The Best Cheap Gaming PC Builds on a Budget:
Q2 2018 Edition (for May & June)



(Recommended $300, $400, $500 and $600 Budget Computer Builds to 
Maximize Gaming Performance, Reliability & Lastability for Your Money)


Best Cheap Gaming PC Builds for Q2 2018


Last Updated: May 20, 2018

Below are our best cheap gaming PC builds on a budget for May and June 2018 which show how we would strategically maximize spending amounts of $300, $400, $500 or $600 when building a cost-effective budget gaming computer this month. These budget gaming builds are suited for eSports, 720p, and 1080p gaming - for higher resolution and/or virtual reality gaming see our high-end or extreme PC builds instead.

You can use these budget computer builds exactly as they are, or as a starting-point for your own further customized parts-list, but either way always do your own research into whether or not a particular setup is going to provide you the performance, features and upgrade-potential that you want and need. If mixing and matching parts around for your cheap gaming PC build, always double check for compatibility between all of your components. See our hardware guides for more details.

See our Builds FAQ for answers to common questions about these monthly recommended builds including what you need to know about peripherals, operating system software, and how to get further help with choosing parts if you need expert 1 on 1 help with choosing the right parts for your budget gaming PC.



Best Cheap Gaming PC Build for $300 (May/June 2018)



Expected Gaming Performance:

720p (1280 x 720):

1080p (1920 x 1080):

1440p (2560 x 1440):

VR and 4K:

GOOD

AVERAGE

UNPLAYABLE

UNPLAYABLE

The above is the average expected performance of this build at different resolutions when playing a typical, graphically-demanding modern PC game on high/ultra settings.



Best $300 Build for Gaming
CPU AMD Ryzen 3 2200G (3.70 GHz, Quad Core)
Graphics Vega 8 (included in CPU)
Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-AB350M-DS3H (mATX)
RAM Patriot DDR4 8GB (2x4GB) 2666MHz
Hard Drive Seagate 250GB (7200 RPM)
Power Supply Antec VP-450
Case Rosewill FBM-01 Mini
ESTIMATED COST: $325 *

* Total cost is only an estimate at the time of writing. Hardware prices can change often.


Best $300 PC Build: Summary

If you're a long-time reader you may notice this is the very first time we've included a build in this price tier, but it is in fact possible to put together a gaming system at such a cheap price that offers decent, entry-level playable 1080p performance in recent games (with the settings turned down) and good 720p performance. Plus, it will be all you need for playing older games real well, including many popular eSports.

A big reason we've included a $300 tier, which is here to stay for future updates of our always-updated gaming PC builds, is AMD's latest second-generation Ryzen range of processors (codenamed "Raven Ridge") which offer very good bang for your buck as they're not only very decent quad core CPUs (which allows for solid multitasking and general application performance as well as good gaming), but they include all-new integrated graphics (codenamed "Vega") which blows previous integrated GPU solutions out of the water.

Pros

  • Very cost-effective CPU with decent-performing APU for entry-level modern gaming
  • Has an ideal 8GB of RAM even at this price point
  • Motherboard has 4 RAM slots (instead of the usual 2 for budget boards) for potential memory upgrade later
  • Good cheap base to work with for future GPU upgrade (and CPU if you wanted to)
  • Easily overclockable CPU with overclock-friendly motherboard to noticeably boost gaming performance for free

Cons

  • Integrated graphics is good for the price but if playing in 1080p you'll have to really turn down the settings
  • Only 250GB of storage (add more if you need)
  • Average-quality, basic PC case


Best $300 PC Build: Parts-List Breakdown

AMD's latest budget-oriented Ryzen CPUs comes in two flavors, the 2200G and the 2400G, and with them both having the combination of very solid quad-core processing and decent, entry-level graphics performance all in the one chip (read: you don't need to buy a separate video card if you buy one of these gaming CPUs) they both make ideal choices for a cheap gaming PC build on a real tight budget.

Overall, both the 2200G and its bigger badder brother in the 2400G are overall great bang for your buck, with the 2200G at under $100 being the slightly better overall value in terms of performance for the dollar, and it fits perfectly into a build around 300 bucks with nothing really else coming close in terms of overall value for gaming.

