Strapped for cash, but need an entry-level gaming PC to run games like Apex Legends, Fortnite, & Rocket League? Then, this $300 gaming PC build will do the trick for you.
What if I told you that, for $300 you could build a decent entry-level gaming computer for 1080P gaming? No, it won’t be a high-end gaming PC that can max out today’s top games on high resolution monitors. However, for $300 you can put together a system that is capable of running most modern games on lower settings and non-demanding games on medium settings.
That’s pretty good performance for a low budget. And, this build will not only deliver solid performance now, but it is also set up so that it can easily be upgraded in the future to a system that will be able to max out games on a budget 1080P monitor.
So, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly system, keep reading to see how you can build one that will exceed your expectations.
For more PC build options, you can check out our Best Cheap Gaming PC Builds guide.
Part List for $300 PC Build
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 5 4600G|
|RAM||Patriot Viper 8GB|
|CASE||Thermaltake Versa H18|
Grand Total: $270-$330
*Component prices fluctuate daily. Click ‘Price on Amazon’ to see the most-up-to-date price.
**You’ll need an operating system. Windows costs ~$125. However, you can still install Windows for free and it will work indefinitely without activating it—there will just be a watermark at the bottom left of your desktop asking you to activate it.
Next Option: $400 Gaming PC Build »
$300 PC Build Overview
Not everybody has thousands of dollars to spend on a high-end gaming computer. However, the reality is that spending thousands of dollars on a gaming PC isn’t always necessary. And, if you’re someone who currently has a cheap laptop or older desktop that can’t run any of today’s top games, all you probably care about is getting a system that will at least let you play your favorite games.
With the build listed below, you’ll be able to run most of today’s popular games on lower settings on a 1080P monitor.
This $300 build comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 4600G APU, a 240GB SSD from ADATA, and 8GB of 3600MHz Patriot Viper Series DDR4 memory. The 4600G has decent integrated graphics built into it and should be able to meet your gaming needs until you can afford to add a dedicated graphics card.
The build also comes with an MSI 550W 80 PLUS Bronze rated power supply that will easily be able to power a mid-range graphics card when you are ready to upgrade. This power supply isn’t modular, though, and that will make the build process a bit more challenging. However, at this price point it will be tough to fit in a modular power supply without going over budget.
It also comes with a Thermaltake Versa H18 micro-ATX case. This budget-friendly case comes with a tempered glass side panel, a grilled front panel, and a PSU shroud. With the grilled front panel, you should get adequate airflow out of the box, but you might want to add a couple of case fans on the front panel in the near future to help keep your system cool.
NOTE: We’ve also linked to an affordable pre-built gaming PC in the section above. So, while you’ll get more performance out of the build listed below, if you absolutely don’t want to build a PC yourself, the pre-built desktop we have linked to will serve as a viable alternative.
Ryzen 5 4600G Benchmark
While we feel that the components listed above will give you the best value for your budget, there are alternative options that you can go with to either cut the price down further or to get more performance out of the system now…
Below we’ll go over what kind of performance you can expect out of this system, answer some common questions about this build, and tell you what upgrades you can make to turn this entry-level PC into a powerful gaming PC.
1. How Do I Build This PC?
You will need to assemble all of the individual components you have purchased into a working PC. Fortunately, this process is not difficult! And, it’s a lot of fun. If you’ve never built a PC before, use our Step-by-Step PC building guide to walk you through the process.
2. What Games Will It Run and What Framerate Can I Expect?
We’ve already discussed how the integrated graphics on the Ryzen 5 4600G are good enough to run most games on a 1080P monitor on lower settings. But, as a clearer picture of what this system is able to do, you can expect it to:
- Run non-demanding titles like Minecraft and Roblox at 60+ FPS on medium or higher settings
- Run eSports titles (Dota 2, League of Legends, Overwatch 2, etc.) at ~50-60FPS on medium or higher settings
- Run AAA titles (like Read Dead Redemption 2, Rise of the Tomb Raider, etc.) at ~30FPs on lower settings
If you mainly play competitive eSports games that aren’t super demanding, then the 4600G will have you covered. If you want to play AAA titles, the 4600G will be able to run them at lower settings, but you shouldn’t expect to get a high framerate at 1080P.
You can lower your monitor’s resolution to make these more-demanding games playable as well. It isn’t a great long-term solution, but it will get your feet in the door.
3. Why Go With A Single 8GB Stick of RAM?
For RAM, we chose a single 8GB stick of DDR4 memory. Rather than going with a 2x4GB kit to utilize dual channel memory, we opted for a single stick of RAM for one main reason:
There aren’t very many 2x4GB kits available.
