The Best $1,000 Mid-Range Gaming PC Build – June 2021

By Ari Altman | Published June 13, 2021 | Updated June 13, 2021

Critical Update: if you actually want to start gaming on a new PC any time before Fall 2021, you have two options: go for one of the very few pre-built PCs still on the market, or build up a system using the onboard graphics featured on Intel’s latest CPUs.  That’s because GPUs are sold out worldwide due to the ongoing cryptocurrency mining crisis. We present both pre-built and DIY options in this guide. Based on current estimates, we believe that GPUs will not be available at retail prices until September 2021 at the earliest.

Looking to build the best PC possible for $1,000? This guide will set you up! We profile a build that offers excellent performance, quiet operation, and ease of assembly, all at a great price. If you’re ready to build a PC that can handle anything you could throw at it, from gaming to content creation, just follow this guide to get the best component picks.

For June 2021, this build features Intel’s awesome Core i5-11400, which uses the latest “Rocket Lake” design and packs in six cores and 12 threads, plus a maximum boost speed of up to 4.4GHz. While AMD was aggressive in launching some new high-end CPUs in late 2020, AMD shockingly no longer has anything worth considering in the mid-range market, despite its reputation for value. Intel is now in the unusual position of offering far superior performance per dollar, and thanks to owning its own manufacturing lines (unlike AMD), will be able to keep enthusiasts going during difficult times! For the video card, our top pick is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB, by far the best GPU under $300, but take note that like all video cards, it’s impossible to find in stock these days, so for now we suggest you use the built-in video on the Intel CPU (or an older video card you have on hand). Keeping this build fed is 16GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, along with a fast 500GB solid-state drive, both of which keep will keep this system running smoothly for years to come. This build is housed in an attractive, value-packed SilverStone Fara R1 case and powered by an efficient, high-output power supply. Learn more about the Fara R1 and post your questions in our 2020 YouTube overview video!

If you need a monitor or peripherals, you can check out our dedicated guides, although we also have some great recommendations for you at the end of this guide. Note that we provide dedicated links to Amazon, B&H, or Newegg in the US, and our Amazon links will auto-convert for readers in Canada, the UK, and parts of the EU, 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 Pre-Built Option

  • The Mainstream Gaming Desktop

    CyberpowerPC GXiVR8060A10 10400F/GTX 1660 Super

    $941

    EXTREME DEAL! It’s hard to find a great deal these days, but this pre-built from CyberpowerPC is exactly that. Packing in an Intel Core i5-10400F 6-core, 12-thread CPU, a fast GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB video card, plus 8GB of RAM and a 500GB solid-state drive, it’s a serious gaming PC that will get you into the latest titles at a fantastic price.

    The Guru’s Tip

    This is seriously at least $150 under the price of every other competing PC out there!

The DIY Option

  • CPU

    Intel Core i5-11400

    $210
    There’s plenty of competition in the mid-range CPU market, which is a great thing for you, the consumer! And Intel’s new Core i5-11400 6-core, 12-thread CPU is the sweetspot, offering awesome multi-threaded capability plus plenty of single-threaded speed to power you through any game thanks to its modern Rocket Lake architecture. It also has built-in Intel UHD 750 graphics, which is priceless these days. Note that even CPUs are selling very fast these days, so we change vendors often to ensure you the best price and availability.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This CPU comes with a cooler, so there's no need to buy one!

  • Motherboard

    Asus ROG Strix B560-A Gaming WIFI

    $180

    This feature-packed board gives you everything you need for a PC build at a great price. Dual M.2 slots for a high-speed SSDs, eight USB ports (including a Type-C port), five expansion slots, and built-in 802.11ax (WiFi 6) wireless networking plus Bluetooth 5.2. And a great new feature of B560 boards compared to previous-gen boards is that they allow the use of fast RAM, which is what we spec in this system.

    The Guru’s Tip

    This board has both HDMI 2.0 and Displayport 1.4, meaning you can easily run any monitor using the CPU we recommend without a video card in your system!

  • Video Card

    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB

    $230
    Offering high performance in a compact package, along with very low power use, the GTX 1660 Super 6GB set new standards for GPUs under the $250 pricepoint. It’s significantly faster than the original 1660 due to a much more advanced memory subsystem.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Every GPU is currently selling for 2-3x MSRP on eBay, which is why you can't buy one at retail!

