James’s Rig (Extreme) : 29 January 2012 – 20 February 2012 (latest build here)
I have upgraded my rig to ‘Extreme’ mainly due to the Graphics Cards (here) I am now running in SLI. Also I demand a high performing rig, my motto is ‘if you can’t turn all the settings on, it’s time to upgrade, simple!’.
I mainly play FPS games and some of my favorites are (Stalker, Metro 2033 & Battlefield 3), I also seem to be unusual in that I dont just play these games I finish almost all of them! This has obviously seen me sat in front of my PC for many a year and in that time I have learnt a great deal of what makes up a great gaming rig…
All of James’s testing/gaming will be carried out on a Hazro HZ27WC (Glass version) monitor (native resolution 2560×1440).
|CPU Speed – 4.388GHz||CPU Voltage – 1.352v||CPU Base Clock – 102MHz||CPU Multiplyer – 43|
|Memory Speed – 1633MHz||Memory Voltage – Auto (1.5v)||Memory Timings – 8-8-8-24 2T|
|GPU Speed – 940MHz||GPU Memory Speed – 2200MHz|
|3DMark 11 – 12255||Unigine Heaven – 1635||Metro 2033 – 59.00 FPS||Batman Arkham City – 100 FPS|
* Please note that the benchmark settings have recently beeen modified to enable better comparisons (please check the settings for further detail)
This rig is monitored 24/7 by a power meter and the max power consumption is constantly monitored (max power recorded = 793W).
|Case||Antec Twelve Hundred V3|
|After reviewing the Antec Twelve Hundred V3 case in September I realised just how good this case was and that it was time to replace my Silverstone FT02B case with this one. Why? Well although the Silverstone is an extremely good well built case with great cooling, it has some issues (weight, CPU cut-out in wrong place/too small and to access the MB backplate ports you have to remove the top of the case, not to mention the £220 price tag). The Antec is far easier to work with has similar CPU cooling and better GPU cooling costing approx £90 less, I think that says it all really!|
|Power Supply||Corsair Professional Series™ Gold AX1200 High Performance 1200W|
|The power supply for a high end gaming rig such as this needs to do a little more than just work. Most importantly it needs to remain stable and deliver constant voltages to all of the components of the rig all while the rig is heavily overclocked. The Corsair AX1200 seems to do this without breaking a sweat, although the 1200W version of the AX range is a little overkill for this rig it ensures that the PSU is never under excess load and also remains relatively cool. To date the PSU has performed faultlessly and I would buy another, but quality does come at cost…|
|Motherboard||MSI Z68A-GD80 G3|
|After experiencing the annoying multi-boot problem of the Asus P8P67 Pro, I couldn’t wait to find a replacement, but I had to wait some time before I was to find one! Finally a worthy candidate arrived in the shape of the MSI Z68A-GD80 G3 (I know bit of a mouthful that one). After reviewing the board in January and finding it to be everything that I was looking forr (looks good, high quality & high performance and surprisingly good value for money) it was destined to not leave my rig. Using this board I was ablee to overclock my power hungry 2500K to 4.9GHz without issue and my system remained super stable too, what more can I say…|
|CPU||Intel Core i5-2500K 3.30GHz (Sandybridge Socket LGA1155)|
|The CPU really is a stunner due to it’s stock (3.3GHz) performance being stunning and its overclocked performance (up to 4.9GHz) being out of this world. Paying an additional £100 for the Core-i7 2600K will also net you no real benefit for gaming. We have proven in this article that really you don’t even need to run the CPU at much more than 4.3GHz. My rig is now running at 4.327GHz (using a 103 Base Clock) by utilizing the ‘Asus optimal’ setting in the ASUS P8P67 BIOS. What more can I say other than awesome, maybe I should buy a spare…|
|CPU Cooler||Zalman CNPS11X Extreme|
|My previous cooler (Corsair A50) was a great cooler at a great price, but was never gonna win any design awards! When the Zalman CNPS11X Extreme was reviewed and it cooled better than the A50 I decided that it would just have to stay in my rig. Although more expensive than the A50 it’s a great looking cooler and with its increased cooling performance it’s sure to be a winner.|
|Memory (RAM)||Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer 8GB|
|Having tested this 8GB kit during a recent review and being impressed by its performance, it was finally time to upgrade to 8GB. Although it wasn’t really the additional 4GB that persuaded be it was the lights! – Video here|
|Graphics||MSI GTX 580 Lightning Xtreme 3GB|
|I never thought that I would change my pair of Palit GTX 580s, but after reviewing the Hazro HZ27C monitor (2560×1440) and keeping it, I was on the lookout for more graphics horsepower! The answer was x2 MSI GTX580 Lightning Xtremes (review here/SLI article here), not only did the additional GPU Core & Memory overclocks deliver more performance but more importantly these cards are equipped with 3GB of VRAM, a must for high resolution gaming…|
|Storage (HDD/SSD)||Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD|
My previous SSD was the impressive Crucial C300 128GB and this served me well for a number of months, but I must admit the capacity was becoming difficult to work with.
Then along came the Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD for review and quite frankly once it was in my rig it was never going leave ;-). The stunning performance (555MB/s Read & 510MB/s Write) along with the far better capacity was enough to win me over. But combine this with the extras in the bundle and the deal was easily sealed…
|Monitor||Hazro HZ27WC (Glass version)|
|After testing the Hazro HZ27WC the monitor was destined for only on place and that was on my desk. I’m very impressed by this monitor and it makes my old Dell look rather dull by comparison. The vibrancy of the colours and the sheer brilliance and clarity of the screen meant that I could just never part with it after the review. At the time of the review this monitor was £380, at that price I think it’s a steal…|
|Keyboard||Steelseries Merc Stealth|
|I have been using one of these keyboards for around 4 years and I think it’s great. So great in fact that I have just bought another one in case it packs up. Before this I had a Zboard but got bored with buying/swapping keysets. I love the butterfly WASD setup and could never go back to a normal keyboard again, but bear in mind that it takes a little getting used to at first (Eric!). The main keyboard has a full UK QWERTY setup and supports audio, USB and more importantly is illuminated (blue, red or purple) for those late night gaming sessions…|
|One thing that I never thought I would do was to move away from a Razer DeathAdder, but one day I got to review the ROCCAT Kone[+]. As you can see from the review I was so impressed, I kept it (lucky me!).|
|After my old Razer Barracuda eventually gave up the ghost after about 4 years of service it was time to buy a new headset. Even though I had recently reviewed the Razer Carcharias and the Corsair HS1 headsets, I ended up buying a pair of ROCCAT Kaves. Within days of trialling this headset (Eric lent me his) I was convinced the the feeling of spacial awareness in game was definitely better than any headset that I had used in the past. More here…|