Last Updated: July 5, 2018
On a real tight budget of $300 believe it or not you can still put together a gaming computer that will allow you to play the latest games - yes, even in standard 1080p (full HD), although you will need to turn down the settings to low or medium depending on the title.
Below is our current recommended, best entry level gaming PC build under $300, and by entry-level we mean that for standard 1080p. For 720p resolution, for those who don't mind the lesser quality graphics of 720p compared to 1080p, you'll get real smooth performance.
How well this $300 rig will run in 1080p will depend on the specific game of course, but you'll be able to get playable/decent frame-rates in all the latest big name games that everyone is playing like Fortnite, Overwatch, PUBG and all the top eSports if you tone down the settings to medium/low on the more demanding ones. Plus, for older games this setup really shines.
This $300 gaming computer build is very similar to our recommended $400 gaming PC build, but with the lower tier AMD CPU/GPU combo instead, and a difference case. Note that if you prefer the case of the $400 PC you can use that instead for this $300 rig if you prefer the look, but if you prefer a simplistic, minimal case design then you'll love the case included in this build below.
Ok, let's stop beating around the bush and get straight into this month's best gaming PC build under $300 (or around $300 depending on current pricing as hardware prices fluctuate) which will provide entry-level 1080p gaming performance. And as always we'll explain why each component was carefully selected for this highly cost-effective setup, as well as recommended OS and peripherals for a low-budget build of this nature.
720p (1280 x 720):
1080p (1920 x 1080):
1440p (2560 x 1440):
VR and 4K:
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.
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 3 2200G (3.70 GHz, Quad Core)|
|GRAPHICS||Vega RX 8 (included in CPU)|
|MOTHERBOARD||Gigabyte GA-AB350M-DS3H (micro-ATX)|
|RAM||Patriot Signature 8GB (DDR4, 2 x 4GB, 2666 MHz)|
|HARD DRIVE||Western Digital Blue 1TB (7200 RPM, 64MB Cache)|
|POWER SUPPLY||Antec VP-450 (450 Watts)|
|CASE||Thermaltake Versa H17 Black SPCC (Mini Tower, Micro-ATX)|
If you're a long-time reader you may notice this is only the second time we've ever included a recommended gaming computer build in this price tier. But get used to it because it's here to stay. Reason being? AMD's recently released Ryzen range of processors (codenamed Raven Ridge) offer two excellent low-cost gaming CPU options, the 2400G and the 2200G.
Both processors are not only very decent quad core CPUs in their own right, which allow for very capable general/multitasking performance for a while to come, but they both include all-new integrated graphics (codenamed Vega) which blow previous integrated graphics solutions out of the water.
For beginners, integrated graphics (technically referred to as iGPUs or APUS) means you don't need a graphics card as its included with the CPU, and in the past they really were to be avoided if you wanted any sort of respectable gaming performance, even in the lower-end/entry-level side of things.
However, these new APUs (AMD Accelerated Processing Unit), namely the 2200G and bigger brother 2400G have changed that and they both provide very decent graphics performance suitable for modern gaming, and good enough to be included in our recommended cheap/budget/entry-level builds from now on.
Ryzen 3 2200G Gaming Performance
Simply put, on a strict budget of around 300 bucks for a new gaming PC build, the Ryzen 3 2200G is a no-brainer, with this 4-core chip clocking in at a very respectable 3.7GHz and delivering excellent value for money graphics, and the 2400G (included in the our best $400 cheap gaming PC build) is also an excellent bang for your buck option too.
With a Ryzen 3 2200G and its integrated "RX Vega 8" graphics you can expect performance roughly on par with a GT 1030 graphics card if it were paired with a budget CPU. That means real good 720p resolution performance in modern titles and playable/decent 1080p (full HD) on low/medium settings (depending on the game).
It's perfect for older and less-demanding games as well, including many popular eSports, so if you're say building a PC for League of Legends or Dota 2/CSGO/Overwatch, you're good to go with this setup for very decent performance in 1080p (low - medium settings for ideal performance) and excellent frame-rates in 720p.
The Ryzen 3 2200G is also a great 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 to bolster your 1080p performance further when you save up some more money, whilst still having a good base to work with in the meantime as the Ryzen AM4 platform is flexible and you could even upgrade to an even better Ryzen CPU later on as well as getting a dedicated graphics card.
You also don't need a CPU cooler as the 2200G comes with its own stock cooler, a Wraith Stealth Cooler, which is of very decent quality and all you need especially if you won't be overclocking this little beast. Speaking of overclocking your AMD CPU, the 2200G is unlocked meaning that you can go ahead and squeeze out a little faster performance by doing a little tweaking around should you want to go down that route.
