Good Cheap Gaming Computers

Good Cheap Gaming Computers 2015 Edition

In this guide we’re going to go over everything you need to know in order to choose the best components for a solid cheap gaming computer. So, if you’re strapped for cash, but you still want to build a solid entry-level system, this guide will help you choose the best components for your budget.

In this day and age of incredible graphics and extremely demanding video games, you, as a PC gamer, must have a capable gaming computer if you want to play your favorite games in the way they they were designed to be played.

Unfortunately, though, the price tag that comes with a solid PC may be keeping you from getting the system that you deserve.

However, if you elect to build your own system–rather than buying it pre-built–you can forego the high costs associated with buying an expensive pre-built setup and you can finally get yourself an affordable gaming computer that will play your favorite games at acceptable levels.

In this guide I’m going to cover all of the different components that you can use in your budget build. I’m going to go over and answer every question that a prospective builder could possible ever have when looking for affordable components that will allow them to build a solid cheap gaming computer.

To start, though, I’m going to give you five different builds that you can use as is, or that you can use as a base to put together your own part list. This will allow you to skip the fine details and get straight to building your awesome gaming PC. If you want a more thorough overview of each component before you make your selection, you can use the full guide.

In the end, you’ll have a plan of action, as well as a number of different components to choose between, and you’ll be well on your way to building a cheap gaming computer that is capable of delivering excellent levels of performance.

i.PRE-MADE PART LISTS

In this section, I’ve taken five different price points ($300, $400, $500, $600, & $700) and I’ve put together builds for each budget.

These builds can either be used as is, or they can serve as a base that you can customize to your liking.

If you have any questions about these builds, please post them below in the comments section!

Navigate This Section

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$300 GAMING COMPUTER

Overview

For gamers working with an extremely tight budget, it is possible to throw together a gaming computer (tower only) for around $300.

The downside of putting together such a low-end system is that you’ll be stuck with a very low-end graphics card. However, the upside of this build is that with just an upgrade to the CPU and an upgrade to the video card (which may also require an upgrade to the power supply) you will have a very solid gaming PC.

So, if you are severely strapped for cash now, but you want something that will let you play your favorite games on low-to-medium settings and will also let you upgrade to a high-end system later on down the road, then this is the system for you.

Part List

CPU Intel Pentium G3258

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MOBO Gigabyte GA-H81M-DS2V

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GPU EVGA GT 730

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RAM Crucial Ballistix Sport 4GB

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HDD Seagate Barracuda 250 GB

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CASE Rosewill Dual Fans

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PSU Antec VP-450W

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ODD Install O.S. from USB drive

Optional

THRM EGC High-Performance 4g

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MPAD EGC Monster Mouse Pad

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Grand Total: $270-$330

(Prices fluctuate on a daily basis, click here for current pricing)

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$400 GAMING COMPUTER

Overview

AMD FX-6300 6-Core ProcessorIf you were looking to buy a decent system from the big computer assemblers, you would expect to pay at least $700. However, you don’t need to spend $700 in order to get a gaming computer that will deliver a good experience.

In fact, for right around $400 you can build a system that will allow you to play your favorite games on moderate settings (and some of them on the highest settings) on a 1920×1080 monitor.

And, by building it yourself, you can avoid having to deal with the low quality power supplies and motherboards that the big computer companies like to throw in their builds.

The cheap gaming computer listed below is based off of my research of the best parts available for a $400 gaming computer. The build includes the following parts:

Part List

CPU AMD FX-6300

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MOBO ASUS M5A78L-M/USB3

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GPU ASUS GeForce GTX 750 Ti

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RAM Crucial Ballistix Sport 4GB

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HDD Seagate Barracuda 250 GB

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CASE Rosewill Dual Fans

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PSU Antec VP-450

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ODD Install O.S. from USB drive

Optional

THRM EGC High-Performance 4g

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MPAD EGC Monster Mouse Pad

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Grand Total: $370-$430

(Prices fluctuate on a daily basis, click here for current pricing)

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$500 GAMING COMPUTER

Overview

For those of you looking to spend a little bit more money, you can come away with a truly powerful gaming computer at a very affordable price.

At $500 this next gaming computer build will present you with unbelievable performance. These parts are literally capable of producing an experience on par with some of the big manufacturers $1,000+ gaming computers.

Here’s the parts you’ll need to build a $500 gaming computer worth bragging about:

Part List

CPU AMD FX-6300

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MOBO ASUS M5A78L-M/USB3

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GPU Sapphire R7 370 4GB

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RAM Crucial Ballistix 8GB

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HDD Seagate 1 TB

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CASE Rosewill Dual Fans

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PSU EVGA 500W 80PLUS

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ODD Install O.S. from USB drive

Optional

THRM EGC High-Performance 4g

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MPAD EGC Monster Mouse Pad

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Grand Total: $470-$530

(Prices fluctuate on a daily basis, click here for current pricing)

GET THIS PC »

$600 GAMING COMPUTER

Overview

The great thing about building your own gaming computer is that for a fraction of the cost of a pre-built machine, you can achieve some pretty incredibly results.

In fact, for right around $600 you can throw together a system that will max out any game on the market on a 1080p monitor as well as a system that will even be able to handle pretty much any game maxed out on a 1440p monitor as well.

That’s a pretty awesome deal considering the performance you get.

The gaming computer below has a ton of power right out of the gates. The motherboard doesn’t give you a whole lot of overclocking options, but if you’re not looking to do any serious system tuning, then this machine is for you.

Part List

CPU AMD FX-6300

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MOBO ASUS M5A78L-M/USB3

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GPU Gigabyte R9 380

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RAM Crucial Ballistix 8GB

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HDD Seagate 1 TB

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CASE VIVO ATX Mid Tower

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PSU Corsair CX600

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ODD Samsung 24x SATA

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Optional

THRM EGC High-Performance 4g

VIEW

MPAD EGC Monster Mouse Pad

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Grand Total: $570-$630

(Prices fluctuate on a daily basis, click here for current pricing)

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$700 GAMING COMPUTER

Overview

A lot of people love to brag about their $3,000 water-cooled systems and the ridiculous frame rates they get while playing their favorite games. If you have the money to go all out on a high-end gaming computer, then by all means do so. (I personally love seeing how far a system can be pushed!)

However, if you’re looking to get a really high-end system that is capable of giving you  a really high-end experience, you could easily achieve that with $700 of quality computer components.

Here’s the part list:

Part List

CPU Intel Core i5-4460

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MOBO Gigabyte GA-H97M-HD3

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GPU Gigabyte R9 380

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RAM Crucial Ballistix 8GB

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HDD Seagate 1 TB

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CASE VIVO ATX Mid Tower

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PSU Corsair CX600

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ODD Samsung 24x SATA

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Optional

THRM EGC High-Performance 4g

VIEW

MPAD EGC Monster Mouse Pad

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Grand Total: $670-$730

(Prices fluctuate on a daily basis, click here for current pricing)

GET THIS PC »

$800 GAMING COMPUTER

Overview

What if I told you that for ~$800 you could build a computer that could serve as an entry-point to 4K gaming?

That’s what this build brings to the table. With a GTX 970, this build is capable of playing most games on a 4K monitor at medium-to-higher settings with acceptable framerates.

And, of course, if you just want to play on a 1920×1080 or 2560×1440 monitor, this build will easily be able to handle that.

Here’s the part list:

Part List

CPU Intel Core i5-4460

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MOBO Gigabyte GA-H97M-HD3

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GPU EVGA GTX 970

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RAM Crucial Ballistix 8GB

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HDD Seagate 1 TB

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CASE VIVO ATX Mid Tower

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PSU Corsair CX600

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ODD Samsung 24x SATA

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Optional

THRM EGC High-Performance 4g

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MPAD EGC Monster Mouse Pad

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Grand Total: $770-$830

(Prices fluctuate on a daily basis, click here for current pricing)

GET THIS PC »

I. HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE

This guide has literally everything you need to pick a part list for a solid cheap gaming computer. With so much information, you might get lost. So, it’s important that you know how to navigate and use this guide.

For starters, below you’ll find a Table of Contents. You can use this to easily navigate to the part of the guide you want to read.

The guide is broken down into sections. In the first couple of sections, the guide goes over some important concepts, including knowing your budget and whether or not you should buy now, or save until you can afford a better system. Then, the guide will go all of the components you’ll need in order to build an affordable computer.

Each component section will give you multiple suggestions. And, each component section is broken down to make it easier to navigate through. For instance, the processor and motherboard sections are broken down by the socket type. And, the video card, case and power supply sections are broken down by price range (i.e. Best Video Cards under $100.)

Another important thing to point out is that under each component, you’ll see the suggested “Budget Range” that that component fits into. This number doesn’t tell you how much the component costs, it tells you the kind of budget that component will work well in.

As an example, the AMD A8-5600K processor has a suggested budget range of $300-$400. This means that if you’re building a gaming computer and you have $300-$400 to spend, the A8-5600K will fit nicely in your budget.

Finally, at the end of the guide, I have put together five different builds, ranging from $300 on the low-end to $700 on the high-end. These builds can either be used as is, or they can be customized to your liking.

1.KNOWING YOUR BUDGET

The budget that you set for your gaming computer is going to determine the kind of performance you get out of it. The more you spend, the more games you’ll be able to play on higher settings and the higher the framerates you’ll get.

Setting your budget will give you a price to work with when selecting your components and it will make it easier to make decisions on each part. So, set a budget and stick to it. For this guide, we’ll be looking at systems that come in under $700.

Should You Buy Now, Or Save Up Until You Can Get Better Components?

There are advantages and disadvantages that come with either buying your components now or saving up until you can get better-performing parts. It really all depends on your personal preferences as well as the kind of games you play.

If you don’t want to wait to be able to have to play your favorite games and you don’t mind playing on lower settings, or the games you play aren’t too demanding, then building now is definitely a good option. However, if you’re playing demanding games that are best experienced in full detail on the highest graphics settings, then it is probably a good idea to save up some more money so that you can get a better set of components.

If you want the best of both worlds, you can always build for now and the future. In order to build for now and the future, you must choose components that will give you decent performance now and that will allow you to upgrade in the future. Since this guide is directed towards those gamers who are building on a budget, I have tried to make it as future friendly as possible without sacrificing too much performance now.

Either way you choose, the components listed in this guide will at least allow you to start playing your favorite games. And, the top component options in each category will even allow you to play most games on the highest settings.

Let’s Get Started Choosing Components

In the rest of this guide, we’ll take an individual look at each component category and go over the different options you have if you’re building a solid cheap gaming computer. Each component is going to be broken down into sections.

First up, we’ll look at the best budget gaming processors and then we’ll proceed to look at all of the other components you’ll need.


2.THE BEST BUDGET PROCESSORS

In this part of our Good Cheap Gaming Computers guide, we’re going to take a look at all of the different CPU options you have for your budget gaming PC.

The CPU you choose for your gaming PC is going to play a pivotal role in how well your system performs.

A faster processor is going to be able to handle more games better. A slower processor will give you trouble running more demanding games.

Fortunately, even if you’re building on a budget there are a number of CPU options available on the market that will allow you to play your games at acceptable levels.

In fact, for just under $100 you can get a CPU that is capable of running your gaming computer.

In this guide I will take a look at all of the CPU options you have for your budget gaming PC.

Any of the CPUs listed in this article will at least get your foot in the door.

And, some of the processors–like the AMD FX-6300–are not only budget-friendly, but they are also good enough for a gaming computer that can max any game out.

Budget Gaming Processors for AMD’s Socket FM2

AMD’s FM2 socket is quickly becoming one of the most popular platforms for gamers working with a tight budget. Built around AMD’s APUs (accelerated processing unit), the FM2 socket boasts processors that have powerful integrated graphics.

And, even though integrated graphics aren’t ideal for graphics-intensive games, AMD’s APUs provide enough power through their integrated graphics to play most games on at least the lowest settings. So, while FM2 APUs alone aren’t great solutions for high-end machines, they do work well for entry-level systems and will be good enough to build a solid cheap gaming computer.

Another cool feature of the FM2 APUs is that they can be paired with budget-friendly AMD video cards to give a boost in graphics performance. So, pairing the APUs listed below with an HD 6670 is a solid budget-friendly way to give you more in-game graphics power.

The following are a list of the APUs that I recommend for budget gaming PCs:

Athlon X4 760KAMD Athlon X4 760K 3.8 GHz Processor
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Budget Range: $300-$400
SOCKET: FM2

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While not the greatest processor on the market, the Athlone X4 760K can hold it’s own and will serve well in an entry-level build that includes a standalone video card.

It’s important to note that, unlike other FM2 processors, the Athlon X4 does not come with integrated graphics… so you will need to pair it with a video card.

Ultimately, while the Athlon series of FM2 CPUs have become popular among budget builders, in my opinion the FX-4300 is the better long-term option for just $10 more, as the AM3+ socket has much better  upgrade potential.

Features

  • Quad Core CPU
  • Socket FM2
  • 3.8GHz Operating Frequency
  • 2 x 2MB of L2 Cache
  • Can Hit Decent Overclocks With Proper Cooling

RECOMMENDATION: The Athlon X4 760K serves its purpose as an affordable option for gamers on a budget, but I’d recommend spending $10 to get the FX-4300 and better AM3+ platform.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CPU ON AMAZON ]

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Athlon X4 760KAMD Athlon X4 860K 3.7 GHz Processor
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Budget Range: $300-$400
SOCKET: FM2

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The Athlon X4 860K is a step up from the X4 760K and costs about $10 more.

Essentially the X4 860K serves the same purpose as the 760K. It’s an affordable budget CPU for anyone who is looking at the FM2 socket and wants to pair a discrete video card with it. Again, this CPU does not have integrated graphics and requires a discrete video card.

Just like with the X4 760K, it would be best if you went with the FX-4300 for the better upgrade options that the AM3+ platform provides.

Features

  • Quad Core CPU
  • Socket FM2
  • 3.7GHz Operating Frequency
  • 4MB of L2 Cache
  • Can Hit Decent Overclocks With Proper Cooling

RECOMMENDATION: The Athlon X4 860K is priced the same as the FX-4300 making it, in my opinion, an obsolete option as  the FX-4300 has more upgrade options.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CPU ON AMAZON ]

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AMD A10-5800K APUAMD A10-5800K APU 3.8 GHz Processor
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Budget Range: $300-$400
SOCKET: FM2

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The A10-5800K is a step up from the A8-5600K, with a stock clock rate of 3.8 GHz and a max turbo rate of 4.2 GHz.

The integrated HD 7660D graphics are also a little better on the A10-5800K, giving you more performance.

And, just like the A8-5600K, the A10-5800K can be CrossFireX’ed with an entry-level HD Radeon discrete video card in the future. (Some people have even CrossFireX’ed it with an HD 7750.)

Features

  • Quad Core APU
  • Socket FM2
  • HD 7660D Integrated Graphics Will Allow You to Play Most Games on Low-to-Mid Settings
  • Integrated Graphcis Can Be CrossFireX’ed with Radeon HD 7750 or Lower
  • Integrated Graphics Support Eyefinity Technology

RECOMMENDATION: Use the A10-5800K if you are working with a low budget that won’t allow for a discrete video card, or if you want to CrossFireX it with an HD 6670. Make sure you get an FM2 motherboard to go with it.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CPU ON AMAZON ]

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amd-a10-6800kAMD A10-6800K APU 4.1GHz Processor
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Budget Range: $300-$400
SOCKET: FM2

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The king of the APU’s the A10-6800K is at the head of AMD’s latest release of accelerated processing units.

The A10-6800K boasts better graphics (Radeon HD 8670D) than its predecessor, the A10-5800K, and brings a little more performance to the table when gaming.

With the best integrated graphics on the market, the A10-6800K is a great affordable option for gamers playing non graphics-intensive games like League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Diablo III.

Also, while the A10-5800K can technically be CrossFireX’ed with a radeon HD 7750, the A10-6800K definitely can and is optimized to do so. So, if you get this processor and you want to upgrade later on down the road, the HD 7750 would go well with this APU.

Features

  • Quad Core APU
  • HD 86700D Integrated Graphics Will Allow You to Play Non Graphics-Intensive Games on Max Settings
  • Integrated Graphcis Can Be CrossFireX’ed with Radeon HD 7750 for Added Performance
  • Integrated Graphics Support Eyefinity Technology

RECOMMENDATION: Use the A10-6800K if you want good results now and the option to upgrade later. You can also pair this APU with an HD 7750 to maximize your results and to get a solid budget gaming computer. Make sure you get an FM2 motherboard to go with this APU.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CPU ON AMAZON ]

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Budget Gaming Processors for AMD’s Socket AM3+

One of the best CPU solutions for a budget gaming computer is the AMD FX-6300. And, while there are other options for the AM3+ socket, as far as the price-to-performance ratio goes, the FX-6300 is definitely one of the better options.

However, with AMD’s recent price drops, the FX-4300 is a very nice low-budget option and the FX-8320 and FX-8350 gives budget builders a chance to grab a high-end CPU at an affordable price.

Ultimately it comes down to price-to-performance and AMD’s AM3+ CPUs offer some of the best options for gamers who have a budget between $400-$800.

AMD FX-4300AMD FX-4300 AM3+ 3.5GHz Processor
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Budget Range: $400-$500

SOCKET: AM3+

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It wasn’t too long ago when the FX-4300 was tipping the scales at right around $100. Now, however, the quad-core CPU has dropped below $90.

This price decrease has made the FX-4300 perhaps one of the low-budget CPUs on the market.

And, while others may rave about the Athlon 760K or the 860K, the truth is that the FX-4300 is not only the better CPU, but it’s also on the better platform for gamers: AM3+. That means better upgrade options in the future.

So, if you’re looking for a good CPU in the $80-$90 range, look no further than AMD’s FX-4300

Features

  • Quad Core CPU
  • Plenty of Processing Power for Gaming
  • AM3+ Has Much Better Upgrade Options than FM2
  • Excellent Price-to-Performance for the Price

RECOMMENDATION: UThe FX-4300 is a good option for systems in the $400-$500 range. The AM3+ platform has much better upgrade potential than FM2 which therefore makes the FX-4300 a much better option for budget builders who want a discrete video card.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CPU ON AMAZON ]

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AMD FX-6300 CPUAMD FX-6300 AM3+ 3.5GHz Processor
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Budget Range: $400-$600

SOCKET: AM3+

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For those gamers who have a little bit higher of a budget, the AMD FX-6300 is your best option.

With six cores, the FX-6300 is the most affordable and future-proofed CPU on the market.

If you don’t want to go with a setup with integrated graphics and you want to utilize a discrete video card for the most performance, then pairing the FX-6300 with a decent video card is the way to go…

…especially if you want to upgrade to a more powerful video card in the future.

In my opinion, the FX-6300 is the best CPU option for budget builders who can afford it because it offers ideal performance for gaming now and with its six cores it will accommodate the games of tomorrow as well.

Features

  • Six Core CPU
  • Plenty of Processing Power for Gaming
  • Extra Cores Make This CPU the Best Mulit-Tasking Processor Under $150
  • Most Future-Proofed CPU in Its Price Range

RECOMMENDATION: Use the FX-6300 if your budget is over $400 and you want to use a discrete video card. Good cards to pair it with are an HD 7770, GTX 650 Ti, and an HD 7850. The FX-6300 is a socket AM3+ CPU, so make sure you choose an AM3+ motherboard to go with it.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CPU ON AMAZON ]

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AMD FX-8320AMD FX-8320 AM3+ 3.5GHz Processor
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Budget Range: $600-$800

SOCKET: AM3+

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Since AMD has reduced the prices on some of their CPUs, gamers who are looking to build a gaming computer, but who are working with a tight budget, have gained a number of options. This is as especially true with the FX-8320.

