Amidst the flood of gaming news and announcements from E3* 2019, an exciting PC building event unfolded in the Intel® Streamer Zone at Twitch*’s booth.
The plan for the live stream was simple: Bryn Pilney from Intel's Gaming Team would guide streamers VernNotice, GlitterXplosion, and JonSandman through the process of constructing a high-end gaming PC from start to finish.
The challenge? They only had 90 minutes. Not exactly easy, especially for those less familiar with the process, but all three were game to see if they could cross the finish line in time.
At the heart of all three PCs was the Intel® Core™ i9-9900K processor. This eight-core CPU is designed to benefit streamers and gamers by providing the processor performance necessary to do both simultaneously, perfect for these streamers. Intel also provided a high-performance 1TB 760p Series SSD for storage, which utilizes NVMe* for fast transfer speeds.
The other components were from Corsair* and ASUS*, and all three systems were built with identical hardware, other than slight variations in the cases.
Here's a full list of the hardware:
- CPU: Intel® Core™ i9-9900K Processor
- CPU Cooler: ASUS ROG* RYUO 240
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG STRIX* Z390-E GAMING
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance* RGB Pro 64 GB (4 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200
- SSD: 1TB Intel® SSD 760p Series
- GPU: ASUS GeForce RTX* 2080 Ti 11 GB ROG STRIX Gaming OC
- PSU: Corsair HX Platinum 850 W 80+ Platinum
- Fans: Corsair LL Series RGB, 120mm (Six) CPU: Intel® Core™ i9-9900K Processor
- Corsair Crystal* 570X Mirror
- Corsair Crystal* 570X Clear
- Corsair Obsidian* 500D
VernNotice was up first, and he was visibly enthusiastic about the prospect of finishing under the time limit.
"This new PC couldn't have come at a better time,” he said. “My current one, while getting the job done, is just getting old and run down." His current streaming PC forced him to "prioritize certain programs, or risk high encoding issues and frame loss."
The build went smoothly for the most part, although the team could have followed the PC building guide a little closer by having the right tools for the job. Magnetic screwdrivers would have made the process easier, especially when it came to the smaller screws required for the motherboard installation, but they were successful nonetheless.
When asked about his E3 highlights, VernNotice mentioned that he was excited about Microsoft’s upcoming titles.
"I’m a big Halo* and Gears of War* fan," he said while installing the power supply. "Getting to see both of those this week was awesome. I even had an opportunity to play Gears* 5, which was kind of the birth of my channel in general. I was a really big Gears of War 1 fan, and being able to see that come to life, Gears 5, and actually, get my hands on it was awesome."
Though it was close, VernNotice managed to finish putting together the build in under 90 minutes. So how did this guided PC build compare to his first experience?
"Going into the stream, I had told myself I would never build a PC again," he said. "Having a guide made it much more simple and way less overwhelming. I didn't even know where to start when I first tried. Now I'm confident I could build another one."
GlitterXplosion was the most experienced of the three streamers when it came to building PCs. She also frequently streams VR and knows how important powerful hardware is to a solid gaming and streaming experience.
While installing the 64GB of RGB RAM, GlitterXplosion talked a little bit about her current two-PC streaming setup. “My current streaming PC … she’s old, and we can’t even get her to do 60 frames anymore. So this is going to become the new monster gaming rig, and then we’re going to take the (current) gaming rig, and switch it over to the streaming PC, and then I’m going to be a real professional,” she joked. “The new Intel-powered PC is going to significantly impact my streams going forward. I might even be able to do it all from the one beast of an Intel rig, and I am so excited.”
For someone with a dual PC streaming setup, this is an excellent use for a new gaming PC.
Though there was a brief clearance issue involving the all-in-one (AIO) CPU cooler and the RAM, they managed to get everything to fit into the case. Finally, she hooked the new PC up to a monitor to make sure it would power on. When the monitor lit up with the motherboard’s ASUS logo, indicating the build was successful, GlitterXplosion and Bryn celebrated with a high five.
GlitterXplosion mentioned afterward how small quality-of-life improvements in PC building have made things much easier. “The pre-applied thermal paste I’ve never gotten to use before, so that was really cool, and very much appreciated, because that’s one of the things I always dread the most,” she said. “I feel like I would be much more comfortable and confident the next time around building a PC.”
Last up was JonSandman, who admitted he had very little experience building PCs, but was definitely up for the challenge. “When I first built my first computer, I didn’t build it, I had a buddy do it,” he said. “So he completely took care of it for me.”
It was up to Jon to put it all together this time, and he did, cheered on by his enthusiastic viewers. While installing the AIO CPU cooler, he talked about what got him started streaming.
“Originally, I played on an ARMA* server, and I was sick of people cheating, and I was an admin,” he said. “I wanted to catch people cheating and I wanted to catch people who were bad at roleplaying, and try and help them get better.”
The build came together quickly, though it didn’t POST properly on the first attempt. After a bit of double checking, the team ascertained that one of the CPU power cables had come loose. With that issue easily fixed, JonSandman’s new gaming build was ready to power on.
When asked about his experience, JonSandman seemed surprised with just how easy it was to put together, and by the durability of these high-performance PC parts. “If I did it a second time, I’d be way more comfortable,” he said. “Not as scared of RAM anymore, everything has a little more give than you think.”
Building a Better Stream
VernNotice, GlitterXplosion, and JonSandman each brought their own unique personalities and skill sets to the stream, but they all left with a few things in common: a brand new Intel-powered streaming/gaming PC, and a newfound confidence in their own PC building abilities.
View the full recap below.