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So im planning on becoming a PC gamer.....

MIghtyG

Well-known Member
......again.

Back int day I used to be a big PC gamer and had a lovely brushed aluminium Lian Li case.....damn I loved that case.

Anyway it died and with it went my love for PC gaming, I did the unthinkable and bought an iMac.....

Anyway, times move on and so have I, im falling out of love with console gaming and back in love with PC gaming (as much as I can with a 27-in i7 iMac, which is surprisingly good for gaming) anyway, I've now sold that so have a rather sizeable budget for gaming.

Im a little out of touch with tech for gaming etc but I have spent the past few days reading up various reviews, bench marks, head to heads etc etc etc and was wanting some opinions on the following build. Things im pointlessly spending too much money on, things I should spend more money on, brands im going for that have bad reps etc etc.

The attached is what I have sitting ready to order from OC UK, first off, how are OC UK to deal with? worth getting the lot from them or shop around for every component?

Secondly, I'll be shoe horning this all into a Fractal design define R4 case.

What I want the system for:

Gaming, gaming and gaming. I will do some minor photo re-touching on this the odd watching of movies, browsing the net and word processing/emails but 90% of this is for gaming.

I dont plan on overclocking straight off the bat, only when games start to get sluggish on the computer.

I want to be able to do multi screen gaming, probably 2 x 24" @ 1920 x 1080.

I'm not fussed about 3D gaming.

My plan is to have the OS and some regularly used programs on the SSD and the rest will be on the disk drive.

So, any recommendations on things I should change or am I wasting too much money on one component when I should be spending more on another?

The main bits I confess I know little about is the Mobo, Z77 vs H77 vs P67 vs Z68 etc etc. The only reason I have picked the AS rock is from a recommendation on a build video on youtube and I have read that the Z77 is the bes of the bunch on the socket 1155 mobos?

The PSU, how much watts do I need? do I need bronze, silver or gold?

The memory, how much does the memory speed affect performance, is 16gb really needed just now or is that future proofing? is 2133MHz memory over kill?

Hopefully on the rest im making the right choices. For the CPU I have went for the i5 rather than the i7 as I'm led to believe that the i7 is more for video rendering etc and offers little boosts to gaming rigs for the money. And fot the GPU I believe at this price point its a battle between the GTX 680 and the ati 7970, I believe again the GXT cards are come with cuda which is aimed at photoshop and adobe where the ati cards are better for gaming, looking at some benchmarks, particularly on Metro it looks like the ati cards out pace the nvidea cards for the same (or slightly less money) Also, I believe the ati cards seem to do multi monitor setups where the nvidea tend to do 3D gaming better?

any ideas, advice, guidance would be very appreciated!

 

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Sniper Ash6

Distinguished Member
I dont plan on overclocking straight off the bat, only when games start to get sluggish on the computer.

I want to be able to do multi screen gaming, probably 2 x 24" @ 1920 x 1080.

I'm not fussed about 3D gaming.

My plan is to have the OS and some regularly used programs on the SSD and the rest will be on the disk drive.

So, any recommendations on things I should change or am I wasting too much money on one component when I should be spending more on another?

The main bits I confess I know little about is the Mobo, Z77 vs H77 vs P67 vs Z68 etc etc. The only reason I have picked the AS rock is from a recommendation on a build video on youtube and I have read that the Z77 is the bes of the bunch on the socket 1155 mobos?

The PSU, how much watts do I need? do I need bronze, silver or gold?

The memory, how much does the memory speed affect performance, is 16gb really needed just now or is that future proofing? is 2133MHz memory over kill?

Hopefully on the rest im making the right choices. For the CPU I have went for the i5 rather than the i7 as I'm led to believe that the i7 is more for video rendering etc and offers little boosts to gaming rigs for the money. And fot the GPU I believe at this price point its a battle between the GTX 680 and the ati 7970, I believe again the GXT cards are come with cuda which is aimed at photoshop and adobe where the ati cards are better for gaming, looking at some benchmarks, particularly on Metro it looks like the ati cards out pace the nvidea cards for the same (or slightly less money) Also, I believe the ati cards seem to do multi monitor setups where the nvidea tend to do 3D gaming better?

any ideas, advice, guidance would be very appreciated!

image

Some quick answers but as I'm shattered I'll follow this up properly (hopefully tomorrow).

That CPU can't be overclocked (not decently anyway). Swap for the 3570K.

Z77 is the chipset you want. The mobo I'd recommend is the Z77X-D3H from Gigabyte.

You don't want to (and IIRC can't) play games across two monitors. The centre of the screen is split so it's horrible, let alone the fact you'd be staring at the bezels. One, three or more is what you want to go for.

650W is fine but there is no harm in going for something with more headroom as a longer term investment for upgrades etc.

Go for 8GB of memory. As it's only minor photo editing (and not too often) you'd be hard pushed to get any real worth from 16GB. Go for a 1600MHz kit, it's generally where you get the most kits aimed at. The speed difference won't be of any real benefit in real world usage.

