Gaming PC Builds of the Month: September 2014

Gaming PC Builds – September 2014

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September 2014 Gaming PC Builds

Gaming PC Builds of the Month Introduction:

Welcome one and all to the September 2014 gaming pc builds of the month. The builds you will find below include a budget $600, $1000 and $1500 build that are capable of gaming on extreme settings of 2560×1600, 1920×1080 and medium to high settings at 1920×1080 respectfully in most games as the builds get higher in cost. If you have a different budget in mind, there is also an included hardware alternatives table located below each build’s writeup below, or you can always leave a lovely comment in the comments section.

Since last month there has been little in hardware releases in the gaming pc hardware world within the last month, but prices have shifted around. There is however one release worth noting in that Samsung did release another high end contender Solid State Drive to its current line of SSD’s – the Samsung 850 PRO. I note this because I do believe if you can splurge a little, an SSD is a great purchase; especially a higher end SSD.  The Samsung 850 PRO has been quoted to being one of the best internal drives on the market…not necessarily for the cost though. That being said, this card is not included in any of the builds, but if you do have a hefty budget, then it may be a worthwhile consideration.

If you are in the market for a brand new budget gaming pc build, then fret no further and read on below for the September 2014 gaming pc builds of the month. Do remember that these builds are not constrained purely to their respective budgets and that they are flexible depending on your gaming hardware needs, price changes and personal preference.

$1500 Gaming PC Build - Newb Computer Build

September 2014 PC Builds ( $1494 )

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

Game with Extreme settings at resolutions of 2560×1600, 1920×1080 and

Hardware Link Price Image
Estimated Price: $ 1494
Processor Intel Core i5-4690K Processor 3.5 GHz LGA 1150 BX80646I54690K $234.67
Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO – CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan (RR-212E-20PK-R2) $31.87
Motherboard MSI ATX DDR3 2600 LGA 1150 Motherboards Z97 GAMING 5 $146.99
Graphics Card Sapphire Radeon R9 290X 4GB GDDR5 DUAL DVI-D/HDMI/DP PCI-Express BF4 Edition Graphics Card (21226-00-53G) $519.99
RAM Kingston HyperX Blu 16GB Kit (2×8 GB Modules) 1600MHz 240-pin DDR3 Non-ECC CL10 Desktop Memory KHX1600C10D3B1K2/16G $149.99
Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda 1 TB HDD SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST1000DM003 $53.99
SSD Samsung Electronics MZ-7PD128BW 840 Pro Series 2.5-Inch 128GB SATA 6Gbps Solid State Drive $104.99
Power Supply EVGA SuperNOVA 750G2 80PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V/EPS12V 750W Power Supply 220-G2-0750-XR $112.99
Computer Case NZXT Technologies PHANTOM 530 BLACK Computer Cabinet (CA-PH530-B1) – Black $120.65
Optical Drive LG Electronics Optical DVD Drive GH24NSB0B $17.99

Overview: Gaming PC Build ( $1500 )

The $1500 build is for those who want to game at extreme settings and it will do so at resolutions as high as 2560×1600 in most games. Just as I like to do with most of the builds, the focus on all of the included hardware is geared towards performance before anything else. Keep in mind that there is still always flexibility in this build with regards to which case you purchase or even the brand of RAM should you be as picky to want a pair of sticks with a particular color scheme.

To start off the included processor is the newer Intel i5 4690K processor, which is fully unlocked and very easily overclockable. How overclockable you say – well you can get up to 4.8GhZ as seen in this very well written AnandTech article reviewing the Devil’s Canyon processors, including the Intel i5 4690K prcoessor. The Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo CPU Cooler is included to help aid in overclocking the Intel 4690K processor while helping keep stable temperatures. The Hyper 212 EVO has been around for years being used as an alternative cooler in pc builds and the popularity I believe speaks for itself.