At just under $150, the FX-8320 is an eight core monster that can be overclocked to his FX-8350 levels. And, while I don’t include this CPU in any of my pre-made part lists, it will definitely fit well in the $700 build as a replacement for the i5-4460.

In the end, the FX-8320 is a great CPU and it’s powerful enough to not create a bottleneck on pretty much any system.

Features

  • Eight Core CPU
  • Optimal Processing Power for Gaming
  • Extra Cores Make This CPU the Best Mulit-Tasking Processor Under $150
  • Most Future-Proofed CPU Under $150

RECOMMENDATION: Use the FX-8320 if you’re looking for a low-cost CPU that will deliver high-end performance. The FX-8320 can be used in systems from $600 and up, though the higher your budget the more I’d recommend going with a more efficient Intel CPU.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CPU ON AMAZON ]

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AMD FX-8320AMD FX-8350 AM3+ 4.0GHz Processor
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Budget Range: $600+

SOCKET: AM3+

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The debate will always wage on… which CPU manufacturer is better, Intel or AMD? For certain diehards, there’s only one CPU manufacturer they’ll buy from, and that’s fine.

In the case of the FX-8350, it’s a very capable processor for gaming, with the ability to match the in-game performance the top Intel processors are able to produce.

Where the FX-8350 lacks (at least compared to its Intel counterparts) is in efficiency, single-core performance, affordable motherboard options, and heat produced. For those reasons, I typically recommend new builders to go with an Intel Core i5 CPU in this price range.

However, for AMD diehards, and people who want to overclock their CPU, the FX-8350 will give you the performance you need, but you just need to make sure you get a motherboard that will accommodate it.

Features

  • Eight Core CPU
  • Optimal Processing Power for Gaming
  • Extra Cores Make This CPU a Great Option Under $200
  • Can Be Overclocked to Hit Even Higher Levels of Performance

RECOMMENDATION: Use the FX-8350 if you’re looking for a strong overclocking CPU under $200. And, be sure to pair it with a 990FX chipset motherboard to handle the demands of the FX-8350.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CPU ON AMAZON ]

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Budget Gaming Processors for Intel’s Socket LGA 1150

There is no doubt that Intel is the king of gaming processors. And, there isn’t a question that they produce the fastest CPUs on the market.

However, for extreme budget gaming PCs, the only CPU options that Intel really has are the Intel Core i3 line of processors. And, while these CPUs have great single-threaded performance, the fact that they are only dual core processors means that they are a little more limited in multi-threaded applications.

If your budget creeps closer to the $700-$800 range, choosing an Intel Core i5 CPU becomes more and more plausible. In fact, in the builds listed at the top of this page, we use an Intel Core i5 CPU in our $700 build. So, if you have a moderate budget of $700 or more, then I would definitely recommend going with on of the Intel Core i5 CPUs listed below.

Intel Core i3-4160 LGA 1150 Processor
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Budget Range: $450-$600

SOCKET: LGA 1150

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Out of all of the processors available in this price range, the Intel Core CPUs offer the most single core performance.

And, despite the fact that the i3-4160 is only a dual-core processor, it still performs very well for gaming purposes.

However, in my opinion, for about $20 less, the FX-6300 is the better option because it is more “future-proofed.”

Although, if you’re playing games that don’t utilize more than two cores, the i3-4160 will perform better.

And, if you want to upgrade to a higher end LGA 1150 Intel Core processor in the future, then it would be best to go with this CPU.

Features

  • Dual-Core CPU
  • Better Single-Core Performance than AMD Alternative
  • Can Easily Be Upgraded to an LGA 1150 Intel Core i5 or i7 In the Future
  • Extremely Power Efficient When Compared to Similarly Priced AMD CPUs

RECOMMENDATION: The Intel Core i3-4160 is the perfect CPU for gamers looking to build a solid cheap gaming computer. I recommend going with the i3-4160 if you’re planning on upgrading to a higher end Intel Core LGA 1150 CPU in the future, or if you are only planning on playing games that only utilize two or less cores. If you do choose this CPU, make sure you get an LGA 1150 motherboard to go with it.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CPU ON AMAZON ]

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Intel Core i5-4590 LGA 1150 Processor
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Budget Range: $700+

SOCKET: LGA 1150

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If you’re looking for the best all-around CPU for under $200, then the Intel Core i5-4590 is it.

It combines all of the efficiency and high-performance we’ve come to expect from an Intel CPU for an affordable price.

Ultimately, the i5-4590 is the perfect option for anyone who isn’t planning on overclocking, who has a decent-sized budget (at least $700) and wants ideal in-game performance (assuming you choose a formidable video card to go with it.)

Features

  • Quad-Core CPU
  • Better Single-Core Performance than AMD Alternative
  • Can Easily Be Upgraded to an LGA 1150 Intel Core i7 In the Future
  • Extremely Power Efficient When Compared to Similarly Priced AMD CPUs

RECOMMENDATION: If your budget is around $700 or higher, the i5-4590 is probably the best CPU option for you. However, if you want to be able to overclock, you’ll want to either look at AMD’s FX-8320, or 8350.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CPU ON AMAZON ]

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3.THE BEST BUDGET MOTHERBOARDS

In this section of the Good Cheap Gaming Computers guide I’m going to list all of the viable motherboard options you have if you’re building on a budget. These motherboards are good enough to get your budget gaming PC up, running, and performing well.

Your gaming computer will not work without a motherboard.

And, one mistake that first-time builders and those working with a tight budget make is to choose a cheap low-quality motherboard.

However, choosing a cheap motherboard can cause a lot of problems for you and your system down the road.

Therefore, you need to make sure you get a decent motherboard for your money.

Since you’re working with a tight budget, getting a high-end motherboard is out of the question….

…but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a capable motherboard to go with your gaming PC.

There are plenty of solid motherboards under $100 that are perfect for budget gaming computers.

In this section of the guide, I will cover the different motherboard options you have for your build.

Budget Gaming Motherboards for AMD’s Socket FM2

AMD’s socket FM2 is the perfect option for gamers working with an extremely tight budget, or for gamers who are playing less demanding games (like League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Dota 2, Minecraft, etc.).

There are a ton of viable budget gaming motherboard options for the FM2 socket. Below are listed all of the FM2 motherboards that will work in a solid cheap gaming computer.

fm2-a55m-e33MSI FM2-A55M-E33 Motherboard
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Budget Range: $300-$400

SOCKET: FM2

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At the low end of the FM2 motherboard spectrum, the MSI FM2-A55M-E33 is the perfect board for gamers who are on an extreme budget.

The FM2-A55M-E33 has everything you need to get your computer up and running.

And, while it’s not the most ideal board for gamers, it’s definitely good enough to get the job done.

So, if you’re working with a minimal budget and you just want to throw something together quickly so that you can start gaming as soon as possible, then pairing this motherboard with an FM2 processor will allow you to build a solid cheap gaming computer.

Features

  • DirectX 11 Capable
  • Socket FM2
  • Comes With an HDMI and VGA Port So that You Can Take Advantage of the Integrated Graphics on Your AMD APU
  • Supports Up to 32GB of Memory
  • Is AMD Radeon Dual Graphics Capable

RECOMMENDATION: I recommend using the MSI FM2-A55M-E33 if your budget is under $400. It will pair well with the A8-5600K for the price. This setup isn’t ideal, but it will allow you to start playing most games on at least low settings. If your budget is $400 or more, look at a processor/motherboard combo that offers more features.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS BOARD ON AMAZON ]

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asrock fm2a55m-dgsASRock FM2A55M-DGS Motherboard
Budget Range: $300-$400
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)

SOCKET: FM2

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If you’re looking for an alternative to the MSI FM2-A55M-E33, the ASRock FM2A55M-DGS is essentially the same board. The only real difference is in the software and BIOS that comes with each motherboard.

In my opinion, you’ll be fine with either the MSI or ASRock board, but some people prefer one brand to the other. Either board are good options for gamers working with an extremely tight budget (under $400).

Ultimately, both of these motherboards are capable of producing identical in-game results. And, while they aren’t the best options on the market, they are good enough to allow you to start gaming.

Features

  • DirectX 11 Capable
  • Socket FM2
  • Comes With DVI-D and VGA Ports So You Can Utilize the Integrated Graphics on Your AMD APU
  • Supports Up to 32GB of Memory
  • Is AMD Dual Graphics Capable

RECOMMENDATION: My recommendation for the ASRock FM2A55M-DGS is the same as my recommendation for the MSI FM2-A55M-E33… use this board if your budget is under $400 and pair it with an A8-5600K.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS BOARD ON AMAZON ]

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fm2-a75ma-e35MSI FM2-A75MA-E35 Motherboard
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Budget Range: $350-$450

SOCKET: FM2

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The main upgrades that the A75 chipset has over the A55 chipset, is that the A75 chipset brings 6GB/S SATA capabilities and USB 3.0 into the picture.

For just $5-$10 more than the the MSI FM2-A55M-E33, you can can the MSI FM2-A75MA-E35 and the faster SATA connection as well as four USB 3.0 ports.

Ultimately, this motherboard will work well with any of the AMD APUs and can even be used as an affordable solution for gamers who want the A10-6800K.

So, if you’re looking for an affordable motherboard to pair with your AMD A-Series APU, then the MSI FM2-A55M-E35 is definitely a solid option.

Features

  • DirectX 11 Capable
  • Socket FM2
  • Comes With VGA, DVI, and HDMI Ports
  • Will Support AMD Radeon Dual Graphics
  • Has 3 x USB 3.0 Connections

RECOMMENDATION: The MSI FM2-A75MA-E35 is an excellent option for gamers who want to get the most out of their AMD-APU-Based gaming computer. I recommend using this motherboard if you want an affordable option to pair with your A10-5800K or A10-6800K and you don’t need all the bells and whistles of a high-end motherboard.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS BOARD ON AMAZON ]

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Asrock-FM2A75-PRO4-MASRock FM2A75 PRO4-M Motherboard
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Budget Range: $350-$450
SOCKET: FM2

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For $5 more, the ASRock FM2A75 PRO4-M is virtually the same board as the MSI FM2-A75M-E35. However, the extra $5 gives you a little bit more stability when overclocking.

It also comes with SATA 6GB/S capabilities and USB 3.0. And, if you’re looking to run AMD Radeon Dual Graphics this board (like the MSI one) will allow you to do so.

This board is also a decent option if you want to experiment with some mild-to-moderate overclocking. Ultimately, though, the only reason why you’d get this board over the MSI board is if you prefer ASRock’s software/BIOS or if you want to do some more system-tuning.

Features

  • DirectX 11 Capable
  • Socket FM2
  • Decent Overclocking Board
  • Has VGA, DVI-D, and HDMI Ports
  • Will Support AMD Radeon Dual Graphics
  • Has 3 x USB 3.0 Connections

RECOMMENDATION: I recommend choosing the ASRock FM2A75 PRO4-M if you’re looking for an affordable motherboard that will allow you to overclock your AMD A-Series APU and/or your memory. This motherboard will work well paired with any A-Series FM2 APU, but I recommend using it with either the A10-5800K or the A10-6800K.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS BOARD ON AMAZON ]

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ga-f2a85x-d3hGigabyte GA-F2A85X-D3H
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Budget Range: $400-$500

SOCKET: FM2

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For the enthusiasts, the A85X chipset brings a couple more SATA 6GB/S connections and the ability to run dual video cards in X8 CrossFireX configuration. For the extra price, though, the minor additional options probably aren’t worth it for gamers on a serious budget.

However, the ability to run dual video cards in CrossFireX does make the A85X chipset the perfect option for gamers who want to upgrade their rig in the future.

And, of the A85X motherboards out there, the Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-D3H is one of the most affordable. So, if you’re looking to give your solid cheap gaming computer some serious upgrade possibilities, then consider the Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-D3H.

Features

  • DirectX 11 Capable
  • Socket FM2
  • Decent Overclocking Board
  • Comes With VGA, DVI-D, and HDMI Ports
  • Can Accommodate Dual Video Cards in X8 CrossFireX Configuration
  • Has 4 x USB 3.0 Connections
  • Will Support AMD Radeon Dual Graphics

RECOMMENDATION: The Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-D3H is a solid option for gamers who want an moderately priced board that will allow them to get the most out of their APU and will give them the option of running dual video cards in CrossFireX configuration in the future. I would recommend pairing this motherboard with an A10-5800K or A10-6800K and I would only recommend getting it if you are considering adding dual video cards in the future. If not, go with one of the A75 motherboards.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS BOARD ON AMAZON ]

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FM2A85X Extreme4ASRock FM2A85X EXTREME4
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Budget Range: $400-$500
SOCKET: FM2

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Another FM2 A85X option is the ASROCK FM2A85X EXTREME4 motherboard. There isn’t a whole lot of difference between the FM2A85X EXTREME4 and the GA-F2A85X-D3H, so the determining factor may come down to price and brand preference.

In any case, the board is a decent option for overclockers and it comes with four USB 3.0 connections and eight SATA 6GB/S connections.

Its A85X chipset gives it the ability to run dual video cards in CrossFireX configuration at X8 in both PCIe lanes.

As mentioned with the GA-F2A85X, I only recommend this board if you want the option to run dual video cards in the future, as there isn’t too much of a difference between the A85X and A75 chipset. And, you can save a decent amount of money if you stick with the A75 chipset–something that is incredibly important for cheap gaming computer builds.

Features

  • DirectX 11 Capable
  • Socket FM2
  • Decent Overclocking Board
  • Comes With VGA, DVI-D, and HDMI Ports
  • Can Accommodate Dual Video Cards in X8 CrossFireX Configuration
  • Has 4 x USB 3.0 Connections
  • Will Support AMD Radeon Dual Graphics

RECOMMENDATION: The ASRock FM2A85X EXTREME4 motherboard is a good option for gamers who want the ability to run dual video cards in the future. It will be best utilized when paired with an A10-5800K or A10-6800K. It’s also a decent option for anyone who wants to overclock. However, if you don’t plan on running dual video cards in the future, stick with an A75 motherboard.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS BOARD ON AMAZON ]

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Budget Gaming Motherboards for AMD’s Socket AM3+

If you’re going with the AMD FX-6300 CPU, you’ll need an AM3+ motherboard to pair with it. Fortunately, there are a number of affordable AM3+ motherboards available.

Listed below are all of the AM3+ motherboards that I recommend for budget gaming computers.

asus m5a78l-m lx plusASUS M5A78L-M LX PLUS Motherboard
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Budget Range: $400-$500

SOCKET: AM3+

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For AM3+ budget gaming computer builds, the ASUS M5A78L-M LX PLUS is a solid entry level motherboard to get your build started.

The M5A78L-M LX PLUS is by no means an enthusiast board and doesn’t have all the high-end features that the more expensive AM3+ boards do, but it is good enough to run your CPU and a single discrete video card…

…and for most gamers, with the right CPU/video card combo and a decent amount of RAM, that’s all you’ll need to get ideal in-game performance.

So, if you’re looking into building an entry level gaming computer that features an AM3+ CPU and a discrete video card, the ASUS M5A78L-M LX PLUS is the perfect option for gamers with a tight budget.

Features

  • Socket AM3+
  • Supports Mild Overclocking and System Tuning
  • The “Core Unlocker” Feature Allows You to Easily Unlock All of Your CPU’s Extra Cores
  • Supports Up to 16GB of DDR3 Memory That Can Be Overclocked to 1866MHz

RECOMMENDATION: I recommend choosing the ASUS M5A78L-M LX PLUS if you are building an AM3+ budget gaming PC. This board works well with an AMD FX-6300 and any of the video cards recommended in this guide. It isn’t the best motherboard option, but if funds are limited and you want to get your system up and running, this board will definitely allow you to do so.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS BOARD ON AMAZON ]

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ga-78lmt-usb3Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 Motherboard
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Budget Range: $400-$500

SOCKET: AM3+

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For approximately $10 more you can go a step up from the M5A78L-M LX PLUS and get Gigabyte’s GA-78LMT-USB3 motherboard. The main difference?

The GA-78LMT-USB3 brings USB 3.0 capabilities to the table and supports up to 32 GB of memory. Is that worth the extra cost?

Well, that’s up to the individual.

For the most part, this Gigabyte board is still a standard entry level AM3+ motherboard with no really exciting features. However, it does support USB 3.0 and it will give you the foundation of a solid budget gaming computer.

So, if you’re looking for a decent entry-level motherboard that supports USB 3.0, then the GA-78LMT-USB3 is a good bet.

Features

  • Socket AM3+
  • Allows for Mild Overclocking and System Tuning
  • Supports Up to 32GB of DDR3 Memory
  • Advanced Protection Against the Elements With Humidity, Electrostatic, Power Failure, and High Temperature Protection
  • Supports USB 3.0

RECOMMENDATION: The Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 is a nice entry-level board that will work well with an AMD FX-6300 CPU. I recommend choosing this board if you’re looking for an affordable AM3+ motherboard and you utilize USB 3.0-compatible peripherals. If you don’t need the USB 3.0 support, then for $10 less, the ASUS M5A78L-M LX PLUS is the better option. 

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS BOARD ON AMAZON ]

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970A-G46MSI 970A-G46 Motherboard
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Budget Range: $500-$600

SOCKET: AM3+

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If you’re working with a decent sized budget and you want a quality motherboard to pair with your AM3+ CPU, then the MSI 970A-G46 is an affordable option that will give you plenty of features.

With support for up to 32GB of DDR3 memory that can be overclocked to up to 2133MHz, you’ll have a board that can easily be upgraded to meet the future demands of gaming.

While this board isn’t ideal for overclocking, it does have all of the other features you could ever want or need (USB 3.0, SATA III, 7.1 Surround Sound Capabilities,Dual Video Card Support etc.)

So, if you’re looking to spend a little more on your system and you want to get a decent motherboard, the MSI 970A-G46 is perfect for you.

Features

  • Socket AM3+
  • Mild Overclocking/System Tuning Can Be Achieved on This Board
  • Supports Up to 32GB of DDr3 Memory, Which Can Be Overclocked to a Maximum of 2133MHz
  • Supports USB 3.0
  • OC Genie II Makes Overclocking Simple and Easy
  • Dual Video Card Support
  • Well-Designed Graphical User Interface Makes the BIOS on this Board Very Easy to Use

RECOMMENDATION: The MSI 970A-G46 is by no means an enthusiast board. If you’re looking for high overclocks, you’ll have to look elsewhere. However, if you want a decent-priced motherboard that has all of the latest technology built into it, then I recommend getting this MSI board. It’s perfect with the FX-6300 and it will give you everything you need to build a solid single video card setup.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS BOARD ON AMAZON ]

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AM3 GIGABYTE GA-970A-D3Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3 Motherboard
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Budget Range: $500-$600

SOCKET: AM3+

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If you’re looking for optimal performance and you’ve got a little bit more to spend on your budget gaming computer, then you may want to consider the Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3.

With an advanced 8+2 power phase, the GA-970A-UD3 is one of the best AM3+ motherboards for overclocking ~$100.

Not only is the Ga-970A-UD3 one of the only solid options for performance enthusiasts who are working with a budget, but it also has all of the other features you could want out of a motherboard: USB 3.0, SATA III with 6GB/S link speed, Dual Video Card Support, etc.

So, if you’ve got the extra money and you’re looking for a decent overclocking board, then the GA-970A-UD3 is your best option.

