A long awaited gaming build

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A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:39 am

Hello All,

Long time TR reader here, haven't been around the forums for... well... how old are my children? huh.

It's been over a decade since I've built a tower (Athlon 64 3000+!), and I've been without a proper gaming machine for several years due to hardware failures and other happenstance. Now that things have turned around financially, I'm looking forward to building a slightly obscene gaming machine. For a while, I'd considered dropping 3 big ones on a tweaked Sager laptop, but as I spent more time thinking about it, I realized that wasn't the best use of my money.

Budget: Trying to keep it close to $3k, but up to $3,500

Uses: gaming, photographic editing, and other office/web development work.

Requirements: Due to how my house is set up, I *need* wifi in this box. The X79 Deluxe has it built in, but another mobo + pci-e card would work as well.

Thoughts: I'd thought about doing dual SSDs in a striped RAID for the boot/OS drive. Is this problematic? I don't have much experience with SSDs, so it could be a bad idea. I can make do with one 256GB as the OS drive, since I'll have the large mechanical drive for my media. I want this box to last as long as possible (I'm thinking 5 years), hence the hex-core + Titan + 32GB of RAM. I know it's overkill, but I want it. Maybe in a couple years I'll drop another 32GB into the box, since this board supports it. My original idea was a GTX 780, but I read a few forum posts about how the higher amount of VRAM would be better in the next few years.

I'm planning on starting my purchases around Black Friday / Cyber Monday, to hopefully save a little bit. I have a Microcenter nearby, so I can pick up some of these items there.

If you have any suggestions on alternate pieces, please let me know. I've done some research lately, but I've been out of "the game" for awhile, and I'm lacking the hands-on experience with todays hardware.

Thanks!



CPU: Intel i7-4930K (Ivy Bridge-E) + Corsair Hydro Series H80i Water Cooler
Mobo: Asus X79 Deluxe (LGA 2011)
GFX: Asus GTX Titan
PSU: Corsair AX860 860W
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (4 x 8GB)
SSD: 2 x Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB
HDD: WD Red 3TB
DVD: LG Black 14X BD-R
AUD: Asus Xonar DX 7.1
Case: Corsair Obsidian Series 650D
+ Windows 8 Pro

Subtotal: $3,584.88


(edited for spelling)
Last edited by Terra_Nocuus on Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:14 am

(drool) Looks awesome. Just a couple comments:
1) I'd probably just go with a 512GB SSD instead of 2x240GB. I think you'd benefit more from additional space as opposed to the additional speed of RAID0 (assuming).
2) Monitor?
3) A GTX 770 will give you 85% the performance of a Titan for half the price. A 7970 GHz performs on-par with the GTX 770 for $100 less and comes with 3 games of your choice. (Not sure if you prefer Nvidia or if you just chose Titan because it was the fastest single-GPU)
4) AMD's Hawaii GPU will hit retail in a couple weeks. Besides (assumedly) better performance, the new lineup should bring discounts to current-gen GPUs.
Last edited by DPete27 on Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:28 am

For the last few years I've been on laptops with sub-500GB drives, so I'm still undecided about how to play it with the SSD.

I do have a 1680x1050 LCD that I'll use for now, but I plan on getting (at least) a 1920x1200 screen. There is a 1440p screen at microcenter for $400, so I might consider that instead. That'll be for later, though. Since I may get a higher density display soon, that's why I'm looking at the 780 / Titan.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:01 am

Terra_Nocuus wrote:I may get a higher density display soon, that's why I'm looking at the 780 / Titan.

1) The benchmark numbers I linked earlier are at 1440p resolution.
2) Some 4k benchmarks. And some more (take those with a grain of salt, nobody likes TomsHardware) 1 Titan may not be enough for 4k at Max settings in all future games. 2x GTX770's (2nd one purchased later) would cost the same as 1 Titan. IIRC Nvidia currently has proper 4k support. I assume AMD won't be far behind, but...
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:13 pm

DPete27 wrote:
Terra_Nocuus wrote:I may get a higher density display soon, that's why I'm looking at the 780 / Titan.

