Best Gaming PC Build For Under $1500, The Terminator

In High-End Gaming PC Build, PC Gaming Builds by FrankLast Modified: / 25 Comments

I’ve found some of the most powerful components that will make the best gaming PC build under $1500 dollars on the internet. I know not everyone has a lot of time to learn about gaming builds so I’ve made this high-end gaming PC build for anyone to use as a guide for making an awesome gaming PC. Not only will you get a powerful build, but also a gaming PC that will last you for a really (and I mean really long) time.

I would recommend this build for people who love gaming a great deal and they know that they want to invest this kind of money into a build. This build would also make a great 2k gaming PC build for anyone who is looking for a build like that. There’s really no reason to worry about performance and you are truly in for a premium gaming experience. I know you’re ready to get to the build and so am I, so let’s jump right in!

WHY SHOULD YOU BUILD A GAMING PC INSTEAD OF BUYING A PRE-BUILT ONE?

There are so many reasons why you should build your own gaming PC, but the biggest one would have to be the cost. Pre-Built PC makers love to target people who have expensive budgets on gaming PC’s because they know that most people don’t know what actually matters in a PC. What they usually do is put on a very unique looking case (that doesn’t mean anything when it comes to performance) and then cheap specs (most important part of the build). What they are basically doing is faking people out and taking in a huge amount of profits and leaving you with a build that’s probably worth closer to my $1000 gaming PC build.

I know not everyone is going to want to build their own PC and really that’s fine, but if you come to this website I just want you to know that you are most likely going to get ripped off if you go the pre-built route. Look, I’m not saying that all PC makers are ripping you off, but I do guarantee that your PC will be much better if you just build your own. This is really simple when you think about it as the only way they can make money is by taking some off the top before they can make the build. Which means your $1500 dollars gets you a lot less.

There Seems to be this misconception that building a gaming PC is this difficult task that only the super tech savvy can do, but that’s the furthest thing from the truth. Really with so many helpful videos and tutorials online, anyone who spends just a little bit of time learning how to build a PC, can do it. In fact, I will personally help anyone who feels as though they need the additional support if you just leave a comment below.

Now that I’ve talked about why you should build your own gaming, I’m going to show you how to build it!

  • Screwdriver
  • Guidance
  • (Optional) Static Wrist Band

A static wrist band isn’t necessary as long as you build your PC on a solid surface, but if you want to get one just to be on the safer side, they’re pretty cheap.

Above, I talked about how building a PC is easier than ever because of all the available resources that you have at your disposal and below is one of the best videos you can find on building a PC. The video is short and straight to the point, but if you want a more in-depth video then you should check out my How To Build A PC Page

If you watch the video and still have some additional questions feel free to leave a comment below and I will answer them as soon as I possibly can.

THE BEST 2017 GAMING PC BUILD UNDER $1500 DOLLARS: THE TERMINATOR

I titled this build “The Terminator” because it will completely destroy any games that come its way for years to come. In this build, you will be getting specs that are some of the best you can buy. One other thing about this build is that it has a lot of upgrade paths that really give you the option to take this build wherever you want. If you want to go SLI (two graphics cards) then you have the option to do that with this build, but that’s definitely not something you have to do.

The purpose of this build was to allow you to play 2k games  at 60 FPS for years to come but if you want too, this build is also very viable for 4k gaming. Games should run at 60FPS at 4k fine this year, but in the future, you might experience framerate dips (still can easily get years out of this build). If you are looking for the best 4k build please check out my $2000 build as that thing is really optimized for 4k.

Not only is this build good for playing games, but it’s also good at making them. With “The Terminator” you have the power to do so much more than for just playing games. I’m not trying to tell you what to do, but just show you all the possibilities buying a build with this much power can give you.

