Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:10 pm

Airmantharp wrote:We need to see an updated estimate from the OP before exceeding any 'baselines'.

Good grief! Why are you intent on making this a boring build?
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Tue Aug 13, 2013 12:18 am

End User wrote:
Airmantharp wrote:We need to see an updated estimate from the OP before exceeding any 'baselines'.

Good grief! Why are you intent on making this a boring build?


What's exciting about paying for stupid fast storage for your photo album?!?
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:37 am

End User wrote:I highly recommend that Vonhitz go with a 1TB SSD. There are two 1TB SSD options (that I know of) on the market today - Samsung EVO 1TB and the Crucial M500 960GB. I bought the M500 960GB for my gaming rig and I absolutely love it. Everything else is stored on my Synology DS1512+.

The other option is to buy a motherboard that supports SSD caching. Pair up a fast SSD with a big HDD and your most used apps/files will be read from the SSD.

I actually agree. I have a small Crucial M4 512GB SSD right now (purchased it when it was just released for $736.00) and I am constantly "bumping" into free space limitation, even with large files being stored in external RAID1 HDD storage and I am also thinking of getting new Crucial 960GB drive. If money are not such a big deal - no reason to limit yourself with small SSDs and play swapping games with your large HDDs every week :wink:
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:20 am

JohnC wrote:
End User wrote:I highly recommend that Vonhitz go with a 1TB SSD. There are two 1TB SSD options (that I know of) on the market today - Samsung EVO 1TB and the Crucial M500 960GB. I bought the M500 960GB for my gaming rig and I absolutely love it. Everything else is stored on my Synology DS1512+.

The other option is to buy a motherboard that supports SSD caching. Pair up a fast SSD with a big HDD and your most used apps/files will be read from the SSD.

I actually agree. I have a small Crucial M4 512GB SSD right now (purchased it when it was just released for $736.00) and I am constantly "bumping" into free space limitation, even with large files being stored in external RAID1 HDD storage and I am also thinking of getting new Crucial 960GB drive. If money are not such a big deal - no reason to limit yourself with small SSDs and play swapping games with your large HDDs every week :wink:


But what are you storing on that SSD?

If you map your 'users' to the HDD (would recommend internal for this, but external works), the only stuff on your SSD aside from the OS should be installed programs.

Now, if I put my entire Steam collection on an SSD... well, they don't make them that big 8). Then there's Origin, Ubisoft, and Blizzard! And that's my point, really.

How many games do you play at once? Two? Five? Ten? More?!? With a ~250GB drive, I could have ten large games, or many, many smaller games, loaded onto the SSD, while everything else is on the HDD.

If SSD's were cheaper, sure- but here's the thing; right now, a high-end computer built to last today needs a couple things:

1. More cores and high clocks. Next-generation game engines and the games built on them will be making use of more than four real cores; hyper-threading helps more than it hurts, but the small overall (+$300) cost for a six-core CPU over a four-core CPU makes sense; it certainly makes more sense than putting that cash into a larger SSD.

2. More VRAM. Incoming consoles have 8GB of memory, and games built on them will be able to easily exceed 4GB of that for graphics alone, and that's only when rendering to 1080p at 60Hz. Up the resolution or the details, which the engines that these games are built on are more than capable of doing today when ported from the current anemic consoles, and it quickly becomes apparent that our average 2GB-3GB GPUs just aren't going to be nearly enough for high-performance on the desktop. They'll be fast enough, sure- but detail settings will have to be severely castrated. Here, the reason to wait is not because we don't have GPUs that are fast enough- we do- but that the GPU vendors haven't pushed to slap more memory on the GPUs we do have. If you were to buy today, consider 6GB/GPU to be the minimum, and the only cards that satisfy that requirement are rare HD7970's and the GTX Titan, and neither are 'reasonable'. Well, the Titan actually is reasonable for what you're getting, but not if you're only going to use it for gaming.

So, for those things, wait. If you had to buy today, consider the minimum to be the current Intel six-core CPU and a single GTX Titan.

For storage, here's the thing- SSD prices will continue to plummet over time, and storage drives are stupid easy to upgrade. Hell, I could afford a massive SSD for both of my gaming systems (one's a laptop), but I don't bother because the only 'heavyweight' game I play is BF3, and each has plenty of room for two or three more games!
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:28 pm

Just a couple of comments on the build:

Unless you specifically want a TUF motherboard, you might consider an ASUS ROG or Gene (since price isn't a concern). The Gryphon looks like a great board, but the other boards are more gaming oriented. Also, I'd personally prefer a full-size board when putting it into a normal sized case. There are often minor hassles even with full-size boards (unless my fingers are just bigger than average).

