Gaming PC Builds of the Month: April 2013

April 2013 Gaming PC Builds:

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April 2013 Gaming PC Builds of the MonthIntroduction:

Welcome to this years fourth installment of the 2013 Gaming PC Builds of the Month. April has brought some big hardware changes.

The $500 build has had a major revamp with a swap from the usual Intel i3 3220 processor to an AMD FX 4300 processor. That’s right I have finally included an AMD processor into one of the months builds again. The reason I made this choice was because at this point in time the price of the AMD FX 4300 can match the performance of the Intel i3 3200, especially if you take into consideration its ability to overclock.

The $1000 build is near the same and I have again this month decided to include the all attractive Cooler Master HAF XB case that is nice and compact with a high air flow to keep all of the compact components nice and cool.

The $1500 build this month has been geared for pure performance this month with a Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 OC graphics card, a Corsair 850 Watt AX series PSU and a Samsung 840 PRO (a more efficient & faster SSD). This was all possible with the inclusion of a price dropped NZXT Phantom Full Tower case coming in at only $99.

$500 Gaming PC Build - Newb Computer BuildMonthly Gaming PC Build ( $511 ): April 2013

(Game at Smoothly with Medium – High settings at 1920X1080 resolutions)

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

All hardware is linked to Amazon.com – You Can also try   Amazon.ca (CANADA) • Amazon.co.uk (UK) Newegg.com (US) • Newegg.ca (CANADA)  Scorptec.com.au(AUS)  pccasegear.com (AUS) to shop for these parts.
 
Processor: AMD FX-4300 FX-Series Four-Core Processor Edition, Black AM3 FD4300WMHKBOX
Price: $119.99
Motherboard: ASUS M5A78L-M LX PLUS AM3+ AMD 760G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Price: $53.18
Graphics Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1024MB GDDR5 128bit, Dual Dual-Link DVI, Mini HDMI, Graphics Card (01G-P4-3650-KR) Graphics Cards 01G-P4-3650-KR
Price: $144.99
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8 GB ( 2 x 4 GB ) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) 240-Pin DDR3 Memory Kit for Core i3, i5, i7 and Platforms SDRAM CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9
Price: $47.98
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500 GB SATA III 7200 RPM 16 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive – WD5000AAKX
Price: $59.26
Power Supply: Antec VP-450 450 Watt Energy Star Certified Power Supply Price: $34.50
Computer Case: Apex Computer Technology PC-389-C 10bay ATX Tower No Psu USB / Hd PC389C
Price: $29.99
Optical Drive: Lite-On Super AllWrite 24X SATA DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive – Bulk – IHAS124-04 (Black) Price: $17.99
Estimated Price: $ 507

Overview: $500 Gaming PC Build

There have been some major changes in this months $500 PC build. Generally, I leave the AMD builds up to Obit, our AMD builds article writer, but this month seemed suitable for an AMD change in the lower end $500 budget build. The AMD FX 4300 performs close to the Intel 3220 and especially so considering that it can be overclocked due to an unlocked multiplier. It seems to be getting harder and harder to keep prices around $500 for a good budget PC build and including the AMD FX 4300 processor made this especially possible.

The other major changes for the $500 build include a change in motherboard to support the AMD processor change to an AM3+ ASUS M5A78L-M LX Plus micro ATX motherboard. As well, we have changed the PC case to an affordable Apex Computer Technology case.

Upgrade suggestions for the $500 Gaming PC Build:

The hardware below are all moderate increases from the hardware listed in the main $500 build and they can all be considered compatible with one another.

If you are ever stumped or have any questions as to the compatibility of any hardware please get in contact with me or leave a comment below and I will try to respond as soon as I can.

Want other suggestions? Then leave a comment and I will try to get back to you as soon as I can

Overview: The Gaming PC Hardware

AMD FX-4300 FX-Series Four-Core Processor Edition, Black AM3 FD4300WMHKBOX Price: $119.99

The AMD FX 4300 processor is a perfect fit for a budget gaming pc build. With an unlocked multiplier you have the advantage of being able to easily overclock this processor, which makes this processor a great value for only $120.

Technical Details:

 

  • Processor: 3.8 GHz
  • Number of Processors: 4

Cases and Expandability

  • Size (LWH): 5.5 inches, 2.75 inches, 5 inches
  • Weight: 1 pounds

ASUS M5A78L-M LX PLUS AM3+ AMD 760G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard Price: $53.18

With the change to an AMD processor this month, I had to switch up the motherboard to accommodate this. The ASUS M5A78L-M LX Plus motherboard will be able to overlcock the AMD FX 4300 and comes at a very affordable price. Keep in mind that we do include the maximum supported memory of 8GB for this motherboard (which is plenty of memory for a gaming build), so if you expect to upgrade in the future to check the “other suggestions” for a motherboard that can be further upgraded later on.

