Gaming PC Builds – July 2015
Jump to a specific budget build –
- Gaming PC Build of the Month ( $1500 ): July 2015
- Gaming PC Build of the Month ( $1000 ): July 2015
- Gaming PC Build of the Month ( $600 ): July 2015
- Gaming PC Peripheral Considerations (Keyboards, Mice & Monitors): July 2015
- Operating System Options
Gaming PC Builds of the Month Introduction:
The last couple months have had a plethora of new graphics card releases and given this I have been quite excited to see what has been worthy enough to replace the current cards in these monthly builds. Last month we saw the introduction of the GTX 980 Ti into the high end $1500 build, which was well worth its inclusion and especially so for those that have already went ahead and purchased this newer card. That’s because this month we have just seen AMD’s newly released R9 FuryX, said to be capable of extreme 4K gaming. However the AMD R9 FuryX just doesn’t quite push through to replace the GTX 980 Ti, so here it will stay included into the $1500 build.
Not all is lost for AMD’s newer graphics cards though. You will see in the $1000 build this month that I have included two graphics cards – the GTX 970 and the newly release AMD R9 390 graphics card. I have left it up to you to decide which you’ll go with as both of these cards perform relatively similar in most situations seen and they are the exact same price.
Where AMD has come through this month though, is with the $600 build. I have included the new AMD R9 380 to replace the previous GTX 960 since it does outperform this previously card slightly. The GTX 960 was released not too long ago and even though more efficient using less power to get its job done, it just doesn’t pull through quite as hard making me drop it out of the $600 build this time around.
I hope you enjoy the gaming pc builds for July 2015 and if you have any questions / comments or other budget considerations please feel free to leave a comment and we’ll start the conversation for this month. Best of luck building!
July 2015 PC Builds ( $1495 )
Gaming PC Build Recipe:
Game with Extreme settings at resolutions of 2560×1400 and 1920×1080 & 4K!
Overview: Gaming PC Build ( $1500 )
The $1500 simply put, is for those want to game with extreme settings and game up to resolutions as high as 4K with ease. This was possible last month with the introduction of the newly release GTX 980 Ti graphics card, which came in at about 20-30% faster then the previously included GTX 980 (non “Ti” card). This month AMD had released a slew of new graphics cards, including the R9 FuryX, which comes liquid cooled and is AMDs new 4K champion card. However, this R9 FuryX performs about 10% less then that of the GTX 980Ti in average frame rates across a range of games (according to pcgamer) .
The processor used again is the Intel i5 4690K processor, which is very easily overclocked, if you wanted to bump up the processor to an i7, then please refer to the alternatives table below, however the benefit for a pure gamer will be minimal, however you may see the benefit should you do more then just game (ie. render video, graphics and the such).
I have switched up the motherboard this month to a Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK (Black Edition) Motherboard, since the previous MSI board shot up in price for no apparent reason. This Gigabyte board is more then capable of overclocking the included processor quite well, supports multi graphics (SLI & crossfire) and a whole bunch of other features. You can learn more directly on this motherboards specifications webpage on Gigabytes website.
The CPU cooler once again is the Cooler Master Hyper 212 CPU Cooler, which is a worthy investment to take full advantage of the unlocked multiplier on the Intel 4690K processor, allowing an easy overclock. If you want to install a liquid CPU cooler instead, then I have also included the Corsair Hydro Series H100i GTX liquid cpu cooler in the upgrade suggestions table below should your budget allow.
As mentioned above, the included graphics card is a GTX 980 Ti. This month we have a Zotac Geforce GTX 980 Ti graphics card, boasting a whopping 6Gb of memory GDDR5 and accelerated by the NVIDIA’s Maxwell architecture. According to pcgamer, this cards performance is about 20-30% faster then the GTX 980 & 50-70% faster then the GTX 970.
We still have an included 16Gb of RAM in the $1500 build, but for July I have switched it up to a slick looking kit of 16GB of Crucial Ballistix Sport. Yet again, RAM has gone down a little further in price, so now is definitely a cost effective time to purchase a 16GB kit of RAM.
The included hard-drive used is the same one I’ve included for a few months now, the Seagate Barracuda 1TB, which is plenty of space for most gamers. Also included is a Samsung 850 EVO 120GB Solid State Drive. The SSD is to be used as your boot drive where you should install your operating system and most used software. That way you can boot everything used the most as efficiently as possible while using the larger Seagate drive to store larger media items and less used software. Likewise, you could skip the Seagate drive all together and get a 240GB SSD should you not need the extra space.
