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  1. #1

    Please help me with my build!

    Hello people, allow me to introduce myself.
    When I was a wee lad I was a computer gamer. I remember on my 13th birthday my dad bought my first pc for me from a local builder, and i had to beg to get a acceptable video card (dad is kinda..... frugal) and ended up with a geforce 2 xxxx lol. Well it was a few short years before every new game became unplayable even on the lowest of settings. Unable to afford a better computer and my dad unwilling to shell out again I had no choice but to eventually buy a xbox 360 little did I know the depressing journey I was about to embark upon. For 4 years or so I have been unfortunately building a xbox games library. At the time I forced myself to overlook the extra cost for console games and had to give up one of my favorite genres: rts. There were so many great games pc exclusive(like planetside 1, looking forward to planetside 2 though, baby!!!)!! The worst part was the control. Oh man that controller DESTROYED my wrist so I finally discovered the xim3, allowing me to resurrect my fps mastery onto my xbox. The xbox community was not prepared for the COD boss I became but alas the COD series itself and the lack of a challenger made me bitter, to the point that another skilled player wasn't refreshing but rather just pissed me off. It was time for a change...

    Well I've been saving for awhile for a new gaming pc. I have spent months searching for the best builder while in the back of my mind I considered building myself. I lacked the confidence to be honest but I began reading about it and watching videos out of curiosity. This is how a stumbled across this board a few weeks back and it was in this very forum where members reiterated frankly the ole meme of "like putting together a lego set" that I was convinced I could do it myself. So I've done some research and assembled a list of components that I would like to run past this community for inspection. A whole lot has changed since I've been on the pc hardware scene and this will be my very first build. Please tell me as you look over my components list if you feel any part is over or under-powered in comparison to the rest of the pc and why. or if you feel a component is poorly selected or of poor quality and would like to suggest an alternative. this is my tentative build and I really want some people in the know to weigh in.

    Thank you

    Thermaltake Level 10 GT
    Intel Core i7-3930K
    MSI N680GTX Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC GeForce GTX 680 2GB
    ASUS P9X79 PRO LGA 2011 (im really considering the deluxe here)
    SeaSonic X-SERIES X-1050 (i believe i found seasonic recommended even as a top tier psu in these forums)
    corsair h100 (not the i version, seems to new and problem ridden. i do NOT want to build a custom liquid cooling at this stage in the game, let me put this thing together a enjoy for a minute first !!)
    G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) (whats better z or x series or another manufacturer altogether)
    ssd for operating system

    anybody have good thought on this for a mechanical keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K90? better suggestion?
    I need a decent blu ray drive also as this will serve a a media center for me as well, one that plays 3d blu ray because one day i plan on going to 3d a little for movies.

    as a side note i plan on ordering everything from newegg.

    Sorry my grammer and capitalization broke down as i went on and thanks for everything guys i really appreciate your help!

    btw the ram is 2133 mhz and cas 9
    and i'm having difficulty with the sound card decision
    Last edited by MastaMcKay; 2012-12-15 at 09:09 AM.

  2. #2
    Herald of the Titans shroudster's Avatar
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    got a budget? can already see a couple of tweaks being possible
    cpu overkill, ram aswell also any specific wishes in regards to the case?

  3. #3
    3930k o.o ...that's $1100~ alone here....wowza

    Edit; $580 here...thought it was more xD
    Last edited by Hunter Extraordinaire; 2012-12-15 at 09:40 AM.

  4. #4
    My budget has some flexibility, around 2.5k or so but under 3k and that would be including a 128 and 500gb ssd. I've been saving for a long time and I don't want to cut any corners to prevent this from being a (fairly future proof) beast of a pc capable to max everything for awhile. i want to have top of the line components but at the same time i don't want to be taken for that last tippy top tier piece (like 3960x is $500 more for 3mb more cache yeah right!). i figured i would need strong cpu for really smooth max graphics gameplay on mmo's like planetside 2 (at lease that's what people are saying). if i'm being way too excessive sure i will tone it down and save for things like food (seriously) but my thought is if i go less on the processor i'll be stuck upgrading in a year or so with new games and updates and that may mean new socket type and new motherboard/everything. the ram was chosen for essentially the same reason, i know no games are using more than a couple gb's or so but i wanted some head room.

