Sep’18 Gaming PC Builds! $400/$1k/$2k [Monthly Builds 12]


PC building is about to get good again. Howdy howdy guys ponchato here, and welcome
to Monthly Builds for September of 2018. In these videos I show you the parts I’d
use for building gaming PCs at various budgets, and this month we’ll be switching it up
with $400, $1000, and a super high end $2000 PC. To keep up with new prices and components,
I put up a new video every month so be sure to subscribe to stay up to date. Before we get to the builds, let’s look
at some PC industry news. We’ve had quite a few big announcements
recently, so this is going to be a busy one. Intel’s 9th gen was paper launched (in other
words, “we have it but you can’t buy it yet”) in another desperate attempt to catch
up to AMD. It’s codenamed “Whiskey Lake”, which
is (another) refresh of the 14nm node. We’re at something like 14++++ now. Nice. Intel’s freaking out because AMD’s second
gen Ryzen processors are stomping all over them and AMD, unlike Intel, is on track to
release their next generation as well. Intel’s only announced 3 new processors,
all at the upper end: the i9-9900K with 8 cores and 16 threads, running at 3.6GHz with
boost to 5; the i7-9700K with 8 cores and 8 threads, and the i5-9600K with 6 cores and
6 threads. Alongside the new processors, the Z370 chipset
is being rebranded to Z390 but with an improved VRM reference design. For now, it’s only a paper launch – actual
availability and reviews won’t be here until October at the earliest. Team Green also (finally) announced their
next desktop graphics series, the RTX 2000 GPUs. This’ll be their first new consumer-level
series in… what, more than 2 years now? The first cards to show up will be the $500
RTX 2070, $700 2080, and top-end $1000 2080 Ti. They’ll start shipping on September 20th,
but if you didn’t preorder on the first day, don’t expect to actually get one anytime
soon. I’m expecting real retail availability somewhere
around October to November, but that might be wishful thinking. In terms of performance, leaked benchmarks
put the 2080 Ti at around 30 to 50% faster than the 1080 Ti, a healthy improvement. The big new thing Nvidia is pushing with these
cards, and the reason for their rebranding from GTX to RTX, is ray tracing which, pro
tip, is going to run like absolute trash. Ray tracing is unbelievably expensive from
a computational viewpoint. There’s a reason you’ve never seen an
example of real time proper ray tracing running on anything close to consumer hardware; it
is insanely, ridiculously hard to do at decent resolutions in real time. From the few leaked benchmarks we’ve seen,
even with the top end RTX 2080 Ti, you can expect something like 30 to 60FPS at 1080p. That is definitely impressive, and we have
never seen ray tracing performance like that before, but that just isn’t an acceptable
framerate for gaming. We aren’t going to see decent ray tracing
performance until, at least, the next generation of GPUs. And if current trends continue, that means
we might be waiting for a while. Over on the red side, AMD launched their second
generation of Threadripper processors. Already released are the 16 core, 32 thread
2950X and the huge 32 core, 64 thread 2990WX. That’s a lot of horsepower. Two more models will be coming out in October:
the 2970WX with 24 cores and 48 threads and the 2920X with 12 cores and 24 threads. These aren’t super relevant to gaming, but
at the absolute top end of systems these could be game changers, and we’ve never seen this
amount of computational performance in any consumer or prosumer-level parts before. Back to Intel, we got a short teaser of, get
this: a discrete gaming GPU. All we have so far is a very vague teaser
video and a few bits of text, but Intel’s getting into the graphics scene and will be
competing with AMD and Nvidia. We haven’t seen a legitimate competitor
in the graphics industry in something like 2 decades, so this is a very exciting bit
of news. You’ll have to be patient though; their
first lineup with the rumored code name “Arctic Sound”, won’t be hitting the market until
2020. As a last note from Intel, we did see a very
brief and harshly criticized faux pas from them. In response to the huge and growing list of
hardware vulnerabilities in their processors, and the performance drops in some applications
when those vulnerabilities are patched, Intel updated their microcode license to explicitly
disallow any comparison benchmarks of “before and after” results. Naturally, telling the entire review industry
“you aren’t allowed to show people that our patches kill performance” blew up directly
in Intel’s collective face and they revised their license agreement within about 24 hours. It’s still somewhat ominously worded, but
at least it doesn’t explicitly prevent people from showing the benchmarks. With the news covered, let’s get to the
