Cheap Bastard's Gaming PC Build for $436

By Published June 26, 2016 at 8:00 am
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Additional Info

  • Price: 436
  • Physical Size: Mid-Tower
  • Purpose: Desktop Gaming
  • CPU Preference: Intel

Too often people considering PC gaming will fall into the train of thought that gaming PCs have to be expensive. This train of thought is both unfortunate and untrue: Gaming PCs can certainly be expensive, but a decent gaming PC can also be built relatively cheaply.

Today’s “Cheap Bastard” gaming PC build comes to a total of about $436, and uses an ASUS R9 380 Strix along with an i3-6100 to allow for solid gaming performance at 1080p. Graphics settings at 1080p will generally fall within the “medium” to “high” range, depending on the game.

$436 Cheap Bastard PC Build Using R9 380 & i3-6100 CPU

Gaming Parts List Name Price Rebates, Promos, etc. Total
CPU Intel i3-6100 3.7GHz $115 - $115
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-H110M-A $50 - $50
Video Card Asus R9 380 Strix 2GB $165 -$30 MIR,
Free shipping
$135
Memory PNY Anarchy 2x4GB 2400MHz $28 Free shipping $28
Power Supply EVGA 430W $30 Free shipping $30
HDD Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB $50 Free shipping $50
Case Rosewill SRM-01 $28 Free shipping $28
Total   $466 -$30 $436

OS & Optional Extras

Add-on Parts List Name Price Rebates, Promos, etc. Total
Operating System Microsoft Windows 10 Home $80 Free shipping $80

How to Build a Gaming PC (2016 Tutorial)

Graphics Card

Asus R9 380 Strix 2GB ($165): First up is one of the more important components in determining gaming performance: the GPU. In this case, we’ve chosen the ASUS R9 380 Strix 2GB due to its rock-steady performance at 1080p, low price, and decent power consumption. We first benchmarked the R9 380 with its more expensive brother, the R9 380X, but also benchmarked it more recently when testing one of Powercolor’s R9 380Xs. The R9 380 performs a bit below the 380X, and generally trades blows with the GTX 960 while oftentimes having a similar or lower price.

At 1080p, the R9 380 can play games at medium and high settings with relative ease while supporting mid-level power consumption, which can allow for lower capacity PSUs in order to save money. The ASUS R9 380 Strix uses the company’s dual-fan cooler and a default core clock of 990MHz. Currently, this R9 380 also has a $30 mail-in rebate for those interested in lowering its price down to $135.

CPU

Intel i3-6100 ($125): The next largest factor in gaming performance is the CPU. For this Cheap Bastard’s build, we’ve chosen the Intel i3-6100. The i3-6100 has a core clock of 3.7GHz and two cores with hyperthreading (explained in a recent Ask-GN Video), making for four total threads. The i3-6100 is based off Intel’s latest Skylake CPU architecture -- at least, short of going to BW-E -- and has a TDP of 65W. It also has Intel HD 530 integrated graphics for the IGP, but since a GPU is included, this is largely irrelevant except for troubleshooting and using Intel QuickSync for recording/streaming.

The i3-6100 also comes with a stock cooler, so an aftermarket CPU cooler isn’t needed.

Motherboard

Gigabyte GA-H110M-A ($46): Motherboards oftentimes just need to connect everything, fit, and work. In this build, the Gigabyte GA-H110M-A fits that bill well. Despite being based on the H110 chipset (which means it only has 2xDDR4 slots and some other limitations), the chipset will do well for this budget build. Its 2xDDR4 RAM slots support up to 32GB of RAM running at DDR4-2133 in dual-channel (but RAM can generally be overclocked easily past the “official” speed specifications).

The GA-H110M-A also features 1xPCIe x16 slot, 2xPCIe x1 slots (running at PCIe 2.0), and 4xSATA 3 ports for storage. It also has all the standard back-panel connections such as 3xUSB 2.0 ports, 2xUSB 3.0 ports, and 1xHDMI. The GA-H110M-A is an mATX motherboard, which allows for a smaller, more compact case.

Memory

PNY Anarchy 2x4GB ($28): This PNY RAM kit features 2x4GB DDR4-2400 RAM sticks, which allows dual-channel while keeping the price reasonable. The speed will downclock to 2133MHz to fit the board’s official spec.

HDD

Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 7200RPM ($50): For storage in our Cheap Bastard’s PC, we opted for a standard 1TB hard drive. This WD Caviar Blue 1TB drive runs at 7200RPM and provides enough storage for most people while also not taking up a sizable portion of this PC’s budget. It’s not as speedy as an SSD, but it will do fine for loading games/windows and storing standard media, like photos and videos. The WD Caviar Blue 1TB comes with a two-year warranty from Western Digital.

Power Supply

EVGA 430 W1 ($30): On account of the i3-6100 and R9 380 being fairly power efficient, the PSU on this build really doesn’t need to be heavy on the wattage. We investigated how many watts gaming PCs actually need recently for those interested, and in this budget gaming PC, the EVGA 430W W1 is sufficient. The EVGA 430W is 80 Plus certified, has a 120mm fan for cooling (which will be quieter than smaller fans, on average), a 3-year warranty, and protections such as UVP (under-voltage protection), OPP (over-power protection), OCP (over-current protection), OVP (over-voltage protection), OTP (over-temperature protection), and SCP (short-circuit protection).

The EVGA 430W W1 is currently the same price on Amazon and Newegg (with Newegg having a $4 shipping fee), but Newegg also currently has a $10 rebate for those interested in saving $6 via Newegg (and a mail-in rebate).

Case

Rosewill SRM-01 ($28): Every PC needs something to house all the components, and in this case, we’ve chosen the Rosewill SRM-01 primarily because it’s fairly portable/HTPC-friendly, has USB 3.0 on the front panel, and is budget-friendly. The SRM-01 supports GPUs up to 11.81” long, so the ASUS R9 380 Strix fits with a length of 10.67”.

The Rosewill SRM-01 comes with 1x80mm rear fan installed, but also supports a 1x120mm fan in the front -- we’d recommend installing one. Luckily, the case doesn’t have a windowed side panel, so the lack of color coordination (in favor of budget) with the other components won’t be painfully obvious.

For I/O, the SRM-01 has 2xUSB 2.0 ports along with audio in/out at the top and 1xUSB 3.0 on the right side of the case. The Rosewill SRM-01 is a basic case with decent features and a reserved style, maintaining a low price. Not bad.

Feel free to post a comment below for quick help or questions! For more in-depth, one-on-one support, feel free to check out our PC build forums.

- Michael “The Bear” Kerns

Michael Kerns

Michael Kerns first found us when GN's Editor-in-Chief was tirelessly answering questions on reddit pertaining to a new product launch, likely after the Editor had stayed up all night writing the news post. Michael offered a tired Editor reprieve, taking over the role of questions-answerer-extraordinaire when it was most needed. These days, Michael can be found pulling his mechanical keyboard collection apart and building Frankenstein's Monster-like monsters of keyboards. Michael wrote the vast majority of our mechanical keyboard dictionary and is an expert in keyboards.

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