The $1,000 Build

Looking for the best PC you can buy for $1,000? You just found it! This guide will set you up with a system that provides excellent performance, quiet operation, and ease of building, all at a great price. That makes it what we consider to be the ideal mid-range PC. And take note: this system can be equipped for productivity, gaming, or both - just follow our tips to set it up to suit your needs.

We've rolled out the July 2017 edition of this build a bit early, and the big change is a switch to a brand-new case from SilverStone, which improves upon other budget cases in a number of ways. You're getting sleek styling both inside and out, with a hidden power supply and hard drive mounts to keep cables tucked away. It really makes this low-cost PC worthy of showing off! In the CPU department, we're sticking with AMD's awesome new Ryzen 5 1600 CPU, which packs in six physical cores plus six virtual cores running at 3.2GHz with Turbo to 3.6GHz. It has far more processing power than anything Intel offers in this price range. In the graphics department, we're in a bit of a holding pattern, as the entire world supply of AMD Radeon video cards has been bought up by "cryptocurrency" miners, leaving the GTX 1060 6GB as the only card even remotely available under $500. Unfortunately, it too is under serious pressure from miners, so you'll have to act fast to catch one, because once it sells out, it could take months for any video cards to return to store shelves at its pricepoint. To put the finishing touches on a smooth gaming and all-around computing experience, we recommend you equip this system with a single 525GB solid-state M.2 drive, which will load the operating system and apps at least twice as fast as the average hard drive, while installing in a snap!

Want to learn how this build compares to all the other build options we offer? Just flip over to the TBG PC Build Comparison Page. For extra help building your PC, check out our in-depth pictorials: Assembling a Basic PC and Assembling a Mid-Range PC, as well as our new Ryzen-specific Guide to Assembling a Ryzen PC. And if you're looking to complete your system, browse our Monitor Buyer's Guide and Peripherals Buyer's Guide. Also feel free to post a question in our Reader Forum, or find inspiration in The Gallery, where we profile systems built by our readers. If you build your own PC using this guide, please let us know and we'll profile your system too!

To see how this build's components and prices have changed over time, flip to the $1,000 Build Archive page. Pricing and availability for midrange components change constantly, and we use real-time pricing engines so you always see the most up-to-date prices available. Links to Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, and Amazon Germany are also provided for each component category, with regional substitutions made based on availability. To support this site, please use these links if you purchase any of the products we list. 

The $1,000 Gaming / Productivity PC - July 2017

    CPU:

    AMD Ryzen 5 1600

    It was only a matter of time before Intel's reign in the mid-priced segment would end, and that time has come. AMD is now offering so much more at the $220 pricepoint with the Ryzen 5 line than Intel does with its Core i5 that there's simply no question which processor consumers should be choosing. The new Ryzen 5 1600, released on April 11th, offers six physical cores plus six virtual cores, running at 3.2GHz, with Turbo to 3.6GHz. That's 12 threads versus the 4 threads Intel can muster at this price. The Ryzen also includes the excellent AMD Wraith Spire heatsink right in the box, which is far more capable than anything Intel offers. That means you really don't need an aftermarket cooler for this system.

    The Guru's Tip:

    You may see gaming benchmarks suggesting that the Ryzen is only the equal of the Core i5 lineup, and that's true when it comes to gaming. But for everything else, it's far superior, and in the long run, its vastly greater amount of processing power will allow it to pull ahead in gaming as well.

    Motherboard:

    Gigabyte GA-AB350-Gaming AM4

    You get a lot for your money with this board. Being based on the B350 chipset, you have overclocking support for the Ryzen 5, which is an amazing concept at this pricepoint. You also get such cutting-edge features as an M.2 SSD slot (which you'll be using for this build) and USB 3.1 ports (of both the Gen 1 and fastest Gen 2 variety).

    The Guru's Tip:

    We've tested a lot of mid-priced boards lately, and we think Gigabyte always offers the most bang-for-the-buck!

