$1000 Custom Gaming PC Using Z170 & Intel Skylake CPU
|Gaming Parts Lists||Name||Price||Rebates/etc.||Total|
|CPU||Intel i5-6600K (COMBO 1)||$250||Free shipping||$250|
|CPU Cooler||Phanteks PH-TC12DX||$50||Free shipping||$50|
|Motherboard||MSI Krait Z170 (COMBO 1)||$150||Free shipping||$150|
|Video Card||PowerColor PCS+ 390 8GB||$330||- $20 MIR,
$20 promo gift card
|Memory||Crucial Ballistix 2x4GB DDR4 2400||$55||Free shipping||$55|
|Power Supply||SeaSonic S12II 520W||$55||Free shipping||$55|
|SSD||PNY Optima 240GB||$85||Free shipping||$85|
|HDD||Seagate Barracuda 1TB||$50||Free shipping||$50|
|Case||NZXT S340 (Black)||$70||Free sShipping||$70|
OS & Recommended Extras
|Add-on Parts List||Name||Price||Rebates/etc.||Total|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home 64 bit||$99||Free shipping||$99|
PowerColor PCS+ R9 390 ($310): Starting off, we have the PowerColor PCS+ R9 390. This video card comes with a high-performing cooler that will keep load temperatures reasonable with its triple-fan design. It also comes with a solid 8GB of VRAM on a 512-bit bus, and an effective memory clock of 1.5GHz. We have a comparison of the R9 390 compared to the R9 290X, R9 380, Titan X, 980 Ti, 980, and 970 (among others) over here. It generally performs similarly to an R9 290X and a bit better than a GTX 970. It’ll support DX12 and Vulkan and has 1xHDMI, 1xDisplayPort, and 2xDVI-D, so there is little worry about when it comes to support for imminent standards. At $310 on Newegg, the PowerColor PCS+ 390 is reasonably priced, and currently has a $20 promotional gift card.
CPU and Motherboard
MSI Z170A Krait Gaming ($150): Intel CPU sales just went live today. Our choice is the Intel Core Core i5-6600K with the LGA1151 MSI Z170A Krait Gaming motherboard. It is available for preorder for $395 (board + CPU) and is freshly online. The Krait has 8 VRM phases, 1xUSB 3.0, 4xDDR4, 1xSATAe, 4xSATA, 1xM.2, 3xPCIe x16, 1xPCI, 3xPCIe x1 slots. There’s a multitude of ports, primarily 4xUSB 3.0, 2xUSB 2.0, audio-out, 1xEthernet, and PS/2 ports. The Krait has a very distinct white-and-black theme that is a bit different from the common red-and-black theme of many gaming motherboards.
As for the CPU, the i5-6600K ultimately isn’t very different in performance from the previous i5-4670k. The larger difference is that the 6600K supports the latest Z170 motherboards. We go more into depth about Skylake in our Skylake review. The i5-6600k uses the LGA 1151 socket and supports both DDR4 and DDR3L. It has a TDP of 91W, 4 cores, 4 threads (one per core), a 3.5GHz base clock, and a 3.9GHz turbo clock. The integrated GPU also has a bit of an upgrade, with 24 EUs compared of the 20 on the i5-4670k. It has an MSRP of $240, but this motherboard CPU bundle is available for $395.
Phanteks PH-TC12DX ($50): The i5-6600K is an unlocked CPU that, unlock previous Intel CPUs, does not included a CPU cooler. We’ve picked out the Phanteks PH-TC12DX in white. The white version is cheapest (compared to the identical, different color coolers) and fits the black-and-white theme established by the board. With two fans, four 6mm heat-pipes, and a copper & aluminum construction, the Phanteks PH-TC12DX performs well and has looks to match. It uses 120mm fans that are easily replaced. The unit includes thermal paste, so there’s no need to worry about that.
Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB DDR4 ($55): As for RAM, we are picking out Crucial Ballistix Sport 2x4GB DDR4 2400 RAM. It is fairly standard as far as RAM goes, with the primary difference from what we’re used to being DDR4. The Ballistix Sport runs with a CAS latency of 16 and a voltage of 1.2v. Having two sticks allows for the use of dual-channel platforms. It has a black, white, and grey color scheme that goes along with the theme.
SeaSonic S12II 520W ($55): Next up is the power supply, for which we are going with the SeaSonic S12II 520W. 520 Watts is sufficient for this build and will be sufficient for a while to come. This allows the PSU to be used in future builds if needed/possible. It has 1x6 and 1x6+2 pin connectors, which fit the R9 390 PCS exactly. The SeaSonic S12II is 80 Plus Bronze Certified, so it is reasonably efficient. To top all this off, SeaSonic has a 5 year warranty for this PSU.
HDD & SSD
Seagate Barracuda 1TB ($50): Of course, some form of storage is needed. We will be going with the standard 7200RPM 1TB hard drive. In this particular case, we’ve opted for a Seagate Barracuda 1TB drive at $50. While this hard drive isn’t as fast as an SSD, its accessible cost makes it a solid starter for users with more limited funds.
For users who want a bit more storage speed, the PNY Optima 240GB is a reasonable budget SSD. It has a 3 year warranty with registration. It will be significantly faster than a standard hard drive for loading games, Windows, and general applications. Currently the PNY Optima 240GB is $85 on Amazon.
NZXT S340 ($70): For the case, we’ve opted again for the NZXT S340 (review here). Among its most notable features is a lack of 5.25” bays, a primarily steel construction, and a PSU shroud to help hide cable clutter and unsightly PSUs. The S340 has a largely minimalistic style, with the only external branding being a small NZXT logo at the bottom of the front panel. The unit supports ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX motherboards, along with 2xUSB 3.0 and 2x3.5mm. It also comes with 3x3.5” and 2x2.5” bays. The S340 has solid support for watercooling and industry-leading cable management options.
As stated before, Skylake isn’t bringing any monumental changes, but it does bring new technology standards -- DDR4 -- to the forefront. So, to stay with the times – darn those kids with their sky lakes and zen chips! – we’ve made a mid-budget gaming PC build. The mainly minimalistic, white and black theme is fairly simple, but has a bit of a striking look to it. Its focus is gaming, which seems appropriate for a nexus of gamers.
- Michael “The Bear” Kerns.