Halloween is upon us, and since most of our readers are too old to trick or treat, we decided to bring the treats to you. We put together a Halloween-themed build that uses an orange and black scheme, but is still very capable of playing most games at medium-to-high settings.
Theme builds are a fun way to stand out from the usual black-and-blue configuration, so if you're looking to build a new system with a Halloween theme or just love orange and black, this is the build for you. Plenty of alternatives and upgrade options are also listed below.
With this $647 budget gaming computer build, you'll be able to play most modern games on mid-to-high settings and have a couple upgrade options open; for anyone looking for a first-time PC build (or a refresher), this one's a great starting point.
$647 Budget AMD Gaming PC Build - Build a Gaming PC
OS & Optional Extras
It was difficult to find a quality GPU that fit the orange / black theme I was looking for, but lucky for us, Zotac makes video cards that not only look good, but also perform very well. The GTX 650 Ti Boost is a high-performance budget GPU that has 2GB of GDDR5 RAM on a fairly standard-width 192-bit interface. The real key to this video card—the reason nVidia released it over their original GTX 650—is the GPU Boost 1.0 technology. This is nVidia's proprietary version of Intel's "Turbo Boost," acting sort of like NOS for your GPU; the 980MHz core clock normally to boosts to 1033MHz under load, though Zotac has amped this up to 1059MHz (a small OC). The dual cooling fans should do a great job of keeping this bad boy cool in those intense gaming sessions.
Have an extra $110? You might want to consider picking up this Zotac GTX 760 GPU for $260. The upgrade will gives you a bit more performance and consistent high-end graphics and a higher maximum resolution (25x16). You should have no problem playing most games out at highest settings, games like BF4 will play at medium to high settings comfortably. If you want even better performance, pick up two of the GTX 650 Ti boost GPUs and SLI them for only $40 more than the GTX 760. Both of these cards come with all the extras NVIDIA offers, like Boost Technology, Adaptive V-Sync, PhysX support and two free games.
Since this is a budget build at heart, I once again went with an AMD CPU. Until Intel can provide something at this price-range that competes with AMD, we will most likely keep selecting AMD chips for these entry-level builds. And, frankly, you won't notice much of a difference in gaming as most games are GPU-bound. The FX-6300 is a 6-core CPU with a 3.5GHz external clockrate and great scalability for overclocking applications on the right board.
The six physical cores (BD modules - 2xINT, 1xFPU each) are more than enough for most games out, since many of them do not spawn more than 2-3 threads anyway. The 95W TDP will enable you to not only use less power than the FX-series 125W TDP counterparts, but also overclock this chip with a bit more thermal stability. Whether you're going to overclock or not, we still recommend that you pick up an aftermarket heatsink to preserve the longevity of the CPU. CM's Hyper 212 Plus air cooler is on sale for $30 and should offer you great cooling support for this CPU (review here).
Once again, I looked around for quality RAM that would fit the theme of this build. Here, I found 2x4GB of Crucial RAM that is not only orange, but is an apt 8GB at a moderate 1333MHz frequency. With the price of RAM still higher than we are comfortable with, this RAM is only $67 and will work great in this budget build. Since the GPU has dedicated memory, the speed of the RAM is largely irrelevant when used for gaming builds. As a gamer, you'll never notice the difference between 1333MHz and 1600MHz+, though users performing professional video renders would certainly see a difference.
I own this same motherboard on my personal rig and love the cost-to-performance tradeoffs and overall quality of it. For $65, you get an entry-level motherboard with all the extras you should need. The board won't OC as well as higher-end products, so if you're doing more serious OCs, consider the below board.
The 970 Pro3 is based on AMD's 970 chipset, supports CrossfireX and SLI, has plenty of SATA 6Gb/s connections, and hosts rear IO USB 3.0. To top this all off, ASRock offers pretty simple overclocking software and UEFI BIOS OC tools, which makes overclocking for novices a bit more fun and easy (see our OC primer here).
Have an extra $40 lying around? We suggest you pick up the ASRock 990FX Extreme3 motherboard. The Extreme3 offers an upgrade to not only the chipset, but offers superior CrossfireX/SLI support and better phase power design & cooling for overclocking.
I've read too many horror stories about builders putting cheap power supplies into their builds, only to have it rage quit on them, taking out most the PC in the process. That's why we always look for the best-priced PSU that is still dependable and safe for your build.
Rosewill has come to provide a competitively-priced power supply. At 650W, you'll have more power available to you as overhead for future upgrades and overclocking endeavors. This PSU has all of the cables and connections you'll need, is modular, and has 80 Plus Bronze efficiency certification.
If you do buy before Halloween, you get an extra 10% off using promo code EMCWXVR47.
Once again, Western Digital is featured as our storage option here. Offering a TB of storage space for only $65 at 7200RPM, you'll get gaming-class speed on an HDD and plenty of storage at a decent price.
We always try to suggest that our readers utilize a solid state drive in these builds. A quality SSD will not only be faster at loading your operating system and applications, but in PC-specific games, can also lower load times between levels. The Kingston HyperX 120GB SSD is a great upgrade here if you've got an extra $100 available. Use the SSD as the primary drive, HDD as secondary/logical.
They're really largely the same at this point. This standard-issue DVD reader/burner comes in at $18, so if you're still using discs, this'll get the job done.
The Phantom 410 has proven to be a very popular gaming case. We selected this case not only for its orange-black theme, but because it provides almost all the features we look for in a gaming case. The Phantom 410 has a clear side-panel window to show off your color scheme and rig, but more importantly, has plenty of cable management space (to keep it clean) and decent cooling options.
The 410 comes with a 30W, three-step fan controller to help set up your system for silence and performance. This case also has plenty of room for fan installation. It comes stocked with 2x120mm fans and 1x140mm fan. We suggest that you pick up these NZXT 120mm Orange LED fans if you'd like to fill out some of the additional slots with a thematic approach.
Alternatively, at $81, Cougar has a unique-looking case that fits the bill for a budget gaming machine. This case comes with a 1x120mm rear fan and 1x200mm front fan for good basic airflow, but supports a total of 7 fans.
I really enjoy doing these themed builds. It really gives us the opportunity to show you all of the different ways we can customize our builds to fit our personalities. Please visit our forums for any questions or concerns, or feel free to post a quick question below! Until next time!
- Michael "Mikagmann2" Mann.