Build the best gaming pc for $400 in 2017

This gaming PC is a tough competition to next generation consoles. For 400 dollars, you can build a decent PC if you choose the best possible components available right now. This PC is for gaming at 1080p and will give you more than 40 fps on an average on high-ultra settings in most of the games easily.

If you are planning to buy a pre-built PC then I recommend you to skip that step and buy components individually, build your own PC and you could be able to play all of your favourite games without any stutter. I update these builds time to time whenever a new opportunity comes in the market so you can get the most our of your system.

I have made this PC upgradable as much as possible and you will be able to replace any of its components easily in the future. I call it “THE MASTER” Build.

If you want to learn how to build a gaming PC from scratch you can get my guide from Here.

Processor

Intel Pentium G4560

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 Intel Boxed Pentium Processor G4500

With a lot of difference in prices, I had to go with the Pentium G4600 which is right now costing under $70 at the time of update. The other Pentiums like G3258, G4600 are either not available or are too much overpriced making it difficult for me to keep the overall PC budget under $400. If I choose a Pentium G4600, then it won’t be possible to invest money to get the best GPU. This processor is also used in my $300 build which you can check right now.

For gaming, a dual core processor is a minimum you should buy and this one will do the best job because along with 2 cores it has 4 threads just like Core i3. It’s a Kabylake processor which has 2 cores/4 threads and 3mb of cache memory enough for casual games as well as basic tasks for windows. It can run any game when combined with a good budget graphics card at 1080p medium-high settings. But in games like GTA V, witcher 3 and other CPU intensive games, don’t expect to get performance equal to an i5. But it will be still enough for providing you decent frames.

This processor has a core clock of 3.5Ghz and is locked. So you can’t overclock it unlike the Pentium G3258 but it will give similar performance as shown my many benchmarks videos on youtube. Also with 54 watts of TDP, it’s very power efficient and your whole PC won’t require more than 400 watts of reliable power supply to power the whole rig. I consider this processor as one of the best budget processors for the money.

With entry level graphics cards, this one wins over many processors that come under $100.

 


Motherboard

Gigabyte Micro ATX H110M-A

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Gigabyte GA-H110M-A motherboard

Getting a decent motherboard for this build is easy right now as a variety of motherboards with LGA 1151 socket are available for a cheap price. There are motherboards from manufacturers like ASRock which also provide fine motherboards, but for just a couple of bucks, gigabyte will provide you with the most reliable motherboards that are durable and are bought the most by the budget gamers community.

My main focus was to choose a motherboard that will support all the components like GPU, CPU, RAM, HDD etc. and also be able to upgrade to high end builds. This one supports all the Skylake as well as Kabylake motherboards from Intel Celerons to Intel core i7s. So in future, you probably do not have to worry about its compatibility with these CPUs. But as for the specs, it has 2xDIMM slots that support up to 32gb of memory clocked at 2133Mhz which is very basic.

There is one PCIEx16 slot for your graphics card, 2xPCIEx1 slots for sound/wifi cards. For storage, you have 4x SATA 3 ports that will support your hard drives as well as SSD’s and for cooling, you have an additional 4 pin power port for classy fan at the middle. For front ports, you will get the basic USB 2.0 header at the bottom and one USB 3.0 header on the right middle side of the motherboard.

This motherboard will be enough for locked processors like i3 7100/6100, i5 6400/7400 etc. but if you ever go with an unlocked processor in the future, you will be limited to overclocking. Well, that’s a totally different story that I am telling you for extra information but currently, this motherboard has everything that you need. If you want to know more about it or any other component in this list, you are always welcomed in the comment section.

Also, see:-

Best motherboards under $100

Specs and Features:-

  • CPU: LGA1151; Chipset: Intel H110 Express
  • Memory: 2x DDR4-2133 DIMM Slots, Dual Channel, ECC, Non-ECC, Unbuffered, Max Capacity of 32GB
  • Slots: 1x PCI-Express 3.0 x16 Slot, 2x PCI-Express 2.0 x1 Slots
  • SATA: 4x SATA3 Ports
  • Ports: 2x USB 3.0/2.0 Ports (2 rear, 2 via header), 4x USB 2.0, 1 x PS/2 Mouse Port, 1x PS/2 Keyboard Port, 1x HDMI Port, 1x RJ45 LAN Port, Audio I/O Jacks
  • Form Factor: MicroATX

Memory

Crucial Ballistix Sport 4gb DDR4

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Ballistix Sport LT 4GB Single DDR4 2400

I have used a single stick of 4 gigabytes of memory from Crucial Ballistix. 4gb is the minimum and you may suffer some stutter especially in games like battlefield 4 and Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. but still, in most of the games, 4gb of ram is enough for running any casual game at any resolution.

