Thinking of getting a new rig

Discussion in 'General' started by Taffycat, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. Taffycat

    Taffycat Crunchie Cat VIP Member

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    My trusty rig, (from PC Specialist, custom-built) has now just entered it's 6th year, so unsurprisingly, it's slowing down a bit. It still crunches 24/7 and recent forrays into Guild Wars 2 has shown that it can still perform adequately. Do you sense a "but" coming...? :) BUT, when I close GW2, everything grinds to a halt and is slow to "recover."

    Also - a tad worryingly, I got this message when I opened GW2's client to update it this morning. "We've detected that your computer does not meet the minimum system requirements. Continuing to play may result in side effects, such as reduced client performance, visual artifacts, and crashes. Please refer to our support forums for minimum system requirements." I've re-checked and it is within the minimum requirement parameters set out on the GW2 website... but there's a disclaimer which says "Note: Due to potential changes, system requirements may change over time and you may be required to upgrade your current system (or obtain a new system) to continue to play the game." So perhaps that's happened....

    Anyway, I realise I could probably poke about and perform a RAM-ectomy or even reinstall Vista (yes, I did say Vista, lol) But it's still only 32-bit, so fairly major (for me that-is) upgrades would be needed, to bring it more up-to-date and inject a bit of oomph!

    .....I've also been saving-up and quite fancy getting a new one. :D

    So cutting to the chase, I'm basically seeking opinions on this build please. Is anything glaringly "wrong" that I've not noticed? I will be using it for games (such as, GW2, Assassin's Creed II, Elder Scrolls,) music storage, photos, crunching, etc.

    If you notice, it has a SSD Hard Drive, plus a SATA HD, which, as I understand it, will speed-up not only booting-up, but regularly accessed programmes, etc.


    Processor Description : Intel Core i7 3770 Processor

    Cache : 8MB
    ......
    Clockspeed : 3.40Ghz

    Manufacturer : Intel

    No. of Cores : 4

    Memory Description : 2 X 4GB DDR3 1333Mhz Memory

    Speed : 1333Mhz

    Harddrive Description : 1TB 3.5" 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive

    Description : 128GB SSD Hard Drive

    Interface : SATA

    Interface : SATA Case

    Description : Novatech ATX Gaming Case

    Colour : Black & Silver

    Dimensions : 200(w) x 440(d) x 430(h)mm

    Drive Bays 3 1/2" : 6

    Drive Bays 5 1/4" : 4

    Optical Drives Description : 22x DVD Writer

    Interface : SATA

    Graphics Description : NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 TI 1024MB Graphics Card

    Motherboard Form Factor : ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 21.5cm

    CPU Support : Support for Intel Core i7 processors/Intel Core i5 processors/ Intel Core i3 processors/Intel Pentium processors/Intel Celeron processors in the LGA1155 package

    Chipset : Intel Z77 Express Chipset

    Audio : Realtek ALC887 codec

    IO : 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
    1 x D-Sub port
    1 x DVI-D port
    1 x HDMI port
    4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
    2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
    1 x RJ-45 port
    3 x audio jacks (Line In/Line Out/Microphone)

    LAN : Atheros GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)

    Socket Type : LGA 1155

    USB : Up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
    Up to 8 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB headers)

    RAID : Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10

    SATA Ports : 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0/1) supporting up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s devices
    3 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (SATA2 2/3/4) supporting up to 3 SATA 3Gb/s devices

    PCI : 2

    PCI-EX : 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16
    1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)
    2 x PCI Express x1 slots

    Max FSB : DDR3 2400(OC)/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules

    Memory Slots : 4

    Max Memory Capacity : 32GB

    Operating System : Windows 7 Home Premium (plus disc.)

    It's tempting to return to PC Specialist, as I've had no cause to complain about my current PC. But on the other hand, Novatech are just a few miles away and when I compare builds, Novatech seem to offer slightly more more bang-for-your-buck. (Also, we have another PC of identical age to this one, purchased from Novatech - absolutely no complaints about that either.... and still working well.)

