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Build Set #4

Little Build #3(6/30/2013):





Case: COOLER MASTER Black Aluminum & Steel Alloy Mini-ITX Case #N82E16811119261 $34.99 *Rebate
PSU: RAIDMAX Continuous 500 watts ATX 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified PSU #N82E16817152040 $29.99 *Rebate
Motherboard: MSI FM2 AMD A75 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX #N82E16813130664 $84.99 *Combo
CPU: AMD Athlon X4 740 Trinity 3.2GHz Socket FM2 65W Quad-Core CPU #N82E16819113329 $69.99 *Promo
GPU: ASUS Radeon HD 7850 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 Video Card #N82E16814121651 $150.99 *Pro/Rbt
     -Includes 2 Games | Silver level rewards
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB)DDR3 2133 #N82E16820231468 $62.04 *Promo
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" HDD #N82E16822148767 $49.99 *Promo
Optical Drive: LITE-ON DVD Burner SATA iHAS124-04-OEM #N82E16827106289 $14.99 *Promo
KB: A4Tech G800V Anti-Ghosting Gaming Keyboard #9SIA11P0C88197 $24.99 *Instant
Mouse: Logitech G300 Black/Gray USB Wired Optical Gaming Mouse #N82E16826104618 $34.99
Mousepad: XTRAC PADS RIPPER XL Optical Mouse pad #N82E16817114182 $17.99
OS: Windows 8 64-bit System Builders OEM $94.99 *Combo



Shipping: $7.30


TOTAL: $680.23 including 2 free games






Next up we have a mini-itx build centered around AMD Quad and 7850 2GB. Obviously not going to achieve these precise results with this CPU, but it will do the trick for a 7850. AMD has changed up their game bundles to 3-tier structure with 7850 landing in the "Silver" tier. 2 free games from 8 game set:

Sleeping DogsFar Cry 3Far Cry 3: Blood DragonDeus Ex: Human RevolutionDirt 3Dirt Showdown, Hitman Absolution, or DmC: Devil May Cry

Build Set #3

Big Build #3(7/11/2013):





Case: RAIDMAX Seiran ATX Mid Tower #N82E16811156272 $64.99
PSU: Rosewill CAPSTONE-650 650W Continuous 80 PLUS GOLD, ATX12V v2.31 #N82E16817182071 $89.99
Motherboard: MSI B75MA-P45 LGA 1155 Intel B75 Micro ATX #N82E16813130655 $64.99
CPU: Intel Core i5-3330 Ivy Bridge 3.0GHz (3.2GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 Quad-Core #N82E16819116781 $174.99 *Promo
GPU: GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 760 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 #N82E16814125465 $259.99 
      -Includes Splinter Cell Blacklist
G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 2400 #N82E16820231585 $79.99
HDD: Western Digital Blue 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s #N82E16822236339 $69.99 
Optical Drive: LG Black 14X BD-R 2X BD-RE SATA BDXL #N82E16827136250 $44.99 *Combo
KB: RAZER Marauder SC II Black USB Wired Gaming Keyboard #N82E16823114031 $99.99
Mouse: Tt eSPORTS THERON USB Wired Laser Gaming Mouse #N82E16826254090 $59.99
XTRAC PADS RIPPER XL Optical Mouse pad #N82E16817114182 $17.99
OS: Windows 8 64-bit System Builders OEM $89.99 *fulfilled by

Promo Codes: EMCXNXL35

Shipping: $18.97


TOTAL: $1,136.85 including Splinter Cell Blacklist





Decided to spice things up a bit and go Intel/Nvidia this time around with a beautiful big blue build sporting a Intel quad CPU and GTX 760. No expense is spared and it shows. We have a rock solid set of components with RTS-optimized KB/M topping things off. 


