Build Guides

Published on June 5th, 2013 | by Brandon


PC Build Guide – June 2013

Welcome to the June 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.

We didn’t have a build guide in May, but with all the new hardware that just came out, we knew changes might be big in June. For the $500 build, we don’t see much change except for memory, where prices remain a bit higher than we’ve become accustomed to over the past couple of years. The $800 build also takes a slight hit, going from a GTX 660 Ti to an AMD 7870 GHz Edition (but on a positive note, you do get an excellent game bundle with the AMD card).

The $1300 build is where things start to get a little more interesting. Due to price constraints, we stick with Ivy Bridge, but we do upgrade from our stalwart GTX 670 to a Sapphire 7970 GHz Edition. We think the excellent game bundle included with the AMD card makes it a great value right now, but you could just as easily swap in Nvidia’s brand new GTX 770 if you’re looking for better render times or are still a bit wary of AMD’s driver situation. From a performance standpoint, benchmarks for these two cards are a virtual toss-up, depending on which games you play.

Finally, the $1800 build gets the first major facelift it’s seen in a while. We add the brand new Haswell i7-4770K chip from Intel, along with a new ASRock Z87 motherboard. And to top it off, you get a pair of SLI GTX 770s from MSI. This build continues to be a monster that is the closest thing to a “future proof” gaming machine as we recommend right now.


The Starter ($500 maximum)

Part list permalink:

  • CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 ($113.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Motherboard: MSI Z77A-G41 ATX LGA1155 ($89.99 @ Newegg)
  • Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600 ($55.99 @ 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: $493.89


The Sweet Spot ($800 maximum)

Part list permalink:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus ($24.98 @ Outlet PC)
  • Motherboard: MSI Z77A-G45 ATX LGA1155 ($118.18 @ Newegg)
  • Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1866 ($67.99 @ Newegg)
  • Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($64.98 @ Outlet PC)
  • Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB ($224.99 @ Newegg)
  • Case: Cooler Master Elite 430 ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.99 @ Newegg)
  • Power Supply: Thermaltake TR2 600W ($44.99 @ Microcenter)

Total: $793.90


The Enthusiast ($1300 maximum)

Part list permalink:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K ($313.77 @ Amazon)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus ($24.98 @ Outlet PC)
  • Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 ($129.98 @ Outlet PC)
  • Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1866 ($67.99 @ Newegg)
  • Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5″ SSD ($98.76 @ Amazon)
  • Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($64.98 @ Outlet PC)
  • Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB ($407.86 @ Newegg)
  • Case: NZXT Phantom (Black) ATX Full Tower Case ($89.99 @ Newegg)
  • Power Supply: Corsair Gaming 600W ($97.98 @ Outlet PC)

Total: $1293.44

The Professional ($1800 maximum)

Part list permalink:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K ($349.99 @ Newegg)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus ($19.99 @ Newegg)
  • Motherboard: ASRock Z87 Extreme3 ATX LGA1150 ($145.86 @ Newegg)
  • Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1866 ($69.98 @ NCIX US)
  • Storage: Samsung 840 Series 250GB 2.5″ SSD ($159.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($64.99 @ Newegg)
  • Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 770 2GB – 2-Way SLI ($399.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 770 2GB – 2-Way SLI ($399.99 @ NCIX US)
  • Case: NZXT Phantom (Black) ATX Full Tower Case ($89.99 @ Newegg)
  • Power Supply: Corsair Professional 750W ($90.50 @ Newegg)

Total: $1786.27


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43 Responses to PC Build Guide – June 2013

  1. Dan Dan says:

    note: Amazon price on that 3770k was set that way because there is a bug on PCPartpicker right now.

  2. Sam says:

    I live in Australia everything cost so much I have to spend like $800 more to get that :(

  3. Denis says:

    I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place now, I have about $900 to go towards a new computer but I would want mine to last for at least 4 years and still run games on max settings without getting sub 60 or 50fps. Would it be worth it to save up another couple hundred to spend on a better build?

  4. Wheelzz says:

    Excellent guides once again! For those looking into building the $1300 (or even the $800) builds that have a bit extra to spend, go Z87 with a Haswell chip.

    • jrstriker12 says:

      Just wondering, will the Haswell socket transition to the next “tick” in the Intel cycle for new CPU’s? Might be worth it to future proof your system, but I’m not sure there’s any guarantee of that seeing as they changed the socket from Ivy Bridge.

      Other wise, beyond slight power savings or maybe budget gaming without a discrete card, everything I’ve read on Haswell so far seems to say the gains are marginal over Ivy Bridge and not impressive for those looking to overclock.

      So what are the advantage that would make it worth it incorporating it into a mid-level build? Just curious as I’m looking at a build later this year.

  5. yourbestbud says:

    if i wanted to put a 660 ti 2gb card in the 800$ build would that be ok?

  6. david says:

    Awesome breakdown for newbs like me. So I’ve never built a pc before and I was wondering if it came with an instruction manual or a build manual, or even a video. Really really REALLY regretting the pos alienware that I bought. (only for the lights.)

