Building the best cheap gaming PC arguably takes more techie smarts than simply putting together a super high-end rig. It’s all about compromises and knowing where you can make concessions to price without necessarily tanking gaming performance… and that’s a lot harder than just picking the most expensive silicon and jamming it all into one PC.
Let’s be honest for a second, PC gaming is not the cheapest of hobbies. Though that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s impossible to still create the best budget gaming PC with a level of performance that might just surprise you. Okay, you won’t be able to pack the latest and greatest hardware into your chassis – as we have in our guide to the best gaming PC builds – if you’re having to be a little parsimonious about your component picks, but there is some fantastic last-gen kit still available for a great price.
And that’s what’s allowed us to put together this high-quality, low-cost cheap gaming PC that’s still able to fling frames around without a care and nail 1080p gaming in even the most demanding modern games. And yes, it’s another all-AMD build…
For all their undoubted performance AMD’s Ryzen 3000 CPUs still only offer modest gains over their Ryzen 2000 brethren. And the last-gen Zen+ processors are still in stock, still on sale, and still deliver excellent gaming performance for a bargain price. Not just gaming either – this is our cheap gaming PC build and we’re still packing in the Ryzen 5 2600, a six-core, 12-thread processor that’s able to offer impressive returns in productivity tasks too.
We’re going a little further back for the GPU, with the Radeon RX 570 you’re looking at a Polaris generation GPU from nigh on three years ago. Normally it would be sheer folly to recommend anyone pick up a graphics card from that far back in the mists of time, but the RX 570 still has a lot to offer, particularly against GPUs in its price bracket.
It’s a little shy of the RX 5500 XT and GTX 1650 Super in terms of gaming performance but it’s also at least $50 cheaper too.
Best cheap gaming PC
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 5 2600||$120||£115|
|CPU cooler||Wraith Stealth included||Free||Free|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte B450M DS3H||$73||£65|
|Memory||8GB Crucial Ballistix Sport||$39||£37|
|Primary storage||1TB WD Blue HDD||$45||£35|
|Graphics card||XFX RX 570 4GB||$120||£109|
|PSU||EVGA 450 BT||$51||£40|
|Chassis||Corsair Carbide 100R||$55||£45|
|OS||Windows 10 64-bit||$27||£20|
CPU – AMD Ryzen 5 2600
Cores: 6 | Threads: 12 | Max boost: 3.9GHz
The last-gen Ryzen 2000 CPU has still got the goods when it comes to gaming performance and with those 12 threads of processing power it’s still a meaty productivity chip too.
Motherboard – Gigabyte B450M DS3H
Chipset: B450 | Socket: AM4
The smaller-scale Gigabyte B450 board is great-value option, and with that diminutive size you’re only really sacrificing the needless potential for multi-GPU support.
Memory – 8GB Ballistix Sport LT
Kit: 2x 4GB | Speed: 2,400MHz
Higher-speed RAM can make a big difference to an AMD Ryzen setup, and fitting a dual channel setup rather than a single stick is important too, even when you’re on a budget.
HDD – 1TB WD Blue
Socket: SATA | RPM: 7,200
At this level it’s tough to finance the installation of an SSD with enough space to act as a boot drive and have enough space for games, so a HDD is a necessary evil… at least to start with.
Graphics card – XFX Radeon RX 570 4GB
GPU: Polaris 20 XL | Cores: 2,048
The second-gen Polaris GPU might be getting a little long in the tooth now, but you won’t find as powerful a graphics card this close to the $100 mark.
Power supply – EVGA 450 BT
Capacity: 450W | Modular: No
This 450W PSU gives you room to grow in terms of both CPU and GPU, but you’re necessarily sacrificing the modular design to hit this lower pricepoint.
Chassis – Corsair Carbide 100R
Windowed: Yes | Support: ATX
Corsair makes some gorgeous PC cases, but it also makes very affordable ones too. This is a simple, no frills chassis, but no less solid for it.
OS – Windows 10 Pro 64
Price: $27 | £20
Unless you want to sacrifice half your Steam library to the vagaries of Linux support, you’re going to need an OS. You can purchase license keys very cheaply, however.
Total: $530 | £466
That’s a great price for a cheap gaming PC build and will deliver some decent gaming performance for the money too. But there are a few little tweaks you can make if you’ve got a little spare cash to play with that could make a big difference to your experience.
Drop in both the faster RX 5500 XT and the lightning-quick Addlink SSD and the total price only goes up to around $625. And that’s still a good budget gaming PC price to me.
And you can see the extra gaming performance a little GPU upgrade gets you in our graphics card comparison and in the benchmarks below…
Graphics card – AMD RX 5500 XT 4GB
GPU: Navi 14 XTX | Cores: 1,408
For another $50-odd on top of the price of the old school RX 570 you can pick up the latest budget GPU from AMD instead, the Navi-powered RX 5500 XT. The 4GB version is more affordable and still performs.
Graphics card – Nvidia GTX 1650 Super 4GB
GPU: TU116 | 1,280
Sporting the same GPU as the GTX 1660-series, with more cores and more advanced memory compared with the laggardly standard GTX 1650, the Super is sometimes able to outpace the pricier RX 5500 XT in games.
Storage – 512GB Addlink S70 SSD
Socket: PCIe Gen3 | Memory: MLC
Sure, it’s half the storage of the 1TB HDD, but only another $30 or so you get an exponentially faster SSD, and one that will make your gaming rig instantly feel pacier.
Credit: Source link