Last Updated: Jan 11, 2019
Building a computer for less than 400 dollars (or euros/pounds) allows for playable 1080p performance in many modern games on medium settings including Fortnite
If you're planning to build a cheap custom gaming computer and want to make the absolute most of your limited budget, this guide to building the optimal gaming rig on a budget is for you. This is our current recommended, monthly-updated best gaming PC build under 400 dollars (or under 400 euros/pounds for UK readers, and a bit more expensive for builders in Canada and Australia).
Spending a $400 budget wisely when building a PC will allow you to assemble a very respectable, capable custom gaming desktop that's a nice step up from the $300 gaming PC build and that'll provide a fair bit better 1080p performance and frame rates in many modern titles (specific FPS estimates of this recommended build are included later on) which is nice considering that this cheap gaming PC build includes a CPU with integrated graphics to cut costs.
Let's dive deep into the best $400 gaming PC build for this month's update, including all important specs and details you need to know about, performance estimates, and most importantly a detailed breakdown of why each component was chosen. We'll also wrap up the guide with our top recommended peripherals and accessories that don't break the bank and would serve this budget-friendly setup well.
See Also: $500 Gaming PC Build (for stronger 1080p performance)
Best Gaming PC Build Under 400 Dollars/Euros/Pounds
|Graphics Card||Integrated Vega RX 11 (comes with CPU)|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 5 2400G APU (3.90GHz, Quad Core, 2nd Gen "Raven Ridge")
|CPU Cooler||Stock (comes with CPU)|
|Motherboard||MSI B450M Bazooka (Micro ATX, 4 x DDR4 Slots)
|RAM||Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 8GB (DDR4, 2 x 4GB, 2666 MHz)
|Hard Drive||Western Digital Blue 1TB (7200 RPM, 64MB Cache)
|Power Supply||EVGA 450 BT (450 Watts, 80 Plus Bronze, Non Modular)
|Case||Thermaltake Versa H15 SPCC (Mini Tower, Micro ATX)
$395 - $405 (US Dollars)
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Note for Builders Outside the USA: The parts of this $400 custom build will typically be the exact same across all 4 countries, but where necessary we'll make relevant substitutions for Canada, UK, or Australia if a certain component isn't available in that country (or if it's too overpriced and there is a better value, still-compatible model).
|Wattage (Power Draw)||17W - 90W|
|RAM Slots||4 (2 slots free)|
|Max RAM Support||64GB|
|Built-in WiFi?||No (buy adaptor)|
|Hard Drives Supported||4x SATA Drives, 1x m.2 SSD|
|RAID Support||Yes (RAID 0, 1, or 10)|
|Case Fans||1 x 120mm Included (rear), 2 Additional 120mm Mounts|
|Front Panel USB Ports||1 x 3.0, 1 x 2.0|
|Optical Drive Support?||Yes (1 x 5.25" Bay)|
|Max CPU Cooler Height||155mm|
|Max GPU Length||315mm Length GPUs|
|Multi-Monitor Support||Dual Monitor Support|
|Case Dimensions||15 x 7.8 x 16.2 inches (H x W x D)|
|Full Motherboard & Case Specs||MSI B450M Bazooka mATX | Thermaltake Versa H15 Mini|
720p (1280 x 720):
900p (1600 x 900):
1080p (1920 x 1080):
1440p (2560 x 1440):
VR and 4K:
Confused? This is the average expected performance of this parts-list at different resolutions and refresh-rates when playing a typical, graphically-demanding modern PC game on high/ultra/maxed settings. If you're not sure what refresh-rate your gaming monitor is, chances are it's a standard 60Hz screen. For more see our refresh rate guide.
Estimated Average Frame Rate (Ryzen 5 2400G Stock, 2x4GB 2666 MHz)
Now to frame-rate estimates for the $400 gaming PC build which is what you're probably wondering about the most. After scouring the web for benchmarks and doing the painstaking research for you, the FPS ratings below is about what you can expect from the Ryzen 5 2400G with its integrated GPU when paired with 8GB of DDR4 2666MHz RAM as we've included in this recommended build.
