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Since a big portion of this project involved many components entirely new to
us, we decided to use known and tried components as much as possible for the
rest of the system. There was no point in complicating the build any more than
it already was.
CPU: Intel i5-4790K
Intel's superior energy efficiency takes us back to their Haswell processors
time and time again. Socket LGA1150 processors and boards represent the best
current balance price/performance for gaming. The latest top dog among socket
LGA1150 processors is the i5-4790K, a titch quicker than the i7-4770K
which we reviewed a while back, and generally sells for about the same price.
If you're on a budget, consider than a similarly clocked dual core provides
about the same performance with most games, as they still don't take full advantage
of multiple cores.
Intel Core i7-4770K.
- Intel Core i5-4690K (3.9 GHz, 65W TDP)
- Intel Core i5-4670 (3.8 GHz, 84W TDP)
- Intel Core i5-4670K (3.8 GHz, 84W TDP, unlocked)
- Intel Core i5-4670S (3.8 GHz, 65W TDP)
- Intel Core i5-4570 (3.6 GHz, 84W TDP)
- Intel Core i5-4570S (3.6 GHz, 84W TDP)
- Intel Core i5-4590 (3.7 GHz, 84W TDP)
- Intel Core i5-4590S (3.7 GHz, 65W TDP)
ATX MOTHERBOARD: ASUS Z97-PRO
For the chipset, Z97 is ideal as it accepts the newer Haswell Refresh LGA1150
chips without a BIOS update, and it is somewhat future-proof as it will be compatible
with Intel's next line of chips, codename Broadwell. It also supports CPU overclocking,
but if that's deemed unnecessary, an H97 board would do just fine. The well-reviewed
ASUS Z97-PRO has been solid for our
other ATX builds this season. It gets pressed into service again here.
ASUS Z97-Pro with fan headers highlighted. Controllable headers
marked in green. We may need all of those fan headers in
- ASUS Z97-P
- ASUS Z97-A
OS DRIVE: Crucial MX100 512GB SSD
The Crucial MX100 512GB remains a standout choice for its combination of performance,
reliability and low price. Our
review confirmed the consensus of many other tech reviews. We've included
it in several other gaming builds; it's reprised here again.
Crucial MX100 512GB remains a standout SSD.
- Samsung 850 Pro 512GB
- Crucial M550 1TB
- Samsung 840 EVO 1TB
As in many of our other gaming builds, we did not include a large-storage HDD
for the sake of simplicity and brevity, but in the big Phanteks Enthoo Luxe
case, it is easy to add one or more quiet HDDs with hardly any effect on overall
noise. The lower HDD cage is the best spot, or if you're into the lowest possible
noise, elastic suspension in the optical drive cage, as
we demonstrated most recently in our ATX Gaming build. Our standard recommendation
is to stay away from 7200 RPM and faster spinning drives. The performance advantage
over the much quieter, lower vibration 5400 and 5900 RPM drives is really small
if your OS, programs and frequently accessed data is all on the SSD. If you
have a need for a scratch disk, virtually any decent 240GB SSD will fit the
- Western Digital Red 4TB
- Western Digital Green 4TB
- Seagate NAS HDD 4TB
The 7200 RPM WD Se is faster, pricier and noisier than the Red.
This system is likely to be the most power demanding of all the gaming builds
we've assembled in the past couple of months. All the other systems have topped
out thus far at under 300W AC or roughly 270W DC, given the use of ~90% efficiency
80 Plus Gold or Platinum PSUs. This build is likely to push a hundred watts
higher. And if the CrossFire build we're considering comes to fruition, we have
to be prepared for upwards of 600W, due to the ~300W power demand of an AMD
R9 290. While we haven't reviewed lots of higher power PSUs recently, SPCR keeps
close tabs on developments in PSUs and have a good handle on the best options
for low noise power delivery. A handful in the 800W~1000W will do the job equally
well. All three of the modesl listed below feature semi-passive fans that start
spinning only at higher load, extremely high energy efficiency 80 Plus Platinum
rating, modular cabling, strong reputation for quality, and emphasis on very
- Seasonic Snow Silent 1050W Platinum - The latest from Seasonic with
a new quieter Fluid Dynamic Bearing fan. Our 1050W
Gold sample stayed quiet (16 [email protected]) to over 500W.
- bequiet! Dark Power Pro 10 850W Platinum - We've had great experience
with bequiet! PSUs. This model is quieter than the DPP
10 550W model we reviewed, and to a much high power output level.
- Corsair HX850i Platinum - Highly regarded, with fan staying at very
low speed even to >700W load, and equipped Corsair's lauded Corsair Link
Digital power monitoring system.
Corsair HX850i promises super quiet efficiency.
It was a bit of eenie meenie minie mo... and in the end, the Corsair HX850i
was chosen for broad availability and price.
Precisely what RAM is used as system memory is not critical, although other
web sites have identified DDR1600 to DDR1866 as the sweet spot, somewhat dependent
on the particular game. Within this clock speed range, small variations in timing
have minuscule effect on overall performance. 8GB is more than sufficient for
any single game and general purpose multitasking. 16GB is a waste unless you
have a specific need, and RAM is one of the easiest things to add later to a
system, if you need more for some new application. Two DIMMs are ideal as it
allows for dual-channel operation, while limiting the chances of getting a bad
stick. Memory is one of the most common components to fail over time, so the
fewer the better. We also recommend choosing a brand with a good lifetime warranty
and to avoid models with overly large heatspreaders as they can interfere with
larger CPU coolers. The Kingston HyperX Genesis 2x4GB 1866MHz DDR3
has been solid for us, and it sports lower profile heatspreaders that don't
get in the way of big heatsinks.
- Kingston HyperX Fury 8GB Kit (2x4GB) 1600MHz DDR3
- Patriot Viper 8GB Kit (2x4GB) 1866MHz DDR3
HyperX Genesis memory kit.
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