So you want to build a budget PC.

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So you want to build a budget PC.

I am not a fan of the "PC master race" crap. If you are gaming you are gaming and in the end you are having fun on your chosen platform. There are many reason that I prefer the PC over consoles, mostly the variety of games as well as the higher graphics of games. Im looking at you UBISOFT! That being said I have had an X-Box 360 and currently have a PS3 plugged in behind my PC

So you want to build a budget PC.

I am not a professional just a hardware nerd. Everything in this guide is how I do things and not necessarily the "correct" way of going about things. Many opinions and blah blah blah. There are many YouTube channels that can explain these things better than me. My favorite is LinusTechTips https://www.youtube.com/user/LinusTechTips . Lets get on with it.

So you want to build a budget PC.

When starting off choosing components I always go for the cpu first. This is because the Mother board that you choose will be determined by the cpu socket type and most of the other parts are universal. The cpu is the brains of your computer. If you are going to be gaming then you don't really need all of the cores known to man to run the latest games. Duel-core would work just fine since gaming isn't a highly threaded operation. However if you are going to be recording and editing video, using a lot of photoshop, or producing music I would go with a quad core. Even if you think that you might do any of those things in the next couple of years just go with the quad to save time and hassle.

So you want to build a budget PC.

There are a few things to consider when choosing a cpu. First is the number of cores. More generally equals better but you don't want more than you will use. High end rigs have 6 of now even 8 cores that are hyperthreaded, but that is a post for a different time. A Quad Core is considered standard. I am partial to Intel. In my experience the lifespan (if @ stock clock speed) is the same, but when overclocking intel is more reliable to over clock and will have a much longer lifespan. For a budget computer a quad core is my recommendation. You are also going to want to look at the clock speed of the cpu. Anywhere close to 3.0Ghz will do just fine. higher is better so if you can afford to spend a little more cash then feel free to get a 3.2Ghz or 3.4Ghz.

So you want to build a budget PC.

Next is the Mother Board (mobo). So many brands and options to choose from making this decision a little hard at times. Always start off by making sure that your mobo has the same socket type as the cpu that you have chosen. You will then be able to choose the size of board that you want. ATX is the most common but in the range is ATX-mini which is a small form factor, E-ATX which is an Extended ATX, and micro ATX which is for ridiculously small builds. Single or dual channel Dimm (RAM) slots. If you choose a one or two stick(s) of memory then a single channel would be fine. Dual channel is considered standard and is what I would recommend. If you aren't building a gaming pc then you might want some on board graphics. Some mobo's have integrated graphics as well as some cpu's. I don't generally recommend this because getting a cheaper cpu and mobo with a still cheap gpu will give you better performance than the intergrated for the same price or cheaper. SATA ports!!! Hard drives, SSD's, disc drives, and more run off of SATA slots. Know how many of what components that you will have that utilize SATA. BUy board accordingly. Most boards have more than enough so this generally isnt a problem. USB 2.0 and 3.0. USB 2.0 is common while 3.0 is just recently making its way onto the budget boards. If you have anything that uses a 3.0USB port than you may want to consider getting a board with one or two. Now the most important in my opinion is PCI Express slot sizes. 16x, 8x ,and 4x. Most high end gpu's are 16x in size. 8x is half and 4x is a quarter slot. In a budget build with a high end gpu you are going to want capability for at least one 16x slot. The others will remain unused until you decide to upgrade.

So you want to build a budget PC.

Memory (RAM). For gaming you don't need 245724562457276542819821658356gigs of ram. I ran with a, pretty crappy, 4 gig stick for years and never noticed the difference. I just slapped in an 8gig kit about a year ago when I started making music. RAM isn't had to shop for at all. You don't need a lot and there is only a few REALLY good brands. I prefer Corsair RAM Personally. Most of my peripherals are Corsair actually. Some people are super into ram clock speed such as 1333, 1600, 1866 ect. for a gaming rig fast is better but you wont need the super high end 2800 dimm of ram. I say as long as it is a reputable brand with 4 to 5 star reviews go for it. 1600 would be pretty good for a gaming rig.
If you are planning to do a lot of video editing and music producing then the more ram the better! some high end mother boards are compatible with up to 64GB of ram!

So you want to build a budget PC.

Graphics card (GPU). For a gaming rig this should be almost 50% of the cost of your build. You want this thing to be a BEAST. For me this is where I spend most of my time shopping. Looking for the perfect card for the type of games that I play. There are many in depth reviews on the internet that will give you all sorts of information. One of the biggest differences between GPU's is the different chip manufactures. Nvidia and AMD are both really good but I like to use a NVIDIA card in my rig. I like the performance and the GeForce Experience software that comes along with most decent cards. A card that has 2GB of DDR5 is perfect or more than enough for most all newer games. 1GB DDR5 is also acceptable but running at ultra settings may lead to fps spikes on more demanding parts of the game.

So you want to build a budget PC.

Power supply (psu) A power supply for a gaming rig doesn't need to be the 1200watt monster that the high end comps use. 500watts is more than enough for a first build. Just be aware what your graphics card requires. it may ask for a higher wattage psu to run optimally. If this is the case and you have your mind set on that gpu then grit your teeth and get a bigger psu. You wont regret it.

So you want to build a budget PC.

Hard drives. If you have a LOT of steam games then a larger drive will be the best. I have quite a steam library on my 1TB WD Black and I am 600GB in. A 1TB will be perfect for those MASSIVE collections that some people have. you can always add more later! That is the beauty of having a PC, if you need more memory it is super easy to add to what you got!

So you want to build a budget PC.

Case. I always choose my case last. Choose your size by the size of your mobo. Most mobo's are just a standard ATX size so there are a plethora of cases to choose from in this category. For me there are three things that I look for in a case on a basic level. Cooling, cable management, and LOOKS! You want this baby to stay cool. The cooler that your PC runs the longer and more reliable your components will be. No one wants ugly cables running everywhere in front of the things that you would want to look at! Having enough room to tuck cables behind the mobo tray and around the bottom and sides of the case is a must. This is a custom PC you want everyone to know that you built it yourself! There are tons of completely bad ass computer cases out there for cheap!

Fans. If there is a spot for a fan in your case, USE IT!!!!

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