The GTX 980Ti just dropped, effectively forcing AMD’s hand in having to be faster or cheaper while still giving amazing performance. That’s still a ways off, so let’s put together a beastly machine centered around the current reigning king of gaming GPUs. This is going to be an expensive build, and as usual, all money is in USD and links are from Amazon.com unless specified. Let’s not waste any more time.
CPU: Intel Core i5-4690k
We’re going to go with Intel’s best gaming CPU, the i5-4690k. This chip will allow for great overclocking, speeds under heavy load and maximum frame rates in every game. With the right CPU cooler, you’ll be able to destroy anything that is thrown at this chip, from The Witcher 3, Battlefield, and most definitely the upcoming Fallout 4. You can’t go wrong with this chip for a system like this.
CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i GTX
Another GTX, but this one is just a cooler. The H100i from Corsair features all of the amazing software you get from the Corsair i branding on other coolers, but this one looks great and performs even better than the standard H100i. It’s a 240mm radiator, meaning you’ll get ample cooing for your CPU to overclock it nice and high. The fans that come with it aren’t too shabby either, but can always be upgraded to Noctua fans if you want extra silence or cooling.
Motherboard: MSI Z97-Gaming 3
The Z97-Gaming 3 is pretty much everything you could want in a board that costs this little. Despite the lack of SLI support, it still has plenty to offer. With numerous ports in the back, a great audio chipset, Killer Gaming ethernet, an M.2/SATA Express port for blazing speeds, and even RAID support up to RAID 10, this is a great board. And with the GPU we’re putting in here, you won’t even care for a second card.
RAM: PNY XLR8 16GB
PNY has been on this site before, and it’s because they offer great products for a lot less than their competitors. Their RAM is great, costs less than almost everyone else’s, and comes with a nice little heat spreader for dissipation. You won’t be worrying about not having space for other RAM, since it only takes up 2 DIMM slots, so you’ll be good to go if you want to upgrade in the future.
Mushkin, much like PNY, offers the same. This time, they offer a great SSD for a great price. 240GB for $85! Even if you don’t build this machine, if you’re looking for an SSD, you can’t go wrong here. 550MB/s+ Read and writes means you’ll be able to load your OS on here stupid fast while also booting it up. No more putting off system updates cause it takes too long to restart.
HDD: Hitachi Deskstar 1TB
Of course we’ll need more space for this machine. It’s going to be playing games, after all. The 1TB is a fine start for this, and will give us plenty of space for the future of gaming. As long as we don’t hit the 100GB threshold anytime soon. And if we do … well, hopefully we’ll all be using 10TB SSDs by then.
GPU: Zotac GTX 980Ti (Newegg)
Word of warning, this GPU uses the stock Nvidia cooler as of this writing. If you want something different, please wait. That being said, this card will destroy any single GPU configuration on the market right now. It’s essentially a slightly nerfed GTX Titan X with less RAM. It’s also $350 cheaper than the Titan X. In benchmarks, there isn’t more than a 2% difference in performance between the two cards. And sometimes, the 980 Ti even beats the Titan X in some games. This truly is a masterful piece of hardware, and if you have the money, buy it. It’s the only single GPU card under $1000 that can run anything at 4k on high settings with reasonable FPS.
Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro
Anyone who is a fan of Hardware Canucks on YouTube understands why Phanteks is here. They make really awesome cases. The Enthoo Pro is currently their “price friendly” case, but for $100, you get premium real estate for your computer. Enough space for everything you want, from water cooling to drives, this is one awesome case for the money.
PSU: Corsair CSM 750W
Another Corsair PSU, this one is 80+ Gold, so you’ll get great power efficiency for the system, which is something the GTX 980Ti really enjoys. This PSU gives enough power to get a really nice overclock without overloading the card. Highest overclocks I’ve seen steady are 1450Mhz on the core, which is amazing for a card that is pretty much a weaker version of the Titan X. So with this PSU, you’ll be able to hit that juicy 1450Mhz, or at least a safe 1350Mhz. And this PSU is semi-modular, so cable management will be a breeze.
And there we have it, a GTX 980Ti build — the king of the ring at the moment. For only $1600 USD, this could all be yours, if you’re insane enough to do it. If you want to play games for the next console generation and a half, this is the console to get. Oh, right, this thing makes the consoles look like 5th generation. Seriously, the GTX 980Ti is badass. I just want the R9 390X to give it some stiff competition. This time of year is always exciting for us, so let’s get it going.