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Hey gamers! Opinions on my gaming PC build
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10725
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 5:55 pm    Post subject: Hey gamers! Opinions on my gaming PC build Reply with quote


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Hi guys!

I'm putting together a gaming rig for my son's 12th birthday (shhhh!) as the existing one is getting a bit long in the tooth (Core 2 Duo, DDR2 RAM, old NVidia GT610 video card). He's big into real time strategy (RTS) games as well as creative/sandbox games. This is a gaming only PC, or more correctly, performance doing other stuff doesn't matter.

Any thoughts/suggestions on this build while keeping it under $1500 CAD / $1100 USD?:

CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($302.31 CAD @ Vuugo)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($27.31 CAD @ Vuugo)
Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5 High-Density Polysynthetic Silver 3.5g Thermal Paste ($5.75 CAD @ DirectCanada)
Motherboard: Asus Z97-A ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($174.99 CAD @ NCIX)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($62.22 CAD @ DirectCanada)
Storage: Samsung 850 EVO-Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($89.99 CAD @ NCIX)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 CAD @ Newegg Canada)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 970 4GB Twin Frozr V Video Card ($419.98 CAD @ NCIX)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($72.99 CAD @ NCIX)
Power Supply: EVGA 750W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($124.99 CAD @ NCIX)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($22.31 CAD @ Vuugo)
Case Fan: Corsair Air Series AF120 Red 52.2 CFM 120mm Fan ($11.72 CAD @ DirectCanada)
Case Fan: Corsair Air Series AF120 Red 52.2 CFM 120mm Fan ($11.72 CAD @ DirectCanada)
Total: $1381.27 CAD

Link: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/n3Qjzy

Thoughts/logic on the part selection - opinions welcome!:

* For the most part I've tried to pick the tried and true name brands over saving a few bucks. I'd rather have reliability/stability over saving a buck or two.

* My understanding is that anything above a i5-4690K CPU for gaming is usually wasted. Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dbq5LNYgMJM
I'm curious however if giving the RTS games he plays if it would make sense to go to an i7. (I doubt it). Not planning on OC'ing out of the gate but thought I'd get the unlocked 'K' CPU and a better than stock CPU cooler anyway given the low price increase. OC'ing when done correctly can be stable, but I'm generally not a fan of it, especially for a PC I won't be using myself. I'd rather just buy the stock speed required to get the job done without having to OC. If OC'ing can get an extra year or so out of the machine down the road as games advance then I'm ok with it, but not OC'ing right out of the gate.

* Understanding is that more than 8 Gig RAM is pointless in gaming today. I can always add another 8 Gig in the future if needed and that speed (1600Mhz vs say 2400Mhz) makes no difference in gaming. Some recent benchmarks even say 4 Gig doesn't slow you down much: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPenpMMJYEI

* I've always liked ASUS mobo's so I'm sticking that what I think (?) is their tried and true 1150 socket. Should I go with the cheaper Z97-E since I don't need the extra I/O?

* Small SSD HD for windows/system stuff. Samsung's supposed to be reliable. Bigger 7200 RPM HD for data.

* Graphics card has been the biggest head scratcher. A GTX 950 or 960 is probably enough, but figured I'd go to a 970 as it's at the sweet price/performance spot for now and will allow some room to grow. Using a 1920x1200@60Hz (max) monitor. No 4K so a 980 or Titan doesn't make sense. I considered AMD (former ATI) Radeon R9 390 as well for about $30-40 more. It has twice the VRAM (pointless today and when running near 1080p rez) but I don't like the power use or ATI/AMD in general (always been more into intel/NVidia). This one's been the biggest head scratcher.

* EVGA G2 series power supplies are more expensive but are supposed to be very well built. I don't want to scrimp on the PSU.

* Not sure if I need the couple of extra case fans. The two stock fans are probably good enough.

* OS will be Windows 10.

This PC should run the latest high tech FPS games with details maxed out but he's not into most of those ... yet (he prefers RTS strategy / sandbox games like Space Engineers).

This PC will however be run for many years / not upgraded often so I try to buy at the 80% performance level as anything higher you really start to hit the laws of diminishing returns. Hopefully that's where I've landed.

Thoughts/opinions welcome!

Kal

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Last edited by kal on Tue Nov 10, 2015 1:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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Kazumichan



Joined: 07 May 2014
Posts: 178
Location: Cincinnati Ohio area

Working on: Belgium golden, Dubbel, and imperial red


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is ironic, I am looking into building just such a computer for one of my nephews. This is what I was going to go with:

I5-6600k $229 microcenter, I can get this chip rather cheap since they have a store near me.

