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Topic # 115695 3-Apr-2013 20:13
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Hi all,

My current PC is on it's last legs, having trucked along for 5 years now and serving me pretty well in watching media and web browsing. However before it dies I want to build a replacement, and I want to build something that will handle current and upcoming releases (such as Planetside 2 and Battlefield 4) well.

After doing a lot of searching and reading around the interweb, I have come up with the following:

  • Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo Cooler 120mm - 49.00
  • ASrock Z77-Extreme6 Motherboard - 294.99
  • 2x8GB G.SKILL Ares DDR3 1600Mhz RAM - 179.00
  • i7 3770k Ivy Bridge Unlocked Quad Core, HT, 3.5Ghz LGA1155 - 395.00
  • Samsung 120GB 840 Series Solid Sate Drive - 129.00
  • 750W Antec EarthWatts Green ATX Power Supply - 165.04
  • NZXT Phantom 410 Full Tower - 221.20
  • ASUS Blu-Ray Drive - 129.61
  • EVGA GeForce GTX 680 4GB Video Card - 899.00
  • Windows 7 Home Premium - 149.00

Which comes to a total of $2,600.00 (or there abouts). I'd really like to get this at or below $2k, but I need some help and advice.

Some comments:


  • I realise the processor may be too top end, if there's another i7 or high-end i5 that is good for gaming that might do the trick.
  • Is 16GB overkill? Should I dial it back to one stick of 8?
  • I'm not wild about the NZXT tower - any others that have good airflow and preferably cable management?
  • This only has the 120GB SSD for storage, I do have a 2TB external drive for tv shows, music and movies, so will keep using that. Sound feasible?
  • The video card, so many possibilities, so many reasons to buy or not to buy. This is the most expensive part by a long way, and yet I want something very powerful, that goes well with the CPU - any suggestions?

As always, look forward to your responses and appreciate your advice.

Cheers,

Scoob.



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  Reply # 792664 3-Apr-2013 20:45
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For Starters I'd get a I5, the i7 won't help you much for games, I'd drop to 8GB, do you really need Blu-Ray? I'd get the 2GB GTX680, but I'd get a 240GB SSD. That M/B seems overkill on your budget, you'd get more value from the extra HDD Space.

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  Reply # 792681 3-Apr-2013 20:56
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networkn: For Starters I'd get a I5, the i7 won't help you much for games, I'd drop to 8GB, do you really need Blu-Ray? I'd get the 2GB GTX680, but I'd get a 240GB SSD. That M/B seems overkill on your budget, you'd get more value from the extra HDD Space.


^ Listen to that man.

On the RAM if you go for 8GB why not 2x4GB? you'll still have slots free on most mobos to drop another 8GB in the future.

On the video card, historically cards with extra VRAM are just a gimmick. Not sure how true it is with the 680, but my guess would be it's not worth the extra $110+ and by the time you actually need that 4GB the 680 will be horribly outdated anyway.

(EDIT: Oh I reckon you'd also have no problems running all that on a decent brand 550W PSU)

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  Reply # 792684 3-Apr-2013 21:03
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sidefx:
networkn: For Starters I'd get a I5, the i7 won't help you much for games, I'd drop to 8GB, do you really need Blu-Ray? I'd get the 2GB GTX680, but I'd get a 240GB SSD. That M/B seems overkill on your budget, you'd get more value from the extra HDD Space.


^ Listen to that man.

On the RAM if you go for 8GB why not 2x4GB? you'll still have slots free on most mobos to drop another 8GB in the future.

On the video card, historically cards with extra VRAM are just a gimmick. Not sure how true it is with the 680, but my guess would be it's not worth the extra $110+ and by the time you actually need that 4GB the 680 will be horribly outdated anyway.

(EDIT: Oh I reckon you'd also have no problems running all that on a decent brand 550W PSU)


I run a lot more than that on a 550Watt Power Supply. (I have 4 SSD's in a RAID 0, and an Internal 2TB Drive, Blu-ray, older less efficient CPU, etc etc and it's never missed a beat.

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  Reply # 792712 3-Apr-2013 21:55
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if you stick with your 120GB SSD (is it SATA III?) and use it as your boot drive and programmes drive. win 7 all up is only about 5Gb if I recall correctly you still have 100GB for maybe ... err ... 5 games + other programmes :D

get a secondary internal hard drive (1TB or something) to store non programme data stuff like music and video

games only make use of 2 cores hence the best i5 is your best bet

2GB tops for VRAM

are there ANYTHING you can recycle from your current rig?
- dvd drive
- hard drive(s) [the more the merrier!]
- tower/PSU?!?

