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$500 Budget Gaming System

by EdTheTech



CPU Clock Rate


CPU Temperature While Idle

30.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

64.0° C


Wanted to build something to replace an old 2008 laptop. Something that could game but not cost more than $600 dollars (on a budget here). Only parts that could be re-used were an old keyboard, mouse, and printer. Had to buy everything else, including the monitor and operating system. Found some good parts at cheap prices thanks to PCPartPicker.

For this budget, I had the following builds in mind:<br> 1.(Pentium G860) + (HD 6670) + (1155 Mobo) + (1333 RAM)<br> 2.(Athlon II X3 455) + (HD 6670) + (AM3+ Mobo) + (1333 RAM)<br> 3.(A8 3870K) + (FM1 Mobo) + (1866 RAM)<br> 4.(A10 5800K) + (FM2 Mobo) + (1866 RAM)<br>

All the other parts would have been the same. Just had to decide which CPU/GPU/Mobo to get. Each has its pros and cons in terms of performance, upgrade-ability, and cost. In the end I went with the A8 3870k, since Newegg put on sale. Bought everything from Newegg except for the Monitor and ODD which I picked up from Microcenter. Here are the prices I paid for everything:

APU = $85<br> MOBO = $70<br> RAM = $25<br> HDD = $70<br> ODD = $20<br> PSU = $20<br> Case = $30<br> Monitor = $100<br> OS = $80<br> <br> SUBTOTAL = $500<br> TAX = $50-$60<br> REBATES = $60 (get this back later maybe?)<br> <br> TOTAL = $610-$620

So actually ended up spending a little over $600 dollars. I think I built a pretty good computer for that price. Hopefully those $60 dollars in rebates will come back in a few months.

Anyways, my friend and sister helped me put it together. It only took us three hours. Then I spent a couple more hours trying to route the cables behind the case. I got the data cables through, but couldn't route any of the power cables. I found they were either too short and couldn't reach, or too thick that I couldn't put the back-plate back on. I just wrapped together the cables that I was using, off to the side. Then shoved the rest in some corner somewhere. Screw it.

Only game I have right now is Street Fighter IV. This build can play it on max settings at 30 fps, but I find that to be choppy so I turned down some of the settings until I was running at 40-50 fps. Makes me want to overclock the integrated GPU. I'll figure that out later since I don't know how to OC yet. I was also having trouble with the RAM. CPUZ and the motherboard detect it as 1333 MHz. At that speed SFIV was giving me 36 fps. I went into the BIOS and manually changed the RAM to 1866 MHz and then SFIV gave me 48 fps. Don't know why the RAM was being detected as 1333 MHz in the first place. Oh well.

Future Upgrades:<br> -wireless router for home internet<br> -upgrade to bigger desk<br> -upgrade to non-back breaking chair<br>

Once the rebates come back, I'll probably upgrade this with an after market cooler and some extra fans for the case. Then overclock the APU as far as it will go. Either that or get a 6670 and crossfire it with the integrated GPU. Don't know which would be better...

Probably won't have money to buy many games for a while. The games found on this list will have to do: Top 40 best free games you should play today. Gonna try the free games on Steam too.

See any problems with this build or have some suggestions? Let me know!

Comments Sorted by:

Snomad 1 point 58 months ago

im in the same situation where im building a budget type gaming rig, now i have a list priced at £560 which for what i found are awesome.

Best thing i would do if i was in your position is to lay off Overclocking it for while since you dont have many games right now, because overclocking can reduce life expectency so wait until you get into the hardcore type games (such as CS:GO...YES lol) and with regards to graphics card i think you could find a far better card for little extra cost. But as you already bought it this would be something to think about in future.

Overall though nice little rig :)

EdTheTech submitter 1 Build 1 point 58 months ago

Well part of the reason I went with this APU over an Intel CPU is because I can overclock it. I never overclocked before and I wanted to learn how. But you're right, I should wait until I have some more demanding games where it makes a difference. So far it's playing all the free games I have downloaded from Steam on max settings.

I used to love playing counter strike back in the day. I'll check out CS:GO and see if I'll add to my list of games to try out.

Snomad 1 point 58 months ago

ahh its totally new feel so you will be surprised but amazed by it.love that game and cant wait for myself to build my own gaming rig in December :)

Jmick363 1 Build 1 point 58 months ago

For a budget build it's very nice and balanced. I just surely hope you didn't pay for Windows in the case of being on a budget...

