Yet another (re)build thread - OPINIONS / SUGGESTIONS?? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 145 Old 12-19-2012, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
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EDIT: Build done, see post #78.

I'm getting that itch to upgrade my 2008-era PC to play some modern games, ala Far Cry 3. My target is gaming at 1080p @ 30-60fps, but I know that's a lofty goal with modern PC games, so I think I can settle for 720p @ 60fps high detail with AA and whatnot.

I'm good with case, power supply, hard drive, etc., so I just need to get the mobo/CPU/RAM and a modern video card. I'm still big into console gaming, so I'm hoping not to throw a lot of money to get the best of the best - I just want good bang-for-buck.

Here's a couple builds I'm thinking about:

The first one I'm calling "Performance":


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($314.99 @ SuperBiiz)
CPU Cooler: Phanteks PH-TC14PE 78.1 CFM CPU Cooler ($85.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4 TH ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($174.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Gaming Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($339.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $990.95
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-19 20:27 EST-0500)

The second I'm calling "Budget":


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4 TH ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($174.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($46.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Video Card ($269.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $694.95
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-19 20:29 EST-0500)

I would love to hear comments, thoughts, suggestions, warnings, alternatives, etc. about these two builds please.

TIA!!!!

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post #2 of 145 Old 12-19-2012, 06:56 PM
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For gaming, you won't notice much bump in performance between the two. The only difference that matters (gaming-wise) in those two builds is your GPU. You may as well go with your "budget" build, but go with the faster GPU. Some folks around here will disagree, but IMO there's no difference in gaming performance with the i7 or the 16GB of RAM. May as well stick with the 3570K and 8GB if your primary focus is gaming.

EDIT: BTW I think you could go much cheaper on a motherboard and be just fine, unless there's some specific reason you want that particular one. Also, be sure you trust your old PSU with these new parts. I'd aim for $600 all told.
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post #3 of 145 Old 12-19-2012, 07:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by confidenceman View Post

For gaming, you won't notice much bump in performance between the two. The only difference that matters (gaming-wise) in those two builds is your GPU. You may as well go with your "budget" build, but go with the faster GPU. Some folks around here will disagree, but IMO there's no difference in gaming performance with the i7 or the 16GB of RAM. May as well stick with the 3570K and 8GB if your primary focus is gaming.
EDIT: BTW I think you could go much cheaper on a motherboard and be just fine, unless there's some specific reason you want that particular one. Also, be sure you trust your old PSU with these new parts. I'd aim for $600 all told.

Thanks confidenceman, that's what I was hoping to hear!

Any particular motherboards I should be looking at?

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post #4 of 145 Old 12-19-2012, 09:32 PM
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That phanteks cooler is massive, there's a youtube video on the newegg page, you can see the size. Make sure your case can hold it. Also make sure your power supply has enough power.
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post #5 of 145 Old 12-20-2012, 02:17 AM
 
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$85 can be spent in far better places in your system than on a ridiculous cooler. That will buy you a new keyboard that you will touch every day and will have a much larger impact on your user experience. smile.gif

"and 8GB if your primary focus is gaming."

STOP RECOMMENDING 8GB OF RAM TO PEOPLE. I can not for the life of me figure out why you repeatedly, and endlessly keep telling people to starve their fancy new machines from day one.

Daver - RAM is dirt cheap. Drop 16GB in there at a minimum. Windows loves pre-loading stuff for you in anticipation that you are going to use it soon. Help Windows help you and give it enough ram to do it's job. Having enough ram also means that Windows doesn't have to dump nearly as much stuff to swap when you open something new. That means less load times as you aren't trying to both read and write GBs of data to your HDD at the same time. Seriously, Confidence is telling you to starve your machine, and he's trying to do it with a straight face. It is honestly the worst advice you will receive today.

Go with the 3570K. It will give you 95% of the 3770k's performance for a whole lot less cash. Also, spend less on a motherboard. All of the really important functions have migrated to the CPU for the most part. These days the motherboard is really just a plate that gives you holes to plug stuff in to. $120 should be tops on a motherboard, with that extra $50 better spent somewhere else, like helping to make up the difference between the GTX660 and GTX670. When looking at motherboards, you will usually find better prices in the Micro ATX form factor. Less material cost and all that. Really, what are you ever going to plug in to the thing, a GPU and wifi card? What do you need seven slots for that four slots won't do just fine? smile.gif

Either the GTX660 or 670 will give you solid 1080p gaming at a pretty steady 60fps at high settings for everything that you would care to throw at it, it really just becomes a matter of how often you'll see a bit of a dip below 60fps and how high you can crank up shadow-related settings in games. Thankfully Nvidia has their fantastic Adaptive Vsync now, making dips below 60fps even less jarring than they used to be. You get a bit of tearing below 60, but it isn't the sudden feel of judder that you would classically get dropping straight from 60 to 30fps.