But of course, at this price tier you gotta check in with reality as well, and you can't expect anything too great in terms of gaming performance. Integrated graphics (technically referred to as APUs for AMD processors, and iGPUs for Intel chips) are generally to be avoided for gaming as they don't offer enough graphical grunt for good enough performance in the latest games. However, these latest budget AMD processors, with their groundbreaking (in a relative sense) integrated graphics performance have changed that and offer a very affordable way into decently-playable modern gaming.

With a Ryzen 3 2200G you can expect performance on par with a GT 1030 graphics card in general (which is the card a tier under the GTX 1050 included in the next recommended build). That means fairly good 720p resolution performance in modern titles and playable 1080p (full HD) on low to medium settings (depending on the game). It's perfect for older games though if that's your thing (nothing like a bit of nostalgia). So it might be all you need if you don't need smooth performance on good settings in demanding titles and you don't mind either 720p resolution and/or really turning down the settings.

The 2200G is also a good option if you want to put together a system now for as cheap a price as possible, and get a dedicated graphics card later down the track when you save up some more money, whilst still having a good base to work with as the AM4 platform is flexible and you could even upgrade to an even better Ryzen CPU later on as well as your video card. If you do this, in the meantime you'll have playable modern gaming performance.

For memory we've managed to squeeze in the ideal 8GB of RAM that is pretty much needed these days to both maximize gaming performance in today's titles as well as being nicely future-proofed for the next few years. We've gone for the fastest possible memory we could fit into this rig, as it's proven that Ryzen chips do work faster with faster memory. The sticks we chose are dual-channel as well, which also slightly increases performance, but you still also have 2 other RAM modules free for future upgrades as the motherboard includes a total of 4 DDR4 slots which is handy.

As for the other parts that finish up our current best cheap gaming PC build for $300 - you've got the very well-priced yet decently-reliable Antec VP-450 power supply which is a mainstay for budget builds, a basic yet really good value for money black mini-tower case from Rosewill that's good enough for a cheap rig like this, and a 250GB Seagate hard drive which may or may not be enough storage for your needs.




Best Cheap Gaming PC Build for $400 (May/June 2018)



Expected Gaming Performance:

720p (1280 x 720):

1080p (1920 x 1080):

1440p (2560 x 1440):

VR and 4K:

GREAT

AVERAGE/GOOD

POOR

UNPLAYABLE

The above is the average expected performance of this build at different resolutions when playing a typical, graphically-demanding modern PC game on high/ultra settings.



Best $400 Build for Gaming
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 2400G (3.70 GHz, Quad Core)
Graphics Vega RX 11 (included in CPU)
Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-AB350M-DS3H (mATX)
RAM Patriot DDR4 8GB (2x4GB) 2666MHz
Hard Drive WD Blue 1TB (7200 RPM)
Power Supply Antec VP-450
Case Rosewill FBM-01 Mini
ESTIMATED COST: $417 *

* Total cost is only an estimate at the time of writing. Hardware prices can change often.


Best $400 PC Build: Summary

This is essentially the exact same setup as the $300 build, but with a step-up from the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G CPU to the Ryzen 5 2400G which offers faster processing performance and better integrated graphics as well (the 2200G has a Vega 8 APU, whilst the 2400G has the faster Vega 11 graphics). This is the best bang for your buck that you can get for a budget gaming PC build around this price right now and once again the AMD CPU and graphics combo steals the show with nothing really else that comes close in terms of overall performance for the dollar (for gaming and non-gaming tasks).

Pros

  • Another highly cost-effective custom build
  • Latest generation quad-core Ryzen 5 CPU
  • Decent integrated graphics means you can avoid slightly overpaying in the currently price-inflated GPU market
  • Good base to work with for future upgrades

Cons

  • In 1080p must turn down settings in modern games for good performance


Best $400 PC Build: Parts-List Breakdown

Moving up to the $400 price tier and at this point in time you've basically got two options here: either get the AMD Ryzen 3 2400G, the slightly faster APU (ie CPU and graphics combo) than the 2200G included in the previous build, or you could get a cheap Intel processor such as a G4560, G4400 or newer G5400 and paid that up with a GT 1030 graphics card. A 1050 would be out of this price range if you were to stick with 8GB of RAM which we recommend as the minimum for a gaming build these days.

Going for the 2400G is our top pick right now, and means that for a very affordable price you're getting quite a speedy gaming and non-gaming performing quad-core processor (that's also better for multitasking than the dual-core Intel that you would have with the other option) combined with solid entry-level integrated graphics for 1080p, and excellent 720p and eSports/old game performance.

