PC Builds

Not all chips are produced as equals: Some bin-out with a higher frequency threshold than others, and K-SKUs (by both AMD and Intel) often have a higher bottom-line than their non-K brethren; these chips are made for overclocking, and we think you should take advantage of that function -- it's a quick way to eek more life out of your system, oh, and it's fun. I love seeing how much I can get out of my system, and with this in mind, we designed this build to push the limits of what you may think a gaming rig can do. Oh, and as a quick side note, we're currently giving away a 256GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD, so go check that out if you'd like to win an expensive drive.


In this joint-effort "intro to overclocking" high-end gaming PC build, we've picked out the best components for an affordable, beginner's overclocked gaming system at around $1000; if you're interested in learning how to overclock, be sure to check out our Overclocking Primer guide for a quick intro on the basics. 

I realize that the FX series was designed with intentions to overclock, but they just do not perform as well as Intel in gaming uses (a mix of issues with architecture -- like fewer FPUs -- and poor overall performance in non-integer-based applications). We put together a build with the i5-3570k, a Z77 motherboard, and an MSI 660 Ti built for overclocking, all capable of playing nearly all modern games out there at the highest settings, and will overclock like a champ in the process (and quite easily).

Brought to you by GN's Steve and Mik, let's get to this killer build.

Happy New Year from all of us at GamersNexus! I can think of no better way to bring in the new year than to build a brand new gaming rig! Our first budget gaming PC build of 2013 takes advantage of some of the new year's sales we recently posted, making for one of the most powerful rigs you could build for such a cheap price.


For less than $600, we've managed to build a great system capable of running high/max settings for most modern games; it's packed with a 7850, entry-level liquid cooler, Phenom II X4 965, and a modular PSU.

Using overclocking techniques, you'll be able to cut initial cost by amping up the selected RAM and CPU frequencies to exceed more expensive chips; this gives high-end performance at a low-cost, so be sure to take advantage of our beginner's overclocking guide for full potential.

Let's take a look at the list.

Merry consumerism! After our recent $357 Cheap Bastard's Build and $1000 high-end rig, and with the holidays just around the corner, we figured we'd put together a holiday gaming PC on a budget. Don't let that fat man in the red suit get all the credit -- build your own gaming PC and frag him back to the north pole.


This DIY budget gaming PC is targeted for those looking to spend around $600 and takes advantage of holiday/Xmas sales. This is another AMD-equipped build, given AMD's high cost-to-performance ratio in the mid-range and low-end markets. Despite the i3's excellent performance, we've recently been pushing more toward quad-core systems to help accommodate future gaming trends.

Let's get to the goodies.

Welcome to another edition of our Cheap Bastard's builds! This time we decided to take a slightly different approach to the DIY gaming PC guides -- we wanted to put together the least expensive gaming-grade HTPC (home-theater PC) for the extremely budget-conscious gamer; this custom, ultra-cheap gaming HTPC build makes for a great DIY project, and if you like ultra small gaming computers or want a system to plug into your TV, this may be the one. The fact that it's Black Friday only helps matters that much more.

gaming-htpc-novA free copy of DiRT Showdown ships with the APU -- not a bad way to break it in.

We went with one of AMD's APUs—which make up around 75% of their sales—the A10-5800k APU powers this mighty mouse-like rig, using its moderately-powered integrated graphics chip for any lightweight gaming tasks thrown at it.

This particular PC build won't be able to produce the highest graphics settings from more intensive games, but for the incredibly low budget, this makes a fantastic mid-range gaming PC and runs most games quite admirably on medium configurations with 1600x1050 or 1920x1080 resolution (1080p). Really, for around $350, it's our cheapest build we've posted on the site yet and it runs games well. Technology has advanced immensely.

Let's get to the list!

Despite accusing online retailers of being a bit overzealous with their "Black November" approach to what was once a one-weekend sale, there are numerous legitimately good deals out on the web for gaming hardware that should be taken advantage of. Black Friday prices on SSDs, video cards, RAM, even CPUs can easily knock off hundreds of bucks on higher-priced gaming rigs.

