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Finally Ready to Go PC

Post Date: 2012-05-12

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Rettic View Drop Down
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  Quote Rettic Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Topic: Finally Ready to Go PC
    Posted: 12 May 2012 at 6:50pm
Hey folks. Glad to finally be posting on the forums here. It means I'm getting really close in my decision. :)

A little background: Been into gaming all my life, but by necessity of my profession (designer) I've also been a Macintosh junkie all my life. As you well know, those loves don't go hand-in-hand.

Because WoW was available on mac, I started playing it over 5 years ago, and stuck with it for about two years. After that, EVE for about 2 years. Since then I've been out of the MMO world, but desperately waiting for something interesting enough to pull me back in.

Well it's looking like Guild Wars 2 will be just the thing, and sadly it ain't coming to my Mac. So here we are. Time to game an MMO the right way. My hope is to build a rock solid machine that can run with the reliability I've come to expect in my Macs, but with the speed needed to push the most dense MMO battleground/raid activity.

I've made an attempt at what I think looks like a good machine, but I'd love any advice. Feel free to pick apart. I'm especially smitten with the Slade, if for no other reason than its nice, minimal casing.

Thanks guys. I'm pumped!

Budget:
Under $2,000

Expectations:
Run the latest MMO's at full settings for the next few years.

Usage:
Gaming only.

Special Needs:
Want it quiet, minimal, not flashy.

Ticket Number: 687514
Total Price with Instant Savings: $1,967.00

Specifications:
Chassis Model: Special Deal Hot Seller - Corsair Obsidian 550D
Exterior Finish: - Standard Factory Finish
Trim Accents: - Standard Factory Finish
Processor: Intel Core i5 3570K 3.40 GHz (Unlocked CPU) (Quad Core) (Requires Z77 Motherboard)
Motherboard: ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 (Intel Z77 Chipset) (Features Thermal Armor and Thermal Radar) <b></b>
System Memory: 8GB DDR3 1600MHz Digital Storm Certified Performance Series (Highly Recommended) (Hand Tested)
Power Supply: 850W Corsair TX850 V2 (Dual SLI Compatible) <b></b>
Expansion Bay: - No Thanks
Hard Drive Set 1: Operating System: 1x (120GB Solid State (By: Corsair) (Model: Force GT Series CSSD-F120GBGT-BK) (SATA 6Gbps) <b></b>
Set 1 Raid Options: - No Thanks
Hard Drive Set 2: Multimedia\Data: - No Thanks
Hard Drive Set 3: Backup\Misc.: - No Thanks
Optical Drive 1: DVD-R/RW/CD-R/RW (DVD Writer 24x / CD-Writer 48x)
Optical Drive 2: - No Thanks
Internet Access: High Speed Network Port (Supports High-Speed Cable / DSL / Network Connections)
Video Card: 1x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 2GB (Includes PhysX) (Overclocked EVGA 02G-P4-2672-BR) <b></b>
Add-on Card: - No Thanks
Sound Card: Integrated Motherboard Audio
Extreme Cooling: H20: Stage 2: Digital Storm Vortex 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
Internal Lighting: - No Thanks
Enhancements: - No Thanks
Chassis Mods: - No Thanks
Noise Reduction: - No Thanks
LaserMark: - No Thanks
Boost Processor: Stage 2: Overclock CPU 4.5GHz to 4.8GHz (Requires Pro/Deluxe/Sabertooth Motherboard) <b></b>
Boost Video Card: FREE: Yes, Overclock the video card(s) as much as possible with complete stability <b></b>
Boost Memory: - No Thanks, Please do not overclock my memory
Boost OS: FREE: Yes, Disable and tweak all of the non-crucial services on the operating system <b></b>
Windows OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (64-Bit Edition)
Recovery Tools: Windows Recovery Toolkit (Bundled with Windows 7 CD)
Virus Protection: - No Thanks
Office: - No Thanks
Game: - No Thanks
Display: - No Thanks
Surge Shield: - No Thanks
Speakers: - No Thanks
Keyboard: - No Thanks
Mouse: - No Thanks
External Storage: - No Thanks
Exclusive T-Shirt: - No Thanks
Priority Build: - No Thanks, Ship Within 10-15 Business Days After Order Is Successfully Processed
Warranty: Life-time Expert Customer Care with 3 Year Limited Warranty
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  Quote Rettic Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 12 May 2012 at 6:51pm
Also, if anyone see's opportunities for savings (where I may have gone needlessly overboard), I'd love to hear that as well.

