Warning: Long post inc.
So, with work starting again soon, it's once again time to update my system. Here's how we currently stand;
- i7-2600K - 4.3Ghz w/ NZXT Havik 140
- 2x8GB 1600Mhz Corsair Vengeance
- EVGA GTX670 with ARCTIC TT2 Cooler
- Seasonic S12-II 620W PSU
- 4x 120GB SSD's, various brands
- 2x 2TB Samsung HDD's
- Corsair 800D
- Gigabyte P67A-UD4
Overall, the system is silent. Some of the long-standing members will recall this system was built in early-mid 2011, and at one point had 4x2TB HDD's in RAID0 and 3 GTX580's running on an AX1200. It also had an Asus P8P67 WS Revolution (after my RoG board died), but that too died a few weeks ago. It was running on a top-end custom loop, which went through dual, serial and parallel configurations during it's time in my system, but was eventually sold off in parts.
As such, that system was built with GPU power in mind, and eventually selling off 'unnecessary' parts to make cash to add newer parts (new monitor, PSU, and the 670 primarily). I'm on a single 1440p monitor, but run a 1920x1200 on the left, and a 1280x1024 on the right. Right now, it's a near-silent system, and I don't have to turn up the fans even when gaming (simply because I choose to leave the side panel off the 800D - again, still a terrible case when you talk about thermals). Temperatures stay well in check, but it remains quiet enough that I can leave it running while I sleep.
I've grown tired of having to split games off onto different drives, and still having to move to mech. drives with some of them. You'll see soon enough how I plan to remedy this with my own brand of crazy.
The new system is to be built with instant response in mind, but without being limited on performance or capacity. Here's the plan;
- i7-4770K - alternatively, waiting on the 4960x due in September (depends entirely on rendering performance and power draw)
- 4x8GB Corsair Platinum 1866Mhz
- GTX780 - likely an EVGA with ACX cooler
- 4x 960GB Crucial M5 SSD's
- Corsair 900D
- As yet undecided on board
PSU and GPU
I'm not yet sure what to do regarding the PSU. I'd like to keep this one as it's relatively new and extremely quiet, but I'm also starting to consider running 2 cards again. I'm not going with Titan - though I'm prepared to spend almost £2000 on SSD's, I'm not prepared to waste £400 on a minor FPS boost. However, if I do go with 2 cards, that'll mean I need a new PSU as 620W won't be enough (not when you account for overclocks and such). If a 790 should show up, I'd consider that instead but again, that would also require me to look at a new PSU. There's also the new ATI cards expected at the end of September, so I'll keep those in mind. At the same time, I remember the lack of benefit I really got from SLI, so keeping a single GPU would negate the need for a new PSU (and all the 'problems' that come with trying to find one that's quiet but has the wattage to run 2 cards).
Since there's still some Z87 boards due to be unveiled in the next few weeks (think there's an MSI and a Gigabyte one), it doesn't make sense for me to settle on one just yet, even moreso when I'm still unsure of my plans regarding the GPU(s). PCIE port spacing is a consideration, as is the number of true x16 lanes (and whether an x16 x16 combo is possible, or whether it'd be x16 x8 or x8 x8) - true dual x16 is only a minor consideration though and I doubt it'd be enough to sway a purchase.
SSD's and Drives
As I said above, I'm tired of splitting games between SSD's. A single 120GB get's eaten up incredibly fast, and games are only getting larger. Not only that, but the developer tools I use take up a huge chunk of space (and trust me, loading those from a HDD takes longer than loading WoW from a 5400RPM laptop drive [with a single core processor and 2GB of RAM]). I might settle on 'only' 2 of those SSD's. That's still almost 2TB to go at, and should more than satisfy my needs. I'll be keeping my HDD's as media drives still.
The 900D is really out of respect for Corsair. Sure, I've had several of their product break or fail on me recently, but the 800D is not one of them. The only problem with the 800D was the cooling - it wasn't good for watercooling or air, because it had little to no intakes. The 900D looks to have remedied this, and so if I get the benefits and strengths of the 800D in a larger form and with better cooling potential, then I'm sold. Ever since I saw the 900D, I'd planned to get it, but lack of funds prevented it. Now, I'll finally be able to afford it.
I'm hitting 32GB of RAM (or 64GB, if I should end up with a 4960x), and I'm going with something that's not just functional, but has the form to go with it. I've wanted to use Platinum since it was unveiled, but I still would like to retain the capacity I'm used to for the sake of rendering. The one big issue that I'm still looking to fix is clearance. Using the HZXT Havik 140 means that I had to strip down one of my Vengeance modules just to retain dual channel - it also doesn't make sense to run just 1 fan on the Havik, as it doesn't perform too well. If I'm going for Platinum, it's an absolute waste to remove the heatsink and lightbar - they're what make the product 'more impressive' than regular low profile or vengeance.
For this, I'm considering the Prolimatech Blue Series Armageddon cooler. It's 50mm wide, looks like it'd perform admirably with a single fan, and has a sleek look that would go well alongside the Platinum modules (almost all black fins, with a few blue ones near the top). I do NOT want a presealed loop - silence is still a priority for the build and the noise of a pump and fan just turns me away from all of them. However, I'm completely open to suggestions on the air coolers though, but keep in mind that clearance for the Platinum modules is something I'm fighting against.
Following on from this, I plan to replace both my secondary monitors with identical 1440p monitors. I won't be playing surround gaming, but the general 'productivity' boost from larger res monitors would easily offset the cost ('only' around £600 for both). This will require me to replace my desk, but that's something I'll think about later. This also means I'll need a second GPU (since the monitors require dual-link DVI), or to spend more and get a HDMI version (or get a Displayport-DVI adapter/cable as that reportedly works too). This means I can either use my 670, buy a lower end secondary card, or simply settle for 2x1440p and 1x1200 and only need 1 card.
The priority will first be CPU, motherboard, and 1 of the SSD's, then case, RAM and GPU, then monitors, and then the rest of the SSD's, should I find that I want more than 1 of them. After that, it'll be any secondary GPU's and PSU if I so decide to add more. That's the current plan simply to save me having to reinstall and reactivate Windows twice (i.e. due to switching board and CPU, then installing on a new drive), but I could opt for the case and the GPU first, and save that hassle until the month after.
The total cost for this, assuming a single 780 and 4 SSD's, is around £4000 (but that's accounting for the monitors as well). The cost of this will be split over several months, but it could well increase or decrease as the project progresses. Everything is subject to change, except the fact that the entire core of the system is being stripped out and replaced with entirely new parts. My want of top end parts has returned, and so it'll be time to feed it in a few weeks (potentially 5-6 weeks before the first batch of parts). I figure that this system is a good target to aim for. The one thing I will be doing differently this time is settling on one system, and not deciding half way through the project that I want to add more to it (like a third 580 - that wasn't even considered in the original plan for this system) - I've got somewhat set goals, and once I start building, I plan to stick to it and finish up paying for the final batch of parts well within 6 months (and parts bought that late will be non-essentials).