The Best PC I Can Build For Under $750: July 2014

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I'd rather not replace the SSD in 5 years so drop it and get a 660 or 760 GTX. And thats a horrible case with horrible airflow. You can get a cheaper case with better airflow. Also the PSU is bad.

An SSD is not a necessity. If you want a PC that can play all the latest games you should focus more on the GPU. R7 265 is just not enough. It's a low-end card. You need something beefier. At least a 270x. You can get an SSD later.
And everything else that people said about the PSU and the case is true. There are better deals out there.

Frezzato:

The 970A-G43 is going to accomplish exactly what it needs to: Boot, run all the chosen hardware, and hopefully stay alive and kicking for three or four years.

Uh, three of four years? Four years??? Am I the only one disturbed by that? I don't think I've ever had a machine fail on me after four years. Seven years, yes, but four?

Never.

Then again, I've only bought pre-builts and never tried demanding games on my PCs.

The do last longer.

Hell the warranty last for 3 years, so they expect there product to last longer.

Devin Connors:
The Best PC I Can Build For Under $750: July 2014

Want the best bang for you buck on a summer PC build? Follow our guide.

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This may be a bit nitpicky but

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811553003

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147199

Both are cheaper with better airflow, and both company make products on par with corsair so it's not like you are skimping on quality for the price.

I think i could probably build a machine that would perform significantly better for around the same price with just a tiny bit of bargain shopping.

Most games are not heavily multi-threaded, making this six-core AMD CPU largely irrelevant, as single-thread performance is largely the limiting factor in games for the CPU and you really only need enough CPU muscle to make sure your GPU isn't starved.

A Core i3 4150 can be had from Microcenter for 99$ and would perform equally well in games to this AMD chip (maybe even better, considering the performance differences in the architecture alone). You can get a decent H81 chipset Gigabyte MoBo for 50$ with a 10$ mail in rebate... and provided you live close enough to actually go pick it up in-store, almost every weekend they offer 30$ off a Haswell CPU and compatible motherboard. The RAM could be bumped to DDR3-1600 with no cost increase (at Microcenter) by going with Crucial Ballistix - its about 5$ more expensive.

I'd also ditch the SSD completely, and spend the money i saved on that and on the CPU/MoBo on a much better GPU - a GTX 760 can be had for under 200$ if you shop around, from EVGA or Zotac, both are also factory overlocked... my Zotac GTX 760 AMP! Edition performs nearly as well as a factory clocked GTX 770.

I'd also completely ditch the media drive (i dont have one on my new PC at all - no place for it on the mITX case im using, and haven't ONCE even noticed i dont have one), and go with a cheaper case for a budget build... DiabloTek has a 20$ case (at Microcenter) that i used for my wife's PC build and it's perfectly servicible, with USB3 ports, sideways mounted HDD cage, and great airflow and included fans.

I'd spend that money on a better PSU. For not a lot more than budgeted here you can get a good 80+ certified from a number of manufacturers.

All in all... not a bad build, but i think with about 30 more mi nutes of research it could have been a lot better.

A fast i3 paired with a great high-midrange card would seriously outperform the listed build for the same or less cost. Maybe tomorrow ill actually do a price breakdown on the build for giggles to see where it comes out.

Okay, got bored and didn't want to wait:

Core i3 4150 - 99$ (http://www.microcenter.com/product/432159/Core_i3-4150_34GHz_LGA_1150_Boxed_Processor)

Gigabyte H81 Motherboard - 55$ - i asume people dont do mail in rebates. (http://www.microcenter.com/product/427650/GA-H81M-H_LGA1150_mATX_Intel_Motherboard)

-30$ Motherboard/CPU combo (in store only)

Crucial Ballistix DDR3-1600 8GB - 75$ (http://www.microcenter.com/product/382101/Ballistix_Sport_8GB_DDR3-1600_(PC3-12800)_CL9_Dual_Channel_Desktop_Memory_Kit_(Two_4GB_Memory_Modules))

-15$ RAM paired with compatible CPU/MoBo (in-store only)

EVGA GTX 760 2GB - 239$ (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130935)

For the HDD we'll stick with the 1TB HDD he found for the article - 50$ - hard to beat that price.