The power supply used again is the EVGA SuperNOVA 750W G2 Gold Certified power supply, which is a high quality & efficient PSU and I highly recommend it and it should be enough juice to power this beast of a gaming machine.
The PC case is a new release coming in at only about a month old, the Zalman NEO. This is a very nice looking case, albeit only a mid tower (look at the alternatives table for a full tower suggestion), but it comes in with some style and plenty of room for everything included in this build. Thanks to a new “Zalman cooling solution”, this case is optimized for strong cooling while also keeping the noise down. It has brushed aluminum style frontal door and SFX styled top Air Vent gives off dynamic feel, which I feel gives it a type of modern appeal. To learn more please visit zalman.com.
$1500 Gaming PC Build Upgrade Suggestions
If you have a little bit of extra cash, then you might be wondering what else you could spend it on either over and above the $1500 budget outlines above or in the near future.
Some may want to upgrade to an i7 processor, such as the Intel Core i7 4790K featured below (Perhaps you do more then game? The Intel Core i7 4690K is also very easily overclockable, so it does have plenty of potential for any enthusiast or individual using their PC for more then just gaming.
The build you see above includes a mid tower case which does have plenty of room for the included hardware, but for those who think they need more upgrade space or breathing room for their gaming pc then perhaps a full tower case such as the Rosewill THOR V2 is quality case with tons of room.
The Corsair Hydro Series H100i GTX liquid cpu cooler can provide you with some optimal cooling if you would like a quality liquid cpu cooler. You could also go with more storage in your SSD by going with a super fast 1TB SanDisk Extreme SSD – or any combination of drives mentioned in the $1500 build overview above.
|Intel Core i7-4790K Processor (8M Cache, up to 4.40 GHz) (BX80646I74790K) ($356.99) – Do more then gaming? – Then an i7 might be the right choice
|Corsair Hydro Series H100i GTX High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler CW-9060021-WW ($111.99) – Add a newly released liquid CPU cooler
|Get a FULL TOWER Pc Case (Tons of room for upgrades):Rosewill Gaming ATX Full Tower Computer Case Cases THOR V2 Black ($129.99)
|A very fast 1TB SSD:SanDisk Extreme PRO 960GB SATA 6.0GB/s 2.5-Inch 7mm Height Solid State Drive (SSD) With 10-Year Warranty- SDSSDXPS-960G-G25 ($419.99)
July 2015 PC Builds ( $979 )
Gaming PC Build Recipe:
Capability: Game with Extreme settings at 1920X1080 resolutions and even High Settings in some games at 2560×1400
Overview: Gaming PC Build ( $1000 )
The $1000 build is for gamers who want to play most of any game maxed out at high FPS’s using HD resolutions of 1920X1080 no problem and even for those that want to push their games to higher resolution of 2560X1600. Depending on the game, FPS will vary as your resolutions increase, so always remember to do a little research with regards to the collection of games you’re planning to play and at what resolution.
This month we have two different graphics card suggestions and I’m leaving the ultimate decision as to which to purchase up to you PC builders. The previous graphics card included again is the GTX 970, which is a graphics card that has shown that its a quality card capable of running high performing games with ease. While the new addition this month is one of AMD’s newest graphics cards, the AMD R9 390. Both of these cards are said to perform relatively the same and they both are the exact same price, so as to which you purchase its up to you.
The included processor is the Intel i5 4690K processor, which is the same processor in the $1500 build and for a while has been the go to gaming pc build processor. To easily overclock this processor, I have included the Cool Master Hyper 212 Evo to help you when overclocking and keeping those temperatures down.
As for a motherboard this month, I have also included the exact same motherboard for both the $1500 and the $1000 builds this month – the Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK (Black Edition) Motherboard, since the previous boards that I would generally recommend for their value vs price went up. This Gigabyte board is more then capable of overclocking the included processor quite well, supports multi graphics (SLI & crossfire) and a whole bunch of other features. You can learn more directly on this motherboards specifications webpage on Gigabytes website.
The included graphics card again is the MSI GTX 970 graphics card with the alternative card being AMD’s new MSI R9 390. As I’ve stated above, I’ll leave the choice as to which you would like to go with. Both cards will max any modern game at 1920×1080 and even in resolutions beyond that up to 2560×1400.
The RAM featured again is the 8Gb of DDR3 Crucial Ballistix Sport kit – where 8Gb of RAM should be the perfect amount for this build and mot gamers. For a storage solution, we have a 1TB Seagate Barracuda hard drive, which should be plenty of space for most gamers – if you can splurge a little bit more it might also be worth either switching to a solid state drive or adding a smaller SSD boot drive as seen in the hardware alternatives below.
