#1 Edited by zolloz89 (270 posts) -

Here is yet another PC build question thread, but here we go.

I have been trying to piece out a PC for use as a gaming PC and an workstation. For the most important part (the work) I need a fairly high end video card to render 3d in blender and occasionally Sketch Up, 2d in Illustrator and Photoshop on preferably two monitors. On the gaming side, I don't much care for ultra high end graphics, but I'd like to run most games smoothly and at a good resolution. Overall, I'm looking to spend about $2000 including monitors.

I'm surely open to suggestions and substitutions, because on the hardware side of everything, I don't have a clue. Based on my digging, I've got this:

Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor

Silverstone NT07-1156 40.0 CFM CPU Cooler

Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard

Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory

Crucial V4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk

Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive

EVGA GeForce GTX 770 4GB Video Card

SeaSonic 660W 80 PLUS Platinum Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply

I don't have a case lined up, so I'm open to suggestions on that. I also haven't looked into monitors, but I need at least one that can be oriented vertically.


#2 Edited by rm082e (218 posts) -

That's a killer system for games. GTX 770 should be good for at least three years if you want to play at 1080p. If you're planning on 1440p, might consider bumping up to the 780, but that would bust your budget.

As far as the case, anything with a good rating from a reputable company will work fine. I chose the Fractal Design Define R4 last time around and I've been very happy with it, though I caught it on sale for $75.

#3 Edited by Raethen (181 posts) -

As far as cases go, I would recommend a Cooler Master HAF. I used one for my workstation/ gaming rig about 5 years back and have had no heating issues even when rendering scenes in Maya in the summer. Just recently replaced my graphics cards, but it was more because they were 4 years old than them breaking down. Either way, you'll probably want to get a full tower, with lots of open space, and a good amount of fans, or space for fans. I recommend the HAF because it comes with quite a few higher quality fans already in the case.

As for the build, I would maybe suggest spending the money on upgrading the cpu to the 4770 and the motherboard for it. The chip is only another 20 bucks, and the boards are a comparable price. For monitors, I haven't looked into ones that you can turn vertically, but amazon tends to have pretty good deals on 1080p monitors. They usually run about 120 for pretty decent ones from acer.

#4 Posted by mosdl (3387 posts) -

If you need professional color reproduction I recommend the Dell Ultrasharp line - use 2 24'' at home for work/gaming

#5 Posted by Ben_H (3549 posts) -

@rm082e said:

As far as the case, anything with a good rating from a reputable company will work fine. I chose the Fractal Design Define R4 last time around and I've been very happy with it, though I caught it on sale for $75.

I have the mini version of the Define and it is an amazing case (mine is designed for mATX rather than full sized ATX). Incredibly good build quality. Not a single sharp edge or out of place piece. Also at least some of the filters are removable for cleaning (I haven't tried them all but for sure the bottom filter does).

#6 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4761 posts) -

Mine is pretty similar actually except I went with a Haswell i7 instead and my SSD has half the memory of yours and my PSU is a 750w. Also I went with the 2 gig 770 because I only need it for games. I guess you have enough power but I feel more comfortable with the 750w.

Here's my case which I fully recommend. Look at the Fractal R4 if you want something extremely quiet but I honestly haven't anything get crazy loud with my Phantom 410.

Oh and here's my PSU

#7 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4761 posts) -

As for monitors, I'm planning on making this one mine.

#8 Edited by Subject2Change (2971 posts) -

Look into the 3930k instead of the 3770k. You'll need a different motherboard too.

Case, I am a fan of Lian Li. Expensive, but light and awesome.

#9 Edited by zolloz89 (270 posts) -
#10 Posted by rm082e (218 posts) -

@zolloz89 said:

Thanks everyone! I've switched the cpu and motherboard to be Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor and Gigabyte GA-Z87X-D3H ATX LGA1150 Motherboard since @raethen pointed out that the Haswell stuff is out (I'm an idiot).

For monitors, I think I'm changing to a 30" something, I'll need to hit up the Best Buy later and see what's out. Also, is there a decent way to run desktop monitors then switch over to a TV in the next room?

I thought about mentioning the new Haswell stuff, but figured you were going Ivy to save a little cash.

With monitors, just keep in mind Best Buy will probably only have 1920x1080 models on display. If you want a 2560x1440 or 2560x1600 res monitor, you'll need to shop online. The Dell UnltraSharp line is beautiful, but pricey. If you're okay with a 27" 1920x1080 res, you might want to check out this BenQ for $429. It's got all the bells and whistles and flips to vertical orientation.

If you don't need monitors with vertical orientation and all those features, this BenQ for $206 is pretty sweet. I picked one of these up about a month ago to replace my 23" LG and have been very pleased with it for gaming. I don't play multi-player though, so I don't need the 120hz. I'm sure the other one has a better picture, but couldn't justify spending more than twice as much just to play SP games.

#11 Posted by zolloz89 (270 posts) -

@rm082e: Nice tip about Best Buy displays. I think that the BenQ for 429 is almost exactly what I need. But this Asus is 1440. Is 100 extra bucks really worth it?

#12 Edited by rm082e (218 posts) -

@zolloz89 said:

@rm082e: Nice tip about Best Buy displays. I think that the BenQ for 429 is almost exactly what I need. But this Asus is 1440. Is 100 extra bucks really worth it?

Only if you are in turn going to buy a video card capable of pushing a 1440 image at a frame rate you are happy with. The 770 4GB you listed will be enough to run the latest and greatest games at 30fps in 1440, but you may have to set stuff like AA and post processing to lower settings. That card won't hit 60fps at 1440 without making some choices on the setting side though. If you decide you want 1440, I would go up to a GTX 780, but that card starts at $650. AAA games running in 1440 with a solid frame rate is stunning, but costly...

