building a budget gamer PC

anyone here build their own PCs or planning on building a new one? I’ve put together a component list for a budget PC build that I invite you to look at. It’s a Core i5, 8GB ram setup for $800 for the base hardware, though I also have suggestions for upgrades. Check it out and let me know your thoughts/suggestions.

UPDATE: I’ve adjusted the Budget Gamer Box to a Core i3 and much improved Radeon 7850 gpu, as Dave suggested, still at the $800 price point. This will be much faster overall.

Also, I created a separate page for the $1200 spec, now renamed the Professional Gamer’s Box. This one is Core i5 and overclock friendly, with a future Crossfire upgrade path.

Support independent journalism

  • I would suggest going ahead and budgeting for in i7, or at least a motherboard that will upgrade to one.

    I may have more thoughts, but I’ve been Pope-blogging and now I have an appointment. Maybe more later. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I’m going to disagree with Dean. I think an i5 is good enough. I recently built my own box more like the $1200 build that Aziz describes around an i5 CPU and I’m quite happy with it. For a gaming box, the limit is really going to be the the graphics card. If I were going to change the budget build at all, I’d make it a $900 machine and spend all the money on a better graphics card. But for many people, making the $800 price point will be more important.

  • For a gamer PC I must agree; I’m wrong and Dave’s right. The graphic card is the most important thing, although an i7-3820 can be bought very cheap right now and is a hell of a buy, but, it would be about $100 more and if budget’s your thing, then, i5 is probably the way to go. That motherboard will upgrade to an i7 later if you want to. The power supply needs to be at least 500w and have PCIE connectors, and you’ve got a perfect one: 600w and two PCIE, nice.

    I really don’t think you can beat that except by shaving pennies here and there. Although you might want to squeeze in money for a 16 or better 32 gig flash drive that you can stick in there and dedicate to ReadyBoost, which is built into Windows Vista, 7, and 8, and which does advanced disc caching and can significantly boost speed on disk-intensive games.

    That otherwise looks like a pretty solid build with room to grow. You even picked a case with bottom-mounted hard drive, which is very smart. You’ll like this machine and have fun building it with your kids I bet.

  • its worth noting that the i3 has hyperthreading but no multicore, the i5 has multicore but no hyperthreading, and the i7 has both.

    also, you can do ReadyBoost using a USB3 jumpdrive plugged in, but to be honest I am skeptical of ReadyBoost’s value. If anything I’d throw in the SSD from teh 1200 build as the first upgrade.

    Actually, I am going to make some adjustments to the build, from what I am reading, an i3 is actually sufficient for gaming with a single card. I’m going to tweak the two builds to have an i3 at the 800 mark and use that savings to beef up the GPU, and for teh 1200 i’ll go with an i5-k toi allow overclocking on that Z77 board.

    I shoudl also clarify that I’m not building this PC for me, I am speccing a system for anyone who might be inclined to build. I built a PC two years ago and cant justify another build just yet ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’d really appreciate comments on that page to help me refine it over time. The intention is to create an always-updated single point of reference for anyone looking to build an entry-level system with gaming capability.

    I can’t see any need for an i7 in any PC, to be honest. hyperthreading and multicore? only if you’re doing video rendering or something like that.

  • ok, updated the Budget box and also created a separate spec sheet for a Professional box. post updated accordingly

  • its worth noting that the i3 has hyperthreading but no multicore, the i5 has multicore but no hyperthreading, and the i7 has both.

    Just for reference the Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 are all multicore.

    The intel i3 is multicore in dual core configuration.

    The intel i5 comes in dual or quad core.

    The intel i7 “comes in 2, 4, and 6 core flavors.

    The core i5 is pretty much a core i7 with less cache and Hyper-Threading turned off.

    I haven’t used ReadyBoost since I was beta testor for Windows Vista, but it held little value then, and I suspect that hasn’t changed much.

  • you’re right Sandi I am getting confused between hperthreading and multicore – too many buzzwords. ๐Ÿ˜›

    please do look at teh $1200 build. The GPU choice was an agonizing one because I prefer nvidia but had to admit the radeons just had better value at present, at least in my price point.

    I am thinking of doing one more tier above $1200 but am not sure what is ideal. $1500? or jump to $2000?