So, I want to build a computer

SailorDoomSailorDoom Bringer of CupcakesHuntington, WV Member
edited July 2016 in Hardware

First- Sorry about not posting this is hardware.

Hey everyone~ So, as the title suggests, I want to build my own rig and get back in twitch streaming and PC gaming.
Could you all direct me in the direction of what parts/brands I should buy? What are your favorites? I have a $1600 dollar budget.......AND GO.

Someone suggested a Corsair case, and I have a video card already.

Thank you!



  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    edited July 2016

    What video card? What case were you looking at?
    Some example builds we could draw from: - also a great resource to see the relative "value/performance" of parts.

  • _k_k P-Town, Texas Icrontian

    A used GTX 460(without the PCI slot cover), right?

  • SailorDoomSailorDoom Bringer of Cupcakes Huntington, WV Member

    @_k said:
    A used GTX 460(without the PCI slot cover), right?


  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Alexandria, VA Icrontian

    With that budget and your desired goal, I would try to sell the GTX 460 (ebay/craigslist/whatever) for whatever you can get and grab a modern card. Both nvidia and AMD just released new, awesome cards that could be foundations of a system for years. - $1400 excluding a case and peripherals like monitor/mouse/keyboard.

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    I was going to say the same thing: You have a fantastic budget to build a really good gaming PC but you will be hobbled by that old-ass card. Liquidate it and get a modern GPU so you're not putting a lawnmower engine in a new Ferrari.

  • I have some used gear I want to sell but I am not sure it will fit your plan given your budget being better than the gear I have. I do have a pair of R9 285 cards I'd like to sell for abut half retail and a 990fx board with an fx8350 and 16 GB of performance RAM but your budget can buy some pretty swanky new gear. If I can make a recommendation, save some for a really good monitor, mouse and keyboard. Huge part of the experience.

  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    edited July 2016

    RE case: it's largely aesthetic preference and size considerations. Bigger cases are easier to build in/make clean looking, sometimes have additional features (usually, just extra room for more HDDs or what have you). Some people choose to spend a lot of time on getting parts that look right together. I've personally just bought whatever worked together. Largely irrelevant beyond taking build pictures and if you have a giant window and keep it visible.

    EDIT: agree with @Cliff_Forster about the monitor/mouse/keyboard making the experience better. I spent a big chunk of change on a good 1440p monitor and whoooboy, does it make a difference.

  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic US Icrontian

    Vote for RX 480.

  • ThraxThrax 🐌 Austin, TX Icrontian

    +1 Radeon RX 480. I work for AMD, I am biased, but there's nothing faster for $200. Last gen it would've been worth $350-400 worth of performance.

  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic US Icrontian

    @Thrax said:
    +1 Radeon RX 480. I work for AMD, I am biased, but there's nothing faster for $200. Last gen it would've been worth $350-400 worth of performance.

    That $200 price point is actually pretty killer. You can drop $200 on a GPU that will play pretty much anything at 1080p and up to 1440p, and put the extra $200 you saved into extra RAM, superior cooling solutions or add a second or larger SSD to your rig.

    Props to AMD for understanding the market and the need for GPUs you don't need a mortgage payment on.

  • _k_k P-Town, Texas Icrontian

  • I have my eye on an RX480. I will wait until some non reference boards drop.

  • LevexLevex Animal Whisperer Iowa Icrontian
    edited July 2016

    @SailorDoom I told you that these guys would help :)


    If I had $1600 to start over, that is how I might do it.

    So many of these things are subjective in terms of value. What mouse and keyboard feels right for me may not be for you. As far as a monitor goes, my desk sweet spot size may be 27" but you might want a big 34" ultrawide if you have the room for it.

