TechSpot

$1,500 gaming rig suggestions

By Ritwik7
Aug 21, 2012
Post New Reply
  1. Hello everybody!

    I'm posting on Techspot after a very long hiatus. Feels good to be back here.

    Now to the topic. Initially the idea was to invest in a gaming laptop (specifically the M14x) as I had a lot of travel lined up. However, that's on hold and I'm considering on diverting the funds to build a new desktop from scratch.

    Current rig:
    CPU - AMD Phenom II X3 720
    Motherboard - ASUS M4A78T-E
    RAM - 4GB DDR3 (@1333MHz)
    GPU - Powercolor ATI Radeon HD 4890
    HDD - 1TB Seagate (32MB Cache, 7200 RPM), 160GB Seagate
    Case - Cooler Master CM 690
    Keyboard - Microsoft Sidewinder X4
    Mouse - Logitech MX 518
    Monitor - Samsung B2030 20" (1600x900)

    Currently I intend to reuse only monitor, mouse, keyboard and the 1TB HDD from my existing machine. The cost of the OS need not be factored in. I do have a copy of Windows 7.

    The major purpose will be gaming. My budget is around US$ 1500 (INR 85,000), give or take a few.

    Looking forward to all your suggestions.
     
  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 6,406   +1,595

    I'm thinking along these lines.
    Motherboard with a Z77 Chipset and a i5 or i7 Ivy Bridge CPU.
    Add about 8GB of DDR3-1600 memory and a SSD drive for booting.
     
  3. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,970   +739

    I'd sort of second cliffordcooley's suggestion, though I'd maybe look at a Z75 board - you wouldn't lose much connectivity or features over the Z77 and both overclock fine if that's your bag. Depending upon the local pricing it could work out competitive especially if pricing for Sandy Bridge CPU's has fallen locally since Ivy Bridge's release.

    The HD 4890 seems an odd choice. Good price locally? Still a stout performer, but the ones I had seemed to have a wattage addiction. With AMD switching the HD 4000's to legacy driver support, maybe a HD 5850/5870 which would still give HD 6870 or better performance?

    BTW: Glad to see you back with us.
     
  4. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,288   +7

    Hi DBZ! Hope you've been well.

    The 4890 is not a choice for my new rig. It resides on my current rig that I'm looking to replace. Looking to build a new machine from scratch.

    I went through the Techspot Desktop Buying Guide as well and liked what I saw. But looking for more suggestions, espcially in the GPU department incase it's possible to go for a dual GPU setup.

    As for the CPU, the Intel's (Ivy Bridge) are definitely the better performers, but I would also like some opinions on how the current generation AMDs are performing w.r.t high res gaming.
     
  5. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,970   +739

    All good here. I hope likewise with you.

    CPU numbers for gaming might be a bit hit and miss. I'd maybe look at Steve Waltons' game reviews here at TS. He includes benches from a variety of CPU's and some clock scaling added into the mix. I don't know of any other reviewer who takes the time to do this on a regular basis. It's definitely going to come down to game/game engine specific titles as to where and how much (if any) framerate performance is affected by CPU arch.

    What screen res are you planning on using ? AMD is on the price slashing pruning strategy again, so keep an eye out for some pricing realignment in the graphics sector
     
  6. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,288   +7

    Currently will be playing at 1600x900 on my old Samsung monitor. Will be upgrading to 1920x1080 soon. I will look at the reviews you've mentioned. Also, what are your thoughts in terms of nVidia Vs. AMD on the graphics front and how do SLI and CrossFireX scale?
     
  7. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,970   +739

    Crossfire generally scales better than SLI, though the GTX 600 series are redressing that balance. The only other metric I tend to follow is microstutter -since I tend to notice it (some don't). Crossfire seems more affected than SLI - my HD 5850's, and the 6950/6970/7950's (don't get much call for 7970 builds) still seem noticeable in this respect (some games are ok, some are bad, most in between) and even the newer cards seem more affected than my GTX 580's. The GTX 600's don't seem to suffer majorly (Tech Report includes frame latency in their reviews).

    For an single card option, there probably isn't a great deal to choose between either vendor performance wise tbh - a few fps here-or-there aren't really a deal breaker (or noticeable in many instances). Price, cooling/noise, and vendor warranty/ease of RMA might be bigger considerations. At 1920x1080 and a good single card you couldn't go wrong with either brand, though I'd steer clear of an AMD card with a reference (blower) design- some of the 6950-7970's can get freaking loud very quickly.
     
