Building a Custom Gaming PC by Budget in 2014

FTM BuildsIf you’re looking to build your own custom gaming PC, then you’ve come to the right place. This page, updated monthly, is a list of PC builds for budgets from $300 all the way to $2,500. It’s a live look at where hardware is right now and a discussion at each price point of where you should be putting your hard earned money.

Different Types of Builders:

It’s important to keep in mind with each build that everyone’s opinion can be different at any particular price point. Some may go for performance at all cost by sacrificing quality and functionality. Others would rather have functionality for everyday work.

Our goal for this page is to give you the right amount of both in each price point. Alternate builds will be posted that cater more to the performance-driven crowd.

Why we update it monthly:

The hardware market is constantly evolving through new releases, drivers,  and rebates. When major releases from AMD, NVIDIA, or Intel happen the game changes entirely.

How You can Help:

It’s impossible to look at every hardware site every day and all of the time. You can help us out by leaving comments in the feedback section below.

Find us On YouTube:

This series will also be discussed on our YouTube page and regularly updated. Other videos for hardware and the state of gaming will be regularly posted.

Top Ten Gamer’s Best Custom Builds for the Money 2014

This Post was Last Updated June 4, 2014

$300 Gaming PC APU Build

300

Initial Impression: If you love online gaming and need an upgrade, but only have a max of $300, then you’re in luck! A $300 gaming rig wouldn’t have been on my radar a few years ago, but thanks to new technology from AMD it’s possible with both an APU and dedicated GPU build.

Hardware for this Build:

The AMD A10-6800k APU allows budget-minded gamers a solution for 720p and 1080p PC gaming.

The AMD A10-6800k APU allows budget-minded gamers a solution for 720p and 1080p PC gaming.

APU - AMD A10-6800k (Alternative option here would be the 750k and HD 6670 for around $130 vs. $120)

*The CPU from the A10-6800k and Athlon 750k are essentially the same.

Graphics – From APU – HD 8670D (Alternative Option here would be the inexpensive XFX ATI Radeon HD 6670 to go with the &50k- Look for $15 Rebate)

Ram – G.SKILL NS Series 4GB Newegg

Motherboard  -  GIGABYTE GA-F2A55M-HD2 $10 Rebate Amazon

Power Supply - CX 430 $20 Rebate Card

Case – Cooler Master Elite 430 – Look for rebate to make it $27.99

Hard Drive - WD Blue 500 GB

Other Thoughts: A budget build vs. what you’d do in reality is very different. Here your best option is to spend $80 more and go with the R7 260X and the FX 6300. That being said this build is perfectly capable of playing modern games on 720p. If you’re on a budget and aren’t that picky about the resolution, then it’s definitely a good option.

The dedicated graphics card build will give you slightly better computing performance and graphics; however the AMD-6800k is a great overclocker and may make gains in certain areas if you’re an experienced power user.

Expected FPS for this Build:

APU:

Skyrim: 47  AVG 1080p 2 x MSAA (2012)

Tomb Raider 1080p lowest details no MSAA: 40 FPS Avg.

Metro Last Light 720p lowest detail: 31 FPS Avg.

Far Cry 2 1080p: 36 FPS Avg.

Resident Evil 1080p: 39 FPS Avg.

Deus X: Human Revolution: 74 FPS Avg (Highest Details, FXAA High, 16xAF)

Dirt 3 1080p Highest Details, 4xAA: 101.47 FPS Avg.

Sources: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/a10-6700-a10-6800k-richland-review,3528-6.html, http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/amd_a10_6800k_review_apu,10.html, http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/61510-amd-richland-review-a10-6800k-a10-6700-benchmarked-15.html

750k 6670 Combo: 

Skyrim 1080p with no MSAA: 32 FPS Average

Diablo 3 1080p, Highest Settings, AA Enabled : 50 FPS Average

BF3: 1080p 30 FPS Average

Sources: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gt-640-review,3214-4.html, http://www.anandtech.com/show/4278/amds-radeon-hd-6670-radeon-hd-6570

$400 Gaming PC Build

400

Initial Impression: With our $400 build I wanted to focus on upgrading the CPU a little and put the majority of the budget towards the graphics card. As you can see I went with the R7 260X this month. This particular model makes a lot of sense because its on rebate this month and really does a great job at maintaining a high level of FPS even when playing games at 1920 x 1080p resolution.

If you're willing to spend $100 more you'll get massive FPS improvements by combining the R7 260X and the FX 6300.

