PC Perspective Holiday Gift Guide 2013
PC Component Selections
It's that time of year again! When those of us lucky enough with the ability, get and share the best in technology with our friends and family. You are already the family IT manager so why not help spread the holiday cheer by picking up some items for them, and hey...maybe for you. :)
This year we are going to break up the guide into categories. We'll have a page dedicated to PC components, one for mobile devices like notebooks and tablets and one for PC accessories. Then, after those specific categories, we'll have an open ended collection of pages where each PC Perspective team member can throw in some wildcards.
Our Amazon code is: pcper04-20
Intel Core i7-4770K Haswell Processor
The Intel Core i7-4770K is likely the best deal in computing performance today, after to power just about any configuration of PC you can think of without breaking much a sweat. You want to game? This part has you covered? You want to encode some video? The four cores and included HyperThreading support provide just about as much power as you could need. Yes there are faster processors in the form of the the Ivy Bridge-E and even 10+ core Xeon processors, but those are significantly more expensive. For a modest price of $299 you can get what is generally considered the "best" processor on the market.
Corsair Carbide Series Air 540 Case
Cases are generally considered a PC component that is more about the preference of the buyer but there are still fundamentals that make cases good, solid cases. The new Corsair Carbide Air 540 is unique in a lot of ways. The square-ish shape allows for a division of your power supply, hard drives and SSDs from the other motherboard-attached components. Even though the case is a bit shorter than others on the market, there is plenty of working room inside thanks to the Corsair dual-chamber setup and it even includes a pair of high-performance Corsair AF140L fans for intake and exhaust. The side panel window is HUGE allowing you to show off your goods and nice touches like the rubber grommeted cable routing cut outs and dust filters make this one of the best mid-range cases available.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Graphics Card
Let's just assume that you REALLY love the person you are looking at buying a gift for here. Or it's you. If you REALLY love them (or you) then you want them to have the best, right? As it stands today, the GeForce GTX 780 Ti graphics card is the fastest single GPU option on the market, but be prepared to pay for it. At $699 this kind of gaming performance doesn't come cheap but you will be able to brag about your hardware purchase to literally everyone on the Internet. Everyone. Except maybe that guy with GTX 780 Ti's in SLI. Screw him.
A couple of reasonable alternatives? The AMD Radeon R9 290 priced at $399 offers a lot of the same performance of the GTX 780 Ti though with some louder fans and some lingering questions of performance variations. Still, with an extra $300 you can maybe add that to savings for that 4K monitor...
Samsung 840 EVO Series SSD
- 120GB - Amazon.com - $99
- 250GB - Amazon.com - $170
- 500GB - Amazon.com - $332
- 750GB - Amazon.com - $450
- 1TB - Amazon.com - $525
If you don't have an SSD in your system, laptop or desktop, then you are missing out on the biggest revolution in PC performance in a decade. Yeah, I went there. Solid state drives are awesome and the price just keeps coming down. The Samsung 840 EVO series of SSDs is probably the best pick from the staff at PC Perspective and you can pick up a 500GB unit for under $350 now, or just about $0.68/GB.
AMD FX-6300 6-core Processor Black Edition
The second processor to make our list is here after a recommendation in our article from November that details how to build a competitive gaming PC against the new generation of consoles. The FX-6300 is a 6-core processor for just over $100 and it offers more than enough power for nearly all users including gamers and enthusiasts. Because you'll be able to find lower priced motherboards to go along with this CPU, the AMD FX-6300 (and other associated FX parts) are a great start to budget-minded PC build.