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INTEL BUILDS

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ATX Budget

i5 12400F
B660
16GB
500GB Gen3
IL
Phanteks
TT
$390excl. GPU
$599ARC A750
$685RTX 4060
$ 775RTX 4060Ti
NON-RGB

ATX Value

i5 12600KF
Z690
16GB
1TB Gen3
TT
Corsair
TT
$672excl. GPU
$852ARC A750
$1.0kRTX 4060Ti
$1.3kRTX 4070S
NON-RGB

ATX Optimized

i5 14600KF
Z790
32GB 6.4GHz
2TB Gen4
TR
Corsair
eVGA
$1.0kexcl. GPU
$1.3kRTX 4060Ti
$1.6kRTX 4070S
$1.8kRTX 4070TiS
NON-RGB

ATX Performance

i7 14700KF
Z790
32GB 7.2GHz
4TB Gen4
Arctic
Phanteks
Corsair
$1.5kexcl. GPU
$2.3kRTX 4070TiS
$3.1kRTX 4090
NON-RGB

ATX Flagship

i9 14900KF
Z790
32GB 7.2GHz
4TB Gen4
Arctic
Fractal
Corsair
$1.8kexcl. GPU
$3.4kRTX 4090
NON-RGB

E-ATX Halo

i9 14900KS (TBA)
Z790
48GB 8GHz
4TB Gen5
Corsair
Fractal
Corsair
$3kexcl. GPU
$4.6kRTX 4090
RGB

Just need a parts list?

AMD BUILDS

WARNING: AMD makes notoriously unreliable products, holds only a small fraction of desktop market share, and do not have any warranty once used, violating thousands of laws since 1969 including The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

Don’t fall victim to their marketing. If you like products that last, do not break randomly, start fires, or burn motherboards, with customer service that cares, stick with Intel, they have a clean track record.

Due to the high volume of reliability issues, build service is not offered for AMD.

For more information on AMD, visit section CPU / PROCESSOR on this page & read the AMD section.

For full history: AMD: A History of Advanced Marketing Deception


GPU RANKS

WORLD RANK
MSRP
GPU
RECOMMEND / RESOLUTION
#1
$ 1599
RTX 4090
✅ YES / 4K
#2
$  999
RTX 4080 SUPER
❌ NO / 4K
#3***
$ 1199
RTX 4080
❌ NO / 4K
#4***
$  899
RX 7900 XTX
❌ NO / 4K
#5
$  799
RTX 4070Ti SUPER
✅ YES / 4K
#6
$  799
RTX 4070Ti
❌ NO / 4K
#7***
$ 1999
RTX 3090Ti
❌ NO / 4K
#8***
$  799
RX 7900 XT
❌ NO / 4K
#9
$  599
RTX 4070 SUPER
✅ YES / 3K
#10***
$ 1499
RTX 3090
❌ NO / 4K
#12***
$ 1199
RTX 3080Ti
❌ NO / 4K
#13***
$ 1099
RX 6950 XT
❌ NO / 4K
#15***
$  499
RX 7800 XT
❌ NO / 3K
#16
$  599
RTX 4070
❌ NO / 3K
N/A
$  499
RTX 4060Ti 16GB
❌ NO / 3K**
#25
$  399
RTX 4060Ti
✅ YES / 3K**
#32
$  329
RTX 3060Ti
❌ NO / 3K
#34
$  449
RX 7700 XT
❌ NO / 3K
#36***
$  379
RX 6700 XT
❌ NO / 3K**
#40
$  299
RTX 4060
✅ YES / 2K**
#42*
$  299
ARC A770 16GB
✅ YES / 3K**
#43***
$  289
RX 7600 XT
❌ NO / 2K**
#46***
$  329
RX 7600
❌ NO / 2K**
#47*
$  249
ARC A770
✅ YES / 3K**
#52*
$  179
ARC A750
✅ YES / 2K**
#55***
$  379
RX 6600 XT
❌ NO / 2K**
#56***
$  279
RTX 3060
❌ NO / 2K**
#79***
$  329
RX 6600
❌ NO / 2K**
#89***
$  249
RTX 3050
❌ NO / 2K**
#94***
$  229
GTX 1660S
❌ NO / 2K**
#133***
$  199
GTX 1650
❌ NO / 2K**
#142***
$    99
ARC A380
❌ NO / 2K**
RESOLUTION LEGEND: 4K = 2160p | 3K = 1440p | 2K = 1080p
*ACTUAL GAMING PERFORMANCE EXCEEDS RANK
**PERFORMANCE ISSUES OBSERVED @ 1440p
***NOT RECOMMENDED = DO NOT BUY
Source: userbenchmark.com GPU rankings

COMPONENT GUIDE


CASE / FORM FACTOR
ITX

If space is a luxury, or you want portability.

