A Build for a Little Punk Bitch

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Build Overview

Goals

Traditional budget gaming setup, starting from scratch with existing headphones and TV.  Budget range $500 to $800.  The preferred design is Purple.  Windows 10 running on any architecture.  Emphasis on future independence for upgrades.

Price

$778.75 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.

Build Details

Budget gaming rigs are entirely the reason my PC build assistance is offered in the first place, so I’m more than happy to accommodate.  Today, I went deals-first to showcase the lowest possible price while being able to maintain a nice wow factor in a few items.  Let’s get started.

Since future upgrades will be emphasized, we can pinch pennies by going with a 1060.  Even with only 3 GB, Zotac’s mini card will get us to consistent 1080p60 gaming.

To host the card, let’s go with a Ryzen 3 1300X to continue keeping the price low without bottlenecking.  We can host that on the conveniently-priced ASRock AB350 Pro4.  I just used this board in a build yesterday, and I bought it for my own upgrade project, just because it’s a fantastic backbone that is both cheap (thanks to a Newegg rebate) and full of upgrade potential.

Let’s slap 8 GB of DDR-2133 from Crucial on there as well.  Just enough for gaming, and dual-channel to make room for other standard PC tasks.

Again, I unfortunately find myself short-handed in providing an SSD to host Windows.  Money’s tight these days, yo!  Can’t blame ya, I’m right there with ya!  But we did snag 2 TB on a traditional Hitachi HDD.

To expound on our design, I went with NZXT’s high-rated S340 case, this time in White Matte + Purple bracketing.  Looks stunning, even for the most budgeted builds, and not to mention the roomy interior for future upgrades.

Rounding out our internal build, we’ve got a killer deal on an 80+ Bronze PSU from EVGA, coming in at only $12 before shipping.  We’ll also throw in Kinguin’s super-low price for our Windows 10 license.

Okay, moving onto peripherals.  I actually started this build out with an amazing headphone set from Philips, which is $100 off today.  I kept it in right until the end, and decided the money would be better spent where it counts, specifically due to the fact that headphones are already available for the build.

On the other hand, the TV has to go.  Response time on a gaming monitor just can’t be shuddered away, so I went with Acer’s 24″ 1080p60 monitor, which is again from yesterday’s build.  Pair that with a budget mechanical keyboard and mouse, and we’re all done here.

 

Build Summary

Pros

Our console crusher build takes care of our 1080p60 needs while also being featured in an eye-candy case.  Everything’s here for a great gaming experience: GTX 1060, up-to-date architectures, low response time on our monitor, and a mechanical keyboard.  EZ PZ.  The board and case go on to offer great room for some easy-to-make upgrades when the budget becomes available.

Cons

With a low budget comes setbacks to our equipment quality.  Our CPU is on the low end of the spectrum.  We’re missing an SSD, and our peripherals could use some extra money to become even better.  The 1060’s great, but in no way is it the brass ring for PCMR gaming.  8 GB for our memory is, especially in this day and age, a little short-handed for us multitaskers.

A Build for Cain

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Build Overview

Goals

Wide-spectrum purpose machine, starting from scratch with no existing peripherals.  Budget range $800 to $1000.  The preferred design is Black.  Windows 10 running on any architecture. Use case will cover a wide variety of gaming and professional editing.  Media center usage and high-quality audio should also be emphasized.  Future upgrade path opportunities strongly emphasized.

Price

$991.51 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.

Build Details

America.  The land of opportunity.  No matter what shitty politicians lead our country, that’s what we’re founded on.  And with that egregious promise comes the simple idea that a man deserves the right to a good PC.  A PC that can do a wide variety of things – play kick-ass games, make and play back kick-ass jams, watch and edit kick-ass HD movies at kick-ass HD resolutions – and sure, we’re all in different funding brackets.  My job is to simply build the best kick-ass machine for whatever your wallet can afford, and god dammit, that’s what I’m gonna do.

