Best Budget Gaming PC Builds in 2017

It’s 2017, and the time is now to buy your first gaming PC. Boasting incredible graphics and superior performance, if you want the most out of your games, PC is the way to go.

However, expensive components may prevent you from pulling the trigger. Fortunately for you, this guide will walk you through five budget gaming PCs that won’t break the bank.

Furthermore, I’ll cover every aspect of PC gaming and answer any questions a new builder could have.

Price Name Image Build
$400 Extreme Budget Gamer View
$500 Perfect Balance View
$600 Stealth Gamer View
$700 Phoenix View
$800 Monster View

400 pc

The Extreme Budget Gamer ($400)

You might think a good gaming PC goes for around $700-$800. If you bought your PC prebuilt from a big company, this may be the case. However, if you build the PC yourself, you can score awesome components for just $400. That’s right, just $400.

This cheap gaming PC gives you an outstanding bang for your buck, playing the newest titles in 1080p resolution. Harnessing the power of price to performance, it will maximize your gaming experience for $400.

Featuring a GTX 1050ti and a Pentium G4560, you’ll run new titles in 1080p, medium-high settings with acceptable framerates.

CPU Intel Pentium G4560 Buy
MOBO MSI Pro Series Intel B250 Buy
RAM Corsair Vengeance LPX 4GB DDR4-2400 Buy
HDD Seagate 500 GB Pipeline Buy
GPU Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050ti 4GB Buy
PSU EVGA 450W Buy
CASE Rosewill - FBM-X1 MicroATX Mini Tower Buy
View the Build Guide

*prices fluctuate daily. All budgets are within a $30 threshold. Click here to check the current price.

500 pc

The Perfect Balance ($500)

The secret to building a cheap and powerful gaming computer is finding the perfect balance of price and performance. With this build, you receive just that. This is the best gaming PC $500 can buy.

On a budget, $500 is often the price range I recommend.

You are still spending a relatively small amount on the PC, but it is still enough to buy powerful and efficient parts.

CPU Ryzen 3 1200 Buy
MOBO ASRock - AB350M Micro ATX Buy
RAM Ballistix Sport LT 8GB DDR4-2400 MHz Buy
HDD WD Caviar Blue 1TB 7200RPM Buy
GPU Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050ti 4GB Buy
PSU EVGA 400W Buy
CASE NZXT S340 (White) Buy
View the Build Guide

*prices fluctuate daily. All budgets are within a $30 threshold. Click here to check the current price.

The Stealth Gamer ($600)

600 PC

This PC can run the newest titles in 1080p with 60 FPS including Destiny 2, Battlefield 1, COD WW2, etc. Harnessing the power of the GTX 1060 and a new Ryzen CPU, it’ll provide an outstanding overall experience.

It is sleek, refined, and low cost. For $600, you are getting a low profile PC that is quiet, powerful, and cheap.

CPU Ryzen 3 1200 Buy
MOBO ASRock - AB350M Micro ATX Buy
RAM G. Skill - Ripjaws V Series 8GB 2400 MHz Buy
HDD WD Caviar Blue 1TB 7200RPM Buy
GPU ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 3GB Dual-Fan Buy
PSU EVGA 450W Buy
CASE DIYPC - Cuboid-R Buy
View the Build Guide

*prices fluctuate daily. All budgets are within a $30 threshold. Click here to check the current price.

Solar M1

The Phoenix ($700)

This gaming PC truly is majestic. While many brag about their several-thousand dollar gaming PCs, this $700 gaming PC can easily achieve 1080p and even 1440p gaming with high frame rates. It’s a resilient gaming PC, hence the name.

CPU Ryzen 5 1400 Buy
MOBO ASRock - AB350M Micro ATX Buy
RAM G. Skill - Ripjaws V Series 8GB 2400 MHz Buy
HDD WD Caviar Blue 1TB 7200RPM Buy
GPU EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB SC GAMING Edition Buy
PSU EVGA 430W Buy
CASE Bitfenix - Comrade Buy
View the Build Guide

*prices fluctuate daily. All budgets are within a $30 threshold. Click here to check the current price.

NZXT S340 Black

The Monster ($800)

This PC is called the monster, simply because it is an absolute beast. For $800, not only are you getting an amazing gaming machine, but a powerful workstation as well.

$800 is the perfect pricepoints for gamers looking to play all of the newest titles with maxed out settings at 1080p. You will even achieve 1440p in some titles. Furthermore, this PC meets the requirements of the Oculus Rift. That’s right, the PC is capable of virtual reality.