If you’re willing to spend $100 more you’ll get massive FPS improvements by combining the R7 260X and the FX 6300.

Hardware for this Build:

CPU -FX 6300

GPU - GIGABYTE GV-R726XOC-2GD Radeon R7 260X 2GB 128-Bit GDDR5 $20 Rebate Card and 2 Free Games on Newegg

Ram - G.SKILL NS Series 4GB Newegg

Motherboard - ASUS M5A78L-M LX PLUS after $10 Rebate

Power Supply - CX 430 Find $20 Rebate Card

Case - Cooler Master Elite 430

Hard Drive - WD Blue 500 GB

Optical Drive - Asus DVD-RW

Expected FPS for this Build:

Metro Last Light 1080p High Quality: 32.2 Avg AT

Company of Heroes 2 1080p High Quality Low AA: 43 Avg AT

Battlefield 4 1080p High Quality: 44.8 Avg AT Medium Quality 76.8 Low Quality 97

Crysis 3 1080p Medium Quality + FXAA: 43.2 Avg AT – High Quality SMAA Low 34.3 FPS Tom’s, Ultra 27 Average Bit-Tech

Elder Scrolls Skyrim Ultra Quality 1080p: 59 FPS Avg

Bioshock Infinite Preset 1080p: 51 Avg

Sources: http://www.anandtech.com/show/7754/the-amd-radeon-r7-265-r7-260-review-feat-sapphire-asus, http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/5793/amd-radeon-r7-260x-2gb-reference-video-card-review/index.html, http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-r9-280x-r9-270x-r7-260x,3635.html, http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/radeon_r7_260_review_benchmarks,1.html, http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2014/04/08/amd-radeon-r9-295×2-review/4

Final Thoughts:

The FPS benchmarks for this build are clearly closer to the actual result than the dated ones in the first build. Benchmarks for additional games can also be found in the links above.

$500 Gaming PC Build

500

Initial Impression: The FX 8320 is a beast of a CPU – especially when you can find it in the $130 to $140 category. Because of the low cost of most of the parts on this build the aim here is not to overclock but rather get the most efficiency out of our money. For that we’re bundling the FX 8320 with the R7 265 for some impressive performance in this category.

Hardware for this Build:

Sapphire R7 265 Graphics Card

Battlefield 4 in high settings shouldn’t be a problem for the R7 265 featured in this build.

CPU -FX 8320

GPU – Sapphire R7 265

Ram - Kingston HyperX 8GB

Motherboard - ASUS M5A78L-M LX PLUS after $10 Rebate

Power Supply – Corsair CX 430

Case - CM Elite 430

Hard Drive - WD Blue 500 GB

Optical Drive - Asus DVD-RW

Expected FPS Performance:

Battlefield 4 Ultra Quality 2 x MSAA 1080p 45.5 Avg TH, High Quality 57.9 AVG AT, Medium Quality 94.9, low quality 120.1

Assassins Creed Normal Detail Settings, Motion Blur On, FXAA, Fog On 1080p: 43.6 Avg TH

Bioshock Infinite Ultra Quality Preset (No DDoF): 60.2 FPS Avg TH 61.4 Avg AT

Dirt Showdown Ultra Settings, 8 x MSAA 1080p: 45 FPS AVG HC

Far Cry 3 Ultra Preset 4x MSAA: 33.54 FPS HC

Metro Last Light 1920 x 1080p Highest settings AA Off: 33 FPS Avg HC

Tomb Raider 1920 x 1080p Ultra Preset, TressFX On: 35.5 FPS Avg HC

Crysis 3 1080p High Quality + FXAA: 41 AVG AT

Sources: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-r7-265-review,3748-3.html, http://www.anandtech.com/show/7764/the-nvidia-geforce-gtx-750-ti-and-gtx-750-review-maxwell/14,  For 1200p Benchmarks http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/amd_radeon_r7_265_review,14.html, http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/65390-amd-radeon-r7-265-review-4.html, http://www.anandtech.com/show/7764/the-nvidia-geforce-gtx-750-ti-and-gtx-750-review-maxwell/15, to compare with Medium Settings 750 TI http://www.geforce.com/hardware/desktop-gpus/geforce-gtx-750-ti/performance

Final Thoughts: Anyone who was questioning PC performance at the console price level is certainly intrigued to see a computer at this performance level for this amount of money. Lowering presets high quality in a graphically intense game like Battlefield 4 nets nearly 60 frames per second. This clearly exceeds the performance output of the Xbox One and PS4.

