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Building a Budget PC with the Radeon RX 460: Part 1

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Manufacturer: AMD

Our Radeon RX 460 Build

This content was sponsored by AMD.

Be sure you check out part 2 of our story where we detail the performance our RX 460 build provides as well as our contest page where you can win this PC from AMD and PC Perspective!

Just before CES this month, AMD came to me asking about our views and opinions on its Radeon RX 460 line of graphics cards, how the GPU is perceived in the market, and how I felt they could better position it to the target audience. It was at that point that I had to openly admit to never actually having installed and used an RX 460 GPU before. I know, shame on me.

I like to pride myself and PC Perspective on being one of the top sources of technical information in the world of PCs, gaming or otherwise, and in particular on GPUs. But a pitfall that I fall into, and I imagine many other reviewers and media do as well, is that I overly emphasize the high end of the market. And that I tend to shift what is considered a “budget” product up the scale more than I should. Is a $250 graphics card really a budget product that the mass market is going to purchase? No, and the numbers clearly point to that as fact. More buyers purchase cards in the sub-$150 segment than in any other, upgrading OEMs PCs and building low cost boxes for themselves and for the family/friends.

So, AMD came to me with a proposal to address this deficiency in my mental database. If we were willing to build a PC based on the RX 460, testing it and evaluating it honestly, and then give that built system back to the community, they would pay for the hardware and promotion of such an event. So here we are.

To build out the RX 460-based PC, I went to the experts in the world of budget PC builds, the /r/buildapc subreddit. The community here is known for being the best at penny-pinching and maximizing the performance-per-dollar implementations on builds. While not the only types of hardware they debate and discuss in that group, it definitely is the most requested. I started a thread there to ask for input and advice on building a system with the only requirements being inclusion of the Radeon RX 460 and perhaps an AMD FreeSync monitor.

Check out prices of Radeon RX 460 graphics cards on Amazon!!

The results were impressive; a solid collection of readers and contributors gave me suggestions for complete builds based around the RX 460. Processors varied, memory configurations varied, storage options varied, but in the end I had at least a dozen solid options that ranged in price from $400-800. With the advice of the community at hand, I set out to pick the components for our own build, which are highlighted below:

Our Radeon RX 460 Build

  Budget Radeon RX 460 Build
Processor Intel Core i3-6100 - $109
Cooler CRYORIG M9i - $19
Motherboard ASUS H110M-A/M.2 - $54
Memory 2 x 4GB Crucial Ballistix DDR4-2400 - $51
Graphics Card XFX Radeon RX 460 2GB - $98
Storage 240GB Sandisk SSD Plus - $68
1TB Western Digital Blue - $49
Case Corsair Carbide Series 88R - $49
Power Supply EVGA 500 Watt - $42
Monitor Nixues VUE24A 1080p 144Hz FreeSync - $251
Total Price $549 on Amazon; $799 with monitor on Amazon

I’ll go in order of presentation for simplicity sake. First up is the selection of the Intel Core i3-6100 processor. This CPU was the most popular offering in the /r/buildapc group and has been the darling of budget gaming builds for a while. It is frequently used because of it $109 price tag, along with dual-core, HyperThreaded performance at 3.7 GHz; giving you plenty of headroom for single threaded applications. Since most games aren’t going to utilize more than four threads, the PC gaming performance will be excellent as well. One frequent suggestion in our thread was the Intel Pentium G4560, a Kaby Lake based part that will sell for ~$70. That would have been my choice but it’s not shipping yet, and I don’t know when it will be.

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Continue reading our budget build based on the Radeon RX 460!

While the Core i3-6100 does come with an OEM cooler from Intel, I included the CRYORIG M9i tower cooler for just $19. This will give us much lower noise levels, much lower temperatures at idle and under load and it will just make us all feel better too, right?

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For the motherboard, I went with the ASUS H110M-A/M.2 with a price tag of $54. This motherboard is a microATX design, perfect for the case we selected, but offers all the staples needed to get your machine up and running for gaming with the RX 460. It has one full length PCIe x16 slot for the GPU and two x1 slots for future expansion. There are four SATA ports for storage, two DIMM slots for DDR4 memory as well as USB 3.0 for high speed external connectivity. The M.2 port means you have some time for upgrades down the road, though I feel the cost of current M.2 SSDs is too high for this price segment.