Also, for a sound card I wouldn't consider anything other than an ASUS Xonar (an Essence STX for headphones, or one of the others for speakers). There were a deluge of great reviews a few years back, and I've used them in my last 2 builds. I wouldn't even consider a creative card now.
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:45 pm

omphaloskepsis wrote:Just a couple of comments on the build:

Unless you specifically want a TUF motherboard, you might consider an ASUS ROG or Gene (since price isn't a concern). The Gryphon looks like a great board, but the other boards are more gaming oriented. Also, I'd personally prefer a full-size board when putting it into a normal sized case. There are often minor hassles even with full-size boards (unless my fingers are just bigger than average).

Also, for a sound card I wouldn't consider anything other than an ASUS Xonar (an Essence STX for headphones, or one of the others for speakers). There were a deluge of great reviews a few years back, and I've used them in my last 2 builds. I wouldn't even consider a creative card now.


I agree on the 'size' comment; if space itself isn't a concern, a larger system (with proper venting and filtering) is usually easier to keep cool when pushed.

But for the motherboard? The 'entry level' performance boards exceed most enthusiasts' needs. If you're not running a chilled loop or LN2, you're not going to make use of the higher-end boards, unless they have a particular feature you want/need, and that's pretty rare these days. Even in a 'dream machine', there's no gain in spending money for labels or marketing.

And sound? If you'd used both ASUS and Creative recently, you'd have the opposite opinion. ASUS' cards are usually solid, but their drivers are horrific, while Creative's Soundblaster Z line is, essentially, perfect. If you want better than that, you'll be using an external DAC/Amp setup with professional headphones, or a very nice receiver over HDMI with very, very nice speakers.

For a basic setup, a Soundblaster Z and HD558 combo is extremely hard to beat without spending significantly more money.
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:37 pm

Airmantharp wrote:How many games do you play at once?

At once? One, just like most of other people :wink: But my game library is very big, including various MMORPG games which can get quite big, especially in Beta form. And my "choice" of currently "fun" game may vary greatly from day to day - for example I might have a great time today with a few guildmates/in-game friends in WoW, log off, then do not even try logging back in for a next few weeks/months and instead play something else. Something that is pretty big and will require some time to download and re-install (especially MMORPG games or RPG games with various custom mods), which to me can get somewhat annoying even with 50MB/s download speed on my FiOS connection. So I'd rather keep all of my games installed and always ready to play if the space allows it.


Airmantharp wrote:Well, the Titan actually is reasonable for what you're getting, but not if you're only going to use it for gaming.

:-? I do only use it for games and I do not see anything "unreasonable" in that...
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:49 pm

JohnC wrote:
Airmantharp wrote:How many games do you play at once?

At once? One, just like most of other people :wink: But my game library is very big, including various MMORPG games which can get quite big, especially in Beta form. And my "choice" of currently "fun" game may vary greatly from day to day - for example I might have a great time today with a few guildmates/in-game friends in WoW, log off, then do not even try logging back in for a next few weeks/months and instead play something else. Something that is pretty big and will require some time to download and re-install (especially MMORPG games or RPG games with various custom mods), which to me can get somewhat annoying even with 50MB/s download speed on my FiOS connection. So I'd rather keep all of my games installed and always ready to play if the space allows it.


Symbolic Links do that just fine :). And most MMO's run quite quickly off of fast spinning drives, in my experience; but with a 256GB drive, that shouldn't be a problem, and 512GB would be just the 'right' amount of overkill. I get by with a 128GB drive in my gaming laptop, and that can only fit the 32GB Battlefield 3 install (all expansion packs). Actually, the new 'cheap' Samsung drive looks like the best bet at ~500GB, but most modern drives in that range perform great.

As I get into other games (mostly single-player shooters or adventure types), I'll probably look into adding space, but so far I haven't run into any major problems. Remember that SSD's on average improve game/level-load times by a matter of seconds, when they're already in the dozens of seconds range, making a very small difference in overall feel. BF3 is not one of those games; it takes ages on a spinner; but it's not 'most' or 'average' at all. Most games are CPU limited upon loading up or changing a level, more so than they are storage limited, I've found. Love seeing my 2500k strain at 4.5GHz. An SSD isn't going to make it any faster!
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:44 pm

omphaloskepsis wrote:Just a couple of comments on the build:


Also, for a sound card I wouldn't consider anything other than an ASUS Xonar (an Essence STX for headphones, or one of the others for speakers). There were a deluge of great reviews a few years back, and I've used them in my last 2 builds. I wouldn't even consider a creative card now.


I will second that. I have an ASUS Xonar Essence ST. It has a headphone amp, but it excels in sound quality even if you don't use headphones. The DAC used, SNR, and many specs are amazing, but you'll just have to listen to one to believe it. I got mine a few years ago for $300, and well worth the money. As far as driver issues go, I haven't had any problem with drivers. I used to be a creative fanboy, and creative does have some good options, but unless your using the now-defunct EAX in your games, the Xonar Essence is a good option, way better than creative in my opinion. If you want get rediculous to go all-out though, go professional-grade and look at what RME has to offer.

http://www.rme-audio.de/en_index.php
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:55 pm

confusedpenguin wrote:
omphaloskepsis wrote:Just a couple of comments on the build:


Also, for a sound card I wouldn't consider anything other than an ASUS Xonar (an Essence STX for headphones, or one of the others for speakers). There were a deluge of great reviews a few years back, and I've used them in my last 2 builds. I wouldn't even consider a creative card now.


