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Recommended parts summary
Detailed recommendations

Choose Your PC Performance (Tier):

About Hardware Revolution’s Gaming PCs recommendations

This is one of three comprehensive articles where I, Mathieu Bourgie, a computer hardware enthusiast with over 16 years of experience, recommend to you all the required parts, to help you build your own Gaming PC.

Is an Extreme Gaming PC powerful enough for you?

There are two (2) recommended Gaming PC levels of performance (Tier) in this article.

The recommended parts for each Tiers are indicated by their respective numbers (7 and 8) through the article.

Tier 7 can handle gaming at a resolution of 2560 x 1440 with high details at 120-144+ FPS and 4K with 60+FPS
Tier 8 can handle gaming at a resolution of 4K with 90-144+ FPS

Are you on a limited budget?

For that, I recommend the more affordable Budget Gaming PCs.

Are you going to play on a 1080p monitor/TV?

In that case, the High End Gaming PCs are powerful enough for your needs.

Do you need help picking the right level of performance or parts for your Gaming PC?

Leave a comment at the end of the article. Give us details about the video game(s) that you want to play, the level of details that you want and the resolution of the monitor or HDTV that you’ll use.

Recommended Parts Summary:

Things to keep in mind when reading this article:

My recommendations in this article are based on the prices that I saw on January 25th 2016.

  • This is a worldwide guide. If you live outside the USA, B&H offers worldwide shipping. In the USA, Amazon, Newegg and B&H offer the best prices and customer support.
  • This list is based on the best prices for new parts from B&H, NewEgg and Amazon. No used, open box or refurbished parts are included. While you may be able to score a nice discount, those parts come with trade offs, such as unknown reliability, a limited return policy and a limited warranty. I want your PC to function without issues.
  • Prices and availability often change. I can’t keep up with ever changing prices, but I only recommend to you parts that I would buy myself. Reliable and great performance for the price.

This table can be scrolled sideways on mobile.

Part Tier Name and Amazon link B&H Newegg
CPU 7
8
Alt 1
Intel Core i7-7700K 4C+HT 4.2-4.5GHz
Intel Core i7-6850K HC+HT 3.6-3.8GHz
Intel Core i7-6900K 8C+HT 3.2-4.0GHz
$349
$587
$1019
$339
$609
$1049
MoBo 7
8
Gigabyte GA-Z270XP-SLI
MSI X99A Tomahawk
$139
$226
$139
$249
RAM 7
8
32GB (2x16GB) Dual-Channel DDR4 3200MHz
32GB (4x8GB) Quad-Channel Kit DDR4 3000MHz
$247
$239
$233
$209
GPU All
7
8
EVGA PRO SLI BRIDGE HB (2 Slot Spacing)
2x ASUS GeForce GTX 1070 Turbo (SLI)
2x ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 Turbo (SLI)

$819
$1177
$46
$819
$1159
SSD All
Alt
Alt
Crucial MX300 SATA III SSD 1TB
Crucial MX300 SATA III SSD 2TB
SAMSUNG 850 EVO SATA III SSD 4TB
$259
$549
$1424
$269
$549
$1494
HDD 7
8
Alt
Alt
Alt
Alt
Seagate ST3000DM008 3TB
Seagate ST4000DM005 4TB
Toshiba X300 5TB HDWE150XZSTA
Seagate ST6000DM004 6TB
Seagate ST8000DM005 8TB
Seagate ST10000DM0004 10TB
$89
$127

$151
$279
$349
$479
$89
$104

$159
$249
$379
$489
PSU All EVGA SuperNOVA G2, 80+ GOLD Modular 850W $117 $125
Case All NZXT H440: Available in several colors $109
$109
Cooling All Corsair Hydro Series H100i V2 240mm $99
$99
Sound All Sound Blaster Z 7.1 PCIe Sound Card $79
$119
Network 7
8
Alt
Integrated Wired Ethernet 1Gbps
Dual Integrated Wired Ethernet 1Gbps
Edimax EW-7833UAC USB 3.0 1750Mbps WiFi Adapter
Free
Free
$39
Free
Free
$39
OS All Windows 10 Home Full Retail version USB Flash Drive
$109
$129

Never built a PC before and need help? No problem.

