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Old 10-06-2012, 08:34 PM   #1
makken
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Default Build for Black Friday

Well, it looks like my motherboard is on its last legs, so I'm beginning to plan for a new build. Being this close to Black Friday, I'm hoping it can hang on until then (it'll only POST ~25% of the time). I'm upgrading from a Wolfsdale system (finally) so I would like to start fresh and don't plan to carry much over.

Here's the FAQ:
Quote:
1. What YOUR PC will be used for. That means what types of tasks you'll be performing.
General use (web browsing, email, media playback) + light to moderate gaming (mostly Starcraft 2, BF3, maybe guild wars 2)

Quote:
2. What YOUR budget is. A price range is acceptable as long as it's not more than a 20% spread
Thinking around $700 without GPU, $950 with. But flexible.

Quote:
3. What country YOU will be buying YOUR parts from.
USA

Quote:
4. IF YOU have a brand preference. That means, are you an Intel-Fanboy, AMD-Fanboy, ATI-Fanboy, nVidia-Fanboy, Seagate-Fanboy, WD-Fanboy, etc.
Intel CPU obviously, prefer an ASUS motherboard.

Quote:
5. If YOU intend on using any of YOUR current parts, and if so, what those parts are.
Probably just the DVD drive

Quote:
7. IF YOU plan on overclocking or run the system at default speeds.
Open to, and comfortable with, overclocking. Do not plan to push it to its absolute limits. I'll probably push to whatever is stable at default vcore.

Quote:
8. What resolution will you be using?
currently at 1920x1080, but intend to upgrade to a 2560x1440 some time in the future.

Quote:
9. WHEN do you plan to build it?
Around Black Friday

Quote:
X. Do you need to purchase any software to go with the system, such as Windows or Blu Ray playback software?
Win8 when it becomes available. If MS is still doing the discount for .edu e-mail addresses, I can get it through that.

Seeing as I'll be building this based on Black Friday sales, I'm trying to stay away from specific components, and instead, making lists of items to "keep an eye out for" and items to avoid on Black Friday. Here's what I have so far:

Motherboard: Any ASUS Z-77 based one SLI/XFire support is a plus, but not necessary.
CPU: i5-3570k. Are the non-k i5's worth looking into?
Heatsink: Hyper 212+ evo seems highly recommended. Any others to keep an eye out for?
RAM: Whatever DDR3-1600, 1.5v or lower, CAS9? or lower that's on sale for BF
SS Will 128GB be enough for a bootdrive for Win8? Seems the Samsung 830s and Crucial M4s are recommended quite a bit, so will be looking out for those 2 on BF.
HD Whatever 1TB+ drive thats on sale for BF
GPU: Don't game enough to justify spending more than $250ish on a GPU. Don't think anything in that price range is going to support 2560x1440 well currently, so thinking of holding off and using integrated graphics until next gen or some price drops in the future.
PSU: Don't know. Any recommendations for something that'll support a GTX670 level GPU + 4 drives? Prefer modular.
Case: Looking for something quiet with good dust filtration. Fractual Design's R4 seems like it fits the bill best.

Any advice or suggestions welcome.

Thanks.

Last edited by makken; 10-06-2012 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:06 AM   #2
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Mobo: Think about the SLI piece. Obviously if you are going to upgrade the monitor later and intend at playing on that resolution with high settings then SLI is something to think about, but the added cost over time might not be something you want to deal with.
CPU: If you are willing to OC, and it is obvious you hold onto systems for a few years, then just go with the 3570k. You don't happen to live near a Microcenter do you?
RAM: Just go with 8GB for now, can always upgrade down the road if you have any apps that can use it
SS 128GB is plenty to boot and run a few games from. 256GB is even better if you can swing, might be some really good ones on BF.
GPU: What is in your current system? Can you just move that one over when you build?
PSU: Depends on whether you decide on SLI or not. Plenty of good deals out there now, so I am sure you will be fine when the time comes. Stick with quality brands.
Case: Fractal has some good designs, also take a look at the standards by Antec or Cooler Master. I hesitate to recommend here as I think cases are subjective to aesthetic tastes - take a look around and come up with a few you like and go from there.
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Old 10-07-2012, 01:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riversend View Post
Mobo: Think about the SLI piece. Obviously if you are going to upgrade the monitor later and intend at playing on that resolution with high settings then SLI is something to think about, but the added cost over time might not be something you want to deal with.
CPU: If you are willing to OC, and it is obvious you hold onto systems for a few years, then just go with the 3570k. You don't happen to live near a Microcenter do you?
RAM: Just go with 8GB for now, can always upgrade down the road if you have any apps that can use it
SS 128GB is plenty to boot and run a few games from. 256GB is even better if you can swing, might be some really good ones on BF.
GPU: What is in your current system? Can you just move that one over when you build?
PSU: Depends on whether you decide on SLI or not. Plenty of good deals out there now, so I am sure you will be fine when the time comes. Stick with quality brands.
Case: Fractal has some good designs, also take a look at the standards by Antec or Cooler Master. I hesitate to recommend here as I think cases are subjective to aesthetic tastes - take a look around and come up with a few you like and go from there.
Thanks for the suggestions.

