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WookinPaNub

Gaming Rib Build with Eyefinity

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Hello all!

With the upcoming release of Battlefield 3 I am looking to do a major gaming rig overhaul. I've been researching quite a bit what I believe to be the gear I will need to meet that need, and would like a sanity check for anything glaringly wrong. I'm out of the Washington DC area, build price is negotiable, meaning that I'm willing to spend the money on solid components for what I need, and not for what I don't need (overkill rig).

 

Here's what I want to do / am thinking about doing:

[*] Gaming rig almost exclusively

[*] Play BF3 online with at least medium to high settings (my crew and I will be playing this for the next 3-4 years)

[*] Fast load times, fast responsive play in game. Initial thought was a small SSD for game install / fast load time and then set the OS to run EVERYTHING on RAM (ja, I know windows is supposed to handle this optimally, but why risk it if I have the RAM)

[*] Initial start with a single GPU, but with an eye to easily crossfire down the road if need be

[*] Air cooling only, no water cooling, regardless of future upgrades

[*] Potential for some OC down the road if needed

 

 

Here's what I've got, as I may be able to cannibalize a couple of items (generalized)

1) Motherboard: ASUS P5Q Pro (No)

2) RAM: Corsair Dominator 1066 2x2GB (No)

3) CPU: Intel Quad Q9450 (No)

4) GPU: ATI 5850 1GB (No)

5) DVD Drive: LITE-ON DVD+-R 20x (Yes)

6) HDD: 2x Western Digital 640GB (Yes, for backups and storage)

7) PSU: Corsair 650W (Maybe..)

8) OS: WIN 7 64 bit (Yes)

9) Tower: Cooler Master Centurion 5 (No)

10) Screens: Eyefinity 3x1 setup w/ a center 24" flanked by a 22" on each side (Yes)

 

My current thoughts, and rationale:

1) Motherboard: ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z - I know the ASUS P8P67s have been a top choice (for the CPU I am looking at), but I like what I see / reviews on this no-nonsense, well laid out, functional MOBO w/ CF capabality. ASUS have been good boards for me. Solid review here. . But don't need a mATX with my case, so am open to similary performing / priced mobos.

2) RAM: 2x 4GB DDR3-1600 w/ 'tight' timings, best rated / value manufacturer at the time - From understanding RAM doesn't play into OC as much anymore, just needs to match the speed needs of the CPU and to have enough of it.

3) CPU: i5 2500k: Solid CPU, can be readily OC'd if need be, solid for gaming and excellent price point - i7 2600k is only $100 more, but I don't need the hyper threading / addtl cache for what I am doing.

4) GPU: AMD 6970 2GB: 2GB VRAM to help with Eyefinity, about half the cost of a 6990 but with better than 50% performance - See notes on concerns below, this is still the 'diciest' of my choices. I believe this is a good starting point and if not enough kick, can attempt a 2x CF 6970 in the future. Looked at the NVidia, prefer the ATI for multi-screen gaming / types of games I play

5) DVD Drive: No change

6) HDD: 2x Western Digital 640GB PLUS a 16/32GB SSD - Game would be installed on the SSD, map loads from the SSD would be much faster than on the WD's I have. OS would remain on existing WD drives.

7) PSU: Corsair 650W: Should be able to reuse this with a single GPU, if I go to CF in the future I would need to replace with a higher rated one.

8) OS: WIN 7 64 bit: No change

9) Tower: CoolerMaster HAF X - Full tower with plenty of room to house everything I have and more. Superb ratings on airflow cooling and I believe would handle future CF setup without issue if need be.

10) Screens: No change

 

GPU Concerns: I've kicked around a number of options, from my above proposed setup to a single 6990 (4GB), to twin 6950's OCd to 6970s (but you cant readily get the 'unlocked' ones to do this anymore). A big consideration in this was the concerns with microstutter (or just stutter if you like) with a Eyefinity / CF setup. Many posts say to be safe to get a single card with as much VRAM as you can (cause Eyefinity like VRAM), more recent ones with the 6 series cards describe far fewer issues / means to address microstutter issues making a Eyefinity / CF setup viable. Thought was to see if a single 6970 could handle it, then CF it up in the future if need be?

 

Please advise of thoughts on general approaches to better this build or with specific recommendations for alternate components and why. Thanks again for everyone's time!

 

Oh, and I'm looking to pull the trigger to buy in the next couple of weeks (Labor Day at the latest) to be ready for the Beta I hope to get into :)

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Here goes:

 

1) ASUS mobo's are the best IMHO, and they usually show some of the best OC's :evilgrin: You can't really go wrong with an ASUS mobo.

