$600* Budget Gaming Build - Help/Recommendations

*Not entirely a strict budget, would obviously like to spend as little as possible but if a little more would go a longer way, then of course it's something I'd have to consider.

I'm looking to build my first gaming pc, to play FPS games such as BF3, Crysis 3 & Black Ops 2. I'd also like to be able to play the next games in their respective series. I know that $600 probably isn't a great amount of money for a Gaming PC, but I'm just not keen on spending a lot of money, before I even know if I enjoy PC gaming. Not even so much enjoy, but being able to adjust to using a mouse and keyboard etc is probably what makes me hesitant. I'll also probably have to spend over $100 on a keyboard, mouse and mouse pad.

So now to the actual build, if the budget I have set it simply not enough for anything half decent, I'm more than willing to accept that if somebody just explains. I'd rather not go and build something, that first wasn't going to meet my hopes in terms of performance, but also how long it lasts. On that topic, as I've previously said I'd like to play some of the top FPS titles these days, at playable quality/frame rates (I know I wouldn't be getting 1080P, 60FPS+ on Ultra with Max AA or anything like that with BF4 etc. But I'd be happy to play on 720P low settings as it'll still be better than console graphics.) and hopefully the next in the series too i.e. BF4 etc.

For the CPU, I know that we're moving on and really for the build to last any amount of time, it'll have to be a quad core at least. As more and more games will be beginning to utilise more than two. Which is really why I instantly ruled out an i3 or anything of that nature. So next, I decided to look at the Phenom II X4 Black Edition 965 as it's obviously a very budget orientated processor. And from a little reasearch, it seems that it outperforms the low end of the FX series such as the 4100 & 6100 to be exact and also out performs the A10-5800k (according to tomshardware, can't comment on the reliability). But sitting behind the likes of the 4170 which just seems a little bit out of reach for the budget. With it being a Black Edition, its good overclocking ability could also come in handy for it to last that little bit longer in terms of performance.

For the GPU, I firstly looked at the 7770 as it's got a good price to performance ratio, coming in at only $145. But in my opinion, I just don't think it'll last long enough (for what I want) to warrant its cost. So of course, my next route was to look at the step up in the 7850 as it's capable of running under the 550w XFX power supply that I chose. The 1gb 860mhz version is roughly $195 and the 2gb version is roughly $215. For such little price difference, I think the 2gb version would be a
better choice as I can always overclock it, rather than paying more (extra $50 maybe) for a slightly higher clock speed when it's highly possible that I could safely achieve that already. Do you agree? Lastly on the GPU front, I also had a peak at the 7870, but again it's a fair price hike up to $260 when I was starting off with one almost half the price. Although, if anybody feels it would be highly beneficial in the long run, I'd of course have to consider it. The main problem with it, is I'd have to add another $30 into getting a 600w PSU which is able to handle it.

One important thing I'd like to ask, is would the CPU be a major bottleneck with something like a 7870 as that is something I'd obviously have to take into consideration.

Elsewhere, I just chose the cheapest 7200RPM hard drive that I could find, being the 500gb Seagate Barracuda as an SSD is more of a luxury than a requirement especially under such a tight budget. For the case, I went with an NZXT Source 210 as it's big enough to fit all of my components but still at a very affordable $45. For the motherboard, it was a toss up between the 'ASRock 960GM/U3S3 FX Micro ATX AM3+' and the 'Gigabyte GA-970A-DS3 ATX AM3+' which of course is a little more expensive but then again probably a little higher in quality as I wanted them to be able to run RAM at over 1333. I am aware that the CPU can only handle 1333mhz RAM at stock speeds, but I wanted something that could handle a little more in the event that I OC the CPU further down the line. Do you think this is the right choice, or should I just buy a cheap MOBO? $45 or something like that? In terms of RAM, this is an area where I saved a little bit of money as 4GB should be enough at the moment, and I could of course easily upgrade in the future for not a lot of money. (1x Corsair 4gb DDR3 1600mhz)

Thanks to anybody who has actually stuck around this long as it probably isn't very often anybody asks for quite as much help as this and I have one final question. What is your opinion on the current cooling arrangement? Is the stock heatsink and 1x 120mm case fan that is included, suitable enough when running the build at stock speeds? As I could easily enough pick up another few for around $5 each. I know that an aftermarket heatsink/additional case fans would be required for overclocking in the future.

So, just to confirm I am completely open for any suggestions on changes, even if that includes every previously mentioned component and if you just don't feel the budget is big enough for what I'm looking to achieve, you can tell it like it is. As I said, I'd rather be told the truth than to waste any time/money.

Any help would be much appreciated and if you have any questions which would help you to help me, I'd be happy to assist you.

Note: If anything I have stated is wrong, I take full responsibility. I am just learning and certainly don't think I'm a pro at this.

Parts List:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor - $104.

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive - $56.

PSU: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply - $77.

Case: NZXT Source 210 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case - $48.

