- 1 Custom Build Overview
- 2 Custom Build Components
- 3 Custom Build Details
- 4 Prebuilt Overview
- 5 Prebuilt Components
- 6 Prebuilt Details
- 7 Peripherals
- 8 Closing Thoughts
Budget PC gaming has always been a great thing for many users, and a lot of people simply can’t buy pricey components to enjoy high-end gaming. Fortunately, the market offers a lot of good cheap components that make it easy to make a budget gaming PC. In this article, we will be looking at various options for budget PC gaming that will make your selection a breeze.
Best Gaming PC Under 300 Dollar – Build Overview
Customs builds are the core of PC gaming, and most people prefer buying a custom PC instead of prebuilt ones just for the sake of peace of mind, upgradeability and overclocking support. Moreover, custom builds are usually expensive than their prebuilt counterparts, for the most part. However, some elite-class prebuilt PCs cost more than custom builds, such as Alienware gaming PCs, etc.
Another great aspect of the custom build is that you can change the components over time, if you get bored with your casing over time, you can sell it and get a new one while there is a big chance that a prebuilt PC might not allow you to do the same due to proprietary components. There are a lot of things to be considered when building a custom PC, so let’s have a look at the details.
Budget – There are many strategies for building a custom PC when you are tight on the budget. A budget like $300 is the bare minimum, and you must spend at least this much money if you want to get something that you can enjoy for a while. Moreover, you can go for a low-end build first, which you can upgrade later, or you can buy a mid-end build that does not provide an upgrading path. For most people, it will be better to consider buying the low-end upgradeable build because you don’t know what are going to be the demands of the upcoming AAA games and it is always better to have an upgrade path ahead.
Aesthetics – We all want a gaming PC that provides top-notch aesthetics and getting an attractive gaming PC under $300 is a very difficult task. Still, we have managed to get something that not only looks cool but it also doesn’t compromise in the performance department.
Performance – As for the performance is concerned, the custom PC we are recommending, it is based on an APU and APUs are not so powerful that you can play AAA games at high settings. However, you will be able to enjoy most games at smooth frames per second at low settings. Meanwhile, you can always upgrade your GPU for better performance.
Upgradeability – Having an upgradeable path is a great concern for most PC gamers and that is why we have gone with a build that provides an extensive upgrade path for you. You will be able to upgrade the processor to a high-end one and the same can be said about the graphics card.
Cheap Gaming PC Under 300 – Build Components
GIGABYTE B450M DS3H
AMD Ryzen 3 2200G
XPG Z1 DDR4 3000MHz 16GB
THERMALTAKE Smart 600W 80+ White
ADATA SU635 240GB
*Component prices fluctuate daily. Click here to check current pricing.Order This Build on Amazon
Now, these components are selected very precisely and a lot of time was spent on analyzing the performance and value of these products. The price of the build does exceed $300 but we doubt that such a small difference is going to matter to anyone.
300 Dollar Gaming PC – Build Details
Now, we will be discussing each of the components one by one, so stay tuned.
Since we have selected the AMD platform and there are lots of motherboards available in the market, the selection of a motherboard was quite time-taking. We have selected GIGABYTE B450M DS3H for the build, and it is surely a great motherboard. First of all, GIGABYTE is a renowned company that designs some of the most attractive motherboards of all time while not ignoring performance factors by any means. The looks of the motherboard are beautiful, and it looks like a high-end motherboard unless one reads its model. The motherboard also provides RGB lighting, which in turn, is compatible with the GIGABYTE RGB Fusion technology, which means that you will be able to synchronize the RGB lighting of the motherboard with other components that support RGB Fusion.
B450 is the mainstream motherboard chipset for the 1st and 2nd generation Ryzen processors, that also provides support for Ryzen 3rd generation processors by BIOS updates. It provides noticeable improvements over the B350 chipset when it comes to memory timings and clocks, which is why you will be able to use even 3600 MHz memory with some of these boards. At the same time, most of them easily provide support for 3000 / 3200 MHz memory. A particular thing to note here is that B450 motherboards do not support SLI or Crossfire technology and only the X-series AMD Motherboards provide this feature. But then again, this feature is quite irrelevant to budget gamers and the high-end single graphics cards seem to be more than enough for even the enthusiast community.
Now, in terms of memory support, the motherboard provides four RAM slots, and B450 chipset can provide dual-channel support, which means that it will be better to use at least two memory sticks to maximize the potential of the memory.