    I am going for now with thermaltake level 10 gt for the case. I chose it because i generally like the way it looks and the way it's accessed. specifically i really like the wire management features (with other side panel back area for all the wires) and it seems to have good cooling capability (some have wrote).

    thanks for the response btw

    ---------- Post added 2012-12-15 at 04:45 AM ----------

    yeah im not jumping on the 3960x which is accurately like a 1k cpu. and for 3mb more cache than 3930k. its just everywhere i read says mmo's demand a powerful cpu and i want to have great performance for at least a couple years without the need to upgrade.

    or is it more cost effective to get great performance with a lesser chip and do upgrade in a year or 2 or ???

  5. #5
    Herald of the Titans shroudster's Avatar
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    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($319.99 @ Newegg)
    CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($80.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($144.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($139.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($139.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 680 2GB Video Card
    Case: Thermaltake Level 10 GTS Snow Edition (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($129.98 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Corsair Professional 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($104.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB/RSBS DVD/CD Writer ($18.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $1234.89
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-15 04:44 EST-0500)

    with this as a basis to start from there are loads of options if you really want to spend that budget
    the ssd's are intended for raid 0 setup and ofc you could pick bigger ones if you want more storage but that is what the wd green is intended for mostly.
    SLI if you want more gpu power.

    edit: for gaming a hexa (6) core has close to no gain over a quad (4) core cpu perhaps in the 1% range since most games cannot even use 6 cores.
    Last edited by shroudster; 2012-12-15 at 09:52 AM.

  6. #6
    its not that i specifically tried to reach that amount i just felt obligated to say "well just that one higher tier to really be awesome" over and over again and that's where i ended up.

    the 3930k is 250 more, i could part with that if that's what it took to achieve seamless performance. but if the 3770 can handle planetside 2 and swtor maxed out with ease for a long time of course i'd rather save.

    i saw good things about the nhd14 its just so ugly! i did really like some zalman air coolers the reason i considered water loop is for good performance and to not have to worry about conflict with ram

    the mhz of the ram doesn't seem to matter to people who know a lot. i just feel better with 2133 but everyone says there will be no noticeable differance from 1600

    i want to use only ssd's (ill start with a couple and add more as i run out of space). the reason i stopped considering raid, however, was it seemed to be a little inefficient in regards to use of space and there is a big debate on how big of units to use (4k / 8k/ 32k/ 128k etc) and i just wanted to stay away from that debate to be honest and just do plain jane ssd which is already quite fast. how super amazing is ssd in raid config and is it hard to set up? i want my os to have it's own small ssd though that nothing else gets installed on to avoid clutter and reduction in speed.

    i really like the looks of the zotac brand of gtx 680 looks really cool, but hows it stack against msi? i've read alot of good things about msi and it's cooling (not so good things about the evga and they seem to get all the attention and hype). i didn't jump on sli because one 680 seems for than sufficient for now and i figure i can add a second when it becomes necessary.

    i really gotta stick with the larger thermaltake level 10 gt. that mid size case just makes me depressed

    if you were to bump up to a 2k or so budget where would you go with it? 2.5k?

  7. #7
    Herald of the Titans shroudster's Avatar
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    Well at work now but can fine tune things easy tonight for ya.
    Raid is very simple now and cooler is easy to swap.

  8. #8
    I am Murloc! Xuvial's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MastaMcKay View Post
    its not that i specifically tried to reach that amount i just felt obligated to say "well just that one higher tier to really be awesome" over and over again and that's where i ended up.

    the 3930k is 250 more, i could part with that if that's what it took to achieve seamless performance. but if the 3770 can handle planetside 2 and swtor maxed out with ease for a long time of course i'd rather save.
    CPU-heavy games value clocks more than cores/threads, most games don't even know what to do with more than 3 threads let alone 12. An i5 3570K @ 4.5ghz will outright slaughter through any game available today (or tomorrow), a 3770K kicks in with hyperthreading which a select few games are capable of making use of...but said games are always GPU-capped first (i.e. BF3 or Crysis 2). A 3930K is really aimed at folding/rendering/workstation beasts, not gaming machines.

    Quote Originally Posted by MastaMcKay View Post
    i saw good things about the nhd14 its just so ugly! i did really like some zalman air coolers the reason i considered water loop is for good performance and to not have to worry about conflict with ram
    Yup other than D14, H100/H100i is one of the best you'll get today. Here's what I know about H100i so far, 99% of it's issues appear to be related to the fan control/Corsair link. Corsair just can't seem to fix that shit even after the firmware updates.
    But all this can be solved by using your own fan controller which is a must if you want to keep your PC quiet during idle/non-gaming periods. I have my H100 fans plugged into my Storm Sniper's controller, most high-end cases come with inbuilt controllers. Or you can just get a nice independent controller. Anything which allows you to rev your fans up or down at will...viola, H100i issues gone!

