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Getting ready for a PC build, need some advice!

By Zen ยท 103 replies
Aug 9, 2012
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  1. Scodd

    Scodd TS Member

    No trying to start a pissing contest or offend. You asked for recommendations, so I added one. That is all.
  2. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +48

    No worry's there Scodd, I know if you picked up the action of this topic area on page#1, post #1 you might get the impression that I'm still asking for help and or possible recommendations towards the "on paper" part of the build process. I'm thankful for the recommendation but since page#2, post #40, my need for help or suggestions is just about finished. I've already spent the $2400.00 for the stuff, to late to switch my order now, plus if given the chance, I wouldn't switch a thing. But just be aware, in a couple months I promised my Son to build him his own beast of a computer, maybe at that time I'll open up another topic area and possibly ask for the same type of advise and such as I did here. But just take note, like with mine, his to will be an AMD system!

    Again thanks for trying to help, and please have yourself a nice day! :)
  3. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +48


    As we know, the RAM, H100 and the three LG monitors shipped out yesterday! Well I just checked my Fry's account and got one shipping advisory! The web site is showing that as of 45 minutes ago that both the motherboard and the AMD FX-8120 both shipped together in one package.

    This is just racking my excitement levels, the suspense of having every item in my hands, needless to say building the sucker is killing me! Not trying to sound corny or cheese ball here, but I kind of feel like I did as a small child around Christmas time, knowing the man in red was going to bring me something, I'm feeling a lot like that!
  4. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Posts: 231   +17

    Mate, you're not the only one who's keen on this. You have fired up my interest, and I'm sure I'm not the only one!
    make sure to keep us posted!
  5. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +48

    Okay folks, we got something new to talk about here in regards to this computer build!

    First off I must say that normally I'm not an impulse shopper, as within this area most know that I spend a lot of time researching things and almost always try to get feedback upon what I'm viewing! But tonight I just might have screwed the pooch! I jumped at something tonight, before having the chance to properly see if this combination would work!

    Tonight my close and personal friend Mr. Raykin, who is an avid computer technician, made me an offer that I guess I couldn't refuse. Tonight I have in my possession a used Zotac Geforce 680 GTX video card! This card is a pci express 3.0, 2 GB's of GDDR5 SDRAM, 256-bit bus width and so forth! This Zotac card is almost identical in every way to the eVGA Nvidia Geforce 680 GTX video card I've already ordered through Fry's.com!

    What I'm getting at here, is since these cards are virualy ideentical in every way, the only big difference is that one was made by eVGA and one was made by Zotac, that's the only big difference I see. But both are SLi ready, can the eVGA and the Zotac be used in SLi inside my new system, even if their made by two different company's?

    For just in case some may need technical spec's to the Zotac card, I'm providing a link to that information...

    ZOTAC ZT-60101-10P GeForce GTX 680 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

    Also I'm prividing the link to that already ordered eVGA card....

    EVGA SuperClocked GeForce GTX 680 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

    So if someone can chime in and let me know that I didn't spend $375.00 in hard cold cash tonight for nothing, I would sure be grateful!
  6. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    You should be perfectly fine SLI-ing identical cards from two separate manufacturers. Usually it's best to have each with identical stock speeds and memory. In case any of them or both have an overclock, start with the lower value for sync and work your way up.
  7. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    They'll run in SLI fine and $375 is a steal for a 680. Should be absolutely awesome running that setup in triple monitor resolutions :)
  8. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +48

    I know, I totally lucked out on this one! I wasn't even in the market for another video card, but while at my friends house visiting with his family, he brought up the fact that for whatever reason, he wasn't very satisfied with his Nvidia card. I asked him what he was currently using, because for decades he's been a Radeon only guy! He decided to break ranks and try out the 680 GTX, he said he kind of liked it at first, but after a couple months his excitement about it drifted lower and lower. He wanted to get back to a Radeon card in the worst way, but was complaining that he didn't have the couple extra hundred dollars that would buy it. That's when he piped up and asked if I wanted it, of course at a price! He told me he had the original box, driver CD and the misc. stuff that it came with! Thinking he wasn't being serious I threw out a Disneyland number, $250.00, he laughed! Okay then how about $300.00, that kind of got his attention! He still shot it down, and told me to keep going! Okay, I told him my final offer for the card will be $375.00, with a condition that I uninstall the card out of his computer, reactivate the on-board video adapter so he could use his monitor, and when he got his new Radeon card, I would install it for him. That way he feels like he's getting something, for a house call alone, just to install something like a video card, I charge $55.00 anyways, so I wanted him to feel like he was getting the difference via my house call fee! He agreed, I grabbed a screw driver and the rest is uninstall history!

    After I finished the work, he stopped me and asked me how much did I think he bought that card for? Knowing I recently was shopping around for the same card, different company, I blurted out something around $500.00, nope, guess again. Okay, $475.00, nope! I thought he had one to many beers and was crazy! Come to find out that his computer repair shop just picked up Zotac products and is an official Zotac parts supplier, he got the bloody card with his shops affiliated discount for $425.00, he's only out $50.00! But I know darn well, that if he had to pay close to $500.00 as I did for my eVGA card, I wouldn't have got it for a steal of a deal.

