Breaking into PC gaming can be intimidating for many people, but if you’re looking to jump right into things without breaking the bank, this 600 dollar gaming PC build is the perfect place to start. Though it is a bit less powerful than our $700 build (As you’d expect), this rig will still hold its own easily in modern games on medium settings – in full 1080P glory!
Still, if even $600 is a bit too much for you to stomach at the moment, no worries! We also have a $500 gaming PC build available. It’s the perfect mid point between a low-medium end build, and a $400 console-killing rig. It’s your build, not mine – pick whatever budget suits your needs.
Anyway, to be a bit more specific about the power of this build, you should be able to run even demanding games like the Witcher 3 on medium settings (With NVIDIA hairworks off, of course) at right around 60FPS at 1080P – you might even be able to pump things up a bit higher if you get creative with which settings you can live without (Such as postprocessing effects).
Just be aware that poorly-optimized games like Dishonored 2 or Mafia 3 (Upon release, anyway) might struggle a bit no matter what – heck, I even had troubles with my 970.
Why Should You Build A PC Instead Of Buying a Pre Built?
Before I get into the build, I want to address something real quick, for any new PC builders out there.
One of the #1 questions I get is “Why should I build my own gaming PC when I can buy a pre-built one off of Amazon for the same price?”
While this is a perfectly reasonable question, it’s absolutely critical to understand one key thing about PC gaming – price does not necessarily equate to performance. Even when building your own PC you can shell out $1000 and get a pile of junk – you need to know what you’re doing, and how to optimize your budget so that you’re getting the absolute best quality rig you can for your money. That’s where this build guide comes in, because I’ve already done the legwork for you.
Pre built PC manufacturers don’t care about that. Optimization is meaningless to them. As long as people who are clueless about the power and cost of individual components continue to buy their rigs, it will remain that way. They usually completely rip you off, charging sometimes well over $300 more than the cost of the individual parts. “But they include an operating system, a mouse and a keyboard!”, you might be thinking.
And you’d be right – they do. But the truth is, you can get started in PC gaming without spending a dime on an operating system, and no I’m not referring to piracy (I’ll elaborate further on down this post). As for the mouse and keyboard, I recommend a fantastic mouse/keyboard combo (And I do mean fantastic – it’s not just a pile of “budget” junk) below for under $30. I am, of course, referring to the Cooler Master Devastator II mouse/keyboard combo.
The truth is, building your own gaming PC is just the best use of your money. You get per-part warranties as well, meaning that you can swap parts in and out as you please without voiding any warranties.Want more RAM? Go for it. Need a new SSD to pair with your old hard drive? Who’s stopping you – go for it. Pre built gaming PCs don’t allow you to do that. Even so much as taking certain stickers off can void a warranty, so good luck swapping RAM out without doing the same. You just don’t have any freedom or control over your own rig.
You probably have this stuff lying around your house, and if you don’t, I really don’t think it’s worth going out and buying it – the build will only take a couple hours to begin with.
- Needlenose pliers (This makes it far easier to pick up loose/dropped screws from inside your PC case)
- A flashlight (Self explanatory – you need to be able to see to build a PC!)
- A screwdriver (For…well, driving screws. Into various parts of the case)
- Anti-static wrist band (This is 100% optional, and is not worth buying if you don’t already have one. It just prevents you from damaging components due to pent up static electricity – you can accomplish the same thing by “grounding yourself” prior to starting the build)
See? Easy peasy.
Now, I don’t have any written guides of my own on this website because it would just be pointless. I would spend a lot of time telling you something you could just watch and learn in 30 minutes! The video below is the very video I – and many others – have used in the past to build countless PCs of my own, as well as a few for my friends and family.
Having said that, I understand that some people need some help every now and then. Despite my snarky sense of humor above, I know that PC building is a somewhat complicated process for newcomers, especially if they aren’t technically inclined. As such, I just want you to know that you have free access to me whenever you need advice or tips. All you have to do is drop a comment below any of my articles (Including this one) and let me know – I’ll usually get back to you within a couple hours.
