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.

For the November 2017 edition of this build, you're getting a system that's equally at home for work or play. In the CPU department, we're sticking with AMD's awesome Ryzen 5 1600 CPU, which packs in six physical cores plus six virtual cores running at 3.2GHz with Turbo to 3.6GHz. While Intel has announced its "Coffee Lake" generation of processors as a response to Ryzen, it clearly isn't able to actually produce them, as they've been unavailable since launch. And in any event, the Ryzen 5 is so impressive that you aren't missing out on anything. In the graphics department, we're going with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, which provides ample gaming power while sipping electricity. To ensure a smooth gaming and all-around computing experience, we recommend you equip this system with a fast 240GB solid-state drive and a 1TB hard drive for a great combination of OS responsiveness and data storage capacity, along with 8GB of RAM and a 450W power supply. And if you need to pick up gear to go with your build, definitely check out our recommended optional accessories listed at the end this guide, including a mouse, keyboard and value-packed IPS-based monitor.

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 Ryzen-specific Guide to Assembling a Ryzen PC. 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 - November 2017

    CPU:

    AMD Ryzen 5 1600

    Black Friday pricing is in effect on this product! The Ryzen 5 1600 offers six physical cores plus six virtual cores, running at 3.2GHz, with Turbo to 3.6GHz. That's far more threads than Intel can muster anywhere near this price. The Ryzen also includes the excellent AMD Wraith Spire heatsink right in the box, which is both very capable and very quiet. That means you really don't need an aftermarket cooler for this system.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Intel has announced its response to AMD's Ryzen onslaught in the form of its 8th-generation processors code-named "Coffee Lake." Alas, Intel has so far been entirely unable to actually bring them to market, in large part because they were announced before they were ready as a result of AMD's massive resurgence.

    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 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:

    Zotac GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Mini

    Given AMD's complete absence from the mid-range market, we turn to the only (and best) option for today's value-conscious gamers: the GTX 1060 6GB! Luckily, most days you'll actually find it in stock at a great price, but don't be surprised if you have to backorder it to get your hands on one. We're working hard to update this guide with the best-priced purchase options on a daily basis.

    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 over $150 in the process!

    Memory:

    Kingston HyperX 2x4GB DDR4-2666 Black

    With the RAM market completely out of sorts due to rampant supply shortages, you really have to choose wisely when it comes to buying a memory kit at this point. As of our most recent update, this DDR4-2666 kit offers the best value among name-brand options.

    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 Corsair's 2x8GB Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 Kit.

    Solid-State Drive:

    Crucial BX300 240GB 2.5"

    While the low-priced SSD segment hasn't seen a lot of worthy entrants lately, Crucial has dropped a fantastic new model into the market, the BX300. Using 3D MLC NAND, it easily beats every drive in its price class, making it a great pick for anyone who's looking to experience the responsiveness of a true SSD-based system.

    The Guru's Tip:

    With 240GB of capacity (or around 200MB once formatted), this drive is more than big enough for the operating system and a handful of applications, but for big media collections, you'll also need the hard drive listed below.

    Hard Drive:

    Western Digital Blue 1TB

    This drive gives you an awesome combination of speed and capacity at a very reasonable price. It's the best value going from any major manufacturer.

    The Guru's Tip:

    The motherboard includes all the SATA cables you'll need to connect both your SSD and hard drive.

    Case:

    SilverStone PS14B

    Offering all the best features of mid-range cases, but coming in at a budget price, the PS14 from SilverStone is the perfect home office or low-cost gaming case. It features a spacious interior, an optical drive mount, and ultra-sleek styling. For cooling, it uses a single 120mm exhaust fan, but two additional fans can easily be added to the front of the case for additional cooling.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that to increase airflow inside the case, all drives and cables are hidden underneath a sleek shroud, a rare feature in this pricerange. This is one of the main reasons we prefer this new model to cases we've previously recommended, like Corsair's similarly-priced 100R, which uses an outdated interior layout.

    Power Supply:

    EVGA 450 B1

    The 450 B1 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.

    Operating System:

    Microsoft Windows 10 Flash Drive

    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 for Fall 2017, and plans to continue rolling out major features updates every six months.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that due to a price increase on the DVD version of Windows, we're now recommending the USB version, which installs much more quickly, and is all around easier to use.

Optional Components

    Optical Drive (Optional):

    LG 24x DVD Burner (Opt.)

    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:

    An optical drive is really optional at this point unless you need it for legacy software or media. If you do decide to buy one, note that you'll also need an extra SATA cable.

    The Budget Gaming Keyboard:

    Corsair K55 RGB

    An excellent keyboard at a great price, the K55 from Corsair has reset expectations at the $50 pricepoint. You get a high-quality keyboard with dedicated media keys, programmable keys, and RGB lighting, along with the best customer support in the business.

    The Guru's Tip:

    We really don't recommend wireless keyboards, as the potential for connection dropouts is fairly significant, and there's little benefit to a wireless keyboard anyway, since it doesn't move.

    The Mid-Range Gaming Mouse:

    Corsair Harpoon RGB Gaming Mouse

    There's no better mouse under $50 than the Harpoon from Corsair. Featuring adjustable DPI, a comfortable grip, a high-quality sensor, and even RGB lighting, it's the real deal.

    The Guru's Tip:

    There are plenty of off-brand second-rate mice being peddled at this pricepoint - Corsair's offering is a serious mouse at a bargain price.

    The 23-inch General-Purpose Monitor:

    HP VH240a IPS

    Offering mind-blowing value in the mid-range segment, this new monitor from HP packs in all the features you've come to expect from $200+ monitors, but at just over half the price. That includes a high-quality IPS panel with excellent viewing angles, a 1920 x 1080 resolution, and a fully-adjustable stand, critical for setting up an ergonomic work space.

    The Guru's Tip:

    If you're more interested in gaming than productivity, you might like to go for a purpose-built gaming monitor like the Acer XFA240. With its 144Hz TN-based 1080p panel, it loses the color quality of a 60Hz IPS-based panel, but offers vastly superior motion clarity.