The Build

Last Updated: June 14th, 2017

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    Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-ALPHA

    An Incredibly Stylish Case That All Your Friends Will Envy And Coincidentally Also Has Great Airflow Check The Current Price

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    EVGA SuperNOVA 650 G2

    A Really High Quality Power Supply That Should Sufficiently Power The Build Check The Current Price

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    ASUS GTX 1080 8GB ROG STRIX

    A Complete Monster That Can Even Handle 2k With Ease! Check The Current Price

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    Intel i5-7600k

    A Pretty Awesome CPU That Can Easily Handle Most CPU Related Activities Check The Current Price

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    Cooler Master GeminII M4 CPU Cooler

    Keeps Your CPU Very Cool, Even When Overclocking. Check The Current Price

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    Asus Prime Z270A Motherboard

    DDR4, LGA 1151, SLI Support, Houses Everything Check The Current Price

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    Corsair Vengeance 16GB Kit

    Two 8GB’s Sticks Of DDR4 RAM Check The Current Price

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    WD Blue 1TB Hard Drive

    A Great Reliable Hard Drive That Will Store Most Of Your Data With Ease. 7200RPM, 3.5 Inches Check The Current Price

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    Samsung 850 EVO

    A SSD that’s going to make your PC’s load times much faster! Check The Current Price

Check The Terminator Build’s Current Price!

Build Breakdown

Case:

The case I chose for this build was the Corsair Carbide SPEC-ALPHA. Not only does the case look cool, but it’s also very affordable which is good as you can put the majority of your money on the components that will allow you to run games. The case comes with two USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports in the front which is good for the price range and also comes with one audio port. Honestly, when it comes to cases the most important thing is can it house everything? And the answer is yes it can. This is a mid tower case, so it’s nothing huge, but it has excellent airflow(which is crucial to keeping your build cool) and has five internal bays (can include SSD’s and Hard drives) which is more than enough for most people.  If you are ok with a smaller case that is pretty stylish at a good price, then this is definitely for you.

I understand not everyone is going to want this case (for whatever reasons), so I’ve included a link below that will allow you to find other cases that should be compatible with this build. If you do have any questions about whether or not a case will house this build, please leave a comment. This case also doesn’t allow for the use of an optical drive, so if that’s something you’re thinking of getting you should check out another case.

View Other Cases

Power Supply:

rsz_715xxvkxnnl_sl1200_When it comes to amazing power supplies, there are few better than the ones made by Evga, and their SuperNOVA 650 G2 power supply doesn’t disappoint. Most people don’t seem to understand how important a power supply is and tend to try to cheap out in this area, but a good power supply (especially for a build in this price range) is vital. Trying to cheap out and get a low-quality power supply can end up damaging other more expensive components in the future, and costing you much more as it consumes a lot of energy. The Evga SuperNOVA 650 is probably on the best you can buy and can easily handle this build with more power to spare.

This Power Supply is also modular which will save you so much time and makes installing the power supply clean and easy as you can pick and choose which things you actually need. The Super Nova is a gold rated power supply which means that it has been tested and confirmed to be very efficient which will save you money in the long run as it consumes less power. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention that this thing has a 10-year warranty on it which is almost unheard of! If you ever do have issues with this power supply they can be resolved quickly and efficiently. All in all, this power supply makes a great addition to this gaming build and will last you for a long time.

Video Card:

For Gaming, The Asus GTX 1080 8GB Video Card is the most important element of this build and it’s literally one of the best graphics cards you can get at the moment.Unlike most of Nvidia’s cards which only utilize 4gbs of VRAM, this card has 8GB’s which is complete overkill at the moment, but will definitely last you a long time in the future. I can’t imagine you needing another card for years, especially if you are only going for 1080p or 2k  gaming. I really can’t say this enough, but any game of 2016 – 2017 will play on max settings without a doubt. So if that’s all you wanted to know you can go on to the next part of the build, but below I’m going to break this beauty down and explain some additional features.