You don’t have to be a Geek to build a PC!
Building a PC has never been easier. We have hundreds of readers who had no experience and who built their first PC with the help of Hardware Revolution. If they can do it, so can you!

Start by reading our “Building Your First PC?” article, which covers everything that you need to know to get started. Feel free to join us on the forums to hang out with us and to take all the time that you need to get comfortable with the idea of building your own custom PC. No question is stupid and we’ll all be happy to help you out 🙂

Recommendations in details:

CPU:

Tier 7:

Intel Core i7-7700K 4C+HT 4.2-4.5GHz

Kaby Lake architecture, Quad-Core (4) + Hyper-Threading (8 threads), Base Frequency: 4.2GHz, Maximum Turbo Frequency 4.5GHz, unlocked multiplier for easy overclocking, 8MB L3 cache, LGA1151 socket, 91W TDP

Click here to see the price on Amazon
$349.89 at B&H (International Shipping)
$349.99 at Newegg

High Gaming Performance:
This is the CPU that offers the highest performance for a gaming PC, thanks to its high-frequencies and highly efficient architecture that offers far higher single-threaded performance than AMD’s CPUs.

Most video games only use two to four cores and prioritize single-threaded performance so when it comes to gaming performance, AMD’s fastest CPU, the 220W(TDP) FX-9590 is no match for Intel’s Core i7-7700K when it comes to gaming performance.

Simply put, AMD hasn’t updated their high-end FX CPU’s architecture since it launched in September 2011. In the meantime, Intel is trying to launch a new generation of Core i CPUs every year, alternating between a new architecture (higher performance) and a smaller manufacturing process (lower power consumption).

When the first CPU based on the Bulldozer FX architecture came out, they were facing Intel second generation Sandy Bridge Core CPUs, such as the popular Core i5-2500K. The Core i7-7700K is five (!) generations ahead of that, so it has a higher-performance architecture, higher frequencies (4.2GHz base frequency, 4.5GHz maximum Turbo frequency) and is even more power efficient.

High overall performance:
With 4 Kaby Lake cores and Hyper-Threading, the Core i7-7700K can handle 8 threads simultaneously. With its high performance, it’s a fine choice for a Gaming PC that also gets used as a workstation.

The Core i7-7700K also consumes a lot less power (200W less at load than the AMD FX-9590!), resulting in a PC that consumes less electricity (lower electricity bill) and is less noisy.

It also allows you to spend less money on the power supply because you don’t need one that’s as powerful.

Ready to overclock
Finally, it is an unlocked multiplier CPU, so you can easily overclock it (raise its frequency) to raise its performance even more!

Tier 7 feature recommended components that are optimized for overclocking, meaning that your overclock won’t be limited by an inadequate CPU Cooler or something alike.

The i7 series brings with it Hyper-Threading, which isn’t that useful for gaming (i.e. it doesn’t bring much more performance for video games), but if you do a lot of photo/video editing, heavy multi-tasking, highly demanding workloads, need all the CPU performance that you can get or just want a more powerful CPU, the Core i7-7700K is an excellent choice.

It also offers higher frequencies (4.2-4.5GHz) as well as an unlocked multiplier for full overclocking.

Tier 8 and 9:

Intel Core i7-6850K LGA2011v3

Broadwell-E architecture, Hexa-Core (6) + Hyper-Threading (12 threads), Base Frequency: 3.5GHz, Maximum Turbo Frequency 3.8GHz, unlocked multiplier for easy overclocking, 15MB L3 cache, LGA2011 v3 socket, 140W TDP

Click here to see the price on Amazon
$587.83 at B&H (International Shipping)
$609.99 at Newegg

Why I recommend it:
Very High Performance:
With 6 cores and Hyper-Threading, the Core i7-6850K can handle 12 threads simultaneously. With its high performance, it can help you use this PC as a Workstation too.

