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Gaming PC Builds of the Month: March 2013

March 2013 Gaming PC Builds:

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March 2013 Gaming PC Builds of the MonthIntroduction:

The March 2013 PC Builds are posted, compiled and ready for you to digest. The builds are as solid as usual, but some of you may notice a lack in any huge improvement / and or changes. This is because late February coming into early March PC hardware seems to have take moderate price increases in places. The reason I am not sure of, perhaps supply and demand of some sorts?

Either way, I hate to discredit previous performance for slight price increases, therefore you may notice the $500 build is again slightly higher coming in at a current $534 instead of a flat $500. I could decrease the graphics card for the $500 build to a Radeon HD 5770, however it makes me cringe to take away performance on a future build, therefore a $34 over a $500 build price.

The $1000 build has a swapped brand of the Radeon HD 7950 Boost card for a PowerColor version and the build also has a fancy new Cooler Master Storm Scout 2 Advanced case, an improvement over the previous Storm Scout and furthermore, recent Storm Scout 2.

The $1500 build is pretty similar to last months and still one of the most impressive looking builds yet in my opinion. I have swapped the graphics card to a XFX FX797ATDBC Double D HD 7970 Black Edition giving you plenty of performance and room to play. As well, I have kept the PC Case from last month and this is only because I think the very new Azza Genesis 9000W case deserves much credit for a fantastic pc gaming case.

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$500 Gaming PC Build - Newb Computer BuildMonthly Gaming PC Build ( $513 ): March 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: Intel Core i3-3220 Dual-Core Processor 3.3 Ghz 3 MB Cache LGA 1155 – BX80637i33220
Price: $123.79
Motherboard: MSI LGA1155/Intel B75/DDR3/SATA3 and USB 3.0/A and GbE/MicroATX Motherboard B75MA-E33
Price: $59.99
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: $149.99
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: $59.99
Power Supply: Antec VP-450 450 Watt Energy Star Certified Power Supply Price: $39.99
Computer Case: GAMMA Classic Series ATX Mid Tower Interior Steel Chassis (Black)
Price: $34.21
Optical Drive: Asus 24xDVD-RW Serial ATA Internal OEM Drive DRW-24B1ST (Black) Price: $17.99
Estimated Price: $ 534

Overview: $500 Gaming PC Build

I know, not much has been done to the $500 build in recent month, but this is because nothing has been able to replace most of the hardware spots for this build. The Intel 3220 Ivy Bridge processor still stands strong for an affordable Intel i3 processor, the GTX 650 Ti is still quite affordable and offers speeds / performance similar to the Radeon 6870 and the GTX 560, so no complaints there.

As for the rest, the MSI B75MA-E33 motherboard has all you need, a B75 Chipset that is perfect for a non ‘K’ Intel processor since you probably won’t be able to overclock much anyways, 8Gb of RAM is plenty of memory (the memory has switched to the Corsair Vengeance 8GB), the 450 Watt Antec PSU covers all of the wattage requirements and the GAMMA Classic Series PC case is simply the best buy for a cheap case; you can go cheaper, but then the plastics start to become wobbly and just feel cheap (all up to you though!).

You will be able to play most of all games and get pretty decent performance playing Medium to Higher settings at a resolution of 1920X1080.

$500 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 i3-3220 processor and the GTX 650 Ti graphics card – http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/5472250

Intel i3 3220 and Radeon HD 650 Ti

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

Intel Core i3-3220 Dual-Core Processor 3.3 Ghz 3 MB Cache LGA 1155 – BX80637i33220 Price: $123.79

This Intel Core i3-3220 is the perfect choice for a budget gaming PC build and when paired with the GTX 650 Ti graphics card this month, you may be surprised at the amount of performance this gaming PC will be willing to squeeze out. The best in its class in my opinion, especially if you are not into overclocking. A second recommendation here could be the AMD route, where you can purchase an AMD FX-4170 for the same price, and overclock the heck out of it.

Intel i3-3220 2 cores 3.3GHz clock speed 4 threads

Technical Details:

  • L3 Cache
  • Ivy Bridge
  • Socket 1155

MSI LGA1155/Intel B75/DDR3/SATA3 and USB 3.0/A and GbE/MicroATX Motherboard B75MA-E33 Price: $59.99

A very affordable motherboard perfect for the Intel i3 3220 processor and has nothing more then what you need. At a price point of only $59.99 it has pretty much anything you will need in a build at this price – a couple of RAM slots with enough room to double the amount of RAM included in this build (8GB), 1x PCI Express 3.0 port for your graphics card, and some USB 3.0 ports.

