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Travis Don't-Touch-Me-Down-There

I'm just a kid that tries to cover PC building and gaming the best he can despite running on a beyond-destitute gaming laptop from years past (2007- seven years!) and also talks about assorted Japanese fuckery like No More Heroes and Kingdom Hearts.

I'm also a freelance writer, have made quite a bit of money off of it ($1500 a year for a then-16 year old? Fuckin' sweet!) and I make a lot of jokes (too much) about penises and whatnot.

Keep your expectations low and you'll have a great time. Keep your expectations around the middle and you'll have a good time, but don't have high expectations around me because I am literally incapable of not disappointing you.

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Hello and welcome to the newest rendition of So You Want To Build A PC, a series that actually failed to be posted monthly like I promised last time, so I severely apologize.

In advance, I'm leaving things such as optical drives, SSDs and OSes out of each of these build selections. Optical drives are rarely used in today's age and most operating systems are easily installed by USB. SSDs, while making quite the amount of progress in the past few years, are still a luxury, and when it comes to operating systems, you can choose a Linux distro if you don't have the money, transfer your old Windows installation if you've purchased it retail instead of OEM, or find another way to obtain your operating system of choice. (I do not advocate piracy. DAZ Loader.)

However, separate of the partlist, I will provide my advised optical drive, SSD, aftermarket CPU cooler and monitor here. I recommend an optical drive if you want simpler OS installation, an SSD for your OS and programs (but not your games), and a non-stock cooler only if you intend on overclocking.

All of these builds are chosen primarily with gaming in mind, and the goal here is to have balanced, upgradeable builds that can last you a long while.

With all that out of the way, let's get this list started.



I want something (relatively) cheap!

CPU:  AMD Athlon X4 750K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor  ($79.99 @ Amazon)

The 750K has been selected because for price/gaming performance, it's the best you could ask for in this range. It may not be the fastest, and it will be a bottleneck if you were to pair it with an extremely high end card, but for a user on a budget this processor is the best you could ask for.

Motherboard:  ASRock FM2A88M-HD+ Micro ATX FM2+ Motherboard  ($65.99 @ Newegg)

This motherboard is high-rated, small, and allows upgrades to and from anything in the FM2 and FM2+ sockets. Recommended future upgrades include an FX-6300 and an FX-8350. It supports 2 RAM sticks, and with the RAM provided you can upgrade it to 8GB with relative ease, which is all you'd really need for anything, honestly.

The form factor allows a lower price at the cost of compatibility for CrossFire or SLI. If you're on a budget, that's just a downside you'll have to swallow.

Memory:  G.Skill Value 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory  ($38.98 @ OutletPC)

This is a budget build, so you want to go with 4GB RAM. This RAM is on a single stick, and for future upgradeability you can simply buy some more of this same RAM to pop into your motherboard for an upgrade.

Storage:  Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($59.98 @ OutletPC)

What is this, a recession? If you don't have a terabyte of storage on your computermachine, you're wasting your time. 500GB hard drives are ridiculously overpriced in comparison to this.

Case:  Rosewill R363-M-BK MicroATX Mid Tower Case w/400W Power Supply  ($49.99 @ Amazon)

A budget case with so-so cooling and an integrated power supply. Perfect for a gamer short on cash.

Video Card: EVGA GeForce 650 Ti Boost 1GB ($158.98 @ SuperBiiz) or Asus Radeon R9 270 2GB (209.99 @ NCIX)

For a slight performance increase and support for AMD technologies like Mantle, opt for the 270. For slightly lower performance at a lower price with support for Nvidia technologies like PhysX and GSync, opt for the 650 Ti Boost.

With the 650 Ti Boost, your price is at $453. With the 270, you're at $505. With either build, you're outperforming the Xbox One and PS4 at roughly the same price.

Expect 1080p60fps with most games at medium to high settings.

Congratulations. You've now entered the Glorious PC Gaming Master Race.

To fill in the gap between this rig and the next, consider buying more RAM or going with the FX-6300 or 8350, both of which will offer a significant leap in performance.



Is that all you got? Let's go higher.

Processor: i3 4130 ($115 @ Newegg) or i5 4670 ($215.13 @ SuperBiiz)

Big price gap, right? You're getting into the high-end now. The i3 will provide all the general performance you need and the i5 will be significantly better at gaming, but neither are a bad choice in this range.

The i3 is a dual-core and the i5 is a quad- if you're favoring CPU-dependent games and heavily-threaded applications, I recommend the latter.

Motherboard:  Asus H81M-A Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard  ($54.99 @ NCIX US)

It's a nice motherboard. It doesn't support overclocking, however, which is why I didn't choose the 4670K. If you'd like to overclock, consider this motherboard or this one, with the 4670k instead of one of the processors provided above. Also grab an aftermarket cooler.

Memory:  G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-2133 Memory  ($84.99 @ Newegg)

Low-price, high-speed and high-capacity RAM. All you need for a high-end rig, but you can toss in some more if you feel like spoiling yourself.

Storage:  Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($87.50 @ Amazon)

It's a 2TB HDD. It's plentiful in storage- what more could you want?

Video Card:  Asus GeForce GTX 760 2GB Video Card  ($249.99 @ NCIX US)

It's a 760. I'd recommend a 280X, but those offer only a slight boost in performance at an unreasonably higher price. If you'd prefer AMD, snag one, but besides that, the 760 is your best bet at this price range.

Case:  BitFenix Shinobi Window ATX Mid Tower Case  ($69.99 @ Newegg)

I just really like this case. Good looks, good spacing, good cooling.

Power Supply:  Rosewill Capstone 450W 80+ Gold Certified ATX Power Supply  ($59.99 @ Amazon)

Fun fact: you don't realistically need crazy-powerful Power Supplies for gaming. Who knew?

However, if you're going to be overclocking or putting in a stronger graphics card, definitely up your PSU to at least a 650W.

This build, as provided, should reliably max out any modern title at 1080p60fps with performance and graphics far surpassing those of the current consoles.

With the i3, it costs $722. With the i5, it costs $818.

Overclocking options add more to the price.

If you want to do things like making videos, streaming and other CPU-heavy tasks, consider investing in an i7 4770k with this motherboard. The i5 provides the best currently-available gaming performance you can get- an upgrade to an i7 is completely unnecessary for a gamer.

This concludes this guide. I'll probably update it again when new things come out, so this will probably be left alone for a while.

Enjoy your build.



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