    Sorry this is so long... but thank you for reading. :D
     
    Taffycat, Aug 13, 2012
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  2. Taffycat

    Taffycat Crunchie Cat VIP Member

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    Blunder alert! Sorry all, I thought I was posting this in the "General" thread...:blush:
     
    Taffycat, Aug 13, 2012
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  3. Taffycat

    muckshifter Captain Crunchie, Retired Moderator

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    cordially moved. :)


    I like, but I would like to know who makes the motherboard.

    I haven't any personal knowledge if whether a SDD HD is really worth it, so I personally have stuck with what I know.

    Make sure you use [edit: Win7] 64bit OS. :)
     
    muckshifter, Aug 13, 2012
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  4. Taffycat

    bootneck02 VIP Member

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    Personally I am dubious about SDD cards as I understand they can fail without notice. The plus side is the boot time is very fast.
     
    bootneck02, Aug 13, 2012
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  5. Taffycat

    Taffycat Crunchie Cat VIP Member

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    Thank you for moving the thread Mucks, appreciated. :D

    Ooh-er... perhaps a bit more research is needed on the SSD.

    Perhaps I could ask Novatech about the motherboard.

    Thanks for your observations :thumb:
     
    Taffycat, Aug 13, 2012
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  6. Taffycat

    Reefsmoka Cookie Monster VIP Member

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    Nothing wrong with SSD's, there are one of the best upgrade for any PC.

    Why don't you have a go at building yourself? Its easy enough, plenty of people to help here!
     
    Reefsmoka, Aug 14, 2012
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  7. Taffycat

    floppybootstomp sugar 'n spikes Moderator

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    Any component can fail without notice. Lots of people here are using SSD's as their primary disk, ask anybody here if their SSD has 'failed without notice' Then ask anybody here if they've ever had a mechanical HDD fail on them...... I suppose you could argue that if you really want notice that a hard disk is failing then the mechanical disk will be your choice as it usually gives out lots of noises before keeling over and dying whereas an SSD will probably just fail, silently. Is that any reason to influence choice?

    But imo it's a mute point and smacks of a Luddite tendency. Again, imo, an SSD is the way to go. An SSD has no moving parts and a mechanical HDD is a mechanical device. Now, which, when you think about it, is most likely to fail?

    An SSD won't last forever, there's only so many times you can change the state of silicon between 0 & 1, but I reckon an SSD will usually outlive a mechanical HDD though tbh they haven't been in widespread use long enough yet for solid comparisons to be made.

    An SSD is faster than a mechanical disk, I'm using a Corsair 128Gb for Win 7 64 Bit and it compares favourably with the pair of Western Digital 150Gb Velociraptors in a RAID 0 I was using previously. My observation is the SSD may just have the edge on that combo but it's a close thing. I haven't made benchmarks so can't prove for certain.

    Now then, the system you have chosen is an excellent machine for your requirements but look to upgrading the graphics card in a year or two's time. And as Mucks said, find out the make and model of the motherboard. Also find out make & model of PSU, I notice it's not listed there, that's a bit of a glaring omission imo, as well as not knowing make and model, we don't know how much power is powering that combination of parts.

    If the games you play are going to number no more than around ten, then a 1Tb storage HDD is fine. If you're figuring on storing more games, music, photos, lots of documents, then consider a 2Tb disk, Novatech will 'upgrade' to that in their spec for you, it shouldn't cost a lot more.

    Finally, your whole upgrade - imo - is almost a complete waste of time if you stick with Vista. Vista is absolute tosh and slower than a snail wearing weliies wading through a sea of treacle. I know this as I'm still using Vista for my media machine, where for me speed is not so important, just selecting music and films.Ditch it and get yourself a 64 Bit copy of Win 7 Home Premium. When last I looked an OEM version was selling for around £70 but Novatech may supply cheaper with their options for 'upgrading' one of their machines.