Technical Details:

  • CPU: LGA1155; Supports 3rd Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron Processors
  • Chipset: Intel B75
  • Memory: 2x DDR3-1600/1333/1066 DIMM Slots, Dual Channel, Max Capacity?of?16 GB
  • Slots: 1x PCI-Express 3.0 x16 Slot; 1x PCI-Express 2.0 x1 Slot; 1x PCI slot
  • SATA: 1x SATA3 Port; 3x SATA2 Ports
  • Ports: 8x USB 2.0 Ports (4 rear,?4via headers); 4x USB 3.0 Ports (2 rear,?2via headers); 1x PS/2 Mouse Port; 1x PS/2 Keyboard Port; 1x VGA Port;?1x HDMI Port; 1x RJ45 LAN Port; Audio I/O Jacks
  • Power Connector: 1x 24pin ATX Power Connector, 1x 4pin ATX 12VPower Connector

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

*Note: I know prices went up a tad this month for the $500 pc build, but if you want to downsize your graphics card a bit to fit within budget, then you can try for a Radeon HD 7770 for around $115 saving you a ton. If you want suggestions please leave a comment.

New from last month 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.

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 MemoryI have switched the brand of ram for the $500 this month due to price changes in RAM this month. These two sticks of 4GB = 8GB RAM are a good quality bunch and a total of 8GB is plenty enough for this build.

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: $59.99

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: $39.99

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

NZXT Technologies Source 210 Computer Case (Black) Price $34.21

One of the most possible budget cases and with good reason. The NZXT Source 210 PC case looks good and is quite affordable.

Technical Details:

  • 6 fan capability ( one rear 120mm included )
  • Black Interior
  • Wire routing: motherboard punched holes allows for quick CPU bracket removable and optimal wire routing, turned HDD also helps with managing cables
  • High end graphics card support, the Gamma features space that is especially designed to fit longer 10.5-Inch cards
  • Brand Name: Nzxt
  • Model: GAMMA Black
  • Item Package Quantity: 1
  • Color Name: Black
  • Warranty: All NZXT cases comes in 1-year top to bottom Warranty, please email your request to RMA@NZXT.COM

Asus 24xDVD-RW Serial ATA Internal OEM Drive DRW-24B1ST (Black) Price: $17.99

Asus 24xDVD-RW Serial ATA Internal OEM Drive DRW-24B1ST (Black)Switched the optical drive to an Asus this month since the Lite-On Drives shot up in price. Just your standard DVD drive to get you going!

Technical Details

  • Drive Type: Internal DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive
  • Write:DVD+R/-R: 24X DVD+RW/-RW: 8X/6X DVD+R/-R DL: 12X
  • Read:DVD+R/-R(Single): 16X DVD+R/-R DL: 12X DVD+RW/-RW(Single): 12X
  • DVD-R & DVD-R(DL): DAO/Incremental Recording
  • DVD-RW: DAO/Restricted Overwriting/Incremental Recording
  • Allows you to permanently delete the data on rewritable discs
  • CD-R/RW: DAO/TAO/SAO/Packet Write
  • Interface: SATA
  • It is a revision of 90-D4CHVV-UB1080
  • Power saving drive
  • Provides you with flexibility and efficiency in terms of multimedia data storage and sharing
  • Random Access Time: DVD – 150ms; CD – 150ms

$1000 Gaming PC Build - Newb Computer BuildMonthly Gaming PC Build ( $993): March 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: $214.99
 
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: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB DDR5 HDMI / DVI-I / Dual Mini DP with Boost PCI-Express Graphics Card 11196-16-20G
Price: $302
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: $73.52
Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast Series 650-Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified Power Supply Compatible with Core i3, i5, i7 and platforms – TX650
Price: $89.99
Computer Case: Cooler Master Storm Scout 2 Advanced Gaming Mid Tower Computer Case with Carrying Handles SGC-2100-WWN1-AMZ – Ghost White
Price: $109.99
Optical Drive: Asus 24xDVD-RW Serial ATA Internal OEM Drive DRW-24B1ST (Black) Price: $17.99
Estimated Price: $993

Overview: Gaming PC Build ( $1000 )

A very similar build to last months, we have swapped the graphics card for a PowerColor Radeon HD 7950 Boost State AX7950 3GBD5-2DHV4 Video Card.The reason I have the graphics card for the $1000 build linked to newegg instead of amazon was because amazon’s prices for any Radeon 7950 card was way overpriced for some reason. So if you are planning on purchasing the $1000 build this month check around for prices on the Radeon HD 7950. I am more of a fan of ordering your parts from one merchandiser only because shipping costs and returns can be handled much easier, but that is completely up to you and especially more so if you can get a better deal.

I have also included the new Cooler Master Storm Scout 2 Advanced Gaming case in the $1000 build. This case was just released and is meant as Cooler Master’s upgrade over the very old Storm Scout and even the normal Storm Scout 2 case.

$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: $214.99

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

Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB DDR5 HDMI / DVI-I / Dual Mini DP with Boost PCI-Express Graphics Card 11196-16-20G Price: $302.00

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. I had initially stuck a PowerColor Radeon HD 7950 here, but prices have finally dropped again for the Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 Boost card, so here you go!

