Building a custom PC for streaming on twitch, video editing, photo editing, or gaming is the ideal way to get the most out of your hard-earned money. Pre-built options at this price range are less desirable and not only lack flexibility, but lack the performance you’d achieve from building your own custom gaming PC.
Editing, Rendering, and Graphic Design can be Demanding:
As someone who works full-time developing and writing for websites as well as creating content for a YouTube channel my time is valuable. Having a computer that I have to wait on literally costs me that money over time. For that reason, I’m continually updating to limit the time that my computer takes in doing important tasks.
It’s likely that the demands you’re facing follow suit with what I’ve seen from the workplace. An increase in the demand and need for video and photo editing as well as online streaming. While your laptop may cut it for traveling, it may not cut it for your home or work office.
Why Talk About Photo Editing, Video Editing, and Streaming all at the Same Time?
More and more these three tasks are done together by content creators looking for a one stop solution.
This Build Will be Overkill for Some:
Depending on what you do you may or may not need this much of a budget. If this build goes beyond what you feel you need, be sure to check out my 10 good computer builds for the money page for additional options. I keep it updated regularly with my picks for computer hardware based on current rebates and sale prices. Those who are photo editors will want to opt for a higher-end CPU rather than simply a high-end GPU.
DDR4 Vs. DDR3
Contents at a Glance
While the benefits of using DDR4 seem somewhat limited at this point in time, in my opinion, it’s worth going with this technology now for the benefits which you’ll see down the line. If you’re going with a Broadwell-E, Haswell-E, or *Skylake-based processor, odds are you’ll be upgrading at this price point.
*Some lower-end Skylake motherboards support DDR3.
If you plan on streaming, Twitch has listed its recommended specifications as follows:
- CPU: Intel Core i5-4670 or AMD Equivalent
- MEMORY: 8GB DDR3 SDRAM
- OS: Windows 7 Home Premium
These specifications should be taken with a grain of salt and, in fact, may only be good enough for streaming the lightest of games. Games like Hearthstone, League of Legends, and WoW may work just fine; however, in my opinion, it’s still not ideal. If you’re streaming using a single PC, aim for as many cores as you can afford and if you’re using an Intel CPU, you’ll want to aim for one that has hyperthreading. Keep in mind that hyperthreading is not available on the Twitch recommended i5.
For the graphics card, aim for one which is optimized for the game you plan on streaming. To avoid the strain on your own system, it may be advisable for some to build a secondary PC for encoding and for compression, as well as a good capture card that works seamlessly with your streaming software of choice.
A Powerful $2,000 Photo and Video Editing PC for 2017
|Intel i7-6700k||i7-6700k (Skylake), i7-6800k (Broadwell-E), or i7-5820k (Haswell-E)||The i7-6700k is a great option here with 4 cores, 8 threads, and faster single core performance than the other two options here. Between the motherboard and the CPU it's also less expensive. That being said if you need the additional cores, the i7-6800k (6 cores 12 threads) is the one I'd most likely reach for.|
|Asus Z170-A Motherboard||Asus Maximus VIII HERO (Skylake) or MSI X99 V3 Pro Carbon (Broadwell-E recommendation)||If you're looking for the mid-range board that will give you the most features for the least amount of money the Asus Z170-A will do enough for most builders. If you want a few more features, increase in overclock, and a better-looking board, the Maximus VIII would be a good choice. For Haswell and Broadwell-E builders, I'm recommending the MSI X99 V3 Pro Carbon.|
|Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB||Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB||The Corsair Vengeance LPX series has been one of my favorites since DDR4 was released. You can get the 3000 MHz speed ram for just about the same price as the 2400 MHz so go for that.|
|Phanteks Enthoo Pro||Phanteks Enthoo Evolv||Full tower cases are nice as they have so much room for expansion. If you're truly a photo editor, you know just how much you need that. For value, the Phanteks Enthoo Pro and Evolv, in my opinion, can't be beat.|
