PCPartPicker

  • Log In
  • Register

Build Guide

Entry Level Gaming Build

by ThoughtA

38
89 Comments
NOTE: A more recent version of this guide is available here.

Description

CPU

Our CPU of choice for this budget is the Intel i3-6100. While it features only two cores, the 6100 also employs hyperthreading to help close the gap between it and a 4-core i5. Hyperthreading adds an additional logical core for each physical core, which is handy for streaming, video editing, and multi-tasking CPU-intensive tasks. The i3-6100 includes a stock cooler, so 3rd-party cooler isn't necessary.

Motherboard

We're using a sparse selection of motherboards, which will display which is the cheapest of the four. All four motherboards feature the B150 chipset and an LGA 1151 socket for compatibility with the i3-6100. They include 4 DIMM slots for up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM. They're also capable of using the CPU's integrated GPU, in case you need to RMA your GPU or are waiting for a sale or upgrade.

Memory

A parametric filter is being applied to choose the best priced 2x4GB kit of memory within Intel's recommended specifications. With this selection, we have space on the motherboards for 2 more sticks of RAM, leaving room for future expansion.

Storage

We're also using parametric filters to select the best priced 240-256GB SSD available. The SSD can be used for your OS and a good handful of games. Everyone's needs are different, so feel free to change out capacities to fit yours. For example, if 240GB feels cramped to you, I recommend picking up a mechanical hard drive for another 1 or 2TB or storage space.

GPU

We're going with a filter for the best-priced Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050ti 4GB. This will run modern games at 1080p admirably. If you plan to play significantly more DirectX 12 games than DirectX 11 or other APIs, the AMD Radeon RX 480 or RX 470 may perform better, but there aren't enough DX12 games out to justify that as a general recommendation.

Case

The newly released Corsair 270R is a mid tower case that can fit all of our components. It offers decent cable management, a power supply shroud, a large window, room for multiple radiators, and there's space to expand with 3.5" hard drives or 2.5" solid state drives. It also has 2 front panel USB 3.0 ports. Cases tend to be highly personal choices, so make sure you browse our listed cases to see what suits you.

PSU

For the PSU, we're using a parametric selection of a few well-reviewed semi-modular and modular units, which are all rated for good power efficiency and can provide plenty of power for this build.

Part List Customize This Part List

Compatibility Check: No issues/incompatibilities found.

Estimated Wattage: 246W
Component Selection Base Promo Shipping Tax Price Where
CPU £104.54 Free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime £104.54 Amazon UK Buy
Motherboard £53.90 £5.90 £59.80 Alza Buy
Memory
From parametric filter
  • Type: 288-pin DIMM
  • Size: 8GB (2x4GB)
£49.25 Free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime £49.25 Amazon UK Buy
Storage
From parametric filter
  • Capacity: 240GB - 256GB
  • Type: SSD
  • Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s
  • Form Factor: 2.5"
£63.99 Free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime £63.99 Amazon UK Buy
Video Card
From parametric filter
  • Chipset: GeForce GTX 1060 3GB
£179.99 Free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime £179.99 Amazon UK Buy
Case £55.80 £55.80 Aria PC Buy
Power Supply £52.14 £52.14 Novatech Buy
Base Total: £559.61
Shipping: £5.90
Total: £565.51
* Using your selected merchants and only including nearby in-store pickup prices)
* Some physical dimension restrictions cannot (yet) be automatically checked, such as cpu cooler / RAM clearance with modules using tall heat spreaders.

Comments Sorted by:

turtlesaurusrex25 4 points 6 months ago

I was so happy when I saw that this build was less than $600. Then I realized that it had NO OPERATING SYSTEM and then I was sad.

unicykle 3 Builds 1 point 6 months ago

holds hand
Change some parts out and add it yourself?
Run Linux?

turtlesaurusrex25 3 points 6 months ago

I'm not going to run linux on a gaming computer. There aren't enough games that would run on linux and driver support would be a nightmare.

Falcon9 1 point 5 months ago

Are you a student? You can get a free OS from DreamSpark if you are.

turtlesaurusrex25 1 point 5 months ago

What kind of OS? Is it like a free Linux distribution?

Falcon9 2 points 5 months ago

Windows.

[comment deleted by staff]
manirelli staff 7 Builds 5 points 6 months ago

Do not advocate piracy.

