Hey, Logan, your build is ready! Here are the details.
Build goals: high-end gaming setup, starting from scratch with no existing peripherals. Budget range $1500 to $2000. The preferred design is Black, Carbon, Blue.
Total build price: $1975.68 at the time of posting. Prices change constantly and rapidly in the world of PC parts. Take your time to shop each piece for the best deal. If you’re making substitutions, consider all specs for the item.
No emphasis on overclocking. Windows 10 running on Intel architecture.
Ahh, my first full build of 2017! Big budget and starting from scratch? Always a pleasure to oblige my transitioning peasants 😀
So obviously we’re gonna do a GTX 1080 build today. I mean, it’d be a slap in the face not to with a budget like that. Quite honestly, if you stick a 1080 in anything that can handle it, you’ve already got a kickass gaming computer. EVGA’s most awesome 1080 – Superclocked with ACX 3.0 – is on sale today, so we gotta go that route for sure.
I wanted to focus a bit more on design today, what with the large overhead budget and focused gaming priority, so I decided to splurge on a kickass Gigabyte board, codenamed Designare. On this beautiful board, you’ve got ambient RGB lighting that without a doubt will provide that “wow” factor to the entire build. See the overview of the Designare here. Pairing with the overall design is 16 GB of DDR4-2133 memory by PNY.
The Skylake i5 CPU, in lieu of that so-saught-after i7, will help keep the price down at no noticeable cut to gaming performance. To mitigate that loss, you’ve got a 250 GB Samsung SSD connected through M.2 to deliver blinding fast read/write speeds, so everything balances out nicely for backbone performance. The Samsung SSD will host Windows 10 Home, and it will be accompanied by a traditional 2TB HDD over SATA3.
To further bolster the design, I chose the ATX-sized NZXT S340 mid-tower case that will pair oh-so-beautifully with the color palette. Top IO (2 USB 3.0), no ugly bay drive slots, and ample room to work in. Eazy peazy.
Onto cooling. Your CPU fan is the PCMR traditional Hyper 212 Evo; nothing fancy, but a great stock fan replacement. I also threw in one NZXT Aer 140mm case fan with RGB control, which will pair nicely with the ambient lighting from the board. I recommend mounting the case fan to the back, but that’s just me. You can always buy a second one, then stick both on the front panel.
Rounding out the internal build, you have a fully modular 80+ Gold power supply by EVGA.
Since we’re starting from scratch, we save the best for last: peripherals! Since we didn’t go too overboard on the internal build, we get to save a nice chunk of the budget for some lush desk estate. Asus has a perfectly-budgeted 1440p 27-inch IPS display with the coveted 1ms response time – a must for gaming builds. For input, let’s go full-Corsair. We’ve got the K95 full-RGB keyboard and the Sabre full-RGB mouse, meaning you’ve got color control both inside and out of the system. Finally, just to give us some audio out, we’ll pick up some traditional Logitech speakers (another PCMR budget staple).
To summarize your build:
PROS: The entire build marries together god-tier gaming performance from the GTX 1080 and beautiful ambient RGB lighting, both inside the case and out.
CONS: Really have to nitpick here! Some snobbish PCMR higher-ups will frown on your i5 (although you won’t feel the difference with gaming). An audio upgrade may be necessary if you’re an audiophile. An extra terabyte of storage never hurt anyone.