$1600 Gaming PC
So this is my first foray in tackling the System Builders Marathon. I’ve built plenty of machines over the years, but my background is mostly IT and my emphasis was usually to build with a good CPU. When I was offered the chance to work on this quarter's System Builder Marathone, I was told that the SBM would be a totally different experience. They were right, but with a little help from Thomas who answered my questions regarding our System Builder Marathon rules, I was ready to spend some money.
With Paul and Don not available for this quarter’s System Builder Marathon, I knew I had to step into some pretty big shoes. With $3200 at our disposal, Thomas and I were tasked to build two $1600 machines each. One of the two machines was to be ATX-based, while the other would be mini-ITX. To change things up a bit, Thomas would focus on building out a CPU-driven machine and I would focus on a graphics-heavy build.
Oh the fun we had!
Is $1600 an unrealistic target? I’m pretty sure that's not an over-the-top price for a great machine, even if some of us would have to collect the pieces over a period of time (or save up a bit longer for the big payoff). Regardless, the budget Thomas and I were given is pretty fair, especially for the level of performance we were aiming for.
By the way, I’m simply dubbing this first machine “Big Build”. It’s a tower-based system running Windows 8 and housing an ATX-sized motherboard, which should leave plenty of room for any future upgrades or expansion.
Here’s what I chose for Big Build:
- Platform Cost: $1348
- Total Hardware Cost: $1499
- Complete System Price: $1599
In order to accomplish the goals I set forth for Big Build, I had to choose a graphics card first, and I went with a brand I’m familiar with. We use Gigabyte’s Windforce-cooled GeForce GTX 970 in our reference systems, so I was pretty cranked to upgrade to the latest/greatest in the Windforce family. Once I got my graphics card settled, I moved on and picked a CPU and motherboard. After all that, I just picked the pieces that made sense and fit into the budget.