The Purpose of this thread is to catch all questions about potential PC builds and/or issues you have with existing PC’s that need upgrades. I will keep as current as I can two separate “suggested” PC builds that hit two major price points (under $1000 and under $2000). Within those builds should be fairly easy and obvious ways to reduce the price $X hundred dollars down and or up which I will suggest underneath each link to the build.
"Console Killer Build" 3/24/2015
This is an approx. $500 PC that will perform at 720P/1080P comparably to current gen console platforms. This is certainly not a exhaustive attempt to optimize to the last % of performance but a general guide to a PC that will play modern titles at Medium details at 720P/1080P at ~30fps.
Sub $1000 Build. 10/5/2014
This is a quality Gaming PC at a sub $1000 Price point. Target gaming resolution is 1080P/1440P @60fps with High to Ultra details in all modern Games (variance is dependent on specific games). Specifics are 4GB of VRAM in the GPU to allow for new Cross Platform titles to select the highest quality textures. You won’t find an SSD in this build as the price point would be difficult to maintain. Minus the SSD this is a very strong gaming PC.
Options I can suggest are
1. Swap out 2TB HD for larger HD (example going to a 4TB would add roughly $100 to the price)
2. Downgrade GPU to an Nvidia GTX 960 or AMD 380. Both Cards will eventually offer 4GB VRAM options (right now only 2GB GTX960's are out but 4GB are coming so wait for them). As well overall detail levels will be lower than what you can expect @ 1080P vs the GTX 970. Savings will be roughly $70 (this assumes a price of $249 for 4GB GTX960's) which will allow you a larger HD (3TB) to keep roughly the same price point or a 256GB SSD ($100) while staying below $1000.
3. Add a “smallish” SSD to the build in addition to the HD. Crucial’s new MX200 128GB can be found for $67 keeps you under $1000. Faster OS boot times as well as allowing a handful (maybe one lol) of Games to be loaded. This assumes the Video Card downgrade.
Sub $2000 Build 9/28/2014
This is a “high end” Gaming PC that focuses on gaming at > 1080P resolutions. 1440P/1600P @ 50-70+FPS at High to Ultra details is the target for this build. Again you will find 4GB of VRAM to allow for the highest texture levels in newer Cross Platform Titles. Additionally a large SSD and HD will be featured for no compromise disk performance.
Options I can suggest are
1. Take out the AMD 295x for a single GTX980 to save roughly $100. You will lose roughly 40%-60% performance though.
2. Drop SSD down to 256GB and CPU to i5-4670K. This saves you roughly $210 and gets you closer to the $1500 Price Point.
Steam Box Build 9/29/2014
Click here for this discussion
In summary this is a specific build list I created for a purpose built PC that runs Steam in Big Picture mode 24x7.
Options I can suggest are
1. Drop GPU down to a GTX 960 4GB or a AMD 380 to save $70 (assuming a price of $249 when the GTX 960 4GB models are released). This option will still allow for 1080P gaming but with lower details and lower average FPS.
General PC Build buying Tips
1. Make sure you buy a quality PSU. Avoid an ultra-cheap PSU at all costs. This might be the single most important piece you buy in your build as a cheap PSU can fry ALL your components. So why spend $1500 on a shiny new gaming PC to only then save $70 on a cheap PSU that could jeopardize all your other components.
2. Microcenter is your friend. They have killer CPU deals that can sometime save you $60+ over an online purchase. You can price match as well for all the components to save even more (check for actual details)
3. Buy a real Microsoft wireless Xbox Controller. Perhaps soon Microsoft will update this to support the Xbox One with a new version.
Building a PC from Scratch.
Here are some tips for the actual build process when all your parts have finally arrived.
1. Unbox and inspect everything for any visible damage that might have occurred during shipment before you start trying to assemble your PC.
2. Many cases come with barebones type fans. Think about your specific gaming area and consider purchasing “extra” or replacement fans from companies like Scythe or Noctua. I like Corsair fans simply for their color coordination with other Corsair components
3. I don’t include Optical Drives in my lists, so make sure you have access to a working PC to download latest motherboard drivers and copy them to a USB Thumb Drive. Another option is to simply add a $20 optical to any of the builds
4. Start the build by removing any fans you will replace and/or removing the fan if it occupies the slot you want the closed loop radiator fan to go.
5. Corsair includes all the case hardware in a small box in a drive caddy.
6. Start by mounting the motherboard into the case. Corsair includes standoffs for MATX and ATX, you will have to add standoffs for certain EATX and MiniITX motherboards (look in that small box)
7. Make sure you install the Motherboard Port shield in the case BEFORE trying to mount the motherboard. As well if your motherboard comes with some sort of wifi addon card that sometimes needs to be installed prior to mounting the motherboard.
8. Next install the CPU
9. Next install your PSU and route the motherboard power cables to their correct location. There will be a 25 pin and a 4/8 pin cable for the motherboard. Some EATX motherboards will have a 3rd Power cable for builds that have 3+ GPU’s. Don’t bother to run your other PSU cables yet, but make sure the 4/8 is run as that will frequently be in a spot that will be tricky to reach once the CPU cooling is mounted.
10. Don’t tie down cables just yet.
11. Mount your CPU cooling. Intel CPU’s and Corsair Fixed Loop cooling requires a backplane but the Corsair cases will have a cutout to easily access this. I like orienting the fans to pull cool air in over the Radiator. For 120mm radiators mount them above the motherboard ports. For 240mm radiators mount it on the top side of the case
a. Mount radiator first making sure the CPU cooler is covered and safe.
b. Mount CPU cooler and screw down tightly. Connect the power connectors for the Pump and Fans
12. Install Memory, and Case Fans and connect them to power on your motherboard (or wait for PSU) Make note of how you’re your radiators hot air will vent out (usually out the top of the case with a fan set to exhaust)
13. Connect your SATA cables and run them to the general locations that are required
14. Connect your Case Cables to the motherboard (Reset, Power, USB, Front Audio etc.)
15. Install your Boot Hard Drive and connect to SATA cable
16. Run all your other PSU cables including the PCIe Power Cable(s) for your GPU(s)
17. Install your GPU(s)
18. Connect PCIe Power cables to your GPU(s), and your Hard Drive(s)
19. Power up the PC to test to ensure functionality
20. If the PC won’t boot make sure everything is seated correctly
21. If motherboard lights up and fans spin briefly up and then down WAIT a second. UEFI based PC’s will frequently power up then spin down and power up a second time for good.
22. If motherboard lights up but PC won’t stay on, check memory for compatibility in your motherboards manual, as well make sure the GPU is seated correctly. If your CPU has onboard GPU remove the GPU and see if the PC boots up (if it does then your GPU might be bad)
23. Move GPU to a different PCIe slot
24. Hopefully your PC boots up and you can move to installing the OS
25. Once OS is installed and your PC has based a good 24 hour burn in period you can power down and tie down all your cables and neaten everything up.