If you are looking to build a gaming PC that costs less than $300 but can play your favorite games smoothly, you are at the right place. We understand that not everyone has several hundred or thousands of dollars to invest in a gaming PC. This does not mean you can not enjoy your gaming hobby if you don’t have that amount of money.
In 2023, we have countless options for each component for different budgets and the technology evolution is not stopping here. Fortunately, we can build a gaming PC for as low as $300 that can play most of the latest titles at 720p to 1080p resolutions. However, everything depends on what game and settings you are aiming for. We won’t promise you something that is currently impossible which is playing AAA titles on high to ultra settings.
Therefore, keep in mind that this $300 gaming PC is for those who want to play less graphically intensive titles, especially the esports games like Fortnite, CSGO, Valorant, etc. With time we update this guide in order to serve you the best gaming PC for the money and we are here to assist you in the best way possible.
Is $300 Good For A Gaming PC?
A $300 gaming PC in 2023 will play a lot of games but modern titles won’t run as smoothly as the older titles. The fact that video games are evolving at a fast pace too, makes it more difficult to run newer graphical-intensive titles on a budget PC. However, a $300 PC build can still run these games with low to medium settings on resolutions ranging from 720p to 1080p.
I recommend that you should build this PC to play casual games, older titles, and esports games that don’t require a lot of horsepower from the CPU and GPU. Playing these three categories of games is totally possible at 1080p resolution with low to medium settings. Framerates will vary from game to game and on the settings you choose for those games.
It is important that you understand what components you can get for under $300 right now and what we recommend.
Parts List For $300 Gaming PC
Processor and GPU
For this build, we will be using an APU called AMD Ryzen 5600G. It’s a powerful mid-end APU with 6 cores and 12 threads clocked at 3.9GHz/4.4GHz. As using a dedicated GPU with a CPU will increase the expense much higher than $300, I am suggesting going with an APU if you are really tight on the budget. This APU brings the right amount of cores for the latest titles and is sufficient for CPU-intensive tasks as well.
Generally, you could only get up to 4 cores for a $300 build but right now as most Ryzen APUs are cheaper than ever, it is wiser to go with a faster choice that only performs well in games but also gives you more cores/threads.
This CPU is overclockable and therefore, you can squeeze out more performance for absolutely free if you do some overclocking. The iGPU on Ryzen 5600G is the Vega 7 which features 7 graphics cores and a frequency of 1900MHz. It is easily good enough to play a lot of games at 1080p resolution on medium settings with 40-60 fps. Note that not every game will run like this at 1080p and some will be better off on low settings. You can check out the video below to see how it will perform in different games.
CL Timings- 16-18-18-36
Fortunately, we can use 8GB of DDR4 RAM as currently, RAM prices are lower as DDR5 is struggling to become mainstream. With 8GB RAM, you won’t see any major dips in games as there won’t be any bottlenecking due to sufficient RAM. The Patriot Viper Steel RAM is a single 8GB memory module clocked at 3200MHz. This is a good speed for AMD Athlon’s iGPU in particular and has tight latency timings.
RAM support- 64GB, 3200MHz
Storage- 4x SATA
PCI-E slots- 1x PCI-E x1, 1x PCI-E x16
For the motherboard, we need something that is cheap and gives us all the necessary ports/slots for our components. As Ryzen 5600G is now officially supported on the A320 chipset motherboards, it will save us a good amount of cash.
In my opinion, MSI is the best manufacturer when it comes to budget motherboards. The A320M-A Pro is a Micro-ATX board that features dual DIMM slots that support up to 64GB of RAM clocked at 3200MHz and for expansion cards, it gives you a single PCI-E x16 slot and a single PCI-E x1 slot for wifi/sound card.
The board has 4x SATA slots for adding up to four SATA drives and features the entry-level A320 chipset that won’t allow overclocking of your CPU. This might seem a CON as Ryzen 5600G is an overclockable chip but we will need at least a B450 or B550 chipset motherboard if we want to overclock this CPU and the motherboard will cost nearly $100. Therefore, the A320 chipset is fine for now.
I chose the PNY CS900 SSD for the storage which gives you 250GB of space to store your OS and games. It is not a lot for having everything on your drive but decent for starting off. With this SATA SSD, you will get a good Read/Write speed of around 500MB/s which is much faster than a traditional hard drive and at the same time, costs less than 30 bucks which makes it a good choice for this build.
Power Efficiency- 80+ White
PCI-E- 2x 6+2 Pin
Warranty- 5 years
Thermaltake produces some of the best budget PSUs and I chose the Smart 430W which is available for less than $30. It is an 80 Plus rated power supply that gives you more than 80% of power efficiency on Typical loads. With 430 Watts, you can not only power every component on the list but also add more components in the future.
It comes with dual 6+2 pin power cables for graphics cards which makes upgrading to a discrete GPU easier and you can add any budget to a mid-end GPU without any need for changing the power supply. Thermaltake is providing a 5-year warranty on this PSU and this particular unit has received several thousands of positive reviews for its good performance.