    I know Radeon is a very good video card company, I'm sure he will pick up something either at the same level as the 680 GTX or possibly something better! But I ain't shedding him any tears for his $50.00 loss, he'll make that up with my free house call to put in his new card, whenever that will be!

    But now I'm doubly excited, I can now SLi two spec matching video cards and get 4GB's out of the two!

    I'm going to shut up now, I'm about to piss my pants with this excitement! :)
  9. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    The frame buffers aren't additive 2 x 2GB cards in SLI still utilize 2GB. You would need a 4GB card (either single or SLI'ed) to achieve a 4GB frame buffer
    $375 is a good price. Good score.
  10. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Actually it's still only 2GB, VRAM is not additive when you go SLI. But from the reviews I've seen 2GB is still ok even at 5760x1080. EDIT: DBZ beat me to it...

    Nice story... but you charge $55 to friends for installing cards?? :eek:
  11. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    Maybe he charges by the hour, and downloads the driver via dial-up !
  12. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +48

    LOL, sound about right! :)

    Nah, I'm not charging him real money, I just wanted him to feel like he was getting something more out of the deal. And video card installs really don't take me an hour, normally when I do a house call, it only take my just under 30 minutes, install card, install driver, verify, check Windows stability, check for any quick updates, give the client about a 5 minute little "let's going over it" talk and get the money and go home! I think $55.00 is reasonable, I know other company's that charge double in my area for the same type of house call.
  13. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +48

    I am now super curious about something, if both the Zotac 680 GTX and my ordered eVGA 680 GTX are only 2GB's cards, and by adding the two card together it won't give me a total of 4GB's due to the math, then what will two 680 GTX's do for me? If I'm still going to be stuck at 2GB's as I would with just using one card, what will the other card add to my computing experience? If running two cards doesn't do all that much, than why do people SLi in the first place?
  14. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    VRAM is only part of the card, the GPU chip is what predominantly determines the speed of the card, that's why a 2GB GTX 560 isn't nearly as fast as a 680.

    Think of it like CPU/RAM, a quad core processor with 2GB RAM is going to be generally much quicker than a dual core with 2GB RAM, however there may be some situations where the 2GB RAM becomes a bottleneck and starts dragging down the system. Having 2x 680's means you have theoretically double the graphics horsepower but there may be some situations where the 2GB VRAM runs out and your performance will suffer. Some specific examples will be using lots of MSAA at high resolutions or lots of texture packs (Skyrim).
  15. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +48

    Well I understand the whole "doubling my horsepower" which is nice, just a little disturbed by the rest! So even with all the money I've dumped into this thing, and the fact that I now have two matching video cards that will run SLi and with everything else, games such as Crysis and from what slh28 is saying Skyrim won't really work maxed out!

    Now I'm kind of regretting buying that extra video card last night. Seeing that it won't provide me the "wow factor" with much. I know I can scale down, dumb down and water down my video settings when it comes to things like Crysis, which will work, and probably quite well, but part of this situation has taken the wind out of my sails! For I was told a long time ago that what defines a person truly owning a monster of a computer, is if a computer can handle everything that is thrown at it, without altering anything, downgrading settings or upgrading the hardware, if it can right "out of the box" handle everything that comes it's way, than that defines what a true monster of a computer is!

    But at least throw me a bone here folks, my ego is already slightly bruised, rather than something like Crysis which I will have to water down a bit, how about something like Call of Duty 4 "Modern Warfare"? From the side of the box it says it's recommended requirements for the video card is 512MB's of video RAM, how about that game, can I max it out and get my desired "wow factor" with that one?
  16. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    This really shouldn't be a shock/revelation. Some games are going to be frame buffer limited (Battlefield 3 can get uncomfortably close to 100% vRAM usage with a 2GB frame buffer), some are going to limited by architecture (high levels of full screen antialiasing for example), some are going to choke on memory bus width, and more than a few are going to be CPU limited. Many games rely on the ability of the CPU to execute the instructions in a timely manner- essentially the graphics cards are sitting around twiddling their metaphorical thumbs while the CPU completes its part of the instruction for frame rendering. You mentioned Skyrim- check out the second graph of Steve's gameplay review.
    CoD4 is not that graphics intensive a game. Demanding graphics are usually associated with DirectX 10 and 11 titles, where ambient occlusion, enhanced dynamic lighting and the like make more intensive use of the graphics card(s) shaders/cores
  17. Benny26

    Benny26 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,535   +50

    Hey Zen,

    Good luck on the build, I'm doing one myself in a few week (saving the pennies right now). I noticed you're getting the H100...I was checking this out myself as it's a nice little cooler, but I decided against it after watching a few video reviews on it's noise levels and the awkward position of the fan button....I'll be really interested to hear your feedback on what it's like for you.

    Anyways, can't wait for those pics :)
  18. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Woops, didn't mean to put a damper on things, don't worry your GTX 680 SLI rig will handle almost every game out there even at 5760x1080. But there are some specific examples of where 2GB of VRAM might start to limit the system. Have a look at some triple monitor reviews from HardOCP and Hardwareheaven, you're looking at 60fps+ average in most games, however with 4x MSAA in BF3 you'll see the benefit of 3GB VRAM on the 7970 CF against the 2GB on the 680 SLI.

