The December 2014 Gaming PC Builds of the Month

Gaming PC Builds – December 2014

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December 2014 Gaming PC Builds of the Month

Gaming PC Builds of the Month Introduction:

Welcome to the final month of gaming pc builds for the year 2014. It’s been an exciting year and gaming pc’s keep getting stronger, faster and more impressive all the time – hence why I do these monthly gaming pc builds here at Newb Computer Build. To that, I would also like to thank all of the amazing readers who stop by to read through the articles and to the new builders who are stopping by for the first time by wishing you a Happy Holidays and New Year as you go through the rest of this month.

Here at the beginning of December, it looks like hardware prices have finally started to simmer down and actually stabilize a little. In the previous couple of months the prices of the new graphics cards were volatile and even RAM prices were much higher then usual, but this seems to not be the case at the moment. Also, I have included a third peripherals option sections this time – The “Mid-Range Peripherals” section has been added to further capture your options within three categories of hardware, so also check that out at the bottom of the article.

The $1500 saw a price drop overall, which enabled the inclusion of a liquid cpu cooler this month. Along with that, the graphics card was switched to the current most affordable GTX 970, the SSD has faster write times for the same price and the new case is a nice, sleek Full Tower Phantek Entho Pro.

In the $1000 seems to be a slightly downgraded $1500 build and even more so this month. This is because the $1000 build includes the same PC Case the Phanktek Enthoo Pro, however without the side window making it more affordable. This build also includes a G1 Series EVGA Power supply versus the G2. The $1000 build though, is a highly performing machine using the combination of the Intel 4690K processor and its GTX 970 graphics card.

For our most affordable build, the $600 build, we were able to include a better pc case this month, which upgrades the appeal of the $600 that much more. The Cooler Master N200 micro atx case was included with the extra cost space this month since the AD FX6300 processor seems to keep getting cheaper at an all time $89 low right now. The final change in the $600 build was the switch tot he Gigabyte R9 280 graphics card.

I hope you enjoy this months builds and please feel free to leave a comment or questions in the comments section below the article.

$1500 Gaming PC Build - Newb Computer Build

December 2014 PC Builds ( $1517 )

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

Game with Extreme settings at resolutions of 2560×1400, 1920×1080

Hardware Link Price Image
Estimated Price: $1517
Processor Intel Core i5-4690K Processor 3.5 GHz LGA 1150 BX80646I54690K $209.99
Cooler Corsair Hydro Series Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler H100i $99.99
Motherboard MSI ATX DDR3 2600 LGA 1150 Motherboards Z97 GAMING 5 $144.99
Graphics Card EVGA EVGA GTX980 Superclocked ACX 2.0 4GB GDDR5 256bit, DVI-I, DP x 3, HDMI, SLI Ready Graphics Card Graphics Cards 04G-P4-2983-KR $549.99
RAM Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB Kit (8GBx2) DDR3 1600 MT/s (PC3-12800) CL9 @1.5V UDIMM 240-Pin Memory BLS2KIT8G3D1609DS1S00 (*Down $13) $124.99 ($20 cheaper)
Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda 1 TB HDD SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST1000DM003 $49.99
SSD Samsung 850 Pro 128GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-7KE128BW) $96.99
Power Supply EVGA SuperNOVA 750G2 80PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V/EPS12V 750W Power Supply 220-G2-0750-XR $123.00
Computer Case Phanteks Enthoo Pro Full Tower Chassis PH-ES614P_WT White $99.99
Optical Drive LG Electronics Internal Super Multi Drive Optical Drives GH24NSC0B $17.99

Overview: Gaming PC Build ( $1500 )

The $1500 is just as strong as ever and with prices on hardware dropping a little bit overall we were able to squeeze some slightly better quality hardware in this month. That is, a liquid cpu cooler, a more affordable GTX 980 and a faster solid state drive.

The included processor is the Intel i5 4690K processor, which is fully unlocked and very easily overclockable – not to mention it is extremely well priced at the moment for $209. Using the included MSI Z97 Gaming 5 motherboard, you can easily overclock the 4690K and especially if you use the included OC Genie option on the motherboard (or you can manually do it). The MSI Z97 Gaming 5 motherboard was featured in Toms Hardwares ‘best of’ article for motherboard this past November (Best Motherboards For The Money: November 2014).

A new cpu cooler used this month is the Corsair Hydro Series H100i Liquid cpu cooler. This is a great liquid cooler that would be a great addition to this build, especially when going for high overclocks with the Intel 4690K. I chose to include a liquid cpu cooler this month as the budget did allow for it (albeit we are $17 over currently). You can still by all means opt for a Cooler Master Hyper 212 as a cheaper alternative if you want to save a little and get well below the $1500 mark.

For the graphics card, I chose the Zotac GeForce GTX 980 AMP Edition, which is priced at exactly what the GTX 980 should be priced at right now and it has gotten great reviews – TweakTown gave it a rating of 94% based on performance, quality, general features, bundle and value for money (tweaktown.com).

