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Published on May 7th, 2012 | by Brandon

24

PC Build Guide – May 2012

It’s the beginning of May, and that means it’s time for a new build guide! As before, we have implemented hard price limits ($800, $1300, $1800) on ourselves and have had to make tough decisions with each build. Your personal budget will likely be flexible, but it is our hope that this article will give you a baseline. You can of course spend more or spend less, but you run in to 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 Starter sees few changes this month, as we still find that the combination of a 2500K and a Radeon 7850 provides the best value at this price point. We also found room in the budget to move up to a beefier 500W power supply, which leaves us with a little more breathing room compared to the 430W we had in last month’s build.

Similarly, the Enthusiast sees virtually no change this month, save for the fact that we’re able to move up to a 128GB SSD (compared to last month’s 64GB), thanks to SSD prices finally dropping to under $1/GB.

Lastly, we come to the Professional, which sees the inclusion of the new top-end Ivy Bridge CPU, the 3770K, in place of last month’s 2600K and a new Z77 motherboard from Gigabyte to go along with it. We had a higher capacity SSD in last month’s build (180 GB), but we drop down to 128GB to take advantage of the aforementioned excellent pricing on the Crucial M4 right now. We leave you with a little cash left over to splurge with how you see fit–maybe for one of those badass superclocked 680s if you can ever manage to find one in stock!

 

The Starter ($800 maximum)

Part list permalink: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/7Sqe

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K ($199.99 @ NCIX US)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus ($19.99 @ Newegg)
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 ATX LGA1155 ($84.79 @ NCIX US)
  • Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600 ($46.99 @ Newegg)
  • Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($95.98 @ Amazon)
  • Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 7850 2GB ($239.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($52.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Power Supply: Cooler Master 500W ATX12V ($39.98 @ Amazon)
  • Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ SuperBiiz)

Total: $798.69

 

The Enthusiast ($1300 maximum)

Part list permalink: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/7R2a

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K ($199.99 @ NCIX US)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus ($19.99 @ Newegg)
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 ATX LGA1155 ($84.79 @ NCIX US)
  • Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600 ($46.99 @ Newegg)
  • Hard Drive: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5″ SSD ($116.95 @ B&H)
  • Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($89.99 @ Newegg)
  • Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 680 2GB ($507.55 @ Newegg)
  • Case: Corsair 400R ATX Mid Tower Case ($74.99 @ Microcenter)
  • Power Supply: Corsair 750W ATX12V / EPS12V ($138.98 @ Amazon)
  • Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ SuperBiiz)

Total: $1298.21

 

The Professional ($1800 maximum)

Part list permalink: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/7R3Q

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K ($354.48 @ eCost)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus ($19.99 @ Newegg)
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H ATX LGA1155 ($184.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Z 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3-1600 ($89.99 @ Newegg)
  • Hard Drive: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5″ SSD ($116.95 @ B&H)
  • Hard Drive: WD Caviar Black 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($134.99 @ Newegg)
  • Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 680 2GB ($507.55 @ Newegg)
  • Case: Cooler Master HAF X ATX Full Tower Case ($159.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Power Supply: Corsair 750W ATX12V / EPS12V ($138.98 @ Amazon)
  • Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ SuperBiiz)

Total: $1725.90

 

Have a suggestion? Leave it in the comments!


24 Responses to PC Build Guide – May 2012

  1. Wheelzz says:

    Nice builds. I currently run a X4 955 @3.8ghz with 8GB 1600 Ripjaws and a EVGA GTX 570 HD. If my budget is a little bit more than the i5 2500K with a Z68 board would it be smart to go with a i5 3570K and the same board as on the pro build?

    • Conaer says:

      Get Ivy Bridge and maybe a Z77 motherboard as it supports PCIe 3.0 which doesn’t matter right now, but down the road when GPUs start using it you will be glad you spent the extra monayy on it.

  2. Janzzze says:

    Try and use the uefi bios on that z77 gigabyte board i dare you.

  3. Shiike says:

    hey guys, my budget is around 1000, what would you change or add to the 800 one?
    i was thinking to add an ssd, what do you guys advice?

    thanks shiike ;)

    • Bock says:

      Adding an SSD would be my first move. Second would be getting a higher quality power supply. Third would be getting a better case (not that the 912 isn’t good).

    • sc_87fac587452c62b6a372eeaf7a9d65f2 says:

      If you have a Micro Center in your area….Head there now. You can get a i5 3570k for $190 and the Gigabyte GA-Z77M-D3H for $60 for buy the i5. Saves you $35 and you will be able to grow with this. SSD is the right choice along with a bigger PSU. But do not forget you will need Operating Software and other accessories. Monitor as well if you do not have one.

  4. Sassysassquatch says:

    Thanks for the guide bros. I’ll probably be purchasing the Starter Build very soon. I’ve needed a new build for a while. I’m currently rockin’ a HP laptop with a Radeon 4200HD
    and a Turion M500. I can’t run TF2 with a high fps config in 800×600 window lol.

  5. Ruthless Badger says:

    This will be my first build and I’m thinking of building the $1300 one, but I don’t fully understand what the SSD does. All that I’ve heard is it makes the computer boot up faster, which isn’t very important to me. So I was thinking building it without the SSD. Also if I did build it without the SSD would this mean I could use a smaller power supply or would it need 750 watts regardless.
    Thanks

    • Wheelzz says:

      Id still go with the 750HX PSU. The SSD does not use a ton of power!

    • Chezenip says:

      ya heres the differences im pretty sure all the ssd does is boot windows faster but i don’t even use 1 so idk but heres a vid of it
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bIrjwx6umdg

    • Brandon Brandon says:

      An SSD will make your OS and the programs that are stored on it load much faster than a traditional HDD. It will affect everything from in-game loading times to how long it takes to open your internet browser or MS Word.

      Adding an SSD shouldn’t change which power supply you get; your graphics card will drive that decision, for the most part. With the Enthusiast build, I’d personally stick with a 750W PSU.

  6. Y2Ken says:

    Just spotted this, seems a little off. Just a mis-click perhaps or down to the timing of when you finished each build?

    $800 build
    Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($95.98 @ Amazon)
    $1300 build
    Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($89.99 @ Newegg)

    Otherwise looks good.

    • Brandon Brandon says:

      Looks like one is an OEM drive and one is a retail box, so they’re different product listings. Slight oversight on our part, so go for the cheaper one!

  7. TehFatGuy says:

    for the starter, would replacing the 7850 for a 6870 be a wise choice? I’m new to pc gaming and need a good cheap solid gpu to start :D

  8. TehFatGuy says:

    I was thinking about getting the 560ti but If I get that i’ll have to get a cheap crappy PSU and I’d rather go all out on a good PSU, depends on how much money I actually have when it comes to buying it, thanks guys :)

  9. MrBop says:

    Is there anyway one can acquire that beautiful case in that photo?

  10. Mrapplecakes says:

    I’m going for a 1000$ build and was wondering if there was a graphics card not as cash heavy as the gtx 680?

    • Conaer says:

      The GTX670 just came out almost the exact same performance as the 680 but about $80 cheaper. It will probably be on the next build guide.

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.


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