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Build Guide

Great Intel Gaming Build

by ThoughtA



At this budget, we're running the Intel Coffee Lake i3-8300. Unlike previous generations' i3s, the Coffee Lake i3s are 4 core processors. The i3-8100 will perform admirably for nearly all gaming needs. It includes a stock cooler, so 3rd-party cooler isn't necessary. Since we aren't overclocking our CPU, the stock cooler will be sufficient in keeping temperatures acceptable.

Note: If you'd prefer to consider a similar build, but instead using an AMD Ryzen processor, be sure to check out our Great AMD Gaming Build Guide.


We're using a parametric filter to constantly select the best-priced motherboard while meeting selected criteria. In this case, we are filtering for B360 chipsets and 4 DDR4 DIMM slots for future expansion. The compatibility engine will filter out anything not compatible with the build. The motherboards are also capable of using the CPU's integrated GPU, in case you need to RMA your GPU or are waiting for a sale or upgrade.


Memory needs are slowly but constantly increasing, and we want to stay ahead of the curve. To this end we're using a parametric filter to choose a 16GB kit of memory within Intel's recommended specifications at the best price. The filter will only select 2x8GB kits, allowing us to leave room for extra DIMMs for future expansion.


We're use parametric filters to incorporate an SSD with at least 500GB of space. Everyone's storage needs differs, so feel free to add or remove capacity to your heart's desire.


For our GPU, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 is one of the best price for performance cards on the market and an absolute powerhouse. The GTX 1070 will provide a consistent 60fps on many demanding games like PUBG) at Ultra at 1080p, and even 1440p for some games like Shadow of War. For those interested in VR, the GTX 1070 will have no problem playing any and and all applications currently on the market.

To keep the noise and temperatures down, we've updated the filter to include a minimum length to avoid "mini" versions of the card, which prioritize fitting into small builds, such as an ITX case. You can choose to use this filter instead, if you want to include the smaller cards for any reason. Note that smaller cards will be louder or hotter - or both.


Our build will be housed in the black NZXT S340 Elite. This case features a tempered glass window and 2x front panel USB 3.0 ports, along with 2x USB 2.0 ports. It can fit full length video cards and features a PSU shroud to keep your build looking cleaner. The S340 Elite also contains quite a bit of cable management features, such as cutouts, bumps and tie-offs.

You can find white, black/blue, and black/red versions of the S340 Elite as well.


For our power supply, we're using a parametric selection of well-reviewed semi or fully modular units, all of which are 80+ Gold certified or above and can provide plenty of power for this build.

AMD Version

Here is the AMD version of our Great Gaming Guide..

Part List Customize This Part List

Compatibility Check: No issues/incompatibilities found.

Estimated Wattage: 309W
Component Selection Base Promo Shipping Tax Price Where
CPU $145.99 FREE $145.99 Mike's Computer Shop Buy
From parametric filter
  • Form Factor: ATX
  • Chipset: Intel B360
  • RAM Slots: 4 - 16
$99.99 $99.99 PC-Canada Buy
From parametric filter
  • Speed: DDR4-2666, DDR4-2800, DDR4-3000, DDR4-3200
  • Type: 288-pin DIMM
  • Size: 16GB (2x8GB)
$179.99 $179.99 Newegg Canada Buy
From parametric filter
  • Capacity: 500GB - 10TB
  • Type: SSD
$129.99 Free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime $129.99 Amazon Canada Buy
Video Card
From parametric filter
  • Chipset: GeForce GTX 1070
  • Length: 223mm - 403mm
$549.99 FREE $549.99 Mike's Computer Shop Buy
Case $121.99 $121.99 PC-Canada Buy
Power Supply $90.99 $90.99 PC-Canada Buy
Total: $1318.93
* Using your selected merchants and only including nearby in-store pickup prices)
* Some physical dimension restrictions cannot (yet) be automatically checked, such as cpu cooler / RAM clearance with modules using tall heat spreaders.

Comments Sorted by:

Noxast 10 points 1 month ago

Personally I might go i5-8400 and take a smaller SSD, throw in HDD to balance out cost... kinda.