$650 Gaming PC Build

650

Initial Impression: I’m satisfied with the FX 8320 as our choice of CPU here. Dedicating more to our graphics card needs to stay a priority while upgrading to a better motherboard and power supply so you can do a slight overclock if you’d like to.

Hardware for this Build:

GeForce GTX 760

With the 760 we’ve reached quality 1080p gaming performance on modern titles.

CPU – FX 8320

GPU - EVGA GeForce GTX760 SuperClocked w/EVGA ACX Cooler 2GB GDDR5 256bit, Dual-Link DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI,DP, SLI Ready Graphics Card (02G-P4-2765-KR After $10 rebate

Ram - Kingston Technology HyperX 8 GB or G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR

Motherboard - Gigabyte AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gbps USB 3.0 ATX DDR3 1800 AMD Motherboard GA-970A-UD3P with $10 Rebate

Power Supply – Corsair CX 500M $20 Rebate Newegg.

Case - Cooler Master Elite 430

Hard Drive - WD5000AAKX

Optical Drive – Asus DVD-RW

Expected FPS Performance:

Bioshock Infinite Ultra 1080p 82.3 (AT) – Ultra Detail with DOF 72 Avg (BT)

Crysis 3 1080p High Quality + FXAA: 58.9 FPS, Very High 1080p 45 FPS (BT)

Total War Rome 2 1080p Very High Quality + Med. Shadows: 75 FPS  Avg

Hitman Absolution 1080p Ultra: 61.2 FPS

Battlefield 4 1080p Ultra Settings Preset, 57 FPS BT

Sources: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/GPU14/812, http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2014/04/08/amd-radeon-r9-295×2-review/4

$800 Gaming Rig

800

There’s a lot you can do with the larger $150 jump in price here. While it may not help a great deal in terms of performance here, my personal priority was to upgrade the motherboard, get an 80 Plus power supply, and upgrade the GPU.

Hardware for this Build:

CPU - FX 8350 or Intel i5-4590 Haswell Refresh

GPU - SAPPHIRE 100363L Radeon R9 280X $279  or GTX 770 02G-P4-2776-KR $325 after $30 rebate

Ram - Kingston Technology HyperX 8 GB or G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR

Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-Z87-DS3H

Power Supply – Corsair CX 500M

Case – Haf 912

Hard Drive – Western Digital 1 TB HDD WD10EZEX

Optical Drive: Asus DVD-RW

Expected Performance for this Build:

GTX 770:

Battlefield 4: Ultra 57 Avg (BT)

Bishock Infinite Ultra Detail with DOF: 90 FPS AVG (BT)

Crysis 3 1080p No AA 16x AF Very High Settings: 55 AVG (BT)

R9 280X: 

Battlefield 4: Ultra 55 Avg (BT)

Bishock Infinite Ultra Detail with DOF: 76 FPS AVG (BT)

Crysis 3 1080p No AA 16x AF Very High Settings: 50 AVG (BT)

Sources: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2014/04/08/amd-radeon-r9-295×2-review/4

$1000 Gaming Machine

1000

Initial Impression: Some of you are going to hate my upgrade from the $750 rig here. I went with a better more overclock friendly CPU in the i5-3570k, switched out the case to the more flexible CM storm enforcer, added a CPU Cooler (for some light overclocking, and finished off with a solid state drive. While a solid state drive won’t directly affect your in-game FPS I had to start thinking about exactly what I thought most people would want in a computer that costs $1,000. Because I use one every single day I’d never recommend going anywhere further on your GPU or CPU until you add one.

Mainstream Build

CPU – i5-4670k or FX 8350 or i5-4690

GPU - GTX 770 4GB Version $40 Rebate 04G-P4-3776-KR GTX 770

Ram - Kingston Technology HyperX 8 GB or G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR

Motherboard - ASUS Z97-A ATX DDR3 2600 LGA 1150 Motherboards Z97-A

Power Supply – Corsair CX 600M $5 off and $20 off

Case - Haf 912

Hard Drive - Western Digital 1 TB HDD WD10EZEX

Optical Drive: Asus DVD-RW

CPU Cooler – Hyper 212 EVO

Expected Performance:

See the GTX 770 vs. R9 280X comparison above in the $800 build for performance; however, the card featured here is the 4GB so performance should improve marginally where additional VRAM is necessary.

