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Everyone can see it. 4k monitors are coming down in price. While they aren’t as cheap as 1080p monitors, and some aren’t as good, a lot of people still want them. So is there a way to get affordable 4k gaming? That’s what this build will be for. However, this build won’t be for the most intensive games. It’ll be for the most popular games people seem to play. League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Team Fortress 2, and a few others. So when you read this build, keep in mind that we’re not trying to play Battlefield at 4k on ultra. You could, but not at optimal framerates. As usual, all prices are from Amazon (unless otherwise noted) and in USD. If you would like some help with local pricing, let me know in the comments. Let’s get started. 

CPU: AMD FX-8320

The little brother to AMD’s popular FX-8350, the 8320 does great work. It’s essentially an underclocked 8350 for $30+ less, meaning you can get as good if not better performance for the same money if you put a good cooler on it. However, even stock this chip is great, perfect for anyone who wants to stream League of Legends or other at a good resolution while playing in 4k.

CPU Cooler: Hyper 212 Plus

Another little brother, this one to the Hyper 212 Evo, this cooler is wonderful for the price, especially if you take advantage of any rebates. This will overclock the CPU great, and easily get you to 4.0Ghz or higher if you get good air flow. If you added another fan, cooling potential increases even more, allowing you to get a bit higher on the overclock, or lower temperatures with a moderate overclock.

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Motherboard: Asus M5A99X Evo R2.0

Argued by many as the best $100-ish 990X board available, this board will go perfectly in this system. Great chipset, Crossfire support, tons of ports, eSATA, heatsinks on a lot of stuff, and enough space to upgrade pretty much anything. It’s a wonderful board for the money, and you can’t go wrong.

RAM: Kingston Fury Series 16GB

We’re gonna go with pretty much the cheapest RAM you can get in a 16GB kit. While it is only 1333Mhz, it should be more than enough for how much it costs, at just $110 at time of writing. That’s a steal, seeing as how 8GB kits are still between $60 and $90. Great deal for RAM, and if you’re just gaming, 1333Mhz will be fine.

SSD: Corsair Force LS 120GB

It was in the last 4k build and it returns again. It’s a really good SSD for the money. Not the best, certainly not the worst, and it’s got enough storage for your main games and OS. It’s also dirt cheap compared to some other SSDs with similar capacity, so I’d scoop it up if you need an SSD.

HDD: Seagate Barracuda ES 1TB

I just grabbed the cheapest HDD I could. Hopefully it doesn’t crap out on anyone, but the reviews on it are high, it is a Seagate, and it’ll get the job done for whatever your sick minds want to load onto it. I see you, you playing Huniepop with no pants. Ya nasty. I’m joking, obviously, if that really isn’t obvious. Don’t hit me.

61Aw98p6FcL. SL1024  - The Round Up: Affordable 4k Gaming?

GPU: XFX R9 290 DD

XFX is really, really cool. They’re one of the few graphics card makers who have a lifetime warranty on the card for free, no questions asked. Even if you overclock it too much, you can RMA it. The R9 290 is a great card, too. Similar to the GTX 970, but with more RAM (snarf snarf), it actually outperforms the 970 at 4k resolutions. However, the high TDP needed is a bit of a turn off, but the card is $240 after a rebate. That’s just insane. And great for someone wanting affordable 4k.

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Case: Cooler Master HAF 912

The HAF series from Cooler Master is pretty legendary. Really roomy, great to work in, and looks like a Mack Truck. It has really good airflow and expansion, so nothing will need to be broken to make everything fit. If you want something more clean looking, the Cooler Master N400 is great too, and a little cheaper, but doesn’t have as many features as the HAF 912.

PSU: Corsair CS850

We want good, clean power going to this system, which is why we want 80+ Gold. This will give us more than enough power to push this system, and even let us upgrade to dual graphics cards in the future if you get sick of playing League of Legends. This will feed everything and have enough to spare, but not so much that it wastes energy.

So, there we have it, for a little under $1000 USD before rebates on PCPartPicker, you can get what some would call affordable 4k. High resolutions are growing fast, so this would probably be my personal minimum if I had a 4k monitor. It’s great to play the most popular games available that happen to cost very little and can be upgraded in the future if you want to play some more intense games. This will be a great machine for anyone who just so happens to have a 4k monitor laying around for some reason not hooked up to an amazing PC.

Be sure to check out the TechRaptor Gamefanshop. Help us out a bit and get a great game in return. What’s not to love?


Ben Kuyt

Gamer, Computer geek, Musician, Writer. Favourite series are Star Fox, Halo, Battlefield, and Forza. My last name is pronounced kite. Or kout, for the European Football fans.