Now if you’ll allow me to step off this soap box, we’ll get started with this wide-spectrum build from scratch.  We’ve only got a grand to work with, too.  We’ll be cutting it pretty tight to fit what we can into our tiny budget, so we’ll have to optimize each and every piece where we can do so.

Our main goal here is to build a foundation.  Since it’s wide spectrum, I’ve gotta go Ryzen on this one.  To keep our budget opportunities as wide as possible, let’s go with Ryzen 3.  We’re gonna have to use that stock cooler, too.

Today was a good day for deals.  So good, in fact, that I picked up a motherboard for myself today!  I sit around a build tons of PCs for people, and rarely do I get to practice what I preach.  The board I picked up today – ASRock’s AB350 Pro4 – just so happens to be the perfect build for both my backbone upgrade and this build!  This board will perfectly marry the parts I have in mind.

On that board, let’s attach 16 GB of GeIL’s DDR4-2133 and reap the benefits of dual channel RAM.  We’ll spend a little bit more to use dual-channel config (2 x 8 GB), since the professional uses – video editing in particular – will see some big advantages to this.

While I wanted to go with the usual SSD + HDD hybrid setup, it just isn’t going to happen today with the budget, but we can pick up a huge slice of storage – 2 TB today – at a decent price for a traditional HDD.

While gaming is still, of course, a huge bullet point here, I wanted to focus a little more on backbone.  The remaining budget should sit pretty if we go with a GTX 1060.  I went with our cheapest 1060 option today, which is EVGA’s 6 GB GAMING model.

As with all boards that emphasize future upgrading, I like to spend a little more on a case.  I spotted an opportunity for a rebate, so I landed on the classic and high-rated NZXT S340, which give us plenty of room to expand later while also knocking out the sleek black design that was requested.  Powering our rig will be yet another rebate-fueled option on our PSU.  SeaSonic had a nice deal today which featured both 80+ Bronze and full modularity – not too shabby at $40.

Because we’ve pinched so many pennies, we can splurge on our human interface.  Since we picked up a 1060, let’s pair that with a 1080p monitor from Acer.  24″ and 60 Hz can’t be frowned upon, especially if it’s also sporting a 5ms response time – perfect for gaming.

While it not might be the highest of the high, our audio quality can still be cheesed with a decent 5.1 channel set from Logitech.  Pair that with a decent mechanical keyboard and a great optical mouse and we’ve got everything we need to pass for a great 1080p gaming station.

Rounding out our price is a licence for Windows 10.  And that’s all there is to it.

Build Summary

Pros

The foundation has been set for a great 1080p60 rig.  Both the board and case give Cain everything he needs to set his foot in the always-open PCMR door.  From here on out, Cain can do as he pleases to upgrade and better his experience in whatever direction he desires.

Cons

Like all builds done from scratch, a lot of money has to be fronted to peripherals, which leaves us with a less-than-desirable budget to fund backbone and gaming performance.  Many options exist to push performance higher, especially for CPU and GPU.  Our storage is one-sided and could benefit from an SSD.  Or how about an M.2 drive instead?  Whatever sound decision is made, at least the backbone will support it.

A Build for Keven

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Build Overview

Goals

High-end professional workstation capable of full-range image and video editing and production, 3D modeling and animation, and high-end gaming. Starting from scratch with no existing peripherals.  Budget range $1500 to $2000.  The preferred design is Black + Silver.  Windows 10 running on any architecture.

Price

$2002.46 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.

 

Build Details

Guys, this one’s a big one.  Rarely do I see someone that needs such an advanced workstation and has literally nothing to start with.  This one’s from scratch, and we’re gonna need a lot to pull this one together.  At the Recommended PCMR-level budget of $1500 to $2000, I had no choice but to max out the budget given the use case.

This build mixes equal parts gaming battlestation and professional workhorse master.  To balance these things out, I had to divide the budget equally between necessities for each use case: gaming power, professional workload, and peripherals that would balance both of those scenarios.

