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PC Gaming LPC 2 build advice

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animalmom

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Aug 1, 2011
Hi - I was listening to the PC Gamer podcast and they were talking about their LPC 2016 super gaming rig. I haven't built a PC in 2 years or so and the other day I was playing Titanfall 2 and couldn't max things out so I want to build a new rig. I have never used proper water cooling before. I thought "why not just build their supercomputer" but I think there are some components I won't need for my system so I wonder if people could opine?

http://www.pcgamer.com/lpc-2016-build/

CPU Intel Core i7 6950X
GPU (2) Nvidia Titan X
Motherboard ASUS ROG Rampage V Edition 10
RAM 128GB Corsair Dominator Platinum Special Edition DDR4
SSD (2) Intel 750 Series PCIe NVMe 1.2TB
HDD (4) Seagate Barracuda Pro 10TB Helium
PSU EVGA SuperNova T2 1600W
Cooling EKWB water cooling, custom-built


Above is the link. I don't mind the spend but don't want to light money on fire either. I will only use this for VR and Gaming. I don't want to record Video. I currently have an ASUS ROG 144Mhz monior that is 26 inches I think but I may get a bigger 144mhz or a 4K display.

I was wondering:

- Do I really need 128 GB ram or is 64 GB enough? Or rather where does it stop mattering? I've never had more than 16GB
- They have these massive HDD - I don't think I need them for anything. Can I just have SSD? One for system and one for the games? Do I need 1 TB for system or is somethign smaller ok?
- What performance difference do you get from the i7 6950x vs the next step down, how much $ difference?
- I like the idea of doing a water cooled system - can someone tell me exactly what components I should get? They don't specify.
- Any comments ont he case they recommend?

Any advice would be welcome - I'd like a one for the ages PC rig but curious as to where I'd be over-doing it.

Thanks
 

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
If your primary intention with this build is to have the maximum gaming experience:
1. Go with a 6700k i7 CPU. For gaming it will give just as good performance (maybe a little better because of higher per core clock speed) and cost considerably less. And the Z170 motherboard would be less expensive as well. Games currently can't use more than about 4 CPU cores anyway. They aren't that well multi-threaded yet and benefit more from a higher clock speed.
2. Why on earth are you planning to install 128 gb of RAM? 16gb is more than enough.
3. You certainly don't need a 1600 watt PSU with only one GPU. 800 watts with that Titan card would be plenty.
4. You don't need a 10T hard disk for gaming. In fact, for gaming, the 1.2TB NVme would be more than enough.

Actually, your list of parts looks more like a high end work station that a professional graphics artist or video editor would put together than it does a gaming rig.
 
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animalmom

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Aug 1, 2011
Thanks, I listed the parts PC Gamer had for their super ridiculous build PC

Primary gaming, Secondary VR. I don't want any sort of compromise though

1). Thanks. Exactly the info I need. Would the 6950 be better for VR? Is there any performance drop off or feature drop off for the motherboard you suggested?

2). Does VR need more memory than 16 GB? (I have built lots of gaming PCs, never used VR)

3). Planning on doing 2 Titan X SLI

4). Thanks - just to be sure - no need for separate system and game file SSDs?

Appreciate your advice - any advice on water cooling components you can throw me?

Regards,

AM
 

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
VR=Video Rendering? Video Recording? It depends on what you are doing with the videos. If you are editing and converting them into different formats then the Broadwell CPU with lots of cores would be better. And it won't be shabby for gaming either. Not much difference for gaming from the 6700k if you overclock it some to get the clock speed up a little. Video recording on the other hand is not particularly demanding.

I think 32gb of RAM would be appropriate for mixed gaming and video rendering.

You still don't need a 1600W PSU even with two Titan cards. I would think 1200W would be plenty. EVGA super nova series is a good choice.

If you are going to be dong a lot of AV stuff then you would want a big storage drive. But if you go with a big spinner hard drive then you don't need a 1.2TB NVme. 500gb would probably do you fine. Put your games and programs on the NVme and data on the spinner.

As far as the water cooling goes, that's a big topic in and of itself. But I would say, choose your case carefully. You want to have plenty of room for at least a 3x120 radiator. Will you be water cooling the GPUs? If so, you may want to go with multiple radiators and a strong pump. Some high end video cards are sold with their own water cooling kit instead of an air cooler. Don't know about the Titan. Not a lot of folks around here use those. Most are going with the Nvidia 1080.

There are some nice do it yourself kits water kits on the market these days. Don't obsess over minutia with your choices of water cooling parts. There are lots of different opinions on details but just keep the big picture in mind. Just get a case that will give you plenty of room for the radiators and plenty of options.
 
