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Old May 17, 2014, 06:04 PM
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Default Thinking it's about new build time again!

I haven't built a new system for a few years and haven't been too enthused to follow the tech as closely as I'd like to have for that time. But I think the time is coming to get a new system going and want to find a few things out.

I'm going to stick with Intel and Nvidia this time. With the " i " series of Intel chips there are different generations correct? Is the newest the Haswell nickname? Ideally I'd like something in between mid range and high end, so mid-high. But still be able to play games coming out at maximum quality. I do think I'll want to go with an i7 for longevity. Is the difference between the 4970 and 4990 that much? Will it show over time?

What's the tangible difference between the locked and unlocked chips? Does it become necessary to water cool these chips once they're up there around the 4ghz mark? Water cooling is something I've never dabbled in and if there are still decent air cooling options available that's something I'd like to do instead.

How are cases these days? I saw the HWC review of that Corsair Air 540 and really liked that. But is that something geared towards liquid cooling? I tried the cool flashy looking system but I've outgrown that gimmick. Function over fashion this time. The AIR is neat because it's something different, something clean and intriguing. But I've heard some negative things about cube style cases as well. I've really liked the Corsair cases since they started out ...around the 800D days I think? That style, but not 100% determined to buy that brand.
It looks like it's hard to get Lian Li cases anymore what happened there? Are there any other very functional cases geared towards air cooling out there?

The toughest part I think is going to be the motherboard. I have zero interest in purchasing an ASUS product and unfortunately there doesn't seem to be much else out there. Has onboard sound improved much? I just bought a new USB headset so I don't really see the need for a soundcard yet.
Who is leading the pack in the memory sector these days? I've been running G-SKILL in my current system and they've been doing well.

I haven't been sold on SSD drives, but it's the "it" thing to do with a new system these days. Personally I don't see the point considering the rule of thumb is to install everything on a separate drive anyway. So I don't get why they're necessary other than to boot up Windows faster. I have no issue with that because I usually leave the room when it's booting up anyway. Is there anything special I should know about those SSDs?

Last edited by Brian; May 17, 2014 at 06:26 PM.
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Old May 17, 2014, 08:48 PM
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I just want to ask, what are the specs of your current system?

Haswell came out in 2013, the new refresh of intel's line are coming out soon, the new motherboards are going to be backwards compatible so I'd suggest to get one of those.
You mentioned the 4970 and 4990, where did you see those? The Haswell's i7 is called the i7-4770. You need to list what you will use the computer for, that will determine whether you need an i5 or an i7, there's an option of going the LGA 2011 route but that might be extreme since you're looking for mid-high end.

Locked means that the speed on the CPU is locked, you can't change it. The unlocked chips are well unlocked, you get with stock speeds of 3.9GHz and you just go to the BIOS and change it to 4.5GHz ;) You can go with air cooling, the Noctua are famous for their air cooling, I'd recommend taking a look at the phantek coolers, they're the new boys on the block and their coolers have beaten others time after time after time. You should be able to hit over 4GHz with their cooler.

Cases are more of a personal preference, personally I like the AIR 540, I've seen lots of AIR 540s that were air cooled. It's more geared towards having a clean system where you don't have wires all over the place.

For the motherboard, wait a bit for the Z97 motherboards to come out, get anything you want as long as it's a known name. For extreme sound, ppl usually buy audio cards, for the normal user, the onboard audio is usually good enough.

G-SKILL are really good, I like the Corsair Vengence. again, memory manufacturer, timings and speed will barely do any difference for an avg user.

Yup, you won't trust or believe the power of SSDs until you finally pull the trigger, get a 256GB, that should be big enough for your OS - apps - games and then store the movies and music on your HDD. Believe me, you will notice a difference. There will be no need for leaving the room after you press the power button :) It will take around 10 secs from the time you click that button till the time you can move your mouse.

What's your budget ?
When do you need the system?
What are you current system specs?
What will you be doing on the system?
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Old May 17, 2014, 08:57 PM
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My System Specs


Z97 MOB are already around, so one of those for sure (in the brand and model of your choice). I would wait for the new intel devil's canyon CPU to come out in either i5 or i7 if you need it (I think they are supposed to come out in the next couple weeks).