As much as I wanted to do a GTX 1080 build with this one, I just knew I couldn’t.  Had the monitor not have been a necessity, I could have pulled it off, but I consciously decided to drop down to a GTX 1070 – in this case, Zotac’s popular 8GB Mini card – in order to beef up that backbone.

AND BEEFING I DID!  Let’s talk about the real star of the show here: the backbone.  An X370 chipset was so obvious for the use case here, so I went with MSI’s GAMING PRO CARBON board here ($20 off promo today drew my eye to it).  One of the main reasons I landed on this board was the SLI support, which plays so well into choosing the GTX 1070.  It paves the way for future upgrades while also giving us everything we need for an extremely comfy build.

Driving that board, we have our Ryzen 7 1700X, which will crush those professional use cases.  Animation, media editing, and active software development will all be so perfectly handled with it.  Matching that up with a hefty 32 GB of DDR4-2400 T-Force Vulcan RAM gives the system that much needed overhead space, making bottlenecks a thing of the past.

To take the backbone even further, I’ve focused on overclocking as well.  The board is a perfect overclocking system, so that will help us reach those peaks on our Ryzen with ease.  I decided to go mid-rage on CPU cooling, so since it was on sale, I went with Cooler Master’s MasterLiquid 240 AIO cooler.  Much better than our stock cooler, of course, but dropping some more money on this could reap even larger benefits in OC’ing.

Connecting to our board, we’ve got a cool 480 GB on our SanDisk SSD, backed up by 2TB traditional Seagate HDD.  Easy enough for starters, but storage can of course be expanded later, no prob.

Rounding out our tower is an 80+ Bronze full-modular power supply from SeaSonic.  So what do we put it all in?  The Fractal Design Define R5, of course.  This case is a no-brainer here – complete sleek black design, with all of the modular ability for expanding later.  EZ.

Windows 10 Pro squeezes in at $34 today from Kinguin.

So, like I said before, I wanted the peripherals to tie in both the gaming and professional needs and balance them out equally.  Starting with our main star, we’ve got AOC’s 20″ 1440p 144Hz monitor.  This crushes our gaming needs while also offering that much-needed overhead for video editing.  I was hoping to find a better sale today, but the market was pretty bare on monitors above 1080p.  I’d shop the monitor hard and aim for that 1440p spot, since the GTX 1070 pairs so well with that resolution.

Finally, we’ve got a mechanical gaming keyboard and gaming mouse on the cheap without sacrificing quality, as well as a nice 2.1 Logitech sound system for the budget-conscious among us.

 

Build Summary

Pros

Gamer or not, this is a battlestation by any definition of the word.  The tower will look so kind and subtle to the naked eye, but inside is a war-torn beast ready to destroy all professional work you throw at it.  Gaming will be crushed by the GTX 1070 as it throws frame after frame onto an all-around stunning display.  Backbone performance is easily in that top 10 percentile for work-at-home PCs.

Cons

Starting the build from scratch means money had to be fronted to a monitor, a keyboard, a mouse, and a sound system.  At the end of the day, the graphics had to suffer for it.  I aimed for the GTX 1080, but the budget just held me back.  To really milk the performance for what it’s worth, the cooler could definitely be better.  Hell, with a good amount of extra money, why not shoot for that Ryzen 7 1800X instead?

A Build for Anthony

Hey, Anthony, your build is ready!

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Build Overview

Goals

Traditional “console crusher” PC. Starting from scratch with only a gaming mouse.  Budget range $500 to $800.  The preferred design is monochromatic.  Windows 10 running on any architecture.  No emphasis on overclocking.  No emphasis on high-performance.  Future upgrades emphasized.

Price

$612.61 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.  This PC is planned to be purchased in February 2018.

Build Details

Anthony’s requested a budget gaming PC build, and that’s exactly what he’s gonna get!  Coming in right around the $600 mark, he’s got everything he needs to do for solid 1080p 60 FPS gaming.  Anthony’s got nothing but a Razer gaming mouse to his name right now, so this from-scratch build will give him the tools necessary for a console crusher.  Most of all, this build will be simple to upgrade in the future.  Add a drive there, upgrade graphics here…nothing to it.

