With the holiday season now here, various e-commerce and retail shops are offering a bunch of discounts on electronics. While this makes it the best time to purchase gifts for loved ones, it also makes it the best time to configure and build a custom PC for yourself if you are looking to upgrade your aging machine or want to enhance your gaming experience with better specs.
And for those users that are willing to build a custom gaming rig but on a budget, we’ve put together a guide to help you through what components might be the best and where to find it at a discount. It must be noted, however, that discounts change constantly, and components could run out of stock at any time. Additionally, the guide lists the component just for a budget PC and does not include peripherals such gaming keyboard and mouse, and a gaming monitor.
The aim is to build a PC for around $1000 powered by an AMD processor, considering the advantages of better price to performance at a budget and the upgradability. Here are our recommendations:
Motherboard: GIGABYTE B550 AORUS PRO AC
For the motherboard, we suggest going for the B550 AORUS PRO option. While there are a few B450 motherboards that could be had for less, this board provides the flexibility to easily upgrade to a new chip in the future – like the Zen3-based Ryzen 5000 series chips – without the fear of being locked out of PCIe 4.0 on older boards.
Other benefits include support for dual-band Wifi, 2.5G LAN, USB 3.2 Gen2 ports – including one Type-C port, and support for RGB Fusion 2.0. The board also comes with dual M.2 slots.
You can find the AORUS B550 Pro motherboard on Amazon here for $169.
Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT
While the Ryzen 5 3600XT is not from the latest batch of Zen3 line up of chips, it was unveiled only earlier this year and offers slightly higher boost clock speeds than the Ryzen 5 3600. Considering that the successor to this chip could be at least a few months away, and the Ryzen 5000 series more expensive and harder to find, the 3600XT offers a great middle-ground for a budget gaming experience.
As for specifications, the chip comes with six cores and 12 threads at a 95W TDP – higher than the 65W TDP of the Ryzen 5 3600. Of course, the processor can be overclocked depending on users’ needs. It also offers a 35MB “GameCache” with support for up to 3200Mhz memory.
You can find the AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT on Amazon here for $264.
Alternatively, a more affordable offering would be the Ryzen 3 3100, a four-core, eight-thread CPU that brings with it lower clocks, while not sacrificing the flexibility of overclocking. The chip supports PCIe Gen 4 on B550 motherboards.
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB)
The two Corsair 8GB modules bring the benefits of dual-channel memory and a high 3200Mhz speed that can be leveraged by AMD processors. The CL16 kit, however, does not come with RGB goodness, so if you’re looking to add some bling, you might want to opt for the slightly more expensive RGB Pro version, found here on Amazon.
You can find the Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB RAM on Amazon here for $63.99.
Storage: Samsung 970 EVO NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD
The Samsung 970 EVO M.2 SSD promises excellent read and write speeds of 3,500MB/s and 2,500MB/s, respectively, and is currently discounted by $40 to $59, pricing it close to the Crucial P2 M.2 SSD that serves as a budget option with lower speeds. 500 gigs should be a good place to start on a budget. Since the AORUS B550 motherboard features two M.2 slots, upgrading later should not be a problem.
For those that store a lot of data or play many games, a secondary storage option like the Samsung 860 EVO 2.5-inch internal SSD – which tends to retail lower than an M.2 NVMe SSD – will be handy.
You can find the 500GB Samsung 970 EVO NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD on Amazon here for $59.99.
Alternatively, if the promos on the Samsung SSD run out, you can find the 500GB Crucial P2 M.2 NVMe SSD on Amazon here for $50.99.
GPU: EVGA RTX 2060 KO ULTRA (6GB DDR6)
The GPU is one area where shelling out a bit more makes a difference when it comes to gaming. While there are a lot of lower-tier options like ASUS’ GTX 1660 Super, or even similarly priced RX 5600 XT offering from Gigabyte, the Turing-based RTX 2060 offering brings ray tracing and DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling), slightly enhancing the overall gaming experience.
You can find the EVGA - KO ULTRA RTX 2060 GPU on Best Buy here for $329.99.
Alternatively, if you wish to save close to $100 and go for a lower-tier GPU, you can opt for the GTX 1660 Super OC from ASUS on Best Buy here for $229.99.
Power supply: Corsair CX650 (650W)
As the name suggests, the Corsair CX650 is a 650W PSU that is 80+ bronze certified, which should be more than sufficient to power the custom build, even if configured with the RTX 2060. The component is the non-modular type but comes with black cable sleeves for better aesthetics.
You can find the Corsair CX650 80+ Bronze on Amazon here for $79.99.
PC cabinet: Cooler Master MasterBox MB511 ARGB ATX Mid-Tower
A gaming PC cannot go without RGB lighting and some bling. Cooler Master’s offering brings an open mesh design in the front that supports most fan sizes. The cabinet also comes with three ARGB 120mm fans, a controller, and allows for up to three 120mm fans or two 140mm fans on the top. A tempered glass side panel allows a complete view of the internals for when you would want to add more RGB components inside the PC.
You can find the Cooler Master MasterBox MB511 ARGB ATX Mid-Tower on Amazon here for $76.49.
Alternatively, those who want to go for a more traditional, subdued PC cabinet without an open design can opt for the Corsair Carbide Series 175R Mid-Tower case here on Amazon for a price of $74.99.
And that should do it for the components needed to build a gaming PC for around a thousand bucks.
Total cost: $1,043.45
Of course, if your budget allows you to splurge on any of the components, you could opt for higher specs in the processor, RAM, or GPU space. However, considering that many of the offerings are seeing discounts this week thanks to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, it is best to act fast if you have an upgrade on the cards.
Lastly, though this is not part of the recommendation list for the sub-$1000 build, there is one good deal on gaming monitors for those of you interested. The 24-inch FullHD AOC 24G2 IPS gaming monitor is currently being offered for $237.49 on Amazon. The monitor is a great choice for 1080p gaming thanks to its 144Hz refresh rate, AMD FreeSync (G-SYNC works but non validated) support, and 1ms response time.
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