Diablotek Diamond ATX - 29$ (http://www.microcenter.com/product/356585/Diamond_ATX_Mid_Tower_Computer_Case_with_400W_Power_Supply) - pull the built-in PSU for a better unit.

EVGA 80+ Bronze 500w PSU - 50$ - (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817438012)

Parts run out to 553$ (plus tax where applicable) before mail-in rebates (but after the 30$ and 15$ instant savings at Microcenter); if you're up on that, you can save another ~45$.

After an OS - 650 + tax; 690$ here in Michigan, with a possible 45$ rebate bringing it down to 645$

And itll perform as well as, or significantly better than that AMD based system. With the extra cash, you could go whole-hog and upgrade the i3 to a K-series unlocked i5. (the Haswell unlocked i5 is 199$ at Microcenter, bringing you solidly back to 750$ and crushing the AMD based system presented in the article with both overclockability and general performance, given how much better, clock-for-clock, Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge/Haswell perform compared to the AMD CPU).

archiebawled:
How much is getting a DVD reader going to save over getting a DVD burner when the latter only costs $20? The cheapest blu-ray drive I saw was $50.

Not very much. But given that I can't think of a reason anyone would ever want to write a DVD these days, even a small saving would seem to be worth it. Blu-ray is slightly more expensive, but has the advantage of not being completely obsolete.
Edit: Although of course, it's apparently impossible to get a blu-ray player that isn't also a DVD writer.

razer17:
I doubt it would cost as much as £750. I know the UK is a little more expensive, but my PC is under a grand, and that's with a GTX 780 worth £350. I imagine this build might be around the £500 mark.

Last time I was really looking at prices it was pretty much $1 = £1, but that seems to have improved a bit so £500 actually looks about right. It's still slightly more expensive here than in the US, but now looks like a good time to get a new PC in the UK.

Ditch the SSD, it will not help getting more fps for games, it will make games load faster sure but that money could be spent on better GPU as other said for more fps. Its more fun running in steady 60fps or more than having it drop from time to time due to low end card.

Also consider that a TV can also cost a lot if you want some decent size or you just want a new one. Keyboard and mouse can be gotten under 50€ and a decent screen can go for 150€ around or higher. Some speakers could be bought cheap too I guess.

Now people who are new to PC gaming might see this as a bad thing since consoles cost around 400-500€. What they don't know is that we have far better prices on games, our library is way bigger than any console on the market and if you decide to stick around http://store.steampowered.com You are going to save a lot money just by buying those games on discount. You come around Summer, December, Black Friday or halloween and you are going to see some amazing prices. 1 Year on steam and just checking what games goes on sale would save a lot of money and you can build up a bigger library than on console.

I'm torn with the SSD idea. It'll help a lot with load times, and some games insist on thrashing storage memory for dynamic memory because the coder is inept and can't figure out how to side load when there is 8 gigs of RAM free to work with.

For a little extra money you can ditch that SSD go with two more 1 terra byte hard drives of the exact same make and model. Turn one into a boot drive if you have to and use Raid 0 on the other two. Striping will give you a significant speed boost, and leave you with lots of space. The SSD is going to be thrashed because of gaming. I prefer to have SSD drives just to boot my OS, and as a trick put frequently needed files on it as a symbolic linked file. However, I usually do the trick in reverse with large files I rarely need put on the HDD with a symbolic link to them instead.

The Xbone launched for £450 here in the UK. That's almost $800. If you are wondering why PC gaming is so much more attractive here in the EU then that's your answer, consoles and console games are a lot less value than in the US. Going by surface cost i think that here in the UK those parts would run you about £450-£500 so the conversion is actually quote good on that. Actually around he Xbone launch i was commissioned to build two smaller form-factor PCs for media/TV usage (what you cool kids call a Steam box nowadays) for £400 and £450 respectively. Those had similar power level to this build so you can see how the price of PC parts in the UK compares very favorably even with VAT etc.

