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Best Budget Gaming PC builds: Ultimate 2018 Guide

Last updated on Jan. 9th 2018

Online gaming is nothing short of amazing. According to the 2017 Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game industry, over sixty-five percent of American households are home to someone who plays video games regularly, and 67 percent of American households own a device used to play video games.

It’s safe to say, it’s today’s #1 source of entertainment, and it’s easy to understand why: they’re fun, provide a challenge, and creates camaraderie amongst otherwise complete strangers, hell, it even actively makes you practice and learn important life skills such as problem solving in a very stress relieving environment.

But did you know it’s also one of the most cost effective forms of entertainments today?

Longevity And Top Performance: Building The Best Budget Gaming PC

Bros, let’s face it: today’s computer industry titans wage their own arms race, they continuously one-up each other with newest technology and faster components, and it comes with a cost to us, their users:

  • We are forced to buy newer components in order to stay relevant, performance wise
  • Falling behind on specific upgrades may force you to buy a new budget gaming pc entirely

Are we hopelessly stuck in the gaming industry gods marketing scheme? Not entirely. With thorough research, ingenuity and taking advantage of the massive volume of hardware production, we can stay relevant without spending ungodly amounts of money. So, when it comes to investing our hard earned money into getting a top performance PC, what exactly do we want?

  • To get the best performance at the lowest cost possible
  • We want our budget gaming pc build to stay competitive, performance wise, for as long as possible

With these basic objectives in mind, we’ve designed several PC builds that are guaranteed to be an excellent, scalable investment. We’ve put together builds that will serve as a starting point for any gamer that wishes to run the latest, most popular games this year, but that can also be tweaked over time if you decide to do so.

In short, these builds and its components were hand-picked thinking of our bros enjoyment, so that you can kick ass even with a limited budget, that’s why we’re going to take the liberty of describing each builds, and why they’re guaranteed to be the best options in each of their price range category. Let’s get started!

Best Budget Gaming PC under 450 $

With a Motherboard (MB) that is suited for even the most badass i7 processor units plus having four (4) memory slots, this cheap custom gaming pc build is perfect as an entry level pc since it comes with everything you need for later upgrades into a more powerful computer. This build is equipped with a 3.5 Ghz Dual Core Processor (nothing too fancy), yet powerful enough to run several games at decent settings. Its Plug & Play Hard Drive is a solid cost-effective choice, and its one (1) Terabyte storage space should be more than enough for your gaming and work needs. We’ve chosen the 8GB Corsair Vengeance RAM stick to make sure your RAM memory doesn’t bottleneck your processor’s capacity.

For this cheap custom gaming pc, we’ve chosen an entry level piece for upper tier graphics (which is fancy way of saying: this GPU is an absolute monster considering its price). Being able to find a solid GPU that somehow stayed in budget was a challenge, but we guarantee you’ll be very happy with this choice. Did we mentioned it looks gorgeous? Because it does.

Finally, when you think of a cheap custom gaming pc, you’re probably thinking about those houses that look completely average from the outside, but are actually amazing on the inside. In this case, you’d be (happily) wrong. This budget gaming pc build has a crystal looking effect on the front that makes it look very fancy considering how much it actually costs.

What can you expect from the 450$ budget gaming pc build? Well, don’t expect it to be super-efficient at heavy duty rendering or even multitasking, try to experience its potential whether by running Photoshop or playing your favorite game but don’t run them at the same time!

Gaming Benchmarks

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GTA V

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CS:GO

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Battlefield 1

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Overwatch

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League Of Legends

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DOTA 2

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World Of Warcraft

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The Witcher 3

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Fallout 4

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Best Budget Gaming PC under 450$ Notes

It has a very practical design, thanks to a very well thought indent in the right side case door, proper cable management is easily do-able. Oh, and don’t be fooled by its light weight, it’s actually fairly sturdy for a cheap custom gaming pc.

When you’re talking about Power Supply Units, you can’t go wrong with EVGA. They’re one of the best, and it’s because they deliver everything you want on a PSU: good connector length and plenty of power to go around safely, not only for this build but for any other cheap custom gaming pc as well.