Average FPS: 1080p MEDIUM Settings
Average FPS: 1080p HIGH Settings
Overall, a cheap 400 dollar custom gaming computer will get you very good 1080p performance in less-demanding titles like League of Legends and CSGO, decent performance in medium-demanding games like Overwatch, DOTA 2, Fortnite and Rocket League, but only playable performance in a small handful of the more demanding titles such as GTA V and PUBG - and only if you turn down those settings to low.
For example, PUBG is only going to be playable on low settings in 1080p. Anything else and you're out of luck as it'll be too laggy to enjoy. But with this build Fortnite is totally playable on low or medium settings.
And yup, you guessed it - in 720p resolution this build will play any of the aforementioned games without issues. So if you don't mind this resolution, you can play PUBG, Fortnite, GTA V, and even the most demanding titles of all such as Witcher 3 and get good performance. But for 1080p, you're looking at only low/medium settings for playable FPS in demanding titles, but good performance with all the other games on medium/high settings.
For a $400 gaming desktop, the Ryzen 2400G is hard to ignore as an excellent value choice
At this point in time, in this cheap price tier you've essentially got two options: either get the AMD Ryzen 5 2400G that is a combined decent CPU and graphics solution, or get a cheap Intel processor such as a G4560, G4400 or newer G5400 and pair that up with a dedicated budget-friendly graphics card such as the GT 1030.
For the best cheap gaming PC build under $400 right now, we've gone with the former. Why? AMD's latest processor/graphics combo unit, the Ryzen 3 2400G, packs serious punch for the price and whilst you obviously can't expect any crazy gaming performance, it's capable of handling 1080p in a decent manner if you don't mind turning down the settings to low/medium (depending on the game).
It's all you need for older games, and modern hits like CSGO, Overwatch, LoL, and Fortnite at smooth frame rates on medium settings in 1080p. For more demanding games like PUBG and GTA 5 you'll need to either go low settings for a decent experience, or drop down to 720p resolution if you don't mind that.
Plus, the 2400G is not only a good cheap gaming CPU GPU combo, it's a decent quad-core processor in its own right, meaning not just decent gaming performance but overall system performance for general applications and multitasking. That also means it'll last you a fair while, and will be enough processing power to continue on with should you decide to buy a dedicated graphics card down the track for better gaming performance.
An excellent value, good-looking, feature-rich and well-priced B450 motherboard that's perfect for a cheap yet reliable cheap gaming PC build
For your Ryzen 5 2400G CPU/GPU you have a few choices in terms of motherboard types to get (refered to as the motherboard chipset). You could get an older (and oftentimes a little cheaper) Ryzen generation 1 motherboard - either the A320 or B350 chipsets - as these would still be compatible with the 2nd generation Ryzen (2400G) assuming that the BIOS on these motherboards have been updated. This BIOS update will typically already have been done by the manufacturer before the board gets shipped out to you, although there is the odd chance you receive a non-updated motherboard which means you'd have to update the BIOS yourself when you receive the A320/B350 board which is annoying as you'd need to have an older CPU lying around to be able to perform the update (the motherboard manufacturer should be able to send you one for free to do this).
Therefore, to avoid this potential dilemma (even though it's kinda rare by now as most older boards have been updated for the new Ryzens), and to get the latest and greatest motherboard platform, you're best off just getting the latest B450 motherboards. Plus, they typically aren't much more expensive, especially if you are smart about shopping around for well-priced models. Speaking of which, that's what we do best here at BGC, and right now the MSI B450 Bazooka is at a solid price and what we would recommend. It's a great little (micro ATX) board that looks nice and slick, has plenty of features considering it's a budget board (including a handy 4 RAM slots), and will set up a cheap gaming PC build well for the future. It's also overclocking friendly, and reportedly does it quite well, so if you wish to push your Ryzen 2400G past stock speeds, you can absolutely do so with this motherboard and with this PC build overall.
