Comprehensive Gaming PC Guide Discussion - VI

90 Blood Elf Paladin
8895
The guide can be found here, in table of contents form. The 3rd revision guide will be continue to be updated as needed.

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Last Updated: May 31st, added GTX 770 to recommendation
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** Table of Contents **

1. CPU:
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/5592454629#1

2. CPU Cooler + Motherboard + RAM:
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/5592454629#2

3. Graphics Card + Power Supply:
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/5592454629#3

4. Hard Disk + SSD + DVD Burner + Case + OS:
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/5592454629#4

5. Monitor + Keyboard/Mouse/Speaker:
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/5592454629#5

6. Addendum:
* 1: ("When To Upgrade?" Advice)
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/5592454629#6

* 2: (Recommended Builds for TL;DR Crowd)
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/5592454629#7

* 3: (Recommended Gaming Laptops & Advice)
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/5592454629#8

Bonus! Comprehensive Overclocking Guide by Mÿxxï of Korgath server:
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/3988300793

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Driver Resource Links:

These are provided for users that buy parts on their own.

* Motherboard *:

You will always want to download latest version from the vendors instead of relying on the CD that came with the motherboard. At most, all I would install out of the motherboard driver CD is the ethernet drivers.

Each motherboard vendors have their own way of presenting the motherboard download pages. Most of them will let you get ones for your motherboard by going to a page for your motherboard model.

For example, let's say you have ASRock Z77 Extreme3. Then this page would have the drivers and BIOS updates for that motherboard:

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.us.asp?Model=Z77%20Extreme3

Click the Downloads / BIOS link on the left.

Here are the list of links to major motherboard vendors.

- ASUS: www.asus.com
- ASRock: www.asrock.com
- Biostar: www.biostar.com.tw (Main) www.biostar-usa.com (USA)
- Gigabyte: www.gigabyte.com (Main) www.gigabyte.us (USA)
- MSI: www.msi.com.tw (Main) us.msi.com (USA)

Once you are at the correct page, you will want these drivers downloaded at minimum:

1. Chipset drivers
2. SATA drivers (RAID not necessary)
3. USB 3 drivers
4. Ethernet and Audio drivers (usually Realtek, but may be others such as Broadcom / VIA)
5. (Intel users) Intel Management Engine drivers / Intel Rapid Storage Device drivers

Others are optional, depending on your needs.

For more adventurous types, you can find bleeding-edge drivers elsewhere, directly from OEM companies themselves.

- Intel drivers: Intel chipset / Ethernet (some models) / Intel HD graphics drivers can be found directly from Intel download center. Interface is unintuitive, but once you get a hang of it, you can get the absolute bleeding-edge drivers for those.

http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Default.aspx?lang=eng

- Ethernet and Audio drivers for Realtek: Realtek releases a new audio / ethernet drivers once every month (not always, but usually). Not sure what improvements these make, but it's there for you to take if you want.

(Ethernet) http://www.realtek.com.tw/downloads/downloadsView.aspx?Langid=1&PNid=13&PFid=5&Level=5&Conn=4&DownTypeID=3&GetDown=false

(Audio) http://www.realtek.com.tw/downloads/downloadsView.aspx?Langid=1&PNid=14&PFid=24&Level=4&Conn=3&DownTypeID=3&GetDown=false

- Ethernet for Broadcom: Cheaper motherboards often come with Broadcom ethernet ports.

http://www.broadcom.com/support/ethernet_nic/determine_driver.php

- Audio for VIA: Really cheap motherboards use VIA audio chipsets.

http://www.via.com.tw/en/support/drivers.jsp

- Some motherboards have third-party SATA controllers in addition to Intel. They are usually of Marvell variety. However, this should only be done if you know exactly which Marvell controller you have. I recommend you leaving these alone and just go with whatever motherboard vendor gives you.

http://www.marvell.com/support/downloads/search.do

- USB 3.0 drivers/firmware for Renesas (NEC): Many USB 3.0 chipsets on motherboards are powered by Renesas (NEC). You can't find the latest drivers from either related sites, but this site has up-to-date drivers/firmware for USB 3.0 chipset on most motherboards. Do check the version number of the current USB 3.0 drivers, and match it up with the version on the webpage below. There are two different distinct chipsets with different driver tree (2.x branch and 3.x/4.x branch. 3.x/4.x branch is NOT an upgrade from 2.x branch!).

http://www.station-drivers.com/page/renesas.htm

* Video Cards *:

You should never install drivers that came on the CD with your graphics card. Always get latest version from respective company websites.

