Jump to content


Photo

Kiro's First Build


17 replies to this topic

#1 Kiro

Kiro

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 89 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Jersey

Posted 11 December 2012 - 10:29 PM

UPDATE: Making this into a workstation. See Page 2 for details.

 

I've done mild modifications to OEM desktops before, but this was my first time building a desktop from the ground up.  Budget was $300, so I had to reuse several parts to meet that budget.  Goal was to create a low-end casual gaming desktop with overclocking and upgrading potential.  I do not live close to a MicroCenter, and the closest one to me is in a neighborhood that I'd rather avoid.  All of this was put together a few weeks ago.

 

KiroDesktop01.jpg

 

Case: XClio 320

Wanted a cheap case with a minimum of a bottom mounted PSU.  This one surpassed my expectations.  Very sturdy, no sharp edges, lots of room to work with and cable management options.  Quite a few fan options as well: 2x120mm front, 1x120mm bottom, 2x120 or 2x140 top, 2x120 or 2x140 side, and 1x120 or 1x80 rear.  Simple design with only two USB 2.0 ports and audio ports in front.

 

MB: Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3

One of the things I disliked about all of the OEM boards I've worked with is that the SATA ports faced upwards, which interfered with large GPU's.  Hence, one of my requirements was that the SATA ports were parallel to the board.  Other things I looked for was a BIOS that allowed overclocking, a minimum of 16GB RAM support, PCI slots, and decent spacing between PCIE slots in the event I ever considered doing SLI or Crossfire.  This board pretty much fits all of my requirements, though I wouldn't be able to do SLI in the future with an x4/x16 pair.  Didn't know that SLI locks out x4 slots until after I bought it.

 

CPU: AMD FX-4170

Just wanted something better than my old Phenom x4 9550 around the $100 range.  The i3's, from what I understood, are dual core processors with a locked multiplier, and I didn't want to spend more for an unlocked i5.  The FX-4170 was advertised as a 4.2Ghz quad core unlocked processor.  Little did I know at the time that the ads were misleading.  Probably would have been better off with the older Phenom II x4 965 BE.  I'll address this if it becomes an issue.

 

RAM: 2x4GB Ripjaws 1600Hz

Came with the motherboard.  No real complaints here.  8GB is enough for me and 1600Hz, from what I've researched, seems to have a good balance between higher clock speeds and actual real-world impact.  The heat spreaders were a nice touch, I guess.

 

GPU: 1GB MSI GTX 550 Ti OC

Bought this back in February to replace my GeForce 8500 GT.  The PSU that I had bought (which I'll be covering later) did not comfortably fit inside my OEM HP case.  Rather than buy another power supply, I looked for a lower-end GPU that did not require more than a 400W PSU.  The GTX 550 Ti fit my criteria.  Now that I've upgraded my case, though, I'm looking for a better GPU since the GTX 550 Ti isn't that impressive and doesn't have much overclocking headroom.  Goal is to be ready for Metro Last Light's release.  I'd prefer to play it across 3x 1600x900 monitors at decent settings (if I got with an ATI card, I could use my GTX 550 Ti as a dedicated Physx card), but that's unlikely with a single GPU and would compromise with higher settings on one monitor for certain games, and lower settings across multiple monitors for others.  That support it, of course.

 

PSU: Antec HCG-750

Got it back in 2011 but never used it because it didn't fit well inside my OEM HP case.  Biggest problem is the numerous thick braided cables.  Definitely opting for a modular power supply for my next build.

 

Cooling

Since the XClio 320 gave me the option to play around with case fans, I figured I'd give it a shot.  I have 2x120mm Rosewill fans as front intake (74CFM each), 1x140mm Logysys SF140 top intake (72CFM), and a four pack of Cooler Master 120mm fans for 1 side intake and 1 rear exhaust (45CFM).  Opted for a top intake so that I could feed the CPU cooler (and RAM) with fresh air and to essentially move air around in the top half of the case.  Others have tried this and have gotten good results.  Haven't had a chance to experiment myself.  GPU sees a max temp of 62C with MSI Kombustor.  All are managed by a NZXT Sentry Mesh fan controller, which I got in the event I ever decide to go with something as loud as a Scythe Ultra Kaze again.

