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Build the ultimate Intel Haswell PC for under $1000

Marco Chiappetta | June 6, 2013
It's official: Intel's fourth-generation Core processors, code-named Haswell, are loose in the market. Like the Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge microarchitectures that preceded it, Haswell is a big step forward for Intel's Core family, simultaneously maximizing CPU and GPU performance while consuming less power.

Normally I would spring for a high-end case with plenty of cooling, but that wasn't possible, given my overall budget ceiling of $1000. Luckily--considering its relatively high performance--Haswell isn't particularly power-hungry, thanks to its 84W thermal design power. Likewise, the Radeon HD 7790 card I chose doesn't consume an undue amount of power, with its 85W TDP. As such, this system won't pump out a ton of heat, so a mainstream midsize tower with a few fans and an open floor plan should do just fine. After a bit of research, I decided to go with NZXT's Source 210. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better midsize tower case for the price (about $35), and I love its understated aesthetic. The Source 210 comes with a 120mm case fan, but it has mounts for four more and plenty of vents all around.

Last, I needed a power supply. Intel has put some serious work into ensuring that all parts of its latest platform drain minimal power, and it's important to use a high-efficiency, Haswell-ready power supply with Intel's new processors. Among the many viable options available, I went with a 450W FSP Group Raider--for three reasons. First, its 450W capacity meant that it was more than beefy enough for my build. Second, the FSP Group Raider is Haswell-ready and is 80-Plus Bronze certified. And third, it's built by a reputable manufacturer, an especially important consideration with power supplies.

To summarize, the complete parts list for the system is as follows:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-4770K ($339)
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte Z87-UD3H ($180)
  • GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 7790 Dual-X ($135)
  • Memory: 8GB (4GB x 2) Kingston HyperX Black DDR3-1600 Dual-Channel Kit ($49)
  • Case: NZXT Source 210 Mid-Tower ($35)
  • OS drive: AData SX900 128GB SSD ($119)
  • Bulk storage: WD Caviar Blue 500GB, 7200RPM, 64MB Cache HDD ($59)
  • Optical drive: Lite-On SATA DVD-R ($18)
  • PSU: FSP Group Raider 450W Haswell-Ready Power Supply ($55)

Total cost for the hardware at the time of this writing: a cool $989.

Putting it all together
Thanks to the many standardized components involved, assembling a system today is fairly straightforward and requires only a few tools. Though some people may disagree with my methods, I like to get all of the core components situated and set up before putting them into the case and then finish everything off by installing the PSU and neatly routing cables to their necessary locations.

Start by installing the CPU on the motherboard and affixing the cooler. The CPU fits into the socket in only one way and requires no force at all. Simply lift the locking lever and socket lid, pop in the CPU, and lock the lid and lever back down again. Installing the cooler involves little more than lining up the mounting pegs with the correct holes around the CPU socket on the motherboard and pushing down firmly on the four locking pins that surround the heatsink. Next, snap the memory into DIMM slots 1 and 2 on the motherboard, and you're ready to get things mounted.


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