Best Under $1,000 Gaming Desktop Computer Build 2017
AMD or Intel in 2017?
Want to be able to play the best AAA titles of 2017 in 1080p and 1440p? Believe it or not, this $1,000 PC build will do it.
That might not have been something I'd have said last year. Simply put, the most recent graphics card releases have greatly improved our ability to produce a solid gaming machine at a reasonable budget.
Whether you're making the transition to 1440p or simply want to play 1080p at a million frames, NVIDIA's updated technology will help you do so. How AMD will fair with AMD Ryzen and Vega is yet to be seen. But one thing is clear. Ultra settings gaming at higher frame rates is cheaper than ever.
In the past, I've discussed the advantages of having a good gaming monitor, mechanical keyboard, and mouse to use for your favorite games. Today I'll go over what I think is the best value hardware in 2017 and how to shop for the computer that works best with the games you play.
Top Custom Gaming PC Build for a $1,000 Budget 2017
Our $1,000 build puts an emphasis on efficiency, price, quality, and most importantly performance.
Gaming Processors Around $200
In my opinion, there are only a couple of processors that really give you a good value here. In 2017, you should be taking a look at the Skylake i5-6600k and the Intel 7th Gen Kaby Lake i5-7600k. The Kaby Lake is the next generation of processor and therefor is the right choice if prices are similar.
However there's a lot to like about sticking with the Skylake Processor. For now, you should be able to save around $50 to $75 on the CPU and a comparable motherboard.
Overclocking both of these CPUs you'll see very little real world gains in one over the other. They are both 14nm processors and are within .3GHz of each other on their standard speeds.
So, ultimately go with whichever one you'd prefer. If you go with the Kaby Lake, you'll likely go over the $1,000 budget by around $50. Skylake, on the other hand, should allow you to maintain it or even go below it.
A Good CPU Cooler Under $50
In the under $50 space, there's one CPU cooler that for me really sticks out above the rest. The Hyper 212 Evo from Cooler Master is usually available for around $30 and is one of the better options below $75. At that price range, I'd recommend you look at other coolers including the Noctua 6 for air cooling, or NZXT Kraken or Corsair Hydro series for water cooling.
Kaby Lake is here. However, it might make sense to some to save some money here and go with the Skylake i5-6600k.
$400 Budget Gaming Graphics Card - What to Choose?
If you were building this today and had to have it right now, I'd tell you to go . The improvements in performance that you'll get from this Pascal-based GPU will be more than worth the wait. There may be additional AMD options that come forward in the future at a similar price point, but for now, this is your best option. the NVIDIA GTX 1070
For Those Wanting a Dual Card Configuration
While I would have recommended a dual GPU combination in the past, I probably won't here until we get a cheaper Pascal-based graphics card. You simply won't be able to beat the performance. If you need more performance than the 1070, consider the 1080 or upcoming GTX 1080 Ti.
The GTX 1070 is a fantastic performer in both 1080p and 1440p. It's our card of choice in the $400 price range.
A Good Power Supply Under $75
I've always been a fan of spending a little bit more on your power supply. By spending more I don't mean you go with more capacity but rather better quality. For this build, I'm recommending a power supply I put on my tier 1 list in the EVGA SuperNova NEX. The 650W version can be as cheap as $70 if you find it on rebate. This build uses just under 481W at full load so that should be more than adequate.
Future Power Usage:
If you're wanting to go with a Dual GPU configuration in the future, it might be advisable to go with the 750W version as it's not that much more.
How Much Power Do You Really Need?
This build shouldn't draw more than 356W from the wall. So, if you'd prefer to go with the 550W SuperNova version and can find it cheaper, it's certainly an option.
A Good Gaming Case for Around $50
Since we're looking for max FPS with this build I didn't want to recommend a computer case that was going to take anything away from more crucial components. That being said if you go with the Corsair Carbide 200R, NZXT Source 210, Cooler Master Elite 430, Rosewill Challenger, or Haf 912, then you still get a great gaming case for under $50.