    • Dan Dan says:

      There are numerous guides but look Newegg’s How to build a pc guide.

    • jrstriker12 says:

      FWIW – there are tons of websites and youtube videos with step by step instructions on how to build a PC. Just search “how to build a PC.” I know Newegg and Tom’s Hardware have “How-to’s.”

      But don’t expect a manual on how to put the whole thing together if you buy the parts separately.

  7. Ty says:

    It seemed like you went with a mid end board for the $1800 build. Is that all you need to overclock well with Haswell, because I’ve heard that much of the overclocking is processor based versus motherboard based.

  8. Jabeast2 (Josh) says:

    First of all I would like to thank you the KBMOD guys for your wonderful podcast and your beautiful website. I have decided to build a upgraded version of this months professional build, because my budget was between 2000$ adn 2500$. I am 16 years old and this will be my first build which I will probably have to do alone, but I have watched Paul’s Hardware’s Newegg video on how to build a PC and believe I can do it. Are there any tips you can give me though on building a PC and could you tell me if any of my parts are incompatible. Is there anything else I may need such as thermal paste. Are the vendors I have chosen all trust worthy and if not can you suggest a better one. I can’t to fully endow myself into the wonderful world of PC gaming. You guys are the reason im converting over to PC instead of getting a Xbox One or PS4. Thank you and sorry for the long post, but im just scared of messing up. Love the podcast!

    Pcpartpicker Build Specs

    CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($335.89 @ Amazon)
    CPU Cooler: Corsair H80i 77.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($79.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z87 Extreme3 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($139.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    Memory: G.Skill Sniper Gaming Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($249.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: OCZ Vector Series 128GB 2.5″ Solid State Disk ($128.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($154.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 770 2GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($449.99 @ NCIX US)
    Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 770 2GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($449.99 @ NCIX US)
    Case: Corsair 600T Mesh (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($149.99 @ Amazon)
    Power Supply: Corsair Professional 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($90.50 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)

  9. SamDropDead says:

    Saw this beneath the $800 build:
    Compatibility Notes
    MSI Z77A-G45 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.

    So you guys might wanna change something :p

    • Brandon Brandon says:

      That warning just means that you’ll only be able to utilize 3.0 on your rear USB ports, whereas your front panel USB ports will only be USB 2.0. For most people, this shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

  10. Jabeast (Josh) says:

    Are there any cases that you might recomend that are more comaptible with my or the h100 watercooler?

    • Wheelzz says:

      H100 works in the 600t as long as you are only using one set of fans, put the fans in the top part under the ‘roof’ in pull.

  11. aussieboy says:

    hey is the power supply applicable too in australia???

  12. Marios Nanos says:

    hey guys can you recommend me a different power supply and case for the 500 build? because i cannot find them in greece

  13. Tyler says:

    Quick Question. None of these builds have optical drives. Are we supposed to assume we need one, and if not, what is the easiest way to install an OS without an optical drive?

  14. Tyler says:

    Ended up building the $800 build with slight changes. Just a higher end power supply and an SSD instead of a normal HD. Thanks to everyone who does these guides, made my life a lot easier :D

  15. Zac says:

    So…I plan to build a PC in the future and I’ve noticed that the 500$ build doesn’t have a cooling system. Is there a particular reason for this? I was under the assumption processors put out a lot of heat and thus need coolers so they don’t burn out.

    • Brandon Brandon says:

      The CPU comes with a basic cooler that is adequate if you’re not overclocking. That said, we always recommend getting an aftermarket cooler like the Hyper 212+ if you can afford it.

  16. mike says:

    if i was to put an intel i5 in the $500 build instead of the i3 would that be okay?

    • Brandon Brandon says:

      Of course! Just make sure the CPU you choose matches up correctly with your motherboard socket.

  17. Austin says:

    Would the newbie build connect to wi fi or would I have to buy a wi fi adapter?

    • Brandon Brandon says:

      You would need to get a wi-fi adapter. You can find a number of decent USB adapters for pretty cheap at Amazon, Newegg, etc.

  18. Greywilson says:

    Typing this comment from the 500 price point build right now, so far it seems amazing to finally be able to play all the games ive bought on steam! the windows install from a usb gave me a few issues but overall all turned out great! thanks a bunch!!

  19. Dan says:

    Hey any build guide for july?

    • jrstriker12 says:

      I was wondering about this too. With the GTX 760 out at close to $250 and some good discounts on Radeon 7950, I might guess the GPU might switch in sweet spot build.

  20. greyson says:

    so i got the 500$ build and built it a few weeks ago (my first build :D) but ive been having issues in game. every few minutes or so while playing games it will freeze for a few seconds, the screen goes black then comes back. sometimes it happens very rarely, and sometimes itll happen 3 times in a row. i was on the 12.3 catalyst drivers before and just switched to the 12.6 beta drivers with no luck. im playing on a 1920 x 1080 monitor if it helps



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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