Our RAM package has dropped by a fair bit of change – for $124 we get a package of 16GB of DDR3 memory using a kit of  Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB (8Gb X 2). 16Gb of memory is more then enough and it will last in a gaming pc build for years to come and is being sold at a much lower price then a few months ago.

The included hard disk hard-drive used is the same one I’ve included for a few months now, the Seagate Barracuda 1TB. There is also an included Samsung 850 Pro 128GB SSD this month. For the same price as the Samsung 840 PRO, we can currently purchase the 850 Pro, which is a faster SSD drive with 550MB/s Read speeds and 470MB/2 Write speeds – a tad faster write speeds then the 840 PRO

The power supply unit included is an EVGA SuperNOVA 750 Watt PSU. This is a feature packed quality built PSU that is 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 – in my opinion one of the best PSU buys in the 750Watt range these days. This PSU went up a tad in cost this month and I’m guessing you will soon be able to purchase it for around what last months price was at (about $7 less).

The full tower case included this month is the Phanteks Enthoo Pro Full-Tower chassis. The one featured in the table above is a nice sleek looking one version with a window, however you can also find this case in black and at cheaper costs if you go for a version without the window. For a full tower case with many features, there is nothing disappointing about this case at a mere $99.99 right now. A quick overview of the case as taken from phantek.com is –

Phantek Enthoo Pro Overview

Features:

Enthoo Pro includes 1 x 200mm fan in front and 1 x 140mm fan in the rear. Ability to upgrade to additional fans is possible. All fans included are Phanteks’ new redesigned and better performing SP series fans. Budget friendly case, Phanteks’ Enthoo Pro, unleash unlimited possibilities.

Appearance:

-Brushed plastic with an aluminum appearance
-Stealth interior: hidden PSU / hidden HDD

Cooling:

-Extreme cooling capacity
– 2 included Phanteks’ premium fans
– The PWM hub makes it possible to control all the connected fans (also 3-pin fans) with PWM function through 1 PWM connector and create a better cable management.
– Extensive water cooling support. Provides up to 4 different installation areas for slim and thick radiators varying from single to triple (120mm and 140mm form factors). Clearance for push-pull fan configurations.
– Innovative liquid cooling mounting systems: radiator brackets for easy installation

Functionality:

– Closed HDD panel strengthens the chassis’ rigidity, even when both HDD cages are removed.
– Removable Drop-n-Lock SSD bracket that can be installed on 2 different locations. (1 bracket incl.)
– Removable dust filters for easy maintenance.
– Pre-installed cable management tools behind the motherboard tray that can be fastened and released.
– 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, microphone, 3.5mm audio jack

Lastly, we have the optical drive, which I went with the LG Optical Drive which is simply one of the cheapest optical drives you can purchase at the moment.

$1500 Gaming PC Build Upgrade Suggestions

Sometimes you have a little extra to spend, or likewise you want some ideas for future upgrades for your gaming pc, so below are some options. If you want to dedicate more storage space solely to your SSD, then perhaps a ginormous 1TB V-NAND Solid State Drive? Yes, that’s 1 TB of blazingly fast read and write speeds (for a hefty premium of course).

Do more then gaming – then you may want to consider upping your processor to an Intel i7-4790K processor. You can also very easily overclock this cpu. If you’re graphics hungry or want the option of upgrading in the future to keep up with future games – then you can always SLI with another GTX 780.

Looking for a better single graphics card alternative – if so the Radeon R( 295X2 would be the right choice. This is a graphics card with dual gpus on it and comes with a closed looped liquid cooler.

Intel Core i7-4790K Processor (8M Cache, up to 4.40 GHz) (BX80646I74790K) ($289.99) – Do more then gaming? – Then an i7 might be the right choice.- Huge price drop!
 
SLI with another –
Zotac GeForce GTX 980 AMP Edition 4GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 HDMI DVI DisplayPort SLI Ready Graphics Cards ZT-90204-10P (+$549.99) = $1099.98 total for graphics cards
 
 
Get the Best Dual-GPU Card with a closed looped liquid cooler:
MSI AMD Radeon 8GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 Graphics Card R9 295X2 8GD5 ($1000)
 
A Super Fast 1TB SSD: Samsung Electronics 850 Pro-Series 2.5" 1TB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive Single Unit Version MZ-7KE1T0BW ($559.99)


$1000 Gaming PC Build - Newb Computer Build

December 2014 PC Builds ( $1003 )

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

Capability: Game with Extreme settings at 1920X1080 resolutions and even High Settings in some games at 2560×1400

Hardware Link Price Image
Estimated Price: $1003.83
Processor Intel Core i5-4690K Processor 3.5 GHz LGA 1150 BX80646I54690K $209.99
Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO – CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan (RR-212E-20PK-R2) $29.99  
Motherboard ASUS Z97-A ATX DDR3 2600 LGA 1150 Motherboards Z97-A $124.99
Graphics Card

