Building a Gaming PC Yourself
We walked through building your own computer before. In this post we will update periodically prizes and components of change you We can also walk us through the materials we need for three different systems built: a budget workstation, a powerful all-purpose PC and the system of passionate for gamers and professionals.
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While some consider the office a dead platform, there are still many of us who use them as much or more laptops or tablets, like playing PC games, or just enjoying dirty hands and build our own systems. Before going further, it should be emphasized that these built PCs are designed to optimize your experience all around computing, with some emphasis on PC games. The components that give you the best for your money heavily depend on what you intend to do with the system: Your pieces will be different if you build a HTPC on the same budget, or a super-fast file server for your home network.
We talked about our own construction of a system of experiences, why it is important, and some awesome tips for beginners already. If you’re willing to put on the task of building your own computer, here are the items you will need to build the best system you can get for your money.
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Update – August 2015: It has been too long since our last update, and while the new GPU have hit the market, they have dominated the high-end, forcing some lower prices in the midrange that means good business for PC gamers seeking high cards without spending a ton of money. Storage, RAM, and other component prices have remained at the moment, but the holidays are coming, so we see a bit of doping in some regions (likely to make room for discounts during holiday spending begins.) Nevertheless, we ‘re constantly surprised by the amount of energy you can get for so little money our $ 300 build this time is crazy for cost, and $ 600, while elusive, offers plenty of room to change out parts and make different choices if you have different priorities. If you’re in the mood to wait, hang-price will probably only go down during the holidays, and these components will not be replaced before the end of the year.
As usual, we use PCPartPicker to develop our built. We love it and we think you should use it too it gives you more flexibility in your purchase of a part, you help eliminate possibly incompatible components. In addition, it ensures that you get the best price for the items you plan to buy, even if it means you have to buy them from various retailers. If you have your own built PCPartPicker you want to show, make sure to connect them in discussions below!
As always, keep in mind that prices change all the time, so if you check it and the prices have changed, just head back to PCPartPicker and see if you can find a better price.
Build Versus Buy
The old debate about whether you should build your own system or buy a pre-built one is a former, long-standing argument that will never easily won. However, there are some advantages to building your own system that can not be weighed in terms of dollars and cents. You can be happier with your own system built by hand, or you might be able to score good deals and promotions that lead to a more powerful computer packed with superior material to a manufacturer would use.
Building your own PC also gives you complete and total control over the components and extensibility of the system. Unlike buying an OEM PC, assemble your own gives you the ability to make decisions about when and how you upgrade the system in the long term rather than just take what the manufacturer sells . For example, you can buy a new chipset motherboard early and expect to spend money on the next generation of graphics card later, give you an update in a timely manner when the budget is right now or.
Ultimately, then it may be easier to get a credit card and buy whatever is on sale from your preferred OEM, there is something to assemble the components of a system that you have chosen for your needs, turn it on, install your favorite OS, and using every day is “incredibly rewarding. We talked about this in more detail here, if you’re curious.
Choose the right parts
There was a time when building a PC was all about buying the most expensive and the most powerful components than you could on the budget you had. While some of this is still true, even budget components can be remarkably powerful, and if all you intend to do with your system is word processing, web surfing, and light entertainment such as streaming video or listening to music, almost all the construction of the system work for you.
You do not have to spend much on components of high-end game if you put together a system for your friend who does not know or care what graphics card is in the box. At the same time, this does not mean they are condemned to a complete computer sub-standard components. We explained earlier that you should carefully evaluate your needs before rushing off to start the pricing of components, and that advice is still true today.
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Ultimately, there is no reason for you to rush to buy the most expensive components you can afford, unless you are an enthusiast and want the most high-end system that you can allow. Do not be fooled by brand names, either. Here we will detail two separate built a high-end system for fans and users hungry for power, and accumulation of midrange that will cost about half as much, but still pack a punch.
The budget system $ 300
The first time we did this guide, some people noted that $ 600 and $ 1,200 were more than enough to spend on high-powered computers, but a good machine around or under $ 400 would be a great project . Well, here you go, not only is it possible to come to less than $ 400, we opted for $ 300, and the system that we put together this budget is no exception.
This parts list assumes that you will need basic elements: a case, a motherboard, processor, memory, storage, graphics card of some type, and a power supply. We will assume that you have a very good USB keyboard, mouse, and display, you can use with your new system. Before blindly buy what we will propose, take a moment and look at our article on Lifehacker Night School choice of PC components, where we discuss some of the things you should consider before buying your components. For example, our $ 300 PC here is for the economy and general use, not necessarily high-end gaming or video editing. Remember to consider what you will use the system before you buy.