    My best recommendation would be to buy a H100i, an additional 2xSP120 (twin pack), set it up in push/pull, connect all 4 fans to a separate controller and you just got yourself the absolute best possible cooling available short of going with a custom loop.

    Quote Originally Posted by MastaMcKay View Post
    the mhz of the ram doesn't seem to matter to people who know a lot. i just feel better with 2133 but everyone says there will be no noticeable differance from 1600
    Remember that when you plug in the RAM it will most likely default to 1333/1600mhz, you'll need to manually ramp it up to 2133mhz - and the catch is that you'll be putting far more strain on the memory controller (1.65v at least!), on top of potentially introducing a whole heap of instability when OC'ing your CPU (and it's the CPU OC which makes the difference). CPU+RAM need to work as one, so the higher the RAM clocks/voltage the higher the chance of instability...which is why most people just go for a low-voltage, low-latency 1600/1866mhz kit (1.5v max, CL7/CL8). Focus your attention on getting the CPU going all-out.

    Quote Originally Posted by MastaMcKay View Post
    i want to use only ssd's (ill start with a couple and add more as i run out of space). the reason i stopped considering raid, however, was it seemed to be a little inefficient in regards to use of space and there is a big debate on how big of units to use (4k / 8k/ 32k/ 128k etc) and i just wanted to stay away from that debate to be honest and just do plain jane ssd which is already quite fast. how super amazing is ssd in raid config and is it hard to set up? i want my os to have it's own small ssd though that nothing else gets installed on to avoid clutter and reduction in speed.
    I don't know about this, never done Raid0 SSD's. The real-world performance increase over a single SSD is negligible at best. On my old Vertex 2 90GB the boot times are almost exactly the same as my new Samsung 830 128GB (maybe 0.5 sec here or there)...and the Samsung is almost twice as fast in specs, yes it's connected to a 6gb/s port. Game load times are also mostly unchanged. Go figure.

    Quote Originally Posted by MastaMcKay View Post
    i really like the looks of the zotac brand of gtx 680 looks really cool, but hows it stack against msi? i've read alot of good things about msi and it's cooling (not so good things about the evga and they seem to get all the attention and hype). i didn't jump on sli because one 680 seems for than sufficient for now and i figure i can add a second when it becomes necessary.
    MSI, Zotac, PNY, whatever...the most important thing with aftermarket GPU's (for me at least) is noise, followed by warranty. It's where these cards can differ from each other the most. Temperatures and performance are mostly irrelevant since they all run amazingly cool, you can adjust the clocks yourself, it is literally impossible to run into temperature issues while overclocking because you'll hit the brick wall of voltage first. Zotac is notorious for their aggressive factory clocks, some of the highest out there. Both Zotac and MSI sacrifice noise for performance. I'm personally a Gigabyte/Asus guy, prefer their quiet cards and you can OC those to within ~1% to Zotac/MSI cards anyway, lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by MastaMcKay View Post
    i really gotta stick with the larger thermaltake level 10 gt. that mid size case just makes me depressed
    Aww, sure you don't want something like a Cosmos II? Level 10 GT looks a tad too far in the "experimental" direction for most.

    Quote Originally Posted by MastaMcKay View Post
    if you were to bump up to a 2k or so budget where would you go with it? 2.5k?
    Probably another GTX680 for SLI and a 256/512GB SSD. There's not much more you can do other than that, it's like trying to spend $1k+ on a cellphone - there's only so much you can spend before you hit the performance plateau.

    Honestly, if I had that much lying around you know what I would spend it on? A fucking AWESOME set of speakers/headphones + a soundcard...I mean I'm fully satisfied with my Xonar STX + HD558/SP2500, but it can get waaay better. A huge IPS/PLS monitor maybe, coupled with a 4GB Asus GTX680 DCII (it's dual slot!). Peripherals can get very expensive if you want the good stuff
    Last edited by Xuvial; 2012-12-15 at 12:20 PM.

