Build the ultimate $600 gaming PC

I have already written a post on gaming pc that you can build for $600 for the best gaming experience at 1080p. That build uses Amd components. But Am3+ processors and motherboards are older for now. Sure they are good for budget gaming builds but if you can afford the latest generation Intel skylake processor and motherboard at the same price, there is no way going back to older generation.

In case you haven’t read my $600 gaming build article, you can check it right now and can compare with this skylake build.

This PC is a solid gaming computer and at the same time great for multi-tasking as it uses Intel Core i5 6th gen processor. The ddr4 memory and the best graphics card for $200 makes it a beast for 1080p gaming. As compared to the fx 8350 which I have used in the previous $600 build, the i5 I used is much faster and have greater single core performance.

Without any further explanation let’s see what makes this build perfect for anything at this price.

Processor

Intel Skylake Core i5 6400

Price=$183.00

Intel Boxed Core I5-6400

Intel core i5 sixth generation processors are the best way to go in 2016 as well as in 2017. These offer the fastest performance per watt and have much lower 14nm architecture as compared to the 22nm architecture of the previous 4th generation haswell processors which make them more power efficient. Single core performance of skylake processors are a little better than the haswell processors and a little slower than the kabylake processors but in gaming, it is exactly equal. If I use the intel core i5 7400 in this build, you would have to buy a better motherboard with at least B250 chipset which will cost you more than $20. So, I went with this instead.

This processor costs under $200 and is clocked at 2.7Ghz which is low but can be overclocked to 3.3Ghz despite it’s locked. 600Mhz boost can bring a lot of difference in performance and you will get noticeable increase in speed overall. i5 6400 is much better than the fx 6300 in many ways. The only con it has is 4 cores as compared to the six cores of fx 6300. But games don’t need so many of cores and in real benchmarks, i5 wins in every case. This led me to choose it for this build and will definitely prove itself to be the best processor for gaming at this budget.

 


Motherboard

ASUS LGA 1151 H110M-A/M.2

Price=$49.00(with rebate this month)

ASUS LGA 1151 H110M-A/M.2

As we are using a locked intel core i5 processor, we shouldn’t be wasting money on Z170 chipset motherboard. i5’s are still great without overclocking and for a budget build like this, no matter what graphics card you choose, it will never bottleneck.

This motherboard has a very basic chipset of H110 and has a micro-ATX form factor. As it’s compact it can be used in any mid tower or even in some mini towers like Rosewill FBM-01 case. If you want more information on the chipsets of LGA 1151 motherboards or want to buy some awesome mobo’s for your build then head to my article on Best LGA 1151 motherboards.

Now this motherboard has two DIMM slots which support upto 32Gb of ddr4 memories clocked upto 2133Mhz. It has one PCI E x 16 slot for graphics card and two PCI X 1 slots for sound cards and lan cards. This motherboard is very durable and has very simple easy to access bios for different hardware tweakings.

As it is very cheap, you won’t be getting a lot of USB 3.0 ports or a lot of SATA 3.0 ports but you will still get front headers for USB 3.0 and it will fulfill your needs to install every component. The only con I find in this motherboard is the absence of VGA and DVI ports. But as you will be using a graphics card for display, this con is no longer a real con for now.

 


Memory

Ballistix Sport LT 8GB Single DDR4

Price=$54.99

Ballistix Sport LT 4GB Single DDR4 2400

For memory I chose a single stick of 8gb ddr4 memory which is clocked at 2400Mhz. As the motherboard supports memory clocked upto 2133Mhz, it will automatically get downclocked to 2133Mhz. But as the price of Kingston HyperX 2133Mhz 8gb ram was more than $60. It’s better to choose this module.

Every game available right now requires no more than 6gb to run smoothly. 8gb is more than enough for the next 2 years and will never bottleneck. As this brand is renowned and trusted, this memory stick is really worth the money and will provide you a lifetime warranty.

As compared to the ddr3 memories, ddr4 are even faster and are clocked at higher frequencies. The power consumption is also lower than those ddr3 sticks i.e., 1.25V as compared to 1.5V. It makes ddr4 memories more powerful and more power efficient.

