Description

It's been a while since my last build...12 years or so! I've been using laptops since then for the most part. PC gaming went to the side for console gaming. I picked up a Lenovo ThinkServer a few years back (to use as a Plex machine and NAS) and slapped a GTX 750 Ti into it, but it still had limitations on the games I could play. A new gaming PC was on the back of my mind for a while.

Then comes the latest Nvidia 10 series cards...they totally captured my attention. The price/performance ratio was very good and with VR and great new games out, I knew I had to get my hands on a capable PC.

My goal was to play BF1 on Ultra settings in 1080p as an immediate need, but I also want to grab a VR headset by mid next year. Using the Black Friday sales as an opportunity to cut costs, I jumped on sales as they came up.

I started with a capable CPU. I pondered for a while between the i5-6600k and the i7-6700k, but for gaming, the i5 proved to be the economical choice. That said, I concluded that it will still be relevant for years to come.

I'm lucky to have a Micro Center nearby, so I was able to pick up a Gigabyte Z170 mATX board for $30 off and another $20 rebate. This board gave me options to overclock, has 4 DIMM slots, solid reputation, and even has an m.2 NVMe port. I'm looking forward to picking up a Samsung 960 EVO when it comes out for even faster read/write speeds.

I, again, pondered whether I should focus on immediate needs or if it was wise to pay a little more to get a more formidable GPU. I went with the latter, so I grabbed the Asus GTX 1070 Turbo. A lot of people seem to have negative opinions on a blower style GPU, but I was attracted to its cooling capacity. By having the blower exhaust the hot air directly to the outside of the case, this reduces heat soak to other components of the rest of the machine. I saw this as a risk item especially for the CPU, as it sits right above the GPU. The noise of the blower fan, honestly, is not noticeable and I'm glad to find the case and CPU stay at low temperatures even when playing games.

That said, the case at the moment only has the one fan it came with. I'm waiting for the two be quiet! case fans to arrive so I can add one to the back and top exhaust slots. The CPU cooler is also a compact type from be quiet! and while it may not be the best for overclocking, it has been doing a great job maintaining low temperatures, even at 100% load. I've been very happy with the cooling performance of this setup so far.

Overall, I am very happy with the rig. It has played every game I've thrown at it with ease and it has been a very stable platform. I had no issues of any kind so far (knock on wood). For under $1000, I think I was able to get a great deal on such a capable PC!

Notes: Prices reflect actual costs. I am technically waiting on $50 worth of mail in rebates to come back to me, but I figure I post the real final cost (including any tax).

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Comments

  • 39 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice use of Black Friday deals. The components don't look to shabby either. Overall seems like you did a good job.

  • 39 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! It's amazing how many resources there are online now. Sites like PCPP made it really easy to visualize and quantify the build.

  • 39 months ago
  • 2 points

Personally i would've dropped the optical drive for a 1tb hdd because in my experience i have never used a disk in the past 3 years. to each their own, cool rig

  • 39 months ago
  • 3 points

They do make installation easier since the motherboard cd comes pre-loaded with the drivers you need for internet but nothing one cannot go around with a usb key.

  • 39 months ago
  • 2 points

Looking back, I agree with you. I still had the notion OS's should be installed via CD. Funny story...once I got to installing, I realized I had a copy of Win 7 (not Win10!) which I used for my server a few years ago. Luckily, I came across the Microsoft software to create a install USB key and that proved to be fast and easy to install Win10!

It's also cool how Microsoft lets you use Windows without activating it. I'm going to move the license from the server to this new PC, but in the meantime, it has allowed me to use it as a licensed copy. Pretty neat.

But on the topic of storage, I'm somewhat regretting getting just a 275GB SSD. It's filling up quite fast with all of these huge games nowadays. I wished I had jumped on a $115-120 deal on the 525GB MX300. Oh well!

I appreciate your input.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, I need SSDs to drop in price and fast lol. Too pricey for me at the moment.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

amazon.com still has a Samsung EVO 850 500 gig for 129. That's still a steal. If you're in the market, I would say that's the place to go.

  • 39 months ago
  • 2 points

I really respect this build. I started with something similar when preparing my Black Friday build/upgrade to my 5 year old machine. You chose on of the best "budget" cases and z-MOBO's out there to save a few bucks which probably gave you the budget to grab a 1070 with a 6600k. I doubt you will be disappointed with any of your choices. May your framerates be high and your temperatures low!

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! $$$ was always on my mind and it did drive some of the decisions.

As for the case, I wanted something smaller than a full ATX tower, but not a mini-ITX cube. Eventually, I'd like to put together a mini-ITX machine, but I did not want to deal with the small space. The mATX was a perfect form factor.

The case was actually a tough choice. There are so many cool cases out there now. My last one was the good old grey tower case we all had at one point haha.

The other cases I was looking at were the Thermaltake V21, Cooler Master N200/Silencio 352, and the Riotoro 1080 (which is actually an ATX case). All had their good points, but the Corsair Spec M2 was an easy choice as it looked good, has space for cable management, slot for an optical drive (which I thought I wanted at the time), and also a $20 mail in rebate. Made it an easy choice :)

Thanks for the feedback! Happy to be back.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Which monitor are you using with game?

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

I have a Dell U2412M IPS monitor I have been using in my home office.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks brother

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Personally I would have gone with the AMD FX-8350 but overall great build

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

To be honest, I didn't even consider AMD. Shame as I used to be an AMD fanboy (remember the slot form factor Athlons? And the overclock pencil trick?).

Looking at the specs, I don't think the 8 core will help me with the games I play currently, but it is definitely interesting for my server. Sounds like it would be a great upgrade from my i3-4130 server. The price locally at Microcenter is $129 (and save $40 with a motherboard bundle!). That's an incredible deal!

Are you trying to get me to build another PC?? ;)

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

JackFraaaags!!