$1270 Devil's Canyon Overclocking / Gaming PC Build - June, 2014

By Published June 26, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Additional Info

  • Price: 1270
  • Physical Size: Mid-Tower
  • Purpose: Desktop Gaming, Enthusiast Tweaking, Video Production
  • CPU Preference: Intel

After generations of thermal issues stemming from Intel's poor TIM and IHS design, the company's "Devil's Canyon" chips have arrived in full force. We first looked at Devil's Canyon back at GDC and have since looked at Haswell Refresh, which was effectively a non-K SKU of what's being used in this build today.

The "Gen 4.5" CPU runs on existing Haswell architecture and remains on a 22nm process, but sees the redesign of its TIM (using a polymer thermal interface) and capacitor layout. This redesign ensures cleaner power delivery to the die and allows great overhead for overclocking. Intel's Devil's Canyon chips include the i5-4690K and i7-4790K (+0020 to the SKU), each of which ships with a slightly higher BCLK and turbo-clock frequency. The quad-core, hyperthreaded 4790K runs at a native 4.0/4.4GHz over its predecessor's 3.5/3.9GHz; the quad-core, non-hyperthreaded 4690K operates at 3.5/3.9GHz over the 4670K's 3.4/3.8GHz.

TDP is roughly the same, hovering right around 88W over the previous 84W.

This high-end gaming PC build will get you started with moderate overclocking on Intel's Devil's Canyon CPU. At just under $1300, the machine will play all current games at near-max (high / ultra hybrid) settings on a 1080p screen without issue.

$1253 DIY High-End Gaming PC Build - May, 2014

Gaming Parts List Name Price Rebates/etc. Total
CPU Intel i5-4690K Devil's Canyon $240 Free Shipping $240
CPU Cooler NZXT Kraken X60 CLC $140 - $140
Video Card EVGA GTX 770 2GB $330 -$20,
Free Games
$310
Memory G.Skill 8GB 1866 (COMBO 1) $85 -$18,
Free Shipping
$67
Motherboard ASUS Z97-A (COMBO 1) $144 Free Shipping $144
Power Supply Rosewill HIVE-650 $80 - $80
SSD Crucial MX100 256GB $112 - $112
HDD WD Blue 1TB 7200RPM $57 Free Shipping $57
Case NZXT H440 Black/Red $120 Free Shipping $120
Total   $1308 -$38 $1270

OS & Recommended Extras

Add-on Parts List Name Price Rebates/etc. Total
External Optical Drive ASUS External ODD $35 -$5 $30
Operating System (Disc)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit $100 Free Shipping $100
Gaming Headset Plantronics GameCom 780 $80 - $80
Mechanical Keyboard Thermaltake Poseidon Z $70 - $70
Gaming Mouse Logitech G500s $50 - $50

How to Build a Gaming Computer - Step-by-Step Tutorial

Video Card 

EVGA SuperClocked GTX 770 2GB ($310): You could really stick any mid-range or high-end GPU into this machine and run pretty happily, though I've opted for the GTX 770 for use in this guide. The GTX 770 provides a comfortable cost-to-performance position between the higher-end GTX 780 / R9 290 and mid-range GTX 760 / R9 280, easily running all modern games at max settings with a 1080 resolution. Using a CUDA-enabled device also grants some advantages in Adobe's Photoshop and Premiere software, accelerating post-FX processing GPU-side to limit load on the CPU.

Although 4GB variants exist, the extra capacity still isn't really getting fully utilized by games just yet. This includes the likes of Watch Dogs -- a game that "requires" 3GB of VRAM for ultra texture resolution, but fails to properly utilize the video RAM available. 2GB is going to give the best value for the dollar at this point, though we're seeing a slow shift into 3GB capacities.

CPU 

Intel i5-4690K Devil's Canyon CPU ($240): This is the big item for today's PC build. Intel launched its 4690K and i7-4790K "Devil's Canyon" CPUs as of today, each slightly boosting the BCLK of their 4670K and 4770K predecessors while retaining the same price-point. The major item of discussion is the increased room for overclocking, as granted by a new thermal interface between the die and the IHS (integrated heat-spreader). Other than that, it's the same architecture and design that we know from Haswell's 4670K / 4770K.

The 4690K requires Intel's new Z97 platform (learn about 9-series chipsets here), which introduces full support for the 5th Generation Intel CPUs that are due out later this year. This grants builders a direct upgrade path from Devil's Canyon to Broadwell without swapping the platform, something Intel has rarely allowed.

