There have been a lot of debates regarding which is better to get, a PC, or a console. The reality is that it all depends on the way you want to enjoy games. For $700, you can build a better and faster rig, than any console available on the market, while for $1,300 you can get a PC so powerful that will last you for years to come.
Many gamers out there want their computer to push the limits of the game. They want to play any specific game, is ultra-high settings and with very high frame rates. In order to achieve this goal, you will have to build a high-end machine, but keep in mind that the average gamer doesn’t need this much power under the hood.
This rig is meant for people that want to use multiple monitors, with 1440p resolutions, while the settings of the game are maxed out. This configuration is not as expensive, nor it is as powerful as the “Large Pixel Collider”, but it is good enough to run the most demanding games available today, and it will continue to do so for the next few years, with no additional upgrades.
The total cost of this PC is around $2,300, but it can actually go down a little if you take advantage of the various offers available at most retailers. I wanted to make this rig as future proof as possible, so if you think that you might need an additional video card, more RAM, an extra SSD, or if you just want to overclock it like crazy, then keep in mind that you will be able to do that. This configuration has all the ports that you might need in the future and a great cooling system.
These are the computer parts that I recommend you get:
CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K
Motherboard: Asus Maximus VII Hero
RAM: 16 GB of G.Skill Ripjaw X 2133 MHz DDR3
Graphics Card: MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4G
Primary SSD: Plextor M.2 M6e PCIe SSD (256GB)
Secondary SSD: Samsung 850 EVO (500GB)
Additional Storage: Western Digital Black 2 TB
CPU Cooler: Corsair H90
Power Supply: EVGA Supernova 850 watt G2 80 Plus Gold
Disc Drive: LG Blu-ray reader
Case: Fractal Design Define R5
The Processor: Intel Core i7-4790K
A less powerful CPU core, like the Intel i5-4690K will get the job done in most cases, but if you want to get the most out of a CPU intensive game, then I recommend you get the i7-4790K. It has one of the highest stock clock speeds and it supports hyperthreading, that will improve your performance while playing games that benefit from multi-core processing.
The processor can also be overclocked and it can reach speeds of up to 4 GHz. Even at its stock speed this is the fastest CPU when it comes to gaming. It is not Intel’s most expensive CPU unit, but it does a better job when playing games, than the much more expensive Haswell Extreme 5960X ($1,025,99) , or than the more affordable Haswell Extreme 5820K ($385). The reality is that these processors actually pull, in some occasions, lower framerates and they are not as overclock-friendly as the 4790K.
The only reason I can think off for getting a more expensive processor is the PCI Express lanes. The Core i7-4790K can only support a single graphics card, running at x16 speed, or two graphics cards that are running at x8 speeds. If you want to have three or four graphics cards, then you’ll have to get a Haswell Extreme processor, that can support additional PCI Express lanes, but if you are looking to build a four way SLI rig, then you are probably looking at the wrong guide.
My idea of a high-end gaming computer revolves around using a single, very powerful graphics card, with the possibility of upgrading that to a two-GPU SLI setup.
The Haswell Extreme processors, as well as the X99 motherboards, or the DDR 4 RAM, are just very expensive for a single, or double GPU system, so this is why I prefer the Intel Core i7-4790K for my high end computer.
The Motherboard: Asus Maximus VII Hero
In my opinion, the Asus Maximus VII Hero has just the good price, combining performance with the right amount of features. The more expensive motherboards available on the market tend to have a lot of features that are not very important, even when building a high-end gaming PC.
According to Overclockers3D’s review, regarding motherboards performance, the Asus Maximus VII Hero can be overclocked to 4.9 GHz. The people at HardOCP wrote, on the 18th of February 20015, that “The ASUS Maximus VII Hero is nothing short of the best LGA 1150 motherboard we have had the pleasure of reviewing to date. For many enthusiasts it will have everything you want and nothing you don’t. The Maximus VII Hero is currently selling for about $210 at Amazon with Prime Shipping which makes this motherboard an excellent value”
When it comes to its features, the motherboard has three PCIe x1 slots, one PCIe 2.0 slot and two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, as well as a M.2 PCIe slot. It has six USB 3.0 slots and six SATA ports (6GB/s) and it can support RAM speeds up to 3200 MHz. It also has some convenient, on-board buttons, like the memOK, CMOS clear, reset and power, and if you buy the standard ATX board, then you should have no problems fitting it in most cases.
The RAM: G.Skill Ripjaw X 2133 MHz DDR3 (16 GB)
Probably the best known name, when it comes to the RAM developed by Corsair, is G.Skill. I must say that I simply love the RAM that they make. It is cheap and very reliable. I had always used their products and probably always will, but there are a lot of question that you must ask yourself before buying this piece of hardware. How much should you be spending on it, or how much speed are you getting for your money? The most frequent question I hear is: “What is better more RAM or faster RAM?”
To answer you this question, first we must take a look at the research into RAM speed conducted by Anandtech. They clearly show us, that memory timings and faster speeds are not that important for gaming, and that you will probably not even see a difference. Their verdict is very simple: the more RAM you have the better your games will run. They’ve also shown that if you have faster than 1600 MHz RAM, your games will run better, but only by a small amount.
