Your Ideal PC Gaming Hardware

Here at Kotaku, not everyone is a fully fledged PC gamer. But some of us would like to be. Like a certain Tina who has a certain birthday coming up this Friday. Who also has a certain older brother who spoils her. See where I'm going with this?

So he and I will be doing our research and digging into the best parts to put into my soon-to-be glorious PC machine. But maybe you guys have a few suggestions. And maybe some of you are, like me, looking to chip off a piece of this whole "master race" business.

Let's share and weigh in on the absolute best pieces of hardware that would create the most optimal beast to run the shiniest of games.


    I'm sure this certain Tina would appreciate simplified and AU-centric answers too :)

      LOL. Yep. The elite below are pointlessly showing off their knowledge. Classic stuff!

    Start with the case, pick one you like and build around it... after all you'll be staring at it. I just bought a new PC, went mini-itx and BITFENIX PRODIGY as a case. They come in all sorts of fancy colours. You'll need a mini-itx motherboard and they cost a few bucks extra but i'm sure you brother doesn't mind.

    Last edited 29/11/12 4:12 pm

      You'd probably want to start a PC build based around your choice of CPU/Mobo combo (which is based off your actual computing needs).
      No point getting a m-ITX setup and realizing that your fancy new GTX 690 don't fit.

        coz' it's a girl, and girls like things to look right. Not being sexist or anything but 80% of PC's i've ever built for girls, always came down to how the case looked. (80% sounds better than 4 out of 5 girls)

        also, she said a gaming pc so need was already established. That's why I said pick your case, then fill it with the best you can get for your budget. By the way, the GTX 690 will fit in a bitfenix prodigy case ;)

        here's a list;
        BitFenix Prodigy Mini-ITX Case
        i5 3570K
        GTX 660 Ti
        ASUS P8Z77-I DELUXE Motherboard
        Corsair TX-650M 650W

        pick any memory configuration that works with your MB and a suitable HDD, i went 120GB SSD+HDD (SATA3)

      for a gaming PC case is last....
      I have been burnt by that myself (and I'm male)...
      Once you got the MB, PSU and video sorted you can look at cases that will fit what you need.

    I'm about to start building a gaming PC, so I'm waiting with baited breath to see some suggestions too.

      Go to the best bang for your buck section of the whirlpool forums and all the work is done for you :) They are always up to date and cater to various budgets. Add in a bit extra if your not building it yourself.

        Yeah here
        good setups for different budgets.

    Depends on how crazy you want to get.
    A good starting point would be
    i5 3470 & z77 motherboard, 8Gb RAM, 256Gb SSD, Nvida 670 or ATI 7950 video card.
    Plus what ever extra HDDs you may need, DVD or Blu Ray drive & what ever case suits your tastes.

      carl put it exactly as I'd recommend, get an i5 for sure as a lot of games these days will use the quad-core but you don't get much extra bump from hyper-threading which costs significantly more in the form of an i7. A decent z77 board will have all the bells n whistles thanks to integrated usb 3.0 controller and pci-e 3.0 and a 670 or 7950 will shred any game you throw at it. Also Steam being awesome now lets you install games on a different drive so if you have 256gb space then you can throw steam on there and the games themselves on a mechanical drive to not clutter the precious SSD, unless it's a choice game you want maximum load times on of course.

    well, the most important bit is your budget. theres no point for me to suggest a GTX690 when your budget is $2000.

    The i5 3570k on a Z77 seems to be the gaming sweet spot. Throw in a 660ti, SSD and HDD and you're set for life.

    I've built numerous PC's, from basic internet portals up to a water cooled gaming behemoth that runs all day every at 5GHz CPU with 8GB RAM and a HD7970 graphics card.

    it's like mavx4 said, you need to start with your budget, and go from there.

    depending on how much you WANT to spend, depends how much of a beast you can build. As a starting point (read, you can play anything currently available at 1080p, though not necessarily at full detail) you want the following:

    Intel Core i5 3470; Z77 based motherboard (I like Asus boards, but that's personal preference); 8GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM (aim for latencies less than 10); HD7870 graphics (or GTX660 depending on brand preference); SSD and platter drive, even a small SSD(min - 60GB) to put the OS on, and you can install everything else on the platter, you will notice the increased performance. I built one of these back in September, including monitor and OS for under AU$1300.

