Gaming PC - April 2018
This computer system is specifically geared towards gaming at WQHD resolution. That means a PC with a high-end graphics card and a processor that is fast enough to support the GPU, but also a fast monitor to display the rendered frames in the best way.
The rest of the configuration needs to be balanced as well. Since many gamers also enjoy overclocking their PC to improve performance, it is also important to choose a motherboard and memory that is suitable for this. Keep in mind that you will pay extra for that overclocking potential.
Having the right accessories is also important. The goal of our gaming PC is to be able to run virtually all new PC titles on the highest settings. That means high resolution, high graphics quality, a good frame rate, and surround sound. And let’s not forget a good gaming mouse and a decent keyboard with features to enhance your PC gaming experience.
A dedicated gaming PC is pretty expensive, but we try to make sure that our recommended system isn't over-the-top.
Please note: the PC Buyer’s Guide is compiled based on independent component tests performed by Hardware.Info. If no new, superior products are released that should replace one or more of the components, then the component(s) will remain the same as the previous month.
If you want to know more about how we compile our PC Buying guides, have a look at this article.
For the time being, Intel still offers the best performance in games - of course, that's the main use case for this system. The Core i5 8600K sits right on that gaming sweetspot with its six physical cores, that make this CPU future proof.. Furthermore, you can overclock it thanks to its unlocked multiplier.
The chosen processor requires DDR4 memory. We choose a set with two 8 GB modules, which together form a 16 GB kit. 8 GB tends to be enough for just gaming, but more demanding tasks, running a game server or video editing by example, can use the extra memory. You could possibly save some bucks by installing only one module and buying a second one later.
Since faster memory can sometimes provide better gaming performance, we choose a fast kit from Corsair which is not too expensive. If you want to save some money, getting a simpler DDR4-2400 kit is an easy way to do so.
The Scythe Mugen 5 PCGH Edition offers good cooling performance at a low price. The airflow is provided by two fans, which means that they don't have to run at high speeds and are very silent as a result. At the same time, the Mugen 5 PCGH offers enough headroom to overclock.
For even better cooling, you could take a look at the coolers from Noctua, but those are considerably more expensive. If you want whisper quiet cooling, the enormous Scythe Ninja 5 can be considered, too.
We need a motherboard with the Intel Z370 chipset for our Coffee Lake processor. The ASRock Z370 Extreme4 is an excellent all-round choice with all features you want as a gamer, like good audio, networking solutions and a very solid PWM. USB 3.1 is supported too and you can also mount a fast M.2 SSD.
There are some alternatives for a bit less, but we like the ASRock the most because it supports DTS Connect, a feature that allows sending 5.1 surround signals through an optical audio output. Also, it offers an excellent power circuit.
With the GTX 1070, you can game at WQHD without any compromises on graphics quality.
Mainly because of coin mining, but also because of some other causes, the prices of video cards have risen considerably over the last months. Availability also remains to be a major problem.
At the time of writing, this Gigabyte GTX 1070 was available at somewhat reasonable prices. Before you make any purchase, however, please keep an eye on all graphics cards, and choose the cheapest GTX 1070 which is currently in stock. Do also check the prices of the 1070 Ti and 1080, because if they are only available for a few bucks more, you should definitely consider them.
The Crucial MX500 is fast, although it certainly doesn't break the bank. The five years of warranty are a nice finishing touch. 500 GB should be enough for a sizable game collection.
With cloud services such as Steam, Origin, Uplay and others you no longer need to keep tons of games installed at the same time. If you don't play more than a few games at the same time, you could even consider leaving the extra harddisk out or exchanging it for an even larger SSD.
The newest iteration of the Seagate Barracuda is fast, quiet and affordable. We install the 3TB edition, although you could opt for any smaller or bigger model depending on your needs.
Optical drive - None
We're finally at the point we don't think an optical drive is needed anymore. All games are available from online platforms like Steam and Origin.
The Fractal Design Meshify C is a compact ATX chassis that does what Fractal Design promises, which is excellent cooling, while not getting too noisy. If we compare this case to other comparable ATX cases, the Meshify C is one of the best in terms of cooling performance, while it's also at the upper half of the acoustics graph.
