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Build a $3,000 Computer for 1440p PC Gaming 2015

Updated on July 13, 2015
You don't have to go with the Fractal R4 or R5 case I've chosen for this build, but the noise absorbing material, quality of the case, and features makes it one of my favorites around $100.
You don't have to go with the Fractal R4 or R5 case I've chosen for this build, but the noise absorbing material, quality of the case, and features makes it one of my favorites around $100.

Building a $3000 for Max FPS Enthusiasts in 2015


If there's one thing that pushes the PC gaming experience beyond the reach of consoles or mobile devices, it's the ability to put custom parts in the machine and play it at higher graphical settings and resolutions.

With the Xbox One and PS4 now having limited 1080p capabilities it's time that we as PC gamers push the envelope again to show exactly what the PC can do. With NVIDIA releasing G-Sync next year to eliminate lag and screen tearing I'm planning on a rig that will handle most 1440p games at around 100 FPS. For this, using a G-Sync or FreeSync IPS monitor with a 144Hz refresh rates is ideal.

Is this the last generation of console gaming as we know it?

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Steam's new operating system could be a wrench in the plans of future consoles.
Steam's new operating system could be a wrench in the plans of future consoles.
Steam's new operating system could be a wrench in the plans of future consoles.

Consoles May Disappear but PC Gaming is Just Getting Started:

There are many people in today's world that believe that this is the last generation of consoles. While I for one think they'll have to evolve to add better ways to play, the argument is a valid one.

Improvements for Mobile Devices Present a Challenge for Consoles Going Forward:

With what I'd call "leaps and bounds" improvements set for integrated graphics for tablets and mobile devices over the next five years you'll probably be able to play games with the PS4 and Xbox One's graphical capabilities on these devices before the next wave of consoles hit.

Steam's Free Linux OS is a Game Changer:

If that weren't enough Steam is developing a Linux-based OS that will remove the cost of an operating system. With the support of Steam additional PC gaming devices that change the way we play are sure to follow.

5 stars for i7-5820k

$3000 Gaming Machine Parts and Comparison

Choosing a Good Processor for 1440p Resolution Gaming

If you want to go further into this discussion, then check out my last build where I go into a bit more detail on a good processor for 1440p gaming.

A quick summary of that discussion is that the i7-4790k is the top of the list when it comes to gaming at this resolution. We can't choose an AMD CPU as PCIe 3.0 is going to matter a lot with our dual GPU configuration at 1440p and even extreme CPUs from Intel don't seem to perform quite as well.

Still, I think the majority of gamers willing to spend this amount of money would rather have something like the enthusiast i7-5820k. The performance in rendering and other heavy multi-core applications is too much to ignore. Give it a slight overclock, and you're good to go.

What's more is that if you go with the i7-5820k, you probably won't be tempted to upgrade when Skylake is released. The DDR4 compatibility of the chipset should make it an ideal option for years to come.

Joker's review shows 4k vs 1440p gaming for the 980 and 980 TI in SLI.
Joker's review shows 4k vs 1440p gaming for the 980 and 980 TI in SLI.

Best Dual Graphics Card Setup for Around $1400 2015

I've seen several builds in this price range that have said they were meant for gaming but lacked the raw GPU power to play even the most graphically intense games at a decent framerate.

For this reason, I'm setting aside nearly 50% of the overall budget to the GPU. While you could technically set aside even more, I think there are few that would do so at this price level. Here's a few 980 TI SLI Benchmarks we've run in 4k and 1440p to show you exactly what you can expect:

http://www.toptengamer.com/best-4k-1440p-graphics-card

What about 3840 x 2160?

Using a Crossfire setup with 2 AMD Fury X's should also be considered at that resolution.

When you're spending this kind of money on a gaming PC you don't want to skimp on the PSU. Get something that will be energy efficient and last a long time. My choice for this build is the Seasonic Platinum 1000 shown above.
When you're spending this kind of money on a gaming PC you don't want to skimp on the PSU. Get something that will be energy efficient and last a long time. My choice for this build is the Seasonic Platinum 1000 shown above.

A High Performance Platinum Power Supply is Worth it Here

If you aren't planning on overclocking this system, then you should go with a cheaper motherboard then we're using below. In addition you'll still have a minimum PSU requirement of at least 700 watts and should go with something at least 150 to 200 watts higher.

For Overclockers/Power Users:

To make sure we have all the power that we need for overclocking and future improvements, I'm recommending you go with a 1000 watt unit.

At this level of PC it's worth spending a little extra for a power supply that will last you a long time. You'll want to go with something that's efficient and preferably at a platinum certified standard.

I'm officially recommending the Seasonic Platinum 1000. It comes with a 7 year warranty so it should last you at least until the end of your next PC build.

MSI's Krait series motherboard gives you a lot of value and features for the price you pay vs other boards.
MSI's Krait series motherboard gives you a lot of value and features for the price you pay vs other boards.

A Good Haswell 2011 Gaming Motherboard

A good choice here is the MSI X99A Krait edition. There are two versions of this board. If you go with the first generation version you can probably get it for around $220 vs the $300 that the newer version will cost you.

Good Value DDR4 Gaming Ram

Because DDR4 is relatively new, you're best bet is to go with something cheap that you can either overclock or trade in for ram with better timings later on. Either way, right now you won't get a lot more out of that pricey ram, then you will with the cheap stuff and especially if you're willing to overclock and tweak it.

A look at the Corsair Hydro H100 installed in the Fractal R4 case.
A look at the Corsair Hydro H100 installed in the Fractal R4 case.

Other Parts for our $3000 Gaming Machine

Fractal R5 Case: A quiet, but sleek case with plenty of room. This is the only case I'm using for my mid to high-end builds at this point.

HDD: Here I'm going with a 4TB 7200RPM Toshiba drive for around $120. It's massive amounts of storage for all your videos, pictures, and more. Something you probably need if you're using this for work.

SSD: For Solid state drive I'm recommending a 500 GB solid state drive from Samsung. The Samsung 850 fits my quality and price demands. With this amount of space you'll probably be able to fit most of your favorite games on it. Better yet, you'll be the first one to load games like Battlefield 4.

Blu-Ray: You don't necessarily need a blu-ray for this build and could definitely go with an inexpensive DVD drive if you don't plan on watching movies. That being said with the great integrated sound from our motherboard and ideally a superior 1440p IPS monitor watching movies on this particular system will appeal to many.

CPU Cooler: For CPU Cooler I'm recommending the Corsair Hydro H100i. In my opinion it's the best performing and most reliable option in the $100 range. Beyond this you'll need to put together your own kit.

© 2013 Brandon Hart

What would your $3,000 Gaming PC Build Look like?

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