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Author Topic: Buying a new gaming rig  (Read 1474 times)
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Hrothgar
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« on: July 04, 2013, 02:42:57 AM »

The end of our long remodeling nightmare is almost here.  Since it appears they won't be grossly over budget, I can finally turn my attention to a new computer.  I've been looking around delll, alienware, falconnw, origin, ibuypower and cyberpower websites.  It appears most of my motherboard, chipset, component knowledge is outdated.   So here I am asking for recommendations.  Right now I'm leaning toward intel chip and nvidia video card.  I'm willing to be persuaded otherwise.  I want to keep it under $2000, ideally closer to $1500.  I like to keep my rigs a long time.  However, I've never done more than one chip upgrade per motherboard.  I'm much more comfortable upgrading memory and video cards.  With that in mind, what should I be looking for?  Oh, I'd also like to boot from a SSD and have a large mechanical drive for storage.  Thanks in advance for the help.
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2013, 09:25:17 AM »

AMD CPU and GPUs are better for performance per dollar. The 7900 series is owning the market overall in terms of performance per dollar and performance in general. NVidia has some super high end stuff, but not worth it if you're keeping to a budget.

However, AMD CPUs are definitely behind Intel CPUs, but are for a fraction of the price for value gaming performance. Intel owns high and even mid level performance right now with the I5 and I7.

I'm about to pickup a 4770 CPU, new motherboard, and memory to go with it and have done the research in that area.
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Hrothgar
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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2013, 01:31:06 AM »

Logically, I know that about AMD GPU's, but then I look at Scraper's post just near this one.  I think of all the times I've had problems with ATI drivers.  Then I end up getting another Nvidia card.  I normally like to keep my rig just below premium price tier.  Though I don't even have a name for the price tier the titan lives on.    If I can't get a pretty rock solid rig (case, mobo, cpu, cooling, gpu, SSD, HDD, memory) for $2000, I'll just stick with consoles for a while.  What's the thinking on sound cards these days?
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« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2013, 09:07:15 AM »

You don't need a sound card if you get a motherboard with a Realtec 898 or 1150 chipset in it, they're quality. Depending on what you listen to, you'll even do fine with the 892 chip.

That said, the newest generation of sound cards are really good. The ASUS Xonar DG has really good sound for very low cost, some problems with drivers, the Sound Blaster Z has good sound, and reports indicate Creative has fixed most of their driver issues and bloat. Try the DG first.
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CeeKay
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« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2013, 10:51:22 AM »

yeah, if you don't want to get fancy you can easily skip the sound card.  my last 3-4 PCs relied solely on on-board sound.
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Hrothgar
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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2013, 04:39:16 AM »

I threw together a couple of systems on Origin and Cyberpower.

Origin 7/8/13:

MILLENNIUM


$2,211

Configuration

    Corsair 650D
    Exterior: Not Painted
    Truly Custom PC's. Want a component that is not on our site? Call or email us and we will include it in your system.
    Standard Case Fans
    Intel DX79SR (SATA6Gb/s USB 3.0)
    ORIGIN FROSTBYTE 120 Sealed Liquid Cooling Systems
    Intel Core i7 3820 3.6GHz/3.9GHz Turbo Quad-Core (10MB L3 Cache)
    750 Watt EVGA NEX750B
    Single 1GB EVGA GTX 650
    None
    8GB Corsair Vengeance 1600Mhz (4x2GB)
    Genuine MS Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit Edition
    240GB Corsair Neutron GTX
    3TB SATA 6.0Gb/s, 7200RPM, 64MB Cache
    None
    None
    12X Blu-ray Reader and DVD Combo (No DVD/Blu-ray Playback Software Included)
    None
    On Board Audio
    ORIGIN Wooden Crate Armor
    1 Year Part Replacement and 45 Day Free Shipping Warranty with Lifetime Labor/24-7 Support
    ORIGIN Recovery USB Flash Drive
    No Part Upgrade Service
    ORIGIN PC T-Shirt XLarge
    Microsoft Internet Explorer

