July 2015 Gaming PC Builds

July 2015 – Monthly Gaming PC Builds

Gaming PC Builds – July 2015

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July 2015 Gaming PC Builds

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!

$1500 Gaming PC Build - Newb Computer Build

July 2015 PC Builds ( $1495 )

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

Game with Extreme settings at resolutions of 2560×1400 and 1920×1080 & 4K!

Hardware Link Price Image
Estimated Price: $1495.00
Processor Intel Core i5-4690K Processor 3.5 GHz LGA 1150 BX80646I54690K $235.99
Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO – CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan (RR-212E-20PK-R2) $31.24
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK (Black Edition) Motherboard Core i7/i5/i3 LGA1150 Intel Z97 Express ATX RAID Gigabit LAN (Integrated Graphics) $129.99
Graphics Card Zotac GeForce GTX 980Ti 6GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 HDMI DVI DisplayPort SLI Ready Graphics Card ZT-90501-10P $649.99
RAM Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB Kit (8GBx2) DDR3 1600 MT/s (PC3-12800) UDIMM Memory BLS2KIT8G3D1609DS1S00/ BLS2CP8G3D1609DS1S00 $94.99
Hard Drive Seagate 1TB Desktop HDD SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive (ST1000DM003) $44.99
SSD Samsung 850 EVO 120GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-75E120B/AM) $73.59
Power Supply EVGA SuperNOVA 750 G2 80+ GOLD, 750W ECO Mode Fully Modular NVIDIA SLI and Crossfire Ready 10 Year Warranty Power Supply 220-G2-0750-XR $121.10
Computer Case Zalman USA NEO Gaming ATX Mid Tower Case $94.42 Zalman Z11 Neo
Optical Drive Lite-On 24X SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive Optical Drive IHAS124-14 $18.38

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)

$1000 Gaming PC Build - Newb Computer Build

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

Hardware Link Price Image
Estimated Price: $979.67
Processor Intel Core i5-4690K Processor 3.5 GHz LGA 1150 BX80646I54690K $235.99
Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO – CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan (RR-212E-20PK-R2) $31.24  
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK (Black Edition) Motherboard Core i7/i5/i3 LGA1150 Intel Z97 Express ATX RAID Gigabit LAN (Integrated Graphics) $129.99
Graphics Card

MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G Graphics Cards


Alternative Card: MSI R9 390 GAMING 8G Graphics Card 

*AMD’s new R9 390 Graphics card.

*Performance wise these two cards will perform similarly.





RAM Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR3 1600 (PC3-12800) 240-Pin UDIMM Memory BLS2KIT4G3D1609DS1S00/BLS2CP4G3D1609 $54.99
Hard Drive Seagate 1TB Desktop HDD SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive (ST1000DM003) $44.99
SSD *none – check the additions / alternatives section below for options!
Power Supply EVGA SuperNOVA 650 G1 80+ GOLD, 650W Fully Modular 10 Year Warranty Power Supply 120-G1-0650-XR $83.29
Computer Case Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-01 Mid Tower Gaming Case CC-9011050-WW $54.99
Optical Drive Lite-On 24X SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive Optical Drive IHAS124-14 $18.38

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)

$600 Gaming PC Build of the Month

Monthly Gaming PC Build ( $607 ): July 2015

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

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

Hardware Link Price Image
Estimated Price: $ 606.68
Processor AMD FD8320FRHKBOX FX-8320 FX-Series 8-Core Black Edition $136.48
Gigabyte AM3+ AMD DDR3 1333 760G HDMI USB 3.0 Micro ATX Motherboard GA-78LMT-USB3
Graphics Card 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)

RAM Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR3 1600 (PC3-12800) 240-Pin UDIMM Memory BLS2KIT4G3D1609DS1S00/BLS2CP4G3D160 $52.99
Hard Drive Seagate 1TB Desktop HDD SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive (ST1000DM003) $44.99
Power Supply EVGA 600B 80PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V/EPS12V Active PFC 600W Power Supply 100-B1-0600-KR $59.95
Computer Case Fractal Design Core 1000 USB 3.0 Cases FD-CA-CORE-1000-USB3-BL $40.90
Optical Drive Lite-On 24X SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive Optical Drive IHAS124-14 $18.38

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

Gaming PC Build Mice Keyboards and Monitors - July 2015

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.

