Looking to build a $700 to $800 budget PC that can handle the latest games in 2017? Here are the parts we’d recommend for an AMD Ryzen 5 build or an Intel i5 PC. Both builds utilize a $250 graphics card that should give you fantastic performance on ultra settings in 1080p or medium to high in 1440p.
Finding the right balance between performance and functionality can be tricky when you’re building your first gaming computer.
Experienced builders will tell you to spend more on the main components so that when you go to upgrade or rebuild in the future you’ll be able to reuse those parts. There is a fine line for this, though. Components get outdated and sometimes PC builders just feel like getting something new.
For our $700 to $800 Gaming PC we’ll make performance a priority while still maintaining good quality. While we can’t do exactly what you want best value for the money at the $700 to $800 gaming PC build price point.
$700 To $800 Gaming PC Build For 2017 – Intel i5 vs Ryzen 5
Contents at a Glance
- 1 $700 To $800 Gaming PC Build For 2017 – Intel i5 vs Ryzen 5
- 1.1 Ryzen 5 1400 vs Intel Kaby Lake i5-7500 Processor
- 1.2 DDR4 Memory Kits for AMD Ryzen vs Intel
- 1.3 Graphics Cards Under $250 – Intel and AMD
- 1.4 Budget Motherboards Around $100
- 1.5 Storage Options
- 1.6 Budget CPU Coolers Around $25 (For Overclocking)
- 1.7 An 80 Plus Certified PSU For Cheap or a T1 PSU
- 1.8 Summary:
- 1.9 Related Posts:
- 1.10 Related
Recently, we did some performance benchmarks comparing the Ryzen 5 1600x to the Intel I5 and the Ryzen 7 1700 and the Intel i7. As there are certainly benefits to both types of builds, we thought we’d go ahead and give you an Intel i5 build in the $700 to $800 range and a Ryzen 5 build from $700 to $800.
For the Ryzen build, you get an unlocked processor for overclocking with 4 cores and 8 threads in the Ryzen 5 1400. The intel build features the 4 core Intel i5-7500.
That being said it is important to understand that, as of right now, gaming performance is slightly better on the Intel processor. Moving forward as game developers make games with more cores and threads, this could lean more favorably to the AMD side. Also, the AMD builds certainly do win in benchmarks which take rendering and other tasks into consideration. However, the Intel build does give you more performance in games even when compared to an overclocked Ryzen 5 1400.*Prices were taken from various retailers on the publish date
Ryzen 5 1400 vs Intel Kaby Lake i5-7500 Processor
So, the big choice for most of you here is whether or not you should be a Ryzen 5 1400 PC or go with Intel’s Kaby Lake i5. The Ryzen line of processors is the best that AMD has put out in years. It’s fast and has more cores, but the IPC is still lower than on Intel processors. This tends to translate into slightly lower performance on games.
However, as I mentioned above and as you can see in many benchmarks, Ryzen excels in tasks where additional cores and threads are used. Keep in mind that although we’re sticking with the $700 to $800 budget, the i5 with 4 cores and 8 threads and the Ryzen 5 1600 with 6 cores and 12 threads are available for just $60 more. Both of these give performance in games, but may be unnecessary based on the games you play.
After 60FPS, Then What?
That brings me to another point. How much FPS do you actually need? I think for the most part gamers would say that 60FPs is adequate. Clearly, there are exceptions to this rule. Those trying to hit 90 or even 120 for their high refresh rate monitors for one.
Other than that, as long as you’re reaching 60, there is some appeal, in my opinion at least, in having a CPU that has more cores and threads. This is especially true if your gaming PC doubles as a work PC. With a combination of the R5 1400 and RX 580 or the i5 and the GTX 1060, reaching your standard 60 FPS in modern games, should be simple.
DDR4 Memory Kits for AMD Ryzen vs Intel
In general, we’d say that getting faster memory for the AMD Ryzen 5 is a bigger deal than the Intel one. We’ve gone over the best Ram for Ryzen. So, if you’re trying to hit speeds of 3200MHz you can check that out. However, hitting those higher speeds comes with a price. That same price with our $700 to $800 budget could result in you getting a better processor. So, getting good ram for your gaming PC that can be overclocked while not spending too much is what we went with in the table above.
Even though the G. Skill Ripjaws V Ram listed for the Ryzen build is set at 2400MHz, it’s likely you can go far beyond this with some tweaking. That’s added value, without the added price. On the Intel build, you should be able to save a bit of money here as the Ram posting at the listed speeds is much simpler.
