Mid-Range Gaming Build

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Mid-Range Gaming Build

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:28 am

Hey Gerbils. I first joined these forums almost 6 years ago because I was building my own computer for the first time. I think I did okay but this time I am hoping to do a much better job. Any advice would be welcome.

Main concerns:
I need an awesome case since last time I bought a terrible one. Quiet and Easy to clean. Needs good airflow.
I am not sure if I need a 3rd party CPU cooler, I will not be overclocking (I am only getting K processor because its cheaper, I actually prefer virtualization support instead)
I want to play Skyrim on high settings with many mods loaded. On the fence with shelling out for more than 2 GB vram, I think I prefer a slightly faster GPU.
Currently using a 1080p dual monitor setup.
Will spend some time in photoshop and also writing code.
The budget is around what these parts cost right now. If there is a huge value to be had, I could go higher.

CPU:
Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4 GHZ 6 MB Cache $200
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CO8TBOW/?tag=pcpapi-20

Motherboard:
ASRock Z87 Extreme4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard $125
https://pcpartpicker.com/mr/newegg/asro ... 87extreme4

GPU
EVGA GeForce GTX 760 2GB Video Card $255
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814130934

Case
NZXT H440 (Red/Black) ATX Mid Tower Case $120
http://www.ncixus.com/products/?sku=940 ... omoid=1413


Parts I already bought on discount
Corsair Builder 600W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit)
Seagate 600 Series 480GB 2.5" Solid State Disk
Kingston 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory
ShadowTiger
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Re: Mid-Range Gaming Build

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:19 am

You should differently get more than one ram block.¨

Max performance, use all slots. But at least buy one more, for dual channel performance
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Re: Mid-Range Gaming Build

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:10 am

I recommend you to buy another ram stick like the one you have if you can. I also recommend you to buy a better GPU, like the 770 or the 280x if you have the cash. The 4Gb version in the case of the 770. You could spend 25$ on a Hyper 212 EVO, even if you're not overclocking. As for the case, you could search for the Corsair line, they make great cases. No need for mass storage? If only to be used as storage, get yourself something like a Caviar Green, I own one and its great for mass storage. If you need something faster, go for the Caviar Black line. The rest looks good as it is.
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Re: Mid-Range Gaming Build

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:48 am

275o wrote:You should differently get more than one ram block.¨ Max performance, use all slots. But at least buy one more, for dual channel performance
Maximum performance with Haswell processors is achieved with two DIMMs, but if the budget is tight, you could start with the one that you've already got and add a second one later on.


I will suggest that you should purchase a motherboard without any obsolete PCI slots. A good micro-ATX motherboard typically has 4 PCIe slots.
$105 -15MIR MSI Z87M-G43
$105 ASRock Z87M-Pro4
$120 ASRock Z87M Extreme4
$125 Gigabyte Z87MX-D3H
$130 Asus Z87M-Plus


Jon1984 wrote: As for the case, you could search for the Corsair line, they make great cases.
Which do you mean?
$130 Corsair Obsidian 450D - ATX case
$67 Corsair Carbide 200R - ATX case
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Re: Mid-Range Gaming Build

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:08 am

I don't think the single DIMM is a huge problem. See these benchmarks:

http://www.gamersnexus.net/guides/1349- ... le-channel

Unless you're doing CFD, or you're really concerned about getting approximately 6% more performance out of your RAM, one DIMM should be fine.
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Re: Mid-Range Gaming Build

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:20 am

Unless you need more VRAM for photo editing, you won't need it to Skyrim or most any game at 1080p. Check out this article on VRAM usage in different games. One of the tests has Skyrim running on ultra at 1080p with the high res texture pack enabled and only about 1gig of VRAM is used, even with 8xMSAA.

Unless you are planning on going higher in resolution, or plan to use more than one monitor for gaming, the 760 is a solid choice. You can also save a bit and get an R9 270x for about $200 with 2 games included. Performance will be a bit lower on the 270X, but it shouldn't be that big of a difference at 1080p. You can also go for a R9 280 which should be about equivalent to a 760, maybe a bit faster, and includes 3 games.

