CPG reference builds are the best bang for the bucks and the most popular PC configurations, but don’t just take our words for it! Each and every systems here is based on a variety of survey we got every month varied from advice by our local Microcenter techs, online PC builders’ community, CPG audience, street smart pharmacists, distant relatives, deceased enemies, residents of the hotel Cortez and the brothers of the Night’s Watch– as of Q3 2016.

Final cost will certainly be a bit different at the time that you read this guide, future traveler. Your complete build could potentially be much cheaper for the same components!

Processor comes with a stock fan unless stated otherwise. You only need an after-market cooler for overclocking.

$300 Home/Work/Internet PC

Whenever you need a little machine for the kids to get their home works done or just a basic computer to browse, email and keep in touch with other family members –this build is just perfect for the duties. On every occasion, it’ll also let you play many good games under modest settings and seamlessly tackle HD media files with no trouble. The N200 is an elegant design of a chassis and it delivers a pretty yet minimalistic look to the room.

Perhaps people will start sending $500 your way to build a decent looking PC like this.

CPUAMD A6-7400K 3.6GHz FM2+$64.99
RAMCrucial Ballistix Sport 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR3-1600 $32.99
HDDWD Blue 1TB Desktop Hard Disk Drive$53.99
PSUEVGA 400 N1, 400W $19.99
CASECooler Master N200$45.43
ODDLG 24X GH24NSC0B$17.95
Total ~ $295.33

$700 Medium Gaming PC – AMD Build

A sweet spot for gaming pc build vs. cost. With a budget of up to $700, here we sat down with a MicroCenter tech to spec out two systems influenced by either Intel or AMD CPU routes. As you probably expect, we need to take a few setbacks on the Intel build when compared to AMD build for the same price. If it was for us, the AMD rig wins hands down in performance matches but loses big in power efficiency. Well that’s understandable –the GTX 960 is a bit behind R9 380X.

CPUAMD FX-6300 Six-Core 3.5 GHz$99.99
MOBOASUS M5A97 R2.0 AM3+$91.99
RAMCrucial Ballistix Sport 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR3 1600$32.99
SSDSamsung 850 EVO 120GB$69.50
HDDWD Blue 1TB Desktop Hard Disk Drive – 7200 RPM$53.99
PSUCorsair CX500M Semi Modular 80 Bronze$59.99
CASEThermaltake Versa H22 – 4 Fans$44.99
ODDLG Drive GH24NSC0B 24X$17.95
GPUXFX R9 380X$229.99
Total ~ $701

$700 Medium Gaming PC – Intel Build

If you decide to get Intel for your $700 gaming build, you’d spend a bit more on the CPU and Motherboard overall. Hence, we might not be able to have a 1TB mechanical drive in the system, but that’s a save for the GTX 960 –otherwise you’ll have to take a step down to GTX 950 instead.

Now this rig is quite a bit on the energy efficient side yet performance isn’t that bad too far behind the AMD build at all. With Intel build, you get a little more features out of the techs than older platform AM3+ of AMD.

CPUIntel Core i5-4590$198.99
RAMCrucial Ballistix Sport 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR3 1600$32.99
SSDCrucial BX200 240GB $64.99
PSUCorsair CX500M Semi Modular 80 Bronze$59.99
CASEThermaltake Versa H22 – 4 Fans$44.99
ODDLG Drive GH24NSC0B 24X$17.95
GPUEVGA GeForce GTX 960 2GB SSC GAMING $189.99
Total ~ $752

Special Builds / Chassis

A High-end Mini ITX Gaming PC at The Size of A Shoebox – 2015

Build a $800 to $1200 Mini ITX Gaming PC with Intel Skylake Processor – 2016

We came across these cases for review throughout the years and they quickly become our most favorites among others. Many of them are recommended in the reference builds above as you can see. Enjoy!