I will second that. I have an ASUS Xonar Essence ST. It has a headphone amp, but it excels in sound quality even if you don't use headphones. The DAC used, SNR, and many specs are amazing, but you'll just have to listen to one to believe it. I got mine a few years ago for $300, and well worth the money. As far as driver issues go, I haven't had any problem with drivers. I used to be a creative fanboy, and creative does have some good options, but unless your using the now-defunct EAX in your games, the Xonar Essence is a good option, way better than creative in my opinion. If you want get rediculous to go all-out though, go professional-grade and look at what RME has to offer.

http://www.rme-audio.de/en_index.php


Not going to dog on the high-end Xonar's audio quality- but for the price and the feature-set, you're better off with Creative. And yeah, Creative's drivers are leagues better; and yeah, you're going to need some nice cans and a trained, discerning ear to show a real difference between the two.

Otherwise, there are superior external options if you're bent on just 'spending money'. We can get to those, but first, we need to see how the OP feels about certain things- stuff like a schedule, particularly, along with a detailed 'baseline' build for realistic tweaking instead of this 'hey, if you want to spend money, get an overbuilt case! super-duper soundcard (to run a standard set of cans)! A massive SSD for 'stuff'! Five monitors! A crazy motherboard that has features and capabilities that couldn't possibly be put to use!'

Lets get the basic stuff figured out in the eyes of the OP before going off the deep end with specific components.
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:09 pm

Airmantharp wrote:
confusedpenguin wrote:
omphaloskepsis wrote:Just a couple of comments on the build:


Also, for a sound card I wouldn't consider anything other than an ASUS Xonar (an Essence STX for headphones, or one of the others for speakers). There were a deluge of great reviews a few years back, and I've used them in my last 2 builds. I wouldn't even consider a creative card now.


I will second that. I have an ASUS Xonar Essence ST. It has a headphone amp, but it excels in sound quality even if you don't use headphones. The DAC used, SNR, and many specs are amazing, but you'll just have to listen to one to believe it. I got mine a few years ago for $300, and well worth the money. As far as driver issues go, I haven't had any problem with drivers. I used to be a creative fanboy, and creative does have some good options, but unless your using the now-defunct EAX in your games, the Xonar Essence is a good option, way better than creative in my opinion. If you want get rediculous to go all-out though, go professional-grade and look at what RME has to offer.

http://www.rme-audio.de/en_index.php


Not going to dog on the high-end Xonar's audio quality- but for the price and the feature-set, you're better off with Creative. And yeah, Creative's drivers are leagues better; and yeah, you're going to need some nice cans and a trained, discerning ear to show a real difference between the two.

Otherwise, there are superior external options if you're bent on just 'spending money'. We can get to those, but first, we need to see how the OP feels about certain things- stuff like a schedule, particularly, along with a detailed 'baseline' build for realistic tweaking instead of this 'hey, if you want to spend money, get an overbuilt case! super-duper soundcard (to run a standard set of cans)! A massive SSD for 'stuff'! Five monitors! A crazy motherboard that has features and capabilities that couldn't possibly be put to use!'

Lets get the basic stuff figured out in the eyes of the OP before going off the deep end with specific components.



Sure, if you have the Creative Crystalizer enabled, it is going to seem to sound better, or have some other Creative enhancement enabled. But for a flat frequency response, which is what nearly all audiophiles go for, Creative isn't a real player in the game. Creative has a reputation for bad drivers, and that still holds true today. More bass and more treble does not mean higher fidelity. I leave the EQ on my Xonar set flat. It sounds great without any options turned on. Software listening tests can show superior results, as creative often does, but a bad DAC doing an innacurate resproduction of the original file can still show superior results if the noise levels, roll-off, and other measurement are handled well. Xonar does very well in all aspect. It may not be the best sound card out there, but it is still much better than what creative has to offer. And as far as Creative's gaming enchancements go, the designers have a tendency to say, "MOAR REVERB!", and slap on a new version number.
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:18 pm

confusedpenguin wrote:Sure, if you have the Creative Crystalizer enabled, it is going to seem to sound better, or have some other Creative enhancement enabled. But for a flat frequency response, which is what nearly all audiophiles go for, Creative isn't a real player in the game. Creative has a reputation for bad drivers, and that still holds true today. More bass and more treble does not mean higher fidelity. I leave the EQ on my Xonar set flat. It sounds great without any options turned on. Software listening tests can show superior results, as creative often does, but a bad DAC doing an innacurate resproduction of the original file can still show superior results if the noise levels, roll-off, and other measurement are handled well. Xonar does very well in all aspect. It may not be the best sound card out there, but it is still much better than what creative has to offer. And as far as Creative's gaming enchancements go, the designers have a tendency to say, "MOAR REVERB!", and slap on a new version number.


