Good builds can be costly, however with enough thought put into it, you can create a relatively cheap build with incredible performance. This build features an Intel Core i5, Zotac GeForce GTX 960, and a Corsair CX 500W power supply, for only $711.05 (prices may vary).
CPU: Intel Core i5-4460k
As stated in the name, Intel’s Intel Core series has been a reliable and powerful choice for gamers since PC gaming itself. The only compromise to fit into the budget is that it is 4th gen, compared to Intel’s new 6th gen Skylake line of processors. It may seem like a terrible idea to choose this, however the Broadwell 5th gen processor is about $290 and the Skylake processor is $400, both of which are around half of our budget. I would definitely recommend upgrading this to 5th or 6th gen, or maybe even another company if it’s compatible and you can fit it in your budget.
Motherboard: Asus H97M-E/CSM Micro ATX LGA1150
This motherboard an easy choice, it was compatible and fit the needs of the modern gamer. This is also subject to change depending on the changes you make on other things in the build. This motherboard runs at about $90, which is a pretty good deal.
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory
Corsair’s Vengeance is like any other stick of ram you can find. DDR3 GB ram seemed like a good offer and was enough for most gaming. Ram is easily upgradable, and you could upgrade to 16GB which wouldn’t cost much more and would be enough for a while.
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM HHD and PNY CS1211 240GB SSD
Seagate in particular has some great cheap prices on hard drives. The majority of this is because Solid State Drives are now standard for new ultrabooks and laptops not made for gaming. Hard drives come in bigger sizes for much cheaper prices, and will not make any more compromises as we’re also including the PNY CS1211 240GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive. This comes in 240GB, and will offer the speed boosts and faster boot times, while also having another drive for extra archiving and storage for games.
GPU: Zotac GeForce GTX 960 2GB Video Card
Things take a turn to get more interesting at this part. The CPU was barely a compromise, and henceforce the GPU will also have no compromises besides the fact that there are obviously better, faster, and more expensive video cards out there. Again, this area is easily upgradable if you wish, and have the budget to allow it. This card is reputable and runs for about $183.
Case: Fractal Design Core 1500 MicroATX Mini Tower Case
This is one of the areas that aren’t anything special, besides that they don’t have anything special to fit into the budget. This case works properly, and is compatible which makes it another easy option. If you need to make changes to this because of other changes you made, or you just want it to be open-window, it shouldn’t be very difficult.
Power Supply:Corsair CX 500W Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply
This power supply fits the budget nicely, running at $60 and working well with the moderately-powered computer.
Conclusion and Compromises:
This build is great – featuring a great CPU and GPU, while making no other major compromises. Compromises, however, do include having to use the standard cooler that comes with the case, an older CPU and GPU, many other boring items, and having to include an HDD (however, we did also include an SSD to go along with it). All of these, if you haven’t noticed, are easily fixable as you please.
This is a versatile build, which means you can change the CPU to a Haswell or even Skylake (You do need a LGA 1151 motherboard for Skylake), change the GPU to a 970 or 980, add a better case, better cooler, and more RAM too before building. The CPU and cooler are the biggest drawbacks, since you cannot attempt to speed up the older CPU very much because of the cooler. The entire build, however, is actually decent. Be sure to return on Sunday for a ultimate gaming rig article.
Edited By: Koji Hirai