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A Good $1800 PC Build for 1440p Gaming 2014

Updated on January 24, 2014
Mid-range IPS options like the Asus PB278Q have become extremely popular with gamers looking to play their favorite games in 2560 x 1440p.
Mid-range IPS options like the Asus PB278Q have become extremely popular with gamers looking to play their favorite games in 2560 x 1440p.

Pushing the Envelope and Resolution with PC Gaming

While widespread 4k gaming is still many years away, 1440p gaming is starting to become more mainstream. Below I'll give you my build for around $1800 that does a good job with all of today's latest games on the highest settings in 1440p.

What is 1440p or 1600p?

When people talk about full high definition or FHD they commonly refer to a 16:9 aspect ratio screen that is 1920 x 1080p. The first numbers refers to the number of pixels horizontally on the screen while the second refers to the vertical pixels.

Other, less common, resolutions include the 1920 x 1200, 2560 x 1440, and 2560 x 1600p. The Aspect ratio for 1200p and 1600p includes a slightly taller screen at 16:10 rather than the 16:9 ratio set for 1080p and 1440p monitors.

Why Game in 1440p or 1600p resolution?

Gamers are all about pushing the limits and heading for either additional FPS (frames per second) to coincide with higher refresh rate monitors or going with IPS panel monitors that have additional clarity and detail through higher resolutions, wider viewing angles, and better color accuracy.

How Important is Your CPU at 1440p?

In order to game at high settings for increased resolution additional processing power from the CPU and GPU is necessary. If you're curious about how your CPU will have an effect on FPS at a higher resolution, then here are some benchmarks from AnandTech that should help answer any questions.

Single Vs. Dual GPU Setups:

While a higher-end single GPU setup shows substantial increases by having a CPU like the i7-4770k vs. one like the FX 8350 this is multiplied when adding in an additional GPU where PCIe 3.0 matters a lot and Sandy Bridge, which doesn't support PCIe 3.0, falls off in performance.

With all that being said what would be a good gaming PC for 1440p gaming if you're looking to upgrade? You can find my recommendations below or go to my YouTube channel for additional information.

The i7-4770k offers the best bang for your buck when it comes to gaming in 1440p. This is especially true for multi-GPU setups.
The i7-4770k offers the best bang for your buck when it comes to gaming in 1440p. This is especially true for multi-GPU setups.

Building a Gaming PC for 1440p - The Parts

Choosing a Good Processor for 1440p Gaming

Having a budget of $1800 gives us a flexibility in terms of the CPU we can purchase. While we currently have a $300 budget set aside for the CPU more could certainly be set aside if it was needed.

That being said it's at the $300 mark that we're able to get the cpu that is most optimized and gives us the best value at this point in time for 1440p gaming, the i7-4770k.

5 stars for GEFORCE 780 TI
The 780 Ti is king of the castle right now and will allow for game changing G-Sync options later on.
The 780 Ti is king of the castle right now and will allow for game changing G-Sync options later on.

A Good Graphics Card for 1440p and G-Sync

At this price point I recommend you allocate around 40% of your overall budget to your graphics card. At that level we can reach the best overall single gaming graphics card in terms of performance, the GTX 780 TI.

In addition to smooth gameplay at 1440p we'll also eventually be able to take advantage of NVIDIA's revolutionary G-Sync technology. While TN panel monitors will certainly be the first option for G-Sync, IPS options should follow shortly after.

How Much Ram Do you Need for this Build?

Like with other lower resolutions you should be fine with 8GB of memory. I recommend going with whatever is cheap but decent quality. This month both G. Skill Ripjaws and Ares ram is cheap and has higher speed option.

Considering Corsair recently proved that faster ram is now having a significant impact on your in-game FPS I recommend you go with ram that's is at least 1866MHz.

Although it's a little pricey, the AX760 from Corsair can actually save you money in the long-run.
Although it's a little pricey, the AX760 from Corsair can actually save you money in the long-run.

Go With A Good Platinum Gaming PSU Under $150

Switching to a platinum PSU seems to be worth it in the long-run when you consider the rising costs of energy. You'll want to find something from a decent brand like Seasonic or Corsair in order to make a higher-end unit last the test of time.

Higher-end manufacturers will give you a longer warranty with their better products and over that time period you'll save not only on energy, but also on replacing the PSU itself. In addition your PSU won't dissipate as much heat allowing your case to be cooler overall.

My pick for this month:

The power supply I really like this month is the Corsair AX 760 platinum. It's a fully modular power supply so cable management is easy and it comes with a 7 year parts and labor warranty.

Good Gaming Cases Under $100

There are a lot of inexpensive gaming cases under $100 that fit most people's needs. Some of my favorites include the CM Storm Enforcer, Elite 431, NZXT Guardian, and the Corsair Carbide 500R.

This month I really like the NZXT Phantom 410 which I've been able to find as low as $85. It's a spacious case with 7 expansion slots, a side window, and lots of colors to choose from.

In addition cable management is easy with generous amounts of space behind the motherboard. For fans you get a front 120mm and a top 140mm with room for an additional 140mm fan.

What about the front I/O?

One thing I really like about the front I/O is the fan speed control slider which allows you to control your interior fans on 3 speeds. In addition to the fan control it has 2 USB 3.0 and 2 USB 2.0 ports.

Samsung's 840 EVO gives you the best read and write speeds and capacity for the money you spend.
Samsung's 840 EVO gives you the best read and write speeds and capacity for the money you spend.

Good HDD and SSD Gaming Storage Options

With this build I'm recommending you go with the Seagate Barracuda 2TB hard drive which is on sale for around $85 this month. I've also left room for a 250GB Samsung 840 EVO solid state drive.

While neither of these options will directly affect your in-game performance, the SSD will certainly improve your loading speeds. I use this on Battlefield 4 to get my choice of vehicles in well-populated 64 player servers.

Despite being a fan CPU cooler the Noctua DH-14 gives you one of the best performances and lowest amount of noise under $100.
Despite being a fan CPU cooler the Noctua DH-14 gives you one of the best performances and lowest amount of noise under $100.

Best CPU Coolers Under $100 - Liquid and Air

If you're looking for a basic CPU cooling option, then go with the Hyper 212 EVO for around $30. It'll provide the basic overclock most want. If you want to go beyond that, then consider the Zalman LQ320, Noctua 6 DH-14, and H100i in order of performance.

Are Stock Liquid Coolers Better? Not Necessarily.

Believe it or not the Noctua DH-14 should be significantly quieter and give you nearly the performance of the H100i.

Do You Plan on Switching to 1440p in 2014?

Reader Poll:

See results

My Final Thoughts on this Build:

Overall this is a great build that should have no problem with playing today's latest games in 1440p. Have a question or something to say about it? Be sure to use the open discussion area below.

© 2013 Brandon Hart

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