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Build Guide

Enthusiast Gaming Build

by ThoughtA

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


This high end build features a black and white theme. As such, you'll find numerous part choices have been made to achieve this aesthetic. If black and white isn't your thing, feel free to use our Colors filter to select parts with different colors

At this budget, we're running an i5-6600K. This quad-core CPU features an unlocked multiplier for easy and (typically) 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 of 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 i5-6600, removing the non-stock cooler, and going with a cheaper H170 motherboard. If you do remove the H7 cooler from your list, note that the i5-6600k does not come with its own cooler. The i5-6600 does. Speaking of coolers, our CPU cooler is the Cryorig H7, which has a rather neat method of installation, in addition to be a good cooler. If you really want to crazy with overclocking, you may want to consider an even beefier CPU cooler, be it air or liquid.

We have two motherboards selected that match the black and white theme while actually still looking quite different from each other. Both the Asus Z170-A and the MSI Z170A Krait Gaming 3X are solid, similarly priced boards that come with a variety of overclocking features. Each includes 4 DIMMs for up to 64GB of RAM at quite a few overclockable RAM speeds, along with your basic things like an internal USB 3.0 header. They each have 4 SATA 6Gb/s ports and a SATA Express port. Additionally, SLI/Crossfire is an option down the road with these boards, though you'll want to make sure your PSU could handle multiple GPUs.

For memory, we're filtering for the best-priced 2x8GB kit of black and white DDR4 RAM. Feel free to click the "From parametric filter" link to see the various options and pick a color that suits you. With how fast RAM is these days, aesthetics will likely matter more to you than the negligible performance difference faster RAM provides in gaming. We're also taking a sparse selection of roughly 1TB SSDs that have proven to be fast. Everyone's storage needs differs, so feel free to change those capacities to your heart's desire. If you'd like a separate mechanical drive for storing media, this filter will help you quickly narrow things down.

Our GPU is the very popular GeForce GTX 1080. This is currently the fastest single GPU video card 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 stock is iffy since it's a new release, so you'll want to keep an eye on our listings to see what else comes in and out of stock.

The gorgeous Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX Glass is pricey, but it really helps show off that internal black and white scheme. How does it highlight your internals? It comes with tempered glass side panels. This means you want your cable management to be on point. This case is fully featured and leaves plenty of room to work, along with thorough cable management options, as you'd expect at this price. To round out the aesthetics, it features hardware-controlled RGB LEDs. It also includes 2 front panel USB 3.0 ports. If you don't feel like putting work into managing your cables, you may want to look at the non-tempered glass version. Although, if you don't want to bother with cable management, aesthetics might not be high on your list of priorities anyway. You'll also have a ton of space for hard drive expansion or a good-sized radiator with this case.

Part List Customize This Part List

Compatibility Check: No issues/incompatibilities found.

Estimated Wattage: 118W
Component Selection Base Promo Shipping Tax Price Where
CPU $524.00 $524.00 I-Tech Buy
From parametric filter
  • Type: 288-pin DIMM
  • Size: 32GB (1x32GB), 32GB (2x16GB)
  • CAS Latency: 3 - 16
$223.30 FREE $223.30 Newegg Australia Buy
From parametric filter
  • Capacity: 960 GB - 10000 GB
  • Type: SSD
  • Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s
  • Form Factor: 2.5"
$155.88 $155.88 Amazon Australia Buy
From parametric filter
  • Capacity: 3000 GB - 10000 GB
  • Type: 7200RPM
  • Interface: SATA 3 Gb/s, SATA 6 Gb/s
  • Form Factor: 3.5"
$84.49 $84.49 Amazon Australia Buy
Video Card
No Matches Available
From parametric filter
  • Chipset: Radeon R9 Fury X
Power Supply $145.99 $145.99 Mwave Australia Buy
Total: $1133.66
* 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:

Wolklung 3 points 35 months ago

I don't think this build is really balanced towards optimising you budget for gaming performance. I understand everything is open to personal opinion and part preferences also come into it, but to be putting you dollars where they will have the most impact on the numbers of frames per second you can achieve across a range of resolutions (and without going into too much detail)... I'd change the locked i7 for the overclockable i5 6600K and an appropriate mobo for your feature requirements. Remeber to also purchase an CPU cooler. Change to a gtx 980Ti for your GPU. 16GB of memory is plenty for a gaming build. And storage... again it's up to you but 500GB with your SSD gives you plenty of fast storage and will save you $.

