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Up to £1,800 gaming rig

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October 18, 2011 4:38:44 PM

Edit: I've changed the build from 2X 128GB SSDs to one 256GB SSD, added a HDD for media storage and the swapped the mobo to a mid-range ASUS Z68 board primarily for the overclocking performance. Would like some advice on a low profile alternative to the vengeance blue I had selected, as I worry about the Hyper's fan touching them due to their big heatspreaders.

Also, although it's not the specific sub-forum for it, would it be worth investing in a 2nd replica fan for the Hyper 212 or purchasing a better fan? Keeping my case in mind. If so, suggestions would be appreciated.


I've been salivating over the concept of building my own PC for probably over a year now, due to unfortunate circumstances I'd been stuck up to this point with playing WoW on a PC running a Pentium 4. Bad times. I quit once performance became too much of an issue to overcome even at the lowest settings.

I'm transitioning over to PC gaming more as my favourite genres (RPG & RTS) are often better supported on it. I'll probably want to pick up an FPS like BF3 sometime too and am happy to accept recommendations on games but that is not being added to this budget/is off-topic, so PMs would be best. Art related peripherals or pay-for software are also not budgeted here, but I would be happy to hear any recommendations via PM.

Approximate Purchase Date: I'm intending to build this PC in December 2011 or January 2012, depending on finances. I wish to stick to a mid-tower case due to space and the fact I like the aesthetic of this mid-tower.

Budget Range: Up to £1,800 after rebates. My budget includes games and peripherals. It isn't just for the case and innards.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: From a hardware perspective, gaming > everything. I intend to use it for digital art and watching media, but I've no intention of getting a Blue-Ray drive as I will be replacing my currently gone PS3 Q2 next year for console exclusives.

Parts Not Required: Sound system, HDD, Windows 7.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I am happy to pick parts up from many separate vendors so long as with shipping and tax considered it works out cheaper than a single vendor such as OcUK or Scan.

Country of Origin: England, United Kingdom.

Parts Preferences: Intel/Nvidia for Mobo/GPU.

Overclocking: I've researched a fair bit but I would like more educated opinions than my own. I intend to overclock the components, though not to the extreme for some time as this is my first PC build and I would rather not risk damaging any of my components.
An example is I'd like to start with my i5 running at 4.5Ghz at 1.35v and I'd like to get the core on my GPU to 950mhz or thereabouts.

SLI?: I'm not opposed to SLI but I'd prefer to stick to a single card and choose to SLI in the future when the performance is needed. I've picked a PCU which provides more than necessary in the name of future-proofing.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Mostly my worries lay in SSD choice and optimisation. I've come across conflicting information regarding whether TRIM can be used if Raid-0ing SSDs and I've heard a great deal about current Sandforce controller SSDs having major issues. Having looked through OCZ's guide to handling their SSD's I found myself at a bit of a loss on how to update firmware relatively frequently considering I'd be running my OS on the SSD and don't have another drive to back things up onto.

I've steered clear of sandforce controllers however I am happy to change to a sandforce based SSD if it does not require hotfixing to run and is more user friendly than the impressions I get from the Vertex 3.

Last of all I understand my peripherals are premium priced; the keyboard and headset are up for reconsideration however that is assuming someone can prove the easier (for me) to reach modifier buttons aren't of much benefit for my MMO keybinds. As for alternate headsets, my prime criteria is comfort followed by sound quality & 5.1 surround. Not fussed about 7.1.




This is the build I've composed so far, including peripherals, games and extra fees associated with the PC:

A word of warning for now; I've not bookmarked where I did my shopping, but I can vouch that these prices are after VAT/shipping and are not from scam websites such as PC Titan.

Components
Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-V PRO (£144)
Graphics: MSI GTX 570 Twin Frozr III (£267)
Processor: Intel Core i5-2500k (£170)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance Blue 2X4 GB DDR3, 1600mhz (£50)
Primary drive: Crucial M4 256GB in Raid 0* (£288)
Media drive: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB (£42.99)
Optical drive: Asus 24x DVD±RW DRW-24B3S (£20)
Case: Corsair Graphite 600t White (£120)
Power supply: OCZ Z- 850w Gold-certified (£99)
Heatsink: CM Hyper 212+ (£24)

Peripherals
Monitor: Iyama Prolite E2475HDS-B (£168.79)
Keyboard: Razer Anansi (£90)
Mouse: Razer Naga Epic (£97)
Headset: Razer Carcharias (£65)
Mousepad: Steelseries QcK "March of the Scourge" (£10)

Other
Arctic 5 (£6.89)
USB extension (£1.50)
Cleaning/maintenance/set-up supplies e.g. wrist straps, compressed air (undecided, needs budgeting/completing. This can be treated separately to the given budget)
Subscriptions/fees/games (£89)

*As far as I am aware it's faster to Raid 0. Any suggestions contrary to this plan are welcome so long as they are substantiated. I have something I can store my large media on but it cannot have Windows etc ported to it.

Thank you in advance for your time!


