Monday, August 13, 2012

Recommended Highend Gaming Rig

So Saman wanted to know what I would call a highend gaming rig, so here goes.

Component Suggested part Price (US$)
CPU Intel Core i7 3770K 339.99
CPU Cooler Thermalright Silver Arrow 84.09
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP5 TH 249.99
RAM Samsung MV-3V4G3D 2x4GB kit (x2) 89.98
Video Card Gigabyte GTX670 2GB Windforce3 399.99
Sound Card Asus Xonar Phoebus 199.99
Hard Drives Samsung 830 series 256GB 229.99
Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB (data) 179.99
Western Digital Caviar Red 3TB (backup) 219.00
Case Coolermaster Storm Trooper 139.99
Power Supply Corsair AX750 169.99
Total 2302.99
Peripherals
Display Samsung 27” S27A950D 609.99
Mouse Logitech G500 57.99
Mouse Pad Razer Sphex 14.99
Keyboard Logitech G510 64.99
Headset Corsair Vengeance 2000 (wireless) 119.99
Speakers Corsair SP2500 199.99
Webcam Logitech C910 87.99
Total 1155.93


Ok, I do agree that is a looooot of money. Where can we improve on?
From the above list, I would keep the following components.
  • imageCPU (pretty much the highest-end gaming CPU)
  • CPU Cooler (pretty much the highest-end air cooler)
  • RAM (yes they are CL11, but you can overclock and overvolt the heck out of them)
  • Video Card (pretty much the best graphics card with best bang for buck in the higher end)
  • Case (pretty much the best, feature rich case for the price)

Alternatives

Motherboard:

The new Gigabyte UP series is the most powerful overclocking boards out there. They even have dual thunderbolt ports. Since IvyBridge hits the limits on the thermals on any consumer cooler before you get to the limits of any motherboard, you should only look at the features that you need. If you still want to stick the the Gigabyte’s UP series, then you can have the UP4 which is 25% cheaper than the UP5. There differences are inferior audio chip, usage of RealTek NIC instead of Intel, no 3rd party Storage controller (which I think is a positive), 4 USB3.0 ports from VIA chip instead of 8. Except for the lack of Intel NIC, I would have no problem choosing the UP4.

If you want to get one from Asus, you can get the Asus P8Z77-V (vanila model) which sells for the same 189.99 as the UP4, which has Intel NIC and Wifi, but no thunderbolt.

5533a__msi_z77a_gd55If you want to save a bit of more money while sticking to Intel chips, take a look at the MSI Z77A-GD55. It goes for $164.99 at NewEgg.

Choosen: MSI Z77A-GD55 ($85 saved)

Sound Card

l_07929964Maybe the Xonar Phoebus is overkill. I would settle for something like the Creative Recon3D or the older Asus Xonar DX as both are about half the price of the Phoebus while delivering almost the same performance. (Maybe not the amount of features)
Chosen: Asus Xonar DX ($115 saved)

Hard Drives

886E025As a bare-minimum, you should be looking at a 128GB SSD and a 2TB of HDD for your storage subsystem. Still, I would go with the Samsung 830 Series 128GB SSD, not because it is the fastest (it is NOT), but because it is the most reliable. Heck, you would only see like 1 second delay in boot times between the fastest SSD and the Samsung. Who cares, right?

As for the HDD, I would go still go with the Caviar Black because they price difference between that and the Caviar Red drive is only $20. The performance of the Caviar Red drive is closer to Caviar Green drive than to the Caviar Black drive.

As for the backup drive, we’ll have to buy an external drive at some point…or use Carbonite Cloud Storage. ;)

Chosen: 128GB Samsung 830 series SSD + Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB ($329 saved)

Power Supply

hx750_angledCorsair recently released the 80PLUS Gold Rated HX series and they are a bit cheaper than the AX series. I would look at the 80PLUS Gold rated HX750 which sells for $144.99 on NewEgg.

Chosen: 80PLUS Gold rated HX750 ($25 saved)

So all in all, we saved $554 from the main components list.

Revised major components list
Component Suggested part Price (US$)
CPU Intel Core i7 3770K 339.99
CPU Cooler Thermalright Silver Arrow 84.09
Motherboard MSI Z77A-GD55 164.99
RAM Samsung MV-3V4G3D 2x4GB kit (x2) 89.98
Video Card Gigabyte GTX670 2GB Windforce3 399.99
Sound Card Asus Xonar DX 84.99
Hard Drives 128GB Samsung 830 series SSD 119.99
Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB (data) 179.99
Case Coolermaster Storm Trooper 139.99
Power Supply 80PLUS Gold rated HX750 144.99
Total 1748.99

It is hard to recommend the peripherals though. The above is just a guide-line. What’s best for one will not work for another because these directly interact with body. One might have large palms, another one might have small palms. The mouse that fits one’s palm will not fit the other. It’s same with the other components. You can get a basic idea about them by reading a review, but it is always better to go an try them out at the showroom. Thus, I will not suggest any alternatives for the peripherals.
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