Build a Kick-Ass $500 Gaming PC, Play Crysis at 40FPS!



+ Add a Comment


I think the reason why memory is not that big issue (in general) is because memory prices are very cheap, and almost no one talks about how much memory this or that program requires. India tours



I built this computer and after a while the power supply died, as there were some concerns with it.


Other than that I have been very happy with the performance and quality of this computer, been running for 3 years



will the MSI P43 Neo3-F LGA 775 support a slightly more powerful PowerColor AX4870 1gb and if it wont could you please suggest a motherboard that will support this graphics card



is this build better? for same price of $500??



After install all that , do i have to install window also?

when i make gaming pc by ur instructer after that window will run automatically?


Will it affect any of the inner workings if I substitute the card suggested for a GE force 10000 or something like that,kuz i found a video card at my local best buy that I think is better than the one here and I can afford it.



Hi so i was recently trying to install fall out 3 on my computer and i got some error. My question is would this computer be able to play fall out 3?



Hi so i was recently trying to install fall out 3 on my computer and i got some error. My question is would this computer be able to play fall out 3?




this config was really cool ,many people considered the e5200 as a dual core and underestimated its power ,where as it was a wolfdale 45nm core 2 duo named as dual for Pentium name marketing strategy 

 Here this is what i consider a balanced and most value for money pc config ,you can alter the gpu to 5670 instead of 5770 to make it entry level keepin other constant .



-Technology...  will kill us one day.....

Update the prices please :) or a diffrent link wuld be fine.



Well just did my new system a few weeks ago,and now I come across
this.After my mobo went south (been on 24/7 for 6-7 yrs exect a reboot
once a week or updates) on the last system I had to get anotherup and
goin quick.Took a day looking at Tiger and Neweeg,and Decided what I
wanted I was getting from Tiger.Recieved the items 3 days later.

He is the list I ordered

A barebones kit:  Power Up Black Mid T ATX Case w/450w PSU                  $37.58

                         EVGA GeForce 9500 GT 1GB PCIe w/VGA & DVI

                         AMD Athlon II X2 215 2.7Ghz AM3 CPU OEM                  $53.15

                         ASUS M2N68-AM SE2 GeForce 7025 Socket AM2+ MB       $56.82

                         Got them to take out the 1 or 2GB of RAM and swap it for:

                         OCZ Blade 4096MB PC6400 DDR2 800MHz (2x2048MB)   $63.99 - 20? for the swap


Ok that sit for the barebones I added:

                        Seagate 80GB Serial ATA HD 7200/8MB/SATA-3G         $39.99  just for the OS,main Pgrams

                        Seagate 500GB Serial ATA HD
7200/16MB/SATA-3G      $54.99 other Pgrams,games, pics/vid, paging

                        Thermaltake iBox 5.25 Drive Bay Storage Box             $9.99

                        Speeze Thermal Gel Resealable Tube 4x Applications   $5.99

                       Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 120mm fan CPU Cooler   $19.99

                        Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32Bit Dvd OEM      $109.99


I had to reuse my old case due to the CPU heatsink was way to large
for the BB kit box,and then it was still to big for the one I had.Just
had to dremel out 6 holes in my side window for the heatpipes to fit

Also reused my old PS (brand forgotten atm) at 550W.Read bad reports on the 450W after buying it in the kit.

Got Tiget to swap out the 1-2GB RAM in kit and take the price off the 4gb OCZ...think it was $18-$20 

Had the old opticals to reuse and all the wiring.

Left the onboard sound enabled and didn't add my soundblaster 5.1 yet,might not IDK yet.

Think thats all and for only  503.93 +0.00s/h

Could have sent the case and PS back for a refund of  37.58 but will use it for a cheap surfer for someone.

I could have done without the 80GB drive and storage box in optic bay. saving another 64.98 for a total of  $401.37

Win 7 gave me a prob at 1st with the BSOD but it was a driver for
ZoneAlarms FW,but it's better than any of M$ other systems.Got the
Home Premium cause I didn't need what the Pro and Ult only
offers.Didn't need the 64bit.But may get later down the road.Would like
to have the extra 1GB RAM but this is working great as it is.

Ran WOW at maxed settings and had 60 FPS with 18" Gateway EV910
monitor 1024x768 cloned to 36" TV via S-video into RGA.Monitor is 10
maybe 11 yrs old now and still works great.



Can I use a dell dimension e510 case with this build?



