Build Guides

Published on October 1st, 2012 | by Brandon

36

PC Build Guide – October 2012

Welcome to the October 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 biggest news this month is that we have lowered our Starter build to a price maximum of $500. While we still think the $800 build is the “sweet spot” (as indicated by its new name), we know a lot of you are looking for a build that has a lower cost up front, but still gives you a lot of upgrade potential. We think the new Starter build fits that bill perfectly: A Z77 motherboard means you can upgrade to an Ivy Bridge chip, three open RAM slots means you can stuff 12 more gigs in there, and a 500W Corsair power supply means you can upgrade to a video card as high as a GTX 660 Ti. Or you can simply stick with the parts we have chosen–a Hyper-Threaded dual-core i3 processor and the surprisingly capable Radeon 7770 aren’t too shabby in their own right, especially at lower resolutions.

Our three higher-end builds stay largely the same this month, as the hardware landscape hasn’t changed much. We did manage to squeeze in another 8GB of RAM into the Enthusiast, and we also decided on MSI GeForce GTX 670 Power Editions for our top two builds. We continue to see price drops on various components, which has led to a fair bit of breathing room with respect to our price maximums on the Enthusiast and Professional builds.

 

The Starter ($500 maximum)

Part list permalink: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/iK2d

  • CPU: Intel Core i3-2100 ($107.99 @ Amazon)
  • Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro4 ATX LGA1155 ($94.99 @ Amazon)
  • Memory: Crucial Ballistix 4GB (1x4GB) DDR3-1600 ($18.98 @ NCIX US)
  • Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB ($116.97 @ Newegg)
  • Case: Cooler Master Elite 430 ATX Mid Tower Case ($19.99 @ Newegg)
  • Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W ATX12V ($39.99 @ Newegg)
  • Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)

Total: $483.89

 

The Sweet Spot ($800 maximum)

Part list permalink: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/j3lS

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K ($215.98 @ NCIX US)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus ($19.99 @ Newegg)
  • Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro4 ATX LGA1155 ($94.99 @ Amazon)
  • Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600 ($34.99 @ Newegg)
  • Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB ($259.99 @ Amazon)
  • Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.49 @ SuperBiiz)
  • Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W ATX12V ($39.99 @ Newegg)
  • Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)

Total: $800.40

 

The Enthusiast ($1300 maximum)

Part list permalink: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/j1OW

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K ($286.97 @ TigerDirect)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus ($19.99 @ Newegg)
  • Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro4 ATX LGA1155 ($94.99 @ Amazon)
  • Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3-1600 ($79.99 @ Newegg)
  • Hard Drive: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5″ SSD ($94.99 @ Microcenter)
  • Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 670 2GB ($397.86 @ Newegg)
  • Case: Cooler Master HAF 922 ATX Mid Tower Case ($93.89 @ NCIX US)
  • Power Supply: Corsair 650W ATX12V / EPS12V ($109.99 @ Newegg)
  • Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)

Total: $1263.65

 

The Professional ($1800 maximum)

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

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz ($286.97 @ TigerDirect)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus ($19.99 @ Newegg)
  • Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 ($134.99 @ Amazon)
  • Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3-1600 ($79.99 @ Newegg)
  • Hard Drive: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5″ SSD ($94.99 @ Microcenter)
  • Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 670 2GB – 2-Way SLI ($397.86 @ Newegg)
  • Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 670 2GB – 2-Way SLI ($397.86 @ Newegg)
  • Case: NZXT Phantom (White) ATX Full Tower Case ($119.99 @ Newegg)
  • Power Supply: Corsair 750W ATX12V / EPS12V ($99.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)

Total: $1717.61

 

Have a suggestion? Leave it in the comments!

 


36 Responses to PC Build Guide – October 2012

  1. TheBadamanCJ says:

    $800.40? Come one guys, what if somebody hasn’t got that extra 40 cents.

  2. se0what says:

    you can get a cheaper 7870 at newegg from 200 (after rebate on the his which i just picked up my second yesterdaay) to 250+ so if you do want to save about 20-50ish dollar people just look around! by no mean is this the end all be all (and they know it too, not knocking them down)

    great starter build though im using most of those parts for family friend’s media pc

  3. theuberelite says:

    Why recommend a 650W power supply in the enthusiast if the 750W is cheaper? Guessing some sort of sale at the moment?

