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February 2016 – Monthly Gaming PC Builds

Gaming PC Builds – February 2016

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Introducing the Gaming PC Builds of the Month

Here is the February 2016 update to the Monthly Gaming PC Builds here at Newb Computer Build. The builds this month are being held strong with little done to updating the performance enhancing hardware, but more to updating the supporting hardware (like including newly released pc cases). I welcome any new pc builders as well as novice builders wanting to build a gaming rig. I urge you to ask questions, so feel free to do so in the comments section following the article and lets help one another out.

Included in this article are three builds including a $1500 build, $1000 build and a $600 build. These builds are included to accommodate for three main groups of builders – basically one for those wanting to game with high settings on standard 1080p resolutions, the next for those wanting to max our any game at 1080p and into 1440p and the third builds for those wanting to max games out at 1440p and play into 4K resolutions. So if you are wondering which budget class you fall into, try to follow those guidelines and you should be good, otherwise like I said leave a comment and we can help you out.

February 2016 ($1500 PC Build)

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

Game with Extreme settings and high FPS at resolutions of 1920×1080 & 2560×1400 + playable at 4K

Hardware Link Price Image
Estimated Price : $1460 (Feb 2016)
Processor Intel Boxed Core I5-6600K 3.50 GHz, 6 M Processor Cache 6 for LGA 1151 (BX80662I56600K) $253.99
Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO – CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan (RR-212E-20PK-R2) $28.98
Motherboard Gigabyte LGA1151 Intel Z170 ATX Motherboard ATX DDR4 NA Motherboards (GA-Z170X-GAMING 5) $169.99
Graphics Card $629.99
RAM $84.99
Hard Drive *No HDD Included – Optional. See Alternatives Section.  –
SSD Samsung 850 EVO 250GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-75E250B/AM) $82.99
Power Supply EVGA SuperNOVA 750 G2 80+ GOLD, 750W ECO Mode Fully Modular NVIDIA SLI and Crossfire Ready 10 Year Warranty Power Supply 220-G2-0750-XR $99.99
Computer Case Corsair Carbide Clear 400C Compact Mid-Tower Case, CC-9011081-WW (*new release) $109.31
Optical Drive No optical drive included in base build cost – *This should be considered optional

Overview: Gaming PC Build ( $1500 )

It doesn’t get much better then this build when it comes to gaming. I mean this build is capable of maxing games out with super high FPS rates from 1080p to  1440p and even will play available game titles at 4K with playable FPS. So if you are looking for a gaming pc to do pretty much anything, this would be it.

Here we have an Intel i5 6600K processor and the Gigabyte Geforce GTX 980Ti graphics card – together these will run your gaming beast to its full extent and should you be interested, check out the geforce.com GTX 980Ti benchmarks.

The included CPU cooler is the Cooler Master Hyper 212. Even  though the skylake processor needs the purchase of a cpu cooler, the hyper 212 will help you overclock the 6600K quite easily by keeping those temperatures down. For those who want to spend a little more, there is even a liquid CPU (the Corsair H100i) included in the hardware alternatives section below, which will give you a much quieter, more customized cooling experience.

For another month now we have included  the Gigabyte GA-Z170X-GAMING 5 motherboard, which is the middle board in Gigabyte’s G1 Z170 motherboard lineup. This board has the following specifications (learn more at Gigabyte.com) or check out this guys video review:

For RAM, we have a whopping 16GB of memory (two 8GB sticks) with the included Corsair Vengeance 16GB C14 RED memory kit.

Instead of including a Hard Disk Drive, what we have is a Samsung 850 EVO 250GB Solid State Drive “SSD”, which will perform much better helping with those load / boot times and reading speeds. Should you need more space now, I would either suggest bumping up to the 500GB version of the EVO or alternatively also getting a cheap 1TB Hard Disk Drive, such as the one included in the last build in this article.