Technical Details:

  • 2 x DIMM, max. 8GB, DDR3 1866(OC)/1600(OC)/1333/1066 MHz support
  • Integrated ATI Radeon 3000 support hybrid CrossfireX and DirectX10
  • 100% Solid Capacitor – High-quality conductive polymer capacitors for durability, improved lifespan and enhanced thermal capacity
  • ASUS Core Unlocker – Unlock the Potential, Turbo-charge your Potential
  • ASUS EPU Technology – System Level Energy Saving & Real-time Power Management for Superb Platform Power Efficiency
  • 8-channel High Definition Audio CODEC
  • ASUS Anti-Surge Protection – Safeguard your device by providing voltage protection to all major onboard components
  • ASUS Turbo Key – Touch-N-Boost! No more lag

EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1024MB GDDR5 128bit, Dual Dual-Link DVI, Mini HDMI, Graphics Card (01G-P4-3650-KR) Graphics Cards 01G-P4-3650-KR Price: $149.99

The GeForce GTX 650 Ti graphics card is as good as it gets for around $150. With its low power demands and amazing performance its the perfect card for a $500 builds to keep performance up and power demands down.

The minimum required wattage for this card is 400W, so if you do decide to purchase a different card for this build to be cognizant of the minimum wattage requirement of the power supply (generally starting at 500W)

Technical Details:

  • Core Clock: 1071
  • Memory Clock: 5400 MHz
  • Cuda Cores: 768
  • PCI-Express 3.0
  • 1024MB GDDR5 128 Bit
  • Microsoft DirectX 11, NVIDIA PhysX Technology, NVIDIA 3D Vision Ready, NVIDIA CUDA Technology, PCI-Express 3.0 Support, OpenGL 4.3 Support
  • Nvidia SMX Engine, NVidia Adaptive Verticle Sync, Nvidia Surround, Support for Concurrent Displays, Nvidia PhysX, Nvidia 3D Vision Ready, Nvidia SLI Ready, Nvidia CUDA Technology

Corsair Vengeance 8 GB ( 2 x 4 GB ) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) 240-Pin DDR3 Memory Kit for Core i3, i5, i7 and Platforms SDRAM CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9 Price: $47.98

Corsair Venegance MemoryThese two sticks of 4GB = 8GB RAM are a good quality bunch and a total of 8GB is more then enough RAM for this build.  Corsair Vengenace is a reputable RAM manufacture and is currently priced pretty well for a 8GB 1600Mhz package of RAM.

Technical Details

  • Model: CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9
  • Item Package Quantity: 1
  • Form Factor: Desktop
  • Memory Storage Capacity: 8 GB
  • Memory Speed: 1600 MHz

Western Digital Caviar Blue 500 GB SATA III 7200 RPM 16 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive – WD5000AAKX Price: $59.26

Western Digital 250 GB Caviar Blue
Western Digital 500 GB Caviar Blue

500GB for a budget build seems to be a good amount of space. Need more later because you hoard tons of music, movies and other sorts of media? Then by all means, just connect another hard drive later on, or find one that goes spontaneously on sale, but for now a nice solid 500GB hard drive should do the trick.

Performance Details From Western Digital’s Website:

Performance Specifications
Rotational Speed 7,200 RPM (nominal)
Buffer Size 16 MB
Load/unload Cycles 300,000 minimum
Transfer Rates
Transfer Rate (Buffer To Disk) 126 MB/s (Max)
Physical Specifications
Formatted Capacity 500,107 MB
Capacity 500 GB
Interface SATA 6 Gb/s
User Sectors Per Drive 976,773,168
Metric
Height 26.1 mm
Depth 147 mm
Width 101.6 mm
Weight 0.69 kg
Temperature (English)
Operating 32° F to 140° F
Non-operating -40° F to 158° F
Temperature (Metric)
Operating -0° C to 60° C
Non-operating -40° C to 70° C
Electrical Specifications
Current Requirements
Power Dissipation
Read/Write 6.80 Watts
Idle 6.10 Watts
Standby 0.70 Watts
Sleep 0.70 Watts

Product Details

  • WD Caviar Blue hard drives have a multitude of features to deliver rock solid performance and ultra-cool and quiet operation.
  • 3rd generation SATA interface for 6 GB/s maximum data transfer rates.
  • WhisperDrive technology minimizes noise to levels near the threshold of human hearing.
  • 500 GB capacity holds up to 100,000 digital photos, 125,000 MP3 files, and 60 hours of HD video.
  • Ships in Certified Frustration-Free Packaging
  • 3rd generation SATA interface for 6 GB/s maximum data transfer rates
  • 500 GB capacity holds up to 100,000 digital photos, 125,000 MP3 files, and 60 hours of HD video
  • WD Caviar Blue hard drives have a multitude of features to deliver rock solid performance and ultra-cool and quiet operation
  • WhisperDrive technology minimizes noise to levels near the threshold of human hearing

Antec VP-450 450 Watt Energy Star Certified Power Supply Price: $34.50

This Antec power supply proves a continuous power of 450W with many positive reviews and a price point of about $35 bucks for a PSU there was no reason not to include it. Also to note, this PSU has a continuous power rating of 450W, which means that it will always give out a continuous amount of 450 watts – in other words this power supply unit is a fantastic deal and will run all of the required hardware in this build perfectly.

