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The Best $1,000 Mid-Range Gaming PC Build – July 2021

By Ari Altman | Published June 29, 2021 | Updated July 18, 2021

CRITICAL UPDATE: due to the cryptocurrency mining craze, it’s currently impossible to buy video cards at retail for a decent price. Therefore, you have two options if you want to game now. Either buy a pre-built PC or build up a new PC with a GPU you already have on hand. We present both options in this guide. Based on current estimates, we believe that GPUs will not be available at retail prices until September 2021 at the earliest.

Looking to build the best PC possible for $1,000? This guide will set you up! We profile a build that offers excellent performance, quiet operation, and ease of assembly, all at a great price. If you’re ready to build a PC that can handle anything you could throw at it, from gaming to content creation, just follow this guide to get the best component picks.

For July 2021, this build features Intel’s awesome Core i5-10600K, an overclockable CPU that packs in six cores and 12 threads. It’s an absolute gaming beast, and thanks to a recent price drop, it’s by far the best gaming value on the market today. While AMD was aggressive in launching some new high-end CPUs in late 2020, AMD shockingly no longer has anything worth considering in the mid-range market, despite its reputation for value. For the video card, our top pick is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB, the best GPU under $300, but take note that like all video cards, it’s impossible to find in stock these days, so for now we suggest you use the built-in video on the Intel CPU (or an older video card you have on hand). Keeping this build fed is 16GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, along with a fast 500GB solid-state drive, both of which ensure that the system will run smoothly for years to come. This build is housed in an attractive, value-packed SilverStone Fara R1 case and powered by an efficient, high-output power supply. Learn more about the Fara R1 and post your questions in our !

If you need a monitor or peripherals, you can check out our dedicated guides, although we also have some great recommendations for you at the end of this guide. Note that we provide dedicated links to Amazon, B&H, or Newegg in the US, and our Amazon links will auto-convert for readers in Canada, the UK, and parts of the EU, with regional substitutions made based on availability. To support this site, please use these links if you purchase any of the products we list.

The Pre-Built Option

  • EXTREME DEAL! It’s hard to find a great deal these days, but this pre-built from CyberpowerPC is exactly that. Packing in an Intel Core i5-10400F 6-core, 12-thread CPU, a fast GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB video card, plus 8GB of RAM and a 500GB solid-state drive, it’s a serious gaming PC that will get you into the latest titles at a fantastic price.

    The Guru’s Tip

    This deal is honestly too good to be true. We're not sure why it's listed at such a low price!

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The DIY Option

  • The overclockable Core i5-10600K offers up six cores, 12 threads, and a Turbo speed of 4.8GHz, which all translates to excellent gaming performance! AMD’s CPUs in this price range (of which there are basically none) couldn’t come close to competing. That gives Intel the clear advantage in terms of price/performance. In fact, the 10600K is a better gaming CPU than even Intel’s 11th-Gen models. Intel also has the only modern CPUs with built-in graphics, which is extremely important these days, since GPUs are unavailable.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This CPU does not include a cooler, so make sure to pick up the one we recommend later in this guide.

  • This board will make a great foundation to your system. It offers robust 11+1-phase power stages, five expansion slots, two M.2 slots, and eight USB ports. Being a Z-series board, it also supports overclocking. And best of all, it has built-in 802.11ac wireless networking and Bluetooth!

    The Guru’s Tip

    You'll be able to use this board's built-in HDMI output to drive any monitor up to a resolution of 1920x1080 while you wait on a new video card. Note that while you can use newer Z590 boards with this build, they are more expensive and won't add any additional functionality when paired with a 10th-Gen CPU like the one we recommend.

  • Offering high performance in a compact package, along with very low power use, the GTX 1660 Super 6GB set new standards for GPUs under the $250 pricepoint. It’s significantly faster than the original 1660 due to a much more advanced memory subsystem.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Every GPU is currently selling for 2-3x MSRP, even on retail sites!

  • Thanks to great price on mainstream RAM, we can now squeeze a whole lot of performance and capacity into your system by going with a 16GB DDR4-3200 kit. It will help you make the most of your snazzy new system, which fully supports this ultra-high RAM speed!
    The Guru’s Tip

    With these two sticks installed, you'll still have 2 free slots available for an upgrade down the line!