OS Link Price Image
Windows 8.1 Windows 8.1 System Builder OEM DVD 64-Bit $89.99  
Windows 7 Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit, System Builder OEM DVD 1 Pack (New Packaging) $89.98  
Ubuntu Ubuntu – Desktop Free Ubuntu Logo
SteamOS SteamOS Beta “Build your own Steam Machine” Free Steam Operating System OS

July 2015’s Gaming PC Hardware Overview Video:

Comments 71

  1. Hey Corey I’ve ordered the parts for the $600 dollar build. This is my first PC build, I was wondering if you recommend a specific tutorial on how to build it. Thanks!

    1. Post

      Hello Jesse,

      Awesome to hear! I don’t have one myself specifically, I do plan to do one at some point though. But there are tons of how to videos out there. One notable one is done by Austin Evans, where he does a great job of clearly explaining a step by step – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsyxM_j3Y4U

      As well be sure to read each piece of hardware’s manuals and just have fun!

  2. Corey, I just completed the 600$ build using the BitFenix case mentioned as well as the SSD mentioned. I have to say that the CPU temperature is idling at around 60 and spikes up to the high 70s while watching videos, attempting to play CS GO, SC2, etc. It’s extremely noisy and gets hot FAST. The case fans that come with BitFenix do not appear to be immediately compatible with the motherboard so I ordered 3pin to 4pin molex adapters. I ordered the Zalman cooling unit in the hopes that this will allow me to safely perform basic functions, but I have to say I’m wondering if a micro case is the best option for this particular setup. Any ideas to get this temperature down beyond what I have written?

    1. Post

      Hello Joe,

      You’re right, that spiking into the higher 70’s is a bit hot. The Prodigy Micro ATX case can be cramped and cooling will be helped by purchasing a separate CPU cooler as you have said you just did. The case also supports more fans, so you could purchase some cheap ones (the back fan can also be replaced with a 140mm as its a 120mm which would help) and the top could take some thin ones as an exhaust. The main goal is simply to get rid of all the hot air floating around in the case. Also make sure that you keep the case off of a carpet, and that wire management can help as well.

      Best of luck

  3. I am currently in the middle of buying all of the parts for the 1000$ build(going with the gtx 970), and i was curious if an evga supernova 550w 80+ gold would be strong enough to run the machine? A friend has an extra one of these lying around, and he was gonna toss it my way for free. Thanks!

    The psu:

    1. Post

      Hello Jeff,

      Yeah that should suffice as the MSI GTX 970 requires min 500W and the system won’t use too much more. I would go with that and save the extra cash. It doesn’t leave a ton of headroom for additions or overclocking but should do the trick as it is a quality psu as well!

  4. Do you know about when August builds will be up? I know I’m being antsy but I finally have money to build something $1500-range powerful so I’m itching to buy parts and I love your builds. No worries if it’s not for a while though, just wondering haha!

    1. Post

      Hi Chole,

      I appreciate the enthusiasm 🙂 The builds will be a tad later this month as I’m off again out of town and I’ve been waiting on some new hardware releases, but I do hope to around August 10th-12th.

      1. I can’t wait! What is your opinion on Windows 10? I felt it’d be unstable on release like Windows 8/8.1 was, and I hate the UI of Windows 8.1 so I bought Windows 7 for the $1000 from your site. I really hope Windows 10 or any future OS Microsoft makes will live to my expectations when the time comes when Windows 7 becomes obeslete. Unfortuantely, my hard drive and optical drive were DOA. Replacements are coming tomorrow though 🙂

      2. Hey, I can’t wait for you update them either! Just one question, what do you think about Windows 10? Personally I think it’d be prettty unstable on release like Windows 8/8.1 was and i don’t like Windows 8.1’s UI so I just bought Windows 7, I really hope Microsoft’s Windows 10 or any fuutre OS Microsoft makes will live up to my expectations. Another thing I’d like to add are couple parts on my system were DOA, the Optical Drive and Hard Drive, is this common at all?. But the replacements will be arriving tomorrow 🙂

