Intel’s sixth generation of processors, the Skylake CPUs, promise more efficient performance, tweakability to suit the most dedicated overclocker and improvements to Intel’s integrated graphics. To build a budget system using the Skylake processor read on.
But as a new processor it requires an investment in a new motherboard and new memory too to ensure it works.
The chip requires a motherboard running the Z170 Chipset, and a LGA 1151 socket. The CPU is not compatible with the LGA1150 socket.
Skylake supports the latest DDR4 memory, but is also backwards compatible with DDR3.
But can a system that uses the next generation of components be bought cheaply?
Yes it can! You can build a PC that makes the most of a Skylake processor for just $497.
Putting it All Together
Building a system with a Skylake processor is simple.
The techniques are the same as with building a normal gaming PC, and by putting the system together yourself you save money on a pre-built system and have the option to customise with the exact pieces you want to use.
So What Sets The Skylake Processor Apart?
This generation of CPUs should be welcomed with open arms by gamers for a variety of reasons:
- At stock speed a Skylake CPU outclasses its previous generation counterpart comfortably
- Combine the CPU performance boost with the gains from using DDR4 memory and the latest chipset and you have a faster overall system
- Early investment in new technology means your investment is future-proofed
This triple investment is enough to put off many people who want to buy-in to this new technology, but research shows with a little shopping around you can put together a system with a Skylake processor for less than $500.
Now for this price we will need to forfeit a dedicated graphics card and rely instead on the power of Intel’s integrated graphics.
In recent years such a suggestion would have brought howls of laughter and derision from gamers and hardware enthusiasts, but integrated graphics have taken huge strides forward in recent years being able to offer enough grunt to power games at medium settings.
Prepare For The Future
Crucially, by building a starter system with a Skylake processor you are effectively future proofing your systems base components for several years.
This build allows you to get a Skylake setup running quickly and easily. When you have a little more money to invest you could buy a dedicated graphics card, or upgrade the CPU for a boost in performance.
Take a look at the system, I’ve included a basic graphics card that should allow you to game at low to medium detail levels in recent games at a maximum of 1920×1080 resolution.
This is a great option for both budget-minded enthusiasts and those building their first system.
At this price there’s plenty of scope to upgrade in the future with a faster processor, or larger hard drive.
Moving forward it will definitely need more storage space.
As it is, you will be able to install your operating system, your five or six of your favorite games and not much else. I’ve tried to stay true to the brief and keep the price below $500.
Given this kit is on the bleeding edge of consumer electronic technology you do get a lot for your money and builders with an eye on their wallets will feel smug in the knowledge they’re ahead of the curve.
So have you built one yet?
Have you managed to put together your own system utilising the Skylake processor?
Got any questions on building one? Let me know in the comments or send me a message.
If you’re interested in slightly more expensive builds check these systems:
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If you want a simple to follow overview of how to put a gaming PC together, including short video tutorials, have a look at my guide.