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Review my Gaming Rig for Starcraft 2?

post #1 of 19
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I'm building a dedicated Gaming Rig which is optimized for Starcraft 2 and my budget is around $1000. I prefer to keep it under $1000 but it can go up to maximum of $1500 if it's worth the money in the long run.

I'm going to use a single monitor in 1920x1080 resolution. Majority of the time, I will be playing Sc2, DotA 2 and HoN. I will also try out other games like LoL, Skyrim, Dragon Age II, GW 2, Tera, WoW and Diablo III.

This is what I'm planning to buy:

Option #1
CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K $229
CPU HSF: Hyper 212+ $33 or Silver Arrow $89 or something else?
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-Z68M-D2H $115
RAM: G.Skill-NT 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600 $65
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB $59
GPU: MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr II OC 1GB $259
Case: Cooler Master 690 II advanced $114
PSU: Antec Neo Eco 520W $69
Total: $943

^ SLI capable & minimum ~55FPS in 1v1 when overclocked at 4.5GHz according to Teamliquid.

Or if I want to save money:

Option #2
CPU: Intel Core i5 2400 $205
Mobo: ASRock H61 U3S3 $77
RAM: G.Skill-NT 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1333 $59
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB $59
GPU: MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr II OC 1GB $259
PSU: Antec Neo Eco 520W $69
Case: Cooler Master 690 ii advanced $114
Total: $842

^ $101 cheaper & minimum ~35FPS in 1v1 in stock speed according to Teamliquid.

Although performance wise they are about the same, I'm still prefer option #1 because it's more future proof and gives more FPS.

I was deciding between these 4 cases:
- Antec 300 $59
- Bitfenix Shinobi $69
- Cooler Master 690 ii advanced $114
- Cooler Master HAF 912 advanced $115

I wanted a windowless case since I'm not a fan of windows. And I liked the aesthetics of CM 690 II adv. the best. I also liked the window-less HAF 912 Plus but I couldn't find any window-less version at www.staticice.com.au

I'm still undecided which RAM to get for my Gaming Rig:
- G.Skill Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-4GBXL (2x2GB) DDR3(heat spreader) $39
- G.Skill Ripjaws X F3-10666CL9D-8GBXL (2x4GB) DDR3(heat speader) $59
- G.Skill Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL (2x4GB) DDR3(heat spreader) $65
- G.Skill Ripjaws X F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM (2x4GB) DDR3(heat spreader) $79

I'll have a think about this one. I already know that there's hardly any difference in performance but I'll research a little more just in case. I'm getting the Ripjaws X because I like the look of their heat spreader.

I have a few questions:

1.) How does it look, should I change anything?

2.) Should I go with Option #1 or Option #2?

3.) If I'm going with Option #1, I want to overclock 2500K as high as possible without hurting the lifespan too much because I want to keep using it for 2+ years. Is Hyper 212+ right for this purpose? Or do I need a better CPU cooler like Noctua NH-D14/Silver Arrow? I won't be using the Gaming Rig 24/7 but probably 2 - 3 hrs a day.

Thanks in advance.

BTW the prices come from www.staticice.com.au since I live in Australia.
Edited by Bountysky - 10/24/11 at 11:18pm
post #2 of 19
Ok, this is a big one, but I'll do my best to answer most of your questions.

Option 1 is superior to Option 2. HOWEVER, if you really want to make the system shine, consider adding an SSD for your operating system.

Either an OCZ Vertex III SSD (60GB or 120GB model) or a Corsair M4 SSD(64GB or 128GB). Either choice will make your system much more responsive and easier to manage when you start putting more programs and data on your system. SSD's are worth their weight in gold for what it does to your overall experience on your computer. You're mainly using the SSD to put your copy of Windows 7 and critical programs on. If you install StarCraft II on it, you should see your load times cut in half compared to a normal hard drive, which is really nice. However, I would recommend keeping most games on your regular 1TB drive you have picked out.



Hyper 212+ is fine. There are always better options, but as for the standard aftermarket cooling solution, that's it. Go for it. You won't be disappointed.

Out of the case choices, I'd go with the CM 690 II. Just personal preference on that one.

For the RAM, get the 12800CL9D-8GBXL. It's 1600mhz DDR3, which will play very nicely with a Sandy Bridge system. Timings in most instances don't make much of a difference, but you want the extra speed on RAM to lessen any sort of memory bottleneck (it's really not a problem, but if you're going to overclock that 2500K, you want the 1600mhz RAM.)

Aim for about 4.5-4.6Ghz on the overclock with a Hyper 212+. If you get a nicer CPU cooler, you might be able to go higher, but I wouldn't recommend it. 4.6Ghz seems to be the sweet spot for most 2500K processors.



The parts you picked out are great. Nothing to worry about. Options 1 is superior, though. Add an SSD to it, and you've got a pretty killer system.





EDIT: One more thing I just noticed is that you're talking about possibly using SLI in the future. If you're thinking about that, that Antec Neo 520-watt PSU isn't going to cut it. You need to up it to around 700-watts for an SLI system. Antec makes some great 750-watt units, so see if you can splurge a little on that. If you're not planning on going SLI, just keep your current PSU selection and be happy with it. It will do just fine with one card.
Edited by Mad Pistol - 10/24/11 at 11:28pm
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post #3 of 19
I'm not very familiar with that motherboard, but for a few extra dollars the ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 is a pretty decent mobo for overclocking. http://www.mwave.com.au/sku-28023611...l_Z68_Chipset_

I'd go with the - G.Skill Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL (2x4GB) DDR3(heat spreader) $65 ram.