With games starting to take advantage of more than 4 cores, the six-core i7-6850K will offer slightly higher performance in newer games. In most games, the Core i7-7700K may offer slightly higher performance, but the i7-6850K will still offer excellent performanceand will offer higher performance in applications that take advantage of more than 4 cores.

Higher-end platform:
With the X99 platform and the Core i7-6850K, you get quad-channel RAM, which offers twice the memory bandwidth of the Z270 platform of the Core i7-7700K. While this won’t impact gaming performance, its additional performance for applications that take advantage of it. If you use your Gaming PC as a powerful workstation too, you’ll benefit from quad-channel RAM.

Ready to overclock
Finally, it is an unlocked CPU, so you can overclock it (raise its frequency) to raise its performance even more! It is possible to do this in a way that is safe, the PC components that I recommend can handle the additional stress/heat. Do note that you may need to upgrade your power supply to overclock: Overclocking increases the power consumption of your CPU. More details on this in the power supply section.

– Note that the Core i7-6850K DOES NOT include a heatsink/fan CPU cooler. This doesn’t matter, I recommend an after-market one to keep your CPU cool even under heavy overclocking.

Alternative :

Intel Core i7-6900K 8C+HT 3.2-4.0GHz LGA2011v3:

Click here to see the price on Amazon
$1019.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$1049.99 at Newegg

If you plan on using your Gaming PC also as a Workstation, the Core i7-6900K offers even higher performance, thanks to having 8 cores. With Hyper-Threading, it can handle 16 threads simultaneously. While its base frequency is lower, it can still Turbo all the way to 4GHz.

There is also the 10 core Core i7-6950X, but with its lower frequencies, it’s not ideal for gaming performance, so I don’t recommend it.

Motherboard:

Tier 7:

ASUS PRIME Z270-K:

Click here to see the price on Amazon
$139.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$139.99 at Newegg

Why did I pick this motherboard for Tier 7:

Simply put: It’s a featured packed, reliable motherboard, compatible with SLI, at a reasonable price for what it is.

Compatible only with: Intel LGA1151 CPUs (i7-7700K), not LGA2011v3 (i7-6850K)

Features:

  1. Support for up to two video cards in SLI or Crossfire, 8x/8x PCI-Express 3.0 bandwidth. The third (bottom) PCI-Express 16x slot runs at 4x PCI-Express 2.0, avoid using it.
  2. Four RAM slots, for a maximum of 64GB (4x16GB) of RAM.
  3. Great onboard audio with Realtek high-end ALC1220 audio chipset. Nothing like the recommended dedicated sound card though.
  4. 6 temperature sensro, 5 fan connectors, Smart Fan 5 application to track temperatures and control fans.
  5. 6x SATA 6Gbps ports, one SATA-Express and one M.2 PCIe 4x NVMe port.
  6. Two USB 3.1 10Gbps ports (one type-C and one type-A) and six USB 3.0 (3.1 Gen 1 = 3.0). Two USB 3.0 headers and two USB 2.0 headers.
  7. Debug LEDs, which show which part is problematic to help you troubleshoot your PC should a problem arise.
  8. Five fan connectors, all four pins.
  9. Intel LAN port
  10. Solid Power delivery components and good cooling for them, ensuring that the motherboard won’t bottleneck your CPU overclocking.

Ports and expansion slots:

  • Ports on the back: 4x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (1x Type A and 1x Type C), 1x 10/100/1000 Mbps RJ-45 LAN, P/S2, 5 audi0 ports (for 7.1 sound) and Optical S/PDIF Out, DVI and HDMI.
  • Expansion slots: Two PCI-Express 3.0 16x slots (8x/8x), one PCI-Express 16x 3.0 slot (runs at 4x), four PCI-Express 1x 3.0 slots.

Tier 8:

MSI X99A Tomahawk:

Click here to see the price on Amazon
$226.89 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$249.99 at Newegg

Why did I pick this motherboard for Tier 8:

Reliable, inexpensive for what it is, X99 chipset, LGA2011v3 CPU support, SLI support and excellent power delivery for overclocking.