Best Gaming Pc Under 600 $

You’re probably wondering: Compared to the 450$ best budget gaming pc build, will investing an extra 150$ into it really make that much of a difference? Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Yes, just wait until you see the benchmarks at the end of this build’s review, they’ll impress you

Any gamer or PC enthusiast has heard of the “i5 processors” at some point, and it’s because they are amongst the most versatile, cost effective processors out there, they have amazing boot times (power up your pc and you’ll be fully loaded in under 20 seconds) while giving you excellent responsiveness when running Photoshop, Autodesk or video editing softwares.

Regarding its Motherboard either the previous build’s Asrock model (450$ best gaming pc) or this model which was released as an anniversary special edition, are both compatible with any Intel processor (i3/i5/i7). However we decided to present this Motherboard instead because it gives you the advantage of supporting triple monitors and also having USB 3.0 slots. Memory cards? We chose the Corsair Vengeance 8Gb models, any powerful cheap custom gaming pc will give you excellent speed results with these bad boys.

We decided this time to include a Seagate’s Hard Drive Barracuda. It’s perfect for any cheap custom gaming pc build in this range given how reliable it is. The GPU (Graphics Processing Unit, also known as Video Card) is an absolute trooper, I’d go as far as saying that it’s one of the most underrated GPUs out there, (even though it’s manufactured by an industry giant like MSI), it’s quiet and has some of the best built-in cooling systems to avoid those nasty FPS spikes that can ruin your gaming session.

When you get a case, your priorities should be: having enough space for your PC parts, a proper cooling system (so you can protect your pieces and get the most out of your build) and finally, aesthetics (don’t underestimate having a slick, lightweight case). This one covers all these priorities plus it comes with those beautiful LED lights that so many of us appreciate when enjoying some late night pc time.

Gaming Benchmarks

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GTA V

High Settings (Frames Per Second)

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CS:GO

High Settings (Frames Per Second)

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Battlefield 1

High Settings (Frames Per Second)

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Overwatch

High Settings (Frames Per Second)

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League Of Legends

High Settings (Frames Per Second)

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DOTA 2

High Settings (Frames Per Second)

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World Of Warcraft

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Batman: Arkham Knight

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Fallout 4

High Settings (Frames Per Second)

Notes on the 600$ Best Budget Gaming PC

If you’re unsure on what sort of motherboard you should get to avoid compatibility issues, this is a solid pick. This MotherBoard (and the 450$ build) are excellent for any cheap custom gaming pc build regardless of its price range.

Any gamer or PC enthusiast has heard of the “i5 processors” because they are amongst the most versatile, cost effective processors out there, and performance wise, they’re often referred to as a milestone in the industry. Any cheap custom gaming pc should consider them as an option.

Definitely packs a punch and is manufactured by an industry titan. Can’t go wrong with a tried and tested product, really, having a cheap custom gaming pc build doesn’t mean you have to give up quality!

This GPU will allow you to really pump your FPS while gaming in this cheap custom gaming pc, and thanks to the processor we’ve chosen for this build: you won’t experience any bottleneck issues.

You’ll be storing all your precious data in a market approved hard drive: A cheap custom gaming pc is all about cost effective and durable options.

Sturdy, modern and reliable… And that LED light? It’s just gorgeous, and it’s one of those details that lets you know there was a lot of thought behind its design, talk about icing on the cake for a cheap custom gaming pc.

As we progress through our builds, you’ll notice our energy requirements start to ramp up. When you get a power supply, you’ll want to be absolutely sure it has enough juice for all your components, and some extra power leftover in case you decide to upgrade your cheap custom gaming pc.

Best Gaming Pc Under 900 $

Let’s start by saying that we decided to go with an i5 processor and not an i7 for two critical factors:

  • If you correctly overclock your components, you’ll unlock an incredible potential you’d never thought possible, without having to splurge on a very expensive processor that is better suited for a workstation anyways.
  • While both processors are part of the “i5 family”, if you will, this CPU is considerably more powerful than the one featured earlier. So even if you don’t overclock your pc (don’t know how to do it or are not interested in doing it in the near future) you’ll still get the absolute BEST performance for your money

The Motherboard we chose for one of the best gaming pc builds under 900$ is simply put, excellent. Its BIOS (the menu that pops up when you press esc/delete while your Pc is booting) comes with a fan controller option that lets you cool your system any way you want, perfect for avoiding overheating issues AND a very user friendly overclocking menu. For this particular build we were a little bit reluctant in substituting our good ole corsair memory cards, however we looked at a few choices for our bros and ended up going for the G Skill Ripjaws, because they were built specifically for high performance gaming, and they offer so much power for a more than reasonable cost (These sticks will last you for quite a long time).

