Amazing $1200 gaming PC build to dominate 1440p

In $900-$1400, Custom Builds by Branton319 Comments

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If you’re looking to build a powerful gaming PC capable of maxing games out in 1440p for around $1200, then this is the one you need. The powerful GTX 1070 is more than capable of handling 1440p gaming and it’s seriously going to blow your mind when paired with the brand new i5 7600K!

This build is exactly what you’re looking for if you want to build a strong PC with the brand new GTX 1070, the only way you could really make it any stronger is by upgrading the i5 7600K to an i7 7700K… or going with a GTX 1080 instead!

Without drawing this introduction out any longer, let’s get down to the build!

  • A couple different styled/sized screwdrivers
  • Anti-static wristband (optional but suggested)
  • Patience

That’s about all you’re going to need, seriously. If this is your first attempt at building your own gaming PC, you’re going to want to be well-informed before you tackle the actual build process. There are a lot of walk-throughs and guides on YouTube, and a lot of these are really great to follow, I would highly recommend checking a couple out.

It’s not that building your desktop is going to be hard, but there are some things to take into consideration when doing it, grounding yourself so you don’t fry your new parts with static for instance.

If you’re still thinking that it’s a super-difficult process, just click (or tap) below, skim through the video, and then you’ll know for sure.

Here are the basic steps that I follow when building:
  1. Install the Power Supply into the Case
  2. Install the processor (make sure the arrows line up)
  3. Install RAM (make sure they are in the right way before you try to seat them!)
  4. Mount the CPU cooler
  5. Place the rear I/O plate
  6. Mount the motherboard to the case (get your i/o ports through and use the middle standoff as a guide)
  7. Plug your GPU in
  8. Install any storage
  9. Plug everything into the appropriate spots
  10. Turn it on / Install OS & drivers!

Video Walkthrough

Instead of me typing out a ton of words to explain this process, why not watch this video put together by EasyPCbuilder.com? He does a great job of explaining everything in detail, and is going to get you running in 30 minutes.

Keep in mind that it’s not the exact same build, but the overall process is going to be very similar. Building your PC is going to be a lot easier than you will think, so make sure you don’t stress yourself too much!

1440p Killing $1200 Gaming PC Build

Updated: February 10th, 2017

  • Phanteks P400 "Tempered Glass" Edition

    Great cable mangement, great cooling profile, PSU shroud, big side window, integrated RGB lighting & comes with a 300mm RGB light strip!
    View

  • Gigabyte GA-Z270XP-SLI

    ATX form factor, Z270 chipset (supports CPU overclocking), integrated 5.1 audio, built-in ethernet controller and a total of 7 USB ports.
    View

  • Intel i5 7600k

    3.8GHz core clock/4.2GHz boost clock, LGA 1151 socket (Kaby Lake), 6MB cache. Unlocked (supports overclocking)
    View

  • EVGA GTX 1070 SC ACX 3.0

    8GB GDDR5, 256-bit memory, amazing performance, great cooling & comes with a backplate & LED lighting!
    View

  • EVGA SuperNOVA 650 G1

    Semi-modular, 650W, up to 90% efficiency – this PSU won’t let you down!
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  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 RAM

    2x8GB 3000MHz dual channel pair, CL15.
    View

  • WD Blue 1TB HDD

    1TB, 3.5 inch, 7200 RPM, 64MB cache.
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  • Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD

    2.5 inch, 540MB/s read, 520MB/s write.
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  • Cryorig H7

    After market heatsinks/coolers help keep your CPU cool when overclocking!
    View

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Potential Upgrades

Although not entirely necessary, some add ons like optical drives can sometimes improve your experience. If you’re installing your operating system from a disc opposed to a USB flash drive, then you’ll definitely need an optical drive.

  • Corsair H80i Liquid CPU Cooler

    Instead of air cooling for your CPU, why not try a closed loop liquid cooler? Corsair’s Spec 02 case is guaranteed to work with the H80i.
    *You don’t need air cooling if you’re choosing to run liquid cooling!
    View

  • Samsung 950 PRO M.2 NVMe SSD

    Conventional SSDs are pretty quick, but they can’t hold a light to the speed of an M.2-based NVMe SSD like the insanely fast 950 PRO! Up to 270,000 read IOPS, or 180,000 more than the 850 EVO!
    View

  • Samsung Ultra-Slim External CD DVD±R/RW

    A lot of people are moving away from internally mounted optical drives, and it’s easy to see why! This external ODD is definitely one of the cheaper & better options to consider.
    View

Details

For a little more than $1200, this GTX 1070-powered gaming PC is absolutely insane! It has more than enough power to completely blow your mind over and over again as you try your favorite games on it in either 1080p or 1440p! Keep in mind that the price above is for the core components only, you will still need an operating system, and any other peripherals you don’t currently have.

Phanteks makes great cases and the P400 “Tempered Glass” Edition is absolutely no exception – in fact it’s one of my favorites! It offers up great cable management with rubber grommets for the holes and a very expandable cooling profile just for starters. It comes with integrated RGB LED lighting both inside and out, and Phanteks also provides you with a supplementary 300mm RGB LED light strip in case you need more lighting. There are multiple color schemes available for the P400 “Tempered Glass” Edition, so if you’re not a big fan of the red/black scheme then there might be another one you like more!

