Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

PC Build Revised Looking for Expert Advice

Tags:
  • CPU Cooler
  • Operating System
  • Optical Media
  • Keyboards
  • Speakers
  • Headphones
  • Storage
  • Power Supplies
  • CPUs
  • Mice
  • Case Fan
  • Systems
  • Motherboards
  • Memory
  • Cases
  • Wireless Network Adapter
  • Graphics Cards
  • Monitors
Last response: in Systems
Share
August 29, 2014 2:08:39 PM

Hello forum this is a follow up post I did a few weeks ago. I’ve learned a few things since then and revised my build a bit. Warning this post will be on the long side but instead of adding a tl;dr I just suggest taking a look at the part listings and strolling down to the highlighted questions.

This is my first PC build; I have little experience picking the parts and none when it comes to actually building it. This rig will be used almost exclusively for gaming and web browsing; though I may start gameplay videos in the future just haven’t decided yet. Now for the parts:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($329.98 @ SuperBiiz)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5 High-Density Polysynthetic Silver 3.5g Thermal Paste ($6.74 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus Maximus VI Formula ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($263.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($166.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($118.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($83.49 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB WINDFORCE Video Card ($609.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Phantom 820 (Black) ATX Full Tower Case ($213.86 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional 850W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($135.00 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG WH14NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($64.98 @ OutletPC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ OutletPC)
Monitor: Asus VG248QE 144Hz 24.0" Monitor ($269.09 @ Amazon)
Wireless Network Adapter: Asus PCE-AC68 802.11a/b/g/n/ac PCI-Express x1 Wi-Fi Adapter ($96.99 @ Newegg)
Case Fan: Noctua NF-F12 PWM 55.0 CFM 120mm Fan ($21.99 @ Amazon)
Case Fan: Noctua NF-A14 PWM 82.5 CFM 140mm Fan ($21.99 @ Amazon)
Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K95 Wired Gaming Keyboard ($129.99 @ NCIX US)
Mouse: Logitech G502 Wired Optical Mouse ($79.92 @ Amazon)
Headphones: SteelSeries H Headset ($278.63 @ Newegg)
Speakers: Audioengine A5+ Black 100W 2ch Speakers ($399.00 @ Amazon)
Total: $3406.57
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-08-29 09:35 EDT-0400


Build Explanation:

This rig primarily for gaming and web browsing but let me explain some of my part decisions. First the CPU was originally going to be the Intel Core i5-4690K but after consideration I wanted the ~5-10% FPS increase that the Intel Core i7-4790K gives. Now it may seem trivial and I’m definitely looking for suggestions here because the end goal will be to overclock it and the i5-4690K overclock probably makes more sense.
The motherboard is still up for debate for me. I’m stuck between the Asus Maximus VI Formula and the Asus Sabertooth Mark 1. I used the Formula in the build due to its better on board audio which I should clarify is very important to me. However the Mark 1 having an Intel Z97 chipset can’t be ignored. I’m also looking at the Asus Maximus VII hero as well.
Being a gaming rig the GPU is definitely a center piece and I decided to go with the GeForce GTX 780 Ti. There is one main reason why I went with the GTX 780 Ti over the Radeon r9 290x is because of cooling. I will be avoiding the use of water cooling in this rig (mainly due to fears of leaks) and have instead decided to add more fans sacrificing lower noise. I do plan on buying a second GPU in the future. The only question I have is whether or not I should wait for the rumored GTX 900 series or not.

Expectations:

As a gaming rig I want this PC to run the most demanding games on their highest settings while handling other small background tasks. I haven’t decided quite yet but I may go into video editing in the future though it is not guaranteed. Future proofing this PC is also important in the wake of Windows 9 and Direct X12 I would like this rig to take advantage of the newest hardware to avoid immediate future incompatibility. With no water cooling I want to make sure my PC runs cool even at the cost of noise. I have plans to overclock this rig but due to my lack of experience I want to be sure that I have the cooling and power to handle it. I will also be adding two GPUs in the future and a second monitor with G-Sync was well.

Questions:

Now for the reason I’m even making this post.

1.) i7-4790K vs i5-4690K

I’ve been going back and forward between these two. They both perform well and achieve the goals I have for this rig but the question is the $100 extra I would be spending on i7-4790K worth it? How much I’m I really getting of that $100?