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  Reply # 792728 3-Apr-2013 22:05
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As above drop the ram for starters

I stream 720p while I play while recording it locally at 1080p with the video feed and however many other tabs open beside it on 8gb with no issues at all - if you aren't doing really heavy duty content creation i see no need for more than 8gb currently

Get the ASUS Z77 MATX mobo imo too - still has 4 dimm slots and can do SLI with no issues, and you will save some cash.

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  Reply # 793102 4-Apr-2013 12:29
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  • I realise the processor may be too top end, if there's another i7 or high-end i5 that is good for gaming that might do the trick.
  • Is 16GB overkill? Should I dial it back to one stick of 8?
  • I'm not wild about the NZXT tower - any others that have good airflow and preferably cable management?
  • This only has the 120GB SSD for storage, I do have a 2TB external drive for tv shows, music and movies, so will keep using that. Sound feasible?
  • The video card, so many possibilities, so many reasons to buy or not to buy. This is the most expensive part by a long way, and yet I want something very powerful, that goes well with the CPU - any suggestions?


my 2 cents.
  • i5 3470 from back of my head is as quick as i5 2500K. if you want K, maybe a i5 3570K. Another interesting take is Xeon E3 v2, but they may not have a price advantage here.
  • 2*4 for now and upgrade later if you feel like it
  • one can be spoiled by case choices... i was looking at cooler master storm scott ii a while ago, it should work well but to each their own. fractal design has some great designs..
  • SSD should be enough for your OS and most frequently used app/games and then some. a 180/240GB may last you a little longer at this stage.
  • GPU kinda depends on your games, surprisingly certain games runs better on certain cards. personally I wouldn't spend that much on GPU, like more than twice the CPU (which was an expensive one to start with), but hey I'm cheap.
yes mobo is another place one could easily over spend. i'd pick maybe the 2nd cheapest line (and probably a Micro ATX) from a brand but that's just me.

tech reports run constant update on their "system guide", Feb 2013 issue can be found here:
http://techreport.com/review/24350/tr-february-2013-system-guide/6

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  Reply # 793150 4-Apr-2013 13:14
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I wouldn't agree with dropping the ram, it will shave only $90 of the price, and at some stage you will need to upgrade the ram. I personally use well over 8GB easily, although I use graphics programs. The other thing is that in 2-3 years when you may want to upgrade the ram, that ram type will be old, and will likly to be around the same price as it is now anyway, if you can get compatible ram that matches your existing ram.
I would save money on the tower. You can get some nice basic cases for half that. The graphics card is also where you may want to save, as that one you have got looks expensive. Graphics cards depreciate in price very quickly, so if you picked up last years model it could be a lot cheap. Maybe the motherboard too you could save a bit.

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  Reply # 793181 4-Apr-2013 13:42
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i5, less RAM, smaller PSU, less featured motherboard.

The big thing is the video card. It's overspecified, and takes up almost half your proposed budget. Get a slightly slower one with less RAM for less than half the price, then upgrade again in 2 years if you need to.




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  Reply # 793217 4-Apr-2013 14:13
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I second, third, fourth (you get the drift) what others say above.

Drop to an i5, get a lower-spec motherboard, a 4GB video-card is overkill, and you can even skimp on the case.
You can save at least $300 just by changing to a lesser video-card; an i5 3570K and maybe a Radeon HD 7850 2 GB (~NZD$300) will run games at the higher end settings no sweat.

I also found the EVGA GeForce GTX 680 4GB to be from NZD$1030 to $1500 on Pricespy.... I mean jeepers, I build half-decent gaming rigs for around $1500.



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  Reply # 793404 4-Apr-2013 19:19
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First, thanks so much to everyone who replied, great advice and really appreciated.

Taking your points on board, here is my V2, which comes in under budget. My only uncertainties are around the PSU (it's ATX compatible but what does the ATX version have to to do things?) and the GFX card, is the GTX 660ti any good? I've read some reviews on hardware sites, perhaps the 7950 might be better at a similar price point? Any suggestions here welcome...

  • Mobo: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H Motherboard - 243.00
  • Processor: i5 3570k Ivy Bridge Unlocked 3.4Ghz LGA1155 - 269.00
  • Processor Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo Cooler 120mm - 49.00
  • RAM: 2x4GB G.SKILL Ripjaws DDR3 1600Mhz RAM - 99.00
  • Storage: Samsung 250GB 840 Series Solid Sate Drive - 239.00
  • PSU: Corsair GS Series GS600 v2, 600W ATX PSU - 137.00
  • Case: NZXT Lexa Blackline Blue LED Edition Full Tower Case - 137.00
  • Drive: ASUS Blu-Ray Drive - 129.61
  • Graphics: GeForce GTX 660 Ti Video Card, 2048MB - 486.00
  • OS: Windows 7 Home Premium - 149.00
Total $1,937.00

Upped the SSD storage to 250gb. I'll keep my external 2TB for movies, music and tv. Someone asked about blu-ray and I would like to be able to play them on my PC instead of my PS3.

