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

Devin Connors | 1 Jul 2014 22:15
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Memory: Team Elite 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1333

Team Elite RAM

$65.99 on Newegg

Team Group memory tends to circulate in the lower price brackets, but that's because the company doesn't spend nearly as much on marketing as Corsair, Kingston, and the like. It's a Taiwanese manufacturer that flies fairly low on the U.S. hardware scene radar, but you'll find Team Group wares in many a budget build.

Today's choice? The "Elite" SKU, specifically an 8 GB kit (two sticks of 4 GB), running at DDR3-1333. The 9-9-9-24 timings are pretty solid for memory that's still in "budget" price territory, and you could do a little overclocking with this kit -just be careful with that stock AMD cooler we're running.

GPU: MSI Radeon R7 265

MSI GPU

$149.99 on Newegg

Much like it does with CPUs and APUs, AMD offers a lot of compelling products in the entry-level and mid-range GPU categories. With a total budget of $750, I wanted to dedicated about 20 percent of that cash to the video card, on a GPU that could do some decent gaming at 1080p. The end result? A $150 AMD Radeon R7 265 from MSI. The R7 265 typically edges out the similarly-priced GTX 750 Ti from Nvidia. One 6-pin PCI Express connector is all it takes to power the R7 265, and MSI's cooler design should keep the GPU nice and comfortable when you're playing Battlefield 4 and Goat Simulator 2014. You should expect 60 fps on Medium or High settings in most modern PC titles.

Some important tidbits about our GPU pick:

  • The R7 265 is a PCI Express 3.0 card, but it will work unfettered in the PCI Express 2.0 slot on our MSI motherboard choice.
  • Speaking of which, the MSI motherboard I chose supports CrossFire, so you could always add a second R7 265 in the future to bump your framerates up.
  • If you're firmly in The Way It's Meant To Be Played Camp (Nvidia), the GTX 750 Ti is a brilliant choice at around $150, too.
  • The R7 265 supports all of AMD's bells and whistles, including the new-ish Mantle API.

SSD Drive (Boot Drive): Mushkin Enhanced Chronos 120 GB

Chronos SSD

$69.99 on Newegg

I decided to drop a solid state drive in the $750 build because I AIN'T GOT TIME TO WAIT FOR BOOTING. Also, because SSDs are getting cheaper every day!

Along with brands like Intel, SanDisk, and Samsung, I really like what Mushkin offers up for SSD products. The Enhanced Chronos series has long been lauded by enthusiasts for being reliable at a low price, making Mushkin a top choice among budget builders.

120 GB is plenty of space for your Windows install (or SteamOS, or whatever tickles your fancy), along with documents and a select few of your most played games.

There are other compelling SSD offers at reasonable prices -- the 120 GB Samsung 840 EVO at $80 is a great deal, too -- but 120 GB for $65 from a reliable SSD brand? SOLD!

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