This memory is clocked at 2400Mhz which is pretty fast but as the motherboard, we are using in this build is capable of running memory at 2133Mhz, it will be automatically downclocked to 2133Mhz. But the reason behind not going with the Kingston HyperX 2133Mhz memory is the price which is more than $35 per 4gb right now.

The stick has aluminium heat spreader on it which eliminates heat when you do overclock or heavy gaming. You will also get a limited lifetime warranty with this ram and you will be able to add another 4gb stick in another DIMM slot as the motherboard we chose has 2 DIMM slots.

 


Graphics card

ZOTAC Gtx 1050 ti Mini 4gb

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ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Mini

 

This is the graphics card which you need to play all the games at 1080p on high settings. It’s almost equivalent to the previous generation graphics card which was Gtx 960 although it’s much more cheaper than that. This graphics card doesn’t need any external power connector and draws the power from the PCIE slot of the motherboard which makes your rig more power efficient and eliminates the condition of buying an expensive 500w or a 600w power supply.

The Zotac Mini edition is clocked at 1303Mhz and has a boost clock of 1417Mhz. This card is very basic and it’s recommended that you don’t overclock it. The reason to choose this over other GTX 1050 ti’s is the price. The MSI, EVGA or Gigabyte are right now not available or are priced at more than $160. But the difference in performance is very minimal. This will not break the bank and will not exceed our budget.

This card has 4gb of Gddr5 memory enough to play games such as GTA V or The witcher 3 with high textures. Previously I used the Gtx 1050 2gb which wasn’t that good as it is. This card will be able to provide you 50-60fps in almost every game at 1080p high settings. Some of the older games like Battlefield 4, Bioshock infinite will have no problem running on 1080p ultra with 60 fps. But newer games will require you to play on high settings if you want buttery smooth gameplay.

This card is faster than theAMD’ss RX 460 4gb edition and falls between the RX 460 and RX 470. But combined with the Pentium G3258, it’s a great match for any entry level build and will be not be bottlenecked by the processor.

Features:-

  • CUDA Cores: 768
  • Base Clock: 1303 MHz / Boost Clock: 1417 MHz
  • VRAM: 4gb Gddr5
  • Memory Bit Width 128 Bit 
  • Recommended PSU: 350W or greater power supply

 


Graphics cards rebates

Storage

Western Digital 1TB

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WD Blue 1TB Desktop

As games are becoming huge, you need a good storage size. 1Tb of storage will be enough for you to store the games setup as well as installed files. You will be able to store all of your applications, movies etc without worrying about space. Games like GTA V and The Witcher 3 are really huge and a few games like can easily fill up hard drives with 320gb or 500gb size.

 


Power supply

EVGA 430 watts 80+

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EVGA 430 W1 80+

When it comes to power supply, a lot of people buy cheap power supply saying that they don’t have a high-end graphics card and it will handle all the components easily. But NO! it is really important to buy a power supply from a trusted and reliable brand. EVGA provides very good power supplies at all budgets and in different wattage.

This one is 430 watts and is enough for this build. You don’t need more than that as it can handle all of your components and a few more components can also be added. Moreover, it is 80+ which means it will give at least 84% of power efficiency at full load and up to 87% at 50% load. This power supply has every power cable that you would need in order to power all the components. With this power supply, you will also get 3 years of warranty.

This rig will never exceed 300 watts even if you overclock your graphics card. The graphics card which I have used doesn’t require any external power cable, it will draw the power from the PCI slot of the motherboard itself. This makes it a very power efficient rig.

 


Case

VIVO ATX Mid Tower

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VIVO ATX Mid Tower 2

For easy upgradability and more space, I chose a mid tower from VIVO. It supports Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX and ATX motherboards. As we have a micro ATX motherboard in this build, it will be easy to install it and we will get a lot of space inside it.