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I went with 8GB of Crucial Ballistix memory in a 2 x 4GB configuration due to the advice of one of the contributors from /r/buildapc. Many budget builders were offering, and have been for years, a single stick of RAM to save money and offer upgrade options down the road, under the assumption that gaming performance doesn’t see an impact from single channel integration. Recent benchmarks that focus not on average performance but on minimum frame rates and stutter show that is no longer the case. Getting a dual-channel memory kit removes these concerns.

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My storage selections might be controversial simply because I included both a budget minded SSD as well as a 1TB Western Digital Blue hard drive for mass storage. In my mind, building ANY PC without an SSD in 2017 is a crazy idea – they offer such a drastic improvement in performance and user experience that I simply can’t recommend anyone withhold the beauty of flash storage from their build. The Sandisk SSD Plus is not the best SSD on the market, but the cost of only $68 for a 240GB capacity is amazing.

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Ah, finally, the king of this build, the XFX Radeon RX 460 2GB graphics card. With a price tag of just $98, this GPU offers an impressive feature set along with 1080p gaming performance. There are RX 460 options for everyone, including completely passive coolers and single slot designs, but this XFX model includes a 6-pin power connection (some other models do not) that can help keep our system stable should we decide to do any overclocking. The dual slot cooler is perfect for our system build and chassis and keeps the card temperatures low. With support for a dual-link DVI, an HDMI and a DisplayPort output, this card will also allow users to branch into multi-display environments to improve productivity effectiveness.

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For our chassis, I am going with the Corsair Carbide 88R, one I have not used previously but that was recommended by more than a few people in the /r/buildapc thread. It’s a microATX design to match our motherboard but offers cable pass through openings for a clean build design. It comes in at just $49.

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The EVGA 500 watt power supply has been a stable of budget builds for years with a combination of reliability and low cost. I have used this PSU in several builds previously, even with much higher cost / higher power hardware with great success, so the $42 price tag is an easy sell.

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Finally, we need to talk about that monitor. The Nixeus VUE24A has a steep price tag considering the rest of the components selected, but for a good reason. There were a lot of other FreeSync capable monitor suggestions, but I have a bone to pick with most of them. I require that any FreeSync monitor I recommend or use have support for LFC, low frame-rate compensation. FreeSync displays with small frequency ranges, in my opinion, make the experience WORSE. This Nixeus is a 144Hz TN screen and supports variable refresh from 40Hz all the way up to its maximum, but will run you ~$250. It's steep, I know, especially for this build. But I'm assuming you'd keep the display through a few upgrade cycles.

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Our total price including the FreeSync monitor is $799. If you only need the PC itself, or choose to go with another display option, the system components will run you only $549 or so. That is a hell of system for that price, especially considering the inclusion of both an SSD and HDD for storage, a speedy dual-core HyperThreaded processor and a discrete Radeon RX 460 graphics card for 1080p gaming capability.

The next step is to build the PC and get Windows and some games up and running on it ASAP. Once we do so we will post a follow up story and video to discuss the real-world gaming performance, as well as the productivity capability, that our RX 460 system provides budget-minded gamers. Once we have that data, and make up my mind about AMD’s budget gaming graphics card, we’ll host our raffle to give the complete system to a lucky reader!

Check back next week!

Check out prices of Radeon RX 460 graphics cards on Amazon!!

If you have any questions on our build selection, or if you have experiences with these specific components, please share them in the comments below. I am very curious what our audience thinks about these budget-builds and if you want to see more of them!


January 13, 2017 | 02:20 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Nice article Ryan.

January 13, 2017 | 03:33 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

In these types of articles, the cost of the operating system is always left off. Windows isn't free and Linux can only play a fraction of the popular games out there.

January 13, 2017 | 03:36 PM - Posted by PCPerFan (not verified)

Actually, you CAN run windows for free. You just get an "activate windows" watermark in the corner and you can't change your background.