 

I went for a Cooler Master Hyper 212+.  At the moment, it's in push configuration, which gives me 48C with Prime95.  Thinking about changing it to pull and removing the rear case fan.  Don't think there's too much benefit in going for push/pull; switching to another 120mm fan with higher CFM's would probably do more.

 

Price Breakdown

CPU + MB + RAM Combo = $196

CPU Cooler = $15 w/ rebate

Fan Controller = $25

Fans = $29

Case = $35

Wireless Card = $25

PSU, Optical Drive, HDD's, GPU = $0 (reused)

Total: $325

 

What's Next

1) 120GB SSD.  Got an 120GB Adata SX900 for my laptop and have been really impressed with the SSD performance... and that's with my laptop locked at SATA 1 speeds.  Should be even faster with this motherboard.  Hardly even use 40GB on my laptop, so 120GB should be fine.  Currently using three 7200 RPM HDD's, one of which is empty and another is just for virtual memory use.

2) A new GPU.  Really want to try tri-monitor gaming, or at least play Metro Last Light with most settings on high on a single monitor.

3) CPU upgrade. I've read that even the HD 7870 is bottlenecked by the FX-4170. If this becomes an issue, I'll probably just upgrade to a FX-8320.

 

Current Concerns

GPU Upgrade

Case and CPU fan experimentation

Overclocking the CPU


Edited by Kiro, 28 December 2012 - 09:35 AM.


#2 EuroFight

EuroFight

    I'm not lazy, I'm just energy efficient.

  • News Editor
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1609 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:London, UK

Posted 11 December 2012 - 10:59 PM

Interesting and comprehensive thread, nice build too

Processor AMD FX-6100 Hex-core, 3.3GHz > Intel Core 2 Duo, Dual-core, 1.6GHz

Memory 8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600MHz >  Crucial 3GB DDR3 1066MHz

Graphics Radeon HD7770 + Radeon HD5570 > Intel 3000 Integrated Graphics

Motherboard Gigabyte GA-970A-DS3 Socket AM3+ > OEM Latitude XT2 Motherboard Socket P

Storage Seagate Barracuda 2TB SATA 7200.14 > Samsung 64GB SSD SATA 3Gbps

Power Supply Cooler Master Elite ATX 500W > OEM Dell Power Supply 90W

Case Zalman Z11 Plus 4x 120mm fans, 3x 80mm > OEM Dell Latitude XT Case

 

"Sudo make me a sandwich" - BluePanda


#3 freddie

freddie

    Up the Arsenal

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 704 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Western Australia

Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:18 PM

Nice work :thumbsup:


Was your 955 the black edition?



#4 Kiro

Kiro

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 89 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Jersey

Posted 12 December 2012 - 04:52 AM

Thanks.

 

If I had the Phenom II x4 955 BE, I wouldn't be upgrading CPU's. :P

 

Had the previous generation Phenom x4 9550.

 

Anyway, to highlight something I've mentioned in my first post:

My friend is offering me a 1GB EVGA GTX 460 SC for $50.  Despite being interested in the HD 7xxx series, I can't honestly justify to myself purchasing anything more than a $150 GPU (though I'd consider it if the price/performance is above norm).  Would the GTX 460 be a good upgrade from the GTX 550 Ti for this price, at least in the short run?  If possible, I'd like to be prepared for the release of Metro Last Light.  From my impression, the best new GPU I could get for around $150 is the HD 7850.  Definitely considering getting used at this point.


Edited by Kiro, 12 December 2012 - 05:01 AM.


