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Build Guide

Enthusiast Gaming Build

by ThoughtA

NOTE: A more recent version of this guide is available here.


This iteration of our high end build will maintain a neutral scheme to avoid detracting from the Kraken X52's RGB effect. Everyone has a different idea of what being an enthusiast means. You're welcome to share your thoughts on the word in the comments below.

CPU and Cooler

At this budget, we're running an i5-7600K. This quad-core CPU features an unlocked multiplier for easy and often significant overclocking. While not all games will benefit from overclocking, games like Overwatch can benefit significantly from a faster CPU. Overclocking can also help your CPU stave off obsolescence for a good while longer. All of that being said, if you're not comfortable overclocking, you can save money by stepping down to an i5-7600, removing the non-stock cooler, and going with a cheaper B250 or H270 motherboard. The i5-7600 does come with a cooler, so if you step down and remove the Kraken X52, you'll still have adequate cooling. Do note that you'll lose the cool RGB LEDs that are on the Kraken X52, unless you don't want them anyway.

As mentioned, we are using the NZXT Kraken X52, which is a CLC (Closed Loop Cooler) that uses an integrated pump and 240mm radiator to cool your CPU. The pump also just so happens to have a very cool RGB LED ring around it, which can be controlled by the software NZXT CAM. While it isn't included in the part list, you can choose to add a the HUE+ & Aer RGB120 Fans Bundle Pack, which, in my opinion, really match well with the pump light. This combo does not include an LED strip.


We're using a parametric selection of motherboards that don't have too strong of a color that may throw off the LEDs on the Kraken X62. The parametric selection will actively choose the best-priced motherboard of the group. All motherboards in the group use the Z270 chipset, which allows the i5-7600K to be overclocked. Additionally, they all have 4 DDR4 DIMM slots and are capable of using the CPU's integrated GPU, in case you need to RMA your GPU or are waiting for a sale or upgrade of using the CPU's integrated GPU, in case you need to RMA your GPU or are waiting for a GPU sale or upgrade.


For memory, we're filtering for the best-priced 2x8GB kit of neutral-colored DDR4 RAM. Feel free to click the "From parametric filter" link to see the various options and pick a color that suits you.


We're also using a parametric filter that will actively select the best-priced SSD of roughly 1TB capacity. Everyone's storage needs differs, so feel free to change the capacity or add a mechanical drive to your heart's desire.


Our GPU is the very popular GeForce GTX 1080. This is currently one of the fastest single GPU video cards in the market - you may want to look into a 120-144Hz and/or 2560x1440 resolution monitor for this bad boy. The parametric filter is set for the best-priced 1080 available, but feel free to click the "From parametric filter" link to browse our listing of 1080s. For those interested in VR, the GTX 1080 will have no problem playing any and and all applications currently on the market.


All of our parts are housed in the windowed version of the Fractal Design Define C. This case is kind of like the Define S or Define R5, but it has a shorter length to reduce wasted space. It features 2 USB 3.0 front panel ports and can fit pretty much any length video card. We're already going a little loud with LEDs, and the more streamlined look of the Define C will allow the Kraken X52 to draw the eye without being an eyesore.


Powering the build is a sparse selection of some of the most well-reviewed PSUs available - all without breaking the bank. All of them are certified 80+ Gold and either semi-modular or fully-modular.

Part List Customize This Part List

Compatibility Check: No issues/incompatibilities found.

Estimated Wattage: 307W
Component Selection Base Promo Shipping Tax Price Where
CPU $400.00 $400.00 Mighty Ape Buy
CPU Cooler $189.00 FREE $189.00 PLE Computers Buy
Motherboard $139.00 $139.00 Mwave Australia Buy
From parametric filter
  • Type: 288-pin DIMM
  • Size: 16GB (2x8GB)
  • Heat Spreader: Yes
  • Color: Black, Black/Gray, Black/Silver, Black/White, White, White/Gray, White/Silver
$127.60 FREE $127.60 Newegg Australia Buy
From parametric filter
  • Capacity: 960 GB - 10000 GB
  • Type: SSD
$155.88 $155.88 Amazon Australia Buy
Video Card
From parametric filter
  • Chipset: GeForce GTX 1080
$789.00 $789.00 Device Deal Buy
Power Supply $145.99 $145.99 Mwave Australia Buy
Total: $1946.47
* Using your selected merchants and only including nearby in-store pickup prices)
* Some physical dimension restrictions cannot (yet) be automatically checked, such as cpu cooler / RAM clearance with modules using tall heat spreaders.