Technical Details:

  • 450W of continuous Power!
  • Dual +12V rails ensure greater system stability
  • ATX 12V version 2.3 compliant
  • 120mm fan delivers quiet, reliable cooling
  • Black exterior complements any system

Apex Computer Technology PC-389-C 10bay ATX Tower No Psu USB / Hd PC389C Price $29.99

A cheap, budget oriented case is this Apex Computer Technologies case. There is plenty of room for all of the included hardware, and even space for plenty of more hard drives / storage. Nothing fancy, but it should do that job just right.

Technical Details:

10BAY ATX TOWER NO PSU USB/HD

 

 

Lite-On Super AllWrite 24X SATA DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive – Bulk – IHAS124-04 (Black) Price: $17.99

Back to the good ol’Lite-on optical drive. Honestly, I say again and again, I pay very little attention to how I choose the optical drives – I simply choose the cheapest one. So if you find a cheaper one, get it. Likewise, if you don’t actually think you’ll use it, then skip it. You can instal your OS via a USB stick or an external hard drive if that’s the only reason you would need it, however this will be completely up to the builder.

Technical Detail

  • Lite-On Super AllWrite 24X SATA DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive IHAS124-04 BLACK/BULK (Black)
  • 6.7 x 5.8 x 1.6 inches ; 2 pounds
  • Interface: SATA; Buffer Memory: 1.5 MB

$1000 Gaming PC Build - Newb Computer BuildMonthly Gaming PC Build ( $1018 ): April 2013

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

Capability: Game with Extreme settings at 1920X1080 resolutions and even High Settings in some games at 2560×1600

All hardware is linked to Amazon.com – You Can also try   Amazon.ca (CANADA) • Amazon.co.uk (UK) Newegg.com (US) • Newegg.ca (CANADA)  Scorptec.com.au(AUS)  pccasegear.com (AUS) to shop for these parts.
 
Processor: Intel Core i5 3570K Processor 3.4 4 BX80637I53570K
Price: $219.99
 
CPU Cooler *none included (if you decide you want to overclock soon, be sure to purchase one – see other recommendations or next build for recommendations)
Motherboard: AS Rock LGA1155 DDR3 SATA3 USB3.0 Quad CrossFireX and Quad SLI A GbE ATX Motherboard Z77 EXTREME4 $134.99
Graphics Card: PowerColor AMD Radeon HD 7950 3GB GDDR5 BOOST STATE DVI/HDMI/2Mini DisplayPort PCI-Express Video Card AX7950 3GBD5-2DHV4
Price: $299
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8 GB ( 2 x 4 GB ) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) 240-Pin DDR3 Memory Kit for Core i3, i5, i7 and Platforms SDRAM CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9
Price: $47.98
Hard Drive: Western Digital 1 TB WD Blue SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive
Price: $72.37
Power Supply: Corsair Professional Series  HX 750 Watt ATX/EPS Modular 80 PLUS Gold (HX750)
Price: $129.99
Computer Case: Cooler Master HAF XB LAN Box and Test Bench Mid Tower Computer Case with ATX Motherboard Support RC-902XB-KKN1-AMZ
Price: $99.99
Optical Drive: Lite-On Super AllWrite 24X SATA DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive – Bulk – IHAS124-04 (Black) Price: $17.99
Estimated Price: $1023 (at the time of writing this article)

Overview: Gaming PC Build ( $1000 )

The $1000 build has held strong for quite some time and this month is no exception. We have included a PowerColor Radon HD 7950 3GB graphics card as is currently comes in at a very low price of $299.99. Also, we are again featuring the Cooler Master HAF XB Mid Tower Computer Case – The very attractive and highly esteemed PC case. If you want a gaming PC build that really stands out, then this may be the one for you this month. This Cooler Master case was included in the $1000 build in January and I had quite a few positive responses for people that decided to build with it.

$1000 Build Performance –

(*note: i do try to make these benchmark results as close to stock speeds as possible, although they may not always be 100% accurate. If you like you make also search for more benchmarks directly on the 3dmark.com website)

Here are the 3D Mark 7 benchmarks using the Intel i5-3570K processor and the Radeon HD 7870 graphics card –  http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/4791976

Radeon hd 7950 and Intel i5 3570K

Overview: The Gaming PC Hardware

Intel Core i5 3570K Processor 3.4 4 BX80637I53570K Price: $219.99

Intel 3570K Prcoessor

Like most processors this month, the Intel 3570K processor still holds strong as the processor of choice for Medium to High end gaming PC builds.

This is the current mainstream high end gamer processor. The Intel 35070K is included in both the higher end and mid range gaming pc builds of the month. This processor is easily overclocked and perfect for all hardware enthusiasts and gamers alike.

The Intel Core i5-3570K has four cores and an unlocked multiplier that allows you to freely adjust the frequency – overclocking made easy! Note: if you plan on overclocking please consider buying an after market CPU cooler such as the Cooler Master Evo 212 included in the Hardware Suggestions section for this $1000 build.