The power delivery of the motherboard is quite impressive and it provides 4 + 3 phase power delivery. You can do decent overclocking on this motherboard too, and if you later upgrade to processors like Ryzen 5 2600 or 3600, you can easily overclock them to 4.0 or even 4.1 GHz. The power components are coupled with good heat-sinks and you don’t have to worry about the high temperatures of the VRM.
As for the I/O, you get four USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, a LAN port, three audio 3.5 mm jacks, a Dual-Link DVI-D port, an HDMI port and the legacy PS/2 port. As for the slots, you get two PCIe 3.0 X16 slots and one PCIe 3.0 X1 slot. Moreover, you get an M.2 slot, although we will advise you to use SATA storage devices if you are tight on budget.
As for the price of the motherboard is concerned, it is one of the cheapest B450 motherboards in the market, and even then it often goes on sale, which makes it a beautiful product.
Overall, the capabilities of this motherboard exceed the requirements of most budget gamers and you will be fine using this motherboard for even high-end builds.
When it comes to processors, AMD Ryzen-series processors have stirred up the market, and these processors are extremely competent in the market right now. The first generation Ryzen processors gave a tough competition to the Intel Coffee Lake processors, and after that, the legacy continued with their 2nd generation and 3rd generation processors. The older Ryzen processors seem to have lower clock speeds than their Intel counterparts, but their IPC was the same as the Intel, which is why their performance was very close to the Intel processors. However, the latest Ryzen processors provide better IPC, and their clock speeds are better than older generation processors too.
The processor we have chosen for our $300 build is AMD Ryzen 3 2200G, which is a 2nd generation Ryzen processor and it is one of the most demanding budget gaming processors these days. There is a 3rd generation processor named, AMD Ryzen 3 3200G, which performs somewhat better than this processor but the budget did not allow us to use that processor for this build and this processor too, does a fine job at budget gaming.
Now, let us talk about the features of this processor. As the name of the processor indicates, it is a Ryzen 3 processor, which means that it is a low-end processor. Moreover, the first digit 2xxx indicates that the processor belongs to the 2nd generation Ryzen processors. A great thing about this processor is that it provides a great graphics processor, which is indicated by the letter ‘G’ at the end of the name of the processor.
When it comes to core capabilities, Ryzen 3 2200G is a quad-core processor that provides four threads too, which means that it does not support the SMT technology, which is the AMD counterpart for the Intel’s HyperThreading technology. Fortunately, the cores are unlocked unlike Intel processors, and the processor can be easily overclocked to 4.1 GHz, increasing the performance of the processor. The stock clocks of the processor are although configured at 3.5 GHz base clock and 3.7 GHz Turbo clock, where the turbo clocks are only for a single core.
Since the motherboard we have selected capable of overclocking this processor, we will advise you to overclock the processor to 4.0 GHz or 4.1 GHz. Another great thing about the processor is that it comes with an impressive stock cooler unlike Intel, the AMD Wraith Stealth cooler. The cooler is capable of handling the overclocking of this processor, and in fact, you can easily overclock up to Ryzen 5 2600 to 4.0 GHz on all cores without having a bad effect on the life expectancy of the processor.
When it comes to graphics, the processor supports Radeon Vega 8 graphics, which provides eight cores and runs at a frequency of 1100 MHz. This GPU is not a very good one, but it will allow you to play most games at stable 30 FPS at low to medium settings in combination with 720P resolution. Moreover, you can play older games at a stable FPS using the 1080P resolution.
Selecting the perfect memory for AMD Ryzen systems is essential because the performance of the Ryzen-based systems is greatly dependant on the memory. That is why we have selected XPG Z1 DDR4 memory that is clocked at 3000 MHz. The kit contains two memory sticks of 8 GB memory size each, which makes a total of 16 GB. It is to be noted that 16 GB of RAM is more than enough for the next couple of years and you won’t have to upgrade your memory.
As for the clocks, the memory is clocked at 3000 MHz, and Ryzen, 2nd generation processors, support 3000 MHz by default. Moreover, you can push the memory to up to 3200 MHz or even 3466 MHz if you are lucky with 2nd generation Ryzen processors and up to 3600 MHz with 3rd generation Ryzen processors.
The memory sticks have memory timings CL16-20-20, which is impressive, as most of the 3000 MHz memory sticks have CL17 or higher latency. The memory is rated at 1.35 volts and if you are into overclocking, make sure to increase the voltage of the memory. Moreover, the sticks have copper heatsinks on them, which means that you won’t have to suffer from high temperatures on the sticks. Also, the memory sticks come with a lifetime warranty, which is just perfect.