2.) Asus Maximus VI Formula vs Asus Sabertooth Mark 1 vs Asus Maximus VII Hero

There are two points of debate here for me. The first is SATA Express and how important of a role it plays. To my knowledge there are no drives that support it but the 33-66% read/write speeds can’t be overlooked. However the question remains on how much SATA Express will enrich my gaming experience. The second point is the audio features of the Formula. Music listening is only second to my love of gaming and I’ willing to pay a premium for it. This is why I’m looking to buy the Audioengine A5+ 2.1 Speakers as well as already bought the SteelSeries H headsets. The question here is how does the audio on these boards stack up to against each other and is it better to buy a slightly cheaper one and opt for a separate audio solution.

3.) Liquid Cooling vs Fan Cooling

When I first started this build I thought for sure that would be using water cooling. Over time that thought has changed due to the fear of leaks. The rig is a hefty investment and I want to strike a balance between product life expectancy and product reliability. Water cooling such as the Corsair H110i provided all-in-one cooling solutions that have high efficiency, however come with the risk of potential leaks completely damaging other components. The other option I was considering is simply adding or even replacing fans in the NZXT Phantom 820 ATX Full Tower. I figured this would be more costly but in turn safer. The questions here are how safe are water cooling solutions and are they worth the risk? Will adding extra fans be enough to the entire system cool? If so how many extra fans are needed and should I replace the standard case fans?

4.) GTX 900 series and Windows 9

This may not be the best time to build a PC like this due to a lot of new tech around the corner though I guess it’s inevitable. The GTX 900 series has been rumored to be unveiled in the upcoming months. The question I have is it worth waiting for. This build contains 1 GTX 780 Ti but I plan to add a second one once I get my second monitor so waiting for the 900 series may change this plan. As of the OS I use Windows 7 currently and have never touched 8 but with Direct X12 coming eventually I’ll have to ditch Windows 7. The question here is mostly based off of a rumor but is it worth waiting on Windows 9. There have been rumors of a September reveal as well as free Windows 8 to 9 upgrades. I hope all of this was true that way I would have no problem buying Windows 8 and simply upgrading it in the future. Assuming Windows 9 is revealed in September what would be the predicted date of the release (basing assumptions off of previous OS releases) and is it worth waiting for.

Peripherals and Extras:

Not as important as the parts above but still fun to talk about are the peripherals I want for this system. I should note that I have bought several peripherals and components on my list already and they include:
Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" SSD
Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM
NZXT Phantom 820 (Black) ATX Full Tower
Asus VG248QE 24.0"
Logitech G502 Wired Optical
SteelSeries H
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO

Let me explain some of my choices here. First the Asus VG248QE 24.0" monitor was purchased with G-Sync in mind. My plan is to have two of these, one with G-Sync installed and one without. The NZXT Phantom 820 was a personal choice for me as I love its design. Though it says the Corsair Vengeance K95 keyboard in the listings I will actually be looking to get the Corsair Vengeance MX RGB K90. Though it isn’t yet available but I will be buying it was soon as it is. Finally I would to mention the Audioengine A5+ which a very high end speaker solution. I chose these over the Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2500 mainly due to the fact that all gaming audio will be done through my SteelSeries H headset and I’ve looking for great music quality throughout my room; I’m definitely looking for advice on speakers though.

Conclusion:

Well there you have it. Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy post and in case you just skipped straight to the end I suggest reading at least one of the question I underlined above if you have any knowledge you would like to share regarding that specific topic. Please at the very least let me know what you think even if it’s just from taking a glance at the parts list.

More about : build revised expert advice

a b G Storage
a b ) Power supply
a b à CPUs
a b V Motherboard
a b U Graphics card
August 29, 2014 3:00:23 PM

Quick answer - it's very expensive for the level of performance you are getting. Obviously it includes peripherals which aren't really worth too much in the way of comment - these are usually highly subjective.
Strip it down and it's around a $2100 machine, offering performance competitive to a $1500 machine, on a resolution which you can comfortably game on for half of that. It's a tricky prospect for sure, as you are well into the "enthusiast" market where stuff is very expensive and doesn't usually offer good value.

