1900 USD build for gaming/art.

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1900 USD build for gaming/art.

Postposted on Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:36 am

Helping a friend build a 1900 dollar PC for gaming at 2560x1440 with games like Skyrim, Far Cry 3, and Bioware RPGs (Dragon Age 3 is the onus for the upgrade) and art using programs like Photoshop, Corel Painter, and Paint Tool SAI.

We already ordered a processor (the 189.99 Core i5-4670k daily deal that happened earlier) and it's not included in the budget.

Here's what I specced out:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z87X-HD3 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($126.49 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($129.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($144.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Red 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($98.95 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB Video Card ($699.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Titanium Grey) ATX Mid Tower Case ($123.58 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 850W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($159.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24F1ST DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Wireless Network Adapter: Intel 62205ANHMWDTX1 802.11a/b/g/n PCI-Express x1 Wi-Fi Adapter ($35.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1634.95
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-04-14 01:30 EDT-0400)

She's enamored with the idea of having an upgrade path later, hence the SLI compatible motherboard and slightly overkill PSU, but isn't into the idea of overclocking, hence no cooler. I went with 16GB of RAM because I can see it being useful in a situation where she streams art+has some kind of media like Netflix running at the same time. I'm still considering SLI 780s as an option, but right now I'm sort of leaning towards saving some money, given I think that SLI 780s would probably be overkill at 2560x1440.

I know absolutely nothing about WiFi adapters so if anyone has a suggestion for one I'm all ears.
Frosty Mojo
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Re: 1900 USD build for gaming/art.

Postposted on Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:43 am

The gaming part is stupid easy, and you've mostly got that covered outside of keyboard and mouse.

As for art, you're on point- you do want more RAM, and the 2x8GB setup ensures the ability to expand to 32GB should the need arise. I regularly use >10GB on my 16GB systems for Adobe Lightroom.

So here's what else we need to know: what kind of art? If she's doing 'pro' work where color is critical, then a 'pro' Dell monitor and a colorimeter is on order, for instance. For reference, I do gaming at 2560x1600 and am an amateur photographer. I've actually found that one GTX670 2GB is more than fast enough for what I'm doing right now, which is mostly BF4. A single higher-end AMD or Nvidia card would provide the right kind of overkill.

Things I would change: primarily, go for a Corsair or Seasonic PSU. I'm not dissing XFX in any way, but a PSU is the one part that you do not want to have problems with because it manifests by making other parts fail at irregular intervals. For the WiFi card, try and find an Intel card with 802.11ac, as that's the new standard, and because it guarantees two bands for transmit and receive each, regardless of what mode (b,g,n,ac) it's working in.
Canon 6D||[24-105/4L IS USM|100/2.8L Macro IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
For sale!|24/2.8 IS USM
|
Airmantharp
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Re: 1900 USD build for gaming/art.

Postposted on Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:01 am

Airmantharp wrote:The gaming part is stupid easy, and you've mostly got that covered outside of keyboard and mouse.

As for art, you're on point- you do want more RAM, and the 2x8GB setup ensures the ability to expand to 32GB should the need arise. I regularly use >10GB on my 16GB systems for Adobe Lightroom.

So here's what else we need to know: what kind of art? If she's doing 'pro' work where color is critical, then a 'pro' Dell monitor and a colorimeter is on order, for instance. For reference, I do gaming at 2560x1600 and am an amateur photographer. I've actually found that one GTX670 2GB is more than fast enough for what I'm doing right now, which is mostly BF4. A single higher-end AMD or Nvidia card would provide the right kind of overkill.

Things I would change: primarily, go for a Corsair or Seasonic PSU. I'm not dissing XFX in any way, but a PSU is the one part that you do not want to have problems with because it manifests by making other parts fail at irregular intervals. For the WiFi card, try and find an Intel card with 802.11ac, as that's the new standard, and because it guarantees two bands for transmit and receive each, regardless of what mode (b,g,n,ac) it's working in.


I kinda figured I was on the right track with the benchmarks I was seeing going with a single card. While the budget has room for SLI 780s, because the computer is for someone who isn't an enthusiast I'm inclined against suggesting it due to the quirks of having an SLI machine versus a single card.

The art is semi-professional - she does some personal commission work but nothing serious. We're definitely at the very least getting IPS monitors, and I'll look into our options for colorimeters.

The PSU is manufactured by Seasonic, (source: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/XFX-PRO-850-W-Black-Edition-Full-Modular-Power-Supply-Review/1716/13) which is the reason I went for it.

Intel's wireless card that's compatible with AC (the 7620) seems to be reviewed poorly on Newegg, with lots of complaints about dropping AC - that was my first thought also.
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Re: 1900 USD build for gaming/art.

Postposted on Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:14 am

The one gripe I have with the high-end nvidia lineup right now is they're low on memory and Bethesda mods are notorious for eating up a lot of it. You might want to go with an R9 290X instead.

You mentioned art, I'm assuming semi-pro or at least enough that she cares about it...be sure the data is protected properly, either with a second drive in RAID 1 or an external backup.
NovusBogus
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Re: 1900 USD build for gaming/art.

Postposted on Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:35 am

NovusBogus wrote:The one gripe I have with the high-end nvidia lineup right now is they're low on memory and Bethesda mods are notorious for eating up a lot of it. You might want to go with an R9 290X instead.

You mentioned art, I'm assuming semi-pro or at least enough that she cares about it...be sure the data is protected properly, either with a second drive in RAID 1 or an external backup.


The r9 290x is definitely something I considered (love the price) but I was leaning 780Ti for CUDA support. Is that not a huge deal?

Raid 1 is actually something I was considering. I'll run that (or maybe a NAS) by her.
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Re: 1900 USD build for gaming/art.

