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Build a Custom Built Gaming PC for $1300 2014

Updated on September 22, 2016
A screenshot from Dice's Battlefield 4.
A screenshot from Dice's Battlefield 4.

Trends for PC Gaming in 2014

If you're willing to spend $1300 on building a gaming PC, then you want something that can go above and beyond what a simple rig can do. If you're like me, then you might be using your gaming PC as a quick work computer as well that saves you time each and every single day. In this post I've put together a build which I feel is a good combination of quality, functionality, and maximum FPS.

Is 60 FPS No Longer Enough?

In my opinion gone are the days where we as gamers dream about getting an FPS on our favorite games of just 60. As a group gamers are constantly pushing the limits of where gaming can go and what advantages we can get.

For this reason my goal with this computer is to have an average of over 100 frames per second for Battlefield 4. While this can be achieved easily on Battlefield 3 for this amount of money, for Battlefield 4 we'll stretch a bit more on our graphics card to achieve this. It's my guess that as gamers see the advantage of having more frames for any game they play, they'll continue to reach for higher and higher levels.

Benefits of Beyond 60FPS with a 60Hz Monitor:

With the release of Asus' 144Hz gaming monitor and BenQ's 120Hz gaming monitor many gamers are going beyond a 60Hz refresh rate in order to enjoy more frames per second from a visual standpoint. So, that begs the question. Is there any advantage to going beyond 60 frames if you don't have a monitor that can handle it visually? The answer is yes, and a basic explanation for this is increased responsiveness and decreased input lag. This added smoothness is something I not only feel right away, but also something pro gamers count on.

Computer Hardware, Especially Processors, are More Future-Proof This Decade

Part of the reason we can recommend a new focus like this is because CPU and GPU technology has become much more future-proof. That's not to say that you don't ever need to upgrade your computer, but in terms of gaming the graphical improvements seem to be slowing down vs. where they were in the last decade. For that reason maximizing our FPS not only gives us an advantage while gaming, it also gives us an excuse to upgrade our rigs.

Going with an i5 processor here allows us to dedicate more money to a good graphics card and overclocking motherboard.
Going with an i5 processor here allows us to dedicate more money to a good graphics card and overclocking motherboard.

Choosing a Processor - For Max FPS Stay Under or Around $200

In terms of maximizing FPS you don't want to overdo it on the processor when you have a limited budget. For this build we're going with the new Intel Haswell i5-4670k. It's all you need in terms of processing power and has a lot of overclocking potential.

Intel Ivy Bridge i5-3570k vs Haswell i5-4670k

It's not a lot better than Intel's third generation of Sandy Bridge processor, but gives you better performance at each frequency. Going with this newer processor also allows you to upgrade to the newer 1150 motherboards which should keep you up to date for at least another few years. In terms of overclocking it will run a bit hotter, but with the increased performance and more efficient energy usage it should be worth it if you don't already have an equivalent processor.

Pictured: Going with an i5 processor here allows us to dedicate more money to a good graphics card and overclocking motherboard.

A pair of 760's in SLI will give you better-than Titan performance in high-performance games like Battlefield 4.
A pair of 760's in SLI will give you better-than Titan performance in high-performance games like Battlefield 4.

SLI Gives you Better Performance and Scales

With our current budget you could allocate from $500 clear to $650 to your graphics card. If you want max FPS here, then you'll go with two of the newer GTX 760 cards. These have better than 660 TI performance and cost around $50 less. For $500 you'll get better-than GTX Titan performance for most games.

Single Card Options:

If you'd rather have a single card here, then you'll want to go with a GTX 770 or reach for a GTX 780 if it's within your budget.

For more information on graphics cards be sure to take a look at our post on the best bf4 graphics cards.

A Good 1150 Motherboard for Overclocking Under $200

A good 1150 motherboard for overclocking in the under or around $200 space is the Asus ROG VI Hero, shown in the picture to the right.

While the Maximus Extreme costs twice as much and will get you a little more performance, it's certainly not worth it for the budget we have. It's a Legit Reviews award winner and has a ton of functionality and features.

The great thing about this new line from Asus is that you get the same component quality and options you normally get in an ROG board at a better price point. It works well with our SLI configuration and has some interesting new features like sound radar that offer some in-game benefits as well.

Cpu Coolers Under $50

Because of our budget I'm recommending you go with one of the best value CPU coolers on the market in the Hyper 212 EVO. If you're an extreme overclocker, then going with a higher priced air cooler like the Noctua 6 or Kraken or Hydro Series water cooling would be beneficial. That being said you'll still get some good overclocking results even with the $30 Evo.

Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan

This CPU cooler is perfect for light overclocking. If you're wanting to go beyond this, then go with the NZXT Kraken, Corsair Hydro 100i, or better yet put together your own kit.


Sticking with 8GB of Ram

While you could certainly go to 12GB or 16GB here, it will help little for PC gaming right now and is easy to upgrade later. For now, you should focus on putting as much of your overall budget towards your graphics card.

Rosewill Challenger vs. Cooler Master Elite 430

Either of these cases would be a good option here, but the Challenger gives us 3 pre-installed fan options right out of the gate. For that reason and because we're planning on some overclocking with this system, I'd recommend the Challenger U3.

My Most recent PC Builds

Best 80 Plus 750 Watt PSU Under $100

While there are certainly better quality and more expensive power supplies out there, the Corsair CX750 Builder series gives you some of the best overall bang for your buck. With up to 85% energy efficiency you're not throwing money out the window, and it's also not overpriced like some of the higher-end models.

It's the perfect mid-level PSU for this build and should last you many years to come. In addition, it's plenty of power for our 2 GTX 760s and will be fine even if you plan on overclocking.

Other Component Considerations

DVD Drive and Hard Drive

Because they don't really have an impact on your in-game performance try to find a good DVD and hard drive for around $85 in order to stick with our budget.

Final Thoughts

Overall I feel like we've done a pretty good job of giving you the best bang for your buck at this price point without removing too many needed features. If you don't plan on overclocking, then you could consider going with a lower-end board and upgrading to an i-7 Haswell processor like the i7-4770k here.

What's your max FPS build at this price point? Speak your mind in the discussion area below.

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