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Build Guide

Enthusiast Intel Gaming Build

by ThoughtA

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


CPU and Cooler

At this budget, we're running an i7-7700K. 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 i7-7700, removing the non-stock cooler, and going with a cheaper B250 or H270 motherboard. The i7-7700 does come with a cooler, so if you step down and remove the H7 cooler, you'll still have adequate cooling.

The i7-7700K also features Hyperthreading, which is Intel's name for its Simultaneous Multithreading. This allows your PC to use 8 threads across your four cores, which helps with some productivity tasks and is starting to help with certain games as well.

As mentioned, we're using the Cryorig H7 cooler. This is an easy to install, good-looking cooler than saves enough money for us to fit that sweet, sweet GTX 1080 Ti.


We're using a parametric selection of motherboards that keep with a black and whitre theme. 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.


For memory, we're filtering for the best-priced 2x8GB kit of DDR4 RAM that would match a black and white build. 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. Additionally, we're including a 3TB mechanical hard drive in a parametric filter. 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 Ti. 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 Ti available, but feel free to click the "From parametric filter" link to browse our listing of 1080s Tis. For those interested in VR, the GTX 1080 Ti will have no problem playing any and and all applications currently on the market.


All of our parts are housed in a white NZXT S340 Elite. This case features a tempered glass window and is Simply gorgeous in its simplicity. It features 2 USB 3.0 front panel ports and can fit pretty much any length video card. The S340 Elite also has a lot of cable management options, including a PSU shroud, which will serve to hide any unsightly cables.


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.

For an AMD version of our Enthusiast Gaming guide you can find it here.

Part List Customize This Part List

Compatibility Check: No issues/incompatibilities found.

Estimated Wattage: 322W
Component Selection Base Promo Shipping Tax Price Where
CPU $400.00 $400.00 Mighty Ape Buy
CPU Cooler $180.47 $180.47 Amazon Australia 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
From parametric filter
  • Capacity: 3000 GB - 10000 GB
  • Type: 7200RPM
  • Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s
  • Form Factor: 3.5"
$84.49 $84.49 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: $2022.43
* 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:

danyjr 3 points 24 months ago

Why not i7?

Remendador 2 points 24 months ago

Exactly! After all it's supposed to be an enthusiast build. IMO, i5-7600K may be called high end, but never an enthusiast CPU.

[comment deleted by staff]
ThoughtA staff submitter 1 point 24 months ago

Keep it polite or don't comment on this site.

SamiC4702 0 points 23 months ago

Sorry if I seem a bit rude here but if you can go through and filter all the impolite comments, why can't you reply or take any other comments into consideration? And I'll definitely keep polite, sorry about that I probably had a bad day at work or something.

vagabond139 5 Builds 1 point 24 months ago

Probably because most people are playing or will play on 60Hz screens which makes a i7 totally pointless to get since both would give you the same seeable FPS.

He_162 1 point 24 months ago

Then why call it "enthusiast"?

vagabond139 5 Builds 0 points 24 months ago

Enthusiat != Wasting money

He_162 1 point 24 months ago

Some people enjoy having such powerful hardware, and there is no such thing as wasting money, if you have it, and don't spend it, it is not given back into the economy.

Besides, what does it matter to you if you want your processor to last more than 2 - 4 years before it becomes unusable in modern games? The only thing you see people buying used are overclockable 4th gen i5's, and up, and any or all i7's ever made, if they are cheap enough.

SamiC4702 0 points 24 months ago

It's not i7 cause it's for gaming. i7 is workstation not gaming.

Ethan30878 3 points 24 months ago

While yes, the i7 is meant for workstations, it is considerably better than the i5 at gaming, and one might expect it at a budget of around $1400-1500.

SamiC4702 1 point 23 months ago

At that price point I'd definitely expect an i7.

Ethan30878 2 points 23 months ago


deathbat6916 1 Build 2 points 24 months ago

^ you clearly have never played most modern stealth games, i7s do help. Just look at Watch Dogs 2.

SamiC4702 0 points 23 months ago

I have played watch dogs 2, I still play it. I5-7600/GTX1060 gets 60fps @ High 1080p with small drops to 50-55 in grassy and intense areas. So now try it with an I5-7600K/GTX1080. I doubt an i5 would be an issue.

deathbat6916 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

I've seen as much as a 20fps boost moving to an i7, with a 1080 @ 1440p and ultra, and many of the older i5's will stutter trying to get to 60. Now that I think is just a matter of optimization issues, but it's definitely a CPU hog.