1) The benchmark numbers I linked earlier are at 1440p resolution.
2) Some 4k benchmarks. And some more (take those with a grain of salt, nobody likes TomsHardware) 1 Titan may not be enough for 4k at Max settings in all future games. 2x GTX770's (2nd one purchased later) would cost the same as 1 Titan. IIRC Nvidia currently has proper 4k support. I assume AMD won't be far behind, but...


I'll definitely check out the 770. I was thinking that the Titan would be the most "future-proof" of the current series, but a cheaper card would make it easier to runjustify SLI in the future. I don't think the monitors I was looking at (HP LA2405x (1920x1200 5ms) or Asus PA248Q (1920x1200 5ms)) would make any of the 7xx cards break a sweat.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:56 pm

I personally do not see the benefit of RAID0 with SSDs. One 256-512GB SSD will be a huge benefit of the sub-500GB laptop HDDs you speak of.

I personally have a 128GB SSD for the OS drive and 4TB HDDs added with it. I couldn't ask for a snappier machine. Personally I'd go with the 256GB, but if you have more applications that could take advantage of the SSD go for the larger one.

As for the GPU if you have no intentions of buying it now. You can wait until the Radeons come out to see what you can work with. Although a Titan sounds nice the 780 feels better on the wallet.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Tue Oct 01, 2013 3:08 pm

I would also recommend going with a single 500GB SSD over 2x240GB RAID 0. Most SSDs still lose TRIM functionality when combined in a RAID 0.

As for the graphics card, I would wait until the new AMD GPUs release. Nvidia has already mentioned that they'll be cutting prices when that happens. Also I would consider going with a GTX 780 or 770 over the Titan. Titan might be more future proof than a GTX 780/770, but consider these two options: spend $1000 now for a Titan or spend $500 now for a still-great GPU and then replace it with another $500 GPU 2 or 3 years down the road. GPUs tend to evolve and improve quite rapidly and I'm willing to bet a $500 GPU 2 or 3 years from now will outperform a Titan.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:21 pm

If you have $1000 to spend, always get the $500 card unless you absolutely need the $1000 card right now.
In 2 years time, the next $500 card will most likely be both faster and have a newer feature-set than today's $1000 card.

I would probably suggest getting a 250GB SSD for now, and buying a second SSD for games if you can't stand the idea of loading some of your games off mechanical storage.

Buying 500GB SSD now for future-proofing is the same argument as graphics cards. By the time games are 100GB per install, SSD's will be a dime for a Terabyte (unlikely, ofc but you get the idea). I spent $500 on my first SSD and within two years SSD's double the size were half the price. I didn't regret going SSD, but I did regret buying one larger than I needed at the time. Cloning tools mean that an upgrade is non-destructive to your OS and data now, but if you're hesitant just get a 250GB for OS and utilities and then buy a seperate drive for games.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:34 pm



To respond and summarize the above, at least until JAE gets here, I'll say this:

For your budget, you're right on. Working with Lightroom 5.2 and Photoshop/Premiere CC, you want that extra CPU grunt. Games will take advantage of it too, of course, but the content creation stuff scales quite linearly with it.

CPU cooler looks good, though you should leave this spot open if you intend to overclock- while the H80i is excellent, there are better choices out there for sure if you intend to push the CPU (I would) while trying to keep the noise down.

Motherboard- well, I haven't researched X79 yet; and I don't like it very much, either, given the inherent limitations. However, all things considered, you'll likely get more performance and better value going with a cheaper board. Leave this spot open for a mid-range solution that has overclocking features and a multi-GPU friendly layout. Particularly, you're paying more for a bottom-barrel 802.11ac solution, when you're going to want the best you can get, and you're paying for extra audio crap that you're obviously not going to put to use. Getting a solid motherboard is an excellent idea, but unless you intend to attach a phase-change cooler (i.e. air conditioning compressor adapted to an LGA2011 socket), there's little utility in going 'high-end'.