As said, I'll come back to this when I can and possibly even chuck up a counter spec to put more options etc. out there :)
 

jackw123

Novice Member
Sniper has covered the main points that I was going to make. Get the 3570k and the mobo he mentioned. I don't personally rate that version of the 7970 you can get the sapphire vapor x ghz edition for the same money from scan. Gtx 680's are probably slightly better and come with advanced physx (if you care about that sort of thing) for a slightly higher price but the gtx 670's performance with the higher clocked cards practically equals that of the 680 for less money, so perhaps something to consider? You also get an excellent warranty with any evga cards. Other than that not a bad build. And scrap the thermal paste . The nhd14 comes with it pre-applied :)
 

Foster

Distinguished Member
You don't need the thermal compound you'll get some with the Noctua NH-D14. For the psu I would go for a corsair,xfx or seasonic over akasa. Motherboard I would go for ASUS or gigabyte like what was stated above. 8GB ram will be enough for minor photo editing so that saves you money.
 

MIghtyG

Well-known Member
Some quick answers but as I'm shattered I'll follow this up properly (hopefully tomorrow).

That CPU can't be overclocked (not decently anyway). Swap for the 3570K.

Done, am I right in thinking the K series CPUs are unlocked versions of the non K series chips making them more Over clocking friendly?

Z77 is the chipset you want. The mobo I'd recommend is the Z77X-D3H from Gigabyte.

So what makes a good mobo good? Like I say the only reason I went for the AS rock was from a recommendation from a build video. What makes the Gigabyte board better?

Happy enough to go with your recommendation but I'd like to learn a little about what makes a good mobo better than its peers :laugh:

You don't want to (and IIRC can't) play games across two monitors. The centre of the screen is split so it's horrible, let alone the fact you'd be staring at the bezels. One, three or more is what you want to go for.

For multi screen gaming it will be things like EVE online, sim city that sorta stuff. Things without a crosshair in the middle of the screen. Although, even when I do play FPS games I would like to have enough grunt to have that running on one screen while EVE runs on another so I can keep up to speed with whats happening in eve while im doing whatever else. (Big eve fan if you cant tell....)

650W is fine but there is no harm in going for something with more headroom as a longer term investment for upgrades etc.

On thing I would like to be able to do is in 12-18 months if this computer starts to get sluggish with the newest games, just buy another GPU and cross fire/SLI it. Would it be better going with a 750w or even higher to cover that?

Go for 8GB of memory. As it's only minor photo editing (and not too often) you'd be hard pushed to get any real worth from 16GB. Go for a 1600MHz kit, it's generally where you get the most kits aimed at. The speed difference won't be of any real benefit in real world usage.

As said, I'll come back to this when I can and possibly even chuck up a counter spec to put more options etc. out there :)

Yay 8GB of 16000MHz, a saving :laugh:
 

boltlock

Distinguished Member
A good mobo is generally better designed than it's cheaper counterpart. I don't just mean aesthetically but for example, component placement and quality, better cooling using heatpipes rather than just a fan, more sata and usb ports, stability when using higher overclocks and normally better support with the bios updates. That's not to say AS Rock products are bad (they're actually an off-shoot from Asus) but you will usually find them in the budget systems found on ebay and the like. Of course there is always an exception to the rule and that is their flagship product, which is the socket 2011 Extreme 11 and was nearly £500 when released. :eek:

Ash likes Gigabyte, whereas I prefer Asus. Neither of us is right or wrong, it's just down to personal choice. :smashin:

HTH. :D
 

Sega Mega Dave

Distinguished Member
I like my Asus Maximus as it's all flashy etc... but I think if I was doing a new build i'd go back to Gigabyte. Loved my UD7.

Gigabyte would be my shout followed very closely by Asus.
 

irgsefton

Well-known Member
Another shout for Gigabyte here, I've an i7 960 on a X58a UD7 and it's rock solid, never had a single issue no matter what I've thrown at it.
 

Foster

Distinguished Member
The Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H mentioned above it good value for money at around £105.
 

boltlock

Distinguished Member
I like my Asus Maximus as it's all flashy etc... but I think if I was doing a new build i'd go back to Gigabyte. Loved my UD7.

Gigabyte would be my shout followed very closely by Asus.

Lol I'm the opposite Dave. Asus first and Gigabyte second for me. Even MSI used to be one of the best at one time but seem to have lost their way over the years. :rolleyes:
 

Foster

Distinguished Member
The motherboard I have is fantastic for the price, I run my CPU at 4.4GHz no problem!
 

iainl7

Well-known Member
Having just gone to a second screen at home yesterday (HP 23xi, £140 impulse purchase in John Lewis; I suspect you can get them cheaper elsewhere. Even for that price, it's a bargain to get an IPS panel big enough for Lightroom work) I'll confirm that full-screen gaming on that, while my second (old, rubbish) screen still shows Windows with browsers etc. up and running works nicely.
 

simplicity96

Distinguished Member
I prefer asus myself although they do come with a slightly higher price tag. Gigabyte are good also though and for price vs build quality would probably tip the choice when working to a budget.

