Case, Power Supply, And Optical Drive
Case: Xigmatek Asgard Pro USB 3.0 CCC-AE37BS-U02
When it comes to configuring our enthusiast-oriented PCs, we dedicate most of the funding to go-fast parts, so the supporting hardware often takes a hit. To help keep our beefy Radeon R9 280X cool, and to aid Intel's boxed heat sink, I insisted on a roomy chassis with side-panel venting and at least two fans. Xigmatek's Asgard Pro USB 3.0 satisfied my requirements nicely.
Read Customer Reviews of Xigmatek's Asgard Pro USB 3.0 Case
This steel mid-tower enclosure has an aluminum mesh front bezel, two 120 mm fans that arrive already installed, and room to add five more. A bottom power supply mount helps lower the center of gravity, while allowing your PSU to pull in fresh air through venting under the case.
Connectivity up front includes three USB ports, one of which is third-gen-capable, and HD Audio I/O for plugging in a gaming headset.
Unfortunately, Newegg currently lists this model as discontinued.
Power Supply: EVGA 500 B 100-B1-0500-KR 500 W PSU
Although Gigabyte's Radeon R9 280X calls for a 600 W or higher power supply, we know that’s overkill for our specific configuration. Instead of buying based on wattage, I prefer shopping for a beefy +12 V rail and the connectivity I need for my graphics hardware. EVGA's 500 W 80 PLUS Bronze-rated solution offers a single 40 A +12 V rail and two 6+2-pin leads for add-in cards.
Read Customer Reviews of EVGA's 500 B Power Supply
Optical Drive: Lite-On 24x DVD Burner SATA iHAS124-04
While optical drives aren't considered mandatory by many power users, they're incredibly affordable, and I still believe you want to have one, even if you use it rarely.
This 24x Lite-On drive is a popular SATA-based DVD burner we've used in a number of other builds.
Not all countries have good internet infrastructure. If that wasn't the case Microsoft wouldn't have to reverse its policies on the X1. Another thing is retail game DVDs costs very less in my country. For example, Bioshock Infinite costs only 15.97$ at launch date. If I were to buy it through Steam at launch date it would have cost me 59.99$
I know that the writers of "best CPUs" for the money always make a huge fuss about how "oh, you save 7W (or however much it is) by not having the on-board graphics", but I still think it's worth keeping, for if your discrete card gives out on you. My PC buggered up installing my graphics drivers once, and if it weren't for my intel "backup" GPU, my rig would have been bricked.
For us, both were available from Newegg at a $10 difference. Either is fine. I chose the -3350P back for the Q1 $600 Gaming PC, and it's OC was limited to 3.5-3.7 GHz with this same Z75 Pro3 mobo. But I actually prefer the -3470 at these prices for reasons stated in the text (higher clocks and backup HD 2500 graphics). It fit in under budget, and its higher Turbo limit provide a 300 MHz boost across the board (3.8-4.0 GHz) when overclocking. That right there is worth $10 in an SBM where value equals a straight bang for buck calculation.
My own thoughts on this one are mixed. I like to see the challenge of a lower budget. This $800 PC was quite good, however. With the focus on gaming this SBM cycle, this one looks like a shoe-in for value winner. I don't see what two or three times the budget will buy that can offer similar multiples of performance, especially that will be visible in actual use.
That said, for my own uses, I'd take the "High" to "Max" settings in my games that a GTX650Ti Boost would offer, and put the balance into a SSD.
I currently just built a "budget" machine for my son which ended up close to $850. That build was using an Asus M5A78L-M/USB3 Micro ATX AM3+ motherboard, AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz to (O.C. to 4.3GHz @ 38 C), w/ an Enermax ETS-T40-TB 86.7 CFM CPU Cooler.
What I wanted had to be tempered with what I could squeeze into the budget so a new Asus Radeon R7 260X 2GB Video Card was put in for now. A WD Caviar (Blue) 1TB drive was put in for storage, G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory and a Corsair CX 500W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply to make it all run. Windows 8.1 was installed and the case is a nice looking Corsair 350D case.
My working theory is this rig will run well now and a new video card, better CPU cooler with a faster stronger CPU and an SSD down the road are all manageable upgrades that could keep this machine running good, playable frame rates for several years down the road.
There is always more than one way to skin a cat and to me this was the least amount I would build with.