LemonComputers 4 points 6 months ago

Or you could just do... erm you know what..

Pirate? I would not suggest that.

[comment deleted]
[comment deleted by staff]
ThoughtA staff submitter 1 point 5 months ago

The sale of those keys violate Microsoft ToS, and the keys may be unexpectedly disabled. Recommending, suggesting, advising, encouraging, hinting, or in any way implying these keys as a solution or option is not allowed on this site.

mrsillygoose101 1 point 5 months ago

I never knew that. Hardware Canucks actually made a video about it I believe and I never thought twice about it.

[comment deleted by staff]
ameyerrus 3 points 6 months ago

Newegg has a combo that is very similar to this for $564.98 as of the date on this comment. Upside to the Newegg combo is the processor is an I5-6500. Downside is the motherboard is slightly less desirable and the SSD is 120Gb vs 240Gb. Other than that, the combo is very similar. Personally I would go with the Newegg combo because of the processor upgrade and slight savings in price.

I posted this comment a couple of weeks ago and it was recently deleted (couple of weeks ago the same combo was $549.99). I just want to provide people with options that are similar, more affordable, and potentially better.

Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.3135643

ThoughtA staff submitter 1 point 6 months ago

Nice! Options are good.

Dylan.Haslam 1 point 5 months ago

hey, I know im a bit late but looking at the newegg combo and am seriously considering it!

will be my first pc build but the only thing I am worried about is the 3gb of vram. From what ive read this is quite a hinderance.

any advice?

Falcon9 2 points 6 months ago

How does the 1060 3gb model compare to the 6gb? Same question for the 480 4/8 gb.

InvaderGir 5 points 6 months ago

Both versions are slightly slower than their higher GB versions.

ThoughtA staff submitter 3 points 6 months ago

If the lower models have enough VRAM, then the VRAM amount won't make a difference. If they don't, it will make a big difference. It'll depend on the application.

VRAM aside, the 3GB model has 10% fewer shading units and operates at the same clock rate. This effectively results in a reduction in performance of very roughly 5% (varies depending on games) relative to the 6GB model.

The 4GB version of the RX 480 has somewhat lower clocked memory speeds than the 8GB version. It will affect performance at all and ever, but it will do so by a very small amount most of the time, provided 4GB is enough VRAM.

shitcraytho 1 point 6 months ago

It should be noted that with jet.com's current promotions, you can get a rx 470 4gb for around ~165$. Would make a good replacement for much cheaper, imo.

What do you think?

EDIT: Other than a few minor tweaks, i'm following this build very closely for my build I am currently gathering parts for.

henrath 1 point 6 months ago

If your going to keep it for a while, the 470 is a good choice due to the better DX12 performance and extra RAM. If you plan to upgrade in a year and the 1060 is less than 10% more than the 470 that may be better.

mrsillygoose101 1 point 5 months ago

is there enough overclocking headroom for the 4gb to match the 8gb vram speeds though?

MikeLee 3 points 6 months ago

more vram=higher resolution. if you are doing 1080p, 3gb is fine. (according to minimum specs required for gtav, battlefield, and overwatch)

MarkTaylor 2 points 6 months ago

I have the 1060 3gb and I can play gtav and overwatch at max settings at 1080p 100fps

Fraglepuss 2 Builds 2 points 6 months ago

Its actually not economical at 1080p. It is an extra $50 for 5% increase in fps (less cuda cores) but i guess 3gb isnt loads

henrath 2 points 6 months ago

If it ever tries to use more than 3gb of VRAM the performance will tank. Then you'll have to lower the texture quality.

Fraglepuss 2 Builds 3 points 6 months ago

at 1080p thats not likely. The £50 extra would be much better spent upgrading i3-->i5

Rather than £50 on more v ram

shreduhsoreus 3 Builds 1 point 5 months ago

Nah, the 3GB 1060 will bottleneck the i5 pretty hard so that upgrade is fairly pointless unless you really only want to push 1080p and spend 80 bucks extra on an i5 to see a 10FPS gain in a small number of games. It's not really worth it. If it's a matter of being future proof, well...Kaby Lake is literally a month and a half away...

Fraglepuss 2 Builds 1 point 5 months ago

Kaby Lake will be marginally better and slightly more expensive (im still going to buy one lol).