Little Build #3(6/30/2013):





Case: HEC Vigilance MicroATX Mini Tower with Dual 8cm Fan #N82E16811121124 $0 *Rebate
PSU: RAIDMAX RX-450K 450W ATX12V Power Supply #N82E16817152032 $21.24 *Promo
Motherboard: BIOSTAR A960D+ AM3+ AMD 760G Micro ATX MOBO #N82E16813138373 $69.99
RAM:    -Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1600 #N82E16820148662 $0.00 *Bundled
CPU: AMD FX-4100 Zambezi 3.6GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 95W Quad-Core #N82E16819103996 $89.99 *Promo
GPU: MSI R7790-1GD5/OC Radeon HD 7790 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 #N82E16814127726 $99.99 *Rebate
      -Includes Tomb Raider, Bioshock Infinite, and Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 500GB SATA 3.0Gb/s #N82E16822148221 $54.99 *Promo
Optical Drive: ASUS SATA DVD Burner #N82E16827135204 $16.99
KB: inland 70117 Black USB Wired Gaming Keyboard #N82E16823205027 $13.99
Mouse: GIGABYTE GM-FORCE M7 Wired Optical Gaming Mouse #N82E16826146032 $19.99
OS: Windows 8 64-bit System Builders OEM $89.99 *fulfilled by


Shipping: $20.02


TOTAL: $497.18 including Tomb Raider, Bioshock Infinite, and Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon





Here's another cool mini tower micro-atx build. This time around we're back with the 7790 with 3 games bundled for only $99. Stupidly good deal and keeps us safe from having to use a larger card like a 7850 in tiny case like this. We go AM3+ FX 3.6GHz Quad CPU and Biostar Mobo that includes free Crucial Ballistix 8GB DDR3-1600 RAM. Who doesn't like free 8GB RAM? 

Build Set #2

Big Build #2(6/12/2013):



[spoiler] Case
: BitFenix Prodigy Mini-ITX Tower #N82E16811345016 $89.99
PSU: SILVERSTONE ST65F-G 650W ATX 12V 80 PLUS GOLD Full Modular #N82E16817256086 $114.99 *rebate
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A85X-ITX FM2 AMD A85X Mini ITX #N82E16813157357 $99.99
CPU: AMD Athlon X4 750K Trinity 3.4GHz Socket FM2 #N82E16819113328 $74.99 *promo
GPU: SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB GDDR5 #N82E16814202025 $175.90 *rebate, promo
      -Games bundled: Crysis 3, Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider
RAM: G.SKILL Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3-2400 #N82E16820231667 $78.99 
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green WD15EZRX 1.50 TB #N82E16822236380 $64.99 *promo
 Drive: SAMSUNG DVD Burner SATA #N82E16827151266 $14.99 
KB: Microsoft SIDEWINDER X4 Keyboard #N82E16823109191 $59.99
Mouse: RAZER DeathAdder 2013 #N82E16826153114 $54.99 *promo
Mousepad: RAZER Goliathus Gaming Mouse Mat #N82E16826999067 $14.99
Gamepad: Microsoft JR9-00011 Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for Windows #N82E16823109243 $49.99
Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound #N82E16835100007 $7.99
OS: Windows 8 64-bit System Builders OEM $89.99 *fulfilled by


Shipping: $6.95


TOTAL: $999.71 including Crysis 3, Tomb Raider, Bioshock Infinite, and Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon







Once again we're going with a 7870 GHz Ed. for our GPU, coming in at a mind-blowing $175.90 with Crysis 3, Tomb Raider, Bioshock Infinite, and Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon bundled in.:lol:

We go mini-itx form factor with a challenging mid-level build. Cheaped on the CPU for the sake of AMD mini-itx mobo availability. With some Arctic Silver we should be able to cop a nice OC up to 4GHz on stock. A 1.5TB HDD will hold a boatload of games. Got 8GB of speedy DDR3-2400 RAM for fast multitasking. 

The real highlight of this system is well-rounded control set. We go Razer mouse, MS Sidewinder X4 KB, and throw in a 360 Wireless Controller for Windows. Not too bad for under a $1k when it's all said and done.