Compatible only with: Intel LGA2011v3 CPUs (i7-6850K), not LGA1151 (i7-7700K)

Features:

  1. Support multiple video cards in SLI or Crossfire, with 16x/16x PCI-Express 3.0 bandwidth for two video cards.
  2. Eight RAM slots, for a maximum of 128GB (8x16GB) of DDR4 RAM.
  3. Reinforced metal PCI-Express 16x ports. More solid than regular plastic slots.
  4. Great onboard audio with Realtek high-end ALC1150 audio chipset. Nothing like the recommended dedicated sound card though.
  5. 10x SATA 6Gbps ports, two SATA Express port and one M.2 PCIe 4x NVMe slot
  6. Two USB 3.1 Gen 2 10Gbps (one Type-C, one Type-A), four USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0, two USB 3.0 header and two USB 2.0 headers.
  7. Five fan connectors (All 4 pins).
  8. Dual LAN ports, powered by Intel
  9. Solid Power delivery components and good cooling for them, ensuring that the motherboard won’t bottleneck your CPU overclocking.

Ports and expansion slots:

  • Ports on the back: 4x USB 2.0, 4x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C, 1x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1x P/S2, 2x 10/100/1000 Mbps RJ-45 LAN, Wifi, 5 audi0 ports (for 5.1 sound) and Optical S/PDIF Out.
  • Expansion slots: Three PCI-Express 3.0 16x slots and two PCI-Express 1x slots.

RAM:

Tier 7:

32GB (2x16GB) Dual-Channel DDR4 3200MHz

Click here to see the price on Amazon
$247.28 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$233.99 at Newegg

Tier 7 feature a dual-channel DDR4 motherboard, so for maximum performance, you want two or four sticks of RAM.

I’m recommending a dual-channel kit with two RAM sticks. Note that you’ll have two free RAM slots on your motherboard, so you can add two more RAM memory sticks in the future if you want to upgrade.

If you’re like me and like switching back (Alt-Tab or Alt-Esc) to your desktop to check something while pausing your game and keeping it open, along with a bunch of open programs, 32GB will further improve the responsiveness of your PC compared to 16GB.

Also, if you intend on keeping this Gaming PC for several years, 32GB is worth it.

That way, you know that you’ll be future-proof for a while and that you can alt-tab out of your games with minimal lag.

I also recommend 32GB of RAM due to the presence of the two Geforce GTX 1070 8GB video cards.

You want at the very least as much as much RAM as VRAM (video card RAM), to avoid a bottleneck that could reduce the performance of your video cards and lower the quality of your gaming experience.

This means that with 16GB of VRAM (2 video cards with 8GB each), 32GB of RAM is enough to fill up the video card VRAM and have plenty of spare RAM for other tasks.

Tier 8:

32GB (4x8GB) Quad-Channel Kit DDR4 3000MHz

Click here to see the price on Amazon
$239.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$209.99 at Newegg

Tier 8 feature a quad-channel DDR4 motherboard, so for maximum performance, you want four or eight sticks of RAM.

I’m recommending a quad-channel kit with four RAM sticks. Note that you’ll have four free RAM slots on your motherboard, so you can add four more RAM memory sticks in the future if you want to upgrade.

Once again, I recommend 32GB of RAM due to the presence of the two Geforce GTX 1080 8GB video cards.

You want at the very least as much as much RAM as VRAM (video card RAM), to avoid a bottleneck that could reduce the performance of your video cards and lower the quality of your gaming experience.

This means that with 16GB of VRAM (2 video cards with 8GB each), 32GB of RAM is enough to fill up the video card VRAM and have plenty of spare RAM for other tasks.

Video Card:

A few important recommendations and notes regarding video cards:

  • Get the latest version of the video card drivers directly from AMD or Nvidia. That way, you’ll be sure to get the latest bug fixes as well as the best performance possible from your video card(s).
    If you have multiple Nvidia video cards that you want to run in SLI: You must connect all of them with a ‘SLI Bridge’, a flexible cable or solid connector that allow the cards to run in SLI, included with the motherboard.
  • To confirm whether Crossfire or SLI is working or not, use GPU-Z which will show that information to you in the last field at the bottom of the program’s window.

