Quiet Gamer

Now updated with Intel's brand-new Kaby Lake platform!

Want a high-powered PC that can deliver an excellent computing experience while running in near silence? Then this is the system for you! Every component has been chosen to maximize performance while minimizing noise. Compared to the already-fast $1,000 Gaming Build, the $1,250 Quiet Gamer offers the potential for up to 30% more CPU performance via overclocking. Along with upgrades to the case, power supply, video card, and cooling, all with a focus on minimizing noise, this is a real wolf in sheep's clothing!

For January 2017, the long-awaited follow-up to the Core i5-6600K quad-core processor has arrived in the form of the Core i5-7600K. It offers 8-10% higher speeds at the same price, with lower power consumption. Paired with the silent but ultra-capable GeForce GTX 1060 6GB video card, it makes for the perfect quiet gaming PC. Throw in a power supply and CPU cooler that shut off their fans at idle, a single large solid-state drive, and a sleek, noise-optimized case, and you'll have PC that's truly silent!

We update this build on a monthly basis to incorporate new product releases or major price adjustments, so check back often. To see past months' builds, check out the $1,250 Quiet Gaming PC Archive, or see how it compares to all our other builds on the TBG PC Build Comparison Page. And if you're also looking for updated PC accessories, check out our Monitor Buyer's Guide and Peripherals Buyer's Guide for recommendations.

If you need help building your system, see our step-by-step guide, "Assembling a Mid-Range PC," which will walk you through the process of putting it together. You can also post a question in our Reader Forum - we'll answer as soon as possible! And feel free to check out The Gallery to get inspired by the builds submitted by other TBG readers. When you have yours up and running, let us know and we'll create a profile page for your system too!

We use real-time pricing engines to give you the most up-to-date prices available, and we also include shopping links for our readers in UK, Canada, and Germany (with regional substitutions made where necessary). Your use of these links helps keep this guide alive!

The $1,250 Quiet Gaming PC - January 2017

    CPU:

    Intel Core i5-7600K

    The brand-new Core i5-7600K, launched on January 3rd, is an ideal gaming CPU for a mid-range system, offering great out-of-the-box speed, plus a huge amount of overclocking headroom. Compared to its predecessor the Core i5-6600K, it operates 300MHz faster (or around 8%) for the same price.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that the 7600K does not include a standard Intel cooler, so please make sure to pick up the cooler we recommend later in this guide. You cannot run this CPU without a cooler.

    Motherboard:

    Asus Prime Z270-P

    This new board is one of the most affordable offerings to include the potent Z270 chipset, which allows you to push your unlocked 7600K chip to its limits, if you so choose! Like all Z270-based boards, this one has lots of connectivity options, including dual M.2 slots and a full array of PCIe slots. It also has three fan headers, backed by the very best UEFI and Windows-based fan controls in the business.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that while this board does not support running dual GeForce cards in SLI, but because the GTX 1060 video card we recommend for this build does not support dual-card operation either, it's not worth paying more for that feature.

    Video Card:

    MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Armor 6G

    Nvidia's Pascal-based GTX 1060 offers great performance and amazing efficiency, a perfect combination for a system like this one. In fact, it uses about 50W less power than its nearest competitor, the Radeon RX 480 8GB, despite similar performance.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This particular version of the GTX 1060 features an over-sized, ultra-quiet cooler, making it perfect for this build.

    Memory:

    Patriot 2x4GB Elite DDR4-3200 Red

    With 8GB of RAM, you'll have plenty of capacity for any typical task, while leaving to add two additional stick in the future if the need arises. Why do we choose this DDR4-3200 kit in particular? It offers a 50% boost over standard 2133MHz RAM and due to a quirk in pricing, costs far less than most slower kits. This won't last long!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Due to a serious NAND chip shortage, prices on all RAM kits are increasing several dollars per week, with no sign of slowing down. If you often work with HD video or RAW camera files, you may want to jump up to Patriot's 2x8GB DDR4-3000 kit right now, as it will likely be more expensive to upgrade later.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Crucial MX300 1TB M.2

    With 1TB-class solid-state drives now available around the $250 mark, there's no reason to use anything but solid-state storage in this system, which of course helps keep this Quiet Gamer really, really quiet! We recommend the MX300 1TB, which offers the best performance of any drive anywhere near its price. And to eliminate the need  for drive cabling in your case, we're now recommending the M.2 slot-based model. It's very simple to install -  you just need a jeweler's type screwdriver.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This drive has a little trick up its sleeve: it's actually a 1050GB model, but for marketing purposes, Crucial has rounded down its named capacity to an even 1TB. That's a whole lot better than rounding up, which is what other manufacturers do sometimes do!

    Case:

    Phanteks Eclipse P400S Silent Edition

    After years of going with a traditional "big black box" for this build, we've decided to go with an innovative new case from Phanteks: its awesome Eclipse P400S. Sure, it has the noise-dampening foam and solid front panel of so many other quiet cases, but it also has a streamlined interior designed for today's PCs. By reducing the number of drive bays to a minimum, it achieves optimal airflow and minimum noise. Good riddance to huge hard drive arrays, because you weren't going to have a quiet computer with those in your system anyway!

    The Guru's Tip:

    This stylish model even includes user-selectable LED lighting, and comes in three colors: anthracite as shown, as well as black and white. You can even get it in a windowed edition, which trades a little extra noise for the ability to show off your awesome new video card!

    Power Supply:

    EVGA Supernova 550 GS

    For the Quiet Gamer, we want a power supply that offers high efficiency and low noise. Enter the EVGA Supernova 550 GS designed by Seasonic, which offers ultra-high Gold-rated efficiency, along with a hybrid fan that shuts off at low loads. It also features fully-modular cables, which means you'll only use the cables you need, improving airflow. Best of all, it's backed by a 5-year warranty.

    The Guru's Tip:

    A 550W power supply has plenty of capacity to support this system, which will use less than 250W at full load at stock settings. That gives you plenty of room for overclocking, and more importantly, means the the PSU won't work as hard, leading to quieter operation.

    CPU Cooler:

    Arctic Freezer i32

    This awesome cooler offers far more cooling power than any cooler in its price range, along with lower noise levels. In fact, it features a unique zero-RPM fan mode which engages when your PC is at idle or low load, making the cooler completely silent!

    The Guru's Tip:

    The i32 even comes with a sample of our favorite thermal paste, Arctic MX-4!

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 Download

    Windows 8.1 was fast, stable, and secure, but it had a user interface that drove most people crazy. Windows 10 built on all the performance improvements of Windows 8.1 while bringing back a functional start menu, similar to Windows 7, but with enhanced functionality. Microsoft also released DirectX 12 alongside its latest operating system, a graphics programming interface that is giving developers new ways to tap into hardware to provide unprecedented levels of image quality.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While you can load this Windows 10 download onto any 4GB or larger flash drive you have available, we recommend using a fast drive, like this Transcend 8GB USB 3.1 model.