$189.99 USD
Corsair Graphite Series 760T Full Tower Windowed Case - White $159.99

$59.99 USD
Thermaltake Versa H22 Window CA-1B3-00M1WN-00 Mid-tower Computer Chassis Black $37.00

$49.99 USD
Cooler Master N200 - Mini Tower Computer Case with Fully Meshed Front Panel and mATX/Mini-ITX Support $38.84

$41.99 USD
Silverstone Tek Mini-DTX, Mini-ITX Small Form Factor Computer Case with Faux Aluminum Front Panel Cases SG13B-Q $40.99

$69.99 USD
NZXT S340 Mid Tower Computer Case, Glossy Black CA-S340W-B1 $69.43

$119.99 USD
NZXT H440 Mid TowerComputer Case, Matt Black/Red /w Window CA-H442W-M1 $82.50

Lian-Li Case PC-O6SX Mid-Tower 2.5/3.5inch HDD USB 3.0 Black MicroATX Retail Electronics $295.34

$126.13 USD
Thermaltake CORE P5 ATX Open Frame Wall Mount Mid Tower Liquid Cooling Computer Case CA-1E7-00M1WN-00 $9.00

Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-02 Mid Tower Gaming Case $59.99

Fractal Design Define S Gaming Case  with Window FD-CA-DEF-S-BK-W $119.87

$149.15 USD
CM Storm Stryker - Gaming Full Tower Computer Case with USB 3.0 Ports and Carrying Handle SGC-5000W-KWN1 $122.92

$126.13 USD
Thermaltake CORE P5 ATX Open Frame Wall Mount Mid Tower Liquid Cooling Computer Case CA-1E7-00M1WN-00 $9.00

$9000 High-End Workstation, Gaming PC - 2015

$8900 – Dream Workstation

51MpOYmTIbL._SL1500_Here’s everything you can imagine. When money isn’t the problem. Actually, when nothing is the problem. Ridiculous!

So we begin it all with the latest and top of the line Haswell-Extreme processor as the brain for this beast. The i7 5960X is an 8-core CPU that certainly don’t take no as an answer. It runs at 3.0GHz by default with an overclocking potential up to 4.2GHz fairly easily. Yet to keep everything stable –we’re gonna pair the processor with the Corsair H110 Liquid Cooler to take care of heat and all other jealousy.

The Asus X99 RAMPAGE V EXTREME on other hand will be the host of this party. It supports 4-way SLI, brings along an 3×3 A/C 1300Mbps Wireless adapter, O.C LCD panel, High-end Gigabit LAN port, Bluetooth, SupremeFX sound chip, M.2 socket (up to 110mm in length) and of course, an array of USB 2.0/3.0/SATA/SATA Express 10 Gb/s ports at your disposal. This motherboard is also a monster in overclocking, if one day you start to question reality again.

Moving on, we also drop 32GB of DDR4-2800 in all 8 slots which also activate quad-channel for an insane throughput. On other tiny expense ($3.1k) is the 3-way SLI consists of 3 Titan video cards. You know, honestly, i know that 780 Ti’s are more of a better choice due to pricing vs marginal performance, but since we already vow that money isn’t an issue –this is what we get for such realistic imagination. Btw, you can go 4-way SLI but heating will be a major issue here since them video cards have to stack up on top of one another and airflow is very limited between them. Just to be safe. But who knows. You’re rich.

Now when it comes to storage, we’ll have two Samsung 850 Pro 1TB running in RAID 0 Stripping (or RAID 1 Mirroring, up to you) to max the hell out of data transfer rate. There are also three 6TB that could be setup as RAID 5 Parity or just as regular for 18TB in capacity. That should put our concerning mind as ease because them 1TB SSDs wouldn’t be enough for anything these days, would they?

To close up, the whole system is housed in the beautiful 760T with tinted clear side panel and powered by a Corsair 1500W power supply unit just so you can have the highest electricity bill in the entire zip code.


Model No.

Estimated cost

Intel Core i7-5960X 3.0 GHz Extreme$1050
Graphics Chipset
3 x EVGA GeForce TITAN BLACK Superclocked Signature 6GB GDDR5$3200
Hard Drive
2 x Samsung 850-Pro 1TB$1400
3 x Western Digital Red 6TB (RAID 5)$900
2 x Corsair DOMINATOR Platinum 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR4 2800MHz$1000
Power Supply
CORSAIR AX1500i 80 PLUS Titanium$450
Corsair Graphite Series Arctic White 760T$190
Optical Drive
LG 16x Blu-ray Disc Rewriter$60
Front Card Reader
NZXT Aperture M Mesh Card Reader with USB 3.0$35
Liquid Cooler
Corsair Hydro Series H110$110