Yeah, I spend more time on my computer than I should… But soon you will, too. 😛
Powerful Budget 600 Dollar Gaming PC Build For 2017
Our $600 build guide is catered towards those of you who happen to be on a tighter budget, but don’t want to sacrifice too much in terms of performance. If a $700 rig is just out of reach for you, this build is ideal. The performance here will be enough to get you running fairly demanding games like the Witcher 3 on medium settings at 1080P & 60FPS. While I can’t guarantee you’ll always be able to do this, I’m pretty certain you can even get a couple games to run smoothly on high settings – it just depends on how well optimized they are.
Whenever I spend time researching components for a new build, I always look at two major factors – price & performance. I know that may seem a bit obvious, but you’d have to actually see me do my research to see how important those two factors are to me. Optimizing builds for their maximum potential is what I do, after all. Aside from those two things, though, I also do enjoy a good-looking aesthetic every now and then, which is why I try to pick cases that have a pretty sick exterior and nice LED lighting – while maintaining my other case quality standards as well.
I always try to create builds with longevity in mind, as well. What good is it to spend $600 on a rig if you’re going to have to replace every single component 6 months later? It’s no good at all. As such, I pick components that can easily be replaced down the line if need be (Years down the road), and will actually stand the test of time in terms of reliability – meaning I don’t pick parts just because they’re cheap. That’s a recipe for disaster and hardware failure. I pick parts that have fantastic long-term reviews, and a very low percentage of factory defects.
Anyway, enough with my boring introductions – let’s get on to the build!
The Part List
Here’s the absolute best part list you can get for a $700 gaming machine! Bear in mind that the price estimate is just that – an estimate.
Just a little disclaimer – prices on Amazon are prone to change, so it may not be exactly the same by the time you read this. It’s more of a rough guide. 🙂
DeepCool Tesseract SW
This is an awesome budget mid-tower case that will support upgrades in the future. Plus, it looks freakin’ awesome and has great airflow capabilities. Check It Out On Amazon
EVGA 500 W1 80+
This 500W PSU is a great, cheap (but very reliable) option for our $600 rig. Down the line if you significantly upgrade your rig, I would consider upgrading to a 600 or 700W PSU, but it’s unnecessary for now. Check It Out On Amazon
MSI B250M PRO-VDH
A solid pick from MSI – it’s compatible with our build, but will have no real effect on our gaming performance. It’s sturdy, reliable and will last quite a while. Check It Out On Amazon
ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 3GB
This video card is AWESOME for the price – coming in at under $200 currently, it just offers a ridiculous value. While it doesn’t quite push the performance as high as our $700 build’s RX 480, it holds its own very well for this cheaper build. Check It Out On Amazon
Intel Core i3 7100
This dual-core CPU will do just fine for today’s games, and offers a very high clock speed for the price. If you’re doing video rendering or streaming you might want to consider an i5, but otherwise, this’ll do the job nicely. Check It Out On Amazon
Crucial 8GB DDR4 2133MHz
This 8GB stick of RAM is simple in appearance, but highly effective in terms of speed and overall performance. If your budget allows for another $50 down the line, I recommend grabbing another one of these puppies for 16GB total – it’s worth it! Check It Out On Amazon
Western Digital 1TB 7200RPM
Western Digital offers reliable hard drives that last quite a long time – not much else to say here. This is one of their best-selling HDDs out there! Check It Out On Amazon
The build above is enough to kick some serious butt in terms of performance, but there’s always room to step up your game – in ways other than purely performance. As such, I’ve listed a few optional components you can check out, should you be so inclined.
The only thing that is more necessary than others is an operating system, but I go into details about how you can get by without shelling out any dough for a full copy of Windows. No, you won’t be pirating anything, either. Read on for the details, but if you have some extra cash, I highly recommend grabbing a copy of Windows 10 below.
Windows 10 64-bit
As I said, Windows 10 is not essential to having a solid gaming PC. You can always go with other methods to start out, and then grab it later when you can afford to. Still, it’s worth buying if you can. Check The Current Price on Amazon
Samsung SATA CD Drive
Although optical drives (Or CD drives) are not nearly as important as they were 6 years ago, many people still like to have them. If you’re one such person, this Samsung SATA CD drive is a perfect choice. It’s cheap and effective! Check The Current Price on Amazon
Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD
Finally, I highly recommend the Samsung 850 EVO (250GB Capacity) SSD, it will vastly improve game loading times and overall computer speeds. Virus scans, file transfers and more are all blazing fast with this SSD! But it is absolutely not a requirement, because it is pretty pricey. Check The Current Price on Amazon
About Your Operating System
Before I get too excited and start launching into the other details about this build (As well as what peripherals you should grab), let’s pause and talk about operating systems – the things that make the (PC) world go ’round. Every computer needs one to run properly, so let’s talk about your options in this area.
