What time is it? It's time to Build a PC with our Blueprints! This month, we've built three rigs at three approximate price points: Budget, Baseline, and Performance. Budget gives you an economical workhorse, Baseline gets you a powerful system for gaming and content creation at 1080p, and Performance beefs everything up across the board. These rigs are lab-tested and editor-approved.
Prices listed here reflect print time and may not match the ones you find elsewhere online. In addition, Newegg has jumped on board to offer packaged deals for each of the builds below in an attempt to offer a better overall value. To see these bundle prices, click the "Buy-or-get-more-info-at-Newegg" button at the bottom of each build. Feedback is welcome. Tell us what you think!
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AMD's FX-6300 CPU remains a great value for budget-minded gamers, ensuring another month in this build, and the Biostar TA970 motherboard is a solid platform for the money. You could save more scratch with a micro-ATX board, but we prefer the additional expansion slots. We've swapped the Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti for a Radeon R7 265, since you get moderately better performance for the same cost. We've changed the RAM due to the usual market fluctuations. The last time this build appeared, it had a Kingston SSDNow V300 solid-state drive. It has since come to our attention that certain units now have asynchronous DRAM chips, which impacts performance. The Samsung 840 Evo, meanwhile, is snappy all around, and it comes with a polished software package for further tweaking.
The Corsair TX750M is a great power supply, but its price has gone up a bit, so we're replacing it with the Rosewill Hive-750. We've switched our RAM because of price variations too. Other than that, we're sticking with the Intel Core i5-4670K CPU because of its combination of high performance and reasonable pricing. The Gigabyte G1.Sniper Z87 board has a surprising amount of premium features for the price, like isolated audio circuits and intelligent network load balancing. The Nvidia GTX 760 is still a great value for gaming, and EVGA's version with the "ACX" cooler will keep things quiet. The 250GB Samsung 840 Evo SSD has a great combo of performance and tweaking software, with its "Rapid Mode" enabling a 2GB RAM buffer for an extra boost of speed.
The "Performance" tier remains stable with a beefy Core-i7 4820K and an Asus Sabertooth X79 motherboard. These are both high-octane parts, and we're adding a Corsair H100i closed-loop liquid cooler for the CPU, to help it reach some high overclocks. We used this board for a long time in a previous test rig, so we know that it's solid and dependable. We’ve upgraded the power supply from 850 watts to 1,000 watts, to give you even more room to add more video cards (which are the hungriest part of an enthusiast rig). We've used the 720-watt version in previous Build Its. Speaking of cards, we could upgrade from an Nvidia GTX 780 to a 780 Ti, but a roughly $200 gap is hard to justify, given the relatively modest gains in performance. This regular 780 is also overclocked anyway. We did splurge on a Blu-ray burner, though, so maybe we're just a little eccentric.
There's a lot of competition to the Samsung 840 Evo, but we stick with it because none of the others have anything quite like Samsung's "Magician" tweaking software.