This guide will focus on building the best high performance Intel gaming PC without killing your wallet. Intel has taken the CPU performance crown for quite some time now with it’s brutally efficient architecture and IPC (instructions per clock). You pay a premium however for this type of performance vs. buying an AMD based system. I have received quite a few requests lately regarding an Intel gaming PC build for around $1500. You can get really awesome performance with this kind of budget and I will update this post monthly so you get the best deal and best hardware combinations. You want a great Intel gaming PC … so let’s build one ;).
The Thought Process – High Performance Intel Gaming PC Build
When choosing components for any gaming PC build I usually focus my component budget in the following order:
- Graphics Card – most of your budget will be spent on this single component and it is important to your framerate. Try to get the best card for your money while staying within your budget.
- CPU – nothing less than a quad core will do for newer titles, however it has been shown that Intel’s Hyper Threading does increase performance on some of today’s titles.
- Motherboard – you can go cheap here and save some money if you are strapped for cash but I like to have upgrade options. Try not to get too fancy if a new socket design is on the horizon and you plan on upgrading within a year or two.
- Memory – 8 GB is currently the minimum standard for gaming builds and as of today there is no reason to have more than that for gaming.
- Storage – a traditional hard drive is all you really need but get an SSD if your budget allows
- Power Supply – you want to reliably power your components and look to the future if planning on doing SLI or CrossFireX
- Case – this will house all of your components and will play a major factor in keeping them cool. While aesthetics may be important to you look for a case with good cooling options and cable management to make your build reliable and easy to build.
Though others may have a different logical approach, this one has served me well. So let’s get to the components list for our high performance Intel Gaming PC Build and a short summary of why I chose each component.
Components – High Performance Intel Gaming PC Build
CPU – Intel Core i5-4670K
The Intel Core i5-4670K is based on Intel’s 22nm Haswell architecture. Running at 3.4 Ghz and a turbo clock of 3.8 Ghz with four cores, this processor has a lot of power for the money and can be overclocked to gain an easy 10-15% more performance. It has a PassMark score of 7761 which puts it right around AMD’s FX 8320 while having 4 fully functional physical cores with a greater IPC. While the i5 series does not offer hyper threading, you will not need it for gaming as this beast can plow along just fine. Offering great single threaded performance it sips juice with a TDP of 84 watts which is about 70% of the power used by AMD’s competing flagship processors. You will want an aftermarket cooler with this one as it’s multiplier is unlocked for overclocking. The i5-4670K will not bottleneck your graphics card and for the price it is an awesome deal for the raw performance you get.
CPU COOLER – Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
The Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO is a great cooler for the i5-4670K and will keep it chilled without being noisy or pricey. With one 120mm fan and room for another it will shed heat efficiently and quietly. The Haswell architecture has shown that it isn’t really that great of an overclocker and an aftermarket cooler is a must to attempt it. The Cooler Master Hyper 212 series has been a mainstay for both budget and enthusiast gaming rigs for a long time. I have no problem recommending this one.
MOTHERBOARD – Gigabyte Z87 GA-Z87X-UD3H
The Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD3H is a fully featured ATX motherboard based on Intel’s new socket LGA 1150. The GA-Z87X-UDH3 is perfect for a high budget gamer and allows dual CrossFireX and SLi while opening the door to the new LGA 1150 socket and Z87 enthusiast chipset. The GA-Z87X-UD3H is a great board that will allow you to upgrade in the future when you are ready. I have no trouble recommending the GA-Z87X-UD3H and Gigabyte has always been a reliable choice for gaming motherboards.
Kingston Hyper X memory is stable and fast. I have recommended this memory in quite a few of my builds as the price cannot be beat. It runs cool and can be overclocked fairly easy if you need the extra performance.
GPU - ASUS GTX780-3GD5
The Asus GTX 780 is built around Nvidia’s awesome Kepler GK110 GPU design and is the latest and greatest of the GeForce series only conquered by the mighty TITAN. The GTX 780 should play any game at max settings at 1080P while maintaining a very playable frame rate . With 3 GB of fast onboard GDDR5 riding on a 384 bit memory bus it will allow large textures to be loaded. With a great 3 year warranty ASUS has hit the sweet spot with price to performance ratio with this one. These have sold out pretty fast on Amazon and the price has skyrocketed. The EVGA GTX 780 Superclocked is a great alternative.
CASE - Corsair Carbide Series 300R
The Corsair Carbide Series 300R is a mid tower case that has a lot of room and easy cable management. The 300R has one 120mm and one 140mm fans pre-installed and an additional five places to add fans with four of those locations supporting either 120mm or 140mm fans to keep all of your components cool. The case can accommodate graphics cards up to 450mm in length and has room for three 5.25″ and four 3.5″ drives. With it’s great build quality and visual appeal I have no problem recommending this case.
Samsung’s 840 series is lightning fast and reliable. I chose a 120 GB model for this build so more programs and games could be stored on this drive for speedy loading. Samsung manufactures their own flash memory and developes their own firmware. What this means is that they have the ability to tweak performance and reliability and control their quality to the utmost. Samsung was the only approved vendor to provide SSD’s to Apple for the longest time and Apple is a stickler for quality. I have been using a 64 GB model for a few months and it has been rock solid and speedy.
Our Intel gaming PC wouldn’t be complete without a fast storage drive to house all of our games and files. The Seagate Barracuda hard drives are fast and run cool and are very reliable. With a bargain price and a 2 year warranty this drive will be great for our Intel gaming PC.
OPTICAL DRIVE – Asus 24xDVD-RW Serial ATA Internal OEM Drive
Optical drives are on the decline as more and more software is made available in digital download format. You will still need one for OS installations and backing up your media. The Asus 24x DVD-RW drive is a mainstay in all of my builds.
The Corsair CX600 80 Plus Bronze Power supply is just the right size for our high performance Intel gaming PC. It will allow us to overclock the processor and GPU with plenty of juice (46A on a single 12V rail) left over. The build quality is typical Corsair and the 80 Plus Bronze rating will help with the power bill. A very quiet power supply at a great price.
|CPU||Intel Core i5-4670K||$ 230.00|
|CPU COOLER||Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO||$ 33.00|
|MOTHERBOARD||Gigabyte Z87 GA-Z87X-UD3H||$ 180.00|
|MEMORY||Kingston Technology HyperX 8 GB (2×4 GB) 1600 MHz DDR3 Dual Channel Kit||$ 63.00|
|GPU||ASUS GTX780-3GD5||$ 660.00|
|CASE||Corsair Carbide Series Black 300R Mid-Tower Computer Case||$ 70.00|
|SSD||Samsung 840 Series 120 GB Solid State Drive||$ 114.00|
|HARD DRIVE||Seagate Barracuda 1 TB HDD SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache Hard Drive||$ 66.00|
|OPTICAL DRIVE||Asus 24xDVD-RW Serial ATA Internal OEM Drive||$ 23.00|
|PSU||Corsair CX600 600 Watt 80 PLUS Bronze||$ 58.00|
Check the links for latest pricing as they can fluctuate daily
The build above is what I would choose if I were to assemble an Intel Gaming PC with a $1500 budget. Check back monthly for updates to this build as new hardware, technologies, and prices change.
So what do you think of this build?
Check out the other gaming PC builds for different budgets on TechNutz.com: