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Andre S.

Asik's "Silent Killer" MSI Gaming build - opinions?

30 posts in this topic

(Hopefully that stupid thread title garners me some clicks)

 

With Haswell and the GTX 700 series out, I'm putting together a sick build. Here are the requirements and overall budget:

 

Uses:

 - 120hz, low-latency gaming

 - Programming

 - Game recording and video editing

 

Special requirements:

 - Has to be near silent, at least when idle

 - Has to be Haswell

 - I will overclock but I'm not trying to break any world records.

 

Choosing the right 120hz monitor is another topic. For now, here's the build (all from newegg.ca - yes I'm in Canada):

 

CPU : i5 4670k

Motherboard: MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming

Combo price for both: 410$ (30$ rebate)

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 2x8GB DDR3 1600 9-9-9-24, 125$ (gosh memory is expensive)

Video cards: 2 MSI Gaming GTX 760 TFs SLI, 540$ total

Case: Fractal Design Define R4 Titanium Grey, 110$

SSD: Samsung 840 Pro 256GB, 251$

Storage: Western Digital Red WD20EFRX 2TB, 110$

PSU: SeaSonic X-Series X650, 115$ after promo code rebate

Heatsink: Noctua NH-U14S, 69$

Optical: ASUS 24X DVD Burner, 20$

 

... For a total of about 1750$.

 

So, here is some of the reasoning behind the choice of parts.

The specific case, power supplyvideo cards and heatsink models are chosen for their low noise.

The i5 4670k seems like the value sweet spot in Haswell right now.

The MSI Z87-GD65 offers some low-latency features (NIC/High Frequency mouse input), lots of clearance for the heatsink, good overclocking features like a dual BIOS switch, power/reset buttons on the motherboard, debug LED, etc. The 30$ combo promotion makes it more attractive than any other at this price point.

The GTX 760 is the killer in performance/money right now, and I need two for 120fps at 1080p.

 

It just so happens that the video cards and motherboard are both from the "MSI Gaming" brand, this is nothing more than coincidence really.

 

And here are some doubts:

 - I chose the RAM just because it had decent timings, decent price (well, relatively speaking) and good user reviews. It's only rated 1600mhz though, I'm not sure whether that would limit my overclocking potential.

 - I hesitated a lot before choosing the motherboard, and if you have a better suggestion in that price range please let me know. Consider that I'm getting a decent combo rebate for the MSIs at Newegg right now though.

 - I added the optical drive just to be able to install Windows from DVD, but I might need an SD card reader as well, undecided at this point.

 

So, I did my part, is there anything you would do differently and why?

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sweet rig. good deal on the psu. let us know how silent it is when its all said and done.

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I'm using the same motherboard in your list, and there are driver issues with several things including the killer e2200 network card, just so you're aware.

 

If you're going for a "sick build" though, as you put it, might want faster memory, dual SSD in a RAID (Mirrored give almost double read performance, plus redundancy for drive failure), and put an actual i7 in it instead of the i5.

I just purchased 4 x 4gb @ 2400 Mhz Kingston from onsale.com for a total of $99 plus shipping, but it seems that deal is gone now.

 

If you live near a Microcenter, you can save $50 on your processor also. > http://www.microcenter.com/product/413251/Core_i5_4670K_34GHz_Socket_LGA_1150_Boxed_Processor

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I remain unconvinced regarding low-latency features? I mean - internets is as fast as the sum of all components. Latency of local networks is often less than 1 ms. Outside local networks . How does it work? What it means? Also the same for increased USB polling rate... but I have to run.

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I'm using the same motherboard in your list, and there are driver issues with several things including the killer e2200 network card, just so you're aware.

Ugh thanks for pointing that out. Now that I look into it, these Killer NICs seem widely problematic and not only on this particular motherboard. Might go for something else just to avoid it. 

 

For the record, it's supposed to reduce latency by prioritizing ACK packets. So if you had already a lot of traffic on the connection, it'd allow you to keep pings low. 

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If you're going for a "sick build" though, as you put it, might want faster memory, dual SSD in a RAID (Mirrored give almost double read performance, plus redundancy for drive failure), and put an actual i7 in it instead of the i5.

Will faster memory make any real difference? Dual SSDs and i7 seem a lot of money for not much gain, I'm still trying to go for the parts that provide the best value.

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Looks like the Gigabyte Z87-UD4H would be the next best value now that the MSI Z87-GD65 is out...

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Will faster memory make any real difference? Dual SSDs and i7 seem a lot of money for not much gain, I'm still trying to go for the parts that provide the best value.