ASrock Z170 extreme4+ $159.99 newegg. I have built several computers with ASrock now and haven't had any problems with them yet.

8 gig DDR4 $53.99 newegg. I think it was ripjaw memory, I forgot to write that down.

Sandisk Extreme Pro 480 gig SSD $199.99. newegg. Might go with the 250gig version and put in a TB drive in for storage. About the same price so not sure yet on that.

EVGA GTX970. I like Geforce better than Radeon. When I have ran Radeon cards in the past, I have always had problems with them.

And allowing about $200 for case, PS, cooler, and dvd.

In my computer I run 12 GB of ram, but I am running DDR3 in triple channel so 12 GB was what the kits came in. I used to run ASUS MB for a very long time. I have had a few go out on me, but I quit buying them because they have gotten way to overpriced, IMO.
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10725
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for chiming in! Sounds like a pretty good build.

I'm not familiar with ASRock, not having build a PC from scratch in over ~15 years now (I used to sell custom built PCs in my spare time to fund my obsession).

I'll have to look into DDR4 RAM - I didn't think it was readily available. Though from what I've read the extra speed does nothing for gaming.

Going with one larger SSD instead of SSD/7200rpm drive may be an interesting idea too.

Kal

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Last edited by kal on Tue Nov 10, 2015 2:20 am; edited 1 time in total
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Roadie



Joined: 13 Oct 2013
Posts: 131
Location: Charleston, SC


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When we moved down south and my son stayed in KS he was computerless so I put together a build for him. He's one to game on one screen while a movie is playing on another, while having several browser windows open and music playing from his machine. I didn't have anything to reuse there such as case, power supply, monitor, etc. so it cost a little extra but without some of those you can put together the same type of system for that kind of money. The route we went was as follows:

Case: Cooler Master HAF-X
CPU: i7-5820k
MB: ASRock Fatal1ty X99X
VC: Gigabyte GTX 970 - he needs another for SLI
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaw 32G DDR4
Boot drive: Samsung SM951 M.2 256G
PS: EVGA 850 gold
Data drive: WD black 2TB
Cooling: Corsair H105 extreme

He got his own monitors but don't think he broke the bank. My oldest son bought him Windows 8 64-bit through his work for cheap. I haven't heard any complaints but know he wants another card for SLI.
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Kazumichan



Joined: 07 May 2014
Posts: 178
Location: Cincinnati Ohio area

Working on: Belgium golden, Dubbel, and imperial red


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't know about ASrock either until I built 3 computers for other people 1 1/2 years ago. Went with them since they was "only" moderately priced. I was really impressed with their bios and layout of the boards. They have ran with no problems since I built them, and two are in a business that rarely gets shut off. Whenever I get around to updating my computer again, I believe I will go with them.

Using DDR4 memory might not help gaming, but if you get a Z170 chipset MB, I believe, that is the only memory that will fit on it.
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Tennessee



Joined: 04 Apr 2015
Posts: 113
Location: Tennessee


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just finished this build for editing HD & 4K video. Its set up for gaming but renders video in
Sony Vegas Pro 13 like it's nothing! It should be future proof for a couple of years but you never know
with SW development and gaming demands and if you want to use MAX settings. I too have been a fan of ASUS for
years, but after reading the reviews on the MSI's R9 series graphics and their gaming Motherboards, I decided it was a great match.

Your build specs look fine. I sure your Son will be stoked!

*TigerDirect prices: OS not included!
MSI Radeon R9 390 Gaming 8G DX12 Graphic Card $319.99 (will crossfire a 2nd card when the price drops)
SAMSUNG - 850 EVO-SERIES - 250GB $96.93
Thermaltake TR-700 700W Power Supply $51.95 (750W & up needed for crossfire)
Thermaltake Versa H23 Mid-Tower Case w/ Window $30.68
Intel Core i7-4790K Processor $323.58
MSI Z97-GAMING 5 Motherboard $137.55
Kingston HyperX Fury Red 8GB X2 1866MHz DDR3 $93.51
WD Blue 1 TB Desktop Hard Drive $46.08
LG Internal DVD Rewriter 24X SATA $14.99
Added 16 more gigs of hyperX ram that was on sell for $84.49
Total was right at $1200

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Tungsten



Joined: 06 Dec 2014
Posts: 316
Location: Buffalo, NY


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I built my machine 4 years ago, and it looks very similar to what you've laid out (except you have more updated, faster components of course). It still plays all the modern games I play (not many anymore, and no FPS, but still) at highest effects.