    Where I feel like I can guide you for certain. In the world of a $1600 budget and a new PC build, your only sensible chipset / CPU combo is some kind of Intel Z170 with a Skylake CPU paired with DDR4... I'm a massive AMD fanboy, and even I can't tell you to buy their FX CPU platform right now, their platform is ancient, don't do it. In fact, don't do Intel's last gen platform to save a few dollars either. Even though performance is close you want those new boards features, an M.2 slot for a possible ultra fast future storage expansion / USB 3.1 is not only faster but it's really exciting some of the external peripherals you will be able to connect without an additional power supply, plus super fast charging across it, you don't want to miss out on that if you are building new. The sweet spot in the Skylake line is the i5 6500 for most people, the i7 is better for really heavy multi threaded workloads but for gaming the i5 is fine.

    The RX 480 graphics card is new and a little hard to find right now, but they will be back in stock very soon. They come in 4GB and 8GB versions, the difference is about $39 in price. You probably won't need 8GB of VRAM gaming at 1080P (which is the monitor I recommended), but for the slight premium, a little more VRAM is always nice to have. I'd lean towards the 8GB model, some games have massive texture loads now, even at 1080P, if you want to kick it up to the highest settings or remove texture compression in a title that allows it, 8GB of VRAM can help with that.

    Assuming you get an AMD graphics card use some of that budget towards a monitor that has AMD Freesync. Basically Freesync is a feature that allows the graphics card and monitor to talk to one another to eliminate stutter and tearing on the screen. So lets say you are playing a demanding game and suddenly the frame rate dips a little, you can't detect it, it still looks butter smooth to your eyes. It adds some cost to the monitor, but your budget can accommodate.

    As @Tushon pointed out, building in a small case can be really painful. It can look cute when you are finished, but at the same time full ATX mid towers can be monsters on your desk. I think Corsair has the perfect compromise mid size case in the 350D. It isn't massive, it isn't small, it's just right in my mind. It is limited to Micro ATX, but I think that's okay, Intel has some sweet Z170 Micro ATX boards. Once again, one of those subjective things but I think it's the right balance between being big enough to be builder friendly but not so huge that it takes up a huge part of your desk. The 350D is where I think I am going to take my next build now that I've pretty much sworn off multi GPU configurations.

    Good luck, and remember, now you kinda have to post pics of your finished build here so we can all live vicariously. This is how things work around here.

  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic US Icrontian

    I agree with @Cliff_Forster on everything except the case. I will never recommend Micro ATX and a similar sized case for a first time build. If you have the space and don't care about portability, go will a full or super tower. The full tower allows you the room to optimize airflow, learn about said airflow and play around with cable management. You can still stick a Micro ATX board in a full tower and swap out the case for something smaller down the road if you like.

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    Caveat to full or super tower: If you plan on travelling with it (like, say, attending Expo Icrontic 2017), having a small case is a blessing. Huge cases are a GIANT pain in the ass for travel.

  • There is defiantly a balance to strike there. Some small cases are a bear to build in. The 350D looks pretty easy. Corsair also makes a dual chamber micro atx cube that helps you cheat by isolating the power supply and drives behind the motherboard. I don't care for that one because no external drive bay. I wouldn't recommend going as small as mini itx but there are a few nice micro ATX aptions. If you prefer a quiet desk the define mini from Fractal is really nice, I have built inside that. It isn't a small case by any means but it isn't obsenely massive either.

  • RyanMMRyanMM Ferndale, MI Icrontian
    edited July 2016

    Put me firmly in the "smaller cases are better" camp.

    A microATX case will still give you plenty of room to work and with SSDs being as big a bang for the buck as they are it's unlikely you'll find yourself needing more than 2 drives plus your optical if you decide you need one. Good mATX boards will have 4 RAM slots, same as the full size boards, and some even have dual M.2 slotsmost will have an M.2 slot as well.

    $1600 is going to build you a goddamned great computer, btw.