o7
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  Quote Sirus Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 12 May 2012 at 8:22pm
You really want to add another drive that is not a SSD (solid state drive) for your files.  I'm not as familiar with new SSD tech, but if they're the same as old, then you develop bad spots after re-writing on them enough.  You want probably a 7200 RPM drive for your secondary.  Note:  This means C:\ will be your SSD, which you should not use for anything besides the OS itself.  D:\ will be your HDD storage drive, for programs and all other files.  Also it's probably a little overboard to do a Stage 2 overclock on your CPU with your intended use.
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  Quote Tucquan Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 12 May 2012 at 9:14pm
I've been putting a config together in another thread with a build similar to yours but with a secondary HDD. I plan on putting the OS and GW2 on the primary SSD for max game performance.
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  Quote Sirus Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 13 May 2012 at 7:52am
Don't put your games on the SSD.  Over time the constant write/rewrite on the drive will ruin it.  A 7200 RPM HDD will be more than fast enough for your games.
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  Quote Rettic Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 13 May 2012 at 10:02am
Cool. Makes sense. I'll either add an HDD storage for games or just switch to it entirely.

And thanks @Tacquan. Checked out your rig.. looks like a beast. Definitely similar to mine in a lot of ways but I'm just cutting a few more corners to keep the cost down.

I noticed you chose not to overclock your video card even though it's free. Is there a drawback to doing this I'm not aware of?

Also, if I decide to add a second graphics card to this rig in the future, does anyone see potential issues?
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  Quote bprat22 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 13 May 2012 at 10:36am
Hi Rettic.....You've been getting some great advice.  I'm kinda late to this, but here's my thoughts.
 
Your build looks real good, but for the best I'd make a couple of changes.
 
The 550D is a great looking case but you might end up adding a fan or two for temps.  It only has 2x 120mm fans in front and another 120mm fan in back.  No side or top fan to get the heat out, esp. if you ever went sli.
 
We recommend the HafX case (Dreadnought).  It's front 230mm fan, side and top 200mm fans makes it the best air cooled case.  The 550D is quiet until you pull the side or top noise dampening material to add fans.  the HafX fans turn slow, are reasonably quiet and move a ton of air. 
 
I would change the cpu cooler to the D14 for the best air cooled cooler and quiet.  The one you picked isn't all that great.  The D14 or Phanteks are very relaible with not much to go wrong.
 
Your mobo and psu does allow sli in the future.
 
We normally recommend not doing the free video oc'ing.  It's added stress on the card for little or no gain.
 
Don't forget the free t-shirtDrooling
 
The cpu, mobo, psu, gpu and oc'ing all are right on.
 
Just my thoughts.  Se what you think and good luckBig%20SmileBig%20Smile
 
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  Quote FrankW Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 13 May 2012 at 12:30pm
Hi Rettic,

Follow bprat22's suggestions.

Todays SSD is very reliable and your computer will probably be retired before you have read/write failures with your SSD. The best choice on DS is the Intel 520 model. If money is a consideration you might consider the Corsair SSD. The 180Gb is a great size but the 120Gb will also do the job. Load your OS and the games that you play most often and you will be good. You can move games back and forth between a HDD and the SDD.

Frank
HAF 922
EVGA X58 LE
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Corsair 750TX
HDD-1TB
Optical Drv
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  Quote Tucquan Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 13 May 2012 at 12:40pm
Originally posted by Rettic

Cool. Makes sense. I'll either add an HDD storage for games or just switch to it entirely.

And thanks @Tacquan. Checked out your rig.. looks like a beast. Definitely similar to mine in a lot of ways but I'm just cutting a few more corners to keep the cost down.

I noticed you chose not to overclock your video card even though it's free. Is there a drawback to doing this I'm not aware of?

Also, if I decide to add a second graphics card to this rig in the future, does anyone see potential issues?
 
I'm getting this video card.  1x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 2GB (Includes PhysX) (Overclocked EVGA 02G-P4-2672-BR)
 
You'll note that it is already overclocked.  Do a google search on the specs of this overclocked card and you'll see it doesn't need anything additional and is definitely worth the extra couple of bucks. 
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  Quote Rettic Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 14 May 2012 at 5:55am
Thanks guys! The feedback helps a lot. I'm going to take everything into consideration and hopefully order this hog in the next few months.
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  Quote Becks Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 14 May 2012 at 6:12am
Originally posted by FrankW

Hi Rettic,

Follow bprat22's suggestions.

