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$1100 Gaming Build - Intel Core i5-4570 / GTX 770 / NZXT H440

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philip Feb. 4, 2014

The goal for this build was a gaming build that wouldn't break the bank. Since our last couple builds have been on the more expensive end ($3600 and $10000), we decided to keep things a bit more practical this time around. Our budget limit for this build was $1200, but due to the timing of purchases it ended up just under $1100.

NZXT kindly sent us the new H440 to test out, and we found it to be an outstanding case. More on that, and the rest of the build below...

The part list and pricing at the time of this post:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Core i5-4570 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor $199.99 @ Newegg
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-H81.Amp-UP ATX LGA1150 Motherboard $75.66 @ Newegg
Memory Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $89.99 @ Amazon
Storage Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $78.94 @ Amazon
Video Card MSI GeForce GTX 770 2GB Video Card $359.99 @ SuperBiiz
Case NZXT H440 ATX Mid Tower Case $119.99 @ NCIX US
Power Supply SeaSonic 620W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply $71.30 @ Newegg
Operating System Microsoft Windows 8.1 - OEM (64-bit) $89.99 @ NCIX US
Total
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available. $1070.85
Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-02-04 15:42 EST-0500

NZXT provided the H440. We already had the CPU, RAM, HDD, and video card on hand.

We made the conscious decision not to overclock the CPU on this build. Our goal was to keep it simple and clean, yet still plenty powerful. By spending just $100 more, you can replace the motherboard with a Z87 variant, the CPU with an unlocked K version, and an aftermarket cooler.

We also wanted to ensure the build had plenty of storage space - which is why we opted for a platter-based drive instead of an SSD. It's possible to find less expensive 1TB drives right now, but we chose this particular drive as we had it on hand from previous benchmark runs.

Full build

The NZXT H440 deviates from traditional cases by eschewing the 5.25" external bay. We'll be installing the OS by either using an an external drive or via a USB flash drive.

Front Open

The power supply is covered by a shroud which significantly cleans up the cable management. As you'll see later, the NZXT logo lights up when the rear panel lighting is turned on.

Fans

With the front panel and dust filter removed, you can see that the case has three 120-mm fans in front and one 140-mm fan in rear - plenty of positive pressure cooling for our components.

Top Cable Management

Middle Cable Management

Bottom Cable Management

Cable management has never been easier than with this case. Motherboard cutouts on the bottom of the power supply shroud provide convenient routing options for USB, HD-Audio, and front panel connections. I love the fact that the HD-audio connector does not include a dongle for AC97 - further keeping things simple and tidy.

Angled Tray

An interesting design element is the angled motherboard tray. Does it improve cable management? Hard to say, but I think it is a nice touch.

Back

Here's the back view showing the cable management. The space under the power supply shroud provides plenty of space for routing unruly cables. The 8-pin CPU power connector from the power supply was a bit shorter than I would have liked, but it was still possible to route it somewhat cleanly.

Rear Panel Lighting

With the flip of a switch on the rear of the case, the rear I/O panel and the NZXT logo will light up.

Motherboard Lighting Full Lighting At Night

Not to be left out, the Gigabyte H81-Amp UP motherboard also lights up green - something I must admit caught me by surprise the first time I powered it up.

We'll be following up this build by documenting the OS installation (without using a 5.25" bay), as well as recording application and game benchmarks using our thermal benchmarking. Stay tuned!

Comments Sorted by:

GMC_TheLegend 1 Build 12 points 17 months ago

How about a $500 budget gaming PC next?

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 12 points 17 months ago

We have a March build lined up, but we're still nailing down the final budget. It's definitely going to be in the $700-$1200 range though. We can possibly look into a $500-$600 build for April.

andrewjw 9 points 17 months ago

A $500 build would be an interesting range to give Kaveri a good test. I would be interested to see how an APU/iGPU affects thermal benchmarking.

SangeetKhatri 1 Build 1 point 17 months ago

Rather than spending 180 bucks on the Kaveri APU, the better option would be to use the AMD Athlon II x4 750K with the R9 250x for the same price. That would offer way better gaming performance, considering that the Kaveri's A10 performance lies somewhere between the 7730 DDR3 and the 7750 DDR3.

Hence the 250X which is equivalent to the 7770 GDDR5 would be much better in performance than the APU using DDR3 RAM.

andrewjw 1 point 17 months ago

Oh, I was thinking with the A8-7600, which would be most interesting in thermal benchmarking because of its TDP adjustment.

Yeah, I agree about that, I'd been thinking a little lower on the budget than the $500.