#5 vandreadstriker

vandreadstriker

    N.Z.R.X

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 869 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Indonesia

Posted 12 December 2012 - 06:20 AM

IIRC a 7850 would beat a 460 anyday... But I must say, would you even find use of a 7850?
I mean, take my 460 for example. I can still play BF3 and Crysis 2 at 40-50FPS average at High settings. (sure it dips at times, but never "un-playable")
Many could argue that it's "only" high, but I find it more than enough. Most of the times I'd concentrate on shooting people to the point where textures of leaves falling or grass and soil errupting doesn't even interest me in the slightest.

Just some food for thought :cheers:

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." - Albert Einstein

 

-Olden Golden-

AMD Phenom II X4 20 BE | ASRock M3A790GXH/128M | 4GB DDR3 1600MHz CL8 | Palit GTX460 Sonic 2GB | FSP 600W | Xigmatek Achilles S1284W


#6 SpikeSoprano

SpikeSoprano

    Certified Geek

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1611 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cape Breton,Canada

Posted 12 December 2012 - 07:15 AM

Thanks.

 

If I had the Phenom II x4 955 BE, I wouldn't be upgrading CPU's. :P

 

Had the previous generation Phenom x4 9550.

 

Anyway, to highlight something I've mentioned in my first post:

My friend is offering me a 1GB EVGA GTX 460 SC for $50.  Despite being interested in the HD 7xxx series, I can't honestly justify to myself purchasing anything more than a $150 GPU (though I'd consider it if the price/performance is above norm).  Would the GTX 460 be a good upgrade from the GTX 550 Ti for this price, at least in the short run?  If possible, I'd like to be prepared for the release of Metro Last Light.  From my impression, the best new GPU I could get for around $150 is the HD 7850.  Definitely considering getting used at this point.

For $50 you have to buy it, they are great oc'ers and even if you used it for a year or so till the higher end prices drop you will still get your $50 back.


CPU>I7 2600K  -MB>GIGABYTE  Z68X-UD3H-B3-MEM>16 GB KINGSTON 1600 MHZ-COOLER> HYPER 212 EVO

VIDEO>ZOTAC GTX 660 2 GB-SSD>VERTEX 3 120 GB-HD>WD 500+WD 250 GB- G500 MOUSE
CASE>ROSEWILL CHALLENGER W/4 120MM FANS-PSU> 650 WATT-MONITOR>24 INCH BENQ


#7 Kiro

Kiro

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 89 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Jersey

Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:39 AM

IIRC a 7850 would beat a 460 anyday... But I must say, would you even find use of a 7850?
I mean, take my 460 for example. I can still play BF3 and Crysis 2 at 40-50FPS average at High settings. (sure it dips at times, but never "un-playable")
Many could argue that it's "only" high, but I find it more than enough. Most of the times I'd concentrate on shooting people to the point where textures of leaves falling or grass and soil errupting doesn't even interest me in the slightest.

Just some food for thought :cheers:

 

For FPS games, I've always turned all of my settings to the lowest settings so that I'd reduce chances of hardware lag and theoretically have more responsive gameplay.

 

For all other games where responsiveness isn't as much of a concern, I like to turn the settings up.  Like I've mentioned earlier, I'd ultimately like to try multi-monitor gaming, preferably on a single GPU.  Would obviously need to lower display settings for this, which is why I'm on the fence.

 

So yes, I'd get some use out of the HD 7850, but like you said, I'm not a hardcore visuals guy.  Otherwise, I'd upgrade computers more often than once every six years on average.

 

Yeah, like I've mentioned earlier, I've heard that you can overclock the GTX 460 to near GTX 560 non-Ti speeds.  Going by benchmarks, I'd probably see a 15+ FPS increase over my GTX 550 Ti.  I'd be content with a minimum 30 FPS.  Hold me off until prices for the current gen go down a bit more.

 

Edit:

 

It appears that I missed my opportunity for the GTX 460.  Guess I'll be stalking Ebay.


