1440p Gaming PC Build with RX 480 for $1100

By Published August 11, 2016 at 8:30 am
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Additional Info

  • Price: 1102
  • Physical Size: HTPC / Mini
  • Purpose: Desktop Gaming, Home Theater
  • CPU Preference: Intel

AMD’s recent GPU release, the RX 480, is in a strong position for 1440p gaming at $200. We’ve decided to detail an ~$1100 gaming PC aimed at 1440p gaming on the cheap. Our full coverage of the RX 480 can be seen here, for those interested, and it’s noteworthy that both the GTX 1060 (review) and RX 470 (review) approach “playability” at 1440p. The industry is clearly changing to a new resolution standard. This PC build is meant for gaming at high settings at 1440p at around 60FPS, while also not costing an arm and a leg.

This ~$1102 1440p PC gaming build uses an Intel i5 6600K paired with AMD’s new RX 480 4GB. We have also included a 144Hz 1440p FreeSync monitor (with 1ms response time) in the optional extras, for those seeking a monitor to pair with the system.

$1102 High-End PC Build for 1440p Gaming with i5 CPU & RX 480

Gaming Parts List Name Price Rebates, Promos, etc. Total
CPU Intel i5-6600k 3.5GHz $234 - $234
CPU Cooler Corsair H80i GT $90 -$20 MIR,
Free shipping
$70
Motherboard MSI Z170M Mortar $120 $10 shipping $130
Video Card RX 480 4GB $200 Free shipping $200
Memory G.Skill NT Series 8GB (1x8GB) DDR4-2400 $31 - $31
Power Supply EVGA SuperNova G2 550W $90 - $90
SSD Samsung 850 Evo 250GB $90 Free shipping $90
HDD Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB $50 Free shipping $50
Case Fractal Design Node 804 $117 Free shipping $117
Total       $1102

OS & Optional Extras

Add-on Parts List Name Price Rebates, Promos, etc. Total
Operating System Microsoft Windows 10 $100 Free shipping $100
Fan Corsair SP120 Fan $17 Free shipping $17
Monitor BenQ XL2730Z 144Hz 1ms 1440p FreeSync $510 $1 shipping $511

Graphics Card

AMD RX 480 8GB ($240): AMD’s latest architecture is Polaris, which toutes higher performance per watt compared to AMD’s previous architectures. The RX 480 performs reasonably at 1440p provided that the settings aren’t absolutely maxed out. Here’s an example chart:

rx480-4v8gb-gta-v-1440p

rx480-4v8gb-mll-1440

rx480-4v8gb-blops-1440p

We’re able to hit nearly 60FPS AVG in Metro: Lsat Light at Very High settings, nearly 60FPS again in Shadow of Mordor (Ultra), >40FPS in GTA V with Very High / Ultra settings, and ~80FPS in Black Ops III at 1440p/High. Reducing settings slightly would further improve performance. View our 4GB vs 8GB RX 480 review for more info.

Currently, there’s a good deal of aftermarket RX 480s (like the MSI Gaming X version) that feature improved coolers, but these aren’t in stock yet. This should be resolved relatively quickly.

CPU

Intel i5-6600K ($260): In a gaming PC, a solid CPU is practically just as important as a powerful GPU -- especially if looking at future upgrades on the same platform. It is for this reason that we’ve chosen the Intel i5-6600K, based on Intel’s latest Skylake architecture. The i5 features 4 cores clocked at 3.5GHz, but since it is a K-SKU CPU, the chip can be overclocked if paired with a Z170 motherboard (below). Intel stock coolers are no longer provided with K-SKU CPUs, so we’ve also opted to include a Corsair H80i.

CPU Cooler

Corsair H80i GT ($90): As mentioned above, since K CPUs no longer come with stock coolers, an aftermarket cooler is needed. For this build, we’ve chosen the Corsair H80i GT closed loop cooler. The H80i GT uses a thick 120mm radiator with two of Corsair’s SP120L PWM fans and a copper cold plate. The H80i GT also supports Corsair Link for monitoring coolant and CPU temps, customizing LED colors, and customizing cooling performance.

The H80i GT presently includes a $20 mail-in rebate for those interested in lowering its price to $70.

