board- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I consider ASUS to be one of the best motherboard brands but there are also many other good ones. There are motherboard better and worse but these two would fit the build just fine.


I would definitely go with the board that allows Crossfire it seems to make more sense and price wise it's good. So just so I understand... Crossfire allows you to have two video cards which will equal more performance? If so, does it have to be an identical video card that you're adding or can it be any video card?
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a b 4 Gaming
February 10, 2013 3:47:56 PM

I prefer the MSI Z77A-GD55 or the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H though I'm leaning to the GD55 a little bit more. I have the GD65 version and they (GD65 and GD55) are both what I consider high-end boards at reasonable price. The only difference is Virtu MVP (on the GD65), but Virtu sucks anyway so no need to consider that. The fewer USB 3.0 ports could come as a turn off though so if that's the case, the UD3H might be better for you.
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a b 4 Gaming
February 10, 2013 3:49:43 PM

Crossfire/SLI requires identical card (or GPU to be more exact, the cards themselves can differ)
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February 10, 2013 4:00:27 PM

In the end I just want a system that has crisp graphics and plays a smooth game. I'm currently looking into those mobos. So the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H is Crossfire capable? I just expected to be so much more money lol
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a b 4 Gaming
February 10, 2013 4:09:50 PM

All motherboards I listed above are SLI/crossfire capable. Like I said before, there's not much point on spending too high for Z77 motherboards. The most expensive ones I would probably recommend are the Asus P8Z77-V PRO, Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H and MSI Z77 MPower but most people don't need to spend extra on them.

The money saved could go to some other parts. Maybe better psu, case, video card, SSD or whatever.
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February 10, 2013 4:17:25 PM

Okay so I'll go with the ones you recommended earlier because it definitely makes more sense to go with the bare minimum as far as motherboards go if it won't make a difference in performance.

Do you have any recommendations on what type and how much memory I should use to run those games smoothly and with great graphical display?

Thanks again for the help I really appreciate it!
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a b 4 Gaming
February 10, 2013 4:24:12 PM

phamiltonn82 said:

Do you have any recommendations on what type and how much memory I should use to run those games smoothly and with great graphical display?


Assuming you will use a 64 bit OS, 8 GB seems to be about the optimum amount.

4 GB is sometimes too small, 16 gb is usually overkill.
In any case, better to go larger than smaller. Memory is relatively cheap.
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February 11, 2013 1:12:11 AM

Okay I'll go with the 1866. Thanks again for all your help and insight it's greatly appreciated!
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a b 4 Gaming
February 11, 2013 1:16:17 AM

You're welcome. ;) 
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