If you need to build a new PC that can run all the current games without costing a fortune, then you’re on the right page.
We’ve created the ultimate $700 PC build. It is affordable, powerful, and most importantly, future-proof.
Let’s dive in.
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The Best $700 Gaming PC Build For 2021
Updated: May 3, 2021
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Before we go over all the parts in detail, we’re going to look at some of the basic features of our $700 PC. Here’s what we built it to do, as well as some of its limitations.
Specialized For Gaming
To keep this PC under $700, we had to economize. This computer doesn’t have any kind of DVD or Blu-ray support. Most gamers these days use Steam or other online services to install their games, so we felt like not everyone would benefit from having a disc drive.
And second, we didn’t spring for a gigantic hard drive. Instead, we opted for a 500 GB NVMe SSD, which works faster than you can blink, and still has enough space to store several games.
Keep in mind, however, that you will likely want more storage very soon if you choose that route. If not, you can always get a stacked HDD instead, and worry about SSDs later.
To sum it up, we opted for value over special features and gaming aesthetics wherever we could, using as much of the budget as possible for the components that will have the most impact on performance instead.
The PC Build
Now that we’ve taken an overall look at our system it’s time to take a deep dive into our new gaming PC.
The first entry on this list is the processor.
Spending close to $200 on a decent CPU used to be the norm. Thankfully, competition drives innovation, and ever since AMD has become a major player in the CPU game things have taken a drastic turn for the better for budget builders.
There are now fantastic processors from both teams out there that match this build perfectly, but we opted for the Intel Core i3-10100 simply because it’s a little bit more readily available at the moment. That’s said if you’re a Team Red fan and you happen to come across its closest counterpart from AMD, the Ryzen 3 3300X, don’t hesitate to get it. In this case, however, you will also have to get a different motherboard.
The i3-10100 is a 4-core, 8-thread CPU with the base frequency of 3.6GHz and the max turbo frequency of 4.3GHz.
Thanks to hyper-threading that Intel has finally introduced to its low-end chips, this processor now performs much better than previous generations in productivity-based tasks and games that heavily rely on AI. Not to mention that it’s also much better at handling Chrome.
Now, if 4 core and 8 threads seems underwhelming, keep in mind that this processor has a rather similar in-game performance to the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 when it comes to modern AAA titles. We are only talking about in-game performance here though, but that is what this PC is meant for anyway.
There is one unfortunate downside to this CPU compared to its Ryzen counterparts and that’s that the i3-10100 can’t be overclocked. For better or for worse, this saves you a bit of money in the larger scheme of things as you don’t have to invest in a motherboard and cooler that can handle overclocking.
In all other aspects though, this is a great CPU and currently the best option for this $700 gaming build.
Cooler: Intel Stock Cooler
The only thing that could be considered a flaw of the Intel Core i3-10100 is that it comes with the Intel Stock Cooler.
While this is still a fine stock cooler that does an okay job at keeping your CPU temps under control, especially considering that it’s free, it can’t exactly be called great. Don’t get us wrong, your processor can still function with only the Intel Stock Cooler, and you don’t have to be in a rush to get a more serious aftermarket cooler, but you’d do yourself a favor if you did so at some point.
This CPU is not too power-hungry and it can’t be overclocked, so you won’t have to look for anything too expensive. A $30-40 cooler such as the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO is a great option, but even that might be overdoing it.
Remember, though, that the CPU temperature doesn’t only depend on the CPU cooler, but also the airflow in the case. So make sure to check your CPU temps from time to time to determine if you need to hurry up with upgrading your cooling solution.
Now, we wanted to include the most powerful GPU we could fit into the budget to enable this build to truly dominate the 1080p resolution. To this end, we opted for the MSI Radeon RX 580 ARMOR OC with 8GB of VRAM, albeit GDDR5.
The prices are a bit all over the place at the moment, so going for an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 was simply not possible (although if you can find one that fits the budget, go for it), but the RX 580 is the next best thing.
The MSI Radeon RX 580 ARMOR OC that we picked for this build boasts 8GB of VRAM, so you’ll be able to play any and all modern games at 1080p, and even dabble in 1440p in some less demanding titles.
This, however, is a pretty old card at this point and it still uses GDDR5 memory, but even so, the RX 580 is a piece of hardware that you’ll grow to love like no other.
So how well does it perform?
Well, we love using Assassin’s Creed Odyssey when talking about the framerates just because it’s such a poorly optimized game that everything else runs better in comparison.
