Prepare for Overwatch | Build it Yourself: Intel Core i5-6600K CPU


Build it Yourself:IntroCPU MotherboardComputer CaseMemory
Windows 10


intel-core-i5-6600k-cpuIn this article, I chose the Intel Core i5-6600K.**

Intel or AMD CPU? This has been a long-time dilemma and theme of debate. All you need to do is type “Intel vs AMD for Gaming” in your favorite search engine (topped by Tomshardware, Digitaltrends, Techradar, PCGamer and PCAdvisor.Co.UK), and you will see why I decided to go with an Intel Core i5 for a low-budget gaming rig — specifically picked for my gaming and video editing/recording needs.

When you want to build a gaming rig, the first thing that should come to mind is what the heart of the rig is going to be: the CPU. Your main focus has to be the latest technology at the moment of your soulsearching taking in mind that you want this rig to last you at least 7 years, before spending money again on the latest better technology on the block that far ahead.

There are three Intel Core types: i3, i5 and i7. In terms of Gaming CPUs, you want to settle for i5 or i7. The i5 is more like a budget gaming CPU in the $250 – $270 alley, while the i7 is the $400+ gorilla gaming CPU. However, i7 is mostly sought after by video editors, filmmakers, and 3D artists.

This article is for the low-budget minded gamers who don’t want to spend more than $1500 for a gaming rig so let’s settle with an Intel Core i5 CPU for the time being. There are a large variety of Intel Core i5 CPUs out there, however, which on itself can give you a migrane trying to figure out why you need one over the other, or whether you are choosing the right one for your gaming rig. Just take a look at the long list of i5 CPUs out there in the market.

If you know which i5 CPU is the latest released, then you have gone with the common-sense choice, and narrowed down the amount of CPUs to pick from for your needs. Don’t know which is the latest released? No worries. I do. The latest 6th Generation Intel Core i5 CPUs released are codenamed Skylake and these were released on September 2015. Intel released 8 different i5-Skylake models, but I will narrow down your choice for you. You want to pick something above 3.0 GHz for a gaming rig, so 5 of those go out the window. Out!

These are the to-go i5 CPUs to choose from, at different price tags. They sport the HD Graphics 530 GPU, and require an LGA 1151 socket motherboard:

I don’t see any go-wrong choice here, so if you wish to go with the $199 model that’s up to you. The only differences are the GHz clock speeds, but the i5-6600K is the only one among all the 8 i5-Skylake models that is an unlocked CPU. Meaning you can overclock it — if that’s something you would ever want to experiment with, but I wouldn’t recommend overclocking unless you have a watercooling rig in place. However, buying it to have overclocking doors open at a future time, is up to you. It’s just $54 above the cheapest i5-6500 version.

I have seen in YouTube someone’s Overclock Skylake Benchmarks pushing the i5-6600K to 4.5GHz and he compared it side-by-side with past i7 CPUs while playing some of the most popular video games.

After choosing your latest 6th-Generation Intel Core i5 CPU, your next step is choosing an LGA 1151 socket-compatible Motherboard. In the next article, I discuss picking the right one from ASUS’ latest shipment of LGA 1151 motherboards — which support the 6th-Generation Intel Core Skylake CPUs.


CPU Thermal Compound

This is one thing that most gamers with no knowledge of building a gaming rig stumble upon, very painfully. I was one myself back in 2008. As soon as I booted my rig for the first time, I saw the Windows Vista logo, and instead of seeing the installation options, I heard this cranky noise and the computer turned off.

I never had to deal with installing a CPU before, so I didn’t know I had to do an important step before installing the CPU. However, the little knowledge I had about computers from my CompTIA training told me the sudden shutdown had to do with overheating. The internal temperature LED showed the same temperature whenever the computer shutdown, and I knew it was too high a temp.

You need two things when installing a CPU on your motherboard: a CPU Thermal Compound and a Heatsink with an integrated Fan.

Let’s start with the CPU Thermal Compound. This is a Non-electrically conductive greasy compound that goes on top of the CPU after you had installed it on the motherboard socket. The purpose of this compound is to transfer the heat from the CPU to the heatsink you install on top of the CPU. I have used this compound a couple times before and know well it’s very popular among gamers and overclockers — the Arctic Silver 5 High-Density Polysynthetic Silver Thermal Compound.

Arctic Silver 5 premium thermal compound with 99.9% pure micronized silver is specifically designed to maximize the thermal conductivity between today’s high-powered processors and high-performance cooling assemblies. Arctic Silver 5 uses three unique shapes and sizes of near-pure silver particles to maximize particle-to-particle contact area and thermal transfer. It can reduce CPU core temperatures by up to 50°F over standard silicone thermal pastes. Controlled triple phase viscosity allows Arctic Silver 5 to fill over time microscopic valleys and gaps in CPU and heatsink surfaces. One 3.5g tube can cover up to 25 CPU cores.


Sometimes a CPU comes with a pre-installed thermal compound. What professionals recommend is to discard that thermal compound off. Clean the CPU surface with a cloth, then apply the Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound on the CPU — again do that after you have installed the CPU on the motherboard’s CPU socket. The reason for removing the pre-installed thermal compound is that the Arctic Silver 5 is far better than whatever Intel put on their CPUs as a pre-installed thermal compound. The Arctic Silver 5 was designed with Overclocking and Gaming in mind. Whatever Intel pre-installs is standard, not fabulous. If you need instructions on how to install this thermal compound for an Intel Core i5 or i7 — read the official instructions and also check out YouTube.



CPU Heatsink + Fan

A gamer who is building a computer for the first time should NEVER start the computer without first installing the thermal compound and then the CPU heatsink. A question I certainly know that some first-time gaming rig builders are going to ask is … “wait, but the CPU already comes with a heatsink, why not use that?”

Very simple. Whatever heatsink came along with your Intel Core i5 / i7 CPU is standard quality. It is going to overheat far more than installing one designed exclusively for Overclocking and Gaming in mind. So don’t feel too guilty showing the Intel heatsink the rim of the garbage bin. Out!

Go instead with a good heatsink from Cool Master or even EVGA. You are never going wrong with any of these’s low-budget heatsinks. However, be very careful because these are simply put GARGANTUAN heatsinks. They might not fit mid-tower cases. Maybe they do — but I’d rather ask the computer case manufacturer’s tech support about heatsink dimensions supported. Baddest case scenario: the side door might not close because the heatsink is too high. Keep that in mind. Worser case scenario: The bottom of the heatsink bumps into the RAM memory and won’t let you install on the CPU. Know your heatsink and computer case dimensions before ordering.

If you went with the Extended ATX (e-ATX) computer case I recommended, you might be fine. I am not kidding. You should have seen my eyes pop in amazement when I opened the box and saw these monster heatsinks for the first time. Here are two great low-budget heatsinks you can consider:

Don’t worry about the CPU socket-compatibility. The LGA 1150, 1155, and 1156 motherboard-compatible heatsinks fit the newest 1151 too. I read that at the Cool Master forum from a representative. I have had the EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler since 2008, similar to the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO, and it has kept my i7-920 CPU temperatures very smooth with World of Warcraft at Ultra settings. So I am certain this newer cooler will do a great job for you. Did I say these heatsinks are HUGE!!! Yea, I did. heh



Build it Yourself:IntroCPU MotherboardComputer CaseMemory
Windows 10

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Tomas Hernandez is owner of since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

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