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A real old guy wanting to build a real new game machine could use some help....

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Last response: in Opinions and Experiences
March 22, 2013 2:55:49 PM


Getting the itch to build a game system once again, I have built many systems years ago, am a pretty old fart now. That’s my problem, it has been too many years it seems as the whole game has changed, getting a lot more complicated with all of the new stuff. I’m too young to die but not too old to sit down to a good game, am using a laptop now and have been for years, need a real machine again. Have been doing a lot of research and reading to re-educate myself to get up to speed so I don’t screw everything up. But it is hard to get specific answers to some questions just searching and reading.

Pretty much have my components picked out and want to use a Maximus V Gene, well if that is a good one to use anyway? Could give you my parts list if anyone would like that information, but not sure if it pertains to my dilemma here.

I want to Thank any and all who could set me straight here in advance for any help and advice offered! It is good to have a place to ask questions and get real solid information from those who really know. So, Thank you again for your time and help! Not even sure if this is the right to put my post, but here goes.

The case I want to use has only 2 x 5.25 external bays (Arc Midi R2) and I don’t really want to fill one up with an optical drive, plan on running Win7 64bit. Last system I built their were no USB Flash Drives, but there are now. Can I install the OS onto a MVG MB setup from a flash drive or external DVD/HD perhaps? I think I understand I would have to first make a USB bootable and copy Win7 to it first to do this, but can I actually boot from it and install the OS onto my SSD inside my little gamer? I sure hope I can..:) 

If not, then would it be possible to boot and install the OS off an external DVD or HD maybe. I have an old IDE HD in a USB 1 external enclosure and also an old IDE DVD in another USB external case to use for this if it is possible.

And I have been trying to find out what size USB FD I would need to flash my BIOS, you get many different answers to this question, don’t know which one is correct (some say 2GB, some say <20GB and others say it does not matter as long as it is FAT32 formatted, and others say it needs to be FAT16). So perhaps someone could get me going down the right path here also.

Final question, I have 2 boards picked out, the Gene or a P8Z77-V PRO, both about the same price point. Only plan on 2 storage drives, a SSD and HD, for now only 1 GPU and not sure if I will ever go SLI, but if I wanted to later on, is the Gene or the P8 better for that? Going to run an i5-3570K so I guess either would do a great job with that, will try to squeeze 4.5 GHz from it, which one is easier to OC? I don’t know much about OCing but want to give it a go. Found some GREAT info on that here for the Gene, but not much for the P8, no big deal.

Ops I lied about final question, just one more Please if I could! I know 8GB is all one needs for gaming, but thinking about 16GB because the price now is good and it will help future proof it for a while I hope. Some say it is better to go 2 x 8 and not 4 x 4. What do you guys/gals thing about this? I have no clue really why it would matter, if they were matched sets when you bought them. And was looking into 1.35V sticks instead of the 1.5V, not even sure why, because they are there I guess and love learning about this stuff. I know/read the IB does not like anything over 1.5V, so I am assuming it would like 1.35V even better. Can the Gene or P8 deal with them alright? Do you think these LV sticks would be easier on the memory controller? They cost a little more, but not much. Maybe just if someone could fill me in if it really matters either way.

Sorry for this being so darn long, guess I am just a little excited about doing my first build in 10 years and want to get things right the first time. And utilize the great new technologies available. And I live out in the middle of nowhere in AZ so everything has to be USP from on-line stores, closest computer store is 100 miles away. That is why I got to get it right the first time when I start ordering parts.

Again Thank You for any help or advice!

More about : real guy wanting build real game machine

March 22, 2013 3:05:24 PM

You can install windows 7 using USB

You'll want an 8gb usb

I would save a whole bunch of cash and get the ASUS p8z77 V LK, you don't need the extra IO and has the same power delivery

I would go 2x8gb as it is more flexible, 1.35v allows for more OC room to raise the voltage

There is a nice patriot 1866mhz 2x4gb kit for $47 right now though

Best solution

March 22, 2013 3:12:19 PM

Hi, first off things are easier then every for putting together a PC.