Which Creative are you talking about?

I can't disagree on your assessment of their history; actually, I support it outright. They've had real, deep issues that made even onboard audio preferable at times.

But that's not the Creative of today; their drivers, across the range, are excellent, and have been for years (really). On Windows 7, Windows 8, and even Windows 8.1.

And the Soundblaster Z, starting from the 'base' model, is incredible, and preferable for gaming, which is the focus of this build. And it's not anything less than stellar for music or movies.

Now, I don't doubt that Xonar's ST/STX are excellent products; they're actually a bargain, if critical music listening is your primary concern. But for gaming? It's over-priced and under-featured. And EAX has nothing to do with it 8).
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:21 pm

Airmantharp wrote:has features and capabilities that couldn't possibly be put to use!

Well, that's not true - you can always list them in your profile or signature to let people know that you're a better human being than they are because you can afford paying for these and most of other low-life scum cannot :wink: I think it's a valid case of "putting them to use" :wink:

confusedpenguin wrote:Sure, if you have the Creative Crystalizer enabled, it is going to seem to sound better, or have some other Creative enhancement enabled. But for a flat frequency response, which is what nearly all audiophiles go for, Creative isn't a real player in the game. Creative has a reputation for bad drivers, and that still holds true today.

That's just your subjective opinion, nothing more. I have used a couple of latest Creative cards - Recon3D and new Soundblaster Z, I had absolutely no issues with their sound quality or "bad drivers". And no, I do not use any software enhancements/EQs like Crystalizer. If you prefer to salivate over random numbers rather than trusting your own ears, you should look at these frequency response tests:
http://en.goldenears.net/index.php?mid= ... _srl=17542
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:13 pm

Thank you everyone for all the input! I'm getting a lot of different idea's that I wouldn't have even considered. I've seen some "Have to figure out what the OP wants" discussion so I figured I'd clear that up first. Also, I've been informed that newer graphic cards will be coming out in September, and since I'm probably going to be making my purchase of components in early October I figure we'll have that discussion when September comes. ( Unless someone has some "what to expect" knowledge they want to share while we wait).

As for what I want. A Hardcore gaming rig. (Should be able to afford that with +/- $3000? I have an extra $500 buffer in case I find something I really want. And if it's something like "Monitor #2" or something I don't need to buy in the Main purchase, It doesn't need to count towards the initial cost.

So. My wants list.

#1: I want to be able to run my "Pretty" games smoothly on highest settings. Minecraft with those HD texture packs turned on and be able to see as far as it lets me. When Grand theft Auto 5 Comes out, I want it to run it like a champ. Also, when it comes to games like Battlefield 4, Natural Selection 2, Planetside, I want that constant high FPS.

#2: Sound. A lot of discussion has been had on this topic. Just recently I've went to best buy and tried out a SENNHEISER pair of headphones and a pair of 7.1 Surround sound headphones. I have to admit, The 7.1 sounded better for my personal needs. Even though the Sennheiser had better quality for things like music and videos, the 7.1 Surround sound headphones sounded superb for gaming. The demo had sounds circling from all directions and then also demoed footage of a shooter game and footsteps in different directions. You could really hear the difference of front, side, and back. A lot of what I've read on the "gimmick" of 7.1 headphones has been in forum posts dated 2010-11ish. Who knows, maybe they're just getting better. So now its not a 7.1 or Stereo headphones discussion. It's finding the right 7.1 headphones and pairing a great 7.1 Sound card with it. (So anyone with knowledge on that, please feel free to throw out some suggestions) Also, what is the best input method for headphones (Optical SPDIF, or other)

Those are the main wants. Probably pretty much standard right? I have some more info here describing my gaming habits & gaming list to maybe give you an idea to help me pick out more hardware that fits my needs.

-I Don't have a ton of games. ( Even though I've been using STEAM more often, and downloading/trying out greenlit games, ect.) I don't mind taking the time to install/uninstall games I don't use frequently. Usually I'm only playing 2 or 3 max on the daily. I'm guessing People tend to move games back and forth from their mechanical HD to their SDD when in use?

-I like speedy internet. Right now I have a 30/5 Mbps plan, but considering going to 50/10Mbps for $20 a month more. Will I need to purchase a separate network card? If so, suggestions? ("Better" gaming network card?)

-I plan on buying two monitors. (Yes, only two) At least one of those monitors is going to be a 144hz.

-Depending on the ease of this build, instead of a entirely new build much further down the road, just consider replacing certain components with updated tech.