"Little Build?" #2(06/27/13):



[spoiler] Case
: NZXT Apollo Black SECC Steel Chassis ATX Mid Tower #N82E16811146025 $44.99 *Promo+Rebate
PSU: ENERMAX NAXN 450W ATX12V #N82E16817194090 $28.24 *Promo+Rebate
Motherboard: MSI FM2-A55M-E33 FM2 HDMI Micro ATX #N82E16813130661 $44.99
CPU: AMD Athlon X4 740 Trinity 3.2GHz Socket FM2 65W Quad-Core #N82E16819113329 $69.99 *Promo
GPU: XFX Double D Radeon HD 7850 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 $169.99 *Rebate
-Games bundled: Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider
RAM: Team Vulcan 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 #N82E16820313355 $51.00 *Promo
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s #N82E16822148221 $54.99 *Promo
Optical Drive: LITE-ON DVD Burner SATA #N82E16827106289 $14.99 *Promo
KB: Microsoft Black USB Wired Keyboard 200 #N82E16823109207 $7.79 *Promo
Mouse: GIGABYTE GM-FORCE M9 ICE Any Surface Wireless Mouse #N82E16826146029 $23.99 *Promo, Rebate
OS: Windows 8 64-bit System Builders OEM $89.99 *fulfilled by


Shipping: Free


TOTAL: $594.94 including Tomb Raider, Bioshock Infinite, and Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon





So here we have a reversal of roles with our ~$1k build a mini-itx form factor, and our ~$500 rig a ATX mid tower. So weird, I know.

I've always been a big fan of NZXT's case designs. The Apollo is a sure-fire winner on looks and has plenty of breathing room. We go 3.2GHz quad Trinity non-APU 65W CPU, 7850 2GB GPU, and 8GB DDR3-1600 for a potent gaming setup. Went conservative on the keyboard, but made sure to include a nice "all surface" wireless gaming mouse. Perhaps you would like to frag from your hairy leg. All made possible right here.

Build Set #1

Big Build #1(5/28/2013):



[spoiler] Case
: COUGAR Challenger ATX #N82E16811553008 $75.99
PSU: Rosewill Stallion 700W ATX12V #N82E16817182278 $39.99 *rebate, promo
Motherboard: ASUS AM3+ AMD 970 ATX #N82E16813131872 $68.99 *rebate
CPU: AMD FX-8350 4.0GHz Eight-Core #N82E16819113284 $179.99 *promo
GPU: ASUS Radeon HD 7870 GHz 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 #N82E16814121649 $219.99 *rebate
      -Games bundled: Crysis 3, Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider
RAM: G.SKILL Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-2133 #N82E16820231519 $62.99 *promo
HDD: Western Digital WD 1TB SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" #N82E16822236070 $59.99
 Drive: LITE-ON 12X Blu-ray Burner with Blu Ray 3D #N82E16827106369 $64.99 *promo
KB: Microsoft SIDEWINDER X4 Keyboard #N82E16823109191 $59.99
Mouse: RAZER Black Wired Laser Naga Molten SE #N82E16826153064 $69.99
Mousepad: Tt eSPORTS CONKER Cloth Gaming Mouse Pad #N82E16826998154 $19.99
Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound #N82E16835100007 $7.99
OS: Windows 8 64-bit System Builders OEM $89.99 *fulfilled by


Shipping: $11.92


TOTAL: $1,032.79 including Crysis 3, Tomb Raider, Bioshock Infinite, and Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon


Tom's Hardware







Crossfire benchies:





So here we have a Big Build capable of delivering 60fps @1080p with high settings. We are building for the future, so we include a nice 700W PSU, 8-core CPU, and CrossfireX mobo to allow for dual-graphics down the line. This thing can run any game close to max at 30fps, most maxed at 60fps. Within the next year we'll add another 7870 GHz Edition to boost FPS. Should be only ~$150 for a another card by then, and hopefully includes another game bundle! 


Little Build #1(5/28/2013):

 Rosewill Dual Fans MicroATX Mini Tower #N82E16811147123 $21.99 *promo
COOLMAX ZX Series ZX-500 500W ATX12V PSU #N82E16817159124 $24.99 *rebate
MSI A55M-P33 FM1 mATX Mobo #N82E16813130641 $47.99
AMD A6-3670K Unlocked 2.7GHz Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core #N82E1681910600 $74.99
PowerColor Radeon HD 7790 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 $114.99 *rebate
      -Games bundled: Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider
G.SKILL Ripjaws X 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1866 #N82E16820231474 $39.99
Western Digital 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB SATA 6Gb/s HDD #N82E16822236070 $64.99
LITE-ON DVD Burner SATA #N82E16827106289 $14.99 *promo
Logitech MK120 Black USB Wired Slim Desktop KB/M #N82E16823126097 $19.99
Windows 8 64-bit System Builders OEM $89.99 *fulfilled by 

Promo Codes: EMCXRVM53, EMCXRVM32

Shipping: FREE
Total: $514.90 including Bioshock Infinite, Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, Tomb Raider 


Tom's Hardware:[spoiler]


This is nice little mini tower build that will seat nicely between the X1 and PS4 in power. We'll give the CPU a little bump to 3GHz which should do fine at this pricepoint. Unlike the former build in this set, this rig is not meant for Crossfire, or extreme future-proofing for that matter. Just a solid build for now with 3 great games. 