        1. Post

          Hey Alex! Glad to hear. I have to agree with you in that I hated Windows 8 / 8.1 UI and just over all usability. Windows 10 currently isn’t providing too much a performance boost for us gamers, but I do think its better and because of its support from DirectX 12 it will have a benefit once games start supporting this. What I would currently do is have a copy of windows 7 and simply upgrade to 10 and try it out if you’re curious. Also I haven’t generally seen hard drives and optical drives DOA, more so graphics cards, but it does happen. Either way you can generally swap them as you did. Hopefully it all worked out 🙂

          1. Wow thanks for the quick reply! It’s nice to see an expert view on things, this is my first build so I must’ve been pretty unlucky to recieve 2 things that arrived DOA, I also thought the GPU was DOA but that cause I used the Mobo’s HDMI rather than the GPU’s HDMI port. EPIC fail on my part haha. I do have access to Windows 10 on my PC, but I think I’ll hold off of it for now, cause like I said probably very unstable on release.

  5. Hi, I am new to the PC building community and am interested in trying the $600 build. I have a general concern, and I apologize if it is a stupid one. I want to build a PC that can play newer games at high settings, but can also function as a day to day workstation. This wouldn’t be my primary work PC, but I would like for it to have the capability to run programs like mathematica or matlab and dual boot several OS’s like windows and ubuntu for my programming and computing needs. I just want to know if these builds sacrifice computing power at the expense of graphics (and again I apologize if this is a dumb question).

    1. Post

      Hello Evan,

      Welcome to the community 🙂

      The $600 PC as it stands does have great cpu power using the fx 8320 (8 cores – 3.2Ghz – unlocked for easy overclocking and so on) which would make this an ideal work station as well. My concern for you would be upgrade potential, such as this build uses a micro atx format, which means a smaller form factor motherboard and a small case to fit. If you want to add a few drives with several OS’s and such. What I would suggest is swapping the motherboard to something like an ASUS M5A97 AM3+ motherboard and a Thermaltake Urban S1 PC case to keep close to the budget still but have a tad more upgrade potential.

      Best of luck!

    1. Post

      I’ve seen You can get a Corsair RM650, or Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650W, both of which are pretty good. I’m also sure you could probably get the EVGA in the article, but not entirely sure where. If you can’t find any of those let me know 🙂

      Good luck!

  6. Corey,
    I have just completed my 600$ build and everything is working great except for the GPU. I went with a Sapphire Radeon R9 280x and it is causing my PC to shut off. When I do not have it plugged in and I use integrated graphics it works perfectly. When it is in the PCIE slot everything works perfectly (Although GPU fans don’t spin) but when I connect the power cables from the PSU and attempt to power on, all of the fans will flicker and everything will shut down. Do you know what this could be?

    1. Post

      Hello Rex,

      Your issue sounds like your not getting enough power. The Sapphire Radeon R9 280x that you went with apparently requires 750 power supply according to Sapphire specs – but doing some digging it sounds like people are generally using 600W psu’s for that card, so I would assume that’s ok.

      Double check that you have connected your psu into both of the 8pin connectors on the Sapphire card so it gets sufficient power. Otherwise, I believe the culprit probably lies in the card itself, you could have been sent a dud.

  7. Corey,
    I have recently purchased all of the parts for my pc and assembled it. When I start the PC, my GPU fan immediately makes a clicking noise. I went with a Sapphire Radeon R9 280x and I thought it might be something to do with the PSU. What do you think could be causing this and is there any way to repair it as I can not return the card.Thanks

    1. Post

      What I would do first is make sure all cords are away from the fans. Off the top not sure what would be causing it. Is it a one time click? Constant click? Have you tried manually moving the fans to make sure there isn’t anything blocking them? Even if you can’t return it, you can always contact Sapphire as well as there should be warranty too – http://www.sapphiretech.com/support.asp?lang=eng

      1. Corey,
        I found the problem with the GPU and it is just a loose fan that I should easily be able to tighten. The problem with the display is with my motherboard as there is no light on and no beep. I have everything plugged in and everything is powered (fans spin) but there is still no light.