Let's start off with the USB installation method. You can create a USB installer with this tool(works with windows 8 too):

All you need is the disk, a computer with a DVD drive, and a USB drive with enough space, and 5 minutes. Follow the instructions on the page and you will have a USB drive that can install Windows.

Any basic flash drive for a BIOS update that is FAT 32 formatted will work. I use a 512MB flash drive for BIOS updates.

The motherboards will both work, it's a matter of features you may or may not want at that point. I'd say go with the ASUS P8Z77-V PRO. I have a Z68 board that is very similar, and is very reliable.

Go with 2x4GB, it's all you need for gaming, but it's unlikely you will every need 16GB for a gaming PC. 8GB is the optimal amount of ram for a gaming PC.

Memory wise, this would be perfect for you:

Anything over 1333mhz will make almost zero performance increase.
*EDIT: meant to say 1600*

Overclocking is as simple as going into the BIOS/UEFI and setting the multiplier to 45, and a few small other changes such as offset voltage.
Related resources
March 22, 2013 3:12:59 PM

You can install windows from a USB, there's plenty of guides on how to do it if you google it. I'd actually go for a cheaper motherboard, the motherboards you picked are fairly expensive and really unneccesary for what you're doing. I would recommend not flashing your BIOS unless it actually is very important, a lot of things can go wrong with that(speaking from experience and things I've read).

A 4.5ghz board should be attainable with most z77 boards that are half decent, here's a pretty good one for a lower price: .

There's no real performance difference between 8 gb and 16 gb for gamong but you go for it if that's what you want. There's no real difference between 2 x 8 and 4 x 4 because the chipset is dual channel so even with 2 sticks you'd get maximum effiency and using 4 just fills up your slots(which you may use if for some crazy reason you add more RAM). Any memory =< 1.5v should be just fine, with 1.35v you can turn the voltage up if you want to overclock your memory(which usually nets negligible gains for gaming).

Your case choice is good, fractal design are very popular and reliable. You should probably get a good CPU cooler if you want to overclock, may as well also go for a relatively quiet one:

Use for the best deals, select the US tab(if necessary, because it is selected by default I think). They compare prices from a wide variety of online hardware retailers.
March 22, 2013 3:42:17 PM

WOW :) 

This is truly incredible ! You fellas addressed each and every one of my questions with outstanding suggestions, Thank all of you for this. You certainly give food for thought about everything and I'm going to have to think about everything you said here. As they say nothing is written in stone until you write the check so your options are very good to think over a bit. Indeed I never expected a response this fast!

It's great I can install the OS with a USB, need for a DVD! Let me think this over and look over the links you guys put up, will post a bit later on the changes to my parts list...THANKS :) 
March 22, 2013 5:01:47 PM

Let me give you my opinions:

1. You will get a dvd when you buy windows. A sata dvd burner costs <$15, save yourself some trouble and buy one if your case can hold one. Otherwise, an external usb dvd is about $25. Actually, I think your ide/usb drive would work.

2. Any Z77 based motherboard will support a 3570K and will OC decently. An high priced enthusiast motherboard is only appropriate for record seeking overclockers. Virtually every 3570K chip will do 4.0. A conservative target is 4.3. About 50% will go past 4.5 if you have a very cooler and are willing to increase voltages to dangerous levels. How much do you really need that last 0.2? A budget for a motherboard would be about $150.
3. No game will use more than 2-3gb by itself. 8gb is the norm. But, since ram is relatively cheap, go ahead and buy 16gb in a 2 x 8gb kit. It will cost no more, and 2 sticks are easier for a motherboard to manage. No need for anything faster than 1600. Read this:
And, make that low profile ram to clear any cpu cooler. 1.5v is standard, IB can handle up to 1.65v, and that is what higher speed ram needs to run at.