Todays SSD is very reliable and your computer will probably be retired before you have read/write failures with your SSD. The best choice on DS is the Intel 520 model. If money is a consideration you might consider the Corsair SSD. The 180Gb is a great size but the 120Gb will also do the job. Load your OS and the games that you play most often and you will be good. You can move games back and forth between a HDD and the SDD.

Frank


FrankW is 100% correct. Trim will be automatically performed with Windows 7 on the Intel 520. No need to give it a 2nd thought. The whole point of an SSD is faster read/write speeds. Load the OS and the games you play on the SSD. Otherwise your just wasting the technology.
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  Quote Rettic Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 14 May 2012 at 8:31am
Originally posted by Becks


FrankW is 100% correct. Trim will be automatically performed with Windows 7 on the Intel 520. No need to give it a 2nd thought. The whole point of an SSD is faster read/write speeds. Load the OS and the games you play on the SSD. Otherwise your just wasting the technology.


Ok that's good news. Now if I truly will only have the OS and and handful of games on this machine, do you think I can forego the second HDD entirely to save cost? with the option to install the second drive later down the road if/when it's needed?
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  Quote Becks Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 14 May 2012 at 9:05am
With A 120GB SSD Drive:

The Win 7 OS will and BF3 with updates will use 70 GB of the 120GB SSD.

You can use a 120GB SSD to run the OS and a few games. At a later date you can always get an HDD.
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  Quote FrankW Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 14 May 2012 at 9:06am
Hi Rettic,

Adding a HDD down the road is not hard to do and if that helps with the money, go for it.

You will have to be carefull about sizing the SSd if that is all you have. The Sandforce controller doesn't do garbage collection until all memory blocks have been wrote to. So after all memory block are wrote to there is a hit on the write speeds do to the controller clearing memory before it can write. If you fill up the SSD with stuff that could be on a HDD you hit the write speed reduction right away. It is not a real problem but just something to be aware of.

Frank
HAF 922
EVGA X58 LE
6GB DS Certified
Corsair 750TX
HDD-1TB
Optical Drv
ATI Radeon 5870
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  Quote Rettic Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 26 May 2012 at 9:11pm
Thanks again for all the help so far, guys.

Another few questions I have since doing more research:

- @bprat22 recommended the Noctua D14 air cooler over the standard factory, which makes sense. But why not go H20: Stage 2: Digital Storm Vortex Liquid cooler for essentially the same price (actually $30 less) than the D14. Is liquid cooling not always better?

- I'm becoming more conscious of avoiding overheat issues. Will the stage 2 over clock on the i5 processor generate any level of extra heat that outweighs the benefits?
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  Quote bprat22 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 27 May 2012 at 4:10am
Hi Rettic...The Vortex cooler you initially picked is not the best unit for the job.  For another $30 I would go D14 or the 240mm liquid cooler .  The D14 is an air cooler, it's big block of cooling fins leaving very little to go wrong and the D14 is quiet and will cool that chip at stage 2 oc no problem,
 
The 240mm unit is basically the Corsair H100 if you want to look it up.  It is the first "H" cooler that I feel cools great and stays quiet on low and medium fan settings.  The Vortex units are not true liquid cooling.  These are sealed units that require no maintenance. 
 
The D14 is the most reliable and the 240mm unit doesn't take up as much room but has a small pump and fan control built in that can cause a problem, but they have a pretty good track record.  Your call as always, but we always go D14.
 
Hope this helps.Big%20Smile
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  Quote Rettic Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 29 May 2012 at 7:36pm
I DID IT . Order is in the bag. Thanks for all the help guys. Big shout out @bpratt22, @Tucquan, @FrankW, and @Becks for the great feedback.

(@bprat22 - I did decide to stick with the 550D case after some reassurance from DS that cooling will be fine, and I'll just mod it in the future if/when I go SSL. But thanks again for the HAFX rec… I'm just too much of a sucker for minimal design.)