        1. It has no beep because there is no speaker cable to the front panel header but there is still no light on motherboard

          1. Post

            Are you saying its not booting / posting at all? If that’s the case double double check all wires from the psu are secure and tight. Make sure the ram is seated properly / try them both in the other two slots.

            1. Corey, I have been looking at this all day and have found that there is no led on the motherboard itself. All of my components seem to be working but no post when everything is plugged in. However, I am plugged in only to my motherboard, not the dedicated graphics card. Could it be that the RAM is not compatible with the motherboard?

              1. Post
              2. I have gone through the whole list and still nothing. The processor not having integrated graphics should not be a problem as the motherboard does have it. The RAM is not on the list that is supported by the motherboard on the gigabyte website but they only have a few listed. Alos, do you know if this motherboard has any LED’s on it as I can not find one or anywhere that would produce a beep

  8. Should I already include a stronger PSU if i want to upgrade later on? e.g. Im takin the 1000$ build and upgrade with another GPU

    Is the liquid coller better than the normal one?

    1. Post

      Hello Luis,

      If you are planning on swapping out the graphics card (the GTX 970 for example) in the future to another single better graphics card, then no the 650 watts will still be just fine. However, if you are planing on going with an SLI setup (adding another GTX 970 for example for 2) then I would recommend a 750-850Watt PSU.

      And yes a liquid cpu cooler will generally be more efficient at keeping your cpu cooler and moreover they are more quiet then an air cooler.

      Hope this helps!

  9. I have just finished building and benchmarking the $1500 build, and dang this computer is a beautiful beast! I changed out the graphics card for the Zotac 980 ti Amp Extreme and changed the CPU cooler to be a dual fan liquid cooler. The Gigabyte motherboard card is so powerful and great for overclocking and the fully black theme is amazing, the inside of this computer is a work of art! But more importantly, It is freaking powerful! Having spent years gaming on a laptop with integrated graphics, this is a ridiculous improvement!

    Thank you so much for putting this list of parts together, its been an amazing help!

    One suggestion: Note that both the case and the motherboard do not have an included internal speaker, so the computer will not boot until you get one!!!

    1. Post

      Thanks a ton Jeffery for the positive comment. I’m glad you have found the $1500 build to be a worthy upgrade over your previous integrated graphics laptop 😛 what do you plan on playing? The build should have worked without the internal speaker though.

      1. Probably way too much League of Legends! That and now I can finally play games like Crysis and The Witcher! Interesting that it should have worked, I don’t think that I did anything differently to boot it after plugging in the internal speaker. Though it would still be best to have to be able to diagnose any errors once someone finishes the build.

        Any way to post a photo easily?

        1. Post

          Awesome stuff. Yeah and I think you’re right, I may have to dedicate some time and create a page to diagnose errors while building. There is no way to post a photo directly to the current comment platform I have setup (which I think would also be a fantastic idea, so I may look into that now). But you could link to a photo and upload it to http://imgur.com/

  10. Hey Corey, I’m planning to assemble the $600 build. While shopping around, I noticed that various graphics cards have a compact version available. Since the build will have a micro ATX motherboard and a mini tower, would it be better if I got the smaller version of the graphics card? I would imagine it would be a tight squeeze in there and a lot of the mini towers have little to no room for cable management. I did notice that the past few builds you recommended the regular sized one, so is the size issue really not an issue at all?

    1. Post

      Hello Bryant,

      Very valid question and it shouldn’t matter too much, but you are right a smaller card may be better. Generally given more space in the case theres more breathing room which could potentially help keep temps down. The Fractal case included though does support up to 350mm long cards and the Sapphire Radeon R9 380 is 237.35mm. So to answer your question, I would say if the smaller form factor card isn’t too much of a difference in cost I would go with that in this mico atx build, otherwise it shouldn’t matter too too much if the cost difference is too significant.

