Question Please Critique My First Build (~$1,500 mid-range gaming / workstation PC)

Feb 21, 2021
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Tl;dr (More in-depth post below dotted line)

Excited to share my first PC build and get your feedback.

Requirements:
  • Primary:
    • League of Legends (90 - 144 fps)
    • COD Warzone (100 - 144 fps)
  • Secondary:
    • Reliable workstation (basic internet browsing / doc usage and storage; basic use of python and SQLServer)
  • Would like this build to last 5 - 8 years with the ability to upgrade if needed in future
Build Links:
Key Questions:
  • Am I overbuying / underbuying on my parts? Do all parts pair well with each other?
  • Price-wise - anything I should buy now? Anything I should wait on?
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(Long Version with More Context)

Hi All!

I’ve always dreamed of building my own PC, but could never seem to justify the time or cost it would take to do so. Well, with how much time many of us have spent at home due to COVID, I’ve finally decided to take the leap.

Even though I have only recently discovered the content and community of Tom’s Hardware, I’m a big fan of what I have seen thus far, so I am really looking forward to the feedback you all provide.

Also, I understand everyone’s time is valuable so I tried to include the primary questions I am looking for guidance on up front. Details on the ‘Why’ and ‘What’ of my build follows that. However, if you have any other feedback outside of the Qs I listed below, please feel free to share - thanks!

Primary Questions I am Looking to Get Answered:
  • Only buying features I need - when you look at my objectives and my build, am I overbuying / underbuying on my parts? Do all parts pair well with each other?
  • Current price of parts - since I am not super familiar with the PC part market, are there part prices that are phenomenal and I should buy right now?
  • Motherboard - am struggling with this one. Just picked an ATX motherboard based on PCPartPicker as a placeholder. I was thinking of getting one that has wifi built-in. I also didn’t want to overbuy features that I won’t be using, but I also want to allow for future upgrades.
  • Case - just picked a mid-sized case off of PCPartPicker that is compatible with my build but am not sure if I should be thinking of getting a case that will allow me to upgrade in the future.
  • Monitors - see comments on ‘Are you buying a monitor’ below. Are the requirements I listed accurate for the objectives I have?
  • My (future) general office setup - there is a picture of what I think my future office setup will look like once the PC is built and new monitors are purchased. If anything looks off on the setup, I’m all ears.
Why I Am Upgrading:

Currently, I have an old (personal) Asus laptop, my work laptop, and a 25.5 in monitor.

The following problems with my current set-up are driving my upgrade. I am trying to kill multiple birds with one stone by alleviating all of these problems:
  1. Limited Gaming Abilities: My (personal) Asus laptop is slow and not very reliable. I have trouble playing League of Legends smoothly, and am unable to play COD Warzone at all (does not meet minimum requirements).
  2. Limited Screen Space/Desk space: For personal and work reasons, I would like another monitor and better utilization of my desk space
  3. Neck/Back Pain: Due to positioning/height of current monitor/laptops
  4. Annoying to switch Monitor/Mouse/Keyboard between personal laptop and work laptop
For my desktop build, I want it to serve primarily as a mid-range gaming PC, and then secondarily as a workstation:
  • Gaming
    • League of Legends (current game I play; want to be able to play it at 90 - 144 fps though)
    • COD Warzone (unable to play at all with current laptop, but would like to download so I can at play it anywhere between 100 - 144 FPS)
    • When it comes to gaming, I care much less about the best quality picture (I am fine playing on lowest game settings to get best performance), and much more about performance and reliability.
  • Workstation
    • basic internet browsing / doc usage and storage; basic use of python and SQLServer
I will not be using this PC for:
  • Watching movies / TV
  • Graphic Design or Video Editing
  • LiveStreaming
End Goal: Have a desktop that continues to fulfill the requirements listed above for the next 5 - 8 years with the ability to upgrade if desired in the future.

Build Links:
Budget Range: I would like to keep the cost of the Desktop PC at around ~$1500 if possible (total cost of system will be more with Monitors and Stands, which I also have to buy)

Overclocking: No
SLI or Crossfire: No

Approximate Purchase Date: I can buy parts as soon as today, but also can be patient (wait to buy a part here or there) over the next few months if it means more $s can be saved.

Are you buying a monitor: Need to buy two monitors. Am thinking of purchasing ones with the following specs, but am very open to feedback. Would like to keep the cost of each monitor to $200 or less.
  • 144Hz / TN / Free-Sync 2 or G-Sync Compatible / VESA / 27 in
Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Whatever website has the best deal(s). Also have a local Micro Center near me that I could go to.

