Whether you\’re figuring how to build your first gaming PC or just looking to upgrade your old gaming set-up, embarking on a budget gaming PC build can be pretty daunting. Putting together a rig that can play the latest games at the highest settings, while still keeping the cost down, is undoubtedly a challenge. It\’s easy to build a high-end rig, but it takes a lot more thought if you want to get the price down.
And while it\’s generally quite effortless to find deals on many components, the tricky bit is knowing which parts work well together and where you should focus your cash to make the most of your tight budget.
If it all seems too much, don\’t worry about phoning a friend either. There are plenty of cheap gaming PC deals available, and they come pre-assembled, too.
Buy it now
Prefer to buy a prebuilt PC? Check out our guide to the best gaming PCs. Or, if you\’d prefer to be portable, here are the best gaming laptops in 2020.
The budget for this build is $750, and we\’ve tested it thoroughly to make sure it offers the best possible performance for your money. This machine is able to run the majority of new games on high settings with 60fps at 1080p.
As with any PC build, research is vital. Grabbing a good deal on a typically pricey component is excellent, but just because it fits your budget, it doesn\’t necessarily mean it will work well with the rest of the machine. For this build, we\’ve spent most of the money on the CPU and GPU because these will make the most difference to the overall performance. That doesn\’t mean we\’ve scraped the bottom of the barrel for other components, though. While we haven\’t necessarily used the best RAM for gaming, it still boasts a high base clock speed.
Like our other build guides, the $750 we\’ve allowed for this budget gaming PC build doesn\’t include anything that lives outside of the case. If you\’re upgrading, this shouldn\’t be too much of an issue, but if you\’re starting from scratch, you\’ll need to make sure you set aside extra cash for a Windows license, a monitor, and a keyboard and mouse. If you\’re struggling with those additional expenses, you can opt for a smaller SSD or memory kit—both of which are easy to upgrade in the future when you have a bit more cash at your disposal.
Intel Core i5 9400F
Good for gaming and regular tasks, but can\’t handle streaming
Cores: 6 | Threads: 6 | Base Clock: 2.9GHz | Turbo Clock: 4.1GHz | Overclocking: No | L3 Cache: 9MB | TDP: 65W | PCIe 3.0 lanes: 16
Prime$166View at Amazon$195View at Amazon3 Walmart customer reviews
Typically runs at 3.9GHzIncludes a heatsink and fan
While we weren\’t able to upgrade to an unlocked CPU, we did manage to dial things up a few notches with the Intel Core i5 9400F. Intel\’s F-series of processors are reliable options for anyone on a budget so long as you have a dedicated GPU. While it does have a slower clock speed, an extra $20 gets you an extra pair of cores compared to the i3 9100, giving us a considerable increase in performance overall.
If you\’re looking for a modest upgrade, or want to try your hand at overclocking the i3 9350KF offers that capability at a slightly higher price point. You\’ll need to buy a heatsink in that case, and you drop to a 4-core CPU. It doesn\’t get close to the kinds of speeds we see in the best CPUs for gaming, but this still gives us all the power we need and not waste any potential with our GPU.
We\’ve also recently seen Intel release its 10th Gen desktop processors, Comet Lake, and the Core i5 10400 would also make a mighty alternative if that\’s more readily available in your region.
Nvidia GTX 1660 Super
A great graphics card for 1080p gaming
GPU Cores: 1,408 | Base Clock: 1,530MHz | Boost Clock: 1,785MHz | GFLOPS: 5,027 | Memory: 6GB GDDR6 | Memory Clock: 14 Gbps | Memory Bandwidth: 336 GB/s
$209.99View at NeweggPrime$229.99View at Amazon$229.99View at Best Buy
Excellent 1080p performanceOffers 1660 Ti performance but cheaper
While Nvidia has been quick to sing the praises of ray-tracing with its RTX cards, its line of GTX Turing GPUs offers decent performance on a budget. And the Nvidia GTX 1660 Super offers similar performance at 1080p to the 1660 Ti but at a reduced price point. While both cards share the same 6GB of VRAM the Super has fewer CUDA cores when stacked against the 1660 Ti and slightly lower clock speed, but its higher-clocked memory delivers higher bandwidth.
This card comes equipped with Nvidia\’s Turing architecture, but users of any of the later 10-series of GPUs won\’t see much in the way of improvement and would be better off looking to Nvidia\’s 20-series of GPUs in order to upgrade their performance. The 1660 Super lacks any hardware ray tracing features, but also doesn\’t have the necessary power to take advantage of them.
The real spotlight here is the price; before the 1660 Super hit the streets, you\’d have to pay for a 1660 Ti if you were looking for decent gaming performance, which at that point you were practically pennies away from an RTX 2060 anyway. In short, the 1660 Super gives you comparable performance to the 1660 Ti, just for around $60 less. If you\’re looking for a reliable 1080p card, the 1660 Super is one of the best graphics cards for gaming.