GPU- this spot is truly open. AMD has new cards, Nvidia has new prices (and maybe new rebrands), and AMD still hasn't really unborked their drivers (they're on Beta 2). And you're right, you just might want more VRAM in the future- see the thread on BF4. They're showing 2.5GB of VRAM usage on max at 1080p, and BF4 is a 'bridge' game that isn't truly 'next generation', and wasn't developed with the coming consoles completely in mind, as it will be running on the current consoles too. Not having enough RAM is literally the worst mistake you can make for performance, and RAM is just too cheap (still!). There's a whole lot of historical and economic factors that brought us to an average of ~2GB-3GB per GPU, and you're right to intuit that those factors are now changing again.

Also, GPUs are dependent on the monitor- if you're actually serious about content creation, the U3013 is where it's at, and you're going to want two upper-midrange GPUs (like the GTX770/780) with more RAM than is standard today; minimum 6GB, as a figure. If you're going for 120Hz (then you're not THAT serious about content creation), well, the same actually applies.

And get GPUs with GOOD blowers. No AMD card currently applies; use the Titan cooler as a reference.

PSU- looks good to me. I run a pair of GTX670's off of a 650W Seasonic without breaking a sweat, and ran a pair of hungrier HD6950's off it before that. So you could get away with less, but we're talking pennies here, and the PSU is one area where you cannot afford to compromise.

RAM- in flux. But I can see the use for 32GB (as in, >16GB, which I've found to be limiting personally), just don't oversell yourself on the spicy kits. Anandtech has a fresh writeup concerning how RAM speeds and latencies actually affect performance, as a guide.

SSDs- yeah, you're likely better off with one 256GB or 512GB drive. Get a good one, of course, but don't go nuts with capacity- it costs a lot, and that money is best spent elsewhere.

Drive- whatever you like. I'd get more, if it's reasonable- I just picked a Seagate 4TB external unit as my mobile/backup drive, and I have a pair of 2TB Greens that I'm going to throw in a RAID-0 in the next week or so (mostly for the hell of it). You can always add more later, and it's not like Lightroom and Adobe Bridge can't handle catalogs that span drives.

DVD- might as well get one. I got a Blu-ray burner knowing that at some point I'll be wanting to move stupidly massive amounts of data in various ways, and/or archiving it off.

Sound- if gaming is your primary concern, dump ASUS for the new Creative stuff. The base Z card is quite nice. Of course, what headphones/speakers you intend to use factor into this question as much as anything.

Case- make sure it is amenable to a positive airflow (more intake than exhaust) setup with filters on all intakes- this eliminates dust and keeps exhaust fans spinning a little lower. This, along with an exhausting integrated water-cooler (such as your chosen H80i) and GPUs with good blowers allows you to run your system at full load without compromising noise or performance over a single sitting, or clogging up with dust and degrading over time.

In summary, I'm sure there's more to come- but if you're targeting Black Friday, expect a number of your targets to be moving up until you're ready to hit the 'Add to Cart' button.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:22 pm

Airmantharp wrote:And get GPUs with GOOD blowers. No AMD card currently applies; use the Titan cooler as a reference.

The Titan's blower is not a good "reference" :wink: While it does an adequate job, it is flawed from engineering point of view - the total area of exhaust "holes" on the card's bracket is very small (due to numerous video outputs, most of which are completely useless for anyone with a single or even dual monitors) so a significant portion of the hot air stays inside the case anyway and the airflow across the heatsink is not that great by itself, not to mention it can get somewhat noisy (which is more noticeable if you have poorly designed case, such as the ones with windows or airflow holes on side panels). EVGA makes a much better optional cooler (ACX cooler) - it doesn't exhaust the air to the outside of the case BUT it provides better temperature reduction and more quiet operation due to dual fans and better (less restricted) airflow across the heatsink's area. So if you have a case with good overall airflow - I would stay away from any blower-like coolers if possible (EVGA already makes various card models with new ACX cooler as stock).
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:36 pm

Airmantharp wrote: ... until JAE gets here...
I'm still here. Working 13 hours/day and commuting 2 hasn't left me much time to shop for PC parts in the past 10 days. :-?