Hey all, this is my second time building a pc, first gaming computer, so I'm just wondering...Could I exchange the graphics card used in this guide with my geforce 9500 GT and not come across any compatibility issues? My other question is will I still need a sound card with this rig or is it included here somewhere and I just havent found it yet? My last question: anyone know of a good optical drive to replace the one in this guide, seeing as it's been discontinued? Thanks everybody



SomeTIMES Tiger Direct has good deals on FULL barebone kits you GET EVERYTHING including an VIDEO CARD.

They have an identical optical drive  but its an SH-S223B for $30 BUCKS!



These parts can now be had for around 460 on newegg... and under the graphics card, the "customers also bought" box is  filled with these exact parts.... great guide guys.


PII 940 Oc'd 3.85 GHZ

Radeon 4850





2.5ghz isnt really kick-ass, but i guess anything to fit the budget.......


Amd AthlonX2 64 3.2ghz                                                                                   

SLI Nvidia 9800 GTX/ 9800 GTX+

4GB DDR2 Ram

500GB and 1TB HDs



I just bought a computer from Staples. It may not have a ot of cores or a high end graphics card. It has an AMD 2.7 ghz proc. and a geforce 8200 gpu. It doesn't play new games at high resolution. But itr did come with Vista Home Premium and comes with 2 gigs of ram. I know people these days are looking for something more but I feel comfortable playing with this machine. I think it is not alor of money and a monitor for around $250 and you have a pretty good game machine if your willing to put up with lower resolutions.




the picture shows 8 sata connections, but you stated that there are 6. it would be nice if you either checked the specs, or made sure that the hardware referenced matches the pictures. i say this only because you guys generally rock. you don't need someone assuming that you have no idea what you are talking about and going elsewhere or getting bad advice.



I tried the build on this recommendation pretty much and followed all the steps. It made it very easy for someone who was only building their 2nd computer ever. I upgraded the motherboard to a P45 Neo2, 4GBs of RAM and the GPU I purchased was a Radeon 4890. Also, a Segate 1.5 TB HD (and would like to put a 2nd one in there). But after setting everything all up, it powers on and everything seems to be working, even the GPU fan works, put no image comes up on the screen. I tried 2 seperate monitors, tried the video card on another system and it works, and even put the other systems Radeon HD 4850 in this one and it still doesn't give me any kind of image at all.

When I leave work today I could run by BestBuy and get a higher wattage power supply if anyone thinks this might be the reason no image is coming up. But if it's the PSU the 4850 should have worked shouldn't it as it takes much less juice. I don't know, just a guess. Normally I would never get something like this at BestBuy, but I want to work on it this weekend and if I need to return it they are right down the street.

Anyone have any other suggestions of what might be causing this?? Thanks



 probably need to switch the primary graphics in the bios.


In the hands of a master, any object can become a field improvised, lethal weapon.



Ok I have wanted to get a new pc for awhile as I still have a old HP computer that I upgraded the ram and video card awhile back to some AGP ATI 256 card and dont think my comp can take much more before I need a new psu and cpu ect. ect. Anyways I have never built my own computer though I know where everything goes and how it all works and such. This article makes me want to build my own pc but I dont neccesarily need to be under a 500 dollar budget. Yes thats awesome. But I could throw a extra 100-200 dollars down for a REALLY sweet machine. I dont really want to scrap my old machine either to save money, I would rather keep it as a pc for internet and work and then have my gaming machine.

 And I dont need to worry about the OS since my mother works for microsoft and I can pickup a version of vista for like 30 dollars.

My questions are, if I order this in parts will I have any difficulty putting it together. And who can send me an email with a REALLY Bad-ass computer in between 500-700 dollars give or take? I would love your guys input feel free to email me at anytime.




How does it run on idle and load temputure wise? Also with the rebates, you can add a couple of fans to cooler it off cause the way the picture and hardware are I bet this rig runs hot!



Charles Odom owes me $471.95 for graphics card never sent , he emptied his paypal and cannot afford to repay what he owes . Please guys DO NOT DEAL WITH THIS COMPANY .



If you're willing to shop arond, and not just buy everything at newegg, you can get a much better system for under $500.  

Here's a configuration I set up, using all currently offered deals:

CPU: AMD Athlon II(Phenom II based)X2 250 (3ghz)
$78 at newegg after coupon code: AMD691

GPU: HIS Radeon 4890 1GB
$121.99 at after - $30 off $100 with eBillme for New Customers and $20 rebate

 Motherboard: any one of the AM3 motherboards on newegg for under $110(including shipping), pick whichever one you prefer, maybe the ECS Black 790GX for $99 after rebate + $7 shipping.

