Gaming PC Build for Overwatch on a $700 Budget

By Published May 12, 2016 at 11:20 am
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Additional Info

  • Price: 689
  • Physical Size: Mid-Tower
  • Purpose: Desktop Gaming
  • CPU Preference: Intel

We tested Overwatch back when it was still in beta, posting one of the earliest GPU benchmarks for Blizzard's new team shooter. The game's finally concluded its full beta pass and has set its final release date for May 24. Graphics requirements have more-or-less remained the same as when we last tested the game, making Overwatch one of the more accessible titles for PC builders. We're building this machine with a GTX 960 and i5-6400 non-overclocking CPU; the combination runs significantly cheaper than the next step up – and that's good anyway, since the GTX 1070 (and presumably, Polaris) will soon land in that mid-range price gap.

This ~$700 gaming PC build uses the best components for playing Overwatch at ultra graphics settings (1080p, 60FPS) while staying on a budget. Follow the below parts list and DIY PC guide to get up and running, and remember to check our forums for one-on-one help.

 

$689 Overwatch Gaming PC Build for Ultra Settings at 1080p, 60FPS

Gaming Parts List Name Price Rebates, Promos, etc. Total
CPU Intel i5-6400 2.7GHz $190 Free Shipping $190
Motherboard MSI Z170A SLI Plus Motherboard $130 $10 MIR $120
Video Card MSI GTX 960 2GB $180 $20 MIR $160
Memory HyperX Fury 8GB 2133MHz $38 Free Shipping $38
Power Supply Rosewill Valens 500W Modular $70 Free Shipping,
-25% w/ code
SAVE4GOLD
$52.50
HDD WD Blue 1TB 7200RPM $54 Free Shipping $54
Case NZXT S340 Mid-Tower $75 Free Shipping $75
Total   $737  -$47.5 $689

OS & Optional Extras

OS & Extras Name Price Rebates, Promos, etc. Total
Operating System Windows 10 Home $100 Free Shipping

(Use code to install
via MSFT ISO & USB)
$100
SSD HyperX Fury 240GB $70 Free Shipping $70

How to Build a Gaming PC (Tutorial & Walkthrough)

Graphics Card

MSI GTX 960 2GB ($160): There is no resolute “best” video card for playing Overwatch, but when accounting for budget, best-in-class cards certainly emerge. In the $150 to $180 range, the GTX 960 2GB is a high performer capable of sustaining “ultra” graphics settings at 1080p, with a framerate meeting (and generally exceeding) 60FPS. The extra 2GB of VRAM won't really help with Overwatch, but we've observed its impact in some specific games.

Here's a sample for performance at 1080p/ultra:

overwatch-gpu-bench-1080-ultra

CPU

Intel Core i5-6400 ($190): Intel's i5-6400 is part of the Skylake family, the first non-X-class architecture to feature DDR4 memory support. The i5-6400 is a non-K SKU CPU; unlike its K-class brethren, e.g. the i5-6600K, the i5-6400 is not intended for overclocking. This particular CPU has a locked clock-rate multiplier, eliminating the chance of overclocking without firmware hacks (and don't bet on those).

The vast majority of system builders don't overclock, though, and the i5-6400 is fast enough that you won't need to for a budget build. This chip runs at 2.7GHz and boosts to 3.3GHz, relying on 4x256KB of L2 and 6MB of L3 Cache for its local swapping. It's got an IGP, but we won't be using that.

Motherboard

MSI Z170A SLI Plus Motherboard ($120): The Z170 chipset isn't really necessary for the i5-6400 CPU that we've selected, but it's tough to find a quality B- or H-series for a price that's significantly different. The Z170A SLI Plus motherboard runs an ATX form factor, granting it larger square footage to support the Z-series chipset's additional HSIO lanes. MSI's Z170A SLI Plus motherboard hosts 1x M.2 slot (PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe or PCIe x4 standard) and 6x SATA III ports, with 3x PCI-e 3.0 slots (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4). For the ancillary IO support, the board uses a 7.1ch ALC1150 audio chipset and gigabit ethernet LAN port.

Memory

HyperX Fury 8GB 2133MHz ($38): We previously reviewed Kingston's HyperX Fury DDR3 memory, commenting positively on its overall reliable performance and ease-of-tuning. This 2x4GB kit of DDR4 SDRAM is capable of pushing 2133MHz stock (DDR4-2133, or PC4 17000), which is plenty for our “lowly” gaming applications. It isn't until running render tasks that higher frequencies and multi-channel platforms become more relevant. That said, because this is a kit of two sticks, it'll operate on two channels on the Z170 platform and produce the full 2133MHz speed.

HDD

WD Blue 1TB 7200RPM ($54): Not every build needs an SSD – though they do dramatically speed-up boot times. For gaming builds, a 1TB 7200RPM HDD still serves as a budget-friendly solution. There are two models of WD's Blue hard drive these days, and those models sell in 5400RPM and 7200RPM spindle speeds. For gaming use cases, we recommend 7200RPM HDDs as a minimum. If you've got an extra ~$70 to spend, this HyperX Fury 240GB SSD is an affordable, significantly faster boot drive. We'd recommend installing the OS and core applications on it, then relegate mass media to the HDD.

Power Supply

Rosewill Valens 500W Modular ($52.5): We recently ran a “How Many Watts Do You Really Need?” post, which looked into – shockingly – system wattage consumption and PSU demands. Turns out that the GTX 960 and i5 pairing is incredibly undemanding of wattage, and a 500W PSU will more than account for full system load with our configuration. The Rosewill Valens we've selected is currently available for ~$52 after its “SAVE4GOLD” coupon code (which sounds like something you'd hear on a late night TV ad). It's a semi-modular PSU rated for 80 Plus gold. Only the 24-pin and EPS 12V cables are permanently attached, an acceptable trade in favor of cost when considering both are required for all gaming system builds.

Case

NZXT S340 Mid-Tower ($75): NZXT's S340 remains a mainstay in the mid-tower market. Its PSU shroud and unique cable management 'bar' work in tandem to simplify cable management, ensuring that cable routing and tying are streamlined. The air channels are simplistic and thermal performance is acceptable and average (see here). For the low TDP components we're using, such a simple case is desired for its lower noise footprint and ability to sustain cool temperatures even under load. The GTX 960 and i5-6400 are not particularly hot parts, and the S340 won't have trouble maintaining reasonable temps across the board.

If you require assistance in building this PC or picking parts for specific needs, leave a comment below or post on our forums for one-on-one, professional assistance!

- Steve “Lelldorianx” Burke.

Last modified on May 13, 2016 at 11:20 am
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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