In our review, we called the Meshify C an excellent choice if you are looking for a compact case with good cooling. The only downside is that it can't accommodate more than two 3.5" hard disks. In case you are a fanatic data collector, you will have to look further.
For those who prefer it, there is also a version with closed side panel available. If quiet operation is the most important thing to you, you could consider the Define R6 from the same manufacturer.
We don't need many words to describe the performance of the Seasonic Focus Plus Gold: it's excellent. The voltage stability, efficiency, ripple and noise production are all very good. The ripple of the Focus Plus Gold is just a tad higher when compared to the Corsair RMx, but the difference is really small. However, Seasonics offering is considerably cheaper.
550 watts is more than enough for a setup with just one graphics card. If you want to keep the option for Nvidia SLI, you should invest about 20 dollars more for the 750W version.
The Corsair K70 Lux is the newest variant of the famous keyboard from the American manufacturer. It's a sturdy mechanical keyboard with an aluminium frame and full-key rollover. Also, a palm rest and media keys are included. It lacks macro keys, but the availability of models with multiple types of Cherry MX switches is a pro.
The Logitech G403 Prodigy has a sleek and simple design, but uses the same top quality sensor as models that are much more expensive, like the G502 and G900. Its excellent performance on all kinds of mousepad surfaces makes it the ideal mouse for gamers. It doesn't offer many extra buttons - if you want those features, you'll have to opt for another model.
Not only should you get a quality mouse for a gaming PC, but the mousepad matters as well. Everyone has different preferences in material choice, but we liked the Razer Goliathus a lot in our recent round-up test.
For 3D audio, a headset is the best choice - and gamers overwhelmingly prefer a headset to determine by ear what is going on. It is possible to convert 3D audio to surround audio, but this requires a bigger investment in a Dolby Digital Live or DTS connect capable soundcard, a decoder and 5.1 speakers.
We opt for 2.1 speakers, as a separate subwoofer is an added value in conveying bass-heavy effects and you still can have a 3D audio experience, albeit in a limited size 'sweet spot'.
Our chosen model is Creative's T3250W, which has Bluetooth, enabling you to listen to some tunes from your mobile phone, for example.
The Iiyama GB2760QSU delivers exactly what many people want (WQHD with 144 Hz), for a reasonable price. Looking closer the competition may be a little bit faster or a little bit better accurate in colour representation, but it is currently unbeatable in its class in price to performance.
Do you have even more to spend? Then the ASUS PG279Q is the ultimate WQHD gaming monitor, with a 27" 165Hz IPS panel for even better color reproduction and support for Nvidia G-Sync. The LG 32GK850G-B is an interesting alternative if you have no problem with an even bigger display.
For a long time, we recommended the Kingston HyperX Cloud. While it continues to be a good choice if you want to do more than gaming, like listening to music, we liked the surround of the new Corsair Void a lot better. The combination with a very good microphone makes it our new first choice.
The Void Surround Hybrid is available in 'gaming red' and with carbon accents, for those who prefer a more neutral look.
|Processors||Intel Core i5 8600K Boxed||$244.99|
|Memory modules||Corsair Vengeance LPX Black 16GB DDR4-3000 CL15 kit||$159.99|
|CPU coolers||Scythe Mugen 5 PCGH Edition||–|
|Motherboards||ASRock Z370 Extreme4||$127.99|
|Graphics cards||Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 G1 Gaming 8GB||$484.99|
|Hard disks/SSDs||Crucial MX500 500GB||$109.99|
|Hard disks/SSDs||Seagate BarraCuda New 3TB||$84.99|
|Cases||Fractal Design Meshify C Window edition||$88.99|
|Power supplies||Seasonic Focus Plus Gold 550W||$70.93|
|Keyboards||Corsair K70 LUX Cherry MX Red||$104.15|
|Mice||Logitech G403 Prodigy Corded||–|
|Mouse pads||Razer Goliathus Control Fissure Edition Medium||–|
|PC speaker sets||Creative T3250W||–|
|Monitors||Iiyama G-Master GB2760QSU-B1||–|
|Headsets||Corsair Gaming Void Hybrid Surround Red||–|
|Save as your own wish list||Average total price:||$1,477.01|