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Windows 7: Looking for advice on a new (partial) system

14 May 2013   #1

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
Looking for advice on a new (partial) system


Recently it seems my motherboard is dying and itís a pretty old one, so Iím currently looking for a new (partial) system. Unfortunately, Iíve been out of touch on computer hardware since I bought my last system five years ago.

What I use my system for is work and games: programming Ė (game and minor web development), 3d graphics, 2d graphics, video work, and playing games (such as Starcraft 2). To help illustrate more, specific programs I use would include the adobe suite and 3d studio max.

After some quick catch-up research and suggestions, I plan to get:
Intel Core i7 - 3820
Asus Sabertooth x79
EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Superclocked - EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Superclocked 1046MHZ 2GB 1111MHZ GDDR5 2xDVI DP Mini-HDMI PCI-E DX11 Video Card
(link is just there for ref, since there seem to be a bunch of varieties?)

The hard drives and psu I plan to reuse from my old system, but I am also unsure now if my psu will be enough. Currently I have a 610w psu, I believe this is it: Silencer 610 EPS12V Power Supply - PC Power & Cooling 610w PSU I have 3 sata hard drives and may add more in the future (none are SSDs...yet :))

The other x79 motherboards I looked at all seemed pretty similar, but I am mainly (outside of a few features) currently choosing the Asus Sabertooth for quality/warranty (since it IS my motherboard that is currently dying ), heat handling (summer heat is approaching and my system can get a bit warm), and power consumption (a tad lower then a few others). I should add that I donít really overclock too much.

Some questions I have:
Not too sure yet on ram, but it was suggested at least 16gb, which I am fine with. Could use a suggestion in this area as for which brand, etc.

I am not 100% sure if my 610w psu is enough. Iíve looked at a psu calculator which tells me my system would need roughly 520w which is enough, yet other people tell me might be better to get a new psu (700+w). Any ideas?

Which cpu heatsink to get. Not too sure on this at the past I was just using the stock heat sink. But seems like I do not get that this time with my cpu.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2013   #2

Windows 10 Pro/ Windows 10 Pro Insider

Mitim0,You've chosen some good parts. The EVGA brand is excellent. The TI version of the 660 is a much better card, although more costly. The Sabertooth is an excellent board, but the X79 version has some mixed user reviews. Having said that, most of the X79 boards are in the same catagory. I'm not sure how much 3D Graphics and video work you do. If you do a lot, the 3820 would be a good choice. If not that much, you could save some money by going with the Ivy Bridge 3770 or 3770K (if you plan to overclock). If you were to decide to go the Ivy Bridge route, the Sabertooth Z77 is an excellent choice. Plus, with the Z77 you get PCIe 3.0 which I do not believe the X79 boards do. That point does not make a huge difference now, but may in the near future. Personally, I think the PSU you have is a good brand, brand and 610W is sufficient for your current set up. However, if you can affoard it, I would go with a 750W Corsair, Seasonic or Antec PSU. You will save yourself some headaches during the build by paying the little extra for the Modular ones. They make the build so much easier.

As far as cooling, it will depend a lot on the case you have and how much clearance and air flow. The Cooler Master Hyper 212+ is a good low cost cooler, but is tall and takes up a lot of room in the case. I believe it is about 6" tall. Other than that, I may choose one of the all in one closed loop water coolers such as the Corsair H80 or H100, ot the Antec 920. They take much less room in the case and do a very good job, if you have room for the radiators, which most cases do.

As far as ram goes, you will hear a lot of choices. Most of the top named brands are good. My personal choice has always been G Skill. Be sure to check your motherboard's QVL ( Qualified Vendors List). That will tell you the brand, speed, timings and voltage of ram they have tested. It does not mean those are the only brands or models that work. But it will give you an idea of the voltage, timing and frequency of the ram that works best on that board. Some of the ram manufacturers will tell you which ram they have tested on which boards.

Only you know what you use your computer for and what your budget is. The final decision is yours. If you have any questions, fire away. We love doing new builds. I have just given you some of my thoughts, but if you can find a way I would seriously consider an SSD. You do not have to have a real large one to hold only the OS and programs. Keep your user files and work files on another mechanical drive. That's what most of us do. It will make a world of difference in how fast your computer feels.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2013   #3

Windows 10 Pro X64

I agree with essenbe, you have chosen a pretty good build. As the Haswell's are just around the corner, I would wait it out just a little longer. You could either go Haswell, or save some money as the Z77's will drop a little.

For the video card, the 660 is a good choice, the TI is better, but a 670 is the best choice at this time.

Cooling wise the Hyper212+ is a good choice. However, if you go with a K chip, go with the water cooling option. They are very reasonably priced now, and are very efficient.

My choice for ram would be Corsair or G-Skill.

And most of all, get a SSD!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

14 May 2013   #4
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1

Personally I would recommend a Z77/Ivy Bridge combo too, also the Ti version of the graphics card with at least 2GB of GDDR5 memory with a minimum of 256 bit interface for your demanding games and graphics work.