The case has 1 x 120mm pre-installed fan at the front which works as intake cooling fan and the side panel has 2x120mm fan ports more so you can install more fans if you want. The case has a good cable management feature by which you can take your PSU’s cables from the back to the front through the holes provided in the motherboard mounting platform which will make the build neat and clean.

It supports graphics cards long up to 345mm which is equal to 13.5 inches and our graphics card which is Gtx 1050 ti will fit easily. If you have any doubts regarding this case or any other component in this build, then feel free to ask as many times as you want to in the comment section.

Specs:-

  • Multiple Fan Mounts: 1 front 120mm blue LED fan (Included), 2 side 120mm fan ports, 1 rear 80mm fan port
  • (x1)USB 3.0 and (x2)USB 2.0 front ports
  • (x7) Expansion Slots
  • VGA Card Length up to 345mm, CPU Cooler Height up to 160mm
  • Filtered Front Ventilation and Internal Cable Management

 

Alternate case: – Zalman ATX Mid Tower PC Case Z1 Neo: Check Amazon Price


TOTAL~$416(Prices Fluctuate)

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:)

  • The Comodian

    Could I use a gtx 950 in place of the R7 370? Similar price and according to the reviews I read/watched. The gtx 950 is the winner.

  • Jeffrey

    Hey Sarfraz, i been looking into this build for a while, comparing it with the $300 & the $400. I want to get decent fps on my pc with high settings, but silly problem is I really like the look of the $300 case. Is it possible that I can get the $300 case, while having all the $400 components? Sorry for English

    • Yes you can use the case from $300 build without any problem but you will only face difficulty in that. This which is VIVO mid tower is bigger and has more space. It’s quality is also better. don’t go only on the looks. With mini towers many people face the problems like upgradability and space.

  • Steve

    hey Sarfraz, ive been looking at this build and can i use the gtx 950 on this build?

  • Jennah Ann Colberg

    Hi I am new at building a pc I was just wondering with all the components can the power supply power them and 3 120mms and 1 80 mms fans ?
    And the cpu fan

    • No problem. 500 watts is even enough for further upgrades. 3-4 fans are no big issue.

      • Jennah Ann Colberg

        What about 5 max

        • Add 10 if you can, and there is still no problem. Well I am bad at making videos. I tried once. Therefore I prepared the 100+ pages computer building guide with no step skipped with hd photos. It’s not expensive and several people have bought it.

  • Jennah Ann Colberg

    Can I do a double monitor with this build?

    • You can power two monitors with this graphics card but gaming isnt possible on both simultaneously.

  • Jennah Ann Colberg

    Why did you change the grafics card from the xfx to the gtx. Everthing is still compadible right I have all parts but the hdd and grafics card

    • Gtx 950 is faster than r7 370 and also cheaper now a days. Its fully compatible.

      • Jennah Ann Colberg

        Ty

      • Jennah Ann Colberg

        Ty

    • Gtx 950 is faster than r7 370 and also cheaper now a days. Its fully compatible.

  • Jennah Ann Colberg

    Why did you change the grafics card from the xfx to the gtx. Everthing is still compadible right I have all parts but the hdd and grafics card

  • Jennah Ann Colberg

    Ok so I don’t won’t the overclocking. Can I use the EVGA GeForce GTX 950 2GB FTW GAMING, Silent Cooling Graphics Card 02G-P4-2958-KR. Same card just not overclocked. I looked it up on a site said everything is compatible

    • Sure. But I think prices are same.

      • Jennah Ann Colberg

        Ok I am right the gtx 950 ftw is not overclocked right

      • Jennah Ann Colberg

        Ok I am right the gtx 950 ftw is not overclocked right

        • Its also factory overclocked. But dont overclock it if you dont want to.

          • Jennah Ann Colberg

            Yeah. like what they normally do to then right and the other one was factory overclocked right

          • Jennah Ann Colberg

            Yeah. like what they normally do to then right and the other one was factory overclocked right

        • Its also factory overclocked. But dont overclock it if you dont want to.

    • Sure. But I think prices are same.