The power supply unit being used again is the EVGA SuperNOVA G1 650W power supply, which is a great PSU with all modular cables and it provides the perfect amount of power for this build along with room for some upgrades.
For a PC case this months $1000 build we have the Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-01 pc case. I have included this in the past and it a quality mid tower pc case that is has that gaming aesthetic appeal. This case has a huge side panel window, which is a feature not always available to more affordable pc cases and it allows you to show off your awesome looking gaming hardware. There is a front red led lit intake fan, that allows you to add a second should you wish. You can also add up to 2 more 120mm fans on the top and one more 120mm at the exhaust / back end of the case. To learn more about the Corsair Carbide SPEC-01 case please visit corsair.com.
$1000 Gaming PC Build Upgrade Suggestions
If you have more then $1000 to spend on your build or perhaps you’re looking for some future upgrade suggestions, then the hardware below is included for those reasons.
You could SLI with two MSI GeForce GTX 970 graphics cards, which would definitely be enough juice for extreme gaming at higher resolutions (2560X1600 & 4K for example), or even high resolution multi-monitor setups (*note: if you go with the AMD R9 390 graphics card, you can crossfire with another R9 390).
Since there is no SSD included in the base $1000 build, I do highly suggest considering one. An SSD makes a world of a difference in boot / loading speeds. Featured below is super fast quality SSD, the SanDisk Extreme Pro 240GB SSD – or maybe you have tons of media or simply need extra space, so you could upgrade to the 2TB version of the Seagate HDD. If you think you won’t utilize the entirety of a 1TB hard drive, then you could also ditch that drive and just get a single SSD.
The last upgrade suggestions includes the newer Corsair Hydro Series H80i GT liquid CPU cooler, which has an improved coldplate and pump design (learn more about Corsair’s new liquid cpus here).
Also, please *note that if you do decide to SLI with another GTX 970, I would suggest you have at least a 750W PSU.
|Add a Fast Quality SSD Boot Drive:SanDisk Extreme PRO 240GB SATA 6.0Gb/s 2.5-Inch 7mm Height Solid State Drive (SSD) With 10-Year Warranty- SDSSDXPS-240G-G25 = (+ $135.21) –
|SLI your graphics card:(*Potential future proofing upgrade? – *See note above table)MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G Graphics Cards ($329.99 – OR Crossfire with another R9 390 if you go with that card)
|More Hard Drive Space With 2TB –Seagate 2TB Desktop HDD SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive (ST2000DM001) Price: $68.00
|Corsair Hydro Series H80i GT Performance Liquid CPU Cooler CW-9060017-WW – Add a newly released liquid CPU Cooler ($99.99)
Monthly Gaming PC Build ( $607 ): July 2015
(Game at Smoothly with Medium – High settings at 1920X1080 resolutions)
Gaming PC Build Recipe:
|AMD FD8320FRHKBOX FX-8320 FX-Series 8-Core Black Edition
|Gigabyte AM3+ AMD DDR3 1333 760G HDMI USB 3.0 Micro ATX Motherboard GA-78LMT-USB3
|Sapphire Radeon R9 380 2GB GDDR5 DL-DVI-I / DL-DVI-D / HDMI / DP Dual-X OC Version (UEFI) PCI-E Graphics Card 11242-02-20G
*AMDs new R9 380 (Slightly outperforming the previous GTX 960)
|Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR3 1600 (PC3-12800) 240-Pin UDIMM Memory BLS2KIT4G3D1609DS1S00/BLS2CP4G3D160
|Seagate 1TB Desktop HDD SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive (ST1000DM003)
|EVGA 600B 80PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V/EPS12V Active PFC 600W Power Supply 100-B1-0600-KR
|Fractal Design Core 1000 USB 3.0 Cases FD-CA-CORE-1000-USB3-BL
|Lite-On 24X SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive Optical Drive IHAS124-14
Overview: $600 Gaming PC Build
The $600 is more then capable of playing any game out there and perhaps can play some of them maxed out with high FPS at 1920X1080. The major change to the $600 build this month is the addition of a brand new graphics card. The Radeon R9 380 has replaced the previous GTX 960 as it performs a little better for the same cost.
I have again included the new CPU addition to this build, the AMD FX-8320 8 Core Black Edition processor instead of the previous AMD FX6300. This was doable since the cost of all the combined hardware dipped significantly, which is very exciting for those trying to fit their budget build into $600. This processor is also unlocked and easily overclockable. Likewise, for those budget conscious buyers – the AMD FX 6300 is still a viable choice.