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:

Model

Brand
PowerColor
Model
AX7950 3GBD5-2DHV4

Interface

Interface
PCI Express 3.0 x16

Chipset

Chipset Manufacturer
AMD
GPU
Radeon HD 7950
Core Clock
850MHz
Boost Clock
925MHz
Stream Processors
1792 Stream Processors

Memory

Effective Memory Clock
1250MHz (5.0Gbps)
Memory Size
3GB
Memory Interface
384-bit
Memory Type
GDDR5

3D API

DirectX
DirectX 11
OpenGL
OpenGL 4.2

Ports

HDMI
1 x HDMI
DisplayPort
2 x Mini DisplayPort
DVI
1 x DVI

General

RAMDAC
400 MHz
Eyefinity Support
Yes
CrossFireX Support
Yes
Cooler
With Fan
System Requirements
Minimum of a 500 Watt power supply.
Power Connector
2 x 6 Pin
Dual-Link DVI Supported
Yes
HDCP Ready
Yes
Card Dimensions
10.83″ x 4.38″ x 1.5″

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 MemoryA nice change in RAM to the Corsair Vengeance series packages of 8GB (2x4GB) package of RAM. RAM prices have increased overall this month and this is the best punch of memory for the price. 
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: $73.52

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 Enthusiast Series 650-Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified Power Supply Compatible with Core i3, i5, i7 and platforms – TX650 Price: $89.99

ACorsair Enthusiast Series 650-Watt nice solid 750W PSU that has more then enough juice to power this build. The only instance I would recommend more wattage is if you decide to go Crossfire with this build, but even so you would still be good with 750W.

Product Details:

  • 80PLUS Bronze certified, delivering up to 85% energy efficiency at real world load conditions.
  • Over-voltage and over-current protection, under-voltage protection.
  • An ultra-quiet double ball-bearing fan delivers excellent airflow at an exceptionally low noise level.
  • High-quality Japanese capacitors provide uncompromised performance and reliability.
  • A dedicated single +12V rail offers maximum compatibility with the latest components.
  • A five year warranty and lifetime access to Corsair?s legendary technical support and customer service.
  • Short circuit protection provide maximum safety to your critical system components.
  • The latest ATX12V v2.31 and EPS 2.92 standards and it is backward compatible with ATX12V 2.2 and ATX12V 2.01 systems
  • Universal AC input from 90~264V. No more hassle of flipping that tiny red switch to select the voltage input!

Cooler Master Storm Scout 2 Advanced Gaming Mid Tower Computer Case with Carrying Handles SGC-2100-WWN1-AMZ – Ghost White Price: $109.99

Cooler Master Storm Scout 2 Advanced Gaming Mid Tower Computer A new case just put out by Cooler Master – The Storm Scout 2 Advanced Gaming Mid Tower PC Case. A very versatile case that is also quite portable. Made with a nice thick steel, plenty of room for further hardware upgrades and a nice sleek look with a white casing and white LEDS.

Technical Details:

  • Ergonomic steel reinforced carrying handles
  • Dual USB 3.0 support for 10x faster file transfer and high current smartphone/tablet charging (~1A)
  • Supports up to 3 ODDs (tool-less), 7 HDDs, and 4 SSDs for increased expandability
  • Supports up to 9 fans, including two 120mm fans on the acrylic side panel window
  • Two pre-installed 120mm white LED fans behind the front mesh panel for optimized airflow
  • Dust filters for PSU (slide out) and front panel
  • Supports all high-end graphics cards up to 399mm/15.7 inch with the first HDD cage removed
  • Top panel LED switch to disable the LEDs of front LED lit case fans at night

Asus 24xDVD-RW Serial ATA Internal OEM Drive DRW-24B1ST (Black) Price: $17.99

Asus 24xDVD-RW Serial ATA Internal OEM Drive DRW-24B1ST (Black)Switched the optical drive to an Asus this month since the Lite-On Drives shot up in price. Just your standard DVD drive to get you going!

Technical Details

  • Drive Type: Internal DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive
  • Write:DVD+R/-R: 24X DVD+RW/-RW: 8X/6X DVD+R/-R DL: 12X
  • Read:DVD+R/-R(Single): 16X DVD+R/-R DL: 12X DVD+RW/-RW(Single): 12X
  • DVD-R & DVD-R(DL): DAO/Incremental Recording
  • DVD-RW: DAO/Restricted Overwriting/Incremental Recording
  • Allows you to permanently delete the data on rewritable discs
  • CD-R/RW: DAO/TAO/SAO/Packet Write
  • Interface: SATA
  • It is a revision of 90-D4CHVV-UB1080
  • Power saving drive
  • Provides you with flexibility and efficiency in terms of multimedia data storage and sharing
  • Random Access Time: DVD – 150ms; CD – 150ms

$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= + $116
Add a Blu-Ray Optical Drive: Asus Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-Ray Drive (BC-12B1ST) = + $56 - 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  Liquid CPU cooler: Cooler Master Seidon 120M – Liquid CPU Water Cooling Kit with Pre-filled Coolant and Copper Heatsink = + $69 A small adaptable liquid CPU cooler should do the trick!

