Build the best gaming pc for $400 in 2016

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 it’s 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 G3258

Price=$66.99

Intel Pentium G3258

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The Pentium g3258 anniversary edition is the badass budget gaming processor for 70 dollars. It’s made on the same Haswell architecture on which higher end core i5’s and i7’s are based. It is totally unlocked and can be overclocked upto 4.8Ghz with a custom cooler. I have also use it in my $300 build because it’s cheap and provides the best gaming experience at tight budget.

It beats the fx 4300, 4350 and even the fx 6300 in most of the games and has the ability to deliver great performance when overclocked. Although in some games it bottlenecks the graphics card which require 4 cores like Far cry 4 and the witcher 3, but as it is only a budget processor, you are not going to make it work with a gtx 970 or gtx 1070. With entry level graphics cards, this one wins over all the processors which come under $100.

It has two cores and it’s base clock is 3.2Ghz out of the box. It gives equal performance to i5 in many games when overclocked to full potential. It does not even bottleneck some of the best mid end  graphics cards like gtx 960. At a budget of 300 dollars, this is the best choice for Intel Gaming pc’s.

See also Best budget gaming processors.

Motherboard

MSI Intel LGA 1150 H81M-P33

Price=$48.53

MSI H81M-P33

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For 50 dollars, this is a very basic motherboard that has all the basic ports and slots for installing all the components. As we are using Intel pentium 4th generation processor, we are using LGA 1150 socket motherboard from MSI. It has H81M chipset which is locked for overclocking but you can still overclock your processor upto 4.2Ghz easily as g3258 is unlocked with the help of any either of these two: software or bios.

This motherboard is good even for further upgrades. In future if you want to change your processor to higher end like i5 4690k or i7 4790k, you will be able to do so. This motherboard also has one PCIX1 slot for using either a sound card or wifi card as you wish which makes it useful for some other facilities as well. Although there are only 1-1 slots for graphics cards and wifi/sound cards, with a budget build like this you can’t expect for more.

With 2 Dimm Slots you can increase your memory upto 16gb clocked at 1600Mhz. Now a days 16gb is more than enough and you only need at least a 4gb ram stick.

Features:-

  • CPU: LGA1150 Supports 4th Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron Processors/FSB 100MHz
  • Chipset: Intel H81?Express
  • Memory: 2x DDR3-1600/1333/1066 DIMM Slots, Dual Channel, Max Capacity of 16GB
  • Slots: 1x PCI-Express 2.0 x16 Slot, 1x PCI-Express x1 Slot
  • SATA: 2x SATA3 Ports, 2x SATA2 Ports
  • Ports: 2x USB 3.0 Ports, 8x USB 2.0 Ports (4 rear,4 via headers), 1x PS/2 Keyboard Port, 1x PS/2 Mouse Port, 1x VGA Port, 1xDVI-D Port, 1x RJ45 LAN Port, Audio I/O Jacks

Memory

Corsair Vengeance 8gb

Price=$49.99

Corsair Vengeance 8GB memory

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I have used a single stick of 8 gigabyte of memory from Corsair Vengeance. Now, 4gb is minimum but you will still suffer some stutter especially in games like battlefield 4 and Middle Earth: shadow of mordor. 8gb of ram is enough for running games at any resolution. There is hardly any game which uses more than 6gb of ram.

This memory is clocked at 1600Mhz which is considered to be the fastest clock speed when value to price is compared. The stick has aluminium heat spreader on it which eliminates heat when you do overclocking or heavy gaming. You will also get lifetime warranty with this ram and you will be able to add another 8gb stick in other DIMM slot as the motherboard we chose has 2 DIMM slots.

Graphics card

EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 2GB SC

Price=$129.99

EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 SSC

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The EVGA SSC edition looks great and at the same time provides very good 1080p performance at a low price. The other versions of gtx 1050 however may or may not be that cheap but it is really a good deal. All you want with this build is a budget graphics card that will not get bottlenecked by pentium g3258. This one will do the job fine.

It has a gpu boost feature and also comes factory overclocked. So you will get some small noticeable boost over other gtx 1050’s as the base clocks and boost clocks are a little more than the EVGA SC version. But as we there is no 6 pin or 8 pin power port again for this version and the card will draw the power from PCIEx16 slot. Still it’s fine as overclocking a budget card like this will not give you 10-20 fps boost.

This card has 2gb of gddr5 memory, 640 cuda cores which is equal to the gtx 750 ti maxwell family graphics card which is present in the same price. But when you compare the performance of gtx 1050 with that of gtx 750 ti, it not only beats it by upto 40% but also beats the more expensive one gtx 950 which shouldn’t be the priority of any gamer right now.

If you want a card that can play all the games on ultra settings at 1080p with 40-50 fps, then this is for you. And if you like 60 fps then you can put the settings to high instead of ultra and still enjoy good graphics with buttery smooth 60 fps.

Features:-

  • CUDA Cores: 768
  • Base Clock: 1430 MHz / Boost Clock: 1544 MHz
  • Memory Clock: 6610 MHz Effective
  • CUDA Cores: 768
  • Memory Detail: 2048MB GDDR5
  • Memory Bit Width 128 Bit / Memory Speed: 0.30ns / Memory Bandwidth: 105.76 GB/s
  • Recommended PSU: 350W or greater power supply
  • EVGA’s 24/7 Technical Support

 

Graphics cards rebates

Storage

Western Digital 1TB

Price=$49.99

WD Blue 1TB Desktop

Buy now

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 500 watts 80+

Price=$39.99

EVGA 500

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This power supply is enough for supplying power to your graphics card and all other components and is ready for further upgrades.

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 500 watts and is more than enough for future upgrade. Moreover, it is 80+ which means it will give at least 84% of power efficiency at full load and upto 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.

Case

VIVO ATX Mid Tower

Price=$34.99

VIVO ATX Mid Tower 2

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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 upto 345mm which is equal to 13.5 inches. Now the EVGA SSC gtx 950 measures around 229mm, we will have no problem in installing that and other components will just fit as easy as the card.

Features:-

  • 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

TOTAL=$420.47

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?