Intel Core i5-3570K 4 cores 3.4 GHz clock speed (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 Socket

Product Details: *From Intel

Essentials
Status
Launched
Launch Date
Q2’12
Processor Number
i5-3570K
# of Cores
4
# of Threads
4
Clock Speed
3.4 GHz
Max Turbo Frequency
3.8 GHz
Intel® Smart Cache
6 MB
Bus/Core Ratio
34
DMI
5 GT/s
Instruction Set
64-bit
Instruction Set Extensions
SSE4.1/4.2, AVX
Embedded Options Available
No
Lithography
22 nm
Max TDP
77 W

 

AS Rock LGA1155 DDR3 SATA3 USB3.0 Quad CrossFireX and Quad SLI A GbE ATX Motherboard Z77 EXTREME4 Price: $134.99

AS Rock LGA1155 DDR3 SATA3 USB3.0 Quad CrossFireX and Quad SLI A GbE ATX Motherboard Z77 EXTREME4Back to the AsRock EXTREME4 this month as its price has subsided back down to around $134, good news! I have used this motherboard several times in the months builds and with good reason. This will support every piece of hardware comfortably in this build,  leaves plenty of room for upgrades and can nicely overclock the Intel 3570K processor.

Product Details:

  • CPU: LGA1155; Supports 2nd/3rd Generation Intel Core i7/ i5/ i3 Processor; Supports Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology; Supports Hyper-Threading Technology
  • Chipset: Intel Z77
  • Memory: 4X DDR3-2800+(OC)/2400(OC)/2133(OC)/1866(OC)/1600/1333/1066 DIMM Slots, Non-ECC, Unbuffered, Dual Channel, Maxi Capacity up to 32GB
  • Slots: 2X PCI-Express 3.0 X16 Slots (runs at X8), 2 X PCI Express 2.0 X1 Slots, 2 X PCI Slots
  • SATA: 4X SATA3 Ports (one connector is shared with eSATA3 port), Two Support RAID 0, 1, 5, 10; 4X SATA2 Ports, Support RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
  • Ports: 8X USB 2.0 Ports (2 rear, 6 via header); 6X USB 3.0 Ports (4 rear,?2 via header); 1X PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse Port; 1X?VGA Port; 1X DVI Port; 1X Optical SPDIF Out Port; 1X HDMI Port; 1X eSATA3 Port; 1X RJ45 LAN Port; Audio I/O Jacks
  • Power Connector: 1X 24-Pin ATX Main Power Connector, 1X 8-Pin 12V Power Connector

PowerColor AMD Radeon HD 7950 3GB GDDR5 BOOST STATE DVI/HDMI/2Mini DisplayPort PCI-Express Video Card AX7950 3GBD5-2DHV4 Price: $299

This is the “Boost” version of the Radeon HD 7950 3GB graphics card. Essentially it is a manufactured overclocked card so you do not have to do it yourself to risk messing anything up or voiding any warranty. This Power Color card is priced very well this month, so don’t hesitate!

You will be able to play most if not all games at max settings at 1920×1080 resolutions and will even play well if you have a super high resolution monitor at 2560×1600.

Technical Details:

  • Chipset: AMD Radeon HD 7950
  • Engine Clock: 850 MHz
  • Video Memory: 3GB GDDR5
  • Bus: PCI-Express 3.0 x16
  • Connectors: DV-I, HDMI, 2x Mini DisplayPort
  • Supports: Microsoft Windows 7/ Vista/ XP, AMD Technology, HDCP-High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection, Microsoft DirectX 11.1, Shader Model 5.0

Corsair Vengeance 8 GB ( 2 x 4 GB ) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) 240-Pin DDR3 Memory Kit for Core i3, i5, i7 and Platforms SDRAM CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9 Price: $47.98

Corsair Venegance MemoryThe Corsair Vengeance series packages of 8GB (2x4GB) package of RAM is a great deal and the perfect amount of memory for a good gaming pc build.
Technical Details:
  • 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 for AMD, Intel Dual processors and upcoming 2nd Generation Intel Core platforms
  • Speed: 1600MHz
  • Timing: 9-9-9-24
  • Voltage: 1.5V
  • Vengeance heat spreader for styling and performance

Western Digital 1 TB WD Blue SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive Price: $72.37

1TB of hard drive space is a good amount of hard drive space for a $1000 build and the newer line of Western Digital hard drives is a quality drive to takes this place.

Product Details

  • WD Caviar Blue hard drives have a multitude of features to deliver rock solid performance and ultra-cool and quiet operation.
  • 3rd generation SATA interface for 6 GB/s maximum data transfer rates.
  • WhisperDrive technology minimizes noise to levels near the threshold of human hearing.
  • 1 TB capacity holds up to 200,000 digital photos, 250,000 MP3 files, and 120 hours of HD video.
  • Ships in Certified Frustration-Free Packaging

Corsair Professional Series  HX 750 Watt ATX/EPS Modular 80 PLUS Gold (HX750) Price: $129.99

This month I have included the Corsair HX series of power supplies. A better quality more efficient selection when compared to the previous Corsair TX series PSU’s.; plus fully modular – Let’s keep these higher end builds looking slick!

Product Details:

Quiet operation at low loads

Basic PC power supplies have fans that spin whenever your PC is on – whether you’re pushing your graphics card to the limit or just surfing the web. HX Series power supplies are smarter than that: they generate less heat, so they require less cooling, and the thermally controlled fan only spins when it’s needed.

Slay the cable kraken

The modular cable set allows you to use only the cables you need for your particular set of components. There’s no more unwieldy mythical tentacled monstrosity of unused cables to clutter up the inside of your case.