[comment deleted by staff]
XMorph 1 point 23 months ago


( I love when people using consoles say "turning off grass is cheating!"

He_162 2 points 24 months ago

Good luck running Arma without a frame drop on this i5, get a Ryzen or an I7.

SamiC4702 1 point 23 months ago

You don't get frame drops though, yes your frames won't be the best but even an I5-6400/GTX1060 can run it with a solid 40-70fps @ High 1080p which is definitely playable, so imagine an I5-7600K/GTX1080.

He_162 1 point 23 months ago

Have you ever even bought an Arma game? Go find a benchmark with an i5-7600 or 6600, and watch how it lags.

The game is almost always below 30FPS, and the 1080 isn't necessary, a GTX 1060 is plenty for that game at 1080p, you need AT LEAST an i7-4790k to run that game at playable frame rates, and don't even get me started on the stuttering.

vagabond139 5 Builds 1 point 24 months ago


spicymeatball_ 3 points 23 months ago

I don't like the idea of getting a decked-out computer built and using a refurbished Hitachi hard drive as mass storage...

tyreshredder 3 points 23 months ago

if you have 1500 dollars better get a 1080ti and a 7700k since i5 is not really good

baby_jay 1 point 23 months ago

IT says there holding off on the 1080TI until it has more availability and perhaps better cooling options

electricdrop 2 points 24 months ago

I think you have a doubled sentence in your Motherboard section:

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.

oshirigami 2 points 23 months ago

$1450 build that's bottlenecked by slow RAM and a 4 thread CPU. Why does this show up on the front page of pcpartpicker?

SirHalpin 1 Build 0 points 23 months ago

eh let him live a little. Why do people buy Ferraris if they never drive them fast?

yanmofeixi 1 point 24 months ago

Hi first time pc builder here,

Can you take a look at this build?


I already have the CPU & Video card. Most of the other parts are from this guide.

Mokey_Blackblood 3 points 24 months ago

Processor: An i7-7700k is really overkill for gaming (especially with that motherboard and cooling). Unless you need multiple cores for video editing/photoshop, then I would recommend an i5-7600k instead. i5- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/dQM323/intel-core-i5-7600k-38ghz-quad-core-processor-bx80677i57600k

CPU Cooler: The Dark Rock 3 is quite quiet and good at cooling, but it's a big one. I would recommend looking into some 120mm Water Cooled alternatives like the Corsair H60. They'll take up a lot less room. H60- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/Vwdqqs/corsair-cpu-cooler-h60cw9060007ww

SSD: If this is just a gaming build an M.2 won't really beat out a Sata SSD, but, if you're going to be using this build in work related to Photoshop/Video Editing, then an M.2 is definitely worth it. Just make sure to get the right M.2 SSD. Otherwise, the 850 EVO is a pretty solid Sata SSD. Though you can go cheaper with this Sandisk model, with a small impact to speed. Speed Tests- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdF_aerWcW8 Info on M.2- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opwON-7J_wI Sandisk- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/x28H99/sandisk-ssd-plus-480gb-25-solid-state-drive-sdssda-480g-g26

Motherboard: That board is a bit ugly to show off in a window, no? So I'd go with a Gigabyte Gaming K3 or a K5 for a bit more flair. I'd also check out the MSI Z270 SLI Plus board as its about the same price as the K3, but has SLi support, and better heatsinks. Though I know you want to match with your GPU. k3- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/4rPzK8/gigabyte-ga-z270-gaming-k3-atx-lga1151-motherboard-ga-z270-gaming-k3 k5- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/Z6PzK8/gigabyte-ga-z270x-gaming-k5-atx-lga1151-motherboard-ga-z270x-gaming-k5 SLI PLUS- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/G9X2FT/msi-z270-sli-plus-atx-lga1151-motherboard-z270-sli-plus

RAM: 10-15 bucks more and you can get 3000mhz (use that z270) AND pretty lights with Corsair Vengence LED. Corsair LED- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/7PFXsY/corsair-vengeance-led-16gb-2-x-8gb-ddr4-3000-memory-cmu16gx4m2c3000c15

Case: Good choice! Though the Phanteks P400 tempered glass case has a bigger window, similar to almost identical features, free RGB strips (meaning the lighting doesn't have to be green!), and a Silent version as well. P400 Tempered Glass- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/Jjhj4D/phanteks-eclipse-p400-tempered-glass-atx-mid-tower-case-ph-ec416ptg_bk P400 Tempered Glass Silent Edition- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/tBWrxr/phanteks-eclipse-p400s-tempered-glass-atx-mid-tower-case-ph-ec416pstg_bk

