I'm sort of back. And have questions

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Dutch guy
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I'm sort of back. And have questions

Postby Dutch guy » 02 Oct 2013, 10:27

Sort off.

Overtime at work and the very little time I had for things like KSP got me thinking recently my computer is in DIRE need of a replacement. (currently running a single core AMD Athlon 64 3200, with 3 GB of RAM and a Radeon 4650 graphics card. KSP just lags too much on complex rockets to get a good launch for instance)


As I'm very out of touch with anything computer at the moment I thought I'd as some questions here. Mostly:

Mobo's: Asus, ASrock or MSI? (does it really matter?)
Videocard: ATI or Nvidia (i've been running ATI for the last gazillion years)

A first list I just randomly slapped together from a vendor site, which roughly fits my budget:

CPU: Intel Core i7 4820k
Mobo: ASUS P9X79
RAM: 4x4GB Kingston HyperX Beast DDR3-19200
GPU: MSI N760 TF 4GD5/OC (or MSI R7970 TF 3GD5)
PSU: Corsair CX750 750 watt
Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H80i Extreme (closed circuit water cooling)

Plus some other bits and bobs: WD Blue 250GB disk for OS and main system, WD green 1TB disk for data and assorted other, Asus Blu-ray/DVD combo drive.

Might treat myself and trow in 2 new monitors. (LG or Iiyama?)

Anyone care to share their thoughts?


Edited to remove irrelevant vent
Last edited by Dutch guy on 03 Oct 2013, 11:27, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I'm sort of back. And have questions

Postby AdmiralMemo » 03 Oct 2013, 08:21

I don't know much about hardware, but for video cards, I've gone by this: Want something reliable and stable? Go ATI. Want the latest and best? Go NVidia.

Also, monitors, I'd go with LG myself.
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Re: I'm sort of back. And have questions

Postby theashigaru » 03 Oct 2013, 10:00

You might want to wait a couple of weeks as AMD is releasing their new line of GPUs this month. For now they are looking really good as far as price/performance goes (but we don't have benchmarks yet, so we can't be sure). Those will be the R9 series.

In any case, they will drive Nvidia prices down which is good.

It depends on what your primary purpose for your system is, but if you're looking for a gaming rig, you might want to drop down to an i5 processor and sink that extra money into the GPU. You'll get better FPS out of it.

If you're doing something more processor intensive like video encoding or something, stick with the i7.
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Re: I'm sort of back. And have questions

Postby Dutch guy » 03 Oct 2013, 11:17

I was aiming for something sort of in the middle. Not really a gaming rig, not really processor heavy.

Dropping to an i5 doesn't even really save me THAT much. If I'm going to be dropping over 1500 Euros for a new machine anyway, I might just spend some more dosh on the GPU just to be safe. To be quite honest, I can't really see the forest through the trees when it comes to GPU's at the moment and I've got NO idea what might be good/bad value for money.
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Re: I'm sort of back. And have questions

Postby theashigaru » 03 Oct 2013, 15:30

Yeah, GPU shopping can be mystifying. The naming schemes don't really make a ton of sense.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the first number is the generation. E.g. the most current Nvidia cards are in the 7th generation, like the 770. The second number is pretty much the performance indicator. Enthusiast cards start at 60 for Nvidia and work their way up to 90, increasing in price and performance as they go.

AMD is somewhat different, but they are changing their branding with the R9 generation, and it will more closely resemble Nvidia’s naming.

Probably the two most easily comparable specs on cards will be the core clock speed and the amount of video RAM. From what I've seen, these are typically the factors that make the price change even if you're looking at the same model of card.

Basically, video RAM is going to be more important as your screen resolution increases. i.e. a multi-display setup like you are thinking about.

Higher core clock speed is going to be more important for all the really nice eye candy stuff like ambient occlusion and anti-aliasing. Obviously the chip itself is important here too though, as a 760 and a 770 might have similar clock speeds but the 770 will give you better performance every time.

For a long term investment I would definitely consider finding a card with more than 2Gb of VRAM, especially if you plan on adding an extra display. My current card, a GTX 570, has 1.2Gb of VRAM and is maxing out on games I’m playing right now like Arma3 and Rome2. I only have 1 display for the record.

The AMD R9 280x supposedly comes out next week, and might fall right in the range of what you’re looking for as far as price/performance goes. Rumors say it will be around $300. This is the one I’m strongly considering upgrading to once it’s out.

If you’re not in a hurry, waiting about a month probably would let Nvidia have time to respond with price changes and new models which might let you get an even better deal.
When it comes to brands, you’re probably ok with most of them. Just look on a site like Newegg to get a general idea of what people are saying.

The “top” brands in my opinion though are Sapphire for AMD cards and EVGA for Nvidia. Look for deals like free games and rebates though if you can find them. AMD’s Never Settle bundle is pretty nice as it lets you pick from several newer titles depending on what you like.

Finally, I will submit for your consideration this article from TomsHardware. They recently put together 4 PCs at different price points and compared their performances respectively. You might find it pretty informative to read through as you make your decision.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-your-own-pc-overclocking,3621.html

Hope this helps!
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Re: I'm sort of back. And have questions

Postby Volafortis » 03 Oct 2013, 21:36

For motherboards, Asus is the way to go.