Naturally, Windows is the default option for the vast majority of PC gamers. It’s slick and easy to use, and it solves a lot of the headaches Windows 8 & 8.1 introduced. It brings back the overall feel of Windows 7, which was (In my opinion) one of the best operating systems of all time, if not the best. Much like Windows 7 “fixed” Vista, Windows 10 “fixed” Windows 8.
Of course, some people have their reservations with it, as is usually the case with a new Windows OS, but I’ve been nothing but satisfied with it so far – and I’ve been using it for years. But let’s be real here, all many PC gamers really care about is how compatible it is with games. Since Windows 10 is the latest version of Windows, it is the most widely supported in terms of new games coming out.
You can try to take the risk of buying an older version of Windows if you’d like, but there’s no guarantee games will run on it at all.
I mentioned a couple times throughout the article so far that you do not necessarily need to grab a copy of Windows right from the start – and I meant it. If your budget simply doesn’t allow for it, why should you be left in the lurch?
So, if not Windows, what exactly is the alternative I talked about earlier?
Ubuntu – a distribution of Linux.
Out of all the Linux distros, Ubuntu is the most Windows-like and mainstream. It’s very easy to get used to, and you can use Wine to make Windows games compatible. Learn more about Wine here.
As with all of my builds, I’m not going to launch into a full, complicated description of Linux here. There’s so much good information available on it already, it wouldn’t do much good to add my opinion to the mix – especially when I have little experience with it. If you want to learn more about it, just go to the Ubuntu website. It’s your best bet for getting accurate information on installation procedures, etc.
If, for some reason, you just don’t like the look of Ubuntu, I’m sure there’s other Linux distros out there for you to choose from – but you’ll have to find ’em yourself, since I don’t use Linux often enough to judge which ones are worth trying.
This $600 rig is designed to last you for at least a couple years in terms of running new games at 60FPS, and there’s good reason for that. The parts I chose are absolutely awesome, and super reliable in the long run. The performance this build offers is easily on par with a $900-$1000 pre built gaming PC (Yet another reason you should always build your own)
If you’re interested in getting a peek into my thought process behind curating this build, just read on for my detailed thoughts on each component. I’ll go over each component briefly, explaining why I chose it. 🙂
When building a new rig, picking the right case for your tastes is pretty important. If it’s going to be sitting around on your desk for years to come, you might as well get something that isn’t a total eyesore, right? As such, which case you get is honestly entirely up to you – as long as it can house your parts, you’re golden. For this build I personally selected the DeepCool Tesseract SW, both for its looks and its phenomenal cooling potential.
But seriously, those blue accents, man… If I weren’t too lazy to move all of my current components over to a new case, I’d snap this one up in a heartbeat.
Anyway, obviously looks are the only important thing. I mentioned your case needs to be able to house your parts – to elaborate a bit, I’m mostly referring to a few key things: video card length, CPU cooler height, and motherboard form factor. In this case, the case will fit our video card and CPU perfectly, and being that it’s a standard ATX case, it supports our Micro ATX motherboard perfectly.
Speaking of motherboards, let’s talk about the one I chose for this build! I went with the MSI B250M PRO-VDH, because it’s compatible with our case, CPU, and other components in general. It’s not particularly fancy in terms of features, and it really won’t do much to affect performance. All I really ever care about with motherboards is compatibility and performance.
If you’re a min-maxer in terms of 100% efficiency with your builds, you may prefer a different motherboard, but for 80-85% of PC gamers on a budget, I’d say this motherboard is perfectly adequate.
This i3 7100 is actually the same CPU I selected for the $700 build, because it really holds its own in the $500-$700 price range quite well. It isn’t untill you start getting to the mid-high range of systems that you might consider bumping up the performance. The i3 7100 is a hyper-threaded CPU that is more than capable of supporting our video card of choice without any bottlenecking or other annoying problems.
