Description

This is my first clean build (and my first build entirely for that matter) so I didn't want to spend too much on the parts. The purpose of this build was to be able to take my programming classes online from home and to have a build powerful enough for my girlfriend and I to be able to play games on max settings (with texture packs and a few graphic alterations to spice things up a bit).

I started with the Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core processor because a close (and very knowledgeable) friend of mine recommended it for the overclocking capabilities it possesses and it's ability to remain stable under heavy loads. It was originally part of a combo (with the ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 motherboard) but I used the original build as a reference to start all over with the build and lost the combo in doing so. The CPU speed is rated at 3.4 GHz but I've heard of several Intel Core i5-3570Ks being successfully overclocked to 4.5 GHz and one being successfully overclocked to 4.2 GHz but becoming unstable if overclocked beyond that point.

I then picked the ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 motherboard. Again, it was originally part of the CPU/Motherboard combo but I ended up purchasing it separately. It has four 240-pin DIMM memory slots and supports DDR3-1066/1333/1600/1866/2133/2400/2800 memory types with 32 GB being the maximum amount of memory supported by the motherboard. It also supports 3.0 USB capabilities.

After picking the processor and motherboard, I looked at dozens of video cards. I had already made up my mind to utilize the Z77 Extreme4's SLI support and run two video cards but I couldn't decide which cards to go with. I researched benchmark data for a few days just to be sure and by the time I was done (again, counseled by my trusted friend before making my final decision), I knew that I wanted two Asus GeForce GTX 660 2GB video cards. I didn't realize it before I ordered the cards, but a few days later the Asus GeForce GTX 670 2 GB video cards went on sale through Newegg and dropped in price from $453.95 down to $276.13. If I had known this was going to happen at the time, then I would have purchased the 670s. They perform approximately 33% better than the 660 with memory bandwidth, 31% better with texel rate and 24% with pixel rate and would allow 4-way SLI but normally cost over twice as much. This drop in price would have easily made that purchase the wiser of the two, but again, I was unaware that the price would drop considerably within a matter of days after ordering the two 660 video cards and since I am running two of the 660s, I'm not that concerned with the missed opportunity. I have more than enough power for what I need this computer to do. Besides, two Asus Geforce GTX 660s in SLI will match a Titan video card down to the exact MB a second concerning memory bandwidth, beat the Titan concerning pixel rate and only lose to the Titan when you take power consumption and texel rate into consideration.

I chose Patriot Viper 3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 RAM (although I was originally going to double up on this and get Patriot Viper 3 32GB (4x8GB) DDR3-1600 RAM for a really good deal but decided that was more memory than I needed). If I need more RAM in the near future, then I can always add another Patriot Viper 3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 RAM.

I chose the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing as my CPU cooler (the noise level is rated at 9.0-36.0 dbA and the fan speed is rated at 600-2000 RPM) based entirely on good reviews and consultation with my trusted friend, and chose Arctic Silver 5 High-Density Polysynthetic Silver 3.5g as my thermal compound also based entirely on good reviews.

I purchased the Kingston SSDNow V300 Series 60GB 2.5" SSD strictly for my operating systems (because I will be running the build as a multi-boot with additional bootable flash drives for any operating systems I don't plan on using often but may need for my programming classes).

I chose the Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM HDD for my primary hard drive and don't foresee myself needing any additional memory for some time. The Seagate Barracuda has good reviews and I purchased the one that offered the most memory per dollar at the time of purchase.

I chose the Raidmax ATX-605BT ATX Full Tower (Titanium, not White) for the space it offered, the good reviews I have read on the case, the 7 fans that were pre-installed in the case (a very nice "push/pull" configuration), it's storage space and the fact that it offered a 3.0 USB slot to utilize the 3.0 capability that my motherboard offers. Since my motherboard already has 4 USB 3.0 slots on it, this gave me a total of 5 USB 3.0 slots and and 4 USB 2.0 slots to chose from. Also, it's rather appealing to look at.

I decided on the Cooler Master 850W ATX12V / EPS12V power supply for the 850 Watts that it permits, the fact that it is fully modular, it's 90% efficiency and the good reviews that I had read.

I did absolutely no research on the Rosewill RNX-N250PCe 802.11b/g/n PCI-Express x1 wireless network adapter but it has proven to be effective so far and serves the purpose that I had originally intended for it to serve. Several days later a far more expensive NIC went on sale for less than a fifth of it's original cost, and if I had known this was going to happen (again, just like with the video cards) I would have bought that one instead.

I also did absolutely no research on the Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer but it has worked fine so far.

I didn't include a keyboard, mouse or monitor in this build because I purchased my monitor elsewhere (23" Acer from Walmart for $159.99) and I am waiting to buy the peripherals that I really want. Just for reference, the keyboard and mouse I want are the Gigabyte Force K3 keyboard (I like the green WASD keys and arrow keys) and the Razer Naga Hex Wired Laser mouse (It matches the LED fans that come with the case). The operating system was also purchased outside of PCPartPicker.

If I need to purchase replacement fans then I will probably purchase the Apevia CF4SL-UGN 25.6 CFM 80mm Fans and the Cougar Dual-X 64.4 CFM 120mm Fans to save money (Apevia fans are generally less expensive than other fans).

As of this moment, I have ran Skyrim on Ultra settings with over 90 mods installed for 8 consecutive hours with Nexus Mod Manager, BOSS, FNIS Generator, TES5Edit and multiple Mozilla Firefox windows all running in the background and my temperatures have yet to rise over 35°C to my knowledge (I didn't monitor the temps while I was playing, but internal parts take some time to cool off and I closed Skyrim to check the temps with Speccy immediately after playing for those 8 initial hours. The computer generally stays between 29°C and 32°C at any given time. Skyrim will actually crash without pre-cache killers from the graphic overhauls before this build will flinch from the game. I am very proud of this build.