    Not worth spoiling the ship for a happorth of tar as they say ;) EDIT! Ignore last paragraph - just noticed Win 7 supplied with Novatech machine - me bad :blush:

    I will also comment that despite your positive experience with PC Specialist my own observations show that they have had many more complaints than Novatech, I'd stick with a company that has a pretty flawless record of service. Not perfect, but no one company is, but better than PC Specialist.
     
    floppybootstomp, Aug 14, 2012
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  8. Taffycat

    muckshifter Captain Crunchie, Retired Moderator

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    I'm no Luddite, and while I appreciate the fact that comment wasn't aimed at anyone in particular, I did my own research however, not bothering with an SSD is my choice based on my interpretations of real-world finding.

    Ask which SSD drive they gonna fit, SATA 6G will help. They are NOT all equal.

    My SATA 3 system boots in 22secs. :)

    YMMV
     
    muckshifter, Aug 14, 2012
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  9. Taffycat

    floppybootstomp sugar 'n spikes Moderator

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    Yes, 'Luddite' wasn't aimed at anybody in particular. I did think to myself though that one throwaway comment appearing on the 'net or elsewhere can take root as a given, sometimes that's dangerous.

    I only ever comment based on my own experience and what I've read and when it's something I've read as far as possible have seen to be proved. If it's a view I'm expressing not based on facts then I will say so.

    And yes, SSD's do vary, the transfer rates are always worth noting, something I wish I'd realised when I bought my own SSD though I was lucky, mine has favourable rates, more by luck than judgement though.

    SSD prices have also fallen a great deal in the last twelve months, now worth considering 250Gb for primary drive.

    YMMV = 'Your mileage may vary'

    I had to look that one up, which possibly makes me a Luddite ;)
     
    floppybootstomp, Aug 14, 2012
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  10. Taffycat

    Taffycat Crunchie Cat VIP Member

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    Many thanks for all the helpful replies - I appreciate them very much. :thumb:

    Okay, so returning to the site, with the intention of making contact... I took another look at specs, etc.

    The next build up from the one I've mentioned above, comes with these "upgrades" ....unless you guys think otherwise, that is.

    Intel Core i7 3770K Processor - Gigabyte Z77 Motherboard - 16GB DDR3 Memory - 2TB 6GB/s Drives - 128GB SSD - NVIDIA GTX 670 Graphics

    Is that graphics card better than the previously mentioned NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 TI 1024MB? I'm sorry if that sounds dumb, but sometimes the "lower numbers" seem to be considered better.... I find it a tad confusing tbh. :blush:

    Another difference is that the Processor - although the same i7 3770K as the first one... has a 6 MB cache, instead of an 8 MB cache..... is that small discrepancy of much importance, do you think?

    As you can see, the PSU is Novatech branded. I don't know how well these are regarded generally... but I purchased their 750W unit a couple of years ago, when my Vista rig suffered a power-failure. Our other PC (which still runs XP Pro...) is a Novatech, still with its original Novatech PSU (only 350 W if memory serves). This is now going into its 6th year too. Granted, it's not used for gaming... but it runs 24/7 to crunch, and gets a lot of daily use from OH.

    Regarding the SSD.... I read somewhere, that when both SSD and a conventional HDD are installed, they are BOTH seen as a C: drive by the PC. That sounds pleasantly non-confusing if it's correct...(?) :D

    @ Reefsmoka - I'd genuinely like to try a self-build, it would certainly be saving a few moths from becoming homeless (as I eject them from my wallet, lol.) But right now, I'd be biting off a little more than I could chew. (Still waiting for a hospital appointment to have my eye problem checked-out, for one thing.:rolleyes:)

    Hope I've not given you all a headache, lol.
     
    Taffycat, Aug 14, 2012
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  11. Taffycat

    floppybootstomp sugar 'n spikes Moderator

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    One issue at a time:

    A lot better though imo you don't need 16Gb RAM but it's worth pointing out memory's cheap atm and it certainly won't hurt.

