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Kevdo's Gaming Build (Updated 5/6/2013)
by Kevdo
Permalink:   (35 comments)
Description

This build is mainly for gaming, as well as other general uses. I built it last December, but I've cleaned it up a bit, worked on the cable management and planned some upgrades for it this year.


UPGRADES:

The first upgrade: Samsung 840 Pro.

The second upgrade: Windowed side panel and orange LED kit. (I'm not usually the type for flashy looks and things, but I couldn't resist trying this out.)

The third upgrade: A 5.25" bay drawer. (I have a lot of random cables on my desk that I use often and 4 unused bays, thought this would be a nice little touch.)

The fourth upgrade: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB HDD. (Sold my Seagate Barracuda to buy this one.)


COMMENTS:

I realized that in the pictures I took, the Cooler Master fan was blowing into the case. I've already switched it around, but was too lazy to take new pictures. :P

The case has a lot of room to work with for cable management, but when you have so many cables everywhere - especially with the fan controllers - it can get pretty difficult.

I've managed to reach an overclock as high as 4.8 GHz on the CPU, but I had no reason to keep it that high. The highest stable overclock I could get on the 7970 GHz was 1200 core and 1600 memory, which is what I have it at now. This is with stock voltage though. I'll try to bump the voltage up a little bit to see how far I can push it once I can get a second 7970 GHz in there.

If you guys have any other comments or questions, feel free to leave a comment.

Part List
Details
Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Clock Rate4.5GHz
CPU Temperature While Idle29.0° C
CPU Temperature Under Load61.0° C
Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card
GPU Core Clock Rate1.2GHz
GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate1.6GHz
GPU Temperature While Idle31.0° C
GPU Temperature Under Load64.0° C
Comments
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Sorted by:
 
 
IamApropos [3 Builds] 5 points 16 months ago

(Builders Clap) Great build... Very balanced, very high quality parts, and simply just beautiful. I'd say get a can of spray paint and paint that GPU support ;) other than that, you have yourself a very respectful rig. I really enjoyed browsing your build photos, thank you very much for sharing!!

 
 
Kevdo [Submitter] [2 Builds] 2 points 16 months ago

Thank you, I really appreciate that!

You know that's actually a good idea. I wanted to get the PowerColor Power Jack, but that only reaches up to 6 inches in height and my GPU is 8 inches high. I'll definitely spray paint it though, that wouldn't take more than a couple of minutes.

I'll update the pictures once I get that H80i in there. Thanks again for your feedback!

 
 
IamApropos [3 Builds] 1 point 16 months ago

I can't wait to see more pictures once you make the changes!!!

 
 
Sprocket30 [2 Builds] 1 point 16 months ago

Very nice build !! , too bad for the GPU sagging .

 
 
Dubesta11 [4 Builds] 1 point 16 months ago

Very nice build, I have a hyper evo as well. What do you use it for?

 
 
Kevdo [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 16 months ago

Thanks!

This computer is mostly for gaming, though I do just about everything on it. It's my main computer. Anything from watching episodes of a series to web browsing to heavy gaming, watching movies, video editing, mixing music, school work... I mean pretty much anything anyone could do on a computer haha.

 
 
TygerWarfare 1 point 16 months ago

Im building my pc in june and using the same GPU! What are some gaming benchmarks that you have with the card?

 
 
Kevdo [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 16 months ago

Now that you mention it, I haven't exactly tested it for specific benchmarks. I can say that it runs all my games at max settings without a problem. I play my games at 1080p though, since I use my TV as a monitor.

Tomb Raider runs at ultimate settings (with the TressFX hair effect) at a full 60 FPS, almost never dipping below that even in intense scenes.

Assassin's Creed III runs over 60 FPS as well, though sometimes in towns and the thick forest it dips in FPS with the Environment settings at max.

Those are the only two games that really push the card. Other games play easily without a beat of sweat. I don't really play that many FPS games, so I don't know how things like Crysis 3, COD, Battlefield etc. run on it, but I wouldn't doubt its ability to run them all on ultra settings with playable FPS.

 
 
Scaroza [2 Builds] 1 point 16 months ago

Download Unigine Heaven, it's a DX11 based benchmarking software that gives you a good indication of how effective you're overclocking is and what sort of temperatures you're getting with a fully loaded GPU. Oh, and the main thing is it's free! :D

 
 
TygerWarfare 1 point 16 months ago

Thanks! I also run 1080 so your comment gives me some confidence. Thanks for the great response :)

 
 
jdupton [1 Build] 1 point 16 months ago

Nice system! I love your solution to the heavy sagging video card. I have the same problem in my build and will adopt your "system". With a little black spray paint, that can look quite nice and solves the problem perfectly.

You also did a great job of neatly placing all those cables behind the MB tray. Well done!

 
 
Kevdo [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 16 months ago

Bahaha, I should patent the design or something. :P

Thank you for the feedback, I appreciate it!

 
 
on_droid [1 Build] 1 point 16 months ago

I used to use the cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels to hold up my GPU but I found that routing the PCI cables up over top of the GPU eliminates the sag just as well and in my opinion looks better. Check out my build if you want to see pics of how my GPU is being supported.

 
 
zypherstones [1 Build] 1 point 16 months ago

Haha, nice Japanese Yu-Gi-Oh tin :p Great build!