The only thing I would do differently if I could go back would be to get a full sized case. The newest video cards are huge and I would absolutely not go for a midsize tower ever again. I would recommend the same to you, but that's certainly not to say that what you have laid out wouldn't work. It makes me hesitant to want to make any further upgrades on my system though because of how hard it is to move my hands around and actually fit components in there.

The video card as you said, is the biggest head scratcher but I agree with your logic. If you feel the 970 is a good price point, then go for it, otherwise I totally agree that a 950 or 960 would be good enough.
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10725
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tungsten wrote:
The only thing I would do differently if I could go back would be to get a full sized case. The newest video cards are huge and I would absolutely not go for a midsize tower ever again. I would recommend the same to you, but that's certainly not to say that what you have laid out wouldn't work. It makes me hesitant to want to make any further upgrades on my system though because of how hard it is to move my hands around and actually fit components in there.

Good point. The mobo's full sized (ATX) and while the Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower case isn't full sized, I'm hoping the fact that you can remove some of the drive bays to allow for larger video cards means it won't be problematic if ever we need to upgrade.

Given the small number of cards needed (only the video card and a PCI wifi card) and a single 2.5" SSD (I think I'll drop the 7200 drive and just go with a 500GB SSD) I was actually tempted to go even smaller on the case (given that most of the case will be empty). I'd use a smaller motherboard as well. But then in the end decided to leave some more room.

Is there a full sized cased you'd recommend? I'm open to options. The Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case comes highly recommended by a lot of people so that's the main reason I was considering it. There's also the HAF 932 full tower but it's nearly 3x the price and look insanely large by comparison (though the numbers do not make it that much larger).

Kal

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Tungsten



Joined: 06 Dec 2014
Posts: 316
Location: Buffalo, NY


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you drop a drive I think you'll be fine. I have a CD drive installed and a regular HD, and that's already too much space taken up. In fact, the bay with my hard drive in it doesn't have enough room to push in all the way, being that it's adjacent to the video card.

Unfortunately, I don't have a full size recommendation, because I'm still using the frustrating midsize that I originally bought, which is this one if it matters at all: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129021 . But, a comparable for you would be the HAF 932 instead of 912. Full towers are also much more expensive - and I'm not sure why that is.

At the end of the day, it looks like the case that you want is adjustable to fully remove some of the HDD cages for longer video cards (I believe yours is longer than mine by an inch and a half) so that's probably fine given the fact that you're only going to have one SSD in there. If you're not aiming for SLI down the road, you're definitely fine. It might just be a little tight while wiring - which is obviously just a little inconvenient.
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10725
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup - I think it'll work fine. There's 12" of space for the video card and it's only 10" long... so I don't even have to remove any of the bays (But will anyway for better airflow).

Time to start ordering stuff!

Kal

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Kazumichan



Joined: 07 May 2014
Posts: 178
Location: Cincinnati Ohio area

Working on: Belgium golden, Dubbel, and imperial red


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use a Cooler Master Sniper case. They say that it is a mid-tower, but it is huge. It's nearly the same size as an old full tower that I used to have.
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Tungsten



Joined: 06 Dec 2014
Posts: 316
Location: Buffalo, NY


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:
Yup - I think it'll work fine. There's 12" of space for the video card and it's only 10" long... so I don't even have to remove any of the bays (But will anyway for better airflow).

Time to start ordering stuff!

Kal


I think you'll have to take it out.

Either way, good luck! You got me looking at upgrades I could do now, haha...
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10725
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Order(s) placed! I ended up going a higher end on the RAM (16gb instead of 8gb) and CPU (i7-4790K instead of i5-4690K) just to be a bit more future proof.

Final list of parts: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/7yzNt6 (all Canadian prices)

CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($431.01 @ Vuugo)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($27.01 @ Vuugo)
Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5 High-Density Polysynthetic Silver 3.5g Thermal Paste ($5.75 @ DirectCanada)
Motherboard: MSI Z97-GAMING 5 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($167.54 @ Newegg Canada)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance Pro 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($99.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Storage: Samsung 850 EVO-Series 500GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($212.01 @ Vuugo)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 970 4GB Twin Frozr V Video Card ($416.50 @ Newegg Canada)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($59.98 @ Newegg Canada)
Power Supply: EVGA 750W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($124.99 @ NCIX)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24F1ST DVD/CD Writer ($19.75 @ Vuugo)
Wireless Network Adapter: TP-Link TL-WN881ND 802.11b/g/n PCI-Express x1 Wi-Fi Adapter ($21.99 @ Amazon Canada)
Case Fan: Corsair Air Series AF120 Red 52.2 CFM 120mm Fan ($11.72 @ DirectCanada)
Case Fan: Corsair Air Series AF120 Red 52.2 CFM 120mm Fan ($11.72 @ DirectCanada)
Speakers: Logitech Z130 5W 2ch Speakers ($24.97 @ Amazon Canada)
Total: $1634.93 CAD
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-11-11 18:11 EST-0500

