Build a PC: Recommended Builds (October 2013)

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Ghost XFX

Ok, finally, I have a bit of angst with these builds. And it's primarily what I just read in the recent 2014 Tech Preview, concerning the IB-E chips. Sure enough, it's as if IB-E was nothing more than spit shine to an old trailer hitch, waiting to be replaced by something better.

But as I read that article, I came away thinking, if there's such a reservation towards the IB-E, why did MPC update their October builds with them? Is there any reason why MPC would build a PC using the exact same chips that came off as "Meh....I guess we could do something with these..." in their review?

And honestly, I think you'd do yourselves a favor and give these chips a closer look, if you haven't done so already. That i7-4960X there, as sexy as it may seem to be, the 4930K comes off as a much better solution for almost half the price. The difference in performance is just that close. If I were given 1K to buy a chip, the 4690X wouldn't have been the one in my mind to own.

In fact, I think the i7-4930K and the i7-4820K are the better options for IB-E builds in general. They simply get the job done. And in the case of the 4820K, for all the glory the 4770K has garnered, that 4820K is really not that far off it's pace. And for a bit less money, better OC-ability, better memory write, quad channel memory, and PCI lanes to boot, why should I ignore it for the 4770K?

I guess I'm just fishing for firm answers on why I should forgo the IB-E chips, to grab everyone's Raymond in the 4770K. It just seems to me that somebody missed something (or maybe I did?) about IB-E that they haven't thought about.

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neo1piv14

I would say that spending $1100 on an entry level PC is a little extreme. I built my gaming PC back in 2007 for around $700 (including monitor, speakers, keyboard, and mouse). While it's had the same processor (Q6600) and motherboard, I've done upgrades every year or so to upgrade the video card, put in some more RAM, or bump up my storage space, and it still plays everything I've thrown at it in 1080p. Yes, I've spent more on my PC than I might have on a console, but not by a whole lot, especially when you consider how much better the games look and what else I can use it for. Just looking at a sample build on Newegg, I was able to put together an "entry level" gaming PC for well under the $1100 that's given here. Then again, they don't call it "entry level," they call it "baseline."

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StevenPink

Where did you get a Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 for $179?

This is what I found on Newegg. It's $269 after the rebate card:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202026

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kixofmyg0t

This one has a $30 rebate, but it's not a Sapphire 7950

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127737&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-na-_-na-_-na&cm_sp=&AID=10446076&PID=3938566&SID=

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pectoralis

Please, can someone explain me, why dont you use RAMs clocked at 2400MHz like for exp. Kingston DDR3 2400MHz CL11 HyperX Beast Series??

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JosephColt

Pectoralis, if you are interested in 2400mhz I would recommend G.SKILL Trident (F3-2400C10D-8GTD).

These are optimal sticks for 2400mhz with low timings and provide you with the best performance.

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tom_m

Low real-world performance increase for the cost.

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JosephColt

Base line PC is meh, incredibly unimpressive and disappointing.

My main concern is the memory.

Why didn't you use 2x8, 4x8, or 8x8? why 4x4 for such a motherboard?

Less sticks will allow for better overclocking by avoiding straining the CPU, and it's memory controller.

Use some better sticks like the G.SKILL Ripjaws X or Trident memory with tight timings and high frequency at 1866 or 2133.

Memory Model F3-2133C9D-16GXH for example would be great for a typical Ultra PC.

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methuselah

Actually it's been shown that higher frequency RAM doesn't prove to give much more along the lines of real world performance. MAYBE you'll benefit from 1866 but for sure not from 2133 unless you're doing some serious overclocking. On a budget box, The gskill 1600 is plenty fast.

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JosephColt

It depends on what you're doing, but in certain scenarios it does help.

Higher frequency isn't always better if the timings are high too, a lower frequency stick with lower timings can be better than a higher frequency memory in terms of performance. Same can be said about high frequency memory with low timings.

Rendering can benefit from memory with tight timings and high frequency, gaming can even see real world improvements, even if its 5-6FPS, and many other situations.

For the Performance 1866 CL8/9, Ultra 2133 or 2400 CL10 or similar.

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tom_m

The baseline system has two 4GB sticks of RAM.

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JosephColt

Performance/Ultra should be 2x8 or 4x8.

4x4 is very little, and easily used if these builds are for serious use.

4x4 offers very little for an upgrade; it will take 8 sticks for 32GB, and you can do 32 with 4 sticks instead. This will keep your from putting more pressure on the memory controller if you need more memory proving more stability and reliability for the system.