Zotac Zotac GeForce GTX 970 4GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 HDMI DVI DisplayPort SLI Ready Graphics Card ZT-90101-10P Graphics Cards ZT-90101-10P
$327.85
RAM Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR3 1600 MT/s (PC3-12800) CL9 @1.5V UDIMM 240-Pin Memory BLS2CP4G3D1609DS1S00 $69.99
Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda 1 TB HDD SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST1000DM003 $49.99
SSD *none – check the additions / alternatives section below for options!
Power Supply EVGA SuperNOVA 650G1 650W ATX12V Power Supply 120-G1-0650-XR $79.30
Computer Case Phanteks Enthoo Pro Full Tower Chassis without Window Cases PH-ES614PC $89.49
Optical Drive LG Electronics Internal Super Multi Drive Optical Drives GH24NSC0B $17.99

Overview: Gaming PC Build ( $1000 )

The included processor is the Intel i5 4690K processor, as it has been for months now. With such an easily overclockable processor,  I have also included the Cool Master Hyper 212 Evo cpu cooler into the December $1000 build.

The included motherboard is the same as last months as I went with the Asus Z97-A motherboard (now cheaper), which is a great pick for this budget and is more then capable of getting a ton of overclock out of the Intel 4690K processor. Some of the included features of the board include: (To learn more about these features visit the motherboard page here at asus.com)

  • 5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5 – One click, total system optimization!
  • M.2 & SATA Express – Speed up your system with lightning-fast 10Gb/s transfer speed
  • Crystal Sound 2 and Intel Gigabit Ethernet — a game-winning combo!
  • ASUS HomeCloud – Access your PC remotely and stream multimedia content anywhere, anytime
  • Proven quality – 5X Protection. 1000+ compatible devices. 7000+ validation hours.

The included graphics card is the new GTX 970, which has been the graphics card that has proven way more then its worth. Included in the $1000 build for December is the Zotac GeForce GTX 970 graphics card for $327 and it is currently the most affordable GTX 970 – so keep an eye out for others. Remember,  if you find that the cost of this particular GTX 970 fluctuates throughout the month then do a search for other available GTX 970 cards and find one around the cost of this one.

For memory, again we have 8Gb of DDR3 Crucial Ballistix Sport RAM – where 8Gb of RAM should be the perfect amount for a good build. We have a 1TB Seagate Barracuda hard drive. The power supply unit being used is the EVGA SuperNOVA G1 650W power supply, which is a great PSU with all modular cables, high-quality Japanese brand capacitors.

The PC case this month is the Phanteks Enthoo Pro Full Tower Chasis, the version without a side window.

Phantek Enthoo Pro Overview

Features:

Enthoo Pro includes 1 x 200mm fan in front and 1 x 140mm fan in the rear. Ability to upgrade to additional fans is possible. All fans included are Phanteks’ new redesigned and better performing SP series fans. Budget friendly case, Phanteks’ Enthoo Pro, unleash unlimited possibilities.

Appearance:

-Brushed plastic with an aluminum appearance
-Stealth interior: hidden PSU / hidden HDD

Cooling:

-Extreme cooling capacity
– 2 included Phanteks’ premium fans
– The PWM hub makes it possible to control all the connected fans (also 3-pin fans) with PWM function through 1 PWM connector and create a better cable management.
– Extensive water cooling support. Provides up to 4 different installation areas for slim and thick radiators varying from single to triple (120mm and 140mm form factors). Clearance for push-pull fan configurations.
– Innovative liquid cooling mounting systems: radiator brackets for easy installation

Functionality:

– Closed HDD panel strengthens the chassis’ rigidity, even when both HDD cages are removed.
– Removable Drop-n-Lock SSD bracket that can be installed on 2 different locations. (1 bracket incl.)
– Removable dust filters for easy maintenance.
– Pre-installed cable management tools behind the motherboard tray that can be fastened and released.
– 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, microphone, 3.5mm audio jack

As with all of the builds, we have the same optical drive. I went with the LG Optical Drive seen in above table, which is simply one of the cheapest optical drives you can purchase at the moment.

$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 SLI of two EVGA GTX 970 graphics cards, which would definitely be enough juice for higher resolutions (2560X1600 for example) or even high resolution multi-monitor setups. You could also consider this a worthy future upgrade consideration should you find you need the graphics juice in the years to come.

Since there is no SSD included in the base $1000 build, I do suggest you highly considering one if you funds allow. This month the Samsung 850 PRO SSD is included and since the cost is the same as the Samsung 840 PRO – this means faster write speeds for the same price. 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.

I have included a pc case alternative for those that want a second option for the $1000 build this month. Below is a brand new case, the Thermaltake Core V51. The V51 is a enthusiast, fully modular mid tower pc case, perfect for those looking to customize inside their case as precisely as possible (Read more about the Thermaltake Core V51 at thermaltakeusa.com).