  9. #9
    Herald of the Titans shroudster's Avatar
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    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($319.99 @ Amazon)
    CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i 77.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($109.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($144.99 @ NCIX US)
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($39.99 @ Microcenter)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ B&H)
    Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($121.74 @ Mwave)
    Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($121.74 @ Mwave)
    Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 680 2GB Video Card ($509.98 @ NCIX US)
    Sound Card: Asus Xonar Essence STX 24-bit 192 KHz Sound Card ($180.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Case: Thermaltake VN10001W2N ATX Full Tower Case ($195.84 @ NCIX US)
    Power Supply: Corsair Professional 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($104.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB/RSBS DVD/CD Writer ($20.99 @ Amazon)
    Total: $1961.22
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-15 14:27 EST-0500)

    picked the h100i due to firmware update likely fixing the minor issues with it and the gains in control of fans are worth it.
    you got other room for getting awesome headset and IPS screen or going sli if you really want to get closer to that 2.5k mark, however this build is already beastly performance wise.

  10. #10
    I am Murloc! Xuvial's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shroudster View Post
    Not this one. Grab a low-profile kit like Vengeance LP or Mushkin RAM, both are sexy. Might as well go for 16GB while we're at it, would suit the build/budget :P

  11. #11
    Herald of the Titans shroudster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xuvial View Post
    Not this one. Grab a low-profile kit like Vengeance LP or Mushkin RAM, both are sexy. Might as well go for 16GB while we're at it, would suit the build/budget :P
    screw it 32gb then?
    also perhaps more important how is the OP in regards to peripherals? (since he moved from console he might not have them?)

  12. #12
    alright you guys have totally brought me back in to reality and helped me understand my priorities here. I'm so glad i came here first because i know i have a problem where i save and then go and do something stupid like i was with my original build.

    so i've decided to tone it down a bit with the cpu and i'm looking at the 300-320 range and there are a LOT of options and i'm not too savvy. i would like to have the hyper threading to future proof the cpu a bit. i'm looking right now at the 3770k and 2700k and honestly i don't know which is a better bet or even one of the several others around this price point. i figure when the gpu begins to lack i'll throw in a second card.

    with the h100i if i bypass the corsair link to get away from it's flaws don't i also lose control over pump functionality and information? is this essential? is it better to go with the h100 or can i really get by the problems simply with new fans and controller (which i'm willing to do) for what appears to be better tubing and improved pump, even? (nzxt sentry 2?)

    since the processors i'm considering now state they are dual channel memory should i be going with two sticks? is 8 gbs sufficient, really sufficient, then i'll throw in additional down the road? corsair vengeance 2x4gb cas 7 voltage 1.5

    as far as the gtx 680 goes is in worth the extra 100 or so for a 4gb vs the 2gb model?

    i really appreciate the looks and functionality of the thermaltake level 10 gt, and i have something for that little mobo viewing window . i did consider the cosmos ii but what made me lean to the level 10 gt was the significantly cheaper cost (plus) the looks and also that it has intake fan filters. i like the idea of not building tons of dust on my components but rather cleaning a filter occasionally or is this an ineffective pipe dream?

    i do need to know what soundcard will really deliver. on the xbox360 i was loving the surround sound of my turtle beach headphones (something i never had in my pc days and cannot give up) but they are a couple years old and i am refreshing everything here. quality sound is imperative for me. thing is with the xbox it was simple to connect the base of the turtle beach into the xbox via single optical cord. these sound cards have "optical ports" but they are round and don't look anything like the "optical port" on my xbox or u-verse receiver; weird. (xonar stx does look solid reviews wise)

    as far as headphones go i was looking at astro a50. will these provide quality surround and wireless microphone capability? seems like it except i don't really know about the wireless mic thing. are there quality headphones and mic fully wireless for pc that work with the sound card? wireless is important to me.

    as far as monitor goes i planned on hijacking the same 1080p 37in tv i've been using for my xbox these last few years. and i recognize that pc gaming makes a lot more use of small text that really demand a more up close and personal viewing experience like traditional monitor (i used to game monitor style back in the day on the pc) but i was really considering eventually getting a quality hd projector to make my wall my gaming monitor or is this just unreasonable? i mean, i could sit really close lol
    yeah you know looking at monitors i'm realizing projector may be good for movies and even xbox but pc gaming require way more precision. i really wish it would work, though.

    i already have a solid mouse (logitech g700, i like it overall but idk about the ergonomics) because i've been kb/m gaming on 360 (pwning their weak mortal gamepads) using the xim 3. however i will need a new keyboard because mine is lame $10 literally from walmart lol. considering the usual run down of mechanical options.

    thanks both of you xuvial and shroudster for you help and feedback i really appreciate it. my current ideas are coming close to what you posted recently, shroudster; im going to try to use that tool right now to really narrow it down so you guys can soak it all in together.

