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Build Guide

Enthusiast Gaming Build

by ThoughtA

16
25 Comments
NOTE: A more recent version of this guide is available here.

Description

This high end build features a black and red theme. As such, you'll find numerous part choices have been made to achieve this aesthetic. If black and red isn't your thing, feel free to use our Colors filter to select parts with different colors

CPU and Cooler

At this budget, we're running an i5-6600K. This quad-core CPU features an unlocked multiplier for easy and often significant overclocking. While not all games will benefit from overclocking, games like Overwatch can benefit significantly from a faster CPU. Overclocking can also help your CPU stave off obsolescence for a good while longer. All of that being said, if you're not comfortable overclocking, you can save money by stepping down to an i5-6600, removing the non-stock cooler, and going with a cheaper H170 motherboard. If you do remove the CAPTAIN 240 EX cooler from your list, note that the i5-6600k does not come with its own cooler, and you'll have to add one. The i5-6600 does come with a cooler. As mentioned above, our selected cooler is the Deepcool CAPTAIN 240 EX. It's a sharp-looking cooler and keeps with the black and red theme.

Motherboard

We have selected the MSI Z170A Tomahawk AC motherboard to continue our black and red theme and allow overclocking via the i5-6600k's unlocked multiplier. This board supports 4 DIMMs for up to 64GB of RAM at several overclockable RAM speeds. It also include some basic expectations like a USB 3.0 header. The Z170A Tomahawk AC has 6 SATA 3.0 connectors for all your storage needs. Additionally, SLI/Crossfire is an option down the road with this board, though you'll want to make sure your PSU could handle multiple GPUs if you go that route.

Storage

Storage requirements vary from to user so we've selected both a solid state drive and a mechanical drive as a base line for this guide. Since our motherboard has an m.2 port we can avoid using a couple extra cables by adding an m.2 to the part list. The parametric selection chooses an m.2 drive at 512GB or larger which you can use for your operating system, games and regularly accessed programs. Should you need more storage we have also included a parametric filter to choose a 3TB or larger mechanical drive that runs at 7200rpm. Feel free to add more as less storage based on your usage and needs.

Memory

For memory, we're filtering for the best-priced 2x8GB kit of black and red DDR4 RAM. Feel free to click the "From parametric filter" link to see the various options and pick a color that suits you. With how fast RAM is these days, aesthetics will likely matter more to you than the negligible performance difference faster RAM provides in gaming. We're also taking a sparse selection of roughly 1TB SSDs that have proven to be fast, and we're including a filter for the best-priced 3TB mechanical hard drive. Everyone's storage needs differs, so feel free to change those capacities to your heart's desire.

GPU

Our GPU is the very popular GeForce GTX 1080. This is currently one of the fastest single GPU video cards in the market - you may want to look into a 120-144Hz and/or 2560x1440 resolution monitor for this bad boy. The parametric filter is set for the best-priced 1080 available, but feel free to click the "From parametric filter" link to browse our listing of 1080s. For those interested in VR, the GTX 1080 will have no problem playing any and and all applications currently on the market.

Case

All of our parts are housed in the recently released Thermaltake View 27. This case stands out with its gull-wing window and translucent front panel, and it features 2 front panel USB 3.0 ports and excellent cable management. Cases tend to be highly personal choices, so make sure you browse our listed cases to see what suits you.

PSU

Powering the build is a sparse selection of some of the most well-reviewed PSUs available - all without breaking the bank. All of them are certified 80+ Gold and either semi-modular or fully-modular.

Part List Customize This Part List

Compatibility Check: No issues/incompatibilities found.

Estimated Wattage: 397W
Component Selection Base Promo Shipping Tax Price Where
CPU $192.40 Free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime $192.40 Amazon Buy
CPU Cooler $87.45 Free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime $87.45 Amazon Buy
Motherboard $140.88 -$50.00 $90.88 OutletPC Buy
$50.00 mail-in rebate
Memory
From parametric filter
  • Type: 288-pin DIMM
  • Size: 16GB (2x8GB)
  • Heat Spreader: Yes
  • Color: Black/Red, Red, Red/Black, Red/White, White/Red
$99.99 $99.99 NCIX US Buy
Storage $249.99 Free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime $249.99 Amazon Buy
From parametric filter
  • Capacity: 3TB - 10TB
  • Type: 7200RPM
  • Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s
  • Form Factor: 3.5"
$65.95 Free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime $65.95 Amazon Buy
Video Card
From parametric filter
  • Chipset: GeForce GTX 1080
$499.99 $4.99 $504.98 Newegg Buy
Case $79.99 Free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime $79.99 Amazon Buy
Power Supply $79.90 -$20.00 $7.99 $67.89 Newegg Buy
$20.00 mail-in rebate
Base Total: $1496.54
Mail-in Rebates: -$70.00
Shipping: $12.98
Total: $1439.52
* Using your selected merchants and only including nearby in-store pickup prices)
* Some physical dimension restrictions cannot (yet) be automatically checked, such as cpu cooler / RAM clearance with modules using tall heat spreaders.

Comments Sorted by:

byrnesy45 2 points 8 months ago

hey is there any other connectors or joiners that are needed? or does it all fit together neatly?

bfh13 1 point 8 months ago

Same question here. This is my first build. I ordered almost the same as from this list, but I got a different (bundled) cooler, a smaller SSD , and double the RAM (2x 16GB). Also, are there any unique tools I might need for assembly? Thanks!

