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To many people building a PC still seems like a scary, difficult or time consuming process that can develop into your own personal waking nightmare that you cannot escape. The truth is, building your own PC has gotten a really bad rap over the years.
We covered most of the reasons to become a PC gamer in my last article here. But console gaming can be rough with the risk of censorship, updates causing more problems than they solve, and the thing doesn’t have the library for a year or so.
So why not instead build an epic gaming PC with RGB lights and Fortnite decals?! In all seriousness though, lets get to the builds.
The goal is a functional gaming PC at below $700, though we should be closer to $650 at time of writing but would like to leave a bit of room since prices fluctuate. We will have two builds, one a full size tower and another a small form factor PC that is geared to be connected to your TV.
Note: This guide is aimed at the novice and some language has been simplified for them since it’s a lot to take in, in the beginning.
Note 2: Computex is approaching very soon and new hardware will be announced, these guides will be updated when new hardware is released, so those looking for the latest and greatest may want to wait a few weeks.
Best Full Size Budget Gaming PC 2019
The intended goal with this system is to be used as a traditional PC, connected to a monitor at a desk. This uses a traditional PC case and full size components, with an aim for upgradability and longevity.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2600
The AMD Ryzen 5 2600 has won numerous “Best value awards” all over the internet, and at around $150 it’s easy to see why. It packs 6 processing cores and 12 threads, and while not as fast per core as Intel’s latest CPUs it’s much cheaper and is great for multitasking while gaming (Not having to close every single application to run your games) or any work you may want to do.
It’s not the fastest CPU by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s the best value by far. And at the price point, anything faster would need a much more expensive graphics card to keep up with it.
The cooler it comes with out of the box is fine though if you want to push it to a max overclock we would recommend a aftermarket CPU cooler.
Motherboard: MSI B450 Tomahawk
The Tomahawk while expensive for a budget build is also one of the better B450 motherboards. If you plan on ever upgrading the CPU to AMD’s next generation or their higher end current generation CPUs, this motherboard can still be used without an issue. Upgradability was a big factor in this build and is why we went with AMD’s Ryzen CPUs and motherboards.
It is a good overclocking motherboard, with great memory compatibility, as well as 6 SATA ports (for SATA hard drives and SSDs), 5 USB type-A ports (the old fashioned one), and a single type-C connector (the ones used in newer smartphones and devices) should be enough to keep you happy.
While a bit long in the tooth the RX 570 still can play almost modern titles at 1080p with high/ultra details at 60FPS and 120FPS in e-sports titles, it’s a great entry level card and is fantastic for 1080p.
With 4GB of VRAM resolutions above 1080p will be a bit taxing though “console like experiences” are possible with low details, though if you want a bit more GPU horsepower you can pick up an RX 580 or GTX 1660 for around $50-60 more.
- RAM: Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 16GB DDR4 3200MHz
With RAM prices dropping again, 16GB seems like an almost no-brainer at this point. Again, while this isn’t the best RAM it’s good enough to not likely cause any performance issues, and Crucial memory is a great brand with a very solid warranty.
Storage: Muskin Source 500GB SSD
With the prices of SSDs dropping so significantly the past year and a half it’s almost silly not to pick up an SSD as your primary storage. Install your OS (likely windows) to this drive and most of your games and don’t think about it.
I chose not to include any other storage here since you can always open up your case and throw in another drive later on, or you may have an old HDD or an external drive you can throw in there. If you are looking for one though the this 2TB model is available and this 4TB is better value
Case: Phanteks Eclipse P350X
A really nice looking case with decent functionality and airflow. It comes with a tempered glass side panel though there is the P300 model on Amazon without it that is very similar. This case isn’t the greatest if you plan on buying the biggest baddest CPU/GPU that throws out a ton of heat, though if you remain somewhat reasonable it will be solid. It also has nice cable management
Power Supply: Seasonic S12III 550W Bronze PSU
Seasonic is a well known brand and is the Mercedes Benz of power supplies, while this model is budget focused it is still a very reliable no frills PSU, it isn’t modular (cables can be attached or detached if not needed) the chambered design on the case makes this less of an issue.
Best $700 Living Room Gaming PC 2019
The goals for this PC build is a bit different, as we wanted to get something as close to a console PC size as possible, so it’s a bit more expensive.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2600
As before this CPU won numerous awards as best value CPU and consequentially its heatsink is just short enough to fit in this case, I would remain weary of overclocking with this set up as heat may be an issue in this enclosed space. If you do plan on overclocking try to take it slow.
- Motherboard: Gigabyte B450 I AORUS PRO WIFI
This board I use personally for my secondary system and is a solid feature packed board that has pretty decent wifi, and should provide everything you need in a board this size.
Again, another RX 570 and matches the Motherboard, It’s great for 1080p gaming, though if you wanted to step up to 4K there are some other cards I would recommend, although with new cards launching later this year, it might be better to use one of these until you feel its necessary.
Storage: WD Blue SN500 500GB NVMe SSD
I decided to swap out the SATA SSD for an NVMe M.2 drive here, which looks like a stick of RAM and connects directly to the motherboard, since space is at a premium and there are limited 2.5 inch drive and 3.5inch HDD/SSD brackets a few bucks more for a much smaller and faster drive seems like a no-brainer.
Protip: Install drive with the motherboard flat. This makes installing a lot easier if the motherboard isn’t vertical.
This is one of the best options for a console sized PC case that can fit a full sized gpu, it does limit the choices in hardware but that’s going to happen in a console sized box. its dimensions are 14.96″ (W) x 3.43″ (H) x 14.57″ (D).
It allows a single 3.5 inch HDD and up to 3 2.5 inch SSDs, though you will likely only use 2 of them as one is a flex mount for also using a slim Bluray/DVD drive. It also has several dust filters and can even allow a liquid cooler though it would be a tight fit.
If RGB is more your jazz they have a newer model the RVZ03B with integrated RGB lighting that could also work with this system as is. Do yourself a favor though and take your time building in it and read your manual as cases this tight definitely have a “right way” of putting everything together.
Power Supply: Silverstone SFX-L Gold Modular 500W PSU
As for the power supply, we went with a Silverstone SFX-L power supply which has a larger fan than standard SFX power supplies but still fits this form factor.
It’s also fully modular which is almost necessary in a build this tiny as the ability to remove unnecessary cables and pre-run them before installing the components in the PC will be a lifesaver.
We decided to not include a monitor, keyboard or mouse since personal preferences reign supreme here. However, I will give some simple recommendations to those looking for something on the cheap.
For monitors the AOC G2460VQ6 is a 24″ freesync monitor that has freesync up to 75Hz (Read 75FPS max output) for just above $100. The Nexius VUE24 is similar to the AOC model except it is 144Hz (144FPS max output) for just under $180.
For the keyboard and mouse you may want to use this kit from Cooler Master, though generic cheap keyboards also exist that are a bit cheaper.
While this is not the be all end all of PC builds it is a good start and a baseline build for those with a bit more experience. Our goal here wasn’t to beat consoles in price here but more to give an alternative to those who are interested in building a PC but think it might be too much hassle or costs $3,000.
Tell us what you think in the comments and if you would like more builds in different price ranges or use cases. We will also be updating this build guide as new hardware comes out, and we may even do an actual build with these parts in the future.
Editor’s Note: Niche Gamer has provided links to product pages. All Amazon Product links above are affiliate links that directly contribute to the Niche Gamer budget monetarily.