Let’s talk a bit about the type of hard drive we chose for this under 900 bucks best gaming pc build:

You can’t talk about higher end gaming without including a Solid State Drive (SSD). They’re definitely reserved for those with a larger budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t save money by making a smart purchase. If you’re going for a build focused on maximum performance, then this SSD is definitely the one for you. The jump from using an HDD to SSD is quite simply, breath taking, but this SSD just blows any other SATA SSDs away (it’s about 2.5 times faster than any of them for this price range).

Plus adding a standard 1TB Western Digital internal Hard Drive is an excellent choice. You can surely dedicate its storage capacity to music, videos and work files, leaving the heavy duty to your SSD.

When it comes to high-end GPUs, the most cost effective one has to be the GTX 1060, and here’s why: If you want a GPU that performs, and are not particularly interested in having twin cards just because of its looks, then look no further. You won’t even have to overclock this beauty, because it’s guaranteed to net you excellent FPS in all of the latest games.

Finally, we get to this under 900$ best gaming pc builds case: There’s just something incredibly beautiful about this case, and it must be because we have a weakness with minimalist designs (hopefully our bros share this with us) It’s extremely compact, sleek and has tons of room just to make your cable management that much easier. The price allowed us to spend more on other components without going over our budget, so it’s indirectly helping you get those precious extra FPS.

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GTA V (ULTRA Settings)

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CS:GO

High Settings (Frames Per Second)

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Battlefield 1

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Overwatch (ULTRA Settings)

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League Of Legends

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DOTA 2

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World Of Warcraft (ULTRA Settings)

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The Witcher 3: A Wild Hunt

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Fallout 4 (ULTRA Settings)

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Notes on the 900$ Best Budget Gaming PC

It has plenty of PCI slots and USB 3.0 headers, plus MSI is one of the leading manufacturers regarding CPU quality.

The Cooler Master Hyper is also making a comeback for any cheap custom gaming pc, their 120mm Fans are nothing to scoff at, throw a spacious case and several heat dissipations built in systems in all the pieces we listed, and you got yourself a safe and cool computer, guaranteed not to overheat. Definitely a great plus for a cheap custom gaming pc of this tier.

Having more RAM will help you cut down on those awful, sometimes even embarrassing loading times when you’re enjoying your games. These memory sticks are always on demand, and are highly rated by anyone who’ve ever used them. The result these babies give redefine what a cheap custom gaming pc of this tier should be.

Say good bye to stuttering, and if you keep your drivers up to date, this card, on stock settings, will outperform almost anything out there. It’s a monster, and at a much more affordable price than the beefy twin cards models.

This GPU will allow you to really pump your FPS in game since it’s the best pairing up with the chosen CPU for this cheap custom gaming pc build.

Awesome facts of this best budget gaming pc’s storage devices:

Solid State Drive:

Just between us, I’m really surprised Intel hasn’t re-priced it yet, Forget about cables. Plug this bad boy in, tighten the screws and prepare for speed and high-end performance.

Hard Drive:

Even businesses consider buying this specific hard drive because it almost seems like they’re specifically built to prevent data loss. Pretty awesome for a cheap custom gaming pc build in this range huh?

We previously featured this Power Supply Unit in our best budget gaming pc build under 600$, and we decided to use it again, because it’s powerful enough to feed this rig and saving you some bucks better allocated in other critical components. It goes to show that this amazing PSU really is all about cost efficiency.

Best Gaming Pc Under 1500 $

If you were saving for a beast build that could satisfy your every gaming expectation, then look no further bros: we can proudly say this build maxes out in synergy, and performance without reaching godly levels of spending. Rest assured, we’ve hand-picked every component to ensure you won’t have any compatibility or bottleneck issues.

Also, for those of you looking for a gaming PC AND a workstation, you’ll be happy to know why this under 1500$ best gaming pc will most definitely deliver.

