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NeX

Building a new gaming rig

Hey hey hey.  I think it's about time for me to start thinking about building a new rig, and turning my current one into a livingroom media center. Here's my current specs:

 

  • CPU: i7-2600 (4core 8thread)
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3 (Corsair)
  • GPU: MSI GTX 970 (4GB GDDR5)
  • MOBO: Gigabyte something or other, does its job but nothing special. Mini ATX
  • PSU: Corsair 750W Modular

 

So far this guy has done pretty much everything I need it to, but I've been noticing some gradual loss in FPS in newer games due to my CPU bottleneck.  Don't get me wrong, it's a great little processor and has served me well for its >6 year lifespan, but it's not (easily) unlocked, so I can't overclock to compensate, and I'd have to get better cooling even if I did.  

My GPU rarely hits over 75% load when I notice performance hits, so it's doing OK, but even though the 970 is no slouch, there are a lot more future-proof items on the market.  

 

I think this PC will do great as a low-budget living room rig, it'll serve up my Plex media and some couch gaming just fine - but it can't really handle the smooth ride I'm looking for in my main rig, and I've had these components for a long time. It's a bit of a frankenstein's monster, with my having upgraded the mobo and GPU along the way (there's another story on here about that and my fuckups along the way lol), so it's time to get the backseat sometime soon.

 

So I'm asking you guys, since a lot of you have a ton of experience in building PCs and the nuances of the compatibilities of hardware I may not possess - what should I do here?

 

I'm trying to keep my budget around $1000 - I also think I can salvage some parts from the current guy if needed, such as the PSU. That PC doesn't pull 400W, so I can easily use the 750W for the new build, and but a cheaper PSU to put in the old one as a more reasonable replacement.  Same goes for the case. It's nothing special, but it's large enough to house all the components I could fit without issue, so i can always get a cheap ass case for the old rig's parts since it's going to be sitting in the living room doing nothing anyway.  I'm hoping some tradeoffs like that could save me a few hundred without having to sacrifice any specs of consequence along the way.

 

Things I definitely need: new CPU (unlocked), better GPU, new MOBO + RAM (DDR4 obv), SSD, water cooling system - preferrably not overly complicated, just a simple bolt-on with a vent fan is fine with me.

 

Here's what I've got in terms of an ideal build, but it's around $1400:

 

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/N2rYtJ

 

  • CPU: i5-7600K
  • RAM: Ripjaws V 16GB DDR4-2666 (2x8GB)
  • GPU: EVGA GTX 1080 (8GB VRAM)
  • MOBO: MSI Z270-A PRO (ATX) (LGA1151)
  • PSU: EVGA 650W Full Modular
  • Case: NZXT S340 ATX Mid-Tower
  • SSD: Samsung 850-EVO 250GB 2.5"
  • HDD: Seagate 2TB 7200 RPM
  • Cooling: MasterLiquid Pro 280

 

Total: ~$1500

 

 

So my final questions are:

 

Do you think the 1080 is worth the price?  The 1070 is about half the price, and the RX480 is even cheaper, but the benchmarks aren't even close to the 1080 at the moment.

If it is, would the step up to the 1080 Ti be worth the extra money? That's a serious beast that should be solid for several years to come.

 

Should I fuck with an external sound card? I have a Yamaha Audiogram 6 for my microphone, which handles its business pretty well via USB, and I've never had a big issue with sound quality, but then again I may just not know what I'm missing.

 

Are AMD processors worth it for gaming? I'd be down to try one out if the price:specs ratio was good enough (although that means a MOBO change, not a big deal).

 

I'm down for any and all suggestions here, I'd love to knock off that $400, but not if it's a massive sacrifice in specs.  By switching to all AMD I may be able to come in around $1000, but if it's also 1/3 less powerful, I'm not looking for a 1:1 tradeoff in price to performance.

 

 

Thanks guys!

 


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I'd first check to make sure you are indeed getting a CPU bottleneck. That processor, even at stock speeds, is still a very competent processor for gaming, and I honestly wouldn't object to pairing something like a GTX 1070 with it and playing at 1440p.