    I'll say it's better, it's twice the price :D That's what I'd like, a 670, best value for money right now.

    You are very unlikely to ever notice a difference, don't worry about it.

    If you're happy with what you've had and the overall price of the unit - go for it.

    Absolute bunkum. Some people do write some tosh don't they? Like SSD's failing without notice, lol 'Hello, my name's Cedric the SSD and I'd like to give notice that I'm going to fail at 17:35 hours on Friday' ;)

    The SSD will be C drive and the storage disc will probably be D though it may get assigned after the optical drive(s) and be something different. But they will be seperate.
     
    floppybootstomp, Aug 14, 2012
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  12. Taffycat

    V_R ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Moderator

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    My SSD has been running fine since i originally built this PC, which was the same time that Win 7 came out. Its still going strong (been formatted and reinstalled a couple of times since then and now) Infact i tested it the other day to check its health, and its still 'as new'. :)

    That fail without notice comment is derp. any drive can fail without notice..... ;)

    That rig you posted above looks great, as said 16Gb of RAM is overkill, but hey so what? :D

    The 670 is a beast, that what i have and it eats any game I throw at it. 2GB of VRAM is the sweet spot at the mo, if you game at or over 1680x1050. ;)

    Give us a link to it then. :user:


    EDIT 560 Ti v's GTX670 - http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/547?vs=598

    :cool:
     
    V_R, Aug 14, 2012
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  13. Taffycat

    Taffycat Crunchie Cat VIP Member

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    Thank you for the fullsome answers and input 'Cedric' Floppington!! Lol And you too V_R.... wow! That link was very helpful... my current card is a 1 GB NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT.... I installed it about 2 years ago and found it to be a huge improvement on the old one. Looks like the GTX 670 is going to have the wow-factor!

    Re my SSD/HDD as a single C: drive misconception.... I remembered where I (thought) I'd read that - it was PC Specialist's website. I can now see my error. They were referring to "SSD-like" storage performance (I failed to notice the "like" bit.) This is the paragraph that confused me... doh!

    "Intel Smart Response Technology-enabled by systems utilizing the Intel Z68 Express Chipset with Intel Rapid Storage Technology (Intel RST) version 10.5 and second generation Intel Core processors-seamlessly combines the responsiveness similar to a high-performance SSD with the capacity and low cost of a hard drive. The two technologies appear as a single C:\ driver letter that provides you with the familiar storage identifier."

    Anyway, I agree, 16 GB RAM is way OTT - I've only been used to 2 GB lol - but hopefully I'll be able to play, crunch and open an email without causing slow-downs and looooooong pauses.

    Game settings you ask..? A recent monitor replacement, (old one died) means I'm now using 1920 x 1080. Liking that a lot!! :D

    By the way.... are you all using 64-Bit Windows 7 HP or Pro? Apart from being more expensive, the only advantage, (personally speaking) of using Prof, would be its ability to run old apps/programmes using XP mode. I have some old favourite graphics software.

    I'm feeling decidedly excited now, and OH is urging me on to go-for-it.... so no excuse really lol. [​IMG]
     
    Taffycat, Aug 14, 2012
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  14. Taffycat

    V_R ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Moderator

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    Yeah 1080p gaming on an old Athlon 5200 X2 / 9800GT / 2Gb then moving to an i7 / 670 will be like night and day!

    You current CPU v's the 3770...
    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/32?vs=551

    To be honest, if you wanted to save a bit an i5 would still be a great upgrade, 3570K for example. There isn't a lot between them, The i7 will have little or no performance advantage in games. It comes into its own with applications that are heavily threaded and CPU limited. Examples are photo/video editing etc.

