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Building Computer for Game Development

[Transcribe] Game Dev Diary – Jan 14 2017 – Building a Computer for Game Development Purpose

This is a transcription of a video which talk about building a computer for game development purpose.

If you cannot view the video in this post, please watch the video from this url: https://youtu.be/ZqqIOjs7NSQ


Alright guys, my name is Wiguan and this is the first episode in this new channel that I call it game dev diary and in this episode I going to feature off on how I going to build my rig.

I will show why I will build a new system instead of using my existing iMac, and why I choose Nvidia graphic card and why DirectX and I will share my system specification as well as problems and challenges.

Why Build a new System?

And so the story comes like this, I’m developing the game on iMac using OSX, using Unity3D. It serves me well for the small game that I didn’t release but then I come to a point where I become greedy and I want to make a 3D games.

So upon trying and keep trying in Unity3D try to get a good graphic, I can’t.

And so I visit Unreal Engine forums, Unreal Engine websites and download the system on my iMac which running on Bootcamp on the Windows partition.

But then, it’s just not powerful enough for me, that’s why I build this desktop.


Build For Windows

And other than that, the reason I want to develop a games for Windows is because the majority of the gamer are on Steam and most of them are running Windows as their operating system.

So far, I haven’t found a gamer who run Linux or OSX as their main operating system when they game and not many developers are developing games for this platform.

Most of them just simple port from the engine and most of them are concentrating on the Windows and debugging on the Windows first and release on the Windows first and maybe only several month after that they will release the Mac port.



And other than that is because I want to use the DirectX instead of the openCL even though we can use openCL on Windows as well but it’s just doesn’t run well. The performance wise, DirectX is better. I don’t have any proof that the DirectX is better but, I know you know it that the DirectX is better. You’ll feel it when you run the game especially those AAA title.


Which Graphic Card?

And then come the next question which is what graphic card to buy to build in the new system?

I’ve used AMD before in my iMac which is AMD M395X.

It serves me well for that purpose but for gaming, it’s really not powerful enough.

After searching at some forums, and Facebook groups, I did ask this at game developer Facebook group, most of them are sharing the same testimonial which is that the AMD have a lot of driver issues and have a lot of glitch sometimes, which I agree because sometimes when running the Windows partition on my iMac, the screen suddenly become like “blank” for a second or, become “rainbow colour”,  something like that.

Or during playing the games, it’s just crash.

So I guess, AMD is not a choice for this purpose.

So I decided to go with Nvidia graphic card.


System Specifications:

Processor: Intel Core i7 6700K – I bought in December 2016, but a new processor come out in January 2017 but I did not regret the purchase because I overclock the CPU and it performs more or less with cheaper price. (I think) I don’t know the price for the Kabylake yet, but the Skylake just serves me well.

Graphic Card: Zotac Geforce GTX 1060 AMP Edition – I plan to overclock so I need a better cooling system but not that expensive so this card is just right according to my budget.

Motherboard: ASUS Z170-K – At first I was considering the ASUS Z170 Deluxe but when I see specifications and the price, I decided to go with the Z-170K because it’s cheaper and I can extend the motherboard to get the same feature that exist in Z170 Deluxe in cheaper way by buying a wireless card like the TP-Link N900.

Storage: 250GB Samsung V-NAND SSD 850 EVO M.2 – ASUS Z170-K motherboard have one m.2 slot so it’s just good enough for me.

Random Access Memory (RAM): 16GB 2400MHz Corsair Vengeance LPX – At first I want to buy the Kingston HyperX RAM but the shop where I bought these computer parts does not bring any Kingston RAM. So I bought the Corsair Vengeance series instead. This is the 16GB per stick RAM. Why I want to buy 1 stick RAM? It’s because I plan to add more RAM as I needed in the future. So I can get maximum of 64GB RAM if I ever needed that much RAM.

Storage: 1TB 7200RPM Western Digital Blue HDD (2 units) – I buy Western Digital Blue because it is cheaper than the Western Digital Black and for 1 terabyte, the specifications is the same.

Power Supply Unit – Corsair VS550 – I kind of regret because after I overclocked the system, this power supply unit actually under powered. For an over-clocker, I suggest you to buy at least the 650-watt power supply unit.

