Build Guides

Published on April 11th, 2013 | by Brandon

16

PC Build Guide – April 2013

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Welcome to the April 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.

This month, the big story is the surge in memory prices across the board, which keeps the us from being able to do much to improve the rest of our components. However, we did manage to get a GTX 660 Ti back in our $800 build, which continues to exhibit a truly extraordinary value for a machine under $1000.

 

The Starter ($500 maximum)

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

  • CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 ($113.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Motherboard: MSI Z77A-G41 ATX LGA1155 ($89.99 @ Newegg)
  • Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1866 ($62.68 @ NCIX US)
  • Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($69.98 @ Outlet PC)
  • Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB ($109.98 @ Newegg)
  • Case: Apex SK-393-C ATX Mid Tower Case ($24.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Power Supply: Thermaltake TR2 500W ($27.99 @ Microcenter)

Total: $499.61

 

The Sweet Spot ($800 maximum)

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

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K ($219.98 @ Outlet PC)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus ($19.99 @ Newegg)
  • Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V LK ATX LGA1155 ($104.99 @ Microcenter)
  • Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1866 ($62.68 @ NCIX US)
  • Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($69.98 @ Outlet PC)
  • Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB ($259.99 @ Newegg)
  • Case: Cooler Master Elite 430 ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.99 @ Newegg)
  • Power Supply: Thermaltake TR2 600W ($29.99 @ Microcenter)

Total: $797.60

 

The Enthusiast ($1300 maximum)

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

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K ($309.99 @ Amazon)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus ($19.99 @ Newegg)
  • Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 ($134.98 @ SuperBiiz)
  • Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1866 ($62.68 @ NCIX US)
  • Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5″ SSD ($94.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($69.98 @ Outlet PC)
  • Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 670 2GB ($369.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Case: NZXT Phantom (Black) ATX Full Tower Case ($119.99 @ Newegg)
  • Power Supply: Corsair Professional 650W ($109.99 @ Newegg)

Total: $1296.59

The Professional ($1800 maximum)

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

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K ($318.99 @ NCIX US)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus ($19.99 @ Newegg)
  • Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 ($134.98 @ SuperBiiz)
  • Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3-1866 ($115.06 @ NCIX US)
  • Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5″ SSD ($159.99 @ Newegg)
  • Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 670 2GB – 2-Way SLI ($369.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 670 2GB – 2-Way SLI ($369.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Case: NZXT Phantom (Black) ATX Full Tower Case ($119.99 @ Newegg)
  • Power Supply: Corsair Professional 750W ($119.99 @ Newegg)

Total: $1798.96

 

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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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  • chrome

    Why did you guys stick with 1866 ram for all the builds?

    • Brandon

      Upgrading to 1866 only costs a couple bucks more than 1600 and doesn’t negatively affect any other parts in the build, so I’d say it’s definitely worth it at the current 1866 prices. If you’re asking why we didn’t go for even faster memory, it’s because 2133 is still too expensive to justify sacrificing in other areas.

  • Dan

    RAM was a major jerk this time around. Also big ups to Brandon for doing a lot of the legwork this month.

  • Wheelzz

    https://pcpartpicker.com/part/seagate-internal-hard-drive-st1000dm003

    this may be something to consider for all the build guides this month. It’s the same price and is a faster drive than a WD blue, mine is about the same as my 1TB WD Black.

  • Dave

    Any reason for going with Nvidia over AMD cards, bar the “Starter”? The 7950 beats the 670 generally with the most recent drivers and is considerably cheaper. You could even find a 7970 which is the same price as the 670 you posted ($370), and a 7970 completely out classes the 680, let alone 670.

    • Brandon

      The 600 series has been rock-solid since its release, while the 7000 series has suffered from AMD’s historically poor video drivers (especially when it comes to frame latency). I know AMD is actively working to improve the situation, but from my point of view, Nvidia still is still ahead right now. We also don’t factor the different AMD/Nvidia game bundles into these guides, but those games will definitely sway the value proposition for some people.

      That said, there’s really no way to go wrong as long as you do your research. These guides are meant to be a starting point for you to customize and find the build that’s perfect for your needs.

      • Dave

        Fair enough; i always prefer stability over a minimal performance increased. At the end fo the day, the difference isn’t alot but AMD does still edge it, and come in cheaper. But then, as you say, you are opening yourself to their buggy drivers.

  • Jason

    I agree with Dave because if you were to purchase a 7950/7970 off newegg you get crysis 3 and Bioshock infinite free :) Greats builds by Brandon , he is the best<3 Good job man

  • Shnitz

    Why did you guys go with the 670 for the mid-ranged build? 2 way gtx 650 ti Boosts cost less and benchmark better, and i haven’t ran into any games where there was errors/scaling issues. It’s also always good to have extra cards for the next gpu cycle, to give to a friend or use for another project.

  • Entranel

    Why would you purposely put yourself into a position where you are using dual cards which put more heat into your computer, when you can have one solid card that works just as good. Personal preference i guess, I always thought have multiple cards look good but i see on a lot of builds higher temps on your computer.

  • Trevor

    I’m looking into getting a better PC. Mine is starting to take a crap. But I’m also going to be on quite the budget for awhile. I was just wondering, how well “The Starter” rig would be able to run most games? I want to play some Planetside and I would like to play ARMA without terrible frames.

  • Marios Nanos

    can i replace in the sweet spot build guide the current power supply for this one Corsair CX 600W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply?

    • Conaer

      Yeah that be fine, it also give you a bit more head room to upgrade to a higher end GPU down the road. Corsair PSU are great and I believe the CX ones are semi modular now aswell.

      • Marios Nanos

        thanks a lot

      • Wheelzz

        Only the CX-M (eg, CX600M) are are semi-modular.

  • Jake Kenmuir

    Hey guys, just starting to build my new rig, would the heatsink that comes with the i7-2600k be fine enough to use?

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