Terra_Nocuus wrote: CPU: Intel i7-4930K (Ivy Bridge-E) six-core hyperthreaded 3.4 GHz LGA2011
CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H80i Water Cooler
Mobo: Asus X79 Deluxe (LGA 2011)
GFX: Asus GTX Titan
This is the top-of-the-heap graphics card for now, but the GeForce GTX780 is a better value for gaming. I'd suggest waiting for the reviews of the new AMD R9-290X.
Terra_Nocuus wrote: PSU: Corsair AX860 860W
I'm quite pleased with my SeaSonic Platinum Series PSU.
http://www.seasonicusa.com/Platinum_Series.htm
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductLi ... rchInDesc=
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Terra_Nocuus wrote: Case: Corsair Obsidian Series 650D
Overall, This looks like a solid build to me.

Terra_Nocuus wrote: I do have a 1680x1050 LCD that I'll use for now, but I plan on getting (at least) a 1920x1200 screen.
Get the WQHD monitor now.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:30 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
Airmantharp wrote: ... until JAE gets here...
I'm still here. Working 13 hours/day and commuting 2 hasn't left me much time to shop for PC parts in the past 10 days. :-?


I got ya- I get my first actual day off in the last month Thursday. I'm excited :wink:.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:35 pm

JohnC wrote:
Airmantharp wrote:And get GPUs with GOOD blowers. No AMD card currently applies; use the Titan cooler as a reference.

The Titan's blower is not a good "reference" :wink: While it does an adequate job, it is flawed from engineering point of view - the total area of exhaust "holes" on the card's bracket is very small (due to numerous video outputs, most of which are completely useless for anyone with a single or even dual monitors) so a significant portion of the hot air stays inside the case anyway and the airflow across the heatsink is not that great by itself, not to mention it can get somewhat noisy (which is more noticeable if you have poorly designed case, such as the ones with windows or airflow holes on side panels). EVGA makes a much better optional cooler (ACX cooler) - it doesn't exhaust the air to the outside of the case BUT it provides better temperature reduction and more quiet operation due to dual fans and better (less restricted) airflow across the heatsink's area. So if you have a case with good overall airflow - I would stay away from any blower-like coolers if possible (EVGA already makes various card models with new ACX cooler as stock).


But that's the problem- what's the point in getting the heat off of the card if you don't get it away from the card? Those coolers circulate the hot air around themselves. Granted, they work quite well, if you only have one; but they're also quite flawed from an engineering point of view. It's quite easy to see that if you actually tax them for a good period of time, they're going to start choking on their own heat, which is compounded when you add more than one.

Conversely, when you set up good airflow, blowers start to really shine. Sure, you need to ensure that they have plenty of intake airflow to feed from, but if you're going to set a system up to be a high-end gaming and content creation workstation, isn't that a given?
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Tue Oct 01, 2013 11:01 pm

Once again, if you have a good case airflow - the blowers don't matter (the heat from "open" coolers like ACX will be carried away by case's exhaust fans without significant effect on other components). And if you don't - they can make the situation much worse. For example, if you have a "negative pressure" (like most of the people without extra intake fans do) - your blower will be working against the incoming airflow (coming inside the case through the card's bracket), increasing the GPU's temperature, the fan noise and decreasing the fan's lifespan.
Take a look at EVGA's current lineup - they have switched from blowers to ACX coolers on most of their models, for example the highest-clocked GTX760 models and ALL of the most recent "Double BIOS" models. Many AMD card makers also do the same.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:23 am

Terra C,
The build looks great I would make one change. Since the top of the case will support a 280mm radiator i would get the corsair h100i 240mm AIO system or the NZXT Kraken X60 RL-KRX60-01 280mm Ultra Performance Liquid CPU Cooler that newegg is selling for 109$.

On a I7 3960x at 4.4ghz and 1.35 volts the NZXT x60 280mm AIO system has the best delta above ambient performance of all the AIO coolers on the market according to a OC3D review. If you do get this cooler i would try the stock fans but if you have to room for a push pull setup with the 280mm radiator I would definitly get another pair of quality fans for it. I would also switch the cases reas exhaust fan to a intake fan to blow coool air on your cpu socket area and allow more cool air into the case to get pulled out by the 280mm radiator.
I could not tell but if you can add a bottom intake fan I would do that also, but i do not think it has a space for a bottom fan.