PSU: Spend a bit more and get the EVGA SuperNOVA G3 650W. It's fully modular (meaning all cords connected to it can be detached, so it'll make cable management a breeze), it's the most reliable power supply on the market, it's small, you have an extra 100W, it performs as advertised, and it comes with a 10 year manufacturer warranty. BUY IT! G3- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/y88H99/evga-supernova-g3-650w-80-gold-certified-fully-modular-atx-power-supply-220-g3-0650

GPU: Just make sure you get good parts so you don't bottleneck the 1080s power. Mkay.

vagabond139 5 Builds 1 point 24 months ago

CPU Cooler: The Dark Rock 3 is quite quiet and good at cooling, but it's a big one. I would recommend looking into some 120mm Water Cooled alternatives like the Corsair H60. They'll take up a lot less room. H60- https://pcpartpicker.com/product/Vwdqqs/corsair-cpu-cooler-h60cw9060007ww

That is of HORRIBLE value.

SSD: If this is just a gaming build an M.2 won't really beat out a Sata SSD

M.2 is a connection and SATA protcol for transferring data...

Mokey_Blackblood 2 points 24 months ago

CPU Cooler: It matches his price range and it comes from a trustworthy brand. Though I would recommend looking at the CM 212 EVO if he doesn't care about footprint and wants to save some money, or the NZXT X62/X52 Krakens if he's willing to more than double his CPU Cooler price.

SSD: Duuuurr. I was thinking of PCIe/NVMe's. Brain fart. That's what I get for being up at 5AM.

[comment deleted]
Cicero_ 5 Builds 2 points 23 months ago

The Scythe FUMA is no longer available. The replaced it with the Mugen 5.

diegomxiv 2 points 24 months ago

You may want to look into better cooler to further overclock that CPU

Some good options to look at are the Nocturn NH-D15 or the Reeven Justice for a smaller footprint and cooler temps.

SubNauticaWaterWorld47 1 point 24 months ago

Look at the Thermalright macho direct, it keeps my cpu around 70c at 4.8 cuz.

Apprentice57 1 point 24 months ago

Have you considered the Crucial MX300 525gb for your ssd? It's the M.2 form factor, which will save you some space and a sata cable and it's a little cheaper on my screen too.

(Some M.2 form factor ssd's have a faster interface, this one doesn't, should be fairly comparable to your selected ssd)

Joshdashef 1 point 24 months ago

Your mother board supports m.2 slots which offer faster ssd type hardrives, maybe look into something like that too change from the 2.5' one you have now?

Ericruiz911 1 point 24 months ago

Go with a AIO watercooler. Also, not crazy about Gigabyte motherboards. Saw mixed reviews and buggy bios issue. Ended up getting the MSI Pro Gaming Carbon. Scrap that SSD and opt for a PCIe card such as WD Blacks M.2 SSD or Samsung 960 EVO & PRO M.2. They are much faster and no need to run additional cables. I am doing a similar build but its more of a workstation than gaming PC but you can check it out. I scavenge for deals so as of now, still missing. You can check it out here:


[comment deleted by staff]
Mokey_Blackblood 1 point 24 months ago

Also don't forget the Operating Sytem and a monitor when calculating in total price.

joe.p71084 1 point 23 months ago

I have the exact same memory, as a little tip you might want to get the 16's instead of the 8 but that's just me.

Jasssds 1 point 23 months ago

hi - theme is a little inconsistent. consider spending 20 bucks on amazon for case lighting (if you care about looks)

also, I highly suggest the phanteks eclipse p400 case

You got a great deal on the 1080, so good job.

for the power supply, I suggest looking at some corsair or evga options. THey're both relatively cheap and provide a lot of power (are also very reliable)

For the SSD, only get 120gb. It's cheaper, and you already have 4tb of hdd which is a LOT.

With the drops in all those prices, you should take a look at the MSI Z270 Mortar or MSI Z270 Bazooka for the motherboard. both are great options, and you should take a look.

Try to look for water cooling. It looks cooler and cools better (but don't get some less than $60 option for water cooling).

The rest is pretty good (you could still survive with the build you have now, though)

Good luck

Nassim26 1 point 24 months ago

I love your build but... why take a 1080 with an i5? Won't they bottleneck each other? If you're paying this much, why not go with a better CPU and take an i7?