99_GOAT 3 points 11 days ago

I agree

Leleedler 4 points 1 month ago

The storage solution here is simply bad, you can get a 120gb ssd, and a sizable 2tb hard drive for the same price as that one 500gb drive. 16gb of ram in a system like this isn't required, and in a ram market like we're in right now, 8gb should be just fine as long as this is being used for gaming mostly. While I don't think this build is too bad, I'd personally go with my build here:

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/kTTn6s ($1003.90 5/23/18)

This build is cheaper, more powerful, has better storage solutions, and overall outperforms this build with the extra 2 cores. To note, I used 8gb of ram which, could be a bottleneck in editing workloads but, if this is an issue, for about the same price of ThoughtA's build ($1074.95 5/23/18) you can fit in 16gb of ram with the faster cpu:

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/kFnt7W (1074.40 5/23/18)

ThoughtA's build isn't bad, but the storage choice, as well as the cpu choice seem a little awkward for a computer of this caliber.

spatulaboy 1 point 1 month ago

Do either of these builds have special cooling needs?

I'm a first time builder and don't want to miss any parts if I try one of these.


caument 1 Build 2 points 1 month ago

Relating to the CPU, the included cooler should be sufficient. Aftermarket options may be quieter but, from a performance perspective, would be unnecessary. The case only comes with one case fan so additional airflow in that sense would be beneficial.

felixhgaming 3 points 2 months ago

How would I go about connecting this pc to wifi? I am new to building PCs and don't know how it works too well.


3rric 1 point 2 months ago

Use an ethernet cable or buy an external wifi card

cmvedder2 2 Builds 1 point 1 month ago

id recommend a more direct pci express piece like the Asus - PCE-AC55BT B1 PCI-Express x1 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi Adapter. ive used it in two of my build and absolutely love it, also has built in bluetooth which is a plus

RealShen 0 points 2 months ago

USB wifi adapter

Ryzin 5 points 1 month ago

I do NOT recommend getting a USB wifi adapter. Especially one without antennas. Put $10 more into a PCI-E card and will get better coverage, speeds, and times. On my 72 mbps wifi I would get 2 mbps near the router. I moved upstairs and got wifi in the kbps. Now I got a PCI-E card and I get 25-30 mbps.

felixhgaming 2 points 2 months ago

Is there any one that you would recommend? And can any adapter be compatible?


RealShen 2 points 2 months ago

Most should be fine but look on amazon , there are plenty of reviews to help your decision. I got a basic one from amazon (made in China) was like £20 with lots of positive reviews so went with that one. Worked really well so far!

Ryzin 1 point 1 month ago

The TP-Link WN881ND is $19

maxisme543 1 point 1 month ago

Would you need a USB Bluetooth adapter as well?

Muhkyle 1 Build 2 points 1 month ago

Yes, though there are some PCI adapters that include both like this asus one: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833320333

Jeremy.Absi 3 points 1 month ago

For 1000$ i expect a I5 atleast

johnmay 4 points 1 month ago

I mean the 8100 basically is an i5. Plus you get a 1070 with this so shrugs

AzuresFlames 2 points 2 months ago

Wouldn’t an i3 bottleneck the 1070?

EBear225 3 points 2 months ago

Not necessarily. The i3 8100 should perform on par with last generation's i5 7500 if not faster, because they are both quad core chips with very similar clockspeeds. Most games now still don't utilize more than 4 cores, so a six core chip is more for future proofing than anything else.

NotAHypebeast -1 points 1 month ago

"Most games now don't utilize more than 4 cores, so a six core chip is more for future proofing than anything else." I strongly disagree with a six core chip being only future-proofing, 4c for game, 2c for Windows/Linux and background processes, yielding exceptional performance increase in CPU-heavy games. Also, a Ryzen 5 1600 not only has a far better stock cooler (which I assume you will be using with the lack of a CPU cooler in your list) but also likely better gaming performance.

EBear225 1 point 1 month ago

You make a valid point. I neglected to include background processes, assuming that everybody closes down everything while gaming like I do. There are also people who would take advantage of an extra two cores for streaming or editing or other productivity tasks, which I also do not do.

That being said, this is an intel based GAMING ORIENTED build guide, so recommending an amd cpu is redundant. The cooler comparison is also pointless, because the stock intel heatsink bundled with this processor is literally designed to cool intel chips at stock speeds, and you won't be doing any overclocking with a locked chip.

