A few days ago, we published a guide dedicated to building a cheap gaming PC focused on what can be considered to be high-end. Its price was very good for such range, although it was out of reach for gamers with tight budgets.
We are aware of this, so we decided to make a second guide focused on building a low-cost gaming PC where we will shape a system capable of running any current game in 1080p resolution (Full HD) at a high or very high quality and with good FPS.
As usual, we will give you a full list with the components that we have chosen, always trying to get the best quality-price ratio, although you can modify or even add more components if your budget allows it.
We will discuss this possibility in the respective sections, where we will give you some suggestions as a basis that will help you if you have any doubts. As always, if you have any questions, you can leave them in the comments section.
The platform, and therefore the motherboard, should be the starting point when building a PC. We want to build a low-cost gaming PC, which means that we have to keep an eye on this component without exceeding our budget.
We will use AMD’s AM4 platform, but since we have a limited budget, our best option is the B350 chipset as it will allow us to use advanced features and overclock the processor.
Bearing this in mind, we have chosen the GIGABYTE AB350M-Gaming 3. We were able to test this motherboard once and it offers an excellent quality-price-performance ratio.
We have a lot of interesting options, but our budget prevails, so we have to search directly for the cheapest units to keep the price at a minimum.
This is why we have chosen the RYZEN 5 1400. This is a processor that has four cores and eight threads running at 3.2 GHz – 3.4 GHz in normal and turbo mode, respectively.
It supports overclocking and we can do it easily thanks to its RYZEN Master platform, which let us control the voltage and the temperatures at all times.
We can take it to 3.8 GHz seamlessly with its default cooler (a Wraith Stealth). We recommend you to take this as the maximum frequency as it is the best consumption-performance-temperature ratio that it offers.
This is an essential component that we need to keep an eye on. Luckily, we had the chance to test the AM4 platform on different builds thoroughly, so we already know exactly what modules are now more compatible with RYZEN, giving us the best quality-price ratio.
We recommend you the Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 CL15 kit featuring two 4 GB modules, each one rated at 3000 MHz. Once the kit is installed, we advise you to overclock it through the BIOS settings at a 2933 MHz frequency with stable latencies.
Alternative: if your budget allows it, you can go for the 16 GB kit.
This is a key point. We have very interesting options thanks to the new RX 500 units, but we will look for the cheapest alternatives in order to keep the price as low as possible. However, we will not make big sacrifices since we are building a low-cost gaming PC, and its overall performance will depend greatly on this component.
For the above reasons, we have chosen the Sapphire Radeon RX 560 with 4 GB GDDR5. This is an affordable graphics card capable of running any game smoothly and seamlessly at a good quality in Full HD.
Alternative: if you want an NVIDIA unit with similar performance, the MSI GTX 1050 is a good option for €125, especially if you plan to use Linux.
If you can go a little over the budget, we recommend you the Sapphire RX 570 Mini for €179.
This is an easy choice because our goal is to keep our budget as small as possible, which means we have to go with HDD units since the cheaper SSDs have little storage capacity and those offering around 500 GB are still too expensive for a high-end PC.
We decided to install a 1 TB Toshiba DT01ACA100 at 7200 RPM. This unit will cover our needs at a minimum price.
Alternative: if your budget allows it, it would be a good idea to use this unit as your secondary drive and install a 60 GB or a 120 GB SSD as your primary drive for little more than the OS.
We have a low-cost gaming PC with a low power consumption, so a mid-range power supply that meets the minimum quality and leaves us room for future upgrades is enough.
We chose the Aerocool KCAS 500W 80 Plus Bronze for its quality-price ratio. This power supply will let us use the whole PC seamlessly, even if we decided to install an RX 570.
This choice is quite personal, and as we have said before with other builds, you can always modify the case as long as you make sure that all the components fit and that it has good ventilation.
We chose the Nox Pax Red Edition USB 3.0 because it is a low-cost case with a quality finish that will meet each of our short and long-term needs.
The total price for this PC’s basic build (RX 560, 8 GB of RAM and 1 TB HDD) is €600.9.
This build tops other low-cost builds that we have done before, but it is important to bear in mind that we have a last generation processor with four cores and eight threads, meaning that it offers a better performance on CPU dependent games and a longer lifespan.
Before we finish, I will show you the results obtained with this low-cost gaming PC so you get an idea of what it can offer (with the processor clocked at 3.8 GHz):
- Battlefield 1 at maximum 1080p (DX 11): an average of 40 FPS.
- DOOM at 1080p and maximum quality (Vulkan): an average of 68 FPS.
- Watch Dogs 2 at 1080p and maximum quality: an average of 31 FPS.
- The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt at 1080p and maximum quality: an average of 43 FPS.
- Overwatch at 1080p and maximum quality: an average of 91 FPS.
- The Division at 1080p (DX 12) and very high quality: an average of 36 FPS.