$500 Intel Core i3-8100 Gaming PC Challenge

Updated on April 19, 2018
whcobb profile image

I'm just a small time guy working a normal job as a physician assistant. My passion is building PCs and testing/reviewing PC hardware.

$500 Entry Level Intel Core i3-8100 Gaming PC

Hello everyone. Will here and today, I have the results of a challenge I was issued a few days ago. My friend from work, my supervising physician, challenged me to build a specific computer. He gave me a $500 budget to build an Intel Core i3 system. The system could’ve been any generation I could find to fit the budget. What follows was a fun journey that resulted in a decent budget build of a gaming PC.

So, what was I able to get in this system? Well, by shopping around a bit through Amazon, B and H Photo and Video, Newegg, and others stores, I was able to get a pretty good system for just under $500, not counting tax and shipping on the components. This system should be able to handle all current triple A games on medium to high settings at 60 fps; benchmarks will come at a later date once I am able to get the time to do those. So, what is in this Intel Core i3 system? Well, let us all take a look.

Starting out, I was looking at a Skylake processor or Kaby Lake processor and considered all options including the popular budget CPU, the Pentium G4560. However, after sifting through the choices, I was able to get a Coffee Lake processor, the Intel Core i3-8100 processor. I was quite surprised with this option given how new it is but it fit the budget and was just $128.89 on Amazon. This is a fantastic deal given the $500 budget for this entry-level gaming PC. This is a four core, four thread processor with a base clock of 3.6GHz. The Core i3-8100 offers a 6MB cache and operates at just 65 watts TDP. The i3-8100 supports up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM up to 2400MHz in dual channel setup. The processor also offers Intel’s UHD Graphics 630 and supports DirectX 12 and OpenGL 4.5. And even though this processor does not offer hyperthreading, it is a fantastic processor for those wishing to enter into PC gaming on a budget.

Gigabyte Z370-HD3 Motherboard

Now, obviously, the motherboard options are limited with this processor to the Z370 chipset. Given this issue and the fact I was on a budget, I went with what is essentially the Z370 variant of a classic budget build board in the Gigabyte Z370-HD3 motherboard. This was a classic of budget building late last year and earlier this year with H110 variant. This board has a few more options however. The Gigabyte motherboard offers 4 memory slots that supports up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM that can be clocked from 2133MHz to 4000MHz. The board also supports crossfire, which is good given the video card I was essentially forced to go with given the budget. This board came in at around $105 after mail-in-rebate from Newegg.

G. Skill NT Series RAM and Seagate Barracuda 500GB Hard Disk Drive

Click thumbnail to view full-size

The RAM of choice on this build is G. Skill NT Series RAM at 8GB total in 2 modules of 4GB. The RAM is clocked at 2133MHz and is nothing special. For just $79.99, it cannot be matched by anything else that is currently on the market and RAM prices are still outrageous. Now, as with this RAM, the hard drive is also nothing special as I went with a standard 7200RPM mechanical hard disk drive from Amazon for just $28.99. This hard drive is the Seagate Barracuda 500GB, 3.5” internal hard drive.

XFX Radeon RX 550 2GB Graphics Card

For the graphics card, I went with the best card I could get for the budget. The $500 budget really held this option back as there were only a couple that could fit under the budget. I went with the XFX Radeon RX 550 4GB video card. This isn’t a terrible card and I went with the brand because of price and I have had pretty good success with XFX branded cards in the past; particularly the AMD cards. This card in particularly has 512 stream processors and operates with a 1203MHz core clock while the 4GB of GDDR5 video memory operates at and effective 7000MHz. This is a single fan card so it should run fairly quiet while only requiring 75 watts TDP. The card has 1 DVI-D port, 1 DisplayPort, and 1 HDMI port; crossfire is supported. This card should give pretty good results at 1080p gaming.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Rounding out this build is the tower and the power supply. The DIYPC Solo T1-R ATX Mid tower case was chosen given its $24.98 price tag from Newegg. This case is nothing special as there is no side window, which you probably wouldn’t want to show off what’s inside of this case with the really awful looking cables and wiring from the power supply. The case does have 2 external 5.35” bays, 3 internal 2.5” bays, and 3 internal 3.5” bays and supports ATX and Micro ATX motherboards. Powering this system is the EVGA 400 watt power supply. There’s nothing special about this power supply but it will offer adequate power to this system. At just $24.99 form SuperBiiz, it is perfect for this system.

So, there it is. The PC went together fairly smooth and powered on first try. The case wasn’t too bad to build in and cable management was fair at best. However, with a budget build like this and a case that you really cannot see the cables in because there is no side window, it isn’t a big deal. Windows 10 installed just fine and the computer runs smoothly. Overall, the system cost just $477.92 which brought me in at just under the $500 budget. I will be posting benchmarks in the next few days after I have been able to run the tests so be sure to check back.

I had a really good time putting this system together from the shopping to the building. Now, I'm really looking forward at what this system can do. Thanks for stopping by and drop a comment to let me know what you think or where you would have done something different. I hope to see you next time.

Changes?

What Would You Change About This System?

See results

Coffee Lake i3 Reviews Courtesy of Steve at Hardware Unboxed

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, turbofuture.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://turbofuture.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)