  • Pros: Portability, Small footprint
  • Cons: Pricier PSU and Mobo, limited cooling options, bad pairing for flagship CPUs, component choices can be quite limited due to size constraints.
  • Note: great pairing with locked CPUs, some ITX cases allow ATX PSU, rather than SFX, reducing entry cost.
ATX

If price to performance ratio is most important.

  • Pros: Value, 280 or 360MM AIO Support, high airflow potential
  • Cons: Medium desk footprint, not portable, potentially as bulky as E-ATX cases with less efficient use of space.
  • Note: the Phanteks G300A is frequently promoted for only $35 offering a strong value proposition.

TOP PICKS:
Phanteks G300A
Fractal Torrent Compact
Fractal Pop Air
Fractal North

E-ATX

If component lifespan / cooling is more important than footprint, portability, and price.

  • Pros: 420MM AIO Support, maximum airflow, oversized GPU support, good pairing for flagship CPUs, quietest
  • Cons: Large desk footprint, heavy, not portable, may need assistance moving.
  • Note: best option for performance and silence.

TOP PICKS:
Fractal Torrent
Phanteks G500A
Antec 1 FT
Lian-Li O11 EVO & XL


CPU / PROCESSOR

INTEL

  • Desktop CPU Market Share:
    70%+
  • Intel is dominating the market in value and performance.
    • The Core i5 14500, 14600KF, and 14400F are my current recommendations.
      • Non-K heat output is so low that you can cool the CPU passively with no fans.
        • Can pair with Noctua passive NH-P1 for complete silence.
        • Can pair with passively-cooled GPU (using passive cooler) and fanless PSU for completely silent system.
      • K runs very hot, so unless you are willing to spend significantly more on the fans, CPU cooler, and power required, it’s not worth it vs. non-K.
      • Unlocked Intel (K series) is not recommended without water cooling.
      • The energy cost and room heating difference between K and non-K is significant and merits careful consideration.
  • Warranty
    • Intel warranty service is unparalleled. They respond quickly, cover shipping, and promptly resolve the issue. Additionally, the failure rate is so low that claims are extremely rare.
    • They do not use serial unreadability as basis of denial for service like AMD does.
    • When getting service, you have the opportunity to instead receive a full refund of the original purchase price, this is significantly better than typical warranty service which usually just gives you another outdated and depreciated refurbished replacement.
Intel Warranty

AMD

  • AMD: A History of Advanced Marketing Deception
  • Desktop CPU Market Share: 18%
  • Ryzen 7000 series
    • Has an unusually thick integrated heat spreader leading to unusually high operating temperatures, due to a poor engineering choice by AMD of preserving AM4 cooler compatibility at the cost of product lifespan and performance potential.
    • Bad CPU / cooler combinations can create performance degradation so extreme that a lower end processor would be faster just because the CPU cooler can keep up.
    • Has unusually high operating temperatures which will lead to decreased CPU lifespan.
      • AMD says the absurdly high temperatures are okay, but they only stand to make money by decreasing the lifespan of their products and blanket accepting abnormally high operating temperatures that make Intel’s seem tame.
    • If you choose AMD, go non-X or if getting the X then plan to de-lid.
      • See Thermal Management section for de-lid tool and contact frame in the Ordering Guide – Mr. Robot
        • X not recommended unless the processor is water cooled, and either de-lidded or kneecapped with custom PBO power limits to avoid overheating.
        • The energy cost and room heating difference between X and non-X is significant and merits careful consideration.
    • The 7600 is the best value in the AMD lineup for gamers.

      However, the Intel 13400F is the same speed & 10% less money and is a better choice for new builds. Succeeded by 14400F.