  13. #13
    Herald of the Titans shroudster's Avatar
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    alright trying to make it in a nutshell,
    CPU: best choices out there for gaming are the i5-3570k or i7-3770k, hyperthreading is usefull at times main reason why i picked a 2600k over a 2500k last year.
    cpu cooler: no need for all such tweaking only a small amount of the H100i's has issues, the others work just fine and allow for full control through corsair software.
    ram: 8gb should be fine , CAS timings below 10 are usually just more expensive with very little if any gain in actual performance.
    GPU Vram: 2gb suffices for gaming on 1080p 4gb has a little edge when playing at 1440p or eyefinity alike setups.
    sound: the soundcard is a very good one , high end headphones xuvial knows more about.
    however sennheiser/AKG are two good brands among many others.
    screen : pc gaming max screen size is 27" which would be 1440p, using a TV as a pc screen usually gives worse screen quality due to too big pixels for the resolution it can use. (also response times of tv's are worse)

  14. #14
    Brewmaster Biernot's Avatar
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    If you don't like the the looks of the Noctua Fans, but are "afraid" of the Corsair H100i, check out the Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro 2 or the NZXT Havik 140. I could also mention the Thermalright Silver Arrow, but it is not really much more beautiful than the Noctua NH-D14.

  15. #15
    I am Murloc! Xuvial's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MastaMcKay View Post
    so i've decided to tone it down a bit with the cpu and i'm looking at the 300-320 range and there are a LOT of options and i'm not too savvy. i would like to have the hyper threading to future proof the cpu a bit. i'm looking right now at the 3770k and 2700k and honestly i don't know which is a better bet or even one of the several others around this price point. i figure when the gpu begins to lack i'll throw in a second card.
    i7 3770K > i7 2700K.
    Basically all the i3/i5/i7 3000 series are Ivy Bridge, and i3/i5/i7 2000 series are Sandy Bridge. Ivy came after Sandy, it is the latest stuff - so that's what you want
    All other products you're seeing are irrelevant, the Intel CPU lineup is pretty simple. You either go for i5 3570K (the gaming powerhouse) or i7 3770K (hyperthreaded gaming powerhouse).

    Quote Originally Posted by MastaMcKay View Post
    with the h100i if i bypass the corsair link to get away from it's flaws don't i also lose control over pump functionality and information? is this essential? is it better to go with the h100 or can i really get by the problems simply with new fans and controller (which i'm willing to do) for what appears to be better tubing and improved pump, even? (nzxt sentry 2?)
    Oh dear...you're actually right. I can't believe this whole time I didn't notice that one of the biggest differences between H100 and H100i is the "pump button" that the H100 has in the middle, you push it and select between 3 pump speed presets. It appears H100i doesn't have this and is controlled entirely with software. Bleh.
    Actually even the H100's fan control system isn't all that great, it still loves to rev fans at 2000rpm when you start your machine and I still always plug all my fans into a controller. It's the only real flaw.

    Anyway regarding the fan controller, the Level 10 GT has an inbuilt one so give that a shot. You will disconnect + remove the top 200mm fan, mount H100 there and plug fans to the molex connector initially powering the 200mm. Unlike the NZXT Sentry you won't have individual control of fans, you either turn all of them up or down. If you want the ability to control CPU fans only, then yeah the Sentry is a good choice.
    Not one I'd personally go for because I prefer physical dials to touchscreen controls so I can control fans without looking, no gimmicky screen, etc. Sunbeam makes AWESOME fan controllers with dials, they have plenty of offerings on Newegg.

    Quote Originally Posted by MastaMcKay View Post
    since the processors i'm considering now state they are dual channel memory should i be going with two sticks? is 8 gbs sufficient, really sufficient, then i'll throw in additional down the road? corsair vengeance 2x4gb cas 7 voltage 1.5

    as far as the gtx 680 goes is in worth the extra 100 or so for a 4gb vs the 2gb model?
    Unless you're an application whore i.e. someone who keeps opening lots of shit at the same time, or works with stuff like Photoshop/Premier a lot...you won't need more than 8GB for now.
    The cas 7 RAM you mentioned sounds potentially expensive, I couldn't find any 2x4GB CAS7 1.5v RAM on Newegg. Could you link please? But yeah the general idea is to make use of dual/quad channel and go with 2/4 sticks, never 1. So for 8GB you would go with 2x4gb, for 16GB you would go for 2x8 or 4x4.