If you want to do any kind of rendering, editing, recording, or streaming, this computer can do it all.

CPU Ryzen 5 1400 Buy
MOBO ASRock - AB350M Micro ATX Buy
RAM G. Skill - Ripjaws V Series 8GB 2400 MHz Buy
HDD WD Caviar Blue 1TB 7200RPM Buy
GPU Zotac - GeForce GTX 1070 8GB Mini Buy
PSU EVGA 450W Buy
CASE NZXT S340 (Black) Buy
View the Build Guide

*prices fluctuate daily. All budgets are within a $30 threshold. Click here to check the current price.

The Full Guide

This is where we get extremely in depth. We’re going to cover everything you could possibly want to know about gaming PCs. You can scroll down a bit to find a table of contents which outlines the guide, section by section.

We know buying a gaming PC isn’t always easy, especially if it is your first time around. It can be overwhelming to figure out what parts to buy, especially if you need to make a little bit of money go a long way.

Furthermore, once you buy the parts, then you actually have to build the computer!

Or do you?

We’ll talk about all of that and more very soon. Scroll down to read more!

Why Build a Gaming PC?

Many have grown accustomed to coming home, sitting down and turning on their console. It’s easy and convenient, but is it the best option?

The answer is no.

PC gaming has MANY benefits that consoles simply lack. In fact, there is NOTHING a console can do that a gaming PC cannot. If a console can do it, a PC can do it better.

Sweet Setup

A console can play video games, and maybe watch Netflix. A gaming PC can perform these tasks at higher resolutions, framerates, and graphical settings.

Moreover, this PC is more than just a gaming machine. Unlike a console, your gaming PC can edit videos, pictures, code, stream, record, surf the web, etc.

But to enjoy all of these things, you have to spend a ton of money, right?

WRONG!

Many mistakenly believe that you have to spend at least $1000 to have any sort of enjoyment from gaming on a PC.

This is the furthest from the truth, as you can EASILY achieve 60fps at 1080p resolutions with a $500, or even a $400 gaming PC. Building a dirt cheap gaming PC has never been easier.

Advantages of PC Gaming

PC gaming has many advantages over console gaming. After all, they don’t call us the PC Master Race for nothing. We’re going to illustrate some of the many pros of PC gaming. Keep reading, as some of them may not very obvious.

Better Graphics/Framerates

PC gaming will always have superior graphics and framerates than consoles. PCs can game in true 1080p, 1440p, and even 4K with over 60 frames per second and 16x MSAA.

Consoles can only game in 1080p and in some cases 720p. Usually the games’ resolutions are upscaled, meaning most games aren’t in true 1080p. In addition, it’s rare that consoles game in true 60 fps.

Why do PCs have superior graphics/framerates?

All consoles have the exact same hardware inside. Game developers are aware of the hardware in the consoles, and they can optimize their games to run smoothly on said hardware.

This is why when you buy a console game, you don’t have to worry about being able to run it. You can just pop the disc in your Xbox and start playing.

On the flip side, developers don’t know what’s in your PC, as every PC is a bit different. That being said, they can’t optimize their game to run smoothly on your PC. Instead, they release a beautiful game and require you to meet certain spec requirements.

If you have good hardware in your rig, you’ll be able to play the games with higher graphics and resolutions. If you want to, you can buy the most expensive hardware (or at least higher end hardware) and run the games with extreme settings.

With consoles, you’re limited to default settings and graphics which are much worse than on the PC.

Flexibility

PC gaming is also much more flexible than console. Consoles all ship the same. They look the same and they perform the same.

PCs are all unique. They perform differently and you can design your PC exactly the way you want it.

In addition, if a part of your PC breaks, you can cheaply replace that part. However, if a part in a console breaks, you can’t just buy a replacement part. Rather, you have to buy an entirely brand new console.

If you want to upgrade your PC in the future, that option is also available to you. If you own a console and want to upgrade, your options are quite limited.

For any substantial improvement, you’ll have to wait for the next line of consoles. As you know, Sony and Microsoft waited many years between the PS3/Xbox 360 and the PS4/Xbox One.

With PC, you have the ability to choose when, what, and how.

PC Exclusives

PC has so many amazing games which cannot be found on console. Games like Counter Strike, Rust, PUBG, Star Citizen, and more. Steam also has a diverse selection of free to play games, such as Team Fortress 2.

Even games that can be played on console are better on the PC. The gameplay is more fluid and dynamic.

