Earlier this year, I wrote about my plans to build a few PCs this year, including a gaming PC for my son. Well, the time has come, and I’ve ordered the parts for what I think will be a decent gaming PC.
As a refresher, I originally planned to spend about $1000 on this PC, but even with reusing some parts—a display, mouse and keyboard, of course, but also a traditional HDD data drive and an optical drive—it’s going to come in north of $1500. Assuming this one works out, I’m also going to build a similar/identical PC later in the year for myself that I’ll trick out with VR-capable graphics.
But first things first.
I received a lot of great feedback from you folks—thanks for that—and from friends like Andrew Zarian, who basically held my hand when I finally did order the parts. I went with mid-to-high-end hardware across the board, and purchased everything from Amazon. (Note that the links here are affiliate links.)
Here’s what I bought.
This ATX case costs $120 and allegedly provides some very quiet fans. It’s got a nice, Next Cube-like look to it, and isn’t a traditional tower, which I was sort of hoping to avoid.
NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire ready (you never know), this power supply costs just $80 and supplies 850 watts of power. Plus it’s supposed to be pretty quiet.
This $380 ATX motherboard supports on-board M.2 SSD, which appeals to me, plus USB 3.1 via a daughter card, dual Ethernet, on-board Wi-Fi, and a lot of USB ports.
This was the biggest concern, in some ways. Given the problems with Skylake-era chips, I figured Haswell was the way to go, and while there are $1000 to $1500 parts available, this $400 desktop CPU strikes a good balance. It’s an i7 with 6 processor cores and 28 PCI 3.0 lanes. It should do the job nicely.
The Intel CPU doesn’t come with a heatsink, so I picked up this $60 liquid CPU cooler with a self-contained cooling system.
Mark is going to be gaming on a 1080p display, so this $350 GeForce GTX 970 with 4 GB of RAM should work fine and will hopefully be pretty quiet.
Here, I kind of overdid it, but what the heck: 16 GB of 3 GHz DDR4 RAM (on two 8 GB) sticks costs just $70, so I doubled up for 32 GB of RAM. The motherboard has 8 RAM slots, I could double it up yet again to 64 GB if I wanted.
While this will be augmented by a high-capacity hard drive we already have on hand, I very much want to try a high-speed PCIe stick for the main drive, so this $190 part looks like a good option.
Total bill of good here is $1765.08 including a few small extras (like some Arctic Silver 5 AS5-3.5G Thermal Paste just in case) and whatever taxes and shipping Amazon throws in. Plus, Windows 10. So … quite a bit over the $1000 I dreamily imagined back in February. But perhaps something that will get my son through four years of college, assuming it’s reliable (and he’s competent, but that’s another story).
Most of these items will supposedly arrive on Sunday, but the case won’t be here until Wednesday, so it will probably be late next week before I can even start building it and trying to document my missteps. But my son’s high school graduation is today, so the timing is pretty good. We’ll see how it goes.
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