As you can see this isn’t just the regular GTX 1080, but the one that’s been customized by Asus and with that comes a host of features. There are a lot of different features that Asus brings to this card, but the most important one would have to be the Asus 1080’s memory clock speed. Coming in at 1753 MHz, this card is perfect for people who want something that will perform at a high level right out fo the box.  The Other cool feature Asus brings to the table would be their awesome cooling technology. One of the worst things you can have is a noisy and hot video card and since this tech basically just makes your card almost impossible to hear even when it’s overclocked and cools it more efficiently than the stock one, there really is no reason to not go with it.

TLDR: This Video Card is the best thing since sliced bread

CPU:

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If you haven’t heard, Intel recently released their 7th generation processors also known as “Kabylake.” The i5-7600k is one of the best CPUs you can get when it comes to gaming, and it will make an excellent sidekick to the GTX 1080. This is a quad-core processor that is very powerful and will tear through any 2017 CPU intensive game out there. Honestly, any processing for years to come can easily be handled by this CPU. One other thing to know is that games do not use over 4 cores at the moment, so anything over that is overkill in when it comes to gaming.

Unlike most of Intel’s processors, this one is unlocked which will allow you to overclock the 7600k, pushing even better performance. It’s stock speeds are at 3.5Ghz, but you can easily overclock it to 4.7Ghz with a good CPU Fan. For most, though, I wouldn’t even worry about overclocking a CPU until much later in the future when you start to see your performance drop.

So many people seem to have this misconception that they need an i7 for gaming, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A high-end i5 is really all you need because once you get over that the processing is already at such a high level that anything else offers hardly any benefit. I’m not saying that i7’s aren’t better processors depending on what you are doing, but for gaming, they offer hardly any benefit over a really good i5 processor. So many people seem to have this stuck in their heads, and I just want to set the record straight.

CPU Cooler:

The i5-7600k  does not come with a stock cooler which is why I included this amazing CPU cooler from Cooler Master, The Gemini M4 fan. When looking for a fan for the i5 7600k, I was looking for something that was high quality, but also, something that wasn’t too expensive and I ended up settling on the M4. The most important thing is that it will keep the i5-7600k cool without a doubt and all for an affordable price. If you were considering overclocking then this is perfect. There’s not much else to say about this except that it will allow you to draw the full potential out of the CPU and not have to worry about any overheating issues.

 

Motherboard:

The Motherboard I’ve chosen for this build is Asus’s Prime Z270A ATX Motherboard. This motherboard will last you a long time, and I would honestly be surprised if you had any issues with it. This is a DDR4 motherboard which basically means that it will be a little bit faster than your typical DDR3 Mobo.

One of the main reasons I picked this motherboard was because it supported Nvidia SLI gaming. Which is important because if you ever want to use two graphics card with this build, you now have that option. It costs a little bit more, but it’s definitely worth it in the long run.

The other reason I chose this motherboard was because of Asus’s awesome BIOS. Asus specializes in making computer hardware for gaming and with it, you will be able to easily overclock all of your gaming builds components and control almost every aspect about your PC that you want. I know for most this might sound intimidating, but Asus actually has an easy mode which basically simplifies the process and allows you to do many things without getting too technical.

Note: This board is compatible with intel 7th generation CPU’s right out of the gate!

RAM:

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While 8Gb’s is enough for gaming at the moment to future proof this build I’ve chosen to include 16Gb’s (2 X 8GB’s) of RAM. The RAM I’ve chosen was corsairs LPX vengeance

Just to give you an example of what 16GB’s of RAM is capable of I’ll give an example. With 16GB’s, you would be able to play games at max resolution and stream yourself playing without any LAG!

With so much RAM you do suffer from diminishing returns. but when you’ve decided to spend so much money on a PC, then you might as well get the best.

Hard Drive:

The Hard Drive I chose for this build was Western Digitals 1TB Blue Hard Drive. There’s not 81uj9q9dqgL._SL1500_much to say about this hard drive, except that it holds data and is probably the best in its price range. I mean you get decent load speeds with this hard drive, but it’s nothing compared to an SSD. Overall though for all of your general storage this works just fine. If you have a little more money to spend then I would recommend getting the Western Digital Black hard drive as it is a little quicker and will allow your common downloads to load faster.