Xorex64 3 points 35 months ago

I might want to change the CPU

At this price point, i would consider a GTX 1080, it has nearly double the power of a titan X for about 600 USD.

Zohnda 2 points 35 months ago

I highly doubt it has double the power of a current gen titan thats $1000. But i havent looked into it so forgive me if im wrong

digah2750 1 point 35 months ago

check out Nvidia's website

Gdcortes22 1 point 35 months ago

That's Nvidia's current statement. The 1080 and 1070 are insane if everything they are putting out is accurate.

Tesel 2 points 35 months ago

They are certainly double and equal (respectively) to the Titan X in handpicked benchmarks that run well on the next gen GPUs and run poorly on the Titan X. I'd expect no more than a 25% increase in performance in games, perhaps more on custom cooling.

Zohnda 1 point 35 months ago

I dont understand why they ever released the Titan X and marketed it as a geforce gaming card. It is beaten out in games by an overclocked 980ti that costs $300 less and now the 1080 beats it for less.

calebm041 1 Build 1 point 35 months ago

the 1070 is also more powerfull than the titan x which is only $380.

TheDudeThatLurks 2 points 35 months ago

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that was in reference to VR performance?

That claim would be absolutely absurd, and blatantly false if it didn't say "up to double". Double the performane of the Titan X isn't going to happen.

zahir414 1 Build 1 point 35 months ago

Well there you have it. The 1080 outperforms Titan X and even the 980ti in every games. So buy a 1080 instead of a 980ti is a better choice but i wont consider upgrading from one not until they release a 1080ti

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OMGriffinz 2 Builds 0 points 35 months ago

The 1080 is worth $599 (so you are right) but it is not close to double to power of a Titax X, it outperforms it yes but not by that amount. The GTX 1070 is going to be $375 and will rival the Titan X...

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OMGriffinz 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

Loads of people have already benchmarked it and come to the conclusion that it outpreforms the titan X... And also considering I am not American I am allowed to say 'worth' thank you.

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AdrianSandu 2 points 35 months ago

ALso I didn't find too many good things online about that OCZ drive. PC World review says that it's more of a hybrid drive with two types of memory and it slows down significantly under stress.


beobeokabeo 2 points 35 months ago

This build isn't a good enthusiast build at all :S

"Pulling back to the non-overclockable H170 chipset helps us save some money for upgrades" 10 pounds more for a z170 board, 10 pounds more for a -K CPU. What upgrades if you're crippling one of your 2 most important components lol xD

3.4GHz non-k CPU while the 6700k is the same price atm and Intel said they'd lock BCLK for the non-k ones, so they won't be overclockable anymore.

R9 fury X, sure it is the best AMD has dished out... but knowing how Nvidia pushes its software/technology onto game devs and gets every game optimized for its hardware, it's no surprise that the 980ti outperforms it and it's about the same price as the r9 fury x now and with the 1080 series I don't expect it to be double the performance as that VR chart suggested but you know it will widen the gap even more while price will remain the same.

You don't need a 960GB+ SSD nor a 3TB+ HDD, nor 32GB RAM. Halve those, get a beefy CPU cooler, and the best CPU and GPU for the same amount of money if not less lol...

towerdivermp 2 points 34 months ago

I don't understand why this guy has 3 build guides featured... He had a strong disliking of overclockable cpus and a large bias against nvidia. I really don't know why the mods aren't allowing quality guides on the front page. This site has gone to trash, even the lists are great, i don't even check here daily because i know that the same old sh1t will be here.

