Hey guys, this week I wasn’t really going to do one of these, but I kept getting all these requests for builds under $500 so I caved in and I decided to try to make one. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to put together a build for $500 that I would actually buy myself, so it actually ended up being under $600.
Anyway, this machine is a budget machine and isn’t ever going to play BF3 well on ultra settings. With that said, if you’re a casual gamer and spend all your time playing games with lower end graphics or something, this machine isn’t too bad. Personally I’d recommend you save your money until you can afford a mid-range budget machine (~$1000), but if you really can’t wait, this machine is about the best you can get.
For the processor we’re going to go with the Intel Core i3 2100. It’s currently cheaper than the Phenom II 955 so that’s why we didn’t go with AMD. If you’re an AMD fan, you’re welcome to swap out with the Phenom II 955. Make sure to grab a AM2+ or AM3 motherboard. Otherwise, this processor will handle most games just fine. If you’ve got a couple more bucks to spare, upgrade the GPU first.
Motherboard – ASUS P8H61-M LE/CSM
For the motherboard, we’re going to go with the ASUS P8H61-M LE/CSM motherboard. It’s a Micro ATX motherboard and really doesn’t include many features, but you get what you pay for. It’s a $68 motherboard. What did you expect? It’s got a single PCI-E x16 slot and just enough ram slots for 2 sticks of ram. It’ll work fine, but I wouldn’t expect too many upgrade options down the road.
Memory – Corsair Vengeance 1600MHZ DDR3
For the memory, we’re going to go with the Corsair Vengeance 1600mhz DDR3 4gb kit. We can’t really afford anything more and 4gb is enough for a light gaming machine. Most games on the market are written in 32 bit so they can’t take advantage of more than 4 gigabytes of memory anyway.
Video Card – XFX Radeon HD6770
For the video card, we’ll be going with the XFX Radeon HD6770. The HD6770 is a pretty good low end budget video card. Just make sure you stick to Left for Dead or Starcraft 2 and you should be fine. It might even pull of battlefield 3 at low settings if you’re lucky. Don’t expect too much outta this though. If you have a couple bucks to spare, upgrade to the Radeon HD 6850 or HD 6870. It’s way better.
Hard Drive – Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm 500gb
For storage, I am going to recommend the Seagate Barracuda 500gb. Unfortunately, prices of hard drives have gone pretty crazy and I can’t recommend anything bigger. This is a 7200rpm drive and should handle boot duties just fine. If you need to save more money, rip the hard drive out of your current system. That’ll save you $91 bucks. Either that or drop down to a smaller hard drive.
Basic oem dvd drive. If you can borrow one just for installation of windows, you can save another $20. If not, then too bad.
For the power supply, we’re going to go with the Corsair cx430 v2 . There’s not much more to say. Its a high quality power supply at bargain bin prices. It’s currently 45 bucks minus a 10 dollar rebate. I don’t think any other power supply can match quality for price with this one.
For the case, I’m recommending the NZXT Gamma ATX Mid Tower Case. At $40 this NZXT case is a pretty good deal. NZXT cases are typically pretty good and considering we’re on a budget, there isn’t much room to be picky either. If you got the cash, step up to the Cooler Master HAF 912
OS – Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit Home Premium
Finally we also have Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit. You’ll need it to play most games on the market. If you can live with Linux or something else free, go for it. Save yourself another $100.
Anyway, that’s the build. Total cost on Amazon was 624.85 with a $30 rebate. Since it’s Amazon, it’s tax free and shipping included (Unless you live in one of the few states like Washington where taxes are charged).
If you have any questions or requests feel free to drop a comment or visit our forums.