Best PC Build Under $700 USD in June 2017

Best PC Build Under $700 USD
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With more and more budget-friendly computer hardware available in the market, you do not need a couple thousand dollars (USD) to build a computer that can run games with impressive graphics. PC hardware are becoming more powerful and cheaper at the same time.

Therefore, with a budget of only $700 USD, you can build a computer that can run AAA games at 1080p in high to maximum graphics settings.

Please be reminded that this article is a recommendation of PC parts that meet the intended budget. You can choose what hardware or where to buy them for your actual build that satisfy your needs. Also, prices and availability of the products will change from time to time.


AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
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For the heart of the build, I choose the AMD Ryzen 5 1500X. It gets a significant performance boost from its predecessors, the FX-series CPU. The 1500X is directly competing with Intel’s Core i5 series processors in the mainstream gamers’ market.

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X

In terms of specifications, the Ryzen 5 1500X has 4 cores, 8 threads, pairing with 16 MB of L3 cache. Its base clock is 3.5 GHz and can boost up to 3.9 GHz with XFR enabled. From the Core i5-7400 to i5-7600K, all have 4 cores, 4 threads, and are equipped with 6 MB of L3 cache. Their base clock speeds range from 3.0 GHz to 3.8 GHz. The i5-7600K can have turbo boost up to 4.2 GHz. Among these 5 processors, only the Ryzen 5 1500X and the i5-7600K allow users to overclock the CPU.

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X and Intel Core i5-7600K

The above Geekbench 4 scores are the average of 3 benchmark results I find on Geekbench’s website. All results are recorded at each processor’s base clock speed.

Intel Core i5 series processors have a overall better single core performance than the AMD Ryzen 5 1500X. Apart from the lower clocked i5-7400, all the Core i5 CPUs have higher single core scores than the 1500X. With the same 3.5 GHz base clock, the i5-7600 has a 17.1% advantage against the 1500X.

Due to Ryzen 5 1500X‘s higher number of CPU threads*, the 1500X’s multi-core performance ranks second among the five processors. The i5-7600K is about 10.1% faster than the 1500X in multi-core score, still beating the 1500X because of its higher base clock at 3.8 GHz.

*More number of CPU threads does not equal to more number of physical CPU cores. CPU thread is act as a data pipeline that feeds instructions to the CPU. However, the CPU can only process one thread at a time. Multi-thread technologies, like Intel’s Hyper-threading and AMD’s Simultaneous MultiThreading (SMT), let the CPU to utilize resources more effectively.

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X and Intel Core i5-7600K

The Ryzen 5 1500X strikes a great balance between performance and price. Its price-to-performance ratio is at the top in the stack with the best score per $1 USD, 75.2/$1. All the Core i5 series processors get very similar results surprisingly, at about 65/$1. The 1500X is about 17% better in this categories.

Despite the 1500X’s lower price, overclocking is still enabled by default. You can squeeze more power from the CPU. Instead of requiring a high-end motherboard to perform overclocking like Intel (Z270), you can save some money and choose between B350 or X370 motherboards that suit your budget. Also, with more CPU threads, the 1500X can do multi-tasking more efficiently, such as streaming while gaming. If you need heavy multi-tasking, the Ryzen 1600 has 6 cores, 12 threads may be a better choice.


G.Skill Ripjaws 4 series 8GB (2x4GB)
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With the increased memory compatibility and updated microcode of the Ryzen CPUs, it is easier to choose what RAM to buy. This time, I select the G.Skill Ripjaws 4 series 8 GB DDR4-2400 memory. It is a 2x4GB kit to utilize the dual memory channel of the CPU and motherboard. More importantly, G.Skill is a reputable brand which the RAM has a limited lifetime warranty.

The Ripjaws 4 series is priced reasonably and you can choose higher frequency variants if you want. In certain tests, Ryzen CPUs have shown to perform slightly better with faster RAM.


MSI B350M GAMING PRO mATX AM4 Motherboard
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To pair with the Ryzen 5 1500X processor, you will need an AM4 Motherboard. If you mainly use your computer for gaming, you will not need a lot of expansion cards and workstation features. Therefore, a mircoATX form factor motherboard will be your best choice.

The MSI B350M GAMING PRO is a B350 mATX motherboard. It has two DDR4 RAM slots, supporting dual memory channel. There are one steel-reinforced PCIe x16 slot and two PCIe x1 slots for your graphics card and other expansion cards. It has four USB 3.1 Type A and two USB 2.0 ports at the back. A 1 Gigabit Ethernet port is also included, with MSI GAMING LAN‘s features.

You can have up to four SATA3 storage devices with the addition of one M.2 slot on the motherboard. You can install high speed NVMe M.2 SSD without populating the physical PCIe slots.

The MSI B350M GAMING PRO motherboard combines usability and extra features into a budget-friendly package.


Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler
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To ensure a stable overclock for the Ryzen 5 1500X CPU, you will need more than the stock Wraith Spire cooler included in the box.

The Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO is one of the most popular air cooler in the world for gamers. It has four 6 mm direct contact heat pipes with Cooler Master patented CDC technology. This can create up to 6% more contact surface area for better cooling performance. It already has a 120 mm fan installed by default, but it can support an optional 120 mm fan for more cooling.

The Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO* should be able to keep the 1500X CPU cool with modest overclocking. However, if you want more cooling headroom, a 120 mm all-in-one water cooler, like the Corsair H55 or Cooler Master MasterLiquid Lite 120, is a great upgrade.

*To install on an AM4 motherboard, you will need to have the AM4 upgrade kit.

Graphics Card

Asus GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB Phoenix Graphics Card
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This PC build is aimed to run games mainly at 1080p, which the normal users’ monitors are at this resolution. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti is a tremendous option with a suitable price tag.

Nvidia GTX 1050 vs GTX 1050 Ti vs GTX 1060

Without a doubt, the Nvidia GTX 1060 blows away from both the GTX 1050 and the GTX 1050Ti at all areas. It gets the highest base and boost clock speed, up to 1708 MHz. It has the most number of CUDA cores, 66.7% more than the 1050Ti and 100% more than the 1050. It can have up to 6 GB of GDDR5 memory and 192-bit memory bus.

However, the GTX 1060 is a little bit expensive when comparing with the 1050Ti and 1050. It is designed to run games at 1440p which demands more power and is overkill for 1080p gaming.

Nvidia GTX 1050 vs GTX 1050 Ti vs GTX 1060

The above results are from PassMark, which are collected with thousands of samples around the globe. As we can see, all the scores are within expectation. The GTX 1060 scores the most, at 8709. The GTX 1050Ti has 29.1% more marks than the lowest tier GTX 1050.

Nvidia GTX 1050 vs GTX 1050 Ti vs GTX 1060

All cards have a very similar price-to-performance ratio, at around 41/$1 USD. The GTX 1060 score slightly less at 35/$1 USD. The GTX 1050Ti ranks at the top.

I choose the ASUS GTX 1050Ti 4GB Phoenix because it is more than capable to run at 1080p games. ASUS is also a reputable brand with good customer service. With its 4GB of GDDR5 memory, you can turn on most of the effects and textures in games without worries. The 1050’s tiny 2GB memory will not be suitable in this case. Of course, if you are going to upgrade your monitor to higher resolution (1440p, 4K) in the near future, you should buy the GTX 1060 or even GTX 1070.


Kingston A400 120GB SSD
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For the most basic storage setup, I recommend buying an solid state drive for the operating system and some frequently used applications. For huge media files and PC games, an extra hard drive can be added. This way, both transfer speed and storage capacity can be maintain without spending a fortune on a large size SSD.

Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Hard Drive
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In this build, I choose the Kingston A400 120 GB SSD and the Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 7200RPM HDD.

The A400 120 GB SSD can have read speed up to 500 MB/s and write speed up to 450 MB/s. The WD Blue 1 TB HDD can reach up to 150 MB/s read and write speed. They are both manufactured by a well-known company, Kingston and Western Digital. They have high customer ratings without major issues. 

To be clear, you need to make sure all the storage devices are reliable to minimize the chance of data loss. Frequent backup is also essential to keep your data safe.

Power Supply

Corsair CXM450 Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply
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Power supply is critical to every PC component. A quality power supply can regulate and provide the correct voltage or current to the required parts. A bad power supply may damage electric circuits or even cause a fire.

I pick the Corsair CX450M power supply. Corsair is one of the top power supply manufacturers with high reputation that produces quality PSU in the industry. It offers a 5-year warranty for the CX450M.

The CX450M is 80 PLUS Bronze certified, which ensure up to 85% energy efficiency. Apart from that, it uses a semi-modular interface. The motherboard 24-pin and 8-pin CPU cables are permanently attached while the other peripherals cables can be removed if you do not need them. This reduces cable clutter inside the case and can have better cable management.


NZXT Source 210 PC Case
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NZXT Source 210 PC Case
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This is purely a personal choice. I just choose the NZXT Source 210 because it is compatible with all of the above PC parts and has decent build quality.

The Source 210 has a minimalistic design with no extra styling and a side window. It is a function-oriented case. It can support up to a full-sized ATX motherboard, with three 5.25″ and eight 3.5″ drive bays.


Best PC Build Under $700 USD

Part List:

  • AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
  • G.Skill Ripjaws 4 series 8GB DDR4-2400 Kit
  • Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
  • ASUS GTX 1050Ti 4GB Phoenix
  • Kingston A400 120GB
  • Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 7200RPM
  • Corsair CX450M
  • NZXT Source 210

Hope this article would help some of you build your dream computer!

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