Also, are you running an SSD yet? If not, then throw a 256GB Samsung 840 non-Pro in to that build. You will be exceptionally glad that you did, and it would even be worth dropping from the 670 to 660 to make it fit the budget. Windows 8 upgrades are still $40 as well. If you are running Win7 still, then now would be a great time to upgrade.
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post #6 of 145 Old 12-20-2012, 05:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, I knew you guys would have some good perspective to share.

For the record, my current build is actually 2007-era eek.gif, so the only parts I'm keeping from it are:
  • Antec Nine Hundred ATX Mid Tower
  • SeaSonic M12 SS-700HM 700W ATX12V V2.3 / EPS12V V2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PFC Power Supply
  • Crucial m4 256GB 2.5-Inch SSD (this was added a couple months ago)

Also my old standard hard drive, but I might put a newer one down the road.

I've settled on the 3570 CPU with the smaller cooler, and the GTX 660 has a rebate + Assassin's Creed III through the end of the year, so that helps. Thanks for the thoughts!

DLJ - in confidenceman's defense, the main reason I was fine with 8 gigs RAM is this machine will be almost 100% gaming. But your point about the minimal extra cost is certainly valid - so why not, right? I'll go the 16gigs route - thanks for that suggestion.

So now I'm down to shopping for a cheaper motherboard. Any suggestions for solid, stable mobo in the $120-$140 range? I don't mind spending a little extra if it saves me any hassle or frustration, and has good bang-for-buck.

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post #7 of 145 Old 12-20-2012, 08:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Another question... What is up with the "Ti" version of the GTX660 being around $40 more? Would I notice an improvement with those extra CUDA Cores, whatever the heck that is? confused.gif

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post #8 of 145 Old 12-20-2012, 08:47 AM
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I agree on the 3570K and the 212 EVO. Go for it.

I'm running 8GB of RAM and have never been starved for RAM, but I agree that RAM is cheap enough to just get the 16GB.

When I bought my board, it came down to these two:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128544
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157293

I chose the Gigabyte, because it was cheaper at the time and I'm happy with it. But I don't think you could go wrong with either one.
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post #9 of 145 Old 12-20-2012, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaverJ View Post

Another question... What is up with the "Ti" version of the GTX660 being around $40 more? Would I notice an improvement with those extra CUDA Cores, whatever the heck that is? confused.gif

Spend as much money on the GPU as you can afford. Use the money you're saving on the i7 and go for a 670 or 680.
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post #10 of 145 Old 12-20-2012, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaverJ View Post

Another question... What is up with the "Ti" version of the GTX660 being around $40 more? Would I notice an improvement with those extra CUDA Cores, whatever the heck that is? confused.gif

The 660 ti is roughly 0-20% faster than the 660. It's really going to depend on what resolution and what game you play. Here's some benchmark data comparing the two, it might give you a rough idea of what to expect:

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/660?vs=647
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmwatkins View Post

Spend as much money on the GPU as you can afford. Use the money your saving on the i7 and go for a 670 or 680.

biggrin.gifbiggrin.gifbiggrin.gif
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post #11 of 145 Old 12-20-2012, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmwatkins View Post

Spend as much money on the GPU as you can afford. Use the money you're saving on the i7 and go for a 670 or 680.
+1
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post #12 of 145 Old 12-20-2012, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your comments guys, it's been very helpful!

Based on suggestions here, here's where I'm currently at:

I'm calling this one GPU + RAM:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($132.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Gaming Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($366.97 @ Newegg)
Total: $789.92
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-20 16:24 EST-0500)

That GTX 670 is a sticking point - the 660 is $150 cheaper, and I think it should be able to do 1080p @ 60fps for most things I throw at it, right? I think my bang-for-buck gets lost with that video card, but the AnandTech bench comparison (thanks for that nathanddrews!) seems to put the 670 at around 25-30% faster at most things than the 660.