An average of about 115FPS at ultra settings in Fortnite sounds nice and all, but you know most of your games won’t be reaching this insane framerate. But when we say that this PC can get Odyssey to hover between 50 and 55 AVG FPS on the very high preset – now that sounds promising!
To give a few more examples, PUBG and Shadow of the Tomb Raider reach 72 and 67 AVG FPS respectively, Battlefield V and Far Cry New Dawn both run at a stable 75FPS, while something like Rainbow Six: Siege, Overwatch, and CS:GO go way above 120FPS on average in 1080p.
As is evident from the framerates shown above, if you’re looking to maximize performance, there is currently no beating the i3-10100/RX 580 combo at this price point unless you manage to find a GTX 1660 that fits the bill.
This one was a no-brainer for us. The Team T-FORCE VULCAN Z is one of the best and most reliable RAMs out there, and since we could fit it in this build, we did.
Specifically, we chose to go with two 8GB sticks of DDR4-3000 memory.
Not only will you have an entire 16GB of RAM, and not have to worry about upgrading it anytime soon, you will also have the benefits of dual-channel speeds.
There really isn’t much else to say about these DIMMs. They boast 16GB of memory and come from a reliable brand, so you can be sure that your investment will pay off.
Since we’re not dealing with a high-end build here we had to make sure that the main components were as best as they could be to provide you with the best possible performance. Unfortunately, a motherboard doesn’t impact gaming in a particularly significant way which is why this was one of the areas where we had to economize.
The MSI B460M PRO-VDH WiFi is a pretty basic motherboard, but not one that will leave you wanting. It has plenty of USB and SATA ports as well as Twin Turbo M.2 slots. It has four RAM slots that support memory up to 2933MHz, and it boasts PCIe Steel Armor that will keep your graphics firmly in place and prevent it from drooping and bending.
As for the bells and whistles, well, there are none. As we said, this is a basic motherboard that does what it’s supposed to do well, but don’t expect anything more than that.
It does, however, have Wi-Fi and EZ Debug LEDs, which are always fantastic to have. They’re not color-coded, but at least they’re there and they can save you a lot of trouble in case something goes wrong.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the PRO-VDH WiFi doesn’t leave you much room in terms of upgradability. This is a B460 motherboard, which means that it’s not compatible with Intel’s new Rocket Lake processors (11th-gen). If you ever wish to upgrade you’ll either have to stick to 10th-gen or get a whole new motherboard with a different socket.
In conclusion, it may not be flashy, but it has everything you need in a motherboard and it’s currently the best possible option if you want to get the most out of your investment.
When it comes to storage $700 is where we could afford to get a little fancy and choose an M.2 drive instead of a 2.5” SSD.
We present to you the Western Digital Blue NVMe SSD with 500GB of storage.
Now, we know what you’re thinking. “I can’t fit all my games on only 500GB”. We know. But hear us out.
When SSDs came out for the first time, they were mind-blowing. Ten times snappier than regular HDDs and seemed to work faster than the eyes could follow. But then NVMe SSDs showed up and simply exceeded all expectations.
In short, NVMe is the best type of storage available at the moment. We’re here to show you the best of what you can get for your money, and this is it.
With that said, we agree that this won’t be enough for most real gamers out there, so we would highly suggest getting additional storage, where you can keep all your other important data and games you don’t play that often while saving the super-fast goodness reserved for your favorites.
Naturally, there’s also the option of prioritizing volume over speed, in which case you would have to get a regular HDD. Whichever option you choose we still recommend installing an SSD at some point, whether it be right off the bat or a little later on, because an SSD is one of the cheapest ways of making a tangible improvement to your PC besides upgrading RAM.
As always, we aim to choose only the most reliable PSU brands for these builds, and Thermaltake has undoubtedly proven itself time and time again.
It’s usually best to go with 500W or 550W if you’re running a setup with a dedicated GPU of this caliber, so that’s why we went with the Thermaltake Smart 500W. Not only is it perfectly capable of running this setup without any problems, but it also leaves room for some upgrades.
The Thermaltake Smart 500W comes with a 5-year warranty and you’ll be happy to know that it’s also 80+ certified, meaning it provides greater efficiency than many other similar PSUs at this price range.
So all in all, the Thermaltake Smart 500W PSU is a reasonably-priced and efficient power-supply that has enough juice to accommodate this setup without any issues, and it’ll even allow you to sneak in a few upgrades.
And if you were wondering which case will get to house all these awesome pieces of hardware, the honor goes to the Thermaltake Versa H18.
