$430 Cheap Bastard's Budget Gaming PC - September, 2014

By Published September 22, 2014 at 11:31 am
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Additional Info

  • Price: 430
  • Physical Size: Mid-Tower
  • Purpose: Desktop Gaming
  • CPU Preference: Intel

You didn't read this wrong. We’ve put together an ultra-budget “Cheap Bastard’s” gaming PC build for just over $400. At around the same price of a current gen console, you can build a quality entry-level gaming PC. Featuring an Intel G3258, 8GB of DDR3 RAM and an MSI R7 260, you get a great gaming PC for games like LoL, DOTA2, WoW, GRID, Titanfall and TOR.

This budget gaming PC build takes the DIY approach to building a custom computer for games like Titanfall, priced far below our usual $500 budget target.

$430 Intel Budget Gaming PC Build - September, 2014

Gaming Parts List Name Price Rebates/etc. Total
CPU Intel Pentium G3258 $70 Free Shipping $70
Video Card MSI R7 260 1GB $95 -$20 $75
Memory Team Vulcan 2x4GB $75 Free Shipping $75
Motherboard ASRock H97M Anniversary $70 Free Shipping $70
Power Supply Corsair CX430 PSU $40 Free Shipping $40
HDD WD Blue 1TB 7200RPM $60 Free Shipping $60
Case Corsair Carbide Spec-01 $50 -$10,
Free Shipping
$40
Total   $460 -$30 $430

OS & Recommended Extras

Add-on Parts List Name Price Rebates/etc. Total
Optical Drive LG Optical Drive $18 -$4 $14
CPU Cooler Corsair H50 CLC $6- -$10,
Free Shipping
$50
SSD Crucial MX100 256GB $112 Free Shipping $112
Operating System (Disc)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit $100 Free Shipping $100
Gaming Headset Plantronics GameCom 780 $60 - $60
Mechanical Keyboard Thermaltake Poseidon Z $70 - $70
Gaming Mouse Logitech G500s $50 - $50

How to Build a Gaming Computer - Step-by-Step Tutorial

Video Card

MSI R7 260 ($75): At this budget, it’s a no-brainer to go with AMD. NVIDIA’s most worthwhile option in the neighborhood is its GTX 750 Ti (at about $130). We have decided to go with this MSI R7 260 GPU. Priced at $75, you get an entry-level GPU, with a clock speed at 1050MHz and 768 Stream Processors; this card is able to play most moderate games (think: Titanfall) at medium settings, sometimes a mix of medium and high. Games like LoL and DOTA2 will run at max settings with relative ease.

The card only hosts 1GB of GDDR5 memory on a 128-bit interface, so keep that in mind if you want to use this on high resolution displays (higher than 1080p). HDMI, DisplayPort, and DVI ports are present and support a max resolution of 2560 x 1600, though it’s unlikely you’d be gaming at this resolution without a better card. AMD reigns king at this price range. If you have any questions about if this GPU can play a certain game, leave a comment below and one of our staff members will help you out.

Prefer NVIDIA?EVGA GTX 750Ti Superclocked 2GB ($130): If you prefer NVIDIA to AMD and have $55 more to spend, it’s worthwhile to pick up this EVGA GTX 750Ti instead. We’ve tested this GPU on various games and found that it performs well enough to run most titles on high or a mix of high/max settings.

CPU

Intel Pentium G3258 ($70): We selected what is arguably the best budget processor available right now. This 20th Anniversary Pentium G3258 gives you everything you need from a processor in a budget gaming build -- nothing more, nothing less. The Haswell processor comes with a stock clock speed of 3.2GHz, but it overclocks extremely well; we’ve overclocked up to 50% with relative ease and an aftermarket cooler (and the right motherboard), which has substantial framerate gain in some games. You only get a 3MB L3 cache, but since this is a dual-core processor, there is no need for a huge L3 cache. What this processor excels at is single-threaded performance, which is what most games (still) demand.