Features

  • Socket AM3+
  • Best Overclocking Option at or Under $100
  • USB 3.0 Support
  • Supports Up to 32GB of DDR3 Memory Which Can be Overclocked to 2000MHz
  • Supports AMD CrossFireX

RECOMMENDATION: The Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3 is the best option for budget builders who want to overclock. The board can be paired with the FX-6300 to achieve moderate overclock levels. And, if you’re looking to spend ~$600 you can fit this board into your budget nicely even if you pair it with an HD 7850 or GTX 660. This setup will give you all-around ideal in-game performance.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS BOARD ON AMAZON ]

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Budget Gaming Motherboards for Intel’s Socket LGA 1155

For those of you who are looking to go with a solid cheap Intel-based gaming computer, your best bet for a processor is the Intel Core i3-3220, as its really the only affordable Intel CPU for budget systems.

And, if you are going with an i3-3220, you’ll need a decent motherboard to pair it with. I’ve listed two options that will work well for an Intel-based budget gaming PC below.

H77MA-G43MSI H77MA-G43 Motherboard
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Budget Range: $450-$600
SOCKET: LGA 1155

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If you’re looking to go with an Intel gaming computer, your only plausible CPU option is the Intel Core i3-3220.

And, since that’s a locked processor, it’s not worth it to get an unlocked motherboard to pair with it.

The MSI H77MA-G43 is the perfect entry-level motherboard for a solid cheap gaming computer based on an Intel CPU.

The H77MA-G43 has USB 3.0 support, can hold up to 32GB of memory, and it’s micro-ATX form factor makes it a great option for LAN-party builds.

So, if you’re looking for a decent motherboard that will support your Intel system, the MSI H77MA-G43 is definitely a good option.

Features

  • Socket LGA 1155
  • Supports 2nd and 3rd Generation Intel Core Processors
  • USB 3.0 Support
  • Supports Up to 32GB of DDR3 Memory Which Can be Overclocked to 2400MHz
  • Will Support CrossFireX Configuration

RECOMMENDATION: For those of you who want to go with an Intel-based gaming computer, the MSI H77MA-G43 is a solid entry-level motherboard. I recommend pairing this motherboard with an Intel Core i3-3220. It’s not a setup that will blow you away, but it’s definitely good enough to get you started.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS BOARD ON AMAZON ]

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H77 Pro4-MASRock  H77 Pro4-M Motherboard
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Budget Range: $450-$600

SOCKET: LGA 1155

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Another good H77 motherboard that you can use with your Intel Core i3-3220 is the ASRock H77 PRO4-M.

The H77 PRO4-M basically has all of the same features as the MSI H77MA-G43. It also has USB 3.0 support, can hold up to 32GB of memory, and is great for LAN-party builds.

The only real difference between the two boards is that the ASRock board will not allow you to overclock your memory to as high of speeds. However, this isn’t a huge deal, as there is no significant in-game advantage to overclocking your memory.

So, whether you prefer ASRock or MSI, either of these boards will get the job done.

Features

  • Socket LGA 1155
  • Supports Up to 32GB of DDR3 Memory
  • USB 3.0 Support
  • Supports CrossFireX Configuration

RECOMMENDATION: The ASRock H77 PRO4-M Motherboard is another solid H77 motherboard that you can choose to go with an Intel Core i3-3220. There’s really not a whole lot of differences between the two boards. Both are good options for the price.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS BOARD ON AMAZON ]

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4.THE BEST BUDGET VIDEO CARDS

Next up in the Good Cheap Gaming Computers guide is video cards. In today’s article I’m going to take a look at all of the budget video card options that you have for your budget gaming PC.

There is no component that dictates your overall in-game performance like your video card does.

The video card you choose is incredibly important and it’s essential that you take your time to ensure that you get the best one possible for your budget.

Fortunately, there are a ton of different affordable video card options you have. And, each one brings its own benefits.

One question that most first-time builders will ask is whether they should go with an AMD or NVIDIA. For a detailed answer on that question, check out this post.

Ultimately, though, for cards under $200, the two manufacturers are so close on performance that it doesn’t make sense to say that one company is better than the other.

However, NVIDIA cards and AMD cards perform differently in different games. So, before you choose your video card, you should check relative benchmarks and make sure that the card you choose is the better option.

Budget Video Cards Under $100

Gigabyte Radeon HD 6670Gigabyte Radeon HD 6670
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
AMD Video Card

Budget Range: $400-$500

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At $70, the Gigabyte Radeon HD 6670 is probably the lowest you want to go on a discrete video card. Any less, and you might as well just utilize the integrated graphics on an AMD APU.

The Gigabyte Radeon HD 6670 isn’t going to blow you away performance-wise and you won’t be able to play the more demanding games on mid-to-high settings, but it will allow you a solid entry point. And, if you’re playing games like League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Dota 2, Starcraft II, etc. then this card will max those games out with no problems.

The good thing about this Gigabyte version of the HD 6670, is that, unlike other 6670 models, this one comes with a fan.

Ultimately, if you’re looking to build a solid cheap gaming PC and you want to use a discrete video card, the HD 6670 gives you plenty of power for non-demanding games and will at least have you playing the more demanding games on low settings.

Features

  • Extremely budget friendly
  • Will max out most non-demanding games
  • Good entry-level video card that will at least play the more demanding games on low settings

RECOMMENDATION: The HD 6670 is a good video card to use if you’re working with a budget of around $400 and especially if you don’t plan on playing graphics-intensive games. It’s powerful enough to max out non-demanding games and will at least allow you to play the more demanding ones.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS GPU ON AMAZON ]

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Gigabyte Radeon HD 7750Gigabyte Radeon HD 7750
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
AMD Video Card

Budget Range: $400-$500

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If you’ve got a little bit more to spend on your system, then the Gigabyte Radeon HD 7750 is another good affordable video card option.

The HD 7750 is a step up from the HD 6670 and will allow you to play the more demanding games on mediumish graphics settings. And, just like the HD 6670, the HD 7750 will allow you to max out the less demanding games.

So, if you’re looking for a solid video card under $100, the HD 7750 will give you pretty good performance for the price.

Features

  • Budget friendly
  • Will max out games like League of Legends, Dota 2, Starcraft II, World of Warcraft, etc.
  • Will also allow you to play some of the more demanding games on medium settings

RECOMMENDATION: If your budget for your system is between $400 and $450, then the HD 7750 is a solid option. At the very least it will have you playing any game on low settings, and you’ll definitely be able to max out some of the less demanding games with it.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS GPU ON AMAZON ]

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Budget Video Cards Between $100-$150

evga gtx 650EVGA GeForce GTX 650
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
NVIDIA Video Card

Budget Range: $400-$500

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For right around $100, you can get the EVGA GeForce GTX 650. The GTX 650 is by no means a high-end card. However, it is capable of delivering some pretty good results for the price.

This card will be able to run the more demanding games like Skyrim, Battlefield 3, and Far Cry 3 on medium settings and it will easily max out the less demanding games.

In fact, if you want a thorough look at what the EVGA GeForce GTX 650 can do, read Trent’s Review on the video card.

Ultimately, the GTX 650 is a great card for the price… especially if you’re working with a tight budget and you want something that will allow you to play most games on at least moderate settings.

Features

  • Budget friendly
  • Will easily max out less demanding games (MOBA’s, MMO’s, RTS’, etc.)
  • Is capable of playing the more demanding games on mid-to-high settings

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re working with a tight budget, but you can find room for the GTX 650, definitely do so. It’s a great card for the price and it will have you playing even the most demanding games on ‘mediumish’ settings.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS GPU ON AMAZON ]

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Gigabyte Radeon HD 7770Gigabyte Radeon HD 7770
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
AMD Video Card

Budget Range: $400-$500

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The AMD alternative to the GTX 650 is the Radeon HD 7770. And, honestly, for the price, I’d recommend getting whichever of the two cards is at the better price.

The HD 7770 will max most games out and for the more demanding games it will allow you to play on at least medium settings. And, for about $110 that’s a pretty good deal for a budget gaming computer.

Another thing that the HD 7770 has going for it is the fact that it is a part of AMD’s Never Settle Reloaded program, so when you get the HD 7770, you also get Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon.

So, if you can find the HD 7770 for a better deal than the GTX 650 (or if you really want the two Far Cry games), then this card is the perfect option for your budget PC. It will give you a solid graphics processing solution that will enable you to play any game on at least moderate settings.

Features

  • Budget friendly
  • Will max out less demanding games easily and will play most demanding games on at least moderate settings
  • Through AMD’s Never Settle Reloaded program you’ll get Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon for free with the purchase of the HD 7770

RECOMMENDATION: Either the GTX 650 or the HD 7770 are going to be good solutions at this price range. However, video card manufacturers often have sales, so if you see either of these cards at a good price, definitely jump on that one… and if you want the Far Cry games, then that definitely gives the edge to the HD 7770.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS GPU ON AMAZON ]

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MSI Radeon HD 7790 OCMSI Radeon HD 7790 OC
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
AMD Video Card

Budget Range: $500-$600

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The HD 7790 is a fairly new addition to AMD’s Southern Island family of video cards. And, at $130 it’s definitely a solid option for a cheap gaming computer build.

The MSI Radeon HD 7790 OC is by no means a high-end video card, but for the price it will allow you to max the less demanding games out and it can even play some of the more demanding games on higher settings (although not with any kind of startling framerate numbers…)

Just like the battle between the GTX 650 and the HD 7770, the GTX 650 Ti and the HD 7790 are equally as close. And, the main selling point of the HD 7790 over the GTX 650 Ti may once again be the fact that it overclocks better and that it comes with two free games from AMD’s Never Settle Reloaded program. For the HD 7790, you’ll get BioShock Infinite and Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon.

If it were me personally, I’d choose the HD 7790 OC over the GTX 650 Ti OC because it provides just as much performance at the same price, it overclocks better, and it comes with two free games.

Features

  • Excellent Price-Performance ratio
  • Decent overclocking card
  • Will max out most games and will perform well in even the more demanding games
  • Through AMD’s Never Settle Reloaded Program, the HD 7790 comes with two free games: BioShock Infinite and Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon

RECOMMENDATION: At the $130 price range the HD 7790 OC, in my opinion, is the best video card option. While the GTX 650 Ti OC provides almost identical performance at the same price, the two free games that the HD 7790 OC comes with and the better overclocking support gives the AMD card the edge. So, if you’re looking for the most value possible, the HD 7790 is definitely it.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS GPU ON AMAZON ]

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Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650 Ti OCGigabyte GeForce GTX 650 Ti OC
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
NVIDIA Video Card

Budget Range: $500-$600

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As mentioned previously, the GTX 650 Ti OC is not my first pick in the $130 range. However, there’s no reason to not consider it.

The GTX 650 Ti is just as good as the HD 7790 OC and the main reason why I chose the HD 7790 OC over it is because of the two free games that the 7790 comes with. For some gamers, the two games that come with the HD 7790 OC may not be as appealing and in that case there is no real significant different between the two cards.

Ultimately, the GTX 650 Ti is going to give good performance for its price and it will play most games on max settings. And, on the more demanding games it is still a decent option.

Features

  • Excellent Price-Performance ratio
  • Will max out most games and can hang quite well with some of the more demanding games

RECOMMENDATION: My first choice at this price range is the HD 7790 OC solely for the reason that it comes with two free games. If you’re not interested in Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon and BioShock Infinite, then the GTX 650 Ti OC is just as good of an option.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS GPU ON AMAZON ]

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Budget Video Cards Over $150

EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost SCEVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost SC
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
NVIDIA Video Card

Budget Range: $550-$600

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There are three cards over $150 that can be had if your budget is between $550 and $600. The most affordable of those cards is the GTX 650 Ti Boost.

The GTX 650 Ti Boost is a souped-up version of the regular GTX 650 Ti and it definitely brings a noticeable performance difference to the table.

In games like Battlefield 3, the Boost edition of the GTX 650 Ti actually puts up almost 10 FPS more than the non-Boost version. And, for a little less money, at stock speeds the 650 Ti Boost competes with the HD 7850 in most games and even beats it in others.

So, if you’re looking for a powerful video card at an affordable price, the GTX 650 Ti Boost definitely fits the bill.

Features

  • Excellent Price-Performance ratio
  • There’s only a few games on the market that will stress the GTX 650 Ti Boost
  • Perfect option for budget gamers who want ideal performance

RECOMMENDATION: The GTX 650 Ti Boost is perhaps the best option when considering the price/performance ratio you’ll get at stock speeds. So, if you don’t plan on overclocking your video card, then the GTX 650 Ti is definitely worth the money.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS GPU ON AMAZON ]

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Gigabyte Radeon HD 7850Gigabyte Radeon HD 7850
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
AMD Video Card

Budget Range: $550-$600

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As far as performance goes, the Radeon HD 7850 has more potential than any other card under $200. (That’s why we recommended it in our Top Video Cards article.)

At stock speeds the GTX 660 is the better card and the GTX 650 Ti Boost even gives the HD 7850 a run for the money.

However, when you bring overclocking potential into play, the HD 7850 blows the similarly priced NVIDIA cards out of the water.

There is a 90+ page thread one overclockers.co that shows that the HD 7850 has the potential to surpass stock  HD 7950 speeds when overclocked. That’s pretty amazing from a sub $200 card.

Ultimately, you’ll need a good motherboard and PSU if you want to take the HD 7850 to its true potential, but if you do go that route you will be heavily rewarded.

So, if you’re planning on overclocking your GPU, the HD 7850 is the only choice sub $200. If you’re just going with stock speeds, it’s still a good choice (especially since it comes with three free games), but the GTX 650 Ti Boost and the GTX 660 will perform just as well, if not better.

Features

  • Monster overclocking potential
  • Will run most games on max settings at stock speeds
  • Comes with Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, BioShock Infinite, and Tomb Raider as part of AMD’s Never Settle Reloaded program

RECOMMENDATION: If you want the most potential as is possible and you don’t mind overclocking your video card, then the HD 7850 is the only choice you should consider. However, if you’re just planning on sticking to the stock settings, you should definitely consider the GTX 650 Ti Boost and the GTX 660 as well.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS GPU ON AMAZON ]

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EVGA GeForce GTX 660 SCEVGA GeForce GTX 660 SC
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
NVIDIA Video Card

Budget Range: $550-$600

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As the most expensive video card I’d recommend for a budget gaming computer, the GTX 660 SC is definitely an excellent option.

For about $200, the GTX 660 SC will give you near ideal in-game performance. With it you can expect to max out pretty much any game on a 1080p monitor. That’s pretty good for a budget gaming PC.

In the end, each of the three video cards over $150 that I’d recommend for a budget system bring their own advantage to the table. The 650 Ti Boost is the best price-to-performance option of the three, the HD 7850 is the card with the most performance potential (and it comes with three free games), and the GTX 660 SC has the best stock speed performance.

So, you need to decide which of those advantages you prefer. Whichever one you choose of those three, you will not be disappointed.

Features

  • Great performance for the price
  • Highest performing budget video card at stock speeds
  • Will max out just about any game you throw at it

RECOMMENDATION: The GTX 660 SC is the best option for gamers who have a budget of between $550-$600 and who want the most performance right out of the box. For overclockers, the HD 7850 is the better choice, and for those looking to save a little bit more money, the GTX 650 Ti Boost is the better option.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS GPU ON AMAZON ]

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5.THE BEST BUDGET MEMORY

Today we’re going to talk about the options you have for choosing memory if you’re working with a tight budget. The budget gaming memory options in this article are all capable of doing their part to help you secure an ideal in-game experience.

Corsair Vengeance Low Profile MemoryMemory, or RAM, is an important part of your computer. It gives the processor a place to carry out calculations and it helps it grab information and data quickly.

In modern gaming, there aren’t a whole lot of games that fully utilize more than 4GB of RAM. So, if you’re working with a tight budget, 4GB is a good place to start.

However, due to the fact that RAM is the one of the most affordable components out there, and because the next generation of games are right around the corner, it’s not a bad idea to go with 8GB of memory.

Of course, whether you do go with 4GB or 8GB is all going to depend on your budget. For bigger budgets, 8GB is easy to fit in. For extremely tight budgets, 4GB is the better option.

In this article I’m going to take a look at the different budget gaming memory options you have. Unlike the other posts in this series, I’m going to break down memory by the manufacturer, rather than the model.

Budget Memory Options

kingston hyperx bluKingston HyperX Blu Memory
1600MHz
DDR3
Budget Range: $300-$600

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Kingston has been around and producing memory since 1987. And, they are definitely one of the top names in memory among gamers and system builders.

Their HyperX Blu line of memory is the perfect balance between speed and affordability and it will definitely do its part to bring you an ideal in-game experience without bottlenecking your other components.

As far as comparing it to the other brands listed in this article, the HyperX Blu has the most affordable set of 8GB of memory at around ~$55. And, since the speeds are similar, there’s no reason not to go with it.

And, with a lifetime warranty and superb customer support, you can have peace of mind in knowing that you will be covered in the rare occasion that something goes wrong.

In the end, the HyperX Blu is a solid option for gaming memory and you won’t be disappointed by choosing it.

Features

  • 1600MHz
  • Lifetime Warranty and Customer Support
  • HyperX module gives it faster latency timing

RECOMMENDATION: I recommend getting 4GB if you’re working with a tight budget (less than ~$450) and 8GB if you’ve got a little bigger budget (over ~$450). Ultimately, the memory listed in this article are so similar in terms of performance, that you’ll probably want to go with whichever one costs less. At the time of writing this article, the Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB memory kit is the most affordable.

 

ADATA XPG Gaming SeriesADATA XPG Gaming Series Memory
1600MHz
DDR3
Budget Range: $300-$600

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ADATA is a relatively new face in the industry (founded in 2001), but they have quickly made a name for themselves as a leading memory manufacturer.

ADATA’s DDR3 1600MHz XPG Gaming Series memory is cost effective and will perform at an ideal level.

In fact, in most games and scenarios, going over 1600MHz really provides no significant performance increase.

So, this set of memory (as well as the other 1600MHz sets listed in this article) are plenty fast enough to play any game out there.

So, if you’re looking for a solid and affordable set of gaming memory, then ADATA’s XPG Gaming Series is definitely a worthy choice.

Features

  • 1600MHz
  • 9-9-9-24 Timing
  • Highest Standard for Stability and Efficiency

RECOMMENDATION: When deciding between the different memory options in this article, I’d honestly go with whichever one cost less at the time. The difference in in-game performance between the four options listed in this article are so slim, that none carry any noticeable advantage. So, if the ADATA memory is the most affordable, then go with it.

Corsair Vengeance MemoryCorsair Vengeance Memory
1600MHz
DDR3
Budget Range: $300-$600

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Of the four memory modules listed in this article, none are more recognized than Corsair’s Vengeance line of memory.

Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of the Corsair Vengeance line is their tall heat spreaders (which not everyone is crazy about). However, performance is not a question with Corsairs most established memory modules (which we have included in out article on the best gaming memory.)

While you will have to pay a premium for the brand, you do get a little tighter timings and that will lead to a small performance increase.

In the end, you can’t go wrong with a set of Corsair Vengeance. They offer everything you could ever want out of a kit of memory. And, since they make their modules in Low Profile (as seen in the image above) you can easily fit this set in a system with a bigger heatsink.

Features

  • 1600MHz
  • 9-9-9-24 Timing
  • Good Overclocking Modules

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re going with 4GB of Corsair Vengeance, then it’s actually more affordable to get the version with the heat spreader. If you can fit the heat spreader into your build, go with that one. For the 8GB kit, the low profile version and the heat spreader version cost the same. So, get whichever one suits your needs.