The brand new i5 7600K comes with a few upgrades over the older i5 6600K and when paired with a Z270 chipset motherboard is going to perform like a dream. If you’re a fan of overclocking, you’re going to love this CPU’s capabilities and how far it can go.

The Gigabyte GA-Z270XP-SLI motherboard is a very solid board with a great set of features. It’s running the brand new Z270 chipset and will support CPU overclocking without an issue, has 6x USB 3.0 ports and 1x USB 3.1, 8x SATA ports, and integrated 7.1 audio. It also has support for 2-way SLI setups, if that’s something you’re interested in.

The GTX 1070 is a complete and utter powerhouse when it comes to 1440p 60Hz or 1080p 144Hz gaming – and it can even take you into 4K if you don’t mind lowering some settings – the GTX 1070, simply put, is the best value GPU available right now. The SC ACX 3.0 model from EVGA is a great performer with solid cooling and it’s one of the best-priced options available right now. The LED lighting is not RGB, but for $20 more or so you can get the FTW version which does have RGB lighting.

16GB of 3000MHz DDR4 RAM is a great amount and speed for a gaming PC at this level. Corsair’s LPX lineup is really awesome which is probably why it has nearly 5-star reviews pretty much everywhere. That said, there are other options available that come with LED lighting and things like that if you’re looking for something a little different.

EVGA’s G-series of modular power supplies are easily some of the most reliable units out there. The 650W G1 is plenty for this build and it comes with a 10-year warranty which is great as it shows that EVGA believes in their product!

As far as storage goes, I picked you out a relatively standard HDD/SSD combo, and you’re going to have 1.25TB of space between the two drives, with the HDD holding 1TB and the SSD with 250GB. I would suggest installing your operating system to your SSD, as well as any games/programs you’re going to use a lot. Everything else can go on your HDD.

cryorig-h7Last up is our CPU cooler (the i5 7600K doesn’t come with a stock cooler). I picked out an awesome little cooler from Cryorig, and it’s going to work great to keep your temps low, even with a light overclocking. If you’re interested in changing the fans, it’s easy to do and all you need are some 120mm fans preferably with a high static pressure like the Corsair SP120. If you wanted to go with liquid cooling instead, then the Corsair H80i would be a great choice.

All-in-all, this build is phenomenal, for $1200 you’d be hard-pressed to get a better gaming PC anywhere, and that’s a fact.

Operating System

When it comes down to picking an operating system for your build, you have a couple of options. One is free, the other is about $100.

windows-10-homeWindows is the first, and probably best option for the most people – specifically Windows 10. Not only is DirectX 12 a Windows 10 exclusive, but if you’re looking to play some Forza Horizon 3 on your new PC, well, it’s also a Windows 10 exclusive. When it comes to picking out your copy, Windows 10 Home is all that’s necessary, and you even have the option of buying an OEM disc or the significantly faster USB flash drive installer.

The free option would be downloading a copy of a Linux-based operating system like Ubuntu and going from there, there are other options but Ubuntu is generally the best. Although pretty decent, there are some downsides to running a Linux-based system, like less compatibility for games / programs.

Extras

If this is the absolute first gaming PC you’ve ever owned, then chances are high that you don’t have a very good keyboard + mouse combo, or that your monitor is sub-par to really enjoy your experience.

If you don’t already have these basic peripherals, you’re definitely going to want them. At the very least you’re going to need a keyboard, a mouse, some kind of audio, and a monitor. Luckily for you, we’ve featured some awesome products to cover each of these basic needs, just check them out!

  • BenQ XL2411Z

    A very solid 24-inch 1080p 144hz monitor with a 1ms response time. There are lots of other options but this is definitely one to consider!
    View

  • Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum

    Romer-G mechanical switches. Customizable RGB backlighting. All-around amazing keyboard for around $120!
    View

  • Razer DeathAdder

    Razer’s DeathAdder is an awesome gaming mouse offering great accuracy and a lot of comfort!
    View

  • Creative Sound BlasterX H7

    Creative’s Sound BlasterX H7 is an absolutely amazing headset that’ll completely blow you away!
    View

  • Reflex Lab Mouse Pad

    Super smooth, very accurate, and extremely comfortable to use! Reflex Lab mouse pads are available in 4 sizes from your basic 9″ x 8″ right up to a whopping 36″ x 18″!
    View

WiFi

Personally, I prefer using a wired internet connection over a WiFi connection, and this build would support that right away. But, if you absolutely have to use a WiFi connection, then you’re also going to need some kind of WiFi adapter.

There are a few options, but i’ll give you 2 for now. First, you could get a decent USB-based WiFi adapter for about $20 that would work well enough. Or alternatively, you could grab an internally mounted WiFi adapter for about $35, which would be the more reliable option in the long run.