For reference, I've got the EVGA GTX 770 Superclocked 2GB card, and with some minor settings tweaks on both the hardware and software side, I was able to run Crysis 3 at 60fps in 1080p. Watching the GPU specs with the EVGA Precision on screen display, I would occasionaly see the frame rate drop down into the high 50s when things got really busy on screen. Most of the time though, it was pinned at 59.9.

1080 was plenty for my eyes though, and I think the quality of the picture is just as important as the resolution. Also, for me frame rate is more important than the settings, but I sure want the settings as high as I can get them. Figuring out what your individual priorities are is up to you.

EDIT: Here's a GTX 770 review with a bunch of charts and graphs on frame rate performance for you to review if you care enough. Know that if you get the Classified version of the 770 (the one you linked), it will perform a little bit better than the reference spec.

#13 Posted by zolloz89 (270 posts) -

@rm082e: That sounds exactly how I am. But since I'm currently using a 4 year old Toshiba laptop for everything, I think I'll be fine. This thing can barely run L4D on lowest for Christ sake.

#14 Edited by rm082e (218 posts) -

@zolloz89 said:

@rm082e: That sounds exactly how I am. But since I'm currently using a 4 year old Toshiba laptop for everything, I think I'll be fine. This thing can barely run L4D on lowest for Christ sake.

Okay, then trust me - a 770 Classified with a 27" LED 1080 monitor will blow your freaking mind! You will sit in front of Crysis 3 with your jaw hanging open in awe at how damn pretty it is. Graphics may not be the "only thing that matters", but if you have 2K to spend, you will be floored by just how big the leap is. :)

#15 Posted by Devildoll (936 posts) -
@zolloz89 said:

@rm082e: Nice tip about Best Buy displays. I think that the BenQ for 429 is almost exactly what I need. But this Asus is 1440. Is 100 extra bucks really worth it?

The benq and the asus have different screen tech.

The benq screen is made soley for high motion gaming, with the help of counter-strike legends HeatoN and SpawN.It is capable of displaying 120 images per second, if you have the hardware to draw all those frames out in time, of course.
It is a TN panel, which is regarded as the shittiest kind, when it comes down to image quality, a big majority of all the flat screen monitors on this planet use TN panels though, including your laptop, Unless you work professionally with photoshop, you probably havent seen any other panel type.

The asus screen's selling point is its panel type, instead of TN, it uses something called PLS, along with the higher resolution of 1440p.
I have personally not used any other paneltype than TN, so i can not tell you how awesome or not awesome PLS is.like most screens on this planet, this monitor can only display 60 images per second, so it is not as suited for a professional quake career as the benq screen.

your choice will come down to what you value most, accurate color representation, or fluid gameplay.
Keep in mind that most people on PC use TN, and most gamers in general, are okay with playing at 30 fps.

so both these screens offer features above the standard of most people, of course, most people have not experienced anything better yet. therefore it is hard to know what you are missing out on.

I personally have one of those benq screen's, cause i play alot of first person shooters, and have hated this 60 hz nonsense that came with the commercial death of crt's.

Best would of course be if you could experience these screens before you buy them.

#16 Posted by TriBeard (140 posts) -

Personally, I would go for the ASUS. The 770 will be able to drive most current games on it on high, though there is no denying that a beefier card wouldn't hurt (does it ever though?). I would say though that at 1440 you could give up Anti-Aliasing and get good frame rates and minimal loss of visual quality. It says in the tested review that if you are willing to give up AA, the 770's pretty good at higher resolutions too.

Buying the asus gets you a monitor that will, in my opinion, be more able to grow with you. I have a laptop with a 120hz panel, and I rarely notice a difference in anything from the desktop I have with a TN 60hz panel. Theoretically, 120hz is better, no doubt, but I think that the benefits of the higher resolution will be more easy to spot.

#17 Posted by zolloz89 (270 posts) -

@devildoll: I gave it some thought before being able to read your post. Although I'm excited to have this PC for gaming, it's primary function IS indeed a design work computer. I'm thinking that the ASUS might be a better choice for the resolution and PLS. Thanks for pointing out that it isn't TN, since I've had both TN and PLS at my old office.

My last question is this: what's a good way to swap between my desk monitor and tv in the next room?

#18 Posted by Raethen (181 posts) -

@zolloz89: If you have them both plugged in, you can changed the monitor through windows. Just run an HDMI cable to your TV and leave it. When you want to use the TV just go into the resolution settings and have it set to "duplicate display".

Also don't forget about the OS. An OEM version of windows goes for about 130. Newegg Amazon

#19 Posted by kn00tcn (162 posts) -

i have a question about your 3d work, can you confirm a 770 will actually be utilized? not just the realtime viewport, but the actual render as so many renderers are still cpu based

i've done 3dsmax in the past & currently entering cinema4d while glancing at any interesting 3rd party renderers

#20 Posted by Raethen (181 posts) -

@kn00tcn: It usually goes that the GPU is what allows you to build your 3d work, and with more and more awesome real time features being added into the work view, a stronger GPU really helps. The rendering used to be solely CPU based, as it was just placing verts and points in the correct position, but some of this work is being off loaded to the GPU, especially in regards to lighting and particles from what I've been reading. Rendering is still heavily based on the CPU though.

#21 Edited by zolloz89 (270 posts) -

@kn00tcn: It's my understanding that most high end Nvidia cards that are CUDA (including the 770 and the Titan) can run Octane Render which is GPU based.

#22 Posted by kn00tcn (162 posts) -

doesnt have to be high end, cuda is cuda

i glanced at octance recently, it also appears they will make it support opencl in the future so you can use it on non-nv cards

i've been digging into cinema4d now, certainly going to become one of my primary tools for everything from now on, now i gotta see what are my options for utilizing the gpu