Dimensions- 170 x 355 x 335mm
Material- Aluminum?, Plastic
Finding a cheap but good case is very difficult. However, I recently stumbled upon the QS180 case from Aerocool that is going to minimize the total cost of your build while giving full support to your components. Although it does not feature a very high-quality build and boasts an old design, it is still reliable and fits into our budget easily.
It can support both Micro and Mini ITX motherboards and has good GPU clearance of up to 320mm and supports CPU coolers up to 150mm in height. It has a lot of drive bays for installing hard drives/SSDs and a 5.25″ optical drive bay as well. It is a lightweight chassis that is easier to carry around and comes with a pre-installed 80mm fan at the rear.
Again, it’s not the best but nothing could be better as it costs only 30 dollars.
Links to Amazon UK and Amazon CA may contain different components depending on the availability and pricing. Most of the time these components will be RAM and Power Supply.
Is $300 Gaming PC Upgradable?
Definitely. From CPU to Case, you can change whatever component you like but you should always do it in a way that doesn’t make it look like a $1500 iPhone with a $20 back cover. Keep in mind that whatever upgrade you do in the future, adding another 1TB SSD storage is a must before everything. As for other parts, we used the Ryzen 5600G for both CPU and GPU, and therefore, the very first upgrade should be your GPU. I don’t recommend going with another APU in the future as that will hardly have any significant impact on gaming performance.
The Ryzen 5600G is a decent mid-end APU and I recommend going with a CPU-GPU combo that multiplies the fps you are currently getting with the 45600G. In order to do that, you at least need a GPU that costs $150 or above. At this price, you can have the GTX 1650, RX 6400, or 6500 XT. All of them are good for high settings at 1080p.
Therefore, if you are looking to max out games at 1080p resolution with 60+ fps, I recommend going with something like an RTX 3050, RTX 3060, RX 6600 XT, or any other better GPU. Your RAM or storage won’t affect the performance of your CPU-GPU combo and the good thing is that you won’t be needing any PSU change as the TT Smart 430W PSU has dual 6+2 pin PCI-E connectors to power graphics cards.
That said, the next better upgrade is your RAM. Simply adding a 16GB memory module will do wonders. With that size of RAM, you can open multiple tabs in the background while you do some game or other office-related work. These days, 16GB has become the norm as startup applications and chrome browser eats up a lot of gigs.
Finally, if you feel the urge to overclock and add NVME SSDs, more RAM, etc., upgrade your motherboard to at least a B450 or a B550 chipset motherboard(Micro-ATX form factor). This will give you more PCI-E lanes for accessing more bandwidth for the expansion slots and you will have multiple USB ports for connecting the peripherals at the same time. The best part, however, is the VRM. Getting a board with a powerful VRM cooled by big heatsinks will let you overclock your CPU without worrying about thermal throttling and you can squeeze out more performance absolutely free of cost.
Best PreBuilt PCs Under $300
We understand that not everyone possesses the skills and knowledge to build a PC by themselves. Here, we always recommend learning how to put a computer together but if you are in a hurry or don’t want to mess up with anything, then PreBuilt systems are the way to go.
With $300 cash in hand, you cannot expect better parts than you can buy through a manual search, and hence, inferior performance is obvious. Currently, there are very few PreBuilt Gaming PCs under $300 that are worth buying and these are available for around $300-$350 most of the time.
Radeon RX 550 2GB
Wifi and Windows 11 Prof
The Shinobee AMD Quad Gaming Computer is a decent PreBuilt choice for $300 as it features a decent entry-level GPU from AMD. While the processor is not the best, the RX 550 is what you need to play your games.
The Radeon RX 550 features 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM and can play most games at 720p to 1080p resolutions with low to medium settings. You should get at least 30+fps in most titles but esports games will perform better.
The RAM used here is 16GB DDR4 which is rare to find on such a cheap PC and you also get good storage of 512GB HDD that will have enough space for a couple of big games.
It also comes with Wifi and Windows 10 Professional pre-installed to start off right away which is impossible to get on a custom $300 gaming build due to cost issues. The case used is a mid-tower which is spacious for further upgrades and the company is giving 2 years warranty on parts and labor.
Geforce GT 1030 2GB
Wifi and Windows 11 Prof
For almost the same price, you can also buy the Nvidia edition of the Shinobee AMD Quad gaming PC that features all the specs as the previous one except for the GPU. Here the GPU used is the Geforce GT 1030 which is kinda equivalent to the RX 550 2GB edition.
All the specs remain the same and therefore, you won’t go wrong if you go with any of these.
If you feel restricted spending over $300, then the Shinobee PreBuilt system will be Ok for now but spending another $50 is really worth the price as you will get a Ryzen 5600G with the custom gaming PC. That is not only faster in gaming but will avoid the headache of upgrading your CPU in the future as well.
With some good savings, you can add a decent gaming GPU to max out games at 1080p which will make your gaming PC future-proof for a couple of years.
If you need any advice or suggestions regarding the selection of parts or building your own PC, feel free to use the comments box below and we will try to assist you in an as short time as possible.