Postposted on Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:44 am

Looking good so far. Try to be more specific on what you mean by 'Art', maybe give us a hint of the volume you're looking at trying to deal with. I can shoot a thousand shots in an hour at a game, for instance, and that's ~16GB of data. A NAS might not be the most convenient thing when you're limited by GigE, where a pair of red drives hanging off of the motherboard will get you the same capacity at a lower cost and with higher performance to boot. FWIW, I keep my shots in the basic Lightroom structure (individual days nested within years) on an internal green drive, and then backup that to an external green drive over USB3, which blows GigE out of the water.
Canon 6D||[24-105/4L IS USM|100/2.8L Macro IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
For sale!|24/2.8 IS USM
|
Airmantharp
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Re: 1900 USD build for gaming/art.

Postposted on Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:46 am

Frosty Mojo wrote:
NovusBogus wrote:The one gripe I have with the high-end nvidia lineup right now is they're low on memory and Bethesda mods are notorious for eating up a lot of it. You might want to go with an R9 290X instead.

You mentioned art, I'm assuming semi-pro or at least enough that she cares about it...be sure the data is protected properly, either with a second drive in RAID 1 or an external backup.


The r9 290x is definitely something I considered (love the price) but I was leaning 780Ti for CUDA support. Is that not a huge deal?

Raid 1 is actually something I was considering. I'll run that (or maybe a NAS) by her.


If possible, at all, get something with 4GB of VRAM or more. A custom-cooled 290 would likely fit the bill just as easily, though you'll have to do some focused research to ensure that the lack of CUDA support won't be a burden.
Canon 6D||[24-105/4L IS USM|100/2.8L Macro IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
For sale!|24/2.8 IS USM
|
Airmantharp
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Re: 1900 USD build for gaming/art.

Postposted on Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:15 am

Airmantharp wrote:Looking good so far. Try to be more specific on what you mean by 'Art', maybe give us a hint of the volume you're looking at trying to deal with. I can shoot a thousand shots in an hour at a game, for instance, and that's ~16GB of data. A NAS might not be the most convenient thing when you're limited by GigE, where a pair of red drives hanging off of the motherboard will get you the same capacity at a lower cost and with higher performance to boot. FWIW, I keep my shots in the basic Lightroom structure (individual days nested within years) on an internal green drive, and then backup that to an external green drive over USB3, which blows GigE out of the water.


Art as in digital painting/lineart. I don't think there's any batch photography stuff or anything like that. We'd probably be okay with RAID 1 if the main issue is storage/price.
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Re: 1900 USD build for gaming/art.

Postposted on Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:15 am

You might want to consider using a RT-N16 loaded with EasyTomato as a wireless bridge rather then a wireless card.

Also, consider replacing the WD Red 5400rpm with a WD Black 7200rpm drive. A Red is good for NAS devices which are going to run 24/7 and the slowness of the 5400rpm speed is masked by the network, RAID, and caching. While 7200rpm doesn't sound like much of an improvement, it helps tremendously.
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Re: 1900 USD build for gaming/art.

Postposted on Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:58 am

Frosty Mojo wrote:Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($144.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Red 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($98.95 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB Video Card ($699.99 @ Newegg)
...
She's enamored with the idea of having an upgrade path later, hence the SLI compatible motherboard and slightly overkill PSU, but isn't into the idea of overclocking, hence no cooler. I went with 16GB of RAM because I can see it being useful in a situation where she streams art+has some kind of media like Netflix running at the same time. I'm still considering SLI 780s as an option, but right now I'm sort of leaning towards saving some money, given I think that SLI 780s would probably be overkill at 2560x1440.

On storage, you have the right direction with a SSD+HDD, but I think it makes more sense to bump your primary HDD up to 7200 RPM (WD Black). You'll put the OS and core stuff on the SSD, but you'll end up with games on the hard disk, and you might as well keep the speed of a 7200 RPM hard drive there. You can still add a 5400 RPM drive for additional file storage (and that will help keep the primary system drives free).

I see some recommendations for 290's, but if there's any insistence on having multiple GPUs as an upgrade path, go with Nvidia. SLI has consistently performed better than Crossfire. Of course, it makes the most sense to just stick with one powerful GPU. In that case, a 290 is perfectly fine assuming it has the features needed for the art applications.

You're right that there isn't a need for an aftermarket cooler if you aren't overclocking. You might consider it if silence is preferred, though, and if you do end up adding an aftermarket cooler, I would lean towards a water cooler to avoid RAM interference.
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Re: 1900 USD build for gaming/art.

Postposted on Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:10 pm

Airmantharp wrote:If possible, at all, get something with 4GB of VRAM or more. A custom-cooled 290 would likely fit the bill just as easily, though you'll have to do some focused research to ensure that the lack of CUDA support won't be a burden.



FYI, EVGA has announced a 6GB version of the 780. Apparently coming soon enough they'll let you lock into the step-up program from a 3GB version (even though they don't normally allow step-up for the same chipset):

http://www.evga.com/articles/00830/

Don't know the actual date, price, or if other manufacturers will follow, but it's an interesting alternative to consider if the 780 is already under consideration.
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Re: 1900 USD build for gaming/art.

Postposted on Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:06 pm

That might be worth it, I'm a big fan of EVGA.
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Re: 1900 USD build for gaming/art.

Postposted on Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:56 am

Adobe prefers Nvidia drivers, for whatever reasons. Lack of VRAM is rarely an issue for 2D work, but you'll want gobs of fast storage for temp files and scratch disk - and a lot of RAM. Consider a cheaper, larger SSD like the 512GB M550 and a 32GB RAM kit.
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