If you do plan on overclocking, we highly recommend picking up an aftermarket CPU cooler. The Corsair H50 CLC cooler is on sale for only $50 right now and would be a good cooling option.

Memory

Team Elite Plus 8GB DDR3 1333MHz RAM ($70): DDR4 won’t see mass market adoption for another few years, with DDR3 retaining system compatibility through Broadwell and current AMD platforms. We selected 8GB of DDR3 RAM at 1333MHz (easily overclocked to 1600MHz) for this build. 8GB is still more than enough for gaming applications (and even hobbyist production use) and, even though it’s only 1333MHz stock, that’s still plenty for dGPU gaming and can be easily boosted to 1600MHz. 

Motherboard 

ASRock H97M Anniversary ($70): ASRock’s budget H97M motherboard fits perfectly in this build. You get everything that you should need in a budget gaming motherboard. With support only up to 1600MHz of RAM you are limited in RAM clocks, but that’s acceptable for this budget system (and for gaming). You get one PCIe 3.0 x 16 expansion slot and two PCIe 2.0 x1 slots, useful for expansion cards and controllers. As far as SATA is concerned, you have the ability to use up to six SATA 6Gb/s connections. Other I/O includes onboard USB 3.0 for the front panel, as is usual with Intel motherboards these days. For the price, this is the best motherboard available and will serve well in this build.

Want to overclock the CPU? If you want to perform some of the overclocking we were talking about, it’s required that you use a board capable of modifying the multipliers and vCore without significant limitation. We’d recommend MSI’s G55.

Power Supply

Corsair CX430 430W PSU ($40): This is a common power supply with our budget builds. For $40, you get a solid, basic PSU that just aims to power a system – nothing more. While it is not modular, it is 80 Plus Bronze rated, which should help out with the power bill slightly. 430W is ample power in this configuration, as the CPU and GPU are not that taxing on the system. So even though it isn’t flashy and doesn’t come with all the extras found in other power supplies, it is cheap and efficient.

If you feel the 430W is pushing it a bit close and want to get something a bit larger, this EVGA 500W PSU is on sale for $35 after rebate.

HDD

Western Digital WD Blue 1TB 7200RPM HDD ($60): This is probably the most common component we utilize. This WD HDD has been around a while and seems to always find its way into our builds, and for good reason. This drive has proven to be large enough for most storage needs and – more importantly – has been one of the most reliable HDDs at the price. The two-year warranty is a nice thought, though likely will go unused.

If you have a bit more to spend, consider picking up this Crucial MX100 256GB SSD for only $112. This is the largest performance increase you will notice for the price.

Case

Corsair Carbide Series Spec-01 case ($50): Selecting the case is my favorite part of putting these builds together. I try to find a case that I haven’t used before – but it’s got to look good while offering all of the features we expect from a gaming case.

This case from Corsair does all of that: it looks good, offers great cooling options, and has enough room for all of your components and cables. The Carbide series has been known as one of the better looking, and better-built case series. The Spec-01 allows you to use mATX, ATX, and mITX motherboards. You have room for up to 5x120mm fans, but it does only come with one fan stock, so you might want to pick up a couple more fans. These 120mm fans are on sale right now, so I would pick up at least one of them.

The Spec-01 also provides two external 5.25" bays and four 3.5" or 2.5" internal storage bays. You have room for 7 expansion slots and graphics cards up to 420mm long. CPU coolers can only be 150mm in height, making liquid an easier option.

Optical Drive (Optional)

LG Optical Drive ($14): You may need an optical drive if you’re a consumer of physical media (or don’t feel comfortable installing an OS via USB). Use promo code EMCPAPA26 to save $4.

We got a lot of requests to do an updated Intel budget build. For just over $400, you get a great entry-level gaming PC that'll play most games at medium and high settings. I would upgrade the CPU and GPU first if you have a little more to spend. Keep in mind these deals are subject to change, so if you need help finding other parts just leave us a comment.

Please visit our forums for any questions or concerns, or feel free to post a quick question below! Until next time!

- Michael "Mikagmann2" Mann.

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