Gaming PCs can be affordable but also can be super expensive. Enthusiasts and gamers tend to measure how well their PCs operate by how well games run, while others just want the best bang for their buck. High-end is up for speculation because it can mean different things to different consumers. This high-end tier system offers exotic cooling using Enermax as the foundation for its parts list, and focusing on a green system theme. Enermax Technology Corporation was established in 1990 and has grown into all areas of PC hardware and peripherals. These series of articles are to cover the Enermax systems showcased from PAX East 2017.
With complete system builds you have to keep in mind everything you need on top of your new shiny rig. You have to consider an OS (Operating System), and peripherals. You can always recycle your old parts, but check out guides on the best gaming mice, monitors, and keyboards as well.
In this current build, the system uses a Z270 chipset from Intel which his compatible with Intel’s new Kaby lake CPU or last gen Skylake. The Z270 chipset offers more PCIe lanes which can benefit new storage solutions like NVMe and Intel’s yet to be released Optane memory modules.
I will do my best to keep current links for these parts and prices, but some of these items are new and hard to find in databases like from the PCPARTPICKER website.
|CPU||Intel 7700K||348.89 @ Amazon|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming 5 ATX LGA1151 Motherboard||$194.99 @ Amazon|
|Memory||Kingston Savage 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 Memory||$165.99 @ SuperBiiz|
|Storage||Kingston Savage 240GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive||$109.99 @ Adorama|
|Video Card||Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB G1 Gaming Video Card||$169.99 @ Amazon|
|Case||Enermax OSTROG ATX Mid Tower Case||$109.99 @ NewEgg|
|PSU||Enermax Platimax D.F 600W||$149.99 NewEgg|
Other items not listed here to consider that are included in this build are exotic cooling and case fans. This build uses a custom water loop and Lepa CHOPPER fans. Also, the exotic cooling will add substantially more to your budget due to all the custom parts used.
Exotic cooling like this is perfect for the show floor and the ultimate cooling performance, but can be quite expensive. If you have the budget custom cooling will always reign supreme but there are still great cooling choices available for budget seekers. Enermax offers a wider variety of air and AIO liquid coolers. If you’re looking to save but still want liquid cooling check out the Liqmax II 240. You can also save even more when looking at air coolers. There is an entire debate of air vs liquid when trying to consider a cooler for your PC.
The entire system theme for this build is green, which is why the OSTROG case used is the green LED version and of course the LEPA CHOPPER advanced green fans. Fans are a great way to add extra cooling and performance to your PC. It can also help aesthetically for your build.
The CHOPPER fans are great case fans and offer a patented modular frame wit ha halo ring design. When looking for case fans you have to consider your motherboard layout and thankfully the Gigabyte board used offers plenty of 4pin PWM fan headers. PWM offers variable controlled fan speed so your system isn’t always running the fans at 100% RPM, which can be really noisy.
Unique features of Lepa CHOPPER fans:
- Patented modular frame with LEPA logo halo ring design to increase 30% airflow
- Unique quad-ring LED pattern creates 30 different lighting effects
- Dynamic lighting mode to meet your visual desire
- PWM speed control for the perfect balance between performance and silence
- Patented Barometric Oil less (BOL) bearing for long lifespan and silent spinning and removable fan blade for convenient cleaning
CPU: Intel i7-7700K
The 7700K is one of Intel’s latest processors which offers great performance for any enthusiast system. Compared to the 6700k the 7700k isn’t a huge upgrade but if your building a new PC it offers the best performance to date. Ryzen has since been released but the benchmark numbers for AMD have been all over the place. In my opinion, Intel still reigns supreme but at what cost.
CPUs have become very limited in expansion due to the reality of physical space and die of the CPU. Extreme CPUs exist with some offering 10 or more cores but many people don’t even take advantage of the 4 core parts still. Gaming has a sweet spot and if gaming is your thing then a 4 core part will suit your needs just fine.