    But seriously you should stop worrying about your rig because it might get to the point where you're so obsessed about having the flawless system that it starts to take away your enjoyment of the game. If you play BF3 then play with 2x MSAA and just enjoy the triple monitor goodness. If you play Skyrim then don't go installing every single texture mod. For any other game (CoD 4 for example) you can just crank the settings to the max and play.
  19. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +48

    Well that's what I like to hear! COD4......maxed out! :) And trust me when I say slh28, you didn't put any sort of damper on things! All this is boiling down to, is that this is my first SLi styled computer system I've ever built. I've never used two video cards at once, I've always built system that uses only one GPU at a time. Yeah, I might have pieces of paper that say I'm someone in the computer field, but those pieces of paper never prepared me for an SLi system. So in essence, and being totally honest, I am very much the nooB when it comes to all this! Yeah, CPU's, no problem, motherboards.....please, RAM......in my sleep, hard drives......yawn, CD drives.......boring, power supply's.......did someone say something, but dual video cards..........running out of finger nails to bite off!

    As some have said, I'll just try to relax a bit, I know for the most part this is going to all work out! I'm probably going to fire it up for the first time and be all smiles!

    Also a nice side note, my three LG monitors, the RAM and the H100 CPU cooler arrived today! The motherboard and processor should be arriving tomorrow! And the Fry's.com customer account section threw out a shipping advisory. The power supply, the case, and the SSD drive and the 2TB hard drive and the blue-ray CD drive and the two blue light sticks have now been shipped.
  20. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +48


    Within the past 48 hours the remaining 4 items, such as web cam, USB hub, keyboard/mouse combo and speakers have shipped. I expect to get these items within the next two to three days. At such time, when everything is here, I'll bust out my trusty digital camera and start taking "pre" pic's of everything and some "build" pic's! I plan on this taking me the better part of a day, possibly two. Then of course after the "pre" and "build" pic's will come the "post" pic's! :)

    Excited beyond words! :)
    xcylent and cliffordcooley like this.
  21. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Posts: 231   +17

    Excitement shared :D
    make sure to keep us posted!
  22. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +48

    I can't believe that I overlooked one key and vital piece of hardware here! I'm stunned, speechless and very much in shock! I just did a quick "double check" of my on-line Fry's customer account and was dropped a huge bomb! With all the hardware going out and all those shipping advisory's, I overlooked the video card, it had not up to this point been shipped out yet. But Fry's dropped a bomb of information! It appears that upon trying to collect my video card for shipping, Fry's warehouse detected they were now "out of stock" of the eVGA card I ordered, and rather than providing me a "rain check" for the same card, someone there must had made a supervisory decision and substituted me to the next available card, which I guess was showing "in stock"! My account now shows a "substitution" I had orginally ordered the following..

    EVGA SuperClocked GeForce GTX 680 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card ($509.99)

    but now I'm shockingly being substituted to the following card...

    EVGA 04G-P4-2686-KR GeForce GTX 680 w/ Backplate 4GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card ($529.99)

    Holy crap, is this normal? Do big company's generally substitute like this? I would have at least thought that the Fry's warehouse would have at least offered me a video card in the class of cards I ordered. But it appears that Fry's won't be seriously be missing out on any of my money, the original card ran me $509.99, this new one is $529.99, Fry's I guess is willing to "eat" the $20.00 loss and fill my order as promised, and the new card as of a couple hours ago has now shipped.

    I guess I'll save that Zotac GTX 680 2GB's that I had originally bought for myself from my friend, I guess I'll save it now for my Son's computer build that comes sometime in late October to early November. Not bad, for $375.00 on a used GTX 680, my Son should have no problems with it, I sure won't!

    Now I just want to kick off my shoes and crank up the stereo and dance around in circles doing the dance of joy! :)
  23. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,174   +3,264


    Now you can SLI the two and have 4GB memory, that is if I was following the comments correctly.
  24. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Posts: 231   +17

    well. that sure was a stroke of luck :D now you get a sexy as HELL card with a backplate *drool* and 4GB VRAM.
    That card would usually set you back around $700, so getting it for nearly $200 cheaper is a hell of a deal :D
    seems like things are looking up for you :)
    Zen likes this.
  25. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +48

    I don't think at this moment I need to worry myself about SLi-ing any video cards! Seeing that the new eVGA card already has 4GB's of RAM on it. The original card I ordered only had 2GB's, now I've got 4GB's on one card. Not unless SLI-ing the used Zotac GTX 680 2GB's card with the new eVGA GTX 680 4GB's card will do anything for me? I doubt it, plus adding the two card won't do anything as towards providing with a higher RAM count, I suspect the system will default to the 4GB card and only provide me that much. But some here have said something about when you SLi video cards it effectively "doubles your GPU's horsepower"! I'll think about it, plus I'm now rather happy with saving the used Zotac for my Son's up and coming build.

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