Still thinking, and any ideas/suggestions/pushes are welcome. smile.gif

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post #13 of 145 Old 12-20-2012, 02:36 PM
 
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100 vs 140fps is still over 60fps in each case. smile.gif You'll also notice that anytime you dip below 60fps on that list it's with Ultra settings. "Ultra" is of course code for "doesn't really look any different, but sure runs a lot slower!". Keep things at Medium-High settings with Adaptive Vsync on and you'll get 95% of the look at a solid 60fps with a GTX660. Even when it starts to bog down a bit in a couple of years or the occasional game like Metro 2033 that is just super-poorly optimized, you can drop the rendered resolution to something like 1440x900 with 2xAA (GPU-scaled to 1080p for output) and still have a very solid image on your 1080p display.

For a bit of perspective, my 18 month old Radeon 6870 still gives me a solid 60fps at 1080p with Medium-High settings for everything I've cared to play on it. I'm about to upgrade it, but more so I can gain Adaptive Vsync more than anything else. I'm sure it would stagger on Metro 2033, but again, terribly optimized game. A GTX660 would still be a great choice. $370 is a ridiculous price to spend on a video card. Again we come back to: That extra $150 could be spent somewhere else on your user experience to greater effect. smile.gif
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post #14 of 145 Old 12-20-2012, 03:19 PM
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I'd opt for the 670, myself. Plus, I have that card and can vouch for it's awesomeness and worth...ness.

You're going through all this for a reason, you want better gaming performance. Put that money where it counts most and get the better videocard. You'll notice more performance from that alone over EVERYTHING on the list of upgrades. Seriously.
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post #15 of 145 Old 12-20-2012, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
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I'd opt for the 670, myself. Plus, I have that card and can vouch for it's awesomeness and worth...ness.

Scott - which brand of 670 did you get?

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post #16 of 145 Old 12-20-2012, 04:48 PM
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Scott - which brand of 670 did you get?

Gigabyte


This one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125423

The triple fan system is ULTRA quiet. I think it's one of the quietest on the market, actually.

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post #17 of 145 Old 12-20-2012, 07:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Gigabyte
This one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125423
The triple fan system is ULTRA quiet. I think it's one of the quietest on the market, actually.

Ah, you went for the OC model. What was it about that one that made you decide to go for it?

I keep going back and forth between saying "what the heck" and going for an expensive GPU, or be sensible and stick with this one:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125443

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post #18 of 145 Old 12-20-2012, 08:33 PM
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Ah, you went for the OC model. What was it about that one that made you decide to go for it?

The fans, features, review ratings and the price.

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post #19 of 145 Old 12-22-2012, 09:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Here's where I'm at now, possibly ordering on Monday:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($66.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($366.97 @ Newegg)
Total: $753.94
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-22 12:46 EST-0500)

Also, I'm thinking of this lil' wireless keyboard w/ trackpad because I'll be mostly gaming with a wired Xbox gamepad.

Changes - going with stock CPU cooling because I won't overclock, and I also understand the 16gigs RAM and GTX670 (vs. 660) is overkill, but hopefully a bit of future-proofing. I'll be ordering everything from Amazon (Prime) to save on sales tax, except the video card is coming from Newegg because they have a two-game promotion (Assassin's Creed III and Borderlands 2) with the higher end Nvidia cards. Newegg charges tax in TN. frown.gif

Anyone see anything in here that I should reconsider? Thanks for your help so far! cool.gif

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post #20 of 145 Old 12-22-2012, 10:54 AM
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I think you will be very happy with that setup. If the stock cooler is noisy, you can always add an aftermarket one later. I don't OC my CPU (yet?) either, but I bought the 212 EVO just because they are pretty much silent. Cooler Master also makes some cheaper, smaller coolers that are quiet as well.
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post #21 of 145 Old 12-22-2012, 07:14 PM
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I would still suggest an after market cooler now. The cooler of you video card is designed to push the air onto the card and out into the rest of the system, and it will be right next to your cpu. More cooling is better. I don't know what the current stock fan they have looks like, but my C2D cooler is pretty wimpy. Since your system is also planned for gaming, you're going to run the card pretty hard.

The other thing is, adding a different cooler later is a pain, cleaning the gunk off, getting the old one off, depending how hard it is to work in the case. Then you have to take the MB out...
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post #22 of 145 Old 12-23-2012, 01:03 AM
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I would also recommend using an aftermarket cooler. The one I am using is excellent and only $30. A worthy and small investment on something important.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103099
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post #23 of 145 Old 12-23-2012, 07:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestion.

My concern about the Hyper 212 EVO is the size and proximity to the RAM on the motherboard. On the motherboard's comment page I read
"Big aftermarket heatsinks (such as the CM hyper 212 evo/+) may get in the way of your RAM slots", which scared me off.