It scored a P11136 using 3DMark 11 on 3DMark's Performance Preset with a Graphics Score of 13767, a Physics Score of 7137 and a Combined Score of 6993.

If anyone has any questions on this build, whether it concerns something important such as part performance, where to purchase the parts from or something less crucial such as the shipping time or how awesome the assembly process felt, feel free to leave comments below and I will get back to you as soon as I notice your comment.

UPDATE: I have added a second monitor. It is a 24" Acer. I don't know the model number or any of that good stuff, but I got it for 20 bucks and it works well. The max resolution on it seems to be lower than my primary Acer monitor's resolution, though. Oh well. I have a third monitor that my sister is currently using that I plan to hook up as well. I can run a total of five if you count the two monitors that each graphic card allows me to utilize and the fifth that my motherboard allows me to utilize.

Comments

  • 71 months ago
  • 4 points

This is a good build but I have some critiques. While I bet the SLI 660's are awesome, there is no need to "utilize the SLI support" on the motherboard. You could max out skyrim at 1080p with one 660 I believe. You always go for the most powerful single GPU you can get before you x-fire/SLI. So you could have saved a good bit by getting a cheaper case and less RAM (you only need 8gb for gaming) then gotten a GTX 780 which would be more powerful and a single GPU. With your RAM you could've still had that "If I need more later I'll get some more" state of mind with 8gb of RAM which you would've been happy with. Your PSU is also still overkill even for an SLI build, you would only draw 280 watts at max (with your GPU's), so a 600 watt would be fine being it won't be stressed out. Even if you SLI'd two 780's you'd only draw 500 watts so a 750 watt would be good enough and you would save around $40, all enough for you to get a 780. This is a good build overall though.

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

There were several places that I could have saved some money, as you pointed out. I know some of these specs are overkill for gaming, but the build will hopefully be around for a while to see a few other games once I'm done exploring Skyrim's modding community. Those moments of "Go big or go home" can really hit your wallet if you aren't careful, but I tried to build this in anticipation of more demanding games in the future. And yeah, the SLI 660's are awesome. This thing works like a charm. It feels good just to sit down in front of the monitor. I'm glad you like it.

  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

I didn't say they were overkill. Overkill is SLI 780ti's with a 4960x, 64gb of RAM, and a 1200w PSU (Assuming you're playing at 1080p). I'm just saying that the SLI 660's on your first build is a bit impractical considering you could've gotten a more powerful single card. The 3570k isnt even overkill, it's perfect for gaming. I hope I've made my point without being offensive.

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

I wasn't offended at all. In fact, I appreciate that you took the time to respond with an additional comment. I've been overburdened by college courses for nearly a month now so I haven't been on pcpartpicker as much as I would like to have been. That's why my response to your last comment was a little late. :) Surprisingly enough, I've actually crashed Skyrim too many times to count since the building of this computer because I've been running out of VRAM in game (for some reason, Skyrim doesn't like the idea of your computer having to dump VRAM and it crashes when either 256MB of storage have been reached or if you expend your initial amount of VRAM). The two cards giving me 4GB of VRAM have allowed me to exceed Skyrim's default 3GB VRAM cap seeing as how I've had the additional GB to utilize once Skyrim's .ini settings were properly altered. The 3570k has done remarkably well. Attempting to play (over 160 mods installed and graphics that would spank Crysis 3) without utilizing the SLI puts sever strain on my 660. A stronger card would have been the ideal way to go (although the 660s running in SLI can handle the game very well), but again, my first build knew that it wasn't perfect before I did. ;)

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Good to hear all of that. Hope you are doing well in college, rock on. Or jazz on. Or hip hop on? whatever you prefer.

  • 70 months ago
  • 2 points

Haha Thank you! :)

  • 71 months ago
  • 3 points

I'm a little bit confused about your choice of video cards. Why go for two mid-range cards as opposed to a single top-of-the-line card? I'm not sure how much you paid for each 660, but I would've gone for a single 770/780, and then picked up a second one if more performance is needed.

I'm also confused about your choice of chassis. Again, I'm not sure what you paid for it, but at the MSRP, I don't feel like its limited feature set warrants the price tag.

Still a good build though. Happy gaming! :)

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Well, this was my first build. I'm a bit out of my element here, but I'm starting to get the hang of things. I'm glad you like it.

  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

Looks good! +1

I just got into gaming a few years ago, and out of the 4 games I have played, Skyrim is easily my favorite. Very beautiful world and great gameplay.

I think you made the right decision not to get the extra RAM. 16GB should be more than enough for gaming from what I've read.

  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

Yeah, this is my first time as a PC gamer. I've been a console gamer since I was a toddler though. Skyrim can be a very addicting game. It has the potential for a level of immersion that few games had offered before it's release. And I'm glad you liked the build.

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  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

Would of gone with just one 770 for the price. Nice build overall!

  • 71 months ago
  • 2 points

In retrospect, I'm sure it would have made more sense to go with one 770 or 780 but at the time it seemed like a solid choice. I'm happy with the build overall though. I'm glad you like it.

  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Solid build, be proud of it!

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! And I am. :)

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  • 71 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you. I'm glad you like it.

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  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! And I apologize for the delayed response. I appreciate your feedback though! Personally, the case was my second choice but I couldn't fit the 660's in the case that I originally wanted. They only have about 2mm between them and the side panel in this case though, so if it weren't for the multitude of fans, I would probably invest in an even larger one just to create more space.