      1. Thanks for the reply. The last part I need is the processor, and I plan on stopping by Micro Center to pick up the FX 8320. While browsing their site, I found out that the FX 8320E is a thing. I just wanted to know what it brings to the table compared to the regular 8320. It can’t be all that different, but it’s 10 dollars cheaper and newer. It’s stock speed is lower at 3.2GHz, so is that a noticeable drawback? What are your opinions: http://www.microcenter.com/product/437624/FX_8320E_Black_Edition_32GHz_Eight-Core_Socket_AM3_Boxed_Processor

        Other than that, I am just about ready to assemble my desktop. Depending on whether I get the 8320 or 8320E, I would have spent $600-610 dollars (after rebates) on my desktop, and that’s including the Zalman cooler and a wifi card. I ended up making a few deviations from the build listed here, but it was definitely a good starting point for newbs like me. Again, thanks!

        1. Post

          I’d go with the plain FX 8320. They are both similar, but the 8320E is a lower powered version, which would make it more power efficient although at the cost of some speed – like you said 3.2Ghz vs the 3.5ghz, while also not being to overclock as high.

          1. Hey Corey, im building my computer and I’ve run into a snag. I’m trying to mount the Zalman cooler but the screws simply can’t reach the back plate: http://i.imgur.com/CT8iMW3.jpg

            I have the same motherboard, processor, and cooler from the $600 build and I’ve followed the instructions but it simply doesnt reach. What did I do wrong here?

            1. Post
              1. Hmmm, it is the CNPS8900 and I am using the AMD brackets and have installed the backplate as per instruction. The cooler is sitting right on top of the processor but that’s as far as the brackets will go. Not sure what to do now

            2. Post
              1. I tried but that only pushes the receiving bolts further away, which doesn’t help much. If you look at the cooler straight ahead: http://i.imgur.com/CvWM8VP.jpg
                you can see that the base of the cooler is at the same level as the bottom of the brackets, making it impossible for the brackets to physically touch the motherboard. There’s no other way to install the brackets onto the fan.

                I’m pretty determined to use this cooler and not the stock one, so do you have any suggestions for what I should do? I could simply get longer screws to tighten the cooler to the backplate, but that would be an “improper” way to mount the cooler. What are the chances this would damage the motherboard?

              2. Post

                Hmm not sure, do the holes line up properly now? Not sure what else to suggest, longer screws could work assuming you’re able to secure it with out it being able to twist. The screws that come with the cooler should extend a little further below the bracket

    1. Post

      Hello Sam,

      You bet, that case is compatible with the $600 build. It’s a mid tower case, which would fit a larger atx sized motherboard as well as the smaller included micro atx motherboard in the $600 build.

  11. Corey,
    This is my first build so I am only going with the 600$ setup from may which has only minor differences and I apologize in advance for the number of questions I have. I have purchased everything so far except the motherboard, OS, graphics card, and processor and I have several questions.First, are you aware of anywhere to get a cheaper copy of Windows 8.1? Also, would purchasing an AMD FX 8350 be any sort of drastic improvement?

    Would this be functional :http://www.ebay.com/itm/AMD-Radeon-Sapphire-Dual-X-R9-280X-3GB-GDDR5-PCI-Express-OverClock-Edition-/111717785547?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1a02e61fcb

    Are there any decently priced intel processors that would be compatible with this build? Can you suggest some graphics cards that are cheaper yet perform on the same level or something similar to it? Lastly, would this build be capable of handling something like dayz or total war on normal settings. Thank you

    1. Post

      Hello mahkcots,

      Not a problem. First, the cheapest is probably to purchase the Windows 8.1 OEM (about $89), otherwise you could try a free OS like Ununtu or Steam which you can see near the end of the article. Other suggestions would be extra copies from friends, work and ways I’m not at the liberty to say. I would say purchasing the FX 8350 over the 8320 isn’t worth it and you could use the difference in cost for your graphics card if anything. If you do have the cost difference left over in your budget, then by all means it wouldn’t hurt going with the 8350.

      That Sapphire R9 280x would be a definite good purchase and it priced quite well performing even a little better then the included r9 380, I’d say grab it.