SSD is worthwhile. Right now I am on my laptop and even it on Sata2 connection is a massive improvement. Boot times, program loading, and general "snappiness" are all evidently improved. I held out for a while, but put a 120gb in my desktop a couple months ago...once I did that it was only another month or so before I grabbed a 240gb for my laptop.
Desktop: Arc Midi R2, Z77-D3H, 3570K 1.09v/4.1ghz with Zalman Optima Cooler, Corsair Vengeance 2x4gb@1866mhz, XFX R9 280X DD, Bitfenix Fury 750w, WD Black 1TB, Intel 530 120GB
Away from home light Gamer: Acer Aspire 15.6", A8-3500m undervolt and OC to 2Ghz, 2x4gb Corsair Vengeance, Crucial M500 240gb
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Old May 18, 2014, 09:07 AM
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Typo on the i7 chip names, yeah I meant 4770 and 4790. I didn't realize there was a refresh chip coming out so soon. With the suggestion of waiting do you mean wait and get a new chip? Or wait until the new one is released and watch for price drops on the current? Devil's Canyon is what the new ones are going to be called? Do we know anything price wise about them? The new Z97 boards are the boards for the new chips? This is a funny situation because when I built my previous system I got it a month before the i7 was first released, don't want that to happen again.

My issue becomes patience. I'm the kind of person that wants to get things rolling and if the new chips are right around the corner I might be willing to wait, but if they won't be here until August or September I might have a hard time waiting that long.

If one was to wait for the new chip would DDR4 be the required option? I have a feeling the new chip, DDR4 RAM and the new board for the new chip would be getting really expensive. Like the entire budget right there.

I've also been told the next Nvidia cards will be out in a month or two and the price should drop on the 700 series.

Just thinking about the new GPU being a whole new architecture, the new CPUs being truly 8 core CPUs, and the new RAM being that much faster...it's hard to not want to go that route and I know myself, if I don't go that route I will be PO'd like last time because performance will be leaps and bounds better...in just a few months.

The purpose would be a gaming rig, looking to put something together around $1500 tops. I have plans that would require a higher end representation of gaming to fulfill and ideally would want to be able to play some games at the highest quality settings. Being able to record and/or stream would be a plus too. I figure if I can get something good enough for gaming, the other activities will be covered too (graphic design, and programming) as the programs I use for that shouldn't require anything more than gaming does.

I want to buy it in pieces over the next few paydays. So maybe buy a CPU and mobo one day, then a couple of weeks later buy the RAM and hard drive. I don't need to buy any peripherals, power supply (will just keep using my HX1000), and technically don't need to buy a video card right away although I will want to upgrade soon. I have a 660SC right now and want to upgrade to a 760 with the new system after I get the rest of the parts. I should have enough HD space with the drives in this system to swap them over for storage. So all I really need is the CPU + cooler, board, RAM, a new case, SSD if I go that route, and lastly video card. If price becomes an issue, I could still use the case I have but I want something newer than the Antec 1200 I'm using. I have to say, I've been impressed with it and the temps it keeps throughout the system, but it gets really dusty!

My current system is still running a Gigabyte board, Q9550, 8GB of RAM, GTX 660 SC, and the Corsair HX1000w PSU.

Last edited by Brian; May 18, 2014 at 09:42 AM.
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Old May 18, 2014, 10:40 AM
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My System Specs


i7-4770 and 4770K is Haswell, i7-4790 is Haswell Refresh, i7-4790K is Devil's Canyon(Haswell Refresh Overclocker).

Haswell Refresh is is available now, Devil's Canyon should be available in a few weeks.

DDR4 will be available with the Haswell-E (i7-5xxx?) on the LGA-2011-3 socket. Those come out sometime in H2 2014 (my guess would be mid-late July, or possibly September)

With a budget of 1500, I would be looking at a Haswell or Devil's Canyon i5 or i7, and a GTX 770 or higher, or a R9-280 or higher. New high end GPUs aren't likely until Q1 or later 2015.

Since you have a 660, I'd get an i7 now(ish) and get an upgraded GPU when the next gen come out.

Case suggestion depend, in part, on whether you get an ATX, microATX, or mini ITX motherboard. Generally speaking, I'd go with Silverstone for mITX or mATX, or Corsair for mATX or ATX. PSU wise, unless you go for an SLI/Xfire setup, you are unlikely to need a PSU over 650w. Go with a Modular/Semi-Modular, and Gold or Platinum rating.

And as with everybody else....SSD. Do. It. Now.
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Old May 18, 2014, 11:59 AM
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Location: London Ontario
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So looking around a bit, talking to friends and hearing what you guys have to say my current stance is this. I will wait until June to see the specs and pricing on the Devil's Canyon processors. If the unlocked i7 (4790k?) is expensive...say $600 I might just go for the current 4770k if there's only a small performance increase. The kink in that is that supposedly there's yet another series of chips coming later in the year...the Broadwell? With even bigger performance gains.

As for a board, I think that's something I can start looking at now and buy at any point since the current i7 chips and the Devil's Canyon will both fit on a new Z97 board, unless I'm wrong about that. I'm good with just a standard ATX board, provided the card plus case fits right. What's the big draw to an E-ATX board over standard size? Literally just more space to work around things?

