Gaming PC Builds – April 2014
Choose your budget –
- Gaming PC Build of the Month ( $600 ): April 2014
- Gaming PC Build of the Month ( $1000 ): April 2014
- Gaming PC Build of the Month ( $1500 ): April 2014
Welcome to a quick Gaming PC Builds of the month update – the April 2014 edition. With few releases lately, not much has been added or refreshed with every build – however all builds have been adjusted according to a few minor price changes or the last month.
The $600 build has had a minor graphics card swap since the R7 265 does perform about 14.6% higher then the new GTX 750Ti from last month for the exact same cost. The GTX 750 Ti is still a great choice and does use much less power, however if you are looking for a tiny bit more performance for the same cost then the R7 265 is the better choice.
In the $1000 build you will see a quick case refresh and a quick switch for a different motherboard – the motherboard swap was due to a significant price jump of the previous MSI gaming series board, however the new board is very similar.
Finally, the $1500 build has changed the very least between this months three features builds. The only change was a refresh in the case, and it brings back an older featured Fractal case. This simply means that the $1500 build is still a strong choice for a second month in a row, so if your in the budget for the higher end PC build – go for it.
Monthly Gaming PC Build ( $595 ): April 2014
(Game at Smoothly with Medium – High settings at 1920X1080 resolutions)
Gaming PC Build Recipe:
|Estimated Price:||$ 594.65|
|AMD FD6300WMHKBOX FX-6300 6-Core Processor Black Edition
Price: $109 Price drop!
|MSI Computer Corp. Motherboard North Bridge AMD 970 & South Bridge AMD SB950 Chipset ATX DDR3 800 AMD AM3+ Motherboards (970A-G46) Price $69 price drop!|
|Sapphire Sapphire Radeon R7 265 2GB GDDR5 DVI-I / DVI-D / HDMI / DP Dual-X PCI-Express Graphics Card Graphics Cards 11232-00-20G Price: $169.99|
|Kingston Hyper X Blu 8 GB (2x4GB Modules) 1600MHz DDR3 Non-ECC CL9 XMP Desktop Memory – KHX1600C9D3B1K2/8GXPrice: $69.99|
|WD Blue 1 TB Desktop Hard Drive: 3.5 Inch, 7200 RPM, SATA 6 Gb/s, 64 MB Cache – WD10EZEX
|Corsair Builder Series CX 600 Watt ATX/EPS 80 PLUS (CX600)
|Rosewill Dual Fans ATX Mid Tower Computer Case FB-03
|LG Electronics Optical DVD Drive GH24NSB0B
Overview: $600 Gaming PC Build
Last month I featured the very new and low powered GTX 750 Ti. Although still a great graphics card, I have swapped the card for a slightly better powered, but equally priced Radeon R7 265. The R7 265 performs 14.6% faster then the GTX 750 Ti according to this forbes article.
Other then that the $600 build stays strong and keeps with the standard FC 6300 AMD processor and the very affordable MSI 970A-G46 motherboard. The RAM is an 8Gb kit of Kingston HyperX Blu, the Corsair CX 600W, we have 1TB of space with the Western Digital Blue Hard Drive and the basic Rosewill ATX PC Case.
Upgrades / Alternatives for the $600 Gaming PC Build:
These upgrades and alternatives below are for anyone who may have some extra spending cash or want some ideas for future upgrades.
The upgrades and alternatives this month include an upgraded eight core AMD FX-8320 processor, a Cooler Master HAF 912 Mi Tower Computer Case, a better graphics card the EVGA GeForce GTX 660, or a nice boot drive with a Crucial M500 120GB SSD.