High efficiency, low heat

Efficiency is the measurement of how well a power supply converts the AC power from your outlet to the DC power used by your PC’s components. If your power supply isn’t efficient, it will generate more heat, which requires more cooling and more fan noise. And, it might even affect your power bill.

HX Series PSUs are among the most efficient on the market. They help keep your PC cool and quiet, and your power bill down.

Features

Reliable and efficient operation
  • A dedicated single +12V rail offers simple configuration and maximum compatibility with the latest graphics cards and other components
  • 80 PLUS Gold certification, delivering up to 90% energy efficiency under real-world load conditions
  • The ultra-quiet, 140mm double ball-bearing fan delivers excellent airflow with exceptionally low noise levels by varying fan speed in response to temperature
Superior components for better performance
  • Active Power Factor Correction (PFC) with PF value of 0.99
  • Over-voltage, under-voltage, over-current, and short circuit protection provide maximum safety for your critical system components
  • Engineered to meet maximum power output at a server-grade 50°C temperature rating
  • High-quality capacitors provide uncompromised performance and reliability

Cooler Master HAF XB – LAN Box and Test Bench Mid Tower Computer Case with ATX Motherboard Support (RC-902XB-KKN1) Price: $99.99

Cooler Master’s new HAF XB takes the famous High Air Flow series to a revolutionary new form factor with extreme cooling performance. Packing full ATX motherboard support, steel reinforced carrying handles, modular features, portability, support for up to 3-way SLI/CrossFire, excellent cooling, and the ability to transform between a LAN Box and Test Bench, HAF XB comes in as a part of a new generation of versatile and mobile-friendly computer cases. The removable horizontal mainboard tray, large mesh top, and front panels with two 120mm front fans allow powerful front to back airflow. Despite its compact, rugged design, there is plenty of space for even the tallest high performance tower heatsinks, thick water cooling radiators, and up to 3 of the longest high-end graphics cards. Within seconds the side panels with their rigid carrying handles and the top mesh panel can be removed, transforming the HAF XB into a test bench with direct access to the hardware. The front panel features two USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports as well as two SSD compatible X-Dock slots for lightning fast data transfers.

Technical Details:

  • Direct front to back airflow over CPU and mainboard for extreme cooling performance
  • Supports 240mm radiators with extra clearance for thick, high performance radiators or push-pull fan configurations
  • Supports tower CPU coolers with a height up to 180mm and up to 334mm long high-end graphics cards
  • Motherboard tray can be removed to install, remove, or swap components
  • The first case that quickly and easily transforms into a Test Bench – ideal for enthusiasts and overclockers
  • Dual USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports and X-Dock slots at the front panel for lightning fast plug-n-play I/O
  • Rigid carrying handles on the side panels

Lite-On Super AllWrite 24X SATA DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive – Bulk – IHAS124-04 (Black) Price: $17.99

Back to the good ol’Lite-on optical drive. Honestly, I say again and again, I pay very little attention to how I choose the optical drives – I simply choose the cheapest one. So if you find a cheaper one, get it. Likewise, if you don’t actually think you’ll use it, then skip it. You can instal your OS via a USB stick or an external hard drive if that’s the only reason you would need it, however this will be completely up to the builder.

Technical Detail

  • Lite-On Super AllWrite 24X SATA DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive IHAS124-04 BLACK/BULK (Black)
  • 6.7 x 5.8 x 1.6 inches ; 2 pounds
  • Interface: SATA; Buffer Memory: 1.5 MB

 

$1000 Gaming PC Build Additions / Swap Suggestions

Note: Prices are in additional $ amounts… These additions are to act as additional or supplemental hardware the the Gaming PC Build Recipe Above

Add a SSD Boot Drive: Crucial m4 128GB 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s CT128M4SSD2= + $129.99
Add a Blu-Ray Optical Drive: Asus Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-Ray Drive (BC-12B1ST) = + $49.99 – Perhaps you are a movie buff?  or need to Backup Media etc. Then swap this for the optical drive and you can add blu-ray burn / read functionality!
PowerColor Radeon HD 7950 Boost StateCROSSFIRE with another PowerColor Radeon HD 7950 Boost State AX7950 3GBD5-2DHV4 Video Card = + $299.99  Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler (RR-212E-20PK-R1)

Price: $33.37 (*Add this to easily and efficiently overclock your Intel 3570K processor!)

Additions / Part Swaps Overview

If you are thinking of upgrading your system beyond the basic $1000 build, then the recommendations above may be for you. If you have any further questions regarding upgrades or suggestions please leave a comment below the article.

$1500 Gaming PC Build - Newb Computer BuildMonthly Gaming PC Build ( $1493 ): April 2013

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

Game with Extreme settings at resolutions of 2560×1600

All hardware is linked to Amazon.com – You Can also try   Amazon.ca (CANADA) • Amazon.co.uk (UK) Newegg.com (US) • Newegg.ca (CANADA)  Scorptec.com.au(AUS)  pccasegear.com (AUS) to shop for these parts.
 