The motherboard included again is a small form factor 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
For the graphics card, as I’ve mentioned above I have included a newly release AMD Radeon R9 380. More specifically, a Sapphire Radeon R9 380 that I have linked in the above builds table. The R9 380 does perform slightly better then the GTX 960 and although less efficient (in terms of energy usage), it not so significantly so to warrant choosing it over the R9 380.
For a total of 8Gb of RAM we have a kit of Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB, which like most memory has gone down in cost significantly. As for a hard drive for each build this month we have the same for each build, which is the 1TB Seagate Barracuda.
The power supply used is the EVGA 600B 600Watt power supply, its at a reputable budget PSU and more then enough power for this build and more.
The case for this month has also changed, and for July I’m suggesting the Fractal Design Core 1000, which is a small form factor micro atx case to coincide with the micro atx motherboard choice. If you want to expand your upgrade options a little further you could consider upgrading at an ATX sized motherboard and in turn choosing a Mid Tower ATX pc case, but that’s up to you.
The Fractal Design Core 1000 has the following specifications (to learn more visit fractal-design.com):
- mATX, Mini ITX, DTX motherboard compatibility
- Drive bay capacity: 2 – 3.5″ HDD or 3 – 2.5″ SSD or 1 – 3.5″ HDD + 1 – 2.5″ SSD
- 2 – ODD slots
- 1 – FDD slot, using convertor in ODD slot (convertor included)
- 4 expansion slots with sleek white painted brackets
- Supports graphic card up to 350mm in length with one HDD mounted
- Supports graphic card up to 210mm in length with two/three HDD mounted
- Supports CPU coolers up to148mm in height
- Supports full size ATX PSU, maximum length about 185 mm if an optical drive is mounted
- Case dimensions (WxHxD): 175 x 355 x 420mm
- Net weight: 4.1 kg
- Package dimensions (WxHxD): 225 x 415 x 475mm
- Package weight: 5 kg
Upgrade Suggestions for the $600 Gaming PC Build:
The options below are for those with a little extra spending cash or want some ideas for future upgrades over and above the allotted $600 budget for this gaming pc build. I’ve also mentioned that if you want even more upgrade potential (more drive, more graphics cards capability etc. then please consider upgrading to an ATX sized motherboard & case).
First I have included the low profile ZALMAN CNPS8900 cpu cooler, this would be a great addition to anyone considering overclocking your AMD FX 8320 processor right off the bat in order to keep everything nice and cool while doing so. With the case being a smaller form factor case, a lower profile cpu cooler will be easier to instal
I have included two hard drive alternative solutions. The first being a 2TB Seagate Barracuda for those that need a ton of storage for those need more then the included 1TB Seagate hard drive. The second drive is a Solid State Drive, the OCZ Storage Solutions Arc 100 Series 120GB SSD, which is a very affordable SSD with lots of storage per dollar spent.
Finally, if you want a higher quality more sleek looking Micro ATX case, I have included the BitFenix Micro ATX case. This is a very cool looking case and it also comes in many different colors, although it’s a bit more pricy then the recommendation the in the base $600 build.
|Low Profile CPU Cooler:ZALMAN Computer Noise Prevention System with Ultra Slim Direct Touch Heatpipe Heatsink CPU Cooler CNPS8900 Quiet ($38.59)
|Alternative (micro-atx) PC Case:BitFenix Micro ATX, Mini-ITX Motherboard Cases BFC-PRM-300-WWWKW-RP White ($99.99)
|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: $76.65
July 2015 Gaming PC Build Mice, Keyboard & Monitor Peripheral Considerations
The peripheral considerations are included as an attachment to the July 2015 gaming pc builds of the month. The builds above include the essential hardware to build a gaming pc, however you do need peripherals in order to control your gaming pc. So if you already don’t have a mouse, keyboard, monitor or OS, then you may want to check out the following article.
The July 2015 gaming pc peripherals article is separated into three separate categories including each in a higher end, mid-range and basic peripheral category.
To view this months peripheral suggestions please visit July 2015 Gaming PC Peripherals – Keyboards Mice and Monitors
Operating System Options
If you don’t already have an operating system for your new gaming pc build, then you’re going to have to either invest in purchasing a standard OS such as Windows 7 or 8. Otherwise, there are some free alternatives that you could consider.
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.
|Windows 8.1 System Builder OEM DVD 64-Bit
|Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit, System Builder OEM DVD 1 Pack (New Packaging)
|Ubuntu – Desktop
|SteamOS Beta “Build your own Steam Machine”