CPU coolers available now will still fit the i7-4790K right?

DDR4 isn't a worry right now since it won't be coming out until the end of the year and practical pricing sometime probably in over a year.

One last question, who is leading the SSD market right now? I've had people tell me Intel is ahead of everybody but I though OCZ was doing well too.

Thanks for your help guys.

Now it's time to get case and fan shopping woo hoo!
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Old May 18, 2014, 12:25 PM
MARSTG's Avatar
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My System Specs


Originally Posted by Brian View Post
What's the tangible difference between the locked and unlocked chips?

Does it become necessary to water cool these chips once they're up there around the 4ghz mark?

How are cases these days?

I haven't been sold on SSD drives, but it's the "it" thing to do with a new system these days.
Is there anything special I should know about those SSDs?
For work and game I don't think there is a real tangible effect. I mean if you work with a software that is single threaded (quite rare nowadays) like let's say iTunes, yes overclocking 10% the CPU will encode your tracks 10% faster, but at how efficient the Intel CPUs are today I don't really think is worth is more for bragging rights or competions. I will be inclined to recommend an i5 CPU cooled by a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo.

For cases, me personally I would go with something like Corsair Carbide 400R/500R if it would be a large tower or something small and cute like Bitfenix Prodigy M.

Integrated audio solutions have progressed quite a bit too : Realtek's ALC898 has a SNR of 110dB. And is not even the latest generation : ALC 1150 has a SNR of 115dB! Compare that to the 106dB of the Creative Audigy 2 ZS and you will have your answer right there.

Like mentioned before SSDs accelerate your desktop experience a lot. Me I had the SSD + HDD combo since they appeared, starting with the 30GB OCZ Vertex of the day. Never went back to just HDD in the system, and when I troubleshoot friends PCs with just HDD I have the impression that I am parachuted from a supersonic jet fighter into a regular sedan. Prices are coming down too, me I tend to stick with Crucial, as for a long time I did not have a rig that would support TRIM and the Marvell controllers have excellent garbage collection routines as my pc is open 24/7.

If you don't like Asus you could stick with EVGA, MSI, Gigabyte mobo wise.
I am not such an avid gamer, my highest cards were GTX 580 and GTX 760. Those 2 were capable of playing whatever I wanted at 1080 with all the eye candy turned on.
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Old May 18, 2014, 09:30 PM
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Let me pitch in before you spend all your money, your main concern should be the graphic card. Yes, definitely keep that HX1000. Upgrade your CPU to an i5-4670k (Which should be MORE than enough for gaming) or to an i7-4770K (Tops), the new Haswell refresh shouldn't be that much faster than the current one and definitely if you have a Haswell CPU, you shouldn't be thinking of upgrading to the new chips, however, you're building a new machine so, when you get that paycheck that is meant to go towards a CPU and a board, check around, if you find the new chips (which should be prices around the same as he existing ones, then go ahead and pull the plug on one of those).

That with a Z97 motherboard should be enough. Yes the coolers should fit the Z97 board.

Don't think of DDR4 and don't think I can buy that, let me wait, early adoption might not be the best option. Get your build together now and then in 3 years when you get the urge to upgrade, it would be time to go DDR4.

For an SSD, I'd go Corsair - Samsung - Crucial (Don't go Kingston, and intel is mainly overpriced), ideally, go for a Samsung Evo once it's on sale. The real day to day performance won't be noticeable between an extreme edition SSD and a normal SSD.

You're budget is good enough for a new system (since you have the PSU) and you can get some money from your current setup, I wouldn't get a 760. The Graphic Card should be at least %40 of your budget, think of $600 on a GPU and then rest of the cash on the CPU - Board - Ram - SSD - Case
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Old May 19, 2014, 10:29 AM
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I've been looking around a lot more and trying to find out the best fit for what I want. Unfortunately it looks like it'll be a bit more than the budget I had in mind. It's not a huge issue, especially spread out over a month or two, I just threw a number out there to begin with. It's now north of $2000 and I'm looking at more high end than mid range.

Currently looking at a 4790k when they come out, or if the current 4770k performs close and is cheaper I'll choose that option.
Something like a Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 5 for the board, SATA Express doesn't matter to me currently as the tech is still a ways off,
Noctua NH-D15 or D14 whichever goes on sale first (does anyone know of replacement fans that will fit that? Not a fan of the Noctua colour scheme with the rest of these components) Another choice for aesthetics would be the Dark Rock 3, but sacrificing some performance so I don't know about that.
Corsair Vengeance 16GB kit probably just a 1600mhz kit,
I want a video card that will last a while, I'm hesitant because the last time I spent $600 on a card (4870x2 when it was new) it didn't perform until I bought an EVGA card. But I want to go with a 780. This one specifically
...aesthetics and cooling choice.