SangeetKhatri 1 Build -3 points 17 months ago

Anyways, just started planning a $500 build and it turned out better than expected. For $500, you can have 8GB RAM, R7 260X 2GB DDR5, AMD Quad Core CPU, 1TB HDD, Cooler Master N200 case (which is awesome) with a Corsair CX430 PSU. This is quite good for the price.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2UgQZ

Zero_Shinji 2 Builds 1 point 17 months ago

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/31b12 <-- Don't know if you're still interested in the $500 Kalveri build still. This is with the A10-7700K. I chose not to pick a GPU to let you decide but considering the GPU on the APU has a higher core clock than the R7 240 and 250X(recommended R7 +250), it will just slow it down more and causes instability with higher memory bandwidth. Mantle isn't doing too hot either but there's room for fix.

AsPalacesBurn 3 points 17 months ago

I am planning to build my first PC this month. I would love to see a $700-$800 build.

josephp617 0 points 17 months ago

I would too!

jrud9182 4 points 17 months ago

I second this motion.

immaman1992 1 Build 2 points 16 months ago

I would suggest to PcPartPicker a solid $450-$650 range section and a $651-$1000 range section. In my opinion I believe there's too many highly priced builds on this site. Some solid lower-mid end builds would make a lot of people happy, and would also be interesting to see a variety.

Coroff -3 points 17 months ago

My birthday is in April, maybe I can get my parents to buy me the parts -^

ToasterNukeTV -3 points 17 months ago

In the video you said Windows 81. LOL.

bahehs 1 Build 0 points 17 months ago

Yes, I would like to see one as well!

bsdev820 1 Build 5 points 17 months ago

Very cool. A white light would look cleaner and go with the case better in my opinion but I am unsure as to where the green light is coming from... the video card? Thanks for the video and the build, these quality builds are nice to see and interesting!

Ehouse1021 3 points 17 months ago

The green light is from the motherboard I believe, I saw somewhere that it lights up if I remember correctly.

Novapilot28 5 points 17 months ago

1k for a mid-range build :/

maxeytheman 4 points 17 months ago

Three titans? That is overkilling the overkill.

purpleninjax2 2 points 17 months ago

Sweet, something to do for the next while. Thanks guys!

Eschaton 6 Builds 2 points 17 months ago

Absolute props for fitting total quality, aesthetics, and performance into such a respectable cost.

BloodAnimus 1 Build 2 points 17 months ago

I'm considering taking a $90 wallet hit to ditch my brand new case for the NZXT H440 because it just looks like some real thought was put into making the case as professional as possible.

smatdude13 1 Build 1 point 17 months ago

Man, you guys always know how to put together a BEAST computer and stick to a budget(Minus the three way titan Sli one) And even then, your build still looks amazing!

babbott10 1 point 17 months ago

So glad I happened upon this in my research. This is exactly the kind of build I'm looking for on my budget. Thanks!

fnapoli 1 Build 1 point 17 months ago

Great build, great video! I love this case more and more. Looking forward to the next build!

somedude56 1 point 17 months ago

Great build except it will be kind of embarrassing to have a window and a stock cpu cooler. The cpu cooler is the #1 thing to show off lol.

thegreg1516 1 point 17 months ago

Would the motherboard be easily replace by the https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/part/gigabyte-motherboard-gah81mhd3 as the current motherboard is not available in the uk (new to building pcs so I have no clue)

sdaasawyer 1 point 17 months ago

I didn't see any thermal paste being used on the CPU?

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 1 point 17 months ago

Ah, right. I forgot to show it on the video, but the stock cooler comes with thermal paste pre-applied.

SimplyGoon 1 point 17 months ago

If i had a Budget of $1500 what would you recommend replacing and with what?

DanBrasslett14 1 point 17 months ago

So will this build be able to do, say, BF4 on at least high?

SpacemanSpliff 1 point 17 months ago

Nice build, I really like the newer line of cases from NZXT, short of the price. But they certainly have nice features and great lines. But for someone fortunate enough to be close to a MicroCenter it's possible to stretch an $1100 budget into much more performance though... Personally, I'd like to see more of the build examples aimed at a better balance of aesthetics and performance. After all there are users out there that care more about the power of their build than the looks, and many that like the best balance of both.

For example, what I would do for an $1,100 gaming rig... http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2QxaE

theboys 1 point 17 months ago

Nice build

AverageFail 1 point 17 months ago

How did you guys manage to get your hands on a Msi Gtx 770 lightning? They're out of stock EVERYWHERE I look.

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 1 point 17 months ago

We bought it back when they first came out - which was quite a while ago.

GMAN-DV8 1 point 17 months ago

Really enojoyed this build it was pretty interesting. The nzxt h440 surprised me. Can't wait for more builds.