Speaking of overclocking your AMD CPU, whilst we don't recommend it to most beginners building their first cheap gaming desktop build, if you do decide to go ahead with it (it's not hard at all but just takes a little patience) then the good news is that the stock cooler that comes with the Ryzen 2400G will indeed be just fine, assuming you're doing mild to medium overclocking. If you research around on other enthusiast's experiences with overclocking the 2400G, you'll find that the stock cooler well serve you well up to a certain point. You would only really need an aftermarket cooler for this processor if you're really pushing the CPU to the max, or if you decide that you want to keep it running as cool and quiet as possible (or for aesthetic purposes as an aftermarket cooler will allow you to pick the best looking model that fits your build if you care about looks; stock coolers are quite basic looking).
Like all modern motherboards it comes with decent onboard sound and LAN working, but also like most motherboards it doesn't come with wireless/WiFi built-in. If you want wireless internet on your build, you will have to do what most other builders have to do as well which is get either an internal wireless network card that slots into your motherboard, or a USB dongle/adapter version if you prefer to do it that way. Either can work just as well as each other (see our Builds FAQ for more on this including specific adaptor recommendations).
Crucial has always been a good memory manufacturer, and the Ballistix Sport LT modules included for January 2019's best $400 gaming PC build are well-priced and at a fairly-fast 2667/2666Mhz (same thing) speed. No need to get faster memory than this for a gaming desktop, although it's not really feasible on a cheap budget anyway.
As mentioned above, these 2 modules only take up 2 of your 4 total RAM slots, so you have room for a RAM upgrade later should you want to upgrade to 16GB in the future. 16GB is only recommended for higher-end builds or for heavy workstation tasks (such as video editing PC builds etc). 8GB of RAM is all you can fit into a cheap system, but is all the memory you really need right now to maximize performance in 1080p in the majority of modern games and won't hold you back for a while to come.
Western Digital have long been the most reliable when it comes to HDDs (short for Hard Disk Drives if you're brand new to all this stuff) and 1TB of storage is more than enough for most gamers, although feel free to include less or more storage as needed. 7200RPM is also a good speed to shoot for when getting a HDD which is what this drive runs at. Yes, Solid State Drives (SSDs) are faster than a standard HDD like this, but are more of a luxury component as their size to cost ratio is much higher and we only recommend SSDs for more expensive builds.
For the power supply we've gone with the same excellent value for money unit from ever-reliable EVGA. Specifically, the 450 BT which is a nice balance of value and quality, and is all the power you need for this setup. It's not a high-end PSU, but it's good enough for these parts, and it's 80 Plus Bronze certified which means it's got decent efficiency. Can't go wrong for its price.
Now to the case for the $400 cheap build and at this point in time the Thermaltake Versa H15 is a very solid choice and arguably one of the better cheaper cases around for a gaming PC. It has a clean, minimalist yet stylish design, good quality and durability for the price, and has the space and features you need for a basic gaming desktop like this.
It's only got the one pre-built fan installed (1 x 120mm rear fan), but for this parts-list that's actually all you need as these parts won't produce much heat at all. Only situation where I'd buy an extra fan to install in this case would be when overclocking your 2200G or if you live in a really hot climate and your build starts to get quite hot under load, but for an entry-level PC the one single case fan is all you need in most cases (pun intended).
The Versa H15 is a Mini Tower size meaning it's not going to take up much room; great for those who prefer a more compact case. Overall, you'll be hard-pressed finding a better overall option in this price range, as cheap cases are usually fraught with little issues and drawbacks, but not this one and for the price it truly is hard to fault.