Also, please *note that if you do decide to SLI with another GTX 970, you may want to also upgrade the power supply unit to 750W (ie. EVGA SuperNOVA G2 750W).

Add an SSD Boot Drive:
Samsung 850 Pro 128GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-7KE128BW) = (+ $96.99) – Upgraded from previous 840 Pro – Faster write speeds.

SLI your graphics card: (*Potential future proofing upgrade?) Zotac Zotac GeForce GTX 970 4GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 HDMI DVI DisplayPort SLI Ready Graphics Card ZT-90101-10P Graphics Cards ZT-90101-10P ($329.99)

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: $69.99 Alternative PC Case: Thermaltake Core V51 Computer Case CA-1C6-00M1WN-00 Black ($109.99) – A new enthusiast mid-tower pc case with a fully modular design.


$600 Gaming PC Build of the Month

Monthly Gaming PC Build ( $599 ): December 2014

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

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

Hardware Link Price Image
Estimated Price: $ 599.18
Processor AMD FD6300WMHKBOX FX-6300 6-Core Processor Black Edition $89.99
Motherboard
Gigabyte AM3+ AMD DDR3 1333 760G HDMI USB 3.0 Micro ATX Motherboard GA-78LMT-USB3
$54.99
Graphics Card Gigabyte AMD Radeon R9 280 OC 3GB GDDR5 DVI/HDMI/2Mini Display Port PCI-Express Video Card GV-R928WF3OC-3GD $199.99
RAM Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR3 1600 MT/s (PC3-12800) CL9 @1.5V UDIMM 240-Pin Memory BLS2CP4G3D1609DS1S00 $74.24
Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda 1 TB HDD SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST1000DM003 $49.99
Power Supply Corsair Builder Series CX 600 Watt ATX/EPS  80 PLUS (CX600) $62.00
Computer Case Cooler Master N200 – Mini Tower Computer Case with Front 240mm Radiator Support and Ventilated Front Panel $49.99
Optical Drive LG Electronics Internal Super Multi Drive Optical Drives GH24NSC0B $17.99

Overview: $600 Gaming PC Build

For months and months the $600 gaming pc build here at Newb Computer Build has for the most part, changed very little. I always try to maximize the performance of the $600 by trying to squeeze the as much cpu and graphics power I can while squeezing in the most affordable other hardware after; that is to get the most performance per dollar spent in a budget build. However, I was able to splurge a little bit this month in this build and get a solid, quality attractive micro ATX case, so that you aren’t just getting the best performance, but looking good while doing so.

The AMD FX 6300  is the processor included, the same for many months now. You can overclock this cpu quite easily since it has an unlocked multiplier and this cpu is especially a great buy right now since it has dropped down to a cheap $89 price – this is the cheapest I’ve seen of this processor yet.

For the graphics card, I’ve included the Gigabyte Radeon R9 280 this month, which isperfectly priced for the value of this cards performance.

The motherboard included for the second month in a row is the Gigabyte AM3+ GA-78LMT Micro ATX motherboard. This is a Micro ATX motherboard and will allow for a smaller PC case to make a nicely compact build without missing out on performance increases. The Gigabyte AM3+ GA-78LMT Micro ATX motherboard has the following specifications – (To learn more visit gigabyte.com)

  • Ultra Durable 4 Classic Technology with high quality components design
  • Supports AMD AM3+ FX/AM3 Phenom™ II & Athlon™ II series processors
  • 4+1 Phase CPU Power design for AMD high TDP 125W CPU support
  • Integrated ATI Radeon HD 3000 graphics (DirectX10)
  • PCI-E 2.0 x16 interface for ultimate graphics support
  • Hybrid EFI technology with DualBIOS for 3TB HDD support
  • Integrated HDMI/DVI/D-sub for Full HD 1080 contents playback
  • 4 USB 3.0 with superspeed transfer rates of up to 5 Gbps
  • GIGABYTE 3x USB Power with On/Off Charge USB ports

The included RAM is the same included in the $1000 build, which is 8Gb of Crucial Ballistix Sport RAM. As for a hard drive for each build this month I have featured the 1TB Seagate Barracuda, which should be plenty of storage for a gaming pc and if you ever need to add another drive the included motherboard supports up to 6 SATA connections.

The PSU was increased to the 600W Corsair Builder series power supply, a cost conscious PSU that has just the right amount of power needed for this build. The increase to 600 watts over the previous 500 watts was due to two factors: The Radeon R9 280 does use a little more power and the cost difference between the 500 and 600W builder series PSU’s was minimal. That being said, you could still get away with the minimally required 500Watts for this build.