$1250 Custom Gaming PC

1250

Initial Impression: Now that we’ve gotten most of the functionality issues out of the way it’s time to give a sizeable upgrade to our GPU. NVIDIA’s new GTX 770 series graphics card see performance above the GTX 680. Considering the 680 costs considerably more the GTX 770 seems like a no brainer unless you have the cash to go for the GTX 780 or Titan.

Hardware for this Build:

CPU – i5-4670k for overclockers others should go with 4690

GPU - GTX 780 with $40 Rebate or Gigabyte R9 290

Ram - Kingston Technology HyperX 8 GB or G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR

Motherboard - ASUS Z97-A ATX DDR3 2600 LGA 1150 Motherboard Z97-A

Power Supply - CX 750M

Case - HAF 912 – $20 Rebate

Hard Drive – WD WD10EZEX 1TB HDD

Optical Drive: Asus DVD-RW

Solid State Drive – Samsung 840 EVO 120 GB

CPU Cooler – Hyper 212 EVO

Expected Performance GTX 780 Vs. R9 290

GTX 780:

Battlefield 4: Ultra 69 Avg (BT)

Bishock Infinite Ultra Detail with DOF: 105 FPS AVG (BT)

Crysis 3 1080p No AA 16x AF Very High Settings: 64 AVG (BT)

R9 290: 

Battlefield 4: Ultra 67 Avg (BT)

Bishock Infinite Ultra Detail with DOF: 76 FPS AVG (BT)

Crysis 3 1080p No AA 16x AF Very High Settings: 62 AVG (BT)

Sources: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2014/04/08/amd-radeon-r9-295×2-review/4

$1500 Gaming Computer Build

1500

Initial Impressions: With an additional $250 to spend I looked at what I’d truly want at this point. An upgrade to my CPU and additional Ram. While 8GB of ram may be plenty for most games today, I think it’s a good idea to futureproof with 16GB. I’ve also upgraded the motherboard to the ASRock Extreme 4. As one of the fastest boards in the $125 to $225 price range it’s a great deal at right around $130.

Hardware for this Build

CPU - i5-4670k

GPU - GTX 780 TI 03G-P4-2884-KR SC $40 rebate

Ram - Kingston Technology HyperX 8 GB or G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR

Motherboard - ASUS Z97-A ATX DDR3 2600 LGA 1150 Motherboards Z97-A

Power Supply - CX 750 M

Case - Haf 912

Hard Drive - Western Digital 1 TB HDD WD10EZEX

Optical Drive: Asus DVD-RW

Solid State Drive – Samsung 840 EVO 120 GB

CPU Cooler - H100i

Expected Performance

GTX 780 Ti:

Battlefield 4: Ultra 81 Avg (BT)

Bishock Infinite Ultra Detail with DOF: 120 FPS AVG (BT)

Crysis 3 1080p No AA 16x AF Very High Settings: 73 AVG (BT)

Sources: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2014/04/08/amd-radeon-r9-295×2-review/4

$1800 Gaming PC Build

1800

CPU – i7-4770k

GPU - GTX 780 TI 03G-P4-2884-KR SC $40 rebate

Ram - G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin SDRAM DDR3 1866

Motherboard - ASUS Z97-A ATX DDR3 2600 LGA 1150 Motherboards Z97-A

Power Supply - Corsair CS 750M Gold

Case – Corsair Carbide 300R

Hard Drive - Western Digital 1 TB HDD WD10EZEX

Optical Drive: Asus DVD-RW

Solid State Drive – Samsung 840 EVO 250 GB

CPU Cooler – H100i

Expected Perfomance: See $1500 Build GTX 780 TI Benchmarks

Sources: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2014/04/08/amd-radeon-r9-295×2-review/4

$2500 Gaming PC

2500

Initial Impressions: This $2,000 gaming rig is truly for the performance user. Those who don’t plan on overclocking may find my $1750 build just as good. That being said, if you “speak the tweak”, then this dream machine has everything you’re looking for.

Hardware for this Build:

CPU – i7-4770k

GPU - GTX 780 TI 03G-P4-2884-KR SC $40 rebate SLI

Ram - G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin SDRAM DDR3 1866

Motherboard - Asus Maximus VII Hero : You can go with the VI or VII here. Clearly the VII has the advantage of the Z97 chipset, but that’s ultimately not necessary if you don’t plan to ever replace the CPU.