-I already have an external HD that will store all the pictures/music/porn I'll ever need/want/own.

-I'll be running windows 8 64bit, Since BF4 is built for it, and well.. progress smogress.

EDIT: Also, decided to go with the "Microsoft SIDEWINDER X4 Keyboard " (for now or until better is suggested) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6823109191
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:09 pm

Sounds good. If you're willing to 'upgrade' down the road, an i7-4770k makes more sense; your next CPU upgrade afterwards will involve changing to a new socket with a new motherboard and a new RAM standard, at least. Put a 240mm/280mm HSF on it and crank it to reasonable limits, essentially ~4.5GHz or whatever 110% of stock voltage gets you.

For graphics, you'd want a Titan, today- but not because it's fast. Got to get that VRAM. Hopefully, the models being released later this year will increase the availability of GPUs with 6GB of VRAM or more; I'd prefer 8GB minimum per GPU, personally, but the actual amount is more a function of the memory controller on the GPU used.

For sound- I get where you're coming from, but I implore you to explore the options in greater detail. Best Buy's demos are great for showing you what can work, but their selection and presentation is still fairly limited. I can, for instance, tell exactly where someone is in BF3 (and the same in BF:BC2 before it!) with my stereo headset and Creative soundcard- hell, I could do it with the onboard Realtek sound! The Realtek just sounded much worse.

Remember that you only have two ears, and that human echolocation isn't based on the direction that sound enters either ear, but rather the difference in arrival time. You could put fifty drivers on a single ear, and it wouldn't make a difference; the real difference is in the software. DICE put a very effective sound routine in Frostbite, which does surround-sound very well on it's own, with any number of channels. I was stalking people in BF:BC2 by sound with my HD555's and Realtek audio with ease.

The point is, there's no real difference between 'surround-sound' headphones and 'stereo' headphones, except that the 'surround-sound' headphones will have smaller drivers leading to a tinnier, more shrill sound with very limited (in comparison) bass and more likely to obscure details than a real set of headphones with decent-sized drivers and a decent sound card behind it. And don't expect Best Buy to be putting their best foot forward here- they don't carry real headphones (for the most part); they mostly carry headphones that focus more on branding than sound. You'd need to go to a Guitar Center or equivalent that will allow you to listen to some real cans, before comparing the audio quality of the 'surround-sound' units :).
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:30 pm

Vonhitz wrote: A lot of what I've read on the "gimmick" of 7.1 headphones has been in forum posts dated 2010-11ish. Who knows, maybe they're just getting better.
Unless you've grown five more ears on your head since 2011, they're still a gimmick. You have two ears. Stereo sound is what you hear. If you set your game to output for "stereo headphones" it will properly calculate all of the time delays (and probably the occlusion and muffling, as well) to provide the correct positional audio. At best, so-called "7.1 surround" headphones can be no better than stereo headphones. Typically, the so-called "surround headphones" will give you a very distorted set of delays that will not provide realistic spatial placement of the sources of the sound. Because the "7.1 surround" headsets have more complexity, they'll cost more and provide worse sound quality than a set of well-constructed stereo headphones will.

Vonhitz wrote: I decided to go with the Microsoft SIDEWINDER X4 Keyboard (for now or until better is suggested).
Did you try out the Logitech G710+? That one, the CoolerMaster QuickFire Pro for $75 -15MIR that I linked for you on Saturday, the Rosewill RK-9000BR for $102, the Rosewill RK-9000BRI for $113, the Das Keyboard Model S Ultimate Silent Soft Tactile for $127 and the Gigabyte Aivia Osmium for $130 are all better than the Microsoft keyboard because they use Cherry MX brown mechanical key switches.
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:47 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
Vonhitz wrote: A lot of what I've read on the "gimmick" of 7.1 headphones has been in forum posts dated 2010-11ish. Who knows, maybe they're just getting better.
Unless you've grown five more ears on your head since 2011, they're still a gimmick. You have two ears. Stereo sound is what you hear. If you set your game to output for "stereo headphones" it will properly calculate all of the time delays (and probably the occlusion and muffling, as well) to provide the correct sound stage. At best, so-called "7.1 surround" headphones can be no better than stereo headphones. Typically, the so-called "surround headphones" will give you a very distorted set of delays that will not provide realistic spatial placement of the sources of the sound. Because the "7.1 surround" headsets have more complexity, they'll cost more and provide worse sound quality than a set of well-constructed stereo headphones will.

Yeap, pretty much. And you can achieve similar effect with any stereo headphones (with single jack) and the soundcard's virtual surround sound modes (although different soundcard manufacturers use different implementations, some of which you might like and some you probably won't).
Speaking of which, I really like new Creative's implementation of virtual surround sound mode... Sounds much better (more "clear" and with better separation) than their previous CMSS-3D stuff on X-Fi cards.
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:55 am

If you are going to go for a single high end graphics card the 780 is the best bet, and if down the road you want to add another 780 for SLI then even better....for the ost part the 780s swap blows with the Titans in SLI winning way more then loosing.