 

For whether or not a GTX 1080 is worth it, that depends on what resolution you're playing at.

 

If you're playing at 1080p and want maximum FPS (e.g. 144 Hz gaming), get a GTX 1070. In many cases, you will be CPU-bound even with the most powerful CPU on the market with a GTX 1070, and if so, you're not going to see any improvement with a GTX 1080. If you're playing at 1440p, you'd still get by with a GTX 1060, but at this point, I'd consider a GTX 1070 or GTX 1080. If you're playing at 4K, I wouldn't get anything less than a GTX 1070, and I'd get the best available graphics card.

 

If you're considering AMD, are you getting FX or Ryzen? If you're considering FX, stick with your i7-2600. If you're getting Ryzen, then this depends on whether or not you're willing to wait. According to many benchmarks, there's no noticeable difference in gaming performance between a Ryzen 7 CPU with 2 cores disabled (thus 6 cores) and a Ryzen 7 CPU with all cores enabled. Therefore, it's in your best interest to wait for Ryzen 5 to be released if all you care about is gaming performance. If you must have this build completed as soon as possible, stick with that i5, as it costs less than a Ryzen 7 processor for similar gaming performance.

 

Now for looking at your build, there are cheaper GTX 1080s out there if you want to save about $30-$40 and don't mind only having one 8-pin connector instead of two. Factory overclocks are worthless when you can just get a better overclock yourself, anyway. Assuming you're going with a red/black theme, here are some cheaper GTX 1080s:

Up to you here.

 

As for your power supply, I'd get G2 over NEX. The NEX isn't a bad power supply, but the G2 is a bit higher in quality. You'd be paying about $10 more, however. https://pcpartpicker.com/product/9q4NnQ/evga-power-supply-220g20650y1

 

It's a solid build.

Skeezix the Cat, WaeV, NeX and 1 other like this

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Interesting for sure...wouldn't the lack of another 8pin limit the OCing ability of the card, if it can't physically draw as much power? 

 

After doing a bit more research, it looks like a lot of people are pretty hopeful for dual-BIOS 1070s and being able to unlock some of the intentionally disabled features that differentiate it from the 1080.

 

I'm also interested to see what AMD unveils with this spooky mysterious Vega chip. They claim it will compete with the 11GB 1080 Ti, but with it only being 4GB-8GB, I'm skeptical.  However, I'm willing to wait until there's at least some benchmarks released to see whether or not it would be worth it to get the AMD chip.

 

Then again, that sounds like at least a few months away, which sucks. I was hoping to get this all built and set up in the next....2-3 weeks.


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24 minutes ago, NeX said:

Interesting for sure...wouldn't the lack of another 8pin limit the OCing ability of the card, if it can't physically draw as much power? 

 

After doing a bit more research, it looks like a lot of people are pretty hopeful for dual-BIOS 1070s and being able to unlock some of the intentionally disabled features that differentiate it from the 1080.

 

I'm also interested to see what AMD unveils with this spooky mysterious Vega chip. They claim it will compete with the 11GB 1080 Ti, but with it only being 4GB-8GB, I'm skeptical.  However, I'm willing to wait until there's at least some benchmarks released to see whether or not it would be worth it to get the AMD chip.

 

Then again, that sounds like at least a few months away, which sucks. I was hoping to get this all built and set up in the next....2-3 weeks.

 

Will it limit it? Maybe, but probably not. These graphics cards already go to a really high frequency thanks to GPU boost and end up not having much headroom.

 

As for VRAM, 11 GB is overkill. 8 GB is well more than enough. And for most games, even 4 GB will be just fine. Many people, when considering a GTX 1060, an RX 480, or an RX 470, forget that the R9 Fury, despite having only 4 GB of HBM and being a bit outdated, is an excellent card you can buy for $260, and at that price point, will compete nicely against all three of those mid-ranged cards. https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202186&cm_re=R9_Fury-_-14-202-186-_-Product

 

Though if you're buying a high end card like a GTX 1070, you probably aren't considering compromising your video RAM, and as long as the card has at least 8 GB, you're not going to be missing anything in that regard anytime soon.