$750 is almost exactly £420 in the UK. So here is a £420 PC that's pretty similar ;P

(Parts Taken from CCL for convenience, shopping around will nett you better prices)

PSU Corsair CX600M Builder Series 600W Power Supply - £50
CPU - (Really a great choice) AMD FX-6300 Black Edition 3.5GHz Socket AM3+ £74
Memory - Patriot Viper 3 (Black Mamba) 8GB DDR3 1600MHz £60
Motherboard - ASUS M5A78L-M/USB3 AMD Socket AM3+ Motherboard £51
Case - CoolerMaster Elite 342 Gaming Black Mini Tower £23
GPU - ASUS AMD Radeon R7 260X 2GB Direct CU II Edition £97
CPU Cooler - Cooler Master Hyper TX3 EVO CPU Cooler £17
Additional Chassis Fan - Cooler Master SickleFlow (120mm) LED Case Fan (Red) £6
HDD - Seagate 7200.14 1TB SATA III 3.5" Hard Drive £40

TOAL PRICE - £419

Flexibility options 120GB SSD (£50), Optical Drive (£10) and card reader (£5) for more support.

couple disagreements kinda. 270x can be had cheaper due to the bitcoin market falling apart. Also no way in hell should you ever put a rosewill power supply in a PC unless you hate the person who will be using it. check slickdeals.net better corsair PSU's go onsale for cheap all the time.

Zukabazuka:

Now people who are new to PC gaming might see this as a bad thing since consoles cost around 400-500€. What they don't know is that we have far better prices on games, our library is way bigger than any console on the market and if you decide to stick around http://store.steampowered.com You are going to save a lot money just by buying those games on discount. You come around Summer, December, Black Friday or halloween and you are going to see some amazing prices. 1 Year on steam and just checking what games goes on sale would save a lot of money and you can build up a bigger library than on console.

This is the big thing that a lot of people overlook. Yeah, a "good" mid-range or better gaming PC is going to cost more than a console. I will save every single penny of that money i spent on cheaper games within the first six to nine months, and after 18 months be solidly ahead of the game on PC.

I haven't paid more than 30$ for a Triple-A game on PC in years. Cost of games alone, PC + games is going to be cheaper by far than Console + Games over the mid to long term. And you get the benefits of a better back library, better looking games (the 650$ PC i built in my previous post will run every game other than perhaps Metro and a few other bleeding edge games at High-Ultra settings at 1080p at a solid 60+ FPS) and more options.

Scrumpmonkey:
The Xbone launched for £450 here in the UK. That's almost $800. If you are wondering why PC gaming is so much more attractive here in the EU then that's your answer, consoles and console games are a lot less value than in the US. Going by surface cost i think that here in the UK those parts would run you about £450-£500 so the conversion is actually quote good on that. Actually around he Xbone launch i was commissioned to build two smaller form-factor PCs for media/TV usage (what you cool kids call a Steam box nowadays) for £400 and £450 respectively. Those had similar power level to this build so you can see how the price of PC parts in the UK compares very favorably even with VAT etc.

$750 is almost exactly £420 in the UK. So here is a £420 PC that's pretty similar ;P

(Parts Taken from CCL for convenience, shopping around will nett you better prices)

PSU Corsair CX600M Builder Series 600W Power Supply - £50
CPU - (Really a great choice) AMD FX-6300 Black Edition 3.5GHz Socket AM3+ £74
Memory - Patriot Viper 3 (Black Mamba) 8GB DDR3 1600MHz £60
Motherboard - ASUS M5A78L-M/USB3 AMD Socket AM3+ Motherboard £51
Case - CoolerMaster Elite 342 Gaming Black Mini Tower £23
GPU - ASUS AMD Radeon R7 260X 2GB Direct CU II Edition £97
CPU Cooler - Cooler Master Hyper TX3 EVO CPU Cooler £17
Additional Chassis Fan - Cooler Master SickleFlow (120mm) LED Case Fan (Red) £6
HDD - Seagate 7200.14 1TB SATA III 3.5" Hard Drive £40

TOAL PRICE - £419

Flexibility options 120GB SSD (£50), Optical Drive (£10) and card reader (£5) for more support.

