Best Custom Gaming Computer Build Under $1,000 [December 2012]

Posted November 22, 2012 by Sam Chen in Computer Builds

High End Gaming Performance Under $1,000

Every month I try to put together a new recommended/best computer build for you guys and generally speaking, the build I see that’s requested most often is the $1,000 gaming PC build that can be expected to last a couple years. Since it’s already Thanksgiving time (for those of you in the USA) and Christmas is around the corner (and I know a lot of you guys are really looking to put something together for the holidays), I felt that a strong $1,000 build would be the most help for you guys for this month and into December.

For those looking for something a bit more budget, be sure to check out our $800 Budget AMD Gaming Build and for those with a bit more, be sure to check out our $2,000 Gaming PC Build as well.

 

Gaming Computer Build Component Summary – Budget: $1000

CPU Intel Core i5 3570k $220
Motherboard Gigabyte Z77X-D3H $115
Memory 8GB Corsair Vengeance 1600MHz DDR3 Low Profile 1.5v $40
GPU MSI GTX 660 Ti Power Edition $290
Case Corsair Carbide Series 200R $70
Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200RPM $78
Optical Drive OEM DVD Drive or OEM Blu Ray Drive $23
PSU Corsair TX650 $75
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus $25
OS Windows 8 64 bit $80
Total  Pricing via Amazon, so no tax and free shipping for most USA Residents $1016

Core Component Details

CPU – Intel Core i5 3570k

After our move to an AMD chip for last month’s budget build, we’re once again back to our usual Intel Core i5 3570K. For those who regularly follow our monthly builds here at Custom PC Review, you’ll know that it’s just about the best processor you can get for the money today. With plenty of performance, top notch overclocking capability and enough horsepower to run any game you throw at it, the choice is a no brainer.

Those thinking about purchasing a processor with a bit more horsepower for video editing or other multi-threaded applications, be sure to take a look at the Intel Core i7 3770K. With its hyper-threading technology, it boasts up to a 30% boost in performance against the i5 3570K in multi-threaded applications.

 

Motherboard – Gigabyte Z77X-D3H

Ever since Intel’s introduction of the Z77 chipset, motherboard giant Gigabyte has made huge leaps in in improvements on their motherboards all the way from the budget end to the extreme high end and the Z77X-D3H is a perfect example of what kind of top quality products can be achieved.

With support for PCIe 3.0, SATA 3 6Gb/s, 8 channel integrated audio, Gigabyte’s fully digital power delivery system, and ultra durable 4 features, it’s got a lot going for it.

That said, once you realize that Gigabyte only wants a mere $114.99 for it with an additional $15 rebate bringing it down to only $99.99, this makes the Z77X-D3H one of the best priced, fully featured Z77 motherboards on the market today!

 

Memory – 8GB Corsair Vengeance 1600MHz DDR3 Low Profile 1.5v

We’re back to our usual memory configuration, and we’re sticking to it! Thanks to another round of recent price reductions, the 8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600MHz kit is now only a mere $39.99! With excellent reliability, great performance, a low profile and an amazing price, there really isn’t a better option on the market.

 

Case – Corsair Carbide Series 200R

You’ll notice throughout the build that we’re using a lot of Corsair components, and it’s for good reason too. It was only a year ago that Corsair cases were among the most high end in terms of both quality, features and price, but lately it seems like Corsair is taking a huge step in providing more affordable solutions without sacrificing a ton of quality and features.

The Corsair Carbide Series 200R is one of those new budget oriented cases that comes in at a mere $69, but includes a ton of features to make it suitable for anyone looking to build a new PC, but is limited to a budget.

With support for up to 8 fans, dust filters for the PSU and intake, tool free design, and a clearance of up to 320mm for those extra long graphics cards, it’s a beast of a case that doesn’t carry a beast of a pricetag.

 

GPU – MSI GTX 660 Ti Power Edition

We’re building a gaming PC today, so that means we’re going to splurge a little on graphics and what better graphics card than the MSI GTX 660 Ti Power Edition?