 


Graphics card

MSI Gaming Radeon RX 480 4gb

Price=$174.99(with rebate this month)

MSI Gaming Radeon RX 480 4gb Armor

I replaced the gtx 1060 3gb with the RX 480 4gb edition because the price of the latter is lower and it has 1gb more VRAM. Currently games like the Witcher 3, Shadow of mordor, Gta V etc. can use upto 4gb of gpu memory and the RX 480 is performing almost equivalent to the gtx 1060 in almost any game. So this time, the RX 480 4gb will be a better choice for this build.

The RX 480 I have chosen is from MSI and is the armor edition which has a boost clock of 1291Mhz and memory interface of 256 bit. The card is capable of playing any game at 1080p ultra settings with 60+ fps. Combined with the core i5 6400, it will perform upto it’s full potential as the processor is capable of handling any high end graphics card.

You can easily achieve more than 100 fps in DOOM, 60 fps in the witcher 3, 60+ fps in Bf1 and 60+ fps in GTA V. As for the power consumption it requires a single 8 pin power connector and will draw 150 watts max. So it’s a little bit more than that of gtx 1060 but not a big issue. The best thing about this card is the full directX 12 support and no one can argue that it outperforms Nvidia cards in DX 12 enabled games.

Also see

 

Graphics cards rebates


Storage

Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD

Price=$49.99

WD Blue 1TB Desktop

For storage you need at least a 1TB of hard drive from a trusted company like Western Digital which provides two years of warranty. Now games are getting bigger and bigger and you don’t want to run out of space. Games like Gta V and Call of duty Black ops 3 require huge space. 20 games like that can fill your whole hard drive easily. So, better get at least 1 terabyte of storage and you can always add more hard drives to your system as the motherboard we used has 4 Sata ports.

 


Power supply

EVGA 600B 80+ 600 watts Bronze

Price=$49.99

EVGA 600watts B1 80+ BRONZE

This pc uses a very power efficienty graphics card so you can run it on a 500 watts power supply. 500 watts can supply power to every component but as the prices of 500 watts and 600 watts are same so I chose the bigger one, which also has all the power cables required to supply the power to your components. It’s 80+ Bronze power supply and has power efficiency more than 87% on typical loads. Gaming pc’s which have power efficient components like the skylake processor and ddr4 memories  should also have a at least 80+ power efficient power supply.

This brand is very much trusted and I have used these power supplies in almost every build due their huge success of protecting the components against overcurrent and overvoltage. The wattage is found out by calculating the total TDP of all the components and this system will not require more than 300 watts overall even if you overclock your graphics card. The graphics card I chose requires a single 8 pin power connector for power supply and this PSU is enough to provide that.

 


Case

Corsair Carbide Series 100R

Price=$49.99

Corsair Carbide Series 100R mid tower

Now this case comes to be just perfect with this build. I always chose case according to all of the components compatibility. It looks elegant and professional, neat and stealthy with a transparent side window to look at your components inside.

The front has two USB 3.0 ports which is a great advantage as the motherboard we chose is also having a front USB 3.0 header port. The case supports mini ITX, micro ATX and ATX motherboards so you have the choice to upgrade it further if you want to switch from the basic Micro ATX to a full ATX motherboard with a lot of PCI e X 16 slots.

The case has 4 drive mounts which are tool free to access easily and you can either use a HDD or a SSD according to your need without a screwdriver to mount the drives. The case also comes with upto 5 fan mounts including top,rear and front where you get a 120mm fan at the rear pre-installed which will be useful for more cooling in summer.

The case also has a good cable management feature and a lot of routing holes for each and every cable which will make it look neat. The power supply will be mounted at the bottom which has a dust filter to stop the dust coming in to the psu if you chose to put the power supply with fan downwards.

So, this is all. I hope you loved this build. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


TOTAL=$611.95

 

 

Sarfraz

I am an engineer and a certified Hitech computer technician who loves to play CSGO. But this is not what else I love. I love to dive into the computer hardware and same goes for you. That's why you are here! AND YES IGNORE MY BAD ENGLISH:)

  • Stockie

    Hi Sarfaz have been using your site for some guidance on builds as well as some others (shame on me lol), and am deciding to try for my first build and have selected some parts i wondered if you would take a look over. My build is slightly over the $600 threshold as i have included an SSD also for the OS. I have used Partpicker for the components but will purchase from Newegg UK. The total for the build is around the £480 mark or $694 if that makes it easier. As i said a little over $600 due ot added SSD. Partpicker link for the build is http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/hmn6vK any feedback or suggestions gratefully received 🙂

    • Although it’s fine but I suggest you to go with i5 as upgrading a CPU is not an easy task. You can always buy a SSD later. What’s more important is overall performance of your computer. SSD will only decrease loading time of windows and applications but you won’t get that much fast speed on i3 as you will get with i5. i5 will last you much longer. I also do the same.