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animalmom

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Aug 1, 2011
@bob4933 yes exactly
@trents - thanks very much - for VR I mean running Oculas etc. Sorry about not being more clear.

Just not sure if there is a huge need for RAM for running VR (i.e. Like more than the 16 GB you mentined)

Very clear on the PSU and thanks for the recommendation on the water cooling.
 

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Okay, VR refers to "virtual reality" then. I've had no experience with that technology. Is it very demanding on system resources?

Found this: http://www.pcgamesn.com/eve-valkyri...es-more-powerful-than-1080p-gaming-say-nvidia

and this, though a little more dated: http://time.com/4169188/virtual-reality-vr-oculus-rift-computer/

So it looks like VR is pretty demanding but there is not agreement on the magnitude of it. And it may become more demanding over time as the technology matures. So your original parts list may pretty much have been appropriate when you throw in VR. It's also probably true that it will depend greatly on what VR product you are trying to run and on what settings. And keep in mind that you can always add more memory if you need to.

But I still say a 1200w PSU should do you. Each Titan card has a TDP of 250 watts so together that's only 500 watts. And the CPU might pull 100-200 watts depending on if and how much you overclock it. The rest of the components will draw minimal amounts of power. Nvidia recommends a minimum of 600 watts for the PSU for one Titan X but anyone around here will tell you those numbers are always inflated to compensate for people who use el cheapo power supplies with greatly exaggerated power output ratings.

I think you need to research this VR thing more to get a better idea how hungry it will be for system resources. But it sounds like you can turn your furnace down when doing VR in the winter and just heat the house with the computer.
 
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Theocnoob

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Dec 1, 2007
Location
Near Toronto Canada
You really seem to want to light money on fire. A Titan X (P) can run pretty much any game at 4K 60FPS ultra. Why do you need 2 of them? You do NOT need a 10, 8, or 6 core CPU. 4 is fine. You do not need 128GB of RAM. 16 is fine. You do not need a $500+ motherboard. You also don't need a top of the line NVME SSD

If we assume that you will be playing on a 60Hz 4K panel, ALL these cuts to your machine will result in a performance drop in games of about 0%. You don't need a supercomputer to play some games :).

6700K (4 core i7)
ASUS Z170-A
1TB Samsung 850 EVO
2TB Seagate ST2000
16GB DDR4 3000
GTX Titan X (just 1. You'll be fine.)
EVGA Supernova 850 G2 (in case you need another Titan X someday. That day is not today :D)
Your fav. computer case

The only situation in which a second Titan X would be warranted is if you had something like a 165Hz 4K panel and you wanted more than 60FPS out of your games. Then you'd get a second one.
 
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animalmom

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Aug 1, 2011
You really seem to want to light money on fire. A Titan X (P) can run pretty much any game at 4K 60FPS ultra. Why do you need 2 of them? You do NOT need a 10, 8, or 6 core CPU. 4 is fine. You do not need 128GB of RAM. 16 is fine. You do not need a $500+ motherboard. You also don't need a top of the line NVME SSD

If we assume that you will be playing on a 60Hz 4K panel, ALL these cuts to your machine will result in a performance drop in games of about 0%. You don't need a supercomputer to play some games :).

6700K (4 core i7)
ASUS Z170-A
1TB Samsung 850 EVO
2TB Seagate ST2000
16GB DDR4 3000
GTX Titan X (just 1. You'll be fine.)
EVGA Supernova 850 G2 (in case you need another Titan X someday. That day is not today :D)
Your fav. computer case


Thanks - this was what I wanted to know. The below article discusses VR and thinks for super ultra you may need 32+ GB Ram.

http://www.logicalincrements.com/articles/vrguide

Currently using a 144mhz ASUS ROG monitor but only 2560x1440 size - would like to run at 144 MHZ ultra - can one titan do that? I have no idea..



I need to research the gains made by one vs two titans i guess
 

Theocnoob

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Dec 1, 2007
Location
Near Toronto Canada
Many games will max out your monitor's refresh @ ultra settings. There will be some that will not quite hit that magic 140Hz G-Sync cap for your monitor, but you'll be getting over 100Hz in pretty much everything I think. 1 Titan is about enough and 2 is overkill.

I have a 980 and a 1440P 144Hz monitor and I'm happy enough with perf in 90% of my games. I plan on upgrading when the 11XX cards come out.

Hold off on your VR headset for another few months. Tracker-less headsets are coming from HTC which will not require you to set up tracking stations in your room. All the motion tracking is internal. Better experience.

Also be aware that as far as AAA VR games, there are very few. Most VR experiences are tech demos at this point. VR is a baby technology and we have first generation hardware to support it. Waiting may not be a bad idea.

I'm no expert but I can't see any game type experience requiring 32GB of RAM, VR or otherwise.

