If you are looking for a new gaming rig and you have no idea where to start, you start asking around for help. Within a couple of minutes you’ll be flooded with questions, like what you want to play, what other requirements you have, and soon enough you’ll be given hundreds of lists of components. Worst part of all? Every single list will be wrong, because Joe Blogs said so, and you should use ‘his’ list instead.
Going with either an off-the-shelf or boutique build saves a lot of trouble, as they are often purpose-built systems for different price ranges, but you may not know how well it will perform for the games you play. NZXT is not the first company that springs to mind for boutique builds, but it’s decided to break into the market in an interesting way: Start with the games first.
With a new system and website called BLD (pronounced build), NZXT will put together a gaming rig for you, built around its own collection of cases and accessories, using the games you want to play as the starting point. Pick three games, pick a starting budget, and BLD will put together a system in and around that price point, and guarantee a framerate count or your money back.
When putting a system together, the games selected will have an FPS target, each of which will have a minimum of 60 FPS. If your system achieves under that FPS by 10%, you’ll be able to return the system, no questions. This is a pretty bold claim, and probably one with a lot of asterisks, but it means NZXT has confidence in its builds.
All of this comes from NZXT’s research based on cloud data collected from users over the years. The parts selected for each build are driven by a computer model and not people, partially eliminating many of the biases you’ll get from crowd-sourced questions. The parts used generates the FPS count, based on the game selected, guaranteed.
Currently though, the choices of which games to select from are rather limited. While there are many common titles, most of them are on the older side (although still popular). The usual array of MOBAs and AAA FPS titles are thrown into the mix, but nothing for any games made in the last year, save for Battlefield 1. Another gotcha is that all the games’ FPS counts are for 1080p, no other resolutions are available if you were planning on a rig for 1440p, 4K or ultrawide, nor do the games state what settings were used (although most likely ‘ultra’ across the board). One good thing though is that BLD will warn you when a title has an FPS limiter on it, such as MGS5.
However, all of this is a starting point, and if you have some idea of what else you want, you can go through the customization process and change things around, like upgrading the motherboard and CPU to allow overclocking, adding an SSD or M.2 drive, and adding fan controllers and lighting from NZXT’s own array of components.
The components used are from a number of vendors, although at this time, limited to Intel and NVIDIA. There are no Ryzen CPUs or Radeon GPUs, although judging from the ages of the games selected, enough data on AMD components may not be available for an accurate score.
If there was one more thing I’d like to see from NZXT’s BLD system, is inclusion of peripherals like keyboards and mice, as well as monitors and headsets, that way a full system could be built and dispatched from a single source (although maybe we’ll see NZXT branded peripherals in the future).
BLD is a good idea, starting with the games first and letting it take care of the rest. Just update the list to include some more modern games, and BLD will be a very good system for people looking for a simple solution to an often complex problem.