EdTheTech submitter 1 Build 1 point 58 months ago

Yeah, I bought windows. Payed $80 for it compared to the $200 dollars you see it in stores. I could have pirated it, but then I would have had nightmares of Microsoft breaking down my door in the middle of the night to come and get me.

CityCFN 1 point 55 months ago

how big is that box for the case?

rOjOdogg 1 Build 1 point 53 months ago

I built a system with the same APU, I used the overdrive software to OC to 3400ghz. I went with a MSI hd 7750 2 gb video card because I use a 32" LCD TV as my monitor.

Most MOBO's reconize RAM at 1333mhz you have to manually set them in the bios like you did it is normal

Good overall budget build like to see that. Depending on where you live and the temps I would suggest a aftermarket heatsink like a coolermaster TX3 EVO $20 us. If and when you can get a dedicated GPU like a 7750 or 7770 both can be found for $100 us. For OC just use the supplied software first it will make it easy but try to stay under 3500 ghz, you can go higher with a aftermarket heatsink but no need too.

Thanks for posting your build.

malcar11 3 Builds 1 point 44 months ago

Excuse me, a question: what games are you currently playing in this machine ?

ry123an 0 points 58 months ago

overclock it and then add a 6670

EdTheTech submitter 1 Build 1 point 58 months ago

I'm thinking of getting the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO. Is this a good cooler or is there a better one for the price ($35)? The case also allows me to add 5 additional fans. Is it worth it to add a couple or should I just save up for the 6670 instead?

Another thing I'm wondering is if I should get the 6670 DDR3 version($50-$65) or the 6670 GDDR5 version($75-$90)? Then there's also 1 GB vs 2 GB of memory...

Malenskii 2 Builds 1 point 58 months ago

CM H212 Evo is a great cooler, you really only need 4 fans in a case, and what games are you going to be playing?

EdTheTech submitter 1 Build 2 points 58 months ago

I found a 4 pack of case fans on Newegg. Coolermaster 120mm 4 pack. Would that be the way to go?

As for games, I plan on playing free stuff for now. For first person shooters there is Team Fortress 2, Tribes: Ascend. For RPGs there is Dungeons and Dragons online, Lord of the Rings online, and League of Legends. For strategy games I might end up buying Civilization 5 or Starcraft II. Later on, I'll pick up any new titles that my friends get into. Hopefully this machine will be able to play them.

Malenskii 2 Builds 1 point 58 months ago

Those fans are ok, but for more $, you can get MUCH better ones, look for some with 60+ CFM. For the GPU, I would say a HD 7850 would do amazing on those games, and in the future, if you want to play higher gpu straining games, it will do awesome too. Heres a good one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150617

EdTheTech submitter 1 Build 1 point 58 months ago

Hey, how's this for case fans? MASSCOOL BLD-12025V1 120mm Blue LED Case Fan

Kind of expensive. I'd probably only buy two of those. I already have one fan that came with the case. If I count the fan on the on the Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO I plan to buy, that makes four. That should be good right?

Malenskii 2 Builds 1 point 58 months ago

Actually, I just saw your monitor is only 1600x900, a GTX 650 TI, or a HD 7770 will do awesome for only around $130. Here are some:

7770 650 TI

They both come with a free game also. The GTX 650 TI would perform better, and it's on rebate for $139. That would be my choice.

EdTheTech submitter 1 Build 1 point 58 months ago

Thanks for the advice. I was considering skipping the HD 6670 crossfire and just going for something like the cards you mentioned. Crossfire has problems with drivers and micro stuttering. Thing is I don't know if my PSU can handle those cards. It's 430 Watts.

I was originally going to buy a 500 Watt power supply, but this one went on sale for just $20 dollars. Only after I had bought it did I look closely at the reviews. People are saying that this PSU isn't actually 430 watts, it's actually a 380 Watt power suppply but Corsair isn't marketing it as such.

I don't want to risk burning out my PSU if I give it too much load. Do you think an overclocked APU combined with a 7770/650 Ti on top of everything I currently have, plus 4 more case fans and an SSD drive, will overload a 380W PSU?

ry123an 1 point 58 months ago

go with the ddr3 as hybrid crossfire changes it from ddr5 to ddr3

EdTheTech submitter 1 Build 1 point 58 months ago

Wow, I did not know that. Good to know if I end up buying a 6670. Thanks!

pysiclibibly -1 points 54 months ago

this isnt a gaming pc no graphic card, a budget gaming pc would go up to $700