The Hyper 212+ should work decently.
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post #4 of 19
Z68 is overkill for what you want. A P67 board will save you money which can be put into the GPU/SSD possibly.

I'd recommend the ASUS P8P67 Pro / Gigabyte P67A-UD3.

Either would be perfect. Saves you money without losing performance too.
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post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Pistol View Post
EDIT: One more thing I just noticed is that you're talking about possibly using SLI in the future. If you're thinking about that, that Antec Neo 520-watt PSU isn't going to cut it. You need to up it to around 700-watts for an SLI system. Antec makes some great 750-watt units, so see if you can splurge a little on that. If you're not planning on going SLI, just keep your current PSU selection and be happy with it. It will do just fine with one card.
Depends on whether I'm going to save money by going with SLI in the future or by buying another single value-for-money GPU? I heard that you only save from SLI if you're going to SLI from the beginning. So I think 520 watt is enough for me.

So which Mobo should I go with for 2500K? These are the prices I got from www.staticice.com.au:

- Gigabyte GA-Z68M-D2H $115
- ASRock Z68 PRO3-M $116
- ASRock Z68 PRO3 $119
- ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 $135
- Gigabyte P67A-UD3 $161
- ASUS P8P67 Pro $165 – $185

CPU cooler: Looks like Cooler Master Hyper 212+ has been discontinued now. So should I wait for Hyper 212 EVO or a better CPU cooler for maximum safety overclock?

SSD: I'll wait until it gets cheaper. $139 for 60GB and only few second less loading time isn't really worth it for casual gaming. Especially since I'm going to play multiplayer.

RAM: I decided to go with G.Skill Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL (2x4GB) DDR3 $65 Because after reading all the RAM benchmark [1][2][3][4][5], it appears that 1600MHz CL9 RAM is the sweet spot in terms of price and performance. Beyond that, the price doesn't really justify the performance gain and it's better to spend the extra cash on CPU or GPU. I'm getting 8GB RAM since 4GB isn't much cheaper anyway and it's more future proof.
Edited by Bountysky - 10/25/11 at 5:56am
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bountysky View Post
Depends on whether I'm going to save money by going with SLI in the future or by buying another single value-for-money GPU? I heard that you only save from SLI if you're going to SLI from the beginning. So I think 520 watt is enough for me.

So which Mobo should I go with for 2500K? These are the prices I got from www.staticice.com.au:

- Gigabyte GA-Z68M-D2H $115
- ASRock Z68 PRO3-M $116
- ASRock Z68 PRO3 $119
- ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 $135
- Gigabyte P67A-UD3 $161
- ASUS P8P67 Pro $165 – $185

CPU cooler: Looks like Cooler Master Hyper 212+ has been discontinued now. So should I wait for Hyper 212 EVO or a better CPU cooler for maximum safety overclock?

SSD: I'll wait until it gets cheaper. $139 for 60GB and only few second less loading time isn't really worth it for casual gaming. Especially since I'm going to play multiplayer.

RAM: I decided to go with G.Skill Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL (2x4GB) DDR3 $65 Because after reading all the RAM benchmark [1][2][3][4][5], it appears that 1600MHz CL9 RAM is the sweet spot in terms of price and performance. Beyond that, the price doesn't really justify the performance gain and it's better to spend the extra cash on CPU or GPU. I'm getting 8GB RAM since 4GB isn't much cheaper anyway and it's more future proof.
Personally, I like the Gigabyte motherboard the best, but all of the ASRock motherboards are outstanding value for what you get.

As for the SSD, you're not paying just for load time. I don't know how to make people understand this, but when your OS is on an SSD, your entire computer is more responsive and faster. Think of it this way, when your computer bogs down and is loading a lot of data from the hard drive, you really can't do anything until the hard drive catches up. It happened to me a lot, especially when I was trying to load internet explorer, word, perhaps a movie editing program, etc. all at the same time. With an SSD, that "lag time" disappears, and everything loads very quickly. The start menu comes up instantly, folders open instantly, programs open in a fraction of the time, games are SMOOTHER because the OS files are always on tap from the SSD.

Try doing a virus scan in the background while playing a game. on a regular hard drive, even with a powerful quad core, it will bog down your system. With an SSD, that "bog down" is diminished to virtually nothing. If you like having a lot of stuff open at the same time, your system will be much faster on an SSD than it will on a single hard drive. Trust me, I have used both configurations, and I will NEVER go back to an HDD for my OS drive. It's a dog on the system, and very VERY slow.

But what do I know? It's not like I have been using my SSD for a year and swear by it. My wife's computer is positively slow compared to mine with an SSD. She has begged me on more than one occasion to buy an SSD for her.
Edited by Mad Pistol - 10/25/11 at 8:01am
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post #7 of 19
@Mad Pistol,

well put, but the prices are still jacked up. I'm sure they will fall during Black Friday.
Edited by grimreaper01 - 10/25/11 at 7:45am
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post #8 of 19
Starcraft 2 is only optimized for two cores. Blizzard stated this back when it was released. Using Starcraft 2 as your basis for building a gaming computer isn't the best idea... Almost anything out there can do Starcraft 2 reasonably well. My laptop can do High at 30fps and that's with a significantly lesser GPU and CPU.
     
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post #9 of 19
Go with the i5-2500K. A good 20+ FPS increase from my Phenom II X4 955 BE build (all other components were same, only thing changed was mobo and PSU)
post #10 of 19
Option 1 looks great!
I'm pretty sure you'll maintain 60fps on MOST games even on 4vs4, and im pretty sure you can maintain 60fps on 1v1 at extreme settings.
My sig rig below maintains 60fps on 4v4 in very intensive fights and the lowest i've seen is around 40 fps.
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