Processor: Intel Core i5-3570K Quad-Core Processor 3.4 GHz 4 Core LGA 1155 – BX80637I53570K
Price: $219.99
 
CPU Cooler (For OverClocking): Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO – CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan (RR-212E-20PK-R2)
Price: $33.39
Motherboard: AS Rock LGA1155 DDR3 SATA3 USB3.0 Quad CrossFireX and Quad SLI A GbE ATX Motherboard Z77 EXTREME6
Price: $154.99
Graphics Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 OC with Boost 3GB DDR5 DL-DVI-I/SL-DVI-D/HDMI/DP PCI-Express Graphics Card 11197-03-40G
Price: $399.99
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory F3-12800CL10D-16GBXL
Price: $105.98
Hard Drive: Western Digital 1 TB WD Blue SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive
Price: $72.37
SSD Hard Drive: Samsung Electronics 840 Pro Series 2.5-Inch 256 GB SATA 6GB/s Solid State Drive MZ-7PD256BW
Price: $228.55
Power Supply: Corsair Professional Series  AX 850 Watt ATX/EPS Modular 80 PLUS Gold (AX850)
Price: $159.99
Computer Case: Nzxt Technologies Phantom with Green Trim (Green LED) Enthusiast Full Tower Case – Phan-002Gr (Black)
Price: $99.99
Optical Drive: Lite-On Super AllWrite 24X SATA DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive – Bulk – IHAS124-04 (Black) Price: $17.99
Estimated Price: $1493 (At the time of writing this article)

Overview: Gaming PC Build ( $1500 )

This month we have a performance oriented focus for the $1500 build. By going with a $99 NZXT Phantom Full Tower Case with green trim (prices have lowed for this great case), we have been able to harness the power of the Intel 3570K and the Radeon HD 7970 we had before and included a Samsung 840 PRO  256Gb series SSD (a faster more efficient SSD). Also, we have included the Corsair AX Series 850 Watt Power supply, which boasts up to 90% efficiency, a seven year warranty, low noise (due to varying fan speeds based on temperature) and it’s fully modular.

This build simply screams gaming performance with ability to ad some major future crossfire ability, plenty of more memory room and storage space.

$1500 Build Performance –

(*note: i do try to make these benchmark results as close to stock speeds as possible, although they may not always be 100% accurate. If you like you make also search for more benchmarks directly on the 3dmark.com website)

Here are the 3D Mark 7 benchmarks using the Intel i5-3570K processor and the Radeon HD 7970 graphics card –  http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/5618955

Intel i5 3570K and Radeon HD 7970

Overview: The Gaming PC Hardware

Intel Core i5-3570K Quad-Core Processor 3.4 GHz 4 Core LGA 1155 – BX80637I53570K Price: $219.99

Intel Core i5 3570K Processor

It has been said that the Intel 3570K is the best price per core performance gaming cpu with the ability to overclock unsurpassed in this range. Want to read some benchmarks on the Intel 3570K? – Then check out some of techradars benchmarks.

I have included an aftermarket CPU cooler – the Cooler Master EVO, which will make overclocking a simple feat while keeping temperatures under control. I dare you to try overclocking up to an easy 4.8GHz!

Intel Core i5-3570K 4 cores 3.4 GHz clock speed (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 Socket

Product Details: *From Intel

Essentials
Status Launched
Launch Date Q2’12
Processor Number i5-3570K
# of Cores 4
# of Threads 4
Clock Speed 3.4 GHz
Max Turbo Frequency 3.8 GHz
Intel® Smart Cache 6 MB
Bus/Core Ratio 34
DMI 5 GT/s
Instruction Set 64-bit
Instruction Set Extensions SSE4.1/4.2, AVX
Embedded Options Available
No
Lithography 22 nm
Max TDP 77 W

Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO – CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan (RR-212E-20PK-R2) Price: $33.39

The general standard in non stock CPU coolers, the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU cooler is a must for anyo9ne considering overcloking their Intel 3570K processor. This cooler will easily keep temps down while being able to overclock easily.

Product Details:

  • Well-balanced cooling performance provides fin optimizations with perfect balance between high and low speed operations.
  • Wide-range PWM fan with unique wave-shaped blade design for excellent airflow.
  • 4 Direct Contact heat pipes with the patented (Continuous Direct Contact) technology – creating a perfect, sleek surface for heat conduction.
  • Versatile all-in-one mounting solution that supports the latest Intel LGA 1366/1155/2011 and AMD FM1/AM3+/FM2

AS Rock LGA1155 DDR3 SATA3 USB3.0 Quad CrossFireX and Quad SLI A GbE ATX Motherboard Z77 EXTREME6 Price: $154.99

The AsRock EXTREME6 is a great choice for anyone who wants room to upgrade and add more hardware in the future, plus it has gone down in price this month by about $20.

