If you’d rather not go all out on an Intel 10th generation build, you could go for something that’s based around the i7-10700K. It’s a pretty powerful CPU, and when paired with the right components, you can easily get excellent performance out of it.
We’ve paired it with a Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Ultra motherboard that has an excellent VRM section and overclocking headroom, as well as 16GB of RAM, a Radeon RX 5700 XT, and a 500GB SSD from Western Digital. You could add a hard drive as well, and everything is powered by Corsair’s CX550M PSU, packed in a Lian-Li case.
CPU: Intel Core i7-10700K
Even though it’s not top of the line, the Intel Core i7-10700K is a very powerful and pretty future-proof processor for anyone who wants a decent gaming build where the CPU will not be a bottleneck anytime soon.
The Core i7-10700K packs 8 cores and 16 threads, thanks to Intel’s Hyperthreading technology, which means that heavier workloads, or ones that require more cores like streaming, will not be any kind of problem whatsoever. It sits on the new LGA1200 socket, which means you won’t be able to use it with an older motherboard, unfortunately.
As far as clock speeds go, you’re looking at a base clock of 3.8GHz, but under load, thanks to Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0, it can go all the way up to 5.1GHz. Add to this the fact that you can overclock it pretty easily, and you’re looking at some potentially pretty high frequencies.
With a TDP of 125W, you’ll need a decent cooling solution for it, but it’s a CPU that’s reasonably easy to keep cool. There’s no cooling solution in the box, unfortunately, so this is extra money you’ll need to spend. An excellent all-round CPU.
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Ultra
Intel’s new CPUs sit on a brand new socket, which means you will need a new motherboard for them. And for a build based around the Core i7-10700K, Gigabyte’s Z490 AORUS Ultra is an excellent choice for many reasons. It’s priced rather reasonably and comes with a few nice things that you’ll love.
First is the VRM section. The 12 phase VRM and smart power stage that has a passive heatsink will ensure reliable power delivery to your CPU, regardless of whether you’re using it stock, or you’re overclocking it. The Direct Touch Heatpipe has a nanocarbon coating to help dissipate heat, too.
To add to this, you’ve got three M.2 slots, each with their own heatsink, and the entire bottom half of the motherboard is covered in a passive cooling solution. At the top are four DIMM slots that accept dual-channel DDR4 memory.
The Z490 AORUS Ultra does come with USB 3.2 Gen 2, as well as 2.5GbE LAN and Wi-Fi 6, so connectivity is pretty much settled. Add to this RGB Fusion support, and you’re covered in just about any regard – this is a great motherboard for any kind of use.
GPU: PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 5700 XT
Radeon has made quite a blast with its most recent GPUs, and the RX 5700 XT is the flagship model of them all. You’re looking at a graphics card that’s based on AMD’s RDNA architecture, which is a 7nm process that comes with a few improvements over their previous models.
To begin with, this is a GPU that comes with 8GB of GDDR6 memory. This should be more than enough to run modern games at higher resolutions. The base clock is a rather high 1770MHz, but when boosted, you can get up to 2010MHz. The Game Clock, which is where the GPU will typically sit when you’re gaming, is 1905MHz, so you’ve got a bit of headroom if you need it.
Aside from this, you get a truly great VRM section with a 10 phase PWM, so power delivery to the chip is stable and reliable, even when under load. The fans will remain silent when the GPU is below 60 degrees, which helps with overall system noise. And last but not least, the cooling is quite a bit overengineered, so you won’t have to worry about temperatures on your GPU, at all.
RAM: Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 16GB 3600MHz
One of the most popular options when it comes to PC memory nowadays, Corsair’s memory kits have a lot going for them. And for a system that should both perform well, and look nice when you’re using it, the Vengeance RGB Pro kit is a great choice.
To begin with, this is a 16GB kit that comes with two 8GB sticks. This means you’ll be taking advantage of dual-channel memory, which is quite a bit better than going with single channel. And with a motherboard with four DIMM slots, you can get another kit down the road and upgrade it if you want.
The timings are decent at C18, but they’re nothing to write home about. When you factor in the speed of 3600MHz, this isn’t too much of a problem, since you’ll be getting excellent performance out of your memory.
One thing to note is that the inclusion of dynamic multi-zone RGB lights has resulted in a fairly high profile, so you might not be able to use some beefier air coolers here. However, if that’s not a problem, the RAM sticks will look nice and you can sync them with the rest of your components.
SSD: Western Digital Blue SN550 500GB
The motherboard of choice does come with a few M.2 slots, so you’ll want to be taking advantage of that if you want a fast system that will not bog you down with loading times. One of the best ways to do so is Western Digital’s SN550 SSD, which is a value model that comes with rather nice speeds. The only downside to it is that it’s not compatible with a SATA interface, but you do have an NVMe slot on the motherboard of choice.
The SSD itself comes with speeds of up to 2,400MB/s, which is pretty fast, and quite a bit faster than any SATA SSD you might come across – we won’t even mention mechanical hard drives. At 500GB, this is more than enough to store your operating system, your daily apps, and a game or two.