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That said, here are the parts for our budget-friendly PC:
Where: Rosewill FBM-02 Mini Tower Computer Case MicroATX – It is compact, it is spacious enough to work easily, and it’s small enough to go above or below a desk without taking up too much space. It is not the sexiest cases, but it is light, the sports front USB 2.0 and audio ports, two fans for airflow, and is well regarded among PC enthusiasts. You can switch to a full size tower and if you want to spend a little more money, such as $ 35 NZXT Source 210 or $ 40 NZXT Source 210 Elite if you have more to spend. For the money and the size however, this will do fine.
Power: 430W Corsair CX430 Power Supply – This construction does not take a ton of horsepower. We used the calculator PCPartPicker for estimating total power of our final draw (~ 180W) and 430W of power that will manage it, and it gives us the space to add a graphics card or more power-hungry components on line. It will also adapt our minitower well. As always, make sure to do the math on the power of your system is likely to pull down before selecting a power source, and try to buy from someone with good reviews and strong balance sheet quality. If you do use PCPartPicker try eXtreme Power Supply Calculator.
The motherboard MSI A78M-E35 – AMD A78 Chipset FM2 + MicroATX Motherboard – Again, our construction budget is a system based on AMD, and just as well at that price, AMD offers bang incredible performance for the buck. This council should sound familiar to some of you-it’ll give you eight USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, six SATA ports III, Gigabit Ethernet, supports up to 32 GB of RAM and 8-channel embedded audio . It packs onboard video output (DVI, VGA and HDMI) and from AMD that we are about to hit in is an APU, it will manipulate graphics for us. It is a pretty central board for the money it’s worth noting that he has to board USB 3.0 headers, but if we chose not frontside USB 3.0, just USB 2.0 ports.
CPU: AMD A10-7850K APU Processor 3.7GHz quad-core CPU with GPU Radeon R7 – A-Series APU AMD continue to dominate at the end of the budget. They can handle more than you might think, and they are a staple in our home theater PC builds. Because it is a combination of CPU and GPU, it also means that we should not add a standalone graphics card in our construction. The A10 is a step up from the A8 we had previously in this version and is updated more than welcome, especially if you want to do some light game. He will still manage daily tasks easily, and 1080p video on a large screen without blinking an eye. You can even shoot up to many games, some even in 1080p, with large framerate (as long as you adjust your graphics settings appropriately.) If you do not play at all well, the A10 gives you a fast processor that can handle tasks such as browsing the web, watch videos, listen to local music or streaming, and get the real work done. If you have a little more money, you can upgrade to an Athlon X4 860K AMD, but then you’ll need to buy a discrete graphics card for the system.
Memory: Crucial Ballistix 4GB (1 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) – We would normally consider getting two sticks for two channels, but by buying a 4GB stick, you leave a trail for easy upgrade to 8GB down the line if you need. The board can support up to 32GB, so if you want more RAM, you can always upgrade. If you have more to spend, replace this one stick with this 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) 240-Pin Memory Kit and get a 8GB solid there. It will put you on the $ 300 budget, but it is a worthy upgrade. But 4GB will be enough to get our budget PC and running.
Storage: Western Digital 1TB 7200 Hard Drive – 1TB hard That $ 50 is fast in 7200, sports a 64MB cache, and is very affordable. If you have another brand of allegiance when it comes to players, try the Seagate 1TB drive instead. Whatever your choice, make sure to take note of the guarantee, and, of course, keep your saved data. Each hard drive fails, it is just a matter of when.
Total: $ 291.83 ($ 319.83 before discounts and rebates)
Buy this build PCPartPicker
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The $ 600 Workhorse PC
Gone is the time you need to spend much for a decent self-built system. Unless you absolutely must have a high-end PCs, midrange system will power through everyday tasks, manage 1080p PC games, streaming movies and music from the web, and even larger projects like rip your music collection or editing home movies.
Again, we’ll assume you have a very good USB keyboard, mouse, and you can display reformatted for use with your new system. Our $ 600 PC here is made with bang-for-the-buck in mind, something that you will gain high performance without breaking the bank not necessarily silent operation (although there are ways to get PC budget quieter if you want) or expansion. We can not stress enough: We crammed a lot of power here, but it comes with compromises, as expandability or overclocking. Remember to consider what you will use the system before you buy. You may well want to change some of the components, we offer below.
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Here are the parts for our $ 600 workhorse:
The case: Case Cooler Master N200 MicroATX Mid Tower – Surprise! Our $ 600 will build microATX. Do not get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a full ATX accumulation and many of you might prefer, but building a smaller form factor enabled us to upgrade other components and get more power where it counts. You will have less room for upgrades down the line, but you’ll have a great PC right from the start that should last you well. Moreover, this case is damn good value: Slots for cable management, five fans for superior airflow and cooling, dust grids for easy cleaning, a lot of space to work, space motherboard behind, and space for huge GPU. Not to mention it is pretty quiet, and well it is just a well-designed case. You also get to the front audio and USB 3.0 ports. Moreover, it just looks good it is small without being garish, and it’s small enough to fit under a desk or live above to see everything.