The reason I want to upgrade to a 2560x1440 display is for additional desktop space; gaming at that resolution is more of a secondary concern. That's the reason I'm hesitant to drop that much money on an SLI setup. Honestly, I don't mind not being able to run games at the absolute max detail settings; and I'm not above scaling down the resolution to 1080p.

Also, I'm in no rush to upgrade the monitor; its just something I intend to do down the line. by the time I do, the next generation GPUs may already be out.

Nevertheless I'll give SLI support a greater consideration when looking at the Mobo and PSU.

Unfortunately the Microcenter just 10 miles from me (San Jose, CA) closed. The next nearest one is ~500 miles away

My current GPU is an Radeon 4870. I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) the HD4000 on the i5 offers similar performance.

the 3 cases I was considering were the Antec P280, the NZXT H2, and the Fractal Design R4. Of those it seems the R4 was the best choice. I'm open to other cases with similar aesthetics, cooling, and acoustics as those 3.
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Old 10-07-2012, 05:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makken View Post
Thanks for the suggestions.

The reason I want to upgrade to a 2560x1440 display is for additional desktop space; gaming at that resolution is more of a secondary concern. That's the reason I'm hesitant to drop that much money on an SLI setup. Honestly, I don't mind not being able to run games at the absolute max detail settings; and I'm not above scaling down the resolution to 1080p.

Also, I'm in no rush to upgrade the monitor; its just something I intend to do down the line. by the time I do, the next generation GPUs may already be out.

Nevertheless I'll give SLI support a greater consideration when looking at the Mobo and PSU.
Given what you've stated above, it sounds like you would be fine with a single GPU setup. Since you don't mind lowering the detail settings, I'd recommend a 3GB card like the 7950. The reasons that VRAM is extra important to you are:

1. Higher resolutions naturally use more RAM.
2. You tend to hold onto parts for a long time.
3. Games can very easily hit a "VRAM wall" at a given resolution, where no amount of lowering settings will help. As long as you don't run into the VRAM wall, you can keep lowering settings to cope for an aging card's relatively lower shader power.

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Originally Posted by makken View Post
Unfortunately the Microcenter just 10 miles from me (San Jose, CA) closed. The next nearest one is ~500 miles away


Quote:
Originally Posted by makken View Post
My current GPU is an Radeon 4870. I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) the HD4000 on the i5 offers similar performance.
You're wrong. The 4870 roughly 3 times faster than a 5570, which is roughly twice as fast as an HD4000.

Quote:
Originally Posted by makken View Post
the 3 cases I was considering were the Antec P280, the NZXT H2, and the Fractal Design R4. Of those it seems the R4 was the best choice. I'm open to other cases with similar aesthetics, cooling, and acoustics as those 3.
The H2 and P280 are decent, but the R4 is really quite good. Another case with a similar look to consider is the Corsair 550D.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:39 PM   #5
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Well, it looks like I'm not going to make it to black friday. Motherboard will not POST at this point.

I went ahead and ordered the following from Newegg:

ASUS P8Z77-V LK LGA 1155 Intel Z77 +
Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz
Combo: $354.98
Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
Free with Motherboard purchase
Fractal Design Define R4
$109

I figured I probably wouldn't get a much better deal on BF than that anyways ($20 MIR, -$25 mobo+cpu combo, Free 8GB ram with mobo)

Looking for a good SSD and PSU deal now.
Also, how bad is the stock cooler for the 3570k?