 

Crucial Ballistix Sport XTCrucial Ballistix Sport XT
1866MHz
DDR3
Budget Range: $300-$600

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One of the main benefits of the Crucial Ballistix Sport XT DDR3 1866MHz memory over the others listed in this article, is that for AMD APU builds, the higher frequency actually comes into play.

In non-APU builds, going with faster memory doesn’t yield a significant increase in performance and it’s not really necessary.

However, going with faster memory in an AMD APU-based build does provide a decent performance boost and it’s actually recommended.

So, if you’re planning on going with an AMD APU for your budget gaming computer, it’s definitely a good idea to get faster memory to get the most out of your system. And, the Crucial Ballistix Sport XT DDR3 1866MHz will definitely allow you to do so.

Features

  • 1866MHz
  • Will give a boost to AMD APU-based builds
  • 10-10-10-30 Timing

RECOMMENDATION: I recommend going with the Crucial Ballistix Sport XT if you’re building an AMD APU-based system, as the faster memory frequency will come into play. Also, the heat spreader on the Crucial Ballistix Sport XT is pretty large, so if you’re going to go with this memory, make sure you have enough clearance with your heatsink.

 

6.THE BEST BUDGET HARD DRIVES

Next up in our Good Cheap Gaming Computer guide we’re going to discuss the hard drive. For tighter budgets it’s best to stick with a 500 GB hard drive in order to allocate more of your funds to more important components. And, there are really only a couple of options (based on manufacturer) of budget gaming hard drives that make sense in an economical build.

Western Digital 500GB HDDThe hard drive in your computer is important because it will give you a place to store your games, files, programs, and operating system.

However, your hard drive will not have a significant impact on your in-game experience. It will not affect the quality of your picture, what settings you run your games on, or your framerate.

About the only thing in gaming that a hard drive will have an effect on is load times. And, once you’re in-game those don’t usually matter anyways.

With that being said, you still need a hard drive in order to store everything. So, it’s important that you choose one that is big enough to hold all of your games and that doesn’t cost a fortune. Luckily, 500 GB hard drives are pretty affordable and they will give you plenty of storage space.

In this article I will go over the two options that you have for budget gaming hard drives.

Budget Gaming Hard Drive Options

500GB Seagate BarracudaSeagate Barracuda Hard Drive
7200 RPM
500GB
Budget Range: $300-$600

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Seagate has been making hard drives since 1979. That’s a long history of producing PC storage devices.

And, with that history comes dependability.

The bottom line, though, when choosing between Seagate and Western Digital is price.

You really can’t go wrong with either manufacturer.

So, the best way to make your decision on your hard drive is just to choose which one is cheaper at the time of purchase.

I personally use Seagate hard drives because they have never failed me. However, there are just as many people who say the same thing about Western Digital.

If you have a preference between the two manufacturers, then stick with it. If not, choose the one that is more cost effective.

Features

  • 500GB
  • 7200 RPM
  • 16MB Cache
  • SATA 6 GB/s Interface

RECOMMENDATION: Choose your hard drive based on current prices or on the manufacturer you feel most comfortable with based on previous experiences. So, go with the Seagate 500GB HDD if it’s cheaper than the Western Digital drive, or if you’ve had a good history with Seagate.

500 GB Western Digital Caviar BlueWestern Digital Caviar Blue Hard Drive
7200 RPM
500GB
Budget Range: $300-$600

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Western Digital has been around even longer than Seagate. However, despite the fact that they were founded in 1970, they didn’t start making storage devices until 1980.

Still, though, that’s a long time in the game.

Basically, you’re going to get the same performance out of a Western Digital drive as you will out of a Seagate drive.

So, as mentioned above, the real determining factor is going to be price and possibly your previous experience with either of the companies.

If you’re just looking for a hard drive to get the job done, then go with the cheaper option between the two. Although, if you prefer Western Digital over Seagate, there’s definitely nothing wrong with choosing the WD drive.

Anyway you choose you will be fine.

Features

  • 500GB
  • 7200 RPM
  • 16MB Cache
  • SATA 6 GB/s Interface

RECOMMENDATION: Choose whichever budget gaming hard drive is the least expensive at the time, or choose from the manufacturer that you feel most comfortable with.


7.THE BEST BUDGET GAMING CASES

Your case is an incredibly important part of your gaming computer as it houses your components and plays a big role in the cooling process. So, today we’re going to look at all of the budget gaming case options you have. That way you can come away with a solid case for your solid cheap gaming computer.

As mentioned above, not only does a case protect your components, but it also plays a huge role in the cooling process of your components.

Air flow is crucial to keeping your components at an appropriate temperature level and therefore it’s vital that you choose a case that offers good air flow.

Also, for some gamers, the style of a case is very important. I often recommend going with the NZXT GAMMA Classic case due to its solid air flow for the price and option to add a bunch of different fans.

However, many prospective builders have written me to ask about alternatives because they don’t like the GAMMA Classic’s design. And, that’s completely understandable.

So, in this list I have tried to incorporate many different budget gaming case options, including stylish cases, and cases that provide good air flow.

Ultimately, you should pick a case that you like, as it is the one component that will be visible at all times.

Budget Gaming Cases Under $40

Rosewill Dual FansRosewill Dual Fans FBM-01
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Micro-ATX Computer Case

Budget Range: $300-$500

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At the very extreme low-end of the budget gaming case options you have is the Rosewill Dual Fans Micro-ATX Mini Tower Computer case.

It’s not the best case on the market, but since its price often drops to below $30, it is definitely budget friendly. And, since micro-ATX motherboards are your only option with a budget of under $400, this case will work perfectly.

So, if you need a really affordable budget gaming case, then the Rosewill Dual Fans is definitely a case that you should consider. It’s not the prettiest case or the best built tower, but it will be good enough to hold the components of your budget system.

Features

  • Micro-ATX Case
  • Comes With Two Fans: 1 x 80mm/1 x 120mm
  • 2 x 5.25″ External Bays/1 x 3.5″ External Bays/2 x 3.5″ Internal Bays
  • Four Expansion Slots

RECOMMENDATION: The Rosewill Dual Fans case is a good option for gamers who are working with an extremely tight budget. Since it’s often priced under $30 it’s incredibly affordable. It’s definitely not the most well-built case on the market, but it is good enough for entry-level systems.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CASE ON AMAZON ]

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SilverStone Tek PS08BSilverStone Tek PS08B
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Micro-ATX Computer Case

Budget Range: $300-$500

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If size is a concern, and you want a case that is both affordable and compact, then the SilverStone Tek PS08B is a solid option.

Surprisingly, for roughly $35 the SilverStone Tek PS08B is fairly well built when compared to other similarly priced cases.

And, despite its small size, it will accommodate your components very well.

Also, this case does have USB 3.0 slots on the front panel, which is pretty awesome given its price. Ultimately, though, if you’re looking for a compact tower, this budget gaming case is a great option for your next cheap gaming computer build.

Features

  • Micro-ATX Case
  • Comes With 2 x USB 3.0 Ports on the Front Panel
  • Comes With One Fan: 1 x 120mm Front Fan
  • 2 x 5.25″ External Bays/4 x 3.5″ Internal Bays/1 x 2.5″ Internal Drive Bay
  • Four Expansion Slots

RECOMMENDATION: The SilverStone Tek PS08B is the perfect budget gaming case for gamers who want a well-built, affordable, and compact case for their solid cheap gaming computer build.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CASE ON AMAZON ]

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NZXT GAMMA Classic SeriesNZXT GAMMA Classic Series
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Mid Tower Computer Case

Budget Range: $300-$500

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The NZXT GAMMA Classic Series case has been used a bunch on the lower-priced systems on EGC’s Gaming PCs page. The reason why I like this case so much is that for the price, it comes with the option to have up to seven different fans.

And, while it does only come with one 120mm fan in the rear of the case, the ability to add six other fans makes it a great option for anyone seeking maximum air flow.

The one downside of this case, though, is that not many people like how its styled. If you’re one of those people, then there are definitely other options out there.

However, if you don’t mind what your case looks like, or if you don’t think the GAMMA Classic Series case is that bad-looking, then it’s definitely one of the best options on this list.

Features

  • ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
  • Will House Micro-ATX & Standard ATX Motherboards
  • Can Accommodate Seven Total Fans for Maximum Air Flow
  • 4 x 5.25″ External Bays/7 x 3.5″ Internal Bays
  • Seven Expansion Slots

RECOMMENDATION: In my opinion, the NZXT GAMMA Classic Series Mid Tower Case is one of the best budget gaming cases available due to how affordable it is (it periodically goes on sale for under $30) and how many fan options it presents. Definitely get this case if you don’t mind how its styled.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CASE ON AMAZON ]

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NZXT Source 210NZXT Source 210 in White/Black
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Mid Tower Computer Case

Budget Range: $400-$600

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The Source 210 is another great NZXT case for budget builders. In fact, I used this case when building a computer for a relative and I was very happy with its durability and cable management.

Style-wise it’s not going to blow you away (but for some people, that’s a good thing). It comes in either black or white and it gives you plenty of options for storage and drives.

One thing that really stood out to me was the when using a micro-ATX motherboard in this case, there was a ton of room to play with. This is good as more room means better airflow and cooling.

Ultimately, there’s a reason why I am currently recommending the NZXT Source 210 in four out of the nine EGC Budget Builds. So, if you’re looking for an affordable, quality, and reliable case, then you can’t go wrong with the NZXT Source 210.

Features

  • ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
  • Will House Micro-ATX & Standard ATX Motherboards
  • Can Accommodate Seven Total Fans for Maximum Air Flow
  • 3 x 5.25″ External Bays/8 x 3.5″ Internal Bays
  • Seven Expansion Slots

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t like the look of the NZXT GAMMA Classic Series case, then for a $5-$10 more you can get the NZXT Source 210, which has nearly identical features, but comes with a more simple design. 

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CASE ON AMAZON ]

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Budget Gaming Cases between $40-$50

SilverStone Tek SG05BB-LITESilverStone Tek SG05BB-LITE
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Mini-ITX Computer Case

Budget Range: $400-$600

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If you’re looking for a decent-priced compact mini-ITX box, then the SilverStone Tek SG05BB-LITE is a good starting point.

This cases compact size makes it a great option for LAN gamers or for people who just don’t want their system taking up a ton of room.

However, while this cases small size does offer convenience, getting components that will fit inside of it will take a little work on your part.

For starters, it can only house a mini-ITX motherboard. Also, if you’re planning on adding a discrete video card, you’ll have to find one that is under 10″ long. And, finally, a tall heatsink is out of the question with this case, although you could probably get a liquid cooler in there with some modifications.

In the end, the SilverStone Tek SG05BB-LITE is a good option if you’re looking for a LAN box and/or you’re willing to work with the smaller amount of space and it is the most affordable mini-ITX case on the market.

Features

  • Mini-ITX Computer Case
  • Small and Lightweight — Perfect for LAN Parties
  • 2 x USB 3.0 Ports on the Front Panel
  • Will House Mini-ITX Motherboards Only
  • Can Accommodate Seven Total Fans for Maximum Air Flow
  • 1 x 3.5″ Internal Bays/1 x 2.5″ Internal Drive Bays
  • Two Expansion Slots

RECOMMENDATION: The SilverStone Tek SG05BB-LITE is a good option for gamers who want to build a mini-ITX system that they can take to LAN parties. Just remember, though, that this case will only accommodate a mini-ITX motherboard (which rules out an AM3+ build since there are no AM3+ mini-ITX motherboards) and it should only be chosen by gamers who want to build a small and compact system.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CASE ON AMAZON ]

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Thermaltake CommanderThermaltake Commander
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Mid Tower Computer Case

Budget Range: $400-$600

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The Thermaltake Commander is another solid budget gaming case that gives you a lot of options.

There are a few different versions and editions of the Commander.

There is the regular edition (black), the MS-I Snow Edition (black/white), the MS-I Epic Edition (black/red), and the White Commander MS-I Snow Edition (white).

Despite all of the different editions you can choose from, the case is also roomy, provides a side window to show off your components, and has an excellent design for air flow.

So, if you’re looking for a moderately-priced budget gaming case that has a nice look to it and has plenty of features, then the Thermaltake Commander is definitely a good place to start.

Features

  • ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
  • 1 x USB 3.0 Ports on the Front Panel
  • Will House Standard ATX and Micro-ATX Motherboards
  • Can Accommodate Four Total Fans for Good Air Flow
  • Seven Expansion Slots

RECOMMENDATION: The Thermaltake Commander is one of many solid options for a budget gaming case between $40-$50. There are many different editions of this case so you have more than just the black case to choose from. If you like the look, then this case is definitely a good choice, because it has everything else a decent case should have.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CASE ON AMAZON ]

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Cooler Master Elite 430Cooler Master Elite 430
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Mid Tower Computer Case

Budget Range: $500-$600

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Another budget gaming case that has been featured a lot on Elite Gaming Computers is the Cooler Master Elite 430. In fact, I believe in it so much that I gave it away as a prize back in June and it is listed as our best case under $50 in our article “The Best Gaming Cases in 2013,” which can be read here.

You can check out the winner’s unboxing YouTube video review of it here.

Basically, the Cooler Master Elite 430 is moderately priced and comes with a lot of features.

For under $50 (and sometimes even under $40) you get the option to add up to six fans for maximum air flow and cooling.

The case also comes with tool-less drive bays and a side-window, two features that are usually found on more expensive cases. The bottom line is that this case kicks ass and it’s a great option if you can stretch the budget to get it.

Features

  • ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
  • Will House Standard ATX and Micro-ATX Motherboards
  • Comes With One 120mm Front Fan
  • Can Accommodate up to Six Total Fans for Good Air Flow
  • Tool-less Drive Bays
  • Seven Expansion Slots

RECOMMENDATION: The Cooler Master Elite 430 is a great budget gaming case that brings some high-end feature and excellent air flow to the table. If you’ve got the budget for it, it’s definitely a case that you should consider, especially if you plan on utilizing the extra fan slots.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CASE ON AMAZON ]

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nzxt tempest 210NZXT Tempest 210
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Mid Tower Computer Case

Budget Range: $500-$600

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NZXT has a knack for making good gaming cases.

The Tempest 210 is no exception.

With the option to house up to six fans, and the fact that this case comes with two of those fans already installed, the Tempest 210 has huge air flow and cooling potential.

Not to mention, the case already comes with filters pre-installed on the front intake fans, which is nice as most budget gaming cases don’t offer that.

Aside front the superior air flow and filters, the Tempest 210 also has good cable management features, a USB 3.0 port on the front panel, and it comes with tool-less drive bays for easy installation.

So, if you’re looking for a solid case for your budget gaming computer, the NZXT Tempest 210 is feature-rich and ready to go.

Features

  • ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
  • Will House Standard ATX and Micro-ATX Motherboards
  • One USB 3.0 Port on Front Panel
  • Comes With One 120mm Rear Fan and One 140mm Front Fan
  • Can Accommodate up to Six Total Fans for Good Air Flow
  • Tool-less Drive Bays
  • Seven Expansion Slots

RECOMMENDATION: The NZXT Tempest 210 is another excellent budget gaming case option. When choosing between the cases listed in this article, I’d almost say to go with the one that you feel looks the best since they all have similar features.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CASE ON AMAZON ]

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Budget Gaming Cases Over $50

Antec OneAntec One
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Mid Tower Computer Case

Budget Range: $500-$600

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Antec is known for making high-quality products and their main budget gaming case, called the “One,” is definitely well-built and feature-rich.

This nice sleek-looking case has USB 3.0 front panel support, the option to hold up to five fans, tool-less drive bays, and a bunch of drive/storage bays.

With plenty of room for all of your components, the Antec One is an excellent option for a budget gaming case. So, if you’re looking for a solid case that looks good and will give you ideal cooling, then the One should definitely be considered.

Features

  • ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
  • Will House Standard ATX and Micro-ATX Motherboards
  • Two USB 3.0 Ports on Front Panel
  • Comes With Two 120mm Fans (Top and Rear Exhaust)
  • Can Accommodate up to Five Total Fans for Great Air Flow
  • Tool-less Drive Bays
  • Seven Expansion Slots

RECOMMENDATION: The Antec One is Antec’s most affordable case. However, that doesn’t mean it lacks quality. It has all the bells and whistles of a high-end case and it offers good air flow. And, with it’s attractive style, it would be hard to pass over this case.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CASE ON AMAZON ]

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Cooler Master Elite 130 AdvancedCooler Master Elite 130 Advanced
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Mini-ITX Computer Case

Budget Range: $500-$600

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As you can see by the fact that this is the second mini-ITX case listed in this article, LAN systems are possible at low budgets.

The Cooler Master Elite 130 Advanced is a new case from CM and it definitely has some pretty awesome features. For a mini-ITX case it offers superb air flow, plenty of space for storage devices, and can hold even the biggest video cards.

Not only that, but the case is big enough to house a water cooling system for even better cooling.

The case also has USB 3.0 front panel support, comes with two fans, and is compact enough to place it anywhere you want it to go. So, if you’re looking to build a mini-ITX system for LAN parties and you’re working with a budget, then the Cooler Master Elite 430 Advanced is definitely a case you need to look at.

Features

  • Mini-ITX Computer Case
  • Will Only House Mini-ITX Motherboards
  • Two USB 3.0 Ports on Front Panel
  • Comes With Two Fans Pre-Installed
  • Can Accommodate a Water Cooling System and the Largest Video Cards on the Market
  • Plenty of Storage Space
  • Two Expansion Slots

RECOMMENDATION: The Cooler Master Elite 130 Advanced offers incredible features for a budget mini-ITX case. The fact that it can fit the largest video cards on the market and a water cooling system is impressive. And, the bottom line is that if you’re looking to build a powerful but affordable LAN gaming computer, then this case is definitely what you need.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CASE ON AMAZON ]

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Rosewill ChallengerRosewill Challenger
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Mid Tower Computer Case

Budget Range: $500-$600

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The Rosewill Challenger is another solid budget gaming case for you to consider. Coming in at right around $50, the Challenger offers plenty of storage space, three pre-installed fans, and the option to add two more fans.

The case also features a blue LED light on the front of the case, as well as the option for USB 3.0 front panel support. (There’s an option for USB 2.0 only, which costs less, and the option for USB 3.0, which is more expensive.)

The case also has good cable management options and tool-less drive bays for easy installation and setup. Ultimately, it’s a very solid case for its price and it’s definitely worth your consideration if you’re building a cheap gaming computer.

Features

  • ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
  • Will House Standard ATX and Micro-ATX Motherboards
  • Two USB 3.0 Ports on Front Panel
  • Comes With Three Fans Pre-Installed (1 x 120mm Front Fan, 1 x 120mm Rear Fan, 1 x 140mm Top Fan)
  • Can Accommodate up to Five Total Fans for Great Air Flow
  • Tool-less Drive Bays
  • Seven Expansion Slots

RECOMMENDATION: The Rosewill Challenger is yet another excellent budget gaming case. Its blue LED light might win over some gamers, but ultimately the Challenger is an all-around well-built and feature-rich case that is worthy of your consideration.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CASE ON AMAZON ]

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NZXT M59 Classic SeriesNZXT M59 Classic Series
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Mid Tower Computer Case

Budget Range: $500-$600

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In my opinion, the NZXT M59 has a really cool look to it and is tailored perfectly to gamers. With its unique design and its large window in the side-panel, the M59 will definitely make a statement through its appearance alone.

