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Build Guide

Entry Level Gaming Build

by ThoughtA

NOTE: A more recent version of this guide is available here.


Our CPU of choice for this budget is the i3-6100. While it features only two cores, the 6100 also employs hyperthreading to help close the gap between it and a 4-core i5. Hyperthreading adds an additional logical core for each physical core, which is handy for streaming, video editing, and multi-tasking CPU-intensive tasks.

We're using a sparse selection of motherboards, which will display which is the cheapest of the four. All four motherboards feature the B150 chipset and an LGA 1151 socket for compatibility with the i3-6100. They include 4 DIMM slots for up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM. They're also capable of using the CPU's integrated GPU, in case you need to RMA your GPU or are waiting for a sale or upgrade.

A parametric filter is being applied to choose the best priced 2x4GB kit of memory within Intel's recommended specifications. With this selection, we have space on the motherboards for 2 more sticks of RAM, leaving room for future expansion. We're also using parametric filters to select the best priced 240-256GB SSD available. The SSD can be used for your OS and a good handful of games. Everyone's needs are different, so feel free to change out capacities to fit yours. For example, if 240GB feels cramped to you, I recommend picking up a mechanical hard drive for another 1 or 2TB or storage space.

We're going with a filter for the best-priced AMD Radeon RX 470, which is newer and faster than the previous selection of an R9 380. This will run modern games at 1080p admirably. If you'd like to squeeze a little more performance out of your build for more money, you can check out the Radeon RX 480 and GeForce GTX 1060 to see if their prices look appealing to you.

The Fractal Design Core 1000 USB 3.0 is a mini tower case that can fit all of our components. It offers decent cable management, which can sometimes be a problem at our budget, and there's room to expand with hard drives or a solid state drive. It also has 1 front panel USB 3.0 port and 1 front panel USB 2.0 port. This mini tower case also won't take up as much space as a mid tower. Cases tend to be highly personal choices, so make sure you browse our listed cases to see what suits you.

For the PSU, we're using a parametric selection of a few well-reviewed semi-modular and modular units, which are all rated for good efficiency and can provide plenty of power for this build.

Part List Customize This Part List

Compatibility Check: See notes below.

Estimated Wattage: 246W
Component Selection Base Promo Shipping Tax Price Where
CPU $140.94 $140.94 shopRBC Buy
Motherboard $145.43 Free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime $145.43 Amazon Canada Buy
From parametric filter
  • Type: 288-pin DIMM
  • Size: 8GB (2x4GB)
$61.60 Free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime $61.60 Amazon Canada Buy
From parametric filter
  • Capacity: 240GB - 256GB
  • Type: SSD
  • Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s
  • Form Factor: 2.5"
$99.99 $99.99 Memory Express Buy
Video Card
From parametric filter
  • Chipset: Radeon RX 470
$257.95 Free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime $257.95 Amazon Canada Buy
Power Supply $74.99 $74.99 Newegg Canada Buy
Total: $780.90
* Using your selected merchants and only including nearby in-store pickup prices)
* Some physical dimension restrictions cannot (yet) be automatically checked, such as cpu cooler / RAM clearance with modules using tall heat spreaders.

Compatibility Notes

  • Gigabyte - GA-B150M-DS3H Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard has an onboard USB 3.0 header, but the NZXT - Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case does not have front panel USB 3.0 ports.
  • The NZXT - Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case supports video cards up to 330mm long, but video cards over 230mm may block drive bays. Since the VisionTek - Radeon RX 470 4GB Overclocked Video Card is 242mm long, some drive bays may not be usable.
  • Flag compatibility notes as incorrect

Comments Sorted by:

MannyPCs 1 point 14 months ago

Not bad

Maxxoz 1 point 14 months ago

There's a mistake in the build guide: in the description you have listed the Fractal Design Core 1000. But in the actual list, there's a Source 210.

ThoughtA staff submitter 1 point 14 months ago

Ah, thanks for catching that.

TheOutlawKind 0 points 14 months ago

Ok I see your trying to be helpful for someone that wants to get into PC gaming but there are two things you can improve with this build guide.

  1. List compatible parts
  2. Add an operating system, a mouse and keyboard and maybe a headset.
ThoughtA staff submitter 1 point 14 months ago

List compatible parts

I'm not sure what you mean by this. All of the parts above are compatible.

Add an operating system, a mouse and keyboard and maybe a headset.

Those are outside the scope of these guides. They're focused on the PC hardware only.

TheOutlawKind 1 point 14 months ago

The case is the incompatible part that I'm talking about.

ThoughtA staff submitter 1 point 14 months ago

What is it you think is incompatible with the case?

TheOutlawKind 1 point 13 months ago

The Fractal Design Core 1000 USB 3.0 MicroATX Mid Tower Case only supports video cards up to 350mm long, but the Sapphire Radeon RX 470 4GB Video Card is 243mm long, which will make the drive bays usable.

ThoughtA staff submitter 1 point 13 months ago

As per the manufacturer's product page, you can still mount a hard drive with the longer video card size. It's compatible; it just has limited configurations.