Here is a review showing that. http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/gpu_ ... mparison/1
2 780s is about future proof as you can get for 700$ cheaper then 2 titans. Here is the Video review http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... rS88DG9TJo

That does not include overclocking, you can gain a lot of performance on a 780 with overclocking. The brand can make a difference. Galaxy's 780 is awesome But it does not use a blowe system so good case ventilation is needed with SLI thats for sure.

Once you decide what card you want make sure you check the different brands for enhancements like better VRM's cooling custom boards ETC. Do you own Shootout by going over every review on each brand you can find.

Ohh i forgot to add is if you game a few inches from your screen you might want to consider a 21/9 ratio 29" monitor with a 2560x1080 resolution IPS screen. But i would go for a lightboost monitor and get 3d while you are at it, its pretty awesome and you could return the 3d kit if you do not like it :)
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:06 am

vargis14 wrote:If you are going to go for a single high end graphics card the 780 is the best bet, and if down the road you want to add another 780 for SLI then even better....for the ost part the 780s swap blows with the Titans in SLI winning way more then loosing.


Keep in mind that the only argument against the GTX780 over the Titan is the 3GB of VRAM- had they slapped 6GB on it, it'd be the number one card on my list for near any application.

3GB is more than enough today, unless you're doing some hefty surround work. But tomorrow? I sincerely doubt it. And since RAM is cheap (that's why the new consoles have 8GB in the first place), holding out for a GPU with 6GB or more makes sense.

Now, there are HD7970's with 6GB around- but not many, for sure, and I find that most coolers for the HD7970 range from 'lacking' to 'half-assed'. AMD's reference blower was especially underwhelming, and I can't recommend cards without blowers for multi-GPU setups.

My hope is that AMD will recognize the need (and coming demand) for GPU's with more memory, as well as the demand for GPU's with excellent self-exhausting HSF solutions, with their next round of GPU's. Nvidia may or may not respond in kind, but if they don't, it'll be their loss; I've run Nvidia for years because they've outclassed AMD on a number of fronts lately, but I see AMD as retaking the market lead- if not the overall performance lead- very soon, if Nvidia doesn't get off their laurels.
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:34 am

Airmantharp wrote:Future games WILL take advantage of more than four cores- we see that already. How much?

Not much. All seriously demanding games are bottlenecked by the GPU, and that's going to become even more of an issue as 4k gains in popularity.
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:41 pm

DeadOfKnight wrote:
Airmantharp wrote:Future games WILL take advantage of more than four cores- we see that already. How much?

Not much. All seriously demanding games are bottlenecked by the GPU, and that's going to become even more of an issue as 4k gains in popularity.


Current games have largely not taken advantage of the CPU due to the extremely low baseline they have to hit to make stuff run on the current consoles- but these new consoles go from one or three half-assed CPU cores to eight real ones, meaning that games could easily make use of those extra cores in the very near future.

Will it be necessary? Nope. Will it make a difference? A significant one. An extra pair of cores means that the performance potential increases by 50%; these new games will have to be highly threaded in order to hit the detail levels expected of them, and that will bear out on PCs as well.

Again, if we're going to say 'I want to be able to play all the great games for the next two or three years' and 'the budget is ~$3500', what's another $100 for the motherboard and $200 for the CPU? It's certainly a better investment than dumping that cash into an SSD, or an exotic sound card, or a stupidly expensive case.
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Aug 15, 2013 5:14 pm

Airmantharp wrote:
DeadOfKnight wrote:
Airmantharp wrote:Future games WILL take advantage of more than four cores- we see that already. How much?

Not much. All seriously demanding games are bottlenecked by the GPU, and that's going to become even more of an issue as 4k gains in popularity.


Current games have largely not taken advantage of the CPU due to the extremely low baseline they have to hit to make stuff run on the current consoles- but these new consoles go from one or three half-assed CPU cores to eight real ones, meaning that games could easily make use of those extra cores in the very near future.

Will it be necessary? Nope. Will it make a difference? A significant one. An extra pair of cores means that the performance potential increases by 50%; these new games will have to be highly threaded in order to hit the detail levels expected of them, and that will bear out on PCs as well.

Again, if we're going to say 'I want to be able to play all the great games for the next two or three years' and 'the budget is ~$3500', what's another $100 for the motherboard and $200 for the CPU? It's certainly a better investment than dumping that cash into an SSD, or an exotic sound card, or a stupidly expensive case.

