Since AMD released their new line of GPUs and RAM prices have been going down to the lowest they’ve been in 3 years, there doesn’t seem to be a better time to build a nice PC. So, we’re going to build a budget PC that’ll be able to run pretty much anything except Batman: Arkham Knight. There might be some pieces that will be questionable, but everything will work really well together. As usual, cost is in USD and links are to Amazon.com unless specified. Let’s get started.
CPU: Intel Pentium G3258
A Pentium? Have I gone crazy? No. This isn’t your dad’s Pentium (which was awesome back in the day, mind you). This is an unlocked, fully overclockable Pentium dual core and is one of the best budget CPUs on the market today. As long as you overclock it, which is really easy with this chip and a cheap cooler, you’ll be able to get i5 comparable gaming performance with this awesome little chip.
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master RR-HT2-28PK-R1
That’s a long name, and isn’t a Hyper 212. Why not? Well, cause it’s half the cost and will be cooling an already cool running chip. Overclocking with this will be no problem, just don’t go crazy with the voltages. Getting around 4.0Ghz on this shouldn’t be too much of a problem, since getting there doesn’t require tons of voltage. Or you can just have cooler temperatures on the standard clock speed and not need to worry about if your chip will melt like with that terrible Intel cooler.
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-B85M-DS3H
Gigabyte is here and keeping it cost effective with a nice B85 motherboard. Wait, you don’t think you can overclock on B85 motherboards? Well, you can with this chip, and other Haswell refresh chips as well. Only certain boards do, though, and the overclocks differ from board to board, but this one will be perfect for us. The most stable overclock seen with this specific board is 4.2Ghz, and since you’ll want to shoot for around 4.0Ghz, you should be perfectly safe. This board doesn’t have a ton of ports and doesn’t have dual GPU support, but since it’s just a nice, cheap little build, the board doesn’t need to go insane. It’s like an AK47. It gets the job done.
I love the fact that the US now has RAM that doesn’t cost a 3rd of what most people spend on their GPUs. Seriously, this is awesome news and will only help builders in the future. Corsair Vengeance RAM is really nice, and comes in a pretty low profile for RAM with a heat spreader. Nothing too fancy though at 1600Mhz and these modules last a really long time, so if you have some laying around, you could easily and safely plop them into a new build.
HDD: Hitachi Deskstar 1TB
Hitachi wins again as the cheapest 1TB on PCPP at time of writing. And at the time of writing, it’s less than $40 on Amazon. That’s insane for a terabyte. That’s cheaper than most portables. So even if you’re a console peasant with an Xbox One or PS4 and want more storage cause of your puny 500GB hard drive, buy one of these, put it in a USB3.0 enclosure, and you’ll be enjoying what I’ve enjoyed since 2011.
GPU: MSI Armor 2X R9 380
A new graphics card? Well … no, not really. A new name, yes. But this is essentially just an R9 285 Tonga chip with slightly faster clock speeds. It’s a rebadge, but not a bad one. Significantly cheaper than the R9 285 when it launched, the 380 is still an excellent budget card at a good budget price, and despite going from second best to third place in AMD’s mind, this is still a great card. You get TruAudio, Freesync, bridgeless crossfire for when you need it, and smart VRAM design which allows for better speeds and allows for higher resolutions with less RAM. It’s like this was AMD’s first public HBM card but wasn’t actually HBM. Weird.
Case: Cooler Master N200
Okay, I love this case. I really do. Pardon me for giving some personal experience, but this case is amazing to build in. It’s roomy for an mATX, offers expandability with radiator areas and plenty of cable management room. If you’re going to buy a decent mATX case for less than $50, this is definitely the one to buy. It really is that good.
PSU: Corsair CX500M
Power supplies really love doing rebates these days. It’s weird, cause it makes me think I’m getting a cheaper PSU, but then says I need to jump through holes. Either way, you’ll love this PSU if you need a steady, capable supply. We’ve had it on here before, and I once again have personal experience with it. Managing it is simple, and it’s really a fine PSU for the money. Just don’t spend more than $60 on it.
So, there you have it. If you shop around a bit (or look at Pcpartpicker.com), you’ll be able to get this bad boy for a little more than a McKinley. That’s slang for a $500 bill. It will never catch on. This machine will give you enough juice to play most games that are DX11 or older and won’t require too much upgrading in the future. Some good upgrade paths would be a new CPU later on and maybe a new GPU in a few years, but this will get you onto the PC Master Race proudly and quickly.