However, the NZXT M59 also has all of the features you would expect out of a high-end mid tower case. It comes with two fans with the option to go up to five total, and it comes with two filters to help prevent dust from getting inside.

It also has a ton of options for storage devices and its build quality is excellent. In the end, the M59 is stylish, has a ton of features, and is affordable. So, if you’re looking for those three things, then the M59 is definitely a good option.

Features

  • ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
  • Will House Standard ATX, Micro-ATX, and Baby AT Motherboards
  • Comes With Two Fans Pre-Installed (1 x 120mm LED Side Fan, 1 x 120mm Rear Fan)
  • Comes With Two Filters
  • Can Accommodate up to Five Total Fans for Great Air Flow
  • Tool-less Drive Bays
  • Seven Expansion Slots

RECOMMENDATION: The NZXT M59 is definitely a cool-looking case. In fact, it’s unique style might be its main selling point. However, that’s not all the case is capable of. It has all of the features you should expect out of a high-end mid tower case. So, if you’re looking for a cool-looking case that brings a lot to the table, then the M59 is right up your alley.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS CASE ON AMAZON ]

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8.THE BEST BUDGET POWER SUPPLIES

In this section of EGC’s Good Cheap Gaming Computers guide, we will take a look at the different options you have for your power supply. There are really only four budget gaming power supplies that I recommend, as I believe they are the four that offer the most value relative to their price.

Most first-time builders mess up when choosing a power supply. They think that a higher wattage rating means quality.

However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Quality power supplies are not determined by their wattage rating (which may or may not be misleading). They are determined by their build quality, their efficiency, and their ability to provide stable power for your system.

In fact, label wattage is not the number you want to look at when choosing your PSU. Instead, you should be looking at the amps available on the +12V rail(s). That is a much better indicator of what a power supply is capable of handling.

Listed below are four power supplies that will handle any combination of components that have been listed throughout this series. They are my choices for the best performance/price power supplies for system’s that cost under $600.

So, if you’re looking for a solid budget gaming power supply, these PSU options are your best bet.

Antec VP-450Antec VP-450
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Non Modular

Budget Range: $300-$600

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I have a thing for the Antec VP-450… That’s why it’s consistently been used in EGC’s Builds and why we consider it the best power supply under $50.

For under $40, you can have one of the most efficient budget gaming power supplies on the market.

Sure, 450 watts seems low, but this PSU runs more like a 500-600W PSU than it does a 450W.

The main advantage of the Antec VP-450 is its dual +12v 18 amp rails. That’s a combined 36A on the two +12v rails, which will provide enough power to run an HD 7970… That’s insane for the price…

Ultimately, this PSU might be the best budget gaming power supply available, simply for the amount of power it will produce relative to its cost.

Features

  • 450W PSU
  • 36A Spread Across Dual +12V Rails
  • Can Handle Any Video Cards on This Page

RECOMMENDATION: The Antec VP-450 is my number one recommendation for building a solid cheap gaming computer. Its price is incredible when compared to the performance it delivers. Don’t focus on the 450w label it has on it, this one plays more like a 550w unit.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS PSU ON AMAZON ]

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SilverStone Strider 500W ST50F-ESSilverStone Strider 500W ST50F-ES
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Non Modular

Budget Range: $400-$600

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The SilverStone Strider ST50F-ES is a decent budget gaming power supply.

With 34A on the +12V rail this budget gaming power supply can definitely handle any of the video cards recommended in this guide.

However, when compared to the Antec VP-450, it has less amps on the +12V rail, doesn’t come with dual rails, and costs almost $15 more. (Although it does come with a $10 rebate.)

The only reason why I use the ST50F-ES over the VP-450 in my $700 and $850 builds on the EGC Budget Builds section is because the ST50F-ES comes with the two 6-pin PCI power connectors necessary to run those video cards.

The Antec VP-450 will still run those systems fine and it would just need a molex-to-6-pin-connector to power those video cards, however, to minimize confusion, I use the ST50F-ES since it already has the connections needed.

The bottom line is that the ST50F-ES is a serviceable budget gaming power supply. However, unless you can find the ST50F-ES for a really good deal, then I’d recommend sticking with the Antec VP-450.

Features

  • 500W
  • 34A Single +12V Rail
  • Will Easily Handle Any of the Video Cards Listed Recommended in This Series

RECOMMENDATION: The SilverStone Strider ST50F-ES is a good option for a tight budget build. However, for less money, the Antec VP-450 is more enticing. I recommend going with the ST50F-ES only if it’s on sale and priced lower than the VP-450.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS PSU ON AMAZON ]

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Rosewill Capstone-450Rosewill Capstone-450
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Non Modular

Budget Range: $500-$600

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If it’s high quality that you seek, then Rosewill’s Capstone-450 is your best bet.

At ~$60 it’s a little pricey for a budget gaming computer (especially when compared to the Antec VP-450), but it is definitely a well-built unit.

With 37A on the +12V rail, this Capstone power supply has plenty of power to accommodate any of the video cards in this series.

And, as an AnandTech Editor’s Choice Award winner, you can bet that it will deliver quality power to your system for a long time. So, if you’re looking for the best quality possible and you don’t mind spending a little more, then the Capstone -450 is definitely a good option.

Features

  • 450W
  • 37A Single +12V Rail
  • Will Accommodate Any Combination of Parts in This Series

RECOMMENDATION: The Rosewill Capstone-450 is a very well-built unit. However, it’s price to performance ratio is not nearly as good as Antec’s VP-450. If it’s the best possible quality that you seek, then this unit is a good choice. If you’re looking for the best deal and for a PSU that will power your solid cheap gaming computer, then the VP-450 is still the way to go.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS PSU ON AMAZON ]

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XFX Core Edition PRO 550WXFX Core Edition PRO 550W
(Prices fluctuate–check here for current pricing)
Non Modular

Budget Range: $500-$600

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With a 550W rating and 44A on the +12V rail, the XFX Core Edition PRO 550W is definitely the biggest PSU on this list.

It will definitely give you enough headroom for moderate overclocks and it will allow you to install a high-end video card. (This unit can handle an HD 7970, and even a new GTX 780…)

However, as mentioned numerous times in this article, if you’re just looking to put together a combination of components listed in this series, the Antec VP-450 at ~$25 less is the better option since both PSUs will handle a budget gaming computer just fine.

Although, for overclockers, this XFX unit is the best option on this list as it offers plenty of power. So, if you’re looking to do some system tuning, then you might want to consider this power supply.

Features

  • 550W
  • 44A Single +12V Rail
  • Best PSU on this List for Overclocking
  • Will Handle Any Component Combination in This Series and Then Some

RECOMMENDATION: The XFX Core Edition Pro 550W power supply is a great option for gamers who are looking to overclock on a budget. I recommend getting this unit if you plan on overclocking. If not, the VP-450 is still my recommended choice.

[ CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS PSU ON AMAZON ]

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9.OPTICAL DRIVES

Optical drives are slowly becoming more and more obsolete. In fact, with the rise of digital downloads, an optical drive isn’t even necessary. It is entirely possible to build your system without one.

With that being said, I still include an optical drive in the majority of my builds, simply because it makes installing your operating system much easier.  If you don’t choose an optical drive for your build, you’ll have to install your operating system from a USB drive. This actually isn’t that difficult of a process and you can read a guide on how to do it here.

The good thing about foregoing an optical drive if you’re building a budget gaming computer, is that it will give you an extra $20 to put to better components. Though if you have a lot of older games on discs that you want to put onto your computer, you’ll want to get an optical drive. And, if you want to use your computer as a home theater as well, you’ll probably be interested in a Blu-ray player.

If you want an optical drive for your new build, here are some options to consider:

DVD/RW

Lite-On Super AllWrite 24X SATA DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive

LG Electronics 24X SATA Super-Multi DVD Internal Rewriter

Samsung Optical Drive SH-224DB/BEBE

BD-ROM (Blu-ray)

ASUS Black 12X SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive

LG Electronics 14X SATA Blu-ray Internal Rewriter

There’s really nothing fancy you need to look for when choosing an optical drive. The only thing you might want to consider is the color of the front plate of the optical drive. If you’re going for style points, you’ll want to match the optical drive to your case.

If you’re choosing a Blu-ray drive just remember that you’ll need software to go along with it. In some cases the BD-ROM will come with the necessary software. However, in other scenarios (like with both of the BD-ROMs above) the software is not included. You can always download and install VLC for free. Or, if you don’t get the software with the BD-ROM you buy software like Cyberlink PowerDVD.


10.OPERATING SYSTEMS

You have to have an operating system if you want to actually use your gaming computer. Currently there are really only a couple of viable options for operating systems if you’re building a gaming computer: Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

Both options are suitable for gaming, but both also have a couple of aspects that you might want to consider before buying…

Windows 8.1 (~$95)

Windows 8 launched to quite a bit of criticism. It had a ton of bugs, it completely changed its interface (which confused people), and it had upset Valve (who owns Steam) by releasing some restrictive licensing rules.

Now that the smoke has cleared a little bit and Microsoft’s new operating system has been out for over a year, there’s a couple reasons why you might want to choose Windows 8 for your next gaming computer.

First, off, with the 8.1 update a lot (not all) of the nuisances of Windows 8 have been fixed. 8.1 fully supports DirectX 11.1, while Windows 7 does not (at least not fully). And, in games like Battlefield 4, there is actually a noticeable performance increase when using Windows 8.1

Microsoft’s reluctance to provide updated support for Windows 7 is another sign for concern. It’s clear Microsoft wants everyone to be using Windows 8. This isn’t good news for Windows 7, as it is likely that in the future, Microsoft will stop updating it to support the latest advancements.

Ultimately, despite it’s many annoying problems, I’m now recommending Windows 8.1 for all new gaming computer builds, simply because I believe Windows 7 is going to be left behind in future updates. However, Windows 7 is still not a bad choice, and if it gets to the point to where your performance is being limited, you can always upgrade.

Windows 7 (~$90)

Windows 7 is definitely the more popular decision for operating systems among enthusiasts. It’s stable and much more familiar than the new Windows 8. And, in terms of performance, there aren’t many (but there are some, see above…)  instances where Windows 8 clearly pulls ahead. At least not as of yet.

As of right now, Windows 7 is still, perhaps, the best choice for an operating system. Though, that’s likely to change in the future, as it looks like Microsoft is going to stop releasing important updates for Windows 7 in an effort to get more people to switch to Windows 8.

In the end, the decision comes down to you. Do you prefer an easier-to-use and more comfortable operating system? Or, are you concerned about the future and want to make sure you have the best OS (performance-wise) going forward?


HAVE QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS? POST THEM BELOW!

Comments

  1. Jgood says

    I am doing the 800$ build and I am making a couple of changes. Will the Intel I-5 4590 work with that motherboard? Also I was thinking of doing Corsaire Vengence Ram. Would both of those be compatible with the rest of the system?

  2. Abe says

    Hey I am following the $800 dollar build my budget is $1000ish I was planning on switching cases to the Enthoo Luxe and investing in a water cooling system later on what would you recommend? Should I change any parts on my list?
    CPU: Intel Core i5-4460
    MoBo: Gigabyte GA-H97M-HD3
    GPU: EVGA GTX 970
    RAM: Crucial Ballistix 8GB
    HDD: Seagate 1 TB
    Case: Enthoo Luxe
    PSU : Corsair CX600
    ODD Samsung 24x SATA

  3. Duartico says

    I’m indecise between the 800$ plan and the 1000$. Can the 800$ overclock at all? And if it can’t, what does the plan got that must be changed for it to can do medium overclocking?

    • says

      Hi Duartico, how’s it going?

      The $800 build cannot be overclocked as it is a locked processor. In order to overclock it, you would need to upgrade the CPU and motherboard to an unlocked CPU and a motherboard that has a chipset that will accommodate overclocking.

      So, right now I’d look at an i5-6600K and a Z197 chipset motherboard as they are the newest CPU/chipset from Intel. Basically, you could just swap the CPU and motherboard in the $800 build for the CPU and motherboard (and I would also add the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO as well) from the $1,000 build.

      Alternatively, if you want to save a little bit of money you could get an i5-4690K and a Z97 chipset motherboard.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  4. Duartico says

    Never mind guys, but does the processor used in this build come with a fan if bought in Amazon? That’s what confuses me.

  5. Duartico says

    The 800$ build doesn’t specify a heat sink/CPU fan, i want to do some decent overclocking, so is there any specific fan i should use.

    • Forrest says

      I assume you are talking about the fan that goes on top of the processer, and it comes with the fan. It already has that putty stuff applied to the fan. If you bought a different heat sink you may need to buy the putty stuff.

  6. Arnau says

    Hi!
    I got a question; I’ve seen that in all the builds there are not any heatsink for the Processor, my question is: Have we to buy it apart?

    Thank u

    • says

      Hi Arnau, how’s it going?

      All CPUs come with a stock CPU fan unless otherwise noted. You can definitely get an aftermarket heatsink for better cooling, but if you’re not doing any overclocking, then the stock fan will work just fine.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  7. Duartico says

    Hey! I’ve noticed that the 800$ build doesn’t have a CPU cooler. I plan to do some overclocking decent, so what do you recomend?

    • says

      Hey Danny, maybe look for different part combinations and prices on Amazon Canada, Newegg Canada and NCIX Canada. You might be able to get that price down a little bit more.

  8. Evan says

    Hi Brent,

    I plan on doing the $700 build with the addition of a SSD. I was given a case from a friend for the build and I am concerned the GPU and MOBO may not fit. Here is a link to the case I was given: https://www.asus.com/Tower-PCs/Essentio_CM6830/overview/ . I’ve found a MOBO that I believe will work with the case, but I’m not sure – here is a link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K7807IK/ref=ox_sc_act_title_4?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER . My main concern is fitting the GPU suggested for the build. What do you think? Sorry for the over-specific question.

    Best regards,

    Evan

    • says

      Hi Evan, how’s it going?

      It’s tough to say for sure whether or not those parts will work in that case, as that case doesn’t list any specs since it comes as a part of that pre-built system.

      My guess, though, is that both the GPU and the motherboard from the $700 build will work. The GPU is only a little bit over 9″ long and that should fit in most mid tower cases. But, I would measure the inside of your case in the location your video card will go first just to make sure.

      The motherboard should be good to go, but again, it’s tough to say without being able to see the inside of the case.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  9. says

    Why does the English version of the GPU cost a ton more than the American one???
    Oh well
    I priced it up in English money, and everything adds up to the equivalent of £950, which is like $1000.

    • says

      Hey Con6612, how’s it going?

      Unfortunately, the prices don’t always equal out to the same values from one country to another. It could be that the import costs drive the total cost up, or that the supply and demand is just different for that particular component in your country.

      Tough to say. I recommend looking at other similar components and other online retailers if you’re in another country to see if you can find better deals.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  10. Rasmus says

    Hello there!

    I’m a first time builder and I was thinking about trying my luck with the $800 build. I will mostly use it for MMORPG’s and therefore I was wondering if I should upgrade my CPU from a Tier 2 to a Tier 1 to accomodate and downgrade my PSU from a 600W to something like a 450W-550W to keep the cost down.
    Looking forward to hearing your opinion.

    Many thanks!
    Rasmus

    • says

      Hey Rasmus, how’s it going?

      MMORPGs can be kind of difficult to peg as far as what kind of system you need to get. On one hand, most MMORPGs aren’t very demanding graphics-wise and so even cheaper builds (like the $400) one will be able to handle them fine.

      On the other hand, if you’re doing big raids, or playing in any scenario where you are in a highly crowded area where a lot is going on, even the best of computers can have problems.

      So, while the $700 or $800 builds will be more than enough to play MMORPGs, there are a few in-game scenarios (specifically in games like WOW and GW2) where even they will struggle.

      So, yes, you could drop the GPU on the $800 build to an R9 380 or GTX 970 4GB and upgrade to an i7 to try and accommodate those situations. I wouldn’t go any lower than a quality 500W PSU, though.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  11. Danny says

    hey I’m completely new to gaming on a PC

    i was wondering for the 400$ build if i could use my t.v as a monitor?
    would building this be hard to do? does everything go together like a puzzle or should i seek help?
    if i upgraded the RAM to 6GB would i have to improve anything else?
    could it smoothly run skyrim with a few mods?
    would any case fit or does it have to be specific?

    like i said I’m new but this would help me so much!
    im upgrading from an xbox 360 so wish me luck!

    • says

      Hey Danny, how’s it going?

      Yes, you could use a TV monitor for the $400 build as long as the TV monitor has either an HDMI or DVI connection… which it most likely does.

      Just remember, though, if you use a DVI connection, it won’t play sound through the speakers and you will need computer speakers (a headset, of course, will work.)

      Building is not too difficult if you have some free time and some patience. There are a ton of guides out there to help you through the process.

      You can get our free step-by-step guide here:

      http://elitegamingcomputers.com/how-to-build-a-gaming-computer/

      And, this is a great video tutorial:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIF43-0mDk4

      Yes, you can upgrade the RAM without having to change anything.

      Yes, this build can run Skyrim on medium to higher settings with a few mods. Depending on the mods, though, you may have to lower the settings a bit.

      Most cases will fit the components in this build, but you do need to double check whether or not the motherboard and GPU will fit. The case currently included in the $400 build is pretty small, so most bigger cases ($30+) will work with this build. If you find a case you like and you’re not sure whether it will work, just post the case in the comments and I’ll take a look for you.

      Hope this helps! Good luck with your build and let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

    • says

      Hey Dan, how’s it going?

      I wouldn’t do that upgrade. The i5-2500K is still very solid. If you were going to upgrade, I would go with the new i5-6600K or the new i7-6700K.

      The performance difference for gaming would still be negligible, though.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  12. Cory says

    Hey Brent,

    Just purchased all the parts for your $400 dollar build. With tax it came to 404.70 which is awesome considering most builds I looked into were usually 50+ dollars over projected cost. I’m super excited as this is my first computer build (My brother is going to help me put it together). Only thing I’m nervous about is installing OS through USB drive. Seems really confusing. If I did decide to get a disc drive is there a certain kind you recommend?

    Thanks in advance,
    Cory

    • says

      Hey Cory, sorry for the delayed response!

      Hopefully you got the computer setup and got through the OS install with no problems.

      If not, you can always pick up an Optical Drive for about $18 and that will allow you to install the OS in a much easier fashion.

      Just take a look at the “ODDs” recommended in the $600 builds and above. That one will work fine.

      Hope this helps and hope everything went well with the build!

      Best,
      Brent

      • Cory says

        Thank you. Unfortunately I’m still waiting for the case because amazon sent the first one smashed 😑. It should be arriving today though lol

  13. Ryan says

    Hey Brent, i’m wondering what other towers i could replace with your $800 build that has at least 2 USB 3.0 and at least 2 USB 2.0 that are around the same price and also wondering if I could replace the i5 for another cpu that’s faster and isn’t too expensive

  14. Brett says

    Hi there! Wondering what people are doing for WLAN cards? In particular for the $300-$400 build, which I’m planning to put together for my son as an intro to gaming with me.

    (I may have posted this twice, I can’t tell. If so – sincere apologies for the spammage.)

  15. Brett says

    I’m looking at getting the $300-$400 build for my son as his first computer. He’s hitting the age where he and I can do a little gaming together. He can live with low-quality graphics (…. if he wants to upgrade, he can save money mowing lawns in a few years).

    What are people doing for wireless connectivity? I won’t be able to run a cable to his computer. Any recommendations on a good WLAN card?