Edited by Kiro, 12 December 2012 - 03:20 PM.


#8 Kiro

Kiro

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 89 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Jersey

Posted 13 December 2012 - 07:30 PM

Pretty sure that I'm settling on a 2GB HD 78xx.  Still keeping an eye out for HD 79xx's though.  On Ebay, there was a PowerColor HD 7950 that went for $220, but PowerColor doesn't seem to have the best reputation.  Would rather go for the $195 AR Sapphire HD 7870, but I'm really tempted by the $170 AR 2GB MSI R7850 Twin Frozr.  That $25 extra would probably only buy me an additional 10 FPS, or about 5 FPS in Metro 2033.  I could use that and put it towards the purchase of Metro Last Light.

 

On that note, I've been looking at previews of Metro Last Light.  From the looks of things, it's going to be a very resource intense game like its predecessor.  Looking at reviews, I won't be seeing any significant gains by switching CPU's; Metro 2033 at 1080P UHQ really cripples a lot of systems, but it appears to be more GPU-limited than CPU-limited.  I don't generally play MMO's, so it's unlikely that I'll face a CPU bottleneck in the near future with the presently rare exception of games like BF3.  So, my focus is to get a decent single GPU that will take me through 2013-2014.

 

Looked around for SSD's.  I think the prices have gone up.  My 128GB Adata SX900 was $80 AR during late summer when I bought it, and now it's at $120.  The 120GB Kingston HyperX 3K was $60 pre-Black Friday, but now is $125.  Going to wait until prices come down to $0.50/GB before getting one.

 

On the opposite side of things, I believe the HD 7870's original MSRP price was $350.  Not even a year later and you can get it for $200.  That's a pretty significantly price drop imo.  Thank you, NVidia, for releasing the GTX 600's.



#9 vandreadstriker

vandreadstriker

    N.Z.R.X

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 869 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Indonesia

Posted 14 December 2012 - 10:16 AM

With a 7870, you'd be able to at least play in High preset settings and have a 50-60FPS average when playing Metro 2033..

Given how games today have a hard time playing catch up with the rapid Hardware evolutions, I'd say you've got nothing to worry about for the next 2 years..

 

My 2c :cheers:


"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." - Albert Einstein

 

-Olden Golden-

AMD Phenom II X4 20 BE | ASRock M3A790GXH/128M | 4GB DDR3 1600MHz CL8 | Palit GTX460 Sonic 2GB | FSP 600W | Xigmatek Achilles S1284W


#10 Kiro

Kiro

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 89 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Jersey

Posted 14 December 2012 - 11:05 AM

I just don't want the FPS to dip below 30 often if at all.  A 50-60 FPS average sounds good.  Probably use something like Radeon Pro's framerate limiter to have a steady FPS throughout, more or less.

 

Thanks for your input. :)



#11 Jenova69

Jenova69

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 409 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 14 December 2012 - 11:23 AM

I have MSI 7950 twin frozr III for sale if your interested.


FX-6350 @4.9ghz

Asus Crosshair V
2x4gb Mushkin Blackline ddr3 1333

Msi 7950 Twin Frozr
Corsair AX850
Fractal Arc midi r2
Corsair Force 3 60gb+500gb hdd

 

Cooling - Ek supremacy, EK FC7950, Alphacool 240mm ut60 rad, swiftech mcr320xp, D5 with EK top, and swiftech micro res v2.


#12 Kiro

Kiro

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 89 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Jersey

Posted 14 December 2012 - 04:48 PM

I know.  Your for sale thread was one of the first threads I looked at on this forum.  Didn't contact you because the Market Place rules state that I need to have a minimum of 50 posts and be a member for minimum 90 days.

 

I'm just going to step you through my thought process.  This is in no way meant to be an attack on you or anything negative like that.  It just helps me make up my mind when I share my thoughts.