Cyberpower Mega Special IV 7/8/13

$1815

CAS: CFI Taiji Full-Tower Gaming Case w/ 1x 140 & 2x 120mm Fans, Front USB 3.0, HDD Easy Swap Bays & Side-Panel Window
CD: LG 12X Internal Blu-ray Drive & DVDRW, 3D Playback Combo Drive [+41] (BLACK COLOR)
COOLANT: Standard Coolant
CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-3820 Quad-Core 3.60 GHz 10MB Intel Smart Cache LGA2011 (All Venom OC Certified)
CS_FAN: Default case fans
FAN: Asetek 510LC Liquid Cooling System 120MM Radiator & Fan (Enhanced Cooling Performance + Extreme Silent at 20dBA) (Dual Standard 120MM Fans (Push-Pull) [+9])
HDD: 250 GB SAMSUNG 840 Series SATA-III 6.0Gb/s SSD - 540MB/s Read & 250MB/s Write [+78] (Single Drive)
HDD2: 3TB (3TBx1) SATA-III 6.0Gb/s 64MB Cache 7200RPM HDD [+159] (Single Drive)
IUSB: Built-in USB 2.0 Ports
MEMORY: 16GB (4GBx4) DDR3/1600MHz Quad Channel Memory (Corsair or Major Brand)
MOTHERBOARD: (3-Way SLI/CrossFireX Support) ASUS P9X79 LE Intel X79 Chipset Quad Channel DDR3 ATX w/ Remote GO!, 7.1 HD Audio, GbLAN, 3 Gen3 PCIe X16, 2 PCIe X1 & 1 PCI [+21]
NETWORK: Onboard Gigabit LAN Network
OS: Microsoft® Windows 7 Home Premium [+104] (64-bit Edition)
POWERSUPPLY: * 850 Watts - Corsair CMPSU-850TXV2 80 Plus Power Supply - Quad SLI Ready [+62]
RUSH: NO; READY TO SHIP IN 5~10 BUSINESS DAYS
SERVICE: STANDARD WARRANTY: 3-YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY PLUS LIFE-TIME TECHNICAL SUPPORT
SOUND: HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
VIDEO: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 2GB 16X PCIe 3.0 Video Card (EVGA Superclocked ACX Cooling [+21])

I wasn't digging too deep.  I just wanted to throw something together to get a feel for pricing.  Thoughts, suggestions, improvements?
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soulbringer
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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2013, 09:26:15 PM »

Check out Digital storm as well.  They have great systems.  I have 3 of them and would not hesitate to buy from them again.  Lots of choices on custom systems as well as pre fabs. 
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Hrothgar
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« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2013, 04:36:09 AM »

Alright, a couple more:

Digital Storm

807820   Digital Storm Desktop 505676   1   Sub-Total:   $2,217.00
783232   -- FREE Intel Bundle - Grid 2 (Steam Digital Download Code for 4th Gen CPUs)   1       
807017   -- FREE NVIDIA Bundle - Splinter Cell: Blacklist (Digital Download Code for GeForce GTX 660 and Up)   1       
            
»  Computer Specification Summary
Chassis Model: Special Deal Hot Seller - Corsair Obsidian 550D
Exterior Finish: - Standard Factory Finish
Trim Accents: - Standard Factory Finish
Processor: Intel Core i7 4770K 3.50 GHz (Unlocked CPU) (Quad Core)
Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth Z87 (Intel Z87 Chipset) (Features Thermal Armor and Thermal Radar)
System Memory: 16GB DDR3 1600MHz Digital Storm Certified Performance Series (Highly Recommended) (Hand Tested)
Power Supply: 750W Corsair CX
Hard Drive Set 1: Operating System: 1x (120GB Solid State (By: Corsair) (Model: Neutron GTX Series) (SATA 6Gbps)
Hard Drive Set 2: Multimedia\Data: 1x (3TB Western Digital/Seagate/Hitachi/Samsung (7200 RPM) (SATA 6Gbps)
Optical Drive 1: ASUS Blu-Ray Player/DVD Writer (Play Blu-Ray and Burn DVDs) (Model: BC-12B1ST)
Internet Access: High Speed Network Port (Supports High-Speed Cable / DSL / Network Connections)
Video Card(s): 1x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 2GB (Includes PhysX)
Sound Card: Integrated Motherboard Audio
Extreme Cooling: H20: Stage 2: Digital Storm Vortex 120mm Radiator Liquid CPU Cooler (High-Performance Edition)
H20 Tube Color: - Not Applicable, I do not have a FrostChill or Sub-Zero LCS Cooling System Selected
Chassis Airflow: Standard Factory Chassis Fans
Noise Reduction: Noise Suppression Package Stage 1 (Optimized Airflow & Fan Speeds Only)
Windows OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (64-Bit Edition)


