When looking to build a custom gaming system, it can be a bit time consuming and stressful to decide on what components to use. We have put together custom gaming system guide in order to help send you down the right path and get started with what would be in our system. The parts selected have been chosen based on performance and value for the price. The case is also selected to help choose something that will look great and be functional for the build. The parts will be linked to Amazon offerings unless there is a better savings on the item at Newegg. Components have also been selected to help facilitate possible future upgrades to the system.
CPU – Intel i7 4790K $317.27
The 4790K is a quad core processor that is hyper-threaded giving a total of 8 processing threads. This will greatly help applications and games that take advantage of multiple cores. The 4790K comes with a stock clock of 4GHz with a maximum turbo frequency of 4.4GHz. This will make it plenty powerful for the latest games and make it churn through demanding applications. If you are one for a little overclocking the CPU will easily go to 4.5GHz and the uncore frequency is also able to be overclocked to improve the memory performance.
Motherboard – MSI Z97 MPower $181.99
The MSI Z97 MPower is a very capable motherboard that looks great and performs as good as it looks. The board will be able to make sure that the 4790K is rock solid stock or overclocked. The board has an M.2 slot that the SSD will be used in and that will make for a much cleaner looking system. The M.2 usage will also make it so that one less PSU power cable will be needed, as well as mounts and cabling for a SSD. The board will also be able to support SLI or Crossfire if that upgrade is wanted down the line.
Graphics Card – MSI GTX 970 Gaming $349.99
The MSI 970 Gaming is chosen for a few reasons, the first being that it is a GTX 970. The 970s have proven to be the best possible buy for GPUs currently, offering both an affordable card and great performance. The 970 is powerful as it comes but with these cards high stable overclocks are being attained, giving even more performance for the money. The Twin Frozr cooler that MSI uses is one of the best on the market for GPU Heatsinks and they are both quiet and dissipate heat effectively. Another great thing about MSI is that the US customer service is good and unofficially they allow users to remove the heatsink without voiding warranty, as long as there is no physical damage to the card. This will be nice for those that want to re-apply thermal paste to try and run cooler, or use an aftermarket cooling solution like a waterblock.
An SSD is essential in todays high performance PCs as it allows apps to load faster and overall performance and user experience to be increased. The M.2 form factor allows this SSD to be mounted directly on the motherboard. This gives the system as a whole a much cleaner look and allows the user to get rid of extra cables. The M550 gives good performance, up to 550MBps read 500MBps write. This makes it just as fast as a comparable “traditional” 2.5″ SSD that one might use.
Having some high speed RAM will help increase the overall performance of the system, making a big difference in both games and applications. Corsair is a great brand that has good service and reliable, quality products. Having a 16GB (2x 8GB) dual channel kit will be easier to run on a CPU than four DIMMs of 4GB. This kit has XMP profiles, which will make setting up the RAM in BIOS very easy for the beginner. All there is to do is select that you want to run the XMP profile and the settings are automatically changed, and the RAM will run at 2400MHz with the correct timings.
Think of the PSU of a computer as the heart of the system, it provides the life giving energy to the parts. Having a great PSU is as important as having a healthy heart, you run less risk for problems to arise. The PSU has 80 Plus Gold certification, which means that it will be very efficient. Over time this will help save money that is spent on electricity than a standard PSU. If you are one that leaves their PC on all the time this will be a welcome addition to the system.
CPU Cooler – Thermaltake Water 3.0 Pro $84.99
The Thermaltake Water 3.0 systems are very easy to install and they perform well, the two things that people hope for with CPU coolers. The Pro variant is a single large 120mm radiator that will mount to the NZXT S340 very nicely. The system requires no maintenance and will should last the life of the PC. The cooler will be quiet and it also has a handy app that helps users set the fan speeds or custom fan curves. It should keep the 4790K cool under pressure and will allow for some overclocking as well.
Case – NZXT S340 $77.07
This case gives users an elegant enclosure that looks as great on the inside as it does on the outside. There is a nice large window that will show off your new hardware, and may even look better with some aftermarket LEDs lighting it up. The case has no front bays for optical drives or other items, giving it a very lean looking front. The inside has a bit more room then, because of the absence of the bays. There is even a channel to keep the PSU area out of view and well vented, and this gives the side a much cleaner look.
Keyboard – CM Storm QuickFire TK $89.54
There really is no going back to a regular keyboard after you have used a mechanical keyboard. There is a much more tactile feel and users even start to type a bit faster with them. There are multiple types of Cherry MX switches and it is advisable to learn the differences if looking for a keyboard. The Cherry MX Brown switches are favored by gamers, and this model is available in other switch types as well. There is a lot of user preference behind a keyboard purchase so view this as a starting point.
The input devices are the most personal parts of the computer so having something that is comfortable and will perform well. The G402 makes a good mouse for someone who plays FPS games and should be comfortable for long hours of continuous This is put in here as a starting point and should be in the same ballpark as another nice mouse. The Logitech gaming line is one that has had a lot of success since they do put out quality products. If possible to find a new or new-ish G9x mouse that would make for a great mouse, granted it was affordable.
This monitor will be ideal for those who play fast paced games, as it will make things look much smoother. Asus monitors have a great reputation and the VG248QE is no exception as users seem to love it. If not playing games or playing slow paced games another option might be better, a monitor with an IPS panel. The VG248QE will have speed as its best feature while not being too great for color reproduction. For color reproduction an IPS panel will be preferred, especially for users that will be editing photos or video. This is another personal preference item, and the price of this item should translate into a nice IPS based alternative model.