I'd appreciate another round of advice, and then I'll take the plunge and build it. I've ummed and ahhed before and left it a year or two - I want to actually get one and enjoy it. If I can get that gfx card nailed with a solid choice I'll go ahead.

Cheers guys,

Scoob.

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  Reply # 793412 4-Apr-2013 19:38
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are your prices including or excluding GST?

do you really need a 600W PSU? you can get a 430W corsair one for about $90 which will probably be sufficient.

another option is to buy a case+PSU combo saving you another $80 to $150
e.g. http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=CHACLM0105&name=COOLER-MASTER-USP-100-BLACK-Mid-Tower-w500W-PSU-PE
or
http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=CHATHM1452&name=Thermaltake-V3-Black-Edition-Mid-Tower-Case-With-5




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  Reply # 793444 4-Apr-2013 19:54
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Regs: are your prices including or excluding GST?

do you really need a 600W PSU? you can get a 430W corsair one for about $90 which will probably be sufficient.

another option is to buy a case+PSU combo saving you another $80 to $150
e.g. http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=CHACLM0105&name=COOLER-MASTER-USP-100-BLACK-Mid-Tower-w500W-PSU-PE
or
http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=CHATHM1452&name=Thermaltake-V3-Black-Edition-Mid-Tower-Case-With-5


Doh - some of my prices are from pbtech and were GST exclusive, I'll have to add 15% onto some of those - still shouldn't balance out too much over budget. Thanks for pointing that out.

With the PSU I just didn't want to lack any grunt. The recommended minimum for the GTX 660ti is 450W, I thought about getting a 500W or a 550W. I don't know a great deal about PSU's and how much W everything other than the GFX card uses. How much of a bottleneck can it be?

Cheers,

Scoob.

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  Reply # 793493 4-Apr-2013 21:00
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Sorry,

Have to chip in here with all the 8GB comments. I went from 8GB to 16 and noticed a marked improvement in system performance. Windows 7 or any application for that matter will use the memory that is available. The more room applications have to hog, the less disk swap that has to go on.

Yes, I'm part of the content creation scene, but I notice the difference with pretty much everything. Mozilla Firefox can use 4GB of memory if it damn well pleases and it makes my experience faster and more stable. It also means you will probably get more life out of your disk or SSD storage.

RAM is super cheap. I have four 4GB sticks in my machine at 1800Mhz each. The set was $200.00 which at the time was no skin off my nose on a new build.

But that is just me :)





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  Reply # 793502 4-Apr-2013 21:18
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You can get by with a 120GB SSD easily. I have W7-64, development tools (not heaps), office, Photoshop suite, no swap file, no games, lots of random apps and a little data, it's taking 40GB.

I have 16GB RAM, I never fill it. It's used for file caching, which is handy for working with 10GB+ data sets, which I do on a regular basis. Once it's loaded it from disk once it's cached and I don't need to hit the disk again - much faster than even SSD. I'm not sure that's true for general system use though. If budget is a concern stay with 8GB and upgrade later.

That's still an expensive enough video card.




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  Reply # 793510 4-Apr-2013 21:32
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The minimum PSUs GPU manufacturers recommend are usually conservative because of the horrible no-name PSUs floating around. If you pick a decent brand the minimum will be more than enough. Hell I've run GPUs on a decent brand 200W PSU that recommended much higher.

Looking around the Silverstone Strider 500W, FSP Raider 550W or Antec HCG 520W seem to be available and around $90-120 and seem to review decently.

3rd party coolers can be good, but I would try the stock cooler initially and see how cool it keeps things and what the noise is like. You may find it works fine for you. Will you be overclocking at all?

On the bluray drive, keep in mind that you'll need software (PowerDVD\TMT) to play blurays too... some drives come bundled with software but usually old versions. To buy the new versions is going to another $50-100+. And TBH I recently got a bluray drive for my HTPC and playing blurays on the computer is a pain IMO and limited experience. I think I'll be going back to my original idea of just using the the bluray drive to rip them to my home server and watch them pain free through XBMC.

Oh and it's not a bad idea as someone suggested above to look at some microATX mobos - I reckon you can save a bit on that without sacrificing much. Look at the GA-Z77MX-D3H.






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