  • ThraxThrax 🐌 Austin, TX Icrontian

    There's really nothing wrong with going mATX for a first build. These days you only lose out on a few PCIe slots. Most people only need two: GPU and maybe WLAN. You don't need smaller PSUs, for example. MAYBE you need to worry about how tall your HSF is. But generally speaking, it's just like building ATX.

    ITX is different, still, and requires care.

  • RyanMMRyanMM Ferndale, MI Icrontian
    edited July 2016

    I was going to use PCPartspicker but then half the darn parts I picked aren't on the site. D'oh. I'm too busylazy to perfectly work this up with links and stuff but here's a good start.

    Rough budget.

    Practical givens

    CPU - Core i5-6600K - $250 at Newegg or $210 if you have a Microcenter nearby
    Motherboard - Asrock Z170M Extreme4 mATX - $125
    RAM - Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB DDR4 - $125
    GPU - XFX RX 480 8GB - $250 at MC (sold out everywhere, though)
    PSU - EVGA 650W 80+ gold fully modular (10 year warranty OMGWTFBBQ) - $86
    OS - Windows 10 Home OEM - $100

    At this point you are at $936. For gaming, there's little reason to go with an i7-6700K over the i5-6600K, especially given the added cost. I love Asrock motherboards, I've been using them reliably for clients for several years now after a few other brands gave me bad customer service experiences. RAM, 32GB, why not? GPU, as discussed above, huge bang for the buck once these come back in stock. PSU, you'll never use 450W given these components but you're not gonna save much money on a quality power supply in the sub-600W range, so this is a good middle ground.

    Time to blow some money on storage.


    SSD or bust. NVMe if you can. And you can.

    SSD - Samsung 950 Pro 512GB M.2 - $320
    HDD - Seagate 2TB Hyrbid HDD - How much room do you need for movies and music? 2TB enough? Boom, done. $105

    Now we're at $1361.

    That leaves chassis and cooling.


    Here are a variety of mATX chassis that are all pretty cool but have a variety of pros and cons. Any of these will bring you in under $100.

    Something like the Apevia model is a good balance and it has a nifty fold-open feature which would make working on it be a cakewalk. It also comes in a variety of colors.

    This Fractal design chassis is more traditional but very easy to work in. I particularly like the slotted drive bays and clean design.

    And this Raidmax chassis looks a bit prettier than the Apevia one, but it might not be quite as easy to work on, it has its perks in more flexible cooling configuration.

    **Cooling **

    Because the best option will depend on which chassis you go with, I don't wanna break into specifics here yet, but you should have no trouble using air cooling on an i5-6600K in a chassis like the above ones, maintaining low noise to silent operation, and I cannot fathom you spending more than $80 on the heatsink and other fans and such.

    Optical drive

    I left this out because a lot of people don't even care about these anymore.

    Sales tax

    I dunno what this will be where you're at, but whatever's left over covers that.

    Other considerations

    If you need to add anything else that you don't currently have (AVR UPS, backup hard drive and software, keyboards and mice, monitor(s), speakers) then you may need to make some compromises on certain parts of this build to stay under $1600.

    You could probably easily slash the SSD size down to 256GB and go with that model and save $160 or so. You could drop down to a slightly slower i5 to shave $40-50 off. RAM could reasonably be chopped to 16GB to save another $50. GPU could be changed to 4GB model and save another $50. Maybe you don't even need the traditional hard drive at all and 512GB will be enough for your data footprint, or you could go with a smaller one.

    Anyways, these are my opinions, and like certain parts of our anatomy, everyone has one, so undoubtedly there will be other thoughts on what you should do, but this will at least provide a jumping off point for a bunch of people to say someone is wrong on the Internet and offer their advice. ;)

    Good luck!

  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Icrontian
    edited July 2016

    @RyanMM , the hybrid won't work as a secondary drive, the OS must be on it for the dynamic cache to work. For simplicity sake they are an awesome compromise for a single drive build, but you wouldn't get any benefit using it as a secondary storage unit.