January 13, 2017 | 05:20 PM - Posted by CNote

You can get a Win10 valid COA on ebay for like $10 and just download it from microsoft.

January 14, 2017 | 09:14 AM - Posted by btdog

I'm going to agree with you. MaximumPC does this all the time - "look at our budget build! Only $800 (with $16 Linux)!" - and it's infuriating.

Yes, there are other, cheaper methods to acquire Win10, but there is always a chance you'll get burned. PCWorld suggest using Kinguin where you can get Win10 for $30...but from what I can see most copies are from a Volume License Agreement. I did that years ago and it worked great...for two years, then the business deactivated it's Agreement and I was stuck with an OS that was no longer legitimate and a computer that has hobbled.

Look for deals (you can find Win10 for $85-90), find a legitimate copy, pay for it and ADD the price to the cost of the build. It's not that difficult.

January 13, 2017 | 03:35 PM - Posted by PCPerFan (not verified)

I'm still waiting on the 1050 Ti review.

The idea that you only review expensive parts even though the ~$100-$150 cards are much better sellers makes no sense.

You spent too much on the case.

January 13, 2017 | 04:17 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

$49 is not too much for the case.  You get what you pay for - cases and PSUs are two of the things you really shouldn't scrimp on...

January 13, 2017 | 04:52 PM - Posted by req (not verified)

I put mine together inside the Amazon shipping box and just used that, like any warm blooded American!

=p

January 13, 2017 | 05:22 PM - Posted by CNote

I have the ATX version of this case, 100R. Very nice and plenty of room for cable management, just no rubber grommets.

January 13, 2017 | 07:53 PM - Posted by PCPerFan (not verified)

If you say so Morry. You keep paying for that Corsair brand.

January 14, 2017 | 01:35 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I'd agree on the PSU - you don't want a literal bomb in your computer, but unless you need some specific feature, cases are a good way to save money, as they don't affect performance. Ease of building isn't a big deal on budget systems where parts are not likely to be changed out regularly.

As for "You get what you pay for", not really. The vast majority of cases are all poorly made in the same Chinese sweatshops. If you want actual build quality, you have to spend $300+ on something from Caselabs or the like, so if you're not going to spend that much on a case, you may as well get the cheapest you can find since they are all garbage.

January 16, 2017 | 05:25 AM - Posted by malurt

Disagree. Cases can very much impact performance if they have poor airflow for instance. Modern CPUs and GPUs throttle performance when their thermals are high.
Chances are if you are buying a budget system you're not getting the highend heatsinks for your hot parts, and they'll be more vulnerable to a poorly designed case with little to no airflow.

Also the cheaper cases are all very much full of sharp corners and metal so thin that it buckles and bends easily.

This buckling and bending might even happen under increased internal heat around the hot parts and you can get stuff like cables bending in to fans and such. Yes, I've seen this happen.

So, no, sub-300$ cases are not all made equally and claiming so is just ignorant and stupid.

January 16, 2017 | 05:21 AM - Posted by malurt

A case of a good quality will last many years. My Cooler Master 690II Adv is going on 7 years and 3 different internal builds now, with no end of fiddling done to what's inside. Despite being transported to many LANs and fiddled with there are no loose and dangling bits, no bent panels, no sharp bits to cut myself on... a cheap case is something I'll never buy again.

January 14, 2017 | 09:18 AM - Posted by btdog

I'm glad you reached out to reddit to assist you with this build - it looks like they gave you some amazing leads and I'm interested in checking out much of the hardware.

On the other hand, PCPer does have a forum already. Granted, it's sparse and participation is low, but that's what happens when forums aren't advertised or supported.

I also find it interesting that AMD is willing to pay for an intel CPU...I would have thought they would have required an AMD build all-around.

January 14, 2017 | 01:16 PM - Posted by jccalhoun (not verified)

Using the intel cpu is interesting as an amd sponsored project.

I think that turning to reddit is a really smart move as it helps spread the word of pcper to an audience that might not be aware of it.