Last but not least, the SSD has been rated at up to 600 terabytes written, which is quite a bit when it comes to disk usage. If you don’t want to worry about longevity with your system, this might be one of the best options out there.
HDD: Western Digital Blue 1TB (optional)
We get it – sometimes just an SSD isn’t enough, and you want a more wallet-friendly way of getting some extra storage on your system. If you don’t really need the fastest storage out there, Western Digital’s Blue is a good optional thing to add to your system.
It comes in a 1TB capacity, which should be quite sufficient when you’re looking at storage that would hold larger games or even multimedia files that you’d like to access every once in a while. Sure, at 7200RPM, it might not be the fastest option out there, but do you need speed when you want to watch a movie, for example?
One thing that the WD Blue has going for it is reliability. Western Digital has been making them for quite some time, and they’ve made a reputation for themselves as some of the most reliable hard drives out there. People often get a few of them and use them as storage for years to come, which makes them great. If you use it as a secondary drive and don’t keep it running all the time, it’s a great optional purchase for your system.
PSU: Corsair CX550M 550W
The PSU is oftentimes a neglected component, but it’s one you should be paying attention to because a PSU malfunction can spell disaster for your entire build. To prevent this, in the i7-10700K build we would suggest going for Corsair’s CX550M power supply. It’s a reliable semi-modular power supply that will give you a reliable power delivery to your system, without any issues.
To begin with, this is a 550W power supply, which is more than sufficient to run the entire system without any issues. Modern CPUs like the i7-10700K don’t need too much power, so you will have a bit of overhead as well. It comes with an 80+ Bronze certification, which does guarantee reliability and efficiency to some extent.
To add to this, being a semi-modular power supply means that you’ll be able to keep your cable management clean, without any problems, and only use the cables you need. The fan is thermally controlled, which means it will remain silent when the PSU isn’t under heavy loads, reducing overall system noise.
With a five year warranty, this is an overall excellent PSU to run your system for a good while, even if you’ve got an upgrade or two planned.
Case: LIAN LI LANCOOL 205
Minimalist looking cases are all the rage nowadays, with PC enthusiasts opting for subtle looks on the outside, and then going crazy on the inside. If you’re after such a case, the LIAN LI LANCOOL 205 is a great pick. At one point it was only available with prebuilt systems, but now you can get it for your Core i7-10700K build.
On the outside, it’s a pretty boring looking case. Clean aesthetics without any fuss on the front, top and right, and a tempered glass side panel on the left. This allows you to look at your components inside, but there’s a PSU shroud so the cables are covered and out of sight.
Inside, you can fit an ATX, mATX, or Mini-ITX motherboard, without much problem. The case is rather versatile and supports plenty of combinations, and you can easily fit a lengthy graphics card inside without worry.
Behind the motherboard tray is plenty of room for cable management. The perforated side of the front panel allows for decent air intake, and there are magnetic dust filters both at the front and on the top, which is a nice addition.
Windows 10 Home
Every build needs an operating system, and if you’ll be using your build for gaming, Windows 10 is where you want to be. Microsoft’s operating system has come a long way since it was originally introduced, and you’ll be getting an OS that can do pretty much anything. It’s the most popular OS out there at the moment, and pretty much any software you might need is compatible with it.
You’re looking at an excellent protection solution here, with an included firewall and antivirus, as well as internet protection. There’s also Windows Hello, which allows you a password-free sign-in solution using biometric data like a compatible webcam or fingerprint reader.
There are also 3D solutions built-in, which allow you to quickly and easily make 3D objects virtually – something you should play with in your free time. Add to this mixed reality capabilities, and you’re pretty much covered.
We’re recommending the Home edition instead of Pro, because you’ll be saving quite a lot, and you’re only missing out on things such as virtualization. It’s a worthy compromise, and your wallet will thank you.
Liquid cooling: NZXT Kraken X52
With NZXT presenting their high-end coolers that replace the simple RGB cooler with a display, now is the perfect time to get one of the older models that still get you excellent cooling performance. The Kraken X52 240mm is a great example of this, and is a perfect match for the Intel Core i7-10700K, especially since it comes without a cooler.
You’re looking at two 120mm fans and a pretty beefy radiator that will keep temperatures low. The included fans are Aer P, optimized for static pressure and they get quite a lot of air to the radiator itself while remaining as silent as possible. They’re also pretty durable, so you won’t have any issues with them whatsoever.
The cooler itself is a mirror design and adds a bit of RGB, so your case will look a bit nicer with the tempered glass side. It’s made to perform really well, so you won’t have any issue in that regard. The tubing is also reinforced, so you have quite a lot of headroom for bending it if necessary, and it won’t give easily. The 6-year warranty backs that up, too, which is pretty nice.
- Excellent for 1080p gaming, decent for 1440p at lower details
- Good for both 720p and 1080p streaming
- Great for content creation and demanding workloads, especially ones that are CPU intensive