TechSpot PC Buying Guide: Mid-2013 Update

By Julio Franco ยท 35 replies
Jul 30, 2013
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  1. ghasmanjr

    ghasmanjr TS Booster Posts: 363   +86

    I know this may sound noobish, but how important is a dedicated sound card? My system is built along the lines of the luxury system but I'm using the integrated sound on my Asus Maximus IV board.
  2. Kevin82485

    Kevin82485 TS Booster Posts: 168   +45

    The link for the GTX 760 on the enthusiasts build takes you to a search on Newegg for a GTX 660 ti. [Editor's note: Fixed. Thanks!]
    Julio Franco likes this.
  3. gkubed

    gkubed TS Rookie

    I'd certainly recommend something like a CM Storm QuickFire Rapid for the Enthusiast build, since it can be had for <$70 very often!
  4. Kevin82485

    Kevin82485 TS Booster Posts: 168   +45

    I'm not sure, but I too use the integrated sound. My board has optical and digital audio output built in and. I have no complaints about it's performance and it sounds great on my 7.1 sound system. It has some of the most extensive audio settings that I can remember and features additional THX audio settings. In my situation, I really see no point in adding a sound card, when the integrated audio is perfectly fine.
  5. ghasmanjr

    ghasmanjr TS Booster Posts: 363   +86

    I have a Logitech G930 7.1 wireless headset and it sounds amazing in games like Metro: Last Light and BF3
  6. EEatGDL

    EEatGDL TS Evangelist Posts: 568   +241

    Steve, without expecting it you nailed my yesterday's predicament of choosing between the ASUS Z87-Plus and the Z87-A because this friday I'm buying the parts for my new rig (finally upgrading from Allendale to Haswell). I was scratching my head trying to find big differences between these two and in the end I opted to stick with the Z87-A, your comment is valuable because it comes from using at least one of them.
    Julio Franco likes this.
  7. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    I think the Enthusiast system should have a GTX 770 instead. Also, you can cut back on the motherboard to something like a Z87-A. I also think you can lower the sound card to something like a Xonar DSX.

    Overall, good builds. I think the Deathadder 2013 is a better choice over the G400s though.
    H3llion and Julio Franco like this.
  8. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    The entry level build and the budget PC should be AMD based I think. The entry level though have a 6350 or 8350 + $100 motherboard. That would save tons of $$$ to buy a higher end GPU. Keep in mind, AMD released the AMD Athlon X40 740 and 750K for budget gamers. They are about $80 and perform at A10 levels, without the graphics.
    misor likes this.
  9. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 7,674   +990

    Thanks for the feedback so far everyone. We've fixed a thing here and there as you noted it here, and of course, suggestions on different parts are always taken under consideration. For keyboard and mouse picks, it's hard to please anyone really, that's why we mention what we believe is adequate at a certain price point and then go on to mention some of our staffers' favorite devices and other potential replacements.

    We realize this is the case for many. We are evaluating downgrading the Luxury build to a simple and more affordable Xonar DX 7.1 since it should suffice for 90% of users. We are also working on an article that (subjectively) puts head to head today's modern motherboard integrated audio vs. a discrete Asus sound card. Hopefully that will go live in the coming month or so. (Matthew this is for you :)).
    EEatGDL, ghasmanjr and misor like this.
  10. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 7,674   +990

    I like the Deathadder as well, it's been my preferred mouse for the past couple of years. I've also gone through a range of Logitech G devices and the MX518 back in the day. For that reason I realize the G400/s is actually an excellent device that a majority of users will find to be a perfect fit and possibly less intimidating than the Razer offerings.
  11. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,666   +1,951

    Interesting choice for a luxury system, it is pretty much what I put together just 2 weeks ago:

    Although it cost a bit more, at 4200 euro, not USD. I bought the same CPU, Video, PSU, Mouse, SSD-s and Monitor. I went for different components otherwise:

    - ASUS Maximus VI Hero - excellent board, I love it!
    - 32GB of SKill DDR3 2400;
    - The best cooler ever made - Noctua NH-D14;
    - CASE: Corsair Obsidian Series 550D - this is the one to buy if you want a high-end, cool-looking quiet system.

