The cheapest possible gaming build that can play games can be built for $250. If you don’t know how then I am going to show you. You won’t be even believing me. Right? But yes if you choose the components wisely you will be able to play all the games at 720p-768p on medium settings with this $250 gaming build.
This is a very basic and the cheapest possible build you can think of and therefore I named it “NOVICE“. It can play all the casual games like CSGO, Overwatch and Minecraft easily at 1080p medium settings. Even some games like Battlefield 4, Skyrim, Bioshock infinite and far cry 4 can still be played on medium-high settings on 720p or 768p.
If you want to learn how to build a gaming PC from scratch you can get my guide from Here.
Following is the list of components I chose for this build.
Intel Celeron G3900
For Processor, I chose the Intel Celeron G3900 which is a Skylake processor and the cheapest you can get. It’s a dual core CPU which has a core clock of 2.8Ghz which is very basic and comes around for $40. Skylake processors are very good for gaming and it will serve similarly to a Pentium dual core processor with the exception of the lower clock and lower cache memory. Its price defines it itself. For a $250 gaming build, you want to have the cheapest as well as a decent processor so that you can invest your money on your GPU and other components.
This processor will easily handle low budget graphics card and can fit in any LGA 1151 socket motherboard. It’s not to be taken as a multitasking processor and should never be used for opening multiple programs. If you do basic work like browsing, do browsing. When you do gaming, do gaming and nothing else. Keep that in mind or it may hang especially if you open the chrome and a game at the same time. Its TDP is also low which is 51 Watts so you don’t need anything crazy to cool it or any big power supply. The CPU will come with the stock heatsink which will be enough.
Another helpful guide on CPU’s:- Best Gaming CPU’s
MSI Intel Skylake H110M Pro-VD
For the basic processor, we have the very basic motherboard from MSI. Gigabyte and MSI are the providers for the cheapest motherboards and this one cost under $50. It has 2x DIMM slots for memory that support up to 32GB of ddr4 Ram clocked at 2133Mhz. As for CPU, it supports all the Skylake and Kabylake processors. It has 4 pin CPU power port which is very basic and indicates that it can provide a limited amount of power to your CPU and is not meant for overclocking.
There is 1 PCI-Ex 16 slot for installing the graphics card which runs at x16 and two PCI-Ex 1 slots for installing sound or wifi cards. So, there are some decent features for everything. For storage, it has 4x SATA 3.0 ports which are common among the H110 chipset motherboards and a front USB 3.0 header.
For cooling, it has one CPU fan header and one system fan header in the middle. So, if you are going to connect two case fans to this motherboard, make sure you buy a fan splitter for your Rear and Front case fans.
Hynix 4GB 2400Mhz DDR4
DDR4 Memory are expensive and the cheapest is from Hynix. You may not have heard about this brand but you can check it on Amazon and you fill find it provides different memories at cheaper rates which are reliable at the same time. This one doesn’t have heatspreader or fancy stuff on it but it’s still a working DDR4 memory that will work for this PC. It’s 4gb and is clocked at 2400Mhz which is not bad either. Although it will automatically downclock to 2133Mhz as the motherboard can only support memories clocked upto 2133Mhz. With 4gb memory you can play all the casual games at 720p or 768p. Some games require 8gb but at this resolution, it will be just fine.
Gigabyte Geforce GT 1030 2gb GDDR5
The GT 1030 is the latest release in the 1000 series graphics cards from Nvidia. It’s made only for budget gamers who are very tight on their budgets. This one has 2gb of Gddr5 VRAM which is enough for 720/768p. Casual games will easily run at 1080p high settings on it and 2gb will be fine most of the time. It has a very basic cooler and is a low profile card which doesn’t require an external power supply. It will pull the power from the PCI slot itself. So, very cost effective and power efficient at the same time.
This card will cost you around $70 and there are other branded GT 1030’s which cost more than that but this one is the cheapest and provides similar performance. Here with $250 total budget, you don’t need to spend $10 more on something which is only aesthetically good.
320GB WD hard drive SATA II
Storage is definitely a problem for a budget builder. As this is a $250 build, you cannot buy a 1TB hard drive because that will cost you $50. Instead, getting a cheap and low storage hard drive should be the preference. This hard drive is SATA II version HDD and has 320GB of space. It’s not huge but for casual games, it’s enough. You can make 2 partitions on this. One for your operating system and software that should be around 100GB and one for around 200GB which will store 5-6 decent games. You can always upgrade later on if you are out of space but right now, it will do the job.
EVGA 400 N1, 400W
Even though, the components I have used in this build are very power efficient and may not require a special power supply, but I don’t want you to risk your hardware at any cost. There are many cases which come with pre-installed power supply but they are really too crap. They cannot even provide continuous power supply. So, you must get a decent power supply.
This one from EVGA has 400 watts of capacity which can power two rigs like this but as there aren’t any lower capacity power supply available for low price, it’s better to get the higher one with the decent price. It will cost you nearly $30 and has all the cables to power your graphics card, hard drive and CPU. As the graphics card we are using does not have even a single 6 pin power port, the need for the graphics card power cables will only come into existence if you ever upgrade to higher end GPU’s. But still, the motherboard and your CPU will use the power from this power supply and you should use a good PSU to protect your whole system from overcurrent and overvoltage.
ROSEWILL Micro ATX FBM-01
As usual, this case is very popular because it’s cheap and has enough room for installing all the components with ease. As the construction of this case is unique, there is enough room left inside to install long graphics card if you ever wanted to. It also comes with 2 pre-installed fans. 1x 80mm fan at the rear for exhaust and 1x 120mm fan at the front for intake for properly cooling. So, remember you have to buy a fan splitter to use both of these fans.
This case supports Mini-ITX as well as Micro-ATX motherboards and we are in this build using a Micro-ATX one. There are three bays for installing up to 3 hard drives at the same time and two ODD drives for installing a DVD drive which is optional.
Cable management on the other hand can only be done in the front as it doesn’t not have space behind the motherboard tray. But due to the presence of large empty space in the front, you don’t have to worry about cable management. Just connect every cable first and then tie the leftovers so that they don’t get into your CPU fan or rear fan.