DIY Building a Gaming PC for Less Than $3,500

Contrary to popular assumption, owning a red-hot gaming PC doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank; in fact, you can build your own high quality system capable of pure performance for under $3,500. Although prices fluctuate and new, top-of-the-line hardware is intensely sought after, here is a look at how you can build your own gaming system right now.

CPU and Motherboard

The heart of any computer, your CPU and Motherboard is first. The CPU calculates functions for your system and is a required piece of hardware for any computer, so you can’t skimp on quality. The Intel Core i7 Quad-Core Processor is a powerful CPU and, coupled with a liquid CPU cooler like the Corsair H100i, not only helps disperse heat but also reduces noise generated by your PC. Finally, plugging everything into an ASUS Maximus VI Hero motherboard provides access to easy system tweaks as well as tons of overclocking features that will put that liquid cooling unit to work.

Memory and Storage

The fastest computing system in the world still needs memory. For storage, choose a Samsung 840 Pro Solid State Drive with a Seagate Barracuda Internal Hard Drive. Weighing in at a whopping 3 terabytes, the Barracuda takes care of all backing up, while the Samsung 840 swift accesses your active data without hesitation. You need RAM as well, and when it comes to a gaming PC’s RAM, you have to go big or go home. The Corsair Dominator is a high performance memory kit, and the Platinum 16GB DD3 card is more than sufficient for powerful gaming on a budget.

Graphics and Video

Next comes one of the most critical components of any good gaming PC: the GPU. With modern games like the highly anticipated “Battlefield Hardline,” the system requirements are so steep that, if you don’t have a powerful GPU to get the richest and most graphically intense experience possible, you’re wasting money and gameplay.

The EVGA GeForce GTX is one of the best GPUs available, and will probably the single most expensive of your system components, but the cost is worth it will be able to play at the maximum graphics settings and on the largest displays you can imagine without a problem. Do yourself a favor and don’t cut corners on your GPU.

The Final Pieces

Now take the beast of a gaming PC you’ve built and get a power supply and a laptop case, sleeve, or backpack (like the one shown). From a trusted brand, the EVGA SuperNOVA is the ultimate power supply—it even comes with a 10 year warranty. You need a case that will treat your rig right, and the ThermalTake Overseer is a full tower case with plenty of drive bays and USB ports ready to go. Chances are you’ll want an optical drive as well, and ASUS’ DRW-24B1ST burns CDs and DVDs at blazing 48x speed.

At this point, you’ve built your gaming beast, and while you still need a monitor and input devices like a keyboard and mouse, you’ve assembled a machine capable of playing even the most high-end modern games on less than $3,500.

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