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Gamers - what do you think of this config?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by gwalchmai, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. gwalchmai

    gwalchmai Lucky Member

    Jan 9, 2002
    Outside the perimeter
    Friend asked me if this would be a good gaming system, and, since I am not a gamer I thought I'd ask you guys' opinions.

    Thanks for any suggestions you may have, and I'll relay any questions to him.
  2. Pierre!

    Pierre! NRA Life Member

    Jun 20, 2003
    Lovin Sparks Nv!
    Cool - Haswell processor, so it's literally... Cool!

    Should overclock easy to 4.0Ghz - My Ivybridge has run for at least a year OC to 4.0, she runs good.

    I generally opt for 650W to 750W PSUs... That way if you every get the urge to drop in the 'Step Up' Processor you should be good to go!

    That's a pretty small SSD - How many games do you play at a time, or will you be dripping in a spinning disk for game data? 240Gb Samsung EVO's are down to $150 last I checked...

    The only Red Flag I see... What case are you putting this into???

    It's not a screaming monster, but should play anything you throw at it reasonably well.

    Prices look decent - If it's a 'walk it in' local warranty, even better for swapping out a failed part during warranty.

    You account for a *fresh* UPS for this Investment???

  3. Jakestir


    Feb 16, 2013
    North central IL
    Looks solid. I'm not much of a PC guy. I stick to the Xbox's for this exact reason. I don't want to have to worry about the power of my system.
  4. gwalchmai

    gwalchmai Lucky Member

    Jan 9, 2002
    Outside the perimeter
    Pierre, thanks, he's adding a TB HD. What case would you recommend ? He'd like smaller form factor.
  5. wct097


    Jan 11, 2000
    I'd go for a 240 or 512gb SSD and a larger (pair) of monitors. 23" or better, IMO. Nitpicky though. Should play just about everything OK as is.

    I just know from experience that 120gb isn't much space. Lots of games these days take up tons of space. I have a 512gb SSD as my boot drive and am using my old 120gb SSD to hold my games. With the 120gb drive holding only Diablo 3 and WoW, it's using over 70 of the 120gb. Figure Windows needs 40gb or so, and you're at 110gb with only two games installed.
  6. JimmyN


    Sep 29, 2006
    The 4670K CPU is a good choice for the price, it doesn't hyper thread but four threads are all that's needed for gaming anyway. The L3 cache at 6meg is adequate for gaming. It's not much faster at stock speed than a 3670 but will handle more heat, so you can get better OC's, and then it will easily outrun the 3670.

    I'd go with 1866 or preferably 2133 RAM. It's about the same price and you'll have faster overclocked RAM without actually having to "overclock" it. Timings will be better (you can likely even reduce them some) and you can run the DIMM's at their standard rated voltage. With only two sticks of RAM it will likely be plug and play, but if all four DIMM slots are filled you'll probably need to increase the DRAM controller voltage (VCCSA) a little (.05~.10) and possibly increase current limit to 120% if you have stability issues. 8 gigs is enough, unless you want to run a RAM drive as well. But for gaming a RAM drive doesn't provide any benefit. Works great for browser cache, Photoshop temp files, etc, but for gaming you won't see any speed boost from the software.

    With the choice of an unlocked 'K' series CPU I'm going to assume the intent is to overclock so MSI wouldn't be my choice of motherboards. They are good quality heavy duty boards with "military" grade parts but they aren't really overclocking boards, and are not popular with the overclocking crowd. They just don't provide the fine controls and options needed for a fast and stable overclock. You'll want to turn off Turbo but keep frequency and voltage scaling enabled. If you decide to putz with the base clock you'll need the ability to set PCI-E bus speed separately so you don't overclock the USB and PCI-E channels, or you could encounter a host of problems with stability. USB external devices are especially problematic and can cause problems if you start upping base clock values. You may have stability issues like reboots, blue screen or locking up and the problem is not your CPU OC, it's an external HD or mouse you've got plugged in that can't handle the increased USB bus speed. It can be tough to figure out since external USB devices are not the first place you look if you're having sporadic OC stability issues. You'll need good current/voltage control for things like Vtt and VCCSA and MSI doesn't usually provide the means to adjust everything. Right now my favorite OC'ing boards are Asrock and Asus.

    Video card looks pretty good, dual fans, 2GB VRAM which would be the minimum you'd want to have. With that motherboard you only have a 16X and 4X so SLI is not really feasible for a performance increase later.

    PS is marginal at 500 watts. You'll be looking at ~170 watts on the video adapter (more if you OC it), the 4670K has a TDP of 84 watts you can easily push that to 100 or more with OC'ing. So figure about 350 watts including the motherboard, as a minimum. That only leaves you with about 150 watts overhead for fans, drives, any lighting, etc. That's starting to cut it a little close, especially since the 500W is for both 12V and 5V. With the GPU, and CPU power, and the fans/drives all drawing on the 12V bus the 12V will be close to maxed out.

    The aftermarket cooler is needed, the stock coolers Intel provides in the CPU package are really marginal. I would add a second fan to it, you'll need a cooler capable of at least 125 watts if you'll be overclocking the 4670. I think it can handle that with a second "pull" fan added. And if you're going to overclock don't use the thermal patch that comes pre-applied to the cooler. Remove it and use some good TIM.

    I agree with Pierre the 120 SSD is a bit small. Especially for gaming as map and texture files take up a lot of space.

    With an air cooler on the CPU you'll want a case with a lot of air flow. A lot of fans turning slow is much quieter than a couple of high speed fans. The 100 watts or more of heat from the CPU will be dumping into the case, and that will be the intake air for the GPU. So you'll want good airflow to keep temps inside the case lower, and that's even more important if you're overclocking the graphics as well.

    You shouldn't have any trouble reaching 4.0~4.2gHz, CPU temps will likely be your limiting factor since it will be on air. At this point in time for current gaming software you'll get the best performance with 4 cores running as fast as possible, then any bottleneck will be the GPU processing. With an Asrock or Asus board and a liquid CPU cooler you can probably get 4.6gHz or so without effecting stability or long term reliability. Not only do you want it fast the CPU needs to last for many years without suffering an early death.

    But that's just my take on the setup. As an OEM supplier to several computer retailer/consultant firms I build at least a dozen OC'ed gaming systems a year, with speeds up to 5.0gHz, as well as OC'ed systems for video encoding and photo realistic rendering work, so I do have a little experience with OC'ing.
  7. gwalchmai

    gwalchmai Lucky Member

    Jan 9, 2002
    Outside the perimeter
    Thanks, Jimmy. Food for thought.
  8. Pierre!

    Pierre! NRA Life Member

    Jun 20, 2003
    Lovin Sparks Nv!
    Nice run down JimmyN

    If the builder like small form factor, consider a Shuttle PC. I have *punished* a great deal of overclocked Silicon on these boxes. They used to be really solid... Haven't done a Shuttle build in about 5 years.

    These days I run mATX in a APEVIA X-QPACK2-NW-BK/500 Black Aluminum Body/ Front Mask MicroATX Desktop Computer Case 500W Power Supply

    ASRock in this build - Z77 Extreme4-M - so it's small enough. Not sure I would buy an ASRock again.

    Plenty of good, solid mATX boards out there. Gigabyte has been decent for me as well.

    Really depends on what your intentions are with the rig. If you really want to push some even moderate Over Clocks, JimmyN's advice is solid, and you may be going with a full sized case...

    Oh Yah - Then there is that whole *budget* thing... (LOL)

    I have been checking case reviews with since Anand was a teenager - late 90's - and he give solid reviews. Check it out, easy to navigate his site.

    Have Fun With It!