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First Build - £700 Gaming PC

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September 13, 2011 11:50:15 AM

After searching around I've finally come up with this set-up for what will primarily be a gaming PC, planning to purchase Battefield 3 and Skyrim so will it be able to run those on highest settings?
Are all the parts compatible and am I getting the best value for my money?

Motherboard: Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3 Intel Z68 (Socket 1155) DDR3 Motherboard

CPU: i5-2500k

Case: Cooler Master Elite 335 Case

RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C9 1600MHz Dual Channel Kit

PSU: Corsair Enthusiast Series TX 650W V2 High Performance '80 Plus Bronze' Power Supply

GPU: Either a GTX 560Ti or a GTX 570 but I'm unsure which to go for, I just about have the money for the GTX 570 but is it worth it?
Also would I need any extra fans etc for cooling in general?

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More about : build 700 gaming

September 13, 2011 12:07:04 PM

Cool. The 560ti is enough, but I'd rather get a 6870 or 6950. Both will better than the 560ti by price and performace.

oh yeah, if you only plan to play BF3, the 570 is not necessary.
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September 13, 2011 12:08:45 PM

Motherboard: Fine
CPU: Fine
Case: Fine (id probably buy another 120mm fan though to use in the front, since it only comes with a single exhaust fan).
RAM: Fine
PSU: 500w is enough with a GTX 560Ti, 650w is good for a GTX 570. Both are good cards, go with whichever fits into your budget.

CPU cooler?
HDD?
Optical Drive?

Note: The motherboard you have chosen supports SLI/Crossfire, which is fine, but your PSU wont unless your looking at 750/850w. So you could save some money by buying a cheaper motherboard without SLI support. Or alternatively it might be better to spend a little more on a better PSU now, than have to upgrade it in the future if you will want to add a second GPU.

£75 Gigabyte GA-Z68A-D3-B3 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/gigabyte-ga-z68a-d3-b3-i...(x16)-atx
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September 13, 2011 12:21:23 PM

AdrianPerry said:
Motherboard: Fine
CPU: Fine
Case: Fine (id probably buy another 120mm fan though to use in the front, since it only comes with a single exhaust fan).
RAM: Fine
PSU: 500w is enough with a GTX 560Ti, 650w is good for a GTX 570. Both are good cards, go with whichever fits into your budget.

CPU cooler?
HDD?
Optical Drive?

Note: The motherboard you have chosen supports SLI/Crossfire, which is fine, but your PSU wont unless your looking at 750/850w. So you could save some money by buying a cheaper motherboard without SLI support. Or alternatively it might be better to spend a little more on a better PSU now, than have to upgrade it in the future if you will want to add a second GPU.

£75 Gigabyte GA-Z68A-D3-B3 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/gigabyte-ga-z68a-d3-b3-i...(x16)-atx


Any reccomendations for the CPU cooler? Haven't really looked into that yet.
I'm considering going for the higher PSU now then along with the 560Ti and then in future if I decide I want a bit more GPU power I can get another 560Ti by which time they'll be cheaper. Sound like a good idea? Alternatively it'd be the cheaper mobo and a 570 which would work out a little more expensive but not allow me to expand as much in future.
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September 13, 2011 12:24:27 PM

What's your take on the ATI cards as an alternative to the Nvidias, I've heard people complain about driver support on the ATI cards but on performance, well the benchmarks at least, they do seem to give more bang for you buck?
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September 13, 2011 12:28:46 PM

Personally im using a ASUS Z68 mobo + 560Ti with an XFX 750w PSU and the intention to add a second card in the future when my current single card isn't enough.

GTX 560Ti is enough to run all current games maxed out, and SLI 560Ti's perform as good as and better than a single GTX580. Which for me, leaves a really nice upgrade path, without breaking the bank for the GPU's. (£190 for first card, and i reckon by the time i want a 2nd card it will be down closer to £130-150 mark).

I prefer Intel and Nvidia over AMD but for no particular reason, I've just always stuck with Intel and Nvidia products and never had a problem.
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September 13, 2011 12:40:34 PM

Yeah I think that sounds like the best option for me aswell cause I'd to be stretching to get a 570 at the moment and I'd like to have the option to SLI in the future even if it doesn't happen. Thanks for the advice.

What would you recommend in terms of CPU coolers?
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September 13, 2011 12:44:41 PM

Hyper 212+ is considered one of the best budget CPU coolers.

£21 from SCAN http://www.scan.co.uk/products/coolermaster-hyper-212-p...

However i dont THINK it will fit into your case. The case you've listed is 185mm wide and i think the 212+ is close to 170mm tall. Taking into account the space behind the motherboard, and mounting the heat-sink on top of the CPU its going to be a very close call. If you do consider it (since it is a really good cooler), it might be worth emailing CoolerMaster support and ask if will in fact fit inside their case.

Personally I use Arctic Freezer 13 (92mm fan) 130mm tall total, which keeps my CPU nice and cool at 4.4GHz Overclock (idle temp 30 ish) load temp (60 ish).

£19 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/arctic-cooling-freezer-1...


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a b 4 Gaming
September 13, 2011 12:57:58 PM

The Hyper 212 Plus is 159mm tall.

