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Building a Living Room PC for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Today, I will be building a PC specifically for being used in the living room, which I will connect to my TV. Although I do have a gaming PC in the home-office, gaming on it has been keeping me away from my family. Gaming in the living room would allow me to be close to my family while also allowing me to game.

Taking the gaming PC from my home-office to the living room is not an option, as there is not enough space. Furthermore, it would ruin the aesthetics of the living room. My idea is to be able to play using the living room’s TV.

Remote game streaming through Steam Link

The first thing I did was try out gaming through Steam’s Steam Link. Steam Link is a program which allows you to stream your game from your PC to another device through the local LAN or the internet.

I was impressed at how good streaming through Steam Link is. Playing Playing Final Fantasy XV was smooth, with satisfactory mouse/keyboard/controller input lag.

However, I encountered several drawbacks. If you have an ultrawide, you will have to manually change the resolution from the game’s settings from 1440p to 1080p. Secondly, although the responsiveness and framerates are satisfactory, there will always be a certain level of latency. Finally, the colours and sharpness of the image are visibly worse. Playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare multiplayer was difficult as a result of the latency.

The living room PC

Since remote game streaming is not ideal for playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare multiplayer, the second option was to build a PC and place it next to or behind the TV.

A small form factor is essential in this case, since I do not want the PC to have a large visual impact. Thus, I will be using a micro-ATX form factor for this build.

Since I already have another gaming PC and this PC will be used for the living room, I don’t require too much power from it. The important thing for me is that it will run Call of Duty: Modern Warfare with at least 60FPS at 1080p. Thus, I will choose components which satisfy this criterion while keeping the cost as low as possible.

Finding a PC case

As I mentioned above, I want the case to be as minimalist as possible. The case should also allow me to easily hide it should I need to do so. However, it does not mean that the aesthetics of the case itself should not be factored in.

NZXT H1

After carefully looking at various small form factor cases, I settled for the NZXT H1. This case is NZXT’s newest product. It looks very good, with tempered glass on the front and honey-comb steel panels on the side. The case looks very well built, small enough that it can be tucked away behind the TV, yet looks good that you’d want to have it sit next to the TV.

The case comes with a built in 650W SFX-L 80Plus Gold Fully Modular Power supply and 140mm AIO Liquid Cooler. Most of the cables are pre-routed, making cable management very easy. The H1 can be fitted with an Nvidia 2080Ti, so GPU space isn’t a problem.

The honey-comb design on the sides together, with the pre-routed cables allow for adequate air flow. This helps in reducing fan noise and reducing heat. The addition of an AIO liquid cooler by NZXT helps in keeping low temperatures for the CPU.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Recommended Requirements

Before I continue choosing the components, I will be first looking at the recommended requirments in order to run the game. Remember that I will be running the game at 1080p and not 4k. This allows me to go for a lower powered graphics card, thus keeping the cost low.

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K or AMD Ryzen R5 1600X Processor

RAM: 12 GB

GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 4GB / GTX 1660 6GB or AMD Radeon R9 390 / AMD RX 580

FREE DISK SPACE: 175 GB

The above requirements will be used as a basis when choosing the components for this build. From the above requirements, a 512GB SSD is required. Furthermore, although 12GB is recommended, I’d feel more comfortable with 16GB or RAM, ensuring that there is enough RAM for other background processes.

Choosing the components

The CPU: Intel Core i5 9600KF

The CPU is usually my first choice when it comes to a new build. The generation of CPU chosen will affect other components, such as what motherboard we will be choosing.

In this case, I will go for the newest generation Intel Core i5. I have chosen an Intel CPU since I personally have always gone for Intel. In your case, you might also wish to look at what AMD has to offer. AMD is not a bad choice by any means. It just comes down to personal preference.

My preference is the Intel Core i5 9600KF. This CPU will be able to run Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and other titles in the future without a problem.

I did consider the Intel Core i5 9400F. However, the difference in price was around €30 when writing this article. Thus, considering such a small difference in price, the Core i5 9600KF would be the better choice.

Anything above the Intel Core i5 9600KF will not make sense in this case. The cost of the build would be increased by a substantial amount of money, with little gain in FPS. Remember that this PC will be used solely for gaming at 1080p and no other CPU intensive applications will be used.

The motherboard: Asus Prime H310M-K

This LGA2011 motherboard is enough for the use case. It is an inexpensive yet adequate motherboard, with no frills attached. It has 4 SATA ports, up to 32GB of RAM, integrated sound card and one PCI-E X16.

Graphics Card: MSI Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti should give us around 118FPS, running at 1080P on Ultra settings according to benchmarks. The framerate will goes down to 51FPS at 4k. While this is below 60FPS, it is still pretty respectable at such a price point. However, since we’re going to run at 1080P, this card is more than enough.

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super is also a good alternative at an even lower price point, but the difference between the Super and the Ti is sometimes very little.

RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX Black 8GB 3600MHz x2

The Corsair Vengeance 8GB sticks are small enough to fit in the case, while providing adequate performance. The price of these 2 sticks is also great. In total, we’ll have 16GB of RAM running at 3600MHz.

HDD: 500GB Western Digital Blue 3D NAND

This is a no frills SSD cheap that will provide enough storage space with adequate speed. This SSD is by no means the fastest, but it will get the job done. For faster load times, you should look at faster SSDs such as the Samsung QVO SSDs. For the best performance, you should look at PCI-E SSDs, but you will have to buy a separate PCI-E.