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Old Oct 24, 2012, 03:51 AM   #1
N33t
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Maingear System - Request for Advice

I hope I am not breaching the forum rules by asking for advice on a Windows-based computer. This sticky seems to suggest it is fine.

I also appreciate that most forum members are "Macxperts" so it is slightly odd to be posting here, but my sense is that many people also know a great deal about computers in general (certainly more than I do) and should be able to provide useful advice.

Background

I have been holding off buying a new computer for over a year now, waiting for the updated iMac to be released. Having looked at it and read various comments this morning, I am increasingly inclined to go for a Windows-based system.

I use my computer for (i) internet, (ii) Word and Excel, (iii) music, (iv) photos and (v) gaming. If it were not for (v), I would go for a new iMac without upgrades. As it stands, however, (v) is most important to me and it seems that the upgrades required to make the new iMac a decent gaming computer will make it quite $$$. But I digress...

Question

A friend recommended Maingear and someone there spec'ed out a system for me. Please could you take a look at the suggested system and let me know your thoughts? In particular, are there any upgrades you think I should go for which have not been included given the games I want to play (see below).

Full details of can be found by pasting the code FLKDJ in the "View Configuration" page of the Maingear website:

http://www.maingear.com/boutique/pc/viewconfig.asp

If you would prefer not to click the url, here is a summary (but NB this does not allow you to see the various other options, just what has been suggested):
  • Chassis: F131 with VRTX Cooling Technology (chassis-F131m)
  • Motherboard: Asus® Maximus V Gene Featuring Lucid Virtu MVP, SupremeFX III Sound, CrossFire and SLI (mb-asus-maximus-v-gene)
  • Processor: Intel® Core™ i5 3570K 3.4GHz/3.8GHz Turbo 6MB L3 Cache HD 4000 (cpu-intel-i5-3570K)
  • MAINGEAR Redline Overclocking Service: Intel® Turbo Boost Advanced Automatic Overclocking (redline-turboboost)
  • Processor Cooling: MAINGEAR EPIC 120 Supercooler (cooler-epic120mm)
  • Memory: 16GB Corsair® Dominator™ Platinum DDR3-1600 Extremely Low Latency 1.5V (4x4GB) (mem-corsair-CMD8GX3M2A1600C8x2)
  • Graphics and GPGPU Accelerator: EVGA® GeForce™ GTX 680 2GB GDDR5 Superclocked w/PhysX [ENTHUSIAST] (gpu-evga-superclocked-680-2gb-02G-P4-2682-KR)
  • Power Supply: 660 Watt Seasonic® X-660 80+ Gold Certified Modular Power Supply ROHS (psu-Seasonic-X-660)
  • Hard Drive Bay One: 120GB Corsair® Force GT SSD SATA 6G (w/ TRIM) [555MB/s Reads] (hdd-corsair-forcegt-120gb)
  • Hard Drive Bay Two: 1TB Seagate® Barracuda™ 7200rpm 64MB Cache SATA 6G (hdd-seagate-ST1000DM003)
  • Optical Drive One: 8X Dual Layer DVD RW Drive Slot Loading SATA (od-slimline-8x)
  • Audio: Asus® SupremeFX III X-Fi THX TrueStudio Pro Premium Audio (audio-mb-asus-supremefxiii)
  • Ethernet Adapter: On-board Gigabit Ethernet (nic-onboard)
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (os-windows7-homepremium64)
  • Display: 23" Acer GD235HZ 1080p FullHD 3D Display 120Hz [3D Ready] (mon-Acer-GD235HZbid)
  • Keyboard: Logitech® Gaming Keyboard G510 (kb-logitech-G510)
  • Mouse: Logitech® Gaming Mouse G500 (mouse-logitech-g500)

The suggested system comes in at just under $3k, which is within my budget. NB it includes monitor and peripherals.

Other Relevant Information

Games I want to play:
  • Blizzard titles (WoW, SCII, DIII)
  • Skyrim
  • Guild Wars 2
  • Borderlands 2

Apart from this I want to try to future-proof my system as much as possible. I am not in a position to buy a new system each year. I would hope that my new system will be able to play most AAA titles for the next three to five years (feasible?).

Monitor size - I am flexible on this point and grateful for advice. Happy to go with a smaller monitor if it allows me to play at higher resolutions and FPS.

Many thanks in advance for your help!
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 01:45 PM   #2
Dirtyharry50
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Well, personally I'd go for a top spec BTO iMac because:

It will run all those games very well.

It has OS X and all the OS X apps, etc.

But then, I greatly prefer Macintosh in general and OS X in particular and gaming performance on the new top spec one will be excellent. Hell, gaming performance on the last gen top spec one is very good.

Again, that's just my preference since you asked.

It sounded to me like you wanted a Mac with OS X but were worried it wouldn't be good enough for gaming. I think you'd be very pleasantly surprised by how good the top spec Mac will be, particularly for those games you just listed. Keep in mind too, the very high quality display you'll be getting with a Mac.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 09:54 PM   #3
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You could consider a custom-built computer. It'll run you less money plus there are numerous guides on YouTube about building your own computer.