It would be better to use 4x8 basically instead of 4x4 because if you need more memory having 8 slots of 4GB sticks is silly.

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tom_m

The performance tier uses an X79 board, so you want to use at least four RAM slots for quad-channel support. You're not going to encounter stability problems with that unless you're doing exotic overclocks that are outside the scope of this kind of build. 32GB of RAM would cost $300 and up, and there aren't a lot of uses for it that would justify the expense, versus a fancier case or cooler, larger power supply, more storage. These are intended to be home systems, rather than professional workstations or servers.

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JosephColt

Yes quad channel would be optimal for that board.

Justify 32GB of ram for 300? Justify a x79 board with a 4930k for a home system. If your buying a z79 system you utilize it as a workstation or server, and not get only 16GB of memory for x79.

I don't see the Ultra build as a system designed for home users. A z87 system with a 4770k and 16GB of memory will meet the demands of 99% of home users who want to maximize their gaming experience.

The ultra build should have been the performance in Tri/Quad SLI/CF if this isn't a work station or server.

It's not that hard to use up to 32GB of memory at home if your doing video editing, animations, CAD, rendering, etc.

Are you even building these computers? No pictures, benchmarks, videos?

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Sagittarius1979

Where did you guys find a Seasonic X650 for $70? I've never seen them lower than $120!

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tom_m

That one was on sale. I was surprised by the price too. Newegg has another nice one discounted, though: http://pcpartpicker.com/part/seasonic-power-supply-ss850am. Not quite as fancy as an X-Series, but still a high-quality SeaSonic unit.

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PlayItOnPC

The picture of the "Fractal Design Define R4" for the Baseline build is a Define Mini, not the R4... just thought I'd point that out 0_o

*edit*: Now that I think about it, the $80 price point that is mentioned is also much more similar to the Define Mini pricing, and NOT the R4's, unless Maximum PC found one helluva sale somewhere.

*edited edit*:
My apologies, for some reason I remember the R4 having *three* 5.25" drive bays, with the Mini having 2... that's where my confusion originates. Still wondering where they got the R4 for $80.

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tom_m

That's the R4 Black Pearl: http://www.fractal-design.com/home/product/cases/define-series/define-r4-black-pearl#tab-images

It was on sale!

Edit: The white one and the grey one are currently $85 on Newegg, if you're looking to buy one: http://pcpartpicker.com/search/?q=define+r4. No rebate required.

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cindylo

>Baseline $1100+
k just k

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captainjack

MPC is defining 'Baseline' as the entry level for desktop PC gaming. I completely agree with around $1100. I built the Baseline Blueprint back when MPC first started the series. If you have to cut on price, I would recommend dropping the SSD.

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kixofmyg0t

If $1,100 is the "entry level" for PC gaming, don't be surprised when people buy consoles instead.

$1k+ is ridiculous for entry level.

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jbitzer

So, all your console accessories are free? I never get out of a console purchase with less than $200 over the base console cost.

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kixofmyg0t

$200!?!? Dude WTF are you buying with a console?

I never bought any stupid accessories with a console. I bought it to PLAY GAMES. I didn't buy some stupid camera or surf board or whatever the heck cost you $200. That's just dumb.

MaximumPC's $1,149 "entry level" gaming PC doesn't come with a monitor, mouse and keyboard or speakers, neither do consoles so lets just give them both a TV and HDMI cable for free. You still have to purchase a keyboard and mouse for PC to navigate and install any games. Then you have to purchase a controller if you want to play something other than first person shooters so thats another $50. So you've invested at least $1,200 in a PC with no games, versus $400 for a console. You get cheaper games on Steam sure, but not every game you may want will even come to PC first off and then it may very well not be on Steam.

My whole point is this "entry level" PC is ridiculous. I spent around $700 when I built mine. $500 should be considered "entry level" IMO. If the initial cost is substantially more than a console you've forfeited any argument that PC gaming is cheaper.

EDIT: Also, if you're spending over a grand on a PC and only getting a 7950....I feel sorry for you. If I had that kind of money id rather build this http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1SFzj

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s.a.wood15

"If the initial cost is substantially more than a console you've forfeited any argument that PC gaming is cheaper."