That's a pretty solid build, though i am curious how much the unlocked i3 goes for in the UK, as i think that is still a better choice than the AMD chip. Way less power consumption, faster clock-for-clock performance, particularly single-threaded (which is what matters for games), and highly overclockable. Here in the US (if you see the build i posted above) its cheaper than the AMD 6300 by a fair bit, too.

edit:

Intel announced and released an unlocked Haswell-based Pentium-G product, just this week. Microcenter is offering it + a Z97 chipset motherboard for 99$ in a bundle; even standalone, its 60$. Thats a GREAT low-end product for gaming.

Thanks for all the part suggestions, guys. A few notes from my end...

--Another reminder that I changed the PSU part choice shortly after publication. If you didn't like my power supply initially, the replacement is a much better choice.

--Those who have said that a solid state drive isn't necessary are absolutely right! You could go with a bigger spinning hard drive, or go with a Seagate hybrid drive. Those are both great alternatives. Personally, I like keeping my gaming data separate from my OS. That way if I need/want to reformat, I'm not following up an OS install with game installations. I've always liked having two storage drives in my PC.

--Optical drive: Saying that a flash drive would be a more suitable option is strange. The reason I included an optical drive is because you occasionally might need to install a game from a disc, or install non-gaming software from a disc. You can live without an optical drive, sure, but at $20, I'd rather have one handy.

--There are a billion different configurations you could go with at this $750 price point. I'm not an AMD loyalist by any means -- I came pretty close to building up an Intel/AMD rig -- but I like the FX-6300 at its price. I also didn't facotr in overclocking at all, so going that route opens up options as well (like some of the low-cost Pentium chips).

--Keep posting your $750 build choices! The more options found here on the forums, the better.

Thanks for reading!
-Devin Connors, Tech Editor

Devin Connors:
Thanks for all the part suggestions, guys. A few notes from my end...

--Another reminder that I changed the PSU part choice shortly after publication. If you didn't like my power supply initially, the replacement is a much better choice.

--Those who have said that a solid state drive isn't necessary are absolutely right! You could go with a bigger spinning hard drive, or go with a Seagate hybrid drive. Those are both great alternatives. Personally, I like keeping my gaming data separate from my OS. That way if I need/want to reformat, I'm not following up an OS install with game installations. I've always liked having two storage drives in my PC.

I agree with this sentiment, but i achieve it by simply partitioning the single drive in the machine. I have a 100GB partition for the OS and 900GB for storage in my gaming PC (a Lian-Li mITX high-midrange enthusiast system). Single drive, cheap (7200 RPM WD), and accomplishes what you're talking about.

--Optical drive: Saying that a flash drive would be a more suitable option is strange. The reason I included an optical drive is because you occasionally might need to install a game from a disc, or install non-gaming software from a disc. You can live without an optical drive, sure, but at $20, I'd rather have one handy.

I haven't missed having an optical drive even once since i built this PC (there is no Optical Drive in the PC-Q30X case at all). Not a single time. My WIndows install disc is a thumb drive because it is 20x faster. 20$ more dollars in the GPU budget is 20$ more dollars in the GPU budget, which is the one factor in this system that will determine wether you run games at max settings at 1080p or struggle for mid-high settings. Same reason i'd ditch the SSD completely - ill wait an extra 10 seconds for my level to load if the game is running at max settings and 60fps.

--There are a billion different configurations you could go with at this $750 price point. I'm not an AMD loyalist by any means -- I came pretty close to building up an Intel/AMD rig -- but I like the FX-6300 at its price. I also didn't facotr in overclocking at all, so going that route opens up options as well (like some of the low-cost Pentium chips).

--Keep posting your $750 build choices! The more options found here on the forums, the better.