  8. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,291   +25

    Here's what I'd recommend; I've used an Indian website so you get a ballpark estimate on the price (especially if you're buying from a retail store):
    Grand Total = Rs. 85000 (approx.)
     
  9. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,925   +170

    Is there anything wrong with your current case for you to re-use it?

    Unless you're hardcore overclocking a H100 is kinda overkill, the CM Hyper coolers are much better value. The rest of the build Rage put together looks good.
     
  10. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,288   +7

    Hey Rage!

    Looks like a good build except for the motherboard. Listed as having a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 (@ x4). Would like at least 2. Also, been using the CM 690 for over 3 years. Need a new looker. :)
     
  11. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,288   +7

    @ slh28 - Would really like to have a new case. Currently I'm using the OCZ Vendetta II CPU cooler. Does an excellent job. I can push the X3 720 to 3.6 GHz rock stable. Further OC is limited by my Cooler Master Exterme Power 600 I'm sure.
     
     
  12. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,925   +170

    When it comes to cases Corsair have really upped their game. The Carbide series have great airflow and they share a lot of the internals with the 600T which I have and would thoroughly recommend. The 600T doesn't have such great airflow though especially with the window side panel, but is probably the best looking case out there IMO.
     
  13. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,291   +25

    The slots are PCI-E 2.0, so the x4 slot is actually equivalent to a PCI-E x8 slot; good enough for CrossfireX, if you're thinking of going for that in the future.

    Of course, you'd need to go for an AMD card in that case; this 7950 is what I'd recommend in that case, although bear in mind that the GTX 670 delivers better performance than the 7950 most of the time.

    Of course, you could also choose to drop the extra cash you'd gain by not getting the H100, to instead go for this motherboard for SLI support.

    The choice is yours.
     
  14. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,970   +739

    The H77 chipset board that Rage listed doesn't allow for hardcore overclocking. The H77 allows you to run all cores up to the maximum turbo multiplier -that is to say 3.8GHz + whatever you would feel comfortable raising the baseclock by. Given the complete lack of motherboard heatsinks, I'm guessing you'd be better off sticking to the default 100MHz.
     
  15. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,288   +7

    For the board, I really like the ASRock Z77 Extreme 4. Any opinions or better options at a similar price point?

    Currently I might settle for the GTX 660Ti instead of the GTX 670 and add a second in SLI soon.

    And I need options for cases. I quite like the 600T but the fan controller kind of puts me off. Want more recommendations.

    Thanks for all the help.
     
  16. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,970   +739

    The ASRock board has a nice feature set. Be aware that it is a little narrower than standard ATX spec so the bottom right corner securing screw on the board has been omitted (the SATA ports sit lower on this board) -make sure you don't have the motherboard standoff installed for that missing screw position. I've used the board on a couple of builds and it has pretty much everything that you'd want. The MOSFET heatsinks are a little flimsy- but lightweight heatsinks are better than none.

    The 660Ti is a solid choice. [H]OCP just did an overclocked review of the Galaxy card- and while nothing in overclocking is guaranteed, it does show that the 660Ti has potential.

    No real recommendations for a chassis - aesthetics and likely fit-out would play a significant part of the decision. On the IT Depot site, I'd maybe go with the NZXT Phantom 410 or Corsair Carbide 500R for a mid tower at a reasonable price. I recently relegated my Corsair 800D to back-up duties in favour of the NZXT Switch 810 - but my requirements are somewhat different from your own I suspect ( triple radiator watercooling was a "must" for me since I was recycling parts from an older build) fully filtered chassis with good fitting tolerances aren't that common - and a definite must with a heavy negative air pressure setup.
     
  17. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,288   +7

    Any suitable alternative to the ASRock Extreme 4 then? Also, have you made any builds using the Corsair Graphite 600T? It seems to be a very popular case. I would like to have some user perspective, especially in terms of airflow, cooling and water cooling possibilities.
     
  18. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,970   +739

    The ASRock Extreme4 is a very good board for the price. Good audio codec, good NIC, very good connectivity. Of the mainstream boards I've used, I'd say that the Extreme4 is a good choice. The other boards in the same category for me would be Gigabyte's Z77X-UD3H and Asus's P8Z77-V LX. I'm presently using a fairly basic P8Z77-V (non-LX) since I had to put my P8Z68 Deluxe into a customers rig ( expedited warranty replacement) - and except for the basic audio (Realtek ALC892) the cheaper Z77 is more than equal to the bells-and-whistles Z68.