NotAHypebeast 0 points 1 month ago

More like just to keep an intel chip from burning to a crisp and not too much throttling, that's basically all it'll promise.

lge01 1 Build 2 points 1 month ago

Sure, the Intel stock cooler is loud and hot, but it works I mean... At least it's better than the coolers from the 90s...

benito49 -3 points 2 months ago

However if running i3 in overclocking you can improve core clocking by about %20 percent not bottle necking the gpu especially an evga that runs a separate processing of 4-8 gb of ram. And yes 8100 will run similarly i5 7500, Ultimately this 4 core chip should be overclocked for less bottle necking get a cooler maybe a Coolermaster ONe for 20 Dollars or 17 pounds.

PrivatePengu 5 points 1 month ago

However if running i3 in overclocking you can improve core clocking by about %20 percent

I'd like to know what sick chip you have that can show that amount of improvement in games from overclocking, because that's pretty amazing.

especially an evga that runs a separate processing of 4-8 gb of ram

First of all, EVGA cards are nothing special. It's primarily the cooling and clock potential that matters between cards, and sometimes noise level. Secondly, a seperate processing of 4-8 gb of RAM? What? GPUs have their own RAM, and the only RAM that the GPU will require is used by the CPU to send information to the CPU. And that isn't anywhere near 4-8 gb.

this 4 core chip should be overclocked for less bottle necking get a cooler maybe a Coolermaster ONe for 20 Dollars or 17 pounds.

It can't be overclocked, and getting an aftermarket cooler won't allow that. Plus, what kind of overclock do you expect from a 20 dollar Cooler Master HSF if you want +20%?

lge01 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

Use scraps from Cooler Master's factory ;)

lge01 1 Build 4 points 1 month ago

It's a non-overclockable SKU....

NotAHypebeast 1 point 1 month ago

so? 8350k my dude

lge01 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

Yeah, but that processor has a dismal value proposition compared to the Ryzen 3 processors. My original claim was to ask benito what he meant with overclocking on a non-overclockable SKU. I thought he was talking about the 8100.

MattVint 1 point 1 month ago

No intel chip without the k at the end can be overclocked. You cant overclock this and even if you could I would NEVER recommend a 20 dollar cooler. Go for a liquid cooler if your overclocking.

[comment deleted]
NotAHypebeast 0 points 1 month ago

A liquid cooler on an i3? Are you seriously recommending that? I'd recommend one only on an i7 or i9!

MattVint 1 point 1 month ago

Nah, I wasn't. I accidentally put the reply of a comment as one itself. I was referring to one that said the 8100 is overclockable (Which it is not) and said to use a 20 dollar cooler to keep it cool while overclocking. And I was saying "Don't use a 20 dollar cooler to overclock anything, use a liquid cooler".

[comment deleted]
Jaychai123 1 point 1 month ago

there's actually only 13% bottleneck


muckymucky 1 point 16 days ago

didnt know this website existed. is it accurate or nah?

Jaychai123 1 point 16 days ago

It is

adventureguy 2 Builds 0 points 2 months ago

yeah most likely. At most, I'd pair the GTX 1060/RX 580 with that CPU. I'd go with something i5 8400/8600K/Ryzen 5 2600 if I'm going with a GTX 1060.

adventureguy 2 Builds 3 points 1 month ago

I meant GTX 1070 with i5 8400/i5 8600K/Ryzen 5 2600 lol sry typo I guess that's why there are -2 points or maybe people hate me I wouldn't be surprised if that's the case tbh

benito49 0 points 2 months ago

Yes I agree

TaskMaster 1 point 1 month ago

Just had a few questions, im new to computers.

Is this good for a basic gaming setup? Is storage and memory also good, or should I upgrade?

NotAHypebeast 1 point 1 month ago

Basic, yeah (but i'd go for a 1060 instead for basic), but a better SSD would be good.

BOODOG 1 point 1 month ago

What could be a cheaper option for a monitor with this build but would still be nice to use I mostly play fps games

Thinshaw18 1 point 28 days ago

I would suggest getting any G sync monitor since they do a lot of the heavy lifting and you could actually drop the graphics card to a 1060 with a similar effect, but the biggest draw from a G-sync is that they typically have a higher refresh rate than a free sync monitor. Unfortunately they are more costly since they are proprietary to Nvidia whereas anyone can make a free sync monitor. A good and cheap free sync monitor that could run 60 frames in 1080p would be the AOC - I2279VWHE 21.5" 1920x1080 60Hz Monitor. It's like $80 and can actually run a bit faster than 60 frames. You won't blow anyone away with it, but it gets the job done.