1. You are right that $100 on your budget is actually a relatively small amount when you look at the total so the i7 does have some value, but if you use that kind of logic on every element it really mounts up. Conventional wisdom is that an i5 is better for any gaming build than an i7 simply based on value for money and that it lets you spend more on graphics. At your spend, you can't really spend any more on a single graphics card, but you could very easily set up an SLI build right out of the gate which is perhaps a better approach. Also, an i7 isn't likely to offer 5-10% fps increase, it'll vary significantly from game to game but it'll be around 0% in a lot.

2. You don't need to spend this kind of money at all, there's a huge range of boards which have both M.2 and Sata Express which while not fully realised, are perhaps worth getting if you want to be flexible in future upgrades. $100-150 boards basically do what you need, and you could always add a proper soundcard later if you found it necessary. There is plenty of middle ground though - lots of ~$150 boards will claim to have various advanced audio features as well as other things. I'd reconsider what you actually need.

3. Are closed loop coolers safe? Yeah pretty much. The worst case scenario is always going to dramatic, and they don't offer the value or significant performance to make them absolute must haves. The technology is improving, but they are primarily a style over substance thing - 90%+ of the time air cooling is just a better option.
The 212 is fine, but I think if I were blowing that kind of cash on a build I'd spend more.
Buying a case as expensive as the 820 and throwing out the fans doesn't make much sense to me, especially as it's something that's super easy to look at down the line if you decide you want more performance or less noise.
Fans basically suffer diminishing returns - once you've got a solid intake+exhaust every additional fan will add less and less. Try it out and see how your temperatures are looking, stock fans work absolutely fine for the average user and filling every fan slot in a case for the sake of it is just plain stupid.

4. Dunno. Nobody does. It's a fairly safe bet that it won't be leaps ahead of the current range of graphics cards, as they usually hold back an "Ace" for a mid-range refresh. It's also a fairly safe bet it'll use less power than the current high end cards, but how much is anyone's guess really. If you aren't in a hurry to buy then it's perhaps worth holding out as this second element might change the type of power supply which would be most suited to your build.
Having said that, there's always something new around the corner, you are generally best to do the best build you can at any given point rather than hold out. The one warning I would give is that the 700-series was primarily a rebrand of 600-series+GTXTitan chips, so they have been around a while. Buying a GTX780Ti now and thinking "I'll add another later" probably isn't a good plan, as you could run into availability issues or having to pay over the odds.

Random thoughts-
There's nothing wrong with doing a double monitor setup, but a double monitor setup is inherently unsuited to most gaming. The games of which it does suit tend to be graphically undemanding (MMOs, strategy games etc). These factors mean that a GTX780Ti SLI setup would be massive overkill - a single GTX780Ti for a single 1080P display is already excessive.
a b G Storage
a b ) Power supply
a b à CPUs
a b V Motherboard
a b } Memory
August 29, 2014 3:00:40 PM

the board you have picked is a good one but it would need a BIOS upgrade top support you processor if u need an out of the box board then go for a z97 board instead of z87 .
Related resources
August 29, 2014 4:40:52 PM

Rammy said:
Quick answer - it's very expensive for the level of performance you are getting. Obviously it includes peripherals which aren't really worth too much in the way of comment - these are usually highly subjective.
Strip it down and it's around a $2100 machine, offering performance competitive to a $1500 machine, on a resolution which you can comfortably game on for half of that. It's a tricky prospect for sure, as you are well into the "enthusiast" market where stuff is very expensive and doesn't usually offer good value.

1. You are right that $100 on your budget is actually a relatively small amount when you look at the total so the i7 does have some value, but if you use that kind of logic on every element it really mounts up. Conventional wisdom is that an i5 is better for any gaming build than an i7 simply based on value for money and that it lets you spend more on graphics. At your spend, you can't really spend any more on a single graphics card, but you could very easily set up an SLI build right out of the gate which is perhaps a better approach. Also, an i7 isn't likely to offer 5-10% fps increase, it'll vary significantly from game to game but it'll be around 0% in a lot.

2. You don't need to spend this kind of money at all, there's a huge range of boards which have both M.2 and Sata Express which while not fully realised, are perhaps worth getting if you want to be flexible in future upgrades. $100-150 boards basically do what you need, and you could always add a proper soundcard later if you found it necessary. There is plenty of middle ground though - lots of ~$150 boards will claim to have various advanced audio features as well as other things. I'd reconsider what you actually need.

3. Are closed loop coolers safe? Yeah pretty much. The worst case scenario is always going to dramatic, and they don't offer the value or significant performance to make them absolute must haves. The technology is improving, but they are primarily a style over substance thing - 90%+ of the time air cooling is just a better option.
The 212 is fine, but I think if I were blowing that kind of cash on a build I'd spend more.
Buying a case as expensive as the 820 and throwing out the fans doesn't make much sense to me, especially as it's something that's super easy to look at down the line if you decide you want more performance or less noise.
Fans basically suffer diminishing returns - once you've got a solid intake+exhaust every additional fan will add less and less. Try it out and see how your temperatures are looking, stock fans work absolutely fine for the average user and filling every fan slot in a case for the sake of it is just plain stupid.

4. Dunno. Nobody does. It's a fairly safe bet that it won't be leaps ahead of the current range of graphics cards, as they usually hold back an "Ace" for a mid-range refresh. It's also a fairly safe bet it'll use less power than the current high end cards, but how much is anyone's guess really. If you aren't in a hurry to buy then it's perhaps worth holding out as this second element might change the type of power supply which would be most suited to your build.
Having said that, there's always something new around the corner, you are generally best to do the best build you can at any given point rather than hold out. The one warning I would give is that the 700-series was primarily a rebrand of 600-series+GTXTitan chips, so they have been around a while. Buying a GTX780Ti now and thinking "I'll add another later" probably isn't a good plan, as you could run into availability issues or having to pay over the odds.

Random thoughts-
There's nothing wrong with doing a double monitor setup, but a double monitor setup is inherently unsuited to most gaming. The games of which it does suit tend to be graphically undemanding (MMOs, strategy games etc). These factors mean that a GTX780Ti SLI setup would be massive overkill - a single GTX780Ti for a single 1080P display is already excessive.


Thank you very much I found your post very informative. OK I've trimmed the build down a bit and gotten rid of the peripherals to make it clutter free. Now there are still many areas I could compromise in such as the GPU but I'll start with this for now; tell me what you think.

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/MT94ZL
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/MT94ZL/by_merchant/

CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($234.66 @ OutletPC)
CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i 77.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus Maximus VI Hero ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($164.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($76.50 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($118.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($83.49 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB WINDFORCE Video Card ($609.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Phantom 820 (Black) ATX Full Tower Case ($213.86 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional 850W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($135.00 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.98 @ OutletPC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ OutletPC)
Total: $1837.43
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-08-29 19:40 EDT-0400


Here are a couple of the questions I have with this build:

I currently do all of my gaming and everyday computer use on a gaming laptop. My laptop has 12GB and it fluctuates between 36-50% usage will 8GB of ram be too low?

Next a question about the power supply. I have done and in-depth research but pcpartpick gives me a rough estimate of 457 watts at peak. would you recommend going for a slightly smaller maybe 700 watt PSU?
August 29, 2014 4:43:49 PM

prit87 said:
the board you have picked is a good one but it would need a BIOS upgrade top support you processor if u need an out of the box board then go for a z97 board instead of z87 .


Yeah that was a concern of mine and the one of the reasons I'm looking at the Sabertooth and the Hero. Sorry for not including that in my post but its definitely an area I would like suggestions for.
August 29, 2014 5:02:48 PM

Rammy said:
Random thoughts-
There's nothing wrong with doing a double monitor setup, but a double monitor setup is inherently unsuited to most gaming. The games of which it does suit tend to be graphically undemanding (MMOs, strategy games etc). These factors mean that a GTX780Ti SLI setup would be massive overkill - a single GTX780Ti for a single 1080P display is already excessive.


Here is where I lack knowledge, I would like to have dual monitors but I don't actually want to use them both for gaming. To be honest I not even sure if I'm maybe to run a game full screen on one monitor and have my desktop open on the other, I only assumed it was possible. If it is and I'm able to run a game full one only one monitor will the single GTX 780 ti be significant?
a b G Storage
a b ) Power supply
a b à CPUs
a b V Motherboard
a b U Graphics card
August 29, 2014 5:32:31 PM

If you are desperate to stick with a ROG board, make it a Z97 one - there is a Maximus VII Hero which has broadly similar specs and isn't vastly more expensive.

8Gb of memory is generally considered plenty for a gaming build - there's nothing out there which can use all of that. If you are in the habit of running a load of things in the background then 16Gb starts to make more sense, but it has to be pretty memory hungry stuff. I personally run 8Gb and the only times I run out of memory are if I'm running literally hundreds of browser tabs or multiple demanding programs.

