Date Published: Dec 6, 2016
If you're planning out a new gaming rig and want water cooling incorporated in some way without spending a fortune, the following best budget liquid cooling gaming build for $850 (in our honest opinion) may be up your ally.
Water cooling is a real neat feature in a gaming computer, however it's typically reserved for the more expensive high-end and extreme gaming rigs out there mainly due to cost as water cooling kits typically start from around 200-300 dollars.
However, if you still like the idea of water cooling (because let's face it, it beats air cooling in terms of performance, noise and it looks cool) and want to incorporate it into a smaller budget, you do have the option of simply getting a self-contained, pre-assembled water-cooling kit (also referred to as sealed liquid cooling kits or simply liquid CPU coolers).
This gets you a foot into the water-cooled world, and you'll have the benefits of water cooling (better performance with less noise as well) minus the cost and added complexity it takes to set up a full, custom water cooling setup with all the different pieces that goes into that.
A self-contained liquid cooler takes the same skill as installing a standard aftermarket CPU cooler so it's perfectly suited for beginner builders as well. All you really need to do is is attach a water block to your CPU, and a radiator and fan to your case.
They're very affordable and the one we've picked to include in this build (which we'll explain a bit about below) is around $60 and does a great job of liquid-cooling your i5-6600K CPU even if you choose to push it to its limits with overclocking.
Alright, let's get into the best budget liquid cooling gaming build for around $850 that will suit those wanting an entry-level water cooling solution in a very capable gaming PC.
|Motherboard||MSI B150A Gaming Pro|
|CPU||Intel Core i5 6600K 3.50 GHz|
|Liquid Cooler||Lepa AquaChanger 120 Liquid Cooling Unit|
|RAM||Kingston HyperX FURY 8GB (2x4GB) 2133MHz DDR4|
|Graphics Card||MSI Radeon RX 470 4GB|
|HDD||WD Blue 1TB|
|SSD||Kingston Digital 120GB SSDNow UV400|
|Power Supply||EVGA 500 B1 80+ BRONZE|
|Case||NZXT Source 530 Full Tower|
|LED Case Fans||Corsair Air Series AF120 LED Quiet Edition|
|Optical Drive||Asus 24x DVD-RW|
Motherboard: The MSI B150A Gaming Pro is a decent Skylake DDR4 motherboard that doesn't break the bank and supports overclocking, DDR4, and has an awesome red and black design that'll fit in with the rest of your components.
CPU: The Intel Core i5-6600K is very, very fast and all you need for high-end gaming and great productivity with other applications. It's overclock-able too, and if you do so it'll run nice and cool with the liquid cooler.
Liquid Cooler: The Lepa AquaChanger 120 Liquid Cooling Unit is in our opinion one of the better budget-conscious liquid CPU coolers out there, even though you may not have heard of the name. It also has cool red LED lighting that other competing liquid coolers, such as the Corsair H60, don't have. A great entry-level option for a water-cooled solution for your build without spending a ton of time and money on a full custom loop.
RAM: Pretty standard 8GB of DDR4 RAM running at 2133 Mhz which is all you need for gaming. Can't go wrong with Kingston branded RAM, either.
Graphics: The MSI RX 270 4GB is excellent bang for your buck right now at its current price of around $180 and will have you gaming in at a flawless 60FPS in 1080p/full HD resolution. 4GB of VRAM is also enough for games of today and into coming years, assuming you'll be playing at 1080p mainly.
Overall, the 270 is a great card for the price that's only a short step down from the next-tier RX 480. If the 470's price bumps up to over 200 for whatever reason though, you're probably better off getting the 480. But at $180 or less, the 470 is overall better bang for your buck IMHO.
HDD: 1TB from Western Digital is our go-to choice when it comes to traditional drives.
SSD: 140GB of fast SSD storage from Kingston will have your OS and other programs you choose to put on there loading infinitely faster compared to having them on a HDD.
PSU: 500 watts is plenty for this build, and the EVGA B1 is a decent quality well-priced unit so you can't go wrong there.
Case: The NZXT Source 530 is one of the best value full tower cases going around right now. Tons of room, great airflow, sturdy, and great looks.
Case Fans: The case includes 2 built-in fans for decent cooling, however you can add plenty more if you want or need. For this build I'd suggest 2 extra red LED 120mm fans which match the Liquid Cooler LED and adds further cool lighting to the build.
Optical Drive: Standard DVD Burner that's reliable at a fair price.
So that wraps up the best budget liquid cooling gaming build for under $850. Getting a liquid CPU cooler AKA a closed-loop water cooling unit is always going to be the easiest and cheapest way to incorporate water cooling in a custom PC.
In terms of performance, this rig will dominate gaming in 1080p and other non-gaming tasks, and it's also VR-ready. It's well poised for future upgrades and fully ready for overclocking with an unlocked processor, suitable motherboard, and excellent cooling.
Note from Admin - This was another of our reader-requested builds. If you want us to compile a specific build for you then check out our Personalized Gaming PC Parts-List Service.