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 ( $1498 ): March 2013

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

Game with Extreme settings at resolutions of 2560×1600 – How perfect is that!?

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: $214.99
 
CPU Cooler (For OverClocking): Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler (RR-212E-20PK-R1)
Price: $32.98
Motherboard: AS Rock LGA1155 DDR3 SATA3 USB3.0 Quad CrossFireX and Quad SLI A GbE ATX Motherboard Z77 EXTREME6
Price: $171.46
Graphics Card: XFX FX797ATDBC Double D HD 7970 Black Edition 3GB DDR5 1000M 2xmDP HDMI DVI PCI-E Graphics Card
Price: $425.99
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory (CMZ16GX3M2A1600C10)
Price: $102.89
Hard Drive: Western Digital 1 TB WD Blue SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive
Price: $73.52
SSD Hard Drive: Samsung Electronics Samsung 840 Series Solid State Drive (SSD) 250 sata_6_0_gb 2.5-Inch MZ-7TD250BW
Price: $164.19
Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast Series TX 850 Watt ATX/EPS Modular 80 PLUS Bronze (TX850M)
Price: $124.99
Computer Case: Azza Genesis 9000W Full Tower Case, White (CSAZ-9000W)
Price: $169.99
Optical Drive: Asus 24xDVD-RW Serial ATA Internal OEM Drive DRW-24B1ST (Black) Price: $17.99
Estimated Price: $1498

Overview: Gaming PC Build ( $1500 )

Yet another month with the ever so powerful Radeon HD 7970 graphics card (this montyh featuring the XFX Radeon HD 7970 Black Edition card), a large 250GB Solid State Drive, 16GB of RAM and lets not leave out the very new ( and used for the second month in a row) awesome looking Azza Genesis 9000W Full Tower PC Case. I usually like to switch up every case for every build each month, however I thought the new Azza Genesis 9000W case deserved another month in the spotlight as it really is a fantastic case.

This build will have you playing max setting for quite sometime and even more so has the capability to upgrade very easily. For example: imagine the performance increases with a crossfire Radeon HD 7970 in the future?

$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: $214.99

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 (RR-212E-20PK-R1) Price: $32.98

Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler (RR-212E-20PK-R2

Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler

I have used the Cooler Master 212 EVO CPU cooler for months because it is still a basic well rated and performance CPU cooler that is priced very cheap when compared to others of its caliber. Yet another month with a slight price drop in the Cooler Master hyper 212 Evo CPU cooler!

Product Details:

CPU Socket Intel Socket:LGA 2011 / 1366 / 1156 / 1155 / 775 *AMD Socket:FM1 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+ / AM2
CPU Support Intel:Core™ i7 Extreme / Core™ i7 / Core™ i5 / Core™ i3 / Core™2 Extreme / Core™2 Quad / Core™2 Duo / Pentium / CeleronAMD:FX-Series / A-Series / Phenom™ II X4 / Phenom™ II X3 / Phenom™ II X2 / Phenom™ X4 / Phenom™ X3 / Athlon™ II X4 / Athlon™ II X3 / Athlon™ II X2 / Athlon™ X2 / Athlon™ / Sempron™
Dimension 120 x 80 x 159 mm (4.7 x 3.1 x 6.3 in)
Heat Sink Dimensions 116 x 51 x 159 mm (4.6 x 2.0 x 6.3 in)
Heat Sink Material 4 Direct Contact Heat Pipes / Aluminum Fins
Heat Sink Weight 465g (1.03 lb)
Heat Pipes Dimensions ø6mm
Fan Dimension 120 x 120 x 25 mm (4.7 x 4.7 x 1 in)
Fan Speed 600 – 2,000 RPM (PWM) ± 10%600 – 1,600 RPM (PWM) ± 10% (EU Version)
Fan Airflow 24.9 – 82.9 CFM ± 10%24.9 – 66.3 CFM ± 10% (EU Version)
Fan Air Pressure 0.3 – 2.7mm H2O ± 10%0.3 – 1.7mm H2O ± 10% (EU Version)
Fan Life Expectancy 40,000hrs
Fan Noise Level (dB-A) 9 – 36 dBA9 – 31 dBA (EU Version)
Bearing Type Long Life Sleeve Bearing
Connector 4-Pin
Fan Rated Voltage 12 VDC
Fan Rated Current 0.22A0.19A (EU Version)
Power Consumption 2.64W2.28W (EU Version)
Fan Weight 104g (0.23 lb)
  • 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 supporting the latest Intel LGA 1366 /1155 and AMD FM1 / AM3+. Includes the LGA 2011 mounting bracket.