As for a PC case, I decided to keep up the quality and look using the extra space left in the budget this month and go with the Cooler Master N200 Mini Tower, a perfect fit for our included micro atx sized motherboard. The N200 has the following features (coolermaster.com)

  • Edgy asymmetrical design with full mesh on the front panel
  • Mini tower with great expandability that supports up to three 3.5″ HDD and four 2.5″ SSD
  • Supports a 240mm liquid cooling radiator in the front
  • Supports high-end graphics cards with a length of up to 355mm/14inch
  • Supports air CPU cooler heights up to 160mm/6.3inch
  • Supports SuperSpeed USB 3.0
  • Removable dust filter under the PSU for easy maintenance

The last little pice of hardware is our optical drive – due to its current lowest cost option, I went with the included LG optical drive that you can see in the above table.

Overclocking the AMD FX 6300 – The following information video (AMD FX 6300 Overclocking Guide (Overclock to 5 ghz) Step by Step Guide) can help you if your new to overclocking and if you decide to go with this $600 gaming pc build.

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 – this processor has recently drop significantly in price and is now at an attractive $114. I would highly recommend this processor if your considering a faster cpu with 8 cores.

I have included two hard drive alternative solutions. The first being a 2TB Seagate Barracuda for those that need a ton of storage, perhaps you have a large movie collection? The second drive is a Crucial M500 120GB solid state drive – probably the most affordable quality ssd’s for sale (much lower write speeds then the Smasung evo pros though).

The final suggestion I put here is a quick case alternative if you would like to save some cash on the ‘more expensive then usual” $600 gaming pc build pc case. This case is the Fractal Design Core 1000 micro atx case, and it comes in at $32.30.

Processor Alternative: AMD FD8320FRHKBOX FX-8320 FX-Series 8-Core Black Edition ($114.99) – Huge price drop on this processor this month!
Alternative (Cheaper) PC Case:Fractal Design Core 1000 USB 3.0 Computer Case FD-CA-CORE-1000-USB3-BL ($32.20)
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: $69.99 Crucial M500 120GB SATA 2.5-Inch 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive CT120M500SSD1 ($62.99)

 


December Gaming PC Build Peripheral Considerations

This month I have decided to again include some suggestions for some peripherals you may need or want to pair with your gaming pc build, with the addition of the “Mid-Range” peripherals category. The $600, $1000 and $1500 builds in this article include the hardware you need to setup up the base PC, but over and above that if you don’t already own a keyboard, mouse and monitor, then your build may be useless. Furthermore, you will also need an operating system to run as the backbone to seamlessly run your hardware with your software / games.

Below you will find suggestions for some peripherals that you can pair with the builds in this article. By all means this is not a comprehensive list or meant to be the best of the best, but they are some of the best in the respective “higher end”, “mid-range” &  “basic” peripheral categories.

Higher End Gaming PC Peripherals – December 2014

The “higher end” peripherals are meant to showcase some of the more popular higher end / gaming specific peripheral hardware that one may consider. The keyboard below is the Corsair Vengeance K70 Cherry MX Red, a great performing keyboard for gaming and audible clicking when typing. [Learn more at corsair.com]. The included mouse is the Logitech G502 Proteus Core – a very comfortable mouse with 11 large programmable buttons and easily one of the best mice out there [learn more at gaming.logitech.com]. Last, we have a higher resolution (2560X1440) ASUS PB278Q monitor, a 27 inch LED lit monitor perfect for a higher end gaming pc (such as the $1500 build) – The ASUS PB278Q specifications can be read at [asus.com].

Hardware Link Price Image
Keyboard Corsair Vengeance K70 RGB LED Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, Cherry MX Red (CH-9000063-NA) $150.60 Corsair Vengeance K70 RGB LED Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, Cherry MX Red (CH-9000063-NA)
Mouse Logitech G502 Proteus Core Tunable Gaming Mouse with Fully Customizable Surface, Weight and Balance Tuning (910-004074) $59.99
Monitor 2560×1440 ASUS PB278Q 27-Inch WQHD LED-lit Professional Graphics Monitor $479.48

Mid-Range PC Peripherals – December 2014

I included a mid-range category this month to more realistically account for mid-range gaming hardware versus a cheaper viable peripheral solution, such as those found in the “Basic Peripherals” section below.

The keyboard chosen is the Razer Black Widow Ultimate, a great performing keyboard with comfortable keys and wrist area – one of the best all around gaming keyboards [learn more on the razerzone.com website]. This was included in the higher end gaming hardware last month, however I thought it better fit here. The included mouse is the Logitech G302 Daedalis Prime mouse, which is a comfortable minimalist designed mouse with highly responsive buttons and shape [Learn more at gaming.logitech.com]. The monitor included is the ASUS VG248QE, which is a popular 24-inch 1920X1080 and very fast response times, definitely a great pick for any caliber of gamer.