I'd recommend Corsair RAM over that Kingston stuff, if it's in the budget.
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Re: I'm sort of back. And have questions

Postby Dutch guy » 04 Oct 2013, 07:49

Thanks for all the advice so far.

As I've just spend a large dolt of my "frivolous spending" budget on the LRR kickstarter this is not really in a hurry. I'm going to take your advice and wait a few weeks at least.

I'm wondering if an affordable card from the new R9 generation is going to be better than the high end card from last generation, which will probably drop to a similar price level.

As far as the article goes, it's pretty informative. I'm not going to be doing any overclocking though. I have too little knowledge on the matter and I see a few percent gain in performance as not worth the risk.


Corsair RAM over Kingston would have my preference too. But in terms of price it's going to be pushing the budget quite a bit...
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Re: I'm sort of back. And have questions

Postby Dutch guy » 04 Oct 2013, 08:27

After some more research, I found out the i7 4820 I originally picked is an Ivy Bridge-E design. Would it be better to switch it out with an i7 4770 with a Haswell core? Matching mobo's seem to be cheaper as well. (Going for an asus Z87-Pro would allow me to save nearly 100 Euros on the CPU+Mobo)

The problem with memory is basically, should I go for 1600 Mhz Corsair Vengeance, or 2400 Mhz Kingston? The corsair stuff at 2400 is just about double the price.

Holy shit am I bad at this...
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Re: I'm sort of back. And have questions

Postby Dutch guy » 04 Oct 2013, 08:36

Further research, if I were to go for the i7 4770 there is no use going for 2400 MHz memory as the processor only supports up to 1600 MHz it seems.
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Re: I'm sort of back. And have questions

Postby theashigaru » 04 Oct 2013, 09:56

Haswell is the latest generation of Intel CPUs, but the Ivy Bridge is fine. The performance increase between even the Sandy Bridge generation and the current Haswells isn't astounding. I would go with whatever you can get the cheapest CPU/mobo deal with.

If the price jump is double for the RAM with increased clock speed, the performance gain probably won't be comparable to that extra money you spend on it. Top-end components usually have dramatically diminishing cost/benefit ratios the more you pay.

Also, for your boot drive, is the WD Blue you mentioned solid state? That might be worth considering too. >10 second boot times are hard to beat.
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Re: I'm sort of back. And have questions

Postby Dutch guy » 04 Oct 2013, 10:54

It is not an SSD, no. I've considered it, but decided I don't really feel the decrease in boot time is really all that important to me. I'm usually not waiting on my PC to start anyway.

If I WERE to consider an SSD, what brand should I go for? I've heard quite some horror stories about dodgy disks and I'd rather not risk too much. I like my computer to be stable and reliable above all else.
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Re: I'm sort of back. And have questions

Postby Master Gunner » 04 Oct 2013, 12:39

I got a Samsung ssd not long ago, and holy shit it's awesome. I don't know how I ever lived without it.
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Re: I'm sort of back. And have questions

Postby theashigaru » 04 Oct 2013, 12:56

Master Gunner wrote:I got a Samsung ssd not long ago, and holy shit it's awesome. I don't know how I ever lived without it.


This.
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Re: I'm sort of back. And have questions

Postby Jamfalcon » 04 Oct 2013, 13:12

I just got one (Samsung as well) a couple weeks back. The boot times are nice, but since I leave my PC on all day, I haven't noticed too drastic of a difference. That said, I haven't tried running any games with previously long load times, or strenuous programs off of it.
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Re: I'm sort of back. And have questions

Postby Lord Chrusher » 04 Oct 2013, 23:20

My Macbook Air has a SSD and it is awesome. To regain my computer hardware cred I'm currently on the gaming rig that I built myself.
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Re: I'm sort of back. And have questions

Postby DewKnight » 06 Oct 2013, 01:10

I would really suggest going WD Black for your main drive and WD Red or Blue for storage (depending on how you're using the storage). The performance increase and the minor cost increase for the Black series is so worth it. Almost required if you plan on gaming.

Unless you plan on really overclocking a lot, you don't need water cooling. There are some really nice heatsinks out there that are quiet and cool.

I also suggest Cooler Master cases. They are rather quiet and have great airflow in general. I always stay away from aluminum. I hate flimsy cases.

I still don't really trust SSDs even though I probably should. They really are awesome especially for things like netbooks. I just have too much data that goes on my main drive to do an SSD.

Don't forget backups of your important data. Always keep a local and remote backup of your most important data. Well worth the cost.
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Re: I'm sort of back. And have questions

Postby Dutch guy » 06 Oct 2013, 02:47

I'm with you on the SSD front in that I still don't fully trust them. A drive where bits start failing and capacity will drop over time?? No thanks.

I'll look into a WD black drive. I was thinking of going for a green on the large drive as it is purely for data storage. As in stuff I don't need immediately. I wouldn't need fast access times as far as I can tell.

