$1,500 gaming rig suggestions

By Ritwik7 · 61 replies
Aug 21, 2012
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  1. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Yeah, because 128/120GB drives are generally quite a bit quicker than 64/60GB ones. Also you'll find a 64GB one fills up very quickly after installing the OS, your programs, a couple of games and also bear in mind SSDs work best with 10-15% space free.

    Since 128GB drives are quite a bit less than twice the price of 64GB ones I suggest get a 128GB one at least.
  2. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,672   +9

    Ok. So I did some further reading up on SSDs and have come across terms such as synchronous and asynchronous NAND. I would like to know whether the difference in price is justified. Also, a few more recommendations on good 120GB+ SSDs would greatly help.
  3. Messy66

    Messy66 TS Member

    Full Tower #FTW and enables alot better air flow. I have the cooler master HAF 932 and it's stock fans are a beast!
  4. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    Synchronous-flash SSDs are the best buy, especially if paired with a good SandForce controller.

    The Corsair Force GT series would be my recommendation, along with the OCZ Vertex series.

    A list of the all the brand-name to SSD-type mappings and reviews can be found here.
  5. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,672   +9

    Ok. So here goes:

    CPU - Intel i5 3570K
    Mobo - ASRock Z77 Extreme 4
    PSU - Corsair TX 750
    RAM - G-Skill 2x 4GB (Ripjaws or any other series that is available)
    Cooler - Corsair H100
    Case - Corsair Graphite 600T (White)
    SSD - Corsair Force Series GT (120GB)

    How do the above components look?

    And now for the dilemma. I might have a little bit extra to play with. Which GPU would be a better choice among the GTX 660 Ti, GTX 670 and the Radeon HD 7950? I would like to go for a multi(2) GPU setup in the near future.
  6. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    The GTX 670 would the best choice, IMHO.
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,738   +3,706

    Thumbs up from my perspective. :)
    Wish I could help you on that one. The only thing I can do is look at benching results and quote which one looks better. I think all three are great choices to consider.
  8. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    Toggle NAND > Synchronous NAND > Asynchonous NAND.
    Larger capacity usually translates to faster read/write speeds ( levelling off usually at the 240-256GB capacity)
    Smaller process nodes used now (<25nm) generally give a lower total Read/write lifetime - though using a drive primarily for OS duties should keep the amount of data written/erased fairly low.
    I'm using a Kingston HyperX (Synchronous SandForce controller) with zero problems w/ Win7 and 8, although firmware updates to other SandForce drives make them an equally strong choice. Tom's Hardware have a quarterly(?) SSD buyers guide/roundup- might be worth checking out.
    I'd second Rage's GTX 670 advice. Strong card with very good gaming qualities. I wouldn't underestimate the adaptive v-sync feature (eliminates screen tearing on graphically unchallenging games), and doubling up to SLI in future will give very good scaling and a fairly low incidence of microstutter.
  9. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,672   +9

    Thanks DBZ.

    However, I still am having a few doubts with the GTX 670 Vs HD 7950, especially with the upcoming price-cuts. There are a lot of people on the web who, I see, have mentioned that it is a very overclock friendly card achieving speeds upto 1200MHz. At these speeds it does perform better than a 670. I wonder how an OC's 670 does in comparison to an OC'd 7950. Also, people talk of the GTX 670 being bandwidth constrained in games such as Crysis, Metro 2033. Why?
  10. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    If you're getting a GTX 670 get one with an aftermarket cooler or the EVGA FTW one with the 680 PCB, the stock ones aren't very good.

    After seeing the recent price cuts I'd actually recommend the 7950 over the 670. Dunno about your country but in the UK the 7950 has dropped to £225 (£240 for a MSI TF3 which are very OC friendly) compared to £299 for the 670. That's a very significant price difference especially if you're considering getting 2 cards. But then there are people who claim that SLI experiences less microstutter than CF so you might want to read up on that as well.
  11. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    If the card will do 1200M then you're good to go - I don't think anything is guaranteed when it comes to overclocking. For a heavy OC you're definitely going to need to look at vendor designs rather than reference - good cooling plus beefy VRM (Some of the newer cards skimp on components - the Sapphire Flex range comes to mind). If you're buying with OC in mind, skip the wannabe's on mainstream sites - hit the reviews and the enthusiast forums - you'll want to see validation with the card stressed. Anyone can clock a card through the roof and get GPU-Z validation in a 2D desktop enviroment (which is why it means nothing), and Anyone+their dog can say their card can do XXXXMHz
    Simple. Check around for OC vs OC ( 670 vs 7950) or 670 vs 7970 ( which should equate roughly with an OC'ed 7950)
    The exception rather than the rule. Some games will happily fill the 2GB frame buffer and saturate the memory bus, but generally this happens at high res (5760x1080 for example) and/or a heavy use of full screen AA. You whack the I.q. to max on Metro 2033 ( by that I mean tessellation, depth of field and 4 x MSAA) and any card will suffer...unless you know anyone who enjoys playing a twitch shooter at 20 frames per second You'll notice that the OC'ed 7950 beats the OC'ed 670 by a massive 15.4% - tres impressive!!...until you notice that it's 19.65 fps and 17.03 fps.
    At 1920x1080 you won't have any problem with the frame buffer or memory bus width that doesn't also affect any other single GPU card.
    As an owner of HD 5850 CFX and GTX 580 SLI I'd be one of those people. I'd characterize microstutter on Nvidia cards to run from zero to annoying, and AMD from zero to infuriating. Plenty of info on the web. ComputerBase do comparisons on occasion and Tech Report have some very good articles -and most importantly, reproduceable results.