    You won't be able to crank the graphics way up on everything... but upgrade a few components (graphics and CPU) and you'll fix that.

    check out my builds on PC Case Gear for some further suggestions:
    $1000 -
    $1500 -
    $2000 -
    no limits -

    (these are a bit old now, but you can extrapolate from there)

    hope that helps.

    Currently have:

    CM Storm Enforcer
    i7 3770K
    Maximus V Gene
    2x Asus GTX 670 TOP
    8GB Ripjaws X 1666Mhz
    Sandisk 240GB SSD

    My word of advice:

    Anyone planning to get SLI, Please get a full size ATX board and a case with a sidefan unless you plan to go water cooling. I had to "tweak" my SLI for extra space between them to keep my first card temperature below 90 during full load. Not worth the trouble to get m-ATX mobo.

    Last edited 29/11/12 5:20 pm

    Intel Core i5 3570K - $233
    Noctua NH-D14 CPU Cooler - $84
    ASRock Z77 Extreme4 Motherboard - $139
    Corsair Carbide 400R Black Mid-Tower Case - $115
    Antec High Current Gamer 750W Power Supply - $139
    Corsair Vengeance CML16GX3M4A1600C9 1600MHz 16GB - $92
    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 OC 2GB - $429
    Intel 330 Series 120GB SSD - $99
    Western Digital Black 1TB - $99
    Samsung DVD Drive - $19
    ASUS Xonar DGX - $35

    All you gots to do then is add peripherals which will be about another 500 ish depefing on how fancy you want to get and you'll have a gaming machine that'll bitch slap any game for the forseeable future.


    Consider it's use first and consider if she can run it? It's all very well building the PC but unless your breaker can take it what's the point. Also is she actually a hardcore gamer? or more likely to be using it to go on facebook/youtube and play the sims? If this is the case get her an ultrabook:

    - The budget option for non heavy gamers and high battery life and mobility

    - uBer l33t gamer option with all the bells an whistles and less mobility

    Seriously though this is kotaku XD so for a beast that really gets the job done:
    - Full tower Case like a HAF X or similar
    - Intel Core i7-3820 (to be upgraded Q3 of 2013)
    - 8-16GB Quad channel RAM
    - Motherboard: up to you but i'd go with ASUS
    - Xfire ASUS radeon 7970's
    - 1200W Corsair PSU
    - 512GB OCZ vertex4 (corsair neutron alternative) SSD
    - 2x 2TB samsung HDD
    - Liquid cooled of course

    The build's fairly open and should be designed with future upgrades in mind (hence the 2011 socket CPU not the 1155 ivybridge which will become redundant when haswell is released, and the full tower case for plenty of room). This website will help you with the build:

    Currently have:
    Asus Direct CU II GTX 680,
    3 x Asus 24" monitors setup in surround view for a custom resolution of 6020x1080.
    8gb ddr3

    Now if we were talking infinite money the only thing I would do is add another of the GTX 680s and swap the 3s Asus 24" for 3x dell 30".
    Triple monitor for gaming takes a little getting used to but once you are used to it you could never go back to a single monitor. At least I could not anyway.

    Anyway some good suggestions here
    Worth looking over.

    After a month of research for my new PC, the thing I'm most having trouble with is actually deciding between a 3D 120Hz monitor or a 1440p IPS. Hardware is easy enough if you know what you want your PC to do and how much you're willing to spend, and there are some great guides out there.

      Try out 3d on pc first if you can via someone who has one. I had a Samsung 3d monitor and while cinema 3d and TV 3d is fine for me, pc 3d made me feel very ill very quick. So not saying don't do it, just try it out first if you can.