Product Details:

  • CPU: LGA1155; Supports 2nd/3rd Generation Intel Core i7/ i5/ i3 Processor; Supports Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology; Supports Hyper-Threading Technology
  • Chipset: Intel Z77
  • Memory: 4X DDR3-2800+(OC)/2400(OC)/2133(OC)/1866(OC)/1600/1333/1066 DIMM Slots, Non-ECC, Unbuffered, Dual Channel, Maxi Capacity up to 32GB
  • Slots: 2X PCI-Express 3.0 X16 Slots (single at X16/X8 or dual at X8/X8), 1X PCI-Express 2.0 X16 Slot (runs at X4), 1X PCI Express 2.0 X1 Slot, 1X mini-PCI Express Slot, 2 X PCI Slots
  • SATA:?4X SATA3 Ports (one shared with eSATA3 port),?Two Support RAID 0, 1, 5, 10; 4X SATA2, Supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
  • Power Connector: 1X 24-Pin ATX Main Power Connector, 1X 8-Pin 12V Power Connector

Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 OC with Boost 3GB DDR5 DL-DVI-I/SL-DVI-D/HDMI/DP PCI-Express Graphics Card 11197-03-40G Price: $399.99

The Radeon HD 7970 has gone down in price this month and priced at only $399. This month features the Sapphire Radeon HD OC with Boost card which will race through any game you throw at it.

This card will have you playing any game without any problems at Max Settings with resolutions soaring up to 2560X1600 easily.

Product Details:

  • 1 x Dual-Link DVI-I
  • 1 x Single-Link DVI-D
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 950/1000(Boost) MHz Core Clock
  • 5700 MHz Effective Memory Clock

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory F3-12800CL10D-16GBXL Price: $105.98

A slight change in RAM this month to a G Skill branded 16Gb package of RAM. Currently priced about $16 lower then the similar Corsair Vengeance package of RAM, we have an equally quality package of RAM for less.

Product Features:

  • 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 for AMD and Intel Dual Channel processors
  • Speed: 1600MHz
  • Timing: 10-10-10-27
  • Pin Out: 240 Pin
  • Voltage: 1.5V
  • Density: 16GB (2x8GB Module)
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty

Western Digital 1 TB WD Blue SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive Price: $72.37

The Western Digital Blue series of hard drives have been used in my builds for quite some time and with good reason. This 1TB drive will have plenty of room to store a ton of gaming media.

Performance Details:

  • WD Blue hard drives have a multitude of features including third generation SATA interface with 6 GB/s transfer rate, plus rock solid performance and ultra-cool and quiet operation.
  • WhisperDrive technology minimizes noise to levels near the threshold of human hearing.
  • SoftSeek technology streamlines read/write seeking algorithms, resulting in more efficient operation.
  • 1 TB capacity holds up to 200,000 digital photos, 250,000 MP3 files, and 120 hours of HD video.
  • 2 year limited warranty.

Samsung Electronics 840 Pro Series 2.5-Inch 256 GB SATA 6GB/s Solid State Drive MZ-7PD256BW Price: $228.55

This is the Samsung 840 PRO series of solid state drive, which is capable of delivering quick sequential read and write speeds–up to 540MB/s and 520MB/s respectively – super fast performance!

 

Technical Details:

  • Experience PC performance you never thought possible
  • Enables you to boot up your computer in as little as 15 seconds
  • Energy efficient – improves battery life by up to 50 minutes
  • Solid-state design provides greater shock protection for data and brushed metal case blocks dust and corrosion
  • Worry-free data security with AES 256-bit full-disk encryption
  • 100-percent genuine Samsung components from the #1 memory manufacturer in the world
  • 4th-generation 3-Core Samsung MDX Controller ensures sustained performance under the most punishing conditions
  • Backed by an industry-leading five-year limited warranty

Processor, Memory, and Motherboard

  • Hardware Platform: PC, Mac, Unix, Linux
  • L2 Cache: 512 MB

Operating System and Software

  • Bundled Software: Automatic Backup Software Included

Special Features

  • AES 256-Bit Encryption

Hard Drive

  • Size: 256 GB
  • Manufacturer: 256GB
  • Type: Serial ATA-150

Cases and Expandability

  • Size (LWH): 3.94 inches, 2.75 inches, 0.28 inches

Corsair Professional Series  AX 850 Watt ATX/EPS Modular 80 PLUS Gold (AX850) Price: $159.99

This is the Corsair AX series of power supplies. These PSU’s have up to 90% efficiency, a seven year warranty, tend to keep really quiet due to varying fan speeds based on temperature and are fully modular. This PSU is a perfect match for any high-end gaming PC and will allow you to easily add upgrades in the future.

Product Details

  • 80PLUS Gold certified, delivering up to 90% energy efficiency at real world load conditions.
  • A Seven year warranty and lifetime access to Corsair?s legendary technical support and customer service.
  • High-quality Japanese capacitors provide uncompromisable performance and reliability.
  • An ultra-quiet double ball-bearing fan delivers excellent airflow at an exceptionally low noise level by varying fan speed in response to temperature.
  • A Seven year warranty and lifetime access to Corsair’s legendary technical support and customer service.

Nzxt Technologies Phantom with Green Trim (Green LED) Enthusiast Full Tower Case – Phan-002Gr (Black) Price: $99.99

Nzxt Technologies Phantom with Green TrimI have included the Phantom series of cases before, and this month, this particular green trim full tower Phantom has dropped to a cheap $99. This made this Phantom case a great choice in order to fit all of the high performing hardware into this build. Plus it has a ton of space to keep adding hardware in the future!

