Build Guides

Published on May 8th, 2014 | by Brandon


PC Build Guide – May 2014

Welcome to the May 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.

After a two-month hiatus, the build guide is back and better than ever! We haven’t really seen any major changes in the past couple of months, but memory prices remain high, forcing us to make compromises like using a single 8GB stick in our Starter build. Things get more exciting next month, as Intel’s “Devil’s Canyon” Haswell refresh is due out any day now and will no doubt shake things up a bit.


The Starter ($500 maximum)

Part list permalink:

  • CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 ($113.98 @ SuperBiiz)
  • Motherboard: Asus Z77-A ATX LGA1155 ($79.99 @ Newegg)
  • Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (1x8GB) DDR3-1600 ($59.99 @ Newegg)
  • Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($54.43 @ OutletPC)
  • Video Card: Sapphire Radeon R7 260X 2GB ($109.99 @ Newegg)
  • Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($32.99 @ Micro Center)
  • Power Supply: Corsair CX 500W ($39.99 @ Newegg)

Total: $491.36


The Sweet Spot ($800 maximum)

Part list permalink:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K ($229.99 @ NCIX US)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO ($29.94 @ OutletPC)
  • Motherboard: MSI Z87-G43 ATX LGA1150 ($108.89 @ Newegg)
  • Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600 ($74.99 @ Newegg)
  • Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($54.43 @ OutletPC)
  • Video Card: MSI Radeon R9 270X 2GB TWIN FROZR ($199.99 @ TigerDirect)
  • Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($47.99 @ Micro Center)
  • Power Supply: Corsair CX 600W ($49.99 @ NCIX US)

Total: $796.21


The Enthusiast ($1300 maximum)

Part list permalink:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K ($319.99 @ Amazon)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO ($29.94 @ OutletPC)
  • Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty Z87 Killer ATX LGA1150 ($124.02 @ Newegg)
  • Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600 ($69.99 @ Newegg)
  • Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5″ SSD  ($79.99 @ Micro Center)
  • Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($54.43 @ OutletPC)
  • Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 770 4GB Dual FTW ACX ($415.66 @ Newegg)
  • Case: NZXT Phantom (White) ATX Full Tower Case ($100.98 @ Amazon)
  • Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 750W ($104.95 @ Amazon)

Total: $1299.95


The Professional ($1800 maximum)

Part list permalink:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K ($319.99 @ Amazon)
  • CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i ($99.99 @ Newegg)
  • Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty Z87 Killer ATX LGA1150 ($124.02 @ Newegg)
  • Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3-1600 ($134.99 @ Newegg)
  • Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5″ SSD ($139.00 @ Amazon)
  • Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($54.43 @ OutletPC)
  • Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB Superclocked ACX ($714.99 @ Micro Center)
  • Case: NZXT Phantom (White) ATX Full Tower Case ($100.98 @ Amazon)
  • Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 850W ($118.56 @ Newegg)

Total: $1789.95


Have a suggestion? Leave it in the comments!

17 Responses to PC Build Guide – May 2014

  1. Germany's Zod says:

    Thanks for posting these, I am interested in getting a new PC in the $ 800 price range. However I was wondering if the AMD FX-8320 3.5GHz 8-Core would be an acceptable replacement for the more expensive Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor. Also for the motherboard why not a get a less expensive one like the ASRock B75M R2.0 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard? Also the MSI Radeon R9 270X 2GB TWIN FROZR looks great, but many customer reviews on Newegg report a lot of problems with the GPU, did you not take this into consideration? I am grateful for the guides, I’m sure you know a lot more about how to build computers than I do, so please explain these decisions to me if you have the time.

    • Jonathan Beck hexidecimal says:

      The reason we recommend spending slightly more on Intel equipment is that it leaves a more viable high performance upgrade path. If you get the 4670K today, and then in 3 months decide you want to stream, or want higher performance you can upgrade to the 4770K cheaper. With an AMD build, you’d need a CPU & Motherboard, not just a CPU.

      With the motherboard, these are our baseline recommendations that are built on personal experience with brands and parts. You might have 0 issues with the ASRock board you mentioned.

      The GPUs with Twin Frozr cooling setups tend to have a little more room in the overclocking area and also generally have good performance. If you’re seeing a trend of other users saying that they are having issues, again these are just base recommendations that you can use to further customize your own builds.

      Your build linked below seems fine if you want to move the an AMD platform, but as above, we recommend the bump to Intel just for upgrade options in the future. The one thing I would recommend is a bump in SSD space.

      From personal experience 120 GB of SSD space will vanish VERY quickly. Think about going to a 256GB option, if you’re going to save a bit of money by building an AMD system. Hope you get a system built you’re happy with. Thanks for commenting.