Again, the power supply units used is the EVGA SuperNOVA 750W G2 Gold Certified power supply, which is a high quality & efficient PSU and I highly recommend it and it should be more then enough for the $1500 build. Keep in mind that for those that do plan on going with SLI (two graphics cards / GTX 980Ti’s) in the future that you will want to plan for at least an 850W high quality PSU (such as the 850W EVGA SuperNOVA G2)

I’m quite excited by the included PC case included in the $1500 build for February 2015 ass it is a new release and a fantastic case. The PC case we have is the Corsair Carbide Clear 400C – coined by Corsair to be “cool, clear and compact.” There is an awesome looking full side window that opens by touch and great airflow due to the “Direct Airflow technology (see corsair.com – Carbide 400C to learn more or view Corsair’s Carbide Clear 400C release video).

Corsair Carbide 400C – corsair.com

*Note: There is no optical (DVD) drive included in these builds and not all of the cases even support them anymore (such as the Corsair case included here). Keep in mind you can install your Operating System, such as Windows via USB stick or drive. There are plenty of how-to’s on the subject so utilize Google or YouTube.

$1500 Gaming PC Build Upgrade Suggestions

Should you have extra spending cash now or later, the following are suggestions to either add to or upgrade this $1500 pc build.

Included in the build is an i5 Intel 6600K Skylake which is fantastic for gaming, but for those that do more then gaming perhaps an Intel i7 6700K cpu might be needed (if you do things like video work, graphics work etc.)

The $1500 gaming pc build only includes a 256GB SSD for storage, which is fine unless you need lots of storage room. Included below is a larger SanDisk Extreme PRO 1TB SSD for those that may want the extra space, but also want to use one drive for ultimate speeds on an SSD.

You could also really increase your graphics power by SLI’ing the Gigabyte GTX 980 Ti by adding in a second Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti, but it will cost you another $629.99 or so. This could also be a future upgrade idea to boost your gaming pc’s performance when you need it later on or if you plan on doing extreme gaming at 4K resolutions. If you do plan on going SLI’ing in the future or now, you should consider getting at least an 850W PSU such as the EVGA SuperNOVA 850W G2.

Also included below is the Corsair Hydro Series H100i GTX liquid cpu cooler. This cooler would be a substitute for the above included Hyper 212 EVO air cpu cooler and would provide a quieter, more efficient / more customized cooling experience. This option would be best purchased now rather then later so as to save on buying only one cooler for your PC.

Intel Boxed Core I7-6700K 4.00 GHz 8M Processor Cache 4 LGA 1151 BX80662I76700K ($412.98) – Do more then gaming? Like show off? – Then an i7 might be the right choice

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Overclocked 6GB GDDR5 PCiE Video Card Graphics Cards (GV-N98TWF3OC-6GD) ($629.99) – SLI with two GTX 980 Ti’s for some super graphics performance and ultimate 4K g ameplay

*Note: If you want to SLI you should consider at least an 850W psu such as the EVGA SuperNOVA 850W G2 PSU ($119.99).

Purchase a liquid CPU cooler (instead of the included air cooler): Corsair Hydro Series H100i GTX High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler CW-9060021-WW ($102.88) A very fast 1TB SSD: SanDisk Extreme PRO 960GB SATA 6.0GB/s 2.5-Inch 7mm Height Solid State Drive (SSD) With 10-Year Warranty- SDSSDXPS-960G-G25 ($369.99)


February 2016 ($1000 PC Build)

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

Capability: Game with Extreme settings at 1920X1080 resolutions and even Higher Settings at 2560×1400

Hardware Link Price Image
Estimated Price: $984.37 (Feb 2016)
Processor Intel Boxed Core I5-6600K 3.50 GHz, 6 M Processor Cache 6 for LGA 1151 (BX80662I56600K) $253.99
Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO – CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan (RR-212E-20PK-R2) $29.44  
Motherboard $149.99
Graphics Card

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16

Alternative card (Should you consider 1440p now or in the future)

XFX DOUBLE DISSIPATION R9 390 1015MHZ XXX OC 8GB DDR5 DISPLAYPORT HDMI DUAL DVI

$299.99

 

