Getting ready for a PC build, need some advice!

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

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    Well I don't know where the $700.00 price tag is coming from, seeing that after doing some digging I found the card they substituted me with on Fry's web site. It clearly has a crisp and cool $529.99 price tag.

    Here it is..

    Don't worry about drooling, it looks like with Fry's right now this cheap price may be like hitting virtual "pay dirt"! Get it if you can! :)
  2. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Posts: 231   +17

    well pricing in Australia may be different, for us all computer components are more expensive :(
    and my good sir, I will continue to drool.That's a sexy card/build.
  3. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    This might have been something worth looking at during the "on paper" or "planning" part of the build! But the money has been spent, parts are on their way and the build will start sometime next week. But a 6GB's video card, that sounds twisted sick!
  4. dividebyzero

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

    Google some prices, it's really stupid.
    Zen and cliffordcooley like this.
  5. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    You know, very rarely do I see eye to eye with DividedByZero, but this is just one of those times that I will stand by his side and totally agree with him, and agree that is this really stupid! DBZ probably will more than tell you, that as far as he and most others here are concerned the planning stages of this build have concluded. Everybody knows that my money has officially been spent! The final part needed for this build as of yesterday has shipped, e.t.a. 3-4 days till it hits my front door.

    And why would for the life of me, why would I want to dump $699.99 on that video card, what, only on the premise that it has 2 more Gigs of video RAM on it, than the 4GB one I'm getting? I think the card that I first reported that Fry's substituted me to in post # 72 will be more than good enough to handle just about anything I choose to throw at it. If I need more video horsepower I'll just go ahead and SLi that Zotac GTX 680 2GB card I purchased off my friend. That won't do anything towards giving me more RAM, which I'm not really concerned with, but it will increase the GPU's power!

    Again, I agree with DividedByZero here, "stupid"!
  6. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    No big problem here! I know for the most part where you might have been coming from. And yeah, the card your showing off here appears to be a pretty decent high end job. But even I could go back a week or so and go through the motions of placing my on-line order again, even knowing about the card your showing, I most likely would have kept my original pick, maybe, not 100% but a strong maybe! But there again the universe surprised me when it gave me that substitution to a 4GB card!

    But now playing my newly purchased Crysis "Maximum Edition" on three screens at once shouldn't be a problem at all!

    I can't wait to crush this game!

    This is going to be fun! :) I so can't wait!
  7. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    Budget? When putting this computer of mine on paper, I thought having $2883.89 for a budget was pretty good. I could have still grabbed that card your were showing me and still have gotten just about everything else on my list! Maybe you haven't seen it, maybe you don't know what all I'm getting, that way you can see what my budget bought me!

    (Case and components)

    Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 Full Tower Case- VN300M1W2N ($149.99)
    LD Dual 12" CCFL - Blue ($7.99)
    Cooler Master Megaflow 200mm Blue LED Case Fan ($6.99)
    Corsair H100 Liquid CPU Hydro Series CPU Cooler ($109.99)

    (Motherboard and components)

    Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 990FX AM3+ Motherboard ($149.99)
    AMD FX-8120 8 Core ($159.99)
    (1 Packs) CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600MHz ($99.99)

    (Internal Drives)

    Hitachi GST 0F12117 2TB CoolSpin SATA 3 ($99.99)
    Crucial RealSSD M4 series 128GB SATA 3 SSD ($109.99)
    LG Internal SATA 12x Super Mult Blu Ray Writer ($99.99)

    (Power Solution)

    Thermaltake Toughpower XT 775W Continuous-Delivery Modular Power Supply ($99.90)

    (Video Solution)

    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)

    (Sound Solution)

    Creative Lab PCI-E X-Fi Titanium FatalTy Champion Series Internal Sound Card ($179.99)

    (Network Communications Solution)

    [B][B][B][B][B][B]NETGEAR WN311B Wireless-N PCI Adapter[/B][B][B] ($49.99)[/B][/B][/B][/B][/B][/B][/B]

    (External Computer Components)

    Logitech Wireless Wave Combo Keyboard & Mouse MK550 ($79.99)
    Logitech Z506 5.1 Speaker System ($99.99)

    (External Video Solution)

    (3, Yes 3) LG E2442TC 24" Class Slim LED Backlit Monitor's - 1920 x 1080, 16:9, 5000000:1, 5ms, VGA, DVI-D, Energy Star ($179.99 Each)

    (Operating System Solution)

    Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit (Full) - System Builder (OEM) version - DVD ($149.99)


    CyberPower USB 2.0 4 Port Amplified Hub ($17.99)
    Microsoft LifeCam Cinema HD Webcam ($69.95)
    ZOTAC ZT-60101-10P GeForce GTX 680 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video (Used for $375)-------((For possible SLi-ing))

    And when it comes to power, I think that 775W will be up to the job! I think I've got all the electrical power I need.​
  8. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    That's not true, a 2GB and 4GB card in SLI will only effectively have 2GB VRAM. If you want to go SLI and make the most of the 4GB card then you need another 4GB one.
  9. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,727   +3,700

    So SLI inefficiently makes use of VRAM. Not only does the two cards not share VRAM but the card with the least is the one that sets the amount of memory available.
  10. dividebyzero

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

    Yup. Likewise if you have cards with dissimilar clocks, the faster one downclocks to that of the slowest one.
    Remember that the whole idea of SLI (and Crossfire for that matter) is that each GPU is responsible for turning out an alternate frame (AFR - alternative frame rendering*)- so there is nothing to be gained by one card being faster than it's partner(s), it just induces lag - one fast frame rendered followed by a pause before the slower card completed it's frame.

