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Plain Jane (pure gaming build)

by JaneGoodall


Part List View full price breakdown


Date Published

Aug. 27, 2014

Date Built

May 31, 2014

CPU Clock Rate

3.4 GHz

CPU Temperature Under Load

61.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

5 GHz


Too many gaming builds skimp on the GPU so they can afford to liquid cool an i7 or buy a $200 armored motherboard.

I spent my money on the graphics card and the power supply and made sure I wouldn't have any bottlenecks elsewhere for a graphics card upgrade or two.

The case is old so I couldn't tuck the cables behind the motherboard. But twisties have helped with cable management.

Primary components:

Graphics card: The r9 290x cost $500 before taxes when I bought it, much cheaper than the 780 Ti. I've noticed glitchy graphics even in AMD optimized games that I didn't notice when I had an NVidia GTX 460 but I haven't done any formal testing yet. I'll probably play games at the same settings on my old NVidia and my new 290x at some point.

Power supply: Based on the Wattage reported by my Kill-A-Watt, I'll be able to dual CrossFire if I ever need to. Otherwise, a 550W Gold would have been better. All PSU-GPU cables have both 6-pin and 8-pin connectors at the GPU end so I had tie the unneeded connectors down.

Secondary components:

SSD: Reliable, enough storage for all the games I play at any given time. I have an HDD and another SSD in the case that I recycled from other computers but I haven't had to plug them in yet.

Motherboard: All solid capacitors and name brand. Has most if not all of the quality components from this article.

CPU: It will last a couple* 2.5 year graphics card upgrades before it starts bottlenecking new graphics cards.

RAM: I bought the RAM in January to upgrade a different build that I was going to use as a programming workstation until I got a Macbook Pro from work. Otherwise I would have gotten cheaper, 1600 MHz RAM.

Recycled primary components

Monitor: 60 Hz IPS. I've used a 120 Hz TN and a 60 Hz IPS and I like the IPS more but I guess it's personal preference.

Recycled secondary components

Case: Some old Antec from around 2005. It doesn't let me tuck the cables behind the motherboard but I did the best I could with twisties and cable management.

Fans: One intake, one exhaust. CPU temp hasn't passed the low 60's.

* Probably 2 upgrades, not 3, but an overclocked i7 wouldn't get me 3 either. Though the r9 290x should last a lot longer than two and a half years. :)

Comments Sorted by:

Sheepzorable 3 Builds 4 points 56 months ago

Might want to fix up that GPU sag...

Under_Score 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

Quick question. How do you prevent/fix GPU sag?

[comment deleted]
pegotico 2 Builds 1 point 56 months ago

A cheap easy way is to use zip ties to make a loop that suspends the card onto a part of the frame/case.

JaneGoodall submitter 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

Thanks, I'll try that or a wooden dowel.

[comment deleted by staff]
JaneGoodall submitter 1 Build 2 points 56 months ago

Thanks, I'll find a wooden dowel from somewhere other than Hobby Lobby though.

Under_Score 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

Cheers mate.

seesamsea 3 points 56 months ago

really impressed by how well you budgeted.. normally builds i see with a 290x go for well over 2k because people just overspend

JaneGoodall submitter 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

Thanks! I see a lot of those builds too:

+$130 (armored motherboard)

+$100 (i7)

+$100 (Corsair Hydro CPU cooler)

+$80 (unneeded extra 8GB RAM)


+$410 on unneeded secondary components

Mine is around $1500 if you include the peripherals, monitor (bought 2 years ago for $250, under $200 now), what I would have spent on the case, and what Windows would have cost. But I probably would have spent $40 on the case and a lot of those builds spend a lot more than that, so the gap grows if you count the case.

I could have bought an i5-44xx and cheaper RAM and cut the price by around $50 with exactly the same gaming performance and upgradability.

Navim 2 points 56 months ago

You might want to check the temps on the video card, as i read on some reviews the XFX can get pretty hot....

JaneGoodall submitter 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

It's fine, the stock r9 290's/290x's have problems, though.

zazthebeast 1 Build 2 points 56 months ago

What case? You forgot to put it in the parts list

JaneGoodall submitter 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

I tried to add it and the monitor after I published the build. It's an old Antec from around 2005.

EDIT: Figured out how to add it.

friedfacekkk 1 Build 1 point 56 months ago

I'm probably really late to the party, but I freaking love it! $1100 and you squeeze in a 290x. +1

JaneGoodall submitter 1 Build 2 points 56 months ago

Thanks! I could have gotten it cheaper if I wasn't planning on dual CrossFiring in the future (550W Gold PSU) and spent about $15 less on the RAM. An i5-4440 would have done just as well too.

I don't get why some gaming rigs have $100 liquid CPU coolers on i7's but "can't afford" anything better than a GTX 760 or r9 270. I would say "to each his own" but those rigs objectively perform worse than cheaper rigs with better GPU's. :D

EDIT: It could have been $60 cheaper, $100 if you want to forego CrossFiring.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Core i5-4440 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor $180.00
Motherboard ASRock B85 Pro4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard Purchased For $70.00
Memory Patriot Viper 3 Low Profile Blue 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $73.00
Storage Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive Purchased For $140.00
Video Card XFX Radeon R9 290X 4GB Double Dissipation Video Card Purchased For $500.00
Power Supply SeaSonic M12II 850W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply Purchased For $110.00
Other Antec case from circa 2005 Purchased For $0.00
Other LGIPS 235 monitor ($250 in June 2012, under $200 now) Purchased For $0.00
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available $1073.00
Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-09-06 22:14 EDT-0400
ownerbeast 0 points 53 months ago

This sucks...

jBuller99 -3 points 56 months ago

Stock cooling? Invest in better cooling so it doesn't blow up lmao

pegotico 2 Builds 8 points 56 months ago

why would a non-k (not overclockable) chip blow up with the stock cooling....

jBuller99 6 points 56 months ago

Didn't pay attention I guess, Sorry.

BaSkA -3 points 56 months ago

A 30$ CPU cooler and a better case wouldn't hurt.

At least you can play without any problems for a while, I guess.

JaneGoodall submitter 1 Build 2 points 56 months ago

Both would hurt because I'd have less money to spend on important components, not to mention the house I'm saving to buy in a few years. :)

[comment deleted by staff]