The Keyboard and Mouse

Keyboard

Console controllers are awesome for kicking it on the couch with your buddies and playing casual video games. However, there’s a reason why consoles games have aim assist and PC games don’t.

A keyboard and mouse is much easier to use than a controller, especially if you’re playing a competitive shooter.

Some gaming mice feature over 16000 DPI. They can accurately trace every little movement. Joysticks don’t allow the same precision. While it can be a bit tricky to master at first, using a keyboard and mouse is far superior to a controller.

If you want the benefits of PC but you’re still in love with your controller, you can easily plug your controller into your PC or buy an adapter and use your Xbox or PS4 controller with your PC.

However, if you choose to go this route and you play competitive shooters, other players using the keyboard and mouse will most likely beat you. We recommend using the keyboard and mouse.

Cheaper in the Long Run

Most people believe it costs a fortune to be a PC gamer. Fortunately, this is the farthest from the truth. You can build a brand new gaming PC for just $400. If you buy used parts and you know where to look, you can build one for just $200.

That being said, it doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, there are other hidden benefits as well.

First of all, unlike Xbox Live, you don’t need to pay for steam. The membership is free.

Speaking of Steam, they have amazing deals. The Steam Summer and Winter sales are absolutely insane. You can find popular AAA titles at least 50% off. There are also lots of fun free to play games.

There are also websites such as G2A.com where you can find games even cheaper than Steam. If you account for these factors, PC gaming can easily be cheaper than console gaming over the course of a year or so.

Mature Community

While its possible to build a cheap gaming PC, most believe it’s very expensive. On top of this, it can be hard for first time builders to construct their first gaming PC.

With this in mind, it’s easy to understand why most parents buy consoles for their children. Their kids don’t have to worry about building the PC or installing drivers, etc. They also think it’s cheaper.

Due to this, most PC gamers are at least in high school if not older. If you’re tired of young and annoying kids talking in the microphone and you’re looking for a more mature community, PC is the place for you.

How to Build a Dirt Cheap Gaming PC in 3 Easy Steps

If you’re on an extremely low budget, there are still options for you if you’re interested in building a gaming PC.

eBay is an excellent tool if you know how to use it. If you follow this step by step guide, you can own a great gaming machine without breaking the bank.

Keep reading to find out how to build a 1080p gaming PC for $250!

Step 1: Find an old desktop for sale on eBay

The first step to building a dirt cheap gaming PC is finding an old desktop on eBay.

View Desktop PCs

You’re going to have to filter through lots of desktops. This may take some time.

I’d recommend using eBay filters. Often you can find a listing that is advertised as “for parts or repair”.

Filters eBay

Many think that just because their PC won’t power on, it’s garbage. Little do they know, there are many parts inside the PC that can be salvaged. This will help you to save lots of money.

Finding an old used desktop is also a good path to take.

Desktop eBay

After 10 minutes or so of browsing eBay listings, I found this PC for sale.

The PC is listed for $150 which is a pretty good price, but we’ll get this PC for even less.

Make sure the PC doesn’t have anything wrong with it, and check out the specs of the PC.

This Dell Optiplex 990 MT PC has:

  • Intel Core i7-2600 3.4 GHz CPU
  • 8GB of DDR3 Ram
  • 500GB Hard Drive
  • DVD-Rom

Furthermore, you’re getting the case, power supply, and motherboard all for the low price of $150. Now it’s time for the next step.

Step 2: Negotiate a Price

The price of this PC is already low, but we want it even lower.

Most listings allow you to make a “Best Offer”. It’s always a good idea to negotiate for a lower price.

Best Offer

Once a price is agreed upon, make the purchase. Now we move on to our third and final step.

Step 3: Buy a GPU

The GPU is the most important part of any gaming PC. You really don’t need the best processor to game. You don’t even need a ton of ram. The GPU does all of the hard work.

This is why we purchased an older desktop PC and salvaged the parts. The older components are still more than capable of gaming. As long as the CPU won’t bottleneck, you’re good to go.

That being said, finding the right GPU is important.

Return to eBay, and search for your GPU of choice. For this example, we’ll use the GeForce GTX 1050 ti. This GPU is powerful, cheap, and great for a low end budget.

View GPUs

Don’t be afraid to buy a used GPU. I’ve bought many used GPUs on eBay with no problem at all. Just read the reviews of the seller and make sure they’re trusted.

Once you find your GPU for sale on eBay, repeat the last step and await your parts to arrive!

There you have it, a cheap gaming PC!