First, let’s start by saying, that this processor is so powerful, that it can be considered overkill for any of the best gaming pc rigs out there, that’s precisely why we can guarantee not only top notch performance, but longevity in the novelty driven PC components market. With this processor, you can confidently say, you have the best budget gaming pc under 1500$, without the shadow of a doubt. It won’t break a sweat even when you crank your graphics settings to the max in any game we tested!

Its multiple cores make it an amazing choice for a workstation, so multitasking is a walk in the park for the i7. It can even handle moderate server workloads!

In case you’re wondering, this model is unlocked for overclocking (you don’t really need it to fully enjoy its benefits), the cool part is that it comes with an Intel 5 year warranty.

Bro Tip:

In your Windows “Power options” make sure to turn on “High Performance” radio-button instead of default “Balanced” choice for this best budget gaming pc.

The ASUS Z170-A is one of the most complete motherboards out there, especially for its price, it’s not only compatible with a whole range of high end components, but it also comes with several neat features: you can overclock your CPU to 95% of its maximum frequency, improve your power efficiency, network prioritization and cooling within the BIOS.

  • Once you’re there, remember to go into the Advanced BIOS, and under Monitor Tab, you’ll be able to turn off the fan settings if you’re using a cooling unit.

When it comes to high end gaming, you’ll want to reach that sweet 3200 MHz benchmarks that translates into awesome visual quality and top of the line consistency, that’s why having 32GB RAM opens up a whole new world of activities for those interested in streaming, or editing video/photos. It flattens any chance of having stutters while gaming, and to multitask at will on any project you got on the side.

What about the 1500$ best budget gaming pcs Video Card? (GPU): Well, if you’re interested in 1080P gaming at the lowest price, look no further: the 1060 is so cost effective that it’s almost ridiculous, it allows you to max every video settings on your games without sacrificing frame rates and it can handle all 3D games in very high resolutions, again, when paired with the processor we recommended, you won’t bottle neck its performance.

Bro Tip:

Keep in mind that using the latest OS and drivers will maximize each components performance regardless of the best budget gaming pc you choose to assemble:

For example, using Windows10 as your Operating System will give you a slight edge over having Windows 8 or Windows 7.

Another top of the line addition for this 1500$ best budget gaming pc is the Cooling Unit. Now that you’ve invested in a top of the line gaming build, you’ll want to protect your components. This portable CPU cooler will muffle your processors noises, keep it in optimal temperature, and push your graphics card to the limit safely.

FPS

GTA V (Max Settings)

MAX Settings (Frames Per Second)

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CS:GO (Max Settings)

MAX Settings (Frames Per Second)

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Battlefield 1 (Max Settings)

MAX Settings (Frames Per Second)

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Overwatch (Max Settings)

High Settings (Frames Per Second)

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League Of Legends

High Settings (Frames Per Second)

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DOTA 2 (Max Settings)

MAX Settings (Frames Per Second)

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World Of Warcraft

High Settings (Frames Per Second)

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Batman: Arkham Knight

High Settings (Frames Per Second)

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Fallout 4 (Max Settings)

MAX Settings (Frames Per Second)

Notes on the 1500$ Best Budget Gaming PC

The top of the case is perfect for mounting exhaust fans or any liquid cooling set you want to add. With an elegant placement of the power button and top USB ports Thermaltake really nailed the design on this case. It comes with a three year warranty with Thermaltake, talk about major quality assurance!

Solid State Drive:

This drive will boost just about every application, file transfers and even your boot times. Having a Solid State Drive is mandatory for high-end gaming, and we’ve found this model to be extremely cost efficient.

Hard Drive:

Can’t go wrong with Toshiba, 3TB storage and a two year guarantee of excellent performance is more than we could ask for. You’ll be storing your valuable data here, so you’ll want a highly rated and dependable Hard Drive.

The great thing about this power supply unit is that it’s the best product Thermaltake has released in years (and that’s saying a lot). The reason?
The internal components of this unit are 100% not generic and backed by Thermaltake itself, it even comes with a 10 years warranty in case of failure. It works fantastically under the most demanding conditions (which is a plus if you’re thinking of overclocking it). And if it wasn’t enough, it’s a 750 watts PSU, so it’s a flat 50+ Watts difference over ANY other PSUs in this price range. Did I mention it’s quiet too? Because it is.

Bottom line: cheap custom gaming pc equals quality for the lowest price possible!

 

Our Top Budget Gaming PC Builds