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Motherboards, Memory, PSU & Other Devices - compatability

By Islander ยท 8 replies
Sep 6, 2013
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  1. I'm gathering components for my first PC build. And guess what? I have a few questions. The rig will be a dedicated gaming rig, primarily racing games, might get into flight sims. Looking for reliable >40fps at or just below 1080p, single 24"-27" display. Will keep my current PC for non-gaming duties. $1,100. budget limit, less the display and peripherals. Will get into OC, but conservatively and not right away. Don't expect to go SLI, but might eventually.

    Components bought or en route:

    Corsair Carbide 200R mid tower ATX
    Win7 64-bit Home Premium SP1 (OEM, 1 disc)
    Core i5-4670K
    Mobo, Asus Z87-A (LGA 1150)
    HDD, 1TB WD Blue

    And looking at:

    Gigabyte GTX 660, 2GB (prettly much decided - bang for the buck and sufficient for purpose, price going down, and $20. rebate this month)
    Memory, 8GB, (2x4GB) DDR3
    SSD, 128GB Crucial m4, SATA 6Gb/s (I like the price, doesn't have to be the best, looks like immediately installing latest drivers should take care of reviewers' complaints)
    ODD, Lite-On iHAS124-04
    PSU, Corsair Enthusiast Series (TX650M), 650W modular (subject to further research, but I like this)

    From the Asus web site I've downloaded the Memory Qualified Vendors List (QVL) and the Devices QVL. Too much information, and not enough. The memory list is extensive, the devices list is not.

    My central question is, how important is it that I select memory from the Memory QVL, and likewise the PSU from the Devices QVL? Just looking at the devices list it is clear that not being on the list does not mean a particular part won't play nicely with the Z87-A. The Corsair PSU selection is very limited. What should I focus on (other than price)?

    Thanks for your help.

  2. Islander

    Islander TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 35

    I presume then, that although it may be somewhat important to be guided by the Memory QVL (simply because it seems so comprehensive), the Devices QVL can be ignored. Will proceed accordingly.

  3. hood6558

    hood6558 TS Evangelist Posts: 353   +110

    You have obviously done your research, because your picks are not only compatible, but also at or near the "sweet spot' for performance and value. My system is similar, although last-gen (Asus P8Z77-V, i5-3570K, Kingston HyperX Beast 2400 MHz 2 x 4GB, Corsair Carbide 400R, Crucial M4 128). Basically you can ignore the RAM QVL, most of those sticks are hard to find - just go with a good name brand like Corsair, Kingston, or Patriot in a SPEED that's well qualified (Z87-A is good up to 3000 MHz), something like 2133 or 2400 MHz is the sweet spot for RAM right now, nice and fast but not too pricey. My system (at 4500 MHz CPU clocks) blows away stock-clocked i7s and the 2400 RAM makes it faster than 98% of similar systems. I also game mostly with driving games (Dirt 3, Dirt Showdown, Grid 2, NFSMW 2013, Nascar 2013), and my 660 Ti keeps up nicely, but sometimes I wish I'd bought a 670. The 660 Ti is considered to be the lowest in the "high-end" class of video cards, so the 660 non-Ti is top of the mid-high-end class. If I could afford it I'd buy a 770, which is a bargain for $400 considering it's performance, blows my 660 Ti away. Yes, ignore the device QVL as well, don't know why they bother...
    cliffordcooley and Islander like this.
  4. Islander

    Islander TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 35

    Thanks for the comeback, hood. Very reassuring. I have done some research, but not that much, and there are so many questions. But basically, nobody has told me yet that it won't work or that my picks are irrational. Looks to me like I'll be getting what I want without quite starving.

    I'm a single player. The only one I'll be blowing away is me, and I'm easy. I'm old enough to have bought my first desktop PC in 1993 (Win3.1) and am constantly blown away by how powerful yet inexpensive PCs are today, especially keeping in mind the change in the dollar's value. I recall upgrading memory from 4MB to 8MB at a cost of around $130. It's all good.

    I'm shooting for a Hallowe'en launch. Thanks again.
    AKA RubyRuby
  5. hood6558

    hood6558 TS Evangelist Posts: 353   +110

    One more thing to consider - the stock Intel CPU cooler is notoriously weak. It's adequate for stock speeds, just barely, but any overclock quickly overwhelms it. I'm using a Corsair H100 240mm liquid cooler, with great success. There are many options for All-In-One Liquid Cooling Systems now, and the good ones are quieter and more effective than any air cooler. Also, a top-end liquid cooler is about the same price as the best air coolers ($75-$100), so you have a lot of options to think about just for CPU cooling.
    P.S. My start was in the Win98 era (1st PC at age 40), so I am also amazed at what you can build these days for $1500, and by how realistic games look now (remember "Pong"?) with even a $200 graphics card.
  6. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,056   +4,778

    I was thinking nearly the same thing. Thats going to be a great build.
  7. Islander

    Islander TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 35

    Thanks, guys. I'm not planning on overclocking right away, so should have plenty of time to suss out the cooler situation. Thanks for the heads up.

    Last night I was looking at RAM sticks, especially the C. Vengeance Red 1866MHz and the 2133MHz. Somewhere I came across a caution about those tall sticks (cooling fins) possibly being in the way of the CPU cooler on the Asus Z87-A mobo, the first DRAM slot being so close to the CPU. Know anything about that? I wonder if RAM that fast is really worth the possible hassle. Maybe for the Z87-A board I should avoid RAM sticks with the tall fins. The Red 1866MHz is normal height. Would the speed difference be noticeable?

  8. hood6558

    hood6558 TS Evangelist Posts: 353   +110

    Asus boards usually recommend using slots A2 & B2 (the yellow slots on Z87-A) when using two sticks, as that leaves the slot nearest the CPU unpopulated for better cooler clearance. Also, you can always find fast sticks with low-profile heat spreaders if you insist on using a large air cooler, but in your case it shouldn't matter, the stock cooler has NO clearance issues with any size RAM. Later when you OC you'll no doubt go with a liquid cooler, which also has no clearance issues in the CPU socket area (just make sure the radiator will fit your case). So get the RAM you want, it will all work out.
  9. Islander

    Islander TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 35

    Cool. That makes perfect sense.

    Having a hard time staying on my crappy connection today, but I did find the low profile 2133MHz sticks on amazon.com this morning: G. Skill Ares Series and C. Vengeance Blue. $1.00 difference between the two. They make the cut. Will check reviews when I can. Thanks hood.


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