Oh BTW if you want to try liquid cooling just get an AIO (all in one) cooler like a Corsair H series or NZXT X series. Make sure it is compatible with your case before you pick a case. You get little benefit in terms of performance from making your own CPU loop with individual parts, and its very expensive. It's more of a hobby thing that people do.

And sure, you could liquid cool a Titan but how much power do you need for crying out loud?
 

bob4933

Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2014
OCnoob, you cant really say what someone "needs" when planning out a long term solution. For the build objectives and budget, your listed build is way wrong imo. Its a fine build, and you bring up some fair points, but the budget IS there, and longevity is the goal, so it doesn't "not make sense" to go for gold here. You may be happy with a gtx 980, but that doesn't mean everyone else would be for instance. Basically you're inputting YOUR objectivity onto what someone else wants, and thats no fair.

No she doesnt need a 500$ motherboard, nor 128gb of ram, but I don't see how getting an x99 and 6core i7 is any way, shape or form a "bad thing" here.



@op,

The gtx 1080 ti is coming out in a short time frame, so it may be prudent to hold off on getting a gpu. I would recommend a 6850k over a 6800k for available pcie lanes.

You very much do NOT need 10tb hard drives, most games are under 50gb right now, so 1x 10tb drive would hold 200 AAA games (at a retail of 50$, thats 10,000$ in games...) A 4tb drive will be plenty sufficient for a long, long long long time. With costs of SSD's plummeting, a 1tb ssd might be prudent here as well, but theres not much reason for a pcie or m.2 ssd, as real world scenarios dont really benefit from them. It's like having a car that can go 250mph, but the highest speed limit is 70mph. Unless youre going to the track (benchmarking or productivity usages), you wont ever see max performance being a tangible thing. More of a "because you can" than a "because you should" right now.

as Ive found, your choice in CASE will dictate your watercooling choices.

The absolute BEST solution for you, is to post a HARD budget, and let us help you determine how to fill it. It's likely you wont need what you think you will, but if there are some specific things we can help guide you to, find out whats important, we can give you better advice that way. OCnoob's advice is valid, but incomplete to your situation I feel. A 6700k and z170-a is fine, but for a long term, high budget build, I'd be looking at more top shelf components.
 
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animalmom

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Aug 1, 2011
Thanks bob4933

Let's try 6000 USD as a limit. Would like your views

@theOCn00b - thanks for the VR advice. The liquid cooling is more because I've never done it and I enjoy building things - this is a hobby

I've never had an SLI setup either so wanted to try that. This is more for just being satisfied that I built a monster. Just for fun.

It's like why buy a 911 Turbo, a 911S is all you need. Definitely true, but the Turbo is even more fun :)

Found this for SLI - I likely don't need it but may get it and get the 5k monitor they are discussing

http://www.pcworld.com/article/3102...ew-titan-x-is-absolutely-decadant-in-sli.html
 
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bob4933

Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2014
Try not to scratch your Adamar Piguet while youre assembling your computer ;)

6000$ is way more than you need to be honest.

off the cuff, we're looking at something like this

http://pcpartpicker.com/list/DfCyqk

Rationale :

CPU - 6 core cpu, 12 threads. Serious longevity here. Also "cooler" :)
Motherboard - you 100000% dont need a 600$ motherboard, this will do everything you want and need. You can swap it out for something else, but for your uses, theres literally no reason to go "higher".
Memory - 32gb of 3000mhz ram. That will be just fine for anything you will be doing, you do NOT need anything more than that.
SSD - 1tb samsung evo. Great performance and price here. No reason to go pcie or m.2 at this time
HDD - 4tb HGST. One of the most reliable drives on backburner
PSU - this is the highest regarded psu ever made, and doesn't go over any ridiculous limit you think you need. 1000w gives you TONS of room, its actually overkill in and of itself. It has a ridiculous warranty, and to reiterate, is the most highly regarded psu around.
Windows 10... well ya need it
Fan control -> tbh I dont care about fan controllers, but this one just "looked cool" and would fit your build motif and allow you more control of your setup.

What I didnt include

Gpu -> I sincerely recommend you wait for a 1080 ti. No real reason to run sli titan x(p) at this time. 1080 ti will give you a LOT more bang for the buck, as well as providing the longevity you require. In all regards, a 1080 would be more than suitable. Lets say they run 1000$ (probably high tbh)
cooling -> heres how it goes (and im going high end here, and overestimating)

cpu block -> 150$
gpu block -> 130 x 2 -> 260$
reservoir/pump -> 200$
tubing -> 80$
fittings -> 100$
Radiators 2 x 360 -> 200$
fans -> 6x pressure fans, lets say 4x flow fans.... so like 100$? I dunno, these can vary wildly


Case -> this is a hugely subjective thing, but for watercooling, you really should look at some breathing room. A GOOD case is around 150$, but there are some boutique options available for literally any price. Lets say 200$ to cover a lot of ground.

