The purpose of this build is to achieve 4K gaming at 60 frames per second (or 1440p gaming at 144 hz) in AAA games, all within a micro-ATX form factor for approximately $2,000.
GPU: 2x Gigabyte G1 GTX 980 Ti in SLI ($1,280)
The GPU is the most important component for any gaming rig. The GIGABYTE G1 Gaming 980 Ti is my weapon of choice. Cool, quiet and quick, it comes with a high factory OC out of the box — 1152 MHz, 15% faster than the reference — which can easily be pushed to 1300 MHz.
At $640, it is quite the steal. We need two of these to run the most demanding games on ultra settings at 4K resolution and 60 FPS, or 1440p resolution and 144 FPS.
Note: New GPUs from NVIDIA are expected to release sometime around June 2016. It may be worthwhile to wait until the new cards are released.
CPU: Intel i5-6600K ($240)
The 6600K is a powerful quad-core CPU. In most games, it will get nearly as much performance as the i7-6700K, which is $120 more expensive.
Once overclocked to 4.2GHz (quite easy to achieve), the 6600K will match or even surpass the 6700K in even the most CPU-dependent games.
For those who plan on video editing or game streaming, the 6700K would be worth the upgrade. However, just for 4K gaming, save some money on the 6600K.
CPU Cooler: Cryorig H7 ($35)
Inexpensive, compact, silent and high-performing. The Cryorig H7 is optimal for almost any gaming build. Expect to achieve a 4.2+GHz overclock on the CPU with this cooler. For a water cooler, the Corsair H105 does a stellar job, though it costs three times as much.
Motherboard: ASRock Z170M Extreme4 ($115)
A Micro-ATX motherboard with lots of features — including SLI compatibility — for an inexpensive price. What’s not to like?
One of the easiest mistakes to make as a first-time gaming PC builder is to overspend on the motherboard. For most gaming PCs, you don’t need all the fancy extra features.
RAM: 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX ($75)
For many gaming builds, even just 8GB of RAM would be OK.
SSD: 1TB Mushkin Reactor ($210)
We are suggesting to completely eliminate a hard disk drive from this build, so we’ve chosen an affordable, high-capacity SSD. The Mushkin Reactor is close in performance to the Samsung 850 EVO, but costs almost $100 less. For games, Windows and nearly all other applications, the speed difference between the two drives is so minuscule that it doesn’t make sense to spend the extra money for the Samsung SSD.
PSU: EVGA 1000 GQ 80+ Gold ($125)
EVGA makes some of the best PSUs out there. This one is no exception. Once everything is overclocked, a peak load of 800-850W is to be expected.
We highly recommend not skimping on your power supply.
Case: Thermaltake Core V21 ($65)
Modular, small, inexpensive, and with great airflow. One of the best Micro-ATX cases out there, in my opinion.
The beauty of the system — aside from the remarkable amounts of room for such a small case — is that each of the three removable side panels can be placed in any position. This allows you to place the large glass viewing window on any side you wish.
There is nothing quite like it on the market. For people who want something more premium, the Phanteks Enthoo Evolv is gorgeous.
Extra Case Fans: Corsair Air Series SP120 2-Pack ($20)
Regular Corsair static pressure fans should do the job of ventilation just fine. The Thermaltake Core v21’s 200MM fan along with these two fans will keep your CPU and GPU nice and cool.
Total Price (as of April 2016): $2,165
A note on overclocking:
Overclocking is free performance. Take advantage of the parts that you have paid for! Overclocking will have a negligible effect on the lifespan of your components, so do yourself a favor and overclock, and then comment here with your results.
Some helpful overclocking references:
- Tweaktown’s Ultimate Guide to Skylake Overclocking
- Guru3D’s guide to overclocking a Gigabyte G1 GTX 980 Ti
- BadSeed Tech’s overclocking results with a GTX 980 Ti
- Crysis 3 1440p gameplay with overclocked GTX 980 Ti and i5-6600K
There is nothing quite like a 980 Ti SLI rig when it comes to performance. This build should crush games quite easily at 1440P and 4K, as long as you turn down anti-aliasing. As of writing this, it would be very difficult to get a build at this price that is much better suited for gaming. If you’re looking for a brilliant mechnical keyboard to go with this beast of a computer check out reviews at 10BestRanked.com so you know you’re getting the best equipment to crush games with!
Please let us know if you have any questions or comments!