CPU Cooling System: Corsair H45 – At first I did not plan to overclock at all that’s why I bought that 550-watt power supply unit. But then, the processor doesn’t come with any stock fan and that forced me to buy a CPU fan. But when I take a look at the normal CPU fan cooling system, I thought to myself;

“Why not just buy a water cooling system?”

And so, I bought the Corsair H45 all in one cooling system and I become “greedy”.

Once I have a water cooling system, I said to myself again;

“Why not overclock?”

That’s how the story goes.

This Corsair H45 all in one water cooling system is a new model it doesn’t even show up at the Corsair official website when I bought it.

It’s kind of challenging to install it to this small NZXT S340 case, but I manage to, somehow.

Case Fan: 120mm Cooler Master JETFLO 120 – The case come with two 120mm fans, and I become so greedy I want to make use all the fans placement I can. So I bought the Cooler Master JETFLO 120. One of the reason I bought the JETFLO is because it has an LED and that’s the only reason I bought it compare to other case fans sold at that shop.

It is not a silent fan, so when it runs at full RPM, it’s quite noise.

PC Case: NZXT S340 Designed by RAZER – I tried to find a decent case. At first I was considering a Cooler Master case but then all of them was ugly and doesn’t have a good build quality. So when I take a look at this NZXT S340 Designed by Razer, the quality is very nice and it’s a pretty looking case, with some LED lightings, so I’ve decided why not just go with the flow and I got that two pieces of LED stripe which adds more to my power draw but I did not regret it.

Accessories: Bluetooth 4.0 dongle – I’m using the Apple Wireless Keyboard so I need a Bluetooth connection. So I bought the Bluetooth dongle. It’s a cheap Bluetooth dongle, somewhere around RM20.00 if converted to US dollar, it is like $5.00? The brand is AVF and it’s a good Bluetooth dongle and it’s just works as intended.

16GB SanDisk Ultra Fit – I also bought a flash drive because I don’t have one. I need this flash drive to install Windows because the PC case that I bought doesn’t have any bracket to mount the optical drive. So there’s no way to mount an optical drive in the case normally. But then, even though the case might have an optical drive mount, I never plan to use any optical drive in the first place. So using a flash drive to install Windows is the way to go for my case.


Problems and Challenges

The first problem I encounter is how to install the cooling system.

It’s rather new cooling system and I kind of can’t install it to the case because of the size of the case is small and when I try to search at the internet on how to properly install the cooling system, I can’t find it anywhere.

And since this is also my first water-cooling system, installing the mount bracket is also a challenging thing for me compare to just using a CPU stock fan.

My RAID 0, failed, and I lose around 500 gigabytes of data which is all Steam games, but it doesn’t stops me from using RAID 0.

The reason why my RAID 0 failed is because I overclocked that CPU until 5.0GHz. I don’t know somehow the CPU_FAN pins on this motherboard fried and dead, and I didn’t know, I didn’t noticed it, because I didn’t monitor it all the time.

So the cooling system somehow doesn’t work.

Only the fan is moving and spinning, but the pump is not working because of the CPU_FAN pins died.

So when the cooling system does not working, the CPU temperature rises up until around 100C and the system just shut down on me, unproperly.

After resolving the issue by connecting the pump directly to the power supply, I managed to boot up but I found out my RAID 0 failed because one of the disk cannot be accessed.

Other challenges that I face is to keep the system stable.

I don’t have issue with overclocking but issue comes from the power draw because my power supply cannot supply enough power to my system because there’s too many things connected to it during overclock.

CPU pump, CPU fan, and then two fans on the case, and one more additional fan there, two LED lighting, and I also mounted five extra HDD to the system.

So I compromised to just down clock to 4.8GHz or something and it’s works well for now.

So that’s all for my system build and I will show you the complete case with some benchmark in the next video because we will compare and the value for the money with other game developer that running on GTX 1050Ti, which is IMGVertex studio, and another game developer that call himself Xenoaisam.

Xenoaisam Studio is running on GTX 1070. He already have one game released on steam, titled Banzai Escape, please do check them out.

And we have another friend who is a gamer who run on GTX 980 in SLI configuration which mean two graphic cards compare to what we have here compare to the price we bought.

Is it worth it?

Watch the next video.


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