      A cheaper graphics card (less performing) if you don’t want to spend as much could be the Radeon R7 370.

      If you were wanting to go with intel my suggestion for this build / budget would be this:
      CPU: i3 4170
      Motherboard: Gigabyte H97 GA-H97M-HD3

      However, I would still go with the AMD anyhow in this case.

      And this build would play dayz, total war on normal settings and even above at 1920×1080.

      Hope this helps!

    1. Post

      Hello Storm,

      No problem once so ever. Both of the are compatible for sure and more then you need (which isn;t a bad thing). The case is a mid tower case, which may make the included micro atx motherboard look a tad small, but never the less it would work. Likewise since your case does give you the extra space you could go with a larger ATX sized motherboard such as ( http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008V9959O/ ), but either way you’d be good.

      Best of luck and let me know if you have any more questions!

      1. Post

        Hello Boddah,

        No problem and that’s what I’m here for. Both of those cards are compatible and both are very similar in terms of performance. I would suggest your linked MSI R9 380 as it does performance a little better then the GTX 960. The one benefit of the GTX 960 is that it does perform more efficiently in terms of saving on energy, however it’s not so much that I would consider it significant. So for the same cost, go with the MSI R9 380 (its also a newer card as it came out about a month ago).

  12. Ever consider building with a Xeon e3-1231 and a H97 mobo? That 1500 dollar build would be cheaper and have better multitasking.

    1. Post

      Hello Angel,

      I would consider that a definite consideration and I’ve debated including it as so. However I’m not certain as to including it as a recommendation for someone looking for a gaming specific pc build and planning on definitely not overclocking. If one does gaming / video editing / graphics work etc,m then perhaps then I would suggest it – this could still be debated though and I wouldn’t exactly instruct someone interested in the Xeon e3-1231 instead otherwise. What I would also be interested in is some good benchmark data comparing the two in both gaming and other software use.

    1. Post
  13. Hello,

    Will the case for the $600 June build work with all of the July $600 build? (except the July case of course).


    1. Post

      Hello Jeremy,

      You bet, they are both Micro ATX’s cases, so I would choose whichever of the two you prefer based on your preference / cost 🙂

      Let me know if you have any more questions.

    1. Post
  14. Hi there,
    Would the Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK motherboard work with last June’s $1000 build (albeit with an i7 4790 CPU)?

    1. I’d really appreciate an answer within the next four hours, as if I get one I can build my computer tomorrow. Thanks!

      1. Post

        Hello –

        I apologize that I couldn’t reply to your comment earlier as I was away for a bit on a trip and had limited time to get online. If you still need an answer – yes the Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK will work with June’s $1000 build with an i7 4790. However, do keep in mind that it would be best to get an Intel i7 4790K processor with it. The “K” denotes that the processor in unlocked allowing easy overclocking, which that particular motherboard is compatible with as well.

        If you would like to save some extra cash, you could go with an “H97” motherboard instead and the plain Intel i7 4790 processor (the non “K” version).

        Hopefully this makes sense and if not let me know 🙂

  15. I just finished putting together the PC yesterday, and i just wanted to say thank you for putting this website up so you could help other people. It is absolutely insane how much more better the 600 build is compared to my laptop. I went from playing low graphics on bio-shock infinite, to just pressing ultra and playing the game.

    1. Post

      Hello Henry,

      That’s awesome to hear! And I’m glad to have help you achieve exactly what you wanted in a gaming machine. It’s surprising the bang per dollar you’ll get piecing together your own machine. I hope you also had a blast putting it together, best of luck 🙂

  16. I have seen the r9 380 upgrade and im considering it instead of the gtx 960, but im worried, i want to also get the fx 8350 instead of the 8320, and i wonder if the psu of 600 watts that you suggest here would be enough, im also getting this mobo instead of the one in the 600 build, if that helps. Would it be too much for the psu? should i change back to the 8320?


    1. Post

      Hey, first sorry for a later response as I’ve been off vacationing with little reception / wifi. I think it would be a good choice going with the r9 380 as well but regardless of which could you go with (8350 or 8320) the 600 watt pay will still def work so I wouldn’t worry about going any higher.

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