  • Stockie

    Hi thanks for the quick response its much appreciated! Unfortunately my budget wont stretch that far. in uk the i5 6500 is almost twice the price of the i3 :(, but my old heap of junk pc is almost at an end so need a good solid pc to last me the next few years, will this suffice??

    • Well I think so. Because I too have an i3 and its working great.

  • Umer Saif

    bro which one is better for 1080p gaming Intel Skylake Core i5 6400 or intel i3 6100. intel i3 is also cheaper but tell me hows its performance??

    • i5 6400 is far better than i3 6100. You have two more real cores and those make difference. Although the fps will have less difference but the good deal is i5.

  • Umer Saif

    aoa brother i have listed the parts that i am thinking to build a gaming pc based upon it.

    1 MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 970 4GB OC DirectX 12 VR READY (GTX 970 GAMING 4G)
    2 Thermaltake Versa H21 Window CA-1B2-00M1WN-00 Mid-tower Computer Chassis (Black)
    3 EVGA 500 B1 80+ BRONZE, 500W Continuous Power, 3 Year Warranty Power Supply 100-B1-0500-KR
    4 WD Blue 1TB Desktop Hard Disk Drive – 7200 RPM SATA 6 Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5 Inch – WD10EZEX
    5 ASUS M5A97 LE R2.0 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
    6 Corsair Vengeance 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3 1600 MHz PC3 12800 240-Pin DDR3 Dual Channel Memory Kit (CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9)
    7 Intel Boxed Core I5-6400 FC-LGA14C 2.70 Ghz 6 M Processor Cache 4 LGA 1151 BX80662I56400

    BRO graphic card costs 325 dollars, casing costs 44.8 dollars, power supply 49 dollars,Hard drive costs 54 dollars,Motherboard costs 70 dollars,Ram costs 39 dollars,and Processor costs almost 190 dollars. ( ALL PRICES ACCORDING TO AMAZON) TOTAL PRICE OF THIS BUILD 771.58 DOLLARS,

    Now bro please tell me that are all the parts compatible with each other?how is my built? can i reduce some of the price from this build?AM i missing some part? AND THE PARTS I CHOOSE ARE CORRECT OR NOT?

    • Bro Bro, wait. ASUS M5A97 LE R2.0 is an AMD motherboard, you cannot put an Intel processor in it. Either get the mentioned motherboard in the article or get a motherboard with either H170 or Z170 chipset. I5 6400 is only compatible to motherboards that have LGA 1151 socket. The next thing is the memory. You have to choose ddr4 ram modules. DDR3 is not compatible with LGA 1151 motherboards. Only DDR3L are compatible which you won’t find easily and there is no need in getting DDR3 ram. Get 8gb ddr4 memory stick.

      • Umer Saif

        thankss alotttt for ur reply bro u r great 🙂 n one thing is this ram right Kingston HyperX FURY Black 8GB 2133MHz DDR4 Non-ECC CL14 DIMM Desktop Memory (HX421C14FB/8) for the mother board mentioned above in ur build

        • Yeah Sure. That’s why I listed it. I won’t put incompatible parts.

          • Umer Saif

            thanks alot bro ur great 🙂

  • Umer Saif

    AND bro plz also tell me that is msi gtx 970 better or Gigabyte GV-R939G1 GAMING-8GD G1 Gaming Graphics Card AMD R9 390 512 Bit GDDR5 8GB 2xDVI/HDMI/3xDP
    They almost cost same price but please tell me which should i use and does the motherboard i have listed below supports both of these or not?

    • R9 390 is better than gtx 970.

      • Umer Saif

        bro but i have read reviews that r9 390 heats up quickly and makes alot of noise as compared to msi gtx 970 which is a very solid card???

        • The difference in temperature and noise is very less. The only big difference is the power consumption but you will be able to run the card on 500 watts power supply and better if you buy a 600 watts. R9 390 is better for latest titles and gives even better performance at 1440p and 2160p.