A power supply is one of those components which are often overlooked, and we are saying this once and for all that a PSU is the core component of your system, and if you cheap out on the power supply, you will have to suffer more than just performance loss. You could end up with a burnt processor, motherboard, storage or all of these, which is a nightmare for any of us. That is why we have selected a power supply that is capable of handling most of the mid-range systems.
THERMALTAKE Smart 600W is an 80+ White certified power supply, which means that it is not so good in terms of efficiency. However, efficiency is the least of your worries. A power supply should provide you with a stable voltage, and also, it should provide necessary protections in case of power failures or other accidents. Fortunately, this power supply is quite good in terms of these features, as it provides OPP, OVP, and SCP.
It provides a powerful single 12v rail that is rated at 42 Amperes of current, which leads to around 504 watts of power. This means that even if you upgrade your processor to Ryzen 5 3600 and graphics card to RX 5700 XT or RTX 2070, your power supply will be able to juice all these components easily. Moreover, you get a supreme five years of warranty on this power supply, so that you don’t have to worry about its failure.
A case is like a house to your system components, and it provides a lot of functions. First of all, the compatibility of your system components is greatly dependant on the case, and if your case does not support the components, you won’t be able to install them in the first place. Moreover, the case is one of those components that are directly visible on the desk, and you don’t have to take a peek as you would do for the motherboard, cooler, or graphics card.
We have selected COUGAR MX330-X for our $300 build because it is one of the cheapest yet sturdy cases that provide the latest features as well. First of all, the case does not have a transparent side panel, although there is space for a fan on the side panel, which means that the case prefers performance instead of aesthetics. Still, the front panel of the case is pretty beautiful, and the case is quite slim as well. Due to the mesh front panel, you get powerful airflow, although the case comes with only a single fan, which is fine considering Ryzen 3 2200G is not a power-hungry processor. Therefore, you should look at installing extra fans when you consider upgrading the processor or the graphics card.
As for the compatibility, this case is a mid-tower case that can host ATX motherboards. So, you would be fine with the current GIGABYTE motherboard, which is, in fact, a micro-ATX motherboard. There is enough GPU clearance as well for you to install even the tri-fan graphics cards.
As for the I/O, you get three USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, two 3.5 mm audio jacks, a power button, and a reset button. As for the expansion bays, you get a single 5.25-inch bay, two 3.5-inch bays, and two + two 2.5-inch bays (two of them converted from the 3.5-inch bays). Moreover, you get seven expansion slots in this case, and you can install a maximum of six 120 mm fans, two at the front, two at the top, one at the rear, and one at the side. At the side, you can even install a large 200 mm fan, which would actively cool the motherboard and other components.
The case provides great cable management as well, although the cables would not be visible in the first place due to the opaque side panel. There is a PSU shroud in the case as well, which can be used to hide all the PSU cables in an efficient manner.
Conclusively, this is a very durable case that provides a solid build quality, impressive cable management, and great compatibility, although you can go for the acrylic side panel case for the same price, that goes by the name MX-330.
A storage device is a beneficial component for a gamer and a lot of games these days are taking a toll on the disk space. That being said, selecting the storage device was much difficult than we thought because the gap between SATA SSDs and SATA HDDs is so minor now that we decided to select an SSD instead of HDD.
We have selected ADATA SU635 240GB for our custom build, which is currently priced at $29.99. For the same price, one can get a 500 GB HDD, but the performance drop is significant, not to mention that booting windows on an HDD these days seem intolerable. Therefore, you should go with this cheap SATA SSD, which will allow you to play many games before you run out of disk space. Moreover, you can upgrade the disk space by buying a 2 TB or higher-capacity HDD later.
As for the performance of this SATA SSD is concerned, you get powerful random read/write and sequential read/write of 520 MB/s and 450 MB/s respectively. The MTBF of this device is quite good, too, at 1,500,000 hours. The operating temperature of this SSD is – 40 to 85 degrees, which means that even during heavy loads, you won’t suffer from any kind of failure.
300 Dollar Gaming PC Prebuilt – Overview
If you think that you don’t have the heart for a custom PC build, you can go for a prebuilt PC, and it will save you from all the worries of assembling and taking care of each component. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about the compatibility of the components, and you get a perfectly compatible system. All the cables and other stuff inside the PC are already connected, so you can use the PC right out of the box. A prebuilt PC does not offer lots of customization, although and you might have to stick with various components, especially the case and the motherboard. So, let’s have a look at the details of the system that we have selected for you.