DanBrasslett14 1 point 17 months ago

So will this run Battlefield 4 on at least high settings, or would I need to upgrade more?

Unholygeek226 1 point 17 months ago

Out of sheer curiosity, Why would you pick the GTX 770 2gb edition instead of the 4gb edition? It just seems wrong not to get the Gigabyte GTX 770 4gb edition for like, 30-50 dollars more.

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 2 points 17 months ago

We had the 2GB version on hand, but not the 4GB version.

YUDoDis 1 point 17 months ago

Would this PC be good for games like gmod tf2 CSS and other games like that?

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 2 points 17 months ago

Yes.

[comment deleted by staff]
tonyzzzzz 1 point 17 months ago

hi there Philip,

I'm looking at making a similar desktop, rather for everyday use as I'm a University student, but with these specs:

-Intel Core i7 4770 3.4GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) Quad Core CPU from pc case gear for $355 -Gigabyte Motherboard- I cannot find your one in Australia is there a similar one I can use or purchase for a relatively low price thats supports i7 which is gigabyte? this is the website im looking from buying just wanted you opinion on the best one http://www.jw.com.au/motherboards-c-169_28?filter_id=6 -seagate 1tb for $79 from jw computers or Seagate 2TB 7200rpm 3.5", SATA3 Internal HDD from jw computers for $113 which one do you think would be better? -for ram memeory im going with crossair for $115 from pc gear -for the power unit im looking at buying it online from nzxt and the HALE82 v2 700W for $100 or if you give me a suggestion for something cheaper would be greatly appreciated. -for the graphics card im going with the ASUS Geforce G210 1GB, 589Mhz, 1GB DDR3, D-Sub/DVI-I/HDMI, PCIe2.0 from jw for $39

I just need help on finding a suitable optical drive and sound card don't want it to be two expensive but want it to be relaibale and work. also i wanted to ask what your opinion is about kingston ram ive always had that with no problem im thinking of going with that. finally i want to go with i7 becuase its more newer however do you see any difference with i 7.

i dont want to spend more than 700 bucks and with your help hopefully i can whip up a stomr with this sytem. thanks for the ehlp and susgesstions philip.

btw you inspired me to make my own as well :)

LaputaCake 1 Build 1 point 17 months ago

What about uk versions

[comment deleted by staff]
[comment deleted by staff]
alexparij 1 point 17 months ago

Can someone tell me if there is an AMD chip set equivalent of this motherboard?

[comment deleted]
itsyourboy 1 point 17 months ago

How about a strong $1300-$2000 build sometime? :P

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BenGajus 1 point 17 months ago

Hi Philip,

This article is great along with the comments and your responses. Your delivery is very patient and informative. This website rocks!

Fajita 1 point 17 months ago

http://pcpartpicker.com/user/Fajita/saved/3jlS

Hey guys, what do you reckon of this build, just want to know opinions or potential problems, or even part suggestions :). I am planning on building it as my first build.

xPCgamer79x 1 point 14 months ago

I think that it is a great build. I just want to point out that you should buy a better CPU cooler if you want to achieve a high overclock. Looks good!

[comment deleted]
philip staff submitter 10 Builds 2 points 17 months ago

How so? If you look at the part list, you'll notice I'm accounting for the full cost of every item of the build in the total (and it comes in under $1100).

messex 1 point 16 months ago

I've never done this before, is this wildly inefficient? http://pcpartpicker.com/b/Noa

thesniper0565 1 point 16 months ago

can u run watercooling instead?

DynMp 1 point 15 months ago

Going to use something very similar to this for my wife, thanks a lot I love the feel and look of it, my build is 100% black so this would be interesting beside mine. Keep up the great job guys, love looking at these.

Diox 1 point 15 months ago

That's a good build, but I think my idea for a 1100 dollar build is a little better.

eannahobbs 1 point 15 months ago

im from ireland will all the shipping cost more and are all the parts avalible

Jobforabutcher 1 Build 1 point 14 months ago

After seeing this build I decided to give it a go.

I used all the components listed except the case (went with the corsair 400r) the gtx 770, I went with a gtx 760 sc. Keeping in mind that I wanted a non over clocking build, single GPU, and good audio.

Parts added: 120GB SSD, Optical drive, hyper 212 evo Why i added the hyper 212 evo was the for cooler operating temps and less noise

Overall I'm very satisfied with this build. Unigines valley benchmark I hit an average of 47(pretty sure that's what it is) everything dimed (guitar player our term for max lol)

Prime95 cpu doesn't go over 60c

chare375 1 Build 1 point 12 months ago

When can we expect the thermal benchmarking? I wish to see had the case cooling preforms with a stock CPU cooler and GTX 770 or R9 280 graphics card inside.