Power Supply - Silverstone Strider Gold Evolution 1000W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX

Case - Corsair Carbide 300R

Hard Drive - Western Digital 1 TB HDD WD10EZEX

Optical Drive: Asus DVD-RW

Solid State Drive – Samsung 840 EVO 240 GB

CPU Cooler -Cooler Master H100i

Expected Performance:

Battlefield 4 2560 x 1440 Ultra Quality: 95 Avg (TH)

Battlefield 4 3840 x 2160 Ultra Quality: 44 Avg (TH)

Arma 3 2560 x 1440 Ultra Quality: 79 Avg (TH)

Arma 3 3840 x 2160 Ultra Quality: 40

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag 2560 x 1440 Max Quality: 60 Avg (TH)

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag 3840 x 2160 Max Quality: 37

Crysis 3 3840 x 2160: 53 Avg

Final Thoughts: If you’re playing at a resolution like 3840 x 2160, then the R9 295X2 will give you a better frame rate in most games.

Sources:  http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-r9-295×2-review-benchmark-performance,3799-7.html, http://www.anandtech.com/show/7930/the-amd-radeon-r9-295×2-review, http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2014/04/08/amd-radeon-r9-295×2-review/6, http://techreport.com/review/26279/amd-radeon-r9-295-x2-graphics-card-reviewed/7

Your Feedback, Questions, and Comments

That’s it for this month’s PC builds. I plan on updating this post once a month to keep it updated with what I see in the hardware market. That being said I appreciate any constructive feedback when it comes to performance builds and parts that you see on rebate.

Also, feel free to ask me a question about your PC build. As comments are by approval please allow 24 hours for them to be published and replied to.

Comments

  1. Is the Gigabyte GA-Z87-DS3H motherboard in the $800 build compatible with the FX 8350 CPU? I was looking at a compatibility chart and it shows that motherboard only being compatible with intel CPU’s. If that is the case, what would be an equivalent motherboard that supports the FX 8350?

    Thanks for any help.

  2. I am interested in the 1250 build, and as this is my first build I have a couple of questions. First, does the board in the $1250 build have wireless internet capabilities or is that an add on? What is the difference between the two ram sets as in which one has the best performance? Thirdly, why did you pick the precise motherboard? Lastly, if the build started to press up against my max budget because I need a copy of windows could I only install the ssd now and then later on add the western digital with no problems?

    Thanks

  3. Which model do you think I should build for fps games and RPG/free Rome games?

  4. Brandon-

    I built the $300 build with the 6670, enjoyed it very much, but a couple months later I found an MSI hd 7050 2 gb OC edition on rebate for about $109. I snagged it, installed it, and it’s running great. I did run into one hardware problem, though: I’m using 2 SATA slots on the mobo, and the GPU’s hood bends a bit to accommodate them. It fits, but it’s a bit on the snug side, and I don’t have any access at all to 2 out of my 4 total SATA ports. Just a heads-up for anyone who might think about that build with the 7850, and might want to use more than two SATA ports.

  5. I’m not an intense game player. I play LOL but low graphic settings are fine to me. I’m trying to build a PC that is mostly for watching movies. I do watch a lot of 1080p movies, but I do not watch 3D. I believe the $300 option is more than enough, but if I really want to save more money, which part(s) would you say I can replace?

    • Thomas Maher says:

      i have a dell studio 1747 laptop i got in 2010 and i love it it works perfect for everything i do it plays games with max settings for me and i can watch movies and feel like im the one recording it look iot up on amazon or ebay

  6. hi im trying to find a good build for playing world of warcraft i was hoping you could help me feel free to email me even if it helps

    • WoW plays good on almost any rig – the $300 rig can easily max WoW. Hell, if you’re looking for saving more money, go for the $300 rig, but with a weaker CPU, go for maybe a dual-core. Quad-Cores are for the more intense games such as GTA IV(Because it is optimized horribly), Battlefield 3/4, and Watchdogs(Not actually out yet, but the minimum requirements have it set at a quad-core 3.2Ghz…)

      • I decided on building the 2000 desk top you said you replaced the mother board but i dident see what you replaced it with mind telling me ^_^

        • I was also gonna use the 2000 build but put 3 GTX 780 in it i was wondering if that will work yes this is my first computer im gonna pay to have built for me sorry for the noobish question

  7. Creighton Foust says:

    Hi, i was looking though it and theres no link for the noctua 6 i looked above and below for a link and nothing. Thanks

  8. Jeffrey baker says:

    Im doing the 1750 build and the mother board has 4 prongs for the cpu fan and the noctua 6 plug only has 3 holes. Please help

  9. Leon Michaels says:

    Hi, I just checked out the Noctua 6 CPU cooler and on amazom it said it was not compatible with LGA 1150 Socket Motherboards. The Asus Z87 Pro isbam LGA 1150 socket motherboard so i just wanted to clarify if it is compatible or not.