AS Rock LGA1155 DDR3 SATA3 USB3.0 Quad CrossFireX and Quad SLI A GbE ATX Motherboard Z77 EXTREME6 Price: $171.44

Tons of expansion capability for more graphics, ram, peripherals and more. The AsRock EXTREME6 is a great choice for anyone who wants room to upgrade and add more hardware in the future.

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

XFX FX797ATDBC Double D HD 7970 Black Edition 3GB DDR5 1000M 2xmDP HDMI DVI PCI-E Graphics Card Price: $425.99

XFX FX797ATDBC Double D HD 7970 Black Edition This month we have the XFX Radeon HD 7970 Black Edition graphics card providing you with performance while gaming for a long time.

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

Product Detail

  • Double D Cooling – Better cooling via the XFX Double Dissipation fan helps keep GPU temps lower.
  • Factory Overclocked to 1000 MHz
  • 3GB of DDR5 Memory onboard!
  • XFX Ghost Thermal Technology
  • PCI-E 3.0 (backwards compatible to PCI-E 2.0)
  • Eyefinity Ready
  • HDMI Ready
  • Microsoft DirectX 11 Ready

Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory (CMZ16GX3M2A1600C10) Price: $102.89

We have switched back to the Corsair Vengeance 16GB package of RAM this month as prices have no subsided back to normal.

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: $73.52

The newer version of the Western Digital Blue series of hard drives, 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 Samsung 840 Series Solid State Drive (SSD) 250 sata_6_0_gb 2.5-Inch MZ-7TD250BW Price: $164.19

This Samsung 840 SSD is a great deal for only $175 – 250GB space is amazing at this price point with the following Reading / Write speeds and power consumption –

Sequential Read: 540 MB/s
Sequential Write: 250 MB/s

Power Consumption (Active): 0.071 W
Power Consumption (Idle): 0.046 W

Technical Details

  • Optimized to improve everyday PC productivity, including web-browsing, email, multimedia and gaming
  • 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
  • Backed by a three-year limited warranty
  • Superior multi-tasking performance with 4th-generation 3-Core Samsung MDX Controller

Corsair Enthusiast Series TX 850 Watt ATX/EPS Modular 80 PLUS Bronze (TX850M)Price: $124.99

The Corsair Enthusiast Series Modular Power Supplies are at similar prices as the non-modular versions, so pick it up quick. 850 Watts is plenty of wattage for this hardware with so much more to spare for additions of hardware in the future (or now if you choose too!).

Product Details

  • 80PLUS Bronze certified, delivering up to 85% energy efficiency at real world load conditions.
  • A dedicated single +12V rail offers maximum compatibility with the latest components.
  • An ultra-quiet double ball-bearing fan delivers excellent airflow at an exceptionally low noise level by varying fan speed
  • Over-voltage and over-current protection, under-voltage protection,
  • Universal AC input from 90~264V. No more hassle of flipping that tiny red switch to select the voltage input!
  • A five year warranty and lifetime access to Corsair’s legendary technical support and customer service.
  • Short circuit protection provide maximum safety to your critical system components.
  • The latest ATX12V v2.31 and EPS 2.92 standards and it is backward compatible with ATX12V 2.2 and ATX12V 2.01 systems.

Azza Genesis 9000W Full Tower Case, White (CSAZ-9000W) Price: $169.99

A newly released Full Tower PC case – The Azza Genesis 9000W case has fantastic airflow and a ton of room. Do keep in mind though, that this case is gigantic! If you want to learn more, then please visit the http://azzatek.com/csaz-9000-techspec.html website.

Product Details

  • R-ATX Design: Reversible motherboard tray can be rotated 180 degree to orient graphics cards at the top, next to the top fan to enhance the efficiency of heat dissipation.
  • Idea Aerodynamic Airflow: An idea vertical airflow is generated to offer Exceptional system cooling.
  • Maximum Compatibility: Accommodates XL-ATX , E-ATX , Full ATX , Micro ATX and all NVidia and ATI graphics cards up to 400mm in length.
  • Maximum Capacity Water Cooling: Top Mount Radiator: supports up to 480mm radiator, Bottom Mount Radiator: supports up to 240mm radiator.
  • Supports Dual-Power Supply: Power supply can be located at either front or rear bottom, also supports dual-power supply.
  • Dimensions(H x W x D): 25.1-Inch x 9.8-Inch x 23.2-Inch, Weight: 36 lbs.
  • Exceptional Cooling System: Total 7 fans, 2 x 230mm fans on top, 2 x 140mm fan on bottom, 2 x 120mm fan on side panel, 1 x 120mm fan in rear.

Asus 24xDVD-RW Serial ATA Internal OEM Drive DRW-24B1ST (Black) Price: $17.99

Asus 24xDVD-RW Serial ATA Internal OEM Drive DRW-24B1ST (Black)Switched the optical drive to an Asus this month since the Lite-On Drives shot up in price. Just your standard DVD drive to get you going!

