Need Help Building a Gaming Desktop

Feb 28, 2016
1) What will you be doing with this PC? Gaming? Photoshop? Web browsing? etc
Gaming (My goal, as a kind of frame of reference or whatever, is to be able to run Total War: Atilla on high settings, if possible), web browsing and watching netflix and DVDs.

2) What's your budget? Are tax and shipping included?
I'd say $700 is my upper limit, but we can fudge it up hair (+/- $20) if need be, and that's without shipping.

3) Which country do you live in? If the U.S, please tell us the state and city if possible.

San Marcos, TX, USA

4) What exact parts do you need for that budget? CPU, RAM, case, etc. The word "Everything" is not a valid answer. Please list out all the parts you'll need.
CPU, motherboard, RAM, solid state drive (maybe?), hard drive, Graphics card, case, power supply, optical drive, OS.

5) If reusing any parts, what parts will you be reusing? Please be especially specific about the power supply. List make and model.
er, none really. I'll be using my living room tv (1080p, maybe 36-38") as my monitor, eventually picking up a smaller one.

6) Will you be overclocking?

7) What is the max resolution of your monitor? What size is it?
1396 x 768

8) When do you plan on building/buying the PC?
As soon as possible, ideally within a week or two at the outside.

9) What features do you need in a motherboard? RAID? Firewire? Crossfire or SLI support? USB 3.0? SATA 6Gb/s? eSATA? Onboard video (as a backup or main GPU)? UEFI? etc.
I don't know enough to have any special requirements or specifications.

10) Do you already have a legit and reusable/transferable OS key/license? If so, what OS? Is it 32bit or 64bit?
I'm afraid I do not.

I really appreciate the help, I'm afraid I'm a little clueless when it comes to building a pc from the ground up, this will be my first time building a computer.
You could build a nice z170 6600k ddr4 combo if you go without a ssd for now. And you will need a video card. A r9 380 sounds about right.
Get a cheep case and a good power supply, dont cheep out on the power supply.
Let me say that again. Dont cheep out on the power supply.
Budget builders try to save money here. Dont do it. It's the heart of a pc.
Here is one build idea:

PC Hound Part List

CPU: Intel Core i5-6400 6M ($179.99 @ B&H)
Motherboard: ASRock H170M Pro4 ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: HyperX 8GB FURY ($36.75 @ Amazon)
Video Card: GIGABYTE Radeon R9 380 GV-R938G1 GAMING-4GD ($194.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: EVGA 500W 100-W1-500-KR ($34.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital 1TB Blue WD10EZEX ($54.99 @ B&H)
Case: NZXT Source 210 S210-001 ($38.98 @ Newegg)
Windows: Microsoft Windows 10 Home - 64-bit - OEM ($87.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS ($17.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $721.65
Price may include shipping, rebates, promotions, and tax
Generated by PC Hound

If you're trying to keep your budget under $750 (which, unfortunately, is around what you'll have to pay before the rebates kick in), then you have to omit the SSD for the time being. We'd normally recommend an SSD along the lines of the Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD, which is well over $100. (I wouldn't recommend a smaller capacity SSD; the 500GB model is considerably faster than the 250GB model and prices are generally better than they were a year or two ago.)

The EVGA 500W PSU is a good-but-not-great model on par (quality-wise) with the Corsair CX series power supplies. It will provide enough power for the R9 380.

The DVD burner is an OEM model that doesn't come with any media software for playing DVDs. That said, VLC comes with its own DVD codec, so you don't have to pay any money there.

I went with the NZXT Source 210 due to its price. You can go cheaper, but you'd end up with a poorer quality ATX mid-tower case or a micro ATX case that doesn't give you much room to hide any cables.

If you can, you may want to wait a week to see what the new combo deals and sales are (especially over at NewEgg). Since we're (technically) in the beginning of March, some of the deals in the above build list may have already expired.
I guess I spoke too soon about waiting... there are a few items that went on sale this morning:

Toshiba DT01ACA100 1TB HDD - $48.99 @ Amazon
LG GH24NSC0B OEM DVD burner - $13.99 @ NewEgg (with promo code EMCEHEF33, expires 3/7)
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit OEM DVD - $79.99 @ NewEgg (with promo code EMCEHEF36, expires 3/7)

And some of the other parts have changed their prices... so here's a new build:

Intel Core i5-6400 quad-core processor - $184.99 @ Amazon
ASRock H170M Pro4 micro ATX motherboard - $89.99 @ NewEgg (before $15 mail-in rebate; MIR expires 3/2)
Kingston HyperX FURY Black 8GB DDR4 2133 RAM - $36.75 @ Amazon
XFX Double Dissipation R9 380 video card - $194.99 @ Amazon
EVGA 100-W1-0500-KR 500W PSU - $39.99 @ Amazon
Xigmatek Spirit M EN6213 micro ATX case - $34.99 @ NewEgg

The new total is $724.67 before any shipping charges, taxes, or rebate amounts come into play.

Here's a quick summary of the changes:

- I went with Amazon for the i5-6400 as B&H raised its price and ran out of stock.
- I included the before-rebate price of the ASRock H170M Pro4; PC Hound listed the after-rebate price.
- I found a cheaper (before-rebate) card in the XFX R9 380. (I haven't researched enough about whether the R9 380 performs better with 2GB or 4GB of RAM; the 2GB cards are usually $20 to $30 cheaper.)
- Amazon raised the price of the EVGA PSU by $5.
- I went with a cheaper micro ATX case in the Xigmatek Spirit M that had better-than-average space available for cable management and air flow. That, and the shipping costs of the NZXT Source 210 literally jumped overnight.
Last edited: