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Cheap custom build gaming PC guide. Budget: $1200

In our last article, we were able to successfully build a $600 custom build gaming PC and today, we are going to do exactly the same thing, but on a higher budget. Again, to make things easier, we are going to use PcPartPicker to help us know any compatibility issues and make the whole process easy altogether. Gone are the days where you had to break the bank to own a gaming PC, thanks to custom builds. Owning a cheap custom build gaming PC has never gotten easier, thanks to the wide range of options at your disposal, and hundreds of tutorials online(including this one) to guide our not-so-tech-savvy friends.

Let’s get our hands dirty

Not really though, as we will be assembling our $1200 build virtually. Just like our last build, we will be considering the options we have as we try and make the most of this budget. Ready? Lets roll!

Assembling this cheap custom build gaming PC. Budget ($1200)

Still not targeting to achieve the cream of the crop status here, we still have the opportunity to mess around with some of the top of the range components. This build is ideal for gamers who want to be able to play new releases at high resolutions, do some overclocking as well as PCI expansions and water cooling.

Prerequisites/Assumptions of things you already have.

Not included in this budget are:

  • Display
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse

cheap custom build gaming PC

Even though we clearly have not used affordable components, this is still a cheap custom build gaming PC. This is not just a big build but a powerful one too. We have taken more consideration for components that will leave a noticeable impact on your system’s performance. Its also good to have in mind what you really intend your to use your build for. For gamers, this will be an absolute sweet spot, same case to software developers and media gurus who want to ‘futureproof’ themselves.

All the parts at a glance

Well reviewed by a lot of gamers, we are going to use this case for our cheap custom build gaming pc. It adapts a sleek black backbone with touches of plastic and light steel. The expansion slots at the rear are more than enough, the I/O  power panel at the side, and USB 3.0 complete what is already a major bargain.

Want to stuff aftermarket cards and other stuff? worry less, because the Carbide series 500r can comfortably fit most cooling components and long cards. Alternatives to this casing are a quite a number. You could go for the Fractical Design Arc Midi R2 case if you are after something sleek and affordable.

  • CPU: 4.0 GHz Quad Core Intel Core i7 – 4790Kcheap custom gaming pc build

The market leaders in terms of power and performance, we can use an Intel Core i7 processor for our high-end build, thanks to its fair price tag. We have decided to go for an unlocked version, so if overclocking is your main priority, this is a good option. This powerhorse of a CPU will handle anything you throw at it handily, so for gamers, if you are able (financially) to step up from the Intel Core i5 4690K, don’t think twice.

  • Motherboard: Asus Z97 – E ATX LGA

Often described as a budget board, this is not always the case here. Its cheap price should not overlook the excellent results of overclocking this little beast.

  • RAM: 2 X 8GB G.Skill Ripjaws X-series DDR3 1600

Our high-end, yet cheap custom build gaming PC will not be complete without a shipload of Ram in it. The Ripjaws X-series is a good RAM with decent speed.  Why 16GB? well, we all know 8Gigs is enough for most people, but who are you? you’re not anybody, you’re an enthusiast!

  • Storage: Samsung 850 EVO 500Gb SSD plus an additional Western Digital 1TB SATA 6GB/s Hard Disk.

By now, its common knowledge that upgrading to as SSD is one of the best things you can do for your PC. The Samsung 850 EVO is one of the best picks you can go for currently, thanks to its high-capacity, speed and affordable nature. It will do wonders when used as a storage for your operating system together with mostly used games or applications. If you don’t need all that space, why not save some cash and go for the EVO 250GB, which will spare you some bucks to spend on other components.

  • Power Supply: Corsair CX600M high performance modular power supply(600W)


Corsair are renowned for making good power supplies and since this is our high-end build, we thought the CX600M would be a perfect fit. Pumping 600 watts of juice, there is definitely more room left to draw power during overclocking. This power supply offers steady and great power at the modest price, compared to other expensive ones out there.

  • Graphics Card: AMD Radeon R9 390 8GB or Geforce GTX 970 superclocked ACX 2.0

While NVIDIA and AMD fans will continue their brawl on which is better than the other, What remains clear is you won’t go wrong choosing any one of these. Both cards, despite different in features are closely priced and can deliver great frame rates at 1080p or 1440p.

Total Spent:


As you can see, we missed the target by some negligible amount, but now have a powerful yet cheap custom build gaming PC. Depending on what you plan on using the rig for, you can substitute any component with a more upmarket compatible variant or downgrade it according to your budget. What do you think of our $1200 build? We would love to hear your ideas on your ideal $1200 custom gaming PC build too!

In our next article, we will try and build a gaming PC on a modest budget of $300. Sounds Impossible? Stay Put.

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