 

 

Again, if you do not want to wait a few more months for what could possibly be a better deal, then yeah, I'd stick with the i5-7600K and get one of NVIDIA's high-end Pascal graphics cards. There's absolutely nothing wrong with doing so, as you'll get a very premium experience.

Skeezix the Cat and Takka933 like this

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Definitely. 

 

I think with all the advice, my current estimate is that I'm not going to end up coming in at $1000.  

 

The real consideration now for me is how far towards the $2000 mark do I really want to get, and that is going to boil down to how far into the future do I want to not mess with needing an upgrade.

 

If I go full on towards the 1080 Ti, and drop an extra bit on the i7 for the virtual cores it gives (clock speeds aside), that'll sit me right up into that $1700 - $2000 range. 

 

That's not really where I wanted to be at, but it seems like a more sound decision in the long run.  The 1070 will definitely give me what I need right now, but on the off chance that the Vega ends up being some enigmatic breakthrough and at AMD prices, I may end up just burning my cash on it with respect to price:value ratio.

 

At this moment I'm leaning towards sitting on my hands - 002 made a great point that what I'm running now will definitely do fine for 90% of the things I want to do, and it'll handle the other 10% well enough to live with for the time being.  

 

I'll keep saving up some cash for this eventual build in the meantime while I wait to see how these new reveals go; if they're anything short of what they claim, I'll just aim towards the higher-end marks and end up with a rig that I can be satisfied with for the next 4-6 years either way.

 

Thanks for all the help! I greatly appreciate it.


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That's the problem with investing into new hardware. AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA regularly improve their processors, making their older ones obsolete eventually. What you buy now will almost certainly be considered outdated next year.

 

Anyway, if you're buying Intel and you're near a Micro Center, I highly recommend going to one. Thanks to the release of the $319.99 Ryzen 7 1700 processor which blows every i7 out of the water in price/performance (barring gaming performance on their quad core i7s), they're having a sale on Intel processors: the 6700K is $279.99, while a 7700K is $299.99. So, you'd be saving about $30-$40 over most vendors. While the 7700K boosts to 4.5 GHz, you'll likely get that or higher with overclocking the 6700K, though even if you don't overclock, you'll get very similar gaming performance. Clock speed is the main difference Kaby Lake has over Skylake when it comes to performance - they perform identical when at the same specs.

 

Lastly, the 4790K is also $279.99 and the platform (DDR3 RAM and Z97 motherboards) can be a little cheaper while still delivering very similar gaming performance, though you're probably going to want something brand new.

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47 minutes ago, 002 said:

That's the problem with investing into new hardware. AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA regularly improve their processors, making their older ones obsolete eventually. What you buy now will almost certainly be considered outdated next year.

 

Yeah, that's the cycle alright.  That's also the reason that I want to get something fresh - I know it'll be outdated in a few years, but that's a few extra years I get out of it.  If I buy something that's already  outdated....well...it's already outdated.

 

Microcenter is about an hour away from me....how are they in terms of customer service reps knowing their shit?  

 

If at all possible, it'd be great to go in and get all the parts I need in one stop, even if it's a bit more expensive on some of the components. Especially if there's a way to build it in-house so I don't have to deal with shipping and warranties if one of the components is bogus


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I totally support setting your sights on a 1080ti, but a 1070 is roughly equal to the 980ti and I cannot come up with any actual reason to upgrade myself other than "40fps in heavily modded skyrim kinda stinks".  Then again, I've barely had it like a year so it technically has plenty of performance life left.  Problem is...I don't like falling behind very far.  I'm the type of person that SHOULD be getting value oriented midrange components because I like upgrading so much.  That's something you should consider too.  A 1080ti will surely last you five years easy...but will you last that long without getting an itchy wallet finger?  Just some thoughts I had.

Kavawuvi likes this

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