Best Budget Gaming Desktop Computer Builds: June 2017

(Best PC Builds for $500 and $800)




Special June 2017 Announcement:

We're excited to announce after months in the works we're finally releasing our new comprehensive, image-filled step by step downloadable eBook that covers the entire process of building your first killer gaming PC from absolute scratch in more detail than you'll find anywhere (and all in the one place in a convenient, easy-to-follow & printable PDF). 

To celebrate the launch and as a thanks to our regular readers who will see this in time, we're offering a large 50% off if you pre-order your copy BEFORE launch day. This game-changing new guide also comes with some cool, handy bonuses. Learn more here.



Last Updated: June 5th, 2017

Welcome to our latest lineup of the best budget gaming desktop builds where each and every month we do the extensive research to show you how to get the most bang for your buck when choosing parts for your custom gaming computer.

On this page we have the Budget and Mid-Range builds to maximize budgets of approximately $500 and $800 (US Dollars) respectively which will have you playing the latest games smoothly for a while to come without breaking the bank.

Head on over to our monthly High-End Gaming PC Builds instead if you have a larger budget for an even more powerful and feature-rich build.

You can use these custom build examples exactly as they are or as a base of inspiration to make your own tweaks and adjustments, but if you do mix and match these builds around or use other components altogether make sure to do your due-diligence to ensure 100% compatibility between whichever parts you end up getting.

At the bottom of the page we also list our top recommended peripherals/accessories and operating system software to be used in conjunction with these builds should you want advice on that too.

If you get stuck and want expert 1 on 1 help we do offer an email help service where we can either critique your custom parts-list or design a brand new build for your exact budget and needs. Otherwise you can reach out to us here if you have a quick question and we'll do our best to help where we can (just please don't send a 10 page essay as we have lives too :P).

Without further ado let's get into the best budget gaming desktop computer build for this month that will please gamer's looking to run the latest PC titles smoothly in 1080p (full HD) resolution at a very affordable price:



Best "Budget" Gaming Computer Build for June 2017


(Top Performance & Reliability for ~ $500)




*All prices listed were correct at the time of writing but may fluctuate from day to day.


Expected Performance:

  • 1080p (1920 x 1080):
    Smooth
  • 1440p (2560 x 1440):
    Playable/Average
  • 4K (3840 × 2160):
    Unplayable

The above is the expected average performance of this build for each main resolution in modern, graphically-demanding games on ultra settings (maximum in-game graphics settings).






The Budget Build: Parts-List Breakdown

You don't need to break the bank to build a capable gaming desktop computer to play the latest games, and this custom build is a great example of that. It's all you really need for smooth 1080p gaming, unless you absolutely want flawless performance on max settings in the most demanding of titles in which case the next "Mid-Range" build below would be better suited for that. But this budget build really stretches your money quite far.

It includes the excellent value for money i3-7100 processor, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card which holds its own against the latest games. To top it off you have a reliable yet well-priced motherboard, case, power supply, and 1TB hard drive.

Keep in mind the above list of components does not include the operating system (OS) software which is required for a new running PC. In fact, so is a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and either a set of speakers or a headset for audio (if your monitor doesn't have built-in audio). We provide suggestions for these parts later on in this guide below.

This budget gaming desktop computer will easily outperform many pre-built computers that sell for WAY more than this, and is a shining example of why building is almost always better than buying pre-built (plus it's way more fun and satisfying). Also, even though it's kind of a meaningless comparison, you'll find this PC to be more powerful than current generation consoles as well.

Alright, for those who want to get into the nitty gritty details, let's take a closer look at each carefully-selected component and why they made the cut:

Graphics Card

Starting off with the all-important graphics card which is the biggest factor when it comes to gaming performance, and the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB is hard to look past when building a budget gaming PC as it offers excellent bang for your buck.

This card will have you playing the latest games smoothly in full HD (1080p resolution), even with in-game graphic settings turned up to the max. The 4GB of video memory (also known as the VRAM - not to be confused with the RAM which we'll get to below) it comes with is also plenty for games of today and into the future.

Processor

Now to the CPU/Processor, which is the second most important component in a gaming system, and we've gone for the Intel Core i3-7100 which is the latest 7th generation budget CPU from Intel.

This chip is great value for money and an excellent choice for a gaming CPU if you want to keep costs low. It comes with a fairly decent stock cooler which is good enough to keep things running nice and cool, so no need to invest more money into an aftermarket cooler.

Motherboard

Now to the motherboard, which you could consider the heart of your gaming machine where your other components all connect to, and we have the MSI Pro B250 which will pair up with your i3 well and has all the features you really need for a budget gaming PC. It'a a smaller micro-ATX sized board, but that doesn't limit you in any way - especially not for a basic build like this.

