Recommended High-End Gaming Computer Builds: October 2016
(Best Builds for $1200 and $2200)
Welcome to this month's best high-end computer builds showing you how to maximize your money when building a new high-performance, reliable gaming PC to play the latest games in their full glory. We've done the extensive, painstaking current hardware research for you.
First up is the High-End Gaming PC Build which shows you how to maximize gaming performance with a spending budget of around $1200 US dollars, and then there's the Extreme Gaming Build which is for those lucky few with a massive budget of around $2200 to put together the ultimate dream gaming machine for the absolute best PC gaming experience possible.
If these builds are out of your price range then don't worry as you can still build a high-performance PC that is capable for playing any of the latest games well for a much smaller budget (see the Budget Gaming Desktop Builds
). Let's get into these 2 beasts that simply will not disappoint.
The High-End Gaming PC Build
(Best Performance & Reliability ~ $1200)
* Note all prices listed were correct at time of writing and can change at any time.
October 2016 High-End Gaming Build
This month's high end gaming PC build has it all - amazing gaming performance with a heavyweight graphics card, super-fast CPU, and a huge 16GB of speedy DDR4 RAM. It's also a well-balanced and reliable build, upgrade-friendly, fully VR-ready, and to cap it off it looks seriously awesome with a sharp design inside and out (including matching white-themed components). It's ready for overclocking too with an unlocked processor and overclocking-friendly motherboard - but is also a great setup for beginners who want to avoid overclocking and just run everything at stock speeds.
A custom desktop build of this caliber is enough power to please literally 95% of gamers out there and will have you playing the latest games very, very nicely for years to come. Just one thing - if you want Wireless networking capability then you'll need to purchase either a wireless card to fit into your motherboard, or an external USB adapter (our recommendations for these accessories are over on our budget gaming PC builds
section). Ok, let's take a closer look at the individual parts that make up this killer build and why they made the cut:
The Intel Core I5-6600K 3.50 GHz
is the perfect processor for gamers and overclockers right now. No, you don't need an i7 for a high-end gaming PC. An i5 will do just fine and you're better off putting your money towards the graphics. Note that this i5 is the unlocked "K" version which is easy to overclock for even faster performance if you choose to do so now or later on down the track, but it's still a great choice even if you don't plan on overclocking at all.
Coupled with the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler
, your CPU will run super quiet and cool under load. If you don't plan on overclocking at all and want to save a bit of money you could actually just use the stock fan that comes with the CPU, which still does a fairly decent job at stock speeds. But if you're definitely going to be overclocking then you'll need an aftermarket cooler.
As for the motherboard we have the ASUS Z170-A ATX DDR4
which is a newly released DDR4-compatible board that will serve as an excellent base for your high-end rig. ASUS boards are typically great value and this one is no exception, and it comes with all the features you would ever need including SLI support if you plan on adding another video card down the road, solid on-board audio, built-in LAN, USB 3 support, and it's also aesthetically-pleasing too with a sexy white and grey design.
RAM / Memory
For memory we have the slick and super-fast Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 16GB Kit (8GBx2) DDR4 2400 MT/s
which matches the motherboard nicely too. You can't go wrong with Crucial memory. To be honest you could opt for 8GB of RAM if you really wanted to cut your costs and you wouldn't notice a difference when it comes to playing current titles on the market.
But if your wish is to future-proof this build as much as possible from the get-go (or you plan on using highly demanding applications such as CAD/3D development etc), then going for a massive 16GB of RAM does makes sense. As for anyone considering the other end of the spectrum, as in going for even more than 16GB either now or at a later date, that's totally fine as this build supports up to 64GB of RAM.
Now to the all-important video card which has the biggest say in your gaming performance. We've opted for the fairly recently released ASUS GeForce 1070 8GB Dual-Fan OC Edition
which will absolutely dominate anything you throw at it for a long time to come - even playing on high resolutions and maximum in-game graphic settings.
These days the 1070 is the clear choice for a card around this price range, and 95% of gamers won't need anything more powerful. This particular ASUS edition is super-fast with a high clock speed, great cooling with dual fans, and has a very nice design that fits in well with the other components of this high-end build.
Storage (SSD + HDD)
We've included a fairly decently sized SSD (Solid State Drive) for super fast-loading of your operating system and other frequently used programs and/or games: the Crucial MX300 275GB
. Crucial SSDs are great bang for your buck and reliable - can't go wrong for the price. Then you also have the large Seagate Barracuda 2TB 7200 RPM
traditional hard drive to store all of your other stuff.
These sizes are simply our suggestions based on what would please the majority of people, so of course go for less or more storage on either your SSD or HDD if your needs require so. But yeah, for most people, a 275GB SSD and 2TB HDD goes a long way. Obviously, in a perfect world you'd want to go for SSD-storage only however they would cost an arm and a leg and so we'll save that type of setup for the upcoming "extreme" build below.
Now to our choice of enclosure to house the high end build's precious components. After much debate, at this point in time the NZXT Phantom 410 Mid Tower
comes out on top as one of the very best choices for a value-for-money yet high-quality case for a high-performance gaming build of this nature. We're big fans of NZXT in general (great company - no we don't work for them lol), and the Phantom 410 has the quality and features of an expensive top of the range case minus the huge price tag. At under 100 dollars (at the moment, anyway) it's seriously good value.
First of all, it looks amazing (pics don't do it justice) with a very sharp and sleek design. We chose white based on taste however feel free to pick whichever color you prefer as they're all the same (was hard to pick between the black and the white versions to show off on this page).