Can you build it? Yes, you can! PC Building Pt. 1

As a self-professed geek, I commonly find myself doing gaming PC builds for fun utilizing the power of the web to get the best deals possible. So I thought, why not parlay that into a blog that will highlight the virtues of system building and spread the good news to the uninitiated?

This series will explain the basics of system building, provide historical perspective, and hopefully give some useful ideas on what type of hardware to purchase. All builds will consist of "sweet spot" builds. In this case a ~$500 "console-like" build, and a ~$1000 "big-build".

Let us begin!


Where to buy?

We're making this simple. No used parts. No bidding on ebay. Just newegg and tigerdirect, with a dash of amazon. My advice: you're better off just doing everything through Newegg and getting an OS through Amazon or MS.

What parts are needed for a complete build?

Let's start from the top down: Case, Power Supply, Motherboard, CPU, GPU, RAM, Harddrive, Optical drive, KB/M, OS.

-Case-> Holds all components and looks awesome. We like quality brands like Thermaltake, Raidmax, Coolermaster, Lian-li, and Silverstone. 

-PSU/Power Supply-> This powers all of your hardware and is likely the most critical component of your build. Do not skimp on this. Components have TDP or max power comsumption ratings, so do the math(esp. CPU and GPU) and leave some headroom for safety and possible dual-graphics upgrades in the future.

-Motherboard-> The chipset that your components plug into. The central hub, so to say. We like brands like Asus, Gigabyte, and MSi, don't we?:P You'll want to make sure you get the right socket for your CPU, PCI E(2.0/3.0) x16 for GPU, and appropriate RAM speed support(i.e. DDR3-1600, DDR3-2400)

-CPU-> Gonna be either Intel(the best quality and performance, but highest price) or AMD(slower than Intel's best, but great price/performance ratio). We like at least a quad-core CPU. Make sure to match CPU socket type with the correct motherboard(i.e. AMD uses AM3+, FM1, FM2).

-GPU-> This is the most critical component for gaming, the graphics card. We like anyting with good reviews and lots of games bundled!

-RAM-> System memory. For our builds we'll be aiming at the 4-8GB range. Preferrably speeds of DDR3-1600 and above. Make sure to check your motherboard to see what speed and capacity you have. 

-Harddrive-> This is where you install your games! We want SATA 3Gb/s or 6Gb/s. Capacity ranging from 500GB to 1TB. Look for high ratings and max capacity.

-Optical Drive-> Your DVD/Blu-Ray drive. You can get drives that only read data, or upgrade to a burner that can do both.

-Keyboard/Mouse-> An often overlooked, but very important part of a build. Don't skimp on the mouse if you want to do serious gaming. Razer will stand out as a popular and quality brand.

-Operating System-> Windows 7 and 8 will be the OS of choice. Make sure to get 64-bit version OEM System Builder version, not the upgrade. 64-bit gives the ability to use more than a combined 4GB of memory between RAM and the GPU's VRAM(Video RAM). 


Rig- Your PC | Proc- CPU | HDD- Harddrive | PSU - Power Supply | Mobo- Motherboard | KB/M- Keyboard/Mouse | Benchie- Benchmarks | OC- Overclock(-ed,)


-Always read the customer feedback. Don't buy crap because it's cheap.

-Check benchmarks before building. Especially GPU benchmarks. You'll want to know how well each graphics card performs in your anticipated titles before ordering. Tom's Hardware and andandtech are good sites to check

-Don't overclock without pro advice from PC forums, aftermarket Heatsink/Fan, and quality thermal compound like Arctic Silver 5. Only use proven overclockers like Black Edition CPUs. 