Also as other have said I would also wait for the AMD 290x benchmarks to compare then to the NV titan, also since the 290x is only $600 compared to the titans $1000 you could get 2 AMD 290x's for $200 more then the titan especially since AMD is putting a lot of effort into their frame pacing drivers for crossfire.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:13 am

JohnC wrote:Once again, if you have a good case airflow - the blowers don't matter (the heat from "open" coolers like ACX will be carried away by case's exhaust fans without significant effect on other components). And if you don't - they can make the situation much worse. For example, if you have a "negative pressure" (like most of the people without extra intake fans do) - your blower will be working against the incoming airflow (coming inside the case through the card's bracket), increasing the GPU's temperature, the fan noise and decreasing the fan's lifespan.
Take a look at EVGA's current lineup - they have switched from blowers to ACX coolers on most of their models, for example the highest-clocked GTX760 models and ALL of the most recent "Double BIOS" models. Many AMD card makers also do the same.


You're right- but here's the issue: if you go with open air coolers, especially more than one, you have to be really careful about balancing your case's airflow between intake and exhaust.

If you have too much intake, you get a 'compression' effect, where the air around the GPUs is just more dense, but since you have less exhaust, there's nowhere for it to go.

If you have too much exhaust, the heat gets removed better, but you have a 'vacuum' effect around the cards where they have less air mass to use for convection cooling, and worse, you pull dust in through every unsealed nook and cranny, and that degrades the performance of every heatsink and fan in the enclosure over time.

But if you use blowers with an intake biased airflow design, you can make every fan mount a filtered intake, except for the CPU cooler, and ensure that the blowers are constantly feeding from higher-density 'compressed' cold intake air. The cooler and denser air you feed the blowers, the more efficient they are and the slower the fans need to spin.

Note that most GPU testing is done exactly opposite of this- they use an open bench where open-air coolers have a considerable advantage and blowers are disadvantaged by not benefiting from intake airflow in a closed case.

In contrast, you can find articles (on TR even) that show just how bad open-air coolers can perform in a closed system, while other articles have investigated using blowers in intake-biased enclosures and found that noise was very well controlled. Silverstone's Fortress FT-02 is a great example of this in action- it's literally the perfect dual-GPU enclosure for cooling with blowers and something like the H80i on the CPU.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Wed Oct 02, 2013 12:08 pm

Y'all are right about the video card. The Titan is tempting, because I want to "get the best that I can get", but there's "the-best" and "stupid money the-best" ;) AMD's latest effort falls in with my time table, so I should see how things shake out before I pull the trigger. I've also checked out a few other motherboards for the 4930, and they're all missing one thing or another compared to the X79 Deluxe. It has everything on it, which is why it's pricey. I'd sooner get a smaller SSD than have regrets about the motherboard :D


JustAnEngineer wrote:Give a listen to the Sound Blaster Z.

...

What about your keyboard, mouse, speakers and headphones?


I have an IBM Model M and a Mat Catz R.A.T. 7 that I'll use with this. I know the Model M's not really a "gaming" keyboard, but I prefer it to anything else I've used (thus far). I'll be gaming with either an older 2.1 speaker set or headphones. I have to admit to some anti-Creative bias, but again, my experiences are from '99-'03~ish. I'd picked the Xonar off the latest system guide, but the Z does have some good reviews with the headphones crowd.


vargis14 wrote:The build looks great I would make one change. Since the top of the case will support a 280mm radiator i would get the corsair h100i 240mm AIO system or the NZXT Kraken X60 RL-KRX60-01 280mm Ultra Performance Liquid CPU Cooler that newegg is selling for 109$.

On a I7 3960x at 4.4ghz and 1.35 volts the NZXT x60 280mm AIO system has the best delta above ambient performance of all the AIO coolers on the market according to a OC3D review. If you do get this cooler i would try the stock fans but if you have to room for a push pull setup with the 280mm radiator I would definitly get another pair of quality fans for it. I would also switch the cases reas exhaust fan to a intake fan to blow coool air on your cpu socket area and allow more cool air into the case to get pulled out by the 280mm radiator.