 

First, I want you to know that I was interested.  Your asking price is decent: the lowest I've seen on Ebay was the PowerColor HD 7950 going for $220 shipped, with the next cheapest being Sapphire for $260 shipped.  On another forum, the same MSI HD 7950 Twin Frozr went for $220 shipped back in November, but that's an exception I can ignore.

 

The MSI R7950 Twin Frozr currently is selling for $305 AR on Newegg.  It comes with four games valued at $170.  We all know that they aren't worth $170, so let's say that they're worth $16 because the only one I actually care about is Sleeping Dogs (which is still worth $50 on Steam).  Buying through Newegg gives me the ability to RMA and obtain a refund if any issues come up within 30-days of ownership.  Tax is $23 and shipping is $8.  So, additional service aside, the total value of buying through Newegg is $320.

 

Any used item, regardless of what it is, I value at 75% of the new market value (to keep it simple).  75% of $320 is $240.  Fortunately, if any issues come up, MSI warranty seems to be more or less transferable as long as the item is all original with all the parts that came with it, not physically damaged, and the serial number is intact and not already registered.  This is good enough for me.

 

The Sapphire HD 7870 that I was looking at is currently $195 AR.  It comes with two games valued at $70, but I'll value at $0 because I could care less about them.  Shipping is free, tax is $15.  Total value is $210.

 

Stock for stock, there is about a 5 FPS difference between the HD 7870 and HD 7950 at high detail and resolution (difference is greater at lower detail settings).  In a few cases, the HD 7870 actually comes out ahead.  In terms of overclocking headroom, the HD 7950 is an obvious winner.  However, it is unlikely that I would see the effects of overclocking since my CPU would probably be a significant bottleneck in most modern games.  Nevertheless, considering the fact that I want to try out Eyefinity with three monitors, the extra 1GB VRAM and larger memory interface may come in handy.  For that to happen though, I'd need an additional mini-display port to DVI active converter compared to the HD 7870; all my monitors only have VGA and DVI inputs (adds another $25 to the HD 7950).  Judging from the hardware trend, high-end cards become comparible to mid-end cards in about two generations.  Hence, either should be good enough until maybe 2014.  Anything can happen by then, so I won't discuss potential future plans.

 

For completion's sake, let's introduce the 2GB XFX Core Edition HD 7850.  $175 AR + $14 tax + $7 shipping.  Same two games, so same value of $0.  Total value is $196.  Stock for stock, there is about a 10 FPS difference between the HD 7850 and HD 7870.  This already makes the $14 difference worth it.

 

So, what it all comes down to is a choice between a new Sapphire HD 7870 ($235 w/ 1 converter) or a used MSI R7950 Twin Frozr ($290 w/ 2 converters).  The difference is about $55 for minimal gains in single monitor setups and potentially significant gains in multi-monitor setups.  In general, each additional +1GB VRAM adds $20 to the price.  The price difference between model series is $60 for MSI's.  Lower-end Sapphire models don't demand as much as higher-end MSI's (comparison of models within brand model series, not brands to brands), so this difference is reasonable.

 

TL;DR: I've evaluated everything and have determined that your asking price of $250 to be fair.  However, due to the MSI R7950 Twin Frozr's lack of a second DVI port and my need to purchase an additional active mini-displayport to DVI converter as compared with alternatives, unless you're willing to include one, the most I'd be willing to offer you is $230 shipped.  That's only if the serial number is still intact, the gpu works and isn't damaged in any significant way, most if not all of the components that came with it are in the box, and you haven't registered the serial number with MSI.

 

All of that said, I'm doubtful you'll take my offer.  In the off chance you do, though, I'm financially (not emotionally) prepared to go through with the transaction.  Let me know.

 

Either way, I'm glad I took the time to break it down.  Makes my original decision between the HD 7850 and HD 7870 mentioned in an earlier post a no brainer.


Edited by Kiro, 14 December 2012 - 04:50 PM.




Reply to this topic