LjSpike 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

Slightly lowering your length requirements to 200mm and accepting Ti Chipsets would bring a 1070 Ti as an option.

I'm surprised your parametric filter doesn't accept any chipsets of 1070 or better performance.

three8one 3 Builds 1 point 1 month ago

At this budget, we're running the Intel Coffee Lake i3-8300.

It's showing Intel's i3-8100...

BitterHarp174 1 point 1 month ago

Would this be a good computer for daily gaming playing games like hearts of iron and the like in 1080p at 60fps? If not what changes would need to be made?

MattVint 2 points 1 month ago

Get a 1050ti instead of the 1070. Thats it, the rest should be good.

Noxast 1 point 27 days ago

I play HOI on an old comp with a i5-4570 and an rx460 at 1080p. This will blow games like that out of the water.

MattVint 1 point 1 month ago

Wouldn't the CPU bottleneck that 1070 like crazy? The 8100 is decent but it is really meant for something more like a 1050ti or maybe even a 1060. But I would never make a thousand dollar build with an i3 8100 in it for a grand. i would go with the ryzen 5 1500x, a much better CPU that is overclockable as well.

Jaychai123 1 point 1 month ago

there's actually only 13% bottleneck


MattVint 1 point 1 month ago

Only? 13 percent is a sizeable number. you dont want 87% of a car, do ya? You need a better CPU for this, no question. I would change the 1070 and the 8100 and go with a last gen 980 or maybe 980ti and go with ryzen 5 1500x/2200g.

MasterRaceteer 1 point 1 month ago

Hi, Could I pair the i3 8100 with the GTX 1050 TI without bottlenecking? And is 16 GB better to buy with my first build, or should I stick with 8 GB and upgrade later? Thanks!

ColtDaMan 1 point 29 days ago

has an 11% bottleneck with a 1050ti. I wouldnt fully recommend.

MasterRaceteer 1 point 29 days ago

What do you mean? That it would bottleneck if I added a 1050ti? I was thinking of adding a 1060 later when I had sufficient funds.

ColtDaMan 2 points 29 days ago

the 1060 has a 7% bottleneck with the i3 8100. The 1050ti has a 11% bottleneck with the i3-8100. I am getting these numbers off of this website http://thebottlenecker.com/#calculator Based on RAM prices it would be kinda what you can afford. Personally I believe 8gbs is fine and 16 is great, but again it is what you are willing to buy.

MasterRaceteer 1 point 29 days ago

Thanks! I love the bottleneck calculator!

JerkChicken 1 point 1 month ago

I built a 1070ti build for cheaper than this lol

lowbudgetdude 1 point 1 month ago

Yeah, the i3 is kinda weak for the 1070

robert.painter 1 point 27 days ago

I would replace the video card with the "https://pcpartpicker.com/product/NJM323/msi-geforce-gtx-1070-8gb-video-card-geforce-gtx-1070-armor-8g-oc" which is a better 1070 for 12+ $. I would also pick a less expensive case, one with a closed panel because you do not want to be tempted to do any color or rgb schemes. Ram is perfect and that cpu for light loads seems to be pretty amazing as long as it is not a work station.

ThatSwagWalrus 1 point 25 days ago

Is there no CPU Cooler?

ThoughtA staff submitter 1 point 24 days ago

The CPU comes with one.

DamianG12345 1 point 24 days ago

i3? Yeah, no.

ThoughtA staff submitter 2 points 24 days ago

The 8000 series i3s are quad-core and are in a considerably stronger position than they were in previous generations.

entropicbbq 1 point 23 days ago

How would this build handle x-com2?