16GB of RAM in your case may come in handy too with the 3D work and I would aim for 2133MHz RAM with the lowest CAS or CL you can afford, it's faster. You can likely go for 2400 or 2600 RAM but I doubt you'd get much gain over 2133. Like essenbe I like GSKill too but Corsair and Kingston are also good brands.

Reusing your drives may be a bottleneck though and would get some newer ones with a SATA III (6Gbs) interface, with an eye towards that SSD, they are amazing.

Now for a power supply which will get many differing opinions. For what you want, I would get at least a 750W Corsair, Antec, or Seasonic. This will power the system with little effort and run about midway of maximum which I think works well. This is one thing I'll not buy the minimum needed and like a little more in reserve. It allows for a little headroom for upgrades too.

Oh, yeah, cooling, I think you'll need a closed loop water system as essenbe pointed out. Air just isn't enough for heavy CPU use.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2013   #5

Windows 7 Pro X64 SP1

I think that the X79 is an expensive way to go if you want a quad core CPU (I7-3820). It's not clear how much of an advantage the quad channel memory of the X79 would have, outside of benchmarks. Z77 and Ivy Bridge is more sensible, maybe.

That said, I have a P9X79 Pro (with an I7-3930k six core). For RAM, I'm using Gskill F3-17000CL9-Q-16GBZH (4X4GB). It's 1.65V DDR3-2133, but it's from the Asus QVL (Qualified Vendor List). Makes good numbers in the Sisoft SANDRA memory benchmarks.

I think that a PCP&C Silencer 610 PSU should be more than adequate. It's rated at 610W continuous. (I admit that my own PSU is a Silencer 750.) The graphics card consumes 150W. If you heavily overclock the CPU, it'll still consume less than 200W. You'll have margin. It wouldn't be enough with two high-end graphics cards.

For CPU cooling, if you get an X79 board, I suggest: - sound-optimised premium components "Designed in Austria"!

It's huge, and heavy, but it provides better cooling than some of the closed loop liquid coolers. There are competitors (Thermalright, Phanteks, others), but I can vouch for this one from personal experience. The main disadvantage of it from my point of view is that I'd have to remove it to change the RAM. (It clears the RAM, but leaves no space to access it with the cooler in place.) The main thing I dislike about the closed loop fluid CPU coolers is that some of them want to blow outside air into the case to get maximum CPU cooling. That's good for the CPU, but less good for everything else.

I second (third? Fourth?) the SSD recommendation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2013   #6
Layback Bear

Windows 10 Pro. 64/ version 1709 Windows 7 Pro/64

What case (tower) are you going to be using?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2013   #7

Windows 10 Pro/ Windows 10 Pro Insider

For what it's worth, I'll second the NH-D14 that bobkn suggested. I have one in anouther machine. For air cooling, it's as good as it gets, in my opinion.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2013   #8

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64

I`m with Britton, a Z77 and an i5 3570k to save some money.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2013   #9

Windows 7 Professional 64bit SP1

Do you do video rendering and programming as a hobby, or do you make money off of this? If this is part of your household income, I'd say build a socket 2011(Sandy Bridge-E) machine and be done with it. If it is a hobby, then go with what the other guys are saying and build an Ivy Bridge rig.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2013   #10

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

Hi everyone,

Thanks for your advice and suggestions. :)

This is my work computer and thus does affects my income. :) Due to this, I canít be without a working work computer for too long, which is why Iím pretty reluctant to wait on Haswell even though itís supposed to be debuting in June(?). It is tempting though as I know itíll drive some prices down a bit and the new stuff seems nice (as new stuff usually does) but already a little bit of work is just starting to drop in my schedule.

Iíve been looking around and I think Iíll take up the suggestion of trying this ram: G.SKILL RipjawsZ Series 16GB PC3-12800 Quad Channel DDR3 Kit (4 x 4GB)

That NH-D14 heatsink looks impressively massive. =b But I think it might be a bit outside my price range, as I was only budgeting ~$40 or so on a cooler. The other heaksink mentioned does fall within that range for me: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler

(I plan to buy from memory express actually, hence why my links are from there)

Hopefully theyíll fit together on the board. As for my case, I canít find a model number or anything on it. =/ Itís a cooler master case and all I can do is measure it. Itís probably not too useful, but the Outside measurements are 45cm x 43cm x 20cm. Crossing my fingers the cooler will fit.

I did consider the Ti version of the card as well, but itíll go beyond my budget (seems like a $100+ more). If the actual total of everything is under budget, then Iíll probably see how much it would be to jump to the Ti version. The higher ram is attractive... but just a bit too much for me.

I did (still do) want an ssd, and I do agree my current drives would be bottleneck in my system as-is, but I think I will wait just a bit longer to get one. You can be sure however, that the thought is always in my mind.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Looking for advice on a new (partial) system

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