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William George (Puget Labs Technician)

Gaming PC Hardware Recommendations - Winter 2015/2016

Written on December 11, 2015 by William George
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I'm going to keep this post simple, focusing on just four aspects of computer specs which are most important for gaming performance: CPUs, RAM, drives, and video cards. I am going to make three recommendations for each, titled “okay, good, and better”. This is an adaptation from the classic “good, better, best” - specifically leaving “best” out because that is hard to define. The ‘best’ gaming setup is one that is probably a lot more money than most people would want to spend, and frankly is also overkill for the vast majority of folks… but anything less technically wouldn’t be ‘best’.

This is an updated edition of a post I originally did in the spring of 2015, as hardware options have changed since that time. Please note that these are also all options we carry, and they are my (well informed) opinions. There may be other products we don’t carry that some folks feel would be more appropriate in certain positions, but this is my advice as far as it covers what we build here at Puget Systems. So without further ado:

Recommended CPUs:

Most games these days use between 1 - 4 cores, so a quad-core processor at a high clock speed is ideal for gaming.

Okay - Core i5 6500 @ 3.2GHz - Affordable Intel quad-core processor
Good - Core i5 6600K @ 3.5GHz - Only a little more expensive, but about 10% faster
Better - Core i7 6700K @ 4.0GHz - Top clock speed processor from Intel in this generation

Recommended RAM:

You need to have enough memory for the OS, game, and any background applications you run.

Okay - 8GB - Most games are fine with 8GB of memory these days, but some on the horizon that may be able to use more
Good - 16GB - This should be plenty of memory to future-proof a gaming system for the next few years
Better - 32GB - This is really overkill for current games, but if you do other things like video editing or heavy multi-tasking it could help

Recommended Drives:

Drive speed impacts how fast games start up and new levels or maps load, as well as impacting general computer usage.

Okay - Western Digital SE 1TB - Decently fast as hard drives go, and relatively affordable
Good - Samsung 850 EVO Series SSD (120GB to 2TB) - Much faster than a hard drive, and more reliable, but not too expensive
Better - Intel 750 Series SSD (400GB or 1.2TB) - Far faster than traditional SSDs, thanks to the use of PCI-Express instead of SATA

Recommended Video Cards:

I am going to break this category down further, based on screen resolution and refresh rate. This is because higher resolutions require more graphics processing power and dedicated video memory. Further, monitors with higher refresh rates (above the standard 60Hz) also need more power to achieve higher frame rates in games so that the monitor is being used to its full potential. The breakdown between okay, good, and better here is designed with this in mind:

Okay - Decent performance at medium to high quality settings
Good - Decent performance at high to ultra quality settings
Better - Great performance at high to ultra quality settings

1920 x 1080 @ 60Hz (or lower):

Okay - GeForce GTX 950 2GB
Good - GeForce GTX 960 4GB
Better - GeForce GTX 970 4GB

2560 x 1440 @ 60Hz *OR* 

1920 x 1080 @ 120-144Hz:

Okay - GeForce GTX 970 4GB
Good - GeForce GTX 980 4GB
Better - GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB

2560 x 1440 @ 120-144Hz:

Okay - GeForce GTX 980 4GB
Good - GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB
Better - GeForce Titan X 12GB

3840 X 2160 @ 60Hz:

Okay - GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB
Good - 2 x GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB
Better - 2 x GeForce Titan X 12GB

Hopefully those recommendations are helpful to folks! Most of these options can be selected in several of our computers, including the Spirit, Echo Pro (small form factor), and Deluge (for dual video cards). If you want more detailed help with configuring and purchasing a gaming computer, or a system for any other type of usage, please contact our consultants via phone (1-888-784-3872) or email (sales@pugetsystems.com).

Spirit

Purchase

A great all-around computer system with a variety of options and lots of room to expand or upgrade in the future.

 

Echo Pro

Purchase

The Puget Echo Pro is built for users who want maximum performance in a slim computer chassis.

 

Deluge

Purchase

A gaming PC with closed-loop liquid-cooling for the CPU and overclocking options to match.​

Tags: Gaming, PC, Video Card, GeForce, Resolution
Stephens_Chris

How many 980Tis do I need for Minecraft? Can you put them in SLI?

Posted on 2015-12-12 17:55:34

I'd recommend at least 6 Minecraft in SLI, also, don't forget to download at least 1024GB of RAM on the web.

Posted on 2015-12-12 21:34:37
Stephens_Chris

Perfect, I will totally do that! 😉

Posted on 2015-12-12 23:13:27
Harvey Chox

minecraft runs of the cpu so a 980ti cant run minecraft

Posted on 2015-12-22 02:15:47
Harvey Chox

Thats complete bullshit about running a titan x gives u better performance in games than 980ti

what shit is that

they askin someone to spend double the money to get around 5fps less or 5fps more

wow barneclues said this company is good but after putting shit like that in there i dont think ill come back here

Posted on 2015-12-22 02:15:11
John Olson

Do you normally vote up your own posts?

Posted on 2016-02-05 18:41:31

Its not so much about the performance of the GPU, as the doubled amount of video memory. There are situations where, with high resolutions in combination with high quality settings / textures, 6GB of memory may not be enough. There are optional texture packs for Shadow of Mordor, for example, which need 6GB of video card memory - and that is a game that is over a year old at this point. If you are looking toward the future with a gaming PC purchase, and want to be using high resolutions, then there is an argument to be made for considering the Titan X. Though you are right: the 980 Ti is nearly as fast and several hundred dollars less, making it still a good choice :)

Also, it is important not to think of costs in terms of the isolated part. The Titan X is several hundred dollars more than the 980 Ti, and that seems hard to swallow - till you look at it in the grand scheme of a full system. Taking a $4000 gaming rig and spending an extra $500 to go from the 980 Ti to Titan is still a lot, but its a lot less in terms of the % increase in cost than when you look at just the cards by themselves. Just something to think about :)

Posted on 2016-02-05 18:56:38
Harvey Chox

fury x runs shadow of mordor fine with all the texture packs,, this has been proven loads of times

Posted on 2016-03-15 05:51:20