[comment deleted]
frankximus 1 point 10 months ago

Anyone knows how to power the fans of this case? Or say to use the fan hub in the back? I'm kind of lost in that area. Would appreciate any help I can get!

epicpcgamer 1 Build 0 points 17 months ago

ITS UNDER 9000!!!!! Seriously, this is an awesome build. The cable management blows me away.

1x16 0 points 17 months ago

Whould it be possible to add a disk drive to this build even though the case would not be able to house one.

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 2 points 17 months ago

This case will not support an internal optical drive. You would have to use an external optical drive instead.

kaychanz 0 points 17 months ago

Why no overclock? Is the price of an OC build (+$100) not worth it?

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 5 points 17 months ago

Like I mentioned in the description, we wanted to keep it simple. Not overclocking allowed us to keep the stock cooler, which for first time builders is significantly easier to install.

kaychanz 1 point 17 months ago

I see. is an extra 100 dollars or so for an OC build worth it value-to-peroformance wise? im def considering a very similiar build to this one in the near future

fnapoli 1 Build 3 points 17 months ago

I think it's worth it. You'll end up with a quieter, cooler system overall. You'll have a faster CPU out the gate, or you can do what I am, and enjoy the speed you have right now and then, when the computer starts to feel sluggish, OC and hopefully notice the improved clocks.

Skandranonsg 8 Builds 1 point 17 months ago

You'll probably see some good performance boosts, but nothing overly spectacular. Just take a look at an old Core 2 Quad Q6600. Hums along pretty nicely at 3.0, but if you crank it up to 4.5+ you'll get a capable system that can handle modern games.

sabybe01 1 Build 1 point 15 months ago

I'm picking out parts for my first build, and I've chosen the 4670k. Is it okay to use the stock cooler until such a time as I'm feeling confident enough to try OC?

EDIT: actually, you seem to know what youre talking about, so could you check out the list for me? http://pcpartpicker.com/user/sabybe01/saved/4jJH

mcegg101 0 points 17 months ago

1k is mid end?

CoolBeans_ 0 points 17 months ago

This build is really unbalanced

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 2 points 17 months ago

In what way?

CoolBeans_ 0 points 17 months ago

You could get a much better build for the same or less money, an H81 motherboard and 4570 paired with a 770

karijuana 1 Build 0 points 17 months ago

Only reason I would not buy the H440 is for the lack of external drive bays. Guess you gotta sacrifice something for the silence. Still love it though.

CoolXXE 0 points 17 months ago

Could You guys build that for me

BobNoxiousUSA 1 Build 0 points 17 months ago

dang, my bad... didnt see you included all the prices for the stuff you had. nice. (and great site you have here).

lmaonade200 -1 points 17 months ago

Although the term "mid-ranged" is relative, I honestly think you're misusing it pretty badly.

My friends Athlon X4 and GTX 550 Ti is mid ranged, my other friends i5 3570k and GTX 650 Ti is mid ranged, possibly higher.

A GTX 770 is not a mid ranged graphics card, if a person were to pay 350 bucks for a computer component, it sure as hell should be a high end piece of hardware.

Other than my personal nit-pick though, great job, love the pics

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 4 points 17 months ago

I understand where you're coming from.

To explain a bit on why I called it that: I see a LOT of builds go though the site. Most are in the $500 - $1500 range. I figured at $1100, that falls roughly in the middle of that range - hence the mid-range term.

At the end of the day though, it's all subjective - there are no standard definitions for price ranges.

lmaonade200 -1 points 17 months ago

I totally get where you're coming from, it's just a personal issue of mine and really just a subjective view, I usually view mid ranged as around 700-800 dollar budget builds. That's just me though

and again, great job, love that cable management pic near the end :)

sirideain 1 point 17 months ago

At the same time you can hardly consider it to be 'high-end' when compared to a 290x or Titan. This sort of budget marks a good mid point between the extremes.