Product Details

  • Model: NZXT Phantom Black Case Type: Full Tower Black Interior Chassis Front Panel
  • Cooling Systems: Front 1x140mm, Side 1x200mm, 2x120mm (included), Rear 1x120mm (included), Top 2x200mm (1xBlue Led 200mm included)
  • Clearance: VGA>350mm, CPU Heatsink support 180mm (without side 200/230mm fan)
  • Immense Performance: 7 fan capability ( Front fan 1x140mm, Top 2x200mm fan, Side 1x200mm and 2x120mm, rear 1x120mm).
  • Large Expandability: Space for 7 hard drives and five 5.25 bays
  • Drive Bays: 5 External 5.25″, 7 Internal 3.5″ drive bays, 7 Expansion slots
  • Five 20W per Channel fan control totaling 100W
  • Four fans included with case (1x200mm, 3x120mm)Material(s): Steel with coating inside
  • Material: Plastic / Steel Mesh Dimension (W x H x D): 8.75″ x 21.32″ x 24.56″
  • Maximum Compatibility: Large Heat sinks, Graphics card support 350mm, and E-ATX support
  • Weight: 24.2 Lbs/ 11 Kg (withp Power)Motherboard support: E-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX, ITX

Lite-On Super AllWrite 24X SATA DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive – Bulk – IHAS124-04 (Black) Price: $17.99

Back to the good ol’Lite-on optical drive. Honestly, I say again and again, I pay very little attention to how I choose the optical drives – I simply choose the cheapest one. So if you find a cheaper one, get it. Likewise, if you don’t actually think you’ll use it, then skip it. You can instal your OS via a USB stick or an external hard drive if that’s the only reason you would need it, however this will be completely up to the builder.

Technical Detail

  • Lite-On Super AllWrite 24X SATA DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive IHAS124-04 BLACK/BULK (Black)
  • 6.7 x 5.8 x 1.6 inches ; 2 pounds
  • Interface: SATA; Buffer Memory: 1.5 MB

 

$1500 Gaming PC Build Additions / Swap Suggestions

Note: Prices are in additional $ amounts – These additions are to act as supplemental or swaps for the hardware in the $1000-$1500 Gaming PC Build recipe above

Swap the Processor for an i7 –

Intel Core i7-3770K Quad-Core Processor 3.5 GHz 6 MB Cache LGA 1155 – BX80637I73770K=  $324.98

Further increase the Graphics Power w/ Crossfire and add one more: 
Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 OC with Boost 3GB DDR5 DL-DVI-I/SL-DVI-D/HDMI/DP PCI-Express Graphics Card 11197-03-40G = + $399.99
Better CPU Cooler (To Overclock Intel 3570K): Cooler Master Seidon 240M – Liquid CPU Water Cooling Kit with Pre-filled Coolant and Copper Heatsink= + $99.00
 Larger SSD: Samsung Electronics 840 Pro Series 2.5-Inch 256 GB SATA 6GB/s Solid State Drive MZ-7PD256BW = + $448.55 

Overview: Additions / Part Swaps

The above hardware are examples of hardware upgrades / replacements for the $1500 build. For example: You could do crossfire with a second Radeon HD 7970, or instead of an Intel 3570K processor you could use the above Intel i7 3770K processor. It’s all up to you and if you have any questions about these hardware swaps or any other additions then please leave a comment below.


Concluding April 2013’s Gaming PC Builds:

It was a rather interesting month as I have not included an AMD build in quite sometime. The $500 would be a great budget gaming PC build, especially for any new enthusiasts to the gaming PC building world.

This concludes yet another great month in the PC building world and whatever your budget, I hope that you were able to find some informative information to use towards your new gaming PC. If you have any other budget needs or have questions related to these or your own build, please do not hesitate to ask in the comments below.

April 2013’s Gaming PC Hardware Overview Video:



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Corey

Hello, my name is Corey and I run Newb Computer Build - A site where you can come learn about the Gaming Hardware you need in order to run the latest PC games: Check out the Monthly Gaming PC Builds. If you have any input or questions please feel free to leave them in the comments. Google+

4 thoughts on “Gaming PC Builds of the Month: April 2013

  1. Hey Corey! Superb builds once again.. 😀
    Can I make a suggestion in a pair of 650Ti Boost cards in SLI for the $1000 build? 😉
    They cost about a $100 less and perform more or less as the HD7950..
    Just a thought.. 😀 😀

    1. Hey Aedan,

      Great suggestion! It’s funny because I totally debated this month going for a crossfire / and or SLI configuration. I’ve generally stuck to the one card build’s with past experience being that if one were a first-time builder they would prefer a one card, simple as that sort of build. Perhaps I shall try that route next month? 🙂 Or find a finesse way to add both in so an individual may choose.

      1. Sure man! 😀 😀
        You could like add it to the parts – swap section you do. I had been following the release of 650Ti Boost quite closely and they simply blew away the competition at $170 ~ $190 price bracket and the SLI scales really well across current games too. 😉 😀
        Also man, I would really love it if you could update the “Game – Specific Build” Section with the current hardware changes too if the prices don’t vary much with the previous configs you posted.. 😀 😀
        Keep up the great work man! Really, really love your site.. 😀 😀

        1. Well that’s good to hear and thanks for the feedback, always appreciate it. I definitely need to sit down one of these days soon and update the games specific section and a few others too as they get old fast haha.

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