Technical Details

  • Drive Type: Internal DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive
  • Write:DVD+R/-R: 24X DVD+RW/-RW: 8X/6X DVD+R/-R DL: 12X
  • Read:DVD+R/-R(Single): 16X DVD+R/-R DL: 12X DVD+RW/-RW(Single): 12X
  • DVD-R & DVD-R(DL): DAO/Incremental Recording
  • DVD-RW: DAO/Restricted Overwriting/Incremental Recording
  • Allows you to permanently delete the data on rewritable discs
  • CD-R/RW: DAO/TAO/SAO/Packet Write
  • Interface: SATA
  • It is a revision of 90-D4CHVV-UB1080
  • Power saving drive
  • Provides you with flexibility and efficiency in terms of multimedia data storage and sharing
  • Random Access Time: DVD – 150ms; CD – 150ms

$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=  $313.99

XFX FX797ATDBC Double D HD 7970 Black Edition Further increase the Graphics Power w/ Crossfire and add one more: 
XFX FX797ATDBC Double D HD 7970 Black Edition 3GB DDR5 1000M 2xmDP HDMI DVI PCI-E Graphics Card = + $425.99
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: Mushkin Direct Chronos 480GB Solid-State Drive = + $339.99 (480 GB of pure Solid State Drive – You may even be able to skip and go with just this if you do not need the extra room!)

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 March 2013’s Gaming PC Builds:

March has been pretty similar in builds performance to that of February’s, but still a bunch of solid gaming pc builds. Keep an eye out on price decreases this month as prices should subside soon and you might be able to get a pretty good deal on your hardware around the middle of the month.

Remember if you need any further help you may leave a comment below and I will be sure to respond as quickly as I can.

March 2013’s Gaming PC Hardware Overview Video:


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41 Responses to “Gaming PC Builds of the Month: March 2013”

  1. Cody Desero

    In the $1000 build, what would be an ok swap if i wanted to do an I7 processor, and would it still be compatible with the rest of the build?

    Reply
    • Corey

      Hey Cody,

      The Intel i7 3770K would be a great substitution for an i7. And yes it would still be compatible with the rest of the build :)

      Reply
      • Cody Desero

        Okay, thanks a bunch. Just for your info, a friend of mine wanted to build his first computer and i didnt like the parts he was going for. I sent him to this page and he took the 500$ from April i believe and is waiting for the parts! Nice builds man!

        Reply
  2. Ruben

    Hey Corey! I am building your $500 build and to save money I would like to use my hard drive and optical drive from my old computer. My question is if there would be any problem in doing so. My old computer is an Emachine ET1641. I would also like to mention that I love this site and will definitely recommend it to my friends.

    Reply
    • Corey

      Hello Ruben,

      That’s what I like to hear, people recycling their old hardware! Yep, they should work just fine, I just looked up the Emachine ET1641 and the harddrive is a SATA connection, which is perfect (as some old hard drives wont work on these motherboards as they are IDE connections, which are supported hardly at all anymore). And I’m not 100% sure, but the optical drive should be the same (it didn’t state, but most likely is).

      Best of luck!

      Reply
  3. Cody Desero

    I swear you are a life saver, i wouldn’t mind at least going middle of the road. So i would definitely start at the $1000 build. And then i could just upgrade the gpu? Because the processor is still pretty powerful at Intel Core i5 3570K Processor. Or should i upgrade that as well. And lastly, with everything im doing should i go the extra mile and do water cooling?
    sincerely, this is my now my favorite website.

    Reply
    • Corey

      Right on! Well if you go with the $1000 build, then you are definitely good to go even without upgrading the graphics card. Also, the Intel i5 3570K processor is an awesome CPU. This also leaves you with plenty of more room to even add upgrades in the future if you ever think you would like to. Water cooling is completely up to you, but it can help. I do think that if you purchase a cooler master 212 evo CPU cooler, this would work plenty well. Also keep in mind that 1TB is allot of space in a hard drive, but since you will be streaming you may need some more storage space later on and the $1000 build leaves plenty of room to add in a few more hard drives in the future.

      Reply
      • Cody Desero

        how often would i want to do upgrades and what would i upgrade? im new to this whole building computers!
        sorry im asking so many questions

        Reply
        • Corey

          Hey that’s what your hear for! Upgrades will always depend on the user. So if you find in a years time you feel that you need a little extra juice (you bought a new game that just can’t quite keep up) then you can always add in a second Radeon HD 7950 graphics card (called “CrossFire”). The motherboard in the $1000 build supports this since it has two PCI Express 3.0 ports (where the graphics card gets plugged into). You could also bump up the RAM later on (the motherboard supports up to 32GB), although 8GB is plenty for gaming, in a years time if you find yourself doing lots more video work you may want to bump up to 16BB of RAM (video work typically uses allot of memory). Or like I said before, you may find you need more hard drive space to hold some streaming videos locally, so instead of buying a larger HD you can simply purchase another hard drive and plug it into your motherboard and you’re good to go. Those would be your typical upgrades

          Reply
      • Cody Desero

        Perfect, and last post for the day i promise:p
        When would i actually have to upgrade the processor? And I dont plan to build this untill april-may. Can i use the 1000 build in either of those months that you post and it will with practicly be the same?