I would personally recommend buying an i5 + 1060 6gb, but if you cant afford both get the the cheaper 3gb 1060, because its easier to upgrade that part. Upgrading cpu is just hassle, and they tend to last longer than gpu's

mrsillygoose101 1 point 5 months ago

and the 460 2gb and 4gb ;)

DPRutledge 1 Build 2 points 6 months ago

Do you have to turn on the Hyperthreading in the BIOS or is it on by default? Does this cause the Temps to rise a great deal?

526christian 2 points 6 months ago

It should be on by default. I'd imagine it'd make temps go up a little bit (but not large increase) since hyperthreading increases utilization of the CPU's execution units, even though idle ones will still consume a little power.

robbyishere 1 point 6 months ago

The Core i3-6100 doesn't support DDR4-2400, only DDR4-1866 or DDR4-2133 according to the Intel Ark page.

InvaderGir 2 points 6 months ago

So does every other Skylake CPU, thats why they have XMP which basically overclocks the RAM to their rated speeds, it's the motherboard that controlles that so you will need a motherboard that supports the speed of the RAM which this one doesn't. I think only z170 motherboards support XMP.

Rdn98 1 point 5 months ago

Yes so why did op go with faster ram?

LemonComputers 1 point 5 months ago

Probably because it was cheaper at the time.

LemonComputers 1 point 5 months ago

If the RAM's clock speed is higher than the CPU's specification, then the CPU will automatically downclock the RAM to supported speeds without causing compatibility issues.

vesamet 1 point 6 months ago

How about the cooling system ? Wont the cpu fry at some point ?

ThoughtA staff submitter 5 points 6 months ago

The CPU comes with a stock cooler.

mrsillygoose101 2 points 5 months ago

its not worth buying a cooler for a cpu that wont overclock if it already comes with a stock one.

Mutatta 1 point 6 months ago

can you buy stuff from this site? cause i'd like to buy this pc but i'm new here

unicykle 3 Builds 1 point 6 months ago

You totally can. :)

Have a look at the parts list. You can click the blue 'buy' buttons on the right hand side and it will link you to the sellers. You can also create a custom parts list from this page via the 'customize this parts list' button. Here you can select the vendor to save on shipping (for example) or change out parts as you please.

Houshalter 1 point 6 months ago

Why an SSD for an entry level build? It seems like I could save a lot by buying a cheaper hard drive. But maybe there is a good reason for this choice.

ThoughtA staff submitter 2 points 6 months ago

An SSD makes for a considerable quality of life improvement when using a PC. Not just boot times or loading screens in games. The whole system is much snappier and more responsives. These days, SSDs have come down in price enough that entry level builds can include them.

Even then, however:

Everyone's needs are different, so feel free to change out capacities to fit yours.

LemonComputers 1 point 6 months ago

SSDs are very fast and their prices have dropped to the point where many entry level builds can fit them in.

CodenameKidsNextDoor 1 point 6 months ago

How does the Pentium G3258 compare to the i3-6100, will it bottleneck the GPU?

LemonComputers 1 point 6 months ago

How does the Pentium G3258 compare to the i3-6100,

The Pentium is quite a bit slower than the Core i3 but can still decently play some games...nevertheless I would still recommend something better.

will it bottleneck the GPU?

Yes. No. Any CPU can bottleneck any GPU. The most powerful CPU could bottleneck the weakest GPU or vice versa. Bottlenecking always completely depends on the specific situation.

vr0nvr0n 1 point 5 months ago

Hi!

I'm still kind of new to all of this. Can you explain and/or link to why this is? I had always thought the cpu was was the deciding factor.

Thanks.

LemonComputers 1 point 5 months ago

What do you mean?

vr0nvr0n 1 point 5 months ago

You said

Any CPU can bottleneck any GPU. The most powerful CPU could bottleneck the weakest GPU or vice versa

But, I thought the bottleneck was alleviated by the CPU power. What's the connection between the most powerful CPU bottlenecking the weakest GPU?

Again, sorry if this is a stupid question. I had thought a powerful CPU was a way to avoid bottlenecking,

MonkeyKing1969 2 Builds 1 point 5 months ago

All things considered for an all around PC you might want to spend a few bucks on the i3 simple for the hyper threading that could be used for non-gaming programs.

