I’m pulling the trigger on this very soon, and I’ve already consulted a bunch of other people on this, but since I’ll be playing KI a lot on this machine (mind, I think this machine will run KI in its sleep) I figured I’d run it by here in case someone can point out any red flags which need to be addressed. It’s my first desktop PC in…years and years, I’ve subsisted on laptops for a long time.
CPU: Intel i5 6600K
CPU cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212X
Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K6
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 2x8GB DDR4-3200
Storage: 512GB Samsung 960 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD
Video card: probably a GTX 1070 (advice on specific cards welcome)
PSU: EVGA SuperNOVA G2 750W
Case: NZXT S340
I’m actually putting off purchasing the video card (won’t be gaming much yet, don’t want it eating the current budget for the rest of the build) and the SSD (maxing out the DMI3.0 link with those 960 NVMe drives coming next month is too tempting, and I have spare laptop drives lying around for now) until sometime next month. I won’t be overclocking right away but I want the option to stave of obsolescence, so I’m not looking to go all out on cooling right now. I can get the DDR4-3200 memory for a bit of a steal, so it’s kind of a why-not thing. PSU being vastly overpowered for the rig is kinda incidental, I can’t really go below that price for a comparable-quality unit in Australia so I may as well have the extra power. I wanted to really put money into things like the PSU and case that I’ll have for years and years and years, but I think nearly every case on the market either has issues or is horridly grotesque, so I’m going a little budget on the (still good) S340 and hoping case makers wake up to themselves eventually.
I agonized by far the most over the motherboard. It seems like Intel puts out three new chipsets with each new processor generation, and then the motherboard vendors each put out 40 new boards for each chipset and it’s a nightmare to differentiate between them. I moved up to the Fatal1ty K6 for decent enough reasons (the SLI option, USB 3.1, diagnotic LEDs which I would’ve killed for on previous desktops, etc) and it seems to be a flagship board in the ASRock lineup, but vendors like ASUS and MSI seem to be filthy with premium tiers of boards with poorly-explained benefits beyond what the K6 has to offer, and reviewers seem to talk up these boards without doing much in the way of explaining any benefits for moving up. It’s frustrating because I can find room in the budget to go a little higher on the board, but then I can’t find the solid evidence I’d need that I’m not buying snake oil. My knowledge of motherboard anatomy has shot up since I started working on this build, and it still perplexes me, which is infuriating.
Can’t really help on too much other than to say the GTX 1070 seems like the best choice right now if you are looking to future proof your machine and you don’t want top of the line. I’m guessing you aren’t doing 4K gaming any time soon, but even then the 1070 can probably handle most intro 4K games for the next few years. Because even just the 1070 blows away all other GTX cards for just about the same retail price, I wouldn’t really go with an 900-level card unless you are tight on budget and find a disgustingly cheap price for it.
If you are going to buy a nice monitor, be sure to check the model at displaylag.com first.
750W in your power supply should be tons. I recently had to buy a new power supply after my old one shorted out, and I went with gold-standard in order to make sure the power draw is good. I probably wouldn’t buy anything less than gold standard PSU if/when I build a new computer.
lo, no. I’m not a videophile by any stretch of the imagination, and aside from wishing that dev shops weren’t under such insane pressure to funnel resources into bleeding-edge visuals, I often can’t appreciate the difference. The difference between 720p30 and 1080p60 is often lost on me, even, so adding more little dots or frames isn’t going to affect me all that much. Apparently the old Zelda games run at twenty fps, and I can’t really tell. That said, I can appreciate the difference between 720p and higher resolutions if I flip between the two (though not so much 900p vs higher resolutions), and obviously in fighting games where I’m actually paying closer attention to the frames for mechanical reasons I’d notice 30 vs 60 frames. I don’t know, maybe when I get a screen the size of a wall I’ll want 4K.
But more than anything, I do value stability and staving off obsolescence, and 8GB of VRAM lets me not worry about what the card is doing so much, which is good because I’m fond of the idea of leaving KI running in a window and forgetting about it while I do other stuff. Also, the 1070 and 1080 come with Gears 4, whereas the 1060 doesn’t.
and tons and tons and tons, I know. Heh, this build might not even reach 400W at peak usage when I put the 1070 in it. It’s just what I’ve landed on because I can’t get the 650W version in Australia. I was worried that it’d possibly be inefficient at lower loads, but nobody I’ve queried on the subject seems to think it’s an issue.
fwiw, I leave KI on in the background often, and I have a GTX 660 and way less everything else you’ve got. I can run it at 1080p at recommended settings without trouble while capturing 720p60fps video on monitor capture in OBS (which is notoriously slow, thanks UWP!) at about 7000 kbps with no slowdown.
Based on my somewhat limited experience, I’d say just by this nugget you’re probably set for a while. You’ll be at least on par with the Xbone Scorpio, so you’re already getting ahead of the game as far as making things pretty goes.
Actually, the list is identical to the list in the OP – which is a little surprising, because I was strongly leaning away from the 960 Pro until I saw a good deal on it, and realized that the cheaper NVMe drives weren’t going for much cheaper locally. I basically got impatient waiting on reviews (subsisting on laptop drives didn’t help) and pulled the trigger.
As a bit of a PSA, having done the research on NVMe drives,
Don’t believe the ~3GB/s read speeds emblazoned on the marketing material, you’re not going to get close to that in most actual applications because most consumer workloads aren’t optimized for it, and probably won’t be any time soon. Also, most workloads are inherently mixed read/write, which slows things down considerably. Expect transfer speeds less than 1GB/s, though still considerably higher than SATA SSDs. Maybe don’t expect substantially better-than-SATA performance in games for a while yet.
Be wary of the 960 Evo drives, especially the 250GB and 500GB versions. If Tom’s Hardware is to be believed, the 250GB is a letdown and is largely surpassed by the MyDigitalSSD BPX and even the low-end Intel 600p, and there are hints that the 500GB will follow in its tracks when the reviewers get samples.
Anyway, this is a very strong machine! I haven’t figured out what to throw at it to push it to its limits yet, so I’ll have to look into ways to benchmark it later.