        Reply
        • Corey

          My guess is that you wouldn’t ever upgrade the processor as by that point, you would most likely be upgrading most of the build. Again, depending on your future needs this could be 2, 3 or even 5 years. And of course you can use the builds in either April or May. I should be starting to plan the next builds really soon here I suspect. I am not sure how much they should change yet, but my guess is that next month won’t have significant changes in the CPU / graphics card departments. I would expect the April builds in the first week of March, so you can always check then :)

          Reply
  4. Cody Desero

    Hey, I like the looks all of the these. I only play league of legends and want to get into WoW. What build would be best if i wanted to play those games and stream with 720 quality?
    ~Cody

    Reply
    • Corey

      Hello Cody,

      So from your question, I am assuming you are asking “what’s the most affordable build I can play these games at and stream 720p”? First, to play those games, any of the builds here would work great (even the $500 build). However to play at really good frame rates at say 1080p and streaming at 720p, I would say the $500 build could use a slightly better graphics card processor. Such as, you could easily go with the upgrade suggestions for the $500 build – the Intel i5 3350p processor & Radeon HD 7850 Graphics card (Look under “Upgrade suggestions” ) and you would have a pretty solid build for these games + streaming.

      Let me know if you have any questions :)

      Reply
  5. Kevin

    Hi Corey,

    Big fan of your site and 2nd time builder here. Going to build this ~$500 rig for my dad to play SC2 and World of Tanks on. Is the stock CPU cooler that comes with the i3 sufficient or do you recommend replacing with something like a COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus for $20 bucks? Just not sure if it’s worth the $20 or the trouble. I read a lot of mixed opinions on it and would like to hear yours.

    Reply
    • Corey

      Hello Kevin,

      The stock CPU cooler for the Intel i3 3220 will work perfectly. In fact, so would the stock coolers for the Intel 3570K processors in the $1000 and $1500 builds however, I recommend the cooler master hyper 212 for those builds because you have the opportunity to really overclock the unlocked 3570K processors (which makes them very hot!). Where as, the Intel i3 3220 is not ‘unlocked’ so this opportunity does not exist.

      I would say if you wanted a little extra cooling in the case later on and if you purchase the same case I recommend in the $500 build you have the opportunity to add a few 120mm fans in there (but again, not needed!)

      Good luck on the second go around! I havent even purchased Heart of the Swarm yet, I feel ashamed haha. Hope you Dad enjoys his build.

      Reply
      • Kevin

        Thank you for the quick response. Very helpful! I’ve always heard the stock CPU coolers are “crap” but I guess that’s only if you have OC’ing in mind.

        One more question. I plan to spend a little more and go from the i3 processor to the i5. Would you still recommend the MSI motherboard you have listed under the $500 build? As I’m typing this, I’m thinking the upgrade in processor will have no impact on the MB, but thought I’d ask. The more I can know the better!

        Thanks again!

        Reply
        • Corey

          Hey Kevin,

          Yep, that MSI motherboard will still work perfectly as both of those processors have the same socket type ( 1155 sockets ). So you would be perfectly fine going with that Intel i5 3350P processor if you like. Hey ask away, that’s why you are here and I’m here after all isn’t it? :P

          Reply
  6. John

    Hi Corey,
    The local store near me doesn’t sell the i3-3220 CPU. They only have the i3-3220t. Should i try to find the i3-3220 somewhere else or do you have a different recommendation?

    Reply
    • Corey

      Hello John,

      You could go with the Intel i3 3220t, it just has lower power consumption and a slightly lower processor speed. You could also see if they have an Intel i3 3225 ($132), or even an Intel i3 3240 (around $140). Or if you had slightly more to spend an Intel i5 3450P. Let me know if this still doesn’t work and if so where abouts you are trying to purchase from. Best of luck!

      Reply
  7. Chris

    So I am putting a build together right now in order to build at the end of May or the start of June. I have not built in 10 years and now have the itch to get back into it. My have things changed since my last build! I have something similar to your build but wanted to know if I should change anything and hope by May/June the prices will have fallen enough.

    http://amzn.com/w/3D3VW77Y99ARE

    Reply
    • Corey

      Hello Chris,

      And welcome back to building! That’s a pretty hefty build you have going on there, nice job. One thing I may suggest, but it’s up to you, is to perhaps add in the full 16GB in a two stick configuration. I only suggest this because you have gone all out with everything else, but stop at 8GB of RAM. Plus it’s pretty cost effective to get two stick packages of 2x8GB and even more efficient to have the two RAM sticks instead of four later on should you decide to upgrade to 16GB (although this does not help bring price down at all).

