Please help me put together a niche system

Eeyooree

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I've posted before about a build that I thought I wanted, but the more I read, the more it seems like overkill. I don't plan on playing battle field in an ultra competitive way (read: at all), so I guess I don't need a titan with a 4k 144hz super thunder lightning monitor. I want the system to be built to handle: Arma 3 with an unforeseeable amount of mods, ultra graphics (with some useless stuff turned down), single player. I plan to simply build scenarios to share. Some multiplayer occasionally, but I am less worried about graphics online, just internet speed.

In addition to Arma, I'll probably play RTS (civ 5/total war) and the Sims. I don't care about price for this build, I just care about it being reasonable. I don't think I need a $10,000 system to do what I want to do, but a $200 system probably won't cut it either. So, what do you think?
 
OK fair enough, in that case I'd go for something along the lines of this:

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/mBh3Jx
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/mBh3Jx/by_merchant/

CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0GHz Quad-Core OEM/Tray Processor ($322.99 @ SuperBiiz)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper TX3 54.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($19.89 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H97-D3H ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($88.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Mushkin Stealth 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($81.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 850 EVO 250GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($118.98 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($76.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 970 4GB FTW ACX 2.0 Video Card ($324.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Fractal Design Define R5 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 660W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($134.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $1249.80
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-07-21 11:53 EDT-0400


An i7 is only going to give small gains over an i5 in games but will be a lot better in the music stuff as well, seems worth it at your budget, especially as you don't want to overclock. The aftermarket cooler is overkill for you but the CPU is like $30 cheaper without the crappy stock cooler for some reason so you might as well have a decent one. The small size of the TX3 guarantees compatibility with PCI-e slots, that's why I went for that over a bigger cooler.

16GB RAM seems worth it because you have a lot of mods and will help with the music software.

That motherboard is just good value. Doesn't support overclocking but you don't want to do that anyway.

The SSD is on the new M.2 port so should be super speedy and last a long time. I imagine 250GB should be plenty of space for Windows and your programs, the HDD is for photos/videos/music and other general storage.

The GTX 970 is great value for gaming, it should crush any game at 1080P and still stand up pretty well in 1440P as well. Considering you don't want to upgrade for a while, it may be worth considering the GTX 980Ti if you plan on playing at 1440P.

You seem to like the R5, hence the choice of case. The cooling is pretty decent and there's plenty of space in it as well.

It seems like a good idea to go for an absolute top notch PSU considering you want long term stability and reliability. That is one of the best PSUs on the market. The wattage is total overkill but gives you loads of headroom for any future upgrades.

If you have any questions about any of that, let me know.

 

Eeyooree

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I should also mention, I don't care about the system aesthetics at all. If it comes out looking like a rainbow that's fine with me so long as the power is there. And:

Approximate Purchase Date: Whenever, but sooner rather than later

Budget Range: ~ $2,000. I just want to run Arma 3 on ultra + mods, plus maybe Skyrim + mods. Witcher 3 would be fun, but I care less about running that on ultra and I won't be doing 4k. 1440 or 1080 is fine.

System Usage : Gaming, FL Studio/Reason

Are you buying a monitor: Yes

Do you need to buy OS: Yes (maybe, don't worry about this in the price)

Location: Upstate NY

Parts Preferences: i7 4790k, 970+ graphics card, Asus Maximus VII Hero (unless you think another is better)

Overclocking: no

SLI or Crossfire: I wouldn't know what to do, so no

Your Monitor Resolution: 1440 or 1080

Additional Comments: I don't want to waste money, but also don't want to be disappointed. I like high detail with no stuttering on the screen.
 
Looks like you will want a really good CPU and plenty of RAM, I'd maybe even consider 16GB+ as mods are likely to use up a lot (FL Studio and Reason definitely will). Your graphics card will obviously be important for gaming as well but I think a GTX 970 will probably do the job.

I have to go out now but I'll be back in a couple of hours to suggest something specific. In the meantime do you have any other preferences? ie.

Do you prefer a bigger or smaller system?
Is overclocking an absolute 100% no?
Do you care about quietness?
Will you be upgrading frequently?
Any preferences on the looks of the case? Plastic/Steel/Aluminium? Understated or flashing lights? (I know you don't care but you need to choose one or the other really.)
 