Console vs. PC

Awesome Gaming Computer

When the Xbox One first launched, a day one edition console was roughly $500. Many of my friends told me they were going to buy an Xbox for $500, a laptop for $500, and an Elgato Game Capture HD for $100.

They wanted to play video games on their console, record with their Elgato, and edit videos for YouTube with their laptop.

This may seem like a great idea at first glance. However, there is a MUCH better option.

Instead of spending $1100 in total for the Xbox, laptop, and Elgato, why not spend that money on a gaming PC?

You don’t even have to spend $1100. You could spend anywhere from $400-$1000 on a gaming PC.

Not only does this PC consolidate all of the gaming, recording, editing, streaming, etc. into one place, it also performs all of these tasks more effectively.

Think about it, an $800 gaming PC can run games at higher resolutions and better framerates than an Xbox. It also is much more powerful than any $500 laptop. PC gaming just makes more sense.

How to Find the Right Parts for You

As a PC building noob, it is probably difficult for you to know which parts to buy for your computer. Before you begin looking for components, ask yourself these simple questions:

What is my budget?

$

This is always going to be the number one factor when selecting your parts. How much money are you willing to spend on your gaming PC?

Do you have plenty of money to spend on the PC, or do you need to make a little go a long way?

If you have a higher budget, you can afford a powerful CPU and GPU such as the Ryzen 5 1600 and the GTX 1070.

However, if you are on a lower budget, you might want to save money on the CPU and focus more on the GPU to maximize performance per dollar. In this case, I’d go with the Ryzen 3 1200 and a high end GTX 1060.

Either way, figuring out your budget comes first. I recommend saving your money for a better gaming PC than spending what you have if it’s only a small amount. $800 can get you a lot more than $400. Just save the extra money, and be patient.

However, if you don’t have the time to wait, or you can’t wait any longer, there are definitely ways for you to build a gaming PC for cheap.

Now we’ve arrived at our second question:

What games do I want to play?

There are so many different games available to you as a prospective PC gamer, it may be hard to wrap your head around it. That being said, some games are demanding, and some games aren’t.

If you want to play games like Terraria, Counter Strike, or Minecraft, you don’t need a beefy gaming computer. Most of those games with a low demand for processing power can be played on a dirt cheap gaming PC, or even on a laptop.

However, if you want to play games like Destiny 2, The Witcher 3, GTA V, Rust, etc. you’ll need a powerful gaming PC, especially if you want to play with high graphical settings.

That being said, there’s absolutely no reason to spend $1000 on a gaming PC if you’ll be playing Minecraft on it all of the time. You can drop $400 on a computer and run Minecraft like a dream. However, if you’re looking to play more demanding titles, you’ll have to spend a bit more.

Now that you know what your budget is, you can move on to the next step:

Finding the Parts for You

This is often one of the hardest parts of the PC building process; it’s also one of the best parts. Unlike consoles, PC provides unlimited flexibility. Not only can you design your PC to be a powerful gaming machine, you can make it look cool too.

From color schemes of components, to cases, to fans, to LEDs, there is a world of style at your finger tips. Aside from the look and feel of your components, you need to buy powerful components as well. If you’re on a tight budget, go for the cheapest CPU that you can and use that money on a nice GPU.

As long as the CPU doesn’t bottleneck the GPU, you won’t have to worry about it. This is why the Ryzen 3 1200 usually has no issues being paired with the GTX 1070. For the same price you could pair a Ryzen 5 1400 or 1600 with a GTX 1060.

However, since gaming heavily relies on the graphics card rather than the CPU, the first combination would see better in-game performance. This is because it has a more powerful graphics card, which is responsible for all of the 3D rendering.

If you still don’t know what parts to get, take a look at one of our five budget gaming PC builds.

Custom Built or Prebuilt?

There are many prebuilt gaming computers available on the market today. They advertise all the benefits of a gaming PC without any of the hassle.

Many of these PCs are falsely advertised as great alternatives to a custom build.

Best Buy

The manufacturers may include one good part, and cut corners on the rest of the build. It’s great for them, as they’re making money from ill informed consumers.

Don’t become another dissatisfied customer. It’s important to educate yourself before making any purchase, especially when purchasing a gaming PC.


Take a look at the PC below:

Best Buy Prebuilt

As you can see, this PC is going for nearly $1100 USD. Now let’s take a look at what these parts would cost you:

Parts vs Prebuilt

This prebuilt PC is actually one of the better options out there, and still you can see that it is nearly $200 USD cheaper to build your own PC.

