Equipped with a GTX 670 in its weapon slot, an i7-3930k CPU for its enchanted core, and armored by NZXT's Phantom case, this Diablo enthusiast gaming computer is ready to throw down the gauntlet with all dwellers of the Dungeon.
This rig excels in professional applications (it makes a solid game design and development computer, especially with such high render performance), but will happily run a few games simultaneously if you'd prefer. Overclocking is always an option with an Enthusiast rig, so keep an open mind for that, too.
Let's get to that list, Arch Angels:
|Enthusiast Parts List||Name||Price||Rebates/etc.||Total|
|Video Card||Galaxy GTX 670 2GB, 256-bit||$410||Free Shipping||$410|
|CPU||Intel i7-3930K CPU (COMBO 1)||$590||-$25, Free Op. Flashpoint |
|CPU Heatsink||Corsair H100 Liquid Cooler||$115||Free Shipping||$115|
|Memory||16GB Quad-Channel Memory||$130||Free Shipping||$130|
|Motherboard||MSI X79-GD45 (COMBO 1)||$240||-||$240|
|Power Supply||750W NZXT PSU||$160||-||$160|
|Solid-State Drive||Corsair FORCE 120GB SSD||$15||-$30||$120|
|Hard Drive||Samsung 1TB 7200RPM HDD||$80||Free Shipping||$80|
|Optical Drive||ASUS Blu-Ray Player||$95||-$20||$75|
|Case||NZXT Phantom Case||$130||Free Shipping||$130|
|Extra Fans|| |
1xCooler Master 140mm Blue Fan
Optional Add-ons (pick and choose as budget allows)
|Add-on Parts List||Name||Price||Rebates/etc.||Combined Total|
|Operating System ||Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium||$100||Free Shipping||$2016|
|Surge Protector||Belkin Surge Suppressor||$35||-||$2051|
Yeah, it's an enthusiast build, so it's a bit steep. If you'd like a mid-way build between our previously-linked $558 Diablo 3 'evil' build and this one, try our $1000 Ivy Bridge build.
Nvidia's GTX 600-series GPUs have taken the graphics world by force; in a meeting with EVGA, we were told that their GTX 680 GPUs sold out in around 2-3 minutes after being unveiled. The GTX 670, thankfully, has seen a slightly slower launch, but not by much.
Galaxy's GTX 670 video card runs most games with about twice the performance of the previous gen's GTX 570 (benchmarks here by PC Perspective), but more importantly, it's the hottest thing on the market behind the 680 and 690. In terms of gaming, you don't need more than this.
Out of stock? There's not much we can do, since almost every GTX 600-series video card is already out of stock. You could either wait or look to AMD's high-end alternatives, or refer to the previous-gen GTX cards.
Intel's i7-3930K, of the Sandy Bridge-E (LGA 2011, X79 chipset) family packs a six-core, hyperthreaded (that's 12 logical threads) punch at 3.2GHz natively, 3.8GHz Turbo. 12MB of L3 Cache ensures this CPU will never be caught in a dungeon without ample potions, and for fun, we'll make use of its quad-channel memory support in the below RAM paragraph.
This Sandy Bridge-E CPU works flawlessly with the motherboard's X79 chipset (read more about what chipsets are here) and advanced overclocking functionality, so combine that with our H100 liquid cooling unit and we've got a prime candidate for OC-ability.
Oh, and are you ready for this? Buying this $590 CPU gets you -- wait for it -- a free flashlight, valued at $15. If that doesn't tempt you, I'm not sure what will.
If $590 feels a bit low for you, there's always the $1000 variation. While you're at it, share the wealth, would ya?
Aftermarket CPU Cooler:
We need one of these for this system. Intel's enthusiast CPUs don't ship with stock coolers, so it's imperative that you purchase an aftermarket cooler that'll get the job done. Corsair's liquid cooling H100 has kept some of our systems exactly at room temperature, and better still, it allows for a ton of overclocking without generating the sound of a jet engine.
