Premium Intel gaming PC Guide: The best parts for a high-end Intel-based build

Premium Intel gaming PC Guide: The best parts for a high-end Intel-based build

Intel’s new 12th-gen Alder Lake CPUs are here and they offer a huge performance improvement over anything we’ve seen from Intel in the last couple of years. In fact, the new Alder Lake chips are also more powerful than a lot of AMD processors, making the competition more interesting than ever. In this article, we’re going to use one of the new Intel Alder Lake chips to put together a premium Intel gaming PC build. We’re going to be using the Core i5-12600K for this build, but you can check out our ‘Enthusiast gaming PC guide’ or the ‘Intel gaming/streaming PC guide’ for some high-end builds with the Core i9-12900K and the Core i7-12700K, respectively. So without wasting any more time, let’s check out the parts we recommend for this build:

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Best CPU for premium Intel gaming PC build: Intel Core i5-12600K

Intel 12th-gen Core processor in LGA 1700 socket

The new Intel Core i5-12600K brings top-notch performance to the table to become a leading gaming chip on the market in 2022. It easily beats the Ryzen 5 5600X with up to 40% more threaded performance to become our pick for the best CPU out there. In fact, the Core i5-12600K is powerful enough to beat the significantly more expensive Ryzen 7 5800X CPU too. The 12600K sports six threaded P-cores and four E-cores operating at 3.7 / 4.9 GHz and 2.8 / 3.6 GHz, respectively. Intel’s new Alder Lake lineup has more powerful CPUs too, but we think the 12600K has plenty of power to handle even the most demanding games out there right now.

    Intel is back into the best CPU race with its 12th gen processors and we think the new Core i5-12600K is the second-best overall CPU you can buy right now be it for gaming or other workloads.

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Best GPU for premium Intel gaming PC build: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3070 is a powerful GPU that packs enough punch to go head-to-head with a lot of other high-end graphics cards out there. The 3070’s gaming performance credentials are impressive enough to give other 30-series GPUs a run for their money. It’s perfectly capable of handling 1440p gaming, but you can also push a lot of titles at 4K on this GPU with playable framerates. The RTX 3070 also shines in the ray-tracing department along with other features like DLSS, Broadcast, and Reflex.

    The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 may not be the most powerful 30-series GPU out there, but it offers impressive performance for the price.

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Best motherboard for premium Intel gaming PC build: Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Elite DDR4

The gigabyte Z690 Aorus Elite motherboard next to its retail box

The Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Elite AX motherboard is very similar to the Z690 Aorus Pro we reviewed not too long ago. There are a lot of similarities between the two with the Aorus Pro version being a slightly more premium offering with better features. The Z690 Aorus Elite, however, is more than capable of handling the 12600K that we’re using for this particular build. This board also supports DDR4 memory, which is good because we’re using a set of high-end DDR4 RAM sticks. The highlights of the Aorus Z690 Elite ATX motherboard include a robust VRM, quad M.2 slots, support for PCIe 5.0, and more. You can also check out our collection of the best motherboard to find more options for the build.

    The Gigabyte Aorus Elite AX motherboard is a top-tier Z690 chipset-based mainboard with DDR4 memory support.

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Best CPU cooler for premium Intel gaming PC build: Noctua NH-D15 CPU cooler

A big-sized air cooler with two brown fans and an aluminum heatsink

We’ve decided to use a fan CPU cooler for this build, because why not? There are a ton of great high-quality air coolers on the market and they’re awesome! Also, we’re not picking a slouch here for the build. The Noctua NH-D15, in case you don’t know, is one of the best performing air CPU coolers out there. This large-sized CPU cooler is powerful enough to handle even the most demanding chips like the 12600K. The NH-D15 cooler comes fitted with two NF-A15 PWM premium fans and it supports a variety of sockets including the LAG1700 for Alder Lake.

    The Noctua NH-D15 is a powerful fan CPU cooler that's capable enough to handle the thermal output of the 12600K chip.

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Best RAM kit: Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 16GB DDR4 RAM

White colored Corsair RAM module next to a Corsair CPU water block

Corsair is one of the best players in the memory space. The company has a wide variety of memory modules on offer including both affordable as well as high-performance kits. We recommend picking up the Vengeance Pro DDR4 kit for this build. The Vengeance Pro RGB kit sports DDR4-3200 memory speeds and low latency. The Pro version of the Vengeance kits also has RGB lighting, which we think will add to the overall aesthetics of the build.