  16. Mr. Vengy says

    AMD FX-6300 Processor & MSI 970A-G43 Combo
    For about 130$ I’m not sure how good of a deal that is since I have no idea if that G43 is any good or not 😐

  17. Brandon says

    Hi Brent, I posted a comment earlier but I’m not sure it posted, so I’m going to ask it again. How much would the price change on the $600 dollar build during Black Friday or Cyber Monday? I don’t need these immediately and my biggest concern is the price, so would this affect the price enough to wait to buy it? Also, would I have to buy any extra parts for this to work, like extra cables? Finally, would I have to buy speakers or do they come with one of the parts? Thanks again!

  18. Scott says

    Hey Brent, really helpful guide! I was wondering if it is easy to set up dual monitors on the $600 build, or if you needed any extra components. Also, would it be a good idea to wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday to get it cheeper? I’m not in a rush to get it and I want it as cheap as possible. Thanks!

  19. Megan says

    I’m currently doing the $400 build and I can’t get the GPU to fit. Am I doing something wrong or is it because the case is too small? I know very little about computers so I most likely am doing something wrong.

  20. Zach says

    Hey, just another PC building noob with a few quick questions. I started with the $600 build, but I made a few modifications, and was wondering if you had any critiques/recommendations. First off, instead of using the AMD FX-6300, I upgraded to an Intel Core i5-4460. I also noticed that your build doesn’t include a cpu cooling fan, so I added the Cooler Master Hyper TX3. I don’t plan to do any overclocking, but I’ve heard that a cpu cooling fan is important, correct me if I’m wrong. I also switched out your thermal paste for the Arctic Silver 5 High-Density Polysynthetic Silver Thermal Compound, 3.5 Grams. Not really sure if that was a good move, but its currently on sale with $22 off on Amazon. Other than that I made no changes to the main components, but I guess the main thing I am worried about is if the power supply you have will still be able to sustain the build? The other thing I was curious about is that I have heard of people using a hard drive and a solid state drive. Would you recommend an SSD over a HD, or would getting both be a good idea? Once again sorry if some of these questions are dumb, but I hope to buy my first PC within the next week or two, and I just want to be sure that I’m all set with no problems. Thanks a bunch!

  21. Nick says

    Hey! Sorry Im back with another quick question!

    I was wondering if the Sentey GS 6011 blade could hold all of the components of the 700$ computer with the 800$ computers Graphics card. Thanks so much for responding (I dont expect you too :P). A link to amazon on the case is here: http://www.amazon.com/Transparent-Removable-Management-Motherboards-Watercooling/dp/B00MNSDBVW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1438984619&sr=8-1&keywords=sentey+gs+6011. Again Thanks for listening!

  22. Ron says

    Hey, I was wondering if I could put the 800 dollar computer Graphics card into the 700 dollar computer. Thanks!

  23. Brandon says

    hi, i was wondering if you have personaly had any of these computer builds listed here im looking into the $500 or $600 option would like to know if you have had any of the builds on this list before thank you

  24. Nick says

    Hey, which case would work better, the new one you just added or the sentey gs 6007? Because if I go to the Sentey gs 6007 website they say they provide two fan coolers and ssd support.

  25. Lowie says

    Hello Brent,

    Thanks for the great and informative article, it’s certainly taken me a step closer to building a great gaming PC. I am looking at putting together my first PC and want to go for the 600 option.
    I live in Finland however and its not possible for me to get my hands on a Sentey case (they seem quite hard to come by in general). Since its my first computer I am a little worried about making an alternative choice, fitting and cooling wise. Could you offer me a good alternative.

    Thanks in advance.

    • says

      Hey Lowie, how’s it going?

      Where would you be getting your parts from? Amazon Deutschland?

      Maybe look at the Corsair Carbide Series or Corsair SPEC series and see if they’re available. You just need to make sure that the case will fit the video card will fit, as the stock CPU cooler should fit just fine.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

    • says

      Hey Frankie, how’s it going?

      I updated all of the builds today and replaced the Sentey case with the VIVO case. Similar specs and a little bit cheaper. Ultimately, it will get the job done.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  26. Nate says

    What do you suggest if the Sentey Gaming Computer Case Gs-6070 is unavailable for the $600 build? And also are there any other cases I could buy for the $500 build which could include an optical drive and potential upgrades for longer video cards?

    • says

      Hey Nate, how’s it going?

      I just updated the builds today and swapped out the Sentey case for the VIVO case.

      You can either look at the VIVO case, which can support a ~13.5″ video card, or the Corsair Carbide Spec series, or Corsair Carbide 200R. Really, there are a ton of cases out there that will fit your needs, but the VIVO and Corsair Carbides are some of the more affordable and roomy budget cases.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  27. Gabriel says

    Hi, this site is amazing and id like to ask you something as im trying to build the $700 one but i have insufficient founds for the moment. I understand the the cpu comes with an integrated graphic card, so maybe i could get the dedicated card later even though i wont be able to play high end games at the moment, what about the psu? would a 300w one work w/o the dedicated gpu?
    Thanks,

    • says

      Hey Gabriel, how’s it going?

      Yes, you could definitely go without a video card at first, but you will have to play games on lower settings (or not at all, depending on the game.)

      I wouldn’t go with a 300W power supply, because when you do go to add a video card you’ll have to buy a new power supply as well. In my opinion, you’d be better off looking at the $400 build (or $300 build if you want an Intel-based build), as that will allow you to play any game on medium settings.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  28. James says

    Hi brent first of all thank you for all the dedication and information, i would like to know what would be the best option to get for playing dota 2 and league of legends on the highest quality? I was thinking of getting the 700$ one, is it ok or i rather get the 600?
    Thanks

    • says

      Hey James, how’s it going?

      League of Legends and Dota 2 aren’t very demanding so yes, either the $600 or $700 builds would be good options. However, as Karl said, even the $300 build will play League on higher settings with good FPS. So, it really depends on what you want to spend and whether or not you want to be able to play other games.

      In my opinion, I’d go with at least the $400 build if you’re just playing League and Dota 2, or the $500, $600, or $700 builds if you want to play some newer games as well.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  29. Rémi says

    Hello Bret,
    I was very pleased by your article since i am currently looking to build my own computer. I was just wondering if with the 700$ build i could still play big games on high settings (The witcher 3, Skyrim, Fallout 4, etc…) Should i build the 800$ one or is this enought?
    Thank you for your time
    Rémi

    • says

      Hey Remi, how’s it going?

      Yes, the $700 build will handle those games just fine on a 1920×1080 monitor. The $800 will give you a little more FPS and would let you play them a little better on a new higher resolution monitor (like 2K or 4K), but the improvement isn’t absolutely necessary if you’re playing on a 1080p monitor.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  30. Kyle says

    What’s your opinion on this build?

    CPU: Intel Core i3-4160 3.6GHz Dual-Core Processor ($102.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H81M-S2H Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($49.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Memory: Crucial 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($37.49 @ SuperBiiz)
    Storage: OCZ ARC 100 120GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive ($54.01 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($46.89 @ OutletPC)
    Video Card: PowerColor Radeon R9 290 4GB PCS+ Video Card ($242.98 @ Newegg)
    Case: Thermaltake Versa H22 ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: EVGA 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($41.98 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: LG GH24NSC0B DVD/CD Writer ($12.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $619.31

    • says

      Hey Kyle, how’s it going?

      It’s pretty good, especially since it has options to upgrade the CPU to an Intel i5 or i7. Though, I’d drop the SSD and put it into your CPU now and add the SSD later.

      The reason being is that if you buy a $100 CPU now and then upgrade to a $180-$200 CPU later, you’ve just spent $280-$300 total on your CPU, whereas if you get the $180-$200 CPU now, and forego the SSD (which can easily be added later) you don’t waste money needing to upgrade.

      And, with Black Friday a few months away, you’ll find some insane deals on SSDs.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  31. Brandon says

    With the $600 build, could you do dual monitors? If so, what settings in-game could you get using two 1080p monitors or two 900p monitors? I hope you understand this. Reply with any questions or possibly answers. Thanks!

    –Brandon

    P.S. Very helpful guide! :)

      • says

        Hey Brandon, how’s it going? It really depends…

        If you want to wait for all of the bugs to get worked out of Windows 10 first, then get Windows 7 or 8.1 to start, and then upgrade to Windows 10 for free when you’re ready. I believe as long as you have a copy of Windows 7 or 8/8.1 you have until next year at this time to upgrade for free.

        Or, you could just always jump into Windows 10 now…

        Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

        Best,
        Brent

    • says

      Hey Brandon, how’s it going?

      Yes, you can definitely run dual monitors with that setup. (You could even run three if you really wanted to.) Are you looking to stretch the screen across both monitors? Or, use one of the monitors as a utility monitor? Because playing certain games (like first-person shooters) can be awkward on a dual monitor setup.

      Ultimately, though, you can run dual monitors on the $600 build with no problems and on higher settings for most games.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  32. Tim the K00K says

    Hi Brent,

    For the $400 build, is it a concern that the Rosewill case does not have USB3 ports while the ASUS MOBO has USB3 header connectors? Would connecting the header ports together cause a problem with the comp or would the USB port run as a USB2.

    Thanks

    PS. I ran the build through pcpartpicker.com and thats why I’m asking

    • says

      Hey Tim, how’s it going?

      I think PCPartPicker messed up on the ASUS MOBO. It does come with two USB 3.0 ports on the rear I/O panel, but it doesn’t come with an internal USB 3.0 header. The internal headers are USB 2.0. So, you will be fine there.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

      • Tim the K00K says

        Thank for the reply Brett.

        I double checked the info on the ASUS site and everything seems to checkout.

        Thanks for the help!

  33. John says

    These builds look amazing although im having an issue regarding when i should buy the parts.
    Do you think its a better idea to wait for the GTX950/950Ti? or should I just get a 750Ti right now and have it settled to get rid of my 6 year old toaster.

    • says

      Hey John, how’s it going?

      That really depends on you. The 950 Ti looks like it’s going to be out soon, but there is no official timeframe for its release, so it comes down to whether or not you want to wait an indefinite amount of time for it to come out.

      My guess is that it comes out within the next month or two… but that’s not really based off of anything concrete.

      If it was me, I’d get an R7 370 2GB card for about the same price. But then that may also require a PSU upgrade depending on what you have. So, really, the choice is up to you.

      Best,
      Brent

  34. Kyle says

    Hey I need help, which of these pre-built builds would let me run GTA V, Skyrim, DOTA 2, and Dying light on Medium to High settings? I would think the $700 or $800, correct?

  35. Ben Reynolds says

    Hi Brent I haven’t bought anything yet but I plan for the 300 dollar build, I fiddled around with it a little, will it still work?

    • says

      Hey Ben, how’s it going?

      It really depends on what you have changed to tell you whether or not it will still work.

      So, if you let me know what components you swapped I’ll be able to give you a better idea of whether or not it will work.

      Best,
      Brent

      • Jett says

        Hey Brent, I’m not positive if I posted my last comment but if so, sorry for filling up the page.

        I was wondering whether or not I should go for the 700 build over the 600 because of the intel processor. Im fearful the amd processor wont be sufficient enough for future games and programs I wish to play. I want games to run at top condition so I’m not sure. This will be my first real gaming computer build so I want it to run great for at least 5-7 years (till I get through college). I was wondering what you think about this.

        Also, I was wondering If there was an easy, cheap way to upgrade my ram from 8gb to 16gb, I really want an advanced computer for what I need for not an expensive price. I’d appreciate your advice on this (possibly a link if needed). Thank you Brent, this has really encouraged me to build a computer that runs amazing.

        Sincerely,
        Jett

  36. Denis says

    Hi, i have question – can i use this PSU in the 600$ build? ty
    Fortron RAIDER 650 BRONZE 80 Plus,active PFC – 650W

    • says

      Hey Denis, how’s it going?

      I don’t know much about the Fortron RAIDER series of PSUS, but reading reviews it looks like there is some mixed reviews of it. The 650W unit has gotten some decent-to-good reviews, and the 750W version has gotten an okay review from Jonny Guru.

      Ultimately, you’ll probably be fine with it and if you can get it for a significantly better price than the Corsair CX600 then go for it. However, if it were me I’d stick with the Corsair CX600 or another decent quality 600-700W PSU from a reputable manufacturer.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  37. Jacob says

    Hello, I was looking to get the $600 build. However, the Gigabyte AMD R9 380 4GB video card has risen in price by $40 on Amazon and there is a $12 shipping fee on it since Amazon.com ran out of stock and another seller is selling them. If I were to change the video to the MSI R7 370 4G from the $500 build, would this card work for the $600 build. I just wanted to know before I buy the parts? Or should I wait for Amazon to restock, it was said to take 2 to 3 weeks to restock from Amazon but I don’t know if I can wait that long?

    • Jacob says

      To further extend this question, if the GPU from the $500 build is compatible with the $600 build, would this affect performance? Sorry if this is a dumb question

      • says

        Hey Jacob, how’s it going?

        I just updated all of the builds and I changed the GPU on the $600 build to a Sapphire R9 380 and that should get the price back under ~$620 for all of the desktop components.

        Of course, you could use the R7 370 in the $600 build, but you won’t get as much performance.

        Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

        Best,
        Brent

        • Jacob says

          Hello, Brent. I had another question. I don’t know if I will do this but instead of the motherboard that is recommended for the $600 build, because I might want to increase my maximum RAM size on the board from 16 to 32GB. What if I changed the motherboard to the Gigabyte AM3+ AMD DDR3 1333 760G HDMI USB 3.0 Micro ATX Motherboard GA-78LMT-USB3. Would this be compatible with the $600 build components?

  38. Rambew says

    Hello, I would like advice on what build I should get if I wanted to run the Resident Evil HD Remaster and Ori and the Blind Forrest on max setting. I was thinking that it would be something like the $500 build, but I’m having doubts about my judgement. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • says

      Hey Rambew, how’s it going?

      Neither of those games are too demanding and even the $400 build would likely max them out. So, yes, the $500 build will be more than enough and it will also allow you to play most other games on high settings on a 1080p monitor.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

      • Rambew says

        Thank you Brent, I will be sure to get the $500 build. Your help is really appreciated, thank you for helping me get just what I need rather than a computer that I don’t really need.

  39. Avram says

    Glad to have found this site. Can you tell me which system would be best for someone who’s only looking to play Sims 4 on it? EA suggests an i5 processor, but would the builds under $700 work well?

    • says

      Hey Avram, how’s it going?

      I think EA is a little lazy with those requirements because they also recommend an Athlon X4… which is weird because the Athlon X4 is quite a bit lower than a modern i5 in terms of performance.

      But, since they’re saying that an Athlon X4 is a recommended CPU, then pretty much any build on this list including and over the $400 build will be able to play the Sims 4 on higher settings.

      So, if you do want to save some money, you definitely can.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  40. Jeremy says

    If i wanted to plug in a Sapphire r9 290 tri-x oc 4gb with a nzxt s340 case onto the 700$ build would I have to significantly (if at all) change any of the other pieces?

    • Sam says

      nah just go onto currnent prices and take it out, get the price then look up that thing u want a add the two prices togeather m8

    • says

      Hey Jeremy, how’s it going?

      It looks like the Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X OC is about 10mm to long for the NZXT S340 according to both of their specifications. The card is huge, but it will fit in something like the Corsair Carbide 200R.

      But, as long as you can find a case that it will fit in, you won’t need to change anything else.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  41. Eric says

    Hi, I’m looking for a budget pc build that would be able run online mmos like EQ and Lotr online and also to do a lot of multimedia content with an emphasis on photography. Would appreciate some insight since I am quite a novice with regards to building a pc. Thank you in advance with any advice.

    • says

      Hey Eric, how’s it going?

      I’m assuming you mean the upcoming EverQuest Next? If so, it’s tough to say what the minimum requirements will be, so it’s kind of hard to recommend what to get for it, but I should think that the $700 build would be able to easily handle it.

      As for LOTR Online, that game isn’t too demanding and so really any of the builds on this list will be able to handle it just fine.

      Ultimately, it really depends on how much you want to spend. I don’t know if you’re planning on doing any heavy image editing, but honestly, even the $500 build would probably be enough to suit your needs. But I would up the storage to a 1TB HDD instead of a 500GB HDD if you need the room for your photos.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  42. Connor says

    Hello Brent, I hope your day has been good, I was wondering if the $300 or $400 could be able to run Garry’s Mod, thank you

    • Jeremy says

      Hey I was just wondering if you could suggest a similarly sized case, as well as a similar GPU for the 700$ build? I’m in Canada and those two things aren’t available through Amazon Canada. Thank!

      • says

        Hey Jeremy, how’s it going?

        The prices are quite a bit different than Amazon US, but there’s a few cases from this search that will work:

        http://www.amazon.ca/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2/175-8353150-4748608?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=mid+tower+case

        I would just make sure that the video card length will fit inside whatever case you choose. You can do that by going to the case manufacturers page and checking the maximum VGA length and then going to the video card manufacturers page and checking the card’s length.

        You might also be able to buy some of those cases through Amazon US, as sometimes they will ship to Canada.

        Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

        Best,
        Brent

    • says

      Hey Connor, how’s it going? My day has been good, thanks for asking! Hope yours has been good as well.

      Yes, either of those builds will be able to run Garry’s Mod, as it isn’t a particularly demanding game.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  43. Ryan says

    This is my first time building a computer, and I know this may be a dumb question but just being sure. For each set-up are all the parts recommended compatible with each other?

    • says

      Hey Ryan, how’s it going?

      If by “are all the parts recommended compatible with each other” you mean all the parts listed in each list (i.e. all the parts in the $700 list, or all of the parts in the $400 list) then, yes, they are compatible with each other. However, the parts from the $400 list aren’t necessarily compatible with the parts from the $700 build.

      Hope that makes sense! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  44. Philippe says

    Hey!
    I just wanted to be sure that the 800$ build is fine.I mean this will be my first gaming computer and I plan to build it by myself.Although I earned this money and I don’t want to waist it.I have another question is it normal that in the 800$ build the power supplies fits in the top of the case and not in the bottom?

    Thanks a lot for this instructive guide.

    • says

      Hey Philippe, how’s it going?

      Yes, the $800 build is a very solid setup that will allow you to max out any game on a 1920×1080 monitor. It will even play games on 2K resolution pretty well and it can be used as an entry-point to 4K gaming as well.

      As for the power supply placement in the case…

      Typically, bottom-mounted power supplies are better, but the price of the Sentey case makes it worth it. If you can find a similarly-priced case that will fit your video card and has a bottom-mounted power supply, then definitely go for it.

      But the top-mounted PSU will work just fine.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  45. Samuel says

    I want to buy the 600 dollar setup that you have recommended, but I am stressing out super hard that it will now work or ill be missing something or it wont play the games I want at a high or medium framerate.(ex. Killing Floor 2, Battle Field 4, GTA V etc.) This is my first gaming PC EVER, and although this all looks very good and reliable, I am stuck behind whether to get the $600 build here, or the Digital Storm Vanquish lvl 1. Please help. Will I need a dongle? Are there plenty of USB ports for everything? These are probably all dumb questions but aaah help me.

    • says

      Hey Samuel, how’s it going?

      The $600 build will work just fine for the games you want to play. And, all of the parts listed are everything you will need to build the computer minus the operating system. You will need an operating system to install on the computer after you are finished (a copy of Windows 7 or 8.1 is about ~$90… Windows 10 is also coming out soon, but if you buy Windows 7 or 8.1 before then you can upgrade to Windows 10 for free.)