But you see, optimizing a build for performance has always been about bottlenecks. It's about "where can I spend my money that will give me the most benefit", and the reality is that once you get up to $200 on the CPU side, with a 2500K cranked up to 5GHz, then you are getting more performance per dollar by throwing everything else at the GPU. Even going for dual titans, which isn't high on the value perspective, is a wiser place to put your dollars for a gaming machine than going up to a Core i7, unless of course you don't mind turning down the graphics. About the only thing I can see the consoles changing is the value of hyperthreading, if that. Those cores are mobile cores, meaning one SB core will blow away 2 of those cores any day, and there might really only be so many for multitasking purposes. Console makers have decided that mobile CPU cores are going to be the baseline for next-gen gaming, what exactly do you think Sony and Microsoft might have missed?
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:18 pm

Well the OP said he was not going to be doing surround gaming and i highly Doubt he would get a 4k monitor. I do not think a 2560/1600 30" monitor will not use up 3gb of video memory enough to hinder the card and i feel 4k gaming is a long way off from becoming mainstream even on the PC. I would like to see some 5760/1080 surround gaming benchmarks comparing the SLI 780s vs the Titans.

I guess on September 25th when AMD reveals there Hawaii new High end video card and if it has more then 3GB of memory we will have a better idea since there GPUs are in the new consoles.

But I still fell like 3GB of video memory for one monitor is plenty plus you have to remember the consoles are combining system and graphics memory so just because they have 8gb of memory at least 50% will be used for system memory and the game itself...not necessarily for video rendering. Besides they are made for HDTV's with 99.9% of them will be 720-1080p with less then 1 in a thousand being a 4k HDTV. I think we are a couple years from any sort of widespread 4k tv use. In a couple years Titans will be old news and the people who saved 700$ on 780's instead will have made the right choice since in 2 years AMD GPU's may be the cards you will want instead of Nvidia.
Not like the OP could not sell his 780's down the road and get a good bit of his money back.
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:42 pm

DOK:

The point is not that they'll be using 'mobile' cores, but that these new cores are full out-of-order, 64-bit cores, with a full set of ALU and FPU resources, and that there's eight of them. That means that the game engines will be able to, by default, take advantage of more than the four FPUs on a quad core Intel CPU, or quad-module/eight core AMD CPU. Further, even with my 2500k at 4.5GHz, I can see the benefit of more performance. You're not going to get much more clockspeed out of a 4770k, but with an Ivy-E six-core CPU, you would have more resources available to games that will definitely be able to use them. And remember, GPU speed determines your maximum framerate, but CPU speed determines your minimum framerate, and that's the part that defines the experience. It's not how smooth the game is when nothing's going on, it's how smooth the game is when the **** is falling on your head! What's another $300 of a $3500 build for 50% more CPU resources?

Vargis: I get you man- and I agree with you fully, for the games on the shelf today. I use 2GB cards at 2560x1600 without running into significant issues.

But that's not where I'm going with this- since Sony and Microsoft announced that their consoles coming out this fall will have 8GB of RAM, with over half of that available to games, I cannot in good conscience recommend video cards with less than 4GB of VRAM, and that's stretching it. If someone wants to be able to crank the details of future games, regardless of the resolution, I consider 6GB per GPU the bare minimum, and would prefer something in the range of 8GB to 12GB per GPU.

Sure, there's no real reason for such cards to exist today- but there's also no real reason for them not to, and I'm hoping that AMD and Nvidia see that and pay heed with the products they release this fall. They don't have any excuses; RAM is cheap. That's why these consoles have 8GB in the first place!
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:08 pm

Airmantharp wrote:DOK:

The point is not that they'll be using 'mobile' cores, but that these new cores are full out-of-order, 64-bit cores, with a full set of ALU and FPU resources, and that there's eight of them. That means that the game engines will be able to, by default, take advantage of more than the four FPUs on a quad core Intel CPU, or quad-module/eight core AMD CPU. Further, even with my 2500k at 4.5GHz, I can see the benefit of more performance. You're not going to get much more clockspeed out of a 4770k, but with an Ivy-E six-core CPU, you would have more resources available to games that will definitely be able to use them. And remember, GPU speed determines your maximum framerate, but CPU speed determines your minimum framerate, and that's the part that defines the experience. It's not how smooth the game is when nothing's going on, it's how smooth the game is when the **** is falling on your head! What's another $300 of a $3500 build for 50% more CPU resources?

Vargis: I get you man- and I agree with you fully, for the games on the shelf today. I use 2GB cards at 2560x1600 without running into significant issues.

But that's not where I'm going with this- since Sony and Microsoft announced that their consoles coming out this fall will have 8GB of RAM, with over half of that available to games, I cannot in good conscience recommend video cards with less than 4GB of VRAM, and that's stretching it. If someone wants to be able to crank the details of future games, regardless of the resolution, I consider 6GB per GPU the bare minimum, and would prefer something in the range of 8GB to 12GB per GPU.

Sure, there's no real reason for such cards to exist today- but there's also no real reason for them not to, and I'm hoping that AMD and Nvidia see that and pay heed with the products they release this fall. They don't have any excuses; RAM is cheap. That's why these consoles have 8GB in the first place!