Aesthetics aside, all of the more important aspects of a good case are present. You've got excellent airflow and built-in cooling (comes with 2 x 140mm fans and 1 x 120mm fan), tons of room to work with, plenty of ports/bays, and a bunch of other nice features. Overall, it'll serve your build well. Highly recommended.
The EVGA SuperNOVA 750 Watts G2 80+ GOLD Fully Modular
is a high-quality PSU at a good price. EVGA produce some really top-notch power supplies these days and this one is a prime example. 750 watts of power is also more than enough for this build even taking into account the beast of a video card and any potential upgrades you may wish to make in the future (yup, even a 1070 SLI setup). This one is fully modular too which helps in keeping your build nice and tidy by minimizing excess cabling.
High-End Build: Final Thoughts
That's all the core components that makes up this month's high-end gaming build. Keep in mind that to make a working PC you'll need operating system software, a mouse, a keyboard, a monitor, and either some speakers or a headset. Our recommendations for these accessories are below on this page.
Overall, as we said before this build has it all and will please the vast majority of PC gamers out there. It's built to last, performs extremely well for gaming and any other demanding tasks, easily upgrade-able, and looks the part. Next up is the extreme build which will suit only the most hardcore of gamer's with a ton of cash to spend on an absolute monster of a machine.
The Extreme Gaming PC Build
(Best Performance & Reliability ~ $2200)
* Note all prices listed were correct at time of writing and can change at any time.
October 2016 Extreme Gaming Build
Extreme Build Summary
This is an example of the type of dream machine with all the bells and whistles that you can put together if you have some serious cash to drop on a new build. The experience of playing a great game on a machine like this will absolutely blow you away, assuming you also have a nice large, high-quality monitor and a solid set of speakers or headset to go with it. In an ideal world this is how game developers want their creations to be enjoyed. Let's take a look at the individual parts that make up this monster:
CPU and Cooler
The Intel Core I7-6700K 4.00 GHz CPU is an absolute powerhouse processor and an obvious choice for an extreme system. You really don't need anything more powerful than this when it comes to gaming. We've paired it up with the massive Noctua NH-D14 CPU cooler to keep things under control when overclocking. But of course, whether you overclock or not with this build is totally your call.
Motherboard and RAM
We've gone with the ASUS ROG MAXIMUS VIII HERO DDR4 motherboard which provides the ultimate base for an extreme system. This board is one of the best-priced premium boards and comes with a ton of features, and it also looks very slick. As for the RAM you have a whopping 32GB of matching, super-fast DDR4 3000 MHz RAM from G.Skill (a respected memory manufacturer).
As for the all-important graphics setup we've decided on the latest NVidia GeForce 1080 which is now the king of single-GPU video cards. And with its power, you really don't need a SLI setup - even for an extreme performance build as this one most definitely is. With a single 1080 your PC can handle 4K gaming without breaking a sweat.
A dedicated sound card is included if you want to get the most out of a solid set of speakers or headset for the very best audio experience possible in your games. The Creative Sound Blaster Z is in our opinion one of the best gaming sound cards on the market and what we would recommend right now.
Once you experience the sound quality of a good sound card like this you won't want to go back to on-board sound ever again. Again, this card is just a suggestion and there definitely are better models out there if you want to spend more on your audio if that's your thing.
We've included an internal blu-ray burner/player in this build, but this is entirely optional. You don't need an optical drive these days if you download all of your games online and also if you're going to boot your OS from a flash drive. Your call.
The Cooler Master Trooper Full Tower
, which is our current #1 choice for a top-of-the-range case to house all of your precious hardware. This one has it all - sturdy, reliable, great cooling, superb cable management, great looks, and an impressive feature list. One of the best of the best and well-respected by veteran PC builders.
The Seasonic X-850 80+ Gold, which is the cream of the crop. Seasonic is THE best name when it comes to PSUs and I highly recommend investing in a high-end unit like this one for an extreme build like this. 850 watts is plenty of power for this build too, even with the extreme graphics setup on-board and all of the other components. You also have plenty of extra power at your disposal to take into account future upgrades you may wish to make.
SSD and HD
Lastly to the storage drives, and we've included a large super-fast SSD and a massive top-tier standard hard drive (WD Black - the fastest around) for quick, reliable storage for everything that won't fit on your SSD. Of course, these are just suggestions and you should pick the sizes for your particular purposes as not everyone needs so much storage.
Top Peripherals/Accessories for High-End Builds
The above high-end gaming computer builds include only the core parts and you will also need operating system software, a monitor, a keyboard, a mouse, and either some speakers or a headset. We've spent hours analyzing the market to compile our top picks below, including different options for varying spending budgets.
Recommended Operating System
We suggest Windows 10 for the majority of builders but if you wish to choose either Windows 8 or 7 instead due to personal preference then that's totally fine and they will work with any of these builds without any problems.
Recommended Gaming Keyboards
Recommended Gaming Mice
Recommended Gaming Monitors
Recommended Gaming Headsets
Recommended Gaming Speakers
Building Your PC
If you are building your very first computer you can feel safe that these days it's very straightforward. These resources will help if you need step by step guidance:
- Prefer reading? Check out our installation guides. Alternatively, take a look at this step by step guide here.
- Prefer videos? This YouTube tutorial is popular and for good reason: it's easy to follow. That video is part 2 which covers the actual building process - you don't need to watch part 1 as it just covers things you probably already know like "what is a computer" etc.
Good luck and long live PC gaming.
Need More Help? Let Us Research a Build For You
If these builds don't match your budget or other wants/needs, and you want an expert opinion on choosing the best bang-for-your-buck and reliable parts on the market right now, we do offer a 1-on-1 email service where we can thoroughly research a build for you. Check it out if it sounds like something that could help save you time and head-scratching:
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