SamiC4702 3 points 24 months ago

No i5 doesn't bottleneck a 1080 lol. go search i5 benchmarks.

Nassim26 1 point 24 months ago

Oops, I know. Little mistake there, but it would still be smarter and better to use an i7 with the 1080 than an i5.

SamiC4702 1 point 23 months ago

That's true. No point of a 1080 if you're using an I5.

He_162 1 point 24 months ago

Run this i5 in Arma 3, go ahead, try! :D

SamiC4702 1 point 23 months ago

I5-6400/GTX1060 can run it with a solid 40-70fps @ High 1080p which is definitely playable, so imagine an I5-7600K/GTX1080.

He_162 0 points 23 months ago

Don't lie to my face. Please show me a benchmark that supports your claim in multiplayer on a 100 person server, you now, in an environment you'd actually be in in arms, perhaps in a city.

Mokey_Blackblood 1 point 24 months ago

For crazy enthusiasts? Yes. Realistically? You'll get like an extra 5-10 fps on most titles with an i7. GHZ matter way more that cores.

Nassim26 2 points 24 months ago

True. But sometimes those 5-10 fps can really help. I can't stand anything below 60fps so if it, for example, would run at 50-55fps on an i5, but 60fps on an i7; I'd much rather take the i7 even if it's such a small difference. But I guess it's just a matter of preference. But yeah, if you want something cheaper I can totally understand why you'd take an i5 instead of an i7. Guess I'm a crazy enthusiast then :/ But I agree that clock speed is way more important than the amount of cores. That's why I always go with Intel CPU's instead of AMD's. Unless a program can support multi threading, there's really no point to have more cores. And single-core performance is way more important anyway.

deathbat6916 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

If you run a lot of stealth games that actually can go up to 20-30+ FPS. Watch Dogs 2 is a prime example.

He_162 1 point 24 months ago

It's not just 5 to 10 more frames, they are smoother too. All of the frames are much much smoother, and smoother still on Ryzen, albeit Ryzen is at lower max and average frames its still better than an i5.

The .1% lows of an i5 and i7 show how sad the i5 lineup has become.

hi_im_snowman 1 point 23 months ago


^ This is my current build and I must plainly, and enthusiastically disagree.

My i5-7600k is currently overclocked @ 4.8ghz stable, and paired alongside my GTX 1080 strix stock clock, it DESTROYS every AAA title I've ever tried. I'm running Witcher, Dying Light, The Division, etc. maxed at 1080p, 144 fps+ on my 144hz monitor and it's glorious. I'm not sure what bottleneck you're referring to?

My intention really was to get an i7-7700k with my build but honestly, I don't see the point other than bragging rights.

But bottlenecked? Nope with extra nopesauce.

jakeschoeppler 1 point 24 months ago

Do not buy this cooler. Most ridiculous install ever. Had to move and loosen screws to make it fit on a Gigabyte 1151 socket motherboard.

MattinSF79 1 point 24 months ago

Love this build, thanks again for putting this together guys! I built my last PC from this site about 5 years ago and it's been the best computer I've ever had, still running strong for the most part (added some ram, SLI slot on the mobo died, etc)

I want to build another SotA gaming/"work" (excuse for my wife) computer but I'm wondering if this is the best build? I've seen people complaining about the Dark Rock cooler installation, is there a better option? I've also seen a few mentions saying I'd be better off with an i7 over the i5. I'm happy to put some more budget into the rig if it will pay dividends with noticeable performance, do you think there are some upgrades available here? Any help you can provide is most appreciated!

Thanks again!

cmcguire26479 1 point 24 months ago

I wouldn't recommend any GA-Z series boards from Gigabyte, I have a GA-Z170-HD3, board lasted 6 months before it died on me, no overclocking or thermal problems. I RMAed my board, got it back, board died again about a year later, just got it back again and Gigabyte says they will no longer cover me. A co-worker of mine bought the GA-Z270P-D3 when it came out back in mid-February, the board was DOA when he got home, he RMAed his board and still has not gotten it back from Gigabyte. I would recommend their Auros boards, but NOT their GA-Z series boards.

filmguy9 1 point 24 months ago

Cpu will bottelneck Gpu.

pansonmata123 1 point 23 months ago

Hi first-time PC builder here,

Can you take a look at this build?