Jay0126 -1 points 17 months ago

I am not knocking you're build however, there is not a single part I would have used on an 1,100.00 build like this, starting with the case to every single part you chose for a "High End Build!" I think most people who build computers would have to agree that if you're going to spend 1,100.00 for a high end build such as you're showcasing here, for 225.00 more a "real High End Build," could have been accomplished! I won't go into detail on the parts I would have chosen, there are so many that would have beaten this build, HANDS DOWN... Google computer parts for a "High End Build." A good place to start for novices or even veterans who have built hundreds or thousands of builds would have to agree that Youtube is a great place to get ideals for a "High End Build," they're many, many more sites and forums to do ones research for their hard earned money to be spent on "High End Builds!" People do you're research before you spend you're money for a "High End Build," and you'll discover so many different parts that will beat this one HANDS DOWN! Also, my two cents worth on closing my comment with this build, you're suggesting using 8.1 for an OS is beyond me, as far as I'm concerned it has to be one of the worst OS Microsoft has ever developed and sold to the people, it's Metro Interface is great for phones and tablets, however, for a desktop PC it SUCKS!! I guess that is why Microsoft is rushing to push out OS 9, which to my understanding will be released late this year or early next year. I have used Microsoft's OS 7 64 bit Ultimate or Professional since it's release, building at least close to a thousand computers and I have yet to hear a single complaint on that OS, which I may add will be supported until 2020! Furthermore, on closing folks beware XP will no longer be supported as of April 8th, 2014! XP is the longest running OS, 13 years, that Microsoft has offered. I really don't mean to knock your Build Sir, however, they're so many different parts to chose from to build an awesome "High End Build" and to last, and for you to enjoy for many, many years to come! Before you dish out you're hard earned money investing in a "High End Build Computer!" Do You're research people...!

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 3 points 17 months ago

If you show me any build, then give me an extra $220, of course I'll pick out better parts. You need not lecture me on high end builds. I created this site, and run this site. The builds we film vary in price point and components used to provide a variety of systems. I'm sure there are builds with parts and operating systems that you may not agree with. But please understand the context of the build before you comment - for instance, criticizing the case choice... when it was provided to us for free for the sake of this build. Other components we had on hand already.

Hipcheck 1 point 17 months ago

I really don't understand comments like this to be honest with you Jay. If you have better alternatives I'd love to see what you're talking about. "Just google it" is lazy and kind of a sure fire sign to not take your comment seriously.

Your Windows 8.1 argument is an emotional appeal. You don't like the UI. If you're talking about a gaming build, why does the OS UI matter? 8.1 can outperform Win 7 in games in fact... http://www.hardocp.com/article/2013/11/24/battlefield_4_windows_7_vs_81_performance_review#.Uw0aj3hlCM8

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philip staff submitter 10 Builds 2 points 17 months ago

How so?

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philip staff submitter 10 Builds 3 points 17 months ago

Ah, ok - I understand what you're getting at. The Rosewill Capstone is no doubt a great PSU, and is definitely a viable alternative. Originally I had planned on getting the 520W variation of the Seasonic S12II. However the availability at the time we ordered was limited, so I bumped up to a 620W version instead. That made it more expensive and more wattage than we needed, but it fit our time constraints (I had to order next-day shipping to get it here in time for filming... thank goodness for Prime $3.99 next day upgrades.) We've run a lot of Seasonic power supplies here, and so far we've had great experiences.

[comment deleted]
sketch24 7 Builds 2 points 17 months ago

There are probably better PSUs for the price like the xfx and rosewill you mentioned, but I had to cringe a little when you said the seasonic is only on par with the CWT based corsair series as if the corsair cx series should be a standard. I agree that even if it were seasonic, it would be a bad idea to go with brand loyalty alone, but I would take a lower level seasonic s12ii over a corsair cx any day. The seasonic might be lacking in features like modularity, but the s12II line still has great build quality and decent components. I might not put either in a such an expensive system, but if I had to choose, I would choose a seasonic based model over a CWT based one for sheer reliability and performance.

Nickfost 1 Build -5 points 17 months ago

This entire video is terrible, the whole video was an advertisement for the case, if you don't notice go rewatch it and notice he nevers says a single negative thing about the case he only mentions how handy each feature is.

This is disgusting.

jakehkills 1 Build 4 points 15 months ago

maybe likes the case ...

Hace -6 points 17 months ago

Getting an H81 motherboard is a terrible idea. The absolute lowest chipset you should consider is a B85 chipset.

IF YOU PLAN ON GETTING AN SSD, DO NOT GET AN H81 CHIPSET.

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 4 points 17 months ago

Can you expand on that? I'm fine with disagreement, but when you say something is terrible it helps to back it up with technical facts.

Hace -6 points 17 months ago

Sorry didn't mean to sound all crazy, and I was wrong about the SSD + H81 chipset thing anyway.

But I'd still advise not using an H81 mobo just because of the poorer build quality/VRMs used on those boards. Even if you're not overclocking, using a high-end GPU on a H81 can wear it down over time, and possibly cause it to crap out.

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 2 points 17 months ago

The VRMs on the board are for the CPU. GPUs have their own VRMs on board.

candy 2 Builds 1 point 17 months ago

Nothing wrong with an h81. It's like a toned down h87