  4. DaddyLongNips says:

    what games can i expect to run smoothly with the 500$ build?

  5. beardedvillain says:

    I’m such an idiot… I built a PC for around $1600 last month, and didn’t use your last month’s build guide… let’s just say your $1300 build was much better than my $1600 one. I hope you guys still do this a year or two down the road, so I can surely get the most bang for buck :)

  6. JeffLaFlavor says:

    That starter build can run about 80% of games on med-high settings at 1920×1080 and the other 20% at a slightly lower res.

  7. JeffLaFlavor says:

    Wow bros… you made an oopsie. ASRock Z77 Pro4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard has an onboard USB 3.0 header, but the Cooler Master Elite 430 ATX Mid Tower Case does not have front panel USB 3.0 ports.

  8. RetroSpiderman says:

    Why didn’t you put an i3-3220 its $20 more than the 2100 and it seems quite a bit better.

  9. chrome says:

    You guys gotta remember, this isn’t including.sales tax. I bought a 660 ti pe about a month ago and it ended costing $350 rather than 309.99.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Sales tax will vary depending on locality. No, we’re not going to factor that in – that would be much too complicated. “Well the sales tax is 6% here, but 8.25% here.”

  10. DSMan195276 says:

    I think it should be noted, in the description you mentioned that the motherboard had 3 RAM slots. I looked it up (because I thought 3 was an odd number for RAM slots) and it seems to have four, so was that a typeo or did I find the wrong motherboard? Assuming I looked it up correctly, that board supports a max of 32GB of RAM using 4 slots (16 is probably more then will ever be used though, even with disk caching taken into account.). I wanted to note though if you do go with 3 sticks, having 3 instead of 2 may cause a small memory speed decrase. That motherboard supports dual channel RAM and so if you have a 2/4/8 core CPU installed then half the cores manage the memory of one card, half manage the other. If you put in three cards, then dual-channel is disabled. This also means in your starter rig, having two 2GB RAM cards could actually be more deseriable then just have one 4GB one.

    • DSMan195276 says:

      EDIT: Sorry, I read your post wrong, you said it had 3 open slots which it does. I appoligize, I should have caught that, so that’s my fault. The note on the two 2GB sticks instead of one 4GB stick is still somewhat notable though. It also looks like you could buy two sticks of 2GB DDR3-1866 and still be under the 500$ limit (If you go with the cheapest option) and still have 4GB. Of course, this isn’t as easily upgradable since it leaves you with really a max of 8GB if you want to keep the two 2GB sticks. And whether that extra speed will manafest itself into something noticeable is hard to say without some testing since those numbers are close.

      • Brandon Brandon says:

        Right, the thinking was primarily around upgrade potential. With a single 4GB stick, it’s an easy and cheap upgrade to move up to 8GB or, if you want, 16GB without having to throw out your current RAM.

  11. munkyadrian says:

    You should add another build thats after the professional for people who are posh as fuck

    • Whyaim says:

      Past two GTX 670s you pretty much have to much money and don’t need a build guide. “hmm what cpu?” sort by price… done!

  12. JeffLaFlavor says:

    I like the choice of MoBo though. it leaves a lot of room for the starte build to upgrade in the future.

  13. murdergames says:

    My only problem with all your guides is pcpartpicker. Don’t get me wrong its a great website for americans. I’m english and when you change the build From US to UK the prices go up and half the parts do not appear. Are there any other websites you could use such as newegg or something. Other than that these builds are really helpful i’m planning to build my first pc in a few months. :)

  14. Pyromaniac8749 says:

    Thanks for the build guide. I tweaked the $800 to suit my needs but without the guide from you guys I would over payed.

  15. someguyoverthere says:

    whats the best video card if i want to play dual screen games on 1080p?

  16. MrClut says:

    Does anyone have another recommendation for a case/mobo in the sweet spot build?

    • mrcanadianaviator says:

      The 912 is Probably the best for its price range. As for MoBo, The MSi Z77A-G45 LGA 1155 is a good. Why do you want to know other recommendations?

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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