This would bring your grand total to ~4850$, though this is likely an over estimate.





As far as a 5k monitor, that gets a "meh" from me. I have a huge doubt anyone would tell the difference between 4k and 5k in person, but even if you could, a 2000$ monitor is being abused by the law of diminishing returns. That ROG monitor youre referencing is still regarded as one of the best gaming monitors that exist right now. A 5k 2000$ monitor is more on the "productivity" side of the fence, not for gaming. You must look at your uses, not just your wallet.
 
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animalmom

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Aug 1, 2011
Thanks a million for your response. In the end, I just want to build a cool computer and have fun doing it and damn the cost.

Back when I was in college and scrounging for money to buy an extra fan I promised myself when I had the money I'd have fun with it.

This will be the tenth or so but it's been 3 years since I build from scratch. I love my ROG - I'll keep it.

When is the 1080 Ti coming out? I'm in no hurry really. And one thing I didn't understand - will the 1080 ti have more longevity than the Titan X (p)? Why?
 

bob4933

Member
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Jan 3, 2014
Titan's are by definition technically a "gaming" card, but they really blur the line between quaddro and gtx. The 1080 ti will likely be "faster" or damn close for gaming, much like the 980 ti and the original titan X were; but at a much lower price tag. Its not that you shouldn't get a titan x, its just prudent to wait a little bit for this.
 

mackerel

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Mar 7, 2008
I just caught up on the whole thread. I do have a Vive so can offer some insight on the VR side. VR is quite new and they are keen to make it run on low hardware, with the original GPU spec being a 970 (now lowered for Rift), and a quad core CPU. Anything more than that might give you better visuals but I've not come across any obvious scaling. I would add, unlike using a monitor, the resolution of current VR is rather limiting. If you haven't tried it before, the effective pixel size is visibly quite large as they're spread over a bigger field of view than you would on a monitor. I'm sure future generations will gradually address that, but for now, there are limits to how much power you can throw usefully at it.

I've run VR with systems of 16GB ram and let's just say I've never ran short. Going higher certainly wont hurt, but it is not really needed. I would just populate whatever the eventual system is with enough modules to use available ram channels (2 or 4) the system supports so that ram bandwidth is unlikely to become a factor. GPU wise I've mainly used either a 980 Ti or 1070, which are similar performance ball park anyway. The only game I have which I believe can use even more power is Nvidia's VR Funhouse which is optimised to use up to 3 GPUs, two in SLI and a 3rd card dedicated to physx, but realistically no one else really uses that so don't worry about it for now. If waiting is an option, I'd hold a little for a 1080 Ti or two as they should be close enough to a Titan XP but for less cost. CPU wise I've used 6600k and 6700k fixed at 4.2 GHz and again that seems fine. I couldn't tell which one was in which system in actual use.

I would further comment, given the budget of this build I would go all SSD for storage. I've done this myself on my main computer, where I have a fast M.2 512GB SSD for system, and a 1TB + 960GB SSDs for game storage. I have a ton of games and leave them installed at all times so one wasn't enough... SSDs are cheaper than ever now, and it doesn't have to be a high performance SSD. Even a low end SSD will be far faster than any spinning disk, and that really does make a difference. The only reason I'd still buy spinning disks is if you do have a load of personal data to store which does not need speed e.g. photos, videos, backups.
 

trents

Senior Member
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Dec 27, 2008
Sata SSD has a narrower bus bandwidth which throttles a good, fast SSD drive. PCIe removes the bandwidth limitation. It's like water pipes. A small diameter water pipe can throttle water flow from a powerful pump. You will notice very little difference in actual use however, unless the computing activity you are doing involves moving a lot of large files. I would not think VR fits in that category. And NVme is considerably more expensive. But if budget is not an issue . . .
 
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bob4933

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Jan 3, 2014
I would further comment, given the budget of this build I would go all SSD for storage. I've done this myself on my main computer, where I have a fast M.2 512GB SSD for system, and a 1TB + 960GB SSDs for game storage. I have a ton of games and leave them installed at all times so one wasn't enough... SSDs are cheaper than ever now, and it doesn't have to be a high performance SSD. Even a low end SSD will be far faster than any spinning disk, and that really does make a difference. The only reason I'd still buy spinning disks is if you do have a load of personal data to store which does not need speed e.g. photos, videos, backups.

Fine tuning this machine will leave a lot of room for subjectivity. Ostensibly, 1tb ssd should last a gaming user... for a ridiculous amount of time. 6000$ leaves a lot on the table with "whats needed" vs "whats cool".