Before we dive into the tower itself, let’s talk about peripherals.  For keyboard, let’s go with the Redragon K552 which achieves both mechanical and backlight functionality.  It’s tenkeyless, but it’ll have to do for budgeting.  I’ve also equipped him with an easy 21.5″ 1080p60 monitor from Acer which the build will target.  Finally, let’s throw in some surprisingly high-rated Logitech budget speakers.

All right, onto our actual build.  As always, budget = AMD.  Because CPU power won’t be incredibly necessary, I went with the Ryzen 3 1200 to keep our price waaaaay down without sacrificing core count.  That attaches to ASRock’s A320M-DGS mobo.  The mobo gives us everything we need, including USB 3.0 headers, PCIe x16, and dual-channel DDR4 RAM.

Speaking of RAM, we’ve got 8GB (2×4) of DDR4-2133 from G.Skill.  Nothing too fancy but plenty enough for our goal.  Since our board uses dual-channel, we don’t need to sweat the small stuff.

For storage, I wanted to go with your typical SSD + HDD combo, but to keep the price down, I crossed off the solid state and simply went with a traditional 1TB Western Digital drive.  Adding in that SSD would be the next logical step in upgrading this machine, since $40-$60 will be the cheapest cost for the most performance-efficient upgrade.

If you haven’t guessed it already, I went with a GTX 1050 this time.  That will crush our 1080p60 needs.  Zotac’s 2GB Mini miiiight ask us to turn down a few in-game video settings to get to 1080p60, but let’s keep in mind that we’re still outpacing consoles with this one!

Everything gets thrown into a Thermaltake Verca H21 case.  ATX mid tower, easy to work in, fits into Anthony’s preferred design, and has front-panel USB 3.0.

Rounding out our essentials, we’ve got a 450W 80+ Bronze power supply from Corsair, and a key for Windows 10 Home (link to Kinguin provided on parts list).

Build Summary

Pros

The goal for 1080p60 gaming in a from-scratch build has been met; this is a Console Crusher in every sense of the phrase.  Upgrading this build will be super simple as all internal parts are streamlined and already surpass the larger plateaus for gaming, especially the board.  And let’s not forget our most important Pro: the price!

Cons

Having a low price point means cutting corners.  There’s no SSD in this build, so that should be the next thing to consider.  The keyboard, albeit mechanical, is tenkeyless (translation: no numpad).  Depending on multitasking, 8GB of RAM may not be suitable and may need to be doubled instead; this causes complications since our budget motherboard only has 2 DIMM slots.  Finally, by pouring just a little more money into the CPU, Ryzen 5 is doable and would be a great jump up in performance.  Finally, sinking more money could jump that GTX 1050 to either a 1050Ti or a 1060 to eliminate any possible performance bottlenecks in performance-heavy games.

Everything Old is New Again

Hey everyone :3 just letting you guys know that I’m almost back up and running with my website. I just need to config some of those sweet subdomain redirects (like build.nathanabshire.com and twitch.nathanabshire.com) and I’ll be back in business.

GoDaddy started charging me an arm and a leg for hosting, so I switched to an alternative host, which is a host I started out using (iPage) but switched away from because it was too difficult. Knowing what I know now about managing WordPress, I think I’ll be fine now.

A Build for Jody

Hey, Jody, your build is ready!

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Build Overview

Goals

Lots of things to accomplish here! Multipurpose setup for sure. We’re looking for:

  • Basic gaming performance, nothing too fancy
  • Media Center usage
  • Image editing
  • Video editing
  • Dual monitor setup
  • Streaming and podcasting
  • Existing setup: Only a USB mouse and a pocket full of money!
  • Budget: $1250 to $1500
  • Color preference: Black / Carbon / Grey / Silver / Blue
  • Target OS: Windows 10
Price

$1506.63 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.