Is the sale price of $599 fairly regular for that card? Should I be worrying about snatching it up at that price right away or will it be a fairly standard price week to week?

As for the case, I really want to go with the Enthoo Primo because it just looks amazing but I just don't think I can trust the airflow. I've had good luck with big fans on the top and side and a more open front than the Primo has, so in that department I think I'm going with the NZXT Phantom 820 (white). Big, lots of fans, lots of air being pushed, just the way I like it. The Phantom 410 has some refined features that I like (mounting SSD behind the board) but lacks other aesthetics. The Primo is almost enough for me to delve into liquid cooling...almost and it's heartbreaking to not choose that case.

Looking at the Samsung 840 EVO 250gb, seems like a good balance between performance and price. I don't think I'll notice much of a different between the Evo and the Pro so saving a few bucks there should be good.

Last edited by Brian; May 19, 2014 at 10:35 AM.
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Old May 19, 2014, 10:37 AM
Dzzope's Avatar
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3 questions..

What games / programs will you play / use the most (any encoding etc)?
What res do you want to use?
Will you overclock / sli etc.

If your sticking to 1 gpu, 1080 res and don't need anything too monstrous on processing power then I would go for a matx build and save some space.

Prodigy or similar for the case, i5 with 8 - 16GB ram ~1866-2133 I think is the sweet spot for price- performance,
550 - 650 watt PSU will be more than enough for a single gpu, xfx, corsair, seasonic etc etc are the usual suspects.. Whatever you get, be sure to read PROFESSIONAL reviews on it first.
Then it's GPU, AMD are ahead I believe at the moment on the bang for buck.. but I believe the 800 series are supposed to be coming out reasonably soon, I would wait for that as your 660 is plenty for 1080, at least in the short term. I would then look at a 860ti or 870 (or whatever they will be called)
Slap on a decent cooler thats QUIET (THE CM Hyper 212 is a great budget choice but I would change the fans as I always found my (quite old at this stage and an old version) a bit noisy, if you want to oc the AIO's are pretty good, corsair from what I remember have the best warranty but not the top (good just not best) performance, I'd go H100i or H80i, kinda regret not getting it myself but then mine just chugs away and doesn't need me to do anything..
Samsung make great SSD's but they are getting loads of bad press at the mo.. your shout, I would go Intel myself (Have a samsung in my pc and an Intel in my laptop, both are very fast and not had an issue with either).
For storage, try get a quiet drive, Really annoys me when my drives spin up and I'm listening to a movie or something at night and have to keep the volume down.

Should be able to get that well within budget and maybe have enough to spring for a new monitor too? G-Sync is supposed to be amazing if you can get a demo of it. :) and it will work with your 660 and any new nvidia. That said it will tie you to nvidia until either you change monitor or if you don't mind losing the feature or you sell the screen.

My regrets of my last build... I should have built smaller (but thats ONLY because I live in a forigne country and sometimes need to take it home, if it never moves and space isn't an issue, then hey, whatever :D
Quieter, I wish my build was even quieter, that said it's a bare whisper most of the time, HDD's and GPU's under load are the only noisy things really but still :)
No lights / window. I watch movies or sometimes leave the pc on doing stuff / downloading etc and the lights from the motherboard are just too damn bright.. hate this obsession with led's on everything these days. My build looks cool BUT the lights (or more to the point that you can't turn them off, is annoying.

Hope that helps some.

/edit, 780 is way overkill IF your on 1080 60hz screen and that cooler is no-where near as good as the custom ones... also EVGA, for me, charge a premium for excellent reputation that they built up years ago and since have been sitting on their laurels a bit. The Asus DCII is a monster as far as good components and less heat are concerned... and less heat means more performance from these cards (way more so than it used to be) take a look at the reviews here.. Also, they have been out near a year and new gen should be here very soon. As you said, why buy last gen card as new is comming out. I usually wait for the first price-drop but then I don't think AMD can touch nvidia unless they slash their prices.
i5 vs i7, the only thing my 3770k is faster at than my bro's 3570k is encoding, rendering and a few other things that I rarely do and he never does and even if he did, the i5 is plenty capable of the job... games etc are all much of a muchness
Corsair are damn expensive for ram, gskill or similar will get you faster for the same price and is good kit

If looking at the price of the noctua d14, look at AIO. they clean up the build nice too if you like windowed cases etc.
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Last edited by Dzzope; May 19, 2014 at 10:49 AM.
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