    Pretty much any Z77/Z68 is going to do the job. The Z77's all have good UEFI BIOS's, much the same overclock ability, connectivity and feature set - so the remaining questions are brand allegiance ( believe it or not there are no MSI Z77 boards being sold in New Zealand which is why I left them out), layout (distance between DIMM slots and socket, and capacitors encroaching to close to the socket area might be an issue depending on cooler choice), ease of warranty/RMA, and any ancillary features - the Asus boards feature a WiFi card, the Gigabyte has eSATA at the expense of two internal ports but has a better audio codec...that sort of thing.
    I haven't had any problems with any Z77 board from Asus, ASRock, Intel (boring but well featured- at least the DZ77GA-70K is), or Gigabyte excepting a lone warped PCB on a Z77X-UD5H-WB. And all give much the same experience/performance - boring I know, but there's nothing earth shattering this time around.
    If you're thinking of using a PCI-E RAID card or network card then I'd check out how the default bandwidth sharing options for the (usual) third PCI-E x16 (x4 electrical) play out, since the vendors have different solutions for sharing the available lanes. The more expensive boards are utilizing a PLX bridge chip/lane extender for use in enabling all USB3.0, SATA ports and PCI-E x4 simultaneously - which is about the only real difference between mainstream and performance boards unless you count triple/quad graphics on a few select models and an extra 10+ power phases.
     
  19. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,288   +7

    Thanks a lot DBZ for the exhaustive perspective on the motherboard options. I think the ASRock Extreme 4 will be the board of my choice for the upcoming rig. Do tell me one thing, if I'm looking to go for a dual GPU setup with the Ivy Bridge and a good water cooling solution, should I be good with a mid-tower chassis or opt for a full tower?

    From all you other guys I'm hoping for some inputs on the Graphite 600T or any other cases which you might recommend.
     
  20. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,291   +25

    A full-tower chassis is usually a better buy for a setup intended for watercooling, so you can fit a larger\more radiator(s) in there without being cramped for space.

    The latest iteration of the Antec Three Hundred is a case you may want to consider as well.
     
  21. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,925   +170

    The built in fan controller is crap, it only lets you adjust the fans from about 75% to 100% so you'd have to get a dedicated fan controller if you want a quiet system (or depending on your tolerances it might be ok, I like my systems silent when not gaming).

    Airflow is ok but not on the level of the HAF cases, you can change the plastic window to a mesh one (it comes with both) and mount a few fans on there. If you're going for watercooling the top bit seems like a great place to put a radiator. Also the HD cages are removeable and you can move them around.
     
  22. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,970   +739

    Depends on what kind of watercooling you're looking at.
    CPU sealed loop (Corsair/Antec/Asetek units) - any chassis that will fit a 1 or 2 x 120/140mm fan placement will do
    CPU only loop - Again, any mid tower will do if you're looking at a 5.25" bay reservoir. A large mid tower or full tower if you're looking at a multioption reservoir + integral or seperate pump. A 240 or 280 rad is fine for Sandy/Ivy Bridge.
    CPU+ GPU usually means two radiators- so a large mid tower with roof + floor or rear mounting.
    I listed a few of the more popular chassis in a watercooling guide that I wrote while you were away- it also includes a guide to work out how much cooling you would need for a given power usage/heat output. It might come in handy, and I'd definitely recommend working out your cooling requirements and component placement then finding a chassis that fits the bill.
     
  23. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,288   +7

    Thanks Rage and slh28.

    I will look into the 600T further and determine whether this mid-tower can house a watercooling system without hassles / mods. Else might move towards full towers. My only concern with a full sized chassis is that there is a shelf above my case at a height of 22-23 inches from the ground. For a full tower I'd have to find a slightly different location.

    @DBZ - Will definitely go through that guide once I get home. Thanks a ton for all your inputs. :)
     
  24. JnrfL

    JnrfL TS Rookie

    Here's my current rig that I will be purchasing next month:

    Ivy Bridge i7 3770k (Unlocked)
    Asus Maximus V Formula
    Asus GTX 670 Direct CUII TOP
    Asus 24x DVD-RW SATA
    G.skill RipjawsX 8gb 1600 CL9
    1TB Western Digital Caviar Black
    128gb OCZ Vertex 4
    Cooler Master HAF X
    Cooler Master TPC 812
    Cooler Master SilentProHybrid 1300w

    that would be around $1500-1600

    you can change i7 to i5 3570k if you want.
     
  25. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,288   +7

    A little bit of help regarding SSDs. Only the OS being on the SSD leads to a difference in performance from what I gather. So do I need an SSD greater than 60GB?
     


Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...


Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.