It’s amazing what features this case manages to cram in for just $55. You’re getting a minimalistic, mesh exterior with a large tempered glass side panel to show off all of your components.
The Versa H18 also has excellent airflow and has room for five 120mm fans. The case also supports 140mm fans (two in the front and one at the top), but it only comes with one preinstalled 120mm in the back.
Unfortunately, we had to cut costs somewhere in order to stay within the budget, and the case was one of the components to suffer (hence only the one fan). However, we still made sure to pick a case with decent airflow, so once you add another fan or two you won’t have to worry about case temperatures ever again.
Luckily, some case fans go for as little as $10 apiece, so getting one or two more shouldn’t pose a big problem.
As for the interior, there’s plenty of building space here. There’s enough room behind the motherboard to rout all cables, giving the case a clean look which you’ll undoubtedly appreciate because of the tempered glass side panel.
It has a PSU shroud, lots of space for optimal cable management, and mounting points for two 2.5″ and two 3.5″ drives. Basically all you’ll ever need.
So if you want to combine build quality, style, upgradeability, and efficacy at a reasonable the Thermaltake Versa H18 is the way to go.
We’ve already gone over everything you need to build a great gaming PC tower, but a tower is but an expensive box without a proper set of peripherals.
If you’re upgrading an old PC, you may be happy with your current peripherals. But if this is your first rig, you’re going to need at least a mouse, a keyboard, and a monitor to go with it.
Even if you’re only upgrading, you might want to think about a gaming mouse or keyboard to improve your experience. If a new tower is worth $700 to you, remember that a mouse or a keyboard costs only a fraction of that, and can often provide major benefits.
Finally, you’re going to need an operating system. We’ll start with that since it’s the easiest choice of the bunch.
If you’re gaming, there’s really no better operating system than Windows. Apple is easy and convenient to use, but Apple computers are extremely difficult to build, and there just aren’t that many games for them.
Windows is the leading operating system in the world for a reason: it works, and everybody uses it. Whether you’re buying your games on Steam, GoG, or on disc, you won’t find an Apple port for most modern games.
If you have a lot of friends who are into PCs, someone may have suggested that you install Linux as your operating system. Linux can run most Windows games, but there’s a catch; because it needs to run them in an emulator, Linux can require up to twice as many system resources as Windows to run the same game. This is particularly true for games like shooters that use a lot of GPU resources.
Linux is great for programmers and some business users. For gamers, Linux means spending thousands of dollars on a computer that runs games at normal settings. If you’re on a budget, just get Windows.
That said, there’s no reason to spring for Windows Professional unless you plan on doing office work on your gaming PC. Windows Home is all you need for gaming. We do recommend the 64-bit version as opposed to the 32-bit version, though, to get the most out of your PC.
We linked the USB version since it comes on a thumb drive and has a plug-and-play install. There’s a downloadable version if you have another PC to download to, and a DVD version if you decide to install a disc drive, but the USB version will work with our PC’s base hardware.
The HP 24mh is a 23.8-inch FHD IPS monitor with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, just enough to qualify as true HD. This is the lowest you’ll pay for a full 1080p monitor from an established manufacturer. As a bonus, this monitor also has integrated 2W speakers, which is one less gaming accessory you’ll need to buy if you’re on a shoestring budget.
The refresh rate on this monitor is up to 75 Hz, but let’s be honest: with the rig we’ve built you won’t need more than that, especially moving forward into the next console generation of AAA titles. The 5ms response time is good enough for anyone without too much latency in their internet connection, and the monitor also has a low blue light mode which makes the time spent in front of your PC much easier on the eyes.
The Acer SB220Q is a slightly cheaper monitor that’s also full HD, but it doesn’t have integrated speakers. If you’re planning on buying speakers anyway, this can save you a few bucks. On the other hand, if you’re looking to get a complete rig for the lowest possible price, stick with the HP.
And if you are willing to spend a bit more on a true gaming monitor, the Acer XFA240 is the best deal out there. Its resolution is 1920 x 1080, and it has a refresh rate of 75 Hz, comparable to some of the better monitors out there. The big improvement here is the response time – only 1ms, fast enough for even the most competitive Call of Duty matches.
That said, if you’re not a hardcore FPS gamer and a few milliseconds makes no difference to you, the price difference between the HP 24mh and the Acer XFA240 is simply not worth it.
We chose the Razer Viper Mini because it’s one of the very few fairly inexpensive mice that’s reliable and has some decent gaming features. It’s not the best gaming mouse out there, but it’s the best one you’ll get at this price.