Hardware Link Price Image
Keyboard Razer BlackWidow Ultimate 2014 Elite Mechanical Gaming Keyboard $89.99  
Mouse Logitech G302 Daedalus Prime MOBA Gaming Mouse $48.37  
Monitor (1920×1080) ASUS VG248QE 24-inch LED-lit Monitor 144Hz refresh rate 1ms pixel response time & 3D capable $249.99

Basic PC Peripherals – December 2014

The “basic” peripherals are meant to showcase some of the most popular basic peripherals that are not exactly gaming specific, but are definitely quality pc hardware that would fair just fine. Just because these are labelled “basic” doesn’t meant they are cheap or not good, just cheaper and not necessarily gaming specific. The included keyboard is the Microsoft Sidewinder X4. This is a quality budget keyboard that would be a great choice for any average gamer with orange LED backlighting, application-specific profiles and space for 18 programmable macros. The mouse is a basic affordable, comfortable ambidextrous gaming mouse call the ROCCAT LUA Gaming Mouse. The monitor included is the BenQ RL2455HM 24-inch. This monitor is not the very cheapest 1920×1080 mintor you can buy, but its a very affordable gaming monitor with 1920×1080 resolution, 1ms response times and coming in at only $171.

Hardware Link Price Image
Keyboard Microsoft SideWinder X4 Keyboard $58.56  
Mouse ROCCAT LUA Tri-Button Gaming Mouse, Black $26.99  
Monitor (1920×1080) BenQ Gaming Monitor RL2455HM (24-Inch LED) $171.18

Operating System Options

The following are some operating systems you can consider installing upon putting your Gaming PC build together. The first two will cost you and are either Windows 7 or 8.1 – I have no opinions here so I’ll leave the purchase of these up to the discretion of yourself. I have also included two other operating systems that are both currently free. Ubuntu is a Linux based operating system. The last OS is SteamOS, which is also a Linux OS being developed by Valve Corporation and is being made to be used for a Steam Machine game console. The official release of SteamOS has not been announced, however you can try out the beta.

OS Link Price Image
Windows 8.1 Windows 8.1 System Builder OEM DVD 64-Bit $92.00  
Windows 7 Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit, System Builder OEM DVD 1 Pack (New Packaging) $95.88  
Ubuntu Ubuntu – Desktop Free Ubuntu OS Logo
SteamOS SteamOS WebpageSteamOS Beta – Download Page Free SteamOS Logo

December 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+

51 thoughts on “The December 2014 Gaming PC Builds of the Month

  1. Hello Corey, i’m 5 days away from having all the parts gathered together for the December $600 build. can i use the optical drive(bd) from my old computer(factory built hp)and if so, what parts(cords,cables)will i need? looking forward to this project 🙂

    1. Hey Jim,

      That sounds awesome and yes you most likely can use it. I would check what kind of connection it has and it will most likely be dependent on how old it is, although either way you should be good. It will either have an older IDE connection or a SATA connection. Fortunately the motherboard supports both. The cables that are already connected to the optical drive to your HP can be re-used, just eye ball how it is connection and do the same for your new build.

      If you have any more questions feel free to ask.

      1. hello Corey, so…i received the motherboard from the December $600 build. The manual said i needed windows 7 OS? didn’t think it mattered what OS i installed(windows 8 was my choice)

  2. ok so i live is jeddah saudi arabia and shipping cost here from amazon is too expensive almost like $400 so the best way is to get the parts from these websites and they are in saudi arabia jeddah so it will be good and i can go pick up the parts from there or i can ship it with like $5 it only ships in saudi arabia and these two shops are in jeddah saudi arabia here are the links to them but continue reading before clicking

    http://www.softland.com.sa/index.php?route=product/category&path=18_46

    http://www.gltsa.com/shop/index.php?route=product/category&path=25_35

    so my only problem is that im going to build the $1000 gaming pc build my budget is 3800 saudi riyal which is $1013. my problem is that im very bad at picking parts and i need someone to pick them for me please and the parts in these two websites are not the same as amazon so check both websites on every part please i have two monitors already i need the pc and a keyboard and mouse included with the budget please this is my first time to build a pc so please also give me tips and stuff thanks if you cant dont include the keyboard and mouse in the budget build ok thanks and please pick the parts from these two websites and check every part on the two websites because sometimes its cheaper on the other and i will buy from both thanks here are the monitors i have are they good for this build. it actually used to be my dads but he gave them to me. sorry for bad english im typing in a hurry

    http://www.cnet.com/products/samsung-s27b750v-led-monitor-27/specs/

    and this one too

    http://www.cnet.com/products/lg-m237wa-lcd-monitor-23/specs/

    please reply

  3. CPU Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0GHz Quad-Core $317.88
    CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing $28.75
    Motherboard MSI Z97-GAMING 5 ATX LGA1150 $146.99
    Memory G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-2133 $127.99
    Storage Samsung 850 Pro Series 128GB 2.5″ SSD $103.99
    Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM $49.88
    Video Card Zotac GeForce GTX 970 4GB $325.99
    Case Corsair 400R ATX Mid Tower $89.99
    Power Supply EVGA 750W ATX12V / EPS12V $77.98
    Optical Drive LG GH24NSC0B DVD/CD Writer $16.98

    Hey corey i was wondering what your opinion is about this build

        1. Awesome to hear, I’m in the process of doing so right now. I’m hoping to post tomorrow, I’ve been running a little late this month after taking some holidays. Not too many significant changes so far, mostly adjusting for price changes and such.