Parts Preferences: Indifferent

Location: Southwest OH
 
If you have no plans on OC then no need for that unlocked cpu. Intel's 11th gen Rocket Lake due out in three weeks offers native support of 3200MHz RAM, PCIe 4 along with improved IPC. btw the RTX 3060 Ti is what you want for 1080P .. the 3070 is meant more for 1440.

I'd run that build this way.

Fan controller ftw

https://www.newegg.com/black-phanteks-eclipse-p400a-atx-mid-tower/p/N82E16811854085
Phanteks Eclipse P400A PH-EC400ATG_BK01 Black Steel / Tempered Glass ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $69.99

https://www.newegg.com/evga-supernova-650-ga-220-ga-0650-x1-650w/p/1HU-00J7-004V5
EVGA SuperNOVA 650 GA, 80 Plus Gold 650W, Fully Modular $89.97

https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16813119384
ASUS PRIME B560-PLUS LGA 1200 SATA 6Gb/s ATX $119.99

https://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-rocket-lake-release-date-specifications-performance-all-we-know
Intel 11th gen Rocket Lake i5 - 11400F ($160 - $170 if I had to guess)

https://www.microcenter.com/product/513903/cooler-master-hyper-212-black-universal-cpu-cooler
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition CPU Cooler $39.99

https://www.microcenter.com/product/501730/corsair-vengeance-lpx-16gb-(2-x-8gb)-ddr4-3200-pc4-25600-cl16-dual-channel-desktop-memory-kit-cmk16gx4m2d3200---black
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3200 PC4-25600 CL16 Dual Channel Desktop Memory Kit CMK16GX4M2D3200 - Black $84.99

https://www.microcenter.com/product/624564/intel-1tb-ssd-3d3-qlc-nand-m2-2280-pcie-nvme-30-x4-internal-solid-state-drive
Intel 1TB SSD 3D3 QLC NAND M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4 Internal SSD $94.99

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/nvidia-geforce-rtx-3060-ti-8gb-gddr6-pci-express-4-0-graphics-card-steel-and-black/6439402.p?skuId=6439402
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti 8GB GDDR6 PCI Express 4.0 Graphics Card $399.99

IPS > TN

https://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-Monitor-Response-FreeSync-G27F-SA/dp/B08CMMMYXB/
Gigabyte G27F 27" 144Hz 1080P Gaming Monitor, 1920 x 1080 IPS Display, 1ms (MPRT) Response Time, FreeSync Premium $209.99

https://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-Monitor-Response-FreeSync-G27F-SA/dp/B08CMMMYXB/
Gigabyte G27F 27" 144Hz 1080P Gaming Monitor, 1920 x 1080 IPS Display, 1ms (MPRT) Response Time, FreeSync Premium $209.99

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072J1CSCD
Huanuo Dual Monitor Stand $65.99

Total: $1,556 (not including storage drive & OS)

https://www.gigabyte.com/us/Monitor/G27F#kf
Gigabyte G27F Monitor

https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gigabyte-g27f
Gigabyte G27F 27-inch Monitor Review

Here's two reviews of the current Intel 10th gen Comet Lake i5 10400F. Expect the newer Rocket Lake version of that chip (i5 11400F) to pump out better numbers for the reasons I stated earlier in this post.

https://www.techpowerup.com/review/intel-core-i5-10400f/
Intel Core i5-10400F Review - Six Cores with HT for Under $200

https://4youdaily.com/technology-and-it-market-news/core-i5-10400-and-core-i5-10400f-processor-review-do-you-still-like-ryzen-5-3600/
Core i5-10400 and Core i5-10400F Processor Review: Do You Still Like Ryzen 5 3600?

https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/nvidia-geforce-rtx-3060-ti-founders-edition-review
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition Review

https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/get-windows-10-free-or-cheap,5717.html
How to Get Windows 10 for Free (or Under $30)

CPU SOCKET: LGA2066, LGA2011-v3, LGA2011, LGA1200, LGA1151, LGA1150, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA1366, AM4, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2, FM2+, FM2, FM1

 
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Reactions: legacydesign
btw if one of those monitors is for work, surfing the net, etc .. then I'd recommend a 24" monitor for that and the 27" monitor I posted strictly for gaming so that your text doesn't look funky which tends to happen on 27" 1080P monitors.

Something such as this for your non gaming monitor.

