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Published on March 6th, 2013 | by Brandon

25

PC Build Guide – March 2013

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Welcome to the March version of our PC build guides. As with before, we have implemented hard price limits ($500, $800, $1300, $1800) on ourselves and have had to make tough decisions with each build. Your personal budget will likely be flexible, but we hope this article will give you a baseline. You can of course spend more or spend less, but you run into a case of diminishing returns at either end. Please keep in mind that pricing information is immediate and may not necessarily reflect real prices by the time you have read this article.

The build guides are back after a brief hiatus for the month of February. While we saw prices decreasing pretty consistently each month toward the end of 2012, the first quarter of 2013 has seen prices on some components rebounding and putting heavy pressure on our price ceilings. This month, the two lower builds have taken a slight step back compared to recent months, but we still think they’re the best current options you’ll find. Check out our recommendations for this month below!

 

The Starter ($500 maximum)

Part list permalink: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/I0Bk

  • CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 ($122.98 @ SuperBiiz)
  • Motherboard: MSI Z77A-G41 ATX LGA1155 ($83.98 @ SuperBiiz)
  • Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600 ($47.99 @ Amazon)
  • Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($72.04 @ Outlet PC)
  • Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB ($109.98 @ Newegg)
  • Case: NZXT Gamma Classic (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case¬† ($34.21 @ Amazon)
  • Power Supply: Thermaltake TR2 500W ($27.99 @ Microcenter)

Total: $499.17

 

The Sweet Spot ($800 maximum)

Part list permalink: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/HCzZ

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K ($226.98 @ SuperBiiz)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus ($24.98 @ Outlet PC)
  • Motherboard: MSI Z77A-G45 ATX LGA1155 ($116.99 @ Amazon)
  • Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1866 ($49.30 @ Newegg)
  • Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($72.04 @ Outlet PC)
  • Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB ($224.99 @ Newegg)
  • Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($59.99 @ Newegg)
  • Power Supply: Thermaltake TR2 600W ($29.99 @ Microcenter)

Total: $799.95

 

The Enthusiast ($1300 maximum)

Part list permalink: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/HCI8

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K ($314.99 @ Newegg)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus ($24.98 @ Outlet PC)
  • Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 ($134.99 @ Amazon)
  • Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1866 ($49.30 @ Newegg)
  • Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($72.04 @ Outlet PC)
  • Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5″ SSD ($92.99 @ Adorama)
  • Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB ($389.99 @ Newegg)
  • Case: Cooler Master HAF 922 ATX Mid Tower Case ($95.98 @ Newegg)
  • Power Supply: Corsair Professional 650W ($109.99 @ Newegg)

Total: $1278.94

 

The Professional ($1800 maximum)

Part list permalink: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/I0Qp

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K ($314.99 @ Newegg)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus ($24.98 @ Outlet PC)
  • Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 ($134.99 @ Amazon)
  • Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3-1866 ($99.99 @ Newegg)
  • Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM($69.98 @ Outlet PC)
  • Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5″ SSD ($159.99 @ Newegg)
  • Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB – 2-Way SLI ($369.99 @ Newegg)
  • Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB – 2-Way SLI ($369.99 @ Newegg)
  • Case: Antec Eleven Hundred ATX Full Tower Case ($111.98 @ Newegg)
  • Power Supply: Corsair Professional 750W ($139.99 @ Newegg)

Total: $1796.87

 

Have a suggestion? Leave it in the comments!


vol1tion

BrandonBrandon

Brandon started his PC gaming days playing Doom II (IDDQD/IDKFA for life) and has been hooked on online gaming since the original Starsiege: Tribes. The way to his heart is through proper grammar, corn dogs, and cookie cake.




  • ConstantF5

    Great guide guys! Though, are the Barracuda’s still having that consistancy issue? I know Seagate put inferrier parts in some of those, which lowered the quality in certain instances. Oh, even you already know, keep your eyes peeled for the April build, to possibly include the Fractal Arc MIDI R2. The case is supposed to drop sometime this month outside just NCIX (Curse them…) and is a great great mid tower case. It has huge airflow, can support a ton of water cooling if that is your thing, and is only 110 bucks USD.

    • Brandon

      I haven’t heard about a consistency issue with the Barracuda. It’s typically a very solid option for a 7200rpm drive.