$309.99


RAM $45.99
Hard Drive Seagate 1TB Desktop HDD SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive (ST1000DM003) $49.99  
SSD (Alternative Storage *Not included in cost) Samsung 850 EVO 250GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-75E250B/AM)  $82.99  
Power Supply EVGA SuperNOVA 650 G1 80+ GOLD, 650W Continuous Power, Fully Modular 10 Year Warranty Power Supply 120-G1-0650-XR $79.99
Computer Case $74.99
Optical Drive No optical drive included in base build cost – *This should be considered optional

Overview: Gaming PC Build ( $1000 )

The February 2016 $1000 build is for those who see themselves wanting to play games maxed out at 1920×1080 resolutions and even play reasonably well at 2560×1440 resolutions. This build uses a combination of the Skylake Intel i5 6600K cpu and a GTX 970 graphics card or alternatively an R9 390 if you want to consider upping to 1440p anytime in the future (the extra memory on the R9 390 will help with the higher resolution gaming).

Again for the cpu cooler we have the Cooler Master Hype 212, this helps when overclocking your unlocked Intel i5 6600K processor and since the Intel i5 6600K doesn’t come with a stock cooler, you need one. If you check out the hardware alternative table below, you will also see an option for a liquid cpu cooler which could be for those that want a quieter more customized cooling option should you have the extra cash for it.

The included z170 chipset motherboard we have is the board right below the included Gaming 5 motherboard in the above build, which is the Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming 3. This motherboard does support both Crossfire and SLI, so that you do have the option to include two of either the graphics card options as an upgrade suggestion for the future. The Gaming 3 motherboard has the following specifications (and you can learn more on the product page at gigabyte.com):

There are two graphics card included in the build table above as they are close competitors in terms of price and performance. The first graphics card included, is the Zotac GeForce GTX 970  and alternatively for a similar price there is also a Gigabyte R9 390. Both of these cards will perform much alike in most games, so I’ll leave the choice as to which you would like to go with, but you can probably choose based on what resolution you’ll primarily be playing at – such as if you have a 1080- monitor you’ll probably be best maxing out games with the GTX 970 with high FPS and if you plan on either upgrading in the future to a 1440p monitor or have one, then the R9 390 may help with playing on the highest possible settings due to it having more memory. Either way my suggestion would be to still look up some benchmarks on the games yo plan on playing (such as on youtube) and see which card may be the best fit for you.

The RAM included is the affordable kit of Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB DDR4 RAM, which is generally enough memory for a standard gaming pc build, and you always have the option to upgrade more.

The included storage is a Seagate 1TB Hard Disk Drive. 1TB is tons of space for a gaming generally, but I would suggest sometime that you include a solid state drive “SSD” into the mix to enhance your boot times and overall feeling of quickness with your pc (such as the Samsung EVO shown as an alternative in the build table above or in the alternatives table below).

The power supply unit (PSU) used is the EVGA SuperNOVA G1 650W power supply, which is a great PSU with all modular cables and it provides the perfect amount of power for this build along with room for some upgrades. For it’s price, quality and the fact that it’s modular, you really can’t go wrong with this PSU.

The newest addition to the $1000 build is a newer PC case only released and widely reviewed a few months ago. The included PC case is the Silverstone Raven RVX01 mid tower case. Thie case has a 90 degree rotated layout and an exciting design. The case comes equipped with three of Silverstones Air Penetrator fans giving great thermal performance. The features included on this Raven Case are (Check out the Silverstonetek.com Raven RVX01 features page and reviews to learn more or check out this guys video Review of the Raven RVX01):

Silverstone Raven RV01

$1000 Gaming PC Build Upgrade Suggestions

Some alternative hardware upgrades for those wanting to spend a tad more or for those that want some upgrade ideas for the February 2016 $1000 gaming pc build are included here.

If you want more graphic power in the future you could potentially Crossfire two R9 390’s. If you go this route, then you will also need a stronger power supply, as much as 850w, which I have included along side that recommendation below (I would only consider the larger PSU if you really plan on doing this). Likewise, if you go the GTX 970 route, you can add in another ASUS Turbo GTX 970 in SLI to boost your graphics as well.

If you are serious about achieving maxed out settings and high FPS at 2560×1440 (144p) resolutions, then you may want to consider an R9 390X – such as the ASUS STRIX R9 390X below. This card will  be all you need to blast through games at the higher resolutions.

