In the past, many considered making a 300 dollar gaming PC build a futile endeavor. Using new parts, there’s no way you’d get the sheer value that you could from, say, a prebuilt computer! While this is still true to a certain extent, there are compelling options available today that you can use to get a good cheap PC that can become great with time and upgrades.
This is our Best Cheap Gaming PC Under $300, made with two goals in mind: providing the best possible value, which is kind of necessary to have a viable PC in this price range, and components that afford upgradeability so that you can turn it into a better gaming PC in the future.
While we’ll talk more about its upgradeability later in the article, there’s a lot more you should expect from this build:
Good eSports Performance
Fortnite, Overwatch, and CS:GO should all perform great with this build at Low/Medium settings. While you won’t be blown away by stellar graphical performance, you will be able to enjoy acceptable performance without needing to upgrade.
The Ryzen 3 2200G makes up the beating heart of this build. This is an APU which means it acts as both the CPU and GPU in a traditional PC build. In fact, APUs are made just for these sorts of budget builds. The CPU performance is on par with that of an Intel i3 chip and the integrated GPU performance is on par with that of a GT 1030.
This provides both an amazing value CPU and entry-level GPU performance in one and means that whenever you upgrade your GPU in the future, the strong CPU performance means you won’t need to worry about being bottlenecked until you go past roughly RX 580 performance levels!
Many cheap PC builds decide to skimp on everything but the CPU and GPU in order to provide the best “value”. We decided against this, since bad PSUs can lead to full system failures or even fires (and fires can lead to your house being turned into coal… at least if Don’t Starve is to be trusted).
Moreover, crummy, low-quality components will work just like that: crummily. Fortunately, we still managed to provide a great value without endangering you or your system.
How We Choose the Parts
At least once a month, we check the internet for possible changes on price and search for better alternatives to give you the best budget gaming PC build for your money.
Being in the industry of gaming and computers for almost 10 years now, we know just how important it is to make sure everything is compatible and up-to-date.
This is why we make sure we don’t only check reviews, forums, and guides online when new parts and computer hardware come out. Instead, we also check what our fellow professionals in the industry have to say.
The Best Cheap $300 Gaming PC Update:
AMD Ryzen 3 2200G
The Ryzen 3 2200G takes the place of the CPU and GPU in this build, and offers the best gaming value in this price range.
Patriot Signature 8GB DDR4-2666 RAM
Patriot’s 8GB of DDR4 RAM gives us the memory we need from a trusted manufacturer.
MSI B350M PRO-VH-PLUS Motherboard
A basic motherboard from a trusted manufacturer serves as the backbone to this budget build.
Thermaltake Versa H15
Thermaltake’s Versa case offers a perfect body for this $300 gaming PC build.
Estimated $302.35 at Amazon
(Price are accurate as of January 16, 2019. Click the button to see the latest prices)
This is one tight, budget-oriented gaming system designed to be the best 300 dollar gaming PC. It’s not going to blow any new games out of the water, but should give you a perfectly enjoyable gaming experience overall, especially for eSports titles.
The Ryzen 3 2200G is a stellar value for the money, beating out the previous APU (CPU + GPU combination) in this price range by a significant margin. The integrated GPU’s performance is on par with that of the GT 1030 for about the same price. The CPU even competes with the higher-end i3-8100 on its own. This means that once you’re able to afford a GPU upgrade, you don’t need to replace your CPU at all, making this a beginner gaming PC build that you can use for future upgrades.
For this build, we opted for Patriot’s Signature 8GB DDR4 RAM Kit, including 2 4GB RAM sticks.
With AMD APUs, it’s important that you don’t skimp out on your RAM. (The embedded GPU needs to use RAM, too!) This RAM didn’t come cheap, and it does push our budget a little bit, but it is a vital investment for making sure that this PC works as intended. In particular, we made sure that we opted for dual-channel RAM to ensure that the RAM runs at the intended speed: using only a single RAM stick results in single-channel and a performance penalty, which nobody likes.
Fortunately, with a fully-fledged 8GB RAM kit at your disposal, you’ll be more than equipped to push your APU to its maximum capabilities and achieve the desired result in this price range.
Fortunately, storage has gotten a bit cheaper than it was the last time we upgraded this build. This time around, we can afford to stuff a full-speed 1TB hard drive in it, ensuring you have plenty of space to store your games and media on your PC! While it won’t have the speed of an SSD or the sheer capacity of a 2TB hard drive, this is a decent place to start. However, if you’re willing to splurge a little out of the gate, then we included an 2TB option in the upgrades (we really do recommend at least 2TB.)
MORE: Best Gaming Hard Drives
While there are a few cheaper PSUs out there we could’ve gone with to lower the price even more, we decided not to because these were from no-name, untrusted brands. Some didn’t even have an 80+ Bronze rating! Low-quality PSUs are not only a danger to your build, they’re a danger to your life, since there’s a very real chance they can combust in your system and start a fire.
There is a singular problem with this PSU: the form factor. Specifically, this is a non-modular PSU, so the cable management…isn’t going to be very fun, and will make the initial build process a bit more time-consuming than you might like. In exchange for the inconvenience, though, you save a decent amount of money, which we were able to put toward other parts of this build to meaningfully increase performance.
