Gaming Only 1080p
This system is built to give the user a very smooth experience in gaming-only scenarios. Due to the strong overall design of the system, this PC is easily upgraded to 1440p and 4K.
It is configured with 16GB of memory, a good motherboard to build on, a powerful and efficient Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 6GB video card built for high-level 1080p gaming, and aftermarket fans to ensure proper airflow at all times.
Overall System Performance
This 1080p Gaming Computer performs well in most games at 1080p resolution, at high visual settings. It is also a great foundation to build on.
This system can easily be converted to one more stream-ready, as streaming requires more CPU threads.
i5-8400 | H7 | H370 GAMING | 16GB DDR4-2133 | 860 EVO 250GB | Blue 1TB | GTX 1060 6GB WINDFORCE | S340 White | 650W Gold | PH-F120MP
This system is $1700 as Currently Designed
Gaming PCs as Low as $650 are Available
System Design Rationale & Upgrade Path
We've put a fair amount of thought into how we designed this system, and would like to explain why we chose the above components. We'll also explain the various upgrades to the system, as you might desire.
We chose the i5-8400 for its high single-core performance, in relation to overall cost. The i5-8600K has a higher single-core performance, but with a 30W higher TDP, it requires a fairly hefty cooler to stay in safe thermal range. The i5-8600K also costs 30% more than the i5-8400, with a marginal improvement in stock operation. If you don't plan on overclocking, and don't game at more than 60hz, the 8600K is wasted.
System Change: If you come across a need for more clock speed, or more cores, you can easily upgrade to an 8500, 8600, or 8700 with no need to change the system otherwise. If you want to change to an unlocked CPU, you'll need to change the motherboard, and may need to change other things as well (cooler, power supply).
The stock cooler does work on the i5-8400, though we tend to favor lower noise/heat over lower system cost. As such, we selected a fairly good aftermarket air cooler, while still maintaining an eye for price/performance. Air cooling is also more reliable than liquid cooling, as the only part to fail is the fan. If the fan fails, the case will still have enough airflow to move heat away from the heat sink and out of the case. This allows you to continue doing low-intensity tasks, and buy a replacement fan.
System Change: If you come across a need for more cooling capacity, you can easily upgrade to a bigger air cooler with no need to change the system otherwise. And, if you want to change to a closed-loop liquid CPU cooler, you still don't need to change anything else about the system, provided you don't attempt a 360mm AIO (that would require a case change).
Because we didn't use an unlocked CPU, and still wanted to use the full ability of the video card, we chose an H series motherboard. This gives us 20 PCI 3.0 lanes, enough for a full x16 set for the GPU, and another x4 if you want to add on an M2 SSD down the road. MSI is a very good manufacturer of motherboards, and has priced this motherboard at a very attractive level.
System Change: If you want to significantly change your CPU, add more video cards for SLI or CrossFire, add more M2 SSDs, or something else, that would require a new motherboard. Most other things probably won't. Please ask us if you have a question about a potential system upgrade being compatible with your motherboard.
We went with 16GB of Vengeance LPX memory due to the extremely high quality of the internal chips, and low-lying heat sink. If you ended up upgrading the CPU cooler to one with a wider fin array, the low-lying design of the Vengeance LPX prevents any future physical tolerance issues. 16GB of memory is not a minimum amount, but it is a highly recommended amount.
System Change: If you come across a need for more memory, you can easily add in more sticks, with no need to change the system otherwise. The motherboard selected supports a maximum of 64GB of memory, in a 4x16GB array.
The SSD and HDD were both chosen for their low cost and high reliability. There are other cheaper SSDs of the same capacity, but they are not as reliable, and do not carry as long of a manufacturer warranty. We've also installed quite a few of this storage combination, and feel very confident in our choice.
System Change: If you come across a need for more storage, you can easily upgrade to a bigger SSD or HDD, with no need to change the system otherwise. If you want to add more drives, you may need to change the case.
The video card was chosen for its high performance in most games at 1080p in high quality, and attractice price point. While a GTX 1050Ti costs half as much, it also significantly less powerful. The GTX 1060 is a go-to GPU for gaming at high quality in 1080p/60hz, bested only by the GTX 1070.
System Change: If you come across a need for more graphical horsepower, you can easily upgrade to a GTX 1070 or 1080, with no need to change the system otherwise. If you want to run two video cards as one, you will need to upgrade the motherboard and power supply. You may also need to upgrade the intake and exhaust fans as well.
Note: SLI is not supported by the GTX 1050Ti or GTX 1060. The only GTX 10XX series cards that support SLI are the 1070, 1080, 1080Ti, and Titan Xp.
The case was chosen for its high build quality, low price point, small size, and low weight. The case does come with a single exhaust fan, so we've added on two additional fans to be used as front intake. While this does marginally increase the cost of the system, it ensures that the internal components get plenty of clean air and stay stable under load. The fans selected are also high quality and very low noise, and we feel extremely confident in the fan manufacturer.
System Change: Reasons for changing the case can be very hard to pin point. If you have a question about the compatibility of the case selected with an upgrade, please contact us.
The power supply was chosen for its high build quality, low price point, small size, and low weight. The power supply is a bit overpowered for a GTX 1060 rig, though the current wattage can sustain up to a GTX 1080Ti. Upgrading the wattage will potentially make the fan run slower, creating less noise overall. A higher wattage PSU than necessary will also prolong the life of the unit, as it isn't being operated near peak load.
System Change: If you decide to upgrade any single major draw of power, you do not need to change the power supply. If you change multiple draws of power, you may need to upgrade the wattage on the power supply.