Most retailers mark up their prices even more dramatically. Evidently, building your own PC is cheaper.

Customizability is another reason why building your own PC is a good option. You can hand pick your parts, and tailor your PC exactly how you’d like it.

You can choose your own case, LED color scheme, shape, size, noise level, cooling system, etc. PC building is practically an art form.

If you only want to play a few games like Overwatch and CSGO for example, you don’t have to buy a $1000 gaming PC. Instead, you can get the components you’d need to run those games, and nothing more.

On the other hand, if you want to play demanding games with the best possible graphics and framerates, you can do that too.

Viable Prebuilt Options

Though many prebuilt gaming PCs aren’t worth the time or the money, there are some viable prebuilt options on the market.

If you know what you’re looking for, you can find some great prebuilt alternatives.

Prebuilt Cyberpower PC

The Cyberpower PC Gamer Xtreme is another great option.

This Cyberpower PC can be found on Amazon for the price of $720. This PC features:

  • Intel i5-7400 3.0 GHz Quad Core CPU
  • 8GB of DDR4 memory
  • 1TB hard drive
  • RX 580 4GB graphics card

The package also includes Windows 10, a wifi card, and a gaming mouse/keyboard. For this price, it’s an excellent deal.

View on Amazon


If you’re on a lower budget, the Dell Inspiron i3650 is another great option.

You can find the PC on Amazon for just $430. You can actually find it under $300 if you buy it used on Amazon.

Inspiron-3650

The PC features:

  • Intel Core i3-6100
  • 8GB DDR3 Ram
  • 1TB Hard Drive

This PC comes without a GPU. Don’t worry, this problem is easily solved.

There are lots of powerful and cheap GPUs for sale on eBay. You can easily find a GTX 1050 ti used on eBay for less than $100.

After you purchase the prebuilt desktop and the GPU, you’re getting a very capable gaming machine for less than $600. This PC can easily game at 1080p.

View on Amazon

8 Things to Consider Before You Buy

CHEAP PC INFOGRAPHIC

Contact me about using this infographic on your website!

These 8 methods include:

  • Salvaging old parts
  • Buying used parts
  • Buying a cheap CPU
  • Focusing on the GPU
  • Looking for deals
  • Ask your friends
  • Save money on peripherals and LEDs
  • Be patient

Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Salvaging old parts

It’s easy to buy all of your parts new, but it’s also more expensive.

Odds are you probably have an old desktop in your house that still has perfectly good components.

You could probably salvage an optical drive, hard drive, case, power supply, and sometimes even a motherboard and CPU.

Even if you don’t have an old desktop laying around, you could buy one on eBay. This brings us to our next point.

Salvage Old Parts

Buy used parts

Some think you have to buy all new parts to build a great gaming PC. This is simply not true.

You can look on eBay for used parts that work just as well as new ones.

The best part?

You’re getting the same great components for a lower price!

Buy a cheap CPU

If you’re on a tight budget, the CPU is where you should save some money.

Why?

Any well optimized title will harness the power of the GPU over the CPU. As long as your CPU can keep up, you can focus your money on the GPU.

View Budget Gaming CPUs

Focus on the GPU

As mentioned above, the GPU is the most important part of a gaming PC.

If you’re on a budget, you should cut corners elsewhere and focus that money towards buying a powerful GPU.

We recommend the GTX 1050 ti as the best budget gaming GPU.

View GTX 1050 ti on Amazon

Look for Deals

There are tech deals every day online. It’s easy to find them too.

Nearly all large tech corporations have a newsletter or email alert service.

Simply sign up, and let the emails flow in. More often then not they are notifying you about a great deal.

You can also negotiate on Craig’s List, use a deal finder, coupon codes, etc.

Ask Friends

Ask your friends about old PCs they might have laying around. Odds are they have an old computer in their house which is full of great parts.

If you’re lucky, they might have some spare parts they’d be willing to give you either for free or for a reduced price. It’s a great way to save money!

Save Money on Peripherals and LEDs

Most people want a case full of cool LEDs, a mechanical keyboard with different colors and the best gaming mouse.

While these things are great additions to a PC gamer’s setup, they’re NOT necessary. Any mouse and keyboard will do and you don’t need LEDs in your case.

It’s much wiser to invest this money in your gaming PC. Later on down the line if you have the money, feel free to invest it in these extra items.

Be patient

If you don’t have enough money to buy the best parts, that’s okay. Just be patient and save your money.

It’s better to wait and buy better parts than to impulse buy low end parts that won’t do you any good.