I Buy Power

   Erebus GT-E2
   $2,383.00   

1 x Case ( iBUYPOWER Erebus GT Full Tower Custom Liquid Cooling Gaming Case - Black )
1 x Processor ( Intel® Core™ i5-4670K Processor (4x 3.40GHz/6MB L3 Cache) - Intel Core™ i5-4670K )
1 x iBUYPOWER PowerDrive ( PowerDrive Level 1 - Up to 10% Overclocking )
1 x Processor Cooling ( Custom Liquid Cooling )
1 x Custom Liquid Cooling ( Custom Liquid Cooling w/ Triple Radiator )
1 x Liquid Coolant ( High-Performance Coolant powered by Koolance - Colorless )
1 x Tubing Wraps ( Tubing Wraps (Anti-Kink Coil) powered by Koolance - Black )
1 x Memory ( 16 GB [8 GB x2] DDR3-1600 Memory Module - Corsair or Major Brand )
1 x Video Card ( NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 - 2GB - Single Card )
1 x Motherboard ( Gigabyte GA-Z87-HD3 -- FREE Upgrade to GA-Z87X-UD3H - $80 Instant Saving )
1 x Power Supply ( 600 Watt - Standard - FREE Upgrade to 650 Watt NZXT HALE82N-SI )
1 x Primary Hard Drive ( 240 GB Corsair Force GS SSD - Single Drive )
1 x Data Hard Drive ( 3 TB HARD DRIVE -- 64M Cache, 7200 RPM, 6.0Gb/s - Single Drive )
1 x Optical Drive ( [12x Blu-Ray] LG BLU-RAY Reader, DVD±R/±RW Burner Combo Drive - Black )
1 x Sound Card ( 3D Premium Surround Sound Onboard )
1 x Network Card ( Onboard LAN Network (Gb or 10/100) )
1 x Operating System ( Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium + Office Starter 2010 (Includes basic versions of Word and Excel) - 64-Bit )

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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2013, 08:38:16 AM »

Given my experiences with the x79 platform...

If you do not intend to use it for a multi-gpu setup of 3 or more gpu's, it's not worth it. It is NOT worth it. For two or fewer gpu's, a z68 or newer mobo with the ability to run dual x8 pci-e slots is plenty. You'd just be wasting your money on the platform. I went this route, and I'm still using my gtx 260. (single) :/ Theoretically I can use two gpu's, and give them a full x16 slot each to play with. Theoretically. And it will make MAYBE 5% difference in the end. If I ever manage to upgrade my gpu. :/

Admittedly I like my 3820 chip. It's a real trooper.

You also will face shortcomings if you try to setup ssd's and raid. the x79 platform uses the enterprise driver set, and it doesnt support trim on raid. (yet)

go with the z68,z77, or z87 (makes sense to go with the latest, but you could save some money there if you wanted) platform, or even look to the amd side of things.

spend more money on the gpu(s) and less money on the cpu. In all but a few games, the gpu is the deciding factor. Going with Team Red, will definitely shave you a few bucks here.

8GB's of ram. Just do it. It doesnt cost that much. And remember x64 on the operating system. Your software will thank you for not having to swap as much. Or at all.

Try looking at a build based on either a bulldozer/piledriver build (am3+), or one of the trinity chips (fm2), with a higher powered gpu making up the difference on cash. You might like what you see.

For two grand, I'd think you could do a lot better than what you've linked so far. Gtx 760? 650? Meh. (the 760's hold their own, about gtx 670 levels). But 2 grand? It's a 250$ card.

Atomic

PS: The case does not make it go faster biggrin

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« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2013, 08:47:16 AM »

After conferring with a friend, I'd like to add something, because I didn't make it clear in my post.

The custom liquid cooled cpu setups and custom cases linked in those four builds, will NOT make the wimpy underpowered vs the cpu graphics cards go any faster. They also involve actual water inside your case, so if you have trouble with them... you have water inside your case. This does not mean watercooling doesnt work. But it also DOES mean it's not necessarily for the casual gamer.