      Also, the GTX 680 is a wonderfully powerful card, but you could also save about $70 and go with a Radeon HD 7970 which performs quite similarly in a lot of scenarios (Reference: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/508?vs=555 )

      Just a couple of thoughts, but this build does look drool worthy!

      Reply
      • Chris

        Thanks for the advice. The thing that seems incredibly easy compared to building ten years ago has been the evolution of cases and the nature of plug and play mobo.
        I do have a $500 computer credit to use to lessen the cost of this build so my goal is to wait until, hopefully, the price of the build will be $1500 or under.
        I know I went with an expensive mobo but this one seems like it should last quite a long time for easy upgrades over the next 5 or so years.

        Reply
        • Corey

          Hey no problem. That would be a pretty good $1500 build if you can squeeze it when the times comes and plus the Asus Sabertooth motherboards are a great high-end motherboard line. Fingers crossed for you in the next couple months prices subside for your build!

          Reply
  8. Mack

    Is there any problem with adding addition fans that will fit the case to the build?

    Reply
      • Corey

        Hello Mack,

        Nope, not at all. The case supports up to 6 120mm fans and comes with one on the rear exhaust, so essentially you could purchase 5 additional 120mm fans for the case.

        Reply
          • Corey

            Yep you bet, and that 1TB western digital one you linked would definitely work. I generally use a 500GB HD for the $500 build as a price saving measure. Where my thinking is if someone wanted to spend as little as they could, 500GB would still be plenty until they either run out of space or have the extra cash for another one.

            Reply
  9. Aedan

    Hey Corey! :D
    Nice builds as usual.. Great job man! And I totally agree with Jason.. I would vote too for your site to get Noble-prize equivalent award! :D

    But I got a query too this time around Corey.. I wanna add a second card to my rig but I am confused.. Does a
    dual 16x + 16x combo work better than an equal 8x + 8x setup on PCIe 3.0 mobo?? :-S
    What are the corresponding differences between the two? :D

    Reply
  10. edge

    Really digging the builds. Still feeling like my January build is holding up very well to the never-ending advance of technology, which means you didn’t steer me wrong. Seriously, who gives out awards for sites like yours? I’d vote you up a couple hundred times.

    Out of curiosity, why retire the Cooler Master HAF XB? It turned my build from just another tower to “der uber gaming crate”.

    Also, ever consider specing out a special edition mini-ITX build to compete with the best consoles?

    Reply
    • Corey

      Hey Jason, how goes it?? Glad you are still pleased with your build and seeing successes like yours are reward enough haha. I did not “retire” the Cooler Master HAF XB so to speak, it’s just that I like to refresh cases to sometimes give the builds diversity and a fresh look with newly released PC cases; such as the Cooler Master Storm Scout 2 Advanced one this month. However, I am still a huge fan of that Cooler Master HAF XB – and I see it worked quite well for you with the “der uber gaming crate” :P

      I totally should try for a miniITX build! Could be something like the “Gaming PC Console Build”, or something like that.

      Reply
  11. cris

    Hi, i admire all your builds! Im considering actually building this months $1k model and i have two questions. First, what is your opinion on Windows 7 vs. Windows 8 pro? And are there any specific monitors you would recommend? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Corey

      Hello cris,

      Thank you for your admiration! I am going to have to say my opinion is varied on the Windows 8 vs 7, however if I were to purchase right now, I would go with 8. The reason being that it has been said that Windows 8 is actually “faster” then Windows 7. As a basic nicely sized monitor I would recommend something like this ASUS VH236H 23-Inch Full-HD 2ms LCD Monitor. It’s 23 inches, good response time, 1920×1080 and for about $170. OR if you want a larger monitor at 27 inches I would recommend something like a BenQ VA GW2750HM 27-Inch Screen LED-lit Monitor which is another good monitor. I currently use a BenQ monitor and have been very happy with it. Let me know if you have any more questions!

      Reply
      • cris

        Thanks a lot! This will be the first time I build a PC and I have everything in the carts. Oh and i found the sapphire radeon 7950 for $290, $270 after rebate, and the only difference appears to be the dimenions and brand. Is this ok? sorry for the newb question.

        Reply
          • Corey

            Yeah that’s totally ok and a good price! That’s actually the same one I recommended last month as the price was good then as well and I’m also tempted to change the one in the article since the prices on the Sapphire ones seemed to have subsided.

            I’d say go for it!

            Reply
            • cris

              Hey Corey! Just wanted to let you know the build went well! Initially I had some driver installation problems, but I soon found the solution and now the machine is running beautifully! Have found no need to OC the cpu just yet (although I already have the CPU cooler installed). Just waiting on some quieter case fans and I’m set. Just want to say Thank you for this helpful guide! (first time build made easy) :D

              Reply
              • Corey

                Hey cris,

                That’s awesome and thanks for checking back with your success. I hope the machine serves you well for some time to come!

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