Motherboard

MSI Z170M Mortar ($120): In order to connect all the parts together, we’ve chosen the MSI Z170M Mortar motherboard. The MSI Z170M Mortar allows for the i5-6600K to be overclocked and also supports RAM overclocking up to 3400MHz. The board hosts 4xDDR4 slots (supporting up to 64GB of RAM), 2xPCIe 3.0 x16 slots (wired x16 and x4), 1xPCIe x1 slot, 6xSATA 3 ports, and 2xSATAe ports.

On the rear I/O, the Z170M Mortar has 1x DVI, 1xHDMI, 4xUSB 3.0, 2xUSB 2.0, 1xPS/2, and audio out ports. The MSI Z170M Mortar is an mATX motherboard allowing it to fit in the mATX case chosen for this build. Underglow LEDs are also present, for some added bling.

Memory

G.Skill NT Series 8GB (1x8GB) DDR4-2400 ($30): With the release of Intel’s Skylake CPUs, DDR4 has truly entered the mainstream market. In this case, we’ve chosen the G.Skill NT Series 8GB DDR4-2400. The single 8GB stick allows for easy upgrading to larger amounts of RAM later down the road, but will also not impact gaming performance negatively by running single channel (see this article). It runs at 2400MT/s, 1.2v, and has a CAS latency of 15.

The G.Skill NT Series 8GB RAM also has a lifetime warranty.

HDD

Western Digital Blue 1TB 7200RPM ($50): For games and the OS, we’ve included an SSD in this build as the primary drive. For mass storage of photos, video, documents, and other misc. items, a hard drive is still the better choice for mass media. In this case, we’ve chosen the Western Digital Blue 1TB hard drive. It runs at 7200 RPM, has 64MB of cache, and a warranty of 2 years.

SSD

Samsung 850 Evo 250GB ($90): Hard drives are good for storage of items that don’t need to be accessed often or aren’t affected by slow I/O speeds, but SSDs blaze past mechanical disks for operating system speed. For the SSD in this PC, we’ve chosen the Samsung 850 Evo 250GB. The drive uses TLC VNAND (learn more here) that is rated for sequential reads up to 540MB/s and sequential writes up to 520MB/s.

The Samsung 850 Evo 250GB comes with a 5-year warranty.

Power Supply

EVGA SuperNova 550W G2 ($90): A solid PC deserves a solid power supply, and the EVGA SuperNova 550W G2 fits the bill well. This PSU is 80 Plus Gold Certified (ensuring it is efficient), is fully modular (so any unnecessary cables aren’t used), uses Japanese capacitors (which are generally considered to be high quality), and has OVP (over voltage protection), UVP (under voltage protection), OPP (over power protection), OCP (over current protection) and SCP (short circuit protection).

The EVGA SuperNova 550W G2 also has a 7-year warranty which, combined with the continually lowered power requirements of new hardware, means you’ll be able to transition this PSU through several systems.

Case

Fractal Design Node 804 ($117): To house all of these components in a relatively small space, we’ve chosen the Fractal Design Node 804. The Node 804 is a minimalistic case primarily made out of steel and aluminum, using a plain black appearance and a cube design for discretion. Front I/O includes 2xUSB 3.0 and audio in/out ports. Internally, the Node 804 has 8x3.5” and 4x2.5” bays or 10x3.5” and 2x2.5” bays. It also features removable dust filters, an integrated fan controller, and fairly extenisve (for a small case) watercooling support. As per the motherboard, the Node 804 is an mATX case.

Feel free to post a comment below for quick help or questions! For more in-depth, one-on-one support, check our PC build forums for expert, free PC build advice.

- Michael “The Bear” Kerns.

Last modified on August 12, 2016 at 8:30 am
Michael Kerns

Michael Kerns first found us when GN's Editor-in-Chief was tirelessly answering questions on reddit pertaining to a new product launch, likely after the Editor had stayed up all night writing the news post. Michael offered a tired Editor reprieve, taking over the role of questions-answerer-extraordinaire when it was most needed. These days, Michael can be found pulling his mechanical keyboard collection apart and building Frankenstein's Monster-like monsters of keyboards. Michael wrote the vast majority of our mechanical keyboard dictionary and is an expert in keyboards.

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