  • Memory

    Crucial 2x8GB Ballistix DDR4-3200 Black

    $88
    Thanks to great price on mainstream RAM, we can now squeeze a whole lot of performance and capacity into your system by going with a 16GB DDR4-3200 kit. It will help you make the most of your snazzy new system, which fully supports this ultra-high RAM speed!
    The Guru’s Tip

    As if the GPU situation weren't bad enough, we do have to report that RAM prices are going up rapidly due to various market conditions, so if you do want to grab extra RAM, do it now, it's likely going to be more expensive soon!

  • Solid-State Drive

    WD Blue SN550 500GB NVMe

    $55

    Experience blazing-fast drive performance at a bargain price with WD’s Blue SN550 500GB solid-state drive. Utilizing the PCIe-interface and the NVMe protocol, it can achieve sequential speeds of up to 2,400MB/s, making it nearly five times faster than any SATA-based SSD, and orders of magnitude faster than a hard drive! To install this drive, affix it in the motherboard’s M.2 slot using a jeweler’s-type screwdriver.

    The Guru’s Tip

    Because this slips into a slot on the motherboard, it requires no cables at all!

  • Case

    SilverStone Fara R1 Black

    $63
    The bargain-priced case offers tremendous features for the price. You get a 120mm fan in the rear, a stylish front panel with ample venting for airflow, and a tempered glass panel on the side. And thanks to its modern interior, it has a very small footprint. With that said, if you want even more airflow and a whole lot more bling, go for the R1 Pro, which has four 120mm ARGB fans installed!
    The Guru’s Tip

    If you go for the standard R1, rather than the Pro, we recommend you pick up the 140mm fan below and install it in the front of the case.

  • Fan

    Arctic P14 Silent

    $11
    We recommend you upgrade the case’s cooling by installing this affordable 140mm fan in the front. It’s quieter than most 120mm fans, while providing far more airflow! The fluid dynamic bearing in this fan offers a long lifespan and smooth performance.
    The Guru’s Tip

    We've found that Arctic's P-series fans are the best all-around fans on the market!

  • Power Supply

    Silverstone ET550-B

    $56
    This PSU easily beats every competitor in its price class, offering top-notch quality and Bronze-rated efficiency. With 550W of power on tap, this unit has plenty of headroom to keep this system going for years, even with significant upgrades, including more powerful video cards.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Please avoid no-name PSUs from brands like RaidMax, Apevia, and Aresgame. They are complete junk, and only exist because there was a run on power supplies in mid-2020.

  • Operating System

    Windows 10 Home USB Flash Drive

    $130
    Windows 10 was a big step up from Windows 8.1, and Microsoft continues to support Windows 10 users not only with regular security updates, but with major content releases every six months. And the USB version installs in under 5 minutes, meaning you can get right into using your system!
    The Guru’s Tip

    We want to let our readers know that Microsoft appears to be slowly discontinuing physical copies of Windows 10. You can always go for the downloadable version from the same product page. All you need is an 8GB or bigger flash drive to load the image onto.

Optional Products

  • The 24-inch 144Hz Gaming Monitor

    Acer XFA240

    $200
    If you want to pick up a true “gaming” monitor, you want something with a high refresh rate. And this is the very best value out there in high-refresh-rate monitors. It features a 24″ 1920×1080 IPS panel capable of displaying images at up to 144Hz, which makes it infinitely smoother than a standard 60Hz monitor that costs just a bit less. And thanks to its FreeSync technology, it will run with zero lag or screen-tearing.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Note that FreeSync, developed by AMD, now works on either AMD or Nvidia video cards.

  • The Budget Gaming Keyboard

    Logitech G213 Gaming Keyboard

    $47
    Pick up a great keyboard at a great price with the G213. It’s quick, quiet, and responsive, and it also has sweet RGB backlighting, of course!
    The Guru’s Tip

    We really don't recommend wireless keyboards at all, and certainly not at this pricepoint, 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

    Logitech G502 Hero

    $47
    Get a jump on your competition with this awesome gaming mouse from Logitech, which features a next-gen 16,000dpi sensor and a classic ergonomic shape!
    The Guru’s Tip

    To control the various features of this mouse, you'll want to download Logitech's GHub software.

  • The Mainstream Gaming Headset

    Corsair HS35 Stereo

    $35
    Assuming you actually want to hear the bullets whizzing by you in your games, you’re going to need a great audio source, and there’s no better budget gaming headset on the market than the HS35 from Corsair! With 50mm drivers and a comfortable fit, it’s the real deal, where all the other headsets in its price range are just pretending.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This headset weighs just 250g, making it virtually disappear once you put it on!