The Elite Gamer ($1200)

This is the #1 best enthusiast gaming PC for $1200 in 2017. All of the parts have been hand picked with the best price to performance in mind.

NOTE: Prices may vary

Parts List:

pcpartpicker overview

The Case

Thermaltake Chaser A31 Snow White

The Thermaltake Chaser Series A31 Snow White ATX Mid Tower Case has everything a good case needs.

First and foremost, the case looks excellent. Any PC enthusiast would be proud to have this in their room.

The inside is just as great as the outside. With 6 internal drive bays, plenty of room for case fans, as well as front panel USB 3.0 headers, the case is rock solid.

There are no 2.5” bays, but most SSDs come with 3.5” bay adapters.

The case has lots of flexibility for cable management. With the help of the semi modular PSU, the insides of your PC will look superb.

Specs:

  • Type: ATX Mid Tower
  • Color: White
  • External 3.5” Bays: 1
  • External 5.25” Bays: 3
  • Internal 3.5” Bays: 6
  • Motherboard Compatibility: ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX
  • Front Panel USB 3.0 Ports: Yes
  • Maximum Video Card Length: 11.42” w/ Drive Cages / 16.14” w/ out Drive Cages
  • Dimensions: 19.69” x 8.39” x 19.49”

Buy your case here

The Processor

Ryzen 5 1600X

In nearly all of my budget builds, I recommend a processor that is just fast enough to get the job done. In other words, a lower end processor that can keep up with the GPU.

At the end of the day, this is all that is necessary. Any well optimized PC game will primarily utilize the power of the GPU.

What does this mean?

Well, it means you don’t NEED the fastest CPU on the market for PC gaming. Only a few games heavily depend on the CPU.

However, a gaming PC is more than just a gaming machine. It is a PC that is capable of much more than just gaming. Some tasks require more CPU power. Furthermore, on a budget like this, having a good CPU is expected.

When you spend $1000 on a gaming PC, you should experience optimal performance at all times. The Ryzen 5 1600X will help to ensure optimal performance.

The Ryzen 5 1600X is an absolute monster. It has 6 cores and 12 threads, making it perfect not only for gaming, but other workstation tasks as well.

It’s new from AMD, and it blows Intel i5 CPUs out of the water. It’s perfect for gaming, editing, streaming, etc.

The 1600X model allows for overclocking as well, further increasing the CPUs power.

Its base frequency is 3.6 GHz, which is the max turbo frequency of its little brother, the 1600.

Specs:

  • Data Width: 64-bit
  • Socket: AM4
  • Operating Frequency: 3.6 GHz
  • Max Turbo Frequency: 4.0 GHz
  • Cores: 6
  • Lithograpgy: 14 nm
  • TDP: 95 Watts
  • Includes CPU Cooler: No
  • Simultaneous Multithreading: Yes

Buy your processor here

The CPU Cooler

Hyper 212 Evo

There are many different makes and models of CPU coolers on the market today. Fan cooling, water cooling, etc.

For this build, the Cooler Master - Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve BEaring CPU Cooler was chosen. It is one of the most popular coolers out there, and for good reason.

It is reliable, and effective. For $30, there isn’t a better option.

Specs:

  • Bearing Type: Sleeve
  • Noise Level: 9.0 - 36.0 dbA
  • Fan RPM: 600 - 2000 RPM
  • Height: 6.26”

Buy your CPU Cooler Here

The Motherboard

MSI - B350 Tomahawk ATX AM4 Motherboard

The MSI - B350 Tomahawk ATX AM4 Motherboard was chosen for this build.

The motherboard BIOS is great and easy to use. It has an AMD B350 chipset, and supports up to 64GB of ram.

This board has all of the features the build needs, all with a low price tag.

When the CPU cache is used up, it draws information from the build’s ram. After all, ram stands for “Random Access Memory”.

This motherboard supports 2400 MHz ram which I sport in all of my builds. This actually increases the CPU performance in CPU intensive tasks.