Not generally recommended for first-time builders, but these days overclocking a CPU (or GPU) is quite straightforward to do so don't rule it out even if you're a fairly inexperienced gamer as you can get a little extra performance for very little effort (and no extra money). You could still use the stock cooler for that if you wanted and you're not pushing the chip too far, but it's recommended to get an even better aftermarket CPU cooler if you do end up overclocking.
For this month's best $300 gaming PC build, and likely for many more months, we've selected the Gigabyte GA-AB350M-DS3H micro ATX board because it's a great value for money pick. A cheap mainboard that gets the job done, don't expect anything amazing but do expect all your basic gaming needs covered: passable durability, good LAN and on-board audio, 4 RAM slots, decent amount of ports, 64GB max RAM support, and so on.
This is the same motherboard we've included in our next $400 cheap gaming build as it also provides a good affordable base for the 2400G processor if you're opting for that one instead of the 2200G included in this $300 setup. Just remember that no WiFi is included on this board (most boards don't) so you'll need to get either a wireless PCI-E/PCI adaptor card or USB WiFi dongle if you want wireless networking/internet for this build. See our Gaming Desktop Builds Hub for recommendations on these accessories.
A great thing about this setup is there's no sacrificing your RAM down to 4GB which is often a move made in this low-cost price tier when building, and what we've often done in the past with our monthly builds to cut costs. But thanks to the supreme bang for buck of the AMD Ryzen 3 2200G CPU/graphics combination, this allows us to easily fit in the sweet spot of 8GB RAM, meaning your memory isn't going to get in the way of your gaming or general PC performance and you won't need to upgrade for a long time as 8GB is all you need for the foreseeable future. Patriot is a good brand, and DDR4 is the latest and greatest. Plus, 2666MHz is a nice balance of price and speed. 'Nuff said, really.
As with the RAM, for the best gaming PC build under $300 we haven't sacrificed on storage either, which has typically been what we've recommended in the past. Instead of cutting costs and squeezing in a 250, 320 or 500GB hard drive like super-budget builds of the past, we've stuck with a large 1TB drive which is ideal for longevity.
Again, the reason we can fit in a nicely sized 1TB HDD for this month's $300 setup is 'cause of the amazing value of AMD's Ryzen 3 2200G, which is the star of the show and sets you up with real flexibility to not skimp on any of your parts to build a truly kick-ass entry-level build. Of course, if you don't need a big 1TB drive, then by all means go for a smaller one to cut costs to either save your money or put that towards something else such as your peripherals.
As for the specific HDD (Hard Disk Drive if you're a curious noob) - we've selected Western Digital which is the best in terms of overall reliability and speed for the money, although Seagate is a close second in our opinion so feel free to opt for them if you prefer. It should go without saying though that a Solid State Drive (SSD) doesn't represent enough value for money to be included in such a tight-budget build, but of course feel free to include one if you really want one as it'll slot into this parts-list without issues.
Now to your PC case which will house all your precious parts, and right now one of the very best cheap gaming cases on the market has to be the Thermaltake Versa H17. A clean, minimalist yet very stylish design, good quality and durability for the price, and all the features you need for a basic gaming PC.
It's only got the one pre-built fan installed, but for this rig that's actually all you need as these parts won't produce much heat. 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 should be all you need in most cases (pun intended).
The Versa H17 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.
Highly recommended for cheap builds like this. Note that if you prefer the case included in our recommended $400 PC build with its slightly bolder red theme and see-through side panel, feel free to get that instead if you prefer that look to this simple one, as either case will work well for either the $300 or $400 builds.
Last but certainly not least is the PSU (Power Supply Unit), which isn't something you should skimp too much on, even on a super tight-budget. Avoid making the common rookie mistake of getting a cheap no-name PSU just 'cause it's at the lowest possible price with the logic that it's "just a power supply and so what does it matter".
Your build is only as strong as its weakest link, and a bad PSU can become a big problem down the track if it fails and potentially damages your other precious parts, so always choose a good PSU that won't let you down.
To power all the components of the best gaming PC build under $300 reliably we have the Antec VP-450, a mainstay pick of ours as Antec is a top-name brand yet at a very affordable price, and this particular model has been proven to have great reliability.
450 watts of power is also more than enough for this build, with plenty of wiggle room to take into account any common upgrades you may wish to make later (yes, even if you plan on adding a dedicated graphics card to this setup later down the track). That wraps up the core components for the best entry level gaming PC build for $300 right now, so let's quickly get into the operating system software and peripherals should you need those too.
For this entry-level gaming computer build, or any build for that matter, we recommend Windows 10 which you can get in a handy USB/flash-drive version or a disk version if you want to make your own bootable flash drive from that (since this build doesn't have an optical drive as they're totally optional these days):
See our top value for money budget picks of these accessories in our peripheral buying guides (see the top menu) should you need to buy these new and you're not reusing old ones. Simply put, you can choose any that you like for this gaming computer build as they come down to personal preference.