Monthly Builds 1: $500, $750, $1000 Budget PCs! September 2017
If you’re planning a new PC build, this video is for you. Howdy howdy guys, ponchato here, and welcome to a new series of videos I’m calling ‘Monthly Builds’. A lot of you have asked for budget build recommendations, so in these videos I’ll show you what components I would pick for gaming PC builds at $500, $750, and $1000 budgets. I’ll be uploading a new video in this series at the beginning of every month with updated prices, recommendations, and changes based on new or discontinued products, so you’ll always have an up to date build guide. Without further ado, let’s get started with the September edition of Monthly Builds. First up we’ll look at the $500 build.
I chose $500 as the starting point because below this budget you’ll really have to cut corners and take some serious performance losses. In fact right now, it’s almost impossible to build a gaming PC with all new components for less than $500. For the CPU, I chose an Intel G4560 at around $90. This processor performs well, and really won’t bottleneck any GPU below a GTX 1060.
Because of that and the LGA 1151 socket, it offers some pretty easy upgrade paths without needing to build a whole new computer in the future. For the GPU, I picked EVGA’s GTX 1050 Ti SC for $160. The 1050 Ti is fantastically positioned for budget builds – it’s about 25 to 30% faster than the GTX 1050 or RX 560. This card will easily cover low to medium settings in modern games at 1080p. Plus, the 1050 Ti is very power efficient so it won’t produce much noise or heat, which is nice in budget builds where those factors are usually sacrificed.
The motherboard I picked is the Gigabyte GA-B250M-DS3H for $70. Because the G4560 can’t be overclocked, we can make up some of the budget by picking a cheaper motherboard like this. It still has an M.2 connector for SATA or NVMe SSDs, and four DIMM slots to add extra memory in the future. The memory I selected is the Ballistix Sport LT DDR4-2400 8GB kit for $70. 8GB of RAM will cover you in every current game, and it doesn’t look like we’ll need more than 8GB any time soon.
Storage will be delegated to a WD Blue 1TB hard drive for $50. It’s a 7200RPM drive, so load and boot times will still be manageable, and at this budget the limiting factors are the CPU and GPU anyway. The power supply I picked is the VS600 from Corsair for $45. It’s 80 plus certified and comes with a 3 year warranty, which is above average for power supplies in this price range. 600W is more than enough to power a G4560 and 1050 Ti. The reason I picked this power supply is because it will give you room to grow with future upgrades, and you don’t save much money by choosing a lower wattage anyway. The last piece of the $500 puzzle is the Rosewill FBM-X1 case for $27. Rosewill isn’t known for the quality of their power supplies and other components, but they do get one thing very right: budget cases. The FBM-X1 is under $30, comes preinstalled with a 120mm intake fan and 80mm exhaust fan, and has a side window to show off your parts.
In fact, when this case was first released, it stayed out of stock for several weeks because it was so popular. So here’s the list for the $500 build: an Intel G4560 for $90, EVGA GTX 1050 Ti SC for $160, Gigabyte GA-B250M-DS3H (that’s a mouthful) for $70, Ballistix Sport LT 2x4GB DDR4 kit for $70, WD Blue 1TB hard drive for $50, Corsair VS600 for $45, and finally the Rosewill FBM-X1 case for $27. The total for all of this comes out to $509, just above the budget. If you want to grab any or all of those parts, links are in the description.
Next, we’ll look at the $750 build. This is, in my opinion, the sweet spot for price to performance. If you can swing a budget between about $500 and $800, I’d highly recommend this build. First, the CPU. I chose AMD’s Ryzen 3 1200 for $110 because it’s such a strong contender in this price range. It’s a true quad core, 3.1GHz base with a 3.4GHz boost, but the biggest reason that I recommend the 1200 is because it’s unlocked. You can overclock it, right out of the box, and the stock cooler is good enough to actually get you pretty far. In fact, I was able to overclock mine to 4.0GHz just with the stock cooler. That gives you a significant performance advantage over Intel’s budget offering, the G4560. The GPU I recommend pairing with the Ryzen 3 1200 is the EVGA GTX 1060 3GB GAMING card for around $220. The 1060 is about 50% faster than the 1050 Ti – right on par with the RX 480 and 580 from AMD, without the $400 price tag. This will easily run most games on medium to high settings at 1080p and 60FPS, and some games like esports titles at 120FPS or above.
The motherboard will come from Gigabyte again, this time the GA-AB350M-Gaming 3 microATX board for $80. Because the Ryzen 3 can be overclocked, you’ll want a bit higher quality board like this to get the best overclock and highest stability. It also has an M.2 slot (which we’ll be using) compatible with SATA or NVMe SSDs, and 4 DIMM slots for expandable memory. Memory is unchanged from the $500 build; again I’ll pick the Ballistix Sport LT DDR4-2400 8GB kit for $70. The nice thing about a Ryzen 3 build is that the memory can be overclocked as well. Most people should be able to reach DDR4-2667 or 2800 on this kit, and with mine I was actually able to push it all the way to 2933MHz. The storage I picked comes again from WD, this time their 500GB WD Blue M.2 SSD for $150. This drive is just about the least expensive 500GB M.2 drive available, and will provide you with excellent boot and load times. The power supply I recommend for this budget is the EVGA 600 BQ for $60. It’s an 80+ Bronze, semi modular power supply with a fluid dynamic bearing fan – that means it’ll run quietly.