      • Wheelzz says:


        an 120GB SSD is still great if you don’t want to/can’t spend more. However, that space can vanish quickly, as Jon said. Once you start installing games, especially if some of the programs you run are also fairly large, the SSD will fill up fast. A 120GB SSD will still be fine for OS (you can also disable some features like hibernation IF you don’t need them), all your programs, and a few games dependent on size. This is all taking into account leaving a decent bit of free space so performance does not suffer.

      • New and revised build got more SSD space and switched out the CPU.
        Let me know what you think if you’ve got the time

  2. Germany's Zod says:

    This is my build so far, would like some input

  3. Rockstar says:

    Gonna buy the Professional build, saving for a long time! Should I get Window 7 ultimate or windows 8? (Also will I need screws, thermal paste, cables ect.)

    • Brandon Brandon says:

      Some people like Windows 8, but I personally prefer Windows 7 on all of my machines. Your motherboard and case should come with all the screws and cables you need. The CPU cooler comes with thermal paste, but you can opt to get your own if you have a preferred brand like Arctic Silver or something.

      • Rockstar says:

        Thanks! I’m buying everything on amazon because I’m in ireland and the ASRock mobo that you suggested is not available on amazon. This one is on sale and looks powerful and is on sale (ASRock LGA1150/Intel Z87/DDR3/Quad CrossFireX and Quad SLI/SATA3 and USB 3.0/A&2GbE/ATX Motherboard Z87 PROFESSIONAL)… Could you translate this for me? haha Would it work instead of the one that is unavailable?
        (btw used to watch some of your vids on Youtube Vol1tion)

        • Germany's Zod says:

          That one would work just fine, from what I can see. As long as you are buying an Intel CPU.
          There isn’t much a difference at all between the two cards except for the paint job. Checked on NNewegg and they seem to have the exact same specs. Hope that helps ^^

          • Rockstar says:

            Thanks, I wouldn’t need more power than the 850W…would I? Also do you know off any good security programs(Norton 2012 ect.)

        • Germany's Zod says:

          Hey Rockstar how about you contact me on skype. My skype name is ramsey.mekdaschi. That way we can talk IM instead of constantly having to refresh the page to see replys. You can also add me on steam if you would like that more. My steam is here Im available tonight and tomorrow and for the rest of the week. Let me know when you want to talk.

  4. Brandon Hart says:

    The $500 build is decent overall, but imo you’re better off with the FX 6300 at this price range.

  5. Edward Dizon says:

    In terms of performance, the $500 PC build should be decent enough for rendering, yes? I’d like to know a possible benchmark on any game. Also, would it be possible to build the PC using the Cyberpowerpc configurators on their websites?

    • FantoM says:

      I wouldn’t go with the $500 dollar build, you’ll need a bit more oomph in the CPU department. Not to chastise, but the point of these builds and the price ranges is to build them yourself. The prices are just the raw materials, the assembly is done by you. Just do a lot of research, and you’ll have your PC built in no time. I just recently built my PC, only took me about 10 hours to do. The only hiccup I ran into is that I didn’t have a DVI cable and my GPU was outputting video, not my motherboard, so I had a black screen on my monitor. Little bit of thinking and troubleshooting netted me the answer. Good luck to you, and if you decide to build, it’ll be an experience.

  6. hunter says:

    How good is the $800 build in terms of graphics and running capability??? I am really interested in this and just need to know if i am going to be able to use this for average gaming like skyrim medium to high graphics or some wolfenstien medium to high graphics.

  7. Carl says:

    Hi KBMOD crew! I decided to finally register here even though I’ve been lurking around ever since john made a couple YouTube videos about the site (very long time ago). I decided It’s time to buy a good computer as I’m tired of using shit laptops for the last couple of years.

    Here’s the build so far It’s basically the $1300 build but I upgraded and added some things that I need. Are there any parts I need to add since It’s a new build? You guys don’t include things like case fans and was wondering why or if I would need 1.

    What would you guys recommend I do in building this thing? Should I use a online service that ships it to me already built, find a local computer shop to do it (I live in southern California), or, just learn how to build the thing myself as I’m quite intrigued in learning how?

    Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

    • Brandon Brandon says:

      Check out our new build guide for July, since you’ll want to go with a Devil’s Canyon processor and Z97 motherboard now that those parts are released. Your OS, keyboard, and monitor look good. The only other parts you would need are a mouse and maybe a headset, if you don’t already own either of those. Essential case fans will come with the case itself; most cases have multiple spots to add more case fans, but we don’t include them in our builds because they’re optional and up to your personal preference.

      As far as building your PC, we usually always recommend building your own if you’re willing to learn. There are plenty of online resources that can walk you through the process (like this great video from Newegg). If you have a friend or family member who can help you with your first build, that’s even better. There’s nothing more rewarding than the first time you boot up a PC you built yourself!



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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