Rich's gaming rig: See what I'm using to play PC games

Thermaltake Core P5
Thermaltake Core P5 (Image credit: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

I last fully rebuilt my main gaming rig back in 2017 and while I continue to have an internal debate about migrating to AMD Ryzen completely, what I have installed continues to perform above expectations thanks to wiggle room for overclocking. Should you be looking at a PC build that doesn't cost a fortune but offers incredible performance, my setup may inspire you to pick similar components for an enjoyable experience.

Powerful specs

Gaming Rig

Rich's Gaming PC (Image credit: Windows Central)

Bear in mind that this is a system that was built over the course of a year — the two Western Digital drives being the latest additions. The price of GPUs at the moment makes it impossible for me to recommend you purchase a GTX 1070 for more than $1,000. If you're looking for a new GPU, be sure to keep a watchful eye on our deal round-up that may bag you a bargain.

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Operating systemWindows 10$92.99 (opens in new tab)
CPUIntel Core i5-6600K$234 (opens in new tab)
CoolerCustom water-cooling loop~$300
RAM16GB Viper DDR4$189 (opens in new tab)
MotherboardASUS PRO GAMING Z170$138.98 (opens in new tab)
GPUZOTAC AMP! Extreme GTX 1070Why you should avoid GPUs
Storage256GB Samsung 850 Pro SSD
1TB Western Digital Blue SSD
4TB Western Digital Blue HDD
$119.99 (opens in new tab)
$249.99 (opens in new tab)
$98.99 (opens in new tab)
PSUEVGA 750 G2$119.99 (opens in new tab)
Row 8 - Cell 0 Total:$1,543.93

When it comes to peripherals, I'm currently rocking the following:

Overclocked performance

Gaming Rig

Thanks to the custom water-cooling loop, which sports a 480mm radiator dedicated to the CPU with four fans, I've managed to bump up the CPU to a stable 4.5GHz, achieving a further 28 percent performance. It's possible to go higher (and I've read through various reports of people even hitting 4.8GHz and 5.0GHz) but I don't wish to push the system too far and cause unnecessary damage to the processor.

Even more demanding games like Ark: Survival Evolved and The Witcher 3 run perfectly fine at a stable FPS on highest settings with both the Core i5 CPU and GTX 1070 GPU working in unity. G-Sync simply completes the puzzle. Do I need to further upgrade the system? No, not really. Though an AMD Ryzen processor and motherboard (with faster RAM) would provide better performance, it's not really require right now, not until games make another leap that leaves mid-tier PCs like mine in the dust.

How to build your own gaming PC

Your PC builds

Phanteks P400S

Phanteks P400 (Image credit: Windows Central)

You've heard enough about my build, so how about you show off yours in the comments? Let us know what you're gaming on!

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Thankful I did all the meaningful upgrades to my PC before the prices got silly. Added 32GB of RAM and a GTX 1080 Ti last year. Wouldn't dream of it now. Which is sad. Had to add a Samsung 960 Evo recently though after the boot SSD from Dell failed. Really good price on those for the insane performance, so happy with it.
  • So, I have a Ryzen system (R1700x with a GTX1080) and it is nice for VR as well as regular gaming and my other stuff (including media encoding). Well worth getting, but not really worth an upgrade from where you are for flat games alone. I came from an FX8350 so a different story. I note you got the pro Samsung SSD at 256GB rather than a 500GB Evo. Curious. Currently I have the Crucial MX100 as a boot, a Samsung 850 Evo as a gaming SSD and a Seagate 3TB HDD. Each drive has hardware encryption via Bitlocker. What advantage were you after that made the Samsung Pro drive a worth while option in a gaming PC? NOTE: Sorry Richard D, this should have been a straight forward post to the article poster, but I hit reply to you for some reason.
  • Haha no worries. I use a 500GB 850 Evo as well for my game storage since the 960 Evo isn't nearly big enough. While the focus of this was gaming, Rich (like the rest of us) also use the PC for work, so he might just be thinking of more cores to ease the load while doing other stuff
  • Lucky you. I planned to build a new one this summer to replace the one I built back in 2013. Not a chance I can afford a new GPU now. Hopefully things calm down this fall.
  • That sucks, you could have a look at the pre-built gaming machines as they tend to be cheaper than buying the components at the moment.
  • Never say never. The gpu mining crypto market is in freefall right now and many miners are getting out of the game. So prices and availability could return to somewhat normal sooner than you think (though I wouldn't be surprised if manufacturers use this temporary spike in prices as a way to set a new baseline for prices, resulting in every GPU being marginally more expensive forever). Used mining GPUs will soon be flooding the aftermarket, so you may be able to find some good deals there if you're okay using a GPU that's seen such 24/7 use (though any good miner would've underclocked the GPU, so any long-term wear would really only be to fans rather than silicon).
  • What case is that?
  • Green one is the Thermaltake Core P3. No idea on the white one if that's the one you're asking about.
  • Well I recently upgraded the GPU in my system from a GTS 250 to a GTX 1060 3GB and so far I'm impressed as its handled everything I've thrown at it so far. Next upgrade is an SSD and then possibly upgrading from 8GB to 32GB of RAM.
    However as of right now my PC is as follows:
    CPU: Core i5-2500K
    RAM: 4x2GB OCZ DDR3-1600
    GPU: Zotac GeForce GTX 1060 3GB (As mentioned above)
    MB: ASUS P8P67 Rev. 3.0
    HDD: Seagate 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s (The next upgrade to an SSD)
  • I built a Ryzen 1700X system during the Ryzen launch window in 2017, it was really fun. Upgraded to dual RX Vega 56 before the prices got stupid. It has been super awesome and performs great.
  • Dual vid cards is tricky with older titles and not great for newer titles at all in general. I would choose a single more powerful card over two lower powered cards every time. Considering the mining value these days, have you thought about selling those two on and buying a single card solution? It would work better in more situations.
  • Yeah, they require profiles, at least SLI does, to be useful.
  • Just built a Threadripper 1900X system on the Gigabyte Auros 7 board. Not really had much chance to play with it yet. Windows is installed on a Samsung 960 Pro M.2 drive, along with a separate partition for files, games. Gpu is a GTX 1060
  • I seem to be seeing a lot of people building systems with the 1060 in it, did you get the 6 or 3GB version?
  • ALWAYS go for the 1060 6GB version.
    The price difference is not that big, but the performance difference is.
    The 3GB version is useless above simple 1080p resolutions, and can't even handle many standard games with high-effects due to the RAM limitations.
    It would make more sense to buy a 1050ti than the 1060 3GB.