Even though Intel’s new Alder Lake chips support DDR5 memory, we’re sticking to the DDR4 RAM kit for this build. One of the main reasons for that is the wide availability of these older memory modules. We think the performance difference between DDR4 and DDR5 isn’t significant enough, to warrant an immediate upgrade for the next performance. That’s bound to change over time, but the DDR4 vs DDR5 comparison is still in favor of the older memory kits.

    The Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB DDR4 memory kit offers 3200MHz memory speeds out of the box with low latency. The Pro version of the kit also has RGB lighting on the heat-spreader.

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Best storage drive: Western Digital Black SN850 PCIe Gen 4 M.2 SSD

We’re bringing back the trusty Western Digital Black SN850 for this build. This is known to be one of the most reliable PCIe Gen 4 M.2 SSD that gets a lot of things right. You get 3 years of warranty and impressive transfer speeds of up to 7,000MB/s. While the Black SN850 is available in up to 2TB capacity, we’ve picked the 500GB stick for this build. You choose to step up to either a higher capacity module or simply add a SATA SSD or an HDD for a dual-drive system.

    The Western Digital Black SN850 is the best performing PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD on the market right now with impressive sequential read/write speeds.

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Best power supply unit for premium Intel gaming PC build: Corsair RM850X PSU

A black colored Corsair PSU unit with a visible vent for the cooling fan

We’re looking at an estimated total of around 600W of required power for this particular configuration. However, we recommend getting an 850W PSU for this rig. As such, we think the Corsair RM850X PSU is a great option for this build. This one’s a fully modular power supply unit along with an 80 Plus Gold rating. It features a 140mm fan inside the chassis, and you even get low noise operation thanks to the zero RPM fans mode It’s a reliable option that works very well for this configuration. If you’re looking for something more premium with say, more power connectors, then be sure to check out our collection of the best power supply units.

    The Corsair RM850x is a reliable PSU for those looking to build a new PC, be it a gaming machine or a video editing workstation.

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Best PC case for this build: Fractal Design Meshify 2 Compact

A black colored Fractal Design Meshify 2 Compact case with no side panel kept on a white colored desk

We’ve picked the Fractal Design Meshify 2 Compact PC case for this build mainly because it’s a fantastic PC case that offers great airflow. It comes with three pre-installed case fans out of the box, which is great for keeping the system cool without spending any additional money. You probably don’t need any more fans but there’s space to add more if you feel the need. It’s worth pointing out that the Meshify 2 Compact also has enough clearance to house all the premium components inside, including the larger-sized Noctua NH-D15 CPU cooler that we’ve used for this build.

    The Fractal Design Meshify 2 Compact is an excellent ATX case with plenty of space inside the chassis and a mesh front panel for airflow.

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Premium Intel gaming PC Guide: Price Summary

Here’s a quick breakdown of the pricing for this particular build. It goes without saying the prices are subject to change based on the availability of the stocks. We’re also totally aware of the ongoing GPU shortage on the market and how it’s difficult it is to buy an RTX 3070 right now, let alone at its retail price. That being said, we’d like to mention that the price summary is just to give an idea of how much a configuration like this would cost if you were to grab the GPU at its retail price.

Besides that, a lot of people who buy pre-built computers also rely on these PC build guides to configure a system based on their budget. If you want a new gaming rig then we highly recommend considering pre-built computers because that’s perhaps the only way you can get your hands on graphics cards right now.

Component Listed Price
Intel Core i5-12600K CPU $299
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU $499
Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Elite DDR4 motherboard $269
Noctua NH-D15 CPU cooler $100
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 16GB DDR4 RAM $88
Western Digital SN850 Black M.2 NVMe SSD $100
Corsair RM850X PSU $120
Fractal Design Meshify 2 Compact case $138
Total $1,613

Premium Intel gaming PC Guide: Final Thoughts

Well, that wraps up this PC build guide. Assuming you manage to get your hands on a graphics card at retail, then you should be able to build a fairly powerful Intel-based gaming rig for around $1,500. As you can see, we’ve used some of the best parts that are available out there to put together this guide, making sure they’re compatible with each other. We haven’t added peripherals to the build here, so you’ll have to consider the additional price for those items too.

In case you need any help picking peripherals for your setup, then be sure to check out our collection of the best monitors, best gaming mouse, keyboard, gaming headset, and more. You can also join our XDA Computing Forums to discuss build guides or get more product recommendations from the experts in our community.

About author

Karthik Iyer
Karthik Iyer

Karthik covers PC hardware for XDA Computing. When not at work, you will find him yelling at his monitors while playing video games.

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