        I agree with testing it first but more importantly for the smoother display 120hz offers over the option of [email protected]

        It's admittedly personal preference but even my non gaming friends notice 120hz, both in windows & in game. Disclaimer: I'm a 120hz fan...

    Probably a solid build which is mine is a ASUS P8z77v motherboard, 8gb gskill RAM, Core I5 3570, Gigabyte Radeon HD 7870 overclocked edition and a Antec 100 case. Only consider Crossfire if needing very high res otherwise its a good setup and plays Borderlands 2 real nice.

      Oh and a 1TB HDD Like a Western Digital Black Caviar

    Modified from the whirlpool wiki

    CPU: Intel Core i5 3570
    Mobo: Asrock B75 Pro3-M
    RAM: G.Skill Ares 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600
    SSD: Samsung 830 Series 128GB
    HDD: Seagate Barracuda 2TB (ST2000DM001)
    GPU: Gigabyte 2GB Nvidia Geforce GTX670 OC
    PSU: Corsair AX750 Gold Power Supply (modular PSUs are for winners)
    CPU Cooler: Intel RTS2011LC Liquid Cooling System (closed system, no fucking around)

    Then choose your poison when it comes to case. Disc drive if you think you'll need one (i don't).

    Probably run you about 2k plus peripherals. Play everything you can throw at it on max settings for at least the next couple years (except crysis).

    Don't bother with multiple graphics cards, it's pointless and causes more issues than it's worth. Buy a big case for your first build because you'll appreciate the room to move.

    For me a "most optimal beast" has to be high value for money, high performance, and offer good upgradeability.

    For most components there is a pricing sweet spot, where moving up the ladder to the next superior part starts to become much more expensive than previous steps. Considering CPUs for example, the i5-3570 offers roughly one third more performance than the i5-3330, but (based on current AU prices) costs only around 15% more. On the other hand the i7-3770 offers about one third more performance over the i5-3570, but costs nearly 50% more. The i5-3570 arguably lies at the sweet spot based on current prices (although if one is interested in overclocking, the extra one eighth spend for the i5-3570K is a necessary investment).

    All of the major motherboard manufacturers offer high quality parts these days, so features are the main differentiators now. Upgradeability is the key criterion IMHO. For example, SATA 3 and USB 3 are becoming more widespread as time goes on, so look for the presence of these ports and headers, even if the drives and devices you plan to purchase now won't require that.

    A big factor with motherboards that often gets overlooked is the layout of the expansion slots. If a multiple graphics card approach is on the cards (even if not at build time, then down the road as a cheap and easy upgrade path) then make sure that the board offers a good lane configuration to the slots and that they are spaced usefully. Will cards that take up two slots block access to other slots?

    I'm suggesting methods of thinking about parts rather than naming any specific ones really, though I have to recommend the graphics card I currently have, Gigabyte's Radeon HD 7950 Windforce 3. Brilliant performance, excellent temperatures and just about the best value card you can buy at the moment IMHO.

    Good to see Tina's dropped all pretense and is using kotaku as her personal blog.

    Oddly enough, I'm sitting towards against an Intel system despite everyone says. Most people will be wondering where I'm going with this so I'll quickly outline why I say this.

    The thing is, and perhaps the most important thing, will be in regards to what she wants to do other than gaming. I can understand if it's purely gaming. However, we do other things that isn't gaming. Like manipulating images, watching TV or even surfing the web.

    In this case, I'd think an i5 3470 is quite an overkill for her in this case. Sure, it'll give her 99fps for her HoN or Diablo 3 for that matter but can you really see that extra 39fps on the screen? I sure can't. Even with the 23" Samsung monitor (which I think is the most beautiful screen I ever seen), I can't tell in regards about that. Also, most games these days are done for the console in which you can run on most laptops these days.

    I know, I know. You're still saying 'But she's a gamer and deserves the best!' However, that is still a lie as you'll sit at your computer and wishing something is still 'better' in a sense. You cannot be happy with a PC. Eventually, you'll find something frustrating with it and inevitably, bury your foot in the side of the PC.