Power: Corsair Builder Series CX500M 500W Power Supply – Most PC manufacturers, particularly therefore tend to overestimate the amount of energy their components will actually need. This 500 watt Corsair modular power supply should be sufficient for our building (which will draw around 400W, leaving room for more power draw under load), and Corsair is a trusted name in power supplies. We had the budget to go modular, that is great and will keep the innards of your PC organized. Beware of guarantees and return policies as well, but try to make sure you get the right amount of juice for the system you are building. If you put some of the parts in this version, you may want to step up this model of 600W for a few dollars more. There are some great calculators on the Web that will help you determine the size of your diet should be really, as the eXtreme Power Supply Calculator.
CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor – This time we’re going back to the good old Intel. We struggled with this decision a ton, like we always do, but here’s the bottom line: We gave a little extension for the most powerful pieces. So while you may not have room for two graphics cards or cooling water in this case, we thought it was more important to get powerful components especially at the price point of $ 600 , which is still considered “budget” for a desktop PC (although at the upper end of it). The i5 is also locked, which means that it is not the computer and overclock which is perfect for us because it is already a decently powered i5. This version is not designed for overclocking and with a microATX case and the cooling stock, we do not want to push it anyway. If you are dead set on it, you can climb to the Intel Core i5-4690K, but it is more expensive. Of course, if you do not need the power of the i5, you can also go down to a Core i3-4160 processor and Intel use the extra money for a small SSD.
The motherboard MSI H81M-P33 Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard – Now this board is the jewel of a constructor budget. It’s super affordable, skimps on the features most people do not use, but retains the right things. Going microATX not mean we have to give up some expansion slots, but we still get an affordable motherboard good look that offers a solid list of features for the price. It packs two slots in two channels of memory, two SATA III ports and two SATA II, four USB 2.0 ports and two son, two USB 3.0 ports, 8-channel audio board, and gigabit Ethernet. It is definitely a little tight, with its single full-length PCI slot, but since the only thing we slap our GPU is here, it is a nice fit. The only trouble is that our case has a frontside USB 3.0 port, and it has no USB 3.0 header for itself so you have to settle for the two USB 2.0 ports. Want an alternative? A few dollars more gets you the ASRock H97M birthday, which is more expensive but adds a bunch of useful features, such as a higher ceiling RAM, SATA III ports more and more onboard video options such as HDMI. You can also spend a little more for the Gigabyte GA-H97M-D3H, which also comes well-reviewed, rock solid and rich. We liked, but we were put on the budget.
Memory: G.SKILL 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600 RAM – RAM prices are still higher than we would like, but 8GB kit of one of our favorite memory manufacturers is fast, affordable, and fill the two slots mobo our economy much space. Our board is dual channel, so we want to ensure that we benefit. If you’re feeling fancy, go 16GB with this kit from the same manufacturer. He put us on our budget, but the board can support up to 16 GB in total, so if you have more to spend, aim for the top.
Storage: Western Digital 1TB 7200 Hard Drive – 1TB hard That $ 50 is fast in 7200, sports a 64MB cache, and is very affordable. If you have another brand of allegiance when it comes to players, try the Seagate 1TB drive instead. Whatever you choose to do, make sure to take note of the guarantee, and, of course, keep your saved data. Each hard drive fails, it is just a matter of when. If you have a little more money to spend, take a SSD and add it to this construction, like maybe a Crucial BX and MX-series, maybe 120GB 256GB. Their price-performance is great, and they are some of the best SSD for money.
The graphics card AMD Radeon R9 280 3GB Video Card / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 2GB – Each of these cards will be more than enough to be able to play 1080p without much hassle. The R9 280 is, even after the release of the GPU AMD 300 series, one of the best cards the bang-for-the-buck graphics, and NVIDIA GTX 960 is a similar price alternative (albeit with less than 1GB VRAM). Either one is a great choice, and if your favorite titles are one of the graphically challenging games of this generation, you will be able to transform good and high settings. If you have a little more money to spend, the AMD Radeon R9 280X is stretching just a little. If you’re not a player, you could probably demote or skip the graphics card altogether and invest in an SSD, which would give a much more sensitive boost of speed in the tasks daily.
