Building an affordable gaming rig is easy and everyone can do it as long as you know what kind of experience you want from your computer. Well, of course, everyone wants to play any game at maximum level; HD graphics minus lags, freezes, force closes or even reboots. These kinds of problems should not occur while playing DOTA 2 or any other games for that matter but we all know building a future-proof rig is not cheap. However, there are setups that are affordable but give you the gaming experience you always wanted.
In this post, I will nominate components you can use in building a budget-friendly gaming PC. The price, however, may vary from store to store so the figures below may not be as accurate. So, continue reading this post to know one of the best 500 dollar gaming PC builds in 2017.
Price: $50 – $60
For a budget PC, I will opt for the Asus A68HM-E Micro ATX FM2+ for my mobo. It supports up to 32GB of DDR3 (1333 / 1600 / 1866 / 2133 / 2400) RAM to make sure there’s enough memory for optimum gaming experience. And while it’s compatible with graphics-integrated CPUs, it has a PCIe slot you can use for dedicated graphics card, which offers a performance boost especially if you’re into graphics-intensive games.
It has 4 SATA 6 Gb/s connectors, which is more than enough, and other standard connectors and ports; there are 2 USB 2.0 and 2 USB 3.0 ports you can use.
Overall, this mobo works great actually and for its price, it’s one of the best you can get when you’re building a budget PC. The only downside is that it doesn’t have USB 3.0 headers, so even if you have a case with USB 3.0 ports, you can’t use them because there are no pinouts on the mobo.
Price: $95 – $100
Now, for the processor that fits our mobo, I will recommend AMD Athlon X4 860K 3.7GHz. The default operating frequency is actually enough for games running at ultra high settings but you can actually overclock it up to 4.4GHz or settle down at 4.2GHz just to be on the safe side.
While I emphasized above that we are using a mobo that is compatible with graphics-integrated CPUs, this one doesn’t have integrated graphics so we really can’t enjoy such feature. However, we are not after the onboard graphics since we are building a gaming rig.
It is x64-compatible so we can install 64-bit operating system to boost the performance of your computer.
Price: $30 – $40
While the CPU I cited above already comes with its own cooler, I suggest that you replace it with Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler just to make sure the CPU won’t go past its heat threshold. Games running at high to ultra high settings will make the CPU hotter and the original cooler may not be able to cool it down faster just to avoid overheating. It does its job well for its price.
Now, for first time builders, this cooler could be a pain install but just read the instructions and you can make it right in one try. One tip though, push down on the springs to line up the screws and make sure to apply the thermal paste properly. Aside from the fact that it’s bulky, this CPU cooler is best bang for your buck.
Price: $180 – $200
For the dedicated video card for this build, I suggest you use Asus Radeon R7 370 clocked at 1.05GHz and 2GB dedicated memory. It’s very quiet and capable of anything you throw at it. If you’re into gaming with GTA V, you can run the game on high settings with 50 fps without any lag.
It has two coolers so you can expect it to run at optimum performance without going beyond its temp threshold. It’s one of your best options when building a budget-friendly gaming rig.
Price: $70 – $80
For our memory, try using Kingston HyperX Fury Blue 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 or any equivalent brand that you trust. I chose this specific product for its price and style; it’s budget-friendly and has a sleek design without any fancy heatsinks. If you’re into overclocking, this component can surely hold up even if your system pushes up to 4.4GHz.
Price: $50 – $60
When it comes to hard drives, they’re actually priced at almost the same range for their capacities so anything will do but for this build, I suggest you use this Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive.
Western Digital is a bit lower in price than other leading brands but it also has a good reputation when it comes to this component.
Power Supply Unit
Price: $40 – $50
Now that we’ve covered the essential components, it’s time to choose the power supply unit to use and I suggest EVGA 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply. The 500-watt power output is more than enough to power up our 500 dollar gaming PC. It’s 80 Plus certified which means it’s more energy efficient than other PSUs that don’t have this certification. For a build like this, this power supply will be one of your best choices in the market price- and performance-wise.
Price: $45 – $50
I’m not really into having good cases myself as long as everything fits but if you really want your build to look amazing on the outside, I suggest you use Thermaltake Commander MS-I ID ATX Mid Tower Case, which is one of the best cases for its price range in the market today. It’s perfect for your mobo with a bulky CPU cooler and ventilation is never a problem with it.
Lastly, as for the operating system, having Windows 10 Home to run on your rig would be enough to make games run without issues. Of course, to enjoy optimum performance, use 64-bit so the memory would never go to waste. Remember, 32-bit only uses a maximum 3GB of RAM whereas having 64-bit will make sure all the 8GB of memory will be properly used.
As far as building a budget gaming PC is concerned, this build would be enough to cater all your gaming needs without much of an effort. Newly released video games will run at maximum settings without any issues. You will never go wrong with this build as every component cited here will be the best bang for your buck. The downside, however, is that unlike Intel builds, there’s not much room to grow for future upgrades.