 

Higher RAM frequencies won't show any significant gains.  The only builds where it would matter is with an APU.  Otherwise just pick what's the cheapest.  You can likely overclock the RAM in the BIOS anyway.

 

You can get some pretty insane benchmarks if you run 2 SSDs in RAID0, but it won't give you much of a real-world gain.  You'd be better off buying a single higher capacity SSD since I don't think the prices are that different.

 

And an i7 is also unnecessary unless you do work with virtual machines.  Otherwise the extra hyper-threads will make basically zero difference in comparison to an i5.

 

Personally I'd recommend this mobo:  http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131980

MSI has always been one of those "meh" brands.  That's just my personal opinion though.

 

And unless you plan on doing pretty intensive overclocking, you can probably do away with the heatsink.  The stock one will be fine even with minor overclocks.  Overclocking won't gain you much anyway since CPU is hugely overpowered compared to the rest of the PC.

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Hello,

 

Do you have software to play DVD's?  If not, you might want to look at purchasing another DVD?RW that comes with some software bundled with it.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

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Use of crappy NIC on the MSI series really pisses me off. Ruins an otherwise ideal motherboard for the money. Sigh.

 

Do you have software to play DVD's?  If not, you might want to look at purchasing another DVD?RW that comes with some software bundled with it.

I must be missing something... VLC and Media Player Classic have been more than up to the task for years, I don't see the need for any commercial software for that.

 

Personally I'd recommend this mobo:  http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131980

MSI has always been one of those "meh" brands.  That's just my personal opinion though.

 

And unless you plan on doing pretty intensive overclocking, you can probably do away with the heatsink.  The stock one will be fine even with minor overclocks.  Overclocking won't gain you much anyway since CPU is hugely overpowered compared to the rest of the PC.

It's basically a toss-up between the ASUS Z87-Plus and Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H at the moment. The ASUS has more reviews and I know people like to say "well it's ASUS", but feature-wise the Gigabyte trounces it actually, plus it has a better color scheme. Here are some differences between the boards:

 

ASUS has 8 CPU phases, Gigabyte has 16, and much larger heatsinks to compensate. This could largely impact overclocking potential.

Gigabyte has Debug LED, power/reset buttons as on the more expensive Z87-Pro

Extra connectivity on the Gigabyte: DisplayPort, 2 eSatas

ASUS has 2 PCI slots, Gigabyte has 1 PCI slot and another PCI-e 1x.

ASUS has ALC892 audio, Gigabyte has ALC898. Not that I care much since I'm using an external sound card, but still.

 

Anyway, I'm personally skeptical of ASUS' reputation; I find their Z87 line-up generally overpriced for the features they actually provide.

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It's basically a toss-up between the ASUS Z87-Plus and Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H at the moment. The ASUS has more reviews and I know people like to say "well it's ASUS", but feature-wise the Gigabyte trounces it actually, plus it has a better color scheme. Here are some differences between the boards:

 

ASUS has 8 CPU phases, Gigabyte has 16, and much larger heatsinks to compensate. This could largely impact overclocking potential.

Gigabyte has Debug LED, power/reset buttons as on the more expensive Z87-Pro

Extra connectivity on the Gigabyte: DisplayPort, 2 eSatas

ASUS has 2 PCI slots, Gigabyte has 1 PCI slot and another PCI-e 1x.

ASUS has ALC892 audio, Gigabyte has ALC898. Not that I care much since I'm using an external sound card, but still.

 

Anyway, I'm personally skeptical of ASUS' reputation; I find their Z87 line-up generally overpriced for the features they actually provide.

 

It'll probably just come down to personal preference.  I've always preferred the layout of Asus' mobo software, so I usually go with them.  And they do really well with providing firmware updates.

 

But specs-wise, CPU phases are simply a marketing gimmick.  You'd have to be doing some insane liquid nitrogen cooled overclocking for those extra phases to even matter.  Even then, I have my doubts that it would make a difference.  People have been doing extreme overclocking for years, and I've never heard of any limitation coming up due to the CPU phase count.

 

The Asus has a mini-display port, so that comparison could go both ways depending on which size you needed.  Nothing a cheap adapter can't solve though.  The Gigabyte does have the eSata, so if you have use for that, it could be a plus.

 

Hell, it might just come down to the color scheme.  The gold on the Asus is a bit "blah", so Gigabyte gets a few points for looking nicer.  But unless you have a window on your case, it's pretty much another moot point.

