A companion to our Entry-Level Gaming PC Buyer's Guide, our Enthusiast Gaming PC Guide offers processor and motherboard recommendations that provide the best bang for buck in a system with a $2000 budget. We provide suggestions for both an Intel and an AMD system, although most other components will remain the same for each of the systems.
Quite a few new components make their debut in the March edition of the guide, including an updated AMD motherboard selection as well as new system case, memory and solid state drive recommendations.
System Case: COOLER MASTER HAF X (RC-942-KKN1)
Current Cost: $185
Few of the component choices you make will have as significant — and as enduring — an impact on the system you end up with as the system case. Given how long you'll be living with this selection (potentially through multiple system builds and upgrades), you don't want to skimp here; at the same time you also don't want to break the bank.
We've once again decided to select another case, this time going with another of Cooler Master's offerings: the company's flagship HAF X case. The HAF X (High Air Flow X) is a full tower case that weighs in at 31.6 lbs, and is sized at 9.1" (W) x 23.2" (H) x 21.7" (D). Included are two 200mm fans at the top and side of the case, a 140mm fan in the rear, and a 230mm fan in the front, illuminated by a red LED. The case offers six 5.25" drive bays, five 3.5" bays and nine expansion slots. Its front ports include two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA port, one IEEE1394 port and audio ports.
Power Supply: Corsair HX Series CMPSU-750HX 750W ATX12V 2.3
Current Cost: $144
Our power supply recommendation remains the Corsair HX CMPSU-750HX 750W, an 80 Plus Silver certified modular unit that will help keep things from getting cluttered while still providing all the power you can expect to need in an enthusiast gaming system. Backed by a seven year warranty, this is a unit that demonstrates how Corsair earned its stout reputation in the industry.
AMD CPU: FX-8150 (3.6GHz)
Current Cost: $250
For our AMD build, we're sticking with the eight-core with the eight-core 3.6GHz FX-8150. This AM3+ socket processor comes with 8MB of L3 cache and 1MB of L2 cache dedicated to each of its eight cores. And if its out-of-the-box speeds aren't good enough, overclocking it should pose no challenge and will give you a nice performance boost.