Selecting a pre-built PC under $300 was a painful task and despite searching a lot, we couldn’t come up with a new product that would cost less than $300 and yet offer great value. Therefore, we went with DELL Precision T3600 Refurbished, which is one of our all-time favourite computers as well. The details of this computer are given below.
Cheap Gaming PC Under 300 Prebuilt – Components
DELL T3600 X79-Based
Intel Xeon E5-1607
16 GB DDR3 ECC
NVIDIA Quadro 4000
635 Watt 80+ Gold
DELL T3600 Proprietary
1 TB HDD
Prebuilt Gaming PC Under 300 – Details
Now, let’s have a look at the details of each of these components.
DELL T3600 X79-Based
DELL T3600 is one of the most powerful single-processor workstations of its time, and the motherboard of this workstation is an absolute beauty. It is based on X79 chipset, which is a HEDT chipset and hosts extreme-series Intel processors with LGA-2011 socket. The motherboard supports processors with four cores to up to twelve cores, although we are more interested in processors having 4 – 8 cores, as such processors have high clock speed, which is excellent for gaming performance.
Now, coming to the other features, there are four RAM slots in the motherboard, which can hold 16 GB of RAM each and the motherboard accepts both the ECC and non-ECC RAM sticks, which means that you can use either of the two types of memory sticks in the motherboard. A great thing about the motherboard is that it supports quad-channel memory, which means that the bandwidth of the memory would be double the bandwidth of mainstream computers because they use dual-channel memory.
There are a plethora of PCIe slots in the motherboard as well, which can get useful for the future and you could use audio cards, WiFi cards, etc. However, you don’t get an M.2 slot in this motherboard, which is why you must have to install PCIe add-in card if you ever purchase an M.2 SSD.
A particular thing about this motherboard is that it does not has a port for display because the processors it supports do not have an onboard graphics card and you must use an external graphics card.
Overall, the motherboard of this workstation is very promising and even by the today’s gaming standards, it provides powerful solutions.
Intel Xeon E5-1607
Intel Xeon E5-1607 is a low-end processor for this platform, and it provides four cores and four threads. It is based on Sandy Bridge-EP architecture, which means that it is similar to the third generation Intel extreme-series processors in architecture, like Core i7-3820. The processor is clocked at 3.0 GHz, which is rather low for games, although it should be able to provide smooth frames per second for most of AAA games before 2017. Moreover, the cache of the processor is quite good, at 10 MB, which could get handy in various situations. It provides four threads, which means that it does not support Intel Hyper-Threading technology, which makes it similar to third-generation Core i5 processors in performance, although the quad-channel memory makes it somewhat better.
Conclusively, this processor should be able to handle all games at 30+ FPS and most games at 60+ FPS too. However, you should upgrade to processors like Intel Xeon E5-1650, as it provides two extra cores, supports Hyper-Threading technology and also operates on a higher frequency. That processor can be good for a couple of years more and can provide you with up to stable 100+ FPS in most games.
16 GB DDR3 ECC
The workstation supports a maximum RAM capacity of 64 GB, which is overkill for gamers, although the frequency of these RAM sticks is quite lower than the DDR4 sticks of these days. Thankfully, the quad-channel memory does help in this matter, doubling the memory bandwidth, as mentioned earlier. The workstation comes with 16 GB of RAM, which is enough for most games and you won’t get bothered by low memory warnings.
NVIDIA Quadro 4000
The workstation comes with NVIDIA Quadro 4000 graphics card, which is not a very good graphics card, as of today’s standards; especially not in terms of efficiency. This is a workstation graphics card, however, it does not mean that it cannot be used to play games and you can game fine on these ones. However, it has a similar architecture to the NVIDIA’s 400-series graphics cards, the Fermi-based GPUs.
It provides 256 shader processing units, which are considerably slower than the SPUs of current architectures, as the architecture is quite old and the clock rates of the graphics card are rather low. The memory of the graphics card is although 2 GB GDDR5, with the memory bandwidth of 89 GB/s.
With this graphics card, you can play most of the AAA games before 2016 with stable FPS using low to medium settings. The good thing is that although the workstation does not officially support the latest graphics cards, it works with them just fine and you wouldn’t have any problem using the latest graphics card in this system.