I used this build guide as a base. Any help would be appreciated

SirHalpin 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

Just some thoughts: For memory I'd go with Corsair Vengeance LPX 16Gb DDR4-3200 for the same price from a more dependable brand. Also for storage Hitachi HDDs are not known for reliability, I'd instead go for a Western Digital BLACK or Caviar Blue, very dependable and come with warranties. Then for a bit more personal opinions if you're spending $550 on a 1080 just get a 1080ti for $600 lol. Nice choice of CPU but thanks to Ryzen the i5 line is falling behind in technology and capability, even the 7500K. I'd go i7 to stay competitive and 6 cores never hurt nobody. Besides that looks good, just needs some fans and pretty lights ;)

Water_cooled_pretzel 1 point 23 months ago

if your aiming to game at 4k go with a i7 i recommend a 7700k or if you want to game at 1440p go with a 1070 but dont mix a 1080 with an i5 it will bottleneck

d4n.cs 1 point 23 months ago

Hi, would this be good if I were to play CS:GO on medium/high video settings with a 4:3 800x600 resolution? Please respond as soon as possible. Also, would it be able to stream CS:GO on twitch.tv? Thanks! <3

P.S, I'm new to the PC part/building world, don't h8... <3

spicymeatball_ 1 point 23 months ago

maybe 50 fps on lowest settings 1280x720

i think it can run crysis though

spicymeatball_ 1 point 23 months ago

Noob here, how far could you overclock the CPU in this configuration? I've never overclocked before. Also, same thing with the video card: can it be overclocked, and if so, to what speed can it be clocked to?

SirHalpin 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

not the place to ask this haha go read overclocking articles and forums

spicymeatball_ 2 points 23 months ago

I beg to differ, I thought it would be much simpler to ask it here because this is the main page where all the comments are regarding this build. I'm too lazy to go sign up for an overclocking forum, type up all these parts, and wait. I just wanted to know an estimate for this exact configuration.

SirHalpin 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

my point was you'll be waiting here too lol

Water_cooled_pretzel 1 point 23 months ago

so a i5 and 1080 wont bottleneck

Wazzupmc 1 point 23 months ago

Has anyone built this yet. Thinking of building it. I just want to know if the parts will fit inside the case

Wazzupmc 1 point 23 months ago

GPU will fit "and can fit pretty much any length video card."

tarkan.AK 1 point 23 months ago

to bad

juicebox22 1 point 23 months ago

In my opinion this isn't a very good build for the price. I used your build and spent $40 extra and built a way better system with better CPU, better CPU cooler, better motherboard, better GPU and power supply, also better ram. Got to take the time and find the best parts that make sense for what you are doing.

Omnislash89 6 Builds 1 point 23 months ago

I mean it's an affordable mid-range build for 3D gaming for sure...but "enthusiast" in the title might be stretching it a bit. +1

King92 1 point 23 months ago

IS that motherboard good and dose it support overclocking and what chipsets?

Lemon68768 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

for those of you wondering why they went with the i5, its because the i5 and i7 have very similar performance, however the i7 is more expensive

Namnguyen 2 Builds 0 points 24 months ago

So glad that you updated this guide by adding Intel in the title and a gtx 1080.

k3rast4se -3 points 24 months ago

This is one of the worst build i've ever seen.

Please see this revised build:


-I've replace the 140$ cooler for the extremely popular 212 evo 35$. Why spend an extra 100$ into a cooler when you can put money into cpu. -With the money i've save, upgraded 7600k to 7700k. -Replace original 1080 (noisy) for EVGA GTX 1080 SC (customer cooler) -Replaced patriot SATA SSD (terrible reliability) since price wise it doesn't make sense in this build for Samsung 850 EVO 500GB m2 SSD.

SamiC4702 4 points 24 months ago

That's not a patriot SSD, it's a trion. It's also 960gb not 500gb. And the cooler isn't $100 XD The Dark Rock is better than the Hyper 212 Evo for overclocking purposes.

WirelessCables 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

LOL I missed that it's in CAD...


[comment deleted]
deathbat6916 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

Remember that's in CAD.

WirelessCables 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

Ok, that's true. I missed that. I apologize.

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
be quiet! - Dark Rock 3 67.8 CFM Fluid Dynamic Bearing CPU Cooler 5W - 10W
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
Hitachi - Deskstar 7K3000 3 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive 4W - 20W
Inno3D - GeForce GTX 1080 8 GB Twin X2 Video Card 45W - 180W
Total: 322W