Hello fellow MMO Champions !
My 2½ year old AMD Phenom II 550 and Geforce 250 GTS system never really fully delivered what I wanted it to. Basically I build it fast, because my previous system had broken down, so I just threw together something that would run WoW and be cheap. Sure the game runs pretty smooth but not with everything on ultra. But on Good/High settings I really don't have much in game performance problems. Keep in mind that since I build that system, the game have been updated to Cataclysm and now even have DX11 support. Ontop of that I have major problems with Fraps and other Video Capturing programs. Basically my game lags a lot while capturing / streaming, even at pretty low resolution. The reason is pretty obvious, my CPU is at 98-100% on both cores when I run those said programs. I need more JUICE !!!
I went into this upgrade plan with 5 major goals:
1) Play World of Warcraft in 1680x1050 with everything on High/Ultra.
2) The PC should be super silent, I'm not talking "ok silent" but VERY VERY silent so it can be on while I sleep / watch movies through DLNA on my TV.
3) Be able to stream / capture ~720p video with close to no influence of gaming quality.
4) Be able to play most "new" single player games the next 2 years in decent quality, and ofc new Blizzard titles.
5) Not cost a fortune; 6000 DKR budget (~900-1000 Euro/dollar), I live in the wealthy Scandinavia so hardware cost ~20% more than other places.
And here is what I have come up with:
CPU - Intel® Core™ i5-2500K
Motherboard - Asrock Z68 PRO3-m
RAM - Corsair DDR3-1600 VENGEANCE - 8GB
PSU - Seasonic x 400
CPU Cooling - Corsair H60
Graphics - Keeping my Geforce 250 GTS (Upgrade soon)
Harddisk1 - Keeping my 60GB OSZ SSD (For Win7 64bit + WoW)
Harddisk2 - Keeping my 2TB Samsung (For all other stuff; porn, random games, movies. You know the drill)
DVD - Keeping my DVD RW, Its not even plugged in atm. I only use it when I reinstall Windows
Chassis - Fractal Design Define Mini Micro-ATX Tower Chassis
Monitor - Keeping my Samsung Syncmaster 2243 running in 1680x1050
Ok, lets go into details for the individual choices:
CPU - (Intel® Core™ i5-2500K)
My first thought was to have a look at some up to date CPU charts so I found http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html
I had hoped I could just upgrade my CPU and that way save a lot of money by keeping my old ASUS M4A78 motherboard and 4GB DDR2 RAM. I checked out my current AMD Phenom 550 CPU and had to go to the http://www.cpubenchmark.net/mid_range_cpus.html where it scored a "terrible" 1,888 points. Then did a bit of research and found out that the best decent priced AMD CPU I could use in my current Motherboard would be AMD Phenom II X6 1100T scoring 6,299 points. Nice nice a 3x upgrade from my current system I thought but then it hit me, why is there SO many Intel CPU's above this one ? And I started doing some research and it turns out that AMD have almost given up on the CPU marked. Yes they just released a new Bulldozer CPU and it will get additional upgrades the next year. But this "new" CPU is not even much better than the current Phenom II X6 1100T so the future for AMD seems terrible. And even if I got a new motherboard it doesn't seem like AMD will deliver anything that can compete with Intel in the next few years.
So I began looking at Intel CPUs. After some intensive research it became obvious that the Intel CPU blows away any AMD CPU especially when it comes to WoW and also gaming general, I then managed to find this chart list for WoW http://www.anandtech.com/bench/CPU/62 and Intel i5-2500K is on the top. Good thing is that CPU also comes at a decent price. Intel will be releasing the next generation of CPU's, the Ivy Bridge soon. And with a new Motherboard I would most likely be able to upgrade to one of those next year if I wanted to. They will most likely blow AMD even further behind if all they have is the new Bulldozer.
Motherboard - (Asrock Z68 PRO3-m)
Ok, so I had decided on the Intel® Core™ i5-2500K CPU (Sandy Bridge) and needed to find a suitable Motherboard (1155 socket). It became obvious that I would want one with the z68 chipset, earlier and cheaper versions (P67) had some bugs and by the looks of it the z68 would be compatible with the upcoming Ivy Bridge Intel CPU series. I usually go for ASUS motherboards just out of nostalgia but my eyes fell on the Asrock Z68 PRO3-m http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.as...l=Z68%20Pro3-M (the -m is because I wanna use MicroATX). There is no reason to get a bigger motherboard since I will only need one PCI-E for the GFX card. And this way I can use smaller chassis. And this motherboard have everything I would want, USB3.0 and fast SATA controllers. But honestly I don't get why all motherboards these days need to have those onboard GPU's it just feels like waste to me as a gamer, since I will use a PCI-E graphics card anyways. So if anyone know of a z68 microATX motherboard without all this fancy stuff, just a super nice SATA controller, nice PCI-E slot for the GFX, USB 3.0, a decent onboard LAN and soundcard feel free to point me at its direction.
