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Hobby Project: The Beast (Updated 03/2013)

by Jirow



CPU Clock Rate


CPU Temperature While Idle

32.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

66.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate


GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate


GPU Temperature While Idle

33.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

70.0° C


Updated 03/2013 - New video card (660TI) and CPU (i7-3770k). Also added a 2TB storage drive. - The system should hold me until the next gen of CPUs/GPUs arrive. - OC'd to 4.4GHz w/out a significant increase in load temps.

I built this system as a hobby project in April 2012 looking for a "mid-budget" gaming system to run Skyrim and other assorted graphics-demanding games.

I thought I would upgrade to another system in a year, but as it approaches the 1-year anniversary, I'm finding it has not only kept up with the games that have been released, it has also kept most of it's value.

Changes: - I added the 200mm case fan a few months after the build. - I upgraded from the stock cooler to the Zalman cooler in early 2013 so I could OC a bit more.

Comments Sorted by:

bbooiigg 2 points 56 months ago

This build is pretty solid despite the out-dated parts. There's no need to build a new box, everything is still good except out-dated cpu and gpu. My suggestion is to either get a 3770k, or wait for haswell to come out and get a new mobo and cpu. I'm guessing that prices on the 3770k will drop when haswell comes, so you could potentially wait for that. For the gpu, if you feel that the gpu is still holding pretty good, wait for the 700 series.

Jirow submitter 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

Haswell is still a few months out and I'm not certain the prices will drop amazingly when it does come out, so I might pull the trigger on a 3770K.

Thanks for the advice!

bbooiigg 1 point 56 months ago

That why I'm saying if you feel like your build is still handling fine, just wait for haswell. If you think that it is too slow right now, go upgrade now.

mrglen 1 point 56 months ago

I dont know why people WASTE money on a cool case, (its only going to be cool so long) and then get old parts... they are also only going to last so long. next time.

Jirow submitter 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

Mrglen, this box was built in April 2012. Those weren't exactly old parts back then. Just more 'budget' than cutting edge. :)

tygersrule 1 point 56 months ago

" I upgraded from the stock cooler to the Zalman cooler in early 2013 so I could OC a bit more."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but that I7 is multiplier locked, is it not? So you can't really overclock it?

Jirow submitter 1 Build 2 points 56 months ago

The multiplier is locked, but I believe I can use the board's software to raise the multiplier (F-Stream Tuning Utility).

Now of course, I'm wondering if that is actually doing anything if the multiplier is truly locked, so I'll do some added testing/bench-marking.

My previous estimate that I was actually OCing was based on seeing increased temps in the cores as I raised the multiplier (hence, the upgraded cooler), but I guess I could be wrong.

Hey, if I am wrong, then it's a good reason to upgrade the CPU, so win-win. ;)

Thanks for the comment/idea. :)

Divdor 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

Ahh, the upgrade dilemma. Hard to shell out the bucks for the unknown upgrade that may or may not be worth it. I guess my first question is, are you a gamer or an enthusiast? My definitions: Gamer- someone who wants a system that does everything they want/need to play. Enthusiast- Someone who wants the very best system possible. Never satisfied until every imaginable benchmark is maxed out.

If you are a gamer, I present the following:

GPU Upgrade - Is there anything you are currently playing that you cannot play at the resolutions/GPU goodies and an acceptable frame-rate you would like? That would be the kicker for me on the video card(s). You could compare frames card to card on whatever game you may play or want to play. If its enough of an improvement, go for it. If not, wait a while or shop for bargains.

CPU Upgrade - My big question for this is what do you hope to achieve by upgrading? Is there anything you need to do your current CPU cannot handle? May want to watercool the one you have for a while and see how far you can push it.

If you are an enthusiast, Good luck! I have never found one that didn't go broke with upgrades every year.

If it were me, I wouldn't upgrade. I am a bit more budget minded than most. Either way, game on.

Jirow submitter 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

Thanks for the comment. I'd say I'm between a gamer and an enthusiast.

I like to build a box every year or two, but do it on a 'reasonable' budget. Then I'm usually just trying to see how much more I can squeeze out of the current setup with a few upgrades, and a mind towards what's coming in the next 3-6 months. At some point it becomes cheaper to just upgrade the entire box, and the whole cycle repeats itself. ;)

Divdor 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

I actually do a major upgrade about every two years. Last upgrade was video card. Time for processor now. The one I am running is 5 years now and it was a little out of date when I bought it. I haven't noticed big jumps in performance in processor upgrades. Video cards have been the big upgrades for me.

Last video card upgrade took me from a Geforce 9800gt single monitor to a Xfx Radeon 6870 2gb and eyefinity 3x1 plus 1. Games which ran ok on low, could run on very high settings even in eyefinity.

I know it is time for that CPU upgrade but I dread the work involved with redoing the operating system. It's just way past time to do it. Good luck Jirow and let us know what you upgrade when you do.

Jirow submitter 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

Will do. Thanks!

suihigh 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

Should check out the Radeon 7870xt, and you can use your current GTX 560 for dedicated physx!

Jirow submitter 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

That's an interesting idea. I've been a GeForce buyer for most of my life (for purely irrational reasons), so I'm not sure I'm ready to move away from that yet.

As for the split GPU+PhysX setup: Are there many games/apps that can leverage that setup?

edman545 10 Builds 1 point 56 months ago

It's a lot more work, but It's worked on every game that I have tried. Some require individual tweaks like moving or deleting .dll files.


Jirow submitter 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

That's kinda interesting. I'm concerned that they say it's not compatible w/ new drivers and I get the impression both vendors are actively working against it, but I'd be willing to try it one a 2nd box just to say it was done. :)

Smily 1 point 56 months ago

That 2600 will hold out for a while. I'd recommend for you to put all of your upgrade money into a new gpu.

although correct me if I'm wrong, but the sandy bridges don't support pcie 3.0. they didn't take a very big performance hit with the 600s or 7000s, but will they with the next generation? depending on how long prices drop, you might want to consider a 3570k and putting the rest into the gpu

Jirow submitter 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

Thanks for the advice. I'm leaning towards starting w/ a GPU upgrade and working on the CPU depending on price drops.

I have seen a lot of builds drop the i7 in favor of i5s, but isn't the loss of HT a significant performance hit (~10%-ish)? For ~$50 more I was going to grab a 3770K.

Then again, is the extra memory bandwidth of an Ivy Bridge really going ot make a difference on the 600/7000-series GPUs, and I'd get more bang for the buck going with a SandyBridge-E CPU?

Smily 1 point 56 months ago

The loss of HT is a significant performance hit for things like video editing. But the addition of HT can be a significant performance hit for gaming.

ammw999 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

This is nice build well done job, case looks very nice aswell

Jirow submitter 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

I'm becoming increasingly partial to the NZXT line for some reason. It's not obnoxiously flashy, or even original, but it's well-crafted enough that you can work in the case w/out donating blood or losing body parts. That's important from a hobby aspect.

Ggadget 1 point 56 months ago

I would either buy a new graphics card or wait for the 700 series and then buy a new graphics card.

Jirow submitter 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

Good advice. I actually picked up a 3GB 660Ti as a stopgap for now.

bsprickman9 1 Build 0 points 56 months ago


miniclipgamer 2 Builds 1 point 56 months ago


Jirow submitter 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

Yea, this was done more than a year ago. Funny thing is that most new 'ultra gaming systems' still use the same chipset/parts with the exception of graphics and CPU.

bsprickman9 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

so? thats no excuse to go and buy a 560