  • GnomeQueenGnomeQueen The Lulz Queen Mountain Dew Mouth Icrontian

    So I had a chat with @SailorDoom-- she was planning to buy parts gradually over a long period of time, and actually had no idea of what a decent budget could be. I advised her that a thousand dollar budget (including peripherals) and waiting until she had that to begin buying would be a better course of action. Please feel free to disagree!

  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    edited July 2016

    I'd wait for the GTX 1060 to come out later this month. Rumor has it will use less energy and be faster than the RX 480. Some RX480's are also frying motherboards currently until AMD fixes it. I always buy EVGA with nVidia GPUs (24/7 live support can't be beat). Personally, if you're going 1440p on monitor and want longevity with your PC, I wouldn't go below a GTX 1070. But those are pretty much out of stock right now and/or overpriced. Wait for them to get back to/below $400

    I'll probably go against the grain, but I'd do like a 120-160GB M.2 boot drive and then have a 500GB+ SSD for gaming. You don't need to install every Steam game like @mertesn . Do whatever you want for the dinosaur mechanical drive.

    For cases, the Corsair Carbide Air 240 is awesome for mATX. There is no need for a 5.25" drive bay anymore and the 240 can house six SSDs along with upto six 120mm fans or even a radiator water cooling.

    Intel CPU and motherboard, what others have mentioned. As much RAM as you can get and a good PSU from Corsair or the likes.

  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou Icrontian
    edited July 2016

    also @_k I think your picture is outdated

    Full Article:

  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic US Icrontian

    You're going to pay $50 more at least for the proposed GTX1060 and see maybe 1-2% better frame rates. Not worth the cost. A 4 or 8 gig 480 is perfect.

  • _k_k P-Town, Texas Icrontian

    @fatcat I pulled my image from this article, both have 5 days ago for publish time with the same author and different info graphics. Now I consider both charts false.

  • RyanMMRyanMM Ferndale, MI Icrontian

    @Cliff_Forster said:
    @RyanMM , the hybrid won't work as a secondary drive, the OS must be on it for the dynamic cache to work. For simplicity sake they are an awesome compromise for a single drive build, but you wouldn't get any benefit using it as a secondary storage unit.

    The cache works regardless of whether the OS is on it. It caches frequently accessed data, it's agnostic as to what that data is. It doesn't have to be the OS. If someone was storing their media library, the Mediaplayer/iTunes Library files would benefit from the hybrid acceleration along with whatever frequently accessed data they're storing on it.

    I prefer a hybrid over a high-speed linear drive for anything where small amounts of burst performance are preferable to high linear read/writes. As a secondary drive to an SSD for media storage, a hybrid drive is perfectly cromulent.

  • @RyanMM Even with host mode support added Windows 8.1 and up, it's not going to dynamically improve fetching random pictures and videos from the users folder in any significant way. For the steep premium for the Samsung pro you recommend along with the SSHD you could simply buy a pair of 1 TB SATA SSD's and have fast storage for everything you do.

    SSHD really isn't a design solution for secondary storage drives. They are a compromise for someone who wants a single drive system with some dynamic SSD cache to help load the OS faster along with some everyday programs according to the drives own designed algorhythems. If you use it as a secondary you depend on windows in host control mode and like I said, if you are already using a super fast SSD to store your OS and programs, there isn't going to be any tangible value to go grab this or that photo off your storage platter, the workload will be too random for the drive to effectively use it's hybrid cache.

    If you really want to spend $425 on storage making sure it's all as fast as possible, I'd get a pair of Sata 960 GB SSD's and RAID 0 them. PCIE storage is wonderful, but it's not priced right yet. In practice you are saving a second here and there loading things, it's a tangible performance benefit, but it's not the kind of benefit that justify's three times the cost of a comparable SATA option.

  • SnarkasmSnarkasm Madison, WI Icrontian
    edited July 2016


    (probably, anyway)

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