Motherboard: 'ASRock 960GM/U3S3 FX Micro ATX AM3+' or the 'Gigabyte GA-970A-DS3 ATX AM3+' - $67-$78.

GPU: XFX Radeon 7850 2GB or 7870 2GB - $219-$256.

RAM: 1x Corsair 4gb DDR3 1600mhz.

Would just like to add special thanks to Logan, as I was having problems signing up to the forums and in less than an hour of sending an e-mail requesting help, he had responded to me.

are you buying from any specific online store and are you going to need any thing like os mouse keyboard monitor 

The $600 includes the build only, I already have a copy of windows 7.

I've got a separate $110 or so for the keyboard, mouse and mouse mat. Was looking at a few different things such as the Microsoft SideWinder X4 and Cyborg V5. For the mouse, I was looking at the Logitech G400, Razer Abysuss & Cyborg RAT 3. 

I don't want to go OTT on the budget as I'm just starting out, my main problem is the style of mouse as I have no idea how I'll play i.e. palm, claw grip etc.

Thanks a lot for the reply btw.

Edit: As for the store, I live in the UK so Scan.co.uk, Aria.co.uk, Amazon, Ebay are the sort of places I'll be looking in.


Let me just say that you'll probably spend around $150 MAX on the keyboard, mouse and pad in the end( or at least, you should). So think about adding the $250 leftover to the build. It'll help a lot, especially in future- proofness.

EDIT: Was typing this before you edited yours, so I had in my mind that you had a $1000 budget for everything( buiild, mouse, keyboard, pad), so that's where I came up with the $250 leftover idea

Also, the 210 is great and all, but it can only fit up to a 230mm card with the hard drives installed, so yeah.


I liked the build you offered up, but here's a base with all the money reallocated in the right places.

Please take note of what Z said (it shouldn't be a huge issue though) and perhaps invest in a slightly better case.

With the build i have given you can either grab a 7850 (seen here for $150) and invest some in the case or a cooler, or buy this 7870XT (which is basically a slightly gimped 7950) and go slightly over budget.

Also for periphs might i recommend:





I only own the mouse pad, but it seems like CM really has the market cornered on budget gaming peripherals. But your "tools" are completely subject to your tastes, these are my recommendations for a $100 budget.



I don't think you'll find the jump difficult.


I'll take mouse and keyboard over controller any day of the week.

The Zalman Z9 seems to be sold out everywhere for me, anybody recommend the Fractal Design Core 1000?

Edit: Or how about the BitFenix Merc Alpha, or Outlaw?

I like NZXT cases, personally. I bought my 220 on sale for an amazing price and I'm in love with it.

If you want to spend a little more, look at an H2 case. They're quite nice.

I would recommend both the core and the merc. Especially the merc if you ever feel like modding it. 

Thanks for the recommendations guys, really like the look of the BitFenix Merc Alpha (for the price).

I agree with Oxy on the peripherals. I have both a CM quickfire pro keyboard and a CM storm inferno mouse. I'd buy them again if given the chance!


Still not sure on the peripherals, still really like the look of the ones I posted.

Anybody got an opinion? Mouse: Razer Abysuss, Logitech G400 or Cyborg RAT 3.

Keyboard: Microsoft SideWinder X4 & Logitech G105.

I know I ask a lot of questions lol, thanks.


I just use a $20 Logitech mouse+keyboard combo... Don't see the point in spending so much in my opinion. With the $80 saved you can upgrade your graphics card if you just get a plain keyboard and mouse.

I like the build, I wanted to mention that a 550W power supply will be enought to power everything including the 7870 for which you had concerns and even overcloking. So if you want gaming you should get the 7870 which is a great card by the way. And don't warry you will have plenty with a 550W power supply.

A little off-topic, but my bro found out I was building my own PC and said he'd like to give it a go to.

Just wondering peoples opinions on the EVGA 650ti SSC 2gb vs XFX 7850 2gb?

The place I'm getting my 7870 from has got a special deal on right now so I'll be getting it for a great price.


7850 > 650TI

Final question lol, I've went with the 6300 and I'm just wondering if it's safe to assume that I'll be able to upgrade both that and the GPU say next year if more demanding games come out? With the consoles now going to have 8 cores, PC gaming will probably become optimized for more cores. Is that likely to happen straight away? I don't think that COD, Battlefield etc will be requiring 8 cores any time soon? But if they were, would it be easy enough just to pop in say an 8350 and a 7950? Again, assuming the PSU etc can handle it.

I'm a man of many questions, just want to be safe than sorry. Again, much appreciated.

Yeah. Actually, most new games are only gonna demand 4 cores at most. Only a very small portion will use more, up to 6, but not past that. So the 6300 is still good, especially when overclocked. If games you like do start wanting more, popping in an 8350/ 8320 is an easy option. The other option is buying Steamroller, which is supposed to be the last to use AM3+. There also won't be a new GPU interface any time soon, so upgrading it will be easy. The bit about the PSU, as long as you have at least 500W, you should be fine