      The $600 build will play those games on at least medium settings, but more than likely on higher settings.

      Yes, if you want to connect the computer up to Wi-Fi, then you will need a wireless adapter. You can either get a USB Wi-Fi adapter or a PCI Wi-Fi adapter. Just make sure you match the Wi-Fi adapter speed with your router speed.

      And yes there will be plenty of USB ports for everything.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  46. Sam says

    I want to buy the $700 setup, but just before I do, does it have absolutely everything needed to get playing right out of the box? It doesn’t look like it comes with a OS, but I know what I want. Also I assume I will need to get a wireless internet dongle too.
    Thanks!

  47. Doug says

    Hi,

    I’m looking for a computer that will be able to handle playing “next gen” games that are out right now and that will be coming out this year or the next like The Witcher 3, For Honor, Dishonored 2, etc. Which build would be the best to run those kinds of games at high settings (with good fps as well)?

    • says

      Hey Doug, how’s it going?

      I would look at getting at least the $700 build, but the $800 build would be better. Those games are pretty demanding and so the better the system the better able you will be able to handle them.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

    • says

      Hey Ashraf, how’s it going?

      None of the builds in this article are suitable for overclocking (the Intel-based builds can’t be overclocked). You might be able to push it a little bit, but ultimately, you’ll want a better motherboard and power supply to really push the FX-6300.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  48. Dave says

    Let me first say that this web site is great. I did the $500 build for 2014 (my first PC build with no previous build experience) and it worked out great. It included an R9 270x video card and an AMD FX6300. The most difficult part by far was the cable management as the case was small and there were alot of cables that had to be connected or stashed. My teenager was in heaven when that PC was built as he could now play Counter Strike Global Offensive, League of Legends, and Tomb Raider with no lag on high settings.

    I am now doing the $500 build for 2015. The general process has been the same. This build has the same size case as compared to the 2014 build, but has a larger motherboard, larger video card, and larger hard drive. There is very little space to maneuver. Once the MOBO is installed with CPU and heatsink/fan, I couldn’t fit the hard drive in the bottom bay of the case without bending the metal tabs on the bay that separate the slots (middle bay slot was manageable, but I wanted the drive in the bottom one). It worked, but it was much harder than just sliding the drive in because the heatsink fan was blocking the ability to just slide the drive in. The video card fits, but all the wires that need to go under it (for the system connectors) barely fit around/under the video card and are right next to the fan. I’m going to get it all to work, but I think if I was doing this build all over with these larger parts, I would want a larger case.

    Just my 2 cents. Still love this site as I would never have been able to build a PC without this guidance,

  49. Dawson says

    Hi I was looking at purchasing the 400$ build but dont really like the case. Will this build fit into almost any other case?

    • says

      Hey Dawson, how’s it going?

      The $400 build will fit into most cases. I would look for a mid-tower case if you want to be safe, but most micro-ATX cases (which is what the case in the $400 build) will work too.

      Just make sure it will fit the motherboard and the video card.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  50. Ryan says

    Good afternoon,
    I am interested in buying the $500 build but I am kinda computer dumb and was wondering if this would be a good build for Microsoft Flight Simulator X? This is the only game i currently play and my current laptop cannot handle the game. Thank you!

    • says

      Hey Ryan, how’s it going?

      Yes, the $500 build will easily be able to handle Microsoft Flight Simulator X. In fact, the $500 build will be able to any of today’s top games without any problems.

      So, you’re definitely good to go there!

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  51. phillip h says

    i like what im seeing here however i don’t know witch one would be best for me. i play yes you guessed it WOW (world of warcraft) if you play the game you know its play changes from being all alone in one area and not much going on to having 100 other people around you moving every were. and in raids you have 25 and there people and there pets all casting and running around attacking with a lot of movement every every were. and the game has a few settings (4-5) for graphics and such ranging from low to ultra. i want to be able to run this game on a mid range setting and have around 30-60fps while in a raid witch is where most of the pull is that bogs a computer down.
    this is what i got from the wow site as for minimum requirements to run wow on a lowest setting.

    PC:
    Windows XP/Windows Vista/Windows7/Windows8 (latest Service Pack)
    Intel Core2 Duo E6600 or AMD Phenom X3 8750
    NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT, ATI Radeon HD 4850 or Intel HD Graphics 3000

    PC/Mac:
    35 GB available HD space
    2 GB RAM
    Broadband Internet connection
    Keyboard/mouse
    DVD-ROM drive
    1024×768 minimum display resolution

    Recommended Specifications

    PC/Mac:
    4 GB RAM
    Multi-button mouse with scroll wheel

    PC:
    Windows 7/Windows 8 64-bit (latest Service Pack)
    Intel Core i5 2400 or AMD FX-4100 or better
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470, ATI Radeon HD 5870 or better

    again this is the lowest recommended to play the game. so i don’t want to spend $1k if i can do it with half the money. was looking at the 600 set up with out the case as i already have a nice case that will house everything listed.
    thanks for your time in doing this post on what to get as i know many have no idea what prices computers can be build for vs just buying one.

    • says

      Hey Phillip, how’s it going?

      I know that WoW isn’t really too demanding as long as you’re not in big raids. But once you get into those big raids, even the most expensive of computers will run into lag.

      With that being said, even the $500 build listed here will run WoW at Ultra settings while not raiding. But, when you raid you would have to turn down the settings.

      So, I’d say look at either the $500 or $600 builds.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

      • Phillip h says

        Thanks for your reply. I know in big raids I would have to drop down the graphics a bit. I don’t mind running raids on the lowest setting as I don’t raid a huge amount. But more for general over all game play. And I know the WOW guesting comes up quite a bit in other forums to do with the game. I will be building the $600 build as I have done some shopping around and can do that build for about $400 using the case and power supply I already have. However with that said once the build is done I will return and comment with my findings on this build. And if it all works out the way I think it will I will be happy to send others this way for good cheaper gaming builds. Thanks for your time.

  52. john says

    Hey

    I really like the $800 build but i was wondering if you could give some of the most popular benchmarks so i can see if it’s the right one for me, thanks in advance.

    john

    • says

      Hey John, thanks for reading and commenting!

      For the $800 the only benchmarks you really need to look at are benchmarks for the video card. The reason is that the CPU and RAM are both sufficient enough to max out any game on the market. So, then in all falls on the GPU as to what kind of FPS you will get in any given game.

      Here is a benchmark for the GTX 970:

      http://www.anandtech.com/show/8568/the-geforce-gtx-970-review-feat-evga/4

      You can scroll through the different games to see how it does. If you’re playing on a 1920×1080 monitor, the GTX 970 (and subsequently the $800 build) will be able to max any game out with at least 60 FPS.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  53. Martin Kiryakov says

    I’m wondering if anyone got the $500 build? Is it good? Does everything fit right and work?

  54. Peter says

    So, for the $500 build at the moment, it costs $220 for the GPU, and I assume it’s so high because right now on amazon there is only 3 left in stock. Will this change, or will the build itself need to change? I’m looking to use the $500 build of course, but will I be able to use the current one listed?

    • says

      Hi Peter, how’s it going?

      I update the builds about once a week and go by the best prices available at that time. On the last update the prices of the R9 280 had jumped and the R9 270X was the best video card I could fit under the budget.

      However, I just updated the builds again today and the XFX R9 280 is at the same price as the R9 270X, so I added that to the builds.

      There are quite a few reasons why the item will jump in price and, yes, the item running low in stock is one of them. It looks like the price for that R9 270X has gone back down. But again, the R9 280 is the same price and is the better card.

      Everything in the list is current, so you should be good to go.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

    • says

      Hi Sarfraz, how’s it going?

      Yes, the GTX 760 outperforms the R9 270X by about an average of 5-10FPS in most games.

      However, being that it is an older generation card, it is a little bit harder to find. If you can get your hands on one for the same price as the R9 270X or even a little more, it would be worth it.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  55. Wcf941019 says

    Did all the radeon r9 280x just change to r9 380?(for 600 n 700 build)
    What is the reason for doing so?
    Is it becos some r9 280x having artifact issues or simply becos r9 380 is better?

    • says

      Hey Wcf941019, how’s it going?

      The R9 380 is the newer card. In all honesty the R9 380 and R9 280x deliver very similar performance at 1920×1080 resolution and the R9 380 4GB version narrowly edges out the R9 280X in higher res like 2k and 4k.

      The only difference is that the R9 380 is currently priced better and therefore is the better deal. And, ultimately, that’s why I switched them.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  56. ExfinityBeyond says

    hey can you help me i want to get a pc with these settings so i can play world at war
    here are the settings:
    CPU: Intel Pentium 4 /AMD 64 3200+
    CPU Speed: 3.0Ghz or better
    RAM: 512MB RAM (XP)/1GB RAM (vista)
    OS: Windows XP / Windows Vista
    Video Card: Shader 3.0 or better, 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6600GT / ATI
    Radeon 1600XT or better
    Sound Card: Yes
    Free Disk Space: 8GB
    If anyone can help me out showing a computer/ laptop that meets the requirements. Sorry if i sound needy its just i always wanted a pc but I’m on a budget the highest i can go is $500 So please if anyone can answer this it will be very well appreciated.

    • says

      Hey ExfinityBeyond, how’s it going?

      I’m assuming you pasted the minimum requirements for playing World at War?

      I would look at the $400 build from above and then account for $90-$100 on an operating system. As long as you don’t need a monitor, keyboard, and mouse that should fit under your budget. The $400 setup will easily be able to handle those requirements.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  57. Jorge says

    Brent I cannot thank you enough for this awesome site! My brother and I threw together the $700 build this last Thursday and man I am excited. Everything worked great and the New Egg video is a gem. I Showed off the build in the forum. The title of the post is The Grizzly ($700) Build and my username is GUnitColima on there. Anyway I usually do not take the time to comment on stuff like this but your site and guide has been such a valuable asset during this Journey to build our first decent PC! THANK YOU so much man.

  58. Dave says

    Hi. I posted a question a few weeks ago, asking about whether the R9 280 video card would fit into the Rosewill FBM-01 case (that was part of the $500 build), because partpicker’s web site said this:
    2) Unable to verify the Rosewill FBM-01 MicroATX Mini Tower Case has sufficient space to fit the Sapphire Radeon R9 280 3GB Dual-X Video Card.

    I see today that the video card for the $500 build has been changed from the R9 280 to the R9 270X, which is a smaller card (by about 50 mm). So, was this change made because the R9 280 won’t fit (or is too big to be able to maneuver in the case).

    Please reply as I need to now figure out if I need to replace the R9 280 video card that I bought.

    Thanks.

    • says

      Hi Dave, how’s it going?

      The Rosewill Dual Fans is actually kind of deceiving. It’s a small case, but since there is no bottom HDD cage, it can actually fit a pretty lengthy video card.

      I’m not sure why they don’t list the maximum video card you can use in the case, but the R9 280 and R9 270X will definitely fit in there.

      Here’s a build from PC World using an 11.61″ video card in the build:

      http://www.pcworld.com/article/2068281/build-this-killer-amd-based-windows-8-1-pc-for-less-than-1000.html

      The reason why I switched to the R9 270x on the last update was due to pricing. However, I just updated the builds again and switched to an XFX R9 280. That video card is also 11.61″ and so it should fit in just fine.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  59. Martijn says

    Hey everyone,

    I’m going to build the 700 dollar build.
    This is my first build ever. So there are a couple of things i don’t understand:
    Are all cases capable of having a SSD drive and a DVR?
    and do you always get a CPU-Cooler with the CPU when you buy the CPU, or do you need to buy one yourself? Because a CPU cooler isn’t integrated into the build-list…

    Thanks in advance :)

    • Jorge says

      The case in the $700 build has the ability to house an SSD and DVR. (I just built it)

      The CPU comes with the heat sink and fan included.

      Cheers!

  60. SJG says

    What after market CPU cooler on the AMD 6300 & Rosewill Dual Fans case would you recommend? I’m somewhat new to all this but at some point would like to overclock the processor.

    • says

      Hi SJG, how’s it going?

      If you want to forego the stock cooler for the FX-6300 then I would look at the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO. Just make sure that if you choose the 212 EVO that it will fit in your case.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  61. Zoltan says

    Hi, I was wondering if the prebuilt list (namely the 600$ comp) posted above will come with an operating system installed, or will I have to procure my own OS?

    Also, will the computer come prebuilt or will all the parts arrive separate, awaiting assembly. I know its done through amazon but I have no idea whether that’s a thing that happens or not. And if its not, is there any guide that you could link me to that would help build it? Thanks!!

    • Peter says

      No, amazon will not build your computer. That’s illegal and it isn’t in their best interests, as they would be going out of their way to build you your computer for no payment.

      Also yes, you’ll need to acquire the OS yourself and he linked a video above via USB method.

      And search “how to build a computer” on YouTube. I know that is a thing anyone can say “I don’t need you to tell me that” but the video by newegg is pretty good in explaining how to build it, as well as the video that appears above it. Hope I helped. Good Luck

    • Kylek says

      I don’t presume to speak for the author, but this seems to be a do it yourself guide. You order the parts individually, and you build a system. That includes installing the operating system. Do not worry, that is probably the easiest part of the process.

  62. Corginado says

    THANKS SO MUCH for making this guide! I’ve never had a legit gaming computer in my life, was a bit puzzled about what parts to buy for my first build and your guide comes as a real lifesaver! Thank you for putting so much work into this, listing estimated prices and the overviews on what settings to expect blew me away!! Planning on going for the 400 dollar build. 😀

    No worries if you’re not answering any more question, but I do have one concern! I plan to stream League of Legends, Final Fantasy 14, and Smash Bros Wii U onto Twitch using Obs software. Would the 400 dollar build be able to perform smoothly live streaming games like League and FF14? I don’t need really high graphics, but the ability to stream smoothly is huge for me.

    – Thanks again :)

  63. Chris says

    Yes, that will all work together. Looks good. Although I would personally drop the RAM down to 8gb, and pick up a 125gb ssd drive for your OS and a few games to put on it. It will decrease loading times to about 10-20% of what they are with a normal hard drive. My pc boots up after bios in 7.5 seconds and it browser ready on the google search page in 10 seconds. Some games like Final Fantasy have crazy long loading times and there are many. An SSD will decrease the headache of waiting. The only game I’ve found that it didn’t make a difference on was games made by Valve, like Half Life 2, and Portal. They are poorly optimized and long loading times are because of the games code and not the bottleneck of the hard drive.

  64. Jared says

    Off of your posted builds I decided to make my own, but was wondering if it would all work together and especially if it would fit into the case I am looking at putting it all in…

    Part List
    CPU Intel Core i5-4460
    MOBO MSI H97 PC MATE
    GPU PowerColor R9 280x
    RAM Crucial Ballistix 16GB (8GBx2)
    HDD Western Digital Blue 1 TB
    CASE NZXT S340
    PSU Corsair CX600
    ODD Samsung 24x SATA

    Like I said my biggest concern is if it will all work in the end and if it will all fit in my case. Any help is greatly appreciated!!!

    • Yusuf Ghanem says

      Hi, those parts will work together, but i would drop from 16gb ram to 8gb as its not needed for gaming. I would go from the i5 4460 to the 4690k as there is a gap between them in performance that is not matched by price. I would also change the graphics card to a sapphire r9 280x vapour x.
      All these parts should fit in the case, except for the ODD. But that really is not a problem as most do not use it, but you can buy an external ODD to install windows. If you plan on using it you should buy another case.

  65. Dave says

    I want the $500 build. I got this info from part picker:
    (1) Asus M5A78L-M/USB3 Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard has an onboard USB 3.0 header, but the Rosewill FBM-01 MicroATX Mini Tower Case does not have front panel USB 3.0 ports.

    (2) Unable to verify the Rosewill FBM-01 MicroATX Mini Tower Case has sufficient space to fit the Sapphire Radeon R9 280 3GB Dual-X Video Card.

    Will the video card actually fit in the Rosewill FBM-01 case?

    And, what does the info about the USB 3.0 ports mean?

    I was about to purchase today, but want to make sure these 2 things are not going to be a problem.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Felix says

      Regarding the front panel 3.0 usb ports. This just means that the case does not have usb 3.0 ports in the front (they are actually 2.0 ports that are built into the case), although the motherboard has two 3.0 usb ports in the back. So in order to take advantage of the 3.0 usb panels, you will have to use 3.0 usb panels in the back of the case after installing the motherboard. (3.0 usb ports are blue, you can’t miss it)

  66. Luke says

    Hey! Awesome post. I’m kinda on a strict budget and i was wondering if the 400$ one could play most of the games made after 2013 and World At War custom maps on atleast 50fps and 720p?
    Thanks!

  67. Chris says

    2 4gb sticks is slightly better than 1 single 8gb stick due to dual channel technology on the motherboard. It gives around a 5% performance increase compared to 1 single stick.

  68. joel says

    Does anyone have feedback on the 600$ build I am thinking of getting it, also does anyone have benchmarks?

  69. Jason says

    How current is this info? I’m about to spend $700-800 and saw that comments go back a bit in time. If I followed this guilde on building a new pc am I still getting the most bang for my bucks? Thanks for doing this and the reply!

    • KyleK says

      The advice in this article is solid. This is certainly a good place to start. No reason to be unhappy with a build exactly as they describe. Try looking at these part on PCPartPicker.com.

  70. Shane says

    What tools and cabling will i need to complete this build? assuming i buy compatible parts what else would i need to make it functional?

    • Chris says

      All cables should come included except for sata cables for the hard drive and the optical drive. It’s better to buy sata cables that can be moved to an angle where they plug in. Some cases have really tight areas where the cables plug in. For optical you will need a right angle. For the hard drive most likely a left angle sata cable. just buy one of each in case you need them. they are only a few bucks on amazon.

  71. KyleK says

    Why are none of the R7 or R9 series on the list. Am I mistaken, or do these cards have comparable, if not better, price/performance ratio?

  72. Chris says

    The Kingston HyperX FURY 8GB Kit (2x4GB) 1600MHz DDR3 are slightly less better, but not enough to notice. The latency clock number is CL10, compared to the sport’s CL9. A lower latency is better when comparing it against a RAM stick with the same Mhz amount.

  73. Dave says

    Hi. In a previous build I did from this site last year (thanks so much), I used HyperX FURY 8GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866. Would that work in the $500 build instead of the Crucial Ballistix 8GB. If so, is one of the two any better?

    • KyleK says

      It’ll work just fine. Unless you’re getting a better deal, the higher speed of the 1866 is unnecessary, and therefor a waste of money.

      If your intention is to overclock to that RAM speed, then you open up a can of worms that most budget gamers need not worry about UNTIL they’re looking to expand the life of their current system, not to mention the added risk of instability. Does this help?

      • Dave says

        Thanks. Not planning to overclock. For a previous PC build, I used the Hyper X (1 8 GB stick). The $500 build here links to 2x4GB. I thought 1 8GB stick would be better so that I don’t have to throw away the 2x4GB if I ever decide to upgrade to memory more than 8 GB. Can I go with 1 8GB stick instead of 2x4GB?

        • KyleK says

          You certainly can. But, if you’re not planning on upgrading in the next few months, IMO you should go ahead and get the 2×4, as the performance is much better. You’re spreading out the same memory over more lanes, therefor it’s faster and better performing, especially for office programs and multitasking. But it’s up to you.

