Spec me a gaming PC... (Updated 02/08/2016)

Sniper Ash6

Distinguished Member
Following on from @Chox1988's thread from 2012, as things have moved on a fair bit since it was last updated I've created updated specs for the same price points as he did due to them being commonly asked for. Namely, those are:

Similar to the original thread, a few things to note:
  • First and foremost, this is a guide of parts you can buy to build yourself a gaming PC. The builds are entirely feasible to buy and use but use them as, well, a guide, a basis and as pointers, do some research and ask away in this thread.
  • The builds are based around Intel/Nvidia components, that doesn't mean they're all you should consider or buy. AMD make some good CPUs and GPUs for different price point.
  • I will recommend some changes alongside the specs, these are examples of variations that you may prefer, may be able to stretch to dependent on budget or that may give a personal touch to the system.
  • All builds exclude the following:
    • Operating System
    • Keyboard/Mouse
    • Monitor(s)
    • Optical (DVD) drive
    • Any other peripherals
  • All items are new and almost all of the prices are not sale prices (for the very few which are, alternatives are available for a similar cost or the normal price is not that much more) so this is more relevant than just the day or week I've created/updated it. You can save some money by looking out for deals and potentially from shopping around although it's worth watching out for shipping costs wiping out any savings.
  • All builds are aimed at gaming, for other uses these may be a good basis but those other uses may benefit from certain changes so it may be best to ask.
  • Stopping at a budget of £1500 is by no means because that's the most you can spend, it's just in the area of the highest budget commonly asked for.
  • As a rule I've worked to in these specs, all builds will be within about 10% of the budget, excluding delivery.
  • For the ease of speccing the builds, the prices and screenshots are from OcUK but there are many great retailers around where you will be able to buy equally good components, get different deals (e.g. motherboard bundles) and some will even build the system for you for a charge.
    Edit: Although it has been time consuming in this update (November 2015) I have also included builds from Scan. Not only do AVF members get free delivery here it shows some of the variance in price and part availability with another supplier. Scan are another retailer who offer motherboard bundles and will build a system to your spec should you want them to.
Update 02/08/2016: Having just spent a good chunk of time again redoing all these specs from scratch on both sites I thought I'd point out a few things. In general, prices have gone up a good chunk! Brexit is largely to blame I imagine but things like CPUs have gone up a fairly large amount in a few months - the i5-6500 went from £160 to £185 for instance. There are some components which have dropped over the time as they're more readily available or as things have moved on helping balance it out in some places but I'm struggling to be able to recommend Haswell-E (or its more expensive replacement, Broadwell-E). Z170 and Skylake has a lot going for it.

The new Nvidia GPUs are mostly quite expensive but they fit in pretty well. The GTX1060 is a great card at its price point. It beats the 970 and 980 as well as AMD's similar offerings while being pretty affordable.

I'm struggling with a lack of time at the moment when I can I will check through these specs again to make sure there isn't anything I'd want to change. As mentioned above though, they're only a guide, use it to do your own research and post in here to get some help or get confirmation before you pull the trigger.
 
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Sniper Ash6

Distinguished Member
£400

OcUK Build:
OcUK400.png


Scan Build:
Scan400.png


Potential Changes:
  • Different case (personal opinion, there are many out there). I've tended to go for one from a known brand but a lower end and fairly minimalistic (in terms of styling) one
  • Larger hard disk
 
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Sniper Ash6

Distinguished Member
£500

OcUK Build:
OcUK500.png


Scan Build:
Scan500.png


Potential Changes:
  • Different case (personal opinion, there are many out there). I've tended to go for one from a known brand but a lower end and fairly minimalistic (in terms of styling) one
  • Larger hard disk
  • ATX motherboard and case
 
Last edited:

Sniper Ash6

Distinguished Member
£600

OcUK Build:
OcUK600.png


Scan Build:
Scan600.png


Potential Changes:
  • Different case (personal opinion, there are many out there). I've tended to go for one from a known brand but a lower end and fairly minimalistic (in terms of styling) one
  • Larger hard disk
 
Last edited:

Sniper Ash6

Distinguished Member
£750

OcUK Build:
OcUK750.png



Scan Build:
Scan750.png


Potential Changes:
  • Different case (personal opinion, there are many out there). I've tended to go for one from a known brand but a lower end and fairly minimalistic (in terms of styling) one
  • Larger hard disk
 
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Sniper Ash6

Distinguished Member
£1000

OcUK Build:
OcUK1000.png


Scan Build:
Scan1000.png


Potential Changes:
  • Different case (personal opinion, there are many out there). I've tended to go for one from a known brand but a lower end and fairly minimalistic (in terms of styling) one
  • Larger hard disk
  • Larger SSD
  • Different cooling components
  • Swapping motherboard based on needs - e.g. a mATX board and mATX case
 
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Sniper Ash6

Distinguished Member
£1500 - Skylake (Z170)

