In the market for a new PC? Have about $750 to spend? Here’s our suggestion for a $750 gaming PC build based on the Intel Core i5-10400F CPU. Due to the current state of the GPU market, we don’t have a specific GPU as part of this build. Instead, we have a GPU budget (money left after accounting for other components) found at the end of the list, accompanied by a couple of suggestions on which graphics card to get in the current volatile, to say the least, market.
When building a gaming PC with a limited budget you have to cut costs on some components to have enough money to buy the best processor and to have the highest possible GPU budget. In our build, we’ve got a cheap case and a relatively affordable motherboard. Also, we opted for a 500GB SSD, without an HDD. Our advice is to get the 500GB SSD now and then save up for a 1TB or larger HDD later. Don’t worry though, the board’s good enough to run both the 10400F and an eventual upgrade which may come in a few years down the line. Let’s begin.
|CPU||Intel Core i5 10400F|
|Motherboard||MSI B560M PRO VDH|
|Memory||Patriot Viper 4 Blackout Series DDR4 16GB 3200MHz Kit|
|Storage||Samsung 980 NVMe SSD 500GB|
|PSU||EVGA SuperNova G5 650W|
|Case||MSI MAG Forge 100M Lite|
Intel Core i5 10400F
|Base Frequency||2.9 GHz|
|Max Turbo Frequency||4.3 GHz|
By far the best gaming CPU deal at the moment (oh, how the times have changed), the Core i5 10400F offers almost 10600K-like performance for less cash. This is an excellent 6-core/12-thread gaming processor that’s also not a slouch when it comes to demanding multithreaded work. You can get much faster CPUs for serious work or in case you’re using the same PC both for gaming and streaming. But you won’t get them for a price that’s anywhere close to the 10400F.
For gaming, the 10400F is all you need at the moment and for the considerable future. It can tackle any AAA title you throw at it, as long as you have enough memory and a fast enough GPU. The processor is fairly power-hungry despite officially being a 65W TDP SKU but that shouldn’t bother you. Firstly, the supplied box cooler is loud, but with good enough cooling performance to tackle the CPU even during max loads. Secondly, the motherboard we’ve chosen can run the 10400F without power limits with zero issues.
It’s quality enough to run much more demanding parts so you shouldn’t worry about the power draw. Before we continue to the motherboard, a word of advice. While we cannot recommend the 11400F at the moment, as soon as that CPU returns to its MSRP – which is basically the same as the 10400F MSRP – get it over the 10400F. You’ll get a slight performance boost along with PCIe 4.0 support when pairing it with a B560 motherboard. While B560 boards have PCIe 4.0 support you won’t get it with older CPUs since PCIe 4.0 lanes can be found on 11th gen CPUs, not on motherboard chipsets.
MSI B560M PRO VDH
|Memory||4 × DIMM, DDR4, max. 128 GB|
|Storage||2 × M.2, 6 × SATAIII|
|Expansion Slots||1 × PCIe ×16
2 × PCIe ×1
The MSI B560M PRO VDH is one of the most affordable B560 motherboards you can get at the moment. Despite its affordable price point, the VRM section is quality enough to run the 11900K with default (125W) power limits. It’ll throttle the CPU when those power limits are turned off. But for any CPU other than the 11900K and 11700K, the MSI B560M PRO-VDH is more than enough. And that includes the 10400F. The board’s VRM section is cool while allowing the CPU to achieve its rated all-core boost clock.
When it comes to the specs the VRM is, as we already said, excellent for the price. Good enough for any CPU other than the power hogs that are the 11900K and 11700K. You also have official support for fast memory (up to DDR4 3200) along with two M.2 slots and six SATA III ports. In other words, support for lots of storage. Do note that, if you upgrade to an 11th gen Intel CPU, only the primary (the one with the heatsink) M.2 slot is PCIe 4.0 compliant. The secondary M.2 slot only has PCIe 3.0 support.
On the back, you can find two USB 3.2gen2 ports along with two 3.2gen1 and two 2.0 ports. No USB-C ports here. The board also has 2.5Gb LAN, a basic Realtek AL897 audio codec with support for 7.1 channel audio, and a Clear CMOS jumper allowing users to reset BIOS if something goes wrong. Those looking for Wi-Fi connectivity can get the Pro-VDH with wireless capabilities (Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1) that cost a fraction more than the non-Wi-Fi version.
Alternatively, you can go with a b460 motherboard. They’re cheaper but don’t support memory overclocking. In other words, you’re stuck with DDR4 2666, which translates into about 5-7 percent slower performance in games. If you ask us, the B560M PRO-VDH is affordable enough to pick it up over any B460 motherboard capable of running the 10400F without issues and power limits.
Patriot Viper 4 Blackout Series DDR4 16GB 3200MHz Kit
|Capacity||16GB (2 × 8GB)|
|Format||NON-ECC Unbuffered DIMM|
This was the easiest pick out of all components going into this build. Patriot makes the best budget memory and there are just a few 16GB memory kits on the market at this price and with these specs. Primary timings could’ve been tighter (16-18-18-36 @ 3200) but you’ll have to pay a considerably higher price for that pleasure.
Overall, this is an excellent memory kit that also looks pretty good. If you prefer RGB, the T-Force Delta RGB 3200 16GB memory kit often goes on sale for a price that’s about 15 percent higher than the Patriot Viper 4 16GB kit. There’s also the T-Force Vulcan Z DDR4 3200 16GB Kit, also from Teamgroup, for users who want their memory to be both fast and flashy but not RGB flashy.