In general, the types of workloads that benefit the most from hyper threading fall into one of two categories:

A) Heavy Multi-Tasking workflows. While an individual tasks (like a game) may not in and of itself impose a heavy CPU load, if a number of things are running the benefit from hyper threading is the ability to juggle cpu use tasks efficiently

B) Workloads that want to keep the CPU under load for as close to 100% of the time as possible. Low-end Video Editing and low end 3D Rendering are standout examples in this category. And i3 woudl take awhile to render a video, but it will do it a lot faster than that G3258 even if you overclocked it.

A low end gaming machine shoudl be a bit of all all arounder for some everyday tasks if it will just cost a $20 to $50 more to make it so - IMO.

FlynnesK 1 point 6 months ago

What kind of games can this build run? will it be able to run overwatch or battlefeild 1???

LemonComputers 1 point 6 months ago

Yes.

meatwaddancin 1 point 6 months ago

Typo: The CPU section should read that a CPU cooler ISN'T needed.

ThoughtA staff submitter 1 point 6 months ago

Thanks.

C.notex 1 point 6 months ago

Is this pc strong enough to do video editing, twitch and live streaming, and other things or is it only good for gaming??

LemonComputers 1 point 6 months ago

Should be able to, I would think.

mikecraw 1 point 6 months ago

would this rig run WoW?? no need for ultra graphics or anything.

Dray_Gon 1 Build 1 point 6 months ago

It would run WoW just fine. I have a very basic computer, and I'm working on my build. But I can run the game just fine.

JoelGG 1 point 6 months ago

How does the Thermaltake Core V1 case compare to the case used in this build? This would be my first build and the idea of a smaller case appeals to me as it would make the whole thing more discreet. I'm just wondering in terms of fitting the parts and noise.

H5 1 point 6 months ago

Hello I'm new to all this and was wondering if I could swap out for the i5 6500 and gtx1060 with this build?

henrath 1 point 6 months ago

Now that the 470 is $170 it should really replace the 1060 as it has more VRAM, similar per per $ in DX11, and greater or equal to performance in DX12.

reverendgreen_88 1 point 6 months ago

Hi. I used this as the basis for my build - got a 6GB geforce gtx 1060 graphics card because I had some extra cash. Apart from that its basically the same - my question is this: I can run overwatch really nicely - and I'm interested in BF1. However when I check with 'canirunit' they return with a resounding 'no' based on the processor - is this actually the case? Or could I still run it with the graphics tuned down a bit. Same thing with games like DOOM and The Witcher 3. Like I said - I can run Overwatch on Ultra settings no problem.

reverendgreen_88 1 point 6 months ago

hmmm I just did a google and found that people actually post videos of systems with this spec running - looks like they run really nicely even though the specs say they wont!

DJumbo 1 point 6 months ago

Does the i3 bottle neck the 1060?

LemonComputers 1 point 6 months ago

Yes and no. Bottlenecking completely depends on the specific use. For gaming, it completely depends on the specific game, resolution, and graphical settings. Any CPU can bottleneck any GPU and any GPU can bottleneck any CPU.

MikeLee 1 point 6 months ago

Why did you choose an i3 for this when there is no noticeable difference in fps between an i3 6100 and an athlon 845, which is $50 less?

LemonComputers 1 point 6 months ago

There is some of a performance difference in favor of the i3.

sageof6bands 1 point 5 months ago

New to pc building but how difficult would it be to install windows on this pc build. Couldn't you use a USB for install?

LemonComputers 1 point 5 months ago

New to pc building but how difficult would it be to install windows on this pc build.

Depends.

Couldn't you use a USB for install?

Yes.

Gooberdad 7 Builds 1 point 5 months ago

This is what helped shape my daughter's new pc. Thanks for the build guide to set me on this path, ThoughtA

SamHam 1 point 5 months ago

How does the GTX 1060 3gb compare to the RX 480 4gb?