January 18, 2017 | 02:25 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

As if AMD can even pretend to match a pentium at the moment.

January 14, 2017 | 10:13 AM - Posted by Anonymous Nvidia User (not verified)

What's the reason for getting a 144hz monitor for the entry level 460. It probably will have a hard enough time hitting 60fps at 1080 at med details. Maybe low details can get the frame rate above 90 but who knows.

January 14, 2017 | 03:16 PM - Posted by ppi (not verified)

144Hz monitor is not for reaching high refresh rates, but to allow Low Feamerate Compensation (which requires maximum refresh to be at least 2x minimum refresh, preferably 2.5x) so that even framerate dips to 30ies and 40ies feel smooth.

Unfortunately, only high refresh monitors currently offer such functionality.

January 14, 2017 | 11:57 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Very soon there will be some AM4/4 Ryzen core options for very low cost Ryzen CPUs(Without SMT/Processor threading) So some 4 core(No SMT) Ryzen SKUs for gaming builds paired with RX 460s/470s, or even GTX 1050s/1060s based system builds and AMD AM4 with Ryzen CPUs to compete with Intel CPUs and Intel latest motherboards.

And in addition to doing just the total cost of the build let's instead look at two or more low cost system builds that are at least priced within $50 to even $75 dollars of each other and do some price/performance metrics. This will allow users to compare what options may be had for spending just a little more and getting a better deal in the Price/Performance aspects of any low cost system builds.

And while looking at several total system build metrics with AMD/Intel/Nvidia options also rate the various system components used and their warranties offered to allow the readers to measure system value with factors other than simply price metrics alone! I’d like to see system build ratings for total parts warranty periods of the parts used to make these system builds in addition to overall Price/performance metrics and not just simply the total cost as a single defining metric.

With AMD back in the game for CPUs and by default AM4 motherboards for those Ryzen CPUs/APUs there will be a minimum of at least 4 system builds tested: One all AMD system Build(CPU/Motherboard/GPU of all AMD make), One AMD CPU/AM4 Motherboard system with Nvidia GPU, One system build with Intel CPU/Motherboard that uses an AMD GPU, and one system build with Intel CPU/Motherboard that uses a Nvidia GPU.

The competition is going to be great for gamers but hell for those doing system benchmarks. That’s some mixing and matching and long hours testing for all those involved once AM4 and Ryzen arrives.

January 14, 2017 | 03:30 PM - Posted by ppi (not verified)

As AMD fan, I must say I find it very very very hard to argue for RX460 in gaming PC.

As you wrote, non-freesync 60Hz monitor is some $100 cheaper. I am pretty sure that plus RX470 would provide better gaming experience. Or 1050Ti if only PCIe 75W limit is required. The additional performance would just brute-force through areas where Freesync would be beneficial.

But then 2GB version seems to be quite low for current games. Textures take most VRAM and improving texture quality is one of the most visible improvements, yet pretty much free provided there is enough VRAM.

Maybe it's a way to get multimonitor support cheaply, or HTPC gaming with freesync over HDMI on supporting TV.

January 15, 2017 | 09:25 AM - Posted by btdog

Don't sell the little GPU short.

I bought a 2GB version shortly after it came out and tucked into a 5 year-old Dell with an i5 750 (2.66GHz) along with an SSD.

I found the results impressive. 2013 Tomb Raider on Ultra averaged 59 fps. It also did well with Batman Arkham City.

LoL, CS:GO, WoW will play fine. The newer AAA games will probably have to be dropped down to a mix of low/medium. For ~$100, that card delivers.

