The Best $1,000 Mid-Range Gaming PC Build – September 2021
Due to the ongoing cryptocurrency mining craze, it’s currently impossible to buy video cards at retail prices. For this build, it’s currently impossible to buy any video card and still remain within budget, so we therefore recommend a pre-built PC, which you can see if you scroll down below. For reference, we provide our recommended DIY build, which you’re free to purchase if you already have a video card. Based on current market conditions, we do not believe this generation of GPUs will ever return to MSRP, so lower prices will have to wait until late 2022 when the next generation arrives!
A Mainstream Gaming PC to Grow With!
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.
This Month’s Build, Featuring Intel and Nvidia!
For September 2021, this build features Intel’s proven Core i5-10400, which packs in six cores and 12 threads. It’s an absolute gaming beast, and by far the best gaming value on the market today. 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.
For the video card, our top pick is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 4GB. Alternatively, you can use the built-in video on the Intel CPU (for non-gaming purposes), or install an older video card you have on hand.
Keeping this build fed is 16GB of DDR4-2666 RAM, along with a fast 500GB solid-state drive, both of which ensure that the system will run smoothly for years to come. This build is housed in an attractive, value-packed Phanteks P300A case and powered by an efficient, high-output 550W power supply.
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$950
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 deal is honestly too good to be true. Given the lack of GPUs available at retail, you'd be crazy to pass it up!
The DIY Option
Intel Core i5-10400 @Newegg$210 The Guru’s Tip
This CPU includes a cooler, but we recommend an upgraded model later in this guide.
Gigabyte B460M DS3H v2$87 The Guru’s Tip
While you can use more expensive B560 boards with this system, they won't provide any added benefit with the 10th-Gen CPU we recommend.
Video Card –
Zotac GeForce GTX 1650 OC 4GB$300 The Guru’s Tip
Right now, this GPU is selling for around 2x its MSRP. Unfortunately, that's the going rate, and even then it's usually sold out. If you want to save some money, we suggest you strongly consider the pre-built PC we listed earlier in this guide.
Crucial 2x8GB Ballistix DDR4-2666$80 The Guru’s Tip
With these two sticks installed, you'll still have 2 free slots available for an upgrade down the line!
Solid-State Drive –
Samsung 980 500GB$60 The Guru’s Tip
Because this slips into a slot on the motherboard, it requires no cables at all!
Phanteks P300A Mesh$60 The Guru’s Tip
We recommend you pick up the 140mm fan below and install it in the front of the case to enhance overall performance for a low cost.
Arctic P14 Silent$11 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 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.
CPU Cooler –
Arctic Freezer 34$29 The Guru’s Tip
You'll need this cooler, as the CPU does not include one!
Operating System –
Windows 10 Home USB Flash Drive$130 The Guru’s Tip
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.
Wireless Card –
TP-Link Archer T5E AC1200/Bluetooth 4.2$35 The Guru’s Tip
Rare among WiFi cards, this one also has built-in Bluetooth, which is great for use with a wide variety of peripherals.
The Budget Gaming Keyboard –
Logitech G213 Gaming Keyboard$47 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 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 The Guru’s Tip
This headset weighs just 250g, making it virtually disappear once you put it on!
The 24-inch 144Hz Gaming Monitor –
Acer XFA240$190 The Guru’s Tip
Note that FreeSync, developed by AMD, now works on either AMD or Nvidia video cards.
Total Cost: $1002
The Pre-Built Option
The DIY Option
- CPU – Intel Core i5-10400 @Newegg ($210)
- Motherboard – Gigabyte B460M DS3H v2 ($87)
- Video Card – Zotac GeForce GTX 1650 OC 4GB ($300)
- Memory – Crucial 2x8GB Ballistix DDR4-2666 ($80)
- Solid-State Drive – Samsung 980 500GB ($60)
- Case – Phanteks P300A Mesh ($60)
- Fan – Arctic P14 Silent ($11)
- Power Supply – Silverstone ET550-B ($56)
- CPU Cooler – Arctic Freezer 34 ($29)
- Operating System – Windows 10 Home USB Flash Drive ($130)