Feel free to use any Mini or Mid Tower case for your custom setup, but this one is a very safe bet and highly recommended for cheap builds like this especially if you find it under $40 - $45. It's also perfect for your first PC build as a newbie, as it's widely reported to be user-friendly and a breeze to work with.
One of the better overall cases in the sub 50 dollar case market that has everything you need for a cheap gaming rig and is very easy to work with for beginners
Recommended Operating System
For the $400 cheap gaming PC build, or any of our suggested builds, we recommend Windows 10 64-Bit (Home or Pro edition, but Home is fine for most people especially if you're just gaming). Linux is another option but only suggested for advanced users who know what they're doing. To get Windows 10 for your custom build you have various options:
Recommended Optical Drive (totally optional)
Whilst optical drives are being used less and less by PC builders due to the rise in digital media and streaming, if you still want to play DVDs, CDs, or burn DVDs/CDs (or to install the DVD edition of Windows 10 mentioned above as it's usually cheaper than the flash drive version), you'll want to get an optical drive, which this $400 custom PC build does have support for (the Thermaltake H15 case has room for 1 optical drive up top). This is the cheap yet reliable, decent-quality model we'd suggest:
Recommended Cheap Accessories
If you also need to get a monitor, input peripherals (keyboard and mouse), and a headset or speakers for audio, these are our current top picks for a cheap PC build. See our full accessory buying guides (in the main menu up top) if you want to see all our recommendations for these parts.
Assembling the $400 Parts-List
See our photo-filled written guide to installing PC parts or if you prefer video see our latest video tutorial recommendations in the full guide to planning and building your first PC. If it's your very first time, there's nothing to fear as building your own computer is very simple these days, no matter whether it's a 400 dollar/euro/pound budget machine like this or a more high-end system.
When people say building a custom PC is essentially Adult Lego, that's no exaggeration, as it really is just a matter of plugging things in, connecting things, perhaps screwing a couple things in here or there, following some very basic safety procedures, and loading up some software to then follow on-screen instructions.
Besides taking a quick look at similar-spec prebuilt computers below to showcase just how much better it is to build your own system, this pretty much wraps up our guide to planning the best cheap custom PC build under 400 dollars as of January 2019 (IMHO) based on extensive monthly analysis of the current state of the market from the perspective of a gamer looking for the most bang for buck and reliability (among other secondary factors). We hope this in-depth continually-updated PC build guide serves you well as-is or as a base for your on-going build research. Good luck with your new system, enjoy, and happy gaming.
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Let's do a quick comparison of the $400 custom gaming PC build versus the best prebuilt gaming desktops that we could find on the current market that have similar specs. We list these prebuilts here for two reasons.
- AMD Ryzen B350 vs B450 Chipset Difference
- Analyzing B450 for AMD Ryzen: A Quick Look at 25+ Motherboards
- Thermaltake Versa H15 SPCC Computer Case Specifications
- EVGA 450 BT 80+ Bronze Power Supply Specifications
- Crucial Ballistix Sport LT White 8GB Kit (2 x 4GB) DDR4-2666 UDIMM Specifications & Motheboard Compatibility Checker
- AMD Ryzen 5 2400G with Radeon RX Vega 11 Graphics Specifications
- MSI B450M Bazooka Micro ATX Motherboard Specifications
- Western Digital Blue 1TB Desktop PC Hard Drive Specifications
A hobbyist game programmer turned hardware enthusiast, Julien "cyberjulz" is the founder of BGC and has kept a keen eye on the latest in DIY gaming ever since starting BGC back in '06 as an almost laughably-basic and brief 20 page site with the aim to make building PCs more accessible to the average gamer since most resources weren't too noob friendly. Over countless reinventions and reiterations to the quality, depth and usefulness of the content over many years the site has steadily grown into the expansive, comprehensive and ever-updated first-time PC builder resource that it is today that now reaches and helps thousands of gamers and power users each month to more easily plan optimal setups for their exact needs. You can learn more about the BGC mission and ways to support it here.
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