Thanks for reading!
-Devin Connors, Tech Editor

Ill fully admit to being somewhat Anti-AMD (CPU-wise, their GPUs are competitive at most price points), but that is largely because they offer almost nothing value-proposition wise. By and large their parts are perennial underperformers that aren't a lot cheaper. The FX-6300 is the closest they come, and its a super-hot part that sucks down power for no real performance gains, particularly in gaming. A fast i3 will crush it for gaming, use half the power, produce half the heat, and be cheaper. And if you have a medium-level of knowledge, you can overclock any intel CPU by changing the base clock instead of the multiplier (so you can overclock non K-series parts, its just a tad harder).

Now, the GPU front is a bit more of a toss-up; i tend to prefer nVidia parts because at -my- price category (800-1000$ enthusiast systems, so high-midrange cards) nVidia's parts are better value propositions - the GTX 760 has no price/performance equivalent in the AMD spectrum at all, really, though they do compare favorably at the bracket just below that and above that.

If I'm looking for one under 400, what are my best options? I've been browsing a site and it says I should look at the intel g3440 http://brandonhart100.hubpages.com/hub/Best-400-Gaming-PC-for-the-Money .

If I'm looking for one under 400, what are my best options? I've been browsing a site and it says I should look at the intel g3440 http://brandonhart100.hubpages.com/hub/Best-400-Gaming-PC-for-the-Money .

PC building guides still include optical drives? How quaint. Who still uses those things?

For comparison, here is my sub $750 build for October 2014.

I followed the same rules as the article, meaning that I included the OS but skipped the monitor and peripherals. I also set my $750 mark for total price after all applicable mail-in rebates, so call me a cheat if you like. :P

Here is a link to the parts list I created at PCPartPicker(dot)com.

http://pcpartpicker.com/user/EvolutionKills/saved/Dk7MnQ

Motherboard - MSI Z97 PC MATE - $89 at Newegg (after $10 mail-in rebate, free S&H)

-This is an LGA1150 intel board in an ATX form factor. Not only that, but it has the latest Z97 chipset. This ensure compatibility with the latest crop of Haswell-E refresh chips (including the selected CPU), in addition to compatibility for the upcoming Broadwell chips in 2015. It has four DIMM slots and support OC'd RAM up to 3000 and a max size of 32GB. It supports Crossfire, but does NOT support SLI. Onboard Ethernet (Realtek 8111E), onboard 8 channel audio (Realtek ALC887), six SATA 6Gb/s, 1 PCI Express 3.0x16, 1 PIC Express 2.0x16, 2 PCI Express x1, 2 PCI slots, 2 USB 3.0, 4 USB 2.0, and a USB 3.0 header that will power the 2 USB 3.0 ports on the front of the case. This motherboard also has a modern UEFI (read: graphical interface) BIOS, for newbie friendly overclocking.

CPU - Intel Pentium G3258 3.2GHz '20th Anniversary' Dual-Core Processor - $69.99 at Newegg (free S&H)

-Wait, wait, wait! Put down the tar and feathers! Yes, I put a measly little dual-core in this build, butt hear me out! This is part of the Haswell-E refresh 'Devil's Canyon' series, which means this is an unlocked Pentium. What does that mean? It means that this cheap little CPU has regularly been hitting overclock numbers in the 4.4GHz+ range on tech review cites. Now when you take into account that many games still are not optimized to make use of more than 2 cores, overclocking this CPU allows you to make substantial real world gains in gaming performance. If you can, check out the LinusTechTips review of this chip on YouTube, they got theirs overclocked very quickly (as in, not really dialed in or had the voltage fine tuned) to 4.7GHz. On an test bench it put in 117.5 FPS in 'Bioshock Infinite' against a full 4 core i7 4790K that put up 124.2 FPS. Note too however, that the i7 47900K was overclocked to 4.8GHz, and it is still a $330 CPU.