The sexy lady is as follows:

System Configuration:
Chassis Model: Special Deal Hot Seller - Corsair Obsidian 550D
Exterior Finish: - Standard Factory Finish
Trim Accents: - Standard Factory Finish
Processor: Intel Core i5 3570K 3.40 GHz (Unlocked CPU) (Quad Core) (Requires Z77 Motherboard)
Motherboard: ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 (Intel Z77 Chipset) (Features Thermal Armor and Thermal Radar)
System Memory: 8GB DDR3 1600MHz Digital Storm Certified Performance Series (Highly Recommended) (Hand Tested)
Power Supply: 850W Corsair TX850 V2 (Dual SLI Compatible)
Expansion Bay: - No Thanks
Hard Drive Set 1: Operating System: 1x (120GB Solid State (By: Corsair) (Model: Force GT Series CSSD-F120GBGT-BK) (SATA 6Gbps)
Set 1 Raid Options: - No Thanks
Hard Drive Set 2: Multimedia\Data: - No Thanks
Hard Drive Set 3: Backup\Misc.: - No Thanks
Optical Drive 1: DVD-R/RW/CD-R/RW (DVD Writer 24x / CD-Writer 48x)
Optical Drive 2: - No Thanks
Internet Access: High Speed Network Port (Supports High-Speed Cable / DSL / Network Connections)
Video Card(s): 1x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 2GB (Includes PhysX) (Overclocked EVGA 02G-P4-2672-BR)
Add-on Card: - No Thanks
Sound Card: Integrated Motherboard Audio
Extreme Cooling: AIR: Stage 2: Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 Extreme Performance
H20 Tube Color: - Not Applicable, I do not have a FrostChill or Sub-Zero LCS Cooling System Selected
Chassis Airflow: Standard Factory Chassis Fans
Internal Lighting: - No Thanks
Enhancements: - No Thanks
Chassis Mods: - No Thanks
Noise Reduction: - No Thanks
LaserMark: - No Thanks
CPU Boost: Stage 2: Overclock CPU 4.5GHz to 4.8GHz (Requires Pro/Deluxe/Sabertooth Motherboard)
Graphics Boost: - No Thanks, Please do not overclock my video card(s)
Memory Boost: - No Thanks, Please do not overclock my memory
OS Boost: FREE: Yes, Disable and tweak all of the non-crucial services on the operating system
Windows OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (64-Bit Edition)
Recovery Tools: Windows Recovery Toolkit (Bundled with Windows 7 CD)
Virus Protection: - No Thanks
Office: - No Thanks
Game: - No Thanks
Display: - No Thanks
Surge Shield: - No Thanks
Speakers: - No Thanks
Keyboard: - No Thanks
Mouse: - No Thanks
External Storage: - No Thanks
Exclusive T-Shirt: FREE: Digital Storm T-Shirt - Black (Small)
Priority Build: - No Thanks, Ship Within 10-15 Business Days After Order Is Successfully Processed
Warranty: Life-time Expert Customer Care with 3 Year Limited Warranty
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  Quote Asangard Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 29 May 2012 at 7:41pm
Cool Congrats Rettic.  Post pics when you get it so we can all share in your joy.
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  Quote Becks Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 29 May 2012 at 8:05pm
Way to go Rettic ! Looks like a really nice rig. You'll be slaying dragons and shooting the enemy in awesomeness (-:

Now the dreaded wait begins.. Time to build the crib and getting ready for your best friend .... The UPS man !
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  Quote bprat22 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 May 2012 at 6:11am
Rettic.....Great build. Awesome
 
Love to see pics after you unpack it and play for awhile.
 
The 550D case is a very good case and the best looking and quiet as -is.  It's reviews are great.  I always mention the HafX first but with the gtx 670 exiting the heat out the back, unlike previous cards, this will fly real nice.Big%20Smile
 
 


Edited by bprat22 - 30 May 2012 at 6:13am
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  Quote FrankW Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 May 2012 at 9:24am
Hi Rettic, you did good with your build. You made compromise where it wouldn't hurt and came up with good performance within your budget. Good job.

Frank
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  Quote Rettic Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 01 Jun 2012 at 12:08pm
Just an FYI in case anyone is interested in this build in the future: I was informed by DS that the D14 fan unfortunately will not fit in the 550D chassis (quite a beast, that fan), so I switched to the H100. They confirmed that'd be a good fit.

JUST ENTERED STAGE 4! SQUEEEEEEEE—ahem…I mean, that's cool.
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  Quote bprat22 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 01 Jun 2012 at 12:11pm
Good to know about the 550d and D14.    Thanks.  
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  Quote IgnorantBastrd Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 03 Jun 2012 at 2:27am
Its good that you made the change to the better computer.
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  Quote Rettic Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 04 Jun 2012 at 7:59am
After much work this weekend, the crib room is completely ready and waiting for the new baby. I'm hoping it might possibly show up this week since it's already on Stage 5 as of last Friday.