The included motherboard is the MSI Z97 Gaming 5 motherboard, a perfect fit mid range Z97 board that has all the features you will ever really use in a gaming pc build. Some of the included features of the board include: (To learn more about these features visit MSI.com)

  • AUDIO BOOST 2: Reward your ears with true quality and get ready for ear-drum shattering gaming with MSI Audio Boost 2! Less noise, crystal clear sound and the best audio components for truly sensational sound quality.
  • USB AUDIO POWER: When connecting multiple USB devices, most motherboards will be unable to deliver a strong 5V power signal to all USB ports. This is highly noticeable with high-quality external USB DACs where sound quality degrades as the motherboard is unable to deliver a perfect USB signal.
    Only MSI USB Audio Power continuously delivers a stable 5V to the USB ports on motherboards, making sure you can continue to enjoy the crystal clear audio standard you expect.
  • KILLER E2200 GAME NETWORKING
  • The Killer E2200 Intelligent Networking Platform is built for maximum networking performance for online games and high-quality streaming media.: Featuring Advanced Stream Detect, Killer E2200 automatically detects and accelerates game traffic ahead of other network traffic for smoother, stutter-free in-game performance and the competitive edge. With this exclusive, automatic traffic prioritization, games and real-time chat get priority over low-level system chatter, giving you the lowest latency for game data on the most controllable network hardware available.
  • PUSH YOUR SSD TO THE LIMIT: Enjoy a blazing fast system boot up and insanely fast loading of applications and games with MSI GAMING motherboards. We offer the next generation of high speed storage support through M.2 and SATA Express. M.2 and SATA Express transfer data through a PCI Express 2.0 x2 interface up to 10 Gb/s, making it 67% faster than SATA 3.0 solutions.
  • GUARD PRO: Guard Pro is a suite of features that protect your PC under the most extreme and harshest conditions.
    Including: Circuit Protection – Eco Power – Humidity Protection – High Temperature Protection – ESD Protection – EMI Protection
  • OC GENIE 4: OC Genie is the world’s first built-in hardware overclocking technology on motherboards. With this one-second overclocking option we’re giving you even more performance. Just hit the button and your PC gets another adrenalin shot. Delivering up to 20% of free extra performance for the CPU, memory and iGPU.

As for graphics, I have included the Sapphire Radeon R9 290X graphics card. The R9 290X – a graphics card that packs some major gaming punch. Specifically, the Sapphire version featured here has the following specifications –

Display Support supports up to 3 display monitor(s) without DisplayPort
4 x Maximum Display Monitor(s) support
Output 1 x HDMI (with 3D)
1 x DisplayPort 1.2
2 x Dual-Link DVI-D
GPU Up to 1000 MHz Core Clock
28 nm Chip
2816 x Stream Processors
Video Memory 4096 MB Size
512 -bit GDDR5
5000 MHz Effective
Dimension 277(L)X104(W)X35(H) mm Size.
2 x slot
Software Driver CD
Accessory 8 PIN to 4 PIN Power Cable
6 PIN to 4 PIN Power Cable
HDMI 1.4a high speed 1.8 meter cable(Full Retail SKU only)

 

As for RAM, we have a total of 16GB of DDR3 memory using a kit of  HyperX Blu 16Gb Kit– which includes two 8GB sticks of RAM. I have used this RAM many times before as it is a very good kit and is usually at a great price point. 16Gb of memory is more then enough and it will last in a gaming pc build for years to come.

The hard-drive has been switched up from the usual Western Digital Blu to a Seagate Barracuda 1TB. Both comparable drives, however the Seagate prices a tad more competitively this month, so I had to include it. 1TB of hard drive space is a generous amount for a gaming pc build, but you will also notice that there is an included Samsung 840 PRO 128GB drive as well. This is included to act as a boot drive for both your operating system, along with your most used games – this will significantly increase load times and I assure you will never go back from not using an SSD.

The power supply unit included is an EVGA SuperNOVA 750 Watt PSU; priced so perfectly for a 750 Watt, fully modular Gold Certified PSU (with up to 90% efficiency). So this PSU will perform quietly and use less energy while also looking pretty good.

This month, I’m going with the ever infamous NZXT Phantom 530 Full Tower PC Case. This is a PC case that if you have been doing any research into purchasing a pc build, you have most likely hard of or have come across. This is because, the NZXT phantom is probably one of the most popular modern pc cases being used nowadays due to its quality and price point. The case also comes in a few different color combinations (visit nzxt.com to see more colors and to view the case specifications).

