Building a Custom PC Part 2 £500-£700

In the last article I talked about what hardware would be best for those of you wanting to build a gaming PC on a budget, £300 – £400 to be more specific. However, for some people this hardware just wont cut it or maybe you wouldnt mind spending a bit extra on higher spec hardware.

For this article I will be increasing the budget to £500 – £700, a more mid-range budget. This sort of budget will be able to get you a system that is a huge step up in terms of performance, while not costing the earth. For most, this will be the ideal budget as it will offer the best value for money while being future proof. A system in this sort of price range is perfect for gaming and should breeze through general day-to-day tasks without a problem.

So then, the bit you have been waiting for, the specs! Like I did last time, below is a table showing the components I chose and the prices. I’ll talk about each item and say why I think it is suitable for this budget and what sort of results you will be getting from this hardware.

Item Cost
Intel Core i5 2500k 3.3Ghz £168.46
Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3 Motherboard £78.80
G-Skill 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600Mhz Memory £43.90
Asus Nvidia 560TI 1GB graphics card £166.97
CM Storm Scout + Coolermaster Silent Pro 700w Modular PSU (Bundle) £132.28
Seagate 500GB SATA III Barracuda 7200RPM Hard-Drive £61
LiteOn 24x DVD±RW DL & RAM SATA Optical Disk Drive £15.40
Total: £666.85

The first item on the list is the all important processor. The Intel Core i5 2500k, while not top of the range, offers excellent performance for the money and is the processor of choice for many PC builders and manufacturers. The “K” on the model number tells you that this particular chip is unlocked and ready to be overclocked. With reports of many system builders overclocking this chip comfortably to around 3.8-4Ghz, there is plenty of headroom for extra performance. With the out-of the box clock speed you can expect this i5 to perform well in almost any situation. As well as everyday tasks, this chip will be more than up for anything you throw at it, including Gaming, photo and video editing etc etc. If you do however want to overclock, bear in mind that the stock cooler will not be ideal to cool down the chip due to extra heat being produced. If you want to overclock to a great exstent then make sure you factor in the cost of a new heat-sink and fan.

The motherboard, from Gigabyte is one of the newer models which includes the z68 chipset. The z68 chipset is the top consumer model and allows you to have 4 RAM slots, dual graphics cards (SLI) and the all important feature of overclocking capabilities. Other lower-end chipsets do not include the ability to overclock and can’t accept as much RAM among other features. For a consumer a Z68 or P67 motherboard is your best bet. If you want to save a bit of money and know you are going to purchase a graphics card then you could go for a slightly cheaper P67 motherboard (The P67 chipset cannot take advantage of the built-in graphics feature of many of Intels’ CPU’s). Extra features of this motherboard include: 4 DDR3 Ram slots for up to 32GB of memory with support for 2133/1866/1600/1333/1066Mhz frequencies, support for Intel integrated graphics, HDMI port, 8 Channel audio from Realtek, 1 PCIE x16 slots, 3 PCIE x1 slots and 2 standard PCI slots. In terms of USB, there are 4 USB 2.0 ports and an extra 2 USB 3.0 ports. You can also add an extra 6 ports via motherboard headers (i.e you can connect any USB ports on the front of the case straight into the motherboard) For the money this is a great feature packed motherboard that will be ideal solution for this system. With the amount of ports and connections available there is also plenty of room for upgrades here.

Next is the RAM. 8GB is plenty for most new builds and should be perfect for a mid-range, gaming / general use PC. In the kit, you get 2 4GB 1600Mhz DDR3 RAM stick. For most this should be enough performance and with the 1600Mhz clock speed this RAM is also pretty fast.

The next item on the list is the all important  graphics card – essential for any gaming PC. The Nvidia 560Ti is a good mid-range graphics card and with it you should be able to run all commercial games on medium – very high settings. This card is a popular card for many system builders as it provides a lot of performance for the money. In terms of connections, this card has dual DVI and a HDMI connection.

As with the low budget system in the previous article, I selected a case and PSU bundle. This of course is  optional and you can just buy both components separately. Buying them as a bundle can save money however and with that in mind, I went with the CM Storm Scout case + Coolermaster Pro modular PSU bundle available on Ebuyer. The case is a CM Storm Scout from Coolermaster and features an all black interior, “Stealth” panel for changing lighting settings, a 2.5″ slot for SSD’s, reinforced carrying handles and Coolermasters’ StormGuard technology system designed to safeguard your gaming peripherals. The design of the case is inspired by military weapons and would certainly turn heads in a LAN party! The bundled PSU (Power Supply) is from Coolermasters’ “Pro” range and will supply the PC with 700W – More than enough to power the selected hardware. One notable feature of this PSU is that it is modular. A Modular power supply is great for cable management, due to the fact that you only plug in the cables you need as opposed to a non-modular power supply, where all the cables are attached and will have be tucked out the way if they are not in use. This case and PSU bundle offers great value for money and should be perfect for a system on this budget.

The last 2 items on the list are the hard-disk and optical drive. The hard-disk I chose is a 500GB SATA III disk from Seagates’ Barracuda range. This particular disk is a 7200RPM one and should prove to be fast enough for most users. As hard-disks have been expensive lately I would have preferred a larger 1TB disk but for most 500GB should be enough. The optical disk is a fairly standard and cheap one from LiteOn, but will provide a way to install an operating system and any games you have on disk. If you have a higher budget you could opt for a Blu-Ray drive to watch and burn Blu-Ray discs.

To conclude, the hardware I have talked about is for a mid-range budget and should provide enough performance to play all recent games on medium – very high settings. For most this setup would be enough performance to run all current games and everyday tasks while still holding potential for upgradability. Coming in at just over £650, this system is well within the 500-600 pound range. However, the components I chose cover the basics for building a PC, you will still have to factor in the cost of an Operating system (Games-Tec recommends Windows 7) and any extra peripherals that are required, such as: Monitor, speakers, keyboard and mouse.

Got a lower budget? Check out my previous article, which was: 

Please note:

- The hardware listed above is subject to changes in price and availability and as such, we cannot guarantee the exact prices mentioned in this article.

- All hardware available from (at time of writing)


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