I think 3-4 Gigs should be sufficient even for the lifespan of these new consoles, but I agree the 1-2 Gb cards that still permeate the market need to go away. It's ridiculous that you can get an entry-level or mobile GPU with 3 gigs of VRAM and you're stuck with 1.5Gb on midrange desktop cards. However, I'm gonna stick to my guns here and say that just because the resources are available doesn't mean they will be utilized to their fullest. I realize that this has been true for consoles in the past, but we used to utilize PCs to their fullest in the past as well. How often do you think that happens today? It's not just consoles that have been holding us back. There are plenty of other applications that would benefit from multithreading that still have yet to take advantage of it. Just because we can have revolutionary A.I. in games with advanced CPU capabilities, doesn't mean we will anytime soon. That's like saying hardware-accelerated physics is going to take gaming to a whole new level.
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:25 pm

DeadOfKnight wrote:I think 3-4 Gigs should be sufficient even for the lifespan of these new consoles, but I agree the 1-2 Gb cards that still permeate the market need to go away. It's ridiculous that you can get an entry-level or mobile GPU with 3 gigs of VRAM and you're stuck with 1.5Gb on midrange desktop cards. However, I'm gonna stick to my guns here and say that just because the resources are available doesn't mean they will be utilized to their fullest. I realize that this has been true for consoles in the past, but we used to utilize PCs to their fullest in the past as well. How often do you think that happens today? It's not just consoles that have been holding us back. There are plenty of other applications that would benefit from multithreading that still have yet to take advantage of it. Just because we can have revolutionary A.I. in games with advanced CPU capabilities, doesn't mean we will anytime soon. That's like saying hardware-accelerated physics is going to take gaming to a whole new level.


I think that games that make great use of these new consoles will need even more VRAM on the desktop- remember that we're running full operating systems over here, and also that developers are well aware that desktops can easily be three to five times as fast as the incoming consoles today; the consoles are already extremely dated, save the one aspect of available VRAM. Expect developers to push the PCs further, but outright expect them to make all of the game assets available across all platforms- and that means using 4GB-6GB for graphics. I'm considering 6GB to be the minimum, and 8GB or more, per GPU, to be preferable.

For CPUs- same thing applies. BF3 runs on these crappy current generation consoles, albeit with limitations, but essentially the same basic game scales up to chocking the fastest systems we can build today? And now we're going to give these consoles 10 times the power or more, and expect the situation for the PC versions to not budge at all? Think about it.

If the OP were looking for a 'standard' gaming machine, with the intention to upgrade over time along with a modest initial budget, sure- I'd agree wholeheartedly. But with a ~$3500 budget? I aim to prepare him as best as possible for the most stringent games being released in the next couple of years. Do you think cutting off cores for $300 or buying a GPU or GPUs with around half the usable memory that these consoles will be making available to games for graphics is good advice? Or that he should go for the overpriced Titan (seriously, GPU's with the same die size once went for $200, and memory was more expensive then), just to get a meager 6GB of VRAM?

I say 6 cores with HT, 16GB of RAM, and at least one high-end GPU with 8GB of VRAM or more, preferably two. That baseline is well within the stated budget and meets the listed requirements.
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:27 pm

DeadOfKnight wrote: Just because we can have revolutionary A.I. in games with advanced CPU capabilities, doesn't mean we will anytime soon. That's like saying hardware-accelerated physics is going to take gaming to a whole new level.
But it has. 8)
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:47 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
DeadOfKnight wrote: Just because we can have revolutionary A.I. in games with advanced CPU capabilities, doesn't mean we will anytime soon. That's like saying hardware-accelerated physics is going to take gaming to a whole new level.
But it has. 8)


JAE's joking, but I'd actually expect developers to start integrating more physics and AI into their games now that the resources are available across the board. There's every reason to believe that having six real cores will be an advantage, enabling settings that the current four-core CPUs won't be able to push.
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:56 pm

Airmantharp wrote:
End User wrote:
Airmantharp wrote:We need to see an updated estimate from the OP before exceeding any 'baselines'.

Good grief! Why are you intent on making this a boring build?


What's exciting about paying for stupid fast storage for your photo album?!?

Who said anything about photo albums?
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Re: Building my Dream Machine! Questions & Suggestions

Postposted on Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:28 pm

Airmantharp wrote:For storage, here's the thing- SSD prices will continue to plummet over time, and storage drives are stupid easy to upgrade.

That is why I suggested getting a motherboard that supports SSD caching. You can add cheaper/bigger SSDs over time to the cache setup.

Airmantharp wrote:I say 6 cores with HT, 16GB of RAM, and at least one high-end GPU with 8GB of VRAM or more, preferably two. That baseline is well within the stated budget and meets the listed requirements.

And for that system it would be a crime to have OS/games/apps running from a HDD.
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