RAM - (Corsair VENGEANCE - DDR3-1600 8GB, 2x4GB modules)
Well, not much to say here. Most RAM these days seems the same so I just picked some Corsair modules. DDR3-1600 seems more than enough for WoW. Keep in mind I don't plan to be overclocking so just wanted to get something that was at a decent price and 8GB in size. If anyone know something I don't and wanna point me in some other direction feel free to.
PSU - (Seasonic x400 or x460)
In my current setup the most noisy part is actually my PSU when I play games. So I decided to research into some passive ones. And it seems like Seasonic have come up with a SUPER PSU without any fan, it even have the 80 PLUS Gold mark, because its so efficient and use high end components http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKgOxPIKdP4 ontop of that its a SINGLE rail and I only have to click in the cables I need (modular) so the inside of my chassis wont be full of unused cables and thus have much better airflow. I used this form to check how much Watt I actually need for my system http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp and it seems that 400w is more than enough for my system (95w CPU, 1 GFX, SSD HD, SATA HD) with no overclocking. My plan is to have the PSU in the BOTTOM of my chassis, so cold air can come in from the backside of the PSU, and as we know hot air goes up so it can be sucked out in the top of the chassis.
CPU Cooling - (Corsair H60)
My first thought was that since I wan't a quiet system I could go for a complete watercooled one, I had my looks on the Zalman RESERATOR 1 V2 or the RESERATOR XT those will take care of both the CPU and the GPU. But I ended up just going with a module just for the CPU, first of all its much cheaper and its a closed system so no chance of leak and it take up much less space. (No external module) After some youtubing and review reading I decided to go for the Corsair H60 http://www.hardwareheaven.com/review...roduction.html even though this review makes it look bad http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYe-aal6bOA - But there is a LOT of other people who have no problems with it. Also I will make sure there is decent airflow in my chassis. I also live in Scandinavia so its only hot here in the summers and that should help too. And ofc I won't be overclocking the CPU. I will replace the 120mm stock fan it comes with, most likely with some super super silent Scytes. The plan is to mount the heatsink/new fan on the top/back part inside my chassis with cold air being pulled in, and then have a 120mm super quiet fan at the top of the chassis blowing hot air out. Another reason for buying this module is that I plan on getting a new Passive GFX card, so no need for a CPU/GPU watercooling system for now (Can always try that out later, and most likely build my totally own system).
Harddisk - (Keeping my current)
I have a 2 year old OCZ SSD Summit Series 2,5" 60GB, I know this is a old fellah by now, but it still performs superb. So I see no reason to get a new SSD for my Win7 64bit, programs and WoW Installation. 60GB is enough just for that. I then have a 2TB Samsung HD externally attached through eSATA and I have all my games, movies, porn and other stuff stored on that. My plan is to move it inside the chassis and set it to power off after 15 min of idle.
DVD RW - (Keeping my current)
No reason to change this, at the moment its not even plugged into the power since I only use it when I re install Windows once a year. I could even put that installation onto a bootable USB stick and totally dump the DVD RW drive.
Graphics - (Keeping my Geforce 250 GTS for now)
For now I will keep my 2 year old Geforce 250 GTS, I know its very outdated and don't even support DX11, but I'm pretty sure that it will run WoW very nicely even in my new system, I modded it with a super super silent Accelero heatsink and fan when I bought it, so its super silent. And by the looks of it the lag I get when frapsing / streaming is a result of a too little CPU capacity, and not GPU.
My plan is to upgrade to a more advanced Passive GFX maybe one of these: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/gra...70-silent.html - But this will be when I have decided what sort of watercooling system to go with. And with two 120mm super silent fans placed strategically well in the chassis I should be able to use one of those passive GFX cards even without water cooling.
Chassis - (Fractal Design Define Mini Micro-ATX Tower Chassis)
Well here I'm really in doubt, but so far this is the most logic choise http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbaEfePyTCc - I have some requirements though: The PSU should be mounted in the bottom since its fanless = Don't want hot air to flow up into it. It should be for the mATX, I don't need some HUGE chassis for my setup, and it should have some sort of sound dampering. And the Fractal Design Define lives up to all this. I am open to suggestions though.
So does any of you have any comments on this setup, when you keep in mind that it HAVE TO BE super silent and well performing.
Is there something you would change. Or something you think I should consider ?