For 300-350 dollars you can build a decent PC which can play all the games at 1080p medium-high settings. This is not a high-end build and you shouldn’t be expecting to max out at 1080p.
As 2017 is here, the list of components here in the post is still the best you can find.
As many gamers don’t have the budget to buy an expensive gaming system, it doesn’t mean that they cannot play games with just 300-350 dollars in hand. In fact, some of the best casual games, as well as some graphically intensive games, can be run on this PC.
I have selected the best components for this build. If you build it in the right way, the way I am going to explain, then you don’t have to worry about anything. I have made this PC even upgradable to high end and you can upgrade this PC component by component when you have more money.
I have named this PC “THE BEGINNER“.
If you want to learn how to build a gaming PC from scratch you can get my guide from Here.
Intel Pentium G4400
I have to keep changing the processors in this build because this budget is very critical. Prices of components in this category change very quickly. I previously used Pentium G4560 which is among the best budget processors and has 2 cores and 4 threads but the problem is with the price. It costs around $80 and the Pentium G4400 costs around $50. So, there is a $30 gap between them which is enough to justify not to use that processor because we have to consider other components as well, in which graphics card is the most important.
But this processor is not entirely a bad processor at all. Although, it gets beaten by Pentium G4560 but if you remember the performance of unlocked Pentium G3258, then you can expect similar performance from this processor too. This processor can handle any budget graphics card without breaking a sweat and games like Rise of the TOMB Raider will have no problem running on it just like an Intel core i3 because most of the games are mostly GPU dependent. Of course, GTA V and Witcher 3 will be bottlenecked a little but you shouldn’t expect much from this budget. This build will be mainly focused on playing games like CSGO, Overwatch, WOW, Rocket League, Bioshock infinite etc. These are the games for which this processor will come out to be the best bang for the buck.
It has 2 cores and is clocked at 3.3Ghz which is a fine clock rate and can not be overclocked, so we will choose the other components just like it which will help us reduce the overall price.
I have also used Pentium G4560 in my $400 gaming build if you would like to spend a little more because that will also provide a decent gaming experience. With entry level graphics cards, this one wins over many processors that come under $100.
Gigabyte Micro ATX H110M-A
Getting a decent motherboard for this build is easy right now as a variety of motherboards with LGA 1151 socket are available for a cheap price. There are motherboards from manufacturers like ASRock which also provide fine motherboards, but for just a couple of bucks, Gigabyte will provide you with the most reliable motherboards that are durable and are bought the most by the budget gamers community.
My main focus was to choose a motherboard that will support all the components like GPU, CPU, RAM, HDD etc. and also be able to upgrade to high end builds. This one supports all the Skylake as well as Kabylake motherboards from Intel Celerons to Intel Core i7s. So in future, you probably do not have to worry about its compatibility with these CPUs. But as for the specs, it has 2xDIMM slots that support up to 32gb of memory clocked at 2133Mhz which is very basic.
There is one PCIEx16 slot for your graphics card, 2xPCIEx1 slots for sound/wifi cards. For storage, you have 4x SATA 3 ports that will support your hard drives as well as SSD’s and for cooling, you have an additional 4 pin power port for classy fan at the middle. For front ports, you will get the basic USB 2.0 header at the bottom and one USB 3.0 header on the right middle side of the motherboard.
This motherboard will be enough for locked processors like i3 7100/6100, i5 6400/7400 etc. but if you ever go with an unlocked processor in the future, you will be limited to overclocking. Well, that’s a totally different story that I am telling you for extra information but currently, this motherboard has everything that you need. If you want to know more about it or any other component in this list, you are always welcomed in the comment section.
Specs and Features:-
- CPU: LGA1151; Chipset: Intel H110 Express
- Memory: 2x DDR4-2133 DIMM Slots, Dual Channel, ECC, Non-ECC, Unbuffered, Max Capacity of 32GB
- Slots: 1x PCI-Express 3.0 x16 Slot, 2x PCI-Express 2.0 x1 Slots
- SATA: 4x SATA3 Ports
- Ports: 2x USB 3.0/2.0 Ports (2 rear, 2 via header), 4x USB 2.0, 1 x PS/2 Mouse Port, 1x PS/2 Keyboard Port, 1x HDMI Port, 1x RJ45 LAN Port, Audio I/O Jacks
- Form Factor: MicroATX
Crucial Ballistix Sport 4gb DDR4
I have used a single stick of 4 gigabytes of memory from Crucial Ballistix. 4gb is the minimum and you may suffer some stutter especially in games like Battlefield 4 and Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. but still, in most of the games, 4gb of ram is enough for running any casual game at any resolution.