      Additionally, the Intel 13500 is 7% faster & 6% more money and is also a better choice for new builds. Succeeded by 14500.
  • Ryzen 7000X3D series
    • Have the same core architecture as the rest of the 7000 series but they have one group of eight “3D” cores with extra cache. The “3D” cores are priced higher but run at 10% lower clocks.
      • For most real-world tasks performance is comparable to the 7000X variants. Cache sensitive scenarios such as low res. canned game benchmarks with an RTX 4090 ($1,599) benefit at the cost of everything else.
      • Be wary of sponsored reviews with cherry picked games that showcase the wins, ignore frame drops and gloss over the losses.
      • Also watch out for AMD’s army of Neanderthal social media accounts on Reddit, Forums and YouTube, they will be singing their own praises as usual. AMD continues to develop “Advanced Marketing” relationships with select youtubers in the hope of compensating for second tier products with first tier marketing.
      • PC gamers considering any 7000X3D CPU need to work on their critical thinking skills: Influencers are paid handsomely to promote overpriced products.
      • Rational gamers have little reason to look further than the $299 Intel 13600K which offers better real-world gaming and better desktop performance at a fraction of the price. Succeeded by 14600K.
  • Ryzen 5000 series
    • The 5600X3D at $229 is the best value 3D cache CPU in the AMD lineup for gamers that already have an AM4 platform and play titles that benefit from the large 3D cache, otherwise it has performance regression vs. non-X3D in titles that do not benefit from it due to the lower clocks.

      However, the Intel 13400F is 15% faster & 10% less money and is a better choice for new builds. Succeeded by 14400F.
    • The Ryzen 5600 at $139 is a budget alternative option for someone who already has an AM4 platform, as it avoids the AM5 or LGA1700 platform entry cost.

      However the Intel 13100F is 20% faster & 15% less money and is a better choice for new builds. Succeeded by 14100F.
    • The Ryzen 5800X3D at $299 is a more expensive X3D option for someone who already has an AM4 platform, as it avoids the AM5 or LGA1700 platform entry cost.

      However the Intel 13500 is 20% faster for 20% less money AND the Intel 13600K is 30% faster for the same money and either is a better choice for new builds. Succeeded by 14500/14600K.
  • Warranty
    • AMD warranty becomes void with normal use, due to serial number becoming unreadable with normal operation. Intel does not have this problem. If you care about product lifespan, warranty coverage, or customer service then don’t even consider AMD.
    • See more superficial reasons why AMD will reject your warranty at the link below in the section titled
      “Step 2: Determine What Is Not Covered by Warranty
      https://www.amd.com/en/support/kb/warranty-information/pib
No service? Thanks AMD!

BOARD MATRIX
  • When using a non-K/non-X-class CPU, you want B-class chipset boards:
    • Intel
      • 1×100 = B760 or B660 w/BIOS Update
        • MSI or ASRock B760
      • 1×400 = B760 or B660 w/BIOS Update
        • MSI B760 GAMING PLUS WIFI
      • 1×500 = B760 or B660 w/BIOS Update
        • MSI B760 GAMING PLUS WIFI
      • 1×700 = B760 or B660 w/BIOS Update
        • MSI MAG B760 TOMAHAWK
      • 1×900 = B760 or B660 w/BIOS Update
        • MSI MAG B760 TOMAHAWK
    • AMD
      • 7600 = B650 or B650E
        • MSI PRO B650M-A WIFI
      • 7700 = B650 or B650E
        • MSI MAG B650 TOMAHAWK WIFI
      • 7900 = B650 or B650E
        • MSI MPG B650 CARBON WIFI
  • When using a K/X-class CPU, you want Z or X-class chipset boards
    • Intel
      • 1x600K = Z790 or Z690 w/BIOS Update
        • MSI PRO Z790-A WIFI
      • 1x700K = Z790 or Z690 w/BIOS Update
        • MSI MAG Z790 TOMAHAWK WIFI
      • 1x900K = Z790 (performance lost on Z690)
        • MSI MPG Z790 CARBON WIFI
      • 1x900KS = Z790 (performance lost on Z690)
        • MSI MEG Z790 ACE
    • AMD
      • 7600X = X670 or X670E
        • MSI PRO X670-P WIFI
      • 7700X = X670 or X670E
        • MSI PRO X670-P WIFI
      • 7800X = X670 or X670E
        • MSI MAG X670E TOMAHAWK WIFI
      • 7800X3D = X670E
        • MSI MAG X670E TOMAHAWK WIFI
      • 7950X = X670E
        • MSI MPG X670E CARBON WIFI
      • 7950X3D = X670E
        • MSI MPG X670E CARBON WIFI