Corsair proved their worth in our Hardware Warranty Comparison Guide, and back to lay claim to their territory, we've opted for their enthusiast-grade Dominator-series memory. $130 gets you 16GB of four quad-channel (enabled by the CPU), sleek blue/black sticks that fit the theme of the build; the memory operates at 1333MHz and easily overclocks, but also includes a cooling fan add-on should you need more than the heatsinks.
The timings are very reasonable at 9-9-9-24, but the quad-channel-enabled factor and the vibrant blue are the true winners, here.
In this combo with our CPU, MSI's Military Class X79A-GD45 motherboard pairs up nicely to get a few bucks off the total. This particular motherboard has some of the nicest BIOS menus I've seen (short of, perhaps, Intel's new Visual BIOS motherboards) -- with ultra-simply OC menus, solid X.M.P profile support, a reasonable manual, and serious heat piping, this motherboard looks the part of an Arch Angel and supports plenty of future additions.
NZXT blew us away with their PSU warranty in our Warranty Guide; they reached out to ask for inclusion, and I'm glad they did. As one of the only brands (maybe the only brand) that offers cross-shipping on a PSU warranty, they can't be overlooked for other, cheaper options. Besides, NZXT's PSUs match the Phantom White-Steel color beautifully.
The power draw of the entire system, somewhat surprisingly, should peak out around 500W. Due to PSUs being imperfect and load fluctuating (and to accommodate future additions), we've selected NZXT's Hale90 750W Gold-Certified PSU (for maximum efficiency).
Since our CPU cooler is liquid-oriented and our case has larger, cooler fans, the PSU (which uses a double-ball bearing system, explained here) will probably be the loudest component in the case. It won't be crazy loud, but depending on how sensitive your ears are, it may be noticeable background noise. Need help picking a silent PSU? Comment below and ask!
Solid State Drive:
Here we are again -- back with Corsair for more. I've analyzed the viability of SSDs for gaming in the past, posted an SSD dictionary, and reviewed Kingston's HyperX 3K SSD recently. I like SSDs. They're fast.
Corsair's Force series is one of the most price-to-performance friendly solid-state drives on the consumer market right now, and you'd be silly to buy all this enthusiast hardware without an SSD (or two in RAID) to back it up. Keep in mind that storage drives are still the bottleneck in every system, so it's good to eliminate those where possible.
You get a 120GB SSD that runs smoothly at up to 85,000 IOPS for 4KB random writes (you can read about what this means in our above-linked SSD dictionary) and has sequential R/Ws of 555MB/s and 515MB/s, respectively.
Install your OS and most-used applications on the SSD, with perhaps a game or two. You can use our Steam installation mover guide to port games from one drive to another without having to reinstall things.
Feel wealthy? Getting 2xForce SSDs and putting them in striped RAID should yield fairly consistent 500MB/s R/W speeds.
Hard drive prices have finally returned to reasonable levels for the larger drives (though they are still askew for smaller ones), so it appears Western Digital's Spring prediction was mixed in its accuracy.
Since the SSD will take care of application usage, this drive will be dedicated to handling large storage. Samsung's one of the more reliable brands in HDDs at the moment, and with 1TB of data at 7200RPM being sold for $80, it's too good to pass up.
It's an enthusiast build, so why not go for Blu-Ray capabilities? If you have absolutely no interest in Blu-Ray, drop this drive (in the chart above) and add a normal CD/DVD burner instead, like this one, to save a few bucks.
It all comes down to the case in these thematic builds. The Arch Angel Tyrael watches over us as we prepare for battle against those fire-breathing Diablo worshippers, and NZXT's Phantom White/Steel case feels like a Paladin of Light who's ready to do battle with the most vile, evil creatures in the world of Sanctuary. The Phantom stands resilient and, most importantly, shiny (shinily?), prepared to vanquish the hellish heat-demons that arise from any components within.
Oh, and it's shiny. That's a good thing, as we've learned from Firefly.
Don't forget to buy the extra fans we mentioned above for optimal cooling.
That's it for this build! If you need help tweaking a build specific to your budget, please comment below and ask for help -- that's what we're here for! If you'd like to post on our forums for more detailed support, well, you're always invited and encouraged to do so.
Additionally, our facebook page, twitter page, and RSS feed are all great ways to stay on top of gaming hardware guides and gaming culture.