The Round-Up: The Fastest Budget Gaming PC


The Round-Up: The Fastest Budget Gaming PC

Published: December 23, 2014 11:00 AM



What are you gonna do with all that holiday money you got (in a few days)? Well, I have an idea. New PC! Specifically the Fastest Budget Gaming PC you can buy. The budget? Around $600, or $500 if you enjoy doing rebates and stuff. $600 is considered by many to be the budget sweet spot, so that's what we'll be using. All prices are American, links are, but if you need localized prices, let me know in the comments and I'll help. Let's get started. 

CPU: AMD Athlon X4 860k


The Athlon X4 860k is a beastly overclocker when coupled with a good cooler. It also requires less power than the 760k, and is more efficient in almost every way because it is built on the Kaveri architecture. It's an APU without the discrete graphics on the die, so it'll produce less heat and overclock really well. The only downfall is its lack of L3 cache, which may cause a few frames to lose, but nothing too noticeable in the long run. And it's just $70 right now.


CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus

And this is that good cooler to couple the CPU with. Many people agree that the Hyper 212 Evo and Plus are the best coolers you can buy if you are on a budget, so it's perfect for this built. Even our own staff use it with their computers, so it's definitely recommended.


Motherboard: Asus A88XM-A

With a budget, mATX is usually the best you'll find, but that doesn't mean you lose a lot of features. You get onboard USB3.0 header, 4 rear USB ports, 4 RAM slots for upgradeability, and typical Asus quality. It's a great board for this, and even if you don't like the colour scheme, you won't see much of it anyway. Unless you're in Pittsburgh.

RAM: Team Dark Series 8GB 1600Mhz

This RAM will be just fine for this machine. Since it's a normal CPU, RAM speed won't make a huge difference in game, and since it's two DIMMs, we'll be able to run dual channel for good performance. You'll also be able to upgrade in the future, in case you want more RAM, and in case games suddenly need more. Team is also a really awesome RAM maker, mainly cause they have good competing heat spreaders but at a lot lower cost than competitors.


Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB

We've use this in a bunch of builds already, cause it's cheap, has great storage, and good quality. Can't go wrong with Seagate or WD, so if you can get one cheaper, buy it instead. Either way, I don't recommend less than 1TB these days, seeing as how games are getting stupid with sizes.

GPU: Sapphire Radeon R9 280


Sapphire is to AMD what EVGA is to Nvidia. Sapphire actually makes the reference PCBs for AMD cards, so they get to play with the architecture before any else, which is why the cost of Sapphire cards are usually so low. When this card debuted, it had an MSRP of around $280. Now it's at $185, or $165 if you use a rebate. AMD cut prices on almost all of their cards because of competition with Nvidia, which is awesome for us consumers! So you get ultra at 1080p graphics for just $180. That's amazing. (Go to Newegg.)

Case: Cougar Spike

It's a $30 case, and even though there are some things I'd change, you really can't complain too much. It's an amazing case, and good for newbies to build in. Plus, it's $30! That's crazy. I hope Cougar becomes a major player in the case area, cause they make good stuff.

PSU: Corsair CX500

While not a modular PSU, this is still a really good PSU. The case has some good management space, so moving any useless cables will be easy to do and maintaining good airflow will be simple. Really good PSU, Corsair makes nice stuff, and they almost always have rebates on to save more money.

So there you have it. The fastest budget gaming machine you could build. For $550 USD according to PCPricePicker without rebates, this thing is amazing. You could also use an Fx-6300 and cheap out on the motherboard for a similar price, but I personally wouldn't recommend that. This is a great computer for any newbies, and fast as heck. It'll play pretty much anything you throw at it at 1080p, except Assassin's Creed Unity, cause nothing can play that at any settings. The Amazon prices are a bit messed up, so shop around if needed.

Don't forget to check out our GameFanShop, where you can support the site and get an awesome game in return. There are a good number on sale right now!

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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.