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Building a gaming rig and need advice. (Ivy Bridge vs Haswell? Nvidia vs Radeon?)

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March 24, 2013 8:10:35 PM

Hello forum, it's been a while!

I'm building a gaming PC and I came across the rig in the pic recommended by PC Gamer April 2013 and I need advice:

1. Is it true I should stick with intel processors because AMD is apparently lagging behind for gaming PCs?

2. Is it true Gaming PCs don't really need core i7 even with the most demanding games like Crysis 3 and soon Battlefield 4? I don't do video editing or graphics design that requires heavy rendering etc or run huge databases.

3. Should I wait for the next gen of processors or the expected performance increase is too little compared to the price?

4. Is the Radeon 7870 good enough? I can swap it for 7950 or even an nVidia card instead but the 670 is too pricey. My goal is to run Crysis 3 and Battlefield 4 on max settings 1080p @60 fps. Maybe I'm asking for too much but I want to get as close to that as possible. I don't mind upgrading the graphics card again a year from now.

5. I haven't had the heart to OC in my life so I'm probably sticking with stock heatsink and cooling but I don't want to get another PSU. Is this one good enough for my future OC needs?

6. FEEL FREE TO SWAP OUT ANY PIECE WITH YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS.

THANK YOU!!
March 25, 2013 10:16:17 AM

Hi there,

1. Yes -- except at the low end of the spectrum since you can get a quad-core AMD cpu for cheaper, which is starting to be a standard for gaming. Once you can afford an i5 though, AMD is no longer worth it really.

2. Yes, the only difference between i5s and i7s is hyper-threading, which no game currently takes advantage of.

3. Depends if you want your build sooner or later. Personally I wouldn't wait, the performance bump isn't that much, it's more power efficiency.

4. Nothing except very expensive multi-GPU setups can really do what you're asking for. You need to keep in mind that even medium settings on Crysis 3 look amazing. A 7870 will handle medium/high settings pretty well, but probably not max. I'd suggest going for a 7870 XT. It's normally only a fraction more than a 7870, with performance only 2% or so less than a 7950.

5. No, that PSU is border-line too weak (even without over-clocking), esp. if you go for a 7870 XT or better. The Bitfenix Prodigy can use almost any full sized PSU, check the length though (as long as it's not modular), so go for a nice 550W+ unit. The SeaSonic S12ii 620W would be great, but also the Corsair CX 600W if you want to save a bit of money.

If you want to over-clock you'll need a Z77 motherboard, rather than the H77 one in the build. This one should be good: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... On the other hand if you don't, just save some money by not buying a K series i5. The i5-3350P for example would work well.

M
March 25, 2013 10:33:48 AM

Hey!

1. Intel is doing great with gaming at the moment at the higher end of the range for example the I5 3570K since it performs excellently! At the low end AMD wins since it's cheaper prices give better value.

2. Gaming PC absolutely do not need I7 as hyper threading is not currently supported by many games on the market. Later HT will be more supported and will be better equipped for the future.

3. I don't recommend waiting for them as they won't bring much in terms of performance increase since Haswell is more mobile orientated.

4. If you don't mind upgrading your graphics card again in a year then get a variation of the 7870 since in late 2013 AMD 8000 series and possibly Nvidia 700 series will be released.

5. I recommend getting a mor well known and reputable brand for the PSU and look for ones with 80% Bronze/Silver/Gold/Platinum as they offer more for you money, I also recommend getting a 500W or higher since PSU do tend to lower in quality over time.

6. I recommend getting Corsair Vengeance or G.Skills Ripjaws X series since they are more well known and more popular.
Related resources
March 25, 2013 11:22:04 AM

I use a Radeon 7870. Crysis 3 is great. About Battlefild 4 dont know.
March 25, 2013 12:08:26 PM

12345eking said:
I use a Radeon 7870. Crysis 3 is great. About Battlefild 4 dont know.


The 7870 will probably run BF4 as it isn't mad like crysis and supports mid end cards.
March 25, 2013 1:22:57 PM

Cyanide Reverse said:
Hey!

1. Intel is doing great with gaming at the moment at the higher end of the range for example the I5 3570K since it performs excellently! At the low end AMD wins since it's cheaper prices give better value.

2. Gaming PC absolutely do not need I7 as hyper threading is not currently supported by many games on the market. Later HT will be more supported and will be better equipped for the future.

3. I don't recommend waiting for them as they won't bring much in terms of performance increase since Haswell is more mobile orientated.



marshallbradley said:
Hi there,
1. Yes -- except at the low end of the spectrum since you can get a quad-core AMD cpu for cheaper, which is starting to be a standard for gaming. Once you can afford an i5 though, AMD is no longer worth it really.