HP 24mh FHD Monitor - Computer Monitor with 23.8-Inch IPS Display (1080p) - Built-In Speakers and VESA Mounting - Height/Tilt Adjustment for Ergonomic Viewing - HDMI and DisplayPort - (1D0J9AA#ABA) $109.99

And something to ponder. 24" - 25" is about as big as you want to go in regards to 1920 x 1080P due to pixilation on anything bigger than that. If you want tighter pixels (sharper picture) for gaming @ 1080P then I'd take a hard look at this monitor down below for your gaming monitor and pair it up with something like that HP 24" I posted up above.

https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16824737015
Pixio PX248 Prime S 24" 165Hz IPS 1ms (MPRT) AMD Radeon FreeSync Premium Full HD 1920 x 1080 Premier eSports IPS Gaming Monitor $179.99

https://www.ign.com/articles/the-best-freesync-monitors-for-nvidia-gpus
Best G-Sync Compatible Gaming Monitors 2021: FreeSync Displays for Nvidia GPUs
2. Pixio PX248 Prime

https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pixio-px248-prime-24-inch-gaming-monitor
Pixio PX248 Prime Review

https://pixiogaming.com/products/px248-prime-s
Pixio PX248 Prime S
 
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Reactions: legacydesign
Feb 21, 2021
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This is all fantastic advice. Literally exactly what I was looking for - after you walked through the reasons behind the changes, it does feel like I was definitely overpaying for some items based on my needs. Also I read through all the articles you provided - really helpful stuff (I really like the windows 10 article :))

I re-did my build to incorporate the changes you stated:
https://pcpartpicker.com/list/GpzPNP
  • Only thing I really had to modify was the case, as the Ecliplse P400A didn't seem to support an optical drive (maybe I should nix the internal optical drive and opt for an external one?)
  • Re: monitors - I'm really glad you shared what you did. After thinking about it more, the 24in size seems to work just fine for me (and it saves me $s). I was surprised to hear you say IPS > TN though. The content I have read online seems to say that TN monitors typically have faster response times and are better for gaming set ups than IPS monitors. Am I missing something here?
  • RTX 3060 Ti - I'm going to try some of the strategies listed to pick one up referenced from one articles you shared to get my hands on one. If no luck, then I may try out the 3060.
 
Reactions: Why_Me
This is all fantastic advice. Literally exactly what I was looking for - after you walked through the reasons behind the changes, it does feel like I was definitely overpaying for some items based on my needs. Also I read through all the articles you provided - really helpful stuff (I really like the windows 10 article :))

I re-did my build to incorporate the changes you stated:
https://pcpartpicker.com/list/GpzPNP
  • Only thing I really had to modify was the case, as the Ecliplse P400A didn't seem to support an optical drive (maybe I should nix the internal optical drive and opt for an external one?)
  • Re: monitors - I'm really glad you shared what you did. After thinking about it more, the 24in size seems to work just fine for me (and it saves me $s). I was surprised to hear you say IPS > TN though. The content I have read online seems to say that TN monitors typically have faster response times and are better for gaming set ups than IPS monitors. Am I missing something here?
  • RTX 3060 Ti - I'm going to try some of the strategies listed to pick one up referenced from one articles you shared to get my hands on one. If no luck, then I may try out the 3060.
IPS have a crisper look along with better viewing angles vs the TN. It used to be that the price gap between IPS vs TN monitors was significant but in the past 5 - 7 years the prices on the IPS monitors have dropped to where they're competitive now. I can remember back in the day when a 24" Dell IPS monitor would be priced in the $500+ range and I'm not talking gaming monitor.
 
This is all fantastic advice. Literally exactly what I was looking for - after you walked through the reasons behind the changes, it does feel like I was definitely overpaying for some items based on my needs. Also I read through all the articles you provided - really helpful stuff (I really like the windows 10 article :))

I re-did my build to incorporate the changes you stated:
https://pcpartpicker.com/list/GpzPNP
  • Only thing I really had to modify was the case, as the Ecliplse P400A didn't seem to support an optical drive (maybe I should nix the internal optical drive and opt for an external one?)
  • Re: monitors - I'm really glad you shared what you did. After thinking about it more, the 24in size seems to work just fine for me (and it saves me $s). I was surprised to hear you say IPS > TN though. The content I have read online seems to say that TN monitors typically have faster response times and are better for gaming set ups than IPS monitors. Am I missing something here?
  • RTX 3060 Ti - I'm going to try some of the strategies listed to pick one up referenced from one articles you shared to get my hands on one. If no luck, then I may try out the 3060.
One other thing that I should have mentioned earlier is that you might want to consider getting the i5 11400 instead of the i5 11400F for the simple reason that cpu has integrated graphics and cost only $10 more. This will allow you to use your new PC until you can get your hands on a decent graphics card at a somewhat reasonable price.
 