    A monster running @ 4.6GHz, while making zero noise!
  12. Intel & nVidia lovers... what a shame...
  13. Luay

    Luay TS Enthusiast Posts: 79   +13

    I went through the same predicament and ended up getting the DX7.1 because it shares the same AV100 sound chip as the Essence STX.

    Storage wise (in the luxury build), many don't mind spending $600 for the Crucial M500 1TB SSD. It's still the cheapest $ per GB for any SSD. I'm also keeping my eye on the Samsung 840 Evo 1TB as it performs better but not sure what the price will be. Now as an owner of 1TB SSD I couldnt care less about a performance oriented, power consuming and loud 7,200 RPM HDD and would much rather have the new seagate Desktop 4TB due to its quite operation and low power consumption.

    Corsair HX series power supplies are excellent but the XFX BEFX series is manufactured by the same Seasonic OEM and is more affordable.

    For case I recommend the Corsair Air 540. Less than half the price for the same function or better because of the dual chamber design, where passively cooled hardware (PSU, storage, Optical drive) are in one part and the motherboard and GPU etc are in the other.

    For RAM you recommended 4x4GB? save your motherboard the strain and go for 2x8GB!
  14. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    I think that's more sensible considering you need a higher end audio setup to tell the difference.

    Also I think the Enthusiast PC should have a mechanical keyboard at the expense of a cheaper sound card (or just integrated), I doubt anyone could tell the difference with the Z-623.
  15. ghasmanjr

    ghasmanjr TS Booster Posts: 363   +86

    I eagerly await this article because it has always been something that I've been wondering. Thanks for the heads up!
  16. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,666   +1,951

    During my recent assembly of a top-notch PC, the only part I didn't come to terms with was the sound system. For all the DD5.1 I read reviews about none seemed the right choice. For example, one I liked initially and almost bought was Logitech Speaker System Z906. But even on that one so many people complained about some speakers dying real quick. In the end I bought no new speakers, still using my old Hi-Fi system for PC speakers.

    It would love reading some review here about good speakers today, so I may finally buy one and not look back. I'm not a big sound fiend, but having my old stereo on a new rig just doesn't look right. I would use it mostly for movies, and much less for games, as I'm over 100 now :)
  17. spydercanopus

    spydercanopus TS Evangelist Posts: 855   +121

    These are great, but all consumer level. I would throw in a "workstation" level system that uses the best of the best in reliability and performance, dual CPU, error correction memory etc.

    The one thing you could leave consumer grade is the GPU. Probably EVGA or another with a lifetime warranty.
    St1ckM4n likes this.
  18. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    Only developers/professionals need 32GB of RAM.
  19. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    The 2013 Deathadder has a new sensor that should make it a more viable competitor.
  20. Seriously, someone thinks an ASRock motherboard is OK to install in any system let alone a luxury system?. I would recommend you rethink your ideas or get some input from people who have to deal with things 3-6-12 months down the line. Does anyone know of failure rates for hardware and where to find that info? I would expect that a professional magazine would and actually give good information. This made me unsubscribe, its just plainly ridiculous.
  21. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 7,674   +990

    I was thinking about it this morning, putting together a "Dream workstation PC" article, triple 4K monitors and all... what else do you think is needed to qualify as a dream PC that is nonetheless attainable if price is no object?
    spydercanopus likes this.
  22. Ok for an entry level gaming rig you dont need a 60$+ mouse and keyboard and a case with power suplly is more than sufficient in Entry level gaming

    su 100$ saved for better gfx or a nice little SSD for a boot drive
    Optical drive? who the hell needs that?
  23. LukeDJ

    LukeDJ TS Maniac Posts: 350   +112

    Why is there still no CPU cooler suggested? I could understand not including one in the budget/entry level rigs but for the enthusiast and luxury, aftermarket coolers are essential. There's no point paying extra $$ for an unlocked K-series processor (especially a hot-running Haswell) and a Z87 motherboard if you're limited by the stock cooler. A Hyper 212 Evo is ~$30 and is the bare minimum that I would recommend for these builds, and is easily justified by the performance gains.
  24. Boilerhog146

    Boilerhog146 TS Guru Posts: 341   +98


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