Many people might think they need more space, but unless you are downloading many GB’s per day this is more than enough to easily last you a year. You also get a 2-year warranty which is always handy if you have any technical issues.

SSD:

This is the first build that I’ve included an SSD in. While SSD’s aren’t mandatory, they are definitely very useful because they allow you to put your most used applications on it offering quick snappy load times unheard of on a Hard Drive.

The SSD I’ve chosen for this build was Sandisk 240 GB SSD. It’s not the biggest SSD, but it will have all of your most used apps and will easily cut your load times in half.

One Thing I would seriously recommend would be to install you Operating System on your SSD. This will make your whole PC load so much faster. The Sad thing is that you won’t be able to get any snacks while your PC is starting up anymore because everything will load so fast.

(Optional) Optical Drive:

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I didn’t include an optical drive (CD Drive) in this build because it is really not important to a gaming builds any longer. Almost everything can be downloaded digitally, and you could definitely use the extra space for cable management.

However, I know that some people may want an optical drive, so  I’ve included an external optical drive, by LG Electronics below. It’s very cheap and will handle any disc you throw at it.

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    LG Electronics Ultra Slim Optical Drive

    An affordable External optical drive for CDs such as windows and anything else you might need installed. Check The Current Price

Build Conclusion…

This is probably my longest build breakdown, but when you are spending so much money on a build, I want you to know as much as you possibly can about what you are buying. For Gaming in 2016, This Build is more than enough and you will be playing on ultra settings for a long time. Honestly, if you are going to game 1080p this build is complete overkill and you might want to go with one of my $1000 Builds, but if you are looking for a good 2k/4k build this should handle those resolutions pretty well.

If you do change anything in this build, please post the build below so that I can make sure that everything is compatible (Just want to make sure you aren’t wasting your time nor your money).

Recommended Peripherals

It doesn’t matter how awesome the PC you just built was, if you don’t have the right peripherals (accessories) it really handicaps your build. Fortunately, for you, I’ve included a list of peripherals that all compliment this build nicely and will really help complete this build.

Recommended Monitor: Acer G257HU 25-inch 2k Widescreen Monitor

Check The Acer G257HU’s Current Price

Acer makes some of the most high-quality affordable products that you can find and the Acer G257HU 2k monitor is definitely a prime example of that. Considering that nothing can compete with this thing in its price range, there really isn’t anything to compare it too. You will be able to game at 2k, but one of the things that really sets this monitor apart is its 4ms response times which makes for very smooth gaming. the only complaint with this monitor is that the stand is kind of lackluster, but considering the bargain price, it’s not that big of a deal.

Recommended Keyboard and Mouse Combo: CM Storm Devastator II

Check The CM Storm Devastator’s Current Price

Most people seem to think they need to get some super expensive keyboard and mouse in order to game competitively, but the Coolermaster LED keyboard/mouse combo is really all you will need for gaming. The keyboard is very responsive and has great feedback with every click, and even though it’s a membrane keyboard it sometimes feels very reminiscent of a mechanical one. The mouse has three different DPI levels 1000,1600, and 2000. DPI just means how sensitive a mouse is, so having different options is definitely useful. This combo set just provides so much value, that I would recommend it for any gamer.

Recommended Headset: Kingston HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset

Check The HyperX Cloud Headset’s Current Price

The HyperX Clouds are my number one pick for gaming headsets under $50 dollars. Not only do they look fantastic and much more expensive than they actually are, but they also sound just as great. One of the biggest things with this headset would have to be its extreme bass. Most headsets struggle with it, but that’s where the Clouds shine. There’s nothing more exciting than hearing those awesome reverberating explosions and ominous soundtracks with these on. These are also noise cancelling so you can really get in the zone when gaming. The mic is probably the weakest part of this headset, but even that is good.