MOTHERBOARD
  • CHOOSING THE RIGHT BOARD BRAND
    • ASRock
      • 2nd Least RMAs
      • Pros: leading value, reliability, good service
      • Con: no BIOS flashback except on flagships
      • Submit RMA URL: event.asrock.com
    • ASUS
      • For those who dare…to RMA products.
      • In search of incredible…no results found.
      • Slowest RMAs
      • Pro: none
      • Cons: expensive, build quality, track record of QA issues, poor reliability, slow RMA turnaround, makes unreliable AIOs and inadequately ventilated cases (some exceptions like AP201)
      • Also see: Scumbag ASUS: Overvolting CPUs & Screwing the Customer
      • Submit RMA URL: as-rma.asus.com
    • Gigabyte
      • Most RMAs
      • Pro: value
      • Cons: slow RMA turnaround, build quality, makes unreliable GPUs and laptops
      • Submit RMA URL: services.gigabyte.com
    • MSI
      • Least RMAs
      • Pro: leading reliability, build quality, good service
      • Cons: expensive, makes unreliable AIOs and inadequately ventilated cases (some exceptions like Forge models with full mesh)
      • Submit RMA URL: service.msicomputer.com
      • Mr. Robot recommends MSI boards for all builds, because:
        • They have the best BIOS code.
        • They care about keeping older board BIOS updated diligently for years after release, and backporting features. Unlike most brands.
        • They were the first to backport ReSizeable Bar as far back as 8th Gen Intel Boards
          • Have successfully backported the feature on MSi boards as far back as 3rd Gen Intel.
        • They have never made huge mistakes like ASUS with the backward components or threats to void warranty for updating your BIOS.
        • They have the least RMA count of all brands in my professional experience of 20+ years.
        • ASUS or Gigabyte actively look for superficial reasons to deny service to you.
        • They offer many RGB-free models.
        • They will never deny warranty service for a scratch like ASUS or Gigabyte.
        • When board is physically damaged, they offer less-than-replacement physical damage fee for repair.

  • CHOOSING THE RIGHT BOARD FOR YOUR CPU
    • It’s important to understand that while any number of motherboard and processor combinations can work, that does not mean they will work well.
      • For example, an unlocked processor will not do well in a non-Z board because they lack the power delivery and chipset required to maximize the potential of unlocked K processors.
      • For example, a locked processor in a Z board doesn’t make sense because they do not need robust power delivery and cannot take advantage of the motherboard capabilities designed for unlocked K processors.
    • Generally speaking, you should not bother to spend more on the board than the processor, however spending too little may not be adequate. See CPU/board matrix section for more info.
    • The main variables that affect price on motherboards are:
      • Connectivity
        • Can be basic to cut costs.
      • RGB
        • Can be not included to cut costs.
      • Power Delivery
        • Should be as robust as the CPU you intend to use with it requires.
      • Form Factor
        • ITX/E-ATX commands a premium, while MicroATX is usually the least expensive with ATX being slightly more expensive but less than ITX/E-ATX.

CPU COOLER
  • If the CPU is locked (AMD non-X or Intel non-K) then low end air cooling is all that is required. The stock cooler is sufficient.
    • For quieter operation, recommend upgrading the cooler.
    • For ATX case then tower-style coolers like the ThermalRight Peerless Assassin or Vetroo V5 are excellent inexpensive options.
    • For ITX case then downdraft-style coolers are the appropriate choice.
    • Downdraft-style coolers by cooler height:
      • 120MM or less
        • Thermaltake ToughAir 110
      • 100MM or less
        • Noctua NH-L12
      • 80MM or less
        • Thermalright SI-100
      • 70MM or less
        • Thermalright AXP120-X67
        • Noctua NH-L12S
      • 40MM or less
        • Noctua NH-L9i chromax.black
        • Alternative: Most AIO Water Coolers

  • If you have an older tower cooler, it can easily be be reused on a locked CPU, even if it’s supposedly not compatible by:
    • Ordering the appropriate updated hardware kit from the manufacturer.
    • Custom retrofitting the mounting hardware if a kit is not available for the cooler.
  • If the CPU is unlocked (AMD X or Intel K) then water cooling is recommended, and your highest attainable clocks will be limited by the cooler chosen. High-end air cooling also works well, however it lowers the cooling gap required for age induced performance degradation, which is inevitable.
    • If budget constrained, choose a less critical important component to reduce budget on or get a locked processor.
      • Unless willing to also spend the money necessary for the proper cooling, airflow, and power required, most gamers are better off with locked CPUs.
        • Doing so also frees up your parts budget for more impactful choices like a better GPU or larger SSD.
      • Having an over-spec CPU cooler means you can run the fans on a much quieter fan curve, and allows for a full fan stop at idle to minimize dust collection, which is not possible with air cooling.
      • The trusted brands are Arctic, Corsair, and NZXT
        • Except NZXT M22 or any pump-in-rad designs.
        • Most inexpensive AIO brands have reliability issues, slow (1-2 month) warranty service time, and should be avoided.
      • CPU/Cooler Pairings
        • 7600X / 1x600k = H115 or H150 or Arctic (280mm/360mm)
        • 7700X / 1x700k = H115 or H150 or Arctic (280mm/360mm)
        • 7950X / 1x900k = H150 or H170 or Arctic (360mm/420mm)