Just because I know you guys will appreciate my gushing more than my poor coworkers, here's where I landed on the hardware/periphs to accompany my Slade:

Keyboard - Corsair K90

Mouse - Razer Naga - I've actually had this one for a while and enjoy it.

Headset - Corsair 1500 - Want to see if I'm happy with the USB route, though I know it's not top of the line. If I feel it's lacking I'll invest in a proper sound card and go analog through it.

Monitor - Samsung S27B550V 27" - Tried the Dell Ultrasharp 23" first and just wasn't satisfied with how small it looked on my desk…decided 27" was the way to go and this one was a comparable price with overall good reviews. The Ultrasharp was definitely a little more true of a picture, but for gaming I think the Samsung will be great.

Thanks for indulging me. Back to the waiting game. I'll be sure to post pics of the space when I get the rig.

Edited by Rettic - 04 Jun 2012 at 8:00am
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  Quote bprat22 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 04 Jun 2012 at 8:29am
Thanks for the update.  Big%20Smile
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  Quote Rettic Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 20 Jun 2012 at 8:24am
Guys, GUYS, my Slade should be showing up today. I feel like I've been in labor for the past week…longest delivery of my life.
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  Quote Rettic Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 22 Jun 2012 at 12:10pm
Update: Got the machine. Really attractive presentation. Couldn't be happier with the way it looks inside and out.

However on the performance side things have been a pretty rocky start. After installing my peripheral drivers (keyboard, mouse, headset, HDD, etc.) on day one, I began to get a reoccurring BSOD at random about every 30mins-1hour. Happened whether I was in a game, just browsing online, or completely idle. I cleared and reinstalled some drivers the next day, and ran CCleaner to fix registries and things were looking good for a while.

But since then, Battlefield 3 has been completely unable to launch multiplayer (after a few fresh install attempts), so I can't benchmark with that. Portal 2 has given me BSOD when I tried high settings, and crashes to desktop after I play for a few mins on normal settings.

The only game that hasn't given me any trouble so far is Witcher 2, which runs beautifully at Ultra settings (minus-ubersampling) at 60fps.

I know a hundred things could be causing these issues that aren't necessarily related to the build, but I can't help but feel like I've got some core instabilities at work.

I've put in a support ticket to DS for the latest Portal 2 BSOD. We'll see what they say.
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  Quote xii Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 22 Jun 2012 at 12:26pm
They'll sort you out - no doubts.

Originally posted by Rettic

I've put in a support ticket to DS for the latest Portal 2 BSOD. We'll see what they say.


That BSOD is your computer trying to tell you The Cake is a Lie.



Sorry... couldnt resist. Big%20Smile


Edited by xii - 22 Jun 2012 at 12:27pm
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  Quote Alex Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 22 Jun 2012 at 12:34pm
Sorry to hear about that. I would recommend first removing the drivers/software for your accessories to see if the issues go away, as the system passed all of our testing when it left our facility.
 
If the issues still occur, re-seat your memory sticks and video card(s) to see if that helps, as shipping shocks and vibrations can dislodge hardware components.
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  Quote Rettic Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 22 Jun 2012 at 5:14pm
Thanks for the help Alex.

THE CAKE IS NOT A LIE!

I just re-seated my memory and video card per your suggestion, and uninstalled all the drivers for my peripherals, and suddenly everything is working beautifully!

Portal 2 runs at full blast without a hitch.
BF3 now lets me into multiplayer at ultra-settings.
No strange crashes or restarts.

Now I'm going to carefully installed one driver at a time for my peripherals and test the same games. If I don't find that a driver is the culprit, I'll assume something just got shaken in shipping.

Getting excited again.
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Alex View Drop Down
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  Quote Alex Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 24 Jun 2012 at 1:35pm
Glad to hear! Big%20Smile
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Rettic View Drop Down
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  Quote Rettic Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 05 Jul 2012 at 8:25am
Hey folks, just wanted to share the pics I promised. Just loving this machine… the GTX670 hasn't even batted an eye at a game I've thrown at it. Ultra everything, 60+ frames. It's killer.

Behold the nerd throne.
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  Quote bprat22 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 05 Jul 2012 at 8:34am
Nice setup.  Enjoy.Awesome
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  Quote xii Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 05 Jul 2012 at 8:46am
I approve of these pictures.

What kinda keyboard?
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