Best Killer Intel-based Gaming PC Build Under $1,500?

By Shrek |
[caption id="attachment_4801" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Team Fnatic[/caption]   Do you want to be a pro-gamer? Or want to improve your gaming skills? Being a regular gamer is just about playing games and having fun, but being a professional requires you to have a much higher level of skill - and the equipment to support that skill. So today we will talk about how to pick/build your best Z97 gaming rig. Z97 Gaming Rig Spec List: CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken X31 69.5 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler Motherboard: MSI Z97 GAMING 7 Memory: Kingston Fury Red Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory Storage: Kingston Fury 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive Video Card: MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4GB Case: NZXT Phantom 530 (Red) ATX Full Tower Case Power Supply: NZXT HALE82 V2 700W 80+ Bronze Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply Total Cost: $1500 STEP #1: Pick your platform: Intel H97 or Z97 The main difference between the H97 Chipset and Z97 Chipset, is about its overclocking capability. What’s Overclocking? Overclocking is a kind of special technology that can boost the performance of your rig without any extra cost to you, YES, kind of like a free upgrade. So if you have a tight budget, the Z97 would be your first choice so you can get that extra bang for your buck. 2 (source: ) STEP #2: Pick CPU: i5 or i7? First of all, if we talk about overclocking, you should pick the K series CPU without a doubt. The Intel Core i5 4690K and Intel Core i7 4790K, both come unlocked, as indicated by the letter 'K'. This enables system tuning, providing you with an extra performance boost and the flexibility for more complex multimedia applications and immersive gaming. To illustrate the difference between the two chips, let us take a look at the comparison chart below: 3 As you can see, the main differences between Intel Core i5 4690K and Intel Core i7 4790K are:
  • CPU Clock Speed: Clock speed is a measure of how quickly a computer completes basic computations and operations;
  • Threads: A thread is contained inside a process. Multiple threads can exist within the same process and share resources such as memory, while different processes do not share these resources.
So, if possible, Intel core i7 4790k will be a better choice. STEP #3: Pick the most important component: MOTHERBOARD! How important is the motherboard in a gaming build? The motherboard is a component that “CONNECTS” all the parts together, which includes the CPU/VGA/SSD/MEMORY and more. To have a best-in-class motherboard is always the best choice. For example here, you will ask yourself several questions:
  1. Compatibility with other components of the PC: In here, we mainly talk about the CPU Socket. For example, if you want to use the 4th Gen / 5th Gen Intel CPUs supporting the LGA 1150 Socket Motherboard is what we should look for, which is Intel H81/B85/H97(B85)/Z97(Z87) motherboards. But as we said before, we do want this rig to support CPU Overclocking (also for gaming), so the Intel Z97(Z87) Motherboard will be the best choice moving forward.
  2. Scalability of the connection: To assemble a computer capable of evolving with future technological progress (future-proofing), the scalability of the connection of your motherboard is crucial. It must support any new hardware you want to install, for example the NVIDIA SLI/ AMD CrossFire Supports, Turbo M.2 Supports, and a number of SATA Ports.
Also with the MSI Z97 GAMING 7, as you see the word “GAMING” in the product name, should be recognized as a motherboard made for gaming. This MSI Z97 GAMING 7 gets improved and is future-proofed with regard to networking, sound ability, and scalability. 1OK Networking: Killer Ethernet Killer Ethernet is built for maximum networking performance for online games and high-quality streaming media. It automatically detects and accelerates game traffic ahead of other network traffic for smoother, stutter-free in-game performance and the competitive edge. 2OK Sound Ability: Audio Boost 2 Audio Boost 2 delivers the highest audio quality with the use of Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 2 so you can enjoy crystal clear sound and music through 8-channel HD Audio. 3OK Scalability: M.2 and SLI/CF Supports MSI Z97 GAMING 7 get up to 3 PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, with optimal placement for better fitting and airflow. That way, you can enjoy the best graphics at the highest framerate jumping off your screen when running an NVIDIA® SLI™ or AMD CrossFire™ gaming setup. 2-cards-installed-2 M.2 is the successor to mSATA, offering a 67% performance increase up to 10 Gb/s. 8 9 STEP #4: Find you game and Pick your Graphic Card So, for now, you need to know what game you want to play with, maybe “League of Legends” or “Far Cry 4”. And once you know the game you want to play, you can go to the official game websites; it will always show the system requirements for the game you’re looking for. For example, the following image is the recommended system requirements for Far Cry 4. 10 How to pick the right graphic card? First of all, you need to know about the model name. We can always see “OC”, “GAMING” on the graphic card model name. It means this graphic card DOES support overclocking, and/or get the gaming features. Also, the higher the model number in the cards name, the higher the performance output of the card. For example, MSI GTX 970 GAMING 4G is better than MSI GTX 960 GAMING 2G. 11 STEP #5: Get the remaining parts. First, let’s talk about the SSD and HDD. It is easier to understand by the comparison tables. 12 (source from: SSD is so much faster because they do not have a spinning magnetic platter and moving head. After upgrading, you will be amazed at the performance improvements and wonder why you waited so long to upgrade. So we always install the Windows Drivers onto the SSD as the main system disk. So, do you know how to build your dream gaming rig now? Remember 5 Steps:
  1. Pick your Chipset
  2. Pick CPU
  3. Pick an awesome motherboard
  4. Find you game and Pick your Graphic Card
  5. Get the rest parts.
And then you are good to go!
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