 

This is basically the only customer review I could find of the Gigabyte:

http://reviews.microcenter.com/3520-en_us/0414773/gigabyte-gigabyte-ga-z87x-ud4h-socket-lga-1150-atx-intel-motherboard-reviews/reviews.htm

A few small quirks and it sounds like their bios software is still kind of crappy.

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I'm using the same motherboard in your list, and there are driver issues with several things including the killer e2200 network card, just so you're aware.

Could you elaborate on the driver issues? Which operating system? I'm finding conflicting information about this. There are already several reviews out and none mentioned any such problems. These MSI G45 and GD65 are among the most popular and best rated so far. There are many reports of problems but the same is true of all boards, so it's hard to make an informed decision. Your input counts. :)

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Hello,

 

In some environments, using those programs may be a concern because of concerns about things like licenses for the codecs.  Sounds like you are all set, though.  By the way, I have the same SSD that you selected in my primary desktop and it works quite well.  Samsung just released updated firmware for it, so be sure to download that and have it ready for install when your parts arrive.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

 

I must be missing something... VLC and Media Player Classic have been more than up to the task for years, I don't see the need for any commercial software for that.

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With that budget I would wait a short while and get an EVGA motherboard and EVGA graphics cards (http://eu.evga.com/articles/00751/ & http://eu.evga.com/articles/00757/#2763). They may cost a tiny bit extra but you really do benefit from the quality and support of their products ... It's an excellent company, in my humble opinion. I regret not having done that with my Z77 setup.

 

As for the memory: latency doesn't matter as much as bandwidth on these platforms. You will see a benefit up to 1866MHz according to various reviews and analysis, so I would look for something like http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231528 and push the timings down one step.

 

Also, a personal preference, I'd rather go with more hard drives rather than one large just in case it turns over on you. :P

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Thanks for all your opinions guys. Still trying to decide between:

 

ASUS Z87-Plus

Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H

MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming

 

I get a 30$ combo discount for the MSI if I place my order before the 30th, plus it looks very high quality, however it seems a lot of people end up disabling the Killer NIC software because it causes more problems than it solves - not a big deal though. The Z87X-UD4H looks like the highest quality and most feature-packed of the bunch, and Gigabyte boards are a big favorite at overclock.net so I know I can get useful support there if the need arises. It'll end up costing me about 50$ more though. Z87-Plus is ...meh (no debug code LED in particular) but I haven't found any negative opinions about it. I guess that counts. 

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Not a bad system there! I'd swap the WD Red for a Black, but otherwise it's good! (Y)

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"The GTX 760 is the killer in performance/money right now, and I need two for 120fps at 1080p."

 

120fps sounds kinda generic. What game, what settings?

 

i'd also vote for a Core i7.

 

Also, i've been researching those Asus Z87 boards. i'd vote for that. I've had many generations of Asus boards, and theyre fantastic.

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Nice system. I had a MSI P55-GD65, and it was an alright motherboard, but I didn't think it was worth the money. MSI is just an alright brand - and if you're looking to OC, the OC-Genie is just a piece of crap. Do it the manual way where you have more control over each parameter.

 

Also, here is a review that was published yesterday on the MSI Z87A-GD65

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Not a bad system there! I'd swap the WD Red for a Black, but otherwise it's good! (Y)

I chose the Red because it has been found to be the most quiet drive and I favor that over performance. If I need fast access to some data I'll put it on the SSD. :)

 

120fps sounds kinda generic. What game, what settings?

New games, i.e. Bioshock Infinite, The Witcher 2, whatever comes out and I feel like playing. Settings: high to ultra. I'm quite set on the dual GTX 760s, it's faster than a Titan for just over half the money, and no reasonably priced single GPU will do at 120fps. Also these MSI Gaming GTX 760s are a thing of beauty.

 

 

Nice system. I had a MSI P55-GD65, and it was an alright motherboard, but I didn't think it was worth the money. MSI is just an alright brand - and if you're looking to OC, the OC-Genie is just a piece of crap. Do it the manual way where you have more control over each parameter.

 

Also, here is a review that was published yesterday on the MSI Z87A-GD65

Thanks for the review, that's a very detailed one. From what I've read, MSI motherboards have much improved compared to previous generations, and their current Z87 lineup compares favorably to other competitors like ASrock, ASUS and Gigabyte.

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Bah everything is going out of stock as I'm getting ready to order... The MSI GTX 760s and Z87-GD65 motherboards in particular are selling like hot cakes it seems. Might wait for the next batch to arrive so I can order everything in one place and avoid getting raped on shipping.

