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 G4560
For a price around $70, Pentium G4560 is the best CPU for budget builds. It’s based on the latest Kabylake architecture which is power efficient and 5-10% faster than the previous generation. This is the cheapest dual core hyperthreaded Pentium at this price. For a price nearly half as that of i3 7100, you will be getting 2 cores and 4 threads.
For gaming, a dual core processor is a minimum you should buy but this one will do the best job as it has 4 threads. It comes 3mb of cache memory enough for casual games as well as basic tasks for Windows. It can run any game when combined with a good budget graphics card at 1080p medium-high settings. But in games like GTA V, Witcher 3 and other CPU intensive games, don’t expect to get performance equal to an i5. But it will be still enough for providing you decent frames comparable to an i3.
This processor has a core clock of 3.5Ghz and is locked. So you can’t overclock it but at this price, you should not expect everything from a processor. Also with 54 watts of TDP, it’s very power efficient and your whole PC won’t require more than 400 watts of reliable power supply to power the whole rig. I consider this processor as one of the best budget processors for the money.
I have also used it in my $400 gaming build because it’s cheap and provides the decent gaming experience on a tight budget. 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.
Gigabyte Radeon Rx 460 Windforce OC 4GB
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 Sapphire RX 460 4gb which was having a cheap price, but now as the Gigabyte is cheaper, you will be getting some few bucks back in your pocket. This card is a good competitor of GTX 950 and r7 370. The card is fully DirectX 12 compatible and supports Vulcan API. These features help in getting more fps in newest titles like Hitman, Rise of the Tomb raider and Doom.
When you run those games on DirectX 12, the fps increase up to 40% which makes the game smoother. As more and more titles coming soon will be using the DirectX 12, you will benefit with this card. This card also has support for CrossfireX, but as this is a budget build you won’t be going to do that. Otherwise, you will have to buy a new motherboard supporting that feature. But it can come in use if you want to.
Rx 460 will allow you to play all the games at 1080p high settings smoothly with more than 50 fps. 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 the 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 430 watts 80+ Plus certified PSU
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 430 watts and is enough for this build. You don’t need more than that as it can handle all of your components and a few more components can also be added. Moreover, it is 80+ which means it will give at least 84% of power efficiency at full load and up to 87% at 50% load. This power supply has every power cable that you would need in order to power all the components. With this power supply, you will also get 3 years of warranty.
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.