RAM: OCZ 3gb kit (1gb x 3) 1600mhz 8-8-8-20 240-pin ddr3 dimm w/heat spreader
19.99 at w/ $40 rebate

 Hard Drive: 1TB Hitachi 7200RPM
$67 at newegg with coupon code: EMCHDD10A

Case: Cooler Master Case Centurion 5 Case
$40 at newegg with $10 rebate and coupon code: EMCLTMM67

Optical Drive: Samsung SH-S223Q/BEBN Black 22X DVD burner w/ lightscribe
$20 at zipzoomfly w/ $15 rebate

 Power Supply: OCZ StealthXStream 500watt PSU
$40 at newegg after $20 rebate

Total:  $492, all prices include shipping.  

You get a faster CPU, much bigger hard drive, faster graphics card, faster and more DDR3 RAM, better power supply,and a nicer case.  What's not to like?  

Plus, the Radeon 4890 is very overclockable, and the AMD Athlon II's can sometimes be unlocked into being Phenom II X4's, so you may even get a quadcore out of this.  If some of the disabled cores are a bit less overclockable, you can independently overclock each core using AMD's software.



that sounds like a pretty decent system!  what would you say is your best resource for finding these codes, rebates, and coupons?

nice work again!



So, I had my entire rig all setup and ready to go using this build, my virtual shopping cart was full and I was ready to complete the order at newegg - and I hesitated.  As a result, the Powercolor graphics card recommended with this build is now out of stock.

Can anyone recommend a comparable graphics card for this build in both power and price?  I would be more than willing to go got +/- $30 or so.

 Thanks in advance!



Here you go.

Video Card: HIS Hightech H487F512P Radeon HD 4870

Or if you wanted to spend about $200 on the video card, check out the ATi 4890s.




Okay im new to building computers (actually me and my dad didnt even build it yet) but i got unreal III and i was wondering it said that it was garenteeded to play unreal III but does it play it on high graphics or does it just barely have the specs to work??

Plz i need an answer before i build so i can get a better video card or watever i need to make it work

Oh and does this build play WoW very high graphics or does it just do enought to get by??



Yes it will run whatever it is you want to throw at it. WoW, Unreal Tournament 3 etc. It says it plays Crysis at 40FPS (probably on high) which is good, because crysis is a hardware killer. Anyway, I own an HD4870 and it runs Unreal tournament 3 very well. So yes, it will run pretty much all your games.



Rosewill and Powercolor? It's only less than 500 dollars because it's full of cheap components. Also, AMD has a better bang for the buck, and at that level, you could get a better processor for the same price.




I have read the articles, and the comments. First of all, thank you all for being so smart.I'm not a huge gamer, so I couldn't see myself going crazy with an almost $200 video card.

It is more important to me that this computer last me a while, so I wanted to buy the almost top end of everything else. Well, maybe not top end, but at least above average. Here is what I came up with:


RAIDMAX SMILODON ATX-612WB Black 1.0mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Foldout MB Computer Case
- Retail
$10.00 Instant
30.00 Mail-in Rebate


AMD Phenom 9600 Agena 2.3GHz Socket AM2+ 95W Quad-Core Processor Model HD960ZWCGDBOX -
-$30.00 Instant


ASUS M3A78-EM AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard -
10.00 Mail-in Rebate


HIS Hightech H467QT512P Radeon HD 4670 IceQ Turbo 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported ... -
$10.00 Mail-in Rebate


Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model CT2KIT25664AA800 -


Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM-
10.00 Instant


SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223F - OEM
24.99 Subtotal: $463.93
Tax: $38.27
Calculate Shipping 
Zip Code:
GOShipping: $35.48
Grand Total: $537.68


-$50.00 for Mail-In Rebates


New Total is $487.68. I found a clean copy of Microsoft XP on eBay for $85.00, but I would really like to know how to copy my Microsoft XP onto my new computer from my current one. Even if you add in XP, it's about $570.00. I'm not a huge gamer, but I like to have my Youtube videos flow. What do you think? Would this work?

In addition, I would appreciate any advice (links) on copying my XP over from current computer to new one. Thanks!



MOJOSICO scratches his head on this one???? i know this is maximum pc , but serouily how many people actually just chuck out their old pc's when building a new one  without using some of the old parts in the new pc??? now mojo can relate if you buldeing for a relative , or a friend . guess i dont have anything to complain about after all??