CPU Cooler - Corsair H60 - $59.99 at Amazon

-While you can decently overclock the Pentium on the included air cooler and save yourself $60 if you wanted, this was done with an eye towards the future. Remember that this rig has a really forward looking motherboard, and when you do plan on replacing that CPU, you're going to want an unlocked K SKU chip. For right now, that would be an i5 4690K or an i7 4790K. Presumably the Broadwell series will also have their own K series chips as well. Regardless, you're going to want a good cooler to go along with it. That, and I'm a sucker for Corsair's closed loop liquid coolers (full disclosure, I have a H100i myself). Not only that, but if placed at the rear for exhaust, this will free up one of the case's two included fans for additional intake support.

Case - Corsair Carbide 200R - $38.98 at NCIXUS (after $10 mail-in rebate, free S&H)

-Yep, same case as the article, and for almost all the same reasons. I like that the case has a painted interior that looks clean and professional, in addition to being far less likely to accidentally short an electrical connection or the motherboard. It has front mounted USB 3.0 ports that will attached to the motherboard's USB 3.0 header. The case includes two Corsair AF120 series fans, and with the H60 cooler on exhaust, they can both be placed on intake (front and/or side); also bonus points for having a front air filter cover. It is a full sized tower that supports full sized ATX boards, and smaller Micro-ATX and Mini-ATX. The case includes pre-installed motherboard risers and a center nub that allows you to quickly and easily properly align the motherboard during installation. And on a subjective note, I am a huge fan of Corsair's minimalist case designs. You can certainly go cheaper here, but this is a good case with the size and quality that could handle consecutive upgrades or new builds over the years.

RAM - Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 - $84.99 at Newegg (free S&H)

-This is quality RAM from one of the leading manufacturers of it. It shares the same 9-9-9-24 timing and 9 CAS latency, but at a faster 1600MHz frequency. You also get larger heat spreaders with this set, and this particular SKU comes in blue to match the motherboard and GPU. It also comes with a lifetime warranty, and supports XMP profiles for easy OC'ing of the memory in the UEFI BIOS.

Discrete GPU - MSI GeForce GTX 760 (N760-2GD5T/OC) 2GB - $184.99 at Newegg (after $20 mail-in rebate, free S&H)

-This is a GTX 760 series card sporting 1152 CUDA cores, 2GB 256-Bit of GDDR5 vRAM, with a 1059MHz (1124MHz boost) clock on the core. It support DirectX 11.2 and OpenGL 4.3, while outputting to a HDMI 1.4a, DisplayPort 1.2, and 2 Dual-Link DVI (DVI-I/DVI-D). Want a GPU that will stomp all over the current consoles at 1080HD? Here you go.

Power Supply - Corsair CX500M - $54.99 at Amazon or $54.99 at Newegg (after $20 mail-in rebate, free S&H)

-Keeping with the theme here, we have a 80+ Bronze rated semi-modular power supply from Corsair. While the CX certainly isn't their top-of-the-line series, it does have a nice set of features in a reasonably priced package. Semi-modular allows you to keep the cable mess manageable, while the 80+ Bronze certification ensures that power usage meats a minimum efficiency of 82% under 100% load. 500W is also the current minimum recommended to run the latest and greatest from nVidia's GTX 900 series of cards (at this time the GTX 980 and GTX 970 respectively), and hopefully other later GPU's will either continue or maintain this trend of greater efficiency to help keep power consumption down.

Storage - Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB - $54.99 at Amazon

-It's a 3.5" HHD at 7200RPM, 64MB cache, and a SATA 6Gb/s connector. Basically identical to the Seagate Barracuda in the article. Either are great, choose whichever you prefer or can find cheaper; I just happen to be partial to WD.

Optical Drive - ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer - $16.99 at Newegg (after $3 $3 off w/ promo code EMCWPHF24, free S&H)

-The same one in the article, with 5100+ reviews on Newegg and a 5 egg average. It works like you'd expect a DVD burner to work, sans any software.

Operating System - Windows 8.1 - $90.26 at OutletPC

-Here's hoping that they do allow the free upgrade to Windows 10, and that it doesn't suck.

Final cost? $746.16*

*Does not including any additional shipping or handling, price is after all applicable rebates, and does not include a monitor or peripherals. Priced for ordering and shipping within the continental United States.*

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