The video cards require PCI-Express 6 or 8 pin power connector(s)to be plugged into them to function properly. The recommended power supplies come equipped with enough 6 and/or 8 pin PCI-E connectors for your video cards. Those are different than the 8 pins 12V connector for the motherboard). Just make sure to plug them in 😉

Tier 7/8:

EVGA PRO SLI BRIDGE HB (2 Slot Spacing)

Click here to see the price on Amazon
$46.42 at Newegg

This is the new, high bandwidth SLI HB Bridge HB.

It is necessary to use this new High Bandwidth SLI Bridge for optimal performance at 4K on on multiple monitors setups.

The extra bandwidth smooths out delivery of the frames for a more consistent game experience, according to Nvidia, as well as boost the frame rates.

I recommend this version with 2 slot spacing, which is what you need with the recommended motherboards and video cards.

Note that you can get the SLI HB Bridge from other brands or directly from Nvidia, just make sure that it’s the HB (High Bandwidth) version with 2 slot spacing.

Tier 7:

2x ASUS GeForce GTX 1070 Turbo (SLI)

Click here to see the price on Amason
$819.98 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$819.98 at Newegg

Looking for more performance than what the GTX 1080 can offer?

The first step up is two Geforce GTX 1070 in SLI.

I recommend the ASUS Geforce GTX 1070 graphic cards, because they are inexpensive and come with a blower style cooler, which will exhaust the hot air outside of the case, keeping the rest of your components cooler.

What settings can this setup handle?
Two Geforce GTX 1070 in SLI are ideal to run the latest games maxed out at a resolution of 2560 x 1440/1600 (2K),

Most games at a resolution of 3840 x 2160 (Ultra HD/4K) and a triple 1080p monitor setup (6.2MP) should be able to run at high with good frame rates maxed out, although the most demanding ones will require you to lower settings. See Tier 8 for higher performance.

Tier 8:

2x ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 Turbo (SLI)

Click here to see the price on Amazon
$1117.62 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$1159.98 at Newegg

Do you want more performance than what the fastest GPU can offer?

In that case, get two Geforce GTX 1080 and team them up in SLI for even more performance than a single GTX Titan X at roughly the same price.

What settings can this setup handle?
Two Geforce GTX 1080 in SLI are ideal to run the latest games maxed out at a resolution of 2560 x 1440/1600 (2K) and games at a resolution of 3840 x 2160 (Ultra HD/4K) and a triple 1080p monitor setup (6.2MP) should be able to run maxed out, although you might have to lower settings by a notch if you need very high frame rates in the most demanding games.

Storage:

SSD FAQ:

If you wondering “Who are SSDs for?”, if you want a quick recap on what a SSD is or want to learn more about the benefits of using a SSD, I invite you to read our SSD FAQ.

All Tier:

Crucial MX300 SATA III SSD 1TB :
Click here to see the price on Amazon
$259.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$269.99 at Newegg

Why am I recommending the Crucial MX300 SSD?
The Samsung 850 EVO SSDs offers top-notch reliability and good performance for a SATA III SSD.

While there are faster SATA III and even faster PCIe NVMe SSDs, for gaming, you won’t perceive a difference in performance between this SSD and the faster models that cost significantly

The Samsung 850 EVO has the advantage of being available in capacities up to 4TB, a big advantage if you need more storage capacity for your video games collection.

Higher capacities models:

If you want more than 1TB, there’s a 2TB Crucial MX300. If you want 4TB, you can get either two 2TB MX300 or the single, more expensive, Samsung 850 EVO 4TB.

2TB from Amazon, B&H ($519.00) or Newegg ($549.99)

4TB from Amazon, B&H ($1390.37) or Newegg ($1499.99)

Hard Drives:

Tier 7:

Seagate ST3000DM008 3TB
Click here to see the price on Amazon
$89.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$89.99 at Newegg

Seagate launched an update to their Barracuda line-up of hard drives, with performance gains and so far great reliability.

It comes with a two years warranty.