Comments Sorted by:

rhao510 3 points 26 months ago

Hi guys, can someone help me gut check the below upgrades to this build? I want to build the below.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Core i7-7700K 4.2GHz Quad-Core Processor $338.89 @ OutletPC
CPU Cooler NZXT Kraken X52 Liquid CPU Cooler $139.99 @ SuperBiiz
Motherboard *Gigabyte GA-Z270P-D3 ATX LGA1151 Motherboard $108.99 @ Newegg
Memory Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 Memory $137.89 @ OutletPC
Storage Samsung 850 EVO-Series 500GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $159.99 @ Jet
Video Card Asus GeForce GTX 1080 8GB STRIX Video Card $678.99 @ SuperBiiz
Case Fractal Design Define C with Window ATX Mid Tower Case $84.99 @ NCIX US
Power Supply EVGA SuperNOVA G2 650W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply $88.89 @ OutletPC
Monitor Asus PG279Q ROG Swift 27.0" 2560x1440 165Hz Monitor $727.99 @ Best Buy
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total (before mail-in rebates) $2481.61
Mail-in rebates -$15.00
Total $2466.61
*Lowest price parts chosen from parametric criteria
Generated by PCPartPicker 2017-02-21 05:31 EST-0500
piz45 4 points 25 months ago

The strix card although its cool to look at has lower overall performance than other 1080s if that doesn't bother you then go for it lol. A cool 1151 Mobo with some RGB if you are into that is the Asus rog Z270E has a lot of nice features and goes along with the kraken thing you go going on. Corsair platinums are literally just for E-**** rights. If you want RGB for your ram get the gskillz tridents that released recently cost like 150 for 16g but they look nice. Or for a cool effect get the plasma ones from Raiden.

rhao510 2 points 25 months ago

Hey! I'm gonna get the 1080ti do you think I can play star citizen 4K ultra with this setup?

Racer5436 1 point 25 months ago

I know this doesn't help, but I'm wondering exactly the same thing! I have wanted to build myself a nice gaming PC for a while but Star Citizen seems to be the kick in the pants that I need! Will upvote both comments in hope of a response, lemme know if you find out more about this.

ThatConsolePeasant74 2 points 26 months ago

get a better motherboard that supports overclocking and you might want to hold off until amd ryzen releases

Zelderon 1 Build 3 points 25 months ago

ryzen isn't as good for straight up gaming only. 1700x = better multi core (twice as many) 7700k = better gaming (higher clockspeed)

gamingcsman 1 point 25 months ago

not sure if your still looking but there is virtually the same monitor for much less by dell: Dell S2716DG 27.0" 2560x1440 144Hz Monitor

Drewthatgeek 1 point 25 months ago

It's only a TN panel. IPS is just better eye candy.

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Osaid202 2 points 26 months ago

Aren't SeaSonic, corsair or EVGA 650 W power Supplies options from parametric selection a better choice simply because of more watts adding 10$ only?

ThoughtA staff submitter 3 points 26 months ago

Higher wattage rating doesn't really give you anything significant if you aren't using more wattage.

Osaid202 0 points 26 months ago

I agree but, I would go with more wattage for future upgradeability.

Slurth 1 Build 1 point 26 months ago

Yes, plus they're fully modular so it's easier to build with.

Barge489 2 points 25 months ago

So when does the 1080ti go in this build?

adventureguy 2 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

When it comes out....

Zurus 2 Builds 1 point 26 months ago

Would it be better to spend $10 more for the kraken 62x? it's only 40mms bigger.

ThoughtA staff submitter 1 point 26 months ago

It's up to you if it's worth it. You'll have to take out part of the PSU shroud to fit it in the front, which in my opinion won't really be the best for aesthetics.

Zurus 2 Builds 1 point 26 months ago

I was just wondering if it would be better to have the extra 40mm as i would like to have a kraken on my personal PC

ThoughtA staff submitter 1 point 26 months ago

The larger radiator will cool better. The downside will be a loss in aesthetics if that's your thing. Like I said, it's really just a personal preference you'll have to decide for yourself.

Hodge05 1 point 26 months ago

Hey there, thank you so much for doing this. Quick question for you. I am hoping to get the Predator X34 and was curious if this build would be able to fully take advantage of the benefits of this beautiful monitor. I hope that is not a stupid question. Thanks!