GeForce users: www.geforce.com
Radeon users: www.amd.com

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Historic archives of previous guides / discussions:

Original guide that began it all:
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/4253974222

Second revision for the guide:
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/4850585139

Discussion IV:
http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/post/62926839375

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The 3rd revision thread will not be remade in whole unless I find a need for an extra post space.

You can discuss here, until 500th cap again!
Edited by Kalganized on 5/31/2013 6:35 AM PDT
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
8895
Quite a lull in hardware front, due to TSMC screwing over both AMD and nVidia. CPU front is also quiet as Haswell is still months away.
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90 Human Warlock
10195
Great guide as always Kalganized!

I wanted your opinion. How would you grade GPU manufacturers? I was pondering a Gigabyte GPU but heard issues with the coil whine (2 fans versus 3 fans). Sapphire and ASUS are nice from what I researched.
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87 Night Elf Death Knight
4465
02/15/2013 04:06 PMPosted by Kalganized
Quite a lull in hardware front, due to TSMC screwing over both AMD and nVidia. CPU front is also quiet as Haswell is still months away.


whoa, that's why GPU's got delayed? can ye explain?
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
8895
Quite a lull in hardware front, due to TSMC screwing over both AMD and nVidia. CPU front is also quiet as Haswell is still months away.


whoa, that's why GPU's got delayed? can ye explain?


TSMC has limited resources -- and they want to serve much bigger customers first, namely, Apple and Qualcomm.

Great guide as always Kalganized!

I wanted your opinion. How would you grade GPU manufacturers? I was pondering a Gigabyte GPU but heard issues with the coil whine (2 fans versus 3 fans). Sapphire and ASUS are nice from what I researched.


All of them have a hit and miss products here and there. The coil whine issues are actually unique to a card rather than to the series as whole, so if you get one that happens to have one, just RMA it and next one should not have it... unless your luck really sucks.

Gigabyte, Sapphire, and ASUS are all pretty nice.
Edited by Kalganized on 2/17/2013 5:51 AM PST
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90 Human Warlock
10195
02/17/2013 05:49 AMPosted by Kalganized
Gigabyte, Sapphire, and ASUS are all pretty nice.


Great thanks. I was tied between a Sapphire/Gigabyte 7970 Ghz Edition or Asus/Gigabyte 680.
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
8895
GeForce GTX Titan is coming up next, but seeing previews... I doubt it'll be recommended for anything except for die-hard GeForce fanboys, or those that absolutely must have the best single-GPU card no matter what, regardless of $$$.
Edited by Kalganized on 2/21/2013 6:20 AM PST
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90 Blood Elf Hunter
13905
Great guide as usual Kalganized, and I wouldn't recommend a Titan for anybody who didn't have money to blow and already had an Aeron chair.
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90 Human Rogue
12010
Quick question...
I have a friend who recently got a new setup and is experiencing extremely low fps

i5 3570k
6850
4gb of ram
1600 x 900

I'd expect it to run at least 40+ fps with everything on high *multisampling left at default 1x*
but she is barely getting 20fps.

Her old setup which was the same as the above, but ran with an old amd dual core chip* forgot which* gave her 20-30fps with high settings in the same environment.
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90 Tauren Paladin
5520
Quick question...
I have a friend who recently got a new setup and is experiencing extremely low fps

i5 3570k
6850
4gb of ram
1600 x 900

I'd expect it to run at least 40+ fps with everything on high *multisampling left at default 1x*
but she is barely getting 20fps.

Her old setup which was the same as the above, but ran with an old amd dual core chip* forgot which* gave her 20-30fps with high settings in the same environment.


If I had to guess I'd say her 6850 (I'm assuming Radeon HD 6850) is what's holding her back. That being said, make sure your friend has bios, drivers and all of that good stuff up to date. If so, try increasing the RAM to 8 GB, since that's pretty standard now anyways. If your friend still has problems, then it's time to upgrade the GPU imo.
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
8895
If your friend continued to use same OS setup as it was with old PC, instead of starting fresh, that can cause system performance anomalies.