Eeyooree

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I don't care about the physical size of the system, I have space for it.

Overclocking is an absolute no because I have no idea what I am doing and am worried about breaking stuff. Plus, I'd like to keep this build "alive" for as long as possible and I know OC can decrease your parts lifetime

Quietness? Not really, so long as it's not atrocious. When I do music I won't be doing live recording so it's not relevant for those purposes.

I'd prefer not to upgrade frequently. My goal is to have a system to crush Arma 3 today, and then any future games will gradually play lower settings until I hit medium-low on Arma 4. Then I will upgrade again.

I have absolutely no preference on the looks. The Fractal Design Define R5 is the one I am currently looking at because it has killer reviews, is spacious (room to work for a first time builder) and is cheap ($90).
As for lights, do I really need any? I only want essential parts, and for something like lights (which I assume add no performance value) I would opt for the cheapest option if absolutely required.
 
OK fair enough, in that case I'd go for something along the lines of this:

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/mBh3Jx
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/mBh3Jx/by_merchant/

CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0GHz Quad-Core OEM/Tray Processor ($322.99 @ SuperBiiz)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper TX3 54.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($19.89 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H97-D3H ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($88.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Mushkin Stealth 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($81.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 850 EVO 250GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($118.98 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($76.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 970 4GB FTW ACX 2.0 Video Card ($324.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Fractal Design Define R5 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 660W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($134.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $1249.80
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-07-21 11:53 EDT-0400


An i7 is only going to give small gains over an i5 in games but will be a lot better in the music stuff as well, seems worth it at your budget, especially as you don't want to overclock. The aftermarket cooler is overkill for you but the CPU is like $30 cheaper without the crappy stock cooler for some reason so you might as well have a decent one. The small size of the TX3 guarantees compatibility with PCI-e slots, that's why I went for that over a bigger cooler.

16GB RAM seems worth it because you have a lot of mods and will help with the music software.

That motherboard is just good value. Doesn't support overclocking but you don't want to do that anyway.

The SSD is on the new M.2 port so should be super speedy and last a long time. I imagine 250GB should be plenty of space for Windows and your programs, the HDD is for photos/videos/music and other general storage.

The GTX 970 is great value for gaming, it should crush any game at 1080P and still stand up pretty well in 1440P as well. Considering you don't want to upgrade for a while, it may be worth considering the GTX 980Ti if you plan on playing at 1440P.

You seem to like the R5, hence the choice of case. The cooling is pretty decent and there's plenty of space in it as well.

It seems like a good idea to go for an absolute top notch PSU considering you want long term stability and reliability. That is one of the best PSUs on the market. The wattage is total overkill but gives you loads of headroom for any future upgrades.

If you have any questions about any of that, let me know.

 
Looks good, the motherboard seems unnecessarily expensive though. Any particular reason you're going for that over a cheaper board?

Almost any ATX tower from a respected brand should be fine. NZXT Phantom is a good case in a similar price bracket, as is the Antec 900 or 902. Antec P280 is another good one, Corsair 400R, Coolermaster HAF 922 are good too.

EDIT: Just noticed the 2133Mhz RAM, you would have to overclock to actually see the benefit of it as the CPU has a max of 1600Mhz. Even if you did get the benefit, it wouldn't make much of a difference in games anyway.
 

Eeyooree

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Someone told me that, since the motherboard controls how efficient your parts are, it's good to buy a really good one. Should I swap it out?
 
I don't really get what you mean, the vital components like CPU/RAM/GPU aren't going to run any faster on a more expensive motherboard. Get it if you want but what you're paying for on that board over the Gigabyte board is overclocking and multiple GPU support. Other than that, some of the components are just better quality like the built in sound card and USB/ethernet sockets etc. I seriously doubt that there will be any noticeable difference in gaming performance.
 

Eeyooree

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When I say I have no idea what I'm doing, I mean I really have no idea. Is it worth it to keep it in case I opt to do a 970 SLI in the future?
 
No problem. I wouldn't personally, seems like you're paying an extra $100 just in case you add another GPU. Adding another GPU is only worthwhile if you do it in the next few months anyway, it wouldn't be worth doing in a few years as you'd be better off just buying a much newer card.
 

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