Specs:

  • Form Factor: ATX
  • CPU Socket: AM4
  • Chipset: AMD B350
  • Memory Slots: 2 x 288-pin DIMM
  • DDR4-1866/2133/2400/2666/2933/3200
  • Maximum Supported Memory: 64GB
  • Crossfire/SLI Support: Crossfire
  • Sata 6 GB/s: 4
  • Onboard Ethernet: 1 x 10/100/1000 Mbps
  • Onboard USB 3.0 Header(s): Yes

Buy your motherboard here

The Ram

2 x 8GB (16GB) of G.Skill - Ripjaws V Series 2400 memory

Though some games still really only need 8GB of ram, 16GB is being recommended for many newer titles. Pretty soon, 16GB of ram will be mainstream.

Since this is an enthusiast build, we tried to “futureproof” the build.

2 x 8GB (16GB) of G.Skill - Ripjaws V Series 2400 memory was chosen for the build. 16GB of ram is always nice to have.

Most games don’t utilize more than 8GB of ram. However, some newer games are recommending the use of 12GB and even 16GB of ram. With such a high end build, 16GB is a must.

Specs:

  • Type: 288-pin DIMM
  • Speed: DDR4-2400
  • 16GB (2 x 8GB)
  • CAS Latency: 15
  • Voltage: 1.2V
  • Heat Spreader: Yes
  • ECC: No
  • Registered: No
  • Color: Black/Red

Buy your ram here

The Hard Drive

Caviar Blue 1TB Hard Drive

The name WD Caviar Blue carries many attributes with it:

  • Mass Storage
  • Reliability
  • Simplicity
  • Speed

These are just a few of the many benefits of owning a WD Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5” 7200RPM internal hard drive.

Not only is this hard drive fast, it is reliable, and cost effective.

Specs:

  • Capacity - 1TB
  • Interface - SATA 6 Gb/s
  • Cache - 64MB
  • RPM - 7200

Buy your hard drive here

The Solid State Drive

PNY CS1311 120GB SSD

In most builds, I skip the SSD and use the money for a more important part like the graphics card.

The SSD has no impact on FPS or graphical settings. However, an SSD does significantly increase boot speeds and loading times.

It’s always nice to have an SSD, and in a build like this, it could not be left out.

For this build, the PNY - CS1311 120GB 2.5” Solid State Drive was chosen. This SSD doesn’t have a ton of storage, but it’s more than enough for your OS, drivers, and some of your favorite games.

Specs:

  • Capacity: 120GB
  • Interface: Sata 6 Gb/s
  • Form Factor: 2.5”

The Graphics Card

Gigabyte - GeForce GTX 1080 8GB WINDFORCE OC Graphics Card

The graphics card is easily the most important part of any gaming PC. Any well optimized PC game will mainly utilize the power of the GPU.

GPUs are used for more than just gaming. In fact, they are also the biggest tool in a miner’s toolbelt.

The GPU chosen for this build is the Gigabyte - GeForce GTX 1080 8GB WINDFORCE OC Graphics Card. This GPU is among the best, if not the best gaming GPU on the market. Furthermore, it’s a great ethereum miner.

Due to ethereum mining the price of this GPU has skyrocketed. Still, it’s an excellent GPU and will achieve the highest possible framerates with excellent resolutions and graphical settings.

With this build, you’ll have over 100 FPS in nearly ALL new titles with 1080p resolution and ultra settings.

Specs:

  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • Chipset: GeForce GTX 1080
  • Memory Size: 8GB
  • Memory Type: GDDR5X
  • Core Clock: 1.66 GHz
  • Boost Clock: 1.80 GHz
  • TDP: 180 Watts
  • Fan: Yes
  • SLI Support: Yes
  • Length: 11.02”
  • Supports G-Sync: Yes
  • DVI-D Dual Link: 1
  • Displayport: 3
  • HDMI: 1

Buy your graphics card here

The Power Supply

Corsair CXM 650W

The Corsair - CXM 650W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi Modular ATX power supply was chosen for the build.

It’s semi modular, which helps keep the cables nice and tidy, as well as improve airflow within the case.

The build draws 400W, but overclocking is intended with this build. After overclocking the CPU and GPU, 650W is more than enough.

Specs:

  • Manufacturer: Corsair
  • Model: CX650M
  • Type: ATX
  • Wattage: 650 Watts
  • Fans: 1
  • Modular: Semi
  • Efficiency Certification: 80+ Bronze
  • PCI-Express 6+2-Pin Connectors: 2

Buy your power supply here