RAM

Now to the memory which is still a fairly important piece of the puzzle, yet much less crucial than your CPU or graphics card. We chose the Crucial 8GB (DDR4, 1 x 8GB, 2333 MHz) because it's cheap, fast DDR4 memory from a trusted name in the memory game. 8GB is the sweet spot right now for gaming, and you don't need anything more than this for games now and into the near future.

You could shave off a few dollars by going for 4GB and get away with it (ie not noticing much of a difference in gaming performance), however now we're starting to see some games really benefiting from 6GB and above so you might aswell get 8GB and be done with it. RAM is fairly cheap. As for getting more than 8GB? Waste of money for a budget-friendly build and better spent somewhere else.


Hard Drive

Now to your storage and when building a PC on a tight budget it's probably best to avoid SSDs (Solid State Drives) because traditional storage offers much more space per dollar. However, if you do want to take advantage of faster boot and application load time and don't mind spending an extra 50 bucks or so on your build, the SSD included in the upcoming Mid-Range build below would be our suggestion and will fit into this build without problems.

Ok, as for the standard hard drive we've included in this budget build, you can't go wrong with the very pouplar Western Digital 1TB Blue. Good value and Western Digital are a top name for reliability. If you want to get a Seagate drive instead, they're totally fine too and would be our second choice.

1TB is more than enough storage space to please most, however since this is a "budget" PC you could save a little extra money by opting for a smaller size such as 750GB, 500GB or even 250GB if you don't think you'll need much space. Storage size is totally dependent on your needs, so the 1TB we've included is just a suggestion.

Power Supply

Now onto the often-overlooked PSU (don't underestimate the importance of a decent PSU) and we have the well-priced EVGA B1 500 Watts which is a solid budget-conscious choice to reliably power this gaming PC. It's a decent quality unit with a 80+ Bronze rating which is nice, and 500 watts is more than enough for our needs including plenty of wiggle room to accommodate any potential upgrades you may wish to make later.

Case

Finally we have the Rosewill Galaxy-01 ATX Mid Tower which fits our needs nicely as a budget-friendly case that doesn't sacrifice too much on quality. It's sturdy enough and will comfortably house all of your precious components with room for potential upgrades too.

It's got decent airflow for such a cheap case, 3 pre-installed fans, plenty of ports (including a USB 3 port on the front) and drive bays, and is easy to work with for first-time builders. To top it off it has a nice blue LED lighting effect. This case has stood the test of time and is a very popular option among first-time builders, and for good reason as it's great value overall. Just don't expect anything fancy.




Best "Mid-Range" Gaming Computer Build for June 2017


(Top Performance & Reliability for ~ $800)




*All prices listed were correct at the time of writing but may fluctuate from day to day.


Expected Performance:

  • 1080p (1920 x 1080):
    Flawless
  • 1440p (2560 x 1440):
    Smooth
  • 4K (3840 × 2160):
    Average

The above is the expected average performance of this build for each main resolution in modern, graphically-demanding games on ultra settings (maximum in-game graphics settings).






The Mid-Range Build: Parts-List Breakdown

This well-balanced, very high-performing and awesome-looking gaming desktop computer build boasts a brand new super-fast AMD Ryzen processor and a powerful GTX 1060 6GB graphics card which is capable of flawless gaming in 1080p (full HD) and very decent performance in 1440p. It's also built to last, upgrade-friendly and newbie-friendly. Let's get into our part choices in more detail.

Graphics Card

First to what matters most to us gamers, and at this moment in time if you're putting together a new gaming build around this sort of price range the EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB won't let you down. We've opted for the 6GB version of the 3GB variant with our logic being that if you're dropping a decent amount of coin on a rig like this then you may as well future-proof that little bit more

With this card in your arsenal your PC will dominate modern gaming in 1080p on ultra settings, and it'll also fair quite nicely in 1440p too. As for 4K? It's playable for most games, but we'd recommend the upcoming high-end gaming build for the best 4K and VR experience.

It's worth noting that for this price point it's pretty much neck and neck between the 1060 and AMD's direct competitor in the recently-released RX 580. Either will do just fine and the reason we've opted for the 1060 is because of its better current availability and price. But if you can get your hands on a 580 for a solid price then go right ahead!

Processor

For a mid-tier gaming desktop computer the recently-released AMD Ryzen 5 1500X chip is now one of the best choices in terms of bang for your buck and replaces our previous Intel i5 recommendation.

It comes with a decent stock fan which will be adequate for most people if you won't be overclocking. The new Ryzen range from AMD has not disappointed and produces seriously solid gaming and non-gaming performance per dollar and has our full stamp of approval.

Motherboard

The Gigabyte GA-AB350 is a good no-frills, well-priced motherboard that'll serve as a great base for your AMD Ryzen build, and aesthetically fits in well with the red-themed case. Gigabyte produce some of the best value, easy-to-use motherboards around and this one is no exception. 'Nuff said.