That case is definitely solid looking, and has also received some nice reviews. Just be ready to load windows using a USB drive (or external DVD drive) since you can't install a DVD drive. I'd normally recommend a Corsair case like the 750D since they are consistently great, but its more expensive and doesn't really seem to deliver better value, unless you need the 5.25inch bays.

Spend $35 and get the Hyper 212 Evo. Its a solid cooler and will let you overclock later when you want to. And yeah, get that second stick of ram.
Gaming: i5-3570k/Z77 Extreme4/212 Evo/Corsair 500R/16GB Ballstix Tact 1600 CL8/MSI 7850 2GB/840 250gb, EVO 500gb, SG 3tb/Tachyon 550w/Win7

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Re: Mid-Range Gaming Build

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:25 am

southrncomfortjm wrote:Unless you need more VRAM for photo editing, you won't need it to Skyrim or most any game at 1080p. Check out this article on VRAM usage in different games. One of the tests has Skyrim running on ultra at 1080p with the high res texture pack enabled and only about 1gig of VRAM is used, even with 8xMSAA.

Unless you are planning on going higher in resolution, or plan to use more than one monitor for gaming, the 760 is a solid choice. You can also save a bit and get an R9 270x for about $200 with 2 games included. Performance will be a bit lower on the 270X, but it shouldn't be that big of a difference at 1080p. You can also go for a R9 280 which should be about equivalent to a 760, maybe a bit faster, and includes 3 games.

That case is definitely solid looking, and has also received some nice reviews. Just be ready to load windows using a USB drive (or external DVD drive) since you can't install a DVD drive. I'd normally recommend a Corsair case like the 750D since they are consistently great, but its more expensive and doesn't really seem to deliver better value, unless you need the 5.25inch bays.

Spend $35 and get the Hyper 212 Evo. Its a solid cooler and will let you overclock later when you want to. And yeah, get that second stick of ram.


Skyrim with 2k Textures will use more than 2GB of VRAM at 1080P with 8x AA, you can be sure of that.
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Re: Mid-Range Gaming Build

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:58 am

ShadowTiger wrote:Main concerns:
I need an awesome case since last time I bought a terrible one. Quiet and Easy to clean. Needs good airflow.

Quiet with good airflow isn't that easy since the more airflow you have, the more holes there are for the noise to escape from.

Your best bet is a decent, modern case with a door and sound-dampening material on the inside; The door means that the airflow for the intake fans have an indirect path, so the air travels around corners to get to the fans, and the sound doesn't. Fractal Define R4, Nanoxia Deep Silence, Corasair Obsidian 550D to name a few....

ShadowTiger wrote:I am not sure if I need a 3rd party CPU cooler, I will not be overclocking (I am only getting K processor because its cheaper, I actually prefer virtualization support instead)

You can get by without a 3rd party CPU cooler at stock speeds. Whilst the intel cooler isn't very good, the CPU's are actually fairly insignificant heat-generators in a modern system so the cheap included heatsink is quiet enough at idle and not too bad under load. Something like a Coolermaster TX3 is relatively cheap/compatible and even quieter under load if you decide you want to replace it later. Any decent case has a cutout in the motherboard tray to facilitate 3rd-party coolers with a backplate, so feel free to leave a cooler upgrade until later without causing you problems.

ShadowTiger wrote:I want to play Skyrim on high settings with many mods loaded. On the fence with shelling out for more than 2 GB vram, I think I prefer a slightly faster GPU.

Considering you want to use Photoshop, I'd suggest an Nvidia card for compatibility/performance reasons. The GTX 770 is probably the first Nvidia card that can effectively use more than 2GB of VRAM but the 4GB models aren't great value in terms of performance/$. You're probably better off getting a 3GB GTX 780 if you want an upgrade from the GTX 760.

ShadowTiger wrote:Currently using a 1080p dual monitor setup.

Dual monitor doesn't work very well for gaming IMO, because you tend to find the focus in the centre of your view is ruined by the screen bezels. Consider either getting a third screen (and a beefier card like the GTX 780 will be necessary) or just game on one screen. Having run two screens for years, I didn't fancy giving over the space needed for three screens, so I upgraded to a single IPS 2560x1440 display instead and the extra detail and pysical size works better for me than the interrupted letterbox of two screens. I appreciate it's a personal preference, I'm just giving you my opinion ;)

ShadowTiger wrote:Will spend some time in photoshop and also writing code.

