This is the fourth article in a series where I am looking at finding the best desktop PC I can build for myself in $1,200 or less with a small monthly budget to improve it as we go. In the last article I showed off the case I wanted for my PC as well as accessories I planned to get. At this point, I have used up $132.95 of my $1,200 budget.
Now to get to the heart and brains of this PC.
At the very beginning, I have a decision that needs to be made. I need to decide if I am going to go Intel or AMD with my processor as the motherboard typically is recommended with one or the other. Here is the debate that is going on in my head.
They are renown for being effective, but expensive. Most chip sets come at different tiers, with the highest tier potentially being 400% more expensive than the AMD, even though the specs look similar. But when tested against the competition, they nearly always out perform expectations.
These chips are seen as the least expensive. If I were to buy a blogging PC that may once a day do Photoshop, I would not think twice and get this processor. Unfortunately, while they show similar specs as Intel, they nearly always perform inferior to Intel. They also are known for failures on delivery as well as a shorter life span.
With that being said, here are some of my options for processors for my PC:
Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor
This is the top tier of Intel’s current processors and honestly, it is a butt kicker. But at the same time, you are paying a hefty amount for having the best. $328 is not a deal.
AMD FX-8350 4.0GHz 8-Core Processor
This is the top tier of the AMD model which boasts 8-Core processor, but in many online tech blogs that test it out, it performs less powerfully than Intel’s i7. If I were to go AMD, I wouldn’t pay more than $100 for it and would probably go with a less powerful version.
Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor
While not the top tier Intel chip, it’s price range is significant and 3.5GHz is remarkable, really.
At last, I think we have found a winner.
With identifying the processor I want to use, it makes it a little easier to identify the best solution for motherboards. I will include all I was initially looking at below. It is important to know several things that go with your motherboard, including the limitations of types and maximum amounts of RAM your motherboard can handle, on-board video if you do not plan to buy a video card, CPU socket, and number of SATA ports for your hard drives.
Asus MAXIMUS VII HERO ATX LGA1150 Motherboard
This includes 4 x 240-pin DIMM with 32GB max memory, 8 SATA ports, onboard video, and LGA1150 CPU socket. There are a ton of great reviews, but I found I could get 2 less SATA ports for $70 less below. So I’m not paying the full price here.
Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard
This includes the AM3+ CPU socket that doesn’t work with Intel, 4 x 240-pin DIMM at 32GB max memory, onboard video, and 6 SATA ports. Amazing price, but it doesn’t work with Intel.
MSI Z97-GAMING 5 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard
This includes 4 x 240-pin DIMM with 32GB max memory, 6 SATA ports, on-board video if I need it (I didn’t), and LGA1150 CPU socket.
This is the best price that works with the processor I wanted.