Based off Nvidia’s new Kepler design, the GTX 660 Ti provides top notch performance with extremely high efficiency, so you’re guaranteed to be getting a ton of performance without a lot of energy or creating a lot of heat either. With MSI’s Power Edition GTX 660 Ti, you’re also getting MSI’s legendary Twin Frozr IV cooler, which will provide  excellent cooling along with MSI’s triple overvoltage design that allows you to do a little overclocking to improve performance if you’re feeling adventurous.

Oh, and did I mention there’s also a $20 rebate bringing it down to only $269.99? Now I did.

 

Storage – Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200RPM

Well, we had a budget of only $1,000 and you know some sacrifices had to be made in order to fit the budget. This is one of those sacrifices. For our build today, we’ll be going with a Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200RPM hard drive, which if you asked me one or two years ago would’ve probably been my ideal choice when building a new gaming computer.

Nowadays, I think every PC should include an SSD period. They’re waaaaaaaaay faster and they draw less energy, but unfortunately they do cost a significant amount more than a traditional hard drive.

Those who have some extra budget laying around, I’d definitely suggest going with a 128GB Samsung 840 Pro or 256GB Samsung 840 Pro in combination with a 1TB Seagate Barracuda. This will allow for plenty of hard drive space for storage while OS and application files may be placed on the SSD for that extra top notch performance.

 

Final Pricing

Current pricing on Amazon for the build is $1,015.53 with an additional $35 in rebates bringing the system to about $980.53 after rebates. This is an excellent price for an extremely good gaming build that will play pretty much everything you throw at it at high to ultra settings.

 

Optional Components

Some people have interest in monitors, speakers, mice and keyboards, so we’re also including some recommendations for these items as well. I won’t be explaining the choices as peripherals are quite very much dependent on the person using the PC (For example, someone serious about audio may end up with $400 Audioengine 5+ speakers and an ASUS Xonar Essence STX), but here are some suggestions that are a good fit for this build.

Monitor ASUS VS247H-P 24″ Full HD Monitor $160
Sound Card Creative Sound Blaster Z $120
Speakers Logitech Z313 Speakers  $40
Gaming Headset Plantronics GameCom 780 $57
Mouse Razer Taipan $72
Keyboard Logitech G710+ Mechanical Gaming Keyboard $150

 

Remember, if you have any questions, need some help, or need to fit the build into your budget feel free to visit the forums! Myself, or the community here will be more than happy to help you out with your own custom build or answer any computer questions you may have. If this build doesn’t fit your needs, be sure to drop by our Computer Builds section to find more computer builds.

Also, be sure to join us on FacebookTwitterGoogle Plus, or YouTube. Be updated on the latest news, reviews, tutorials, custom computer builds, and more!

 

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About the Author

Sam Chen

Editor-in-Chief

  • Jacob

    Could you replace the GTX 660 Ti with a Radeon 7950 card and be fine? Which would you say is a better card overall?

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      Hey Jacob, yes you could definitely go with the Radeon HD 7950 if you’d like. Both cards are pretty much toe to toe, with some games better optimized for the GTX 660 Ti and some games better optimized for the Radeon HD 7950 so it’ll depend on the games you play. I’d recommend looking up some benchmarks on the specific games you play, but overall either way is a good choice and either way you should be able to play all of today’s games at high/ultra settings at 1080p.

  • noob

    I plan to build my own computer for the first time and I just want to be sure that if I use W7 instead of W8 on this build there won’t be any problem, right?

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      Nope, no problem. =)

  • heyyy

    could i buy these parts at best buy? and its good to run games like battlefield?

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      I doubt you’ll find these parts at Best Buy. I’d recommend Amazon, but if you have to go B&M, check Frys or Microcenter.

  • Evan

    If I’m not oc I could change cpu to non k 3570 and have a h77 board and be fine

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      Sure

  • ben

    if i wanted to go with liquid cooled what would you recommend?im planning on building this pc but want to splurge also. thanks

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      All in one liquid cooled or do you really want to go all out and build your own custom loop? If it’s just all in one, the H100i is probably what you want. Best cooling performance so far from an all in one liquid cooler, but it’ll cost you quite a bit as well.