2. Yes, the only difference between i5s and i7s is hyper-threading, which no game currently takes advantage of.

3. Depends if you want your build sooner or later. Personally I wouldn't wait, the performance bump isn't that much, it's more power efficiency.

Thanks to you guys I can say with complete confidence that I'm sticking to 3rd generation core i5.

Quote:
Nothing except very expensive multi-GPU setups can really do what you're asking for. You need to keep in mind that even medium settings on Crysis 3 look amazing. A 7870 will handle medium/high settings pretty well, but probably not max. I'd suggest going for a 7870 XT. It's normally only a fraction more than a 7870, with performance only 2% or so less than a 7950.

Okay I forgot how Crysis 3 is demanding so let's forget about it. How about the less crazy new games like Bioshock: Infinite and Assassin's Creed 4, etc.

Quote:
If you want to over-clock you'll need a Z77 motherboard, rather than the H77 one in the build. This one should be good: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... On the other hand if you don't, just save some money by not buying a K series i5. The i5-3350P for example would work well.

good point. Let's say I'll overclock so I'll stick to the K series i5 and I'll upgrade the motherboard like you suggested.

Quote:
5. No, that PSU is border-line too weak (even without over-clocking), esp. if you go for a 7870 XT or better. The Bitfenix Prodigy can use almost any full sized PSU, check the length though (as long as it's not modular), so go for a nice 550W+ unit. The SeaSonic S12ii 620W would be great, but also the Corsair CX 600W if you want to save a bit of money.


Quote:
5. I recommend getting a mor well known and reputable brand for the PSU and look for ones with 80% Bronze/Silver/Gold/Platinum as they offer more for you money, I also recommend getting a 500W or higher since PSU do tend to lower in quality over time.

Noted. I'll upgrade the PSU as well.

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One more thing, I'm currently using an Asus G74sx (best buy model) am I gonna notice a considerable difference with the new rig right away? or am I going to notice it in the long run when I upgrade my graphics card again a year from now?
March 25, 2013 1:56:02 PM

You'll want an aftermarket CPU cooler as well in order to keep temps low while you overclock. The Noctua U9B is really good for small form factors like the Bitfenix Prodigy.

Assuming you're playing at 1080p, the 7870 should have no trouble maxing everything, except the crazy demanding games like Crysis 3, out (particularly if you over-clock a bit, which AMD cards are great at). You probably will have to reduce AA a tiny bit though. I'd go for the 7870 XT, it's much better value than a 7870 currently, since it's basically a 7950.

Yes I'd say you'd notice the difference right away. The 560M is worse than the current gen GTX 650/HD 7750. The GTX 650 is maybe a third as fast as the 7870 XT. I'd say you can probably hold onto the 7870 XT for more than just a year.

M
March 25, 2013 3:26:33 PM

phatsnake said:

Noted. I'll upgrade the PSU as well.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

One more thing, I'm currently using an Asus G74sx (best buy model) am I gonna notice a considerable difference with the new rig right away? or am I going to notice it in the long run when I upgrade my graphics card again a year from now?


well upgrading to a 7870 will definitely give you a performance boost straight away and later on when you get the 7950 then you'll notice even better performance in Crysis 3 maxed out :D 
March 25, 2013 10:18:33 PM

Nice! Can't wait! Okay so it seems that the Sapphire Radeon 7870 XT is sold out on both Amazon and Newegg, and TigerDirect aren't selling it. Any other places I can find it? Or maybe should I get a 7950?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

those are the 3 cheapest decent looking 7950s I found. Any ideas?

Microcenter have a nice combo the core i5 3570k with Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Z77 ATX mobo for $285. If I decide on this combo I'll probably have to change my case right? Sorry I'm a noob with mini-itx and I'm not sure what the difference is other than 2 lesser ram slots.

thank you for all the replies everyone. Please bare with me until I finalize this system.
March 26, 2013 5:33:41 AM

If you end up going with a 7950, I'd recommend the Gigabyte one you linked, it's probably the best model on the market. It has a really good cooler. The 7870 XT seems out of stock in a lot of places to me too (for a good reason), so if you want to wait and save that $50 or not it's up to you.

If you get the Extreme4 you won't be able to use a Prodigy, yes. It can fit full sized ATX boards. You'd need a mid tower at least (quite a bit larger). Personally I'd stick with mITX (small stuff is cool!) but if you want we can recommend some solid mid towers too.

M
March 26, 2013 10:52:02 AM

phatsnake said:
Nice! Can't wait! Okay so it seems that the Sapphire Radeon 7870 XT is sold out on both Amazon and Newegg, and TigerDirect aren't selling it. Any other places I can find it? Or maybe should I get a 7950?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

those are the 3 cheapest decent looking 7950s I found. Any ideas?