digah2750 2 points 35 months ago

Honestly, when I first saw this guide, it hurt me on an emotional level.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Core i7-6700K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor $339.99 @ Newegg
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler $72.69 @ Newegg
Motherboard Asus Z170-A ATX LGA1151 Motherboard $150.99 @ SuperBiiz
Memory G.Skill Aegis 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-2133 Memory $28.99 @ Newegg
Storage *OCZ TRION 150 960GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $199.99 @ Amazon
Storage *Hitachi Ultrastar 7K3000 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $71.90 @ Amazon
Video Card Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB AMP! Video Card $546.98 @ Newegg
Case NZXT S340 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case $64.95 @ Directron
Power Supply SeaSonic G 550W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply $68.99 @ NCIX US
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $1537.47
*Lowest price parts chosen from parametric criteria
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-05-22 16:24 EDT-0400
  • Better CPU, Cooler, and Mobo right off the bat.
  • 8GB of RAM because this is still a gaming machine. 32GB of RAM is seriosuly outrageous. If you need to do a lot of video/photo editing and such, then 16GB is good.
  • Same storage because I'm lazy.
  • I think that the 980 Ti is better, but the Fury X is still a good option. Unfortunately, no Fury X is $570 atm

Seriously though, this guide isn't even good.

markasoftware 6 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

This is pretty decent, but I'm not so sure about the fury x. At this price we should really be seeing mor than 4gb of VRAM.

AyyMDMasterRace 2 Builds 2 points 35 months ago

4GB of HBM functions better than 6gb of GDDR5 IIRC

markasoftware 6 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

That's like comparing 4gb of ddr4 to 8gb of ddr3. Faster VRAM doesn't make less of it acceptable. I'm still a big fan of AyyMD though!

AyyMDMasterRace 2 Builds 1 point 35 months ago

I'm glad to have a fan. /s

markasoftware 6 Builds 3 points 35 months ago

Fans? I thought it was liquid cooled

Matthewtina2015 2 Builds 2 points 35 months ago


dragonhearttheone 1 Build 1 point 34 months ago

The radiator has a fan...

486DX 1 point 35 months ago

Didn't see the point of putting a Fury in there as 1: AIOs will leak or break at one point 2:It's kind of the same price as the GTX980TI

GentlemanShark 1 Build 1 point 35 months ago

That SSD isn't that good for the price if I recall compared to the others that are similar and an i5 6600k at 4.5ghz would beat the i7.

Variable.variables 1 point 35 months ago

Just saying; an enthusiast would probably care a bit more about aesthetics. Right now, this has some red, green, yellow, and black (based on the pictures). Also, since when are non-OCable i7s and Furies relevant or used?

EmeraldPlum628 1 point 34 months ago

that's some visually appealing ram when you buy a case like that. don't u want it to look good if you spend that much for a case?

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towerdivermp 2 points 34 months ago

True, true. I don't even know why the staff let a guide like this get featured. And this guy has 3 guides featured and is too stubborn to improve it. 32 gb of ram and a locked cpu? Amateur.

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towerdivermp 1 point 34 months ago

The worst part is that this i7 is locked. An "enthusiast" build can mean many things, but the main defining point would be being smart through getting the most bang for your buck at a larger scale. I wonder when the community will be able to publicly post build guides again.

KOOLAIDLEAN 1 point 34 months ago

Very nice but i rather buy a 1080 or 1070 right now for that buld but is ok ik is old that is uploaded but is ok for now

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KOOLAIDLEAN 1 point 34 months ago

actually i did make a guide 1000 pc build for the 1070 with the overclock-able 6600k

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Apdo 1 point 34 months ago

That is a nice built, but... I think that case is so ugly to have that monster inside... ¿Don't you think?

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15Halos 1 point 34 months ago

These are the only builds I have been seeing in the recent and featured (most likely because of some site update) and so far I haven't seen anything impressive or even pleasing to the eye.

ThoughtA staff submitter 1 point 34 months ago

These are Guides, not Completed Builds. For more info, please see this post.

15Halos 1 point 34 months ago

Sorry, I meant Build Guides. I know where completed builds are. I've tried debugging and STILL I only receive BUILD GUIDES created from staff.

ThoughtA staff submitter 1 point 34 months ago

As I've said, please see the above linked post. That will explain it.

calebm041 1 Build 0 points 35 months ago

Correct me if im wrong but dont i5's have hyperthreading as well?

ThoughtA staff submitter 2 points 35 months ago

Nope, they don't.

