The Best Gaming PC Build for under $1,000 (2016 Edition)

The Introduction

So, you want a gaming PC? The goal of this guide is to build the best PC possible for gaming with a $1,000 budget. Not only will this system be great for gaming but also almost any other task (streaming, graphics design, video editing, etc).

The Build

CPU: Intel Core i5-6500 [$205]

This is the heart of your system and you want something fast. Intel i5 is the way to go for a gaming PC. You may be tempted by an i7 but it is not necessary here.

Motherboard: ASRock Z170 Pro4S [$110]

A great value motherboard. Don’t get tricked into spending $250, $300+ on a motherboard here, it will not result in any additional performance.

RAM: G.SKILL 16GB (2 x 8GB) Ripjaws DDR4-2400 [$75]

The key here is to just get DDR4-2400, the brand does not matter that much. G.Skill is known however for being reliable and a great value.

SSD: Samsung 250GB 850 EVO [$87]

Including an SSD in your build is one of the single best things you can do. While not necessary (you could just run off the HDD), it will really speed up the feel of your system in everyday use as well as decrease load times in game. Use the SSD for your operating system and your game installs. Leave documents, media, and storage to the HDD that follows.

HDD: Western Digital Blue 1TB [$55]

When shopping for a Hard Drive (HDD) look for one that spins at 7200RPM and one that operates on SATA 6.0GB/s. Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba, etc are all fine here. Since your OS and game files will be on your SSD, this will just be used to store your documents, media like music and videos, and any other storage needs.

GPU: EVGA GTX970 4GB [$315]

The GPU is going to have a big impact on your gaming performance. Don’t cheap out here. The better your GPU, the higher FPS you will achieve in game as well as being able to turn up the graphics quality settings (yumm, eye candy). When looking for a GTX970, you will see many different brands. Essentially, they are all the same with slight differences having to do with MFR warranty and cooler designs. PNY, EGVA, ASUS, MSI, etc are all fine.

Case: Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-01 [$49]

This is a very personal choice and there are many options. As long as it follows the ATX standard (to accept your ATX motherboard) you are pretty much fine. Choose something you like.

PSU: SeaSonic S12G 650W [$85]

SeaSonic PSU’s have been reliable and a good buy for many years now. 650W is enough power. Don’t cheap out on your PSU; you will regret it. Also consider Corsair’s HX/TX/AX/RM/x series of PSU’s.

Optional Upgrades & Extras

GPU: EVGA GTX980 [+$185]

The GTX980 is about $185 more than the GTX760, however that will buy you a step up in graphics performance. Not necessary at all as the GTX970 that was included above will handle almost anything you can throw at it today.

OS: Windows 10 [+$100]

If you want to do modern gaming, you want Windows 7, 8, or 10 (make sure you grab a 64 bit version). If you do not have a license to use, grab an OEM copy on NewEgg for around $100.

Total: $981 (or up to $1,266 with all optional extras)

Note: prices are always changing and generally decreasing over time (especially when it comes to technology and electronics). If you find this article later in the year, the list still applies and you are likely to get it even cheaper than the prices listed here.

What do you think?