Microcenter have a nice combo the core i5 3570k with Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Z77 ATX mobo for $285. If I decide on this combo I'll probably have to change my case right? Sorry I'm a noob with mini-itx and I'm not sure what the difference is other than 2 lesser ram slots.

thank you for all the replies everyone. Please bare with me until I finalize this system.


Definitely get the gigaybyte as it's great value for it's money and has 3 fans which are amazing at cooling and silent. I personally wouldn't get the 7950 and wait for a 7870 XT to be restocked and then later in the year buy a 8000 series card.
March 26, 2013 1:03:00 PM

I just noticed the Gigabyte 7950 card doesn't say GHz edition does that mean it's not ideal for overclcoking?
Edit: After a bit of research I couldn't find any GHz editions of the 7950 so I guess this is as good as it gets. It is overclockable though right?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
March 26, 2013 1:17:57 PM

The 7950 Ghz edition doesn't really exist as such, I think it's called the 7950 Boost. It's not any different to the normal one really, just comes pre-overclocked. Overclocking is never guaranteed, but the 7xxx cards are very good overclockers in general, esp. compared to nVidia's lineup. On 95% of chips you should be able to reach 1050+ Mhz Core clock, which is a nice 150 Mhz overclock, without having to change voltage or anything. A lot of people are pushing much higher though, towards 1200 Mhz and above. Either way the card is very strong at both overclocked and stock speeds, so don't worry too much.

M
March 26, 2013 2:37:13 PM

marshallbradley said:
The 7950 Ghz edition doesn't really exist as such, I think it's called the 7950 Boost. It's not any different to the normal one really, just comes pre-overclocked. Overclocking is never guaranteed, but the 7xxx cards are very good overclockers in general, esp. compared to nVidia's lineup. On 95% of chips you should be able to reach 1050+ Mhz Core clock, which is a nice 150 Mhz overclock, without having to change voltage or anything. A lot of people are pushing much higher though, towards 1200 Mhz and above. Either way the card is very strong at both overclocked and stock speeds, so don't worry too much.

M


Couldn't have said it better myself. That is the graphics card I'm talking about :) 
March 26, 2013 7:20:19 PM

Okay after further research and based on Marshal's and Cyanide's great feedback this is what I'm looking at so far, again FEEL FREE TO MAKE ANY ADJUSTMENTS:

Processor: Core i5-3570K
Mobo: ASRock Z77 Extreme4
Ram: Corsair Vengeance 2x4gb @1600 Mhz
Case: COOLER MASTER Storm Enforcer SGC-1000-KWN1
Graphics card: Gigabyte Radeon 7950 (I was able to get a local deal I'm paying less than $30 extra after tax compared to the 7870 xt, not factoring in rebate)
HDD: Seagate Barracuda STBD2000101 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA
SDD: I already have one.
cpu cooler: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU: Corsair CX 600




March 26, 2013 8:48:39 PM

The one thing I will mention is that heat spreaders on the Corsair Vengeance can limit the ways (orientation/fan position) or even prevent you from mounting certain after-market CPU coolers at all (including the one you linked) -- this can be esp. problematic on a board like the Extreme4 where the CPU socket is very close to the RAM slots. Since you plan on adding one at a later date in order to over-clock, it's probably work sticking to something with less crazy heat spreaders. Corsair Vengeance LP (low profile) are great for that IMO, but if you want slightly better looks, the Patriot Viper 3 looks really sweet in my opinion, and can fit under a lot of behemoth heat sinks such as the NH-D14.

Also I don't see a power supply on that list of items.

Otherwise solid :) 

M
March 27, 2013 1:27:33 AM

Right I forgot to mention the PSU. I'll edit the main reply and I'll add the Corsair CX 600 to it.

As far as ram microcenter don't give many options. What do you think of:

Ballistix Tactical 8GB (4x2) DDR3 1600

Ballistix Sport 8GB (8x1) DDR3 1600

I'm leaning towards the tactical because it has lower latency and it's just 1 module. Do you think this one will fit? Do you think it's a good brand and model?

I also found this description on the microcenter website about the Corsair Vengeance: "For excellent overclocking performance" do people normally overclock their ram? or they mean it works well with overclocked processors and graphics cards?

One last thing, if I decide to stick to mini -itx motherboard you suggested earlier, I will not lose any performance? I can still overclock as good? The only loss at all is just the extra ram slots?