I didn't really pick the watercooling because I thought I needed massive cooling. I picked it because I want good cooling, but don't like the idea of a massive lump of aluminium and/or copper hanging from my motherboard as with a standard air cooled unit. With one of those closed circuit water cooling systems the big weight is in the radiator, safely mounted to the case.
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Re: I'm sort of back. And have questions

Postby DewKnight » 06 Oct 2013, 07:51

SSDs have a lot better error protection built in now and stop using bad bits, but yeah I still don't trust them.

If you're not storing stuff you're going to be accessing much then the green would be fine. If you're storing stuff like videos with high bitrates, I would think about upgrading. The green may struggle for you. The red is designed for NAS use. I use them for storing my main media collection. They are lower power like the green drive, but better for random file accessing. They also have a longer warranty.

Don't worry about the heatsink weight. Motherboards are built for that. I would consider a different motherboard though. The one you listed is pretty pricey and doesn't have the greatest reviews. If you're not going to use the full features then something around $150-$175 would be good. I like ASUS boards a lot.

Here is the heatsink I use. Affordable, not too heavy, and ridiculously cool. If you end up overclocking you can always add a second fan: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005O65JXI

One downside of traditional heatsinks is memory and GPU clearance. It is a lot better now (and that one I linked the fan height can be adjusted). I used to have to measure crap all of the time when using nice heatsink in builds.

More thoughts: I really would suggest black for the main drive if you're going to be gaming. The performance increase is really, really worth it. Either works for the storage drive.

Also, look at the price differences between the 250GB and the 750GB-1TB. The difference isn't that big. Might be worth the small investment now. Future you will thank past you.

I can't really comment on processors right now, I haven't been keeping track of them. But check benchmarks on a few sites for your CPU and GPU to get the best for your dollar. Sometimes a minor clockspeed increase is something like $50. Not usually worth it.

Okay, that's enough rambling.
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Re: I'm sort of back. And have questions

Postby Master Gunner » 06 Oct 2013, 14:11

Early SSDs were certainly problematic and had high failure rates. Modern ones are pretty good and only getting better though, they may still have a shorter mean time to failure than the spinning disks, but it's still long enough that it should last you until your next upgrade cycle, and I feel the performance boost is worth it.
Personally, I put the stuff I use on a daily basis and benefits the most from better performance (which also tends to be much more read-heavy than write-heavy) on the SSD: OS, browsers, office/dev tools, and whatever my main game currently is. Everything else (media and less-played games, mostly) goes on the platters of my old drives (though I plan to upgrade those to faster disks soon). This is the drive I have.

I was hesitant about trying liquid cooling for the longest time, but I also love it now that I've tried it. My computer is almost unreasonably quiet now. This is the cooler I picked, it's completely sealed, so I wouldn't recommend it if you want to customize your cooling, but it was a fairly straightforward install and works great for me.

Here is the full parts list for my computer, which I put together back in April. It's not quite what I'd put together now (in April I was finishing up my last year of uni, hadn't confirmed a job yet, and my old desktop just died, so money/time was a bit tight), but I don't have any complaints on the way I went.
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Re: I'm sort of back. And have questions

Postby Jamfalcon » 06 Oct 2013, 14:53

Master Gunner wrote:This is the drive I have.

Exactly the same one as me. Woo, SSD buddies!

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Re: I'm sort of back. And have questions

Postby theashigaru » 31 Oct 2013, 14:51

So the graphics card results are in mostly, if you're still looking.

AMD has released everything from their new generation except for the R9 290, and Nvidia has responded accordingly by dropping their prices, adding game bundles, and announcing one new card, the GTX 780ti.

If you want new games, Nvidia's deals are really good (and better if you want a SHIELD).

An Nvidia GTX 770 will run you around 330USD and it comes with three rather new AAA games: Batman - Arkham Origins, Assassins Creed 4, and the new Splinter Cell.

AMD's R9 280x is right at 300USD. It doesn't come with any games.

Performance is roughly equal for both, though the edge would probably go to the 280x just because of the extra Gb of memory.

In the next bracket down we have the GTX 760, the R9 270x, and (AMD's holdover from last gen) the HD 7870.

Results really seem pretty even here to me. Neither the 760 or the 270x have a decisive performance advantage. Nvidia does still have it's game offer, although not with Batman on this tier, but it's also 50USD more expensive than the 270x.

The HD 7870 brings up the rear in performance, but it also has the lowest price. It also comes with two games, but they aren't nearly as current as Nvidia's offer (but you do get to choose what you like).


Overall, I think the sweet spot depends on if you like Nvidia's game options. The GTX 770 is a really good deal if you do. For 389USD, you can even get a 4Gb version, which eliminates any VRAM issues during the card's lifetime.

If you don't like the games, then I would throw my money behind the R9 270x. 200USD will get you a good mid-range card that's not breaking the bank, and since you're not looking to play bleeding edge AAA titles, the extra horsepower isn't worth spending the money on. Plus, in 1 1/2 to 2 years, you can put the money you saved toward a newer card -- or just spend it now on a girl or something :D

Best of luck on your PC build, Dutch!
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