GPU / GRAPHICS CARD

Resolution significantly impacts GPU load and how much you should spend on one, see below:

  • 1080p = 2,073,600 pixels (2k) (CPU Bound)
    • CPU and budget constraint, budget best focused on overall specs
      • 1×500 / Ryzen 7600 or lower
        • The added expense of midrange K and X class CPUs is not justified at this resolution.
    • GPU Options for 1080p:
      • $249 – Intel ARC A750
      • $269 – RX 7600
      • $289 – Intel ARC A770
      • $299 – RTX 4060
  • 1440p = 3,686,400 pixels (3k) (CPU/GPU Bound)
    • Variable constraint, budget best focused on overall specs
      • i7 1×700 / Ryzen 7900 or lower
        • The added expense of K and X class CPUs is not justified at this resolution.
    • GPU Options for 1440p:
      • $379 – RX 6700 XT
      • $379 – Intel ARC A770 16GB
      • $399 – RTX 4060 Ti
      • $599 – RTX 4070
  • 2160p = 8,294,400 pixels (4k) (GPU Bound)
    • GPU constrained, budget best focused on GPU.
      • 1x600k / Ryzen 5600X3D or higher
        • The added expense of K and X class CPUs is justified at this resolution.
    • GPU Options for 2160p:
      • $699 – RX 7900 XT
      • $799 – RTX 4070 Ti
      • $899 – RX 7900 XTX
      • $1,199 – RTX 4080
      • $1,599 – RTX 4090
  • 4320p = 33,177,600 pixels (8k) (GPU Bound)
    • GPU Options for 4320p:
      • $1,599 – RTX 4090

RAM / MEMORY
  • DDR5 VS DDR4
    • DDR5 introduces new capacities via 24GB & 48GB modules: 48GB, 96GB, and 192GB
      • Requires BIOS update for support on AMD systems.
    • DDR5 is the choice for new builds, however DDR4 is in limited circumstances worth consideration to continue using such as:
      • A way to save money when upgrading from an older system, by reusing your old memory.
      • A way to save money to meet budget.
    • Cheap DDR5 kits can be had for $40, that’s the same price as basic DDR4 kits.

  • SPEEDS
    • Intel
      • 6400MHz minimum is easily achievable on 13th Gen, 7200MHz+ recommended for Flagship Builds.
        • Except for 128GB configurations which are limited to 5600MHz
        • Except for 192GB configurations which are limited to 5200MHz
      • Each CPU has slight variance to it’s IMC (integrated memory controller) quality which dictates how fast memory will be able to run beyond 6400MHz.
      • 8000MHz+ is worth trying with halo like 1x900KS or flagships like 1x900K since:
        • You are already spending so much $$$ on the CPU.
        • CPU performance is somewhat correlated to memory performance.
        • It’s up to silicon lottery anyway if it will run that fast, but you’ll never know your CPU IMC ceiling if you don’t check which is potential performance left on table.
    • AMD
      • 6000MHz CL30 only recommended for AMD.

  • LATENCY / CL / TIMINGS
    • Most memory at an attractive price likely has very relaxed timings and should be avoided.
    • The more memory capacity you get, the higher the latency. This is the penalty or tradeoff that comes with capacity.
    • Lower latency memory is better for gamers, but costs more.
    • Lower latency memory = lower system latency
    • Intel = not latency sensitive
    • AMD = very latency sensitive

  • CAPACITY
    • 16GB vs 32GB
      • There is no advantage over 16GB for a vast majority of gamers and is budget better spent on another component.
      • It’s better to have less capacity with low latency than unnecessarily high capacity with high latency, for gamers. Especially on memory sensitive processors like Ryzen.
      • However, 32GB is the standard capacity for most DDR5 kits.
        • Value 16GB kit options are limited to 4800MHz and higher speeds cost the same as 32GB kits.
    • VIDEO EDITING / CREATORS
      • Recommend 48 to 256GB if video editing or running AI-training workloads.
        • AMD systems limited to 128GB unless BIOS support for 24GB modules is present.

