$750 Build

Looking to build an affordable gaming PC that's anything but "cheap?" Then our $750 Budget Gaming PC is the one for you! While it doesn't have all the bells and whistles you'll find in higher-priced systems, like liquid cooling, gobs of RAM, or a solid-state drive, for pure gaming purposes, it's got it where it counts. It offers fantastic performance in all of today's latest games without breaking the bank.

For the March 2017 edition of the "Budget Gamer," we go with the new CPU Intel Core i5-7500, released in January. It's the very best processor ever to grace the $200 pricepoint. In terms of graphics processing, we continue to recommend the fantastic Radeon RX 480 4GB video card, which can now be had for under $200 before rebate (and often quite a bit less after rebate). It's by far the best pick in its price range, beating both its cousin the RX 470 4GB and its competitor the GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, the latter which is already memory-limited in some games. A year ago, this much performance would have cost you well over $300, meaning it wouldn't fit in a $750 budget, but today you're getting tremendous gaming power at a bargain price. And if one RX 480 isn't quite enough, you can add a second card later on, as the motherboard we recommend supports dual Radeon cards in CrossfireX! The build also sports 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and a 450W power supply, all wrapped up in the stylish and functional Zalman Z-series case. This system will provide an exceptional gaming experience at the mainstream 1920x1080 resolution for years to come. 

We update this guide monthly, as prices and components in this market segment change frequently, and a few dollars here or there could buy you (or cost you) a lot of speed! To see past part selections, flip over to the Budget Gamer Archive. For help building your system, check out our detailed Builder's Guide, or post a question in our Reader Forum. If you need accessories to round out your build, see our Monitor Buyer's Guide and Peripherals Buyer's Guide for advice. And be sure to stop by The Gallery, where you'll plenty of systems built by our readers, including one based on this guide. If you build a system using one of our guides, pass along your pics and comments, and we'll add a profile page for your system too!

We use Amazon's real-time pricing engine to bring you current U.S. prices, and also provide links to Amazon Canada, Amazon United Kingdom (UK), and Amazon Deutschland (Germany) for all the products we list, with substitutions made based on availability. To support the continued development of this guide, please use our links if you decide to purchase the products we recommend.

The $750 Budget Gaming PC - March 2017


    Intel Core i5-7500

    Intel's mid-range quad-core chips have been the favorite of budget gamers for a long time, and the brand-new Core i5-7500 is the best CPU ever released at the $200 pricepoint! If gaming is your main concern, a Core i5 is a set-and-forget pick, and the Core i5-7500 is the value-driven choice for this build, offering the best bang-for-the-buck among all of Intel's quad-core processors. It's nearly 10% faster than its similarly-priced predecessor, the Core i5-6500.

    The Guru's Tip:

    We know that a lot of gamers want to soup up their systems with an aftermarket CPU cooler like the popular Hyper 212 Evo, but trust us on this: the cooler included with the Core i5-7500 is more than capable of handling its heat output, so please save your money! There are far better ways to spend $35!


    Asus Prime B250M-Plus

    To get the absolute best value in a gaming system, there's no question that you want to use a B250-based motherboard, part of the new Intel Kaby Lake family. It guarantees that you'll have out-of-the-box support for your new Core i5-7500. And this model is the perfect match for this build. It may not cost much, but it packs a punch. It has four RAM slots, HDMI, DVI, and VGA video outputs, a genuine Intel Ethernet jack, and 6 USB ports (including a USB 3.1 Type-C port). It also has three expansion slots (one PCIe x16 for the video card, one PCIe x4 slot, and one PCIe x1 slot), plus two M.2 slots for high-end solid-state drives.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that this board actually supports running dual Radeon cards in CrossfireX! That's because it has a full-size PCIe x4 slot, unlike most boards in this price range. If you might want to go the dual-card route eventually, we recommend you pick up at least a 600W power supply rather than the standard 450W model recommended later in this guide.

    Video Card:

    MSI Radeon RX 480 4GB Armor

    After a big price drop over the past few months, the RX 480 4GB by far the best choice for gamers on a budget. It handily beats its competitor, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, offering the performance of previous-gen $300 cards for a whole lot less money. And this model often has a rebate, making it an even better deal.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The RX 480 offers about 10% better performance than the Radeon RX 470 4GB, making it well worth the slight price premium it carries.


    Crucial 2x4GB DDR4 2133 CL15

    The latest games are finally starting to require more than 4GB of RAM, so this 2x4GB kit is a wise investment in your PC as a whole. Plus, by using two sticks, you'll be taking advantage of dual-channel operation, which speeds up many tasks by 2-3%.

    The Guru's Tip:

    More RAM is also helpful if you'll be using your PC for serious photo/video editing, or doing intense multi-tasking (e.g., keeping lots of browser windows open while gaming or live streaming your games). If you think you'll need more than 8GB, go for Crucial's 2x8GB DDR4-2133 Kit. It's a better value than using four 4GB sticks.

    Hard Drive:

    Western Digital Blue 1TB

    There's just no better budget-friendly hard drive than WD's 1TB model. It's among the least expensive drives on the market, despite above-average performance. Of course, if you already know you need more than 1TB of storage, pick up Seagate's 2TB 7200RPM model, which offers even higher capacity per dollar.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While SSDs large enough to hold a big collection of games don't quite fit into the budget for this system, by all means add the new bargain-priced Crucial MX300 275GB SSD to your build if you can spare an extra $85 or so. It will improve system boot speed, game level loading, and overall responsiveness.


    Zalman Z1 Neo

    The Zalman Z-series offers an amazing set of features for the price. With this particular model, you get three pre-installed 120mm fans (including two front blue LED fans, plus a rear-mounted fan), along with three front USB ports (one being USB 3.0). There's no other case near this pricepoint that offers these features.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Another great option is the similarly-priced Z3 Plus, which has a more subdued style but all the same functionality.

    Power Supply:

    EVGA 450 B1

    This EVGA 450W model is a great match for this build. With two PCIe 6+2-pin power cables, this unit can support just about any video card on the market. Plus, it's backed by EVGA's unrivaled service and a 3-year warranty.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The 450 B1's bigger brother, the new 600BQ, is also available at a very reasonable price, and it's what we'd recommend if you think you'll upgrade to a high-end video card (or dual RX 480 cards) in the future.

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10

    Windows 10 is so much better than Windows 8.1, it makes us wonder whether Microsoft even tested Win8 in the first place. Windows 10 is easy to use right out of the box, and has a lot of refinements under the hood as well.

    The Guru's Tip:

    We're recommending the DVD version of Windows 10 because it's the cheapest way to get an OS license, and you can actually install it without a DVD drive. All you need to do is download a Windows 10 image directly from the Microsoft website, and run the installation tool to copy it onto a 4GB or larger flash drive.

    Optical Drive (Optional):

    LG 24x DVD Burner (Opt.)

    Because including a DVD drive would put us significantly over budget, we're listing it as optional for this build. While not required for any modern games, a DVD burner makes the installation of the OS and motherboard drivers a lot easier.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that the motherboard comes with two SATA cables, so you don't need to supply your own to attach this drive.