    • Leon I am pretty sure it is. Here is a quote:

      “Which Noctua coolers are compatible with LGA1150?
      The mounting is identical on all LGA115x sockets (LGA1150, LGA1155, LGA1156). The following coolers are thus compatible with LGA1150 out of the box and don’t require any upgrades in order to be used on this platform: NH-C12P SE14, NH-C14, NH-D14, NH-L12, NH-L9i, NH-U12P SE2, NH-U9B SE2. In addition, all older models which have been upgraded with the NM-I3 kit can also be used on LGA1150 without any further upgrades.”

      The one I’m recommending is the NH-D14. Hopefully that helps, but let me know if you have more questions.

  10. Built the $300 dedicated GPU build. I downloaded the BF4 beta, and it runs pretty well at 1440 x 900 with texture settings maxed out and everything else on medium. I’m overclocking the CPU to 4.0 gigs and I haven’t seen it get that hot, and the 6670 is a smidgen past factory settings as well. Bioshock Infinite looks great on normal to high settings, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning runs great maxed out (of course), and I couldn’t be more satisfied with what I got for the money. It was a great step up from my PS3.

    It occurs to me that I could’ve essentially had XBox One specs for a few more bucks, with 8gigs ram and a 7790, or PS4 specs with 8gigs ram, a 7850, and a beefier PSU, but it’s kind of silly to match console specs on a PC anyway.

    If I did want to upgrade as some next gen games come out, I guess I could go for a 7850 down the road, but the Athalon 750k will probably bottleneck a GPU that outperforms the 7850. There’s also the consideration that the FM2 socket isn’t going to see any new tech, which would rule out significant upgrades to the CPU. Still, for $300 and an old optical drive, I’m really happy with the build.

  11. I would like to know what video card you would recommend for playing Guild Wars 2, WoW & other MMO’s at max settings smoothly?.. (of course I don’t mean when zillions of people are around, but on average)

    I ordered the following parts for a new (ish) system.. But I plan to tweak it a bit & when Haswell-e comes out, I’ll spend a couple thousand getting all new stuff… With a better monitor & whatnot. :) Anyways, here’s what I bought:

    CPU: AMD FX-6300

    Mobo: MSI 970A-G43 combo

    Combo @ Newegg for 161.98 + $20 gift card

    Going to use that $20 gift card on the following items:

    RAM: 8 x 1 GB DDR3 1333 RAM that can be OC’d.. It is on sale for $54.99 & with memory prices being all sorts of crazy these days, I was like *holy moly* lol xD

    HDD: 1 TB Seagate HDD, $49.99, on sale @ Newegg

    Then from another website, I’m getting

    Case: NZXT M59, $39.99

    Wi-Fi dongle: I had to buy a Wi-Fi dongle, because my router is in the living room, which i know isn’t ideal.. lol but hey. It was on sale for $17.85, so not too shabby.

    Had I not had to buy a HDD, I would have definitely bought the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO. *shrug* such is life. lol

    I’m reusing my 850W PSU (yes, I know it’s overkill but I have it, so I’m usin’ it! lol), DVD burner, my one working HDD & my video card from my old rig.

    So.. I spent almost $305..

    My system will be OKAY, but not as good as it could be, until I upgrade my video card.. and I know that.. I will upgrade as soon as I can… My current one is a GTX 460 1 TB.. But for now… Even as it stands, this system will no doubt be a HUGE improvement over my 2007, core 2 duo e6600 machine! lol… I am soooooooo excited!! :) AAAAAND… I do plan on adding an additional 8 GB of memory when I can, getting the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO & buying an SSD. :D I know all of those will help immensely!

    As for the old computer.. I’m going to slap in a Blu Ray player, add a lower wattage PSU & when I replace the GTX 460, I’ll put it back in this machine & make it a nice little HTPC.. *wiggles eyebrows*

    All around… I’d say that… I’m… WINNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol (sorry, had to do a charlie sheen!)

    I love that your builds are practical & that you have price ranges for everyone & you’re nice about it & realistic about their performance. That’s awesome. :)

    • Looks like you did a good job. MMO games simply aren’t as intense as others so it really all depends on what you’re willing to spend. I’d go for something HD 7770 or greater for future proofing.