Another Good Gaming Case Option:
I currently use the Storm Enforcer in my build. If you're willing to stretch around $30 it gives you a few more up-to-date features and has a great new look.
This case is on sale this month and if you're into something that isn't too flashy, then you get a really solid case for the money with features you find in cases twice the price.
Top Skylake Z170 and Kaby Lake Z270 Motherboards from $100 to $125
If you go with a Skylake or Kaby Lake processor, you'll need a compatible motherboard. The Z270 chipset is the newest option on the market and features compatibility for both. That being said, all z170 motherboards are compatible with Skylake and, with a BIOS update, Kaby Lake.
Right now I like MSI's PC Mate series as a budget option in the $100 to $125 price range. The Z270 version will likely be around $20 more.
These boards are decent for overclocking and won't cost you a fortune. The ASRock Pro line and Gigabyte UD3 lineup are also very reasonable options with plenty of features for most.
Other Hardware and Parts
Ram and CAS Latency
I think there's a misconception when it comes to ram and CAS Latency. While CAS is certainly something to consider for editing, lower CAS latency won't really help you when it comes to better in-game performance.
Buy RAM that's affordable, reliable, and does a good job. I recommend something like G. Skill's Ripjaw series or Kingston's Hyper-X gaming ram which not only looks good but fits most budgets.
How much ram do you really need?
For this build, I'm recommending a total of 8GB of ram in order to afford the higher end graphics card and processor listed above. This is easy to upgrade down the road if you feel like it's insufficient.
For this build, you can choose any number of DDR4 kits. Higher speed is preferable, but receives diminishing returns after 2400MHz. So, go with something reliable, somewhat fast, and hopefully, inexpensive.
For this build, I've chosen 8GB of Corsair Vengeance LPX. It's a good value for the money and should give you the speeds as well as the capacity you need for gaming. It's also a decent option for tweaking.
Storage Solution - SSD and HDD
In 2016, I can't imagine building a PC without a solid state drive. We're going with an inexpensive 240GB option in the Kingston SSDNOW that should be more than capable of handling your OS and favorite programs.
In addition, we're going with a fast hard drive in the Western Digital Caviar Blue that's 7200RPM with a 1TB capacity. An additional TB can be found in the Hitachi Deskstar series for around $20 more.
While your hard drive is certainly important for functionality it's not that important in terms of in-game performance. Try to find a 7200RPM hard drive that fits within your budget and has the amount of capacity you need. For DVD drives, I generally try to find one that's around $20 as I tend to use it only on occasion.
Finding the Right Graphics Card for Your Needs
In order to reach a higher frame rate in graphically intense games, you'll need to get a good graphics card. Understanding at each price point what the best option is for the game you play is essential. For example, graphics card recommendations for BF4 could vary substantially from what I'd recommend on another graphically intense game.
Also, while you can gain a significant performance boost by going with a SLI or Crossfire configuration, there can be stability advantages to simply going with single card. In other words, if you're willing to work with your graphics card in terms of cooling and stability to get it where you want, then a dual setup could be the way to go; however, if you don't want to mess with it, then you can still get great performance, at this price point, out of a single GPU.
Is Overclocking Worth It Here?
In our $750 build, it wasn't really worth it to upgrade to all the components we needed to do a substantial amount of overclocking. Upgrading components was a bigger priority at that budget.
For a budget of $1,000, you can really start thinking about getting the most out of the components you purchase. For this build, I'll be including a CPU cooler and an unlocked processor. That being said, the argument could still be made that putting that money towards your GPU, more hard drive space, or even a better case might be a better solution.
$1,000 PC Build - Final Thoughts and Summary
It's amazing how far we've come in a couple of years. The Skylake i5 solution along with GTX 1070 graphics card from NVIDIA should provide you high frame rates for 1080p or even 1440p performance. It should last you for many years to come.
That being said, the Intel and AMD debate is definitely on for 2017. Early reports show that AMD Vega and Ryzen options will be very competitive. Let me know in the poll above whether you'd prefer an Intel or AMD-based build for future posts. Also, feel free to ask me any question you may have about this build in the comment area below.
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