Like the above custom build, there's no need to get a dedicated graphics card, but you could always do so later and you'll have a very nice CPU base to work with when you do, as opposed to being stuck with a cheap Intel that isn't as flexible. You could even upgrade to a higher-end Ryzen later on if you wanted to as well.

To round up the $400 cheap build you have pretty much the same parts as the $300 rig, except we've managed to fit a large 1TB hard drive instead of the smaller 250GB of the previous machine. Overall, for the price you'll be hard pressed conjuring a better value for money custom gaming PC that's well placed as a killer long-term gaming machine that's built to last.





Best Cheap Gaming PC Build for $500 (May/June 2018)



Expected Gaming Performance:

720p (1280 x 720):

1080p (1920 x 1080):

1440p (2560 x 1440):

VR and 4K:

GREAT

GOOD

POOR

POOR

The above is the average expected performance of this build at different resolutions when playing a typical, graphically-demanding modern PC game on high/ultra settings.



Best $500 Build for Gaming
CPU Intel Pentium G5400 (Dual Core, 3.70 GHz)
Graphics Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 (2GB)
Motherboard Gigabyte B360M DS3H (mATX)
RAM Patriot DDR4 8GB (2x4GB) 2666MHz
Hard Drive WD Blue 1TB (7200 RPM)
Power Supply Antec VP-450
Case Cooler Master N200 Mini Tower
ESTIMATED COST: $499 *

* Total cost is only an estimate at the time of writing. Hardware prices can change often.


Best $500 PC Build: Summary

Moving up to the next tier which is yet another great example of how to stretch your dollar as far as possible if gaming is your main priority. This rig introduces a dedicated graphics card, as integrated GPU solutions as with the previous 2 cheap gaming builds only take you so far, and once you start looking at this sort of price tier and beyond, getting a separate graphics card is an absolute must for the best gaming performance possible.

Pros

  • Decent 1080p modern gaming for a very cost-effective price
  • Great compact, reliable, easy to work with case

Cons

  • Only a dual-core processor so the $400 build is actually the better overall "workstation" (ie slightly better for multitasking etc)


Best $500 PC Build: Parts-List Breakdown

Your best best right now to maximize performance for gaming around this sorta build range is a GTX 1050 graphics card paired with a great bang for your buck cheap Intel CPU. You could go for the Intel Pentium G4560 as we have done for our monthly builds for a long time now, but Intel have released newer 8th generation (G4560 is 7th gen) Pentium chips and so if you're building a new rig you may as well go for the latest CPU.

These new Pentiums come in various models but we've included the G5400 which fits into our $500 target and offers a nice little boost over the G4560 for only around 10-15 dollars more (at least at the time of writing this). These Pentiums are only dual-core CPUs, as opposed to the quad-cores of the previous 2 builds, but for 1080p and 720p gaming is really doesn't make too much difference to be honest.

The 2 extra cores of the Ryzen CPUs in the $300 and $400 build are better for multitasking though, so if you really care about that then you'll want to really consider AMD. However, the Pentium aren't far behind in general performance, and I like I said when it comes to gaming at this tier you really won't notice a difference in most cases. A dual core CPU, paired with a decent graphics card, is not going to limit you in terms of gaming as this price range.

For your video card the 1050 is likely your best choice right now, however keep in mind that certain games do run better on AMD cards. As a random example, if you're building a PC for CS:GO to squeeze out every extra frame you can for that particular game, getting an AMD card such as a RX 550 or 560 is the better choice if you're picky. But for most gamers, I'd suggest the 1050. It's only got 2GB of video memory but that's all you need for a cheap gaming rig and it won't stop you getting smooth 1080p performance.

The memory for this build is the same fast, well-priced dual-channel Patriot 8GB RAM from the above cheap gaming PC builds. 8GB is all you need right now to maximize gaming performance for 1080p for the games of today and into the near future. 

As for your motherboard you have a cheap yet quite decent Gigabtye board that is all you really need for a budget gaming build, and it also has a handy 4 memory slots so you can upgrade to 16GB later on in a few years to give your system a nice boost.

Wrapping things up for the best cheap gaming PC build for $500 and you have the mainstay 1TB Western Digital hard drive which is great value, the well-priced yet very decent budget power supply in the Antec Vp-450 (Antec is a reliable PSU manufacturer and yes; 450 watts of reliable power is all you need for this build), and last but certainly not least you have the awesome N200 mini-tower case which I can't recommend enough as a budget case (I used it as the example build for our how to build a PC guide).