    Quote Originally Posted by MastaMcKay View Post
    i really appreciate the looks and functionality of the thermaltake level 10 gt, and i have something for that little mobo viewing window . i did consider the cosmos ii but what made me lean to the level 10 gt was the significantly cheaper cost (plus) the looks and also that it has intake fan filters. i like the idea of not building tons of dust on my components but rather cleaning a filter occasionally or is this an ineffective pipe dream?
    Fair enough. Dust is something that really depends on what sort of environment the PC is sitting in, where you live, etc. The dust levels in the air are different, in more urban environments they'll be higher, further out in the country they'll be lower. Level 10 GT really goes all-out with filters which is nice to see.

    For e.g. I'm an absolute nutter and keep my PC + all peripherals under a big tablecloth when I'm not using it (it only takes 1 second to put it on or take it off, what the hell right?). The result is that I clean my computer out maybe once a YEAR if even that, my keyboard/mousepad/benchtop/flat surfaces remain clean and that's that.

    Quote Originally Posted by MastaMcKay View Post
    i do need to know what soundcard will really deliver. on the xbox360 i was loving the surround sound of my turtle beach headphones (something i never had in my pc days and cannot give up) but they are a couple years old and i am refreshing everything here. quality sound is imperative for me. thing is with the xbox it was simple to connect the base of the turtle beach into the xbox via single optical cord. these sound cards have "optical ports" but they are round and don't look anything like the "optical port" on my xbox or u-verse receiver; weird. (xonar stx does look solid reviews wise)

    as far as headphones go i was looking at astro a50. will these provide quality surround and wireless microphone capability? seems like it except i don't really know about the wireless mic thing. are there quality headphones and mic fully wireless for pc that work with the sound card? wireless is important to me.
    Whoooo alright alright, audio peripherals, here we go...
    If the most you've heard are Turtle Beaches plugged into an XBox then your ears haven't even come close to hearing the kind of audio quality that PC soundcards + headphones can deliver.
    Firstly, ports. Mostly with audio you don't use optical ports, you use 3.5mm or 6.3mm jacks - 3.5mm is *the* standard audio port that you'll find on everything from mp3 players, phones, PC's, sound cards, etc etc.

    The best balance of audio is good input (sound card) and good output (headphones/speakers). A Xonar STX is pretty much the the premiuim-grade of sound cards, but it's a little too much for someone just getting into audio - I would recommend scaling down to a Xonar DX or DS. How much are you willing to spend on headphones, how much do you value quality? A Xonar STX can happily drive headphones ranging from $100-$1500. Yes, $1500. Easily.

    Then there's the whole headphone vs headset debate. A dilemma gamers face is that high-quality headSETS (headphones + microphone) are either very difficult to come by or are very expensive. The only one I can recommend if you genuinely value audio quality is Sennheiser PC360, which will set you back $190-200 on Amazon. It's about as good as headsets get in terms of audio quality.
    There are cheaper alternatives like Corsair Vengeance 1500, a highly acclaimed headset by most PC gamers.

    But the best recommendation you'll hear on these forums is to buy a set of stereo headphones and a seperate microphine, either clip-on or desktop. A set of Audio Technica ATH-AD700's will sound around the same quality as Sennheiser PC360's and are going for $99 on Amazon, to which you then attach a Zalman ZM-Mic1 mic or a Logitech USB Desktop mic (I use this along with Sennheiser HD558's).

    Your final and cheapest option is to stick it out with the Turtle Beaches and onboard sound. See how you like it and see if you're left wanting more.

    Quote Originally Posted by MastaMcKay View Post
    as far as monitor goes i planned on hijacking the same 1080p 37in tv i've been using for my xbox these last few years. and i recognize that pc gaming makes a lot more use of small text that really demand a more up close and personal viewing experience like traditional monitor (i used to game monitor style back in the day on the pc) but i was really considering eventually getting a quality hd projector to make my wall my gaming monitor or is this just unreasonable? i mean, i could sit really close lol
    yeah you know looking at monitors i'm realizing projector may be good for movies and even xbox but pc gaming require way more precision. i really wish it would work, though.
    Projectors are out of the question, the input/display lag would be nothing short of horrible for gaming. Color/contrast also goes out the window if your room isn't 99% dark. I'm not even going to get into projectors lol >_<
    A 37" screen @ 1080p will also mean you're getting some pretty nasty pixelation on the finer aspects like text, especially since you'll be sitting a lot closer. For most purposes even a 26-27" monitor is considered HUGE when you're only sitting 2 feet away, most gamers make do with a 23-24".
    You need a proper monitor good sir, connecting a GTX680 to a TV is just....bleueeeegh.