RAM

As for the RAM we've gone for 8GB of DDR4 RAM again which is plenty for modern gaming now and into the near future. Specifically, the Ballistix Sport LT 8GB, which again fits in well with the red theme of this build (hope you like red!).

If you want to get more memory to further future-proof your build (and increase performance in other non-gaming more-memory intensive applications such as video editing and/or 3D rendering/animation) then that's fine but just keep in mind that when it comes to gaming you won't see much of a difference (if any) between 8GB and 16GB in 2017.


Storage

The standard 1TB hard drive from the previous budget build remains the same, however for the mid-range PC we've also included an SSD in the great bang-for-your-buck SanDisk SSD PLUS 120GB. You don't NEED an SSD, but these days they're fairly affordable and it's a very nice addition to any build that will allow you boot your PC (and any programs you throw on the drive) quite a bit faster.

Case

The Corsair Carbide SPEC-01 is one of the better budget to mid-range priced cases and will house your precious parts well. It's got the quality, features and looks of more expensive cases out there, yet it's only around 50 bucks. It's also got a clear side panel so you can see the insides of your new masterpiece in action. Highly recommended.

Power Supply

Some beginners make the tempting sin of picking the cheapest PSU they can get their hands on in order to cut costs on their build thinking that it doesn't matter, but as we've said before (it's worth mentioning again) this is the last thing you want to do. The quality of your PSU does matter and it's a definite risk to have a low quality unit powering your expensive components.

For this month's mid-range build we have the good quality, reliable EVGA GQ 650. Can't go wrong with a good EVGA PSU - they have really shaken up the PSU market in recent times and for good reason.

The 650W GQ is gold-rated which is the minimum rating we'd suggest for a mid to high-end PC (even though the rating isn't the only determining factor of quality; it's a good starting point though). 650 watts is more than enough with plenty of room for any type of upgrade you may wish to make to this gaming build down the track.





Best Operating System & Peripherals for Budget Builds



Recommended Operating System:


Note this is the USB flash drive version, but if you plan on getting an optical drive for your build then we'd suggest getting the disc version of Windows as it's usually cheaper.

Recommended Monitors:



See Also: Best Gaming Monitors

Recommended Keyboards/Mice



See Also: Best Gaming Mice and Best Gaming Keyboards

Recommended Headset:



See Also: Best Gaming Headsets

Recommended Speakers:



See Also: Best Gaming Speakers




For either builds above, you may want to consider the following add-on components (DVD drive, wireless card, mouse mat and anti-static wristband) depending on your wants/needs, however they are all optional and not required for a complete build.


  • Asus DVD Drive - These days you don't require an optical drive (ie the DVD drive above) as most people download all their games using Steam, but the above Asus drive is what we'd recommend if you still want one. Note that if you DO get a DVD drive like this one, you may as well get the Windows 10 Disc Version instead of the USB-install version that we've suggested above as the disc version is typically cheaper.
  • TP-Link Wireless Card - If you want your desktop to have wireless internet/networking capabilities you'll require a wireless adapter card such as this one which fits into your motherboard, although you can get USB dongle versions too (we prefer the card as it frees up a USB port). Whilst all motherboards support LAN/wired networking, they rarely have built-in wireless support unfortunately.
  • SteelSeries Gaming MousePad - If your desk doesn't allow for smooth, comfortable mouse movement (or you just prefer a mousepad) then it's worth picking up a cheap, decent pad like this one to improve your gaming experience.
  • Anti-Static Wrist Band - This is something you wear whilst building a PC to avoid damaging your precious components with anti-static electricity, however it's totally optional as you can apply the same effect by constantly grounding yourself by touching your case with one hand before handling your hardware (see more in our PC building guide). If you wish to take extra precaution though, get the wrist band as it costs nothing and can give extra peace of mind.




Building Your New Custom Gaming Computer



If you're putting together your very first budget/mid-range gaming desktop computer you can rest assured that these days it's fairly straightforward and kinda like Adult lego. You don't need prior experience but it helps to have a step by step guide to do it the right, safe way and avoid problems. We have created two guides that covers everything you need to know:

  • Free PC Building Guide - If you don't need too much guidance and are already fairly confident with building your PC, check out our collection of free installation articles.

  • The Gaming Build Blueprint - For those craving more detail and specific guidance as well as images and diagrams to make it easier to follow along (and/or print out), this is our comprehensive eBook covering every step of building a gaming PC from scratch. It includes a full primer on hardware basics, more info on choosing components that we couldn't fit into the above build breakdowns, detailed troubleshooting tips, and more.




Want Expert 1-on-1 Help Choosing Parts for Your Build?


If you're stuck or overwhelmed with picking the perfect parts-list for your exact budget to build the absolute best PC for your wants and needs, we do offer 1-on-1 gaming PC help via email where we can either give you a thorough critique of your build to help you to tweak and improve it, or we can research a fresh new fully-personalized list of parts that fits your situation best. Learn more here.






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