-Don't sweat the tech details! Just make sure the parts are compatible and worry about how they work until later. When you make a burger you just want quality tasting meat, not to know what's inside the colon of the animal at slaughter.

Max Warp

Greeting compadres. I have quite a bit of territory to cover, so I'll move swiftly.

First carts(aka trolly, baskart). We've all been there. Some kind, elderly woman leaves it right in front of you after checking, conveniently blocking your route to the register. Charge up the nanosuit and kick that right up her ass. Blam. Nothing but a head, 5 depends, and a ruptured can of geritol(5oz. and a scooper salvaged).:P

Moving along we have oldschool emulation and console oddities. Remember the golden age of emu? Sitting in the closet with nothing but Nesticle and an overclocked Celeron roasting in an open rig for comfort. Then there was Genecyst. Later followed by a collaboration between the two programmers known as testicular cancer.


Pure jazz!

Then of course we have Bung's V64. "Legal" backup method for N64. At $60/cart, this thing really made sense for families with respectable N64 collections


Hold the phone, what sexy beast is this?!

Of course, no tale is complete without mentioning Mass Effect 3. I recently finished it, and let me just say what the f**k were they on? Could have made it simple: Kill the biggest reaper, kill the boy, have sex with Liara again, have dizygotic twins, get asthma, turn evil and enslave the galaxy, only to be turned back to good in episode VI. Makes more sense, but who am I to question such brilliance?

E3 Aftermath

So E3 is over, so I figured it's time for me to throw out my two cents and share some thoughts.

First off, WiiU and Vita...oh man, those are some weak names. I thought NGP(NeoGeoPocket?;)) was a great name for the PSP2. Looking forward to both systems, nonetheless. The prospect of dual-analogs, oled multi-touch screen, and tickle pad at $250 has me very excited. No tv-out is saddening, but whatever.

WiiU is crazy. I'm extremely bummed Nintendo decided to limit it to only 1 WiiU controller per system. This thing is a giant Wiimote with a screen and wifi. Can't be that spendy. The way I see it, they should have designed it for 2 controllers. Like everybody else, I'm dying to know what hardware it packs. The Zelda demo was incredible, but it doesn't scream, "I'm running on a 4850!" by any means. Regardless, support for only 1 WiiUmote is my biggest problem with the system.

Been spending a lot of time on the PSP lately. I was late to the scene, but the PSP has really come through for me since I spend a good deal of time watching Nick Jr. and Sprout with my kids. I recently picked up LBP and Mod Nation Racers at the low, low price of my identity being stolen. I also grabbed NBA 2K11, Jeanne d'Arc, and Twisted Metal 2.

Now NBA 2K11 seems like a Chinese-made port, but despite it's glitching and tripping, it's a quality game of b-ball. They have a good variety of jukes, so it has a nice flow to it.

Jeanne d'Arc has been a great change in pace, and has become one of my favorite PSP games. I love the gfx/artwork, the strategic combat is fun, story is good, anime cutscenes are cool, ect.

NBA: Mavs destroy Heat in the end

Where to start? I can't express how glad I am that Dirk and the Mavs pulled it off. They had great balanced teamwork, which almost always will beat raw, individual talent. Obviously the Mav's epic comeback win in Game 2 will live in infamy, but Game 5 is when the Heat were finally whipped and put in their place. The Jet was essential to the Mavs last 2 wins, and his domination of Lebron James was historic.

Which brings me around to the media, and in this case, Jim Rome and Stephen A. Smith, the self-appointed "heels" of the sports news world. After Jet made his comment that it was to be seen if Lebron could check him for 7 games, Rome and Smith jumped all over him saying that "Lebron is one of the greatest(obviously, not yet:roll:), and that Terry is gonna get put in his place. So here we have the media hyping up Lebron, but when Jet owned him in 5 and 6, and Lebron/Heat got shut down by Dallas' D, the media is all over him. What hypocrisy!

In the end, Coach Carlisle said it best. The Mavs are "on the ground" talent, while the Heat are "in the air talent". Too much respect for individual scoring, and highlight reel moves nowdays. Teamwork, good coaching, defense, freethrow shooting. These are the qualities that win championships. But the media wants no part in that.