Game Front’s 2013 Holiday Gift Guide

Table of Contents


PC Components
This section authored by Devin Connors

Christmas 2045: RoboSanta9000 continues his campaign of destruction, delivering computer hardware to all the good androids while decimating what’s left of the human population.

[Sorry, what was that? Oh, this isn't the Kris Kringle fan-fiction writing workshop? No...okay...well, you don't need to call the poli--...okay, I'll just take my things and go.]

It’s November, which means it’s time to buy all the holiday gifts for all the people. You’ll buy some games, some [Hank Hill voice] gaming accessories, and probably (since you’re reading Game Front) some PC hardware!

So what’s a guy or girl to get for the PC gamer in the family? Thankfully, we’re in a year that saw new hardware from AMD, Nvidia, and Intel, so there’s no shortage of new tech for the PC Gaming Master or Maiden in your life.


Video Card: High-End

Nvidia GTX 770 (Gigabyte OC Windforce 3X)

Price: $379.99
Buy it from: Amazon


The GTX 770 has always been a powerful solution, but it’s such a good deal at $349.99 (assuming you get the 2 GB standard clock model). It’s been six months since the 770 hit the streets, which is plenty of time for vendors to work their cooler and overclocking magic.

I like the Gigabyte OC Windforce 3X at a relatively low price ($380) for a 4 GB 770 model, so there’s tangible cost savings right off the bat. The included overclocking software isn’t going to be as user-friendly as what eVGA runs in their ACX series, but the speed, price and three fan cooling solution are the big winners here.

Honorable mention: The eVGA Superclocked ACX series (a great choice for overclockers).

Budget option: MSI N770 TF 2GD5/OC (a cheap but quick 2 GB GTX 770 model)


Video Card: Mid-Range

Nvidia GTX 760 (eVGA Superclocked with ACX Cooler) — $260

Price: $245.98
Buy it from: Amazon


The GTX 760 is one of the best deals in PC gaming right now — the performance you get well under the $300 mark is fantastic. The Superclocked eVGA model I picked out is ten dollars over the $249.99 MSRP, but you get a custom dual-fan ACX cooler, a substantial boost over the reference design speed (1,072 MHz versus 980 MHz on the stock card), and the awesome-as-always Precision X software.

If $250-$300 is too rich for your blood, check out the Radeon HD 7850 cards from AMD, this MSI model in particular. Solid 1920 x 1080 performance at $149.99 (after rebates).


CPU

Intel Core i5-4670K

Price: $219.99
Buy it from: Amazon


If you’re buying for a gamer who needs a new CPU, there’s no need to spend more than $200-$225 on a processor — the gaming performance between $200 and $350 processors is negligible, if nonexistent.

Intel’s Core i5-4670K is a great deal at $220. You get four physical cores clocked at 3.4 GHz, and a chip that will have no gaming trouble for years to come. And if this is going in a starter gaming PC, you don’t need to buy a video card right off the bat. The 4670K’s integrated HD 4600 graphics will handle light gaming duties while making short work of HD video and web browsing.


Storage: SSD

Samsung 840 EVO

Price: $174.99
Buy it from: Amazon


Solid state drives share one thing in common: They’re all pretty damn quick. But the similarities end there, as only a handful of brands are consistently recommended thanks to their rock-solid firmware and reliability.

The Samsung 840 EVO series is one such brand, as the line has been a top pick amongst reviewers since the 830 model days. the 250 GB model can be found for around $175, and that money buys you one of the fastest, most reliable SSDs around. It’s available in sizes ranging from 120 GB to 1 TB, too.

Honorable mention: Samdisk Ultra Plus 256 GB — a little less speed for a little less money.


Storage: Mechanical

Western Digital Black 2 TB

Price: $164.95
Buy it from: Amazon


The go-to combo for PC gamers these days? A quick SSD for your OS and the like, and a big, burly mechanical drive for games and media. Pairing this 2 TB Western Digital Black drive with the Samsung 840 EVO mentioned above? That’s a potent one-two punch that will have your OS loaded up quick, with no problem storing those giant PC games you play every day (Battlefield 4 starts at about 24 GB, and that’s before installing DLC).


Laptops

Origin PC EON17-SLX

Price: Starts at $1,916
Buy it from: Origin PC


Origin PC is my personal favorite when it comes to gaming laptops. Let’s cut to the chase: Most of the gaming laptop models out there are based on the same ODM designs, usually coming from the likes of Clevo. The real difference in these laptops comes in two forms, a) custom hardware add-ons, and b) customer service. Origin PC does a fantastic job on both fronts, particularly with their 17-inch, SLI-toting EON17-SLX model. Starting at $1,916, the EON17-SLX is an absolute beast, especially if you add dual GTX 780M graphics cards. If your gamer has been, like, the NICEST kid on the planet, the $3,000 model (with the aforementioned dual 780M’s) is a screamer to say the least.


Alienware 14, 17

Price: Starts at $1099.99
Buy it from: Dell


Alienware is another company to look at, with their new Alienware 14 model being a great choice for gamers who want solid performance in a slightly smaller form factor. Starting at $1099.99, with well-equipped models going for around $1,400, the 14 isn’t the thinnest laptop on the block, but it is a little more backpack-friendly than 17-inch gaming laptops.

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1 Comment on Game Front’s 2013 Holiday Gift Guide

AxΣtwin

On November 16, 2013 at 10:44 am

I just want to say, your PC components section is the whole reason why people think PC’s are several hundreds of dollars more expensive than they need to be.