Gaming PC Builds

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Gaming PC Builds

Postby Fulbert » 26 Feb 2015, 20:30

Here's a set of gaming PC builds I've put together that range from a solid basic setup to a pretty nice system. You can mix and match most of the parts suggested here, so feel free pop in a higher or lower end GPU or larger or smaller SSD options into any of these setups. If you're going to buy some parts from Amazon that are not listed here, you can use this Fate Amazon Link first and help support the guild Mumble and website hosting also.

If anyone has questions or needs some help deciding what to select for their build feel free to ask me.

The Basic
This is a base build that I've put together for a few people. This will get you 60fps nice and solid in WoW at 1080p, and most general Steam stuff also. For Ultra settings on other AAA titles, this should still cut it if you keep to 1080p settings though you will dip below solid 60 fps. If you need more storage, you can substitute a larger SSD model or add a spinning drive for what space you need. If you have specific questions please let me know.

Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-Z97X-GAMING 5

CPU - Intel Core i5-4690
Pro Tip: If you live near a MicroCenter, you can likely get a good discount on this item, at current their price is $185 for the same processor, or you could get the unlocked 4690K version for $199.

SSD - Samsung 850 EVO 250GB
SSDs in general are hot items still and sales run in cycles on them, you may be able to wait and find a deal, Amazon price tends to be pretty good most of the time.

Memory - Corsair 8GB

Video Card - EVGA GeForce GTX 960 SuperSC

Power Supply - Corsair CS650

Case - Corsair 200R Mid Tower

The Advanced
This build will run most stuff at 60fps on ultra settings at 1080p resolutions. Stepping up, you can expect many titles to have solid performance, maybe a few dips for intense current AAA titles on high at 1440p or 1600p. This build also has extra RAM and SSD space, plus has a water loop cooler for the CPU so you can push some OC if you like.

Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-Z97X-GAMING 7

CPU - Intel Core i7-4790K

CPU Cooler - Corsair H60

Memory - Corsair 16GB

SSD - Samsung 850 EVO 500GB

Video Card - EVGA GTX970 Superclocked 4GB

Power Supply - Corsair HX750i

Case - Corsair Obsidian 450D Mid Tower

The "Fulbuild"
This build is based on the setup I run for my gaming system, it's just a generation newer on the CPU and graphics cards. This build will crush anything on Ultra or Ultra+ at 1080p. Jumping up to 1440p or 1600p you can still expect to hold solid 60fps on most AAA titles even Ultra and FXAA maxed out. If you crank it up to 2160p (or 4K or Ultra HD) resolution, you can still expect to be able to play nearly anything with High, maybe Ultra settings just maybe not also with FXAA maxed out. I run WoW at 2160p (4K) on this setup and can hold 60fps in Mythic fights almost all the time.

Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-Z97X-GAMING 7

CPU - Intel Core i7-4790K

CPU Cooler - Corsair H100i

Memory - Corsair Vengeance 32GB

2 X SSD - Samsung 850 EVO 500GB

2 X Video Card - EVGA GTX980 Superclocked 4GB

SLI Bridge - EVGA Pro SLI 2 way bridge
You totally don't need this, you can use the flex cable that comes with the video cards, but it's a nice finishing touch and it lights up with the cards.

Power Supply - Corsair AX1200i

Case - Corsair D900 Super Tower

Here's a selection of suggested monitors. I'll warn you that I personally don't like the look of TN screens so most of these are going to be higher priced IPS displays that while not required for gaming, and may even be less ideal than the fastest refresh of a TN screen for some players, the washed out look of a TN is a deal breaker for me so I just can't recommend most of them. That said, the Asus ROG unit I list is a TN screen, and while it's still got some issues, it's one of the best looking TN screens and so I've given it a pass, plus it offers G-Sync. The dream ideal is for a 4K IPS with ~6ms refresh, 144Hz and G-Sync. That does not exist yet, but there are some 4K G-Sync TN units that are due in the summer which should be sub $1000.

24" 1920x1080, 16:9, IPS with LED backlight, $170
This is a solid base choice. It's a 1080p IPS with LED backlight. It's got a low refresh and good color. Basic inputs, DVI and VGA only.
Asus VS248H-P

24" 1920x1200, 16:10, IPS with LED backlight, $310
This is a 16:10 screen, you get a little more than a 1080p screen and stepping into the Dell Ultrasharp line you get more inputs, Displayport and HDMI, plus a power+ USB 3 hub and full height, tilt and swivel stand. This is the latest generation of the first LCD monitor I considered an upgrade from my giant old Sony widescreen CRT monitors I used.
Dell 24" Ultrasharp U2415