These are here to act as hardware suggestions for those who has either a little more to spend or those who would like
|Processor Alternative: AMD FD8320FRHKBOX FX-8320 FX-Series 8-Core Black Edition ($139.99)||Alternative PC Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 – Mid Tower Computer Case with High Airflow ($59.99)|
|Graphics Card Alternative: EVGA GeForce GTX 660 SUPERCLOCKED 2048MB GDDR5 DVI HDMI DP Graphics Card 02G-P4-2662-KR ($209.99)
||Crucial M500 120GB SATA 2.5-Inch 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive CT120M500SSD1 ($74.99)|
Monthly Gaming PC Build ( $976 ): April 2014
Gaming PC Build Recipe:
Capability: Game with Extreme settings at 1920X1080 resolutions and even High Settings in some games at 2560×1600
Overview: Gaming PC Build ( $1000 )
The $1000 build has been a strong pick for quite a few months now with very few changes. We still feature the very promising GTX 760 graphics card featured above. This card can give you great performance allowing you to easily play most games at their highest settings at 1080p.
The motherboard has has a minor switch this month to a Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD3H – a very similar board to last months although it takes into account a few price changes. This motherboard comes with the following specs: [source]
- Supports 4th Generation Intel® Core™ processors
- GIGABYTE Ultra Durable™ 5 Plus Technology
- IR® Digital CPU Power Design
- GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS™
- 15µ gold plated CPU socket
- Multi-GPU Support
- Durable black solid capacitors
- GIGABYTE On/Off Charge™ 2 for USB devices
- Intel® LAN with high ESD Protection
- New Heatsink design for better cooling
- Realtek ALC898 with High Quality 110dB SNR HD audio
- Onboard Quick Buttons
- Supports CFOS speed Internet Accelerator Software
- 10 USB 3.0 ports
Finally, we feature a new PC case this month – the Thermaltake Chase A31 case. This case proves a strong buy, especially when cost vs. features are taken into consideration. Although this case has been out for about a year it is still a great choice as a gaming mid tower pc case. It features a large side window, nice blue trim, USB 3.0, removable drive cages, dust filters and more.
Some further specs for the Thermaltake Chaser A31 –
- Dimensions (mm) 212 x 495 x 501 (W x D x H)
- Material Steel, plastic
- Available colours Black (reviewed), snow white, thunder blue
- Weight 6.5kg
- Front panel Power, reset, 2 x USB 3, stereo, microphone
- Drive bays 3 x external 5.25in, 6 x internal 3.5in/2.5in
- Form factor(s) ATX, Micro-ATX
- Cooling 2 x 120mm front fan mounts (1 x 120mm fan included), 1 x 120mm rear fan mount (fan included), 2 x 140mm/120mm roof fan mounts, 1 x 120mm bottom fan mount (fans not included)
- CPU cooler clearance 160mm
- Maximum graphics card length 290mm/410mm (without drive cage)
- Extras Removable bottom dust filter, peripheral lock
$1000 Gaming PC Build Additions / Alternatives
Below are some hardware additions should you have some extra cash and want to upgrade a specific piece to the above build.
Since there is no SSD included in the base $1000 build I do suggest you highly considering one if you funds allow. The Samsung 840 PRO series is a great high quality SSD and 128GB is a perfect starting point to use is as your boot drive with some of your most used apps / games. For those that simply want more space for large sums of media etc. you could condier getting a 2TB drive (doubling your space) with the Seagate Barracuda 2TB drive below. For those of you that do some serious gaming or are considering gaming at higher then 1080p resolutions then you might want to condier bumping up your graphics cards with either an upgrade to a single MSI GTX 770 or better yet getting a second EVGA GeForce GTX 760 and SLI’ing your cards.
Also, please *note that if you do decide to SLI with another GeForce GTX 760 graphics card, you may want to also upgrade the power supply unit to 850W (ie. Corsair RM 850 Watt) – Just to be safe – although you could probably get away with the included 750 Watts; up to you!
|Add a SSD Boot Drive: Samsung Electronics MZ-7PD128BW 840 Pro Series 2.5-Inch 128GB SATA 6Gbps Solid State Drive= (+ $119.00) –||Upgrade your graphics card: MSI Computer Corp. Video Graphics Card GTX N770 TF 2GD5/OC ($319.99)|
|More Hard Drive Space With 2TB – Seagate Barracuda 2 TB HDD SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST2000DM001 Price:$84.81||SLI your graphics card with another GTX 760: EVGA GeForce GTX760 w/EVGA ACX Cooler 2GB GDDR5 256bit, Dual-Link DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI,DP, SLI Ready Graphics Card (02G-P4-2763-KR) Graphics Cards 02G-P4-2763-KR (Price: $249.99)
Monthly Gaming PC Build ( $1515 ): April 2014
Gaming PC Build Recipe:
Game with Extreme settings at resolutions of 2560×1600
Overview: Gaming PC Build ( $1500 )
Out of all the builds this month, the $1500 build has changed the least. I do like to change the cases up since they do generally build down to personal preference more then anything, so I have at least done that by including the Fractal Design Define R4 case – more information about that can be seen further down.