  4. Thank you for posting the $600 build and answering all of my questions, I am typing on it right now and it performs really well in games. Once I install more I will post some framerates in games like Minecraft – CS:GO – Arma 2 – Unturned. The changes I made – 700w EVGA modular power supply, Air 240 Case. Thanks Corey! 🙂

      1. These were my results (taken with Dxtory & VSync off) Garys Mod – 300 fps, Minecraft – Max Settings 40 fps Medium Settings 100 fps, Unturned – Default Settings 80 fps Max Settings 20 fps, Arma 3 Max Settings 35 fps, L4D2 – Max Settings 60 fps, CS:GO Max Settings 300 fps.

        Very playable framerates for all of these games! Nice build 🙂

  5. Will i need thermal paste for the $600 pc build? been all over the web gathering info on this project(1st build :P). alot of comments point towards needing ‘paste. hmmm….

    1. Hello Criton, did you mean before Christmas? I may be a little busy for a bit as I’m away for a bit for the holidays, but I can try to respond to any questions you may have when building your pc. You can either comment here or send a comment via the contact form accessible on the top menu and that will go directly to my e-mail.

  6. Hello Corey, 1st time pc builder here. looking at the ps in the budget build. can i sub a 750w by the same company? the link has the 600w item at almost the 750w price. and a r9 270 for the gpu?

    1. Hello James,

      Congrats on deciding to build your first PC. You’re right the Corsair Builder series 600W is priced way to high at the moment ($20 more then it should be). What I would suggest if you’re trying to keep a budget in mind is that you go with the Corsair Builder Series 500W version instead, as it has enough power for the build your quoting.

      If you go with the 500W PSU instead and do have that little bit of extra cash you can still go with an R9 280 for not much more then the R9 270, likewise you can still go with the R9 270 like you said.

      Let me know if you have anymore questions and best of luck 🙂

      1. thx for the swift reply. i’m going with the build rec on the gpu (r9 280). so…750w or the 500w? and the rec. tower states that it’ll take a gpu up 14″. the r9 280 is 15.9″ :/

        1. Hey, if going with the R9 280, you should get the 750 Watt Power Supply since the Minimum Wattage is 600Watts for that graphics card.

          The recommended tower (Cooler Master N200 Mini Tower) supports a Graphics Card up to 14 inches. – Source: http://www.coolermaster.com/case/mini-tower/n200/

          And the Length of the Gigabyte R9 280 OC Graphics Card is 11.65 inches – Source: http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=4991#sp

          So the Gigabyte R9 280 graphics card will fit in the Cooler Master N200 Case.

      2. thx for the swift response. i’m going with the r9 280 card. was wondering about the 750w ps. retailer has it for $82 and change. also the budget towers’ dimensions on the amazon ‘site has it almost 2″ shorter then the gpu.

  7. It is also worth mentioning that a 1TB Seagate SSHD is only $20 more than a standard Seagate HDD and reads/writes much faster 🙂

    1. You’re right! Although if I were going for a primary drive I would still try and squeeze an SSD in there instead, but this is definitely a worthy note.

  8. Hi Corey,

    Is this the same video card as the one you linked to amazon under budget build?

    P.S. Thanks a lot for very quick replies to all my previous questions!!

        1. Looks like a few people had a dead on arrival type situation. but it does look like Gigabyte has offered to help them out. I’m not sure how prevalent the problem is, but other sites have decent reviews such as (http://www.ncix.com/detail/gigabyte-radeon-r9-280-oc-0b-98788.htm) and the reviews at http://pcpartpicker.com/part/gigabyte-video-card-gvr928wf3oc3gd) seem good as well.

          If you’re still having a few qualms about it the Asus R9280-DC2T-3GD5 at newegg is a good choice or the SAPPHIRE DUAL-X 100373-2L Radeon R9 280 at newegg as well.

    1. Hey Russ, they are both really similar. Technically the Gigabyte one is a tad faster since it is factory overclocked, however I doubt you’d notice much of a difference if any.

    1. One of the reasons why I do monthly build articles! Prices jump around sometimes, however this was very quick as it was indeed $199 the day I posed this build article (December 1st).

      I wouldn’t get that gigabyte card at $241, rather there are a couple other cards closer to where the R9 280 should be at right now – the Sapphire Radeon R9 280 and PowerColor R9 280, either of those would be good as well.

      Thanks for catching that.

  9. Hello Corey,

    I have another question about the builds, specifically the $600 one.
    Is thermal paste needed for the cpu? What is a “good” thermal paste if so?