Graphics Cards Under $250 – Intel and AMD
If you’re looking for a good graphics card in the $200 to $250 price range, you’ll be looking at the RX 580 8GB and the GTX 1060 6GB. I’d give a substantial advantage to the GTX 1060 6GB in DirectX 11 games. For those who are wondering, the RX 580 narrows the gap or even beats the GTX 1060 6GB in many DirectX 12 titles. Unfortunately, it’s simply not a big enough deal right now.
Still, either one of these cards should give you the ability to play AAA games in ultra settings at 1080p and even many games in 1440p. That kind of performance from a $250 card is something AMD and NVIDIA fans should be excited about.
Stepping up from here you’re looking at a substantial budget increase. The GTX 1070 has hovered around $400 for several months now. Downgrading I’d recommend the 4GB RX 470. It performs nearly as well as the RX 480 4GB and can be found for as low as $170. The performance drop between this and the $250 RX 580 8GB is not that big of a deal, either. You could also take a look at some RX 480 models. Ever since the RX 580 came out, these have been dropping in price but still offer pretty much the same amount of performance.
Budget Motherboards Around $100
It’s easy to go overboard with a motherboard that has more features than you need. This may completely destroy your budget. Instead, we’re sticking with a budget of right around $100. If you’re willing to change to a micro ATX build you can save some additional money here as well.
Intel Kaby Lake Motherboard
For the Kaby Lake build, you could certainly go with an H270 board since we’re using the i5-7500 and not planning to overclock. However, you’d then be stuck with 2133MHz memory. Instead, we’re going with the Gigabyte GA-Z270P-D3. It’s a fairly plain and simple motherboard but it does the job.
If you’d prefer another option, here are some other cheap and good Skylake motherboards to consider.
Ryzen B350 Motherboard
We can save a bit of money by going with a B350 rather than X370 motherboard here. As we’re planning on a single GPU configuration and the B350 motherboards allow overclocking, it’s definitely the way to go. We’ve gone over what we think are the best budget b350 motherboards for Ryzen. Out of that group, we like Gigabyte’s B350 Gaming 3. It has the right amount of features, allows you to overclock the R5 1400 and stays within our budget.
It’s true that you could bag the solid state drive here and put more towards your graphics card. That being said, I think most people who actually use their gaming PC beyond simply gaming would regret that decision. The speed differential from the time you turn on your computer to when you turn it off is monumental.
As a Battlefield 1 player, I’ve even noticed that map loading is quicker. That means I often have a better chance of getting a vehicle at the start of a match.
We’re also going with a hard drive in this build in the 1TB Caviar Blue from Western Digital. Those who’d prefer a higher capacity option should go with the Hitachi Deskstar 2TB option. Either option is fast and gives you a lot of capacity for what you spend. The extra space will, of course, be invaluable for storing all of your games and programs.
Those wanting even faster boots could consider going with a good nVME SSD drive here.
Budget CPU Coolers Around $25 (For Overclocking)
Cooler master owns this part of the market, almost literally. This is mainly because of the Hyper 212 Evo. So, if you’re planning to overclock and need a cheap CPU cooling option, it’s the way to go. I use these in a lot of my PCs and never have an issue getting a solid overclock. We’re using this option for our Ryzen build; however, it’s perfectly acceptable to use the included wraith cooler to see what type of overclock you can get out of the gate. Even a modest overclock will give you big performance boosts on the R5 1400.
Of course, we have no plans of overclocking the i5-7500 here.
If you want to go beyond this price range, I’d recommend the Corsair Hydro H100i or similar liquid coolers. As these are often above $100, you might want to consider putting this extra money towards a GTX 1070 instead.
An 80 Plus Certified PSU For Cheap or a T1 PSU
If you want to stay within our $800 budget, you’ll need to go with the Bronze certified power supply we’ve listed in the table above. I’ve used these several times and have had no issue. No, they won’t last you for the next decade; however; they don’t cost much either
Another good option, if you’re willing to spend more, is the EVGA SuperNova NEX 650W. It’s a good tier 1 power supply that should last you a bit longer.
Overall, both of these PCs make a lot of sense to me. Still, I’d love to hear what you think about them. The extra $40 to $60 for a solid state drive here seems necessary. Spending a further $60 will get you an M.2 drive as well. That same $60 could get you the i5-7600k or the Ryzen 5 1600 as well, so tradeoffs are a consideration here. What are your thoughts on the build. Don’t forget to leave any questions or comments you have about it down below.
Want to spend less or more on your rig? See our list of the top gaming PC builds right now for 10 more options.