As per usual, we do feature the Intel 4670K processor as the main CPU for both the $1000 and $1500 builds, That’s because it’s a kick ass processor with tons of overclocking potential. For those of you who have been asking, well why not an i7. Well the answer is this – these are gaming PC’s and an i7 would honestly not boost your performance considering you are better off with putting the cost difference into your graphics card or just saving it. However I would like the mention, I do include the Intel Core i7 4770K in the alternatives below – I would recommend this upgrade if you do more then gaming as your primary PC use; such as graphics work video work etc.
The motherboard featured for the third month in a row is the ASUS MAXIMUS VI HERO – a fantastic motherboard that will so easily overclock you Intel 4670K. This builds also boasts 16GB of DDR3 RAM (a ton of RAM), an RM seris 750 watt fully modular power supply unit & even a 128GB solid state drive that will change your world if you have yet to use an SSD as your primary boot drive.
Fractal Design Define R4 Case Specs:
- ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX motherboard compatibility
- 7 + 1 expansion slots
- 2 – 5.25″ bays
- 8 – 3.5″ HDD trays – all compatible with SSDs, 2 – 2.5″ extra SSD positions
- 3 – ModuVent™ plates – two in the top and one in the side
- 7 – fan positions (2 Silent Series R2 fans included)
- Filtered fan slots in the front and bottom
- CPU coolers up to 170mm tall (when no fan is installed in the side panel)
- ATX PSUs up to 170mm deep when using the bottom fan location, when not using this fan location longer PSUs (up to 270mm deep) can be used
- Graphics cards up to 295mm in length with the top HDD cage installed
- With the top cage removed, graphics cards up to 430mm in length may be installed
- 26mm of space for cable routing behind the motherboard plate
- Thick rubber grommets on all holes on the motherboard plate
- Colours available: Black Pearl, Titanium Grey, Arctic White
- Case dimensions (WxHxD): 232 x 464 x 523mm
- Package dimensions (WxHxD): 320 x 535 x 610mm
- Net weight: 12.3 kg
$1500 Gaming PC Build Additions / Alternatives
If you have a little extra to spend on the $1500 build, then below are a few suggestions. For those of you who do much more then game, then an Intel core i7-4770K may be a worthy upgrade to ease video or graphics work. Or if you simply want to increase you graphics card potential, then you can SLI another EVGA GTX 780 or purchase a single more powerful graphics card such as the GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB card. Or for those of you who want to dedicate more storage space solely to your SSD, then perhaps a larger 512GB Samsung PRO SDD is a worthy upgrade.
Also, please *note that if you do decide to SLI with another GeForce GTX 780 3GB graphics card, you may want to also upgrade the power supply unit to 850W (ie. Corsair RM 850 Watt)
Intel Core i7-4770K Quad-Core Desktop Processor 3.5 GHZ 8 MB Cache BX80646I74770K ($319.99) – Ideal for anyone who does video / graphics work etc. on top of gaming
||SLI with another – EVGA GeForce GTX780 SuperClocked w/EVGA ACX Cooler 3GB GDDR5 384bit, DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI,DP, SLI Ready (03G-P4-2784-KR) (+$509.99)|
Get a better single Graphics Cards: EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Ti, 3GB, 3072MB,GDDR5 384bit, Dual-Link DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI,DP, SLI Ready Graphics Card (03G-P4-2881-KR) Graphics Cards 03G-P4-2881-KR($699.99) –
A Larger SSD: Samsung Electronics 840 Pro Series 2.5-Inch 512 SATA_6_0_gb Solid State Drive MZ-7PD512BW ($399.94) *lower price