More money towards the gpu's. Less money towards the bling, relatively useless watercooling setups, and unneeded platform expenses.

You SHOULD be able to hit at least a 770 on a 2000$ budget. If not a 780.

Atomic
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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2013, 09:00:42 AM »

Having said all that, I'm going through some of the retailers. Actually kinda hard to find upgraded air-cooling on them. It's either stock air coolers, or water so far. Not really good.

Atomic
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« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2013, 06:26:27 PM »

Yeah, on the CPU, look for an i5 and if you have any remote interest in overclocking, a k series is a must have.
Don't be fooled into thinking an i7 is better because it is more expensive.

Have you considered building your own system? I was afraid of it for so long, but I built two in the last year and change, and it is really fun and rewarding. It can be time consuming, if you really want to dig in and choose every individual component, but you could also get a build from a website or a magazine. I was going to suggest Sharky Extreme's build guides, but it looks like they stopped last year. MaximumPC has them, and I'm sure plenty of other places do as well. At the least, I would look at some of those and compare what you might get from DIY vs buying pre-built.
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TheAtomicKid
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« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2013, 02:39:11 AM »

You ever get any further with this? Hopefully I didn't put a damper on your project with my posts.

Atomic
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« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2013, 02:43:28 AM »

Well, my pc just died (ok, well, probably just the power supply, but it's 5 years old and I'm pretending it's all dead).

Not shooting for anything top of the line or real focused on OC, so happy with a Dell refurbished deal. I feel bad buying Dell as a gamer, no cool features like my past cyberpowerpc, but a deal is a deal.

Main specs:
Dell Outlet XPS 8500 Desktop Windows 8    
   12 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz
   2 TB 7200 RPM Hard Drive
   Processor: Intel Core 3rd Gen i7-3770 Processor (3.40 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 3.90 GHz)
   Nvidia GeForce GTX 660

Price: $711 + tax (free shipping)


_______________

As for build sites, Toms Hardware does them regularly
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Hrothgar
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« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2013, 03:51:52 AM »

Sorry, my wife is having a baby.  It's rather distracting.
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« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2013, 04:08:30 AM »

I went by Fry's today to see if anything could inspire an impulse purchase.  Almost all their display models were low end.  There were three units that, based on specs, should have made for a decent rig.  Not one of the three would boot to the desktop.  Way to inspire confidence guys.  My son liked the paint job on the ibuypower rig.  My wife thought it was too gaudy.  I mainly cared that it wouldn't boot.  First time I'd ever seen one and it didn't work.

They did have this ASUS in stock, but it wasn't on display.  Nothing about it (including the price) screamed buy me.  I went home empty handed.  I guess it's time to start research again.
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« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2013, 03:21:53 PM »

Quote from: Hrothgar on August 05, 2013, 04:08:30 AM

I went by Fry's today to see if anything could inspire an impulse purchase.  Almost all their display models were low end.  There were three units that, based on specs, should have made for a decent rig.  Not one of the three would boot to the desktop.  Way to inspire confidence guys.  My son liked the paint job on the ibuypower rig.  My wife thought it was too gaudy.  I mainly cared that it wouldn't boot.  First time I'd ever seen one and it didn't work.

They did have this ASUS in stock, but it wasn't on display.  Nothing about it (including the price) screamed buy me.  I went home empty handed.  I guess it's time to start research again.

I've never bought a pre-built rig, but for that same money I imagine you could get a lot more system if you built it yourself. 
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Hrothgar
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« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2013, 02:58:07 AM »

True, you'll never win going straight retail, but once it's built and shipped, it's a sunk cost.  If you can find a good sale or clearance, you can get a better deal.   
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« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2013, 03:28:16 AM »

A couple more:

Alienware Aurora Desktop $1699

Software & Services
PROCESSOR   2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3820 processor (10M Cache, Overclocked up to 4.1 GHz)   
OPERATING SYSTEM   Windows 8, 64-bit, English   
MEMORY   8GB (4 X 2GB) Quad Channel DDR3 at 1600MHz   
VIDEO CARD   NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 660 1.5GB GDDR5   
HARD DRIVE   256GB SATA 6Gb/s Solid State Drive   
SOUND CARD   Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio   
OPTICAL DRIVE   Single Drive: Dual Layer Blu-ray Reader (BD-ROM, DVD±RW, CD-RW)