Keep in mind that you’ll have a 1TB (or more) SSD to store the OS and programs/games and when you want the extra performance.

Tier 8:

Seagate ST4000DM005 4TB

Click here to see the price on Amazon
$127.49 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$104.99 at Newegg

For Tier 8, I’ve bumped up the recommended hard drive capacity to 4TB.

It comes with a two years warranty.

4TB is not enough? Do you want 5TB, 6TB, 8TB or 10TB?

No problem, just pick the hard with the capacity that you want. All of them are high performance 7200rpm models.

– Toshiba X300 5TB HDWE150XZSTA: From Amazon, $151.97 at B&H (International Shipping) or $159.99 at Newegg
– Seagate ST6000DM004 6TB (5 years warranty): From Amazon, $279.99 at B&H (International Shipping) or $249.99 at Newegg
– Seagate ST8000DM005 8TB (5 years warranty): From Amazon, $349.99 at B&H (International Shipping) or $379.99 at Newegg
– Seagate ST10000DM0004 10TB (5 years warranty): From Amazon, $479.99 at B&H (International Shipping) or $489.49 at Newegg

Power Supply:

Tier 7 and 8:

EVGA SuperNOVA 850W G2 80PLUS Gold Modular

Click here to see the price on Amazon
$117.97 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$125.34 at Newegg

This power supply is capable of delivering up to 850W, not that you should rely on this information only as I often point in posts such as Warning: 6 Surefire Ways of Blowing Up Your Computer Due to an Inadequate Power Supply, but more importantly 70.8A on the 12V line, the most important factor when it comes to choosing a power supply for a gaming computer.

It is 80 Plus Gold certified, to insure very high efficiency, a lower power bill, less heat and noise, compared to a less efficient and/or lower quality power supply.

It’s also fully modular meaning that all cables are removable, so that you only install the ones that you need, resulting in less of a cable mess.

At low load, it will stop its fan to operate silently. As the load increase, it will automatically turn on its fan as necessary.

Of course, it’s based on a reliable design, to ensure that it will last you many years. It comes with an industry-leading 10 years warranty; that gives you an idea of what to expect reliability wise!

Power Consumption:

Estimated Power Consumption, per Tier:

According to the eXtreme Power Supply Calculator, with the settings that I described above and my own research, it is estimated that this system will require at load (peak usage), the following numbers. The minimum requirements are in Italic, while my recommendations (including overhead) are in Bold:

  1. 550W/700W with the Core i7 7700K (5.0GHz/1.30v) and two Geforce GTX 1070 in SLI (Tier 7)
  2. 670W/800W with the Core i7 6850K (4.2GHz/1.30v) and two Geforce GTX 1080 in SLI (Tier 8)

A quick note about the eXtreme Power Supply Calculator:
While this is the main tool that I use to estimate power consumption, do note that my recommendations also take into account my personal experience (over 16 years) and some additional research of my own to verify these numbers.

This is why you may notice that the numbers that I give above may be higher than what the eXtreme Power Supply Calculator gives you. When in doubt, stick with my numbers.

Why should I get a power supply that’s more powerful than the requirements?

1- You don’t want to run your power supply too close to its maximum output.
While you can match a 650W PSU with a 632W requirement, I don’t recommend it: Running your PSU at full load all the time will increase the wear and tear on its components. This will reduce its lifespan, increase its chance of failure, reduce its efficiency, increase its heat output and noise output.

I recommend adding a 15-20% overhead to give some breathing room to your PSU so that it lasts you many years, runs efficiently and doesn’t get too noisy. Note that my recommendations include this overhead.

2- Consider that you may want to upgrade to more power hungry components in the future.
The Geforce GTX 1070/1080 don’t consume much power for high-end video cards. Future generations of video cards might have higher power consumption, so having a more powerful power supply will cover that difference.

3- You want to overclock the CPU and the video cards
My recommendations take into consideration that you will overclock your CPU and the video cards, so the power supply is capable of handling the additional power requirements of overclocking.

