Thursday, 13 October 2016 10:01

Building a Computer On a Budget

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Building a Computer On a Budget

Today we will be going over how to budget a computer build, and a not so budget build. First up the budget build. A critical part in thinking of a budget build, is that it needs to be upgradable at a later point in time, with replacing as few parts as possible to keep costs down. With that in mind you can start to think about building a computer.

Step 1: Choose a motherboard.

This is one of the most critical pieces to the computer. You will be deciding what RAM, HDD/SSD/M.2, Graphics card, PSU, and CPU to get after choosing this. We went with an, Asus ATX LGA 1151 Pro Gaming/Aura B150. This motherboard provides excellent room for expansion in the future. It also allows the use of an M.2 drive if you want one in the future.

Step 2: Choose a CPU.

This is another critical area of choice. Now that you have the motherboard chosen, you follow what CPU will fit the board, and your budget. With that in mind, we chose to get the i3-6100 cpu @ 3.7ghz. This is a 2011-v3 socket fit.

Step 3: Choose RAM

RAM will be chosen on the specs of the motherboard as well. We picked up some a stick of, Kingston HyperX FURY Black 8 GB (DDR4), running at 2133 mhz. Remember to pick RAM that will match the board (DDR3 or DDR4) and the MHZ specifications.

Step 4: Choose Storage

In this build because we wanted a "budget build" with adequate storage, we chose a Western Digital 1TB HDD. In terms of cheap it is good enough. An 250gb SSD runs about the same price, but isnt good enough to sit on for a budget build once you start installing programs. The board will hold an M.2 drive but those are far from budget.

Step 5: Choose Case

Chosing a case is about the easiest part of building the computer. Cases can range from $30 up to $300+. For this build we chose the Thermaltake Versa H21. This case has adequate airflow, and has room to add two 120mm fans to the top of the case.

Step 6: Choose PSU

For this build we decided we wouldnt need a GPU. So we went with a Corsair 600W PSU. Its cheap, and plenty of power to run what is needed for a computer on its own.

Hardware Costs: $426.21
Other Costs (W10, keyboard / mouse, monitor): $204.97
Total Costs: $631.18

Build 1 Parts List:

  • Corsair 600W $56.99: PSU
  • Kingston HyperX FURY Black 8 GB 2133mhz ($44.00): RAM
  • Asus ATX LGA 1151 ($119.00): Motherboard
  • I3-6100 3.7ghz ($118.10): CPU
  • WD 1TB HDD ($49.99): HDD
  • Thermaltake Versa H21 ($38.13): Case


Non Budget Build

For our not so budget build we went a bit bigger. This build had in mind that adobe suite software would be used, and rendering of videos / images. It also happens to make for a nice gaming computer. With this build we want the best possible airflow a case could handle, because overheating is bad juju. So we chose the Corsair Carbide 540 series cube. This case has tons of space. It allows for three 120mm AF fans on the front, two 140mm AF fans on the top, and a rear 140mm fan. Thats just on the side with the majority of hardware. The case is split into two sections, to allow the PSU and storage drives to be stored on the other side. This makes for a cleaner looking case, and gives more space bulkier parts, and allows for a more maximized air flow, so that PWM fans are not needed. Magnetic Dust filters were added to the side of the case where the PSU airflow is.
Because the I7 chosen doesnt come with a heatsink (bad anyways), we chose to get the Noctua NH-D15. This is a massive heatsink with two 140mm fans attatched to it. It gets the job done and more. When overclocking, this heatsink allowed us to get 4.9ghz out of the CPU, staying around 65C.

Hardware Costs: $2,737.89
Other Costs: $223.77
Total Costs: $2,961.66

Build 2 Parts List:

  • ASUS TUF Sabertooth x99 LGA2011-v3 ($309.99): Motherboard
  • I7-5820k 3.3GHz 6core ($406.00): CPU
  • Noctua NH-D15 ($88.43): Heatsink
  • Kingston HyperX Fury Black 64GB ($294.46): RAM
  • Samsung 950 PRO Series ($322.57) - 512GB NVMe M.2: M.2 Drive
  • PNY CS2211 240GB SSD ($69.99): SSD
  • WD 3TB HDD ($89.99): HDD
  • ASUS GeForce 6GB 980TI ($659.99): GPU
  • ASUS PCE-AC68 ($92.95): Wifi Card
  • Corsair 750 PSU ($119.98): PSU
  • Corsair Carbide Air 540 Cube ($119.79): Case
  • Case Filter ($8.99): Filters
  • Corsair Air Series AF 120 x3 ($15.45): Fans

Other Stuff

  • Windows 10 ($92.99): Windows 10
  • AVG Ultimate ($28.61): AVG
  • Azio Mechanical Keyboard ($77.99):
  • Logitech Mouse ($24.18)


Here is a small comparison of the Western Digital 1TB HDD, PNY CS2211 240GB,and the Samsung 950 PRO. This is just to show the difference in terms of speed that can be achieved.

Western Digital 1TB HDDWestern Digital 1TB HDD
PNY CS2211 240GBPNY CS2211 240GB
Samsung 950 PROSamsung 950 PRO
Read 1992 times Last modified on Thursday, 13 October 2016 13:42
Jeremy Lewis

Jeremy has an B.S. Degree IT: Software Development and over 5 years’ experience with system devlopment.

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