Updated January 2017, with new Intel CPUs, new SSDs, and better choices for RAM and HDDs.
At factory clock speeds, the GTX 1060 claims to be equal to last generation’s GTX 980 in performance, while only sipping 120W of power. All of this at a price of $249!
We have two build ideas that push the GTX 1060 to its full potential — one in a mid-tower case, and one in small-form-factor micro ATX on a budget.
The Excellent GTX 1060 Build ($1,000)
Excellent performance at 1440p, cool, quiet, and efficient.
GPU: GTX 1060
Obviously, these builds center around the GTX 1060, NVIDIA’s new graphics card aimed at a general audience. The 1060 is a huge jump over last generation’s GTX 960, and it will run most modern games on maximum settings at 1440p resolution and 60 frames per second. That means it will hit even higher frame rates at 1080p resolution.
As stated before, we advise waiting for aftermarket options to hit the market, if you can wait that long. Not only will the price likely be lower, but aftermarket cards often come with improved cooling solutions and manufacturer overclocks to improve performance further.
CPU: Intel Core i5-7500
This quad core processor from Intel is a solid upper mid-range processor. With a stock clock speed of 3.4Ghz and ability to boost up to 3.8GHz when the extra processing speed is needed, it is a strong gaming chip when paired with an appropriate card.
CPU Cooler: Cryorig M9i
Compact and quiet, the Cryorig M9i will keep your CPU cooler and quieter than the stock heatsink would. Can be a bit tricky to install, so read the instructions carefully.
Motherboard: MSI Z270-A Pro
This motherboard offers all the features you need and doesn’t offer any you don’t. With USB-C, SLI and M.2 covered, it is a quality Z270 board for a very nice price.
RAM: 16GB DDR4-3000
A fast and affordable 16GB kit. 3000 is currently the best value speed.
SSD: Crucial MX300 275GB
A fair sized SSD that will make your boot and load times pleasantly short.
HDD: 2TB HGST
Reliable storage for all your games and media. If you need more space, do not hesitate to buy a larger drive instead, or to buy another when you need it in the future.
PSU: 650W EVGA GQ
A high-quality, quiet, gold-rated modular power supply. More than is needed for the GTX 1060, but offers solid reliability and plenty of upgrade potential for the future.
A new case from Phanteks, this is the silent version and features sound dampening materials as well as a built in fan controller. Easy to create an aesthetically tidy build and with enough storage locations for the average user case scenario, it has optional accessories if those would possibly be exceeded.
The Small Form Factor 1060 Build
This build fits into a nice small mini ITX form factor, but provides just as much performance. The SSD is actually a little faster. It also comes with built-in WiFi.
GPU: GTX 1060
CPU: Intel i5-7500
Cooler: Stock Intel cooler
Motherboard: ASRock Z270M-ITX/ac
RAM: 8GB DDR4-2400
SSD: 240GB PNY CS2211
HDD: 2TB HGST
Video: Building a PC with the GTX 1060
For either build, you’re likely to want to get a couple more things:
- A copy of Windows. You may be able to get a free or inexpensive copy through your office or school. If not, we recommend Windows 10 on DVD ($90) or USB Flash Drive ($120).
- An optical drive, especially if you buy Windows on DVD. This is a good cheap DVD-RW ($21). Or, this blu-ray + DVD burner ($60).
We also have recommendations for:
If you want to see other builds that do the best they can with less expensive components, or higher performance builds, check out the main page at Logical Increments.
If you have any questions or suggestions, let us know in the comments.