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Just placed an order on memoryexpress.com with a few modifications. I'm not sure it'll actually go through, first time I deal with these guys, but anyway. The shipping via UPS is 5$ for everything combined (lol wut?) and they offer to beat any competitor's price by 25% of the difference so I managed to get about 90$ of rebates overall.

 

Because of limited availability I had to change the power supply to a Cooler Master Silent Pro M II 620W (also well rated by SPCR), and the motherboard to the Gigabyte Z87X-UD3H, which is exactly the same as the UD4H except it's blue and it doesn't have doubled VRMs which everyone says is pointless. Also they only had one MSI GTX 760 available so I'll have to order a second one later; with such low shipping costs that's really not an issue.

 

Not getting a good price on the Noctua cooler (newegg had it for 70$ before it went out of stock) but it's just the most silent air cooler for that level of performance and it's not widely available so whatever. I'm not skimping on silence, actually they have the windowed version of the Fractal R4 case for 40$ less, but I'm taking the windowless version because that means more sound dampening.

 

That's what the order looks like, if it goes through that is:

 

post-138285-0-15476300-1372481087.png

 

Total 1280$ shipped.

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Hello,

 

Once you have built your system and gotten it burned in, would you mind posting a message about how the built experience was and overall system performance?

 

I am thinking of performing an upgrade of my primary desktop (original Cooler Master 820 full-towner) later this year, and really like the minamlist look of the Fractal Design mid-sized cases.  I'm unsure of how easy they are to work in/around when building a new system and would appreciate reading your experiences with the bulid.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

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Hello,

 

Once you have built your system and gotten it burned in, would you mind posting a message about how the built experience was and overall system performance?

 

I am thinking of performing an upgrade of my primary desktop (original Cooler Master 820 full-towner) later this year, and really like the minamlist look of the Fractal Design mid-sized cases.  I'm unsure of how easy they are to work in/around when building a new system and would appreciate reading your experiences with the bulid.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

I recently built a Haswell system using the same case (Fractal Design Define R4). It was so easy to build with, and it's amazing for cable management. There is plenty of space behind the motherboard tray to stash your cables. The one thing you have to be super careful with is there are two SSD mounting brackets that go behind the motherboard tray (pic). The only caveat to using this SSD mount is you have to remove the motherboard if you want to remove/replace the SSD. For now,  I put one SSD on that mount, and my main SSD is mounted in the hard drive bay. The only complaint I have about the case is the super bright power LED, so I didn't hook that up to the FPP header. Luckily the power LED and the HDD activity LED are right next to each other.  So, I only have the HDD LED hooked up, and it makes the power LED glow as well when there is HDD activity (less brighter this way - pic). The case is also very quiet! I have 4x140mm fans (2 on top, 2 on front), and 1x120mm rear fan. There is also an integrated fan controller which you can access by opening the case door. It has three positions (L, M, H - equating to 5V, 7V, 12V respectively). Sometimes I sleep with my computer on, so noise was somewhat an important factor for me.

 

Let me know if you have any other questions.

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For what it's worth: I've been shopping at memory express since it was literally a hole in a wall between a laundromat and a kung-fu school (without it's own parking). There are relatively few companies I will recommend - but they're one of them. now they're like 10 shops across Canada or something. Their reputation among 'locals' is well deserved.

Memory express does price matching with online companies so if you can find stuff cheaper up to a week after you purchase...

Yeah, the site is incredibly well designed which inspired me confidence. My main doubt is they say they only ship to an address registered with your credit card, and I told them to ship at my work place which is obviously not where I live. My credit card company (VISA Desjardins) seems to have no concept of a "Ship To" address as they put it, there's your place of residence and nothing else. I added my work place as a "temporary address", however absurd that may be, I'm not sure they'll like it. Also by the time they do the price matches it's possible some of the prices will have changed, it's a long week-end. Anyway. I'm kind of expecting things to go wrong one way or another, but hopefully that's just me. :P

 

Once you have built your system and gotten it burned in, would you mind posting a message about how the built experience was and overall system performance?

 

I am thinking of performing an upgrade of my primary desktop (original Cooler Master 820 full-towner) later this year, and really like the minamlist look of the Fractal Design mid-sized cases.  I'm unsure of how easy they are to work in/around when building a new system and would appreciate reading your experiences with the bulid.

Sure! I chose the Fractal Design Define R4 case because it's rated as one of the most silent by Puget Systems (I would buy there if they were not 5000km away) and has received universal acclaim in reviews and computer building guides everywhere I've looked. 

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