$488 Cheap Bastard's Gaming PC Build - Black Friday, 2014

By Published November 16, 2014 at 2:13 pm
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Additional Info

  • Price: 488
  • Physical Size: Mid-Tower
  • Purpose: Desktop Gaming
  • CPU Preference: AMD

In these “Cheap Bastard's” gaming PC builds, we put together the best build possible for less than $500; this one comes to $488 after rebates. Even though Black Friday is weeks away, we were able to find some great deals on PC components right now. We decided to go with AMD for this build, seeing how Team Red offers some of the best performance for the low-end PC user – especially for the PC gamer.

This time around, we were able to put together a formidable low-end gaming PC for under $500. We paired an AMD R7 265 with an Athlon X4 860k, which should be able to play most games out at medium to high settings. This build is perfect for those of you who are looking to upgrade for Warlords of Draenor or the upcoming Shadow of Revan MMO expansions; gamers seeking performance for the likes of Assassin's Creed Unity need to invest substantially more for a capable PC.

DIY Cheap Gaming PC Build Under $500

Gaming Parts List Name Price Rebates/etc. Total
CPU AMD Athlon X4 860K $90 Free Shipping $90
Video Card XFX Ghost R7 265 $145 -$20 MIR,
Shipping
$125
Memory Team Zeus 2x4GB 1600MHz $65 Free Shipping $65
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-F2A88X D3H $68 Free Shipping $68
Power Supply EVGA 500W PSU $40 -$10 $30
HDD
WD Blue 1TB 7200RPM HDD $55 Free Shipping $55
Case Sentey Optimus GS-6000 $55 Free Shipping $55
Total   $518 -$30 $488

OS & Recommended Extras

Add-on Parts List Name Price Rebates/etc. Total
CPU Cooler
Be Quiet! Shadow Rock Slim $50 Free Shipping $50
SSD Crucial MX100 128GB SSD $72 Free Shipping $72
Optical Drive Generic ODD $20 -$6 $14
Operating System (Disc)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit $100 Free Shipping $100
Gaming Headset HyperX Cloud Headset $80 - $80
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

XFX Ghost R7 265 ($125): With just about all of our builds, we try to find the best gaming solution for the target budget. This time around, we found an XFX R7 265 from AMD, one of the best budget video cards out right now. The R7 265 has a 900MHz Core Clock (925MHz boosted) and 1024 Stream Processors. It also has 2GB of GDDR5 memory on a 256-bit interface. The 265 supports HDMI, 2 x Display Port, and 2 x DVI monitors with a max resolution up to 4096 x 2160 (though you won't be gaming at that resolution).

This video card is perfect for games that do not demand a great deal from the GPU, like LoL, WoW, DOTA2, SW:TOR, CSGO, and GRID: Autosport. If you want to know how this video card will play any other game, just leave a comment below.

Have $65 more to spend? Consider upgrading to this MSI Gaming GTX 760 for $190.

CPU

AMD Athlon X4 860k ($90): We selected the Athlon X4 860K, which is effectively the A10-7850K with the IGP disabled. This CPU is a quad-core 3.7GHz (4GHz turbo) processor built on the Kaveri architecture from AMD and is the successor to the 760K. Even without the L3 cache, this processor outperforms even the beefier FX chips, and the FM2+ motherboards are much more appealing than AM3+ going forward. Opting for this chip was an easy choice to make.

For only $8 more, you could buy the A8-7600 and get integrated R7 graphics for back-up or troubleshooting in the future.

Memory

Team Zeus Red 8GB DDR3 1600MHz ($65): Until DDR4 becomes more readily available and the platforms are more widespread, we still have to use DDR3 memory for non-X99 builds. 8GB is plenty for the average gaming build, and this Team Zeus memory is fast enough at 1600MHz.

Motherboard

Gigabyte GA-F2A88X-D3H ($68): These FM2+ motherboards were the main reason we chose to to avoid AM3+ platforms. AM3+ shipped in 2011 and is based on 2009 architecture, and as such, all of its modern compatibilities are aftermarket chips with questionable stability.

This Gigabyte motherboard has just about everything you need in a budget build. You can use RAM up to 2133MHz and up to 64GB of DDR3 memory (though you'd throttle elsewhere first). It's also got support for SLI and CrossfireX (x16 / x4) as well as 3xPCIe x 1 and 2xPCI slots. The 8xSATA 6Gb/s connections should be more than enough for the average PC user.

Power Supply

EVGA 100-W1-500-KR 500W ($30): Newegg has a great sale going on with these EVGA 500W power supplies. For only $30, you get an 80+ Silver certified power supply on a single 12V rail. All the necessary cables are included, but it isn't modular, so cable management will be a little more tedious. For this setup, 500W is enough power to run the system.

EVGA offers a three-year warranty for added confidence.

If you're looking for a modular power supply with a little more juice instead, consider buying this Rosewill Capstone 650W PSU.

HDD

Western Digital WD Blue 1TB ($55): A standard 7200RPM hard drive is perfect at this budget. 1TB of storage space should be more than enough for the casual gamer and, at 7200RPM, it'll perform well enough. This is the one place that you will notice some bottlenecking with I/O intensive tasks, so we always recommend using an SSD in our gaming builds. This Crucial MX100 256GB SSD would offer the biggest performance increase for the price, dramatically lowering load times for your programs.

Case

Sentey Gaming Optimus Gs-6000 ($55): We selected this bold-looking case from Sentey that comes with modest cooling for a budget build. Coming with 1x180mm blue LED fan on the side and 3x120mm blue LED fans you get adequate cooling straight out of the box. The fan controller is a nice addition, even though it is a bit minimal. The front and bottom air filters aid in catching dust, something that not many cases at this price range offer.

4x5.25" external bays feels a bit overkill at this point, but they can be converted to internal 3.5” bays if necessary. 4x3.5" internal bays will be more than enough for most PCs, and you can remove some of the 3.5" bays to support longer video cards.

Hate the “gamer” aesthetic of this case? Consider a more discreet NZXT S340.

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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