It’s that time of the year again: Black Friday is here and Micro Center is already celebrating with some great deals, including PC parts! And, to celebrate and take advantage of these sales, we’ve put together a build outline for a killer gaming PC at a killer price.
Before we dig too far into the build though, its important to keep a few things in mind when building a PC:
Building a gaming rig can get expensive, so it’s worthwhile to watch for sales and there is no better time to build than Black Friday! It's always a bit easier to find something decent within a tight budget during a shopping sale such as Black Friday, and hopefully, you’ll be able to go with a bit more power than expected.
At the end of the day, you're looking to find a combination of parts that will offer you not only great value for your money, but also give you enough performance to play games at 1080p and 60+ fps. We can’t say it enough: keep your eyes out for sales. You’ll get more performance at a cheaper price, and who can argue with that.
If you’re building or upgrading an entry-level PC, you might notice it start to fall behind the power curve. At that point you’ve got two options:
1) Push your budget further and spring for the next level of power today. It will make your initial purchase a bit more costly, but you’ll save money when you don’t have to upgrade as soon
2) Stay within your initial budget and plan for upgrades. This may end up costing you more in the long run, as upgrades may require more overhauls than expected, but it will get you up and running for less.
If you do go with option #2, remember that there's always room to upgrade! Plus, if you already have a rig running, you can take your time and wait for the best sales. Like, say… Black Friday?
The CPU, or central processing unit, is the core of any build, not only managing how fast a PC can perform every task, but also keeping the whole thing running. If you’re building a gaming rig over Black Friday, you don’t want to skimp on this. We've got several great processors for sale right now, including the Intel Core i7-12700K ($50 off!) and the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X ($20 off!), which are both excellent mid-to-high-end CPUs. Either will do a fantastic job for gaming, and both can handle some heavy work, like video or CAD.
A processor – and every other component – is nothing without a motherboard. Every single component plugs into this central hub. A good motherboard will keep cross-talk between components smooth and quick. A bad motherboard? Not so much.
When picking a motherboard, be sure to check the size: there are standard ATX boards, micro-ATX boards, mini-ITX boards that differ in their overall power, connectivity options, BIOS features, and more. Make sure that you have enough room for all of your components and enough expansion slots to keep up with new tech!
There are tons of motherboards on sale for Micro Center’s Black Friday sale, but the two that we’d personally recommend are the ASUS B550-F ROG Strix Gaming (WiFi) AMD AM4 ATX Motherboard for an AMD build and the Gigabyte Z590 AORUS Elite Intel LGA 1200 ATX motherboard for an Intel build.
In short, RAM is what allows you to open multiple applications at once without causing system instability. The more RAM your motherboard has installed on it, the better overall performance your gaming PC will have as well as other general computing tasks.
We’ve got two RAM kits currently for sale for Black Friday, including the G. Skill Ripjaws V 16GB DDR4-3200 ($51 off!) memory kit, and the Crucial Ballistix RGB 16GB DDR4-3600 ($18 off!). Both are stellar options for any DDR4 build, but if you’re looking for that extra kick of RGB flair, spring for the Crucial Ballistix and light it up!
You might be asking “but my CPU comes with a cooler? Why would I need another?” and there are two answers: Power and Style. An aftermarket cooler will let your processor do even more without overheating, meaning you can eke out those extra couple frames or upscale from 1080p to 4k video. Plus, they do just look nice. Often with more color options and even RGB capabilities, an aftermarket CPU cooler makes your custom gaming rig truly custom.
The Lian Li Galahad RGB Water Cooling Kit ($10 off!), is the perfect example. Not only is it a master at keeping your CPU cool, it looks really good doing it.
It’s easy to overlook your hard drives. But, choosing the right hard drive is just as important as pretty much everything else. You don’t want to pick a bad one, have it die, and lose all of your games, files, movies, and everything else.
There are a few types of hard drives that you can choose from: standard SSDs (solid state drives), standard HDDs (hard disk drives), or M.2 NVMe SSDs (smaller SSDs directly plugged into the motherboard without a cable). All three types have their own benefits and drawbacks, but all three can also be used in conjunction to help alleviate some of those drawbacks and add extra space.
Those looking for a great SSD hard drive should take a look at the Crucial BX500 1TB SSD, as it provides a great amount of storage at incredibly fast speeds, for a lower price than competing brands. For even more speed, you could opt for the Samsung 980 SSD 1TB M.2 NVMe, which delivers the same amount of space, but even faster read/write speeds. Or, if you’re looking for speed and space, use both!
One of the most important factors in a gaming PC is an attractive and effective computer case. A good computer case can offer plenty of space for components, airflow to keep your system cool and efficient, and attractive aesthetics to suit any room or office. When considering what kind of PC case you need, there are two main considerations: form-factor and functionality. Form-factor is going to be decided by your motherboard (or your motherboard will be decided by your case, depending on which way you’re building)
The NZXT H510 is currently $25 off and is a great pick for an entry-level PC. With an attractive tempered glass finish, this mid-tower computer case is a great starter PC case..
Finally, we certainly can’t forget about power supplies when building any PC. Power supplies come in different wattage ratings which signify how much total power they can provide to your graphics card(s), motherboard, processor, RAM, hard drives, etc. Power supplies also come with different connections such as PCI-e 6/8pin and even SATA connectors. Without getting too deep into PSUs (we’ve got a full breakdown over here), when building, look for:
Wattage: If you don’t know how much wattage you need, you can use our PC Builder to calculate it all out. Going over isn’t a big deal, but make sure you don’t go under wattage or you PC may not even turn on.
Bronze/Silver/Gold/Platinum: again, without getting too deep into it, these are the PSU ratings in order of increasing quality. Most entry builds could get away with Bronze, but we’d generally recommend Silver at minimum.
Non-Modular/Semi-Modular/Modular: Non-modular PSUs have all cables pre-attached and non-removable. Semi-modular has some cables pre-attached and Modular has no cables pre-attached. Modular PSUs, if used well, make for the cleanest cases without excess cables hanging loose.
The EVGA SuperNOVA 850 GT is currently on sale and is a great pick for an entry-level gaming PC.
Of course, no gaming rig would be quite complete without a beefy graphics card, or a GPU. And, while any modern GPU could work with this PC, if you’re looking for something entry-level, we’d recommend either an AMD Radeon RX 6600XT or NVIDIA GeForce 3060 Ti. Either card is absolutely perfect for an entry-level PC, as both will overdeliver for 1080p and even some 1440p performance. If you’re looking to pick up a GPU, be sure to take a look at our GPU policies.
If you’ve been using this as a guide and picked up some or all of the components, you’ll have a really solid entry-level gaming PC. While it won’t deliver ultra-4k on the newest releases, it’s more than enough to support 1080p on new games for the next few years and deliver on high framerates for esports titles.
It might not be as powerful as some other streamer machines, but the combination of a budget-friendly CPU and graphics card would allow you to stream at 1080p/60fps without dropping in frames on your screen.
You could certainly use this entry-level machine to create content too. It’ll plow through 1080p video editing and crush photo editing. It’ll even support some light professional work, such as CAD or design. (Though you might want a workstation if you’re planning on doing any heavy lifting)
All-in-all, you can build a PC easily worthy of gaming, streaming, and all sorts of other computing tasks using these PC parts currently on sale! Check out full list of Black Friday sales, and snag one of our great deals today.
And if you are out shopping, you should know our extended holiday hours are live!
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