Who is the i7-10700K even for at this point? With so many other viable options, who buys this CPU? Well, let’s find out!
What I Needed 5+ Years Ago!
So, back in the old days, when I was streaming for a living (I’m not that old!) I was rocking an i7-2700K. I actually still have and use that CPU, although its purpose has changed over the years. Back then it was a monumental struggle between your CPU and gaming/streaming applications; you were really wringing every ounce of performance you could get out of it.
Fast forward to June 2020, and here we have the i7-10700K—a CPU that is powerful enough to do it all while barely lifting a finger. It’s strong enough in single-core stats to give you superb gaming performance, while having enough cores and threads available to comfortably handle streaming encoding while you game.
I personally feel this may be the main use case now for the i7 range. If you want a serious workstation or to just have the max performance, you could go for the i9; and if it’s really just ordinary gaming performance you’re after, you could go for the i5. The i7 gives you this nice mix between the two.
That’s all well and good, but let’s take a look at the breakdown of the specifications and go from there!
Base Clock: 3.8GHz
Boost Clock: 5.1GHz
Cache: 16 MB Intel® Smart Cache
The price tag here provides an admonishing statement to those of you thinking about buying this CPU just for upper-midrange or lower-high-tier gaming. Somehow, through all of the madness of past few generations, we’ve come back to an i5 being enough for gaming. What a twist!
What we have here in the i7-10700K is a CPU that has a really nice boost clock, yet can also have a modest all-core overclock applied to it to give us a general improvement.
So, with looking to build a gaming/streaming system, let’s take a look at the rest of the parts!
CPU Cooler: Fractal Design Celsius S36
Although not small in the slightest, the 360 mm radiator has been chosen here for maximum heat dissipation while keeping the fan sounds super quiet. (We don’t want fan sounds on the mic, after all!) Despite this being a large radiator, it provides really great performance for the price.
Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero
Our big indulgence here is the Maximus XII Hero motherboard. Chosen for its leading connectivity, including both 5G and Gigabit ethernet, built-in WiFi, and 8-channel audio… it’s a video person’s dream. That being said, you are paying for the premium here.
For productivity, 32GB is a pretty solid target, so we’ve gone with this high-rated set by G.Skill, tuned for Intel-based systems. We’ve gone with 2 sticks here too, to allow for easy upgrading if you feel you need even more memory capacity.
Storage 1: Toshiba X300 5TB
Acting as a monster storage drive, this 5TB Toshiba HDD joins the team. Just remember that with great storage comes great responsibility (to organize your file structures).
Storage 2: Samsung 970 EVO 500GB
For our biggest and most important games, we’ll be using the impressive Samsung 970 EVO M.2 SSD. This gives us blistering fast speeds for loading while being an excellent drive for storing more intensive programs.
Storage 3: Samsung 860 EVO 500GB
Acting as a boot drive and storage for standard programs is the highly rated Samsung 860 EVO.
With needing the build to handle both 1080p (high frame rate) and 1440p (normal frame rate) gaming, the excellent RX 5700 XT makes a great addition to the build. Is it the most powerful GPU ever? No. Yet it gives someone who is streaming more than enough overhead to still achieve an excellent gaming performance when streaming. An added bonus is that, as many streamers end up needing to do a bit of video editing, this card is up to the task of running the mighty (yet free) DaVinci Resolve.
Rounding off the build is this fully modular PSU from XPG. I’d be lying if I said its model name wasn’t at least a partial factor in the choice here… but this is a gold-rated, fully modular unit, so it’ll support the build well.
Case: Fractal Design Define R6
With such a big radiator, there’s not too many small-style cases that would fit the bill. However, thankfully for us, Fractal has made a number of smaller cases with enough space in them to fit their Celsius S36. That aside, this is a nice understated case with great cable management options that will look smart and unassuming, while coming with every modern I/O option you could want in a chassis.
Total i7-10700K Build Cost: $2165
Squeaking in over the $2000 mark, what we’ve got here is a great multi-tasking build. Although the CPU cooler and motherboard are a touch overkill, their overheads result in a great build that will be more than capable of streaming and gaming at a high level, all while being exceptionally fast and quiet. You have plenty of storage for saved streams, as well as a fast M.2 SSD for editing off of or using to improve your loading times on games. Finally, the case is well-designed to allow for a compact system while having enough space to still allow for further expansions down the line.
The overall cost puts the build right in the ballpark of our other sample builds in our streaming guide, with overall comparable performance thanks to the CPU and GPU combination used here along with the other parts.
All told, this is a great option for someone looking to create a solid streaming rig with the i7-10700K.
Go Forth and Build!
Now before you go all bonkers spending every saved up penny you have on these components, there are extras that you might need to finish off this i7-10700K build:
- A copy of Windows. If you are a student or work for a big business, you might be able to get a copy for free or at a significantly lower cost. If not, we recommend Windows 10 on disc ($90) or USB ($120).
- An optical drive—critical if you are wanting to install Windows 10 via disc. Good thing here is DVD-RW drives are cheap these days (here’s one for $21).
We also have general recommendations for:
If you want to see other builds with even higher performance (a short list at this point!), check out the main page at Logical Increments.
There you have it—a high-end gaming and streaming build to utilize the best out of the new i7-10700K!
If you have any questions or suggestions about this build, then let us know in the comments.