Last edited by makken; 10-16-2012 at 11:42 PM.
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Old 10-17-2012, 05:22 AM   #6
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Stock coolers are always poop. Pick up a hyper 212 or get more exotic and get a D14. Or go for the middle which is like a A50/70

Depends if you're going for a mild oc (~4.2) -hyper 212+ evo

Or higher (~4.5) -a50/70

Or higher (up to like 5) D14
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Old 10-18-2012, 07:42 PM   #7
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Looks like a pretty good set of parts. You didn't really save anything with the combo as a Z77 Pro3 + i5 3570K + RAM of your choice would have cost about the same, but you didn't do poorly either.

The stock cooler is fine if you don't plan to OC. It can get a little noisy under load, but it keeps the system within tolerances.
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Old 10-18-2012, 08:36 PM   #8
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Looks like a pretty good set of parts. You didn't really save anything with the combo as a Z77 Pro3 + i5 3570K + RAM of your choice would have cost about the same, but you didn't do poorly either.

The stock cooler is fine if you don't plan to OC. It can get a little noisy under load, but it keeps the system within tolerances.
Thanks, eh, ill just run it at stock clocks until Black Friday, or the damn plastic pushpins pisses me off enough to buy a new cooler =P

I found a old Antec Earthwatts 650W PSU lying around. Cleaned out the dust and everything seems to be working, so I'll probably just use that for as long as I can (IIRC it was a good PSU back in the day)

With win8 this close to being released, I really don't want to do a fresh install of win7 for just 1 month... How difficult would it be to just move my current boot drive to this new system? I figure I'll definitely need new drivers and what not, but will I get locked out of the OS because it detected a motherboard change?

Parts should be arriving tomorrow (Newegg shipping is still awesome )... oh crap, the CPU comes with thermal paste right?
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:29 PM   #9
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Yes, the CPU heatsink will come with some thermal compound pre-applied.

Regarding OS, I wouldn't bother getting to excited about upgrading to Windows 8. The UI is horrendous for anybody who isn't using a touchscreen,
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:33 PM   #10
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Yes, the CPU heatsink will come with some thermal compound pre-applied.

Regarding OS, I wouldn't bother getting to excited about upgrading to Windows 8. The UI is horrendous for anybody who isn't using a touchscreen,
I was walking past a best buy today and saw they had win8 ultrabooks on display. Decided to give it a spin. It actually didn't seem that bad; I tried it on one of those ultrabooks with a touchscreen panel, so my experience might be a bit jaded.

From what I can tell, desktop mode is more or less the same as before. The start screen isn't too bad; though it'll take some getting used to. I tried to recreate my base workload (browser + music player + messaging app + outlook) in metro mode, and that just did not happen period. so I guess I will be sticking to desktop mode.

Anyways, I decided to pick up a Samsung 830 128GB for $90 and put win7 on it. I'll probably push upgrading to win8 back to christmas or new years.

And with that, here's what I ended up with:
ASUS Z77V-LK
Intel i5-3570k
Patriot Gamer 2 8GB DDR3 1600
ATi Radeon 4870 512MB
Samsung 830 128GB SSD
Samsung F1 500GB
WD Green 640GB
Antec Earthwatts 650W
Fractal Design Define R4

heh, doesn't leave me with much to address on Black Friday Will probably add another 8GB of Ram, another mechanical HD, CPU cooler, and maybe a new GPU.

Last edited by makken; 10-21-2012 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 10-22-2012, 09:06 PM   #11
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I tried to recreate my base workload (browser + music player + messaging app + outlook) in metro mode, and that just did not happen period. so I guess I will be sticking to desktop mode.
This is exactly what I mean when I say horrendous. They lock you into a very tablet-centric UI that simple doesn't fit a traditional desktop workflow very well and there's no way to skip it.

on the hardware though. Now you just need to replace that 4870!
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:51 PM   #12
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my SSD came in. Plug it in and... nothing. turns out that half the SATA ports on my motherboard are dead

RMA was just approved. guess I'm back to my lappy for the next two weeks

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This is exactly what I mean when I say horrendous. They lock you into a very tablet-centric UI that simple doesn't fit a traditional desktop workflow very well and there's no way to skip it.
I'm not sure what you mean by 'locked in.' I was using it as a full screen start menu replacement, and as that, it seemed to work decently. From what I can tell, for every metro app, there's a desktop version as well, so I don't feel forced to use the metro interface at all.