First of all, this is a wired mouse, which we like, but it may irritate some people. Nevertheless, we stand by our choice since wireless mice at this price point are only visually better since they don’t contribute to cable clutter.
With wired mice, you get much better responsiveness, a greater variety of different weights to choose from, and no worries that your battery will run out in the middle of a gaming session. That isn’t to say there aren’t good wireless mice out there, but if you want them, you’ll have to pay a premium.
When it comes to customizability and gaming features, the Viper Mini has 6 programmable buttons that will certainly come in handy with fast-paced gaming. Speaking of fast-paced, the mouse also has an 8500 DPI optical sensor, and weighs 61g making it perfect for serious gamers, and especially first-person shooter fans.
Finally, for a little flare, Razer has also included some tasteful customizable RGB.
Keep in mind, though, that this is a “mini” version. According to Razer, it’s suited for small to medium hands, and claw/fingertip grip types, so if this is not something that suits you, you might want to look into the Steelseries Rival 310 which is a slightly larger mouse, but also heavier at 92g.
The Redragon K552 is a reasonably-priced mechanical gaming keyboard. It has a minimalistic design and simple layout without any additional programmable keys or gimmicks, which is to be expected for a $35 keyboard, but it has everything you’ll need to lift your gaming to a new level, including a gorgeous RGB backlight.
But that’s not why we picked it.
For one thing, it’s a wired keyboard with a sturdy metal frame and heavy construction. Despite the budget price, it has a surprising heft to it, as well as some impressive Cherry red equivalent switches that provide the sound and responsiveness nearly indistinguishable from the real thing.
One thing to note is that this is a compact keyboard meaning that it doesn’t have a Numpad, but even more importantly, it has more tightly-placed keys which might require some getting used to. This can’t exactly be called a flaw, and it shouldn’t deter you from getting a good-quality keyboard since it’s something you can easily get accustomed to, but it does warrant a mention.
We mentioned “gorgeous RGB” above and we weren’t lying. Even though it’s a budget keyboard, they didn’t cut any corners. The RGB is impressive with its 6 colors and 19 lighting modes which can each be separately customized.
Like most keyboards within this price range, the K552 doesn’t come with a wrist rest. If this would be your first time using a mechanical keyboard you might find it a little awkward to type without anything to rest your wrists on, especially if you’re used to using a laptop.
If you find this problematic, there are plenty of decent-quality wrist rests out there for as low as $10 that will do the job just fine, or else, you can check out our recommendation below.
So, if your budget is already stretched to the limit, the Redragon K552 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is an inexpensive, no-frills keyboard that does the basics incredibly well.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger is an inexpensive, comfortable headset that has all the features you’ll need.
This is a multi-platform headset with excellent, 50mm directional audio drivers and rotating ear cups for maximized immersion and enjoyment. What we particularly like about the majority of the HyperX line of products is their use of memory foam padding, which is also present here.
All in all, it’s safe to say that comfort isn’t something you’ll have to worry about.
Like we mentioned above, it’s a multi-platform headset, which means it works on Windows, Play Station 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One, to name a few. You get a 1.3m headset cable that you can plug into your controller, for example and an additional 1.7m Y cable for other units.
We’ve had the chance to try out this headset, and we must say, for the price, this is a really solid product. It’s comfortable, adjustable, decently cancels surrounding noise, and has great audio including a strong bass. The volume and microphone mute can be adjusted directly on the headset, but the microphone mute option may take some getting used to as you have to lift the mic every time you want to mute it.
This isn’t bad as you’ll always know when you’re muted and when you’re not, but it can get annoying if you’re in a situation where you have to do it often.
Overall, it’s not a flashy high-end item, but it’s a respectable-quality product that’s definitely worth its price.
A mouse pad is probably the most overlooked piece of gaming equipment since many think it doesn’t contribute to the quality of gaming in any way. In a lot of cases, this is true. Casual gamers and people who don’t usually play fast-paced games won’t feel much of a difference. For competitive gaming, however, it can mean a lot.
Now, of course, you won’t be gaming professionally on a $700 PC, so there is no need to think too much about this, but if you can get a good-quality product that looks and feels great for a cheap price, then you should definitely give it a go.
The Ktrio Extended Gaming Mouse Pad is a large (31.5″ x 11.8″) pad that can fit both your keyboard and your mouse, and still have plenty of room for other items. It’s completely black without any flashy RGB or colored details that will dictate the color scheme of your setup, and it makes your entire work/gaming space look clean and sleek.
