With the new generation of Intel CPUs, there comes a new budget option for us to sink our teeth into. Let’s take a look at building a cheap gaming setup with the i3-10100!
Why Not the Other Version?!
So, one of the more interesting side parts to the main range is that you can buy so many variations on this little CPU. Although this build is on the main i3-10100, you can go all the way down to the i3-10110Y, which is a mobile chip with a 7W TDP with a configurable TDP-down of 5.5W.
It does seem that Intel is pushing a lot of low-power solutions and (once pricing is out) we might re-visit them to look at making a super-efficient HTPC, as there is also a -T variant (35W TDP) and -U variant (15W).
However, for this build we’re going with their bigger brother with it being part of the main line-up, resulting in more performance for our money!
Base Clock: 3.6GHz
Boost Clock: 4.3GHz
Cache: 6 MB Intel® Smart Cache
Who remembers when having 4 cores was considered monstrous and super-expensive? Keep in mind: the i3-10100 is the entry-level CPU in the range here, and what we have is a really nice budget CPU for gaming. The retail price comes in around $130, and for that we’re getting a CPU with a solid boost clock (although we can’t overclock).
That lack of overclocking is one of the factors keeping AMD in the game here at the low end. For straight-out-of-the-box performance, though, you can’t really go wrong with the i3-10100. It’s actually thanks to that set performance that we can stick with the standard Intel cooler being provided.
With all that being said, let’s get onto the rest of our budget gaming build!
Motherboard: ASRock H410M-HDV
We’re going with a basic-yet-functional motherboard. It comes with everything we need for a small gaming build, with plenty of I/O in a tried-and-tested design from ASRock.
Although not the fastest stuff in the world, this inexpensive kit allows for simple functionality, as well as providing dual-channel support to squeeze a bit more performance out of the CPU. 16GB is plenty for our purposes!
This particular GTX 1650 Super comes with a modest stock overclock from Gigabyte, for the same price as other entry-level GPUs. It allows us to have comfortable 1080p 60fps gaming across most titles you can throw at it, while allowing us some more build flexibility thanks to its small size.
Storage 1: Seagate BarraCuda 2TB
The compute version of the always-popular Seagate BarraCuda drive is now at a lower price wherever you look, making this a no-brainer to be a main storage drive for the build.
Storage 2: WD Blue 250GB SSD
Acting as our boot drive and storage for a few favourite games or programs comes the inexpensive Western Digital Blue SSD. Although this is a SATA drive, it still provides a lot of spring to the build for a small additional cost.
Although only semi-modular, this is a solid power supply which provides more than enough power for the build at its price level.
Case: Thermaltake Versa H18
Rounding off the build is the compact Versa H18. This has some nice visual improvements over the standard H17 (notably, a nice tempered glass side panel) and comes with other desirable additions like a power supply shroud.
Total i3-10100 Build Cost: $499
Coming in at around $500 for a 1080p gaming build isn’t bad these days. When we look at other builds on our main page, this is coming in right between our ‘Modest’ and ‘Fair’ recommendations, which we would normally recommend for lighter gaming tasks.
Although this won’t set the world on fire for high-end gaming, it’s a perfect build for a first-timer looking to dip into building a simple setup—or, indeed, someone aiming to build something that won’t break the bank for themselves or their family!
All told, this is a nice 1080p gaming system which takes advantage of the cheap pricing of the i3-10100 to give us a budget 4-core, 8-thread setup.
Go Forth and Build!
Now, before you go promising your kid a gaming PC, there’s a few extras that you need to be aware of:
- A copy of Windows. If you are a student or work for a big business, you might be able to get a copy for free or at a significantly lower cost. If not, we recommend Windows 10 on disc ($90) or USB ($120).
- An optical drive—critical if you are wanting to install Windows 10 via disc. Good thing here is DVD-RW drives are cheap these days (here’s one for $21).
We also have general recommendations for:
If you want to see other builds with higher performance, check out the main page at Logical Increments.
There you have it—an entry-level 1080p gaming build to utilize the best out of the new i3-10100!
If you have any questions or suggestions about this build, then let us know in the comments.