High End System – Now you are talking!
With the High End system comes a lot more budgetary freedom while still remaining less expensive than a comparable boutique system. The processor is fastest Haswell processor currently available, the unlocked 4770K running at 3.5GHz stock with the potential to overclock it even further.
The motherboard paired with this processor is the ASUS Z87-EXPERT which features a lot of added functionality even for a high end Z87 board. You get the ability to use two of the three PCIe 16 slots at 8x if you pick up a second GPU which will offer enough bandwidth for you to get the most from your investments. Eight SATA 6Gbps ports and eight USB 3.0 ports allow plenty of peripherals to be attached and built in WiFi frees you from needing proximity to your router but the most unique feature is Thunderbolt support, something not many boards offer.
For the GPU the current best value for performance is the EVGA GeForce GTX 770 SuperClocked as sadly the prices of the R9 290 have gone through the roof at the same time availability has plummeted. That is not terrible news as the SC model will match up head to head with the R9 280X and allows you to consider picking up a G-Sync capable monitor.
RAM prices are always unstable but the quality of DDR3-1600 has only improved. Sure there are faster kits out there but you will end up doubling your investment for percentage increase in performance measured in single digits. On the other hand the Samsung 840 EVO 250GB is inexpensive and hard to beat as far as performance goes. 250GB should hold your OS, programs and Steam library with an inexpensive HDD relegated to long term storage as it should be.
In this day and age a discrete soundcard is truly a personal choice and is best left to those who not only know what an OPamp is but also has good enough ears to hear the difference between them. The ASUS Xonar DSX 7.1 is a great choice if you are doing more with your audio system than MP3s and gaming, otherwise it is arguably not the wisest use of your money.
It is wise to give this system a little more juice than it really needs as there is no reason your next upgrade should not be a second GPU. The CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX750 V2 750W sports four 6+2 PCIe power connectors which allows you to make that upgrade while also providing enough power to keep them both running.
|High End System Leaderboard|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-4770K – $328|
|Motherboard||ASUS Z87-EXPERT – $239|
|Memory||G.Skill 8GB DDR3-1600 – $83|
|Graphics Card||EVGA GeForce GTX 770 SuperClocked – $339|
|Sound Card||ASUS Xonar DSX PCIe 7.1 – $56|
|Storage||Samsung 840 EVO Series 250GB SSD – $169|
|Case||Corsair Carbide 200R – $59|
|Power Supply||Corsair Enthusiast Series TX750 – $122|
|Optical Drive||ASUS 24x DVD-RW – $21|
|OS||Windows 8 OEM – $99|