  12. I’m building under $1500 range. Which would be a better GPU in the long run, GTX 780 or GTX 760 (SLI) in the future? or stay a midrange GTX 770.

    • That really depends on the experience you have in managing it. If you’re comfortable with a dual GPU setup, then the 760 SLI will give you better performance. That being said a card like the GTX 770 should provide enough performance for the next couple of years, costs less, and allows you to save that money for upgrading in a few years. Overall, it’s really up to you.

  13. Can this play bf4?
    F2a85-m le
    A10 richland 6800k
    Gpu drom apu hd8650
    4gb ddr3 1600

  14. at the 1750$ pc build i was wondering would psu water cooler be good if not what would be the best cooler?Thanks in advane.

  15. Jeffrey baker says:

    Would you recommend a sound card?

  16. Jeffrey baker says:

    If I wanted to put a bluray drive in, do you have a recommendation?

  17. i m thinking of building the 1500$ build pc but i m wondering for how long it will be able to play multiplatform games at least at low settings?

    • It’s impossible for me to tell you exactly how long; however, I think you’d be good at least for several years on low settings.

  18. Motherboard – Asus Z87 Pro, would the coolermaster hyper 212 evo block any of the ram slots?

    i wana use these rams Corsair 16GB (4x4GB) Vengeance L16GX3M4X1600C8 1600MHz DDR3 CL8 LP Performance with XM a

  19. Not-so-hardware-savvy says:

    I’m interested in assembling the $1500 build and now it is just a matter of the purchase and assembly of the actual parts. This is my first time building a computer and I’m not very familiar with hardware yet, and as not all of the parts on the list have amazon links I wish to make sure I am going to order the exactly correct parts. For instance, when I look up GTX 770 SC for the GPU there are multiple similar search results with different prices, and I am not knowledgeable enough to tell them apart. Please, if you could somehow direct me to amazon links for each of the parts on of $1500 build or help me distinguish the right hardware as I search, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Keep up the great work :)

    • Tanner, I only link to each product once. So, typically if there’s a part that’s not linked to, then it’s linked to above. Does that make sense?

      • yeah, that makes sense. I was so focused on the 1500 build that I didn’t bother to check the links on the other builds. Another quick question: When I mentioned this pc build to one of my friends, he recommended that if I was able, to upgrade the SSD to the Samsung 840 PRO series. I have the extra money and I’m willing to spend it, but I’m just curious how much you think this upgrade would improve performance. Thanks for getting back to me so quickly

        • Tanner – I’d go for the Samsung 840 EVO series. It’s the newer model that has very similar write and read speeds and isn’t as expensive.

  20. Hi, I’m back haha. Thanks for the response on my previous question, by the way!
    I have a question concerning the performance of these builds
    when regarding next-gen games. How smoothly would the $1,500
    build perform now on a game that’s coming out in November?
    I’m assuming that you’ll update this article by the time November rolls around,
    but I was wondering if the build you have up right now would work.
    Thanks in advance, love the article and the site! Keep up the good work! :)

  21. First I would like to thank you for making these great builds. After searching the internet and finding builds that I was not certain about I came across this website. I was shocked to see the time and effort put into these builds and really appreciate that they are updated every month which is great because i do not have all of the money yet to build the computer. I do have two questions though. First being i know someone who built a computer and recommends I buy an after market CPU cooler for the 750$ build. Do I really need to? Will it not make a difference or will it do something. Also i don’t think you can even overclock the i5-4430 unless i’m wrong and I always read to buy an after market CPU cooler only if you want to overclock. My second question is it fine if i were to buy a different mid sized case than the one listed. I would greatly appreciate a reply. Thank you.

    • No, you don’t have to. Remember that the stock CPU cooler is made by the manufacturer and if it fails, then it’s on their heads. Are there reasons for still doing it? I suppose. These would include purchasing a quieter after market cooler as well as keeping your CPU even cooler if it’s using Turbo Boost or whatever. Overall, it’s completely optional. Second question: Yes, you can choose any case you want ;) .

  22. hi love the video reviews

    been gearing up to build a solid PC its been 5 years since my last build I like to get my money’s worth LOL. my question is as follows I started looking at the CPUs and would like to know why if the haswell bridge is targeted for mobile devices because of its lower power requirements and I’m building a desktop unit that is powered by hydro why would I go the haswel way instead of the ivy? I know I will not do a complete build and will reuse some of my current hardware still have to check compatibility but I will start with a new case, mobo and CPU and the aforementionned question is the one I have to get out of the way first and foremost

    penny for your thoughts.