Feb 21, 2021
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One other thing that I should have mentioned earlier is that you might want to consider getting the i5 11400 instead of the i5 11400F for the simple reason that cpu has integrated graphics and cost only $10 more. This will allow you to use your new PC until you can get your hands on a decent graphics card at a somewhat reasonable price.
I didn't even think about that - that's a really good point. It would be sad to look at an (almost) completed build for who knows how long before acquiring my graphics card..

I looked at the specs of the internal graphics of the i5 11400F (link below). I'm just having trouble understand what exactly it is comparable to on the market right now? Like will I be able to only run basic tasks on my computer while leveraging the internal graphics?

https://www.cpu-monkey.com/en/igpu-intel_iris_xe_graphics_24_rocket_lake_s-249
 
Reactions: Why_Me
I didn't even think about that - that's a really good point. It would be sad to look at an (almost) completed build for who knows how long before acquiring my graphics card..

I looked at the specs of the internal graphics of the i5 11400F (link below). I'm just having trouble understand what exactly it is comparable to on the market right now? Like will I be able to only run basic tasks on my computer while leveraging the internal graphics?

https://www.cpu-monkey.com/en/igpu-intel_iris_xe_graphics_24_rocket_lake_s-249
I'm in the same boat as you. I plan on doing a gaming build right after rocket lake is launched with the 11400 so I can at least use my new PC until the market on graphics cards gets back to somewhat normal. You'll be able to run that new PC just fine on those new Intel graphics but gaming such as CoD Warzone might not be an option until you get a gpu but at least you'll be able to run everything else without any hiccups.
 
Reactions: legacydesign
You have any thoughts on affordable motherboards that would fit the Intel Core i5 11400 and also have built in wifi? Or is it typically cheaper to buy the wifi separately?

The one above doesn't seem to have built in wifi. thanks
Not all the prices of the B560 boards have been announced to date. Some boards have built in wi fi and others have that M.2 Key E slot.

These boards have an M.2 Key E slot for the Intel Wi Fi 6 + bluetooth desktop kit and there's other B560 boards that also have that M.2 Key E slot.

https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16813157976
ASRock B560 Steel Legend $129.99

https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16813157977
ASRock B560 Pro4 $109.99

https://www.amazon.com/Intel-Wi-Fi-Gig-Desktop-AX200-NGWG-NV/dp/B085M7VPDP/
Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) Desktop Kit, AX200, 2230, 2x2 AX+BT, vPro $24.95

https://wccftech.com/msi-b560-h510-budget-motherboard-prices-under-200-us-up-to-ddr4-5200-memory-support/ <--- MSI B560 boards price list.

https://www.msi.com/Landing/intel-z590-b560-h510-motherboard <--- MSI B560 boards

https://www.asus.com/microsite/motherboard/Intel-Rocket-Lake-Z590-H570-B560-series/ <--- Asus

https://www.asrock.com/mb/index.asp <--- Asrock

https://www.gigabyte.com/us/Motherboard/Intel-B560 <--- Gigabyte

https://www.newegg.com/p/pl?N=100007627 601360973 <--- B560 boards listed on newegg to date. More will be showing up within the next week.
 
Reactions: legacydesign
This is all fantastic advice. Literally exactly what I was looking for - after you walked through the reasons behind the changes, it does feel like I was definitely overpaying for some items based on my needs. Also I read through all the articles you provided - really helpful stuff (I really like the windows 10 article :))

I re-did my build to incorporate the changes you stated:
https://pcpartpicker.com/list/GpzPNP
  • Only thing I really had to modify was the case, as the Ecliplse P400A didn't seem to support an optical drive (maybe I should nix the internal optical drive and opt for an external one?)
  • Re: monitors - I'm really glad you shared what you did. After thinking about it more, the 24in size seems to work just fine for me (and it saves me $s). I was surprised to hear you say IPS > TN though. The content I have read online seems to say that TN monitors typically have faster response times and are better for gaming set ups than IPS monitors. Am I missing something here?
  • RTX 3060 Ti - I'm going to try some of the strategies listed to pick one up referenced from one articles you shared to get my hands on one. If no luck, then I may try out the 3060.
The RTX 3060's just showed up on Best Buy. Sign up and get on the notify list.

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/evga-nvidia-geforce-rtx-3060-xc-gaming-12gb-gddr6-pci-express-4-0-graphics-card/6454328.p?skuId=6454328
EVGA NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 XC GAMING 12GB GDDR6 PCI Express 4.0 Graphics Card $389.99
 
Reactions: legacydesign

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