King of Budget CPUs

Now is the best time to build your own budget gaming computer.

Well, it’s always the best time to build a budget gaming computer. But this is the best best time.

Intel just released the Intel Pentium G4560. It’s the first Pentium with Hyper-Threading since the Pentium 4 back in 2008.

Basically, thanks to HT Technology, although it’s a dual core CPU, the Pentium G4560 simulates a quad core CPU, all while having a solid base frequency of 3.5GHz.

And that’s huge, because these days, there are games that won’t even run if you don’t have four logical cores. It’s on the latest socket, so it also supports the latest RAM, DDR4.

The price? $60. You’re basically getting an i3 for half the price.

I’m sure you may be saying, “The i3 sucks! You need to go with an i5 or an i7! And don’t even say the word AMD!”

Well, for most games, it actually makes no difference.

You will get the exact same frame-rates using the Pentium, i3, i5, or i7 as long as you don’t fall into one of these conditions:

  • You have a top of the line GPU like the GTX 1080, a $500 card.
  • You’re playing CPU-intensive games (which are uncommon these days).

According to this incredibly in-depth benchmarking video, frame-rates are almost all identical for each GPU, regardless of aforementioned processors. Here’s one example:

And here’s a benchmark of a more CPU intensive game, Battlefield 1:

Now, I will admit: if you want to make your system more future-proof, or you are thinking of involving yourself in some CPU intensive activities like video rendering, then by all means, go with an i5 or i7 (or wait for Ryzen).

But in the budget realm, the prices just don’t make sense.

The latest unlocked i5 costs around $240 at the time of this post, and the latest unlocked i7 costs around $350.

For most gamers, you’d be paying 4 to 6 times the cost for the same performance.

Every King Needs a Queen – Budget GPU

While this crazy deal on the Pentium is going on, some hot graphics cards are going on even hotter sales.

Recently, two solid cards have been discounted like crazy: the AMD RX 470 and the RX 480, which have similar performance to Nvidia’s GTX 1050ti and GTX 1060, respectively (but AMD’s cards will age better).

If you browse often enough, you’ll find the RX 470 as low as $95 compared to the $150 1050ti. The RX comes in two flavors, 4GB and 8GB, and each of those vary even more in quality depending on the model. The ASUS Strix models are some of the best, and they have gone as low as $137 for the 4GB and  $178 for the 8GB.

I mention these cards because they truly have the best price-to-performance, perfect for a budget build.

Putting it all together – The Full Build

Here’s a sample budget PC (courtesy of /u/velociraptorfarmer)

With sales this week you can now build a 1080p 60fps ultra machine for ~$400, or the same cost as the PS4 Pro:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU Intel Pentium G4560 3.5GHz Dual-Core Processor $59.99
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-B250M-DS3H Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard $73.98 @ Newegg
Memory Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR4-2400 Memory $50.19 @ Amazon
Storage Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $49.33 @ OutletPC
Video Card AMD RX 470 4GB $119.99
Case Cooler Master N200 MicroATX Mini Tower Case $29.99
Power Supply EVGA 430W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply $33.99 @ SuperBiiz

| Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts | | Total | $417.46 | Generated by PCPartPicker 2017-02-03 16:11 EST-0500 |

$417 for a build that will max out FPS on most games at 1080p/Ultra, and that’s accounting for regular prices. If you were to buy each part at the right time, you could get the price even lower and have even better specs.

Thanks for reading, let me know what you think in the comments. Are you planning on building this summer?

I currently have the FX 6350. Personally, I’m waiting to see what’s in store for us with AMD Zen, which could be a real game changer in the CPU market. I am also waiting for AMD VEGA, to see how the GPU market will shift.

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