  • Experience blazing-fast drive performance at a bargain price with WD’s Blue SN550 500GB solid-state drive. Utilizing the PCIe-interface and the NVMe protocol, it can achieve sequential speeds of up to 2,400MB/s, making it nearly five times faster than any SATA-based SSD, and orders of magnitude faster than a hard drive! To install this drive, affix it in the motherboard’s M.2 slot using a .

    The Guru’s Tip

    Because this slips into a slot on the motherboard, it requires no cables at all!

  • The bargain-priced case offers tremendous features for the price. You get a 120mm fan in the rear, a stylish front panel with ample venting for airflow, and a tempered glass panel on the side. And thanks to its modern interior, it has a very small footprint. With that said, if you want even more airflow and a whole lot more bling, go for the , which has four 120mm ARGB fans installed!
    The Guru’s Tip

    If you go for the standard R1, rather than the Pro, we recommend you pick up the 140mm fan below and install it in the front of the case.

  • We recommend you upgrade the case’s cooling by installing this affordable 140mm fan in the front. It’s quieter than most 120mm fans, while providing far more airflow! The fluid dynamic bearing in this fan offers a long lifespan and smooth performance.
    The Guru’s Tip

    We've found that Arctic's P-series fans are the best all-around fans on the market!

  • This PSU easily beats every competitor in its price class, offering top-notch quality and Bronze-rated efficiency. With 550W of power on tap, this unit has plenty of headroom to keep this system going for years, even with significant upgrades, including more powerful video cards.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Please avoid no-name PSUs from brands like RaidMax, Apevia, and Aresgame. They are complete junk, and only exist because there was a run on power supplies in mid-2020.

  • This cooler is the perfect pick for the Quiet Gaming PC Build. Thanks to its advanced design, it offers nearly-silent operation despite excellent cooling capability. It uses our favorite all-around 120mm fan, the excellent Arctic P12 PWM. Learn more in our !
    The Guru’s Tip

    You'll need this cooler, as the CPU does not include one!

  • Windows 10 was a big step up from Windows 8.1, and Microsoft continues to support Windows 10 users not only with regular security updates, but with major content releases every six months. And the USB version installs in under 5 minutes, meaning you can get right into using your system!
    The Guru’s Tip

    We want to let our readers know that Microsoft appears to be slowly discontinuing physical copies of Windows 10. You can always go for the downloadable version from the same product page. All you need is an 8GB or bigger flash drive to load the image onto.

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Optional Products

  • Pick up a great keyboard at a great price with the G213. It’s quick, quiet, and responsive, and it also has sweet RGB backlighting, of course!
    The Guru’s Tip

    We really don't recommend wireless keyboards at all, and certainly not at this pricepoint, as the potential for connection dropouts is fairly significant, and there's little benefit to a wireless keyboard anyway, since it doesn't move.

  • Get a jump on your competition with this awesome gaming mouse from Logitech, which features a next-gen 16,000dpi sensor and a classic ergonomic shape!
    The Guru’s Tip

    To control the various features of this mouse, you'll want to download Logitech's GHub software.

  • Assuming you actually want to hear the bullets whizzing by you in your games, you’re going to need a great audio source, and there’s no better budget gaming headset on the market than the HS35 from Corsair! With 50mm drivers and a comfortable fit, it’s the real deal, where all the other headsets in its price range are just pretending.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This headset weighs just 250g, making it virtually disappear once you put it on!

  • If you want to pick up a true “gaming” monitor, you want something with a high refresh rate. And this is the very best value out there in high-refresh-rate monitors. It features a 24″ 1920×1080 IPS panel capable of displaying images at up to 144Hz, which makes it infinitely smoother than a standard 60Hz monitor that costs just a bit less. And thanks to its FreeSync technology, it will run with zero lag or screen-tearing. Another nice feature of this model is the height-adjustable stand, which allows you to dial in just the right setup!
    The Guru’s Tip

    Note that FreeSync, developed by AMD, now works on either AMD or Nvidia video cards.

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Total Cost: $1048

(as of July 18, 2021)
The Pre-Built Option
The DIY Option
Optional Products