A Build for Keven

Hey, Keven, your build is ready!

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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!

Click here to view your build

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.