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Full Version: Incremental build to a Tier 5-7 leveraging existing parts.
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I'm considering a new build leveraging parts I have lying around. The build will be done in stages, with the first stage being a "decent" system and the second stage being a midrange tier 5-7 gaming system.

End goal: Tier 5-7 Win8-64 desktop gaming / web / home office system, running dual 16x12 monitors (I already have these).

Long term, this is what I'm thinking:
CPU: Core i5-4670K - overclocked? most likely...
GPU: GTX 760, 770 or ??? 6-12 months from now.
RAM: 16+ Gb, 8 Gb is OK for now.
The rest: it depends...

What I have on hand:

SSD: Intel 320 80G SATA 3.0Gbyte/Sec http://ark.intel.com/products/56563/Inte...s-25nm-MLC
HDD: HD Western Digital Black WD6401AALS 640GB SATA 3.0Gbyte/Sec (Qty 2)
GPU: nVidia GT 635 (Dell OEM)
PSU: 460W, (Dell OEM from an XPS 8700)
DVDRW: 2007 vintage SATA DVDRW drive.
Monitors: Dell Ultrasharp 2007FP 1600x1200 (two)


Round 1 to get a working system.

Case: $50-90 Does not need to be fancy, good airflow /quiet.
CPU: $235 core i5-4670K $235
Motherboard: $____ TBD: Need some guidance here.
CPU Cooler: $35-75 Cooler master 212 vs Noctua NH-U14S
Memory: $_____ 8 GB -16GB DDR3 ??? How fast of memory is needed / better.

If I go low-end on the case, memory and CPU cooler, I think I can pull this all together for about $500, and still get a decent motherboard. Edit: I'm bad at math. This is closer to $600.

If this makes sense, can I get some suggestions for the motherboard. the Gigabyte Z87 boards have A-LOT of poor reviews on n e w e g g.

How much overclocking can the CPU take without steping up to the Noctua cooler? or for $40 more is this not worth the debate.

Which memory for the long-term overclocked setup?

Other questions:

Will the older and slower 3.0Gb/sec drives be sufficient for the longer-term system? 80G SSD as boot drive, and use the spinners for extra storage? the SSD specs are about 1/2 to 1/3 the performance of the Samsung 840 Pro. I haven't checked the HDD specs, but they are only 32Mb cache, and the older SATA spec.

The Dell PSU has standard ATX connectors. It has two PCI 12v connectors. I read a dumbed down GTX 660 was offered using this PSU, but I don't really trust it. I'm assuming this will have no problem running the 4670K at stock speeds, and may even support some overclocking, and perhaps a slightly better GPU.

Round 2 looks something like this:
GPU: GTX 760, 770, ???
PSU: TBD.
SSD: TBD. depends on performance of the Intel 320.
RAM: TBD

Does this make sense to do? It seems like a decent $500 investment with fair upgrade potential.
Quote:Case: $50-90 Does not need to be fancy, good airflow /quiet.
CPU: $235 core i5-4670K $235
Motherboard: $____ TBD: Need some guidance here.
CPU Cooler: $35-75 Cooler master 212 vs Noctua NH-U14S
Memory: $_____ 8 GB -16GB DDR3 ??? How fast of memory is needed / better.

The mainstream (Tier 3-7) article was just updated, so I'd just pull these parts right from Tier 5. Your existing hardware should be compatible. Only your existing PSU might be cutting it close. I'd replace that first, especially if it's older.

If you want a mini-ATX build, use the recommend Case/Mobo. If you want a full ATX build, I like the Corsair Carbide series, but other then the features and build quality, cases are pretty subjective. You'd also want to pick one of the suggested "full-sized, ATX" mobo's if you get a full sized case.

Quote:If this makes sense, can I get some suggestions for the motherboard. the Gigabyte Z87 boards have A-LOT of poor reviews on n e w e g g.

How much overclocking can the CPU take without steping up to the Noctua cooler? or for $40 more is this not worth the debate.

Which memory for the long-term overclocked setup?

Again, check out the latest article for mobos. Take the reviews with a grain of salt, as motherboards are the most likely parts to receive dead-on-arrival (DoA). Also, NewEgg/Amazon are both great at replacing them quickly. Finally, a company might have horrible reviews for one series of motherboards, but have a solid set of reviews for the next.

Overclocking is kind of luck-of-the-draw. Most i5's can get an extra .5 to 1GHz without too much fuss. As an example, my Hyper 212 got my 3.4GHz to 4.5GHz, but it was loud while gaming. Upgrading to the Noctua didn't let me go much further, but was much quieter, and the CPU stayed much cooler on average. It was also MUCH easier to install (not that the Hyper 212 is that difficult). I haven't made much effort to OC since I upgraded though, since none of my games are really held back by the CPU right now. It's possible I could go further with the Noctua.

2x4GB of any reputable brand should be fine. Not many games that will top 8GB right now, so you can get one 2x4GB kit now, and a second later, for 16GB total. The higher RAM speeds only bring minor improvements in gaming. Of course, if the prices are close, there's no reason not to grab faster RAM.

Quote:Will the older and slower 3.0Gb/sec drives be sufficient for the longer-term system? 80G SSD as boot drive, and use the spinners for extra storage? the SSD specs are about 1/2 to 1/3 the performance of the Samsung 840 Pro. I haven't checked the HDD specs, but they are only 32Mb cache, and the older SATA spec.

3.0Gb/sec is fine on a HDD, as they can't spin fast enough to use more speed anyway. I wouldn't worry about the HDD speed in general, if you're just using it store files/media. On the other hand, 3.0Gb/sec will be slower for an SSD. Your old Intel SSD will still be MUCH faster than an HDD, for games/windows, and should be fine short-term. You WILL see a big leap in performance with the latest SSDs. Your biggest issue will probably be squeezing Windows + 1 or 2 games on 80GB. That's a good enough reason to upgrade eventually. Make sure you Google some SSD space-freeing guides. (Move My Docs to HDD, move/disable recovery points and the page file, etc...)

Quote:Round 2 looks something like this:
GPU: GTX 760, 770, ???
PSU: TBD.
SSD: TBD. depends on performance of the Intel 320.
RAM: TBD

6-12 months from now, NVIDIA should have dropped it's new series of "Maxwell" GPUs. These will use a brand new manufacturing process, which usually bring a huge leap in performance. Based on the 750Ti, it seems they will also use a fraction of the power of current GPUs. I'm not sure if they'll be "GTX 860, 870, 880s", but that will probably be what you'd want by then, or whatever equivalent card AMD is offering.

There will also likely be faster lines of SSDs in 1 year; although, I doubt the jump in performance will be as huge as going from your Intel to a 840 Pro. DDR3 RAM and PSUs shouldn't be much different by then.
Thanks! I'll check out the updated page. Looks like it will help me alot.