Finally, we have the dreaded LG Electronics Optical Drive – I don’t mean the drive itself is dreaded, however I do refer to even using an optical drive. Although it is cheap, if you can do without it then you can save about $20. If you can get away without installing an OS via DVD or needing to burn DVDs, then really there is a less need for an optical drive nowadays, although if it will save you the hassle of installing whatever software or games you have, then it may be worth it in your build.

$1500 Gaming PC Build Upgrade Suggestions

If you have a little extra to spend on the $1500 build, then below are a few suggestions. If you want to dedicate more storage space solely to your SSD, then perhaps a larger 512GB Samsung PRO SDD is a worthy upgrade – you could even skip on the Western Digital Black hard drive above and dedicate some cash for a bigger SSD (like the Samsung 840 PRO 256GB or 512GB versions).

We also have an Intel 4790K i7 (the newer Intel Devil’s Canyon edition) for those who want to use their PC for functionality besides gaming. You could also pump some extra cash into more graphics power by either going with a single card like an EVGA GeForce 780 Ti or by doing crossfire with another Sapphire Radeon R9 290X.

Intel Core i7-4790K Processor (8M Cache, up to 4.40 GHz) (BX80646I74790K) ($339.99) – Do more then gaming? – Then an i7 might be the right choice.
Crossfire with another –
Sapphire Radeon R9 290X 4GB GDDR5 DUAL DVI-D/HDMI/DP PCI-Express BF4 Edition Graphics Card (21226-00-53G)  (+$519.99)
*Note: Also recommended to upgrade to a higher wattage power supply.
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 ($669.99)
A Larger SSD: Samsung Electronics 840 Pro Series 2.5-Inch 512 SATA_6_0_gb Solid State Drive MZ-7PD512BW ($344.89)

 


$1000 Gaming PC Build - Newb Computer Build

September 2014 PC Builds ( $1010 )

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

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

Hardware Link Price Image
Estimated Price: $ 1010.42
Processor Intel Core i5-4690K Processor 3.5 GHz LGA 1150 BX80646I54690K $234.67
Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO – CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan (RR-212E-20PK-R2)Price: $29.99 $31.87
Motherboard MSI ATX DDR3 2600 LGA 1150 Motherboards Z97 GAMING 5 $146.99
Graphics Card

MSI Computer Corp. Video Graphics Cards R9 280X GAMING 3G
$294.98
RAM Kingston Technology HyperX 8 GB (2×4 GB Modules) 1600 MHz DDR3 Dual Channel Kit (PC3 12800) 240-Pin SDRAM KHX1600C9D3K2/8GX $79.99
Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda 1 TB HDD SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST1000DM003 $53.99
SSD *none – check the additions / alternatives section below for options!
Power Supply EVGA SuperNOVA 650G1 650W ATX12V Power Supply 120-G1-0650-XR $79.95
Computer Case Corsair Carbide Series Black 300R Mid-Tower Computer Case (CC-9011014-WW) $69.99
Optical Drive LG Electronics Optical DVD Drive GH24NSB0B $17.99

Overview: Gaming PC Build ( $1000 )

The $1000 build is the middle of the line build in the monthly gaming pc builds article – this build should probably the go to build for anyone who wants to game at maximum settings on a standard 1920×1080 resolution monitor configuration.

This build much alike the $1500 build shares the same processor and motherboard, this is because there is not much reason to go over and above these configurations for a great gaming pc.  The included processor is the newer Intel i5 4690K processor, which is fully unlocked and very easily overclockable. You can get up to 4.8GhZ as seen in this  AnandTech article reviewing the Devil’s Canyon processors, including the Intel i5 4690K prcoessor. The Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo CPU Cooler is included to help aid in overclocking the Intel 4690K processor while helping keep stable temperatures. If you don’t plan to overclock right off the bat, or perhaps are not going to push the Intel 4690k to its limits, then you may be able to do without an extra cpu cooler for a while and just ust the stock air cooler that comes included in the processors box.