The MSI B350M PRO-VH-PLUS Motherboard is an entry-level motherboard that does its job well at this price range. MSI is also a generally reliable manufacturer that will help you out if this board happens to arrive with any issues out of the box.
Additionally, this motherboard also ships with support for first and second-gen Ryzen processors. While you may be on a relatively-weak APU solution for the time being, there’s nothing stopping you from one day slapping in a Ryzen 3 or Ryzen 5 processor! The Ryzen 3 2200G is also strong enough on its own to power a GPU as strong as the GTX 1060/RX 580, so you don’t even need to upgrade your CPU if you don’t want to!
MORE: Best Gaming Motherboards
The Versa H15 isn’t going to win any awards for top-of-the-line case manufacturing, but for a budget case it has quite a lot to offer.
First and foremost, let’s talk about its cooling: it has 1 included fans for the rear and 4 options to install 2 front and 2 top fans for intake and exhaust. This means that you’ll have full-fledged airflow with only 1 more.
Secondly, it’s a compact case with a sleek and refined aesthetic. You can’t ask much more from a budget case offering.
Finally, it’s just cheap. You aren’t gonna find a better case than this at this price range.
MORE: Best PC Cases
Why is This The Best for the Price of $300?
Simply put, this is the best 300 dollar gaming pc because of its value. And thanks to the Ryzen APUs quad-cores, it will be even stronger in non-gaming performance, so common desktop usage and multitasking shouldn’t be a problem (unless you start pushing the RAM).
Another of this build’s core strengths is its upgradeability. Once you slap in a proper discrete GPU, like the GTX 1050 Ti or the RX 580, you’ll have an extremely potent gaming machine. In turn, slapping in an extra 4GB of RAM will ensure easy, breezy multitasking. If you start desiring a stronger CPU solution, you’re on a modern AMD Ryzen chipset… so there’s nothing stopping you from slapping in a Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 CPU a few years down the line.
Yes, this is a starter PC build. There’s no questioning that. Thanks to its modern chipset and stellar CPU performance, however, it can easily become an amazing gaming PC build in its own right with just a little bit of extra time and money put in.
What games can this PC run?
In this section, we’re going to tell you how this game should be able to run your favorite games.
- Fortnite - In Fortnite, this build should be able to achieve 60 FPS at 1600x900 and medium settings.
- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds - In PUBG, you’ll want to play at 720p and low/medium settings for acceptable frames. If this is your main game of choice, we highly recommend upgrading to the $400 PC build.
- Monster Hunter: World - MHW should be playable at 900p30 with medium-high settings with this PC build. Upgrade to the $400 PC build if this isn’t enough for you.
- League of Legends - League of Legends is fairly lightweight, so 1080p60 won’t be a problem here.
- Dota 2 - Same as above.
- Overwatch - Overwatch is playable at 1080p60 with low/medium settings.
- Rainbow Six: Siege - Siege is actually playable at 1080p60 with low settings. The Ryzen cores in this system really carry their weight here.
- Warframe - Warframe should be playable at 1080p and Medium settings with this gaming PC build.
- Grand Theft Auto V - At 720p and low-medium settings, achieving 60 FPS shouldn’t be a problem at all. In 1080p, however, you’re more likely to average in the 40-50 FPS range.
- Team Fortress 2 - TF2 isn’t particularly graphically-intensive, and the Ryzen cores in here are actually pretty good. 1080p60 should be achievable with the Ryzen 3 2200G.
Similar Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $300?
This build, which is possibly the cheapest gaming PC build available (and certainly the cheapest viable build) is perfect for entry-level enthusiasts or those on a budget. However, there are gamers who aren’t down with getting their hands dirty (Note: your hands should be clean when you are PC building.).
If you have little to no time to do all the research, comparison, and piecing together that’s required with a beginner gaming PC build (after all, it can be intimidating to build your first PC), then fret not-- you’re not forgotten.
Below are several respectable prebuilt PCs that are $350 and lower:
NOTE: These will raise the price of the build!
The ADATA SU800 Ultimate 256GB SSD is a great entry-level SSD. We recommend either using this to replace your hard drive entirely, or to supplement a larger HDD.
An SSD can be used to hold your OS and your programs to ensure they all have rapid-fire loading times. When used alongside an HDD, however, you’ll want to store most of your games and media on the slower HDD.
We hate recommending HDDs below 2TB, due to the poor value proposition that they offer. This Seagate Barracuda drive is amazing for storage/price, and we highly recommend replacing the hard drive in your build with this if you can afford the extra squeeze.
This build actually uses an APU, meaning it uses an integrated GPU. However, you can upgrade the GPU while still utilizing the APU as your CPU.
This is where the EVGA GTX 1050 Ti comes into the picture. With a low-profile and quality build this graphics card represents a huge performance boost over the integrated GPU, allowing you power well beyond that of the Xbox One.