The other important thing to keep in mind when considering performance is the ability to overclock your CPU. While today, 5GHz isn’t unheard of, you will want to consider the amount of heat the CPU will add to your overall system temperatures. This is where your cooling choices will matter and the amount of air flow your case fans can provide. Most games, unless they are CPU bound, will see negligible differences in a higher overclock, but overclocking your CPU is a great way to get more for free out of your system. If you’re interested in Intel overclocking guides to check here.
Z270 is Intel’s latest chipset which offers more PCIe lanes for NVMe drives and future support for Intel Optane technology. The Aorus board from Gigabyte offer extreme overclocking with gaming in mind. With RGB lighting zones, you can set your PC to match any system color you want; Setting this to green will be great for our system theme. The board also features the Smart Fan 5 app that can ensure users have the best cooling performance with little noise. There are five different thermal sensors that offer PWN control and are also liquid cooling friendly.
One of the most critical features of a motherboard is the system bios or UEFI. Gigabyte offers an enhanced BIOS interface with Smart Fan 5 control and all the latest overclocking tools at your disposal.
The GA-Z270x-gaming 5 also offers Sound Blaster X-FI MB5 audio with a smart headphone amp. This will ensure multi-channel audio is signal free and give your games the best possible audio.
The Gaming 5 has Killer Networking LAN, 2x USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, 3x PCIe 3.0 slots, and additional NVME capabilities thanks to the Z270 chipset.
Features of the GA-Z270X-Gaming 5:
- Intel Z270
- Supports 7th/6th Generation Intel Core Processors
- DDR4 4133(O.C.)/ 4000(O.C.)/ 3866(O.C.)/ 3800(O.C.)/ 3733(O.C.)/ 3666(O.C.)/ 3600(O.C.)/ 3466(O.C.)/ 3400(O.C.)/ 3333(O.C.)/ 3300(O.C.)/ 3200(O.C.)/ 3000(O.C.)/ 2800(O.C.)/ 2666(O.C.)/ 2400(O.C.)/ 2133
RAM is one of those parts like the motherboard you have to pay close attention to. If you’re looking for the best you want DDR4 and a high-speed kit with low latency. Generally, for gaming speed can play a more important factor than quantity, but only to a certain extent. Depending on what you’re doing 32GB could be overkill for most users.
Most modern gaming systems have a sweet spot of 16GB running in dual channel. 8GB can be okay for most games but at the comparison of cost, 16GB is really affordable. 32GB is more important if you’re getting into the server space, video encoding, or video production.
RAM overclocking and speed will have more of an effect when it comes to overclocking. If your spending in the 3,000- 4,000 dollar range for your PC then you will want high-speed ram to feed your expensive CPU. When it comes to pure gaming performance try and find a good kit for your budget as RAM is in high demand right now and getting more expensive. DDR4 which is used in this system build is getting hard to find and more expensive due to the increased demand of PC enthusiasts and phone manufacturers. The Kingston kit used here is plenty enough for multiple chrome tabs and a perfect smooth gaming expTheence. The 3000MHz kit will have a big impact on overall overclocking performance and keep your systems running really smooth for a long time.
Now that the GTX 1080 TI just launched as the renowned king of GPUs, it’s hard to say yet where this will stand against upcoming AMD vega. Also, the 1080 TI can hurt your wallet even though it’s cheaper than the TITAN X. Video cards are very critical to your gaming experience, but you have to consider a few things before deciding your purchase.
You have to consider what size monitor and what resolution your games will run at. If you’re typically running games at 1080p (192×1080) then a Geforce 1050 TI is an excellent choice. If you are running higher resolutions all the way up to 4k then you will want to consider a more power GPU to push those pixels.
The Gigabyte GTX 1050 TI offers:
- 4GB 128-Bit GDDR5
- Core Clock 1392 MHz in OC Mode
- 1366 MHz in Gaming
- Boost Clock 1506 MHz in OC Mode
- 1480 MHz in Gaming
- 1 x Dual-Link DVI-D 3 x HDMI 2.0b 1 x DisplayPort 1.4
- PCI Express 3.0 x16
This GPU is plenty suitable for competitive games like Overwatch and also has a custom Windforce cooling solution with a 2x fan design.