This really only affects your choice of graphics card and RAM. Adobe is in bed with Nvidia and CUDA; That doesn't mean AMD's OpenCL cards are worthless in Photoshop, but given the higher-than-normal price of AMD cards because of the Crypto-mining frenzy I don't think there's any point in suggesting AMD options to you.

Also, Photoshop <3 the RAM, and you'll definitely want to run in dual-channel mode, so buy at least another identical 8GB stick for the second channel, if not three more. One stick per channel is actually the fastest, but the difference between 2 DIMMs and 4 DIMMs only materialises once you start overclocking the RAM, and that doesn't sound like it'll apply to you.
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Re: Mid-Range Gaming Build

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:23 am

Case: Corsair Obsidian. If you really need a great case to build in, Corsair is among the best. I love my 650D, and I think the 450D is probably the best improvement without going for an even larger case (the 650D was surprisingly large). Alternatively, you could limit yourself to a mATX board and go with a 350D. The main concern with this case is that it is very large despite limiting your motherboard size, but it might be a happy medium for you.

You might also consider some aftermarket DIY work for silence. You could find some filter material to close off cracks, and this material should help dampen some of the sound.

CPU Cooler: This is not necessary if you are not overclocking, but an aftermarket cooler is quieter than stock, and if you have the ability to overclock, it might not be a bad idea to prepare for it should you change your mind later (then again, you can pick up an aftermarket cooler at any time).

GPU: With some heavy Skyrim and photoshop, I think you should probably go with a faster GPU with more VRAM. I know it's more expensive and not great on performance/$, but I think you will be happier with the results. And even though value improvements aren't great, keep in mind that any money you throw into your GPU is probably going to net higher value than anything else in your system.

RAM: You can probably drag on with one stick for now, but I would highly recommend matching your current stick to make use of dual channel memory. That will also give you 16GB, which is more than most people need (but will help out, especially in RAM-heavy tasks).
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Re: Mid-Range Gaming Build

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:25 am

Several people are still recommending 2 DIMMS. I suppose there could be four reasons for this:

1. They have not read the article I linked to. I couldn't fault them; it's a long article
2. There is a flaw in the testing methodology or in the analysis in the article
3. The analysis presented in the article is not relevant to this situation
4. Photoshop simply needs more than 8GB of RAM

If it's either reason 1 or 4, then fair enough. However, if it's reason 2 or 3, I would be interested to know what is wrong with the information in the link I posted. I think this is also pertinent to ShadowTiger's build. I imagine ShadowTiger would probably like to know whether he will really get any benefit from opening up another RAM channel.
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Re: Mid-Range Gaming Build

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:41 am

The article is blocked on my network, so no, I have not read it. However, actually using both channels is almost always preferable to using one, if only because it's an easy improvement to make. Were this a new build, we would only be recommending paired sets.

Also, Photoshop DOES love the RAM. If the OP needs to stick with a tight budget for now, a single 8GB stick will work, but I would still try to pair that stick fairly soon, both to utilize the additional channel and to improve Photoshop performance.
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Re: Mid-Range Gaming Build

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:02 am

I work with Photoshop with 8Gb of Ram in my office and I can say it works but it feels low. I work with 200mb tiff files and it could benefit from double the Ram for sure. I imagine if the OP works with bigger files it will certainly benefit from 16Gb.
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Re: Mid-Range Gaming Build

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:50 am

ineffable wrote:Several people are still recommending 2 DIMMS

Uh, yeah. There's a reason that more expensive platforms have more memory channels; each channel adds memory bandwidth.

Buying a dual-channel platform and then only populating one of them is like opting for a high-performance engine and then artificially limiting the throttle.

That link you posted tests a whole bunch of OpenCL stuff, which transfers the bandwidth requirements to the GPU's memory controller and DDR5 - and a couple of other tests. Both of the non-OpenCL tests show significant gains on dual channel, proving pretty much conclusively that you are hampering your system with only one RAM stick. This is why high-end hardware has triple and quad channel RAM. There are plenty of applications out there that will use all the memory bandwidth you can give them.

