As you have probably noticed, I mainly game on my Xbox One S console, however I am still a PC builder/hobbyist at heart. My full PC build was back in 2016. This was a backup i3 gaming PC that was built mainly with leftover components from other builds along with the cheapest deals I could find.
My current Streaming PC is a custom build I did at the end of 2012. A pre-built 2012 machine nowadays would probably not yield much performance, but because I built this from the ground up, its still alive and kicking and it can still take on upgrades to keep it even more relevant by today's standards. Again, it is decent enough that I am currently using this machine as my streaming PC and don't push much more than 10-20% usage in OBS and it also runs all my real time programs and web apps needed for my live streams. I use a 2017 iBUYPOWER MSI Gaming GE72 as my current Gaming rig and it is connected to my Streaming PC via an Elgato Capture HD card.
While the gaming laptop is a very capable machine, I figured it was time to go all out and put together another beauty of a build for my main gaming PC and save the laptop for travel and work/gaming on the go. So lets get started with this build, shall we?
When I start any PC build, I never go all out and rush to get components. I start with an overall budget and scope out a few of my favorite websites to snag components when they are on sale. Building a PC this way will definitely save you money if you are patient and I would always recommend this method if its not necessarily a priority to go out and buy everything that day. Plan ahead and save cash!
Slickdeals and Reddit/r/Buildapcsales are my go to sites as they are based on user-posted deals that are voted based on popularity. Your front page or 'hot' deals will typically be the best sales and worth looking into.
Disclaimer: Links on this page contain affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Corsair Carbide SPEC-04 Mid-Tower Gaming Case (Black and Red)
Since my last build was years ago, I never really had been part of the RGB lighting crazy and open case displays. I figured why not? Lets jump right in with a Mid ATX case- not too big, not too small and will allow for some future expansion. The full tempered glass side panel will give us some nice ambient lighting once everything is put together.
I love the front panel design of the Corsair Carbide SPEC-04 case and I especially like it in red. The rest of the case is fairly standard and plain, which is what I was after. Decent air flow was also something I was looking for and this case seemed to fit the bill.
Gigabyte X470 AORUS Gaming 7 WIFI
I've always been a fan of Gigabyte and MSI for motherboards as they have bother treated me well over the years. And if I ever had problems, RMA's were never an issue and problems were always resolved quickly. If there is one component I would splurge on, it would be the motherboard as this will help future-proof your purchase and will extend the life of your machine. With that said, my two choices were socket 1151 for Intel or AM4 for AMD. I don't really have a bias towards Intel, but my last few builds (whether my own or for friends) have been Intel as performance has always been top notch. However the generation 2 AMD Ryzen processors totally intrigued me with its performance and price point. The AMD chip also then narrowed it down to AM3 or AM4 motherboards. The first gen AM3 Ryzen boards supposedly work fine with a BIOS update and I could have saved some money, but again, with a new build and a little spending cushion, I figured why not go all out with the latest gen 2 AM4 boards. I ultimately went with the Gigabyte AORUS series honestly because of the loads of features, the built-in RGB design, and the overall sleek look of the board. The AORUS' RGB Fusion seem to have decent compatibility with other components I was looking at. I went with the higher tier Gaming 7 model which include the following features:
- Supports AMD Ryzen™ 2nd Generation / Ryzen™ 1st Generation
- Dual Channel ECC/ Non-ECC Unbuffered DDR4, 4 DIMMs
- 10+2 Phase IR Digital PWM Design
- Fins-Array Heatsink & Direct Touch Heatpipe
- 2-Way CrossFire/ SLI Graphics Support with Dual Armor and Ultra Durable™ Design
- Intel® 802.11ac Wave2 2T2R WIFI & BT 5
- ALC1220-VB Enhance 114dB(Rear)/ 110dB(Front) SNR in Microphone and Built-in ESS SABRE DAC with WIMA Audio Capacitors
- Dual Ultra-Fast M.2 with NVMe PCIe X4 with Dual Thermal Guard
- RGB FUSION with Multi-zone LED Light Show Design, Supports Digital LED & RGB LED Strips
- Swappable Overlay for Accent LED
- Intel® Ethernet LAN with cFOS Speed Internet Accelerator
- USB DAC-UP 2 with Adjustable Voltage
- Integrated Base Plate & I/O Shield Armor
- Rear Power/Reset/Clear CMOS Button
- CEC 2019 Ready, Save Power with a Single Click
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler
While the 2nd gen Ryzen's are still fairly new at the time of this writing, the reviews are in and the benchmarks look fantastic. The 2700x definitely holds its own against the 8700k relative to price and performance. The Ryzen has its pluses and minuses, but what basically sold me was the additional cores hence better multi-threading performance. The Intel 8700k still wins out with faster clock speeds and slightly better gaming performance, but you cant get wrong for the money. Plus I was able to knock off an additional $50 off with a flash eBay coupon. Score.