It comes with all the important protections like over voltage and short circuit protection, and has a 3 year warranty. The big thing is that it’s modular – modular power supplies are easier to work with and make managing cables a much simpler task. For the case, I picked the S340 mid tower from NZXT for $70. This is a very attractive and very popular case, with good reason. It comes with either a white or black exterior, side panel window to show off your components, and power supply shroud to cover up unsightly cables, house any hard drives, and keep your airflow channels unobstructed. Very attractive indeed. So here’s the recap of my $750 build recommendation: a Ryzen 3 1200 for $110, EVGA GTX 1060 3GB GAMING for $220, Gigabyte GA-AB350M-Gaming 3 motherboard for $80, Ballistix Sport LT 8GB memory kit for $70, 500GB WD Blue M.2 SSD for $150, EVGA 600 BQ power supply for $60, and finally the NZXT S340 case for $70. That brings it to a total of $760, just over our budget, and a really nice spot for price to performance.
Links to all those components are in the description below. Finally, we have the $1000 build. This will really let you have some of the bells and whistles of more expensive computers, while still keeping it at a reasonable price. First up, the CPU. I picked the Ryzen 5 1600 for $210 for this build for two reasons: first, it’s a 6 core/12 thread processor so it will have a long useful lifespan as games get more multithreaded. Second, like the Ryzen 3 it’s unlocked. That means you can easily overclock it to get more performance, without spending an extra dime. As for the GPU, I recommend the GTX 1060 6GB Mini from Zotac for $285. The GTX 1060 6GB is actually not the same GPU as the 1060 3GB, despite sharing the same name. It’s between 5 and 20% faster than the 3GB, and in some games as much as 40% faster or better. Because 1060s have been hit by the cryptocurrency mining craze, they do go in and out of stock fairly often. If the Zotac 1060 is out of stock when you see this video, I have a link in the description to see all in stock 1060s.
The motherboard will come from Asus this time, their Prime B350-Plus full ATX board for $100. The Prime comes with 2 PCIe x16 slots, an M.2 slot compatible with SATA or NVMe SSDs, 4 DIMM slots, and 3 fan headers. It also has an RGB header if you want to add some flashy LEDs to your build. My memory recommendation is unchanged with the Ballistix Sport LT DDR4-2400 8GB kit for $70. The reason I didn’t opt for faster rated memory is two-fold: first, Ryzen systems allow you to overclock the memory so you can get better performance for free, and second, I think the extra money is better spent on other components like the GPU or case. Storage is also unchanged with the WD Blue M.2 500GB SSD for $150 making the list.
It’s unfortunate that there isn’t an intermediary between 500GB and 1TB SSDs, because the next step up from this WD Blue, a 1TB drive, would completely blow the budget at $300. The power supply I recommend is from Thermaltake: the Smart Pro RGB 750W for $80. It’s fully modular, 80+ Bronze rated, and has a sweet RGB ring around the 140mm fan. In addition to looking cool, the fan also drops to 0 RPM when the system is under light loads, so it’s silent at idle.
On top of all that, it has a huge 7 year warranty. That’s high quality. I had a bit of a toss-up when it came to deciding on a case. Because at this budget you can expect to get every feature you want, it’s more down to what design you prefer. The first case I considered is the Corsair Crystal Series 460X for $110. It has a tempered glass side panel and front panel, very cool and open design, and has great cable management options. I’d call this one the ‘stylish’ choice. The other case I considered is DeepCool’s Earlkase for $90. It has extensive support for liquid cooling, similarly great cable management options, and in my opinion it just looks mean. Wrapping up the $1000 build, we have the Ryzen 5 1600 for $210, GTX 1060 6GB for $285, Asus Prime B350-Plus motherboard for $100, Ballistix Sport LT 8GB memory kit for $70, WD Blue M.2 500GB SSD for $150, Thermaltake Smart Pro RGB 750W power supply for $80, and either the Corsair Crystal Series 460X for $110 or DeepCool Earlkase for $90.
That comes out to $1,015 with the 460X or $995 with the Earlkase. Regardless of which case you pick, you’ll have a monster of a computer that looks as good as it performs. Links to all those components are in the description below. So that’s it for the first episode of Monthly Builds. If you’re thinking about building a gaming PC for the first time, welcome to the community and be sure to check out my build videos to see how it’s done. If you’re a veteran and you just needed to catch up, I hope these recommendations helped you. If you want to get notified of new videos as soon as they’re up, hit subscribe and then click the bell icon to enable notifications.
Links to all the build components are in the description below. So guys if you liked this video, hit the like button, if you want to see more hit subscribe, and if you have any questions about these builds or the components I picked, leave them in the comments below. Thanks for watching, I hope I helped, and I’ll see you in the next video..
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