Case:

All Tiers:

NZXT H440: Available in several colors:
Click here to see the price on Amazon
$109.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$109.99 at Newegg

You have an Extreme Gaming PC, which means that your case:
– Must compatible with all your components
– Must offer enough airflow to keep your components running at safe operating temperatures
– Is preferably quiet. Powerful doesn’t have to mean noisy.
– Looks good, right?

The NZXT H440 is a dream case. It’s a brilliant case that’s available in multiple colors and at a great price for what it offers.

It comes with three 120mm front fans and a back 140mm fan. So you have plenty of airflow for your dual video card setup.

It has been designed to support the recommended 240mm radiator, in the front or on top, for the CPU water cooling.

You get an integrated 10-port fan hub, power supply shroud, .2″ closed-cell sound dampening material, cable management, two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports.

Cooling:

CPU Cooler:

Tiers 7-8

Corsair Hydro Series H100i V2 240mm Liquid CPU Cooler
Click here to see the price on Amazon
$99.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$99.99 at Newegg

The Corsair H100i V2 offers outstanding cooling performance, capable of handling an overclocked CPU with any problem, without being too noisy, although make sure you connect the Corsair Link cable to control the fan speed and consider replacing the fans if you want something more quiet.

It’s the best selling all-in-one liquid CPU Cooler for a reason.

It’s compatible with both the LGA1151 and LGA2011 socket, so with both Tier of the Extreme Gaming PCs.

If you pick a different case:
Make sure that it supports a 240mm radiator. Otherwise, get a setup with a radiator size that will fit in your case. Just leave a comment at the end of the article if you aren’t sure if everything is compatible.

Thermal Compound

The Corsair H110i comes with a pre-installed high-quality and high-performance thermal compound, so you don’t need to buy any thermal compound separately.

Sound Card:

Tier 7/8:
Sound Blaster Z 7.1 PCIe Sound Card
Click here to see the price on Amazon
$79.95 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)
$119.99 at Newegg

While integrated audio has improved a lot over the years, it’s still no match for the sound quality of a dedicated sound card, especially when you use good headphones and/or speakers.

Sound Blaster Z 7.1 PCIe Sound Card:

The Sound Blaster Z is a fairly recent model from Creative Labs. With a 116dB SNR, a built-in headphone amplifier, gold plated jacks and then Sound Blaster beamforming microphone, you can expect high-quality sound.

Ports wise, you get a 3.5mm gold plated headphone jack driven by the 600 Ohm Maxim MAX97220 amp, a 3.5mm gold plated microphone jack, 3.5mm gold plated 5.1 channel connections and TOSLINK digital audio input and outputs

Considering that audio is a big part of your Gaming PC experience, I believe that less than $70, or a small % of your total budget, is entirely worth it to improve your PC audio quality, whether it’s for gaming, music, movies, TV or other entertainment purposes.

Installation tips:
For Tier 7, install it above the top video card (closest to the CPU).
For Tier 8, install it in the bottom PCI-Express 16x slot. Yes, it will work just fine in a 16x slot.

Network:

– Tier 7:
Ethernet RJ-45 10/100/1000 Mbps LAN: Integrated on the motherboard

– Tier 8:
Dual Ethernet RJ-45 10/100/1000 Mbps LAN: Integrated on the motherboard

Integrated with the motherboard, this(those) network adapter(s) will allow you to access your local network and Internet, by connecting a Cat5-e cable from your modem/router to your PC.

If you need a cable, or a longer cable than what you have, to connect your PC to your modem, measure the distance between the modem/router and your PC. Consider that you may want to move your equipment at some point in the future. Order whichever length you need of CAT-5e cable. Don’t waste your money on a CAT6 cable, it will make no difference in speed.

Wireless Networking:
Alt: Edimax EW-7833UAC USB 3.0 1750Mbps WiFi Adapter

If you want a wireless adapter, I recommend this high-performance, reliable USB adapter that’s affordable for what it is.

It offers 802.11ac support, 2.4GHz (up to 450Mbps) and 5GHz (up to 1300Mbps) dual-band support, beamforming and MIMO support.

It comes with an ajustable antenna that can be rotated 180 degrees for optimal WiFi connectivity and performance.