Once everything arrives I'm going to do a core assembly of the mobo + ram + video + SSD + CPU + PSU outside of the case to do some burn-in tests before to make sure everything works happily together, then take it apart and format the SSD so that I can build it together with my son - he might as well learn something and I think he'd get a kick out of building it himself.

Thanks for the feedback everyone! I have to say that this has made me want to get back into PC gaming myself (been only using the PS3/PS4 but this setup will play anything - I may have to 'borrow' it when the kids are in bed. ;P )

Kal

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Tennessee



Joined: 04 Apr 2015
Posts: 113
Location: Tennessee


PostLink    Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2015 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You'll be happy with that board, it was well thought out, for gamers!
You will also had plenty of room for your peripherals in that mid-tower
My old CM full is a beast with tusks! Bigger doesn't mean you'll run any cooler...

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Fal



Joined: 29 Dec 2014
Posts: 69



PostLink    Posted: Sat Nov 14, 2015 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wish I would have seen this thread earlier. Either way, I would have agreed with those that recommended a larger case. I never thought I would care about a case until I got the Corsair 800D. It's made building and rebuilding very nice. Most of that is because you have tons of room to work inside. I guess if you don't water cool, it may be overboard though.
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wscottcross



Joined: 03 Jul 2015
Posts: 219
Location: CT

Drinking: Launch IPA, Double Sunshine clone, Maple Coffee breakfast stout

Working on: expanding my beer horizons (and my beltline)


PostLink    Posted: Sat Nov 14, 2015 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I went with a HAF 932 full tower when I built my rig. Definitely bigger, but I always pack mine full of multiple drives and I had dual video cards in it when I first built it. I love the huge fans for awesome airflow without the noise!
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10725
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Sat Nov 14, 2015 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got all the parts in. The HAF 912 case is larger than anything I've ever used (mind you the last build I did was probably in the 90's) so given the limited amount of things going in it I'm hoping it'll be fine. We'll see! Most of the full tower cases are ~ 3 times the cost of what I paid. They will certainly outlast all of the other components but I had to draw the line somewhere...

EDIT: Can anyone recommend good free system burn-in software? I'll want to run the setup full tilt for many hours just to make sure everything's stable/good.

Kal

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Tennessee



Joined: 04 Apr 2015
Posts: 113
Location: Tennessee


PostLink    Posted: Sat Nov 14, 2015 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:
Got all the parts in. The HAF 912 case is larger than anything I've ever used (mind you the last build I did was probably in the 90's) so given the limited amount of things going in it I'm hoping it'll be fine. We'll see! Most of the full tower cases are ~ 3 times the cost of what I paid. They will certainly outlast all of the other components but I had to draw the line somewhere...

EDIT: Can anyone recommend good free system burn-in software? I'll want to run the setup full tilt for many hours just to make sure everything's stable/good.

Kal


MSI Kombuster! http://www.geeks3d.com/20150710/msi-kombustor-v3-5-2-64-bit-v2-6-0-32-bit-download-gpu-stress-test-benchmark

You may also be interested in the "MSI Gaming App". One click and your safely overclocking. Three choices OC Mode,
Gaming Mode, and Silent Mode.

MSI has a whole slew of apps for your setup. Command center is great for monitoring your HW.

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Fal



Joined: 29 Dec 2014
Posts: 69



PostLink    Posted: Sat Nov 14, 2015 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:
Got all the parts in. The HAF 912 case is larger than anything I've ever used (mind you the last build I did was probably in the 90's) so given the limited amount of things going in it I'm hoping it'll be fine. We'll see! Most of the full tower cases are ~ 3 times the cost of what I paid. They will certainly outlast all of the other components but I had to draw the line somewhere...

EDIT: Can anyone recommend good free system burn-in software? I'll want to run the setup full tilt for many hours just to make sure everything's stable/good.

Kal
Prime95 if you are testing stability, stress, and temperature over a long time. I normally use it when I complete a build (and overclock) for a full 24 hours.

Edit-this is a cpu burn in. If you want a gpu burn in, I'd use msi kombuster as suggested above.
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10725
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys! I'll try some of these out hopefully later today...

Kal

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