Build Guides

Published on January 13th, 2015 | by Brandon

21

PC Build Guide – January 2015

Welcome to the January 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 missing a few months, the build guides have returned for the new year! We haven’t seen any huge changes recently, but every price point continues to represent equal or better value than before. Every build represents great value, and the Professional in particular is truly monstrous this month, featuring two overclocked Gigabyte GTX 970s in SLI.

 

The Starter ($500 maximum)

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

  • CPU: Intel Core i3-4130 ($106.75 @ OutletPC)
  • Motherboard: MSI Z97 PC MATE ATX LGA1150 ($79.99 @ Newegg)
  • Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (1x8GB) DDR3-1866 ($68.97 @ OutletPC)
  • Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($49.88 @ OutletPC)
  • Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB FTW ACX ($129.99 @ Newegg)
  • Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.98 @ OutletPC)
  • Power Supply: EVGA 500W 80+ Bronze ($32.99 @ Newegg)

Total: $498.55

 

The Sweet Spot ($800 maximum)

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

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K ($219.88 @ OutletPC)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO ($28.75 @ OutletPC)
  • Motherboard: MSI Z97-G55 SLI ATX LGA1150 ($108.99 @ Newegg)
  • Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (1x8GB) DDR3-1866 ($68.97 @ OutletPC)
  • Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($53.97 @ OutletPC)
  • Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 2GB WINDFORCE ($209.99 @ Newegg)
  • Case: NZXT Source 220 ATX Mid Tower Case ($44.99 @ Amazon)
  • Power Supply: Corsair CX 600W 80+ Bronze ($59.99 @ NCIX US)

Total: $795.53

 

The Enthusiast ($1300 maximum)

Part list permalink: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/3pGLYJ

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K ($318.75 @ OutletPC)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO ($28.75 @ OutletPC)
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z97X-Gaming 5 ATX LGA1150 ($138.99 @ SuperBiiz)
  • Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3-2133 ($133.98 @ Newegg)
  • Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5″ SSD ($78.97 @ OutletPC)
  • Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($53.97 @ OutletPC)
  • Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 4GB WINDFORCE ($359.99 @ Amazon)
  • Case: NZXT Phantom (White) ATX Full Tower Case ($104.99 @ Micro Center)
  • Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA NEX 750W 80+ Gold ($79.99 @ Newegg)

Total: $1298.38

 

The Professional ($1800 maximum)

Part list permalink: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/v29rLk

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K ($318.75 @ OutletPC)
  • CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i ($89.98 @ OutletPC)
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z97X-GAMING 7 ATX LGA1150 ($167.99 @ SuperBiiz)
  • Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3-2133 ($133.98 @ Newegg)
  • Storage: Samsung 850 EVO-Series 250GB 2.5″ SSD ($129.98 @ OutletPC)
  • Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM ($53.97 @ OutletPC)
  • Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 4GB WINDFORCE – 2-Way SLI ($359.99 @ Amazon)
  • Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 4GB WINDFORCE – 2-Way SLI ($359.99 @ Amazon)
  • Case: NZXT Phantom (White) ATX Full Tower Case ($104.99 @ Micro Center)
  • Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA NEX 750W 80+ Gold ($79.99 @ Newegg)

Total: $1799.61

 

Have a suggestion? Leave it in the comments!

 


21 Responses to PC Build Guide – January 2015

  1. Nipnops says:

    We managed to upgrade all the builds and put a lot of higher quality components in there, such as the Caviar Blue.

  2. Adam says:

    “The Sweet Spot” with a 970 would be amazing

  3. Bob says:

    Just a minor recommendation and something to keep in mind – our budgets for the builds here are tight, and sometimes it’s impossible for us to spring for the extra $5 that buy us things like (in the case of the $500 and $800 builds) dual channel RAM. I’m only pointing this out because I’m certain someone else will. Single channel isn’t the worst thing in the world, and gives you a quick/easy upgrade path to 16GB.

  4. Ryan Kapsar says:

    I’m going to be saving up for the Enthusiast build i think. I’m tired of playing on my laptop and I’ve been really enjoying the games I’ve been playing

  5. I have a pretty beast laptop (allows for streaming and gaming at the same time), but plan on doing the enthusiast build or the similar build in about April. I can’t wait!

  6. nicoc77 says:

    Why 1x8GB? Isn’t 2x4GB best for dual channel?

    • Nipnops says:

      Cost, this was addressed ealier in the comments. “sometimes it’s impossible for us to spring for the extra $5 that buy us things like (in the case of the $500 and $800 builds) dual channel RAM. I’m only pointing this out because I’m certain someone else will. Single channel isn’t the worst thing in the world, and gives you a quick/easy upgrade path to 16GB.”

  7. Jacob Finston says:

    So I don’t know much about building computers however, when I showed it to my friend that somewhat does he said that the cpu fan is alright but it could be better. Any thoughts? And also I had a few questions about the enthusiast. Is it meant to be overclocked and is that good and how would I do that. Can it take a 64-bit operating system. And is it upgradeable or will I have to many things before I could upgrade it?

    • Bob says:

      There are indeed “better” heatsink/fan combos than the CM Hyper 212 EVO if price is no object (the Noctua NH-D14 comes to mind at $80) but it’s by far the best bang for the buck at roughly $30 – the rest result in diminishing returns.

      Yes, any of the K-series CPUs are meant to be overclocked, as their multipliers are unlocked.

      All of these are 64-bit capable – none of them should be run with a 32bit OS with that much RAM. Win 7/8 both limit you to 3GB under 32bit.

      It’s plenty upgradeable. That’s one of the biggest things we take in to account.

      • Jacob Finston says:

        Thank you so much for your time, I cant Believe you took your time to respond to me. I will look at the noctua. Later on could i throw another of the graphics cards?

        • Nipnops says:

          The 500 dollar build motherboard does not support SLI (many cheap mobos also lack this). Other than that, yes, they all support crossfire and everything supports SLI but the aforementioned 500 dollar build.

  8. Brandon says:

    iv been looking into some builds and i wana get into the PC side of the gamin world and im just wondering cause i dont see it in the spec list That i would have to purchase and OS system

  9. Poohley Tran says:

    can you guys make a $1000 build?

    • Bob says:

      Honestly at $1k you’re looking at the $800 build with more RAM, a better GPU and a small SSD of some type, whether it’s a cache drive (32gb) or just big enough for your OS (64gb)

  10. Jim says:

    the 800 build seems couple parts out of stock, brother was gonna use it tomorrow to get parts for me to put it together.. an alternatives to replace? i was gonna throw in a 960 that was cheaper and better than the out of stock 760.. but the motherboards gone as well.

  11. Lupatiz says:

    How long would The Professional last i’m not someone who’s worried about the game running at its best or that my fps is a the best it can be at all times. I really just want something that will last me 4 years or longer(That’s not a console :P).

  12. Our Edisons says:

    really considering the professional build, but i have some extra cash so can afford a 2000$ build so i was wondering is there anything someone would recommend that can give the build a little more oophm. or is the build fine the way it is?

  13. Kenny Lim says:

    dear kbmod, i am thinking about the $800 build, and i am wondering if it can run graphic intensive games like crysis 3, at least on medium settings and good fps?

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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