Additionally, it’s waterproof, has a rubber underside to prevent sliding, and it’s made of Lycra which is on the smoother side and lets your mouse glide over it easily without compromising control.
Overall, it’s an affordable mouse pad that does the job it’s supposed to do and does it well.
Now, this is not exactly an essential, but considering how many games these days are being made for a controller, it might as well be.
The Xbox One Controller is probably the best controller you can get that isn’t too expensive and that is guaranteed to work great.
The other option in the same price range would be the DualShock 4, but since it doesn’t work on Windows without third-party software, we think the Xbox One is a better choice. But of course, the choice is entirely yours. If you already own a PS4, there really is no reason to look for another controller.
That said, the reason why we chose the Xbox One (besides Windows compatibility) is because it’s reliable, affordable, and has an ergonomic design. On top of that, it’s made by an established manufacturer, so if anything happens you can be sure that Microsoft will take care of the problem for you.
There are, of course, dozens of other manufacturers, so if you want something cheaper you can always find it. But keep in mind that a controller is meant to serve you though thousands of hours of frustrating, heated gaming and occasional button mashing, and many cheaper controllers just can’t withstand that kind of treatment.
Granted, you should take good care of your gaming gear, but a certain degree of resilience is expected from a gaming product, and the Xbox One controller definitely has it.
We’re not going to lie. This is the most expensive item on this list of peripherals by far, including the monitor. However, it does make sense since a chair can have a major impact on your health, and if there’s something you should invest in, it should be the thing in which you spend most of your time.
If you’re anything like us, you probably spend the better part of your day sitting in front of your PC, so you might as well make it an enjoyable and comfortable place. Not to mention that it will also help keep your spine in good shape (still, don’t forget your exercise!).
The Office Star Mesh is a great place to start if you don’t want to spend a fortune, but still get the benefits of a good-quality, ergonomic chair.
This might not look like the gaming chairs you’re used to seeing all over the internet, and that’s because it’s not. Most of those cost an arm and a leg, and we couldn’t, in good conscience, recommend that you spend half of your PC’s budget on a chair only, so we went with something reasonably good and reasonably priced.
However, if you’re health-conscious, and don’t mind the price you have to pay to save your spine then we encourage you to go for something expensive and comfortable. Treat yourself. After all, this is an important matter, and we’re all too well aware of the kind of misery you’re in for if you don’t invest in yourself early on.
And finally, the cheapest way to upgrade your setup and actually get noticeable improvement – the wrist rest.
The HyperX Wrist Rest is a relatively inexpensive item that will elevate your gaming experience in a flash. It won’t improve your FPS or make your keyboard work better, but you’ll be grateful for the extra layer of plushy support for your poor wrists as you type away for hours on end.
Like we mentioned in the Headset section, the HyperX line of products is known for its implementation of memory foam, so you can probably already imagine the level of comfort we’re talking about. On top of that, this particular wrist rest is also infused with a cooling gel that should prevent your hands from sweating and sticking to the material.
One thing we should mention is that this is a wrist rest for full-sized keyboards, meaning it will be slightly wider than the Redragon K552 keyboard, but that shouldn’t stop you from giving it a chance unless something like that really grinds your gears.
After all, you might decide to treat yourself to a more premium, full-sized keyboard in the future, and we guarantee it’ll be much more frustrating if your wrist rest ends up not covering its entire length then.
As you can see, you don’t have to spend a small fortune to be able to game like a king. In fact, this $700 PC may look like a barebones system, but it will offer you an above-average performance so long as you can get all the hardware pieces that you need.
Now, getting the hardware is where the problem seems to be these days, and small wonder given the state of the world. However, there are many other things you can do to fill the time while you wait for your main components to show up in stock like slowly acquiring the peripherals you’ll need or planning your setup, for example.
There are tons of accessories that can improve your experience as much as a faster processor or more RAM would (subjectively), and there are tons of ways to spruce up and personalize your setup. Trust us, the planning is sometimes as much or even more fun than the actual act of putting the PC together.
Of course, this goes for those who can afford to take their time. If you’re in a hurry to get your new rig all set up and ready to roll then it’s a whole different story.
We made sure to recommend some of the best pieces for a PC at this price that you can currently get, but some things like the GPU stock are simply beyond our control.
Our best advice if you want to get your graphics card as soon as possible is to sign up to get notified on each and every online store you can think of and check your notifications regularly. If you’re persistent you’re bound to catch one eventually.
Whichever of these two camps you belong to we wish you good luck at building your new gaming system and we hope our article has helped you at least a little bit in piecing it together.