|EVGA SuperNova 750W||EVGA SuperNova 750W||The EVGA SuperNova 750W is a Tier 3 power supply that should be good enough for the dual GPU setup. Maximum Output shouldn't be any higher than 572 watts so this gives us a little headroom.|
|2x NVIDIA GTX 1080||2 x GTX 1080||A single GTX 1080 is probably more than enough for many in this space. Since we could afford it, I threw in a second. However, it may not be necessary for everyone's needs.|
|Hard Drive||Hitachi Deskstar 2TB||Hitachi Deskstar 2TB||A good and high capacity drive for cheap. We're going for two of them here.|
|Solid State Options||A-Data Premier 120GB or 240GB SSD||A-Data Premier 120GB or 240GB SSD||You'll spend only $30 to $60 for 120GB to 240GB of capacity with the A-Data brand. Don't let the price fool you, it's one of the more reliable options I've come across.|
|Hyper 212 EVO||NZXT Kraken X61||These CPUs don't come with a CPU cooler. The Hyper 212 EVO will do a good job of giving you an overclock while the NZXT Kraken X61 is one of the more solid liquid CPU coolers you'll come across.|
While I can’t know the exact software that you’ll be using I’ll try to give you a good idea of the performance you can achieve with each of these builds based on the hardware that you choose. The best way to know exactly what you need in terms of your CPU and the graphics card is to check out performance benchmarks for the software that you use most. Sites with CPU performance comparisons like Anandtech are pretty good as a general reference.
At this price range, there are a couple of choices you could go with for processor. If you need 6 cores here, go with the i7-6800k Broadwell-E processor. This means you’ll need a compatible X99 LGA 2011 motherboard. If this is a new build for you I’d recommend the X99 v3 motherboards.
Another option here would be the Skylake i7-6700k. This option saves you at least $200 by going with a cheaper CPU and motherboard and allows for just as good or better performance in many benchmarks.
i7-6700k vs i7-6800k vs i7-5820
As for whether you should go with the faster single threaded performing i7-6700k or the 6 core vs 4 core i7-6800k, you’ll have to decide what’s most important to you. Many editors are sticking with the i7-6700k because of it’s better performance in certain applications. If you’re not planning on overclocking, perhaps this would be your best option.
If you do plan on overclocking going with either the Broadwell-E i7-6800k or Haswell i7-5820 on the LGA 2011 Enthusiast platform might be the better fit.
As this PC is focused on streaming as well as photo and video editing, we need a beast of our graphics card. For that, the $2,000 build is featuring the king of the hill right now in the GTX 1080 while the $2,500 uses a dual 1080 configuration. For performance, you can expect a decent boost vs the 980 Ti. Here’s a look at our overclocked benchmarks of the 980 ti vs the GTX 1080.
Choosing a Motherboard:
For features and overclocking we’re going with the Asus Maximus VIII HERO. This z97 chipset motherboard is made for power users and thus may be money that you don’t need to spend if you’re not planning on doing any extensive overclocking. For many builders, something like the Asus Z97-A will be just about right.
If you go with the i7-6800k, something like the MSI X99 V3 Pro Carbon would be ideal. It gives you a ton of features, reliability, and overclocking options.
Efficiency and longevity is important. In fact, it may be worth it over time to go with that more expensive power supply in the first place. Read my post on how much it costs to run your PC and take a look at our top power supplies to understand why, in my opinion, it’s worth it to spend a little more and go with the EVGA Supernova 750W.
For capacity and performance, I’ve been buying up Hitachi’s Deskstar 2TB models right now. At $50 to $60 you get 2TB of performance in a high-quality drive. I’ve also incorporated a 240GB solid state drive from A-Data for your OS and most important programs.
For value, it’s hard to beat the Phanteks Enthoo Pro and Evolv. I can’t recommend them enough. For additional alternatives you can visit my list of the best computer cases. For a good quiet option also consider Fractal’s Design R5 model.
Before you go be sure to let me know your thoughts on this build and anything you might change. Also, be sure to check out our other PC builds by budget.