SuperGuyDoesGames 1 point 26 months ago

If you were willing to cut the case down a bit, and then cut the SSD down to 500gb and add a 1TB HDD, you could cram an i7-7700k in there. Some wouldn't notice the difference if all you do is game, and if thats you a 1tb SSD would be better for you, but for extreme multitaskers like me, or people who stream/edit video AND game, it will.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Core i7-7700K 4.2GHz Quad-Core Processor $339.00 @ B&H
CPU Cooler Corsair H115i 104.7 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler $119.99 @ Newegg
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z270P-D3 ATX LGA1151 Motherboard $108.99 @ Newegg
Memory *G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-2666 Memory $94.99 @ Newegg
Storage *OCZ TRION 150 480GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $124.90 @ Amazon
Storage Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $49.99 @ B&H
Video Card EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB Superclocked Gaming ACX 3.0 Video Card $559.99 @ Newegg
Case NZXT S340 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case $61.99 @ NCIX US
Power Supply *SeaSonic G 550W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply $59.99 @ Newegg
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total (before mail-in rebates) $1569.83
Mail-in rebates -$50.00
Total $1519.83
*Lowest price parts chosen from parametric criteria
Generated by PCPartPicker 2017-02-26 09:02 EST-0500
chinogabo 1 point 25 months ago

Im looking to make this build a little cheaper-

Swap the GPU to a GTX 1070- and go for a cheaper cooling system, since I'm not that into LED's- I just want a powerful computer-

What would be another Cooling system that can replace the Kraken x52

piz45 2 points 25 months ago

cheap and effective get a corsair h55. Cheap little closed loop liquid cooler. It has excellent performance for its price range and if you are keeping the CPU an i5 it will be more than enough for you to never hear anything under load.

violetgil 1 Build 1 point 25 months ago

Not sure if it's intentional, but you have 2 "Storage" sections in the guide but only seem to be following the last one in the actual build.

ThoughtA staff submitter 1 point 25 months ago

o.O thanks

violetgil 1 Build 1 point 25 months ago

If I pushed up to an i7-7700k, would the Kraken still be the recommended cooling? If I didn't care about the lighting on said Kraken, would there be other viable alternatives?

Kenulous 1 point 25 months ago

im looking get a gaming setup capable of playing just about anything smooth without ever dropping below 70fps on anything. not including 4k or vr and im not too likely to be getting into much content creation but being able to edit videos and play around with maya would be fun. my budget is around $2400. i will be using a 144Hz 29inch ish monitor and will want to play games like black desert, skyrim heavily modded along with most AAA games. $2400 budget is for the tower only.

loznhano 1 point 25 months ago

Can I have a bigger case then buy a bigger fan? Would it help out significantly, how? Thank you for the great build.

KeizerKronos 1 point 26 months ago

That graphics card will run hot tho... I would opt for an after market cooler, i would go for the EVGA superclocked edition

ThatConsolePeasant74 1 point 26 months ago

It actually doesn't run that hot under load my friend has one and while i was over we ran benchmarks and it doesn't get that hot, but yes a dual fan card would be more optimal

badjazy 1 point 25 months ago

Swap the psu and get a better hdd and it will be even better.

Looweegi 1 point 25 months ago

Not with that HDD. You're gonna want to step that up to 7200 RPM

Slurth 1 Build -7 points 26 months ago

Enthusiast is more i7s than i5s, plus only 550 watts on a PSU seems kind of tacky for a build of this caliber

vagabond139 5 Builds 6 points 26 months ago

550W is PLENTY

rhali8 2 Builds 3 points 26 months ago

welcome to 2017... where GPUs don't need ridiculous amounts of power...

looks at GTX 295

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MikeGMac 1 point 26 months ago

That ******* PC is gonna freeze not overheat lol

Note: Wattages are estimates only. Actual power draw may differ from listed values.
Component Estimated Wattage
Intel - Core i5-7600K 3.8 GHz Quad-Core Processor 11W - 91W
NZXT - Kraken X52 Liquid CPU Cooler 10W - 15W
G.Skill - Flare X 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-2133 Memory 11W
Silicon Power - A55 1 TB 2.5" Solid State Drive 2W - 10W
Inno3D - GeForce GTX 1080 8 GB Twin X2 Video Card 45W - 180W
Total: 307W