I would recommend purchasing a quality SSD since this will help you get the most and best experience out of your gaming build, such as the included Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD below.

You could also  go with a liquid cpu cooler such as the Corsair Hydro Series H80i GT. This could help keep things quiet and a tad cooler when overclocking and it offers a more customize cooling experience (learn more about the Corsair h80i GT at Corsair.com).

*Note: If you plan on doing Crossfire or SLI you will probably want at least an 850W power supply such as –EVGA SuperNOVA 850 G2 80+ GOLD, 850W ECO Mode Fully Modular NVIDIA SLI and Crossfire Ready 10 Year Warranty Power Supply 220-G2-0850-XR PSU ($119.99).

Add a 250GB SSD:Samsung 850 EVO MZ-75E250B/AM SATA III Internal SSD 250GB (Black,2.5-Inch)= ($81.61) – Crossfire your graphics card:
(*Potential future proofing upgrade? – *only if you went with the AMD R9 390) XFX DOUBLE DISSIPATION R9 390 1015MHZ XXX OC 8GB DDR5 DISPLAYPORT HDMI DUAL DVI +(additional $319.99)

SLI your graphics card: (*Potential future proofing upgrade? – *only if you went with the GTX 970) ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 (additional $299.99)

 

Get more graphics power with an R9 390X(Serious about doing 1440p?)- ASUS STRIX Radeon R9 390X Overclocked 8 GB DDR5 512-bit DisplayPort HDMI 1.4a DVI-I Gaming Graphics Card Price: $399.99 Corsair Hydro Series H80i GT Performance Liquid CPU Cooler CW-9060017-WW – Add a liquid CPU Cooler for quieter, more customized and efficient cooling ($89.99)


February 2016 ( $600 PC Build):

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

(Game at Smoothly with High settings and FPS at 1920X1080 resolutions in most games)

Hardware Link Price Image
Estimated Price: $ 609.30 (Feb 2016)
Processor $135.99
Motherboard
ASUS M5A97 R2.0 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
$93.99
Graphics Card XFX Double Dissipation OC 2GB DDR5 Display Port HDMI DUAL DVI Graphics Cards R9-380 $179.99
RAM Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR3 1600 (PC3-12800) 240-Pin UDIMM Memory BLS2KIT4G3D1609DS1S00/BLS2CP4G3D1609DS1S00 $37.49
Hard Drive Seagate 1TB Desktop HDD SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive (ST1000DM003) $47.18
Power Supply EVGA 600 B1 80+ BRONZE, 600W Continuous Power, 3 Year Warranty Power Supply 100-B1-0600-KR $39.99
Computer Case Cooler Master Elite 431 Plus – Mid Tower Computer Case with USB 3.0 and Windowed Side Panel $58.04
Optical Drive No optical drive included in base build cost – *This should be considered optional (LG Electronics Internal Super Multi Drive Optical Drives GH24NSC0B)

Overview: $600 Gaming PC Build

The $600 stays as is this month with absolutely no updates, that’s a first. The February 2016 gaming pc build is a very capable 1080p gaming machine that you can expect to play a variety of games maxed out with decent fps.

The included cpu is the AMD FX-8320 8 Core Black Edition, which provides significant potential for a $600 budget gaming PC and this processor is also unlocked and easily overclockable (to get the full potential of overclocking I do suggest upgrading the cpu cooler, such as the one included in the hardware alternatives table below).

The motherboard included is the ASUS M5A97 R2.0 AM3+ AMD 970.  This has been a popular budget AM3+ motherboard for quite some time and has been included in the $600 build here at Newb Computer Build for quite some time as well – the Asus M5a97 has the following specification according to Asus (read more at asus.com):

For the graphics card we have the XFX R9 380, which fits comfortably into the budget and the performance goals of this build, and is the current best buy $200 graphics card for 1080p gaming. Read more about the R9 380’s benchmarks over at the PCWorld R9 380 review.