Best Cheap Gaming PC Build for $600 (May/June 2018)



Expected Gaming Performance:

720p (1280 x 720):

1080p (1920 x 1080):

1440p (2560 x 1440):

VR and 4K:

FLAWLESS

GREAT

AVERAGE

POOR

The above is the average expected performance of this build at different resolutions when playing a typical, graphically-demanding modern PC game on high/ultra settings.



Best $600 Build for Gaming
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 1500X (3.7 GHz, Quad Core)
Graphics Card EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti SC (4GB)
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-AB350 (DDR4, USB 3.1)
RAM Patriot DDR4 8GB (2x4GB) 2666MHz
Hard Drive WD Blue 1TB (7200 RPM)
Power Supply EVGA B1 500 Watts (80+ Bronze)
Case Cooler Master N200 Mini Tower
ESTIMATED COST: $638 *

* Total cost is only an estimate at the time of writing. Hardware prices can change often.


Best $600 PC Build: Summary

Now we start getting into really good 1080p (full HD) performance and a gaming system that also beats the latest generation consoles for what that's worth. With a custom rig like this one you'll be a happy camper if sticking to this standard resolution, as the very solid combination of the 1050 Ti, the AMD Ryzen 5 1500X, and 8GB of the latest DDR4 RAM will achieve a nice 60FPS in many PC titles on good settings. Depends on the specific game of course, and with some you can get 60FPS on ultra/high whilst you'll have to turn some settings down on the most demanding of titles (ie Witcher 3) if you want a flawless 60FPS.

Even during these annoying times where GPUs are slightly inflated due to cryptocurrency mining increasing prices, you'll be hard pressed finding a pre-built gaming PC to buy that has the same gaming and non-gaming power as this custom rig for anywhere close to this sorta price. Heck, all of the best cheap gaming PC builds we recommend for this month blow the vast majority of pre-built gaming desktops out of the water not just in terms of gaming performance, but overall reliability as each part is carefully hand-picked for quality as well as overall value.

Pros

  • Smooth to great 1080p performance in any title
  • Very well-priced Ryzen 5 at the time of writing for a super speedy gaming and multitasking/workstation system
  • Great upgrade options with the flexible AM4 platform as a base and a decent motherboard

Cons

  • No SSD: not that cost-effective for this tier if you really want to stretch gaming performance


Best $600 PC Build: Parts List Breakdown

The 1050 Ti is, and has been for a long time, the obvious choice for mid-tier gaming and is all you really need for good (or great in many titles) 1080p gaming. You'd only need to go up a GPU tier, such as getting a GTX 1060 for around an extra $40-$80, if you are picky about getting flawless performance in a particular demanding title in 1080p, or if you want much more playable performance for 1440p.

As mentioned, for this budget computer build you also get a very solid, future-proof CPU in the Ryzen 5 1500X which is a very good value for money chip. Paired with a decent Gigabyte motherboard that has decent upgrade options and is overall a fairly reliable board for the money (plus with decent overclocking capability) and you have a very nice, flexible base for the next few years.

We've kept the same case as the previous $500 build as the Cooler Master N200 really is a great value for money mini-tower that is perfect if you prefer a smaller, more compact case, and it won't limit your upgrade options unless you're planning on some wild changes down the line. But for standard upgrades, it's good enough. 

The PSU is a slight step up in power (500 watts) from the previous build (450 watts) for only a few extra bucks to allow for a little extra wiggle room in wattage for potential upgrades. But yeah, for this setup 500 watts is all you need for the parts included and for upgrades. 

The same 1TB hard drive also stays as it can't really be beat for the money in terms of size, reliable brand, and speed (7200RPM is ideal). You'll notice that none of our best cheap gaming PC builds include a Solid State Drive as they're more of a nice-to-have component and aren't the best use of your money if you're trying to assemble the most cost-effective system possible to fully maximize gaming performance. However feel free to include one if you think the extra load speeds for your operating system, games, and/or applications is worth the money to you.

That's pretty much all you need to know about the best cheap gaming PC build on a budget of around $600, and a system like this will have you 1080p gaming with glee for a while to come, with very good reliability for the price, decent looks, plenty of upgrade options for the future, and very solid non-gaming performance too.

See our desktop builds FAQ if you have questions about these budget builds or need further help, and happy gaming!


NEXT: The Best High-End Gaming PC Builds ($800+)