    * CFX can also use SuperTiling ( not supported in all games, non-OpenGL supported, and with wide variability in performance), and both Nvidia and AMD support the largely obsolete split/scissor frame render (SFR) method - each card rendering half the frame
  11. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    So what are you saying here DBZ? Should I dismiss the whole idea of maybe SLi-ing the two card I have and be satisfied with just using the 4GB's one? Because if one card is going to render fast and the other card is going to take some time, I don't know if I quite like that idea.

    Hit me with some truth here, if this was your build, and knowing everything that is on the part list, would you run the two video cards at once, or would you just run the eVGA 4GB's only?
  12. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,727   +3,700

    I understand the concept of downclocking. I do not understand the concept behind a 2GB and a 4GB card limiting you to only 2GB when there is a total of 6GB between the cards. Is memory being duplicated for both cards, thats the only scenario I can think of. If so why the duplication?
  13. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    I feel you Clifford, I really do, for I'm ending up as confused about the whole math part of the equation as you are! I just think we need to have someone like dividedbyzero or an as like member come in here and set us straight! You would think that a 2GB and a 4GB card would equal 6GB, but some have said that not to be true. Some have said that SLi-ing two cards only adds to the graphics processor chips horsepower, like doubling it. I'm lost, I've never dealt with a possible SLi system before, and having all those little pieces of paper that say I'm someone in the computer field, this for me is very embarrassing! So to anyone out there that can come on in here and just bottom line this baby for us, I think Clifford and myself would be most thankful!
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  14. dividebyzero

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

    SLI still has the advantage of double GPU power- or rather, halving the workload (frames rendered) of each's just with dissimilar specced cards you don't achieve the full benefit of the higher specification
    Nvidia's driver won't allow you to run an asymetrical specification for that exact reason. My comment:
    ...simply notes the reasons why Nvidia (and AMD) approach their optimizations in this way.
    You're probably asking the wrong person. I've been a near-continuous user of SLI since 3dfx owned the IP, and probably biased towards the you-can-never-have-enough-horsepower camp. Triple monitor setups require a dual (or more) GPU setup- you just wont realize the full potential of one card (for vRAM). Dissimilar clocks can be overcome by applying a small overclock to the slower card.

    Short answers:
    As per Blkfx1's adviceP: Corsair H80 = noisy. no better than mid-high end tower (air) cooler. H100 = a little better than high end air cooling. Don't run too much voltage through the CPU and it should be fine...and ditch the supplied fans. They aren't that good
    Bespoke water cooling much better but out of your price range if you're shopping ~$100. Even a 2x120mm kit will run you 50% more than that budget. If it interests you.
    If you're looking for more information on watercooling and/or what to look for in cooling fans feel free to peruse the guide I wrote >>here<<
    OK, I can see the confusion. Say card #1 renders odd numbered frames, and card #2 renders even numbered frames. If you have more resources (faster clock, larger frame buffer) available to (say) card #2 then it can render it's portion of the gameplay faster. You'd end up with ( with 3 dashes for the slower card and 2 for the faster card to exaggerate the difference- the dashes being the time to render the frame)
    Card#1: 1---3---5---7---9---11---13---15---17---19---21---23
    Card#2: --2--4--6--8--10--12--14--16--18--20--22--24--26
    In this example card#1 would be behind in the render and out of sync by frame 7, so you would end up with lag (stuttering) or card#2 would just send out it's next frame(s) at the expense of card#1's -this happens in the normal course of SLI/Crossfire rendering but isn't the norm as would be the case in the above example.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  15. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    Well I still am not hearing what I want in regards to the RAM factor! Some say adding a 2GB card to an already in place 4GB card will only give me 2GB's of RAM. Is that true? Because if it is, I'm going to keep the 2GB Zotac on the shelf and let it collect some dust, I'll just save it and use it for my next build. I think what this is boiling down to is the fact for me to see any distinct advantages of running an SLi system, that both cards have to be identical. Same company, same model number, same RAM count, both have to be on a even par with each other. So I'm thinking about just running the eVGA 4GB card for now and run those three brand new and still in their boxes LG monitors on. I will water down my video settings a bit when using directX 10 to directX 11 games, like my newly purchased Crysis Max Edition! But when it comes to most of my games which are directX 7 to directX 9 based, games such as Call of Duty 2, Star Trek Starfleet Command III, Call of Duty 4 "Modern Warfare", Medal of Honor "Allied Assult", Neverwinter Nights and both Unreal Tournament 1999 and Unreal Tournament 2004 and Unreal Tournament III, with those it's going to be balls out at maxed out triple monitor settings!