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009ZN2NH6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B009ZN2NH6&linkCode=as2&tag=cupcre06-20

      As far as custom loops, I’d recommend doing a bit of research on that. If you’re looking for a kit, a good one is the XSPC Rasa 750 RX240, which has a 240mm radiator, which should fit the Corsair 200R.

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008PA1SXU/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B008PA1SXU&linkCode=as2&tag=cupcre06-20

      • ben

        wow i like that cosair h100i. thanks sam i am going with that, i appreciate the help

  • LM

    Love what you do with these builds! Just came here to say thanks. I am building something similar on ibuypower.com. What are your feelings on ibuypower and similar sites? I don’t really have the time to build it myself but also don’t want to pay alienware prices.

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      I think botique shops like cyberpowerpc and ibuypower are good. They generally have pretty good pricing and give a lot of options in terms of customization. That said, I’d definitely recommend building your own system. It’s a lot more fun, you learn a whole lot and if you know what you’re doing, it literally takes 15 minutes to put it together. Just add software after that and you’re done.

      • brytor

        Sam,

        Thanks for this article and for your comments. I’m not adverse to the idea of building my own computer but I’ve just never done anything like it (at all). Would you recco building for someone with zero experience/familiarity handling hardware and components, or suggest you pay the extra $50 ($100? $150?) to have a shop like cyberpowerpc or ibuypower basically do the work for you?

        Your thoughts are most appreciated and thanks again!

  • Pizza

    I like the build, I think what you’re doing is great but…I don’t like the case, I prefer a case with design or something, have any recommendations???

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      Yeah, cases are pretty much going to be personal preference more than anything.

      Try the 600T, NZXT Switch 810, CM Storm Stryker

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004O0PAKW/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=cupcre06-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B004O0PAKW

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00752QYOC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=cupcre06-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00752QYOC

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008O2HOI2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=cupcre06-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B008O2HOI2

  • daBOSS

    can the z77x-d3h connect to wifi?

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      If you get an adapter, sure. It’s not included with the motherboard though if that’s what you’re asking.

  • hellothere

    Could you use a gigabyte ga-z77-d3h motherboard instead of the z77x-d3h motherboard and the parts still work and I’ve heard that the cmx range of corsair vengeance memory is a lot more reliable than cml range which you use? Is that true?

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      Yeah, you can but the Z77 D3H doesn’t have all 90 degree SATA ports, so you may have trouble fitting longer graphics cards in if you have a lot of drives you’re planning to connect. At least at the bottom PCIe x16 slot anyway.

      Not sure about the reliability of CMX or CML memory, but I’ve bought a lot of CML memory and it’s been great so far. Not much overclocking headroom though, but there isn’t much performance to be gained by using ultra high speed memory anyway. Either way, they’ve got a lifetime warranty so if anything goes wrong, just ship it back.

    • Guest

      It would now cost $1094.38 for the same components that costed $1016 3 months ago. What happened to computer components getting cheaper with time? That’s a 7.7% price increase.

  • http://twitter.com/Pena_ErrDayy Peña

    Would it be okay to have 2 gtx 660 ti’s on this 650 watt psu? Or do you recommend bumping it up to a 750 watt? Or what about 2 regular Msi Twin Frozr gtx 660’s on a 650 watt psu? Because that was my original plan.

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      650w should work, but I’d bump it up to 750w to give the PSU some breathing space and to account for capacitor degradation.

      Rather than go with 2 GTX 660 Ti’s, I’d rather you go with a single GTX 670 or GTX 680 instead. Unless you have a 120Hz monitor, you’re running a huge monitor with greater than 1920×1200 resolution, or you’re rocking a multi-monitor setup, there really isn’t any game on the market that’ll require more than a single GTX 670 or GTX 680.

      With a single graphics card then you can save power, reduce heat, and more importantly you have room to upgrade down the road if you feel like you need more graphics performance.

      Also just FYI, the Twin Frozr probably isn’t the best graphics card to go SLI with since there isn’t much space to draw cold air when the cards are stacked and you’ll just be blowing hot air from one card to the next. Instead, you should go with something with a blower style cooler so hot air goes out the back such as the GTX 670 FTW.