OcUK Build:
OcUK1500-Skylake.png


Scan Build:
Scan1500.png


Potential Changes:
  • Different case (personal opinion, there are many out there). I've tended to go for one from a known brand but a lower end and fairly minimalistic (in terms of styling) one
  • Larger (or another) hard disk
  • Larger (or another) SSD
  • Different cooling components
  • Swapping motherboard based on needs/features - e.g. a mATX board and mATX case
  • Add case fans
  • Beefier power supply to allow for SLI in the future

£1500 - Haswell E (X99)

OcUK Build:
OcUK1500-HaswellE.png


Scan Build:
Scan1500-HaswellE.png


Potential Changes:
  • Different case (personal opinion, there are many out there). I've tended to go for one from a known brand but a lower end and fairly minimalistic (in terms of styling) one
  • Larger (or another) hard disk
  • Larger (or another) SSD
  • Different cooling components
  • Swapping motherboard based on needs/features - e.g. a mATX board and mATX case
  • Add case fans
  • Better power supply to allow SLI in the future
 
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Cha1ky

Distinguished Member
Great work Ash. Thanks for putting the time in for this. Should help a lot of people.
 

Jsnatch

Active Member
Awesome templates, This will be a great "goto" thread when people ask for help.
 

Chuck Norris

Distinguished Member
I would also note that an OEM CPU only comes with a 1 year warranty where as the Retail box comes with a 3 year warranty, generally there's a tenner difference between the two..
 

WildeKarde

Well-known Member
Any reason the skylake has twice the SSD size and half the ram? Was it just to get in to fit the budget?

Might have been good to have both the same with exception of the CPU and motherboard and let them fall around the budget
 

Cha1ky

Distinguished Member
Any reason the skylake has twice the SSD size and half the ram? Was it just to get in to fit the budget?

Might have been good to have both the same with exception of the CPU and motherboard and let them fall around the budget
Don't think you can buy quad channel memory in 8gb. Normally comes in 16gb and 32gb.
 

WildeKarde

Well-known Member
Don't think you can buy quad channel memory in 8gb. Normally comes in 16gb and 32gb.

Just thought for building would be good to have both top specs as close as they can to each other for comparison.
 

Sniper Ash6

Distinguished Member
Any reason the skylake has twice the SSD size and half the ram? Was it just to get in to fit the budget?

Might have been good to have both the same with exception of the CPU and motherboard and let them fall around the budget
16GB is the least you can get for a quad channel DDR4 (4x 4GB) set up and for most people it's more than will be needed so with some of the other savings in the Skylake build (e.g. the motherboard difference) it allows the spec to be balanced slightly differently where 8GB is still enough. It's perfectly possible to go for 2x 8GB DIMMs in the Skylake setup and that only costs ~40 quid more
 

broona

Moderator
Is it worth getting a M2/PCIE SSD drive over a SATA one as a Windows drive? I'd be very tempted by a Samsung SM951 if I was building a new machine but would like to know if the real world performance differences are tangible?
 

thekeemo

Active Member
Is it worth getting a M2/PCIE SSD drive over a SATA one as a Windows drive? I'd be very tempted by a Samsung SM951 if I was building a new machine but would like to know if the real world performance differences are tangible?
Not all too much on the other hand NVME is very very very fast
 

broona

Moderator
Not all too much on the other hand NVME is very very very fast

Yeah, it was the NVME variant I was looking at, it will probably be next year before I get round to building something to upgrade from my 3570k, sure something newer and shinier will be around by then though! ;)
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
My SM951 went pop which I wasn't happy about when I tried to upgrade to Windows 10. For some reason my backup decided not to back up my Witchers 3 Saved game so looks like I have lost a ton of progress :(

I took it back to Scan yesterday hoping they would have some NVMe ones in stock but alas no so back with the same.

I read an in depth review which I can't find now which compared Samsung top end SATA vs AHCI vs NVMe. There were differences in between all 3 more so between SATA vs AHCI interestingly as the IOPs for the AHCI seem understated. In the real world it was also quite difficult to hit the NVMe upper end so diminishing returns.
 
  • For the ease of speccing the builds, the prices and screenshots are from OcUK but there are many great retailers around where you will be able to buy equally good components, get different deals (e.g. motherboard bundles) and some will even build the system for you for a charge.

Maybe just add links to other retailers for those they done know. Dabs, Scan, Ebuyer, Aria. Its also worth while signing up for their newsletters as they generate offer based emails.
 

Det

Distinguished Member
Hi all, I'm new to PC Gaming... so new, I don't even have my rig yet. Technically I'm not entirely new, but I've been out of it for at least 7 years so I've lost touch with everything.

I am going to start saving up for a PC rig as of today and only game on my PS4 and XB1 with exclusives.

I'm assuming it's better to just start fresh than try to upgrade an off the shelf home PC 1 piece at a time. Like swap out the motherboard, then work on video card, ram, etc?

Which of the above can run a game at 1080p x 60fps on Ultra and then high?
 

Det

Distinguished Member
What kind of games are you interested in?
Every game.

Seriously, you should take a look at my gaming library as it is and my 14% completion rate of games on PS systems. lol. So PC gaming may just save me some money.

I want to experience them all at least. Unless they are really crappy. Right now I'm into the single player experiences, but I go through phases of loving MP games (latest being Destiny, Titanfall, etc).
 

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