January 14, 2017 | 03:30 PM - Posted by WayneJetSki (not verified)

Thanks for doing this!! This is exactly that type of PC I want to build. I will be going with Linux

January 14, 2017 | 06:52 PM - Posted by Drbaltazar (not verified)

What ?But you guys are known on the web to be with Nvidia?? I don't doubt that you guys are always fair and square I mean you go to so much length that it's easy for any to find cheat but? You guys are known on the web to be with Nvidia ? Isn't Nvidia Gona be unhappy ? Wow ! Ty for doing this ! Why? Try to find eslewhere what you guys do test wise! Ty and for making this happen . Tytyty

January 16, 2017 | 02:47 AM - Posted by doofoo24 (not verified)

i prefer the new kabylake Pentium G4560 is 64$ with memory 2400mhz on low end motherboard like b250, and with gtx 1060 3gb or rx 470 it will run all game locked on 60fps on high setting with v-sync without the need for freesync or gsync all just under 450$.
it's better than the rx 460

January 16, 2017 | 01:47 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Anyone has link to that single channel vs dual channel test that Ryan mentioned?

January 20, 2017 | 02:05 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Thanks Ryan!

January 16, 2017 | 08:16 PM - Posted by Brett Hood (not verified)

Nice write up Ryan looking forward to part 2 but i think that system is very good value for what you are getting.

January 17, 2017 | 07:01 PM - Posted by Win10 IS FREE - DIDUKNOW? (not verified)

https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/accessibility/windows10upgrade
^
Google "accessiblity win10"
Microsofts own site!

January 17, 2017 | 10:25 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Very weird to me to see a budget build include an SSD today. I have been planning on getting one, but have not felt an urgent need for one since my last build 4(?) years ago.

January 17, 2017 | 10:59 PM - Posted by grayhoose

the cpu cooler takes it from an ordinary pc to an enthusiast/gamer. i like it.

January 18, 2017 | 02:49 AM - Posted by Edward Tavares (not verified)

Really like what you have done here. Great budget choice and a good looking system on top.

January 18, 2017 | 08:20 AM - Posted by icu911

Thank pcper and amd for this nice giveaway very impress by the rx460
good luck everybody

January 18, 2017 | 09:42 AM - Posted by Kilan jetram (not verified)

This is a really good build i like AMD for some time now how they go at the market giving people a chance to game even if there on a budget that's for sponsor AMD and thanks for the great vidoe PC Perspective the first ever vidoe on how to build a gaming pc was on your channel i am really looking forward to the giveaway thank you

January 18, 2017 | 12:02 PM - Posted by Tony Smith (not verified)

Awesome build

January 18, 2017 | 12:15 PM - Posted by Connor Mackin (not verified)

I don't know what you want me to write here

January 18, 2017 | 06:54 PM - Posted by Efrain davila (not verified)

I like it!

January 19, 2017 | 07:17 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

A great build for an entry-level pc

January 19, 2017 | 05:33 PM - Posted by Casecutter (not verified)

Love that you're doing this!
Though as always we've all going to differ on the mix.

Would say right today you just don't want to build on DDR3, so the i3 is the only choice. While the PSU IDK I'd say modular would be welcome and Gold rating, but those are pricey and far and few in 400-500W.

Is the SSD just for the OS and updates? Or, do you plan to image games you test on that, add/ then delete as a couple of title would load that up, heck most won't see a boost unless it load some huge map.

Would've anted-up for at least a $Gb 460... While with the 144hz monitor I'd say if you can drop the steep $150 adder, you busted the budget go with the various RX 470 at $150-160 today.

January 20, 2017 | 12:24 AM - Posted by seanp

Thanks for this article Ryan. Broke people need gaming too.

January 24, 2017 | 09:11 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Awesome budget build!

January 25, 2017 | 09:49 AM - Posted by Gimm Wolff (not verified)

Awesome :)
I specially like ssd storage options and HDD..
also VGA card is awesome here :)

January 25, 2017 | 12:34 PM - Posted by Russell weaver (not verified)

Great build wish I could afford it. Here's to hoping I may win. Really have been aching to put something together.

January 26, 2017 | 09:32 PM - Posted by jordan (not verified)

Hay I hope I win but have a good day

January 31, 2017 | 02:00 PM - Posted by jak2 (not verified)

AMD is making a comeback in a big way and i'm all for it F@#k Nvidia ! all day long go go go AMD

February 7, 2017 | 06:27 PM - Posted by Bejito81 (not verified)

Lol useless 144 Hz freesync monitor with a snow Rx 460, in fine cost way more than a ps4 pro for way less power