Amazing $1200 gaming PC build to dominate 1440p

In $900-$1400, Custom Builds by Branton361 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: May 23rd, 2017

  • Phanteks P400 "Tempered Glass" Edition

    Great cable mangement, great cooling profile, PSU shroud, big tempered glass 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!
    View

  • 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.
    View

  • Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD

    2.5 inch, 540MB/s read, 520MB/s write.
    View

  • Cryorig H7

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

Estimated
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Suggested/Optional

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

  • Windows 10 (USB Installer)

    Windows 10 is your best bet when it comes to picking an operating system. This version is a USB installer.
    View

  • 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 960 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD

    An M.2-based NVMe SSD like the 960 EVO is a step up from basic M.2 or SATA SSDs. They offer significantly more speed, but at a higher price /GB in comparison.
    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 white/black look there’s definitely another P400 with colors you like more!

The 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. Like the 6th gen K-model CPUs, the i5 7600K does not come with a stock CPU cooler, but I’ve included one for you.

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 I ever played on PC was Ultima Online way back in 1999, since then I've been hooked on PC gaming and putting together awesome builds! Thanks for stopping by!

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

  1. Oh thanks 🙂 so I would mount it to the left side of my cpu? Or on the top of my case facing down to the cpu

  2. That’s what I meant, the left side of the cpu like where the left side of the case is. Thanks again 🙂 with the h80i v2 and some other case fans how far do you think I can overclock like to what ghz?

  3. That’s what I meant, where the left side of the case is. Thanks again 🙂 with the h80i v2 and some other case fans how far do you think I can overclock like to what ghz?

    1. No problem! It really depends on a lot more than just your cooling, but if you won the “silicon lottery” with your mobo / cpu you might be able to push your 6700k as high as 4.8GHz, otherwise I’d say 4.5-4.7GHz is a pretty realistic (and common) range to expect / aim for – which people have done on air coolers as basic as the hyper 212 EVO, so your H80i shouldn’t have any issues keeping CPU temps low 🙂

  4. Oh ok :p. Also I put this part list on pcpartpicker and its saying the motherboard and power supply isn’t compatible with the case. Idk what that is about but I have the right case selected

  5. Never mind what I said the site doesn’t show it as a carbide case so I actually had the wrong one selected , Is the gigabyte ga z170x gaming 3 atx lga1151 motherboard instead of the one u used better? On Amazon it shows it as the best reviewed one while they have around the same price

    1. It’s really your call – aside from the price, the biggest difference between the two boards would be the integrated audio, the Gigabyte GA Z170X Gaming 3 comes with integrated 7.1 and the MSI Z170A SLI (the letter after the Z170 on both boards means nothing btw) comes with integrated 5.1. Most people never use a full 7.1 sound system on their PC, so 5.1 is generally more than sufficient. Otherwise, although the Gigabyte board technically does have a higher star rating on Amazon, it also has a higher percentage of 1-star reviews compared to the MSI board (11% vs 8%).

    1. Hey Tyler,

      This build would fit perfectly in the Cobra Z! Out of the box, both cases will offer a very similar cooling profile I believe, but the Corsair Spec 02 could potentially be better due to its support for 2x 120/140mm fans in the front compared to 1 in the Cobra Z. On the other hand, the Cobra Z can support a bigger CPU cooler than the Spec 02.. Other than those couple of points, pretty much all of the mounting points / support for extra fans are the same.

      I hope that helps!

  6. Would the nZxt s340 work with all of these parts? I was thinking about getting a different case as this one doesn’t support the h100i v2 cooler(raidiator doesn’t fit)

    1. But it does support the H80i, which was the first cooler you mentioned 🙂 The S430 would work just fine.

    1. It’s pretty simple actually, most kits meant for PC builds like this one will come with a hub that’s powered by a molex connector from your PSU. Aside from that you’re just sticking down strips of lights 🙂

    1. Hey Antoine,

      Nope! The motherboard has really decent integrated audio that’ll support right up to a 5.1 surround sound system.

  7. Hi, would the nvidia version of the gtx 1070 version fit?
    PS: do you have any good links to get information about all of the post build stuff

    1. Hey Antonio,

      It can, but just like a build running a GTX 1080, you will not be maxing out AAA games at high enough frames to take advantage of 144Hz.

      1. What do you think is the best setting for this build, 1440p at 60hz or 1080p at 144hz? I need a new one for Rocket League and I’m having a hard time deciding what would be best for that game. Thank you for your input.

        1. Hey Antonio,

          If you’re mostly playing stuff like Rocket League and other low demand games like DOTA2 or Overwatch, then this build would easily be capable of handling 1440p 144Hz, if you went a bit further to a 1440p 144Hz monitor with G-Sync – like the Asus PG278Q – then those more demanding games that can’t quite run at a consistent 144fps in 1440p will still look great and play smoothly. At the end of the day, it really depends on how much you feel comfortable spending on your monitor, but they’re definitely more of a long term investment when you’re looking at higher end units.

          Hope that helps!

    1. Hey Bryce,

      It’ll work great inside of the HAF 912, but you’ll likely have to remove the middle HDD bay to fit the GPU.