4. Do not flash your bios unless it fixes a problem that hurts you. A failed bios can brick your motherboard. A bios is tiny, perhaps 8MB; a 1gb USB stick is plenty if you need to use one.

5. Buy a SSD for the os and apps. 120gb at least. with 240gb, you may never need a hard drive at all.

6. Buy a great graphics card, a GTX670 class card would be appropriate.

7. If you are buying a monitor, buy a great one. Look for one with a IPS panel and a 178/178 viewing angle.
Perhaps a 2560 x 1440 unit.

8. If you will OC, buy a cpu cooler. A $30 cm hyper212 will do the job. If you want 0.2 more, spend $80 on a noctua NH-D14 or a phanteks cooler. Avoid the all-in-one liquid coolers.
March 22, 2013 5:55:34 PM

The P8Z77-V LK has a 4+1+1 (CPU, iGPU, DRAM) phase setup, the PRO has a 12+4+2 phase power set up and the Gene has 8+4+2 phase power (just for reference to compare them here). You are absolutely right that I do not need the extra SATA and such ports. That is why I chose an mATX layout, it has less of them that I will never use. But think I would like a better power setup than the LK offers, but thanks for the suggestion.

That USB link was perfect, just what I was looking for! You saved me from getting a DVD I would hardly ever use, thanks much! And the info on the flash drive size, all those other answers had me going in circles trying to figure it out, they did not make sense why they said it had to be a small one. It was something about FAT16 could only handle a 2G drive or something like that. But you say I can FAT32 so that should be great for a larger FD.

I agree with everyone about the amount of memory, 8 vs 16 for a game machine. The only reason I was going 16 was because it was relatively cheap now. And would like everything to match when you buy them in a set. Read somewhere this was a good idea, so that was sort of what I was thinking there. But as all of you say 8 is just fine and dandy.

That G.Skill Sniper LV looks great, going LV for sure, it just seems like the smart thing to do at this point in time.

Thank you also for tossing in your 2-bits to help me out here. I had found some guides on how to do it but I did not know for sure if these ASUS boards could, but now I know thanks to everyone here. I know these MB are expensive, about $200, I am still debating going a bit cheaper. Yes indeed, Gigabyte and ASRock are on my radar, but I have only used ASUS long ago and they never let me down.

For some reason people say that filling all 4 memory slots was hard on the controller and harder to OC. I cannot figure that one out, you say either way is fine and that was sort of how I was thinking also. But the more I find out, the more I realize I do not understand fully how things interact with each other, buts it’s a lot of fun learning. Yet most say 2 sticks is the way to go, perhaps I will go with the obscure wisdom of the community, get 2 sticks.

Here is a good memory write up, you most likely have already read it but I will share anyway as some may have missed it. I will sure use that parts picker place, that is very cool indeed!

Choosing the Best DDR3 SDRAM for Ivy Bridge

Again want to thank everyone for all your suggestions and filling me in on installing the OS via USB stick! :) 

March 22, 2013 6:09:18 PM

No problem.

Don't worry about 16GB either, waste of money for you, that memory I linked will be excellent, low voltage too. If you ever do need more than 8GB for some reason, you can add more later, but that is unlikely.

Overclocking the latest Intel chips is a breeze, and Asus does make very good boards, and I will recommend them highly. Either one will be good as I said.

Running 4 sticks of memory shouldn't cause an issue for overclocking too. It may cause more strain on an overclock though which is why 2x4 low voltage sticks are great for you.

Memory isn't a big concern though.

Things I recommend though is getting a quality power supply too, like this:

For graphics a 670 was mentioned, that is a very good card.

I would also suggest a 7970 if you prefer ATI:

March 22, 2013 6:54:01 PM

A motherboard must run all ram sticks at the same voltage.
When there are more sticks, and with slight variations between them, it is harder to manage the ram.
That is one reason why ram vendors will not support sticks, even the same part numbers from different kits.