    Personally I'd worry about getting the single card first. Not everyone is affected by microstuttering to the same extent, and not all games are bad - it's just unfortunate that a lot of shooter games are affected
  12. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    A good compromise would be to purchase an aftermarket-cooled 670 design, rather than a reference one, as slh28 recommended.

    It would give you potential performance that would be between that of a 670 and a 680; you'd need to have a really well-binned 7950 that you can OC to match this kind of performance, IMHO.
  13. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,672   +9

    I have shortlisted 2 cards:

    1. EVGA GTX 670 FTW or
    2. ASUS GTX 670 TOP Edition

    However, in case these are not available in my region what are some other good ones that I could opt for? I have looked at the Zotac GTX 670 Amp edition but the three slot design makes me a little skeptical about managing an SLI in the near future.

    EDIT: Just got off the phone with the sole EVGA distributor here. The 670 arrives next week. But not the FTW edition. :(
  14. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    If you're still looking for a good non-reference 670- other than the DCIIT, there are some good 2-2.5 -slot cards to be had:
    Palit Jetstream ( reviews here...and here...and here )
    MSI Power Edition (reviews here...and here..and here)
    Gigabyte Windforce (reviews here...and here...and here - which includes a comparison with the Zotac AMP! and Palit Jetstream)
  15. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,672   +9

    DBZ, do you recommend any particular one from the above cards? I'm not getting the "Top" edition either.

    For the case, I'm going with the Corsair Obsidian 650D. Any thoughts? The 650D is surprisingly cheaper than the 600T here!

    EDIT: The decision keeps getting tougher. Seems I can pick up a HD7970 at the price of the GTX 670 here. What should I do? The 7970 is the OC Edition by Sapphire.
  16. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,672   +9

    So finally I must choose between the following:

    1. ASUS GTX 670 DCII (Non TOP)
    2. Zotact GTX 670 Amp!
    3. Sapphire HD 7970 OC

    All 3 are about the same price. Please advise.
  17. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    A 7970 with the new 12.8 drivers delivers superior performance to the GTX 670, putting it on-par with the GTX 680 most of the time.

    However, keep in mind that it will consume more power; the DualX cooler on the Sapphire OC edition is great though, and should keep it much cooler than the GTX 680.

  18. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,672   +9

    Rage, you've linked reviews of the GHZ Edition. The 7970 is available is the Sapphire OC Edition.

    The Zotac GTX 670 Amp! has performance equal to or better than a stock GTX 680. However, it has a 3 slot design so I'm a litle weary in case I go for SLI. I really can't decide. Do help as I will be buying tomorrow morning.
  19. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    The GHz edition is not much different from a 7970; the main difference is that the core clock runs at 1GHz as opposed to the 925MHz in a stock 7970, and there is a "boost" feature similar to the GPU Boost on NVIDIA GPUs.

    The performance improvements will still apply, especially seeing that the second BIOS profile on the Sapphire 7970 OC effectively turns the card into a 7970GE.

    If you'd like, wait for some input from DBZ or other members before deciding.
  20. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    The only versions of 670 I've used have been reference designs and the Palit Jetstream. If the Gigabyte Windforce is anything like the GTX 680 and 580 versions if used it will be near dead silent and have good OC headroom. Having said that, if you can pick up a non-reference 7970 for the same price then you'll be getting a little more performance than the 670 - if it's the Vapor-X version (the one without the stupid G.I. Jane representation on the box art) then you'll be getting some good componentry under the cooling shroud as well. Sapphire cards with the cheapo build quality usually have a blue PCB, while the reference/high quality componentry cards have a black PCB.
    Even the cheaper build quality card is going to have a good performance envelope- just be aware that Sapphire would reserve their better binned GPU's for the GHz edition, Vapor-X and Toxic cards if overclocking is on the agenda- so the "standard" 7970 now sits at 4th bin. Equal price looks a good deal though -Newegg have the 670 $20 cheaper than the 7970 -best case scenario, while locally the difference is 15% favouring the 670 (versus standard 7970) and 30% versus the boost/GHz version.
  21. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,672   +9

    Hey guys!

    Finally went and ordered all my stuff. Here's the final list:

    CPU - Intel i5 3570K
    Mobo - ASRock Z77 Extreme 4
    PSU - Corsair TX 750 V2
    RAM - G-Skill 2x 4GB Ripjaws (1600MHz)
    Cooler - Corsair H100
    Case - Corsair Obsidian 650D
    SSD - Corsair Force Series GT (120GB)

    And it all cost me less than I had estimated. Could have picked up the GTX 680 but decided against. Hope I don't regret it. How does it all look?

    The GPU and SSD were not available today. They will all be delivered to my place on Tuesday.
  22. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,738   +3,706

    Excellent!! :)
  23. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    Looks like a good fit out - everything you need and nothing you don't. Should be a strong performer now, and for the foreseeable future.
    Post a pic when it's alive and kicking.
  24. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,672   +9

    All parts arrived today except for the SSD. That might take a day or two more. Looks like it's going to be an interesting build. Must say though, the Obsidian 650D looks like a monster compared to my CM 690! Will put up pics once the build is complete. For now a new thread on overclocking the CPU and GPU. :)
  25. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,672   +9

    Well, just got done with the build about an hour back. All looks well.

    Now, two things:

    1. I managed to break the extended plastic portion of my PCI-E slot when trying to take out the card as it was not seated properly. Could there be any serious consequences?

    2. Cable management was very difficult. The side of the case with the peripherals looks neat. However, the other side is quite a mess. Would love some inputs on this.

    Pics will be up later.

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