The included memory is  a kit of  Crucial Ballistix Spor DDR3 8GB, which should be enough memory for this gaming pc. And for a hard drive we have a 1TB Seagate Barracuda, which is a standard HDD with plenty of space at a great price – you can check out the hardware alternatives table if you would be interested in using a solid state drive instead, which I also strongly recommend.

For a power supply unit, we have the EVGA 600B 600Watt power supply, this is a great budget PSU and more then enough power for this build.

The included PC case for the $600 build is the Corsair Carbide 200R, which has actually been out for a few years, and has always been an extreme value case for budget oriented enthusiasts. This case is super easy to build with, great airflow, ergonomic and has a very polished matte look. To learn more about the Carbide 200R please visit Corsair.com.

Upgrade Suggestions for the $600 Gaming PC Build:

If you have a little more to spend now or later, the below hardware suggestions may be some upgrade suggestions for this $600 gaming pc build.

I would suggest a CPU cooler other then the included FX 8320 stock cooler if you want to take full advantage of overclocking, such as the Corsair Hydro Series H55 liquid cpu cooler – I’ve included this cooler since it provides a quality low profile solution as a higher air cooler may be a tad tight for this build, although you can fit in a more affordable Cooler Master Hyper 212 in the above case as well, which would work perfectly fine.

The second choice here is a better graphics card, such as the Sapphire NITRO R9 380X (check out the R9 380x benchmarks over at Anandtech.com). This may be worth while if you have a little more to spend now and is a brand newer graphics card.

You can speed up your read and write times with an affordable  solid state drive such as the 120 GB Samsung 850 EVO you see below, which can either be purchased with the included HDD in the $600 build above, or on its own. Likewise, you can also up the SSD to the 250GB version for not much more and just go with that as well.

There is also a better motherboard suggestion for those that may have a tad more to spend on one – the included motherboard is the Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 R5, which supports better overclocking and Crossfire + SLI Support (so you can add in two R9 380’s in the future should you want to).

Better CPU Cooler (liquid cooler): Corsair Hydro Series H55 Quiet Edition Liquid CPU Cooler (CW-9060010-WW) ($59.86) OR you can get a Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO ($29.99) Better Graphics Card (Radeon R9 380X – Sapphire Radeon NITRO R9 380X 4GB DL-DVI-I/DL-DVI-D/HDMI/ DP Dual-X OC Graphics Card 11250-01-20G ($249.99)
Better Motherboard – Gigabyte AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX DDR3 1600 AMD – AM3+ Motherboards GA-990FXA-UD5 R5 Price: $146.99

February 2016 Gaming PC Build Mice, Keyboard & Monitor Peripheral Considerations

The peripheral considerations are included as an attachment to the February 2016 gaming pc builds of the month and is for those looking to purchase a gaming keyboard, mouse or monitor – Check out the gaming mice, keyboards and monitors article for Feb 2016.

Operating System Options

If you don’t already have an operating system for your new gaming pc build, then you’re going to have to either invest in purchasing a standard OS such as Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10. Otherwise, there are some free alternatives that you could consider below as well. Keep in mind that you will need an optical drive should you decide to purchase the install discs, however you can also purchase Windows online or as a USB stick and install it that way – this would be the process for installing your OS without an optical drive (which isn’t included in each of the base builds above).

The following are some operating systems you can consider installing upon putting your Gaming PC build together. The first three will cost you and are either Windows 7 or 8.1, or 10 – I have no opinions here so I’ll leave the purchase of these up to the discretion of yourself, but do keep in mind that either way you do have the option of upgrading to Windows 10 for now. I have also included two other operating systems that are both currently free. Ubuntu is a Linux based operating system. The last OS is SteamOS, which is also a Linux OS being developed by Valve Corporation and is being made to be used for a Steam Machine game console.

OS Link Price Image
Windows 8.1 Windows 8.1 System Builder OEM DVD 64-Bit $99.99  
Windows 7 Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit, System Builder OEM DVD 1 Pack (New Packaging) $105.00  
Windows 10 Upgrade Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit System Builder OEM | PC Disc $90.00  
Ubuntu Ubuntu – Desktop Free
SteamOS SteamOS Beta “Build your own Steam Machine” Free

February 2016’s Gaming PC Hardware Overview Video:

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