Coupling this CPU with ASUS' Z97-A motherboard makes for a fairly simple overclocking process and adds plenty of depth for those looking to tune their performance more granularly.

CPU Cooler 

NZXT Kraken X60 280mm CLC ($140): Overclocking an Intel CPU to reasonably high frequencies demands a reliable cooler. Running on air won't get us very far at higher frequencies, so we're recommending NZXT's X60 closed-loop liquid cooler (AIO) for this system. We previously reviewed the X60 here, primarily praising its fan speed control for the ability to mitigate noise levels during "quiet time." The new X61 is due out shortly, but still sits a few weeks out.

Memory 

G.Skill Sniper 2x4GB 1866MHz ($67): This RAM is in a combo deal with the motherboard for $18 off. We haven't yet needed to move toward recommending more than 8GB of RAM for gaming just yet (though memory leaks do enjoy more memory), so sticking with 2x4GB will be ample for any non-professional use-case scenarios. Users deploying their systems for professional-class rendering or encoding should consider 16GB of memory.

1866MHz gives a high native operating frequency with room for overclocking; although overclocking memory won't yield noticeable gains for most users, it can be a fun endeavor that is made easy with the right board. The board we've selected is built for such tasks, as a sort of side effect of being made for moderate CPU overclocking, and will easy push the RAM up to 2133/2400MHz.

Motherboard 

ASUS Z97-A LGA1150 Motherboard ($144): This motherboard is in a combo deal with the RAM for $18 off. The Z97-A motherboard has updated ASUS' color scheme from "Star Trek beige" to a proper pseudo-gold, further differentiating its appearances by mounting a circular heatsink atop the chipset. ASUS' board hosts a few mid-range overclocking features to assist enthusiasts in getting started with bolstering their CPU and memory clocks, including an 8-phase power design for the VRM and heatsinks atop the MOSFETs. The Z97-A also includes a single SATA Express port, allowing drive operation up to 10Gb/s -- a large boost over SATA III's 6Gb/s limitation.

Power Supply 

Rosewill HIVE 650W PSU ($80): 650W gives us ample room for the native operating wattage with bonus overhead for overclocking the CPU and GPU. The HIVE-650 is 80 Plus Bronze rated -- not phenomenal, but given the affordable price, wattage, and features, it's really not a bad efficiency rating. The unit operates using a single 12V rail and can push 650W continuous power. Semi-modularity means the 24-pin and EPS cable are permanently attached, but the rest can be easily removed.

Have an extra $30? Rosewill's new Tachyon PSU still offers enough power at 550W, but comes in 80 Plus Platinum efficiency and has overall higher-quality components.

SSD / HDD 

Crucial MX100 256GB SSD ($112): We've been talking a lot about new SSDs lately, to include Corsair's Force LX 512GB unit that just shipped a few days ago. Micron's newest NAND is showcased in its subsidiary's latest SSD, the Crucial MX100 drive. Having replaced the M500 in the budget market, the MX100 is presently one of the best deals in terms of cost-per-GB and moderate performance. Unless you're doing tasks outside of gaming -- things that might require efficient encryption or ultra-high endurance -- the MX100 will serve as an ideal SSD for the price. Look into Samsung's 840 Pro for professional-grade tasks.

WD Blue 7200RPM 1TB HDD ($58): For archival storage and mass media files, WD's 1TB Blue HDD runs at 7200RPM -- enough for gaming and applications -- and can fit all the excess weight of a system.

Case 

NZXT H440 Black/Red Case ($110): We called NZXT's H440 "the reason we review cases" back when it came out. The H440 is one of the best-looking cases on the market, housing a built-in PSU and drive shroud, completely hidden PSU cables, and a total lack of 5.25" bays. This means you'll have to install the OS with a USB device, but given the prevalence of 8GB USB drives, this shouldn't be an inhibitor. External optical drives are available for those who still use optical media on occasion.

That's it for this build. Check out our overclocking primer over here for an example of what's being tweaked in BIOS / Afterburner. Let us know on the forums if you require any assistance with this build, or drop a comment below for quick assistance!

- Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke. 

Last modified on June 26, 2014 at 4:26 pm
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.

We moderate comments on a ~24~48 hour cycle. There will be some delay after submitting a comment.

Advertisement:

  VigLink badge