SSD / SOLID STATE DRIVE
  • Capacity
    • Minimum capacity of 2TB recommended for gamers
    • You can go up to 20TB (5x4TB) or 40TB (5x8TB) with some motherboards and unify them as one massive drive with RAID.
  • SATA vs M.2 nVMe
    • SATA should be avoided entirely as superior nVMe drives have exceeded them in both value and performance.
  • Gen4 vs Gen3
    • It’s important to not overspend on a M.2 nVMe SSD as speeds beyond Gen3 are typically not noticeable and is budget better spent on a slower drive with higher capacity or another component.
  • DirectStorage
    • This new storage protocol is designed from the ground up for solid state drives. It’s up to game developers to support implementation.
    • DirectStorage Testing Shows PCIe Gen3 SSDs Are Basically as Fast as PCIe Gen5
    • Both Nvidia and AMD are working on drivers to support DirectStorage.
  • Top Picks
    • The Crucial P3 Plus offers excellent performance / value ratio.
    • The Crucial P3 non-plus is the best option for Gen3
    • The WD SN850X is 40% more money for 100% more speed, but it is difficult to notice any tangible performance improvement for gamers.
    • All Samsung drives are a NO-GO due to unacceptable warranty service turnaround time of over 1 month average and higher failure rate than Crucial and WD which has superior support quality and turnaround time.

PSU / POWER SUPPLY
  • EFFICENCY
    • PSU Peak Efficiency is at 50% of it’s advertised rating. To stay in any given power supplies peak efficiency portion of its output curve, aim for a power supply with a rating of double the load. This also provides extra headroom from transient spikes from the GPU.
  • RATING VS. REALITY
    • The PSU rating is just a capability-based marketing advertisement.
    • Interestingly, the higher the advertised wattage rating, the less power a system uses vs. with a lower rated PSU as it requires less electricity to achieve the same output demand than what a overloaded lower rated unit would require.
  • RATING EXPLAINED
    • 80 PLUS Gold (~90%), Platinum (~92%), and Titanium (~94%) are references to efficiency. This metrics differential represents how much of the power is lost as heat in power conversion from AC (wall outlet) to DC (for PC components).
  • DC VOLTAGE CONSISTENCY
    • DC voltage consistency and the amount of deviation from rail specification (the three in PCs are 3.33v 5.00v 12.00v) is something that the motherboard, GPU, and other components getting powered must compensate for within their own internal regulation.
      • The smoother and more consistent the input power from the power supply is, the less work your VRM components have to do to “clean up” the power. In other words, you can increase component lifespan by giving them smooth power.
  • POWER BILL IMPLICATIONS
    • Since you are subjected to floating the bill of running it for years to come, the power supply is really not a good category to cut corners on. Especially in regions of the USA such as Texas that have tiered energy cost-per-kW.


    • Austin Residents typically pay $250 or more a month on power bills, and demand for electricity increases in the summer as temperatures rise, leading to higher bills.
    • To an extent; the more you spend on a power supply, the less you’ll spend on power bills to run it.
      • While paying less for a power supply can seem appealing to get your build completed at a certain budget, you stand to save money in the long term on power bills by spending more on a unit with the appropriate rating and/or of a higher efficiency class.
  • PRE-BUILT POWER SUPPLIES
    • Many gaming pre-built computers come with a power supply and CPU cooler that are woefully inadequate for the given specs and fail stress testing, just scraping by for gaming.
      • While this poor standard allows them to cut costs, it’s not a good practice to offer computers with bad cooling and power issues out of the box.
  • For more information on selecting the right power supply, see Choosing the right PSU

FANS
  • With any non-X or non-K series CPU builds, you can get away with the low performance stock case fans, which should be supplemented with more matching stock fans to get enough airflow going through the case.
  • With any X or K series CPU builds, recommend to upgrade all fans.
    • Especially if paired with higher end GPU.
  • Fans are not included in part lists due to varying requirement and desire of RGB/non-RGB, fan color preference, and budgetary restrictions, however supplementing them cannot be skipped or you will have a system with inadequate ventilation.
  • Some case configurations like the Fractal Torrent (5 in/0 out) do not need exhaust fans as the positive pressure generated from the abundance of air from the intake fans is sufficient.
  • It is imperative to ensure there is at least as much intake as there is exhaust, if not more intake than there is exhaust.
  • Typical Fan Configurations:
    • 4 Fan Locations: 2 in/2 out
      • Non-K/X: 2 in/0 out
    • 5 Fan Locations: 3 in/2 out
      • Non-K/X: 3 in/0 out
    • 6 Fan Locations: 3 in/3 out
      • Non-K/X: 3 in/0 out
    • 7 Fan Locations: 4 in/3 out
      • Non-K/X: 4 in/0 out
    • 8 Fan Locations: 4 in/4 out
      • Non-K/X: 4 in/0 out
    • 9 Fan Locations: 5 in/4 out
      • Non-K/X: 5 in/0 out

