Best Under $1,000 Gaming Desktop Computer Build 2016
Build Your Own Custom $1,000 Gaming Computer 2016
Want to be able to play the best AAA titles of 2016 in 1080p and 1440p? Believe it or not, this $1,000 PC build will do it.
That might not have been something I'd have said before seeing some benchmarks for NVIDIA's Pascal 1080 and 1070 GPUs. Now that I have, it's definitely doable.
Whether you're making the transition to 1440p or simply want to play 1080p at a million frames, NVIDIA's updated technology will help you do so. How AMD will fair with their Polaris architecture is yet to be seen, but one thing is clear; ultra gaming at higher framerates will be easier than ever.
In the past, I've discussed the advantages of having a good gaming monitor, mechanical keyboard, and mouse to use for your favorite games. Today I'll go over what I think is the best value hardware in 2016 and how to shop for the computer that works best with the games you play.
Use Graphics Card Benchmarks for Your Game
In order to reach a higher frame rate in graphically intense games, you'll need to get a good graphics card. Understanding at each price point what the best option is for the game you play is essential. For example, graphics card recommendations for BF4 could vary substantially from what I'd recommend on another graphically intense game.
Also, while you can gain a significant performance boost by going with a SLI or Crossfire configuration, there can be stability advantages to simply going with single card. In other words, if you're willing to work with your graphics card in terms of cooling and stability to get it where you want, then a dual setup could be the way to go; however, if you don't want to mess with it, then you can still get great performance, at this price point, out of a single GPU.
$1,000 PC Build - Is Overclocking Worth It?
In our $750 build, it wasn't really worth it to upgrade to all the components we needed to do a substantial amount of overclocking. Upgrading components was a bigger priority at that budget.
For a budget of $1,000, you can really start thinking about getting the most out of the components you purchase. For this build, I'll be including a CPU cooler and an unlocked processor. That being said, the argument could still be made that putting that money towards your GPU might be a better solution.
Best $1,000 Desktop Computer Gaming Build 2016
Gaming Processors Around $200
In my opinion, there are only a couple of processors that really give you a good value here. In terms of gaming anything Skylake I5 and above will probably work to give you nearly as much FPS as you're going to get out of the card you use at this price point. This is especially true if you overclock. If you don't, you'll get a few more frames out of more modern CPUs.
If you're going with a new build, I'd stick with the newer Skylake processors at this price point. There's an argument to be made in the $350 price range for the Haswell-E i7-5820k or Broadwell-E i7-6800k; however, here I'd go for the i5-6500 if you're not overclocking or the i5-6600k if you are. Unfortunately, there's not a competitive AMD option here at this point in time.
A Good CPU Cooler Under $50
In the under $50 space, there's one CPU cooler that for me really sticks out above the rest. The Hyper 212 Evo from Cooler Master is usually available for around $30 and is one of the better options below $75. At that price range, I'd recommend you look at other coolers including the Noctua 6 for air cooling, or NZXT Kraken or Corsair Hydro series for water cooling.
Go with the i5-6600k if you want to overclock or save around $40 and go with the i5-6500 if you'd rather not mess with it.
$400 Budget Gaming Graphics Card - What to Choose?
If you were building this today and had to have it right now, I'd tell you to go the NVIDIA GTX 1070. The improvements in performance that you'll get from this Pascal-based GPU will be more than worth the wait. There may be additional AMD options that come forward in the future at a similar price point, but for now, this is your best option.
For Those Wanting a Dual Card Configuration
While I would have recommended a dual GPU combination in the past, I probably won't here until we get a cheaper Pascal-based graphics card. You simply won't be able to beat the performance. If you need more performance than the 1070, consider the 1080 or upcoming GTX 1080 Ti.
With the release of the GTX 1070, the GTX 970 should drop substantially in price. It's a good performer, but you'll want to ultimately go with the GTX 1070 for $75 more.
A Good Power Supply Under $75
I've always been a fan of spending a little bit more on your power supply. By spending more I don't mean you go with more capacity but rather better quality. For this build, I'm recommending a power supply I put on my tier 1 list in the EVGA SuperNova NEX. The 650W version can be as cheap as $70 if you find it on rebate. This build uses just under 481W at full load so that should be more than adequate.
Future Power Usage:
If you're wanting to go with a Dual GPU configuration in the future, it might be advisable to go with the 750W version as it's not that much more.
A Good Gaming Case for Around $50
Since we're looking for max FPS with this build I didn't want to recommend a computer case that was going to take anything away from more crucial components. That being said if you go with the Corsair Carbide 200R, Cooler Master Elite 430, Rosewill Challenger, or Haf 912, then you still get a great gaming case for under $50.
Another Good Gaming Case Option:
I currently use the Storm Enforcer in my build. If you're willing to stretch around $30 it gives you a few more up-to-date features and has a great new look.
This case is on sale this month and if you're into something that isn't too flashy, then you get a really solid case for the money with features you find in cases twice the price.
Skylake Z170 Motherboards from $100 to $125
If you go with a Skylake processor, you'll need a compatible motherboard. For this, go with the H170 chipset if you don't plan on overclocking or the Z170 if you do. In the $100 to $125 price range, there are a couple of options that are really good. The Z170A PC mate is always a good deal around $100 as well as the Gigabyte GA-Z170-HD3P.
These boards are decent for overclocking and won't cost you a fortune. Another board I've seen on sale recently is the MSI Z170A Krait Gaming for around $100 after rebate. These are all good choices.
Other Hardware and Parts
Ram and CAS Latency
I think there's a misconception when it comes to ram and CAS Latency. While CAS is certainly something to consider for editing, lower CAS latency won't really help you when it comes to better in-game performance.
Buy RAM that's affordable, reliable, and does a good job. I recommend something like G. Skill's Ripjaw series or Kingston's Hyper-X gaming ram which not only looks good but fits most budgets.
How much ram do you really need?
For this build, I'm recommending a total of 8GB of ram in order to afford the higher end graphics card and processor listed above. This is easy to upgrade down the road if you feel like it's insufficient.
For this build, I've chosen the Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB kit. It's a good value for the money and should give you the speeds as well as the capacity you need for gaming.
Storage Solution - SSD and HDD
In 2016, I can't imagine building a PC without a solid state drive. We're going with an inexpensive 240GB option in the Kingston SSDNOW that should be more than capable of handling your OS and favorite programs.
In addition, we're going with a fast hard drive in the Western Digital Caviar Blue that's 7200RPM with a 1TB capacity. An additional TB can be found in the Hitachi Deskstar series for around $20 more.
While your hard drive is certainly important for functionality it's not that important in terms of in-game performance. Try to find a 7200RPM hard drive that fits within your budget and has the amount of capacity you need. For DVD drives, I generally try to find one that's around $20 as I tend to use it only on occasion.
$1,000 PC Build - Final Thoughts and Summary
It's amazing how far we've come in a couple of years. The Skylake i5 solution along with GTX 1070 graphics card from NVIDIA should provide you high frame rates for 1080p or even 1440p performance. It should last you for many years to come.
- Best Budget $500 to $600 Gaming Computer Build 2016
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