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Building a £1500 (~$2400) gaming PC - Improvements?

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December 30, 2012 9:12:12 PM

First post! :) 
I'm building a PC and these are the parts I've found after 2 weeks of research. I'll be gaming (ultra settings ;)  ) and doing simple editing on Sony Vegas. I'm new to building PCs but I've learned quite a bit and have found these parts. Before I buy them, any advice and what would you rate it out of 10? Here's my rig:

CPU Intel Core i7 3770k £246.51
CPU Cooler Corsair H100i £95.65
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H £151.97
Memory Kingston Beast 16GB DDR3 1600Mhz £91.49
Storage Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 7200RPM £70
Sandisk Extreme 240GB SSD £125.97
Video Card Sapphire HD7970 Vapor-X Ghz Edition £339.98
Case Antec P280 ATX Mid Tower Case £97
Power Supply NZXT HALE 90 850W 80 PLUS GOLD £134.22
OS Windows 8 Pro (Digital Download) £25
Mouse Logitech G700

I haven't overclocked before but I'm hoping to learn and overclock the CPU and GPU. Any improvements and money savers?

Thanks :) 

P.S. These are UK prices but US prices are quite different (cheaper) for some things so comparison between US and UK prices won't really give any context
December 30, 2012 9:16:15 PM

BTW overall price is £1437.97
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December 30, 2012 10:49:32 PM

BTW, I have a G700, and it is a fantastic mouse. I absolutely love it.
December 30, 2012 11:07:27 PM

zared619 said:
BTW, I have a G700, and it is a fantastic mouse. I absolutely love it.


Thanks for the suggestions and compliments :) 

Quick question: The Kingston RAM has CAS latency 9, this has 10. Is this difference noticeable or minimal?

And I was going to get DDR3 2133 RAM but I'm not sure if the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H supports it and I read that 1600 and 2133 has no significant difference in games. Would you be able to tell me how much it would affect Sony Vegas?
December 31, 2012 3:35:49 AM

As far as the latency, you won't see a differnece.

Games at this point can't really utilize speeds higher than 1600 so that is correct. As for Sony Vegas, I have no experience with it, but there is a significant price jump between the speeds, and I don't think it is really necessary.

That mobo probably supports it, but I believe that Ivy bride is only good for 1866. I will check on that to make sure though
December 31, 2012 3:44:40 AM

Alright. I did some checking and basically found this.

I could not find any benchmarks for Sony Vegas, but I did find some for Photoshop. The difference in speed between 1600 and 2133 was less than 2%.

The only time higher RAM speeds makes a difference in games is if you are using integrated graphics, which you are not.

Additionally, Ivy bridge can use high-speed RAM, so I was wrong earlier. Theoretically, it can use 3200, but that doesn't exist yet.

More or less, you are better off getting more RAM than higher speed RAM, and with 16 GB, you have more than enough.
December 31, 2012 3:45:24 AM

Drop the i7 to an i5-3570k, if you are only doing light vegas work, which the i5 can handle well. Also there is no need for the H100, it is loud and not very good. Get the Coolermaster 212EVO.
December 31, 2012 3:53:52 AM

As far as closed loop cooler go, the H100 is one of the best. While being louder than a standard air cooler, it does a better job than any, not by much, but still better.

The i5 is a viable option though if you want to shave off some cash.
December 31, 2012 2:49:55 PM

Worth noting that I'm getting the H100i, not H100, which is said to have improved noise (due to upgraded fans) and has better performance than H100. Now, I'm not sure how the H100i compares to the Thermaltake water 2.0 so I'll do some research.

From what I've read, water cooling is the most effective anyhow, isn't it? Or would you disagree with that?

Also, I'm hesitant on downgrading to an i5 because of things I might do on my PC in the future (I'm learning how to do more advanced editing) and i7 cost isn't too much of an issue :) 

Thanks :) 

UPDATE: H100 is now £75 instead of the £90 it was a week ago. H100i is £95. I've heard that H100i comes with software for controlling fans etc. Is it worth buying the H100i for the software alone, or the cheaper H100 with no software. Is the software a gimmik and can I control the fans as well without it?
December 31, 2012 2:55:04 PM

zared619 said:
Alright. I did some checking and basically found this.

I could not find any benchmarks for Sony Vegas, but I did find some for Photoshop. The difference in speed between 1600 and 2133 was less than 2%.

The only time higher RAM speeds makes a difference in games is if you are using integrated graphics, which you are not.

Additionally, Ivy bridge can use high-speed RAM, so I was wrong earlier. Theoretically, it can use 3200, but that doesn't exist yet.

More or less, you are better off getting more RAM than higher speed RAM, and with 16 GB, you have more than enough.


Appreciate your help. I'm quite happy with 16gb and thanks for clearing up that there's not much difference between 1600 and 2133 performance. (I do also use photoshop so your research was very helpful)

As for my mobo suppporting 2133, it seems too suspicious that it's not mentioned in the description. If a mobo supports 2400mhz, is it always going to support frequencies below that (e.g. 1866 or 2133)? Or does it not work like that?

Many thanks.
December 31, 2012 6:15:31 PM

For the cooler, I think the extra £20 is worth it mostly for the decreased noise, but the software is an added bonus. There are other ways to change the fan speeds, but their software is probably a little more user-friendly.

As far as supporting 2400 RAM, it will support slower speeds as well, such as 2133 and 1866.
January 1, 2013 11:29:01 AM

zared619 said:
For the cooler, I think the extra £20 is worth it mostly for the decreased noise, but the software is an added bonus. There are other ways to change the fan speeds, but their software is probably a little more user-friendly.

As far as supporting 2400 RAM, it will support slower speeds as well, such as 2133 and 1866.


Great. Thanks for all the help.

I'm now considering waiting 6 months for Intel Haswell i7 4770k to come out because DDR4 RAM will also be out in 2013 around the same time. Do you think it's worth the wait if I really want to "future-proof" my PC for at least 4-5 years?

The HD 8000 series is also coming out in spring 2013 so MIGHT look into that if the prices are good (I'd be missing out on the current HD 7970 offer with £80 worth of free games: Far Cry 3, Hitman and Sleeping Dogs :/  )

I also heard that when DDR3 came out, it took a couple of months for motherboards to come out that supported it so I'm not sure how long I would actually be waiting for, not the mention the expense of release prices...

Would you advise me to wait for half a year and get these upgrades? or not worth the wait? I wouldn't want to upgrade within at least 3-4 years.
January 1, 2013 1:16:03 PM

your build will last 2-3 years.
January 1, 2013 3:51:42 PM

Playing the waiting game with PC components is always a tough one to play. Better parts come out every few months, so really that is completely up to you. To be honest there is no real good answer to the question "Should I wait?".
!