27" 2560x1440, 16:9, IPS with LED backlight, $550
This ups the display to 27" and 1440p resolution. Again as a Ultrasharp unit you have more inputs and a great stand that has height, tilt and swivel, plus can go to portrait mode. I have these monitors on my desk at work and I love them.
Dell 27" Ultrasharp U2715H

27" 3840x2160, 16:9, IPS with LED backlight, $590
Ultra HD, 4K, or more exact 2160p. That's what we have here. This is the first high quality, high value 4K monitor shipping. I am currently using two of these on my gaming rig. I picked them up back in January when they first shipped and they are great. Fast refresh, full 60Hz with single display connection, no MST stuff to deal with. It does offer DisplayPort 1.2 for display chaining via MST however. Full feature stand with height, tilt and swivel plus portrait mode option. Until there are G-Sync 4K monitors with IPS panels I think this is what I'll be using.
Dell 27" Ulta HD P2715Q

27" 2560x1440, 16:9, TN with LED backlight, G-Sync 144Hz, $750
I want to love this monitor, and while I like it enough to recommend it, in the end it's not what I ended up going with. This monitor is a 1440p unit with G-Sync. It offers up to 144Hz refresh and with G-Sync you can let your cards set the refresh so you never see screen tearing even when driving sub 60fps video. G-Sync is great and for that plus being one of the best TN screens I give it a recommendation.
Asus PG278Q ROG Swift G-Sync

30" 2560x1600, 16:10, AH-IPS with LED backlight, $1200
These monitors are what I was running before I went to the 4K units this January. I actually have the older version of these, the U3011 but it's more or less the same monitor without the newer inputs and only USB 2 and not 3. These are awesome. The combination of the sheer size plus the 1600p resolution is pretty amazing. I do miss the 30" size sometimes but the crisp 2160p resolution on the 27" monitor was too much to pass up. I still have these around and I use them on my Mac desktops now for video editing and just having a really big display. Not for everyone but if you like the idea of 30" of LCD goodness, I can't suggest anything better for now. The 32" 4K units out now are not good value.
Dell 30" Ultrasharp U3014 PremierColor


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Re: Gaming PC Builds

Postby Fulbert » 22 Apr 2015, 23:46

Had some questions about laptops. I generally don't suggest a laptop as a first choice for a gaming setup, but if you need one, here are a pair of suggestions.

First, a note. There are so many factors that can go into a gaming laptop, do you care about size and weight more than performance, does the screen quality or size matter a lot to you, do you only play more casual games on your laptop, or do you just want the max performance you can get no matter if the thing is huge and runs really hot? I've broken this down to just two recommended units. The first is a great all around unit with great value, where makes it's trade off is it's screen and therefore it's overall size footprint, and it's a just over 8lbs. The second unit is a balanced unit offering really high performance in a smaller size and only 5.6lbs, but at a higher cost. There's tons of options, these are two.

Asus ROG G751JT-CH71 17.3-Inch Gaming Laptop
~$1490 - Intel Core i7-4710HQ, nVidia 970M 3GB GPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB spinning HDD, 17.3" 1080p IPS monitor, 8.1lbs. This is a really solid unit for the price. Not the smallest unit, but for a solid gaming laptop it's not bad either. This is the middle unit in the ROG R751 series. This model has a nVidia 970M 3GB GPU which will run WoW at ultra in 1080p, newer FPS's on ultra or high and it's going to clean up running LoL, DOTA2 or Hereos also. The upgraded versions Asus offers in this same unit only add a 256GB SSD drive, but they want $1850 for that model, which is a high premium for just that SSD. If you really want the SSD, you can add it yourself, the unit has an empty drive bay, just purchase the Samsung 850 EVO model linked in the desktop builds from above (either the 250GB or 500GB unit) and add the drive yourself, save a few $100 doing it and you only need a screwdriver and 10 minutes.

Gigabyte P35XV3-CF6 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop
~$2100 - Intel Core i7-4720HQ, nVidia 980M 8GB GPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB spinning HDD + 128GB SSD, 15.6" 1080p monitor, 5.6lbs! Alright, so this unit is a bit more pricey but, it offers the GTX 980M graphics and a pretty amazingly small chassis. This thing is .8" thick and only 5.6lbs which is more or less the size of a typical low power notebook from a few years ago, yet this one is packed with hardcore gaming performance. It's going to run a little hotter than the Asus ROG unit above, but it's also got more performance in a smaller package. Plan to keep this on a desk or another surface where you can keep airflow to this, but it's going to be hard to beat the size/performance/price for this unit. This one has a SSD for your OS and main game apps, plus it also has a 1TB sipnner for all your donkey pr0n movies. As a bonus, this unit also has a full DisplayPort 1.2 port so it can drive up to a 4K external monitor, and with it's 980M GPU you can actually play games on mid to high settings on this thing at 4K!


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