Roel's Feedback:

I must say that actually building the machine was much less difficult than I expected it to be before I started reading your guides. I had some minor concerns only about how to apply the thermal paste, but that worked out perfectly and the Noctua cooler keeps the CPU temperature well under control. I am happy with the building experience and the end result. All my games run at maximum settings without any issue at 2048 x 1152 (native resolution for my current monitor). And... I am ready for the Oculus Rift. Will wait to see if the price is going to come down a bit before I place the order!

The Finished System

Built: December 2015

As shown above, Roel's goal was to build a VR-ready system so that when the Oculus Rift hits in April, he's ready to game in 360 degrees! He based his build on the $2,000 Premium Gaming PC Build, as of December 2015, but added some custom touches like a sleek full-tower case and the blazing-fast Samsung 950 Pro M.2 sold-state drive. Because Roel hails from Overijse, Belgium, we've included links to the components he used in both the U.S. and the nearest EU country we have an affiliation with, Germany. This will give European shoppers a sense for the price of each component in Euros.

Roel was kind enough to pass along a full description of his system, so we'll let him explain it all to you in his own words:

"I have known for a while that I wanted to experience the Oculus Rift first hand on my own system so that I could dive into the VR world whenever I wanted. I also knew that my two year old Haswell based machine was not going to be up to the task of running it smoothly.... So I had to either buy a high-end gaming pc or.. build one myself! The latter seemed to be an interesting and even exciting option as I had never done this before. As one does when attempting something new and challenging, I started doing research and soon stumbled upon your website. After spending a lot of reading (I must admit I used other tech websites as well...) and learning about the latest components, I decided that this was going to be my shopping list:

  1. CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K (in Euros)
  2. Motherboard: Asus Maximus VIII Ranger (in Euros)
  3. Video Card: MSI GTX980Ti Gaming 6G (in Euros)
  4. Memory: Corsair Vengeance 2x8GB LPX DDR4-3000MHz (in Euros)
  5. SSD #1: Samsung 950 Pro 512GB M.2 (in Euros)
  6. SSD #2: Samsung 850 Pro 512GB (in Euros)
  7. Hard Drive: Western Digital WD10EFRX 1TB (in Euros)
  8. Optical drive (BluRay): Asus BC-12D2HT (in Euros)
  9. Card Reader: Akasa Interconnect Pro (in Euros)
  10. Case: Corsair Graphite 730T (in Euros)
  11. CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U14S (in Euros)
  12. Power Supply: Corsair RM1000 (in Euros)
  13. Operating System: Windows 10 (in Euros)

The Parts

I enjoyed assembling this system. The Corsair 730T is a real pleasure to work in. I did remove the middle 3.5" drive bay to allow for better airflow to the GPU, otherwise I made no changes at all. The case is well designed I think. I really like those red leds bringing life to the dual front intake fans!

Install

The Maximus VIII Ranger has all the things you'd expect from a Z170 board (including the M.2 slot!!) but nothing really outrageous. I toyed with the idea of buying the Asus Z170 Deluxe, but thought that was real overkill, even for a high-end pc like this.

I also really wanted the fast boot times the Samsung 950 Pro was going to deliver, as well as plenty of room for other software. In the end (and now that the whole thing is up and running) I decided to have all my pictures on the Samsung 950 Pro (besides the OS of course), games on the Samsung SATA SSD, and music on the WD HD, where speed is less of an issue. Any other software goes on the 950 Pro as well.

I decided upfront to install Windows 10 (comes on a USB stick these days) in the minimum pc configuration to reduce the risk of complications. So when I powered up for the first time, I only had the 950 Pro SSD on the motherboard, and no other drives at all. Worked like a dream: Power up, BIOS asks to decide where to boot, choose USB and voila! Windows then proceeds to ask where it needs to install, and will by definition only show one single option, my 950 Pro SSD.  Just hit enter. Installation was very quick. I chose to do a custom install so that I could turn off all the privacy sensitive Windows 10 features immediately... Then installed the rest of the drives, card reader (this one has 4 additional USB 2.0 ports and 2 USB 3.0 ports as well), and, last but not least, the GPU. Then I made sure all the cables were were I wanted them to be (that means out of the way) by rerouting them a bit and I was done building my first pc! My next purchase will be the Acer XB270HU monitor!" 

[Editor's Note: Roel, you might want to make that the new Acer XB271HU (US$/Euros)!]