    Thanks, Carter

    1. Hey Carter,

      No need for thermal paste in any of the builds even in the $600 pc build. Your processor (as most do nowadays) will come with thermal paste pre-applied.

        1. What about extra fans (The Case is a Air 240 managed to save up some more to buy that case) are they necessary/recommended?

          1. Great choice! The Air 240 is an awesome case in my opinion. And no I wouldn’t worry about getting other fans as there is plenty of airflow in that case even if you push your build. Likewise, fans can be added at any point in time, so if you need them later on you can always get one then.

    1. Are you asking which specific company will save you more money? It all depends on the collective parts of your build that would have an effect on your energy costs, but in the processors above you can refer to a chart that I found here: http://www.techspot.com/review/586-amd-fx-8350-fx-6300/page7.html

      Looks like the fx 6300 102 watts idle and 227 watts on stress, while a processor closest to the Intel 4690K in the chart (i5 2500K) uses less using 75 watts idle and 151 watts being stressed; could even be more less with the 4690K, it’s just not in that particular chart. With that being said you would have to calculate your electricity costs where you live against the amount of time you use your PC and figure out the costs from there. I don’t think it will amount too the biggest difference in an annual cost though.

  10. I have a question concerning the power supply for the 1,500 build. What is the different between the 750 wt, 750 G1 and 750 G2, and will buying the regular 750 wt effect the system?

    1. Devon great question. You should be fine with either you chose, however the major differences between the EVGA SuperNova G1 vs G2 have to do with the components used to build each – the G2 uses a higher quality gold, uses an Eco mode, has higher quality internals etc. Overall buying the G1 750 watt will not effect the system.

  11. Hello Corey,

    I’m thinking about making my first computer with your $600 build. Using the 8 core instead of the 6 and the 2 TB instead of 1 like in your suggestions. Since I am very new to this, I have a couple questions. I think I need a wireless network card to connect to wi-fi, but I don’t really know for sure. If yes, do you have any suggestions? Also, the Ben Q TV in your suggestions doesn’t have built in speakers I believe. Do you have any suggestions for those as well? I don’t believe that I’ll need a cooler or fan for the build, do I? If so, any thoughts? Thank you so much for all the time and consideration you put into this website and the quick and thoughtful responses. I really appreciate your work.

    1. Hello Jesse!

      Those would be great upgrades. You are right, you will need something else for a wireless connection – this can be either a PCI network adapter, or a USB network adapter and it’s really up to you which you’d prefer. For a PCI card this should do the trick – TP-LINK TL-WN881ND Wireless N300 PCI Express Adapter or for a USB adapter this should do the trick – Panda 300Mbps Wireless-N USB Adapter.

      And no, I don’t think any of the monitors do have speakers, but I would say literally any speakers would be a good fit – it just depends on budget. Two examples would be, if you don’t really need the best of the best sound these $6.99 Logitech S120 could work, or for a little more boom to your sound, these Logitech Z506 Surround Sound Speakers for $69 could work, not a complete list of speakers or anything.

      You don’t need a cooler or fan – you could splurge in the future on another cpu cooler (like the cooler master hyper 212) since your processor can be easily overclocked and it might help keep temps down while doing so, but for now you should be fine, even if you do decide to overclock some.

      Let me know if you have any further questions and best of luck!

      1. Just one more question. I think im going to go with Logitech z313 speakers. Do you think a sound card would be beneficial? Any suggestions? Thank you again 🙂 you’re a real help.

        1. Sounds like a good choice to me. I would say you’d be just fine without the sound card, the motherboard comes with pretty good on board audio.

          And hey and no problem! Stop by any time.

  12. Hi Corey,

    With the $600 build is their a smaller case that all the components could fit into?
    I was looking at the Cooler Master Elite 130, but the graphics card is to large to fit.
    Any suggestions? Thanks.

    1. Hello Carter,

      I also like the cooler master Elite 130, however it is a “mini itx” case, so it supports and even smaller type of motherboard. What we need to look under are “micro atx” sized pc cases, wince we are using a mico atx sized motherboard. Even then, some cases still might have trouble fitting longer graphics card. In our case the Gigabyet R9 280 is 285cm in length

      If you want a case that looks similar to the Cooler Master Elite 130, then the Thermaltake Urban SD1 might be a good choice, it just barely fits the Gigabyte R9 280 and is a little pricier.

      In the same price range a couple of suggestions could be – APEX TX-381-C, Rosewill Line-M or the Zalman ZMT4.

      Some cases that cost a little more that I really like are the Corsair 350D or Corsair 240.

      Hopefully this helps some.

      1. Thanks for the great suggestions and the quick reply, I am going to go with the Apex TX-381-C. I think that the handle on the top will make for a much better experience moving the case to LAN partys and Friends houses. Although it may not look the best (IMO) it will do the job. Also, thanks for doing these builds it helps a lot.

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