  • Jennah Ann Colberg

    Ok so I don’t won’t the overclocking. Can I use the EVGA GeForce GTX 950 2GB FTW GAMING, Silent Cooling Graphics Card 02G-P4-2958-KR. Same card just not overclocked. I looked it up on a site said everything is compatible

  • Edy García

    Can I change the Pentium G3258 for the Fx6300? or does affect it in any negative way?

    • yes you can change. But also change the motherboard also. As fx 6300 will run on AMD am3 motherboards.

      • Edy García

        So instead of ”MSI Intel LGA 1150 H81M-P33” , Should I purchase ”ASUS M5A97 LE R2.0 AM3+”?

    • yes you can change. But also change the motherboard also. As fx 6300 will run on AMD am3 motherboards.

  • Edy García

    Can I change the Pentium G3258 for the Fx6300? or does affect it in any negative way?

  • Killakobes390

    Should i get a couple cooler for this build?

    • You mean CPU cooler? Yes if you can buy one then it will be good for overclocking.

      • Killakobes390

        Yeah that’s what I meant it autocorrected it

    • You mean CPU cooler? Yes if you can buy one then it will be good for overclocking.

  • Killakobes390

    I meant fan

  • Killakobes390

    This auto correct is terrible

  • FlashFrost

    I was thinking of buying the Pentium processor u mentioned here and overclocking it to 4.5 GHz, but i am not so sure anymore now when u mentioned how some newer games prefere 4+ cores. Would dual core drag performance too much when paired with a GTX 950?

    • Yes its true that some games prefer 4 cores but with dual core like g3258 you will still get reasonable fps in those games. The only con is that there will be some fps drops in gameplay. If you think you can afford an i3 6100 and a gtx 960 then you will get best performance but g3258 is best matched with gtx 950 and i3 can handle even more. I generally dont recommend amd processors even some are at $80 like fx 4350 and have four cores as you will get less fps in every game. But for people who do multi tasking plus gaming fx 6300 and fx 4350 are good choice.

    • Yes its true that some games prefer 4 cores but with dual core like g3258 you will still get reasonable fps in those games. The only con is that there will be some fps drops in gameplay. If you think you can afford an i3 6100 and a gtx 960 then you will get best performance but g3258 is best matched with gtx 950 and i3 can handle even more. I generally dont recommend amd processors even some are at $80 like fx 4350 and have four cores as you will get less fps in every game. But for people who do multi tasking plus gaming fx 6300 and fx 4350 are good choice.

      • FlashFrost

        Forgot to ask if overclocking on this MB is possible since its kinda cheap and you usually need a better MB for overclocking. Also would i need a new cpu cooler or is the stock enough to pull it off? Thank you for quick response 🙂

        • You will be able to overclock it to 4.3ghz in bios and your cpu temperature will go upto 80 degrees with the stock cooler which is fine. But I like temperatures below 70. That’s why I myself bought a custom cooler for my i3 without overclocking.

          • FlashFrost

            Just found the new RX 460, checked out the benchmarks and it is almost the same as GTX 950, but in my country a fair bit cheaper. What do you think about the 460? It doesnt preform all that well but its cheap and decent for low budget.

          • Yes. Its better for futureproofing and can be used for crossfireX. Rx 460 will be great for dx12 gaming

          • FlashFrost

            Just found the new RX 460, checked out the benchmarks and it is almost the same as GTX 950, but in my country a fair bit cheaper. What do you think about the 460? It doesnt preform all that well but its cheap and decent for low budget.

        • You will be able to overclock it to 4.3ghz in bios and your cpu temperature will go upto 80 degrees with the stock cooler which is fine. But I like temperatures below 70. That’s why I myself bought a custom cooler for my i3 without overclocking.

      • FlashFrost

        Forgot to ask if overclocking on this MB is possible since its kinda cheap and you usually need a better MB for overclocking. Also would i need a new cpu cooler or is the stock enough to pull it off? Thank you for quick response 🙂

  • FlashFrost

    I was thinking of buying the Pentium processor u mentioned here and overclocking it to 4.5 GHz, but i am not so sure anymore now when u mentioned how some newer games prefere 4+ cores. Would dual core drag performance too much when paired with a GTX 950?