With prices and components constantly changing, it’s hard for our previous PC builds to stay up-to-date. For instance at the time of this build, AMD GPU prices were through the roof due to the cryptocurrency mining craze. By now, prices have stabilized and new products have been released, meaning it is once again time for a high-end gaming PC build.
In this $1200 mid-to-high-end gaming & streaming PC, we will be building a computer that maxes-out games at resolutions up to 1440p, has versatility in its uses, and allows for easy upgrades. Oh -- and it’ll be quiet, too. We will also mention some other small improvements or different expansions depending on individual needs.
"Hicookie" isn't an easily-forgotten name. The RAM overclocker last made a major appearance using G.Skill's TridentX RAM, which he pushed to nearly 4GHz. Just a couple of days ago, Gigabyte and
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.
EVGA's "Classified K|NGP|N" line has become the company's solution for extreme overclockers, similar to MSI's "Gaming" and "Lightning" card differentiations. The new GTX 780 Ti (which we broke-down over here) stands as the best video card for gaming right now, outpacing nVidia's more developer-focused TITAN and AMD's R9 290X.
EVGA has scrapped the reference design for the 780 Ti and opted for their own ACX-enabled active cooling solution. The 780 Ti natively runs at a TDP of 250W, but because overclocking increases wattage sent through the device, EVGA had to design with high power consumption in mind. This means improving the on-card VRM, cooling, and ability to accept higher wattage.
The memory space has been somewhat volatile lately and hasn't featured many major releases, but a couple of refreshed G.Skill and
We've posted several articles that discuss what determines a "good motherboard for gaming," but until today, haven't had the chance to properly define what some of the more important board components do. Oscillating clock crystals, MOSFETs, chokes, the VRM, and other low-level motherboard components are defined in this post.
Judging from our forums, motherboards are one of the more nebulous components for hardware -- they all feel similar to each other, and from a specs sheet, it looks like there's not much separating one board from another. Part of this is because Intel and AMD have moved several controllers to the CPU, part is because the deeper differentiators between quality are often not listed on a product spec sheet.
After numerous questions from a large reddit thread, we've decided to start a new video/article series exploring the components on the components -- or what comprises each individual piece of hardware. Starting with the motherboard made sense.
We stated that AMD "indisputably owns the $100-$200 video card market" in our coverage of their newly-released Radeon R9 270 GPU. With the card's focus on delivering high gaming performance at a sub-$200 price-point, it outperforms AMD's present 7850/7870 lineup and nVidia's GTX 660. The R9 270 lands just below the 760 in both price and performance, making the new AMD card an excellent choice for any mid-range, budget-conscious PC builds.
This isn't quite a "cheap" gaming PC build -- like the $425 LoL option we posted -- but instead aims to fill the mid-range market for gamers with a bit more change. This gaming computer is built specifically with Battlefield 4 in mind, though it'll run any game on the market with high-to-max settings on 1080p with 4xAA (or higher). If you're looking for a sub-$1000 DIY budget gaming PC for Battlefield 4 -- or other high-end games, like Assassin's Creed IV -- you've come to the right place.
As a bonus, this entire build has an awesome blue/black theme; the CPU cooler fan, motherboard heatsinks, and RAM all use a metallic blue.
With Battlefield 4's beta officially opened to those who pre-ordered the game, it's time to start looking into rig configurations to best take advantage of the game's high-end visuals.
Battlefield has historically pushed PC hardware significantly harder than most other games simultaneously hitting the market. When it comes to games like Crysis and Battlefield, we see the biggest differentiator lying in the game engine: Frostbite and CryEngine both support heavy multithreading (CryEngine natively supports 8 active threads), offload to GPU hardware for real-time physics processing (PhysX), and drive intensive tessellation / volumetric particle effects through the GPU.
Haswell's here. We've thoroughly analyzed Haswell's viability and performance for gaming and light workload applications, and with that research backing us, we can comfortably recommend that new system builders opt for Haswell over its predecessors. Fear not, though -- if you're on Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge, and in some cases, even Nehalem, our conclusion was that it's not necessarily immediately beneficial to make the leap to Intel's new Tock. For new builders, though, there's absolutely no reason not to opt for the newer chip, especially given its support of emerging graphics technologies by Intel and game developers.
GRID 2 is a fine example of this: Self-shadowing smoke (adding depth and volume to the tire smoke) is only available to owners of Haswell systems, whether or not you're using the IGP or a discrete card. Similarly, OIT (order-independent transparency) and other render techniques can be 'unlocked' in the options menu only by Haswell users.
This custom ~$1000 high-end gaming PC build aims to put you in a position to play almost any game currently on the market on maxed or high settings, including the likes of Crysis 3. We've got a "cheap bastard's" build coming out shortly, for those on an ultra budget, and then a normal budget build for the in-betweeners. Buying a pre-built system can't lay a hand to the level of power, customization, and affordability gained in building your own gaming PC -- let's jump to the list.
NVidia's GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost was first revealed to us in one of the most straight-forward press events we've attended: It's running on the known GK106 platform, uses nVidia's Boost 1.0 tech (not available on the original 650s), and it wants to dominate AMD in the sub-$200 market. There was only a single question asked by the press corps—"is voltage user-controlled?"—and that was that. End of meeting. The answer was 'yes,' by the way.
We've historically recommended AMD for budget and entry-level PC builds. The 7850 has reigned king of our sub-$700 system guides for nearly a year, and before that, the 6850... and the 5000 series. The point is, AMD's always been good at cutting into their margins and designing inexpensive chips for gaming. NVidia wants to take that away from them.
In benchmarks across the web so far, we've seen the 650 Ti Boost exhibit lower frame latencies than AMD's similarly-costed 7850 and push equal or slightly higher framerates (discussed below), so in that regard, nVidia has established a foothold. The 650 Ti Boost has also been performing admirably in SLI when matched against even the 670, and that's what we're here to explore today.
This mid-range gaming PC build aims to use SLI and overclocking to amp-up your ability to play games on max settings, all while supporting high resolution displays (19x10 or high on 25x14).
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