While the included Wraith Prism cooler looks great, I set this aside for now and opted for an all in one water system.
Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120L RGB AIO CPU Liquid Cooler 120mm Radiator
Again with this being my first build in a few years, I have not had the privilege of having consumer water cooling options available. Although the stock Ryzen RGB fan is pretty sweet, I figured why not jump into water cooling. The Cooler Master fit the bill as it was on sale and of course the RGB Fusion compatible RGB helped sell it. With some modifications, the Spec 04 case could handle a 240mm cooler, but I decided to just stick with a 120mm.
MSI Armor MK2 Radeon RX 580 8GB GDRR5 Graphics Card
At the time of this writing, GPU's are still fairly overpriced due to cryptocurrency mining although deals for MSRP are starting to pop back up, as sad as that sounds. Again with GPU's you have the choice of Nvidia vs AMD. I've usually gone the Intel/Nvidia route, but this time around I figured lets match up and go with the Radeon RX 580x. I can save a little cash by going with the AMD card, but I would be suffering a bit in performance as the RX 580x relates to the GTX 1060 line. I also wanted to try out the AMD FreeSync capabilities in my main display. Best Buy was running a sale for $250 plus a $20 rebate on the MSI version so I had to jump on it. Unfortunately this card doesn't have and fancy RGB lighting on it, but lets see if the overall build can compensate for it. I would have shelled out another $100+ for the matching Gigabyte AORUS RGB Fusion card, but I decided to put that cash elsewhere in the build.
G.SKILL TridentZ RGB Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 3000MHz (PC4 24000) Desktop Memory
RAM was a pretty straight forward purchase in this situation. RGB was a must to go with the overall theme along with AORUS Fusion compatibility to allow full color control. Some other specs I was after:
- 8 GB (x2)
- 3000 MHz minimum
- 16-18-18-38 timing
3200 MHz boost seemed fairly negligible and not a premium I am willing to pay at this point.
So with this criteria, I was left with a few options on the cheaper end. It was between G.Skill and Team T-Force memory with the current available sales.
Both sets of RAM ran sub $200, which again is pretty insane considering I paid half that cost during my last build. But RAM is kinda a big deal so I went with the G.Skill TridentZ, mainly because I liked the simplicity of the top profile of the RGB panel.
Corsair CS Series, CS650M, 650 Watt, Semi Modular Power Supply, 80+ Gold Certified
A simple power supply calculator put me in the ballpark of where I need to be with some breathing room for future upgrades. To be honest, I just went with one of the power supply brands I've used in the past and trust- Corsair. I went with what was on sale and was at least semi-modular. The Corsair CS650M fit the bill at the time had a rebate that brought it down to $50.
Mushkin Reactor 960GB Internal Solid State Drive
I've got gigs of available network storage for days and SSD prices have been on their way down so I didn't feel the need to go out all and throw gigs and gigs of storage in this build. A simple 1 TB 2.5" SSD at a sale price would do fine for handling my OS and games. The AORUS board has dual M.2 expansion, which will be nice to experiment with down the road with an M.2 Raid, but again for now a 512 GB M.2 will also do.
Inland Professional 512GB 3D NAND M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe Gen 3 x2 Internal Solid State Drive
I wanted to take advantage of the M.2 slots so I went out and picked up a 512 GB NVME card. Installation was simple and it was nice that the motherboard came with the hold down screw as well as some heatsinks. I am excited to check out the blazing fast read and write NVME speeds.
LG Electronics 8X USB 2.0 Super Multi Ultra Slim Portable DVD
Rewriter External Drive
I didn't want to bother crowding up the case with a bulky 3.5" DVD or Blu Ray drive so I went with a simple USB DVD Writer to get the OS installed and just to have a portable optical option. We also run some Macbook Airs in the house and as you may know, there aren't optical drives in these so this will come in handy.
PCCooler Corona Angel Eye AURA RGB Gigabyte/MSI/ASRock RGB Sync Supported - 120mm Super Silent Cooling
Most of the top name RGB case fans are ridiculously expensive as you are forced to pay for the RGB premium at around $30+ per 120 mm fan. I decided to take a risk and go with a lesser known brand that had decent reviews and worked with AORUS Fusion software. I decided to try out the PCCooler Corona Angel fans. One thing I really liked was the fact that the RGB is a single strip that gives off more of a low key ambient glow.
Phanteks: RGB LED Strip Combo Set
I wasn't sure if additional case lighting would be overkill or not as I wasn't sure what to expect with the motherboard lighting, cooler and case fans. I went ahead and picked up some LED strip lighting to run along a portion of the inside case perimeter to add to the ambient effect. This set is fully compatible with AORUS Fusion software when connected via the motherboard controller pins.