I looked at the NZXT after your post, but I haven't seen any confirmation that it's compatible with the 650D. I think I am leaning toward the H100i rather than the 80. I'd like to have it set up for positive airflow: if the front 200mm & rear 120mm fans are intakes, a top-mounted radiator should baffle the out-flowing air enough to cause a pressure build-up. I could be way off though! :D
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Wed Oct 02, 2013 12:34 pm

Man...the X79 Deluxe does have everything. I was going to suggest finding a good wireless card, since you'll have the board and case space, but it can support up to 802.11/ac.

For keyboards, give Cherry Blues or Browns a try at some point. You sound like you're happy with inputs, but I like my keyboard with Blues, and it's worth checking out.

Terra_Nocuus wrote:...if the front 200mm & rear 120mm fans are intakes...

No! However you lay out your case, you want air moving in one direction. Your front can be intake, but then your rear needs to be exhaust. The goal for airflow is that it keeps moving all the time. This makes it easier to constantly get "fresh" air.

Case pressure is a different animal/argument/consideration, and it mostly has to do with balancing total airflow. Negative pressure means that you're exhausting more from fans than you're taking in. To balance the equation, air slips in from the various cracks in the case. Positive pressure means you're taking in more than you're exhausting (from fans), and the extra air escapes through the cracks instead. Negative pressure is a little bit better at keeping temperatures down (since air doesn't get "stuck" by positive pressure), while positive pressure is better at dealing with dust accumilation (since it can't "sneak" in as easily).

Ideally, though, you would have perfectly balanced intake/exhaust to get the best of both worlds. Since we don't live in an ideal universe, just don't overdo the positive/negative pressure, or else the downsides of the respetive pressure will be exaggerated.

That's probably way more information than was necessary...don't blame me, my dad does this for a living but with buildings.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Wed Oct 02, 2013 3:21 pm

Whether the fans are all going the same 'way' is also a function of layout- keep in mind that the parts inside the enclosure are actually blocking airflow 'streams' and deflecting them every which way. The wind-tunnel effect does work well, but if the fans aren't literally pointed at each other (like, intake fans in top external drive bays, front-to-rear oriented tower HSF, and rear 120mm all in a line, for example) then it's not like they'll actually be blowing 'against' each other.

In any case, swapping a fan around isn't terribly hard; you can experiment with it to find what works best both with your system and in nook that you put it in. Having the rear fan as an intake isn't a bad idea if it can really bring in some cool air, and you can likely run it faster without an additional impact on noise given that it'll be facing away from you.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:39 pm

Adjusted!


CPU: Intel i7-4930K (Ivy Bridge-E) + NZXT Kraken x60
Mobo: Asus X79 Deluxe (LGA 2011)
GFX: Asus GTX 780
PSU: Corsair AX860 860W
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (4 x 8GB)
SSD: Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB
HDD: WD Red 3TB
DVD: LG Black 14X BD-R
AUD: Creative Sound Blaster Z
Case: Corsair Obsidian Series 650D
+ Windows 8 Pro + 140mm, 120mm, and 200mm fluid dynamic bearing case fans

Subtotal: $3,584.88 $3,092.04


Ditching the RAID SSD idea and the ego-stroking Titan save me almost $500, which I'll drop on that sweet AURIA EQ276W at the local Microcenter. Actually, I'll probably pick up the WD RED from there too, as most of the negative reviews for that drive on Newegg are about Newegg's shipping practices.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:50 pm

I am not sure why you're willing to pay for this overpriced motherboard - you can get something different and a stand-alone WiFi card with a chipset of your choice (Realtek/Broadcom/Atheros) for lesser price... Since you also do not have soundcard yet and you will only be using stereo speakers I would recommend going for Asus Rampage series of motherboards - something like Rampage IV Gene (if you do not need extra PCIe slots) or Rampage IV Formula. Both will be less expensive and both include a pretty good on-board sound solution which is just as good as ~$100 dedicated soundcards for stereo setup. And unlike with WiFi cards you do not really need to upgrade the on-board sound solution due to new standards or potential incompatibilities with other hardware like your wireless router.