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PCsquared 1 Build -2 points 35 months ago

I see that you're a fairly new staff member, and to be honest, I really don't like your builds. You rely to much on the parametric filter. From what I've seen, you set tthe minimum specifications of what you want. If you have specifications set or not, it will always go with the bare minimum. If you want to get the best possible choices, you don't want to rely constantly on a filter. If I were running this site, then I wouldn't want people who use the parametric filter constantly. I would want people who know what they're talking about to be a staff member. Now, in to my complaints about this build. It would have been better to go with 4x8 rather than 2x16 so you have multiple channels. You also don't need 32 GBs of ram in the first place unless it were a work station, which, judging by the graphics card and processor you're using, this build is a gaming build. Since this is most likely a gaming build, you only need 16 gigabytes of RAM to be able to get better performance out of VR. An i5-6600k or the Xeon E3-1230 V5 would have been a much better choice for an enthusiast build. It was also a mistake to go with a non over clockable processor and motherboard, for if an enthusiast were to build a pc, then they would over clock the cpu and gpu. Speaking of the gpu, a GTX 980 ti is the best card out right now until the GTX 1080 and 1070 are released. I know that you wanted the GPU water cooled, but the best choice for cooling (especially in an enthusiast build) is to make a custom loop with the GPU and CPU. Also, 2 GPUs might have been a better choice than 1. They allow for triple monitor setups (because an enthusiast is likely to do this). And if a game supports sli, then the 2 GPUs will boost performance. Finally, the case. The case is fine with the current combination of parts, but the best combination to go with a custom water cooling loop would be the fractal design define R. That is all.

philip staff 10 Builds 3 points 35 months ago

Parametric filters were put in primarily to suit build guides, because on some items prices fluctuate wildly. Parametrics help make sure that the selections remain valid if the original selection goes up dramatically (which is extremely frequent with RAM, storage, and other components.) (This coming from the person who really does run this site and also the person who implemented the feature.)

It would have been better to go with 4x8 rather than 2x16 so you have multiple channels.

This will buy you no benefit and will only occupy two extra slots - removing your ability to upgrade RAM later. The i7-6700 only has two memory channels, not four.

As for custom loops, we don't include those in our guides. You're more than welcome to build a custom loop system, but we're not going to be putting one in a guide any time soon.

PCsquared 1 Build 3 points 35 months ago

thanks for clearing things up. I didn't know these things before.

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philip staff 10 Builds 0 points 34 months ago

You are welcome to create guides. It is not a staff-only thing.

We welcome polite and constructive feedback. This was neither.

colinroke 1 point 34 months ago

ok, well i use pcpp on 3 different devices, and it seems to only show staff build guides?

philip staff 10 Builds 0 points 34 months ago

The guides index only shows staff guides, correct. However, you are still able to create your own guides if you wish.

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Lawrnce416 1 point 34 months ago

you also need to include a wireless network adapter since the MoBo does not come with one....that's another ~ $40.00 for a decent one...

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Ibuyara 0 points 35 months ago

All very good points to note here.

Biggest issues I agree with rolfejc about: - 980ti is as low as $475 right now and outperforms the Fury X (see reddit.com/r/buildapcsales GPU's) - If you want a nice looking build I'd suggest you grab 8GB of G.Skill TridentZ or Kingston Fury RAM at much higher speeds and with very sexy heat spreaders at less then your overkill 32GB! - G2 series PSU's from EVGA are excellent can't recommend them enough.

If you like Fractal Design cases like I do, I don't see why you're using the Define R5 when the Define S is $40 less right now and accommodates your parts in an updated and sexier package?

NepenthesLucas 2 points 34 months ago

lol just get the 1070 xD its a beast in 1080p!

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towerdivermp 3 points 34 months ago

I would say that the featured builds on this site have gone from niche, creative and helpful to complete ameteur. The entire featured page is shared by two people. Two freaking amateurs. They have no idea of what role their build needs to fill and set their priorities completely wrong. GG.

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ThoughtA staff submitter 1 point 34 months ago

It wasn't for the parent comment here. It was for repeated violation of rule #1, and not just towards staff. Don't believe everything you see at face value.

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Note: Wattages are estimates only. Actual power draw may differ from listed values.
Component Estimated Wattage
Intel - Core i7-6700 3.4 GHz Quad-Core Processor 8W - 65W
G.Skill - Aegis 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-2133 Memory 23W
Silicon Power - A55 1 TB 2.5" Solid State Drive 2W - 10W
Hitachi - Deskstar 7K3000 3 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive 4W - 20W
Total: 118W