      I hope that helps!

  8. I’m assuming it was accidental to suggest a 1080p monitor to people when your article focuses on playing 1440p? There are several models of the benq that do have 1440p, though the price increases as you may imagine.

    1. Nope, not at all. The post doesn’t necessarily focus on playing 1440p, but yes I do mention the build’s capabilities in 1440p. Think of it this way, when you buy a sports car you’re told it can hit a top speed of 205mph and do 0-60 in 2.8 seconds, but most people won’t ever push it that far. That said, if you actually wanted to do 205mph and 0-60 in 2.8s, then it would be nice to know that’s a possibility, right?

      Back to the monitors, 144Hz is a very common choice over 60Hz right now, but 1440p 144Hz isn’t entirely worth it (1440p 60Hz definitely is) without a significantly more expensive monitor running Gsync and also sacrificing visual settings at the same time.. or a GTX 1080.. So, that’s basically why I opted to suggest a 1080p monitor over 1440p, partly cost and partly what’ll offer the smoothest experience possible. If you would prefer 1440p over 1080p, then that’s definitely what you should go for instead 🙂

      I hope that helps to clear up some confusion!

  9. hey Branton

    Thanks for sharing this build I am about to build my first gaming PC I have dreamed of owning a great PC since I was younger and always had low slow PC’s but still played anyways AHHA! is it ok to build this PC as I go and the parts come in Via amazon delivery? last parts I’m waiting on is the fan/ssd

    thanks much my man

    1. Hey Red,

      No problem! Awesome, good to hear, you’re going to love having a higher-end build like this, without a doubt! You can start putting things together w/o those components – they’ll be easy to install once they finally arrive!

      Enjoy!!

      1. Thanks for the quick response that being said would I be able to turn it on /start installing games without those two items seeing the fact the comp has the built in fan or should I just wait until fully built to turn it on and start installing the OS / everything else?

        1. No problem! Nope, without your CPU cooler you definitely do not want to turn your PC on – also, you want to install Windows on your SSD. Sorry about that.

          1. Thanks for the knowledge I wonder if I’m the only one who reads your comments with your accent I purchased the windows 10 OS USB so hopefully It is an easy install.

            again you are the man and truly appreciate the vids / I clicked all the links to buy what I wanted from here hoping u get credit/commission based off of volume driven or whichever.

            1. Hahah that’s very possible, Red 🙂 Yep, it’s a very easy install – The USB option also installs wayyyy faster than the DVD does.

              It’s not a problem at all! Thanks for the support & I hope you’ll enjoy your new PC!

          2. when using the static wrist band I see you had the powerplug you can turn off. if I didn’t have one and plugged that into the wall but still used the staticwrist band would that defeat the purpose. Damned noobs we must drive ya cRaZy

            1. In that instance, I would just leave the PSU unplugged entirely and ground yourself to the case. Another option is just to keep something metal nearby (like a screw) and touch it every so often as that’ll also discharge any static that’s potentially built up. Honestly, if you’re going to be building your PC while standing on anything that’s not carpet, you probably won’t even need an anti-static wrist band 🙂

              1. the pc I am building doesn’t have the CD/DVD drive how would I go about installing all the drives/software for the sdd/motherboard etc?

                1. Optical drives are considered an upgrade as their not entirely necessary, that’s why I don’t include it in the primary build list / parts you get in your cart with the “single click” button. The majority of your drivers will be picked upon installing Windows assuming your PC is hooked up to the internet already, anything else should be grabbed online anyways as you’ll want the newest drivers available instead of what’s on any discs.

                  Hope that helps!

              2. addiontally the PC didn’t come with trays to put the drives on the drives such as the HDD just slide into the PC however the sdd is to small to do so what should I do when installing the sdd now since the pc has no trays for Drives?

                1. Nope, it’s not intended to! HDDs just slide into the 3.25″ bays (it’s the new way of doing things) and your SSD will mount on top of that same bay, that’s if you grabbed the Spec 02 🙂

                  1. totally did and figured that out DERF on my part.

                    thanks for letting me know whats up I’m pretty much done

                    I’m just stuck on the PSU wires and I haven’t installed the graphix card yet I’m tryin to figure out which cords are the Main ones to use for the PSU I know the motherboard cord/satapowercord. the other cords are kinda screwing me up.

                    ive pretty much finished everything else BY THE WAY I installed the motherboard first and now I know why u put that cpu/fan on first that thing was a BEEOTCH trying to install while the motherboard was already installed JEEZUS

                    1. Awesome, glad to hear it!

                      The main ones you’ll be using are the 2x 8-pin (one for CPU, one for GPU), SATA power for your SSD / HDD, and the big 24-pin. Pretty much everything else plugs into your mobo (fans, case controls, etc). You’ll definitely have some leftovers so don’t fret about using every single cable that came with the PSU 🙂

                      The steps are definitely numbered in the way they are to make the build process as easy as possible.

    1. The 650 G1 is fully modular, but there are some alternatives if you need – is not available where you’re located? If it isn’t, it would help me to know which continent you’re on so I’m not suggesting another PSU that isn’t available to you, because that would just suck!

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