Samsung 980 NVMe SSD 500GB
|Sequential Read Speed||Up to 3100 MB/s|
|Sequential Write Speed||Up to 2600 MB/s|
|Interface||PCIe 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.4|
These days, DRAMless NVMe SSDs are almost as cheap as SATA SSDs so if you’re building a new gaming build there’s no reason to get a SATA SSD unless you’re on a highly limited budget. The lack of DRAM cache isn’t a big deal. Unless you’re regularly working with large files (larger than 10GB), move them between two fast SSDs, or are a video editor working with huge files, you won’t notice the lack of DRAM cache. After all, these SSDs have an SLC cache that’s, in most cases, large enough for normal users not to notice the drop in write speed.
We’ve planned to recommend the 500GB version of the Western Digital SN550, which was one of the best DRAMless SSDs on the market. The drive is cheap and it has excellent sequential write speeds even after the SLC cache is depleted. But just before starting work on this piece, the news came out regarding WD using inferior NAND flash on newer batches of the SN550. This resulted in sequential write speeds dropping up to 50 percent after the SLC cache ran out.
Before the NAND flash degradation, the SN550 had noticeably faster sequential write speeds compared to the Samsung 980, after the SLC cache was filled. But now, the two are about the same in that regard. On the flip side, the 980 has much faster write speeds while the SLC cache is available, and it has a much larger SLC cache. And since the two SSDs are quite close to one another when it comes to the selling price, we recommend going with the Samsung 980 over the WD SN550.
EVGA SuperNova G5 650W
|Efficiency||80 Plus Gold|
The EVGA G5 series isn’t great but it isn’t terrible either. The SuperNova G5 is fine for relatively budget builds like this one but we don’t recommend getting one unless it’s on sale. If you see one selling for higher than ~$80 skip it. But if you happen to find it for that price or less, get it since, at the moment, you won’t find a better PSU at that price. It’s fully modular, it features the 80Plus Gold certification, and it comes with a ten-year warranty. Overall, a great deal for a sub $80 PSU.
If you can’t find the G5 650W for that price, get the Corsair CX 650, an 80Plus Bronze PSU that punches way above its weight. It’s only semi-modular but it’s worth it if you find it for the same price, or cheaper than the G5. Your next best bet is the Corsair RM650. This is an excellent PSU that’s more expensive than both the G5 and CX 650 but for the money, you get a better-built PSU with higher quality components. Of course, you can also get a quality 600-watt power supply if you cannot a suitable 650W unit.
MSI MAG Forge 100M Lite
|Dimensions||210 × 496 × 433 mm|
|Drive Bays||2 × 3.5″
3 × 2.5″
|GPU Clearance||330 mm|
|Total Fan Mounts||2|
|Front I/O Ports||1 × USB 3.0 , 1 × HD Audio & Mic|
The MSI Forge 100M Lite is an excellent budget case. It should offer solid airflow while looking great and while having plenty of clearance for the GPU (up to 330mm) and the CPU tower cooler (up to 160mm). The case comes with one preinstalled 120mm fan on the back, but it has enough room for two 120mm or 140mm fans on the front and two fans on the top. The airflow should be much improved if you install one fan on the front and one on the top.
Liquid cooling support is okay, but nothing special. You can install up to a 240mm radiator either on the front of the top (not both on the top and front side at the same time), with room for a 120mm radiator on the back. Storage support is pretty good for a budget case. You can install up to two 2.5” storage devices along with up to three 3.5” HDDs or three 2.5” SSDs inside the storage bay.
The front panel features two USB A ports along with the combo audio jack. No USB-C ports but we wouldn’t expect them at this price point anyway. As for the design, the Forge 100M Lite is probably the best-looking case sold by MSI. It has a simple industrial design with a two-part mesh front panel, slick-looking geometric details on the right panel, and a full-mesh top panel allowing for lots of airflow.
As for the alternatives, your best bet is the MSI MAG Forge 100R, which is basically the same as the 100M Lite except it comes with two ARGB case fans on the front and costs less than $10 more than the Lite. In other words, the 100R is an excellent deal if you’re ready to spend just a bit extra. For other, similar budget cases, check out our list of the best budget cases. There you can find excellent cases such as the Montech X1 and X2 Mesh.
The Phanteks P360A is another great case but its popularity led to multiple price surges making it too expensive for this build atm. There’s also the newly released Montech X3 case that has excellent airflow and six pre-installed RGB fans. You could also check the DeepCool Matrexx 50. It has a competitive price but that glass front panel will make the insides of the case turn into an oven during the summer.
GPU Budget – About $240
Finally, we’ve arrived at the end of the list. Depending on the current prices of other components featured on this list, your GPU budget should be anywhere between $220 and $240. Back in the good old days you could get the GTX 1660 Super for that money and get an excellent 1080p gaming experience. Hell, the 1660 Super is even good enough for 1440p high refresh rate gaming, if your gaming focus is on esports and other multiplayer games.
But these days $240 can get you a used GTX 1060 6GB or RX 580 (both in 4GB and 8GB versions), if you’re lucky, and check eBay listings daily. If you aren’t in a hurry, you could also snag a used GTX 1070, which looks like a jackpot at this price at the moment. You also have a choice between less powerful GPUs, such as the GTX 1060 3GB or the RX 570. And if you’re patient, you’ll find something better coming up occasionally. Overall, the situation is far from great but if you need a new PC right now, these are your best options.
You could also buy a new card but at this budget, you’re limited to gaming champions such as the GT 1030. If you don’t want to buy a used graphics card and you’re in a situation where you could save extra cash, we would recommend saving more money and trying to snag the newly released RX 6600 XT. Buying a new GTX 1060 6GB or something like the GTX 1650 just isn’t worth it right now because the prices are nothing short of insane. While the RX 6600 XT is a bad deal if we’re strictly comparing MSRPs, it becomes an excellent GPU if we’re looking at the actual selling prices. The RTX 3060 also received price drops recently but it’s still selling for much higher prices than you can find the RX 6600 XT at.