I would recommend spending saved money on a larger SSD - I just recently purchased the 960GB Crucial M500 and while it is not the quickest SSD it is consistently fast with any type of data (including incompressible stuff) and has large enough space to fit all my games without the need to constantly reinstall them or juggle them across multiple drives with symbolic links or other nonsense.
Also, instead of single HDD I would highly recommend getting an external enclosure, for example this one:
http://www.amazon.com/Vantec-3-5-Inch-E ... ntec+mx400
Then a pair of 3-4TB drives (doesn't matter much which ones, I personally prefer WD Blacks), set this whole thing as RAID1 and connect it to your PC using USB 3.0 or eSATA. This way you'll have an inexpensive, relatively fast storage for all your multimedia and image backups, which you can quickly disconnect and carry to any place (pretty handy in case of some natural disaster or fire or whatever).
Last edited by JohnC on Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:24 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:03 am

JohnC wrote:I am not sure why you're willing to pay for this overpriced motherboard - you can get something different and a stand-alone WiFi card with a chipset of your choice (Realtek/Broadcom/Atheros) for lesser price... Since you also do not have soundcard yet and you will only be using stereo speakers I would recommend going for Asus Rampage series of motherboards - something like Rampage IV Gene (if you do not need extra PCIe slots) or Rampage IV Formula. Both will be less expensive and both include a pretty good on-board sound solution which is just as good as ~$100 dedicated soundcards for stereo setup. And unlike with WiFi cards you do not really need to upgrade the on-board sound solution due to new standards or potential incompatibilities with other hardware like your wireless router.


I'll agree and reiterate the push for a fewer-frills board; but partly because the built-in 802.11ac card on the first pick is only half-speed, and partly because you still don't really want to rely on onboard audio. High end or low end, it's still hit or miss, and if the OP ever picks up real cans (highly recommend), a good discrete card is worth the cost, for gaming. If not gaming then an external USB DAC/Amp is preferable, with even nicer cans, but that's also very easy to inflate to 1/3rd of the stated budget :).

Basic, straightforward audio suggestion: SoundBlaster Z as mentioned above with the Sennheiser HD558's. You'd have to spend ten times as much to get usefully better sound for games; also, look for Sennheiser refurbs.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Thu Oct 03, 2013 8:54 am

I looked at the Rampage IV Gene, and with its PCIe layout, a wifi card would not allow for any SLI in the future. The IV Formula looks great, but it appears to be discontinued :x What about USB Wifi adapters? Are those decent nowadays, or is a PCIe card still the better way to go?
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:09 am

Hm...I don't know how well they work in practical application, but USB 3.0 appears to have better bandwith than your typical PCIe slot (not the x16 you use for GPUs). There aren't any 802.11ac ones on Newegg, but you could get up to 802.11n. I really have to defer to someone with more experience, though. My old PC only had a WiFi card installed so I could move into the living room once in awhile.

As other options, you could reconsider Ethernet...I know you said it was not possible in your OP, but a few drilled holes and a custom-cut cable might solve the problem.

Another idea would be to get a second wireless router to bridge between your main one (connected to the modem). Then you could use Ethernet in your office (or whatever room your PC is in) without long lengths of cable. You might also be able to get Ethernet to other devices nearby as an added bonus.

EDIT: Of course another solution would be to stick with single-GPUs, selling your old one or dropping it into another machine. I know that means less options in the future (as far as GPUs are concerned), but that option should at least be kept in mind.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:13 am

superjawes wrote:Hm...I don't know how well they work in practical application, but USB 3.0 appears to have better bandwith than your typical PCIe slot (not the x16 you use for GPUs).


PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot offers more bandwidth than USB 3.0.

PCI Express 3.0 x1 slot doubles bandwidth compared to PCI Express 2.0.

So in terms of bandwidth, USB 3.0 has no match for PCI Express.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:41 am

The Gigabyte GA-X79-UP4 looks like it would work, not sure why I didn't see it before. That and a TP-Link WiFi adapter would save me about $80.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:11 pm

Terra_Nocuus wrote:The Gigabyte GA-X79-UP4 looks like it would work, not sure why I didn't see it before. That and a TP-Link WiFi adapter would save me about $80.