The included motherboard is the MSI Z97 Gaming 5 motherboard, a perfect fit mid range Z97 board that has all the features you will ever really use in a gaming pc build. Some of the included features of the board include: (To learn more about these features visit MSI.com)

Last month, I introduced the MSI Radeon R9 280X and we are sticking with it once again. The Radeon R9 280X is fully capable of some great gaming settings at 1920×1080 and even some games scaled down some at resolutions of 2560×1440, overall a great value card.

We still have the usual 8Gb of DDR3 RAM – this month going with this package of 8GB Kingston HyperX Blu – where 8Gb of RAM should be the perfect amount for a good build. We have a 1TB hard drive still, however I have went with the Seagate 1TB hard drive this month to accommodate for some price discrepancies between that and the previous Western Digital Blu.

The power supply unit being used for the second month in a row is the EVGA SuperNOVA 650W power supply. This is the same version, just a different wattage as the $1500 build – a great PSU with 80Plus Gold certified and features all modular cables, high-quality Japanese brand capacitors.

The Corsair Carbide 300R mid tower pc case has been chosen as the showcased..case this month. It comes at a great price for a quality, solidly built case – you can get a fancier windowed version as well, but that will cost you about $20 more. This pc case has been out for about just over a year and it is on the low end of the Corsair Carbide series of cases, but I feel for this cased it is priced perfectly and does its deed. The Corsair Carbide 300r has the following specifications (to learn more visit corsair.com):

  • Three 5.25” drive bays
  • Four3.5” hard drive bays with 2.5” compatibility
  • Seven expansion slots
  • Two-year warranty
  • Front I/O panel contains:
    • Two USB 3.0 connectors
    • 3.5” headphone and microphone connector
    • Power and reset switches
  • Dimensions: 19.1” x 8.3” x 18.7”
  • Supports graphics cards up to 450mm in length
  • Two 120mm/140mm top fan mount locations
  • Two side panel 120/140mm fan mount locations
  • Two front panel 120/140mm fan mount locations
  • Includes one front-mounted 140mm fan and one rear 120mm fan

Finally, as with all three builds is the included LG Electronics Optical drive for a cheapish $17. The optical drive is becoming a lesser and lesser necessity in any gaming pc build, so if you can do without, then save yourself the $17 and buy yourself an ice-cream….or something..

$1000 Gaming PC Build Upgrade Suggestions

Below are some hardware additions should you have some extra cash and want to upgrade a specific piece to the above build.

You could get some serious graphics power with the Crossfire of two MSI Radeon R9 280X graphics cards, or you could even upgrade to a single better card, such as the Gigabyte Radeon R9 290 graphics card seen below.

Since there is no SSD included in the base $1000 build (sadly) 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 consider getting a 2TB drive (doubling your space) with the Seagate Barracuda 2TB drive.

Also, please *note that if you do decide to crossfire with another MSI Radeon R9 280X graphics card, you may want to also upgrade the power supply unit to 850W (ie. Corsair RM 850 Watt).


$600 Gaming PC Build of the Month

Monthly Gaming PC Build ( $619 ): September 2014

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

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

 
Hardware Link Price Image
Estimated Price: $ 619.22
Processor AMD FD6300WMHKBOX FX-6300 6-Core Processor Black Edition $112.29
Motherboard
MSI Computer Corp. Motherboard North Bridge AMD 970 & South Bridge AMD SB950 Chipset ATX DDR3 800 AMD AM3+ Motherboards (970A-G46)
$74.99
Graphics Card MSI AMD Radeon R9 270X Gaming 2GB GDDR5 2DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort PCI-Express Video Card $189.99
RAM Kingston Technology HyperX 8 GB (2×4 GB Modules) 1600 MHz DDR3 Dual Channel Kit (PC3 12800) 240-Pin SDRAM KHX1600C9D3K2/8GX $79.99
Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda 1 TB HDD SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST1000DM003 $53.99
Power Supply Corsair Builder Series CX 500 Watt ATX/EPS  80 PLUS (CX500) $49.99
Computer Case NZXT Technologies Source 210 Computer Case (Black) $39.99
Optical Drive LG Electronics Optical DVD Drive GH24NSB0B $17.99