This is not how we make budget gaming computers in today's world.  A few years ago, maybe, but not today.  Here is what we do today:

BUDGET: $500

$250: Biggest widescreen LCD you can find (HP 23 inch from Office Max for $240+tax)

$150: Some used computer from Craigslist with decent specs.  Talked the guy down from $300, because he needs to make rent. Make sure it has Vista, probably comes with speakers, keyboard, monitor, etc.

$50: Buy some more RAM

BONUS!  If the computer you got from Craigslist came with anything like a monitor, printer, scanner, etc... sell it on Craigslist and buy more RAM (and maybe the cheap video card mentioned in this article!


MAIN POINT: A big awesome screen is way more important than pure specs.


FastBatts! The pro's source for 100% OEM compatible batteries and power adapters. Dell, IBM/Lenovo, Asus, Gateway, HP, Compaq + more! Safe, secure & reliable, most $60 - $70!





I don't agree with knocking MaxPC on this one, seriously, this is just a quick way to build a pc for cheap, they don't need to include a monitor, lets just picture this, you are a do it yourself, and you don't own a monitor, your an idiot at that point. Everyone and their grandma has a monitor. So let's just admit that yeah it would be awesome to have a pretty kick ass pc with a monitor for 500 bucks, but thats not going to happen. The point is just showing off some parts for dirt cheap and a good starting point. Nothing more.



No, no, just NO.


1. Computers on Craigslist rarely (if ever) show pictures of the inside of the computer, so, unless they post the make/model of the motherboard used in the computer, you'll have little idea what the computer will support.  Unless you want to assume (what's that someone said about "assume" oh yeah....), you'll need to contact the seller to get more details.

2. If it is an OEM computer like a Dell, Gateway, etc. the warranty and support do not follow it, so you'll be on your own for support if anything breaks.  (this IS a second-hand computer we're talking about here, you have no idea what the original owner really did with it, regardless of what they tell you)


And to those people saying "But you don't need Windows, Linux is FREEEE!!!" (knee jerk) :


We are talking about a GAMING PC.  Sadly, with the currently reality that is Linux, you're going to find yourself facing a lot of little gotchas when it comes to gaming.  Telling people that if you want to do gaming "just get an emulator" is incredibly arrogant and condescending.  You DO realiz that Crossover Games costs money too right?  Your only other options here are to either:  Bang your head constantly against a wall getting WINE up and running and configured properly, or, use an unused license of Windows you have laying around (if you have one), or, just pony up the dough for a cheap copy of XP.


Gaming on Linux as it currently stands involves a LOT more effort and headache just to play a subset of the games available for the PC. (not to mention the fact that graphics card drivers on Linux are even worse than the drivers on Windows)



Actually, the warranties do transfer with Dell systems. The original owner needs to contact DEll and they will transfer teh warranty to the new owner (not that I Would ever purchase or recommned a Dell).



Anyway we can add more than just the 2GB or ram? Maybe 3GB or 4Gb?



ok seriously guys stop dinging maxpc for not including an os, monitor, keyboard, etc. first off this probably isnt your first computer if your checking out the maxpc site so you probably already have a monitor keyboard etc that already works so this is a great guide if your problem is performance and all you really want is to upgrade your box. i realize that this makes it a bit of an issue for games (get an emulator) but if you need to factor in an os cost then just get linux. oh look now you can include an os and still be under budget.

secondly, to buy a legit windows license, monitor, keyboard, etc could cost up to like $500 easy. so wheres the rest of the budget for the guts of your computer? obviously you can't buy both for $500 and if you did buy everything for under $500 bucks I would be more worried about trying to type in ms word without it looking like a slideshow let alone playing crysis at 40fps. so at least be realistic about what they could actually build. who wants to read an article about building a pc that may include "all" the parts but the challenge is to actually boot vista or something instead of actually running a game well.

Thanks to MaxPC for the article.



Ummmm... Surely, you've got the box and all the cool innards to call it a PC, but ummm.. let's say you get it all together, click the l/0 rocker switch to l, hit the power button on the front of the case, and .........what are you going to watch all these cool games on????  As far as assuming there's an operating system at hand, remember that when you break down the word "assume" you make an "ass" out of "u" and "me".  That's an assumption that may or may not be applicable. 