    My suggestion? Just get something that's simple and delivers 80% of the speed but at 80% of the cost. So no Intel i-whatevers or the like....

    I'm more leaning towards the AMD A10 5800K APU, 8GB of decent RAM, a decent A75 mobo, a decent quiet cooler, a SSD, AMD 7870 (getting cheaper than the GTX-660Ti too), 1TB HDD, Blu-ray reader, decent case, a decent 500 watt PSU, a good monitor, decent keyboard and mouse (this is important!).

    The above will sound odd but if you think about it, it delivers 80% of the speed for probably 80% of the price. So all that extra money could theoretically get more games. And more games is win for Tina, right?

    start with the decision of AMD or Intel. AMD are better bang for the buck, but Intel features are more supported... though few games make decent use of hyper threading or multi core anyhow.

    Next is whether you want AMD or Nvidia graphics, again Nvidia is more suported but more expensive, AMD can run three monitors out of the box (some cards even more). One card or multiple cards (hybrid - going both Nvidia and AMD is possible but in my experience it's not worth it).

    Look at PSU's and remember that you need more power for extra video cards, search on google and find what you need for your CPU and Graphics, then add a bit more just to be certian (nothing is more painful than turing it on the first time and realising you need to go get a different PSU)

    Find a MB that suits your decision on CPU and graphics (DO NOT GO CHEAP ON THE MB, it is the most important piece of the machine, everything else can be easily upgraded) you want a good speed on the FSB, and sufficient ports for HDDs and RAM modules, also the best SATA version you can manage and fastest RAM ports, I also like the MSATA idea for your primary drive (MSATA SSD is a good way to go).

    now that thats done you can find a case you like that will fit the gear you've decided on.

    Get at least 8GB of ram, but it's preaty cheap so I'd just get 16gb and be done with it, making sure it suits your MB, is good quality and is as fast as you can manage.

    Get an SSD for your OS (I recoment a MSATA one if your MB can manage it), and a fast HDD for game installs.

    Monitor is almost a wash these days they are all close to the same for descent brands, the numbers are almost meaningless anyway, the only thing that realy matters is the refresh rate (the faster the better, but thats not even that important unless your going Nvidia 3D), all I'll say is whist the LG cinema 3D TVs are nice the monitors suck...

    Peripherals are to your own taste I tend to go Logitech

      Though in reality you're probably better off getting a prebuilt gaming system and adding a little more RAM, way less trouble and effort.

      As far as component based systems go UMART and spend the extra 60 and let them put it together for you, it's worth it to have it all checked out and working before you get it home.

    My system is still going strong.
    i7 920 OC to 4GHz
    2 x Gigabyte Nvidia 560ti's
    3x4gb DDR3 1800MHz
    750 Watt thermaltake PSU
    120GB corsair SSD (128MB read and write) sata 2 i believe
    3 other harddrives
    Sound card: Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional Series
    Case: Cooler Master Scout Mid tower
    motherboard: can't remember.

    Check out reddit's /r/gamingpc for a very judgmental crowd who'll scrutinise your build & point out flaws or /r/buildapc for a bunch of folk who'll be able to give you some good feedback about the parts you're listing

    hmmm... I built a new PC recently...

    CPU: Intel i7 6Core 3960 Extreme Black Edition
    RAM: 32GB Corsair Dominator 2400Mhz Quad Channel
    M/Board: Asus Rampage IV Extreme
    GPU: 2x 2GB GeForce 670 GTX (Custom Overclocked) SLI
    Sound: Asus Essence STX PCIe
    Storage: 2x SATA III OCZ Agility 4 512GB SSD RAID 1 & 3x SATA III Seagate Barracuda 2TB RAID 5
    ODD: LG Blu-Ray writer
    Case: Thermaltake Level 10 Silver Limited Edition
    PSU: Thermaltake ToughPower Grand 1Kw.
    Display: Sony Bravia 46" LED
    Speaker: Sony Bravia 910 7.1 Home Theatre

    Needless to say this machine can handle anything and everything I ask of it.

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