December 2012 System Builder Guide - High-Performance Machine

Article Index
December 2012 System Builder Guide
AMD Budget System
High-Performance Machine

High-Performance Machine:

For those who are looking for extra performance and aren’t afraid to empty their wallet a little more, we have put together a nice performance package as well.  Here we chose performance before the price tag, but still kept the prices under control.  This is a high-performance machines - not an all-expenses-spared dream machine.  Besides pure gaming performance, we aimed to give the system a quicker overall performance for both typical operating system applications and especially in multi-threaded applications.

CPU Intel Core i7 3770K 3.5 GHz ~$319.99
Motherboard Asus P8Z77-V ~$149.99
Video Card SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 7970 3GB OC with Boost / MSI GeForce GTX 670 2GB OC ~399.99
RAM Corsair Vengeance LP DDR3-1600 16GB (2 x 8GB) ~$41.99
HDD Seagate Barracude (1TB or 2TB) HDD ~$84.99 or $109.99
SSD Samsung 830 Series 256GB / Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB ~$219.99 / ~$339.99
CPU Cooler Antec Kuhler H2O 620 Liquid Cooling System ~$69.99
Case Fractal Design Define R4


PSU Corsair AX750 750W ~$179.99

Build price ~$1600

Our Intel processor of choice for this package is clearly the Intel Core i7 3770K Ivy Bridge  CPU.  In addition to outstanding performance in gaming and really low power consumption, it also offers excellent Hyperthreading technology, which gives a nice performance boost with multi-threaded applications such as image and video editing.  On top of that, this is also a processor from the K-series, which means it has an unlocked multiplier and has excellent overclocking potential.

ASUS P8Z77-V motherboard uses Intel's Z77 chipset performance and is perfect for this build.  The model offers easy to read and powerful UEFI configuration that makes it a breeze to overclock Intel unlocked processors and this can take performance to a whole new level.  It also shows good expansion opportunities as there are a lot of SATA ports, and lots of space arond the PCIe slots which gives you support for multiple graphics cards in either Crossfire or SLI.

Other good motherboard choices are the ASRock Z77 Extreme4, MSI Z77A-GD65 and the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H alternatives.

The Corsair Vengeance LP memory was chosen for this build as well, but this time around we  picked 16GB of DDR3 memory.

After some updated performance drivers, the Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB OC with Boost has quickly become a card to be reckoned with and it makes our build list this time around.  If you prefer to cheer for the green team, the Nvidia Geforce GTX 670 that has similar performance and price.  However, our decision falls this time to the AMD side of the fence due to the fact that the Sapphire card comes armed with a quiet and efficient cooler and comes factory overclocked.

A performance build of this caliber is obviously not complete without lightning fast SSD storage and here the popular Samsung 830 or the new 840 PRO 256 GB will be chosen to take up residence in our build.  The 840 Pro is a little more expensive and while the Korean company's 830/840-series may not be the fastest in the field, they have proven to be reliable and exhibit consistent performance over time.  For the storage of other data that requires a little more space, we throw in a Seagate Barracuda (1TB or 2TB).

The system's various components sit in the Fractal Design Define R4 case.  This cases innovative design makes it flexible for different applications.  The basic setup keeps noise in check, but with a few simple modifications, it can be turned into a high-performance heat-dissipating unit.

The processor is cooled in turn by Antec's proven water cooling package Kuhler H2O 620 that is relatively quiet, but also has what it takes to keep temperatures in check when the frequencies are pushed up.

Last but not least, we power the entire system on the Corsair 80 Plus Gold certified PSU AX750 750W PSU.  This unit offers a full modular design combined with high efficiency and low noise.  It provides enough power to run rock-steady during heavy overclocking and will be able to handle additional graphics cards and other upgrades in the future.

Of course, these are just a few of our recommendations and I'm sure there will be a lot of people who have different ideas.  Please feel free to leave your comments on your next (or recent) build in the forum at the link below.