Buying a dual-channel solution and then only using one channel is like buying a fast car and then wedging a brick underneath the gas pedal.
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Re: Mid-Range Gaming Build

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:02 am

Jon1984 wrote:Skyrim with 2k Textures will use more than 2GB of VRAM at 1080P with 8x AA, you can be sure of that.


By 2K, do you mean 3840 × 2160? If so, then yes, what you say makes sense - 4x the resolution will require more VRAM.

Thing is, he's only working at 1080p - the article I posted shows that such a setup only uses about 1 gig of VRAM (I recommend you read check it out). Even the 2K textures mod post doesn't say it needs more than 2gb. People really tend to overestimate the need for VRAM.
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Re: Mid-Range Gaming Build

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:27 am

southrncomfortjm wrote:
Jon1984 wrote:Skyrim with 2k Textures will use more than 2GB of VRAM at 1080P with 8x AA, you can be sure of that.


By 2K, do you mean 3840 × 2160? If so, then yes, what you say makes sense - 4x the resolution will require more VRAM.

Thing is, he's only working at 1080p - the article I posted shows that such a setup only uses about 1 gig of VRAM (I recommend you read check it out). Even the 2K textures mod post doesn't say it needs more than 2gb. People really tend to overestimate the need for VRAM.


I'm saying it needs because I've measured in my system, I have 3GB of VRAM and at 1080P with full AA it crosses the 2GB barrier easily ;)
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Re: Mid-Range Gaming Build

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:39 am

Put me down for the Corsair camp when it comes to cases. When I built my system last year I went with the Graphite series 600T Arctic White Edition. You can also choose black or silver. The white and silver cost more though.

It was a easy case to do a build in. Lots of room for fans and radiators if you want to use water cooling. The side window can be replaced with a grill that has room for four 120mm fans if you want to add more cooling. There is a 200mm air intake fan in the front of the case and another located in the top as a exhaust, and a 120mm in the rear as another exhaust. The top 200mm can be removed and replaced with two 120mm if you want to do so.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100006519%2050001459%2040000007&IsNodeId=1&bop=And&ActiveSearchResult=True&SrchInDesc=600t&Page=1&PageSize=20

I too have came across problems with VRam. I am running a GTX 680 2GB VRam and come up short when running a lot of texture mods. Its easy to check if you run Skyrim Performance Monitor along side Skyrim.
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Re: Mid-Range Gaming Build

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:56 am

2GB of VRAM is definitely enough for 1080p gaming. I mean, theres proof there! The 760 is a great card for a mid-range budget. Its the card I would get. There is nothing wrong with it.
I agree with the Corsair cases as well. They are so nicely designed.
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Re: Mid-Range Gaming Build

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:08 pm

Okay thank you all for all the advice. It is really helping me out. I guess no complaints about the processor, though the motherboard suggestion was useful.

To clarify, I do not use dual monitors for gaming as in the graphics are stretched across both screens. I usually have a youtube video open in one and a game in the other.

The corsair carbide series was my second choice if the nzxt was out of stock. I am tempted to switch over based on your advice.

I know that people have reached 3 GB of vram in Skyrim with lots of mods, and I believe the game engine can't really go above 3 in most cases without crashing. So 4 is overkill really. The only cards that ship with 3 GB are 660s and 780s though, so thats an issue as well. Then again, I am playing with 512 right now so 2 GB would be a large increase.

I probably will get a second stick of Ram fairly soon but I will try without it first. I just started doing some more video encoding as well, so I think it will be useful. In terms of photoshop, I will be doing some minor work on a 2d video game that supports 4k resolution, so it will probably help there.
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Re: Mid-Range Gaming Build

Postposted on Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:47 pm

I agree with the others. You'd be losing a significant amount of bandwidth by only running single-channel memory. Grab another identical DIMM as soon as your budget allows. I would also spend a few more bucks and get a 4GB version of the 760. It sounds like you keep your systems for a while, so there's no point in limiting yourself right out of the gate over a few bucks. I see an MSI model on Newegg for $269, and an Evga for $289 (after rebates).

Other than that, case and motherboard are a matter of personal preference. So long as you're getting quality components, the differences are less important because you're not overclocking. Just from a noise and longevity standpoint, I would also go with the Hyper 212 EVO cooler that Jon1984 suggested.
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