I used a few discount codes for this build:

  • Bluray Optical drive @ Newegg: promo code EMCRDBH65.
  • Items purchased at Jet.com can be lowered via promo code Triple15 if you are a new Jet customer. Works on first 3 orders. They can be lowered further by opting out of returns and paying by debit card. These discounts have been applied to the CPU in your build, but also go for all other Jet items.

Build Details

I’ve been chomping at the bit to do a full Ryzen build, and here we are at last!  When I saw Jody’s request come through, with all of its multipurpose necessities, I knew this was the right situation to show off what Ryzen can really do.  AMD is back, baby!

Before we dive into the build itself, let’s talk about outside peripherals.  Since we have so many needs to cover, I didn’t budget too, too much for periphs this time around.  We satiate the need for a dual monitor setup by grabbing two beautiful Asus 1080p monitors, each 23.8″.  I would have loved to grab bigger and better monitors at higher resolutions – especially for the video editing needs – but the budget just doesn’t allow for it.  I rounded out the desk periphs with a sweet mechanical keyboard (87 key, blue backlight, Cherry MX Brown) and some basic speakers.

All right, enough of that, let’s dive into the tower! Like I mentioned in the intro, we’ve got to go with Ryzen in this build, and I landed on a great deal for the Ryzen 7 1700.  This is gonna help take care of all of those multifaceted needs, even without the need for overclocking.

Backbone power is a huge necessity here, so we need to go big on both RAM and storage to get the best performance everywhere.  For RAM, there’s 16 GB of Corsair DDR4-3000 at a very nice CAS latency of 15 (and blue LEDs, because we’re cool like that).  Can we go further?  Hell yeah we can.  How about an Intel 600p!  With the 600p, not only do we get the fastest possible bus for storage (PCIe 3.0 x4), but we’ve also got the fastest possible SSD protocol for storage (NVMe), and at a whopping 512 GB of total space, there’s no doubt that read/writes, load times, and cold boots will be lightning fast.  This is the king of backbone performance and will assist with just about every requirement of the build.

The intel 600p will be the drive where you install Windows, as well as your photo and video editing apps.  This will ensure the fastest drive performance for those systems.  For typical data storage, we’ve got a traditional 2 TB HDD.  Speaking of which, since you’re looking for a media setup, consider hooking up that HDD to something like Plex to share media to all of your devices.

Okay, so what does it all plug into? The board I decided to go with is the Gigabyte GA-AB350M-D3H.  It was a great way to tie everything together, provide us with NVMe, and keep the price low.  It also gives you two extra empty RAM slots, just in case you want to upgrade your RAM to 32 GB down the line.

Let’s talk design.  To help enforce the color scheme, I landed on the high-rated Deepcool TESSERACT mid-tower case.  Great case for a great cost.  I didn’t put too much effort into lighting, but the case does come with two blue LED case fans.

It feels weird to wait this long to talk about the video card!  I usually do gaming-first builds, so this is a refreshing change of pace.  Since only basic-level gaming is necessary, I went with a GTX 1060 – specifically, Gigabyte’s 6 GB WindForce OC version – that will still provide some great 1080p while simultaneously supporting dual monitor perfection.

What else we got in here?  Oh yeah, I threw in an LG BluRay player, because of media purposes.  Grab a copy of Windows 10 from Kinguin to continue keeping the price down.  Rounding out the internal build, we’ve got a decent CPU cooler (good enough to get a tiny overclock out of) and a satisfactory power supply.

Build Summary

Pros

For the price, this build will outplay most others in sheer performance.  The power of Ryzen, combined with high-tier RAM and storage, knocks it out of the park for all things professional.  This build covers so many bases that any home user would shudder at its power.

Cons

The highest level of gaming just isn’t possible with the monitors and the video card. Although we went high-tier on our necessary components, there are higher tiers out there beyond our grasp at this budget.  Even with a few bucks more, some components (speakers, keyboard, data storage, cooler) could be upgraded to more appealing parts.  No mic/webcam to meet those streaming and podcasting needs.

A Build for Logan

Hey, Logan, your build is ready! Here are the details.

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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.