I guess we'll know more in a couple hours

Quote:
on the hardware though. Now you just need to replace that 4870!
Thanks. I think I'll wait for the 7950 / 670 cards to drop a bit in price before committing though. The other option is to buy a 7850 / 660? card now and Xfire/SLI it when I upgrade my monitor.

I don't think my current PSU can support Xfire/SLI though. 650W sounds like plenty, but the 12V is split into 3 rails with both PCI-E connectors on one rail rated at 25A
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Old 10-27-2012, 02:56 PM   #13
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I'm not sure what you mean by 'locked in.' I was using it as a full screen start menu replacement, and as that, it seemed to work decently. From what I can tell, for every metro app, there's a desktop version as well, so I don't feel forced to use the metro interface at all.

I guess we'll know more in a couple hours
If you have to see it at all, I'd say you are pretty "locked in", especially since Metro is objectively worse than the classic Windows UI in a lot of ways. For example, Metro requires:

- An additional key combo or mouse click is needed to get to the desktop
- Whenever you search for anything other than an application in the Start Menu, you have to click or press down arrow.
- There is no way to look a list of all install programs without starting a search and the backspacing
- There is no way to access a list of your most recently used programs
- There is no way to search for a program/setting while viewing another window (handy when you're following directions online)

Those are just a few examples off the top of my head where Windows 8's UI is straight up worse than Windows 7's. Since I can't bypass that stuff without installing hacky 3rd party programs, I consider that to be "locked in".

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Thanks. I think I'll wait for the 7950 / 670 cards to drop a bit in price before committing though. The other option is to buy a 7850 / 660? card now and Xfire/SLI it when I upgrade my monitor.

I don't think my current PSU can support Xfire/SLI though. 650W sounds like plenty, but the 12V is split into 3 rails with both PCI-E connectors on one rail rated at 25A
Buying a midrange card and then "upgrading to Crossfire/SLI" is generally a really bad plan. You end up paying more overall (once you consider platform costs), use more power, generate more heat and noise, and run into the classic multi-GPU problems of VRAM partitioning and microstutter. You're better off just buying a better GPU to begin with IMHO.
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:14 PM   #14
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If you have to see it at all, I'd say you are pretty "locked in", especially since Metro is objectively worse than the classic Windows UI in a lot of ways. For example, Metro requires:

- An additional key combo or mouse click is needed to get to the desktop
- Whenever you search for anything other than an application in the Start Menu, you have to click or press down arrow.
- There is no way to look a list of all install programs without starting a search and the backspacing
- There is no way to access a list of your most recently used programs
- There is no way to search for a program/setting while viewing another window (handy when you're following directions online)

Those are just a few examples off the top of my head where Windows 8's UI is straight up worse than Windows 7's. Since I can't bypass that stuff without installing hacky 3rd party programs, I consider that to be "locked in".
I get what you're saying; I guess I just don't find it that big of a deal. The charms bar does annoy the hell out of me. It seems to always pop up when I don't want it, and can't get it to pop up when I actually do want it.

The lack of universal search in the start screen does suck. I hope they'll fix that.

I generally have frequently used programs pinned to my taskbar, so I don't really feel affected by not having them in the start menu.

I've been using win8 for just under a day on an old laptop now, and after solving the display driver issue (ugh.) I seem to be getting the hang of it. You're right that the metro interface is a step backwards on non-touch devices; I just don't think its quite the disaster people make it out to be.

Quote:
Buying a midrange card and then "upgrading to Crossfire/SLI" is generally a really bad plan. You end up paying more overall (once you consider platform costs), use more power, generate more heat and noise, and run into the classic multi-GPU problems of VRAM partitioning and microstutter. You're better off just buying a better GPU to begin with IMHO.
That was my impression about SLI/Xfire as well. I'll stick with my 4870 for a bit longer then
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:17 PM   #15
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Well, I just pulled the trigger on a Dell U2711.

Couldn't resist the $650 deal on it.

Now I'm taking a serious look at GPUs. Based on Anandtech's bench, it seems that the GTX 670 destroys the AMD cards on the games that I'm interested in (BF3, SC2, Source engine). Given that, is the only reason I should be considering the 7950 because of the 3GB vram?
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:01 PM   #16
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Good catch on the monitor!