builds. First up, the $400 build. With the new range of budgets, I wanted to
include an even more affordable entry point, and $400 can get you a great build if you’re
new to PC gaming. For the CPU I went with Intel’s entry level
G5400 for $74. The G5400 is only a two core processor but
it does have hyper threading, giving it a total of 4 threads; enough for competent performance
in 720p and 1080p gaming. It also runs at 3.7GHz, and so it isn’t
handicapped by a slow clock speed. The GPU I paired with that is the GT 1030
from Nvidia for $90. Despite being Nvidia’s most entry-level
GPU, the 1030 is a pretty strong performer 1080p, and more than capable at 720p. Plus since it uses such little power, it creates
very little heat and noise. For the motherboard I picked Gigabyte’s
H310M S2H for $56. This is a pretty barebones motherboard but
it does come with an M.2 slot for an SSD, something many other budget motherboards leave
out. And, because it’s a microATX board, it’ll
fit into any mid or mini tower case. RAM goes to Corsair’s Vengeance LPX kit
for $80. This is a 2x4GB kit so it’ll be running
in dual channel mode and it’s rated for 2400MHz, to match the G5400’s maximum memory
clock. 8GB is enough memory to handle any game today,
and that amount won’t hold back this PC’s performance. For storage I chose Western Digital’s Blue
1TB for $44. Dirt cheap, plenty of storage, and it’ll
give you enough space to hold all your games and media when you decide to upgrade to an
SSD in the future. For power, I picked EVGA’s 400 N1 power
supply for $30. EVGA has an excellent reputation in the budget
power supply market and the N1 is probably the best option for anyone breaking into PC
gaming with a tight budget. It comes with a 2 year warranty, 120mm fan,
and all the important electrical protections for conditions like over voltage and short
circuit. Finally, for the case, I went with Rosewill’s
FBM-X1 for $27. Despite being a budget case, it doesn’t
sacrifice the important features; it has 4 USB ports up front include two USB 3s, a 120mm
intake and 80mm exhaust fan, and a side window to show off your stuff. Plus, it’s not a bad looking case for being
under $30. Altogether these parts are just over budget
at $403. For an entry level gaming computer, this a
great starting point, and a great way to learn how to build a PC. If you’re just trying to get into PC gaming
on the tightest budget possible, this build will suit you well. Click the link in the description to pick
up these components for yourself. Moving up a bit, let’s look at the $1000
build. This is where you’ll get some serious upper-midrange
performance, and with the GTX 10 series dropping in price due to the RTX series being announced,
4K gaming is well within reach. For the CPU I went with AMD’s Ryzen 5 2600
for $166. With 6 cores and 12 threads, this CPU can
more than handle even high end GPUs without bottlenecking. And because it’s a Ryzen processor, it’s
unlocked and ready for overclocking. To help facilitate that overclocking, I picked
the Cryorig H7 Quad Lumi CPU cooler for $60. In my review of the Quad Lumi it proved to
be a very capable cooler and has some pretty sweet RGB LED lights. Plus for those of you concerned about noise,
the Quad Lumi can run the fan slow enough at idle to be completely inaudible. On the graphics side of things, I went with
a GTX 1070 from Gigabyte for $400. The 1070 is a fantastically strong card and
can max out any game at 1080p, run most games at the highest settings at 1440p, and handle
medium to high settings at 4K. With 8GB of memory and such a strong core,
it uses quite a bit of power but Gigabyte’s dual fan cooler design will keep temperatures
and noise at easily manageable levels. The motherboard will be a Prime B450M-A from
Asus for $80. Because it has the latest 400-series chipset,
it’ll be compatible with the Ryzen 5 2600 out of the box, it supports overclocking,
and it has the essentials for upgradeability: 4 RAM slots and an SSD slot. Plus, being a microATX board it’ll fit into
just about any case. For memory I picked G.Skill’s Ripjaws V
series 16GB kit for $140. An upper midrange build like this deserves
16 gigs of RAM, and because these sticks come with proper aluminum heat spreaders, you should
be able to squeeze a bit more performance from them with overclocking. Onto storage, for the SSD I picked ADATA’s
XPG SX6000 for $43. It’s 128GB which will provide enough room
for Windows 10 plus a few games, and because it’s an NVMe drive it supports much higher
read and write speeds. That’s something that’ll drop boot and
load times a ton. For bulk storage I went with Western Digital’s
Blue 1TB for $44. For most people I recommend a 1TB hard drive,
but if you have a very large game library or deal with storage-intensive work, the 2TB