Get the Edimax EW-7833UAC : Click here to see the price on Amazon, $39.95 at B&H, $39.99 at Newegg

Recommended Operating System (OS):

Note that you need to install the 64-bit version, as 32-bit systems are limited to 4GB of memory, which is not enough.

I recommend the Full retail version, which allows you to install your Windows 10 on another computer (it can only be used on one computer at a time) or to upgrade your PC as much as you’d like.

I also recommend getting the USB Flash Drive version, seeing as the PC has no DVD drive and anyway, installation is far faster from a USB Flash Drive.

Windows 10 Full retail version, USB Flash Drive 64-Bit
Click here to see the price on Amazon or $109.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping) or $129.99 at Newegg.

For the best gaming performance, I recommend Windows 10.

It includes DirectX 12, it boots and shutdowns faster than Windows 7 and 8 as well as uses less resources.

Visually, it is a big improvement over Windows 8.1

Microsoft has been optimizing Windows 10 to improve performance. If you want the best performance, especially with Intel’s Skylake or future processors from Intel and AMD, Windows 10 is the way to go.

Launched on July 29th 2015, Windows 10 is Microsoft’s latest version of the popular Windows operating system.

The Start Menu is back, you get DirectX 12, the search function is improved, it boots faster, using it is a lot simpler than Windows 8.

It basically improved on what Windows 7 offered.

For more details on Windows 10, I recommend that you find a review of it online.

Linux

Linux is gaining more and more support as a Gaming OS and while many games still only run on Windows, there are a growing selection of titles that are available for Linux or that can run on Linux with some work.

Wine is an application that allows you to run Windows programs on Linux, including games of course. The Wine Application Database has a list of the games that run smoothly or with minimal/minor issues through Wine.

Crossover: Run the most popular Windows games/programs on Linux

Crossover allows you to play popular games as well as run Windows applications and more on Linux.

Open source games and source ports are also a good way to play games on Linux.

Steam is more Linux friendly than ever, with many games that have been or will be ported to run on Linux.

There are a large variety of distributions (variants) of Linux, each with its pros and cons. Ubuntu is the most popular and arguably the most supported. For more information on other distribution of Linux and their latest version, visit Distrowatch.com,

If you need assistance with Linux, LinuxQuestions.org is a good place to start.

While Linux does not offer the wide compatibility of Windows with video games, gaming on Linux is still possible, through projects such as Wine, . For more on the topic of Linux Gaming, I invite you to read this excellent article from AnandTech: Linux Gaming: Are we there yet?

What about Word processing, Excel and other Windows-based programs that you need? Linux, being an open platform, has many free alternatives for you. For Word/Excel and such, try LibreOffice.
Cost: Free

Conclusion

What did you think of this article? Let me know if you have any suggestion to improve this article or your opinion on it by leaving a comment below. Additionally, if a part goes out of stock, let me know.

Don’t agree with my choices? Have a better idea?

Feel free to leave a comment. There’s always place for improvement and after some research I may change the part according to your suggestion.

Building this PC?

If you build this system, I invite you to share your experience on how well it runs: What applications do you use, what type of work do you do, how well does this PC performs, is there anything that slows it down? Your feedback will help other people make an informed decision on what to buy for their own needs.

Do you need a guide on how to build a computer, need help or do you have some questions?

Join us on our forums!

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this article, feel free to leave a comment below to discuss the computer that you’re planning to build and ask any question.

Build your Gaming PC today!

Why should you?
For the same price, you’ll get more performance out of your custom PC, or you’ll save money while getting the same performance compared to a retail PC. Not to mention that retail PCs come with tons of bloatware and limited warranties. Why settle for less?

Stop relying on HP, Dell and other companies:
Build your own custom PC today.
It’s easier than you think!

This Build includes all the parts/cables that you need and it was double-checked to ensure compatibility. Simply order your parts, set aside some time, grab a screwdriver and build your own personal PC. No worries, we’ll be there to assist you if you have questions or need help.

Then you’ll be able to say, “See that computer over there? Yeah, I built that.” Talk about being proud of a job well done.

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