Cyberpower Power Mega III 1000 Video (NO MONITOR) $1,726.00

Configuration


    CAS: Thermaltake Urban S21 Mid-Tower Gaming Case w/ USB 3.0
    CD: LG 14X Internal Blu-ray Burner, BD-RE, DVD+RW, 3D Playback Combo Drive (Black Color)
    CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-4770K 3.50 GHz 8MB Intel Smart Cache LGA1150 (All Venom OC Certified)
    FAN: Corsair Hydro Series H60 High Performance Liquid Cooling System 120MM Radiator & Fan (Single Standard 120MM Fan)
    HDD: 128GB ADATA SP900 SATA-III 6.0Gb/s - 550 MB/s Read & 520 MB/s Write (Single Drive)
    HDD2: 2TB (2TBx1) SATA-III 6.0Gb/s 64MB Cache 7200RPM HDD (Single Drive)
    IUSB: Built-in USB 2.0 Ports
    KEYBOARD2: (Keyboard & Mouse Combo) Razer Cyclosa Gaming Keyboard & Abyssus Gaming Mouse [+0]
    MEMORY: 16GB (8GBx2) DDR3/1600MHz Dual Channel Memory (ADATA XPG V2)
    MOTHERBOARD: [CrossFireX/SLI] MSI Z87-G45 Gaming Intel Z87 Chipset DDR3 ATX Mainboard w/ Military Class 4, OC Genie II, 7.1 Sound Blaster Cinema Audio, Killer E2205 GbLAN, 3 Gen3 PCIe x16 & 4 PCIe x1 (Extreme OC Certified) [+87]
    MOUSE1: AZZA Optical 1600dpi Gaming Mouse with Weight Adjustable Cartridge [+4]
    NETWORK: Onboard Gigabit LAN Network
    OS: Microsoft® Windows 8 Pro (64-bit Edition)
    POWERSUPPLY: 750 Watts - Thermaltake SMART Series SP-750PCBUS 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply [+17]
    SERVICE: STANDARD WARRANTY: 3-YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY PLUS LIFE-TIME TECHNICAL SUPPORT
    SOUND: HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
    VIDEO: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 2GB 16X PCIe 3.0 Video Card [-13] (EVGA Superclocked ACX Cooling)

Hmm.  I kind of like that last one.  Is anything wrong with it?
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« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2013, 12:17:53 AM »

Agh, definitely don't get that Alienware box. Again, see above what I got when Dell was having a 25% off outlet/refurbished deal. Essentially the same box for $750 shipped. At least the Cyberpower kicks it up a notch.
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« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2013, 08:14:58 AM »

Quote from: Hrothgar on July 19, 2013, 03:51:52 AM

Sorry, my wife is having a baby.  It's rather distracting.

Lol, and congrats! Btw falconNW I have a Hard On for, but the price is silly. I do that once and loved it, but , once more silly $$$.
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« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2013, 01:50:58 AM »

Thank you.  One day I'll get a Falcon NW rig, but not now.  Maybe after the baby's through with college.  Anyway, I did end up getting a Cyberpower rig similar to the last one I posted.  Perhaps I should have paid for the expedited build since I ended up waiting 8 business days for them to get to me in the queue.  It's pretty sweet though.  It's lighter, faster and quieter.

Right now I hate Windows 8, but that's only because it's different than what I'm used to.  I think it could grow on me.  The mere seconds to boot is nice though.   It will probably be even better after 8.1.

Are there any good USB 3.0 hubs out there?  Reviews seem to indicate a lot of disconnect problems with removable hard drives.
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« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2013, 03:34:31 AM »

3D Mark scores aren't spectacular, but pretty good:

Ice Storm 158368
Cloud Gate 22543
Fire Strike  7100

that's a GTX 770 and i7 4770k.
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« Reply #23 on: September 01, 2013, 07:54:25 PM »

Congrats on the new baby and machine. Keep us informed on how it holds up, the machine that is. Okay the baby too. slywink
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