Also, how difficult are they to install?

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post #24 of 145 Old 12-23-2012, 08:18 AM
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Just install your RAM before installing the heatsink. For me, it just hovers over the first slot. So I could have used the 2nd and 4th slots instead of the 1st and 3rd. But I figured that way, I could later install more RAM more easily.

The actual heatsink is pretty easy to install. Just be sure to look up how to do the thermal paste right. It isn't much more difficult than installing the stock cooler.

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post #25 of 145 Old 12-23-2012, 08:56 AM
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He's not overclocking.

And he's trying to save a buck.

Spending anything on an aftermarket cooler is, at best, a lateral move.

I'd rather see that $30 or $40 put towards something that would provide a tangible benefit outside of noise, since "increased cooling" isn't called for here.
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post #26 of 145 Old 12-23-2012, 09:50 AM
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Since I have the same mobo that you want and an 212 EVO, I can take some pics if you want. As confidenceman says, it does hover over the 4th RAM slot if you are aiming the air flow out the chimney. It comes no where near the RAM if you aim the air out the back. I prefer the chimney just because my CPU stays just a tad cooler.

Anyway, I used to have one of these and it worked pretty good. It's smaller, cheaper and quiet.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103064
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post #27 of 145 Old 12-23-2012, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jmwatkins View Post

Since I have the same mobo that you want and an 212 EVO, I can take some pics if you want. As confidenceman says, it does hover over the 4th RAM slot if you are aiming the air flow out the chimney. It comes no where near the RAM if you aim the air out the back. I prefer the chimney just because my CPU stays just a tad cooler.
Anyway, I used to have one of these and it worked pretty good. It's smaller, cheaper and quiet.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103064

Thanks for the offer on pics - I've been looking at videos of the 212 EVO, so I've got an idea on how it fits in. That TX3 looks a little more manageable, so I might give that a shot. Thanks for the suggestion.

Do you recommend using Arctic Silver, or just stick with whatever paste it comes with?

My parts already shipped out. Amazon's fast and efficient - I wanted them delivered on Thursday and now they are saying they will arrive on Wednesday.

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post #28 of 145 Old 12-23-2012, 11:21 AM
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It's up to you. When I had the TX3, I just used the paste it came with and it was fine. I used Arctic Silver 5 on my EVO.
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post #29 of 145 Old 12-23-2012, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by HeadRusch View Post

He's not overclocking.
And he's trying to save a buck.
Spending anything on an aftermarket cooler is, at best, a lateral move.
I'd rather see that $30 or $40 put towards something that would provide a tangible benefit outside of noise, since "increased cooling" isn't called for here.
Didn't realize. Strange choice of parts, then. Because if he's not overclocking (either now or in the future), then there's also no point to getting the "K" processor. He could save $20 by sticking with the stock cooler, and save another $10-20 bucks by going with the vanilla 3570 (not the 3570K).

But based on his parts choices, I'm guessing he's at least thinking about OC-ing. In which case the Evo 212 is a no-brainer.

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post #30 of 145 Old 12-23-2012, 12:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by confidenceman View Post

Didn't realize. Strange choice of parts, then. Because if he's not overclocking (either now or in the future), then there's also no point to getting the "K" processor. He could save $20 by sticking with the stock cooler, and save another $10-20 bucks by going with the vanilla 3570 (not the 3570K).
But based on his parts choices, I'm guessing he's at least thinking about OC-ing. In which case the Evo 212 is a no-brainer.

The non-K 3570 is only $2 cheaper on Amazon. It looks like everyone building an i5 rig these days goes with the K model, so I don't mind throwing a buck or two more to get what all the cool kids have. smile.gif

But your logic is valid. I'm still on the fence about a bigger/better cooler (the TX3). My goal was to keep this upgrade as simple and trouble-free as possible because my patience for things not working right the first time is drying up as I get older. tongue.gif

Speaking of which, playing Prince of Persia (2008) and Darksiders on my current E6850 Core 2 Duo (3GHz) and 8800 GTX has been surprisingly good at 1080p on my TV. I'm getting 60fps a lot of the time in these older games, but it drops to 30fps often with v-sync, with occasional dips below that, but not nearly as bad as I expected! Now I'm wondering, half joking, is all I need is just the new video card? confused.gif

This might be a dumb question, but is going to the i5 from the Core 2 Duo going to help the fps in something like Far Cry 3 a lot, or just somewhat?

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