If you are only ever going to run a single GTX780Ti then a 600-650W is probably what you are looking at. 850W is a sensible number for SLI. The PSU you picked is ok-ish, but it's probably not a first choice component especially in an expensive build.
Current pricing aside (I'd generally recommend specific PSUs based on their current deals/retail price) I'd suggest for simplicity picking a 600-650W Seasonic or XFX unit as they are consistently very good. This means you can pick whichever model you like, whichever efficiency rating, what type of cabling, with confidence.
If you are going for SLI, then I'd probably get either a similar model to before (XFX/Seasonic at ~850W) or an EVGA Supernova 850 G2 -it's very reasonably priced and is basically the best 850W PSU on the market. If you really want a Corsair get the AX860.

Running multiple monitors isn't demanding in the slightest - you can do this without a graphics card at all. Running multiple monitors for gaming purposes can be extremely demanding, which is why I made the point. If you are only ever going to be gaming at 1080P then even a single GTX780Ti is basically a waste of money.
As an example, I (like most people) run a single 1080P display and I have a GTX660, a two year old mid range card. There is literally nothing it cannot run at that resolution at acceptable framerates. It's not really a fair comparison of course, here and there you need to tweak some settings, but in general it's still a more than competent 1080P gaming card.
Now I'm not saying you should get a GTX660, or even close, but it hopefully illustrates how far into overkill you are. My advice would be to step down to at least a GTX780 or forthcoming equivalent, but you could literally half your graphics card budget and it'd still do what you need.
August 29, 2014 6:08:42 PM

Rammy said:
If you are desperate to stick with a ROG board, make it a Z97 one - there is a Maximus VII Hero which has broadly similar specs and isn't vastly more expensive.

8Gb of memory is generally considered plenty for a gaming build - there's nothing out there which can use all of that. If you are in the habit of running a load of things in the background then 16Gb starts to make more sense, but it has to be pretty memory hungry stuff. I personally run 8Gb and the only times I run out of memory are if I'm running literally hundreds of browser tabs or multiple demanding programs.

If you are only ever going to run a single GTX780Ti then a 600-650W is probably what you are looking at. 850W is a sensible number for SLI. The PSU you picked is ok-ish, but it's probably not a first choice component especially in an expensive build.
Current pricing aside (I'd generally recommend specific PSUs based on their current deals/retail price) I'd suggest for simplicity picking a 600-650W Seasonic or XFX unit as they are consistently very good. This means you can pick whichever model you like, whichever efficiency rating, what type of cabling, with confidence.
If you are going for SLI, then I'd probably get either a similar model to before (XFX/Seasonic at ~850W) or an EVGA Supernova 850 G2 -it's very reasonably priced and is basically the best 850W PSU on the market. If you really want a Corsair get the AX860.

Running multiple monitors isn't demanding in the slightest - you can do this without a graphics card at all. Running multiple monitors for gaming purposes can be extremely demanding, which is why I made the point. If you are only ever going to be gaming at 1080P then even a single GTX780Ti is basically a waste of money.
As an example, I (like most people) run a single 1080P display and I have a GTX660, a two year old mid range card. There is literally nothing it cannot run at that resolution at acceptable framerates. It's not really a fair comparison of course, here and there you need to tweak some settings, but in general it's still a more than competent 1080P gaming card.
Now I'm not saying you should get a GTX660, or even close, but it hopefully illustrates how far into overkill you are. My advice would be to step down to at least a GTX780 or forthcoming equivalent, but you could literally half your graphics card budget and it'd still do what you need.


Thank you again for your reply. I looked at the PSUs and I'm in agreement with the EVGA Supernova 850 G2. I'll definitely take changing the GPU into consideration and at the least bring it down to a 780. The ram I'm still leaning towards 16GB to be on the safe as I've definitely pushed ram space before just not too often. I guess a lot of my decisions for this build seemed over the top and there is a reason behind it. I can't really say in detail but my situation is similar to having all computer related product tax free for the next couple of months. That's not exactly whats going on but it paints the picture. Due to my unique situation I'm taking this opportunity to make the most of this once in a life time chance where the more spent leads to bigger discounts. In the end though I I'm spending my money and I'd rather not spend it in a stupidly wasteful manner. Thanks again for the advice I've learned a lot.
!