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Build Guide

Entry Level Gaming Build

by ThoughtA

NOTE: A more recent version of this guide is available here.


Our CPU of choice for this budget is the i3-6100. While it features only two cores, the 6100 also employs hyperthreading to help close the gap between it and a 4-core i5. Hyperthreading adds an additional logical core for each physical core, which is handy for streaming, video editing, and multi-tasking CPU-intensive tasks.

We're using a sparse selection of motherboards, which will display which is the cheapest of the four. All four motherboards feature the B150 chipset and an LGA 1151 socket for compatibility with the i3-6100. They include 4 DIMM slots for up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM. They're also capable of using the CPU's integrated GPU, in case you need to RMA your GPU or are waiting for a sale or upgrade.

A parametric filter is being applied to choose the best priced 2x4GB kit of memory within Intel's recommended specifications. With this selection, we have space on the motherboards for 2 more sticks of RAM, leaving room for future expansion. We're also using parametric filters to select the best priced 240-256GB SSD available. The SSD can be used for your OS and a good handful of games. Everyone's needs are different, so feel free to change out capacities to fit yours. For example, if 240GB feels cramped to you, I recommend picking up a mechanical hard drive for another 1 or 2TB or storage space.

We're going with a filter for the best-priced AMD Radeon RX 470, which is newer and faster than the previous selection of an R9 380. This will run modern games at 1080p admirably. If you'd like to squeeze a little more performance out of your build for more money, you can check out the Radeon RX 480 and GeForce GTX 1060 to see if their prices look appealing to you.

The Fractal Design Core 1000 USB 3.0 is a mini tower case that can fit all of our components. It offers decent cable management, which can sometimes be a problem at our budget, and there's room to expand with hard drives or a solid state drive. It also has 1 front panel USB 3.0 port and 1 front panel USB 2.0 port. This mini tower case also won't take up as much space as a mid tower. Cases tend to be highly personal choices, so make sure you browse our listed cases to see what suits you.

For the PSU, we're using a parametric selection of a few well-reviewed semi-modular and modular units, which are all rated for good efficiency and can provide plenty of power for this build.

Part List Customize This Part List

Compatibility Check: See notes below.

Estimated Wattage: 186W
Component Selection Base Promo Shipping Tax Price Where
CPU $169.00 FREE $169.00 SuperBiiz Buy
No Matches Available
From parametric filter
  • Type: 288-pin DIMM
  • Size: 8GB (2x4GB)
$37.99 FREE $37.99 Newegg Buy
From parametric filter
  • Capacity: 240 GB - 256 GB
  • Type: SSD
  • Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s
  • Form Factor: 2.5"
$29.00 Free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime $29.00 Amazon Buy
Video Card
From parametric filter
  • Chipset: Radeon RX 470
$399.41 Free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime $399.41 Amazon Buy
Case $37.99 $6.99 $44.98 Newegg Buy
Power Supply $54.99 -$20.00 $1.99 $36.98 Newegg Buy
$20.00 mail-in rebate
Base Total: $728.38
Mail-in Rebates: -$20.00
Shipping: $8.98
Total: $717.36
* Using your selected merchants and only including nearby in-store pickup prices)
* Some physical dimension restrictions cannot (yet) be automatically checked, such as cpu cooler / RAM clearance with modules using tall heat spreaders.

Compatibility Notes

  • The Fractal Design - Core 1000 USB 3.0 MicroATX Mid Tower Case supports video cards up to 350mm long, but video cards over 210mm may block drive bays. Since the Sapphire - Radeon RX 470 4 GB Brown Box Video Card is 230mm long, some drive bays may not be usable.
  • Flag compatibility notes as incorrect

Comments Sorted by:

CmasterC 2 points 32 months ago

Is there anyone who can help me make a 200-300 dollar budget pc build? I'm a beginner and i need help with stuff like this. ;-;

joseph500 3 Builds 1 point 32 months ago

Personally i would save up a bit more so you could get better parts

Also what will be the purpose of your pc

[comment deleted]
rhali8 2 Builds 1 point 32 months ago

Another great build! For all new builders, note that this case is pretty tough to manage cables in!

Nice work guys! +1

InTheAir 1 Build 1 point 32 months ago

Is the i3-6100 going to last a while in terms of future-proofing?

Dmolitor 3 Builds 1 point 32 months ago

It allows for further upgrade in the future. Single core/hyper thread performance should maintain for a while, but later down the road you have the open option for a 6600 or 6700.

KOOLAIDLEAN -1 points 32 months ago

the power supply price is iffy with the full mod the but is your choice but for more affordable and realible try get evga bronze certified 500w the or corsair 500 for 29 bucks although is not a mod if you want keep that way

Maxxoz 1 point 32 months ago

The powersupply is way better than the EVGA and Corsairs offferings for less. Do research before you say anything about this. If you had watched plenty of YouTube videos and read reviews you would know that this isn't true. Please do not say this anymore.

[comment deleted]
ThoughtA staff submitter 1 point 32 months ago

Your position is valid, but it's also addressed in the description.

[comment deleted]
ThoughtA staff submitter 1 point 32 months ago

To be clear, that doesn't mean it's not worth saying what you said.

Note: Wattages are estimates only. Actual power draw may differ from listed values.
Component Estimated Wattage
Intel - Core i3-6100 3.7 GHz Dual-Core Processor 6W - 51W
OLOy - 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR4-2400 Memory 5W
Patriot - Burst 240 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive 2W - 10W
Sapphire - Radeon RX 470 4 GB Brown Box Video Card 30W - 120W
Total: 186W