Overview: $600 Gaming PC Build

The $600 build has been solid, strong, yet just the same for quite some time. We have included the wonderful AMD FX 6300 for months now and this stands to be true still – a great build for a budget gamer.The included graphics card is the Radeon R9 270X, this month using the MSI R9 270X – this is a slight bump up from the previous R9 270. The MSI R9 270X will give you phenomenal gaming performance for a budget gaming pc build such as this $600 one. Some of the specifications for the MSI R9 270x are – (for even more specifications visit MSI.com)

Core/Memory

  • 1030MHz Core (Boost Clock:1120MHz) (OC mode)
  • 1030MHz Core (Boost Clock:1080MHz) (Gaming mode)
  • 1030MHz Core (Boost Clock:1050MHz) (Silent mode)
  • 2048 GDDR5 5600MHz Memory

Video Output Function

  • Dual-link DVI-I x 1
  • Dual-link DVI-D x 1
  • HDMI x 1 (version 1.4a)
  • DisplayPort x 1

The included motherboard is the MSI 970A-G46 motherboard an affordable ATX sized budget motherboard at a great price. The included RAM is the same included in the $1000 build, which is 8Gb of Kingston HyperX Blu RAM. As for a hard drive for each build this month I have featured the 1TB Seagate Barracuda, since the usual Western Digital Blue was set at a higher price point at this current point in time, so not a change in performance just cost considerations here.

The PSU used is the 500W Corsair Builder series power supply, a cost conscious PSU that has just the right amount of power needed for this build. As for a PC case, I have switched it to an NZXT Source 210, which has been included in many budget builds in the past, but for some reason shot up in cost at some point in time to now where it should be. The source 210 is a great budget case and it really is all you need, nothing more.

And finally, we have the LG Electronics optical drive – take it or lave it, this is a basic optical dvd drive which you can optionally purchase if you need it (ie; to install your operating system).

Upgrade Suggestions for the $600 Gaming PC Build:

These upgrades and alternatives below are for anyone who might 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. Likewise you could also bump the graphics card up to an EVGA GTX 760 for more juice while gaming.  You could consider also spending some ore cash and style the build up a little more with a Cooler Master HAF 912 case or even speeding up boot and software loading times with an affordable Crucial M500 120GB solid state drive.

Processor Alternative: AMD FD8320FRHKBOX FX-8320 FX-Series 8-Core Black Edition($153.00)
Alternative PC Case:Cooler Master HAF 912 – Mid Tower Computer Case with High Airflow($59.99)
Graphics Card Alternative:EVGA GeForce GTX760 SuperClocked w/EVGA ACX Cooler 2GB GDDR5 256bit, Dual-Link DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI,DP, SLI Ready Graphics Card (02G-P4-2765-KR) Graphics Cards 02G-P4-2765-KR($239.99)
Crucial M500 120GB SATA 2.5-Inch 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive CT120M500SSD1 ($74.99)

 


September 2014’s Gaming PC Hardware Overview Video:

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+

9 thoughts on “Gaming PC Builds of the Month: September 2014

  1. Just wanted to let you know that your build really helped — I basically used the exact $1500 build, but swapped out the GPU for the newly released Geforce 980

    First time building a PC, let’s hope it all works! And thanks again.

      1. Yeah man, for sure. Do you have any basic “this is how a PC is put together” guides, or would recommend one?

        Before my alienware abruptly died, just spent the last 6 months building/calibrating a tempermental, breaks-constantly-hope-you-have-wire-cutters-on-hand 3d printer. So I figure building a PC won’t be too hard.

        Again, much thanks to your thoughtful and well explained build. Made it very easy to pretty much just one for one buy exactly every single item you listed (exception of GPU and case). I don’t know precisely how it all fits, but seems like you did a great job ensuring it would. Kudos

    1. You’re welcome Kevin. That warning really only refers to older versions of most boards before Vishera CPU’s were released, so you’ll be fine regardless.

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