We are starting off June with a bit of a bang!
This is the first ever in-house developed PC part lists. We’ll be doing these once a month or so, and we’ll try to make our part lists a little better than the competition. We are going to optimize our builds around 2 mains things. The first will be performance, the second will be noise. We are also going to recommend a target resolution for each build. Building a $3000 monster makes absolutely no sense if it’s connected to a 60 Hz, 1080p display. There will be other qualities in our builds too – we are going to strip any unnecessary parts from the PC (who needs an optical drive anyway?) to focus on getting as much raw performance as we can out of the system for a given price point. But what about where performance doesn’t make sense? What the point of 36 processor threads if your primary workload is gaming? In this instances, we might recommend putting the money into something else, like a network storage array that can double as a plex server to compliment your PC, or maybe custom water cooling loop as it both looks really nice and also helps reduce noise levels. So with all that preamble out of the way, I give you the June 2017 part list. The part lists were assembled using PC Part Picker, making it easy for you to view and alter the build to your taste.
Best build under $750 Tower only
Target resolution is 1080P for this build. The two major pieces to this build are the Ryzen 1500X and the RX470 GPU. We selected the RX580 for its excellent price/performance (the RX470 is currently very hard to find thanks to either mine) and Freesync compatibility. This build is designed with the expectation that the user will buy a Freesync monitor to go with it. In fact, most of our lower priced builds will feature AMD GPUs as the value proposition at this price point is impossible to ignore. Aside from the that, the Corsair 200R case is solid, no frills case with two included fans. There is no CPU heatsink included with this build, to try and keep the price down and allow for faster RAM, which Ryzen CPUs thrive with. I’d recommend upgrading the CPU to the Ryzen 1500X as it’s higher clock speed should give better gaming performance.
Best build under $1500 Tower only
Target resolution is 1440P. This PC is capable of exceeding 60 FPS in most games at maximum quality settings at this resolution. CPU heavy lifting is taken care of by a Ryzen 1700X and, as with all Ryzen CPUs, we pair it with fast RAM. The CPU is cooled by a massive Noctua cooler, keeping things cool enough and very quiet at the same time. You could also opt for AIO liquid cooler, however, these systems are more complex than the Noctua and don’t offer much in the way of real-world benefit for the typical user. Storage is a 1-2 punch of fast m.2 based storage for the OS and a hybrid hard drive taking care of and accelerating all large storage items – think of it as a steam drive. Finally, the GPU selected is a GTX 1070. The GTX 1070 is slightly faster than the Titan X (Maxwell) and as such has no trouble driving this resolution. It is strongly recommended to get a monitor that supports G-Sync to go along with it, just be forwarned that 1440P G-Sync monitors can be a little pricey. If a variable refresh monitor cannot be purchased then rest easy as the 1070 can drive most games above 60 FPS at this resolution. Lastly, all these parts fit comfortably inside a Fractal Define C case. It’s a nice looking and good performing case, with a reasonable amount of room to grow.https://pcpartpicker.com/list/2KF4QV
Best build under $2000 Tower only
The target resolution for this build is 4k. Alternatively, you could also look into a high refresh 1440P monitor, however, when doing high refresh gaming you might find a small benefit to moving to an Intel 7700k based system. For this build we decided to stick to the Ryzen 7 line as we feel that at these higher resolutions you’re generally GPU bound and moving into the future we expect more and more games to become more thread aware, giving the edge to AMD’s CPU in the long run.
The idea with the 2k build was to take the 1.5k build then upgrade the video card to the 1080 Ti, a card that performs very near the level of the Titan Xp for a fraction of the price. The Gigabyte AORUS version we selected has a massive, quiet cooler.
After upgrading the video card we still had some capital left over, so we upgraded the case to something prettier. Corsair’s Crystal case is, frankly gorgeous and will handily accommodate all the above parts. Lastly, we upgraded the CPU to the Ryzen 1800X. This is, frankly, a ridiculous upgrade but no other part upgrade would give us the performance bump that a CPU upgraded did, so we maxed this out.
Best Build under $3000 Tower only
Spending this much on a gaming PC doesn’t really make sense, but if you’re going to do it, you might as well be smart about it. We took the 2k build and then doubled the video cards. In principle, this sounds like an easy thing, but in practice, it is not. The AORUS video cards we used to exhaust hot air into the case, meaning the top video card effectively heats the bottom one. This can result in throttling on the second GPU. To get around this issue, we can do two things. The first is a switch to a blower style cooler as seen in the founder edition. The issue here is, we see high temperatures and much higher noise levels. The get around both of these issues, we look to MSI’s Sea Hawk line. They are a double-slot GPU design with a closed-book liquid cooler attached. This solves all the above-mentioned problems, however, it does add cost – MSI’s solution costs $950 per card. While this is a lot of money, it’s a lot cheaper than building out a from scratch liquid cooling setup, and as such it gets the nod here. The high cost of the cards had to be offset by a slight decrease in CPU performance, so the 1800X was replaced with a 1700.
Best Possible Build – Price Doesn’t matter. Tower only
Intel is in for this build as we throw all sense of caution out the window and put in the largest motherboard in a massive case. We put in the fastest consumer level GPUs on earth (2 of them) and the fastest CPU on the market. The whole thing is massive and impractical, but also a lot of fun to look at. At $9456.65 it’s not affordable, and frankly probably won’t give you a better gaming experience than our 3k build – this exists purely as a ‘because we can’ exercise.
So that’s a wrap! Our first fully in-house build guide is complete, and it was a lot of fun to put together. Hopefully, this provides you with a good jumping off point for your own builds. Please remember to add the OS of your choice along with a good monitor, keyboard, mouse and headset to your build. Of the above options my personal favorites are the $750 build as it surprised me at just how cheap that much performance is, and the $2000 as it represents what I would call the highest end build before things start to get a little silly.