Another thing that is important about the Clouds is that they are super durable due to their design. I have had a pair for a few months and I’ve seen no wear at all. I was filtering through headsets every few months due to their cheap designs, but these I feel will easily last me for years.

Recommended Wifi: EDUP AC600

Check The EDUP AC600’s Current Price

If you are looking for a good reliable Wifi adapter for a cheap price, then the EDUP AC600 Adapter is definitely one to consider. It’s plug and play which is very convenient especially with a build that doesn’t automatically have an optical drive in it. The max wireless connection speed is 600MB’s which is more than enough for most people, so unless you are one of the lucky people with google fiber this would be my go-to choice.

Operating System Options

Once, You’ve built your gaming PC and have the peripherals, there is still one thing you need to do before being able to start gaming and that’s to install an OS (Operating System). What’s an operating system? Basically just a major application that runs and manages all of your other applications. There are thousands of different OS’s, but the ones that are viable for PC gaming and available to you are Linux(Ubuntu) and Windows. Both of these operating systems have their strengths and their weaknesses and below I’ll give you a brief summary of why you should go with one or the other.

Linux (Ubuntu):

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Operating Systems come and go, but Linux seems to be one of the only open project OS’s to really gain any staying power. With many OS’s being designed after it such as the new Steam OS, I would personally at this time recommend Ubuntu . Ubuntu Linux is a more streamlined version of Linux and will definitely be a good OS for someone who isn’t that adept with Linux.

There are many reasons to get Linux, but the first would have to be the amazing customization it offers. Unlike Windows, Linux lets you customize everything about the OS. So in a way it can feel like you are just using Linux as a base and creating your own Unique OS. The Other major plus is the Linux is completely free, which makes it a great option for someone who is strapped for cash.

Linux’s greatest blessing is also its greatest curse. Since Linux is so customizable it can be very confusing (even Ubuntu) to someone who isn’t very tech savvy. Another issue with Linux is that bugs take a while to get ironed out as it isn’t a company like Windows. The biggest issue with Linux however, would have to be that not all PC games are optimized for Linux. This means that games will run worse on your PC running Linux then if it was running Windows. Slowly Linux is starting to get more titles fully optimized for it, but this is just something you should know.

Windows:

Windows 10

Windows will definitely be the go-to choice for most PC gamers, and there are many reasons for that. I’m pretty sure everyone reading this has heard about Windows so let’s get right to the pros and cons.

Windows is the biggest OS out with it’s OS being on around 75% of all PC’s, and as a result, every game that comes to PC is made primarily for this OS. As a gamer this is major, as we want the best performance we can possibly get. Windows is also better at rolling out updates than Linux due to it being a company.

The only major issue I have with Windows is that it’s expensive. If you buy a copy of windows it’s going to cost you about $100 retail. There are ways to get it cheaper and even free if you look around, but this is still the biggest con.

What version of windows to get?

Since Windows has so many different versions this can be really confusing, but if I was you I’d go with Windows 10. Windows 10 now offers performance increases in many games and also features that you just don’t get with Windows 7 or 8 making it my sole recommendation for people building their own gaming PC.

Below I’ve included both the USB version of Windows 10 and the disc version. Both work just fine so it all comes down to whether or not you have an optical drive or not.

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    Windows 10 USB Version

    If you’re not going to be getting an optical drive, then you’re going to need this USB version to install Windows 10. Check The Current Price

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    Windows 10 Disc Version

    If you’re going to be getting the external optical drive listed above, then you can get this disc version. Check The Current Price

Conclusion…

Honsetly when you are building the best gaming PC build under $1500 dollars on the whole web, there really isn’t that much to worry about. Not only is “The Terminator” a powerful gaming machine, but it also has enough computing power to do other things such as making games, streaming, and a host of other things for people who are trying to take their love for gaming to the next level. I would without doubt recommend this PC to any gaming enthusiast and I know whoever gets this will be one happy gamer.