In the spirit of spending money—because we needed an excuse to do more of that—we've assembled this "hardcore" DIY gaming PC using only Black Friday deals, which prices it out to a very reasonable $1083.


We also have an Enthusiast / Workstation build and Cheap Bastard / Budget build going online this weekend, so keep an eye out for those if you're looking to spend more or less, respectively.

Building modern gaming machines on a tight budget makes for a fun challenge: With so much hardware out there, tiered chipset options (read about chipset differences here), and all of this year's impressive current-gen CPUs and GPUs, it's easy to build something completely custom that performs to specific user requirements.


This $565 DIY gaming PC build takes all of the newest components into consideration and focuses on getting you the best cheap gaming PC build. It's a targeted list that's intended to be used almost exclusively for gaming, so if you're using professional applications regularly for work purposes, it may be better to look at a Z77/i5 bundle. Post in the comments below or on our hardware forums if you'd like more tuned support.

Time for the list!

Building an affordable gaming PC is always a good investment: Not only is it useful for every day tasks, it can also be utilized for professional applications (like video editing) and, of course, gaming. With the GTX 650 and GTX 660 being so readily available at a budget, there's no reason a $500-$600 gaming PC build couldn't play most modern games at respectable graphics settings. The GTX 650 alone, for instance, runs Battlefield 3 quite successfully at medium settings in 1920x1080 resolution at around 40FPS (see benchmark chart below); that's a lot of power for a $120 card.


On top of this, Gearbox's recent Borderlands 2 has blown us away with its PhysX demonstrations and pretty graphics direction, and luckily, it can be played on just about anything. Building a DIY gaming PC for Borderlands 2 on a budget (around $500) is actually quite easy; you'll find our build below with the rationale explained for each choice.

This hardcore gaming build was a lot of fun to put together! It's a bit different from our budget gaming PC builds - as is the nature of having a larger budget (we targeted $900 for this system) - and as such, is fully-equipped and ready for battle.


I tasked myself with the mission of putting together a build with the newest generation of Intel's gaming-grade CPUs -- the 3rd Generation, or Ivy Bridge, chips -- added a Z77 motherboard and 660Ti GPU for around $900. The 660 Ti is still a brand new GPU and has a lot of life ahead of it -- you can read more about the 660 Ti here. Beyond pure components, we opted to focus on an orange/black theme to help you game style. The component design and color schemes match up excellently, making for a killer build that has a flowing aesthetic.

Let's look at that list!

Finally, another edition of our Cheap Bastard's gaming PC builds! The "Cheap Bastard" gaming PCs are always targeted at around $500 and are intended to be built by gamers on a super tight budget; for anyone with an extra $50-$100, we recommend our "Budget Build" options, found here. With school and work crunch-time around the corner, we decided to configure another Cheap Bastard's gaming build together.


This less-than-$550 cheap gaming build is intended for gaming on high/mid-high settings and accomplishing most work tasks, though for professional applications (e.g. video encoding), we'd recommend looking at spending a bit more.

Let's look at that build list!

In another thematic PC build, this Guild Wars 2 budget gaming rig will get you playing the upcoming MMORPG for around $600. The system we've pieced together below won't have any trouble playing the vast majority of modern games on high graphics settings (including the likes of Skyrim, StarCraft 2, and even Battlefield 3 - which should run on medium/high quite admirably). Guild Wars 2 falls within that realm and, equally so, should run on respectably high settings with the below configuration.


The goal here is to create an affordable gaming computer DIY build list with the ability to run Guild Wars 2 smoothly, aiming for the below $700 mark. We hit that cleanly, figuring out a list for a nice $650 gaming build -- not bad at all, considering the power it packs. Before defining the parts within the build, let's throw up the minimum requirements to alleviate any fears (the official recommended requirements have not yet been released - but with a 6870 and strong CPU, there's nothing to fear).

If you're looking for a gaming PC for around $500 to play Guild Wars 2, take a look at our previous setup.

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