Last Updated: Sep 10, 2018
Building a new gaming PC for just $300? Despite what anyone may tell you, whilst you obviously can't get too much graphical power for this price, with a cheap budget of around this price you most definitely can still put together a parts-list that will allow you to play the latest games either nicely in 720p or at a playable level in 1080p resolution if you turn down the settings.
The following recommended custom PC setup is our current best entry level gaming PC build under $300 (or around 300) in our objective opinion based on our monthly in-depth analysis of the current hardware market. In other words, the following parts are what we would do personally if we only had $300 to spend on building our own gaming desktop computer right now and we wanted to maximize both performance and reliability. These recommended parts are also thought-out in terms of future upgrade options as well, should you be someone who is building a super cheap gaming PC build just temporarily to hold you out until you can get a better graphics card later on to boost your 1080p frame-rate.
How well this $300 gaming PC build will run in standard full HD (1080p resolution) will depend on the specific game, 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. Plus, for older/classic games or lowering down to 720p resolution, this $300 entry-level gaming PC build may actually be all you need for a great experience.
Keep in mind that this build is very similar to our next build, the recommended $400 gaming PC build, but has a lower tier AMD CPU/GPU combo instead and a difference case. I just want to point out that if you prefer the case of the $400 PC instead, which is a tad "cooler" looking than the case included below, feel free to use that model for this gaming computer if you prefer its style. Both are great cheap cases, but if you prefer a simplistic, minimal case design then you'll love the case included in the best $300 PC build below.
Anyway, let's stop beating around the bush and get straight into this month's best entry-level gaming PC build under $300 which will provide good 720p performance and average/entry-level 1080p performance in modern games for those on a super-tight budget who still wish to a build new PC. More importantly, as with all our monthly builds we'll explain WHY each component made the cut for this build, and why we believe they're a great bang for your buck option to consider for this price tier. Also, see our gaming desktop builds FAQ for answers to common questions about these recommended PC builds.
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 Viper Elite 4GB (DDR4, 1 x 4GB, 2400MHz)|
|HARD DRIVE||Western Digital Blue 1TB (7200 RPM, 64MB Cache)|
|POWER SUPPLY||Antec VP-450 (450 Watts)|
|CASE||Thermaltake Versa H15 SPCC (Mini Tower, Micro-ATX)|
The Ryzen 2200G stays as the best overall value choice for a super cheap gaming PC build around $300, and we can't see that changing anytime soon. The 2200G is not only a very decent quad core CPU in its own right, which allows for very capable general/multitasking performance for a while to come, but includes 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 (included in our next suggested $400 gaming PC build) 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 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 to come as it pairs well with the 2200G, we've selected the Gigabyte GA-AB350M-DS3H micro ATX board because it's a cheap yet decent mainboard that gets the job done. Obviously you can't expect anything amazing or any fancy features for the price, 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 build also, as it also provides a good affordable base for the 2400G processor as well as a 2200G if you decide on that processor instead for a little extra processing and graphical grunt. 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.
When building a very cheap entry-level gaming computer like this, you obviously have to cut costs wherever possible, and that means you can't kit out a ton of RAM. 4GB is about all you can get into this sort of budget without sacrificing the other parts, although that's assuming you really want to stay under the $300 budget limit. If you don't mind spending a tad more, free to get 8GB of memory instead, which is the sweet spot for gaming right now, such as the 8GB modules we've included in the next build tier (the recommended $400 cheap gaming PC build).
However, in truth 4GB isn't all that bad if you're just doing light gaming, such as sticking to older games or running in 720p resolution. Even in 1080p resolution, 4GB is going to be fine if you don't expect flawless performance in the most demanding games. But yeah, for older games/most eSports, or lower resolution/settings, 4GB of RAM is NOT going to bottleneck your performance at this sort of level and is "enough" for an entry-level gaming rig like this. Plus, you can always easily upgrade with another 4GB later on when you have the cash to make for a total of 8GB which is an amount of RAM that will hold you in good stead for a while to come (don't listen to anyone who says you NEED a humongous amount of RAM such as 16GB when it comes to standard modern gaming).
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 the case for our best entry level gaming PC build under $300, and at this point in time the Thermaltake Versa H15 is a very solid choice. 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.
Highly recommended for cheap builds like this. Note that if you prefer the case included in the best cheap gaming PC build for $400 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 for the beginners: no judgin' as we've all been there!), which isn't something you should skimp too much on, even on a super-tight PC building budget of around $300. 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 gaming computer build is kinda 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. Doesn't mean you need to spend a lot on a top of the range model, especially when building an entry-level gaming system like this, but make sure to consciously choose your PSU instead of just haphazardly picking the cheapest-looking model you find.
To reliably power all the components of the best gaming PC build under $300, 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 is a proven good-quality high-value choice over the years.
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 to most people 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 as accessory choices are a lot more subjective compared with choosing the best hardware for the money.
That's it for the current best cheap gaming PC build under $400 for September 2018 (IMHO). We hope it serves you well as-is or as a base for your on-going build research. If you're putting together your first PC, fear not as it's very simple to do these days and in 2018 if you can build Lego you can build a PC no problems. See our PC installation guide if you just require the core installation steps, or see our more comprehensive eBook if you want more thorough guidance and all the steps of planning, ordering, building, troubleshooting, maintaining and upgrading your first PC in detail. Good luck and long live PC gaming ;)