    :)
     
    V_R, Aug 14, 2012
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  15. Taffycat

    EvanDavis Silly Fool VIP Member

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    Have a read of the article on tomsharware site on how to setup XP-mode regardless of what version of Windows 7 you have :D

    Edit: Whoops, scrap that one unless you have a valid XP licence key
     
    EvanDavis, Aug 14, 2012
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  16. Taffycat

    Taffycat Crunchie Cat VIP Member

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    WOW! That is amazing! Actually, photo editing is a hobby I enjoy - that's really what I meant when I referred to "graphics programmes." I sometimes felt that the PC was struggling a wee bit, so let it lapse. Way-hey... looks like I can get back to it soon!! :D

    That's still very interesting Evan, thank you. We have a licence for the XP PC.... so perhaps it would work okay.... or maybe not. Will check my CD, but, think it might have been an OEM, so won't be acceptable. Never mind though, nice thought :thumb:
     
    Taffycat, Aug 14, 2012
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  17. Taffycat

    floppybootstomp sugar 'n spikes Moderator

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    I'm using Win 7 64 bit Home Premium and I've managed to make some games meant only for XP work, just FYI :)
     
    floppybootstomp, Aug 14, 2012
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  18. Taffycat

    muckshifter Captain Crunchie, Retired Moderator

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    For a single 1080p monitor, you do not need more than 1GB of memory on your video card.

    There are only a few games that could potentially use more than 1GB at 1080p (Crysis 2, Metro 2033, Grand Theft Auto IV), but those games aside from possibly Grand Theft Auto IV will be bottlenecked by the speed of any given GPU before the amount of RAM becomes an issue.

    These games would only run over 1GB when run on maximum settings, with very high Anti-Aliasing. In the case of Crysis and Metro, there is no single GPU that can do that.

    For now 1GB is enough, only go for 2GB if you plan on gaming across multiple monitors, or if you intend to keep your card for a very long time, then 2GB might be a little more "futureproof", though by the time games routinely start using more than 1GB at 1080p, most current cards would probably be obsolete anyway.

    I know for a fact that LoTRO doesn't like 2MB graphics cards, but then, it is a 5 year old game.

    I'm using Windows 7 64-Bit Home Premium, unless you ever plan on using over 192GB of RAM, HP is fine. :)
     
    muckshifter, Aug 14, 2012
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  19. Taffycat

    V_R ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Moderator

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    Sorry but your wrong.

    For example

    Granted i've got some high res texture packs and other mods but even vanilla the game will happyily use as much VRAM as you let it.

    ...and yes i am running above 1080p @ 1920x1200 but thats not much of difference.

    BF3 will easily use at least 1.5Gb's and i run it on low for competitive reasons.....

    Batman Arkham city, Batman Arkham Asylum, max payne 3 are a few more just off the top of my head i've seen use way more than 1Gb.

    Your CPU will more likely be the bottleneck depending on speed/overclock with a card like the 670.

    Wrong again.

    http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-670-review/22

    Thats Crysis 2 with the high res texture pack, which is as demanding as vanilla Crysis. But again point proven.

    If a card can perform at 1080p or above with high AA etc (as the 670 can) why would you not use it? :confused:
     
    V_R, Aug 14, 2012
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  20. Taffycat

    Taffycat Crunchie Cat VIP Member

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    We've just got back from a trip to Novatech. The new PC is still sitting in its box... but I feel a bit like a little kid waiting to open prezzies on Christmas morning! (Oh horrors.... now I've alienated Flopps... sorry :blush:)

    I rang first (the website said there were 3 in stock, but always a good idea to make certain, eh?) Anyway, the guy who took my call was really helpful. He even installed the OS for me before we collected it, which was a bonus. :)

    This is the one if anyone would like a nosey: http://www.novatech.co.uk/pc/range/novatechblacknti12.html?th=g

    ....I know I'm going to have a few more questions, but I'll ask those in more appropriate areas of the forum.

    Thank you all once again for being so very helpful. I have appreciated all comments and input very much. :D :cheers:
     
    Taffycat, Aug 16, 2012
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