EASTER_EGG 1 Build 1 point 17 days ago

maybe you could replace the ssd with a lower capacity one to save some money, then perhaps spend that extra money on a slightly better CPU

kalnwi 1 point 4 days ago

After some though I like this build. A shame the 1070 is so much money gawd I hate miners. I would go with a 1060 but that's because i'm a peasant :(

RoB3R1 1 point 4 days ago

I'm pretty sure the I3-8100 supports maximum ddr4-2400

ITZDANNY 0 points 2 months ago

Is there a crazy bottlenecking LUL there should be some LOL

Jaychai123 1 point 1 month ago

there's actually only 13% bottleneck


MattVint 0 points 1 month ago

13% is again a sizeable amount.

DANIEL777 0 points 1 month ago

CPU BOTTLENECK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The i3 is totally going to bottleneck the gtx 1070. A i7-8700 would be so much better, and so would be a z370 mobo.

Jaychai123 1 point 1 month ago

there's actually only 13% bottleneck


MattVint 1 point 1 month ago

Again, 13% is a lot of bottleneck. 'It's only 13 percent!" sounds ridiculous.

MattVint 1 point 1 month ago

An i7 8700 is too muck money. Go with ryzen 5 2200G. It preforms much better than the 8700. And its cheaper! 6 cores and 12 threads for 200 bucks sounds like a deal to me!

DANIEL777 1 point 3 days ago

Ryzen 5 2200G? You mean Ryzen 5 2600. But anyways, each core is slower on the Ryzen than on the i7.

kalnwi 1 point 4 days ago

So just make all builds with the best and most expensive parts..mmkay .

joshthebossxxl2 -5 points 2 months ago

I would not use the i3-8100 I would personally use the i5-8600k with the z370 and use a 1060 instead of 1070 for cooler I would recommend a single rad cooler for light overclocking

EBear225 5 points 2 months ago

May I ask why? The i3 8100 + GTX 1070 will give better performance in essentially every modern game than an i5 8600k + GTX 1060 combo.

Lobsterareawesome 7 Builds 3 points 2 months ago

true! I would cough up the extra money for the 8350k. But even with the i3 8100 and a 1070 you'll have MUCH better gaming performance than with a 8600k +1 1060

ahmadss 2 points 2 months ago

i5 8400 + GTX1070 is the best set

Lobsterareawesome 7 Builds 1 point 2 months ago

true.. but any i3 would still give nice performance

joshthebossxxl2 2 points 2 months ago

i3-8350K gives more flexibilty as you can overclock the i3-8100 is locked and has no turbo boost

Leleedler 2 points 1 month ago

He would make these changes I am assuming because of upgradeability but, jumping to the i5 8400 instead would be a good idea with a system like this, since it won't bottleneck a 1080ti quite so much as an i3 8100. I believe the 8100 could be quite a bit more of a bottleneck than something like my 1700x, which in 1080p is quite the bottleneck.

LjSpike 1 Build 2 points 1 month ago

Unless all cores are being utilised it's quite probable someone wouldn't notice a performance difference between an 8100 and 1700X as shown here

Given this is a 'gaming' build as opposed to a workstation, I suspect that would be the case.

I don't suspect someone would be upgrading from a 1070 to a 1080 Ti without replacing other parts anyway. A 1080 Ti is quite an investment, and definitely overkill at 1080p. I'm running a 7100 with an RX580 and don't really hit CPU bottlenecks.

Leleedler 1 point 1 month ago

You make a fair point... I am more talking about the 8100 vs the 8400, where the 8400 does beat the 8100 in gaming benchmarks. Yeah, the 1700x and 8100 bottleneck similar amounts since they have similar IPCs, I for the most part wont deny that... I just think the 8400 is a better fit in this build.

LjSpike 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

I'd say given the reasonably better value of the 8100 it'd be a better call. Potentially an 8300 but that's still pushing it. To be honest though, if I were going to spend a bit more money building from scratch I'd probably invest in a HDD over getting the 8400 or 8300. The HDD is going to last through your builds if you get a decent one. It'll really open up a fair bit more storage too.

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Note: Wattages are estimates only. Actual power draw may differ from listed values.
Component Estimated Wattage
Intel - Core i3-8100 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor 8W - 65W
MSI - B360-A PRO ATX LGA1151 Motherboard 17W - 70W
Team - Vulcan 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 Memory 14W - 14W
Crucial - MX300 525GB 2.5" Solid State Drive 2W - 10W
MSI - GeForce GTX 1070 8GB Video Card 37W - 150W
Total: 78W - 309W