But, that looks like a nice build.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 10:29 PM   #4
N33t
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtyharry50 View Post
It sounded to me like you wanted a Mac with OS X but were worried it wouldn't be good enough for gaming. I think you'd be very pleasantly surprised by how good the top spec Mac will be, particularly for those games you just listed. Keep in mind too, the very high quality display you'll be getting with a Mac.
Yes, I would prefer a Mac, but the consensus seems to be that the value-to-gaming-performance ratio strongly favours a system like the one above.

Do we have a sense of what the $$$ (or in my case £££) will be for the top spec iMac yet? Perhaps I need to hold off (again) until they are released and people have put them through their paces. But another two months...sigh...

@Adder - thanks for the suggestion. I think given time constraints and my lack of experience I am not an ideal candidate for a BYO system.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 02:34 AM   #5
Dirtyharry50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N33t View Post
Yes, I would prefer a Mac, but the consensus seems to be that the value-to-gaming-performance ratio strongly favours a system like the one above.

Do we have a sense of what the $$$ (or in my case £££) will be for the top spec iMac yet? Perhaps I need to hold off (again) until they are released and people have put them through their paces. But another two months...sigh...

@Adder - thanks for the suggestion. I think given time constraints and my lack of experience I am not an ideal candidate for a BYO system.
Personally, I would say the hell with the "consensus" and do a little of your own homework and then follow your heart as to what you really want for yourself. This computer is for you, not everybody or anybody else. To help you with that I would encourage you to read the information about the 680m GPU including benchmarks to get an idea of what the new iMac will be able to do with gaming. Keep in mind, the 680mx should be even faster but is not yet available for benchmarking in any system. I have a feeling this is why the 27" iMacs are delayed until December. At the bottom of the web page is a good listing of current games and you can see how well the 680m performs with them at high and ultra settings. The short story is, the performance is excellent. See for yourself here:

http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-...M.72679.0.html

Ultimately, I can only tell you what I'd do and did do, which is to go with a Mac and OS X. I am really, really glad I did and I love gaming. I have the 2011 27" with 6970m and that does really well. Yours would do even better.

As for price, nobody knows yet for sure but it wouldn't surprise me if the top end GPU upgrade ran something around $300. I am making a guess though about that.

Last edited by Dirtyharry50; Oct 25, 2012 at 02:44 AM.
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 12:13 AM   #6
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Thanks, DH50. The 680m benchmarks you linked are impressive. I suppose I will have to wait until the 27" is out and tested before I make a decision.

As an aside, a number of people are citing possible heat issues when gaming. Do you foresee this being a problem?

Re the OP, if anyone does have feedback on the suggested spec it would be gratefully received as I may still go that route if the 27" results are sub-par or the BTO upgrades + peripherals come in at substantially over 3K USD.
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 03:17 AM   #7
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The build seems pretty nice, although I would get a better screen.
As others posted out building yourself will save you money too.

The best way to future proof a system it's better to save a bit money.
Go with a GTX670, which has 95% the performance of an GTX680, and then two-three years down change the graphics.

For CPU stick with a "k" model and you can OC it and will probably play games very well 4-5 years down the road. (Like today a Intel QuadCore 6600 from Jan 2007 can be over clocked to 3.2-3.5Ghz, and will run *almost* all games at max settings, and will probably run games well a few more years.)
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 05:03 AM   #8
Dirtyharry50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N33t View Post
Thanks, DH50. The 680m benchmarks you linked are impressive. I suppose I will have to wait until the 27" is out and tested before I make a decision.

As an aside, a number of people are citing possible heat issues when gaming. Do you foresee this being a problem?

Re the OP, if anyone does have feedback on the suggested spec it would be gratefully received as I may still go that route if the 27" results are sub-par or the BTO upgrades + peripherals come in at substantially over 3K USD.
I don't think heat is a problem in iMacs. They are designed to dissipate heat very well and yet remain whisper quiet which is wonderful when gaming. That said, I would not buy any iMac without Applecare 3 year coverage for your piece of mind just in case some unforeseen issue does arise. I got it with mine and consider it a great investment. If there is any problem with my iMac, I don't need to worry. Apple will take care of me.
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Old Oct 30, 2012, 11:42 PM   #9
N33t
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I am now researching UK options to save on S&D costs etc (e.g. systems like this one from Chillblast: http://www.chillblast.com/Chillblast...Firestorm.html), but I really do not have the knowledge / experience to properly compare these systems or fully understand what performance differences I would see between them.

I am therefore looking for more advice. If anyone can recommend a good forum community for discussing Windows-based gaming computers I would be very grateful. I would prefer to go off a recommendation from a trusted source (MR) rather than random search results...

Many thanks in advance.

Edit: To iMac or not to iMac? That remains the question. What I am trying to do is line up a Windows-based system which I can order asap if I decide not to go for a BTO 27" when they are released. I do not want to suffer the slings and arrows of the (first world, 21st centruy) outrageous fortune of deciding against a BTO 27" and then not being ready to pull the trigger on a Windows system straight away.

Last edited by N33t; Oct 31, 2012 at 05:30 AM.
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