Total: $ 585.38 ($ 636.39 before discounts / rebates)
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If you want more options …
You can build a powerful system seriously for $ 600. That does not mean there is no room for improvement, or cut a little if it’s too much. You could get below $ 500 by trading in a cheaper processor like the AMD Athlon FX-8320, for example, and the switching of the mobo for an AM3 +. You can do what we proposed in the CPU section and a step back i3 if you want to stick with Intel and using the money you save elsewhere in the accumulation including an SSD. If you really need to save money, and you are not a player at all, remove that expensive video card and slap in a mid-range card like the AMD Radeon R7 250 for about $ 65, or GTX 750 around the main budget cards rank mid-to-low that can power multiple monitors, play HD video, and if you choose to do a little game, it will handle most games on the average parameters even two awards.
If you have a few dollars to spend, we mentioned that the first thing we suggest you do is add a SSD in the system. SSD should not be expensive; the new Samsung 250GB 850 EVO is about $ 100, and is one of the best SSD, you can buy right now. If you are a little more budget conscious, the 250GB Crucial BX100 is about $ 80. Normally, we would like away from the BX series for the MX series, but the BX gets excellent reviews. The pliers cut guy has some thoughts on the best SSD, if you want some more suggestions at different price ranges.
The $ 1,200 PC Powerhouse
Now that we’ve covered two systems that can be purchased and assembled on a decent budget, now it’s time to have fun. We do not target our upper limit here, we just want to give you an idea of some of the high-end components that make building a good amateur. If you are a fan of PC gaming, playing the latest versions as soon as they come out, have several huge screens, high resolution, and you want to expand your build with other PCI or the cooling water cards this version is for you.
As with the PC over $ 600, we will assume that you have the basics, such as a keyboard, mouse and screen. In this case, however, we go for the big, beautiful and powerful, rather than trying to keep the budget down. We will not necessarily be aimed directly at our upscale, but slap us in some more expensive components that we know would make a noticeable difference in your computing experience if you had them in your system.
Again, remember to consider your use case before buying – the people who will really love this version will PC gamers, media professionals, and hobbyists who want to FutureProof or simply prefer the top of the line.
Here are the parts for the PC of our amateur:
Where: Corsair Carbide Series 500R – The Carbide 500R is well loved, well-reviewed, and contain as much power as possible as we can cram in with the rest of our budget. He served our building and $ 1,200 for a while now, and we see no reason to switch to another matter. The Carbide 500R is elegant black, lightweight steel and plastic, with more than enough expansion bays and slots at the rear to accommodate whatever we want to her and more. It has a great air circulation to keep your components cool, and a front I / O panel for power, USB 3.0 and audio. It is big enough for cooling spare parts or long graphics cards. That said, there are some very nice cases on the market, so look for one that has the features and look you want. You can try this elegant Fractal Design Arc Midi R2, steel case for a little more money, or to go back to the faithful Cooler Master HAF 912 (or newly redesigned, but more expensive HAF-922) for the general flow air without a ton of money. Want more options? We made a hive on Five cases Desktop some time (although most were a little more expensive, as the HAF X gain), another hive Five cases on small form factor, or you could spend nothing and reuse an old case from a previous version.
Food: CORSAIR CX600M high performance 600W Modular Power Supply – Speaking of Corsair, the company makes good power supplies, and 600 watts of juice should be enough to power the rest of this construction (which comes around 400W, leaving room for more to take the load). This diet is also modular, which was a pleasant surprise at the price. It is quiet and offers high, constant power at a solid price. There are more expensive power supplies there, and those of higher power, but it does the job without being excessive. Also, if you decide to exchange all components here for more upscale, you can do so without worrying about what PSU will not be able to handle it.
CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor – Intel Core processors still lead the market in the power and performance, and prices have gotten to the point where we can pop an i7 in our upscale build. We think it will handle anything you throw at it quite handily, if your PC is going to be a gaming machine, a workaholic, or video editing or media center. We chose the unlocked version (and a free motherboard below), so if you are interested in overclocking, this is a great setup to try it with. The $ 1,200 build should appeal to fans, well, if you think of overclocking, you are probably an enthusiast. If you do not want to spend the dough (or if you do not make the CPU-heavy tasks like video editing and conversion), you can always go down to the Intel Core i5-4690K, which is perfect for a high machine gmaing range. Still, we could not resist the lure of the i7 for a building named “Central”.
Motherboard: Asus Z97-E LGA1150 ATX Motherboard – Do not underestimate this advice. People refer to it as a fiscal council, and it is fair considering the price, but a few people report excellent overclocking results with it, and without too much effort, too. It is good, all around the motherboard with lots of features and a modest price. You get four dual channel slots and RAM media up to 32GB, four USB 3.0 ports (and a header for two USB 3.0 frontside) and two USB 2.0 ports (with headers for six), four ports 6Gb / SATA III, 8-channel audio, gigabit Ethernet, and more ports on the back that you may need, including DVI-D and HDMI to go with the onboard graphics, you’ll probably never use.