    SO regarding monitors - what do you value most? Accurate colors+viewing angles, or raw performance + minimal input lag? For the first one you want an IPS or PLS monitor, and for the second one you want a 120hz monitor. Pick one and then I can recommend some brands/models ^_^

    Quote Originally Posted by MastaMcKay View Post
    i already have a solid mouse (logitech g700, i like it overall but idk about the ergonomics) because i've been kb/m gaming on 360 (pwning their weak mortal gamepads) using the xim 3. however i will need a new keyboard because mine is lame $10 literally from walmart lol. considering the usual run down of mechanical options.
    G700 is great, stick with that. Mechanical keyboards, hmm lets see:
    Corsair K60, Corsair K90, CM Storm Quickfire Rapid/Pro, CM Storm Trigger, Razer Blackwidow. All great and offered in a variety of switches. Check'em out, see what you like and then we'll get into what switches may suit you.

    Lots to think about!
    Last edited by Xuvial; 2012-12-16 at 05:18 PM.

  16. #16
    Brewmaster Biernot's Avatar
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    Your final and cheapest option is to stick it out with the Turtle Beaches and onboard sound. See how you like it and see if you're left wanting more.
    I think that is the best advice. Because if that does not suffice, you can easily upgrade later. Onboard sound can be pretty decent nowadays, but sometimes you get nasty interference (especially from usb activity ***), and then a dedicated sound card is the only way to get rid of it.

    *** Depending on the board layout, sometimes the lanes for sound and usb on the motherboard are wired "sub-optimal" and as soon as there is activity on the usb ports, you get some nasty noises on your speakers/headphones.

  17. #17
    Alright so I put together a near-final build list for your assessment:

    PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/sTJ9
    Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/sTJ9/by_merchant/
    Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/sTJ9/benchmarks/

    CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($319.99 @ Newegg)
    CPU Cooler: Corsair H100 92.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($94.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($189.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($84.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: OCZ Agility 3 480GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($299.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Intel 520 Series Cherryville 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($139.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 680 2GB Video Card ($449.99 @ Newegg)
    Sound Card: Asus Xonar Essence STX 24-bit 192 KHz Sound Card ($185.99 @ Newegg)
    Case: Thermaltake VN10001W2N ATX Full Tower Case ($209.98 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: SeaSonic X Series 1050W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($211.82 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($24.98 @ Newegg)
    Monitor: Asus VH236H 23.0" Monitor ($149.99 @ Newegg)
    Keyboard: Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Wired Gaming Keyboard ($113.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $2458.68
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-17 06:26 EST-0500)

    I chose for everything to come from newegg since I really plan on ordering everything from there anyways, unless there is a reason I shouldn't.

    A few questions:

    Is asus a solid mobo builder, and did I choose a good board (is there an advantage to getting the pro or deluxe versions)?

    I'm looking for a solid low cost optical drive just for installation of the os really and to play dvds. How is what I chose? Also it is the OEM version, will I need to purchase cables on the side to hook it up?

    The monitor I chose was really on a whim. It looks decent and seems like it would do but I really didn't put in the time to finalize the decision there I'm looking for suggestions here. I want a good response time (to reduce lag, right?) but I want it to produce really beautiful images, that is my #1 priority.

    I can't decide whether or not to go Sennheiser PC 360 or separate mic and headphones. My first instinct is go the separate mic and headphone route but I can't get over the thought of extra hassle with figuring out where to clip the mic. And in summer I'm running a rather noisy ac in the room with me and I'm thinking I'll need the mic really close to my mouth for when I alter the settings to make it only pic up the loudest noises (to avoid picking up the noisy ac). I don't see how that would work with a separate mic. And I like to sit back in my chair and I use a kb/mouse tray that pulls from the desk so I am too far away for a desk mic.

    Please comment on any aspect of the build and let me know your opinion. If you guys approve with just a couple of tweaks I'll probably be pulling the trigger within 24 or 48 hours. Thanks for all your help guys!

  18. #18
    I am Murloc! Xuvial's Avatar
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    That's a ton of SSD space, ~600GB total and no HDD? What are you going to store your data on? Replace the Agility 3 with a 2TB HDD (e.g. WD Caviar Green).

    Also 1050w PSU is completely overkill, you don't need more than 750w and that will give you enough room for 680 SLI in the future. That's why Shrould had recommended a 750w one originally. Corsair AX750 is currently going at a nice deal on Newegg and Amazon.