I also noticed Windows 8 got more expensive : / I wish I bought it back when it was cheap and just saved it for my new pc. cheapest I found is $90
Microsoft Windows 8 (64-bit) System Builder DVD
March 27, 2013 5:54:18 AM

You've mis-labled your links :p  The tactical is 8x1 and the sport is 4x2. I know the tactical looks nicer, but personally I'd go with the sport. Since there are two modules instead of one, you get dual channel mode (twice the memory bandwidth) which helps in some memory bandwidth limited games (PlanetSide 2 comes to mind). I don't foresee 16GB being necessary for gaming very soon (given how much RAM consoles have). The difference between CL8 and CL9 is nothing as well.

Memory over-clocking is a thing yes, but even if you pushed your modules to the max, you gain about 0.5% better FPS in most games. It's completely pointless, unless you're really obsessive about your over-clocking, and is no where near as popular as CPU and GPU over-clocking.

Yes, with the motherboard I linked earlier over-clocking will be just a good. You'll also have to pick the Bitfenix Prodigy though, since the Cooler Master you linked doesn't support mITX (it would also be silly to buy an mITX for an ATX rig). Also you would be slightly limited as to what CPU cooler you can use, but there are still great small form factor choices such as the NH-U9B.

M
March 27, 2013 9:44:12 AM

Processor: Core i5-3570K
Mobo: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 // ASRock Z77E-ITX
Ram: Ballistix Sport 8GB (4x2) DDR3 1600
Case: COOLER MASTER Storm Enforcer SGC-1000-KWN1 // Bitfenix Prodigy
Graphics card: Gigabyte Radeon 7950 (I was able to get a local deal I'm paying less than $30 extra after tax compared to the 7870 xt, not factoring in rebate)
HDD: Seagate Barracuda STBD2000101 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA
SDD: I already have one.
cpu cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus
PSU: Corsair CX 600

I just have to make the one final decision: sacrifice 2 ram slots and one pci express slot for sexy case, or get the behemoth case and win those slots back. The price difference is negligible.
March 27, 2013 9:47:30 AM

Hey M how do I pick your reply as best answer again? :S I can't find the button to do that. I really appreciate the help marshallbradley and Cyanide Reverse you guys are awesome. I'll post again once I finalize my purchase later this week.
March 27, 2013 10:40:06 AM

This is a discussion thread rather than a question one, so unfortunately you can't.

M
March 28, 2013 11:37:17 AM

phatsnake said:
Processor: Core i5-3570K
Mobo: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 // ASRock Z77E-ITX
Ram: Ballistix Sport 8GB (4x2) DDR3 1600
Case: COOLER MASTER Storm Enforcer SGC-1000-KWN1 // Bitfenix Prodigy
Graphics card: Gigabyte Radeon 7950 (I was able to get a local deal I'm paying less than $30 extra after tax compared to the 7870 xt, not factoring in rebate)
HDD: Seagate Barracuda STBD2000101 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA
SDD: I already have one.
cpu cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus
PSU: Corsair CX 600

I just have to make the one final decision: sacrifice 2 ram slots and one pci express slot for sexy case, or get the behemoth case and win those slots back. The price difference is negligible.


Change your cooler for a Hyper 212 Evo as it's the successor to the Plus. If you're going to get ram locally then that's a good choice but if you can then you should go for a G.Skills Ripjaws X series because they look awesome C:
June 8, 2013 8:38:57 PM

Go with Radeon, you get 3 more free games than you do with nvidea. On the topic of Ivy vs Haswell, go with which ever your budget allows for. You can argue that you can overclock the IB as high, if not higher than Haswell to bring the performance to the same level, but remember, some times you can get a bad chip, and not over clock it at all.
June 10, 2013 9:10:45 AM

GMPoisoN said:
Go with Radeon, you get 3 more free games than you do with nvidea. On the topic of Ivy vs Haswell, go with which ever your budget allows for. You can argue that you can overclock the IB as high, if not higher than Haswell to bring the performance to the same level, but remember, some times you can get a bad chip, and not over clock it at all.


If you're going to get a new pc then Haswell would be the only choice since it's like £5 more expensive than Ivy so there is no question there.
June 10, 2013 10:38:04 AM

Cyanide Reverse said:
GMPoisoN said:
Go with Radeon, you get 3 more free games than you do with nvidea. On the topic of Ivy vs Haswell, go with which ever your budget allows for. You can argue that you can overclock the IB as high, if not higher than Haswell to bring the performance to the same level, but remember, some times you can get a bad chip, and not over clock it at all.


If you're going to get a new pc then Haswell would be the only choice since it's like £5 more expensive than Ivy so there is no question there.


I believe that if you want to do everything to maximize the performance of Haswel, that's the only way you should get one. If you want to delid, water cool, and overclock it, Haswel is the way to go. If you plan on IB then you should still do all of those things to max performance, but it can overclock easier than Haswel, so you're not going to have to do everything you would with Haswel to get the best OC/Temps out of it.
!