If you have any questions at all about this post please leave a question below, Also, what are you planning on naming your gaming PC? Tell me below. (PS. I’d Really Appreciate Any Shares!)

Get The Terminator Gaming PC Build!

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Comments 25

  1. I love how every build has the CM Devastator Combo, but if I’m looking for a stronger Mouse and Keyboard what would you recommend?

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  2. Hello. Nice post! Have a couple questions? Can I upgrade the i5 to the Intel Core i7-6700K 4.0GHz and then upgrade to 2 TB of space. Thanks.

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      Hey Austin,

      Yes you can make both of those upgrades but if you’re just going to be gaming, then the i7 is overkill. It’s great if you’re going to be doing things that are very CPU intensive though.

  3. Hi, if I were to swap the motherboard out (as I live in New Zealand where MSI normally doesn’t ship to) what do you think I should go for?

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  4. Hey Frank,
    I am thinking about building this sort of PC. But was wondering if there were any full size cases that would work well with this configuration, be cost efficient, and also look nice?

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  5. Mr Frank, Can this case handle a gtx 1070 turbo instead of the 1080 and an intel core i7 6700k without an overheating problem? I need to know if this computer can handle 1920 1080 overwatch at an good ultra settings quality you see. Will it work out okay?

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      Hey Cooper, this build can handle a 1070 Turbo and an I7-6700k. The case is on the slimmer side, but with the CPU cooler, you shouldn’t have any overheating problems. As for running Overwatch at 1080p? Without a doubt.

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  6. Hey Frank, i was going to use an intel core i7 6700k 4.0Ghz i was just wondering if there is any adjustments i should make to the build to handle the i7 better or will the build handle the i7 quite easily by itself. I am also quite happy to spend more money on the build then its current price if needed Thanks.

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  7. I want to mount a gaming PC with these components. Will everything work perfectly and how much would I spend to mount it? And from one to ten what rating would you give?
    Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 DRAM 3000MHz.
    EVGA SuperNOVA 750 G2, 80+ GOLD 750W, Fully Modular, EVGA ECO Mode.
    Intel Core i5 6600K 3.50 GHz Quad Core Skylake Desktop Processor, Socket LGA 1151, 6MB Cache.
    WD Blue 1TB Desktop Hard Disk Drive – 5400 RPM SATA 6 Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5 Inch.
    Samsung 850 EVO 250GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD.
    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 G1 Gaming Video/Graphics Cards GV-N1070G1 GAMING-8GD.
    ASUS ROG MAXIMUS VIII HERO LGA1151 DDR4 M.2 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 Type A Type C Intel Z170 ATX.
    Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-02 Mid Tower Gaming Case.

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      Author

      Hey Robert,

      I think a mounted PC would be pretty sweet! I’ve found a cool youtube video I recommend checking out on the subject. In regards to the build, first, off it’s compatible. Secondly, I’d give it a ten if you’re getting a 1080p or 2k monitor. If you’re trying to go for 4k, then It’d be closer to a 7. Also if you’re looking for a simpler way to mount this PC while still retaining the cool looks I’d recommend checking out Thermaltake Core P5 Case. It’s a case specifically meant for people who want to mount their gaming PC, and it makes mounting a gaming PC much easier. If you get this case, you won’t need the Spec-02.

      Hopefully this helped you out!

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  8. if i replace the the cpu to Intel 7th Gen Intel Core Desktop Processor i7-7700K (BX80677I77700K) by Intel? will it be compatible?

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  9. Hey Frank,

    I’ve heard that Intel’s Kabylake processors will only support Windows 10. Is this true? I’d like to keep using Windows 7 if I purchase this build, and I’m not sure that I have access to the free Windows 10 upgrade anymore anyways.

    Thanks!

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      Hey Caleb,

      There’s been a lot of talk on Kabylake motherboards not allowing Windows 7 and Windows 8, but as of now, both work just fine with these motherboards. I specifically checked this motherboard, and you can use Windows 7 on it!

      Let me know if you have any other questions!

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