  • Dave

    Man, I feel like that $500 build is like, $10-20 from being way better. Flexibility with your budget is key this month IMO.

    • Dan

      Yea as we always say, tailor to taste. We stick to the hardpoints because really there is no point to having price points otherwise.

      • Seth

        If you had $50 more for the $500 build, what would you change?

  • Wheelzz

    Great build guides as always!

  • RedboiDerp

    could tell me the type of games it could run and its graphics quality on each build?

  • http://www.aagcentral.com Cameron Deao

    Currently I’m running with a NVIDIA GTX 550 with a Cooler Master 500 watt power supply. Would these work well with the $800 budget build? And would it be difficult to use the current internal drive I’m using in that build? I’m looking to stream games a bit better and not turn my computer into a turbine engine every time I load up a game and XSplit or OBS.

  • Chris

    So, in reality, if you’re on a strict budget you should really take the build lower than your budget if you wanna get a sound card, operating system, disc drive, etc., right?

    • ConstantF5

      You don’t need a sound card or disc drive in your computer. The on board audio from the motherboard will get the job done unless you are an audiophile, which in that case you would spend the extra money for a good card. The disc drive is only necessary if you plan to rip things onto your computer. You can easily install an OS from a thumb drive nowadays. Speaking of OS, you will most likely install a form of Windows for gaming, so just tack that on. Steam is slowly getting more games to run off linux, but doubtful they will have enough selection for awhile, when Windows can run almost any game.

      tl;dr
      If you are on a budget you can skip on sound card and disc drive easily. If you game, add the cost of Windows to your budget. Add like 100 bucks, though you can get it cheaper for basic.

      • Chris

        Cool, thanks for all that info!

  • reckless

    Hey i was wondering, what type of games can the 800 dollar build run with no lag?

    • Metal Angel

      My current build is very similar to the $800 build here and I can run almost all of last year’s games on ultra at 1080p with vsync holding 60fps. Metro is the only older game I play that wrecks my computer (but that game looks awesome even on low). Some new games (Crysis 3) have rediculous graphics and I have to run it on medium or low to hold vsync, but these games look incredible even at those settings.

  • reckless

    Also for the 800 dollar build does the Intel Core i5-3570K fit into the MSI Z77A-G45 ATX LGA1155 motherboard

    • munkyadrian

      its an 1155 socket
      itll fit

  • Scythesin

    Hey
    I was putting together a system and wondering if the psu I selected was enough.
    Specs
    Intel i5 3570k
    Evga gtx 660
    Msi z77a-g45 1155
    Crucial ballistix 8gb
    Samsung 840 series SSD
    Seagate 1tb hd
    Hyper 212 Evo CPU cooler
    TR2 600w psu ??

    • Metal Angel

      500W is plenty for the items you listed.

      • Metal Angel

        Whoops, meant to write 600W since that’s what you listed, although 500W would still be plenty.

  • websterboy

    bah rly my rig was 1800 dollars i coulda get 2 670 and i7 for it!?!?

  • http://www.mudbunny.ca Marcel Beaudoin

    Stupid question here. The last time I built a computer was about 1 years ago. Will your $1300 build be expandable, as is, if I wanted to use 2 monitors? Also, if I am wanting to grab a monitor (for gaming and watching stuff on Netflix primarily, possibly also some very limited Photoshop) with that with a maximum horizontal space of 24″ (due to my desk), what would you recommend?

  • reckless

    i am currentily looking at the 800 dollar bulid and i notice that it doesn’t have a graphics card….i am new to all this computer stuff and i want to bulid one, so does a computer need a graphics card if it has a video car?

    • http://www.mudbunny.ca Marcel Beaudoin

      A video card is a graphics card.

    • Brandon

      As mentioned, a video card and graphics card are the same thing. :)

  • reckless

    with the 800 dollar build it says that the mother board has “on board 3.0 USB ports” but the case doesn’t have front panel USB 3.0 ports….. does this matter and if so will this effect the build?

    • Brandon

      That shouldn’t be an issue for most people. It just means that any devices plugged into the front panel will only utilize USB 2.0. If you want to utilize USB 3.0, you’ll need to plug into the motherboard itself in the rear of the case.

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