    Quote Originally Posted by MastaMcKay View Post
    Is asus a solid mobo builder, and did I choose a good board (is there an advantage to getting the pro or deluxe versions)?
    They're solid. There is no advantage to the pro/deluxe versions that have any real impact on performance.

    Quote Originally Posted by MastaMcKay View Post
    I'm looking for a solid low cost optical drive just for installation of the os really and to play dvds. How is what I chose? Also it is the OEM version, will I need to purchase cables on the side to hook it up?
    No need for cables, they come with everything. Get this one for $20, they all do more or less the same thing anyway and PC users hardly ever use their drives: Lite-On DVD Burner

    Quote Originally Posted by MastaMcKay View Post
    The monitor I chose was really on a whim. It looks decent and seems like it would do but I really didn't put in the time to finalize the decision there I'm looking for suggestions here. I want a good response time (to reduce lag, right?) but I want it to produce really beautiful images, that is my #1 priority.
    Hmmm whether to make you go for 120hz or not...the truly "beautiful" pictures come from IPS panels.
    For example these: Dell 2312HM or Dell U2412M
    Those panels are more aimed at editing/color reproduction in mind than gaming performance. They do the job for gaming fine however, seeing as how many gamers go for them :P

    For gaming you would go for a 120hz monitor like this: BenQ XL2420T
    With a GTX680 you'll have the power to see all those extra frames that you wouldn't see on a 60hz monitor, it's one way to really futureproof a build. Other advantages include greatly better response times, reduced ghosting and almost no possibility of screen tearing. I own a 120hz and would personally never game on a 60hz again, but that's just my perspective...I value refresh rates and a super-smooth experience over slightly better colors.

    The whole TN panel vs IPS panel debate has been going on forever. Some say you can get them looking nearly the same with enough tweaking, everyone sees colors differently so you'll get different opinions. IPS panels generally have better contrast, lesser backlight bleeding and they truly excel at viewing angels - but that's only a perk if you always have someone standing over your shoulder watching you play, how much are you going to move lol?

    Quote Originally Posted by MastaMcKay View Post
    I can't decide whether or not to go Sennheiser PC 360 or separate mic and headphones. My first instinct is go the separate mic and headphone route but I can't get over the thought of extra hassle with figuring out where to clip the mic. And in summer I'm running a rather noisy ac in the room with me and I'm thinking I'll need the mic really close to my mouth for when I alter the settings to make it only pic up the loudest noises (to avoid picking up the noisy ac). I don't see how that would work with a separate mic. And I like to sit back in my chair and I use a kb/mouse tray that pulls from the desk so I am too far away for a desk mic.
    Then stick with Turtle Beaches or go with Corsair Vengeance 1500. Sennheiser PC360 is pretty steep in price but it is basically the best stuff you'll get.

    Finally I recommend holding off the Xonar Essence STX because it will be going to complete waste if you're not buying AT LEAST a Sennheiser PC360. You can buy a sound card at any time dude, for now I would assemble the build first, get it working see how the sound/gaming is and then decide whether you want an expensive sound card like that. Do you/will you listen to lots of music on PC?
    Last edited by Xuvial; 2012-12-17 at 10:14 PM.

  19. #19
    Herald of the Titans shroudster's Avatar
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    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($319.99 @ Newegg)
    CPU Cooler: Corsair H100 92.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($84.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($169.99 @ Amazon)
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($43.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ B&H)
    Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($121.74 @ Mwave)
    Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 680 2GB Video Card ($477.55 @ Newegg)
    Sound Card: Asus Xonar Essence STX 24-bit 192 KHz Sound Card ($180.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Case: Thermaltake VN10001W2N ATX Full Tower Case ($195.84 @ NCIX US)
    Power Supply: Corsair Professional Gold 750W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($144.49 @ Amazon)
    Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($24.98 @ Newegg)
    Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K90 Wired Gaming Keyboard ($109.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $1946.53
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-17 14:30 EST-0500)

    more tweaking xuvial is more versed in monitors then me so i take his advice for that imo.

  20. #20
    I am Murloc! Xuvial's Avatar
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    Steer clear of Xonar STX unless he can make up his mind on getting quality headphones.

    Hell even with PC360 I wouldn't get anything more than a Xonar DS/DX. Xonar STX is a card meant for very high quality audio shit. Even I'm not doing justice to mine with HD558's, but at least the SP2500's are getting good use out of it.

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