With that being said, I can definitely recommend you get the Corsair G.Skill Ripjaw X 2133 MHz RAM. It is very affordable and it has awesome speeds. I know that right now, the standard for video games is 8 GB of RAM, but in the future that might change to 16 GB. Also, if you want to stream games or use other apps, such as Photoshop, then you will definitely benefit from the extra RAM. From my personal experience, as a person who likes to have multiple applications opened at the same time and also a game or two, I can tell you that you’ll benefit greatly from getting 16 GB and not 8 GB.
If you are thinking about getting 32 GB, then keep in mind that it is not really worth the money and that you will not use so much RAM for gaming in the next half decade.
The Graphics Card: MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4G
The GTX 980 is the most powerful single-GPU card available today, not counting the Nvidia GTX Titan X, that costs more than $1,000 and not really required for this build. If you have enough money to buy the Titan X, then do so, because it’s a great card, that will last you for years to come, but the GTX 980 is a great alternative. It can easily run games at 1440p, with ultra-high settings and great refresh rates. In addition, it is extremely power efficient and really quiet.
You can also add a second GTX 980 down the road, if you find yourself in need of more power. It is one of the most affordable video cards in the 980 series and it got universal positive reviews. The graphics card is overclocked out of the box, but you can push it even further and, thanks to great binning, it can reach the 1500 MHz mark.
The Primary HDD/SSD: Plextor M.2 M6e PCIe SSD (256GB)
I believe that for a high-end PC you need Solid-State Drive that is faster than the average SATA SSD. We have already picked out a motherboard with a M.2 PCIe slot so why not use it?
The M6e 256GB M.2 SSD can write at incredible speeds of over 750 MB per second, that far exceeds the limitations of SATA. With this SSD installed, my PC managed to load Windows 10 in less than ten seconds.
The Secondary SSD: Samsung 850 EVO (500GB)
Although 256 GB is a good size for system drive, nowadays, games take more and more space. Assuming that you will have more than one game installed, and other programs as well, then your storage space will run out very fast. This is why I recommend you add an additional SATA SSD, that can store games without having to sacrifice performance.
The Samsung 850 EVO is a very affordable SSD, with good sequential Read/Write speeds, that exceeds 500 MB/s.
The Additional Storage: Western Digital Black 2 TB WD2003FZEX
This is nothing more than an optional piece of hardware, meant to give you more storage space, but I believe that most PC owners should have it. Normally, you don’t use your PC only for games, so it is only natural that you require more storage space for music, movies, photos and other applications that you might use.
The Western Digital Black 2 TB WD2003FZEX is considerably more fast than the WD Green or Blue drives, but I do not recommend that you install games on it because of the long loading times. You can store, smaller, quick-loading indi games on it, and they should play without any problems at all.
The WD Black is a nice addition to your system, that will solve any storage problems that you might have, at a very reasonable price, and without losing too much performance.
The CPU Cooler: Corsair H90
The thing about closed-loop liquid coolers is that they are a lot better at getting you processor’s temperature down to its idle state, in a very short period of time, and if you are using an overclocked Intel Core i7-4790K, then it is definitely worth the additional cost.
The Corsair H90 is a very affordable liquid cooler, that will keep the temperature of your CPU at a constant 30C, with a heavy system load. It has a single 140mm radiator, that performs really well. It is also easy to install and rather quiet, even when spinning at full speed.
The Power Supply: EVGA Supernova 850 watt G2 80 Plus Gold
When buying a power supply for your high-end gaming ring you should keep your eyes open for three features. First and most important, it must be powerful enough to support two GPUs, it must be reliable and it should be modular (nobody likes useless cables running everywhere).
The EVGA 859 has all of those features, with a five star rating on Newegg.com and it is also 80 Plus Gold certified, meaning that it will be very efficient when drawing large amounts of power. At 850 watts, this power supply can handle two power hungry graphics cards, without any problems at all.
The Disc Drive: LG UH12NS30 12X SATA Internal Blu-ray Combo Reader Drive & M-DISC DVD CD
If you are building a high-end PC, then you might as well add a Blu-ray drive, so you can read and burn discs. The LG UH12NS30 can do it all at a very reasonable price and it also comes with free Nero software (it normally costs $20).
If you feel like you don’t need a Blu-ray drive, then I recommend you get a Asus DVD Writer for less than $25.
The Case: Fractal Design Define R5
Available at Newegg.com, for $204,76.
This is the one I like the most, because of its clean design, but you can choose any case that you like, as long as it supports your motherboard.
You can also buy a lower priced one. For example, you can get the NZXT H440 at Newegg.com for $109,99. It is also very clean and nice looking, and it comes in three different colors: white, orange and red.
Another good looking case is the Corsair Graphite Series 760T Full Tower Windowed Case, also available at Newegg.com for $169,99. This comes in two different colors, white and black.
Before buying you components for your new PC, check multiple retailers, such as Amazon, Newegg, SuperBiiz, NCIX US or B&H, for discounts and other offers that they might have. Take your time and use your money wisely and if you do not know how to assemble you computer properly, they you are better off asking someone that does, or calling a professional. It is always better to do the job right, than throwing money out the window and regretting it later.
TOTAL COST: $2,286