This memory is clocked at 2400Mhz which is pretty fast but as the motherboard, we are using in this build is capable of running memory at 2133Mhz, it will be automatically downclocked to 2133Mhz. But the reason behind not going with the Kingston HyperX 2133Mhz memory is the price which is more than $35 per 4gb right now.
The stick has aluminium heat spreader on it which eliminates heat when you do overclock or heavy gaming. You will also get a limited lifetime warranty with this ram and you will be able to add another 4gb stick in another DIMM slot as the motherboard we chose has 2 DIMM slots.
Zotac Geforce GTX 1050 2GB Gddr5
This one is one of the best budget graphics cards today and now at a price of just above $100 with rebate. Previously I used the Gigabyte RX 460 4gb which was having a cheap price, but now that card isn’t available. So, you will be getting this one instead. This card is a good competitor of GTX RX 560 and GTX 950 from the previous generation. It has 2GB of VRAM, 640 CUDA cores, a base clock of 1354Mhz and a boost clock of 1455Mhz. It has a very basic heatsink and a simple cooler on it so, don’t expect it to be the top of the line card and never go for extreme overclocking. This one is the cheapest of all and performs similarly to the other brands. So, it’s a waste of money to get the same performance for more price.
GTX 1050 will allow you to play all the games at 1080p medium-high settings smoothly with more than 50 fps in most of the games and 60+ fps in almost every Esports games on high settings. Yes, some games like Witcher 3 can give you only 30-40 fps but still, that’s the best you can get in a $300 build. The another best thing about this card is that it doesn’t require a six or eight pin power connector as it’s very power efficient and only requires <75 watts max. So don’t need to worry about getting a heavy PSU.
Western Digital 320gb
As games are becoming huge, you need a good storage size. 320gb is not more than enough but still, it can store many of your games. As the 500gb hard drive is double the cost, therefore, you will only increase your expense and still not get enough space. You can store many games in this drive but may face problems storing setup files.
This hard drive runs at a speed of 7200rpm and has a cache memory of 8mb. With 7200rpm your loading times and booting times will decrease a lot and you will get faster operations.
EVGA 400 N1, 400 Watts
When it comes to power supply, a lot of people buy cheap power supply saying that they don’t have a high-end graphics card and it will handle all the components easily. But NO! it is really important to buy a power supply from a trusted and reliable brand. EVGA provides very good power supplies at all budgets and in different wattage.
This one is a decent power supply, not top of the line and neither a bad one. It comes in between and is sufficient to power all of your components allowing you to upgrade your rig further to add custom fans, hard drives or CPU cooler. Previously I used the 430 Watts PSU which was 80+ rated but that costs more than $35 and this one is around $30. But saving small, small amounts will help us in getting the budget around $300 and this one will not reduce the performance at all. Because all it does is supply the power. You will get 2 years of warranty and a better reliability over the cheap brands.
Rosewill Dual Fans MicroATX Mini Tower Ranger-M Black
For the build, previously I chose the Rosewill FBM-01 which is also used in my $250 gaming build but right now that case isn’t available so, again I have used the Ranger M black which is similar to the FBM-01. The case is cheaper than many Micro-ATX cases and has good quality material. The side panel has a honeycomb-like mesh for better ventilation and a 120mm fan is also pre-installed at the rear and one 120mm at the front. So you will have good air circulation throughout your case for better cooling.
This case is completely white from inside and black from inside. The build is good and it has enough space to install the components without any hassle. It supports Mini-ITX as well as Micro-ATX motherboards, therefore, you can use either one in this case. Graphics card is also not an issue as there is a lot of space left below where you will install it. The hard drive bays are above the Case fan and you can install one fan or two fan GPU easily.