635 Watt 80+ Gold
DELL T3600 comes with 635 watts of 80+ Gold power supply, and it is a very high-end power supply, as expected from a high-end workstation. The form factor of this power supply is completely different from the standards of these days, and the workstation uses a proprietary solution for power. However, you can upgrade the power supply to the PSUs of higher-end workstations like Dell T5600 or T7600, although we don’t think that a budget gamer would need that much power.
The power supply can easily host even the most powerful single graphics cards of these days, although there is only a single 12v rail dedicated for PCIe power connectors. It means that you can use a graphics card with a maximum power of around 275 watts. However, this limitation can also be taken out by joining two rails together, although it needs a bit of expertise and you should not do that unless you are curious about it.
DELL T3600 Proprietary
The case of DELL T3600 is uglier than the cases we see in the market these days, but that is the only disadvantage of this computer. It is, for sure, built very strongly and provides a good cooling solution as well, however, if you prefer a beautiful-looking chassis, there is no other way than to do paint-jobs or use bomb stickers. We have witnessed many cases like these, and the result is quite pleasing, to be honest.
1 TB HDD
The workstation comes with 1 TB of storage, which is fabulous for a start and you can install tons of games with this much space, especially because you would be playing older games until the upgrade.Check Price on Amazon
The peripherals of a computer system greatly affect the feel of it, and that is why we are suggesting the best-valued peripherals for your system, although these products will raise the price of your computer system.
For budget gamers, we recommend Logitech G203 Prodigy gaming mouse, and it is one of the cheapest gaming mice that provides high performance and good looks. It is an ambidextrous mouse, which means that you can use this mouse even if you are a left-hand user. The Logitech logo at the back is RGB-lit, and the lighting effects can be controlled through the software. The shape of the mouse is fine for both the claw-grip users and the fingertip-grip users, although the height of the mouse is not that good for palm-grip users.
The mouse uses a similar sensor to the PMW3360, which is a well-renowned sensor and is completely flawless. The weight of the mouse is quite good too, at just 85 grams, which makes it great for FPS games. There are two side buttons in the mouse, which can be used to do lots of functionalities with the Logitech software.
All-in-all, this is one of the Best budget gaming mouse and you should definitely check the details of this mouse if you are interested in buying one.
A gaming keyboard is mostly a mechanical one, and that is why we are suggesting a great mechanical keyboard for budget gaming. Bloody B975 is one of the latest keyboards that provide with optical switches, top-notch RGB lighting and Doubleshot keycaps. It is surely a bit on the expensive side, but it is worth every penny. The design of the keyboard is good for the most part. However, the included wrist-rest is quite ugly. The keyboard comes with either brown linear switches or orange clicky switches.
For gaming, we would advise going with linear switches, and these are one of the best linear switches that we have used in our lifetime. The switches feel super smooth, have a fast response time and are great at bouncing back. The acoustics profile of the switches is also excellent, and it provides a unique sound. The keyboard uses SMD RGB LEDs in the keyboard and to amplify the lighting. The switches use a prism lens. You can use lots of lighting styles through the software and even create your animations if you want. Moreover, each switch is stabilized with stabilizer wires, which is why there is very less wobble in the switches. The keycaps of the keyboard are although thin, they are Doubleshot ABS keycaps, which is why the legends on these keycaps will last decades.
Overall, this is one of the best budget keyboards for gaming and you cannot go wrong with this product.
A headset is an important component in gaming and you should not cheap out on a headset, especially if you are interested in esports gaming. That is why you should invest in buying HyperX Cloud Alpha, which is an over-ear semi-open-back headset. The design of the headphones is quite pleasant, and it provides gaming looks as well, thanks to the red and black colour theme. The comfort level of the headset is unimaginable, and you can barely feel this thing on your head. The earpads are thick and soft while there is enough padding on the headband as well.
The performance of this headset is amazing whether you do professional gaming or listen to high-resolution music. The sound clarity and level of detail are astonishing, and one cannot just believe it that such a cheap headset can provide this good sound quality. The impedance of the headphones is a bit on the higher side, which is why if you want to drive these headphones to maximum potential, you should invest in a cheap headphone amplifier.
We have tried our best to provide you with excellent solutions for budget gaming and these prebuilt and custom PCs will do a fine job at gaming. As both solutions provide a proper upgrade path for the future, you can turn them into serious gaming machines in the future, which would enable you to do high-end gaming. Moreover, the peripherals that we have suggested are also the best-valued products, and you cannot go wrong with these devices, even if you want top-notch performance.