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0083Y6MV6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0083Y6MV6&linkCode=as2&tag=cupcre06-20

      • http://twitter.com/Pena_ErrDayy Peña

        Thank you for the help!
        One more thing though. I was doing some research and I saw that if you overclock the Msi gtx 660ti to it’s full potential, it can come very close to the same performance of a gtx 670. Would that make the 660ti a more adequate single gpu card? Because this is my first build and I don’t feel comfortable in spending $400 for a video card right out the gate.

  • Samster

    Could I replace the gpu here with an evga GeForce ctx 670 ftw? I just want to know if it would all fit together. It’s my first time building.

    • medumdum

      it should fit in the case, and the mobo has support for PCIe 3.0, so sure. psu will also handle a SINGLE 670 just fine, if u want sli you might need a bit more power

  • RandomStuff

    Would this build be able to play:
    – Minecraft w/ Mods
    – Skyrim
    – Happy Wheels
    – Team Fortress
    – Crysis
    – LoL
    On their highest settings with atleast 40fps-50fps

    • medumdum

      minecraft= most definantly probably, unless maybe you use optifine at extreme distance with a 264×264 (something close to that, pretty much highest res you will find) texture pack

      Skyrim= it should, idk if its same with pc but on consoles skyrim can only render at 720p for some reason, so that drops the requirements a bit

      Happy wheels= my current pc (which is 4 years old and cost $200 back then) can run it just fine, your ok

      Team fortress= Most likely, not a big fan so not sure

      Crysis=this one not completely sure. Crysis 2 had very high min requirements, but if you mean the first one than probably since its older

      LoL=again, not big fan so not sure, but most likely yes, i checked requirements, this surpasses recommended, so you should be more than ok

    • Miks

      It will run maxed out skyrim.. check it here http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-660-ti-benchmark-review,3279-9.html

      Btw this benchmark also pointed out to me that if, like me, your primary wish to make Skyrim awesome, then go for HD 7870 2GB card, which can be 25-50% cheaper and even outperform the 660 ti.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DyingBreed1982 Justin Allen

    Hey Sam, Just wanted to get your input on a build I plan on doing. Here’s the gear.. Intel Core i5 3570k, Gigabyte z77x-d3h, 2x 8gb corsair Vengeance 1600mhz DDR3,

    EVGA SuperClocked GeForce GTX 650 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3, Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB 7200rpm, LG Black 14X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 5X DVD-RAM 12X BD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA BDXL Blu-ray Burner, Corsair TXX650, Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus, Rosewill N900 Pce wireless N Dualband. I really appreciate any advice.

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      Looks good to me. If you have room in the budget, I’d definitely recommend going with a SSD as well for a boot drive. You can always upgrade down the line of course.

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006EKJCWM/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B006EKJCWM&linkCode=as2&tag=cupcre06-20

  • Laura

    (Dumb question) Can I operate this tower on its side? My workstation has space issues.

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      Yes you can.

  • Chris

    This is probably a dumb question, but after purchasing all of these components, will I need any kind of cables, aside from the cables that you use to hook components up to the constructed pc? IE internal power cables, HD cables, etc?

    Thanks!

  • Chris

    This is probably a dumb question, but if I’ve purchased all of these components, will I need any internal connectors? IE power cables, or HD connection cables? It’s been a while since I’ve built one of these, but back in the day, you needed IDE cables, and other cables.

    Thanks!

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      Nope. All the cables you’ll need will (sata cables) come with the motherboard and power cables will come with the power supply. Internal header cables will come with the case.

      • kris

        What about a CD rom drive. How would you install the OS with out it?

  • Marco

    Hey Sam. This will be my first time building my own computer. I want to run x-plane 10 on this computer so as a result, I would want to upgrade the CPU to a i7, and which motherboard do you recommend if I want built in wi-fi. Thanks!

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      Sure. You can grab the i7 3770K. If you want built in wifi on the motherboard, you can go with the Gigabyte Z77 UD5H WiFi

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007SZ0EOW/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B007SZ0EOW&linkCode=as2&tag=cupcre06-20

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007R21JJA/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B007R21JJA&linkCode=as2&tag=cupcre06-20

  • pcbuilder

    could you use a rampage IV formula or extreme instead of the Gigabyte Z77X-D3H

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      Nope you can’t. The Rampage IV Formula is a socket LGA 2011 board whereas the i5 3570K is a socket LGA 1155 processor. That said, you can use the Maximus V Formula instead.