Before your friend goes off to wipe her drive to reinstall Windows, try this first:

Update all WoW addons
Disable all WoW addons
Delete Cache folder inside WoW folder (NOT one inside Data folder)
Move WTF folder out of WoW folder
Run WoW
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90 Human Rogue
12010
it was a fresh install on a new hard drive. Currently updating to service pack 1. The thing I don't understand is she can leave the slider on on max just view distance has to be at low.
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
8895
Although guide hasn't really been updated (other than to note what's to come in the future), some of the notable hardware not too far away includes:

1. AMD Athlon II X4 that is based on Trinity core -- this is basically AMD Trinity APU sans the GPU portion. So the chip will be cheaper, and these will be a full quad-core CPU.

These may end up being the recommended budget CPU for gamers playing latest multi-threaded games.

2. There's a Crysis 3 MP review that seem to show absolute dominance by the AMD FX CPUs. If these hold true across other reviewers, it's possible I will remove i7 recommendation entirely and just recommend AMD FX instead (as an alternative to i5 IF the gamer plays those games).

3. I will probably work on expanding the case recommendation.
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
8895
Le bump.
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
8895
FX-8350 will be on par with i5 in multithreaded games, but for those that aren't, i5 will still be good deal ahead of FX-8350. You can mention overclocks, but so can i5-3570k.

Results differ because of AMD drivers. Older original reviews will all have AMD cards losing to "Equivalent" nVidia cards because drivers were poor. But generally, as of today, the power hierarchy is roughly what Toms have outlined in their best GPU ranking -- and this assumes games don't favor either AMD or nVidia blatantly.

Assuming no OC:

GeForce Titan (a league all on its own, but seriously, $1000 lol)
GTX 680 = HD 7970 vanilla < HD 7970 GHz Ed.
GTX 670 > HD 7950 (only by a little bit)
GTX 660 Ti > HD 7870 LE (only by a little bit)
GTX 660 < HD 7870
HD 7770 < GTX 650 Ti < HD 7850
GTX 650 = HD 7750

As for the GTX 670 vs. HD 7950, I will mention it ONLY and ONLY if the cost of the GTX 670 is not much more over HD 7950 then. GTX 660 Ti does outperform HD 7870 LE, but only by a non-discernible amount, so I can't recommend GTX 660 Ti... not to mention HD 7950 is priced not much more than what a GTX 660 Ti costs.

Yeah, GTX 660 does get owned.

Linus Tech Tips is weird. No way an HD 7770 could beat a GTX 670 unless there was a huge CPU bottleneck. ;p
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90 Human Rogue
12010
bump
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
8895
Some updates:

There will be new graphics cards from AMD and nVidia to fill in mid-range area. Both cards won't be out until April, but HD 7790 is. According to Tom's, the HD 7790 > GTX 650 Ti.

AMD Radeon HD 7790 -- This card is slated to fill in the HD 6870 void -- meaning, it'll compete with GTX 650 Ti, and will be positioned between HD 7770 and HD 7850.

nVidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti (Refresh) -- This card is an OC'd version of GTX 650 Ti. It's going to probably compete with HD 7850 -- a card that nVidia formerly did not have any answer to.

Secondly:

NAND and DRAM prices are going up -- Both RAM and SSD prices will be going up quite a bit for next few months. So watch out.
Edited by Kalganized on 3/22/2013 5:08 PM PDT
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90 Undead Priest
7735
My current computer is approx 3 years old and I've decided to spend a few hundred to bump it up a notch. When I originally built it, I was less than knowledgeable and I feel like I ended up shooting myself in the foot for upgrades, specifically because of the MOBO.

Currently:
Intel Core i5 750 @ 2.8 (used to OC to 3.2 but meh)
EVGA P55 3X SLI Classified
Corsair 4GB DDR3 x4
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 x2 SLI
XION Power Real 1000W ATX

I'm planning on cannibalizing the tower, PSU, RAM, and other not-as-upgrade-needed items and replacing my CPU, MOBO, and GPU with the following:

Intel Core i5-3570 3.4GHz Quad
Intel DZ77RE75K ATX LGA1155
EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2GB

Everything else from my old rig should work with these new parts.

I think this will leave me well off w/o having to spend too much (this is around $600), but I'd like to have your opinion. The goal is to run a stable High+ setting WoW w/ 2 monitors (I never really use all four with my current rig anyways). I'd like to avoid sudden drops in FPS as much as possible.

Any advice you could provide me would be greatly appreciated.
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