  • Brian Hall

    I look forward to seeing the results

  • Timothy Lastovica

    Only thing I would consider is getting an 8350, 8370, or 8370E with 8 GBs of RAM instead of an 8320 and 16 GBs of ram. The FX E series seem to have a lower clock than their counterparts but in reality they turbo core up to the same frequency while under load. The reason I say this is because you can’t depend on the silicon lottery to overclock that 8320 to get your core performance up. You can always easily add more RAM later. As far as losing the silicon lottery it isn’t as fun. Take it from someone who gets a mere 200 MHz overclock before instability.

  • hurin

    I game at 1440p. I strongly doubt 2160p would offer much improvement despite the much bigger price tag.

    I would rather see a blind test on whether people can notice any improvement at higher resolutions.

  • Timothy Lastovica

    Also Ben Kuyt, if you would like more information you can add to this article. The R9 285, R9 290, R9 290X support AMD’s VSR. Which is similar to Nvidia’s DSR. Even if the consumer doesn’t have a 4k screen they can still sharpen their picture with some downscaling. Thank you for the article.

  • SevTheBear

    I’m going 1440p 27’inch later this year instead of my old cheap 27 monitor. I have seen 4K and it does look pretty. But if you want smooth 60 FPS or more gameplay, 4K ain’t there yet. It will take a few years before that is possible.

  • Ben Kuyt

    You know, I’d actually like to see that as well. It’d be kind of hard though. Everyone would need good vision, to sit at a decent distance, etc.

  • Ben Kuyt

    Unfortunately, we don’t have the money to do benchmarks, as much as I want to. Hopefully in the future, we can.

  • Ben Kuyt

    You’re right, they do have that, and it is quite awesome. I use DSR on my gtx 970, and it adds a ton of detail to skyrim, elite, etc.

  • Timothy Lastovica

    It is nice having the author / writer interact with their readers.

  • Ben Kuyt

    Yea, 1440p is what most would call the sweetspot if you can’t afford it. The crazy thing is that you can get decent 4k monitors for less than 1440p. Supply and demand, right?

  • Ben Kuyt

    Even when at work, I’ll try.

  • SevTheBear

    Indeed.

    If you could get a 4K and lower the resolution too 1440p and get 60+ FPS with G- or freesync I would be all for it.

  • Francesco Morandotti

    Hello, i found your article very helpful! i have only one question, could you clarify this statement “The R9 290 is a great card, too. Similar to the GTX 970, but with more RAM (snarf snarf), it actually outperforms the 970 at 4k resolutions.”? because from what i found both cards have 4gb and on this;
    http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html

    the 970 is actually a bit better. I would be happy to be wrong as if it is both more powerful and cheaper it would be nice. Possibly test are needed?
    thank you

  • Timothy Lastovica

    Both statements are technically correct. I’m going to avoid going into too many details. At 1080p and 1440p the 970 pulls out ahead. At 4k the two cards are neck to neck. These benchmarks are a little bit more in depth with frame time percentages so make sure to read the title for what is being tested closely.

    http://www.techspot.com/review/898-geforce-gtx-970-sli-4k-gaming/page2.html

    After the vram debacle with the 970s it is a safer course to recommend the 290s when giving advice. Basically the last 500 MBs of the vram run at a much much slower speed on the 970s. Some users report stuttering or other issues once 3.5+ GBs of vram has been filled. So at 4k where vram matters you only have 3.5 GBs effectively on the 970. For single card 970 users this usually isn’t an issue. Most GPU cores max out before memory limitations come into play. So most of the scare is unwarranted in that regard, the ethical issue of Nvidia selling it as 4 GBs is for individuals to decide. Now back to the technical side. In multi GPU set ups the vram does not stack but core performance does. So when buying 2 (or more) 970s, the core performance doubles (more like ~180%) but your vram remains 3.5 GBs + slow 500 MBs since each GPU needs its own area of memory to render from. In multi GPU set ups you’re more likely to run into memory limitations than single card rigs. Which is why many people recommend getting the most* vram you can when going for more than one GPU or may have plans to add another GPU in the future.

    *This asterisk means picking the doubled memory version of the flagship GPUs.

  • Ben Kuyt

    There’s be some issues lately with the GTX 970 using 3.5GB of full speed VRAM, and .5GB of lower speed VRAM. This can cause some problems after hitting the 3.5GB utilized mark. AMD has been taking jabs at Nvidia for this, and I just felt the need to make a funny, but bad, joke about it.

    The GTX 970 does TECHNICALLY have 4GB, but a lot of Nvidia customers are upset with it. I recommend this article http://techraptor.net/content/benchmarks-show-gtx-970-major-flaw and this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b74MYv8ldXc. Both are very insightful into what the situation is.

  • Francesco Morandotti

    thank you both for the info. cheers 😛