More about : 800 gaming rig

October 18, 2011 5:52:32 PM

id recommend the asus sabertooth motherboard as its cheaper than your most expensive one but holds up very well in testing. also i think the thermal armour on it looks fantastic and i believe it has a lifetime warranty
October 18, 2011 5:56:01 PM

and either the haf x or xigmatek elysium cases, the elysium in particular if u plan to watercool at any point
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October 18, 2011 6:30:05 PM

Isn't the Sabertooth an X58 or P67 chip though? I'd like to be able to commit non-demanding appliances to the onboard GPU's memory as I'll be running a 2nd screen for parses/browsing while raiding or generally playing games full-screen.
October 19, 2011 2:38:28 PM

The P67 chip doesn't support usage of the i5's integrated graphics, so I can't leave it to that to handle the non-game objects that I'll be running alongside my games.

The card I've picked is good and can happily max a game like woW, but in a 25 player raid environment with nearly everything turned to maximum in an area with high view distance (Firelands or the new Madness of Deathwing encounter for example) a lot of the GPU's memory can get used up, so I'd rather play it safe so I can have my pretty graphics + view distance without much compromise and still run another monitor for parsing and browsing in the midst of this.

This isn't being built just for WoW, but being able to shift less-demanding tasks to the CPU's integrated graphics and freeing memory up from the dedicated card busy with a full-screen application seems to me, with my limited knowledge, to be a more useful feature than a miniscule overclock difference on a CPU and something worth paying a smidgeon more for.

Also I did mention in my original post than I omnom that case. Whether it has a little less air-flow or space than another or not it's smexy on my desk.

With that said, thanks for the suggestions! I don't want to be ungrateful, I just want to explain why I probably won't swap to the suggestions given thus far.
October 19, 2011 2:55:09 PM

i thought you could only use dedicated OR integrated graphics, not both simultaneously?
i could be wrong but that was the impression i got from the z67 launch articles
October 19, 2011 3:08:45 PM

Motherboard: Certainly take a look at the ASRock Extreme4 GEN3. It's a great mid-range board that's PCI 3.0 ready, SLI and front panel USB 3.0 support amongst many other great features. Very much on-par with ASUS P8Z68-v PRO and at a similar price.

Other than that all of the build components you've listed look solid. I'm not sure how well SSD's run in RAID0 however. Maybe someone else can comment there.

UK Suppliers:
www.scan.co.uk - check out "Today Only Deals"
www.ebuyer.co.uk
www.amazon.co.uk
www.dabs.co.uk
www.aria.co.uk
www.overclockers.co.uk
www.novatech.co.uk
October 19, 2011 3:12:42 PM

we1shcake said:
i thought you could only use dedicated OR integrated graphics, not both simultaneously?
i could be wrong but that was the impression i got from the z67 launch articles


The system doesn't use both at the same time, but it does select which is best to use in each given situation. Its called Lucid Vritu, and to be honest, I find it very over-rated. It crashes fairly regularly and i've never actually seen it take presidency over my GTX 560Ti.

EDIT: Oh and its z68 not z67 ;-)
October 19, 2011 3:17:36 PM

AdrianPerry said:
The system doesn't use both at the same time, but it does select which is best to use in each given situation. Its called Lucid Vritu, and to be honest, I find it very over-rated. It crashes fairly regularly and i've never actually seen it take presidency over my GTX 560Ti.

EDIT: Oh and its z68 not z67 ;-)

thanks for the confirmation, i remember seeing something about virtu now but it doest work that well does it, and they cant actually be working at the same time? i had a mindfreeze about the chipset herpderp :/ 
October 19, 2011 3:22:17 PM

we1shcake said:
thanks for the confirmation, i remember seeing something about virtu now but it doest work that well does it, and they cant actually be working at the same time? i had a mindfreeze about the chipset herpderp :/ 


In some instances I think it can be useful, but for my own personal use (games, web-browsing and video watching), i've never once seen Virtu do anything at all (a little logo is supposed to pop-up when Virtu enables the on-board graphics).
October 19, 2011 3:26:50 PM

it appears the warranty is 5 years not lifetime, but if you still have it after that a failure is just an excuse to buy a new board ;) 
October 19, 2011 6:33:45 PM

Thanks for the comments, I'll check out the ASRock Extreme4 GEN3 and see how it reviews, a little extra on overclocking would be cool as I intend for this to last me.

I'm no longer that sure myself with regards to the SSDs, I made a post in the SSD section which I'll check in a moment. I now know they still lack the TRIM command in Raid 0, however I'm mainly interested in high random write speeds and stability. An OCZ mod has a post commenting that TRIM has little effect on the longevity of a drive, so it may not be that important. I think I need to better find out the differences between one 256 or 240GB SSD and two smaller ones in Raid 0.

The clarity on Virtu does disappoint me, I had hoped to use it as I previously mentioned to take parse/browsing memory usage off the 570 while raiding and whatnot. I guess if all else fails I'll have to lower anti-aliasing and shadows. Thanks for the info though, saves me later disappointment.

!