2) DDR3 is so cheap right now, soo many gd sticks to choose from! But, I am fan of Corsair when it comes to RAM, check this deal :biggrin:

3) CPU, you're right the 2500 is very solid, but I would spring for the extra $100 here and get the added oomph with the 2600K, but that is just me ;)

4) 1 6970 looks nice :thumbsup: , and 2 in CF looks real nice :evilgrin:

6) only thing I have some advice really :) Save and get a bigger SSD, if you are wanting to spring for it anyway! 32GB will go very fast, once you get a taste of an SSD, you wish everyday that you had more GBs of SSD space. You will really want your OS and Games on the same drive. I would wait until you can at least get a 60+ IMO

7) yep no need for anything bigger right now w/ just 1 6970

9) The HAF-X is BA, no doubt. But, you could opt for a cheaper CM case right here and grab that bigger SSD ;)

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Thanks for taking the time to review, much appreciated. Good tip on the memory, I'll add that particular model as I'm a corsair fan as well. Others I've talked to mention the SSD size increase as well, so I'll look into that as well. Again, thanks!

 

Anyone else have thoughts / improvements?

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I guess my take on the GPU would be hold onto your current card. I have built a remarkably similar setup in the last week (without any previous parts outside of an SSD) however I elected to hold off on buying an expensive graphics card. I now have a 3 24" monitor setup that is being run off a pair of 5450 cards that cost about $50 combined. I have a couple reasons for doing so:

 

1. I needed to get the monitors working so I can work at home

2. I didn't have any older graphics cards available, and this was about the cheapest way I could run three monitors

3. Virtually every review I've seen of the 6000 series cards has been disappointing, to say the least. My last computer used a 5850 on a Dell U2711 and it was fantastic, however the 6000 series has not really done much to one up that card in my opinion. In fact, I'm still seeing 5850s go for around the same price I sold mine for late last year. That's not to say the 6000 series isn't capable, but I feel like they charge too much for a mediocre improvement. Additionally, I see little reason to drop $300+ on a graphics card when AMD will inevitably bring out something better this Christmas. Hopefully considerably better, as I have zero intention of running multiple cards.

 

That said, until November I really won't have a heck of a lot of time to play any video games due to work. But considering you already own a 5850, why not hold onto it and see how well it performs in BF3? The beta is sure to be buggy anyway, and even the full game will undoubtedly run well on it if a few things are turned down. If you can put up with only above-average graphics for a few months and grab a card with new architecture towards Christmas you might be happier in the long run.

 

Just my two cents.

 

Oh, and for the record I went with an MSI P67 board for my 2500k, mostly because I have never liked Asus motherboards. It has performed admirably for the moment, though I have not done any serious overclocking yet.

Edited by technodanvan

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Good points..... Knowing the Eyefinity gobbles up VRAM, and my existing 5850 has just 1 GB, the jump to the 6970 doubles that and of course a 6990 x4. But no arguments that the 6xxx have not been as large a step forward as one would expect :(

 

In regards to the 7xxx series, has anyone heard an inklings on it - specifically the release date and VRAM amounts? I would guess 2GB would be pretty standard at this point, but maybe they'll model after the 6990 with a 4GB setup (one can hope anyway). Anyone heard anything?

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Motherboard: Gigabye Z68X-UD3H $165, if you're adamant about sticking with such a small SSD then the the Z68 chipset will allow it to be used for massive caching of frequently used programs. But for the best experience I highly recommend ATLEAST a 64GB, preferably 120GB+ and store your OS and most used games and programs on it.

 

I'd sell both Caviars and get one big 2TB storage drive too.

 

RAM: Patriot Sector 5 1600mhz 8GB $45 after MIR

 

The rest is fine, I'd check and see if you live near a Microcenter too because you can get the 2500K cheaper there than Newegg

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But for the best experience I highly recommend ATLEAST a 64GB, preferably 120GB+ and store your OS and most used games and programs on it.

 

From the feedback received I agree, looking at the 64GB range now

 

I'd sell both Caviars and get one big 2TB storage drive too.

 

Have had issues in the past with primary drives going down without a decent backup / swap - they're not the best drives by any stretch but gives me some safety

 

RAM: Patriot Sector 5 1600mhz 8GB $45 after MIR

 

 

Thanks - actually found some Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 (8GB) for $52. Good rating and most importantly at the 1.5v rating I needed for the i5 2500k

 

The rest is fine, I'd check and see if you live near a Microcenter too because you can get the 2500K cheaper there than Newegg

 

Spot on, snagged the i5 at MC for $179 - that was a lot cheaper than anywhere else, great tip!

Edited by WookinPaNub

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