Also, to not factor in the price of a monitor doesn't make sense in the scheme of having a 'puter.  Hell, yeah, it's downright wonderful that you can buy a real nice 21.5" Asus monitor right this minute at Newegg for less than two C notes, but there ya go... ya gotta have it to play Crysis at 40 FPS.  Are we to also "assume" that a mouse and keyboard are just laying around too? I play Crysis with a very nice Deathadder mouse and the MS Natural Keyboard 4000, neither of which were free.  I'm just curious as to why these items are not factored into the final cost of building this PC. None of them are options we can do without, and they're obviously parts that should be included.  Yes, we can build the box and stuffing, but we won't be able to do a damb thing with it without the mouse, keyboard, and monitor. 



This seems like a very find budget build computer. Although assuming we have a copy of Windows on hand seems kind of lame - not quite cardboard PC case lame, but still.  That's an extra chunk of money we have to shell out. Unless we go with a Linux distribution.

That being said, I was curious how your budget build here stacks up to $500 gaming machines available on NewEgg?  These rigs already have Windows 64 bit as well as more RAM and larger Hard Drives.  Plus you get a manufacturer's warranty on the system.  Is making a computer at a $500 budget even practical anymore??  




Like the author said, you should have a copy of Windows lying around, I do as I upgraded to Vista so I still have my original copy of XP Pro going unused. Plus as far as warranty goes, every part has a manufacturers warranty on the component parts if it should fail (anywhere from 1 to 5 years depending on the vendor) so that is not a concern. If you are still worried, than surf on over to and purchase a warranty for the system as the remaining $40 price will more than cover a 3 year accidental damage warranty for the system. In teh meantime quit moaning and take the article in the vain it was written.



 I think this is a great idea.  It helps to ccompare/see if it is worth it to build your own at $500.  I looked at newegg and now I think it's really worth it.  For about $675 you can get a comp with a bigger harddrive and more ram but it has a athlon X2 7750and a 9600gt.  On the other side there are $550 w/Q8300 & 7050gt.  My cheapo laptop has a 7000m gt and can run world of goo at 20 fps all low settings and 720x480 (yeah, I know, good thing I have a desktop).

The MaxPC build has more money spent on the GPU and thus gets better results for gaming, but the RAM is limited and extras are too.


I may not know as much as I think I don't.



The RC is free for basically a year...granted it is not as stable as the production OSes but it plays games and doesnt cost you any jingle. There is your OS

 All else fails get linux



 I can't give you a specific number of frame rates for WoW. But, if this thing will play Crysis at 40fps, you will have absolutely no problem play WoW with this system.



Hi, could anybody tell me when FPS this would run at on max setting on World of Warcraft?

Any help would be fantastic



Can you guys tell me if this is all compatible?  Also, should i go with the PSU from MaxPC's rosewell, because i am not sure if it will power everything.  If not, how much wattage should i get if i need a new PSU?  This is the specs i have--

 Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 Wolfdale 2.8GHz 3MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail

Open Box: POWERCOLOR AX4870 1GBD5-PPH Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card

MSI P43 Neo3-F LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

 Crucial 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

Crucial 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory - Retail

Rosewill TU-155 II 500 Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply - Retail

 Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM


Im using the same parts as MaxPC except the CPU, Videocard, 1 more gig of RAM, and a bigger harddrive.

I know this isnt a $500 rig, but im new to building pc's and could use some help!

Any comments are appreciated! 



 Use the help me buy/help me build section.



AMD Athlon X2 5400+ OC'd 3 GHz,2 9600 GTs OC'd 700,4GB DDR2-800 OC'd 870,X-Fi Professional Fatal1ty Ed




CPU - AMD Phenom 8750 Toliman 2.4GHz - $87.00


Board - GIGABYTE GA-M61PME-S2P - $49.99 


Memory - Kingston HyperX 2GB DDR2 1066 - $25.99


Hard Drive - Seagate Barracuda 7200 - $44.99


Video Card - SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4850 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 - $139.99


Optical Drive - HP 20X DVD+R SATA CD/DVD Burner - $21.99


Case - HEC  Mini Tower Computer Case 585W Power Supply - $54.99


Subtotal - $424.94

Tax -       $35.06 (California Central Valley) - (City of Manteca) 


Grand total with shipping to where I live is $470.52


I have built a rig with this Tri-core, and to say they least when paried with a very similiar video card, the preformance was darn good.  Leave some comments to tell me how this rig shapes up.




Log in to MaximumPC directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.