Gigabyte Z390 UD
A good budget Z390 board with upgrade potential
Chipset: Z390 | Memory: (4) DIMM, 128GB, DDR4-4266 | PCIe slots: x16 (x1), x4 (2), x1 (3) | Video ports: D-Sub, DVI-D, DisplayPort | USB ports: (6) rear IO, (2) internal | Storage: (1) M.2, (6) SATA | Network: Ethernet | Lighting: None
$129.99View at NeweggPrime$169.40View at Amazon
Affordable Z390 boardDoes everything you need
This modest Z390 board from Gigabyte has everything we need for a baseline gaming PC build. While it only comes with a single M.2 slot, there are still six SATA ports if you need additional storage. However, moving up to a Z390 chipset gives us a ton of headroom for CPU upgrades with compatibility reaching up to the 9900KS. This motherboard is about as simple and straightforward as it gets, and while it may lack some of the bells and whistles of the best motherboards for gaming, for a budget build, this will suit just fine.
If you\’re not looking for future-proofing, however, then you\’d be just as well served looking at either a B360 or B365 motherboard. These budget boards don\’t support overclocking, but will offer support for anything up to the 9th Gen processors and have decent feature and memory support too. You can\’t overclock on them, but you can shave around $25 off the build price.
G.Skill Aegis 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-3000
Plenty of memory for most games
Capacity: 2x8GB | Speed: 3000MT/s | Timings: 16-18-18-38 | Voltage: 1.35V
$57.99View at NeweggPrime$59.99View at Amazon$59.99View at Newegg
Sufficient for most tasksRelatively inexpensive
This slim, no-nonsense memory kit from G.Skill lets us deliver a huge amount of memory and increases our clock speeds too without going off the deep end with our budget. While indeed not the fastest RAM available by any stretch, lacking the flair of many RGB RAM kits, it\’s practical and sensible, which is what we need for this build.
There are, of course, tons of options when it comes to memory kits, and this is just a suggestion. While memory prices have steadied somewhat, there\’s always the potential for savings on higher quality RAM. You could technically get away with 8GB of RAM, but we\’d recommend sticking to 16GB and staying in the realm of 3,000 MHz instead.
Just make sure to pay attention to the frequency and timing, as well as the price. If you need some additional pointers when looking for memory, our guide to the best RAM for gaming can help point you in the right direction.
4. Intel 660p 1TB
High capacity and low cost make the 660p a winner
Capacity: 1TB | Interface: M.2 PCIe 3×4 | Sequential IO: 1800/1800MB/s read/write | Random IO: 220K/220K IOPS read/write
Prime$119.99View at Amazon$119.99View at Newegg$119.99View at BHPhoto
High CapacitySolid ValueEasy installastion
You can\’t have a PC without storage, and you\’re going to need space for your OS as well as whatever games you want to keep on hand. Thankfully, with memory and SSD prices dropping in pretty rapid order, we\’ve finally found a way to slot an M.2 SSD into our budget build. Not only are M.2 NVMe SSDs easier to install, but they offer better performance than their SATA counterparts. And at just over $100 for 1TB this Intel QLC drive is great value.
The transfer speeds of the Intel 660p, however, do tend to slow down considerably as it approaches capacity so you\’ll be grateful for all that space. This drive isn\’t exactly what anyone would call the top of the line performance, but if you\’re on a budget, this is still one of the best SSDs for gaming.
Just try to keep at least 100GB free, and it should perform fine. Or at least, no worse than any budget SATA SSD.
EVGA GD 500W 80+ Gold
More than enough power for a budget PC
Output: 500W | Efficiency: 80 Plus Gold | Connectors: 24-Pin ATX, (1) 8-Pin (4+4) EPS12V, (2) 8-Pin (6+2) PCIe, (6) SATA, (3) Molex, (1) Floppy | Modular: No
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Small, inexpensive, efficientCan power most single GPUs
The various upgrades to our budget rig draw more power than previous builds, so we\’ve had to go with a slightly larger PSU. It\’s tough to go wrong with a power supply as long as you\’re sticking with a major vendor. This non-modular unit from EVGA has more than enough juice for our needs. The fixed cable design does limit you somewhat in terms of expansion, but unless you\’re planning to put a second GPU in your rig, there\’s still modest headroom for overclocking if you choose to upgrade your CPU in the future. However, you\’ll need to look at the best power supply units for PC gaming if you want to take your upgrades even further.
Phanteks P300 ATX Mid Tower Case
Understated and attractive
Type: ATX mid-tower | Motherboard Compatibility: ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX | Drive Bays: (2) 3.5\” internal, (2) 2.5\” SSD | Front Ports: (2) USB 3.0, Audio | Fan Options: Front: (2) 120/140mm, Top: (2) 120/140mm, Rear: (1) 120mm, Bottom: N/A | Max GPU Length: 380mm | Dimensions: 450x200x400mm (HxWxD) | Weight: 6kg
Prime$149.81View at Amazon
Does what you needFront-loading HDD trays
Cases can be extremely subjective, and while it\’s easy to spend more than this, you\’ll be hard-pressed to find a better one for less than $60. We\’ve settled on this relatively spacious and inexpensive case from Phanteks. It lacks many of the bells and whistles that a more expensive case can provide, but it gets the job done without cutting too many corners.
There is a certain temptation to max out your budget on a pretty looking case, but it\’s important to remember this piece of your build will have virtually no impact on performance when compared to the other stuff you should be spending money on. Buy something that works and is easy to work with.
Or go ahead and make a fashion statement, just don\’t expect higher framerates.
All the totals here are correct at the time of publishing, and we update this feature regularly. The widget below will always show the lowest component prices our engine is tracking, but be aware they go up and down.