  • Umer Saif

    1 MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 970 4GB OC DirectX 12 VR READY (GTX 970 GAMING 4G)

    2 Thermaltake Versa H21 Window CA-1B2-00M1WN-00 Mid-tower Computer Chassis (Black)

    3 EVGA 500 B1 80+ BRONZE, 500W Continuous Power, 3 Year Warranty Power Supply 100-B1-0500-KR

    4 WD Blue 1TB Desktop Hard Disk Drive – 7200 RPM SATA 6 Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5 Inch – WD10EZEX

    5 Gigabyte LGA 1151 GA-H110M-A ( motherboard)

    6 Kingston HyperX FURY Black 8GB 2133MHz DDR4

    7 Intel Boxed Core I5-6400 FC-LGA14C 2.70 Ghz 6 M Processor Cache 4 LGA 1151 BX80662I56400

    Now please comment on this build an tell me should i make more changes?do i need a fan other then stock if i am not overclocking?and am i missing any part

    • Umer Saif

      ??

      • Everything is fine. Go for it.

        • Umer Saif

          thank u bro i am thinking to replace gtx 970 with msi r9 390 because theres not much price difference and am also thinking to use a 600 watt powersupply as well. bro just tell me wich optical drive should i use which can run both dvds and cds?also tell me that lan card is pre installed on motherboard?

          • For Odd, Asus dvd writer will cost you around $20.

            If you mean wifi adapter by lan card, then you have to buy it separately and you can get one as cheap as $14.

            If you mean a custom cpu cooler by 3rd party fan, then it’s only needed if your cpu heats too much. Generally i5’s and i7’s can handle high temperatures easily and i5 6400 is locked so you can only boost it up a few hundred Mhz and there is no need of buying a custom cooler for it. The stock one will be fine.

          • Umer Saif

            kindly also tell me whats a sound card should i install it?

          • Sound card is only useful if you want the highest quality of sound but its really not that much worth as the motherboard above has already very good hd quality built in audio feature.

          • Umer Saif

            thanks and bro from lan card i meant does the motherboard mentioned above has a ethernet cable slot to run internet?

          • Yes of course. Now every motherboard comes with at least one rj 45 port.

          • Umer Saif

            bro so what is actually a lan card and whats its purpose?

          • Lan card is used in those motherboards which don’t have LAN port pre-installed in them. Or someone may buy if the lan port is damaged or want to have an extra one.

          • Umer Saif

            whats the purpose of lan port and does the motherboard mentioned above has it?

          • The lan port is used for connecting the Lan or Wan Wire which is used for internet. For example I use a Grid device for wifi whose wire comes down to my system. It goes into the router and another LAN wire is connected from the router to my computer.
            And yes the above motherboard has it.

          • Umer Saif

            aoa bro i wanted to say that i have these all parts costs alot more then 850 dollars so can i cut the cost by replacing i5 6400 with i3 6100 + msi r9 390? how much is the difference it makes in fps?will my graphic card cover the kills in fps in i3 in 1080p gaming?

          • There are a lot of versions of r9 390 which cost below $350. But I would never go with a high end graphics card combined with a entry level cpu like i3. R9 390 is best with either amd processors like fx 8350 or i5’s.

          • Umer Saif

            is gigabyte r9 390 a good option as compared to the msi?

          • Both are good.

          • Umer Saif

            bro i live in pakistan and some items cant be shipped to pakistan from amazon and in normal shops all the things cost alot more what should i do 🙁

          • I live in India and the cost is more than in US. It’s because of the Shipping charges and VAT. We have to pay it. We cannot escape it.

          • Umer Saif

            bro so is it normal if I find the msi gtx 970 to be 420 dollars in Pakistan? should I buy it then?

          • You have no choice other than that. But you can also buy a gtx 960 if you can’t afford a 970.

          • Umer Saif

            i was wondering is this motherboard compatible with gtx 980ti in future if i upgrade.

          • Bro this motherboard is compatible with every graphics card including high end ones like titan X, R9 fury and others.

  • Worded Ostrich1

    which is better, this or the killer?

  • Worded Ostrich1

    how much time will this pc last?

    • At least one year.

      • Worded Ostrich1

        and then? it will stop working or it will have to get the parts updated?

        • By 1 year I mean that all the latest games that are going to be released this year and also the next, this pc can run them on high to ultra settings easily. After that more intensive games may come which may require more power but this pc will still be enough to play those games, at least on medium settings.