As to your link, yes, you can see that faster ram is much faster in synthetic benchmrks.
but in actual applications, you are looking at 1-3% difference between 1600 ram and 2400 ram.

I love smaller cases, and heartily endorse the M-ATX motherboard size.
Cases are a personal thing, but if you like small and quiet, look at the Silverstone TJ-08E

If you might consider planning for dual cards, here is my canned rant on that:
-----------------------------Start of rant----------------------------------------------------
Dual graphics cards vs. a good single card.

a) How good do you really need to be?
A single GTX650/ti or 7770 can give you good performance at 1920 x 1200 in most games.

A single GTX660 or 7850 will give you excellent performance at 1920 x 1200 in most games.
Even 2560 x 1600 will be good with lowered detail.
A single gtx690 or Titan is about as good as it gets.

Only if you are looking at triple monitor gaming, then sli/cf will be needed.
Even that is now changing with triple monitor support on top end cards.

b) The costs for a single card are lower.
You require a less expensive motherboard; no need for sli/cf or multiple pci-e slots.
Even a ITX motherboard will do.

Your psu costs are less.
A GTX660 needs a 430w psu, even a GTX680 only needs a 550w psu.
When you add another card to the mix, plan on adding 150-200w to your psu requirements.

Even the strongest GTX690 only needs 620w.

Case cooling becomes more of an issue with dual cards.
That means a more expensive case with more and stronger fans.
You will also look at more noise.

c) Dual cards do not always render their half of the display in sync, causing microstuttering. It is an annoying effect.
The benefit of higher benchmark fps can be offset, particularly with lower tier cards.
Read this:

d) dual card support is dependent on the driver. Not all games can benefit from dual cards.

e) cf/sli up front reduces your option to get another card for an upgrade. Not that I suggest you plan for that.
It will often be the case that replacing your current card with a newer gen card will offer a better upgrade path.
The GTX780 and amd 8000 series are not that far off.
-------------------------------End of rant-----------------------------------------------------------
March 22, 2013 7:00:51 PM

Hi geofelt,

You make some great points indeed. I just read the “Final Words” of the memory story from Anandtech you just posted, rest assured I will go back and read each and every word after I reply to you.

1. The thing with my case is it only has 2 x 5.25 bays. Going to put a temperature display in 1 of them and a water reservoir in the other. So really wanted to stay away from needing a bay DVD. I am hoping the USB or external DVD will take care of installing the OS and my games.

2. I was hoping to hit 4.5 with my 3570K, but it will not ruin my day if I can’t. You bring up the thing that concerns me the most, me doing something stupid and applying too much voltage to my CPU, since I do not know enough about OCing at this point. But there are a lot of guides everywhere, I just need to educate myself enough to understand them, not just what to do, but why I am doing it. It seems clean power makes things go smother, my choice of MB are based a lot on the power design. No I don’t want to set any records. .

3. I agree 100% on your assessment about memory. Weather I get 8 or 16, I’m just not sure right now, hope it stays cheap in any case. After considering what the other guys said, I think perhaps I am pretty set on LV ram @ 1600 to get the job done and along with your recommendation it will be 2 sticks regardless of the size.

4. You can rest assured I would never mess around with the BIOS unless I absolutely had to. But from what I have read it appears I may need to in addressing problems with the Gene MB, not sure about the Pro as that one seems fine out of the box. I downloaded the BIOS file and unzipped to see how big it was, you are right on the money, it is ~8MB. But if I was going to have to buy a USB flash drive I figured I would get one big enough to do other things with also, sort of killing 2 birds with 1 stone one may say. But thank you for that info!

5. I have my eye on a 120GB SSD right now, but a 256 or so would be the cat’s meow. Thinking real hard about doing what you are saying and forgetting about a HD.

6. Funny you should bring up the GTX 670, that is exactly what I am shooting for at this point. The HD-7970 are about the same price and from what I hear do a better job, but for some reason the 670 just seems right for me.

