$1,000 Gaming Rig

CPU – Intel Core i5-4670 – $219.99

Motherboard – ASRock H81M-HDS Micro ATX  – $62.06

RAM – Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory – $62.95

Storage – Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5″ 7200 RPM HDD – $79.99

GPU – XFX AMD Radeon R9 290 4GB– $449.99 (Note: no good deals/available cards on Amazon at the moment)

Case – NZXT H230 White ATX Mid Tower – $69.99

PSU – Rosewill Hive 550W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX – $69.99

Total Price – $1,014.96 (+ shipping for the GPU) – pcpartpicker link

I think this is one of the sweet spots for building a performance gaming rig. You can easily cut back on the r9 290 and grab a 280x if you want to throw an SSD in. You can also trim back on the GPU if you’d rather overclock your i5, although for gaming purposes there’s little reason to OC that chip as it’s already incredibly powerful to begin with.

The 4670 is one of the best CPU’s you can get for gaming. You don’t really need to OC it and it’s strong enough to pretty much never bottleneck a GPU. [1] It’s also using the newest Intel architecture, Haswell, which means it will perform well with games that aren’t optimized for multi-threading as well. [2]

The motherboard, again, is fairly cheap, so you might look to upgrade here if you need to throw in a large amount of HDD’s for backup or something. Again, RAM is RAM, and these 8GB’s of 1600MHz RAM seems to be the cheapest, so it’ll be fine for this system. Just to reiterate from the previous build, there’s no difference between one stick or two sticks for purposes of gaming. [3] Since we have a bit more money to work with in this budget, the 2TB Seagate Barracuda drive will give us plenty of storage to work with as well. [4] Some people claim that these drives fail at a higher rate than other HDD’s but there’s no data available to substantiate those claims. Seagate does ship a ton of these drives, though, so it’s easy to see that there would be a higher number of values, even if the chance of failing is the same.

The R9 290 is an amazing GPU. Even at 1440p this GPU will deliver playable framerates for games like Skyrim, Crysis 3, Tomb Raider and Battlefield 4. In most cases, it even outdoes the GTX 780, which is a $100 more expensive GPU. [5] [6] The only other options here, such as a GTX770 or SLIing/crossfiring other lesser cards, don’t really make sense, given the strong performance of this GPU.

The H230 is NZXT’s response to the Define R4 from Fractal Design. Both cases are amazing cases, but the H230 tends to cost less, edging out the R4 here for this build. [7] If you have the extra money to spend, though, stretching a bit further for the R4 would be worth your while. [8] [9]

Once again, the PSU gets the job done as well. The 550W Hive PSU from Rosewill is still the perfect buy for the price. [10]

This build should destroy pretty much anything you throw at it at 1080p, and if you’re willing to settle for medium settings or turning off some more extravagant features you could probably stretch it to work with a 1440p gaming rig as well.