Samantha_84 1 point 5 months ago

I know this may be a stupid question, but does anyone know of a good link that can walk me step by step through the building process? It's been a while and I definitely need a guide. :/

AwesomeAureus 1 Build 1 point 5 months ago

My machine is like this, only I have an i5, 16 GB of ram, 1050 TI Geforce GTX, and a slightly different motherboard.

https://pcpartpicker.com/user/AwesomeAureus/saved/qkV7P6

Henrik_Pont 1 point 5 months ago

It is my first time building a computer so any tips on how to make this build better without a huge price increase or make it cheaper with about the same performance would be very much appreciated. http://pcpartpicker.com/list/9KgMwV

Crofter 5 Builds 1 point 5 months ago

Would this be a worthy successor to the Entry Level Gaming build? Shopping around on line you can get the parts for £550 in the UK, cheaper than this build and includes an i5 6500.

http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/list/dBZNvV

mertoncleoud76 1 point 5 months ago

I put a list together that includes W7 for about the same price

allur4 1 Build 1 point 5 months ago

Tbh you could easily get a pentium and OC instead of an i3 and you could get a 320gb hdd for around $15 and a wayyy cheaper psu(even with upgrades it'll be very difficult to need that much). With all those changes you'll be under $500 w/o an OS

Sytribute 1 point 4 months ago

I was wondering would these parts plus a Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" HDD fit inside of a Raidmax ATX-502WBG ATX Mid Tower Case. Thanks for the help

Fraglepuss 2 Builds 0 points 6 months ago

Great build. More people should make builds like these.

  • Good intel processor (AMD not worth it until next year)
  • Fast boot SSD, to make the system runs well
  • 1060 which will pretty much max out 1080p (6gb is $50+ with only a big benefit in 1440p)
  • Cheap RAM and MOBO so that the rest of the build performs more for less

If you run out of space done! $50 and youve got a TB of HDD, no system migration needed. Also i3 6100 > i5 6500 is very easy if you want to up your FPS

dc2008242 -1 points 6 months ago

why is there an SSD but not a 1TB drive? And if we're talking entry level then I'd say a Pentium G4400 or maybe G4500 (Or Athlon X4 845 if you like AMD)

I would also include a keyboard and mouse for like $20 Possibly also include monitor (depends on person really.....)

ThoughtA staff submitter 5 points 6 months ago

From the decription:

Everyone's needs are different, so feel free to change out capacities to fit yours. For example, if 240GB feels cramped to you, I recommend picking up a mechanical hard drive for another 1 or 2TB or storage space.

Peripherals are outside the scope of these guides.

ALEXGAMINGPRO -6 points 6 months ago

the i3 could bottleneck this gpu a little so either have a higher end cpu ( higher price) or a lower end gpu (lower the price) in order to get rid of any chance of botllenecking

tomtomj2 8 Builds 3 points 6 months ago

The i3-6100 is a great CPU and will should not bottleneck the GPU under certain circumstances.

Bottlenecking in is a relative term and it all depends on the other factors of what the PC is running. There shouldn't be any problems here.

turtlesaurusrex25 2 points 6 months ago

the i3 6100 has phenomenal single threaded performance and if you get the right motherboard you can use the base clock overclocking method to get well over 4Ghz. It is by far the best value CPU on the market.

LemonComputers 1 point 6 months ago

While you can overclock an i3, I would advise against doing so because i3's are not technically designed to be overclocked and Intel does not want you to overclock locked processors.

ALEXGAMINGPRO 1 point 6 months ago

Yeah but wouldn't buying an i5 with a low end mobo give a better value than an i3 with high price mobo to overclock ?

MikeLee 1 point 6 months ago

lmao, you actually think an i3 bottlenecks and entry level gaming gpu on 1080p

[comment deleted]
tiny_voices 2 Builds 4 points 6 months ago

This.

ALEXGAMINGPRO -1 points 6 months ago

I know bottlenecking well but I wasn't sure about the i3's capabilities until I saw some videos about it combined with powerful gpus without breaking a sweat.

[comment deleted]
[comment deleted]
[comment deleted]
[comment deleted by staff]
[comment deleted by staff]
[comment deleted by staff]
[comment deleted by staff]
Reason:
Note: Wattages are estimates only. Actual power draw may differ from listed values.
Component Estimated Wattage
Intel Core i3-6100 3.7GHz Dual-Core Processor 6W - 51W
MSI B150M PRO-VDH Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard 15W - 60W
Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-2400 Memory 5W - 5W
Plextor M7V 256GB 2.5" Solid State Drive 2W - 10W
Zotac GeForce GTX 1060 3GB 3GB Mini Video Card 30W - 120W
Total: 58W - 246W