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So this is going to be a computer you can go to forums with and brag about. This is the kind of computer that won’t just beat the consoles, it’ll make them cry and run away. The Plutonium is an Epic Gaming Computer, built completely for gaming. Everything was chosen with horsepower in mind, but meant to stay below the budget of $1200. The links and prices are American, but if you would like prices or links for your country, feel free to leave a comment, and I will definitely help you for your country/territory.


CPU: Intel Core i5-4690k

The 4690k was released earlier this year, and is an update to the already great for gaming 4670k. The main difference is the thermal interface material used on the “Devil’s Canyon” chips, which allow for better overclocking at higher voltages because the chips can take the heat better. The 4690k already has a 100Mhz faster clock rate from the 4670k’s 3.4Ghz, but the potentially safer overclocking from the new interface will allow users to push it further.

CPU Cooler: Corsair H80i

For this build, water cooling would greatly benefit the user. With a water cooled CPU, overclocking will be a lot easier to do, and this cooler will easily attain a 4.3Ghz on all cores, and keep it relatively cool compared to air. Also, the H80i has a very good software that goes along with it, making control smooth for new users. I do recommend having a front intake fan though, because it will help cool the entire motherboard.


Motherboard: EVGA Z87 FTW

While I’m not well acquainted with Intel chipsets, I do know that the Z87 offers great overclocking potential as well as good features. This board has a ton of awesome features, like 4 PCI-E slots (1 x16 and 1 x8 which will be enough for SLI), RAID support, tons of USB3.0 ports, a USB3.0 header, awesome heatsinks on the MOSTFETs and south bridge, SIX fan headers, and an Intel Gigabit NIC. A ton of awesome features, and if you get it on sale, it’s even better.

RAM: Team Xtreem Dark 16GB

Team modules are really good, and the Dark series is no exception. Although 16GB is a bit more than recommended for gaming, the future looks like it may need a ton of RAM. Within about 3-4 years, 8GB may need the minimum, so buying 16GB is “futureproofing” (that that phrase), and allows us to save money in the future.

Storage: A-Data Premier Pro SP600 & Western Digital Caviar Green 1.5TB 

For this build, we have enough money to get an SSD and an HDD. The SSD will hold Windows and maybe a few games, while the HDD will hold all the bigger games and applications. You could go for a bigger SSD for a bit more, but I think 64GB will be more than enough and will make your system startup super snappy.


Video Card: ASUS Strix GTX 970

Full disclosure, I’m a bit of an ASUS fanboy. But I couldn’t recommend anything other than the GTX 970 Strix. It’s one of the most powerful GPUs on the market, runs cool under load, uses a single 8-pin PCIe connector, and the “Zero Decibel Idle Fan mode” means that the fans don’t turn on, even while the system is powered, until the GPU needs to cool itself down, even during games. That means older games and games like League of Legends may not even need the fans on, which means the GPU will be even quieter than usual, maybe even the quietest thing in the case. It also overclocks like mad and is only 20% less powerful than the GTX 980. Damn.

Case: Fractal Design Define R4

The Define R4 is probably Fractal’s most-liked case, with good reason. Its super sturdy, has noise-cancelling foam, but retains amazing airflow. A lot of people like it, but as usual, cases are very subjective, so get one you like, but this is definitely recommended if you like quiet cases. Coupled with the Strix cooler, you could have a very silent machine.

PSU: Fractal Design Tesla R2 650W

We’ve used the Fractal Design PSUs before, and with the 80+ Gold certification, this is a great buy. Also, if you ever feel the need for more power, this PSU has more than enough space for you to add in another GTX 970, as long as it only needs a single 8-pin PCIe connector. A lot of people will most likely use similar PSUs in their builds if AMD follows suit with the lower power, high performance route Nvidia is going, so the Tesla R2 may be a good choice.

This machine is an absolute beast, and will destroy everything except your electricity bill. Total estimated wattage is insanely low for this build, at 356W at full load, which you may not even touch. The total price is $1186.45 USD according to PCPartPicker, but if you’re in another country, I will gladly help you personally with a build. Also, stick around, cause in November, I’ll be making a Canadian, German, Australian, and British build for 700 of each currency.

Once again, any criticism or suggestions are appreciated, and feel free to talk about the parts in the comments. Happy gaming.

Ben Kuyt

Gamer, Computer geek, Musician, Writer. Favourite series are Star Fox, Halo, Battlefield, and Forza. My last name is pronounced kite. Or kout, for the European Football fans.

  • wcg

    Good build. This is probably the gaming sweet spot right here. If you need more than this such as a CrossFire or SLI then you’d be in another price bracket.

    Minor suggestions: Personally, i’d likely still recommend 8GB of RAM, it’s relatively expensive right now and 8GB should be fine for gaming for the foreseeable future (I have systems with 16GB and 8GB and I never notice a difference). I think the EVGA FTW motherboard is overkill since many other gaming boards are cheaper with similar features. I’d recommend a Z97 board from ASUS, Gigabyte or MSI in the $160 range (e.g. the ASUS Z97-A).

  • Ben Kuyt

    Yea, when I recommend budgets for friends, I usually recommend $800 to $1200, since you won’t need to upgrade for a while.

    The reason I gave 16GB was to make it so the user doesn’t need to upgrade in the future. Cause with the way developers are being lazy with optimization, like CoD and Assassin’s Creed, you may never know when the jump could happen.

    And yea, the non-sale price of the motherboard might be a bit much, but it is nice.

  • wcg

    I’m hoping RAM prices will drop, they seem high at the moment. You can always upgrade later. I’ve yet to see a game breach the 8GB mark but like you said, never underestimate bad optimization 🙂

    For high end boards, I’m partial to the ASUS ROG boards. I have two of them and they are sweet. However, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them to friends since they are often looking for things to fit in a budget. Given that, i’d try to get a higher end graphics card in there versus an expensive motherboard.

  • Ben Kuyt

    The reason they’re so high is because the factory that made about 40% of the RAM modules had a major fire. So when it happened, everyone had to find another source, which kicked prices up. Sadly how economics works, lol.

    And I do like the ROG lines, but I was going for something effective for similar pricing. And the reason I took that board was because at the time of writing, it only costed about $140, which is a lot less than usual. And honestly, I wanted to keep the system as low power/high performance as I could, so AMD cards were kind of out. Plus, I wanted to see how an Intel/Nvidia build would look in this price point, since they’re the more expensive option.

  • wcg

    When I looked at NewEgg that EVGA board was ~$235. At $140 it’s a great deal.

  • Ben Kuyt

    Yea, all my prices are taken from the lowest price on PCPP, but the links are Amazon. Cheating, I know, but everyone should always shop around for parts. Some places offer things others don’t, like rebates and coupons.