The board looks good- but that TP-Link adapter is only 802.11n, not .ac- this DLink USB 3.0 adapter looks better, based on specifications (up to 1200mbps, as .ac should) and reviews. Most people gave it four 'eggs' for pretty stupid reasons that had nothing to do with performance.

And for the USB 3.0 vs. PCIe argument- it's moot, guys. USB 3.0 exceeds 802.11ac in real-life throughput just fine.

For those pointing to an mATX board- well, don't. It's silly, as the OP hasn't listed size as a requirement, rather performance, and getting top-end performance out of a reasonably quiet system means you need space. And hell, it's a workstation, not a strict 'home PC' or 'HTPC' or even 'Gaming PC'; having those extra slots is actually worthwhile.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:16 pm

Oh, and if you want to actually spend money on a wireless card, there's this ASUS that can work with ASUS routers for 1.9Gbps rates. It looks like it bonds 802.11n and .11ac channels together to aggregate bandwidth on the 5.0GHz spectrum, and at $99 isn't bad given that it comes with a pretty decent external antenna- I used one like that on my TP-Link card to ensure connectivity in a WiFi-rich apartment complex.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:24 pm

Terra_Nocuus wrote:any SLI

Personally I would stay away from any multi-GPU solution, regardless of the GPU manufacturer. With a single GPU you don't have to wait indefinite amount of time for SLI/CrossFire profiles with good scaling or for other fixes for potential issues caused by SLI/Crossfire.

Terra_Nocuus wrote:What about USB Wifi adapters? Are those decent nowadays

No.

Terra_Nocuus wrote:The a TP-Link WiFi adapter

I have that, it's a pretty good card, works well with my current router (Asus RT-N66U). It supports both 802.11n bands and doesn't have a useless 802.11ac support.
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Re: A long awaited gaming build

Postposted on Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:09 pm

JohnC wrote:
Terra_Nocuus wrote:any SLI

Personally I would stay away from any multi-GPU solution, regardless of the GPU manufacturer. With a single GPU you don't have to wait indefinite amount of time for SLI/CrossFire profiles with good scaling or for other fixes for potential issues caused by SLI/Crossfire.

Terra_Nocuus wrote:What about USB Wifi adapters? Are those decent nowadays

No.

Terra_Nocuus wrote:The a TP-Link WiFi adapter

I have that, it's a pretty good card, works well with my current router (Asus RT-N66U). It supports both 802.11n bands and doesn't have a useless 802.11ac support.


How did you get so negative?

I mean, really- there doesn't have to be a difference between USB and PCIe based WiFi adapters- sure, there's been plenty of crappy USB ones, but I assure you that there's been plenty of crappy PCIe ones too. The only ones that I truly consider solid are the mPCIe cards Intel makes, and they don't even making a 3x3 802.11ac adapter yet.

And how the hell is 802.11ac useless? At the very least, it guarantees a 2x2:2 solution (two channels on 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz). And it uses a different kind of modulation than 802.11b/g/n, similar to what LTE uses. It works very well if you have a good 802.11ac router, which I read as implied in the OP, though I could be wrong. Still, if the OP is interested in .ac, then why would you counter that?

And I do have that TP-Link card- with an external triple-mast antenna purchased separately, and it does work great, though I'm not currently using it at my new place since the router is now next to my desktop. I also have a TP-Link 802.11n router that worked wonders too, but somehow ATT's router is more than functional for now. I'll plug the TP-Link router in when I start trying to load Lightroom Catalogs remotely (and consider an upgrade to 802.11ac across the board if needed...).

As for SLI- well, at least lately, Nvidia has substantially upped their game, while AMD has been found to essentially be non-participating, and the jury's still out on them. So we'll see after this next round of cards hits. But if one were to buy today, a pair of GTX770 4GB cards would likely be the best price/performance bid, easily outperforming any single-GPU solution on the market, none of which are actually fast enough for 1440p/1600p.
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