    So I'm just going to run the eVGA 4GB and save my money and buy another eVGA 4GB card down the road and then SLi the two together and see what that does for me.
  16. dividebyzero

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

    Yes. 4GB+2GB card = 2GB+2GB card. The only question you should be asking is whether you need SLI or not.
    A 4GB or 2GB setup makes very little difference - you are either not taking on board what is being said or are looking for some Guiness book of records citation for longest thread. GPU processing power >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>vRAM frame buffer
    Most older OGL and DX9 games aren't going to require SLI. DX11 certainly will if you want a reasonable level of eye candy.
    UT3 ???? You could get an arthritic old man to hand draw the frames for the amount of graphics horsepower it takes to run.(and thats not that much of an exaggeration)
  17. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,727   +3,700

    So in order for card 1 to process the odd bits and card 2 to process the even bits, memory would need to be duplicated across both cards. In essence the cards are only accessing half the memory because the other card is accessing the other half which allows for faster processing.
  18. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    lol, arthritic man, hand draw the frames, okay DBZ I understand now, trust me, I'm not gunning as you eluded to as to making the longest thread in history! I don't think it's wrong, regardless of time and posts to make sure I understand something. As that ways I don't blow it when it counts and mess something up or worse, destroy hardware. I'll shut up now and quit asking questions, for I think I now get it. I'm just going to roll with the eVGA 4GB card for now, it most likely is going to do me just fine on it's own. Seeing most of my games frames are being written by arthritic men, I have no doubt I'll be just fine. Down the road when I get close to buying another eVGA 4GB card I'll let you know, maybe with you being the SLi guru you can help me out and make sure I don't blow it!

    Thanks for taking the time to help out a thick skull'd person such as myself, I appreciate it! :)
  19. dividebyzero

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

    Sort of. The vRAM in an SLI/CFX setup holds the textures (and a few other components) as for a single card, but because they are rendering the same scene, the vRAM from the first card is mirrored to the second card. That way the GPU's have access to identical resources. If you mirrored 2GB to a 4GB card you would naturally have 2GB unused....and of course, mirroring 4GB to a 2GB buffer won't work. The ideal workaround would be for pooled vRAM which has been mooted but has yet to become viable- latency and bandwidth restriction would become fairly large hurdles since the communication between cards would necessitate the use of a much faster (and probably more direct) PCI Express bus in line with the CPU/RAM memory control hub
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  20. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,727   +3,700

    Thanks DBZ, I understand the basics to the limitation now at least.
  21. dividebyzero

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

    Just be aware that post processing is what kills framerates, and post processing (I.e. eye candy, full screen AA, PhysX, ambient occlusion, particle effects etc) is the principle selling point of DX11 games
    Any quick read of reviews will give you that information and much more besides. I generally don't post performance benches for the reason that they are particular to my setup and any comparison is rendered null if the other persons system differs to any great extent. My OS is mirrored at install on a stack of hdds which tend to go though rotation back to my SSD, and I reinstall on a 3-6 month basis. In addition my CPU is clocked at 4.8G, and I have a habit of modding gamedata files along with no prefetching instructions and the like- none are applicable to a lot of other people.
  22. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    A 4GB 680 will easily run those games you listed, even at triple monitor resolutions. If you decide you want to play games such as Battlefield 3, Metro 2033 etc. at 5760x1080 and max settings then you should think about adding another card in SLI. If I were you I'd sell that 2GB Zotac 680 you have, it's not a good idea letting it collect dust and depreciate, sell it now while it's still got good value and upgrade to SLI when you need it.
    Zen likes this.
  23. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    Wow, spectacular idea! I was just going to toss that Zotac card off to the side a while and possibly save it for a computer build for my Son, which is planned for sometime around late October to early November. But there again, the kid I don't think really needs a GTX 680 card. I think I've got an old Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT laying around somewhere. He can have the 8800 and I could sell off the 680, I do have two used computer stores in my area, I just wonder how much they would give for a used GTX 680, I spent $375.00 for it, doubt I'll even get close to that in return! Oh well, it probably wouldn't hurt to give these places a call and tap their brains to see what they might give me! If it's a good offer I could sell it off and pocket the money and that be the foundation towards saving up for another 4GB GTX 680!

    Good idea there slh28, I like it! :)
  24. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Do a quick search on ebay... you'll easily get that much.
  25. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Posts: 231   +17

    This thread has gone awfully quiet... zen, would you maybe shoot us an update to quell my fears that something has gone horribly wrong?

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