LED Splitters and connectors
Each RGB product came with some RGB cables and connectors, but I went ahead and grabbed some extras just in case I ran into to any length or input issues. This splitter will also allow me to gang multiple runs together into a single motherboard input. My board has multiple RGB inputs but only a limited amount of the 3 and 4 pin adapters. Plus its always a good idea to have some additional connectors on hand because they are pretty easy to lose track of.
JACKYLED 6.6Ft 60 LED Backlight Strip USB Lighting RGB w/ Mini Controller (Desk accent lighting)
Lets wrap things up with some additional accent lighting for the desk. This controller will run independently from the motherboard lighting obviously, but I figured it would be a good way to tie the stream station into the room.
Corsair Strafe RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Cherry MX Brown Switch
Since I am on this RGB kick, I am going to go all out with the accessories. A new mouse was in order anyway and I wanted to go to a full keyboard from my 10-keyless so I went with the Corsair line. While the software won't sync up with the RGB Fusion of the build, the Corsair CUE software will sync up everything on the outside of the tower. I've been a big fan of Brown mechanical switches because I like the tactile feel of Blues but cannot stand the click sound. Browns are essentially Blues without the click: Problem solved. There was a great deal on a refurbished keyboard so I went ahead and picked it up.
- Cherry MX Brown Mechanical
- RGB LED
- Selectable 8ms, 4ms, 2ms, 1ms and BIOS mode
- 100% anti-ghosting and 104 Key Rollover
- On-board Memory
- FN key multimedia keys
- WIN Lock
- Detachable soft touch wrist rest
- USB Pass-through port
- FPS and MOBA keycap sets
- RGBShare Community for custom lighting maps for games and animations
Corsair Glaive - RGB Gaming Mouse - 16000 DPI - Aluminum
My trusty Razer Naga started having right click issues so I took this opportunity to get some more RGB in my life. Enter the Corsair Glaive. Fully compatible with Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) software.
- Contoured shape: Designed so you can game longer without fatigue
- Custom, gaming grade 16000 dpi optical sensor: settable to 1 DPI steps
- 3 Interchangeable thumb grips
- Onboard profile storage: Saves lighting effects, macros and DPI settings for universal access to your profile on any PC
- Surface calibration tuning utility: Optimizes sensor precision and responsiveness for your playing surface
- All-new, high-performance Omron switches rated for 50 million clicks: Custom tuned for gaming, providing an ultrafast response and reliability over time
- Dynamic multicolor 3-zone backlighting: Customizable backlighting immerses you in the game by providing nearly unlimited lighting adjustability
Corsair MM800 Polaris RGB Mouse Pad
The matching RGB mouse pad was a must since the mouse and keyboard are Corsair. The Polaris hard surface is great for tracking and is large enough for most gamers. The accent RGB lighting is pretty solid. The thickness of the RGB band is a bit bigger than the headset stand so it stands out a bit more, which is a little annoying, but I'll get over it.
Corsair ST100 RGB - Premium RGB Gaming Headset Stand with 7.1 Surround Sound Headphone Audio
Sure I wanted something to rest my headset on other than my desk or monitor, but was this really necessary? Absolutely. This thing is built like a tank and the two USB 3 ports will come in handy. I don't know if I will have much use for the simulated 7.1 , but I will give it a try at some point.
Dual Monitor Mount
WALI Universal Dual LCD Monitor Fully Adjustable Desk Mount Stand
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit OEM - PC Disc
Main PC Display
BenQ ZOWIE 27 inch eSports Gaming Monitor - 1440p, 144Hz , 1ms (XL2730)
I was never really a big display freak and typically just bought monitors that were on sale at the time whenever I needed one. My current setup consists of an archaic Viewsonic 24" IPS display and an LG Ultrawide. The Viewsonic is my secondary and it serves a dual purpose of PC and console displays. The Ultrawide is my current main display on my streaming PC. I decided to grab two more monitors and step up the size to 27". I've heard nothing but good things about BenQ refurbs and they were running some sales so I jumped on it. The RL eSports console series is very well known and respected so I went ahead with that for my console display. For my main PC display I wanted to also upgrade to a 27". The main features I was looking for were 1440p, 144 Hz and of course FreeSync to take advantage of my AMD components. The BenQ XL eSports series fit the bill here.
BenQ ZOWIE 27 inch eSports Gaming Monitor - 1080p, 1ms (RL2755)
I was looking to upgrade my monitor for my console gaming as well, going from 24 to 27 inch. Since graphics settings are limited by the console, I settled for a 1080p 60 Hz eSports monitor with a nice quick response time of 1 ms. I debated on going all out for a full 4k monitor now in case I upgraded to the Xbox One X or even wanted to take advantage of the Xbox One S 4k up-converting, but decided to hold off for now.