version is only about $15 more. On the power side, I went with Thermaltake’s
Smart 600 for $40. It’s 80 Plus certified for efficiency, has
a 120mm fan for quiet cooling, and comes with a 5 year warranty. In my testing of the slightly lower-wattage
Smart 500, I found it to be very quiet even under load, and the sleeved cables really
help keep your PC’s interior looking good. Now to show off that interior, you’ll need
a case with a window. And for that, I picked Cooler Master’s MasterBox
Lite 3.1 for $41. This case has a sweet dark tinted side panel
and mirrored front panel, comes with swappable red, black, and white trim pieces for the
front, and has a moveable hard drive cage to support a 240mm radiator in the front if
you go the AIO route. With everything together this build comes
out to $1014. If you’re after a PC that’ll give you
strong performance for years to come, and look really good doing it, this build will
work perfectly. Click the link in the description to pick
up these parts for yourself. Finally, for the top end of gaming: the $2000
build. This will give you the highest end performance
available today with all the best components. For the CPU I went with AMD’s beastly Ryzen
7 2700X for $320. This is AMD’s highest end offering from
their consumer lineup; 8 cores, 16 threads, and a 3.7GHz base clock with 4.3GHz boost. It comes with the very capable Wraith Prism
cooler, but to get the absolute max overclock possible, you’ll need to go with liquid
cooling. That’s why I picked the Cryorig A40 Ultimate
240mm liquid cooler for $115. This is the strongest cooler I’ve ever had
on my test bench. Noise performance is great, and the airflow
fan on the pump works wonders to keep your motherboard’s VRM temperature under control. Graphics will go to the current king, Nvidia’s
GTX 1080 Ti for $650. This is the absolute top end of performance
from consumer graphics with a ridiculously strong core and huge 11GB of memory. Plus, this triple fan cooler from Gigabyte
will keep it cool under load without going crazy on the noise. For the motherboard, I went with Asus’ beautiful
Prime X470-Pro for $165. It comes with 4 RAM slots, an M.2 slot with
a dedicated heat sink, and Aura Sync RGB lighting to control all the LEDs in your case. Not to mention, plenty of cooling power for
the CPU VRM. For the memory I went with Corsair’s Dominator
Platinum 16GB kit for $206. At 3200MHz, this kit is blazing fast, and
with its large heat sinks should be able to handle even higher speeds with overclocking. For the SSD I picked Samsung’s latest 970
EVO 500GB for $168. This is one of the fastest NVMe drives on
the market, and read speeds top out at 3500MB/s – that’s insanely fast. 500GB will provide plenty of room for programs
and games, but in case you need a lot more storage than that, I included the Western
Digital WD Blue 4TB drive for $100. Capacity like this is well beyond most people’s
needs, but it’s one of those “better to have it and not need it, than need it and
not have it” things. If you need even more space, 8TB hard drives
can be had for around $190. Power goes to Seasonic’s Focus Plus Gold
750 for $100. The Focus Plus series has plenty of high-end
features; fully modular cables, 80 Plus Gold efficiency rating, and one of my favorite
features: a fanless mode. All that, plus a 10 year warranty, makes the
Focus Plus hard to beat in high end power. Finally, maybe my favorite part, the case. I went with Corsair’s Crystal 570X RGB for
$180. This case is over the top all around; three
120mm RGB fans up front, space for a 360mm radiator, integrated hard drive and SSD mounts
on the back of the motherboard tray, and a ton of tempered glass. The front, top, and both sides are all tempered
glass panels. Ridiculous? Absolutely. Altogether these parts come out to $2003. Past this budget, you’ll be into workstation
processors and quad channel memory, and prices go up exponentially. For a pure gaming build, though, this is pretty
much the top end. Upgrading won’t be necessary for a very
long time, but it’ll be easy to do when you want. Click the link in the description to pick
up these parts for yourself. So that’s it for the September 2018 edition
of Monthly Builds. If you’re building a PC for the first time,
welcome to the community and be sure to check out my build videos to see how it’s done. If you’re a veteran and just needed to catch
up, I hope these recommendations helped you. Hit subscribe and click the bell icon to get
notified of new videos as soon as they’re up. So guys if you liked this video hit the like
button, if you want to see more hit subscribe, and if you have any questions on the news
or these builds, leave them in the comments below. Thanks for watching, I hope I helped, and
I’ll see you in the next video.

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