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 2018 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 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.
NOTE:- Currently there is a shortage of graphics cards so it’s difficult to build a PC on your own in proper prices. Therefore, I have provided the link to the pre-built PC you can get instead of building this.
I have also listed a good alternative at the end which is an AMD based system you can get right now for $300-$350. So, you should definitely check that also.
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 cannot be overclocked, so we will choose the other components just like it which will help us reduce the overall price.
The Pentium G4560 which I used previously is used 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.
More to read:- Best CPU for Gaming
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 right now for less price, Gigabyte is providing you with one of the quality 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 Kaby lake motherboards from Intel Celeron 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 PCI-E x16 slot for your graphics card, 2xPCIE x1 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 chassis fan in 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:-
- Supports 6th Gen Intel Core / Pentium / Celeron processors for LGA 1151 socket
- Memory: 2x ddr4-2133 DIMM slots, dual channel, 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
- Realtek GbE LAN with cFos Speed Internet Accelerator Software
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 too high 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. 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 basic heatsink with only one fan for cooling on it so, don’t think you can achieve very good temperatures on it if you overclock it but the performance will be still good enough to play any game on high settings. This one is the cheapest of all and performs similarly to the other brands.
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 on 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 sometimes 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 outside. 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.
TOTAL~$355(As of 25th Dec 17)
Use RX 550 if you want don’t want to go up to 350 dollars. But GTX 1050 is worth every penny.
But wait! There is another alternative you can get right now. A Ryzen build!
As graphics cards are not available on original prices, why not use a Ryzen 2nd Gen processor that will work as a good CPU as well as GPU for gaming?
Yes, I know that a dedicated GTX 1050 performs well but if you can’t afford one, then I recommend buying the following components instead of buying the components I listed above. The prices mentioned along with the components are as on the date of update of this article.
1. Ryzen 3 2200G~ $99.99
2. GIGABYTE GA-AB350M~ $79.99
3. Ballistix Sport LT 8GB Single 2666Mhz~ $85.24
4. Western Digital 320GB hdd~ $12.49
5. Thermaltake Smart 500W PSU~ $34.99
6. Rosewill FBM-01 case~ 37.69
Total cost~ $337- ADD to CART
This Ryzen build will at least let you play casual games as well esports games from 720p to 1080p on medium settings with playable framerates. In comparison with the build I listed above that uses Intel processor and GTX 1050, this won’t be able to provide a very smooth experience but currently that Intel build listed is $200 more expensive. So, I suggest going with the latest AMD processor which is the latest gen Ryzen processor and will help you play games without any dedicated GPU.
You can as always upgrade the rig whenever you want with a dedicated graphics card but for current time this is the best alternative you can have.
Related: Best Cheap Gaming PC
Recommended Peripherals for this build:-
ViewSonic VA2446M: Check on Amazon
- 24-Inch Full HD 1080p (1920x1080p) 16:9 LED Computer Monitor with DVI-D, and VGA Inputs.
- 10M:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio; Two Built-In Speakers; Compatible with Mac, and Windows; ideal for both laptops and desktops; VESA mountable
- 3-year Limited Warranty
Redragon S101 gaming Keyboard/M601 Mouse: Check on Amazon
- Keyboard: RGB Illuminated Redragon Gaming Keyboard:
- Mouse: Ergonomic Redragon M601 Centrophorus Backlit Gaming Mouse 3200 DPI (1000/1600/2400/3200 4 level DPI adjustment)
- 6 buttons, and an 8-piece weight tuning set (2.4g x 8). Durable smooth TEFLON feet and contoured body for ultimate gaming control. Quality ABS construction and two programmable side buttons
TP-Link TL-WN881ND wifi card: Check on Amazon
- Easily setup a highly secured wireless link with WPS
- Hassle-free installation
- Seamlessly compatible with 802.11n/b/g products
- Industry-leading 2-year warranty