As for 7950 vs. GTX 670, it really comes down to price/performance. The GTX 670 is faster, but it's also $80 more expensive. Neither is right or wrong, it just comes down to how much you're willing to spend on the GPU.
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:24 PM   #17
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Good catch on the monitor!
Small part of me is still wondering if its worth the premium over the Auria or the Nixeus, but the stars were aligned for me on that deal; the 25% off next purchase, and the fact that I'm getting an additional 5% off BB purchases for the rest of the year from my CC pushed it over the top.

Quote:
As for 7950 vs. GTX 670, it really comes down to price/performance. The GTX 670 is faster, but it's also $80 more expensive. Neither is right or wrong, it just comes down to how much you're willing to spend on the GPU.
Its just odd to me, even with the 7970, which out performs the 670 on everything, you get to those 3 games and the performance delta suddenly goes wildly in nVidia's favor. I'm looking for an explanation on why either nVidia performs so well on those 3 titles or why AMD performs so poorly.

I don't know, results like that just doesn't sit right with me.
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:31 PM   #18
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Small part of me is still wondering if its worth the premium over the Auria or the Nixeus, but the stars were aligned for me on that deal; the 25% off next purchase, and the fact that I'm getting an additional 5% off BB purchases for the rest of the year from my CC pushed it over the top.
Don't worry, it's worth it.

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Its just odd to me, even with the 7970, which out performs the 670 on everything, you get to those 3 games and the performance delta suddenly goes wildly in nVidia's favor. I'm looking for an explanation on why either nVidia performs so well on those 3 titles or why AMD performs so poorly.

I don't know, results like that just doesn't sit right with me.
AMD and Nvidia use vastly different internal architectures for their GPUs, and certain ways of rendering are naturally going to favor one or the other. It's completely normal an expected for some games to favor one architecture over the other.

Of course, Nvidia and AMD both know this, so they pay large sums of money (Nvidia more so) to game developers to "encourage" them to make their game engines perform better on their cards vs. the competitors. That's what those "The Way It's Meant To Be Played" and "Gaming Evolved" logos mean.

Last edited by mfenn; 11-27-2012 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:31 PM   #19
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Upon looking into those two cards more closely, it seems that AMD has significantly closed the performance delta with the new 'never settle' drivers, That along with the fact that most of the cards come factory OC'd is nudging me towards the 7950 over the 670.

Man, I should just stop second guessing your recommendations =D

Thanks again, I'm on the lookout for a 7950 sale now. Also posted in the GPU forums for their opinions.
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:39 PM   #20
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Man, I should just stop second guessing your recommendations =D
Baby steps young padawan.

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Thanks again, I'm on the lookout for a 7950 sale now. Also posted in the GPU forums for their opinions.
I wouldn't wait too long for the perfect deal on the card. $280 AR is a really good price IMHO for a dual-fan model by a good manufacturer. The 3 free games bundle isn't going to last forever either, and these are 3 good AAA games (Far Cry 3, Sleeping Dogs, and Hitman: Absolution), not your typical pack-in shovelware.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:43 AM   #21
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I wouldn't wait too long for the perfect deal on the card. $280 AR is a really good price IMHO for a dual-fan model by a good manufacturer. The 3 free games bundle isn't going to last forever either, and these are 3 good AAA games (Far Cry 3, Sleeping Dogs, and Hitman: Absolution), not your typical pack-in shovelware.
didn't even catch that deal, nice; went ahead and place the order for it. Not really interested in those 3 games tho, I guess I can sell or trade them tho.

And with that, I'm done with this build. Thanks for all your help, mfenn. Here's what I finally ended up with:

Asus P8Z77V-LK
Intel i5 3570k
GSkill Ripjaws 8GB DDR3 1600
Patriot G2 8GB DDR3 1600 (damn things won't pass memtest at 1600)
Sapphire Radeon HD7950
Samsung 830 128GB
WD 1TB Black
Seagate 1TB
WD 640GB Green
Antec Earthwatts EA 650W
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Evo
Fractal Design R4
Dell U2711

Total w/ monitor ended up being just over $1700
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:18 PM   #22
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Looks good to me, too bad about the Patriot RAM.
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