Skylake’s recent unveil showed that, while it isn’t a game changer for gaming, the platform brings the standardization of new technology like DDR4 to the forefront of PCs. For that reason, and due to the need to have updated build guides to help system builders, it’s once again time to assemble a mid-priced PC build.
Skylake shipped alongside the Z170 chipset. Z170 and Skylake aren’t too unfamiliar when it comes to architecture, but there are a few major improvements that we’ll discuss more below. This ~$1000 gaming PC build is focused on gaming performance and aims to play modern games at High to Ultra settings.
Let's get to the list!
This quarter's major game launches are of the high-fidelity variety. GTA V shipped with tremendous focus on pushing modern PC components to the absolute limit, as we found in both CPU testing & GPU benchmarks. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt aims to similarly push graphics hardware heavily, hoping to finally make use of high-end gaming PC components without console-bound limitations.
This ~$1000 Witcher 3 gaming PC build offers a DIY approach to running CD Projekt Red's latest game at high settings. The intent is to land just below $1000 while still being able to play the game with high graphics quality; you won't be absolutely maxing-out the game with this configuration, but we've offered an upgrade path for those who have extra money to burn.
We regularly emphasize that, by going with and AMD CPU and motherboard, you can utilize the savings to purchase a higher-end GPU rather than going with an Intel CPU and motherboard (for that, see our Battlefield Build we recently did). In the case of games which are not CPU-bound, this makes for an easy way to save money on building budget gaming computers.
This is an experiment of sorts for us, attempting to see how cheap a build we can do using AMD components; note that we do not recommend this build for GTA V as it is a CPU-intensive game. This gaming PC build -- with some slight overclocking -- can play just about every game out (sans GTA or Watch Dogs) at highest settings for under $1000.
Don't be the April fool this year with an outdated PC, struggling to fully appreciate the high-fidelity graphics of modern games at high resolutions. This month's mid-range gaming PC build comes in at just over $1000, focusing purely on high gaming framerates at resolutions approaching 1440p – though it'll handle 1080p just fine.
This system opted for use of an AMD 290X given its positioning as a cost-effective alternative to the similarly-priced GTX 970. With the looming launch of Grand Theft Auto V, we built the system with the intention of running the game at ultra graphics settings, hopefully allowing some headroom for graphics mods in the future. This gaming PC will handle GTA V without issue.
This time around, we decided to do a high-end Gaming PC build that features an AMD video card. This PC will be able to play most modern games at the highest settings, so the only April showers you see will be tears of your enemies.
With the launch of the GTX 960 now firmly under way and our benchmarks posted, we've had enough hands-on time with the GPU to get a feel for its place in the world. The GTX 960 is firmly designed for 1080p gaming, an environment where it outputs impressive performance for the TDP.
This gaming PC build for under $1000 makes use of the new GTX 960, targeting 60FPS at high settings for most games. Our full GTX 960 review and benchmarks can be found over here, though some are embedded below.
This launch season has been one of the most hectic I can remember. The entire year has been a bit chaotic, actually; we had major GPU announcements, architecture changes (Intel & NVIDIA), several AAA game titles (Dragon Age, Warlords of Draenor, ACU, Far Cry 4, Call of Duty), and more. It's been non-stop games news for the entire year, and that's indicative of a healthy industry.
We recently benchmarked Assassin's Creed Unity and Far Cry 4, both Ubisoft titles, and found that each game is fairly graphics-intensive and demanding of system resources. This ~$1000 DIY gaming PC build allows for near-max settings in Assassin's Creed Unity and Far Cry 4, and with help from ShadowPlay, it'll stream to Twitch with relative ease.
Our gaming PC build guides typically don't get published alongside as extensive benchmarking endeavors as this AMD build has undergone. In this budget AMD gaming PC build & tutorial, we assemble a ~$700 PC with the ability to play most modern games on maximum settings at 1080 resolutions. We've spec'd out this system for entry-level overclocking, so if you're interested in pumping more power out of the system while keeping costs down, this is a fantastic entry point to system tweaking.
As always, we'll start with a specification table and then jump to the video content. I've augmented this post with an additional video over what we normally provide, including a brief guide on how to overclock the Athlon 760K CPU and benchmark thermals. Below that is provided the regular "how to build a gaming PC" tutorial video, for those who are new to system building.
I rarely have the chance to do an enthusiast build as I'm normally tasked with doing the cheaper PC builds, like the $475 Cheap Bastard's Gaming PC that we recently published. It's been a while since we've done an enthusiast build -- in fact, this is the first of its type this year. We decided it'd be a great time to see what we could do with a higher budget while retaining a small and versatile form factor. The goal was to build a small form factor PC that could do just about anything you typically required from a gaming or video editing rig; this could double as an HTPC for those who'd like a living room gaming machine.
I was able to fit a core i5-4670k, MSI Z87i motherboard, and GTX 770 all inside the extremely versatile Corsair Obsidian 250D mini-ITX case that we saw at CES. This $1100 gaming HTPC build can handle just about anything you throw at it, including gaming at max settings and video editing / game streaming tasks.
After our interview with Dave Georgeson of the EverQuest franchise (including Landmark) and follow-up on the beta's availability, we've started the process of playing Landmark for content purposes.
The first bit of related content, as is usually the case for us, is a mid-range gaming PC build that's spec'd for EverQuest Next: Landmark at near-max (high) settings. You could certainly build a cheaper AMD system (keep eyes open for that), but this one will get you running EQNL at high (or thereabouts) settings and still provide room for high graphics output with more demanding titles. If you're interested in Titanfall, you'll be happy to hear that this machine will also easily run Titanfall on max settings, as we benchmarked over here.
This budget gaming PC isn't meant to be overclocked. The parts were selected specifically to reduce initial cost and get users playing games quickly with minimal tweaking; if you're more enthusiastic in your hardware endeavors and would like overclocking as an option, check out our overclocking primer and other PC builds. Jumping to the DIY PC parts list after EverQuest Next: Landmark's system requirements!
Our Titanfall coverage included a benchmark of the game's PC performance across multiple hardware configurations, and after this preliminary performance analysis, we can now safely start making build recommendations. Keep in mind that our benchmark was initially run on the beta version of Titanfall, so it is highly likely that AMD and nVidia driver updates will significantly improve performance; further PC optimization by Respawn will also do wonders, given the hauntingly-familiar, broken state of the game right now.
Regardless, the benchmark gives us an excellent idea as to the bottom line of Titanfall's performance spectrum, since things will only improve from here.
This $797 budget gaming PC for Titanfall ensures the best performance-to-budget ratio, focusing heavily on delivering maxed-out (high) settings at 1080p with a steady framerate. If you haven't built a gaming PC before (or if you need a refresher), our full "How to Build a Gaming Computer" guide can be found here. We've also embedded the video guide below.
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