If you do contact CM to ask them what size of CPU cooler will fit in the case it would appreciated if you posted their response, if it is helpful, as I have not been able to find any definitive info about this subject.
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September 13, 2011 1:03:06 PM

Yeah since your buying two of their products, they should be fairly willing to help :) 
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September 13, 2011 1:15:03 PM

Okay I've just emailed CM asking if the Hyper 212 Plus will fit in the case and also what the max. size dimensions are for a CPU cooler that will fit the case, I'll post here when I get a response from them. Cheers for the help :) 
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a b 4 Gaming
September 13, 2011 1:39:53 PM

In general i dont think you can go "wrong" in here. I would also suggest a stronger PSU not only for Future proof but also for lower noise since it wont be running highly loaded.
560Ti is quite good, and generally will probably give you 1-2 years of decent quality.

I would not go for the 570 for 2 reasons:
you can get SLI later if you really want better performance
you can just get a totally new gpu if the next 1-2 generations of GPUs turn out to be much better.
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September 13, 2011 3:07:57 PM

"The max. height for CPU cooler in the Elite 335 is 163mm. The Hyper 212 + has a height from 158.50 mm so it will fit."

Gonna be a pretty tight squeeze, reckon it's worth going for?

Also what is the max. size GTX560Ti? I see on sites like PC Specialist where you can have a 2gb version installed but don't seem to able to find many anywhere else to buy on their own?
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September 13, 2011 3:14:53 PM

1GB is plenty for a 560Ti if your playing at 1920x1080 or less. Anything larger than that and you should probably consider an ATI card (2GB 6950) which are more adapt for multi-monitoring.

As for the CPU cooler, it really depends on how much you plan on overclocking the i5-2500k. Stock cooler can handle 4GHz ish, my Arctic Freezer 13 has proven itself to easily handle 4.4GHz, Arctic Freezer 7 v.2 is also a good little cooler. If your looking closer to over-clocking past 4.5GHz id stick with the 212+. There are other options, but none at such a competitive price i dont think. Hence why the 212+ is so commonly recommended.

Depending on budget, Corsair's H70 closed water-loop could be an option and will fit into almost any case.
£73 http://www.dabs.com/products/corsair-hydro-series-h70-h...

Here's a good link showing some of the top "low profile" coolers:
http://www.frostytech.com/top5_lowprofile_heatsinks.cfm
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September 13, 2011 3:50:06 PM

I'm not planning to overclock to extreme levels, probably just as much as yourself, but I'll keep looking.
Another thing, would you recommend I pay the extra money for a modular PSU for cable management, air flow etc, seeing as the case I'm getting is pretty small?
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September 13, 2011 4:27:57 PM

It depends how much extra i guess.

If your looking at 750w (enough for SLI 560Ti's) heres some options:

Modular:
Antec TP-750 Blue TruePower New 750W £81
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/750w-psu-antec-truepower...
775W Thermaltake TPX-775M ThoughPower XT £81
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/775w-psu-thermaltake-tpx...
XFX P1-750B-NLG9 Black Edition 750W £90
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/750w-psu-xfx-black-editi...
Corsair CP-9020003-UK Enthusiast Series TX750M 750W £95
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/750w-psu-corsair-enthusi...

Non-Modular:
Corsair Enthusiast TX V2 CMPSU-750TXV2UK 750W £80
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/750w-psu-corsair-enthusi...
Silverstone Tech. Element SST-ST75EF 750W £80
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/750w-psu-silverstone-tec...
Antec EarthWatts EA750 750W £84
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/750w-psu-antec-earthwatt...

As you can probably see theres not too much price difference really. Its probably worth paying a few £ extra for the modular set up. SLI ready PSU's have ALOT of cables and having a Modular PSU makes life ALOT easier :) 
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September 13, 2011 4:41:51 PM

Cheers Adrian, very helpful indeed. I'll try and make this the last thing as I think I've decided on the 560Ti now, what brands would you recommend? currently looking at EVGA, Gigabyte, Asus and MSI.



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September 13, 2011 4:55:58 PM

All are good to be honest. Personally i like MSI and Gigabyte as they seem to overclock really well and have great cooling without making too much noise. Having 2 fans for cooling rather than 1 has its advantages when running SLI.

MSI £170 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1gb-msi-gtx-560-ti-twin-...

However MSI only seems to offer a 1-year warranty through SCAN, Gigabyte and EVGA offer 3-year

ASUS 2-year warranty £172
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1gb-asus-gtx-560-ti-dire...

Gigabyte 3-year warranty £180
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1gb-gigabyte-gtx-560ti-o...

EVGA 3-year warranty £185
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1gb-evga-gtx-560-ti-fpb-...

I personally have the Gigabyte OC, so out of the 4 listed, that is and would be my choice :) 
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September 14, 2011 1:28:53 PM

Purchased all I need now, should arrive soon and I can get building :) 
One last question, I've bought OEM HDD and Optical Drive so will I need to buy SATA cables for these or will some come with the motherboard?
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September 14, 2011 1:37:48 PM

My ASUS motherboard came with some SATA cables - About 4 of them I seem to remember because i had a couple left over and my OEM Blu-Ray and HDD didn't come with any either.

You should be fine :) 
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September 14, 2011 1:51:05 PM

Okay cheers, and thanks for all the help :) 
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September 14, 2011 2:00:09 PM

No problem :D  Enjoy building!
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!