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 August 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 going 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. It has far more processing power than anything Intel offers in this price range. In the graphics department, we're going with the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, which is finally showing up in stock again after being cleared of store shelves worldwide due to the latest cryptocurrency mining craze. It provides ample gaming power while sipping electricity. To put the finishing touches on a smooth gaming and all-around computing experience, we recommend you equip this system with a 250GB solid-state drive and a 1TB hard drive for a great combination of OS responsiveness and data storage capacity.

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 - August 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 around the $200 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 in April, 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:

    Zotac GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Mini

    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 to actually game on now, the GTX 1060 is it! Alas, even it is in short supply, and you'll almost certainly have to backorder it. 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

    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 Corsair's Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 Kit, which also appears on Gigabyte's Memory Support List, and offers not only double the capacity but significantly higher bandwidth as well.

    Solid-State Drive:

    WD Blue 250GB 2.5"

    Western Digital's Blue is currently the least expensive solid-state drive in its class, and it's a great entry point for anyone who's looking to experience the responsiveness of a true SSD-based system.

    The Guru's Tip:

    With 250GB of capacity (or around 230MB 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 market leader for a reason!

    The Guru's Tip:

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

    Case:

    SilverStone PS11B-Q

    Offering all the best features of mid-range cases, but coming in at a budget price, the PS11B-Q from SilverStone is the perfect home office or low-cost gaming case. It features a spacious interior, dual optical drive mounts, and ultra-sleek styling. With the internal foam padding, rare at this pricepoint, the system will be ultra-quiet. For cooling, it uses a single 120mm intake fan, but additional fans can easily be added down the line (they're not necessary for this system as equipped).

    The Guru's Tip:

    Note that despite what's stated in the Amazon product description, this is in fact a full ATX case, not a micro ATX case.

    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 called the Content Creators update, which adds a number of great new features for 2D and 3D content editing.

    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 just 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.