Brands


  • Arctic
    • Best Value and Warranty
    • FDB (Fluid Dynamic) Bearing
    • 6 Year Warranty
      • TOP PICKS
      • P12/14 PWM PST for non-RGB silence
      • P12/14 PWM PST-A-RGB for RGB

  • Corsair
    • Best Lighting and Software
    • FDB (Fluid Dynamic) Bearing (except ML series which is MagLev which is worse than FDB)
    • 5 Year Warranty
      • TOP PICKS
        • AF120/140 for non-RGB silence
        • ML120/140 for non-RGB performance
        • ML120/140 RGB ELITE for RGB
        • ICUE LINK QX120/140 for RGB w/ICUE LINK

  • Fractal Design
    • Good for matching systems with existing Fractal case fans
    • LLS (Long Life Sleeve) Bearing
    • 2 Year Warranty
      • TOP PICKS
      • Dynamic X2 GP-12/14 PWM for non-RGB silence
      • Prisma AL-12/14 for RGB

  • Lian Li
    • Cool looking infinity mirror aesthetic and first fan on market with Reverse Blade, hiding the fan frame when used as intakes for excellent system aesthetics.
    • For more information, see here: lian-li.com/product/uni-fan-sl-infinity-reverse-blade/
    • FDB (Fluid Dynamic) Bearing
    • 2 Year Warranty
      • TOP PICKS
        • UNI SL-INFINITY REVERSE BLADE for RGB intake
        • UNI SL-INFINITY for RGB exhaust

  • Noctua
    • Best build quality and renown for silence potential however has
      unappealing aesthetic aside from chromax.black.swap variants
    • SSO2 (self-stabilizing oil-pressure) Bearing
    • 6 Year Warranty
      • TOP PICKS
        • NF-A12x25/A14x25 PWM chromax.black.swap for non-RGB silence
        • Noctua does not offer RGB

  • NZXT
    • Good for matching systems with existing NZXT case or cooler
    • FDB (Fluid Dynamic) Bearing
    • 2 Year Warranty
      • TOP PICKS
        • F120Q/140 for non-RGB silence
        • F120P/140 for non-RGB performance
        • F120/140 RGB Core for RGB

RAID

Builds: Fractal Torrent with Custom Drive Rack

  
  

Got space?
Builds: Fractal Torrent with Drives Installed
  • Add Custom Drive Rack to Fractal Torrent Case for RAID Array Support for 5x Additional 3.5″ Drive Bays. (7x Total)
  • Up to 88TB (4x22TB) of storage with motherboard integrated RAID controller.
    -or-
  • Up to 154TB (7x22TB) with PCI-E RAID controller.

DISPLAY

  • Positioning tip for gaming: If your vision isn’t mostly filled out by the display, you’re too far away.
    • Especially with 4K, you really need to be closer to appreciate the detail, see graph above.
    • However, if you have neck movement, you’re too close.

  • Display recommendations by resolution FOR GAMERS ONLY
    Non-gamers, please do not waste your money on any of the displays listed below, for a display recommendation please submit a ticket
1080p
Size
Make / Model
HDR
Price
24″
400
$269
25″
400
$379
25″
400
$449
25″
400
$829
1440p
Size
Make / Model
HDR
Price
27″
400
$399
27″
600
$519
27″
1000
$799
27″
1000
$899
2160p
Size
Make / Model
HDR
Price
27″
400
$549
32″
600
$799
32″
1000
$1,099
42″
1000
$1,299