  • TP-LINK TL-WDN4800

    Internally mounted WiFi adapter. 2.4GHz or 5GHz.
    View

  • TP-LINK TL-WN722N

    USB WiFi adapter. 2.4GHz
    View

Conclusion

For right around $1200, this build will keep you comfortably gaming for years to come. No big upgrades will be needed for a reaaaaally long time, and it’s not going to have any issues running games maxed out for the same amount of time. The GTX 1070 is a complete beast and it’s going to blow your mind, I just know it!

This PC is really a thing of beauty, you would be seriously hard-pressed to find a better $1200 build anywhere. This badass build is using some of the newest and best hardware that you could use, and it’s going to be noticeable from the first time you boot up your favorite game!

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or whatever else, feel free to leave it below! 

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Author

Branton

The first game that I ever played on a PC was Ultima Online in 1999, and since then I have been hooked on PC gaming, and putting together awesome builds. Thanks for stopping by!

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319 Comments on “Amazing $1200 gaming PC build to dominate 1440p”

  1. Hi Branton I’m having a hard time with the power supply and motherboard. The 8 pin power connection that runs between my power supply cpu1 and jpwr2 does not fit. It’s the very last part of my build but I don’t seem to have a cord that correlates with the pattern for the both. And I bought everything the exact same as your build. Am I losing my mind? Any tips.?

    1. Hey Ian,

      Sorry to hear that! You will have to use the 8-pin (or 4+4) power connector for the jpwr2 header and the 6+2 for the CPU power.

  2. The cryorig h7 cooler is not available in my country is their another cpu cooler that would be in the same price range and would fit in the spec alpha case easily and ships to France without major costs?

  3. Hello!
    I’m trying to build my first built pc and I ended up with this. It’s more or less your list but with some improvements.

    Case: Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-ALPHA
    Motherboard: MSI Z170A-SLI MSI
    CPU: Intel Core i5 – 6600K
    GPU: Asus GeForce ROG STRIX GTX1080 A8G
    RAM: Corsair CMK16GX4M1B3000C15 16 GB Vengeance LPX DDR4
    SSD: Samsung 850 EVO 250GB
    HHD: WD 1TB HDD
    Cooler: Cryorig H7

    What do you think of this and is there anything you could suggest would be better?
    Thanks in advance

    1. Hey Andy,

      While you were leaving your comment I was actually updating the build 🙂 You might want to take another look and potentially swap out your 6600K for the brand new 7600K and your Z170 chipset mobo for a brand new Z270 chipset mobo.

      Otherwise, everything looks great!

    1. Hey Kelvin,

      This is a very strong build, it’s capable of running any game you can imagine on the highest settings in 1080p with perfect performance, it can also handle 1440p gaming with relative ease 🙂

      Hope that helps!

    1. Hey Richard,

      That case would work just fine 🙂 There aren’t any 5.25″ addons which include just an SD card port and USB 3.0, but there are lots like this one which include all sorts of memory ports (including SD) and a couple of USB 3.0 ports.

      Hope that helps!

  4. Hey Brandon. Just here to drop you a line to say how much my son loves that build he got for christmas in parts. It’s a screaming machine and runs so quiet you can barely hear it. The grafics of the 1070 are absolutely awesome. Thanks again. When it comes to me building my I’m coming straight back here. Thanks for all.

    1. Hey Cleve,

      Awesome, that’s really good to hear, I’m glad he likes it!

      It’s not a problem and I’ll see you then 🙂

  5. Hi,

    I was looking at this build and was wondering if I went with the
    MSI Pro Solution Intel Z170A LGA 1151 DDR4 USB 3.1 ATX Motherboard (Z170A SLI Plus) or if you would still recommend the Gigabyte LGA1151 Intel Z270 2-Way SLI ATX DDR4 Motherboards GA-Z270XP-SLI? Also if I got the Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD would I need the mounting bracket for it? So if I got the MSI motherboard and the TP-LINK TL-WDN4800 for wifi along with everything you had listed above besides the Gigabyte Motherboard obviously, would I be able to fit it in the NZXT S340 Mid Tower Computer case?

    Sorry if this is confusing I’m new to all this and would appreciate the help.
    Thanks for all the great content!!!!

    1. Hey True,

      I would have a hard time recommending that mobo, not because it’s bad but because the 7th gen i5 7600k might not be compatible as it essentially requires the new Z270 chipset – that board runs the slightly older Z170 chipset meant for 6th gen Intel CPUs. Nope, no mounting bracket is needed! The vast majority of modern cases come with places for you to mount your SSD, the NZXT S340 has 2 mounting spots on top of the PSU shroud. That said, the S340 would work great!

      It wasn’t confusing at all, everyone has to start somewhere 🙂

      Hope that helps!!

    1. Check the section that’s titled “How to build your PC + Video Walkthrough” directly above the build list. You might find it helpful 🙂

  6. Will the gtx1070 hybrid work better? I already have the corsair carbide spec 1 case and just want to make sure the 1070 will fit with the cooler in it

    1. Whether or not it’ll work better is completely subjective! It’ll cool better, for sure 🙂 It should fit, but I would double check the dimensions before you go ahead and pull the trigger.

  7. The “view” link for the case is wrong. The title says “Skylake” but the suggested processor is Kaby.

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