  74. Dave says

    I am planning to go with the $500 build. Can I use a single 8GB stick of the RAM you’ve recommended (Crucial Ballistix 8GB) as opposed to two 4GB sticks. I figure if I do that, I’d be able to upgrade with another 8GB RAM in the future (as opposed to having to throw away the two 4GB sticks). If the single stick will work, are the specs of the single stick any different when I try to find it for purchase?

  75. terry lund says

    Brent,
    Just wanted to let you know what a great informative piece this is concerning budget PC’s. I’ve built several of my own in the past and am now helping my son spec together his first gaming rig and your write up has really helped alot in the process. Thanks again for the convenient and well thought out information.

  76. Marcelo says

    Since I am new to building computers, what monitor, keyboard, and mouse do you recommend for the $300 build?

  77. matt m says

    Hey so i had the 600 dollar setup with the HIS Radeon R9 280 that died after about 3-4 months.. I got the company to replace it after 6 weeks of them holding onto my card for testing… I got it back and it lasted 6 minutes before it burnt out even worse than the last time. The first time the card would work it would just get to hot after gaming for 20 minutes and this new one lasted 6 minutes on the desktop, i didnt even get to game at all and now it wont turn on.. So needless to say im done with HIS. Im gonna get them to replace it again and then sell it, but i still have a computer with no video card so can you recommend a card that isnt based around price that will work with this setup.

  78. João Ferreira says

    Hey there,
    Would I be able the msi gtx960 armor 2gb oc work in the 600$ build? The r9 280x is too damn expensive here in portugal unfortunately :(

    Thanks in advance!

  79. John says

    Hi Brent,

    Thanks for putting this together! Quick question…

    I am addicted to dual monitor set ups, asI use them almost exclusively at work. Would I be able to do this with the $500 build or would I need a different video card (or other set of components)?

    John

  80. T says

    I know this is build for gaming but would this be good for photo editing? Using photoshop cs6. Looking to use the 500-800 build.

    Thanks.

  81. Nathan says

    Hey Brent,

    I am in the middle of buying parts for a new PC build and I was wondering what your advice would be regarding graphics cards. I have already purchased an AMD FX-8350 and a Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard, but I’m not sure what I should do now in terms of the GPU. I had originally planned on buying a GTX 960 but I’ve had people tell me AMD Radeon cards are better for my situation. What Graphics card would you choose to pair with the CPU and mobo? I am okay with anything under or around $250.

    Links: CPU- https://pcpartpicker.com/part/amd-cpu-fd8350frhkbox

    Mobo- https://pcpartpicker.com/part/gigabyte-motherboard-ga990fxaud3

    Thanks,

    Nathan

  82. Brandon says

    Hey! Thanks for all the information, I haven’t built a computer in a long time and am trying to decide what I want. I am currently looking at the $700 build and had a couple of questions. I was thinking of using this case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146077&ignorebbr=1 what do you think?

    Also I was pondering using a SSD for booting up Win 8.1 since I’ve seen it boots a lot faster, any suggestions on an affordable one that would work for that?

    Thanks again and have a great day!

  83. Stu says

    Thanks for the nice build lists. I haven’t put a box together in about 15 years, but this page is a great resource, I think I will start off with the $400 or $500 build.

    One question — would it be advisable to include an aftermarket CPU cooler? Or does the FX-6300 come with an adequate heat sink / fan. If needed, is there an aftermarket cooler you’d recommend?

    Thanks!

  84. Carlll says

    Will the motherboards in the higher budget builds ($500 and up) be able to adjust fan speeds automatically based on temperature, of will I need to buy a fan controller?

    • Chris says

      fans are automatic, but most motherboards give you the ability to adjust the speeds via the bios or some other diagnostic tool on your OS.

      • Carlll says

        Where would you recommend plugging the case fans into, the motherboard or PSU? If I plug the fan into the PSU, the fans will be on all the time right?

  85. Kai says

    Hey, I’m kinda new to the whole “Custom build computers!” thing, and I was wondering, what kind of cooling system do the 600 and 700 systems have, and would I need to get additional fans? I ask this because I don’t really trust liquid cooling.

    • cole says

      they just have the basic cooling methods that are common with computers. just keep it dust free and clean the vents at least weekly with rubbing alcohol & it should last for years.

  86. nescafe says

    Hey! Thank you so much Brent for the awesome work! This guide really helped me out a lot! keep up the good work :)

  87. says

    For the 700 and 800 dollar gaming pc the graphics card for the nvidea side are fine. The equivalent for the 700 would be a gtx 960 and the r9 280 and the gtx 960 are pretty similiar in performance. The 800 equivalent would be a gtx 970 for a lot better performance. But you are paying a decent sum more but there is nothing really equivalent in price. AMD is just fine. People say AMD is bad but it’s really good it’s just now they are going up in price because these guys which I can’t remember the name you should look there name up have bought a lot of AMD cards and AMD could not keep up so they had to increase price. Also nvidea is known for it’s cooling so that’s why you pay a little but extra Nvidea cards are more known for overclocking. AMD cards run a bit hotter than nvidea. Either way it really doesn’t matter what brand u get. Just look for the best bang for your buck or best prices card.

  88. Jeremy says

    Hey I was wondering if you had a build/guide that would cost me $1000-1200 or so. Maybe even $1500.

    Regards,

    JS

  89. Samson0722 says

    What is better quality wise? Amd or Nvidia? I really would prefer Nvidia, and I have heard that Amd is worse from some people. Is it? I’m not sure if there is a difference. And what graphics card would you recommend? $700 to $800. What is the Nvidia’s equivalence for the two Amd graphics cards in the $700 and $800 dollar builds?

    • says

      Hey Samson, how’s it going?

      I personally have no preference between AMD and NVIDIA and typically just choose based on current price-to-performance ratios.

      For instance, NVIDIA currently has the most powerful single-GPU video cards (the GTX 980 and GTX TITAN X)… so if you’re looking to spend over $500 you would go with an NVIDIA card. However, if you’re looking to spend about ~$220, AMD’s R9 280X is the best card is this range by far.

      So, ultimately, it comes down to the current lineup of cards and the current pricing of those cards.

      For a $700 or $800 build I would currently recommend the (in ac sending order in price) R9 280, R9 280X, R9 290, or if you can squeeze it in somehow a GTX 970.

      The GTX 960 is similar in performance to the R9 280 but it costs more and so I would either choose the R9 280 over it, or the R9 280X and get more performance.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  90. Joon says

    I was just wondering for the 600 or 700 dollar build ive got 2 pretty old 2gb sticks of ram and a crucial balistix 4gb stick does it matter if i put it in one of those builds instead of buying new ram. And how much will it effect the performance having some older ram.

    • says

      Hey Joon, how’s it going?

      It really depends on what kind of RAM it is. My guess is that if they’re pretty old that they’re not worth using, unfortunately, and they may not even work together properly.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

      • Joon says

        Hey Brent,

        oh well about the ram but i was just wondering what type of frame rates i could expect on things like bf hardline, league of legends and CS GO.

        Regards Joon

          • Joon says

            Sorry to be such a bother but i was wondering if i could use a 500 watt instead of a 550 watt power supply this is cause i had lying around that no one has used and is in perfect condition and isnt an old model and also cause i want to see where i can save some money.

            Kind regards joon

  91. Brian says

    I am completely new to these gaming computer I have found an interest since seeing the new PC mods in gta 5 I am fairly clueless when it comes to this does anyone suggest a cheap PC for that and with these bundles do they not include monitors how much is a good one and would It be a good idea to get a man in a PC shop to build your PC please reply guys I’m completely stuck

    • says

      Hey Brian, how’s it going?

      The idea behind these bundles is to give you all the parts you need to build the computer tower. Aside from these parts you will still need a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and an operating system (copy of Windows).

      I would advise against taking the parts to a PC shop to build the system for you unless you absolutely refuse to build it yourself. Building a computer isn’t as hard as you would think and there are tons of guides and resources to help you with your build (including this site).

      From my experience with GTA V, you will probably want to look at the ~$600 PC to play it on higher settings. I haven’t played with any of the mods, but mods typically add more demand on your system and so if you’re on a budget I wouldn’t expect being able to play with mods on the highest settings.

      But then again, I haven’t played with the mods. Now that I see them, though, I want to try some out!

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  92. Aaron S. says

    I would just like it noted… less than one day and already has more that 1,000 comments. I didn’t know people went on websites other than social media that much.

    • says

      Hey Aaron, I update the builds on a weekly basis and I change the date each time so that everyone who reads knows that the builds have been updated to reflect the newest hardware and latest prices.

      In reality, this post has existed for 2-3 years. I lost about 500 other comments when I switched servers a year ago and accidentally deleted the original post (I had a copy).

      But anyways, thanks for reading and commenting!

      Best,
      Brent

  93. Aaron says

    Does anyone have a good video or something on actually building it. I’ve never put one together, so I do t know what goes where an I’d probably end up breaking all my stuff if I went at it on my own.

  94. relive010 says

    Hi I have a few questions.
    Do I have to buy fans for the 800 dollar build?
    Also, is the 800 dollar system worth the price vs performance in comparison to the 600 dollar build?
    These builds will be for 1080p gaming.

    • says

      Hey Relive, how’s it going?

      The $800 build will come with a couple of fans for the case and a stock CPU cooler for the CPU. You can always add more/better fans and a better CPU cooler if you want, but the build will work as is.

      Both the $800 and $600 builds can max out pretty much any game on a 1080p monitor. The $800 build has the better CPU and video card, though, and therefore will give you better framerates and an overall better experience.

      Though, it really depends on what games you are playing. In most scenarios the FX-6300 will be enough processing power to have you maxing out your games. There are some newer games, though, where the FX-6300 does hinder performance a little bit.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  95. GC says

    would your 400 budget gaming rig play WOW? I know this might be a dumb question, but I just need it to play WOW now and for the foreseeable future. Any advice would be great…thanks!

    • says

      Hey GC how’s it going?

      Yes, the $400 build should handle WoW without any problems. I haven’t played any of the newer expansions and you might have to turn down the settings a little bit during large raids, but the build will handle it fine otherwise.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  96. Andrew says

    Hey Brent I’m completely new to this whole building PC’s thing and I was just wondering if there’s a step by step guide on exactly how to put these machines together? I was thinking of building the $500 PC but I haven’t a clue as to where even to start! Thanks a mil,
    Andrew.

    • says

      Hey Andrew,
      I’m new too whole building PC’s thing..
      If you search around on the internet you can find a lot of video’s and blogs how to really build the PC step by step..

      The link below is a video from Newegg, a site where you can buy a lot of components too..
      I think this is very helpfull and i hope it helps you too 😉

  97. Brad says

    Hi Brent!

    Thank you for all of the incredible information and a fantastic read! I am attempting to build my own computer for the first time and have only been doing small amounts of research up to this point. I’m still confused with a lot of the components compatibility and I am having some difficulty figuring out if I could sub in this RAIDMAX Viper GX II case ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811156321&ignorebbr=1&cm_re=PPSSBGDRYLXVJN-_-11-156-321-_-Product ) for either the $600 or $700 build? I am leaning towards the $700 because of the Intel i5 processor.

    I am trying to use this computer so that I can have two monitors at my desk to be able to comfortably stream on Twitch playing League of Legends and I assume that the $700 build fits my needs a bit better than the $600. Please let me know what you think would be best for my situation when you get the chance, thank you so much!

    Sincerely,

    Brad

    • says

      Hey Brad, how’s it going?

      The main thing to look for on a case is whether or not it will fit your motherboard and how long of a video card it will take.

      In this case, the Viper GX II will fit either the $600 or $700 builds with no problem. In fact, with 415mm of clearance, it will fit pretty much any video card on the market.

      And, yes, if you’re going to be streaming League of Legends I would go with the i5 CPU. However, if you want to save money you can go with the video card from the $500 or even $400 builds and it they will max out League with no problems. Not saying that you have to, especially if you want to be able to max out more demanding games, but it is an option if you’re looking to save money.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

      • says

        Awesome! Thank you, this is great!

        I do have another question, are there any monitors that you would suggest for a dual monitor setup with the $700 build and graphics card in that build, which would work easily with streaming League?

  98. John Baltisberger says

    Just wanted to let you know that I put together the $600 build as it, and it runs Witcher 3 at ultra. Dang.

  99. Matthew says

    Hello I was wondering for the $600 build, could I swap out the AMD FD6300WMHKBOX FX-6300 6-Core Processor Black Edition with the AMD FD8320FRHKBOX FX-8320 FX-Series 8-Core Black Edition without changing any other things in the build? Also would upgrading to the AMD FD8350FRHKBOX FX-8350 FX-Series 8-Core Black Edition Processor make a big difference from the 8320 (if the 8320 can be swapped out with the 6300)?

    • says

      Hey Matthew, how’s it going?

      Yes, you can definitely upgrade to the FX-8320 or 8350 with that build. However, just note that if you want to overclock the 8320 or 8350 (or 6300 for that matter) you will need a 990FX chipset motherboard and an aftermarket CPU cooler.

      But if you plan on running the CPU at stock speeds then, yes, you can upgrade to either of those CPUs.

      The 8350 is little faster than the 8320 but if you have the right motherboard/CPU cooler you can overclock the 8320 to match the 8350 in speed. Even with the motherboard and stock cooler you can probably get the 8320 close to the 8350 in terms of performance with a little overclocking.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  100. John A. says

    Hi, Brent.
    This may seem like a dumb question, but I have never built a computer before, and I’m wondering, what does one need to do for audio? Is there some form built into the components in your builds, or do other components need to be installed? If so, what components would you recommend without breaking the bank?

    • Chris says

      It varies from board to board but there should be an outlet on the motherboard for both audio and a microphone, If you pull up the motherboard you are looking at on Amazon and look through the pics posted for it they will usually show it.

    • says

      Hey John, how’s it going?

      Pretty much all modern motherboards have sound integrated directly into them. And, for the most part, it’s good enough sound quality for most people.

      If you’re an audiophile, then you’ll definitely want to look into getting a sound card to go along with your build.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  101. Daquan says

    Hi I look thought the builds and their great but I have a desktop already and was wondering if u could use part from it it’s a compaq cq5205y with a AMD Sempron LE-1300 processor and has a
    Storage
    SATA 2 -3Gb/s
    External drive bay: 2x 5.25″ internal drive bay: 1 x 3.5

    Chipset
    nVidia GeForce 6150SE

    Video Card
    Graphics card : PCI Express x16
    External connector : 15-hole connector

    Is their anything good to use or should I get a new pc

    • says

      Hey Daquan, how’s it going? You could always add a cheap power-efficient GPU like a GTX 750 Ti and see if that helps.

      However, with an older chipset motherboard you’re pretty limited with what you can upgrade on that build. About the only thing that would make sense to keep is the optical drive (DVD/CD drive).

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  102. Seth says

    I’m a total dimwit when it comes to knowing what I need to put a computer together. ( But I can put the parts together if I have them. ) I was curious, if I went with one of these builds, what else would I need to buy to have everything I need to set it up and use it? ( Besides a monitor and keyboard/mouse. )

    • says

      Hey Seth, how’s it going?

      As Alex said, the only other thing you’ll need (aside from the monitor, keyboard, and mouse) is an operating system.

      A copy of Windows 8.1 is about $90 right now and Windows 10 will be out earlier this summer and will be a free upgrade.

      It doesn’t hurt to get some extra SATA cables just in case and if you want to apply your own thermal paste, you will want some of that as well. However, the motherboard you get should come with a few SATA cables (which should be all you need) and the CPU fan will have a pre-applied thermal sticky-pad as well. So the extra cables and the thermal paste are optional.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

      • Seth says

        Thank you very much for the info! Hopefully I won’t be back later asking how to keep my house from catching on fire once I put the whole thing together.

  103. David Harrington says

    Hey Brent,

    What monitor(s) do you recommend to go with the $400 build? I’d like to buy cheap as possible while getting enough performance to play games low-medium quality; my budget goes up to $100 for one.

    Thanks,
    David

    • says

      Hey Phillip,

      You’d plug the PCI WiFi adapter into one of the smaller PCI slots if it’s a regular PCI adapter or one of the longer PCI slots if it’s a PCI express adapter.

      So, for instance, on this motherboard you’d plug a regular PCI adapter into one of the smaller PCI ports and a PCI express adapter (have the longer connections) into one of the longer PCI slots:

      http://cdn4.wccftech.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/ASUS-Z97-Deluxe-Render1.jpg

      Hopefully that makes sense. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

    • says

      Hey Jones, how’s it going?

      You definitely can swap it out for a 600W PSU as long as it’s a quality unit. However, not all 600W PSUs are better than all 500W PSUs. A cheap built 600W PSU won’t be as good as a 500W PSU.

      So, I guess it all depends on what 600W unit you were looking at.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  104. says

    Hey Phillip D about your r9 280x question. What I would is stick with the r9 280 and go for the Intel core i5 4460 or the 4590 and a motherboard that goes with it. The 4590 costs a little over 15 dollars more than the 4460 and it’s worth it. If you can go about 50 dollar over 600 then the get a intel core i5 because it’s a lot better than the fx 6300. And a lot of games are recommending getting a quad core processor so this will be great. Hope this will help.

    • says

      Hey Bunseth, how’s it going?

      On the link you provided you didn’t include a motherboard or a case and you included the R9 280x instead of the R9 280.

      The PC Part Picker total price for the $600 build (with motherboard, case, and correct video card) comes out to $570 while the price from Amazon comes out to $591.

      Just a note, though… if you look at the Thermaltake Versa H21 case on PC Part Picker it says that the lowest cost is $32.99 from SuperBiiz with no shipping. However, if you go to their site, you can see that there is an extra $20 in shipping for that case.

      Same goes for the items that are coming up from OutletPC. They charge an additional $8 in shipping for the cheapest shipping option for those four items (unless you live in Vegas).

      I know a lot of people love PC Part Picker and it definitely is a very useful tool, but, personally, I’d rather order everything from one place so that everything arrives at the same time and if anything goes wrong, it all goes back to the same place (not having to send a bunch of different items back to different stores if there is a DOA part and you can’t figure out which one, i.e. motherboard, psu, CPU, or video card).

      Not to mention, if you have an Amazon Prime account, you can get everything in 2 days from Amazon at no extra charge.

      In any case, the price difference is about $5 total after you add the shipping costs from OutletPC and switch to the Versa H21 from Amazon (because if you kept the Versa H21 from SuperBiiz you would be charged an additional $22 in shipping).

      Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  105. says

    Is it fine for the 600 dollar build if I change the gpu and motherbomotherboard to a Intel core i5 4460 and a ASUS Micro Atx DDR3 LGA 1150 motherboard B85M-G R2.0 or will I need a better power supply

    • says

      Hey Cool Dude,

      Yes, that will work just fine. Intel CPUs are actually more efficient than AMD CPUs so you would actually be using less power with that combo.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  106. Phillip D says

    With the $700 build, would it work if i replaced the graphics card with the Gigabyte r9 280x windforce?

    • says

      Hey Phillip, how’s it going?

      Yes, you can absolutely swap the R9 280 out for an R9 280X and be fine.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Best,
      Brent

  107. Chris says

    Do i need a pci wifi card, and if so, can you link me to one that i can use(I really dont know to much about computers)

  108. David says

    Wondering about your thoughts on the GeForce GTX 960. Its pretty affordable and I’ve read good things about it. I’m contemplating getting it for your $600 or $700 build (can’t make up my mind). Is it worth the little extra? Thanks in advance, your articles have been super helpful in choosing the parts for a new pc!

  109. says

    This is a stupid question, I’m sure, but does the $700 build come with the Windows 8.1 OS included in the price, or is it another cost to add on?