Asrock boards are ok on the higher end selection but Ive seen repeated issues with the budget boards.

Someone mentioned using the thermal paste that comes with the cooler too. Out of preference for the few quid it costs id recommend changing it. In the long run it will benefit you.
 

Foster

Distinguished Member
I prefer asus myself although they do come with a slightly higher price tag. Gigabyte are good also though and for price vs build quality would probably tip the choice when working to a budget.

Asrock boards are ok on the higher end selection but Ive seen repeated issues with the budget boards.

Someone mentioned using the thermal paste that comes with the cooler too. Out of preference for the few quid it costs id recommend changing it. In the long run it will benefit you.

The thermal paste that comes with the noctua isn't pre-applied and is the Noctua NT-H1 which has been fantastic for my system.
 

iainl7

Well-known Member
HP 23xi, £140 impulse purchase in John Lewis; I suspect you can get them cheaper elsewhere

Or perhaps not - ebuyer want over £180 for it! Overclockers and Scan don't have it at all, Amazon are £150+.
 

simplicity96

Distinguished Member
The thermal paste that comes with the noctua isn't pre-applied and is the Noctua NT-H1 which has been fantastic for my system.

Fair enough. Although how good the noctua coolers are I haven't had one.
 

Foster

Distinguished Member
Fair enough. Although how good the noctua coolers are I haven't had one.

Well put it this way I hit probably 65C max with prime95 small FFTs, usually idles at 26-27 with the heating on.
 

MIghtyG

Well-known Member
It was an ASUS I had in my old machine, damned if I can remember the model type though.....was about 7-8 years ago at least I think, Back when Half life 2 was a reasonably demanding game for a gaming rig....

Anyway, cheers for the advice guys I have been reading up a little more when I can and I will check out the ASUS boards and the Gigabyte ones and update my system.

On the GPU front cheers for the advice jackw123, Reason I have picked an ati 7970 vs the GTX 680 is I have read/heard etc that the nvidea cards are better if you are working with adobe/photo shop and the like because they are cuda based. I've also heard that nvidea are better if you want to go for 3D gaming.

The ati cards I have heard fair better for gaming, ive seen some bench marks between the 7970 and the gtx 680 on Metro and the ati seems to fair better and comes in slightly cheaper. I've also heard the ati is better at multi screen gaming and has better driver support compared to the nvidea......again, could be wrong just what I have heard/read in a few places.

Whats the benefit of the Ghz version of the 7970 vs the normal 7970, is it just the frequency is overclocked from 925MHz to 1000MHz? Are the Sapphire cards better rated/recommenced than the HIS cards?
 

MIghtyG

Well-known Member
Another no doubt stupid question here, the ati 7970 looks like it comes with:

1 x HDMI
1 x Display port
1 x Single link DVI-D
1 x Dual link DVI-I

Im looking at monitors now and thinking about getting a dual screen setup to start with and maybe a tripple screen system down the line when funds allow.

If I go for two of these Asus VN247H 24"Widescreen Super Narrow Bezel LED Monitor - Black [VN247H] to get me started, which only has two HDMI inputs can I connect one to the HDMI on the 7970, another to the DVI-D with an adapter and another to the DVI-I with another adapter?

Or do I need to go for a monitor with display port connections to daisy chain them via the display port connector on the GPU?
 

simplicity96

Distinguished Member
Yes the core clock speed is one of the main differences and build quality among other slight differences. Although it also only seems a small change in the clock speed it does make a difference in performance.

As for the connections, yes you can use the dvi to hdmi to control multi monitor. Just dvi and display port handle higher resolutions than hdmi in their native connection.
 

Sega Mega Dave

Distinguished Member
Lol I'm the opposite Dave. Asus first and Gigabyte second for me. Even MSI used to be one of the best at one time but seem to have lost their way over the years. :rolleyes:

Tbh I certainly wouldn't be disappointed with either. It would come down to whatever floated my boat at the time no doubt.

That said I sometimes get dual boot when starting from cold with Asus, never did with Gigabyte, not an issue just something I noticed.
 

Tall_Paul

Distinguished Member
On the dual screen gaming side, pretty much no games support 2 screens, sim city for instance doesn't have a windowed fullscreen option. Although I have played an hour or so of Eve and I know that does support it, sort of... :D

As you're going for a AMD card, you'll need to set up an eyefinity group, so that means instead of having 2 extended displays (where games will only ever display on one screen) you'll have to set up the 2 screens as one large resolution of 3840x1080. Game will then just see your 2 screens as one large very wide monitor, however most won't display very well.

Running as a single large resolution has it's issues too, like if you want to play a game on only 1 monitor, it's tricky. So you'll need to swap between extended and eyefinity (pretty sure you can do this with a keyboard shortcut with AMD drivers).

There are lots of other advantages with dual screens however :smashin: Like having steam friends list/monitoring software open on the other screen, and of course doing 2 or more things at once. I'm watching the BTCC racing on ITV4 via TVCatchup on my 2nd monitor while broswing forums and t'internet. :D

2 screens is far better than just one even if you only even game on one screen though.
 

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