Hey, it’s nice to dream. A 10-core i7-6950X CPU. The best of the best GPU. Maybe SLI it. But, what about those that don’t want to throw money at a problem we don’t have?
Can you build a gaming PC capable of VR and 4K for the price of an i7-6950X? Let’s find out.
For the purpose of the build, we will make the assumption you’ll hook the PC to your TV – a monitor won’t be included to cut costs. And we will be jumping between Amazon and Newegg for the best prices at publication.
There are better deals, but out of all the cases I’ve built with, the NZXT Steel Midtower is my favorite. One issue? No optical drive bay, but I’m a fan of the minimalist look in white. $75 at Newegg or opt for the black at Amazon for $70 and enjoy the benefits of free shipping.
It also has the advantage of not screaming gaming PC when you look at it. For me, that’s a plus if the PC is going into the living room and pulling double duty as a media center.
Let’s stay current in Intel’s generation and grab the i7-6700K Skylake. The 4GHz quad-core won’t let you down and is in the family of Intel’s unlocked enthusiast CPUs. Priced at $349.99, it won’t give you bragging rights of 10-cores, but it handles 4K resolutions with ease and supports DDR4 RAM.
For the purpose of the build, we will go aftermarket for the CPU fan and get the Amazon ‘frequently bought together’ pack of the i7, a Cooler Master Hyper 212 and the Arctic Silver thermal paste. All three hit $386.91.
Choices upon choices. You can get lost in this, and it comes down to personal preference, style, and future-proofing. Amazon has the Asus ROG Maximus VIII Hero priced at $239.95. It comes down to checking the pricing between retailers and the brand you want.
You have the CPU and Motherboard to support it, so DDR4 RAM. Personally, I’ve used Corsair Vengeance, and Amazon has a 16GB (2x8GB) for 50% off at $81.32. Nice savings we will need for the graphics card. Or, if you want to hit 32GB of RAM, grab two kits for the price of one.
Another endless array of choices. We want breathing room, so for the build, I’m going with the EVGA SuperNOVA 850W at $124.99. You can dip down to 750W and shave $20 off, but let’s stick with 850W.
SSD all the way. Don’t build a gaming rig and put an old school 7200RPM drive in it. The Samsung 850 EVOs price out at $154.98 on Amazon for the 500GB.
We are working off the assumption it will be hooked to a TV to save on monitor costs, so it has to be wireless. Unless you don’t give a damn about cables stringing to your couch. The Logitech K800 won’t match the mechanical keyboard, but it’ll do at $64. Pair it with the Logitech G602 gaming mouse for $55.
Total before a graphics card? $1,182.15. It leaves us with $540 for graphics. Plenty of room for the new Nvidia GTX 1070. I know, not quite enough room for the GTX 1080 Founders Edition, but the GTX 1070 hits all the required benchmarks for both VR and 4K gaming. At 4K, you will have to turn down some of the settings to maintain 30 FPS. Playing at 1080p? The Nvidia GTX 1070 handles anything you can throw at it and is damn near overkill at $379.
Total? $1561.15 and it’s eminently upgradeable. There’s enough room in the price to jump to the new Broadwell-E i7-6800K and still not crack the retail ceiling of the i7-6950X.
Sure, the above is an experiment of what you can piece together and still have one hell of a gaming experience – HD, VR or 4K. Intel’s announcement of mega-tasking is great marketing and hey, I’d love to toss one in my setup. But, you can build a gaming PC worth bragging about for under the price of the new flagship CPU.
What about your build? You have $1723.00 to build it out in the comments.
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