Power supplies provide critical power to your PC, and it’s important to find one wit ha good rating. The included Platimax PSU is 80 Plus Platinum certified, and that means the PSU is 90% efficient 100% of the time. Typically using lower rated PSUs are fine for gaming and can also save you some money. I generally look for Gold certified but Bronze is an option if you want to save even more money. The lower the standard the less efficient the PSU is at 100%.
In this build, the 600W PSU is more than enough to feed even the exotic cooling in the system. There is often a misconception that people require high wattage PSUs and that it can even benefit for better overclocking but this is simply false. This PSU offers a 5-year warranty and also offers sleeved cable which is made with carefully selected fabric to achieve a smooth and soft texture. Make sure you have a good warranty, good name brand, and good cable management and you should have a reliable system up and running quickly.
Features of the Platimax D.F Series PSU:
- Full Modular
- 80 PLUS PLATINUM Certified
- 100 – 240 V 47 – 63 Hz
- +3.3V@16A, +5V@15A, +12V@50A, -12V@0.3A, 5Vsb@2.5A
- Stylish individual sleeved cable
When considering system storage for best performance you should be looking at an SSD. Prices of SSDs have come way down and is an excellent way to add performance to a slower PC. Most people will typically buy an SSD for their OS volume and then use a mechanical hard disk as a secondary drive.
The Kingston Hyper X Savage offers powerful performance using a phison controller. You can expect speeds up to 560MB/s read and 530MB/s write. The red color does go against the color scheme but this SSD offer some of the best performance you will get in an SATA SSD. Considering this it will either not be visible in the OSTROG case or it could be modded to remove the red color. The drive also offers a low profile design and will work across different system types.
Hyper X Savage overview:
POWERFUL PERFORMANCE, UNPARALLELED DESIGN.
HyperX® Savage solid-state drive offers extreme performance for the extreme performer. The fastest HyperX SATA-based SSD, it’s powered by a quad-core, 8-channel Phison S10 controller that delivers incredible speeds up to 560MB/s read and 530MB/s write, with read/write IOPS up to 100k/89k. The result is ultra-responsive multitasking and an overall faster system that maintains performance even as the drive fills up.
With its low profile and slim, 7mm form factor, HyperX Savage SSD fits in most notebooks, desktops, and HTPC builds. Its unique look, with high-quality red steel and aluminum casing and diamond-cut design, helps you stand out in the crowd and complements the latest PC hardware.
The OSTROG advanced case was used for this build due to its green LED lighting and expansive capabilities. I’ve gotten plenty of opportunities to build with a lot of different cases. The OSTROG offers a ton of room for cooling and a modular design.
The most important things to consider when choosing a case is size, cable management, and PSU placement. The OSTROG offers all of that and more. At over $100 dollars you should expect some premium features for a case. The LED vegas lighting is what makes this case very unique.
- Exclusive ENERMAX LIGHTING LED Technology
- ENERMAX Vegas lighting effects with 6 LED modes
- Toolless design for hassle-free installation
Ostrog ADV, a mid-tower case, is featuring ENERMAX LIGHTING LED Technology. It is the world first computer chassis with LED light strips in the front and on the top panels of which lighting modes are also in sync with the 2 pre-installed ENERMAX Vegas fans. For those who pursue stunning gaming cases, Ostrog ADV is your LED lighting fortress.
The important thing for this system build was the room for mounting our exotic cooling which will add the best cooling performance for the 7700K.
Building a PC like this has its ups and downs. You have to consider every part in order to keep up with your expectations and your budget. If you have the time and money its always better to custom build your PC and tailor it to your needs. When it comes to gaming it’s important to put your money into your GPU and if you simply want the best then make sure you understand what that means for you. With all these system parts this system build totals $1300 Dollars. This PC build guide and the system will be showcased at the Enermax booth at PAX east 2017.