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Discussion Starter #1
Ive just purchased myself a Mini-Itx gaming system as a start to building a nice gaming setup, nothing extreme but hoping to get a 1080p setup running most games on high settings at 60fps. If I can then it might be good bye to the Xbox One.

So system has arrived and Im happy with most of it although I know for sure I will be upgrading the graphics card and possibly adding an SSD for booting.

Below is the spec that I know of :

i5 3570K Ivy Bridge
Z77N-Wifi Mini Itx board
8gb Corsair Vengence 1600mhz ram
Nvidia GT 640 2gb

So first query is looking at the system under CPU-Z it states core speed at 1601.35mhz and bus speed 100.08mhz (this is on idle windows 7 screen). Is this right or am I missing something as on my Xps laptop my core speed is 2800mhz and bus speed 800mhz.

Second query is DRAM frequency is 667mhz, should this not be 1600mhz?

And finally what GFX card do I go for? Ideally want to spend £150ish and have been looking at GTX660 but wondering whether to stretch to 670 or even 680 2nd hand card.

Any help greatly appreciated :)
 

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Ive just purchased myself a Mini-Itx gaming system as a start to building a nice gaming setup, nothing extreme but hoping to get a 1080p setup running most games on high settings at 60fps. If I can then it might be good bye to the Xbox One.

So system has arrived and Im happy with most of it although I know for sure I will be upgrading the graphics card and possibly adding an SSD for booting.

Below is the spec that I know of :

i5 3570K Ivy Bridge
Z77N-Wifi Mini Itx board
8gb Corsair Vengence 1600mhz ram
Nvidia GT 640 2gb

So first query is looking at the system under CPU-Z it states core speed at 1601.35mhz and bus speed 100.08mhz (this is on idle windows 7 screen). Is this right or am I missing something as on my Xps laptop my core speed is 2800mhz and bus speed 800mhz.

Second query is DRAM frequency is 667mhz, should this not be 1600mhz?

And finally what GFX card do I go for? Ideally want to spend £150ish and have been looking at GTX660 but wondering whether to stretch to 670 or even 680 2nd hand card.

Any help greatly appreciated :)
The 1.6 ghz reported CPU speed will be likely due to Interl SpeedStep technology, or something similar being enabled in the BIOS (manufacturers often hahve their own way of throttling CPU's). It's reporting that because the CPU gets clocked down when its not under any load, its how they can report such low power consumption and thermal dissipation figures.

go into the BIOS and disable evrything like Turbo Boost, Speed Step, etc.. and it should then run at the 3.4Ghz it's meant to. While you're there you could even consider overclocking it slightly. 3.8Ghz is easy to achieve with little to no effect on CPU longevity.

Your RAM speed being reported as 667Mhz. THere could be a few issues here. First off you need to know that CPUz is reporting the true clock speed of the RAM sticks. the advertised speed of the RAM is DDR speeds, Dual (or Double) Data Rate. So the figure you're actually looking for in CPUz is 800Mhz. The reason for it running at 667Mhz could be one of a few things, the simpler of which is simply that the ITX board doesnt fully support the speeds of 1600Mhz DDR RAM. It may say it works with it, but you'll need to check if ti actually supports the speeds and won't just clock the faster RAM sticks down like you're possibly seeing here.

Second, is that the RAM sticks themselves are throttling themselves due to lack of voltage. This can be changed in the BIOS also, you'll be lookin for something called DRAM Voltage. Whatever the value currently sits at, add 0.05v to it and reboot and see if it helps. This is crucial not to increase this too far in a single step. You can quite easily break things here.. So say it's at 1.5v, set it to 1.55v. If this on its own does help, leave it set to the higher value and then go in search of anothervoltage setting named Northbridge Votlage, sometimes reffered to as CPU NB voltage, or just CPU voltage (Not to be confused with CPU CORE or CPU vCORE, dont touch those. Do the same to the NB value if you can find it.

Graphics cards... A big qustion lol.. I have a GTX670, and can comfortably run any new games on high-ultra on a 22" 1920x1080 monitor. I dont really monitor FPS that much as I'm not that picky, but I know it certainly doesnt bog down, and I never drop any frames, there isnt ever a point at which I think, wow this is laggy... Its fluid all the time, never misses a beat. With the GTX780 and 780Ti release, its pushed the prices of the cards like mine down a lot, so they're a really nice price atm. plus you have the option to SLi another one in the future and not have to make a massive upgrade (although your ITX board probably doesnt have SLi support, not checked...

Hope this helps.

Dave.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Excellent information Dave many thanks :)

Yes my case is a Lian Li which is totally gorgeous but doesn't allow SLI. I will be buying a 20"-22" monitor purely for web work etc but have Hdmi direct to my 42" Panasonic TV.

Do I need to check fans etc before overclocking things? Ive noticed in a spare box a large Intel Fan with big alloy fin sink which Im guessing is the standard CPU cooler so perhaps I need to look at CPU on the motherboard (cant see it as the Power Supply is in the way).

Will start looking at deals on GTX670, should I be looking for cards with more than 2GB of ram and also I want one that is quiet as the hope is to get the PC as near to silent as possible.
 

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Excellent information Dave many thanks :)

Yes my case is a Lian Li which is totally gorgeous but doesn't allow SLI. I will be buying a 20"-22" monitor purely for web work etc but have Hdmi direct to my 42" Panasonic TV.

Do I need to check fans etc before overclocking things? Ive noticed in a spare box a large Intel Fan with big alloy fin sink which Im guessing is the standard CPU cooler so perhaps I need to look at CPU on the motherboard (cant see it as the Power Supply is in the way).

Will start looking at deals on GTX670, should I be looking for cards with more than 2GB of ram and also I want one that is quiet as the hope is to get the PC as near to silent as possible.
They've probably put on a smaller heatsink/fan on the CPu to fit in the case easier if its small. Ideally you probably want at least the stock cooler on it when overclocking. If what they've put on removes less heat then that's not great for overclocking. That being said, just get something like SpeedFan and monitor your core temperatures when doing it. You cant really break anything, as the PC just wont boot if you push it too far, in which case you'll just reset the BIOS and try again.

Also, graphics cards, these days you dont really want to go less than 2Gb on vRAM. 2Gb is a nice amount though, not many games utilise 3 or 4Gb...
 

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Right just an update on this. PC has been performing fine in current spec but have just fitted a GTX680 2GB card and chucked a bit of Sim City on. Can now run it on highest settings at 1080p and it runs at 60fps so well happy. Will probably purchase BF4 now to see how it copes.

I have installed Speedfan and when I came out of the game GPU temp was 51 degrees. What should I expect to see with BF4 without worrying?

Also any programs that are good for controlling the fan on the GPU etc to keep temps down?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Also found out my CPU cooler and 140mm intake fan are Noctua ones which is a nice bonus. Must now look at getting my ram upto 1600mhz and perhaps cpu to 3.8ghz.
 
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