 
 
Kevdo [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 16 months ago

Thanks! You caught that huh? I used to play back in the day, that tin serves as my tool box now heh heh.

 
 
Divdor [1 Build] 1 point 16 months ago

Looks Great Kevdo. I love the GPU Support. I think I may have the materials to craft one of those for myself! :D

Great Parts and a good solid build. If budget would have allowed I would have bought the same graphics card. Game On!

 
 
Kevdo [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 16 months ago

Thanks! The GPU support is a great DIY project, bahaha.

 
 
Scaroza [2 Builds] 1 point 16 months ago

Great cables and component choice. You could have afforded to go for a 750w PSU and comfortably had enough spare wattage to x-fire, however, having an extra 100w is exactly a bad thing is it?! I love the case, very good looking and lots of places to stow the cables, top build!

 
 
Kevdo [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 16 months ago

Thanks! I actually decided to go with an 850 watt because AMD suggests 800 watts for CrossFire. I know they usually over-estimate it, but I wasn't all that well educated when I bought all my components the first time around and I wanted to put in a lot of fans and lights too.

I wasn't really sure how overclocking affected the wattage consumption either, but like you said, it's better to have more than needed than not having enough haha.

 
 
IamApropos [3 Builds] 1 point 16 months ago

You are safer with a 850w PSU if you plan on overclocking everything. 750w would be pushing the limits a little especially if you wanted to overclock the CPU + both GPUs. Your choice was perfect, infact if you talked about overclocking and crossfire had a 750w PSU I would have suggested you should have got a 850w PSU.

 
 
Kevdo [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 16 months ago

I definitely intend to overclock both GPUs once they're in - and to their limits at that! I'm glad I went with the 850 watts myself, since I wasn't really too sure back when I first bought it haha.

 
 
iiLeGiT101 [1 Build] 1 point 16 months ago

Great build! This is really well balanced and these were all great choices. How is this build doing you so far?

 
 
Kevdo [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 16 months ago

Thanks! It's been great honestly. The only troubles I've had so far are with AMD beta drivers. The 13.1 beta drivers a while back had some audio issues, but I was able to change a value in the registry as a workaround.

The latest 13.2 and 13.3 beta drivers do this weird thing where the screen randomly seems to twitch almost, it's hard to explain. It happens VERY rarely though, but sometimes it surprises me a bit. Other than that, I'm really happy with it.

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Kevdo [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 16 months ago

I was actually thinking about getting the 780. The problem is I'm not sure how much it's going to cost me and how big the performance gap will be between two 7970 GHz and a single 780. Overclocking the cards also has to be considered. I'll do my research when the time comes, but until then a second 7970 GHz seems to be more attainable. I probably won't have enough money for a second 7970 until after June anyways.

Knowing Nvidia, they're probably going to charge an arm and a leg for the 780 too.

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Kevdo [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 16 months ago

Rumors I've read seem to speculate somewhere between $500 to $800. We'll have to wait and see what happens in these upcoming months.

 
 
jeffthechef14 [1 Build] 1 point 14 months ago

How was acquiring the drivers for the card with Windows 8? The PC I am going to be building will have Windows 8 Pro and I have heard it is very difficult to get the drivers working for this card, from what I have read. Also, do you have any comments or concerns with the size of the card?

 
 
Kevdo [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 14 months ago

The drivers are just like any other operating system. You go to AMD's website and download them. There's really a lot of hate on Windows 8 for no reason. I think it's a good choice to try it out. I'd also suggest buying Start is back, definitely worth it.

As for the size of the card, I used to be worried about how heavy it was more than how large it was, but after messing around with it so much, I realized that you can just use the power cables from the PSU to support the weight of the card. All in all, I really enjoyed building this and I love my computer. I could easily recommend these parts to anyone in a heartbeat.

EDIT: I should also mention that Windows 8 does a really good job of downloading the appropriate drivers automatically. I'd still download the graphics card drivers myself though.

 
 
jeffthechef14 [1 Build] 1 point 14 months ago

Also, how loud is your rig, under load?

 
 
Kevdo [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 14 months ago

The case fans are really quiet, so is the CPU fan. The graphics card fans are relatively quiet under a decent load, but under heavy loads they ramp up quite a bit. At 100% fan speed they are very loud, but I've never had that happen to me under regular use. The GPU fans don't bother me, but for some of those who are sensible to such things it might be too audible.

 
 
Gomer2306 1 point 12 months ago

When you had the CPU Cooler in the case did you have the 200-230mm case side fan on also? If not why not.

 
 
Kevdo [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 12 months ago

I did have it on at one point, but it wouldn't close so I decided to get the window side panel instead. I moved the 200mm fan to the bottom of the case, blowing upward. It's sort of just sitting there, it's not screwed into the bottom.

 
 
Gomer2306 1 point 12 months ago

I see I'm just wondering because I'm thinking about getting this case for a build I'm doing around fall time and was hoping for the cooler I have to fit with the side fan without modding case or fan.

 
 
Kevdo [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 12 months ago

I gotcha. It really depends on which cooler it is. The Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo is pretty big, so it didn't fit in mine, but it might if your cooler is a bit smaller.

 
 
Gregz 1 point 3 months ago

Hey man, how do you get it to light up? Do the LED's come with the case or is there more research for me to do?

 
 
Kevdo [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 2 months ago

Late reply, but I got them off of the NZXT website. They sell the LED cables there.