ORDERING GUIDE

ORDERING GUIDE
  • Due to availability issues in the industry always secure the GPU order first, then worry about the rest of the parts.
  • If GPU pricing deviates from it’s MSRP, or if the delivery time is unreasonable, another vendor should be chosen or a substitution should be made.
    • For example, smaller 4090’s like Ventus and Founders are frequently marked up from $1,599 to $2,000+ by scalpers on Amazon.
    • Founders can only be purchased at retail stores like Best Buy and Microcenter, those who purchased on Amazon are not from authorized resellers and have no warranty.
  • Each part in PC Part Picker lists can be clicked to see all the available vendors. For example:
  • However, don’t trickle purchase parts, consult with a professional and wait until you have the money for all components before purchasing.
  • Here are a few examples of how trickle purchasing parts usually goes poorly:
    • New hardware released & already stuck with last gen
    • Potentially significant price drops
    • Inability to return defective items due to return window passing as parts sat
    • Loss of warranty duration for however long the parts sat
COMPONENT PRICING
  • If component pricing on any component deviates from MSRP or the various build config prices listed at the top of this page, or if the delivery time is unreasonable, another vendor should be chosen or a substitution should be made.
    • For example:
      • Underpriced intel chips frequently crop up on Amazon, these are actually rebadged last gen models, beware of components that are being sold for less than MSRP.
      • 1x900KS is frequently marked up from $729 to $999 by scalpers on Amazon. If not sold and shipped by Amazon, also has no warranty.
      • In-demand boards are frequently marked up to double the original price, especially on Amazon.
      • High end PSUs are frequently marked up to double the original price.
COLOR SCHEME
  • Almost all cases are available in alternate colors such as white, if you desire a color other than black then adjust your build accordingly.
    • e.g. white motherboard, white power supply / cables, white fans, white CPU cooler, white GPU, white GPU support, etc.
  • Avoid braided PSU extension cables.
    • Cons: Cable management nightmare + adds additional points of failure in power delivery.
  • If different color power cables are desired:
    • Buy a power supply that comes with the cable color you desire included.
      -or-
    • Buy a power supply from a brand that offers different color cable kits such as Corsair.
RGB ECOSYSTEM
  • For air-cooled builds, best to stick to motherboard 3-pin Addressable RGB, avoiding Corsair, NZXT, LianLi, Thermaltake, etc. as they require software that is otherwise not necessary just to control fans and RGB.
  • RGB software is being phased out due to windows integration of RGB control by windows. Learn more: Improved Fan & RGB Control for Gamers
  • For water-cooled builds,
    • For best performance/value ratio, Arctic A-RGB CPU Coolers and Fans
    • For best aesthetics, ICUE LINK Corsair CPU Coolers and Fans

  • If your build features a non-ICUE LINK series Corsair water cooler make sure you get a Pirate Dog ARGB adapter to integrate the case ARGB lighting into the Corsair iCue software.
    • This way you will not need another app to control them.
THERMAL MANAGEMENT
GPU BRAND CHOICE
  • For model selection, please see section GRAPHICS CARD under Component Choices section above.
  • NVIDIA
    • Recommend MSi and nVidia (Founders Edition) GPU brands only.
      • Excellent customer service.
      • Excellent warranty service.
      • Lowest failure rate of all brands.
      • Tend to approve all warranty claims.
    • AVOID ASUS, Gigabyte, PNY, Zotac, XFX
      • Poor build quality.
      • Terrible customer service.
      • Tend to deny warranty claims for any reason possible including but not limited to:
        • broken warranty sticker (illegal in USA)
        • GPU sag (inevitable without a GPU support)
        • dusty fans (inevitable with heavy use)
        • defaced serial number (can fade or peel off with heavy use)
        • superficial scratches or blemishes that do not affect functionality
    • Avoid pre-built GPUs by OEMs like Dell, HP, Lenovo.
      • Terrible build quality and no standalone warranty.
      • Warranty void if removed from original system.
      • Poor performance vs. reference design.
      • Tend to fail within 1-2 years of use.
      • Not worth savings vs. name brand cards.
  • INTEL ARC
    • Recommend ASRock & Intel.
      • Excellent build quality, customer service, warranty service, fast turnaround.
GPU CONDITION PRECAUTIONS
  • Do NOT purchase a used GPU unless from the original owner, they typically have already been used for mining, have a significantly decreased lifespan, and have no warranty as you must provide the original proof of purchase for service.
    • Do NOT purchase a GPU that ships from China. It is either counterfeit or already been used for mining, have a significantly decreased lifespan, and have no warranty as you must provide the original proof of purchase for service.

WARRANTY / CARE

TERM DURATIONS
3 YRS FANS/CASE
3 YRS CPU/MOTHERBOARD/GPU
5 YRS SSD
5-6 YRS AIO
10-12 YRS PSU
Lifetime Memory


PLACEMENT AND CLEANING
Avoid common issues by keeping your system on a desk, not the floor, & regularly cleaning it’s front and bottom dust filters.

It is also very important to change your home A/C filter every month, for you & your computers health. The less you do that, the more often you’ll be cleaning the computer.


MAINTENANCE
Recommend professional cleaning & CPU thermal paste replacement every 2 years, or every year if used in an industrial environment.


BUILDS


REBUILDS


SETUPS

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