MORE: Best Graphics Cards
Due to the lack of an intake fan with the case, we highly recommend you buy one of these to use as an intake for your PC. Good airflow will ensure optimal performance and a long life for your components!
Noctua’s NF-F12 fans may be a little expensive, to be fair, but they’re also whisper-quiet and great performers in their own right. That’s why we recommend them here.
MORE: Best Case Fans
For an easier building process, buying this semi-modular PSU should save you some cable management stress. While this isn’t a strictly necessary part of building and will cost you extra, it’s much easier than dealing with a fixed, bulky set of cables that come with non-modular PSUs.
OS Options and Recommended Peripherals
Most build articles assume that you have these down on your own, but in case you don’t, we have you covered.
Note: These will raise the price of your build!
For the best gaming performance and general compatibility, Windows 10 is your best option. If you already have a retail-bought Windows license on another PC, you should be able to transfer over your installation with little-to-no issues.
If you don’t, however, you may need to shell for the cost of a brand new Windows 10 installation.
If you can’t afford that, Linux distributions are free and getting better all the time. Out of them, we most highly recommend Ubuntu Linux and Linux Mint for usability and dev support. Linux, however, will have quite the learning curve compared to what you’re used to with Windows.
Mouse and Keyboard
If you don’t have any basic input devices around, don’t worry. These will serve this $300 gaming PC fine.
Logitech MK120 Kit
The Logitech MK120 Kit is an amazing keyboard+mouse combo pack for this beginner gaming pc build as this includes a quality-built mouse and keyboard for a low $15 price. Common in office and school environments, this kit is well-tested and should last you awhile for the cheap entry price.
If you don’t have a monitor or HDTV laying around, the Asus VH238H is a solid entry-level 1080p monitor. With a 2ms response time and 23-inch size, it should also serve you perfectly fine in your desktop browsing and gaming experience. If this monitor doesn’t seem like a good pick for you, then look at our huge 20 monitor roundup!
No point in shelling out for the a beginner gaming PC build or the gaming computer under 300 dollars if you’re going to use crappy monitor speakers or iPhone earbuds. Make sure you grab one of these if you’re serious about a good gaming experience.
Meanwhile, the Corsair Raptor HS40 is a budget-oriented gaming headset that doesn’t compromise on the performance you need to have a competitive edge. With this headset, you can comm clearly to your teammates and hear your surroundings perfectly- all without breaking the bank.
If you’re on the go a lot or need Wi-Fi access, the TP-Link Archer T4U will serve you well. It’s relatively cheap but will provide you about as good a Wi-Fi experience as you’re going to get on your PC.
Wired (Ethernet Cable)
If you’re serious about gaming, though, buy this ethernet cable off Amazon and don’t torture yourself with an unstable wireless signal.
If this is your first beginner gaming PC build or computer, check our 12 Mistakes that Every Newbie PC Builder Makes article. This-- along with our 15 Common Questions About Building a PC -- should help give you an idea of what to watch out for when you’re ready to start placing everything together.
Invest In Antistatic Equipment
Buy an anti-static wristband if you don’t want to risk zapping and ruining your shiny new GPU with static discharge (Also, avoid rubbing balloons on your head, trust me.). The peace of mind is more than worth the extra few dollars (ditto for the balloons thing).
If you’re not sure how to actually use the thing, then it might also be worth checking out our How to Use An Antistatic Wrist Strap guide.
An anti-static mat can also help by giving you a nice, safe place to rest your components when you aren’t holding them.
Watch Building Guides
While there are many-- and we mean many-- computer building guides on Youtube (and the internet at large), Tek Syndicate’s computer building guide is our favorite.
And, as mentioned in the video, you’ll also want to be sure that you consult the manuals that come with your hardware during the building process.
Here on our very own website, we have detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to build a PC. This includes everything from deciding a budget, maintaining your computer long-term.
Between these three resources, you shouldn’t have a problem putting together your first PC!
Install OS Via USB
First, grab a 4GB USB stick.
Then, if you’re going to use Windows 10 (which we recommend for compatibility if nothing else), use the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool and follow the in-program instructions to create a Windows installer that can fit in your pocket.
If you’re wanting to go against the flow, then you might want to look into Ubuntu or Linux Mint. If that sounds like your style, then use UNetbootin or Rufus instead. This will also walk you through the process, but keep in mind that Linux and Ubuntu do not support many of the games and software you’re accustomed to using.
It may have taken a lot of penny pinching to create a good gaming computer under $300, but in the end we feel it was certainly worth it, especially if it helped you get into PC gaming when you had previously not had that opportunity.
By opting for a good and inexpensive gaming PC or computer instead of a console, you can enjoy all the benefits of the PC platform. This includes upgradeability, a device that you can use for more than just playing games, and, perhaps most importantly, a cheaper overall gaming experience.
Oh and platforms like Steam, GOG, and Humble Indie Bundle can save you a lot, even the latest AAA games. This is because the computer platform isn’t locked down to one publisher or storefront (like consoles are), so there’s real competition (yay, free-market!).
Are there improvements you’d like to share? How did you find the build?
If you’re having second thoughts or are unsure about something, comment down below so we can help you out!