There’s really not much else to say here. It has a 3.9GHz clock speed, and it is not overclocked – that’s about it! It’s a solid CPU all around.
Now we’re getting to the good stuff. The video card is where all of our build’s raw power will come from. It’s what allows you to render games, watch videos, and do just about everything on your PC. The better the video card, the better FPS you can expect to get in modern games. While I’m personally an NVIDIA fanboy, it really doesn’t matter which brand you go with for the most part.
The only real difference is going to be bang for your buck – at some price and budget points, NVIDIA is a better pick. At others, AMD’s GPUs are better. It just so happens that for this build, I opted for the GTX 1060, because it simply offered the most performance for the cheapest price. In other words, the value was too good to pass up for a $600 build.
Memory (or RAM) is a super important part of your build, but not nearly as much so as the video card or CPU. It is essentially the part of your PC that allows you to multitask, and run games for long periods of time. I’m not going to give you a lecture on how memory works (Heck, I don’t know the details myself), I just know that it does. I also know that the higher capacity you can afford, and the higher the clock speed, the better.
However, there does come a time when you have to balance that with your budget. So, I went with a Crucial 8GB 2133MHz stick of RAM for this build. It’s “good enough”, but more is always better. I highly recommend buying another 8GB stick a couple months down the road, as it will really help with PC sluggishness.
Just about finished with this part breakdown! The last two parts are really simple, so I won’t spend much time discussing them. “Storage” in this case literally just refers to the 1TB 7200RPM Western Digital hard drive I selected for the build above. Our budget doesn’t allow for an SSD, unfortunately, so that’s really the best choice we could make – not that it’s a bad one. Western Digital’s hard drives are perfectly reliable and well-made, so don’t worry about having to settle for a “budget” option.
To tie things off, I went with a simple 500W EVGA power supply. It gives us all the wattage we need for the build, and will be super cheap to upgrade in the future (When you inevitably buy better parts).
Phew. That was a lot of ground to cover, but don’t worry – we’re almost done. Obviously, to actually use your PC, you’re going to need a few things – a mouse & keyboard, monitor, audio device of some kind (Usually headphones) and a way to connect to the internet.
Most people tend to have this type of junk lying around the house, so if you can’t shell out extra cash for new peripherals, no worries. That being said, I highly recommend at least getting a semi decent monitor so you can take full advantage of the build itself!
If you do want to step things up a notch, I’ve listed some good (Cheap!) options for these various peripherals below. You by no means have to go with them, they are just my personal favorites, and ones I’ve tested extensively over time.
This 144Hz monitor is one of the best budget monitors I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. 144Hz is a massive upgrade visually from 60Hz (It’s the difference between being stuck at 60FPS, and being able to jump up by more than double), it just looks awesome. It’s also 24″, and 1080P – all for under $200. Check The Current Price on Amazon
The H7PX+ is probably my favorite budget gaming headset. For under $40, it’s super comfortable and well-designed. The self-adjusting headstrap, bendy microphone and solid audio quality are all really nice touches. Check The Current Price on Amazon
Cooler Master Devastator II
Yet another great budget set of peripherals – noticing a trend here? The CM Devastator II mouse/keyboard combo combines a high-quality mouse with a high quality gaming keyboard for a pretty sick under-$30 combo. Check The Current Price on Amazon
Netgear AC1200 Wi-Fi Adapter
Not too much to say here – if you’re going the Wi-Fi route (And not the ethernet, hard-line route), you’ll need a Wi-Fi adapter. This is simply one of the better options out there, but anything will work, really. Just make sure the speeds are good enough! Check The Current Price on Amazon
Easily the least essential of the peripherals on this list, we have the SteelSeries QCK mousepad. Simple, cheap, and effective – it helps a lot with traction while gaming, but any old mousepad will do, or you can go without one entirely. Who really cares, right? Check The Current Price on Amazon
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations – even if you haven’t started building your PC yet, simply sitting through all of my rambling is a herculean feat in and of itself. Jokes aside, I really hope this build guide has helped set you on the path towards a more fulfilling gaming experience – welcome to the PC master race.
And no, I’m not actually that arrogant… Probably.
I wish you the best of luck in the future, and if you’re starting your build soon and need a few tips, drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you within a few hours at most. 🙂 I’m always happy to help when I can! Have fun and happy gaming.
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