  • Umer Saif

    aoa brother my cousion has a dell optiplex 3020 i5. he wants to install a gtx 970 on it?first tell me does that pc support it.according to my research it has one pcie x16 slot and will it fit into its casing? and does the board support a 600 watt power supply ? please help

    • If the motherboard has one pci e x 16 slot and a 24 pin power connector then you can install a new Psu(minimum 500 watts) and a gtx 970 if the case has enough space.

      • Umer Saif

        how do i know it the case has enough case and how to find its motherboard model??

        • If your processor is i5 even if it is 1st gen the motherboard will definitely be having full compatibility with any graphics card and psu. But just open the case to find out whether it can support standard ps2 power supply and how much long your gtx 970 will be. If your case is a mini tower then you will need a single fan gtx 970 or if the case is mid tower it can support two fan gtx 970. Just measure the length of your case where you will install your gpu and check the full length of the gpu you are buying.

          • Umer Saif

            thanks alot for ur reply 🙂

          • Umer Saif

            bro i checked the details for dell optiplex 3020 i5.it says it supports upto four pcie cards what does it mean?

  • Umer Saif

    aoa brother this motherboard as u said has no vga or dvi port so i have a led that that both dvi and vga port but how will connect it to this motherboard if i buY it?

    • Does your monitor have hdmi? If yes use hdmi. Otherwise use a hdmi cable with hdmi to vga convertor.or get a similar motherboard with these ports.

      • Umer Saif

        right and one thing bro what is the difference between sata 3 motherboard and 2?what difference it makes?

        • The difference is in speed. Sata 2 is older interface of connecting hard drives to motherboards and is slower than the sata 3. Almost half the speed. But the ports are similar and sata 3 is backwards compatible. Means you can connect a sata 3 hdd or ssd to a sata 2 port also but it will reduce the transfer speed a lot.

          • Umer Saif

            ohh and please tell me thatthe motherboard above has only sata 3 ports?

          • It has 4 x sata 3 ports and no sata 2 ports.

  • BenJammin1023

    Thanks so much for this. This will be my first custom pc. I swapped the 1TB HDD for a 250GB SSD and will likely swap that out later for more storage. I also switched the 6400 for the 6500. With microcenter sales and combo discounts plus Jet.com 15% off 3 orders, I was able to build mine for $560 after tax. Here’s my build http://pcpartpicker.com/p/9XYCpg

  • Goalerjones

    This will be my first PC build. I’m very grateful for your build outlines. The local Fry’s tried to set me up for $1700. But this build fits my budget much better, and makes my wife happier!
    3 questions: 1) is there room in this case for an SSD? And 2) will upgrading the RAM to 32Gb make any problems? 3) other than thermal paste what other “extras” will I need to build this PC?

    Thanks for your time

    • hmm. 1. You can add a few SSD’s with hard drives as well.
      2. Upgrading to 32gb ram is not recommended. It won’t make any difference. But you can upgrade to 16gb if you want to. 8gb is still perfect for any build.
      3. You don’t need anything. Even a small amount of thermal paste comes already applied on heat sink. But you can buy one if you want.

      • Goalerjones

        Thanks for your reply. I’m going to order the parts now. If I have any further questions I will let you know

    • Goalerjones

      Okay, blu ray players, is there one you favor?

      • Yeah. It’s optional. You can also get a PCI wifi adapter. It’s very much common now and can be used for connecting to internet router without any ethernet wire.

  • Goalerjones

    I’m trying to find a windows 7 Professional that I can install on this new PC build. Any ideas where I should be looking?

  • Goalerjones

    I’m trying to find a windows 7 Professional that I can install on this new PC build. Any ideas where I should be looking?

  • Faran Khalid Cheema

    Just used this as reference and got a pc built. Used gtx 750 ti instead and added ssd, wifi, wireless keyboard+mouse, optical drive and windows 10 pro. Total cost was $775. Cant wait to game away. Thanks for making life easier for us noobs 😀

  • Faran Khalid Cheema

    Just used this as reference and got a pc built. Used gtx 750 ti instead and added ssd, wifi, wireless keyboard+mouse, optical drive and windows 10 pro. Total cost was $775. Cant wait to game away. Thanks for making life easier for us noobs 😀

  • Kamu Sama

    Hi bro, have a few questions.
    Since, the form factor is micro ATX, what compact case would you recommend?
    Which parts do you recommend to buy used? I am not familiar with the component wears but I am good at buying used. My budget is 600 so I want to max out what I can buy.