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008GPYT7Q/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B008GPYT7Q&linkCode=as2&tag=cupcre06-20

  • Guest

    this is the first time im going to build a computer so i want relatively good one but i want to know if there is something on here that i could cut back on. in other terms is there something here i could downgrade without harming the overall performance. because price may become an issue for me on my budget. i was thinking of cutting back on storage but I’m not sure what would be a good replacement and what is compatible i was thinking about 750 gb instead but not sure where I’m going from there.

    • Miks

      cutting back on storage will save you couple of buck, nothing noticeable. Your biggest expense is GPU, motherboards and CPU, but if you cut down on those, performance will obviously be affected.

  • Mark Taft

    Sam, really great work. The way you seem truely interested in the needs and questions of your readers is uncommon.

    I want to build box for online sim racing. The machine will only be used for that purpose. Will your “under $1000″ build work for that? I want to eventually have three monitors. Initially I will be playing rFactor2 and several SimBin titles. Any advice?

  • Harry Ramirez

    Hey Sam, great work. I somehow found this site and i’m glad I did, learned so much. Maybe you can help me out. I’m buying a new PC and more than once I have heard about the Dell 2312HM as the best money-performance 23” monitor today. (noticed the LED version as well, but I don’t know what is the difference between the two). Do you agree that this monitor is the best? also, which graphic card is the best fit? (using your under 1,000$ build here, and lest say I can invest a bit more) Thanks.

  • EB

    will this case and motherboard be compatible with a gtx 670 ftw

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      Yes

  • TROLL

    Can i buy this in sg?

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      Check with your local retailer. I’m not sure.

  • TROLL

    and, can i use a 16gb chip with the motherboard?(ram)

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      Yes

  • http://www.facebook.com/william900305 William Chang

    I’ve decided to go with the above build except changing the GPU, case and PSU to Gigabyte Radeon 7850 2GB Overclocked, Antec One and Antec Earthwatts EA-650 Green respectively for budgeting reasons(taking alot from the $<800 build article). Would they be okay? Thanks.

  • zubz

    do you need anything else then the listed components above to build a pc? or do i need more stuff to build a fully functional pc

    • http://www.custompcreview.com/ Sam Chen

      Nope. That’s it. Of course, you’ll need peripherals along with a monitor, but as far as the system itself what’s above is all you’ll need.

  • Caesa Ram

    i want to increase the RAM to 16GB from your specs, should i add another 8GB Corsair Vengeance 1600MHz DDR3 Low Profile 1.5v (4 x 4GB) or another model?

    it’s that okay, or 16GB ram will make it redundant?

  • Vin

    wheres the power supply?

    • Miks

      PSU

  • James

    Hi Sam, do you have new updates for this build in 2013 ?

  • Sisisspore

    I don’t know how to compare requirements with these parts, so does anybody know if I am going to have trouble playing Crysis 3 with this computer? It doesn’t need to be on the highest graphical options possible, but I don’t want to play it at 360p with 20fps. So, can this computer handle Crysis 3 or should I save up some more money?

  • Dan

    Would a 7870 LE be a compatible/better replacement for this build?

  • Miks

    Thanks for the article! Most likely a silly question, but does this motherboard include sound output without a sound card? As in, it has a audio jack input on it?

  • holliday50

    3 Months after this article, I checked these components expecting them to be cheaper than they were on November 22nd. To my surprise, a couple of items are the same price, but most items are even higher than they were in November, with most of them being $10-$20 higher. I didn’t total it up, but I believe this computer would be $80-$100 higher to build today than it would have 3 months ago.

    • holliday50

      It would now cost $1094.38 for the same components that costed $1016 3 months ago. What happened to computer components getting cheaper with time? That’s a 7.7% price increase, which seems crazy.

      • Miks

        Yeah, well.. imagine my disappointment, when I realized that the prices in Europe for these same components would total about $1400.. :/

  • Sup

    Can I use an old hard drive?