7. No monitor yet, will have to make due with my old one for a while. But I have written down your suggestions and will look into them further, I don’t know much about the new display hardware.

8. Oh man, don’t rain on my parade…just kidding  . I am going to use one of those new Swiftech H220 for the CPU. And later on when I get my nerve up and a few bucks for a GPU block will add in the graphics card to the loop. My case is set up pretty nice for a couple of 120.2 radiators without any mods. It is sort of a hybrid between a AIO and a starter kit, much better than the available closed loops offered now.

Thanks for your time to reply to me, it helps a lot. Sorry for making this so long, but everyone here deserves a good reply!

March 22, 2013 7:12:41 PM


You should get the 7970 Ghz edition, it's just slightly more expensive than a 670, but better than the 680.

Overclocking a 3570k to 4.5ghz is effortless, there are dozens of guides all over, but for the most part, on an Asus board, it's a matter of changing a few settings. It's incredibly easy.

DDR4 is also going to come out soon too, and will phase out DDR3, so keep that in mind.

Don't worry about no DVD drive, it will be harder to find a use for one.

Regarding monitors, if you want to play first person shooters or other action based games with a lot of movement, get a 120/144hz monitor. If you don't, an IPS monitor will be excellent choice with better colours and viewing angles.
March 22, 2013 7:35:56 PM

You guys are posting faster than I can reply :)  , but I will try to keep up the best I can.

The SeaSonic or Corsair 750 are what I am looking at, whichever is cheaper when I buy it. But the Corsair is shorter and will let me use a bottom fan in my case, the SeaSonic will not, it’s 20mm or so too long. But the cheaper one is the one I will get. Going 750 because I just may add another 670 in a few months when I can get some good displays.

670 or 7970, tough choice. But right now I am feeling more 670 for some reason.

That PC Part Picker is the bees knees my man! Thank you for doing that.


Great Rant on SLI. I will have to think hard about what you are saying, it just may save me some money. Let me digest this tonight, Thanks very much!
March 22, 2013 9:12:49 PM

DDR4 and GTX780....... you guys really had me going there I never thought to check out the up and coming stuff, but I just did.

Looks like the new DDR4 may be a while down the road, and it looks like it will be expensive as it's close to CPU die size I guess. And the MB’s for them I think will be even more expensive than the LGA 2011 are now because of the point to point module connection. Must take a pass waiting around for them, could not afford something like that anyway for a game box. But this stuff sounds like it will be insanely fast, 1.2 volts (20 percent less than current DDR3 memory) and achieve data transfer rates of 3.2 billion transfers per second (double that of the top-end speed of DDR3's memory bus), each DDR4 memory module has its own dedicated point-to-point connection. A very short to the point write up if you would like to read it.
DDR4 memory is coming soon—maybe too soon
The next generation is coming this year, but there's no place to plug it yet.

But a GTX 780 (or something) may or may not be here pretty soon (conflicting reports). But it is up in the air as to a release date, yet sounds like it will be this year, perhaps next quarter even. Can’t afford a Titan so could never get on of these new monsters, on the bright side they just may push the GTX 600 cards prices down, that would be a good thing for everyone! Thanks for waking me up and getting me looking at this new hardware, was very interesting and insightful seeing what was coming down the road. Have not ordered anything yet and will have to wait a couple weeks for the money to get this show on the road, you guys have me squared away on everything now, Thanks again!

A real cool graphics site if you fellas want to take a look, geared toward the new hardware on the horizon, worth a look, really nice layout for information, easy to research stuff.

Going to order my graphics very last thing, if perhaps maybe by chance Nvidia or AMD actually announce a release date for a new card (they say it could happen anytime), will run on the iGPU for a while. Sounds like a new (Nvidia) offering would fall between the Titan (GK110) and the GTX-680 (GK104), could be a GTX-780 (GK204 or GK110) perhaps. It must drop the prices on existing cards I hope!

Thanks again Everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!