    • Hey Emile,

      Thanks for your comment and question. I think mainly you want to go with a Haswell processor in order to stay with the most current hardware. Will it help you that much as far as your in-game FPS is concerned? Most likely no. Will it lower your overall power bill and give you better performance/tick? Yes. In addition, if you ever decide to upgrade down the road, then you have the newer socket 1150 motherboard to go with that has all the newer built-in features. So, if the price difference is just a few dollars it’s definitely worth it. If the price difference is substantial, then maybe it’s worth it to stick with Ivy. Overall, I feel like it’s worth it to go with Haswell as things are right now. Hopefully that helps.

      • thanks for the quick response and yes it its helpfull to find out what others think and why. your thoughts make sense and I’m just not someone who wastes alot of time arguing with common sense. thanks again I may probe you for your thoughts on other hardware questions as I proceed with my build if thats OK? and I’ll keep an eye on those down to earth video reviews.

  23. Hi there.

    Great build, I do really like them alot. Is there any recommendation under $300 for only Dota 2 max setting? Thank you so much for your hard-working.
    FYI: I am about to install win8 pro 64bits and I live in Singapore so there are maybe some parts I cannot get it here.
    Once again thank you!

  24. Hey there, I was wondering what wattage for the Rosewill Fortress
    you would recommend for the $1,500 build?
    Because I don’t think 450W would do it for something like that.

  25. Hey for the $300 build, in canada, Athlon 750k processor isn’t available. Is there an alternative that I can use?

    • I would go with the AMD Phenom II x 4 965 – of course that requires an AM3+ board and will probably be slightly more, but overall it’s a great CPU and last month it was similar in price to the 750k. You could also check the i3-3220. Sometimes it goes on sale and gives solid in-game performance.

  26. Hey, I was wondering which of the pc builds would be able to run the upcoming next gen games such as bf4 my maximum is possibly $1000 but something that would run really fast on a high quality with no lag would be good but I’m wondering if any of the cheaper ones could be just as good seeming as ild upgrade the parts later anyway?

    • Jefferson,

      Thanks for your comment. In my opinion you definitely don’t want to start with your computer thinking that you’ll upgrade it later. It just never really happens. All of these builds will most likely run BF4, but obviously the higher up on the chain you go the better it will run. At the $750 mark where we can finally get an i5 CPU together with the 760 is where you’ll find really smooth game play with ultra settings. So, my guess is to start there based on what you’re saying.

  27. Just wondering…will the 750W PSU for the $2000 build suffcient? Looks like the 780 will use a hell of a lot of power.

    • Yes, at least 600 watts is recommended. If you want to know the power that your particular rig uses, then I recommend you go to Thermaltake’s PSU calculator site.

  28. Great article! I’m looking forward to reading the next update.

  29. Hello, I have some questions and would appreciate if you can help me.
    I’m from Brazil and parts for assembly are really expensive here. I have relatives who live in the USA and they could buy the parts for me. The problem is that where I live I do not have anyone trustworthy to mount the pc. There are companies that sell computers already assembled but are expensive (a PC assembled by them costs $ 2070 and the USA costs $ 1,080). and is not very powerful. My question is: is it worth buying the parts in the USA and try to mount the pc here?
    I could not express my doubts right but I hope you can help me by giving some other advice.

    Thank you for your attention.

    • Arthur,

      Hopefully I can help as I’ve been working from Brazil recently with computer parts. For the most part it’s not worth it to ship the parts simply because of the excess tax which Brazil charges for these types of parts. In addition, shipping can be very very expensive. If you were willing to not declare your items and chance it, then you might be able to save some money; however, if you were caught you would then be charged an additional fee.

      Hopefully this helps.

  30. Ok thx

  31. There are no stupid questions. I’m assuming you’re looking at the $300 build? That build is simply with the parts. If you wanted to have Windows 8 with it, for example, then that would cost you the additional $90 to $100.

  32. I’m not a computer genius, and my question is probably stupid but I’m on a really old computer right now and my friend told me about this and I was wondering where you can get these and does it run on windows? Does it cost +300 for that or does it run with one of the parts you put in it

  33. the 1500 pc look perfect for my nephew. He’s going of to college soon. Do you sell the computers you build?

    • Andre,

      Thanks for your comment. As of right now we don’t. In the future it’s a possibility, but for right now, it’s just a recommendation.

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