  • Video Card:

    Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Founders Edition

    While we previously recommended the Radeon RX 480 and RX 580, they are now completely sold out around the world as a result of their popularity with cryptocurrency miners. That's all well and good, but if you want something great now to actually game on, the GTX 1060 is it! Alas, even it is being scooped up by miners, and the only place you can possibly buy one is direct from Nvidia. Shhh, don't tell the miners, please!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that if you need a video card solely for accelerating Adobe applications, get the compact, ultra-efficient Zotac GeForce GTX 1050 2GB... you'll save nearly $150 in the process!

    Memory:

    Kingston HyperX 2x4GB DDR4-2666 Black

    This 2x4GB DDR4-2666 kit offers a nice performance boost over standard DDR4-2133, and we've made sure it's on Gigabyte's Memory Support List. That means you're guaranteed that it will work at its rated speed on the AM4 platform, which not all memory kits can!

    The Guru's Tip:

    While 8GB of RAM is enough for just about any typical productivity or gaming task, 16GB will provide benefits for high-resolution photo and video editing, and can also provide additional smoothness during extreme multi-tasking. If that sounds like what you're looking for, just jump up to HyperX's 2x8GB DDR4-2666 kit, which also appears on Gigabyte's Memory Support List.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Crucial MX300 525GB M.2

    Taking advantage of the latest form factor in the solid-state market, this M.2 drive will slot right into your motherboard, meaning you don't need to run data or power cables to your drive. This in turn provides a cleaner interior and eliminates potential physical failure points. And among the few reasonably-priced drives out there, Crucial's MX300 is the very best, offering more speed and more capacity than its competitors. One quick note: you'll need a jeweler's type screwdriver to affix the M.2 screw.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Need more storage space? Simply add the affordable Western Digital 1TB Blue Hard Drive to your build.

    Case:

    SilverStone PS14B

    Offering all the best features of mid-range cases, but coming in at a budget price, the new PS14B from SilverStone is the perfect home office or low-cost gaming case. It features a spacious interior, a single optical drive mount, and ultra-sleek styling. With the internal power supply and hard drive shroud, rare at this pricepoint, cables will be kept neat and tidy, making the system worthy of showing off. For cooling, it uses a single 120mm exhaust fan in the rear, but additional fans can easily be added down the line (they're not necessary for this system as equipped).

    The Guru's Tip:

    RL05

    Want to step up to the next performance tier for just a bit more money? Then go for the sweet SilverStone RL05. It features two 140mm red LED fans up front to light up the case and provide fantastic cooling, all at an amazing price! Interestingly, it's based on the same platfrom as the PS14 (and so it's the exact same size), but has enhanced cooling.

    Power Supply:

    EVGA 450 BT

    The new 450BT offers top-notch quality, Bronze-rated efficiency, and a 3-year warranty, along with the best customer service in the industry. And with 450W of power on tap, it has plenty of headroom to keep this system going for years, even with significant upgrades, including more powerful video cards.

    The Guru's Tip:

    As configured, this system will only require about 200W, well under the peak capacity of this power supply.

    Optical Drive:

    LG 24x DVD Burner GH24NSC0B

    Well-priced and from a respected manufacturer, this internal drive is the perfect model to use for software installs or data backups.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Including a DVD drive is what allows you to use the discounted DVD version of Windows 10.

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10

    There's no doubt about it: Windows 10 is a big step beyond Windows 8 in terms of both usability and features. And the good news is that Microsoft keeps pushing out updates to Windows 10 that make it even better. In fact, Microsoft recently released a huge new revision of Windows 10 called the Content Creators update, which adds a number of great new features for 2D and 3D content editing.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The biggest improvement W10 brings for gamers is DirectX 12, which allows game designers to create significantly more complex, detailed game engines. Examples include Rise of the Tomb Raider and Gears of War 4, the latter which cannot be played on any operating system but Windows 10!