Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Building a budget gaming PC using second hand parts

06:50 Posted by Jurgens Krause , , , , , No comments

Having a top end gaming PC is every PC gamer's dream, unfortunately, not everyone can shell out over 1000USD just for a CPU alone. Luckily, for less than 500USD you can build yourself a PC from high end, used components, capable of playing most of today's AAA titles at medium settings, with a clear upgrade path to reach the top of the pile.

In the 2000s, PC tech was developing so fast, that a two year old PC would hardly be able to even run the latest games, but nowadays a midrange i5 CPU from 2011 can still be the beating heart of a reasonable gaming rig.

Depending on where you live, you may or may not have access to eBay, which is the goto stop for used hardware. Do a bit of Googling, and find out where you can buy used PC hardware online.

I will be looking for a PC that should be able to play Battlefield 1 at low to medium settings with a reasonable frame rate. The recommended CPU for BF1 is an I5 6600K, with a GTX960 GPU, but you can actually run it fairly well on much less, and spend the extra $$ on an SSD boot drive.

Here is a list of popular sites for used PC Hardware, please comment the sites that you use, and which locale they cater for, and I will add it here:



The Netherlands:

South Africa:


With the recent release of AMDs Ryzen CPUs a lot of high end players will be looking to upgrade, which means that there will be a lot more used CPU/Motherboards on the market. This will lower the cost over the next couple of months.

That being said, the CPU and GPU will still be the most expensive components in your build.

You can search for combos on ebay, which may include CPU/Mobo and RAM

If you go for a third gen LGA 1155 CPU, make sure that the motherboard supports 3rd gen CPUs as the socket is the same as the 2nd gen CPU. Most mobos can be upgraded to support 3rd gen CPUs by means of a BIOS update. You may consider going for a later gen i3, which may have worse performance, but gives you better upgrade options in the future.

Due to the popularity of the Intel platform, there are far more used Intel systems than AMD, so buying AMD used, makes less sense than a new AMD build.

  • CPU Intel I5 3550: ~ $100
  • Motherboard: (any LGA1155 MB): ~ $90
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3 Ram: ~ $40


A brand new GTX1050 will knock you back 109.99 on Amazon so this is a no brainer. If you prefer AMD, you cannot go wrong with the RX 460, which you can pick up (if you are lucky) for around $100 from eBay. If you don't mind hitting up an older generation, the AMD HD7950 can go for as cheap as $50, and outperforms even the GTX1050 in some tests, freeing up some extra cash for a possible SSD upgrade!

  • GTX 1050 2GB: ~$110

Case + PSU

Since this is a hardcore budget build, you may be able to re-use an old case/PSU, if not, you can pick up a combo for less than $50 on eBay. since it is a large item, make sure you check the shipping cost.

Case + 500w PSU: $50


While it would be great to have an SSD, at our price point it may not be possible. I have a DVD drive in my PC, but in 4 years, I have not touched it, so I am not including an optical drive in this build

1TB HDD : ~ $20


If you shop around a bit, and wait for a good deal, you could come out with a decent 23" screen for less than $50

Screen: 1080p 20" or better: $50


CPU: I5 3550: $100
Mobo: LGA1155 Mobo: $90
GPU: GTX1050: $110
Ram: 8GB DDR3: $40
Case+500PSU: $50
Storage: 1TB HDD: $20
Screen: 23" 1080p: $50

Total: $460

Remember to take into account the shipping costs. Many eBay sellers offer free shipping, or if you are local, pickup.

Keep an eye out for bundles. When corporations upgrade, you may be able to get a full i5 system for as little as $200, all you need to add then would be a GPU.

Here is BF1 running on a comparable system:

Let me know in the comments, where you buy, what you buy, and how it plays!


Post a comment