No one is trying to make that argument. No one. It is a given that gaming on a PC will be more expensive, but look at all the other things you can do on your PC that you can't do on a console. Can you run MS Office or any other office productivity software on your game console? Can you use CAD programs or edit movies/music on your game console? Even web browsing is extremely limited and nowhere near as effective on a console as on a PC. Oh, so you paid $400 (or in the case of the Xbox One, $500) for a system that can really only perform one function semi-adequately: gaming. If you're already spending a couple hundred on a console, why not invest a little more into a system that can do practically anything you need it to do? And a 7950 is pretty potent for gaming at 1080p, it's still going to give you a lot more eye candy than you'll get from an Xbox One or PS4. You can define "entry level" however you want, it doesn't matter. This is MPC's definition of an entry level or baseline GAMING PC. Yeah, you can build a $500-700 PC and call that "entry level" if you want, but I wouldn't use it for gaming.

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kixofmyg0t

Why on earth would I want to try and run Office on a console? If i buy a console it's for a singular purpose GAMING. I dont want to run office, or Maya or CAD or anything else. I want a plug and play hassle free GAMING experience and that's it. I already have my multifunctional machine, it's called a PC. But you know what? Not every(or even most)of the games I like even come to PC. Since I switched back to PC gaming early this year I've been struggling to find games I'm even interested in on PC.

"only perform one function semi-adequately"

Semi-adequately? Oh I see, you don't like consoles. That's fine, to each their own.

"you can build a $500-700 PC and call that "entry level" if you want, but I wouldn't use it for gaming"

Oh really? Guess the PC i have just isn't good enough then huh? I spent around $700 to build mine early this year. I ended up with a FX-6300, 7870, 16GB of RAM and SSD along with the rest of the parts. I use it for gaming @1080p and it does it just fine. Just because YOU think you need to spend over a grand on a "entry-level" machine for gaming doesn't mean it's right, or even what most people will do. If you're trying to convince people to come to PC from consoles, telling them they have to spend 3 times a much to start isn't going to be very effective.

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s.a.wood15

You completely missed the point, all I'm saying is that the added versatility of a PC gives it greater value over a console, thus the higher price tag is to be expected. Everybody knows and expects this. Since I've already invested in a PC, and since that PC can do everything that my console can do (and do it better), then why waste money on a console? It makes more sense for me to consolidate my investments into a single system. I'm not saying this is the solution for everybody, but it was for me.

And it's not that I don't like consoles, far from it. I've had pretty much every console from SNES up to the Xbox 360. "Semi-adequately" was a comparative reference since consoles are generally inferior to PCs in gaming performance and graphics quality, that's just a fact.

If you're happy gaming with a 7870 then more power to you, man. I'm not trying to diss your rig, sorry if that's how I came across.

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jbitzer

Since I'm still recylcling parts I've used forever, in the long run my pc still costs less than all the consoles and accessories I've bought.

I spent a couple hundred on shit like drums and plastic guitars, microphones for the various incompatible peripheral karaoke games, Cables, extra controllers at $50 a pop, memory cards you used to have to buy, headsets, battery packs, and other random assorted shit I've collected around my livingroom. It adds up over the life of the system.

And I could knock about $3-400 off that PC just with the case, power supply, and hard drives.

The gap isn't as wide as you think for console vs pc gaming. I spend an equal dollar amount on both over the same time frame, of course I usually buy all consoles offered per generation other than handhelds. Plus I've purchased 4 xbox 360s over the life of the console, to get my wife gaming, I put a $50 video card in her basic PC.

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tom_m

Our budget PC is around $750. It's not here because we rotate through four systems and write about three each time. Keeps things fresh. "Baseline" isn't the best name for the second tier, granted.

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kixofmyg0t

Ahhh I see. That makes more sense. You guys need to come up with better titles for various tiers. When we see "Baseline" we think it means this is where you start, a "budget" rig if you will.

Perhaps something like

Maximum Performance~$2,000+
Enthusiast Performance~$1,500-$1,700
Mainstream Performance~$1,000
Baseline Performance~$600

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methuselah

When it comes to gaming, cost has ZERO to do with it.
I'll take my gaming rig over a console any day.

I'm not playing games on some 1080 TV screen with crappy graphics.
Compare:
BF3 PC vs BF3 Console
Diablo 3 PC vs Diablo 3 console

I'm playing on 1440 with all graphics turned up to their maximum eye candy. Or in my friends case, playing on a tri-monitor "surround" setup.

Even PS4 graphics on release day can't compare to my rig.
In the case of the "baseline" rig in the article, it will blow away any current console and will run toe to toe with the PS4/XboxOne

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AFDozerman

First paragraph is a mess. How many categories are there?