Unicyclemen 2 points 7 months ago

You guys should be good, all you need is a screw driver and a place to put screws so you don't loose them.

ATSEEKER 2 points 8 months ago

What if I replace GTX 1080 by 1070. Will it be able to give me a good display in a 4k monitor and good frame rate. Thank you.

WirelessCables 1 Build 1 point 8 months ago

Well, if by "display", you mean graphics settings, then yes. I believe you can get high (depending on the game, of course) settings at 60 fps at 4k resolution. I can't speak from personal experience, but this is what I've heard.

Zmaxx2015 1 point 7 months ago

Probably not im gaming on a oc 6600k to 4.6ghz and a 1070 and at 1440p im barely hovering above 60 on more intense gpu based games like bf 1

SirFlamenco 1 point 7 months ago

no, just no

Justiceinacan 4 Builds 1 point 8 months ago

Wouldn't the wattage be a bit tight if you took your overclocking far on a 550W? Or is Skylake just that efficient?

526christian 2 points 8 months ago

You could run an overclocked i7-6700K 1080 SLI gaming PC on a good 550W PSU if it had the right power connectors and still have a bit of headroom. That link also shows power draw from the wall for an OC 6700K 1080 PC as being <300W. Don't worry about 550W in this part list. Even with a bunch of overclocking, it's well more than sufficient.

lunchbag65 1 point 8 months ago

Bought the parts list from the guide dated 10/19. Mounted the cooler radiator and fans in the top of the case but it interferes with the memory sticks. What was the physical layout supposed to be?

lunchbag65 1 point 7 months ago

No reply I guess. I'm wondering how much thought went into the parts list. I was able to complete the build by front mounting the CPU cooler but had to modify the hard drive rack which was a modification I wasn't expecting to have to do. Shouldn't you mention that a case modification would be necessary? Or are you just listing a bunch of parts that are compatible without regard to whether they fix in the case you recommended? Was this a "guide" or maybe a "speculation".

mrdanielsir 1 point 8 months ago

A GTX 1080 for under £500? Where on earth is PCPP getting these prices from?

INfamous_131313 1 point 8 months ago

y such a cheap case when spent $810 an the video card

ThoughtA staff submitter 5 points 8 months ago

It's not as simple "more money = better," especially with cases.

RaziA-H 1 point 7 months ago

I've built in that case before. There is not much room for cable management and with some mobo layouts may just ruin the look of your build. There is very very tight space for LEDs if you want some. If you put LEDs along the bottom, the side panel simply will not close, so i ended up putting them on top of the PSU, closing the side panel, then poking a long stick from behind the motherboard to push them down. I also had to put some cables into the drive cages cause there wasn't any space behind the mobo tray. I also hung some on the cable management holes that I wasn't using

Evil_Paroxysm 3 Builds 1 point 7 months ago

All of the Spec cases are like that. Would not build in one again unless using a modular psu, which this list includes.

RaziA-H 1 point 7 months ago

I've heard the Spec-03 is much better but cant speak from experience

jah23 1 point 7 months ago

may i know what monitor are you using?

Jordan4019 1 point 7 months ago

Hello, I need to know if i will be able to put this together, Because this will be my first build and i need to know if a new person too pc's can put this together

Best regards, Jordan

Jordan4019 1 point 7 months ago

I need a reply before The 15th

ChrisTofuRoast 1 point 7 months ago

Hey Jordan,

The spec alpha is a great case and isnt particularly difficult to work with. I think this will be a great first build for you. PCs are relatively easy to build as everything has a sort of slot that it fits in quite perfectly. However I urge you to watch some youtube tutorials walking you through building a computer while the parts maybe different the process is still the same and will teach you a lot about the do's and donts. If you do this the only part that will be particularly difficult will be applying your thermal paste to your CPU (speaking of which remember to order some of that to you do not want to run your computers CPU without it) but alike the other stuff in this build there are youtube tutorials on that as well.

With all that said good luck with your first build! -Chris

Jimbostratus 1 point 7 months ago

If I don't plan on overclocking will i still need the additional liquid CPU cooler or will the stock cooler work just fine?

ThoughtA staff submitter 2 points 7 months ago

A stock cooler would be fine, but the 6600K doesn't come with a stock cooler. You'd want to get an i5-6500 for the stock cooler and savings, and you could get a B150 or H170 motherboard for additional savings if you aren't overclocking.

Shadowriser609 1 point 7 months ago

Where can I find this case on the website.

deathbat6916 1 point 7 months ago

Am I the only person here who honestly can't go without an optical drive still? I know, "obsolete," but I still buy physical copies of music (as well as write discs for my family) and occasionally games as well.

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Reason:
Note: Wattages are estimates only. Actual power draw may differ from listed values.
Component Estimated Wattage
Intel - Core i5-6600K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor 11W - 91W
Deepcool - CAPTAIN 240 EX 153.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler 10W - 15W
Asus - Z170 PRO GAMING ATX LGA1151 Motherboard 17W - 70W
ADATA - XPG Z1 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-2400 Memory 11W - 11W
Hitachi - Ultrastar 7K4000 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive 4W - 20W
PNY - CS1311 960GB 2.5" Solid State Drive 2W - 10W
MSI - GeForce GTX 1080 8GB DUKE OC Video Card 45W - 180W
Total: 100W - 397W