The one 2x4GB kit that you can currently get is a 3200MHz kit. However, since Ryzen CPUs benefit from having faster memory and there were no options to get a 2x4GB faster than 3200MHz, we felt it would be better to get a single stick of 3600MHz memory instead. The 2x4GB kit is also a bit more expensive and with this tight of a budget, there isn’t much room to spare.
No, you won’t get the performance boost that comes from utilizing a dual channel memory configuration.
However, you can always add a second stick of memory in the future. And, the good news is that you’ll only need to save ~$20 to get another stick of RAM.
Just make sure that when you do add the second memory stick that you get the same exact stick you’ve purchased in this build, as issues can arise when you try to mix different RAM modules.
4. What About the High Cost of Windows?
While the price of this build will fall anywhere from ~$270-$330 depending on how the price of the components are fluctuating, this cost only accounts for the tower itself. It doesn’t account for the cost of an operating system, which you will definitely need in order to get the build up and running.
A brand new copy of Windows will set you back another ~$125. So, that will take the cost of this build up closer to $400 if you buy a copy of Windows brand new.
However, there are ways around paying $100 for Windows.
Use A Linux-Based Operating System?
You can choose to go with a Linux-based operating system for free. The downside, there, though, is that not all modern games can be run on a Linux-based system.
Buy A Windows Key for Cheap from A Third-Party Marketplace?
The other option to cut down on the costs of Windows is to buy it from a third-party marketplace. Sites like Kinguin.net or G2A.com have Windows keys for as low as ~$30. Some people question whether or not purchasing Windows keys from Kinguin or G2A is a good idea or not. We have covered the pros and cons of using a marketplace like Kinguin or G2A in two other guides, Is Kinguin Legit? and Is G2A Legit? if you want to read further into it.
Get Windows for Free?!?!
If you absolutely can’t afford to pay for Windows right now, the good news is that you can still install it on your computer and use it without having to buy a key for it. The downside is that without activating Windows, you will be limited in some areas on what you can do with your system.
However, even with an unactivated version of Windows installed on your computer, you can still play all of your games and use your system in a fairly normal manner.
The only real differences between an activated Windows and an unactivated Windows is in some customization options (for instance, you won’t be able to put up a custom wallpaper if you haven’t activated Windows.)
So, in the grand scheme of things, if you’re okay foregoing some of the customization options that require Windows to be activated, you could use Windows for free without ever activating it. And, at the very least, if you can’t afford Windows now, you could still always build your tower and use the unactivated version of Windows for the time being, until you can afford to purchase a key.
5. How to Upgrade This Build
The best part about this $300 gaming PC is that, with just a couple of upgrades, it can go from being an entry-level 1080P gaming PC, to a mid-range gaming PC that can max out pretty much any game you throw at it.
Here’s how I would upgrade this computer to get it to a mid-range gaming computer:
1. The first upgrade I’d make would be to add a mid-range GPU (~$175-$300)
The following GPUs would make for a good upgrade:
- AMD RX 6600
- NVIDIA RTX 3060
- Intel Arc A750
- AMD RX 6600 XT
- AMD RX 6650 XT
- AMD RX 7600
These GPUs will be more than enough to handle any game on a 1080P monitor right now and in the coming years. And, the good news is that, you won’t need to upgrade your power supply before jumping up to either of those options, as the provided 550W power supply will be able to handle any of these GPU upgrades.
2. The second upgrade I’d make would be to add a second 8GB stick of RAM (~$20)
For the next upgrade, I’d double the amount of RAM in this system by adding a second 8GB stick of Patriot Viper Series 3600MHz memory. This will take you from 8GB to 16GB, which will give you an ideal amount of memory for 1080P gaming.
You could even make the argument to upgrade your RAM before your GPU. It’s only a $20 upgrade and it will give you a decent performance boost both because you’ll be getting double the memory and you’ll now be able to utilize dual channel configuration.
3. The third upgrade I’d make would be to upgrade to a mid-range CPU (~$150-$300)
The motherboard in this build will support Ryzen 5000-series processors with a BIOS update. The following two options would be nice CPU upgrades:
You could also check out the older Ryzen 7 3700 or 3700X, especially if you’re shopping the used market. But, if it were us and we had a moderate budget to upgrade our CPU, we’d look at the 5800X3D as it will provide a significant increase to your in-game performance.
With a GPU, RAM, and CPU upgrade, you will now have a high-end gaming PC.
4. The fourth upgrade I’d make would be to add more storage (~$50-$150)
The other downside of this build is that it only comes with 240GB of storage to start out. That should be enough to hold over most gamers for a little while and the good news is that adding additional storage is pretty easy. And, so, the next upgrade to make would be to add additional storage.
If it were us, we’d add one large (1TB+) NVME SSD. You can pickup a 1TB SSD for ~$40-$50.
Also Read: The Best SSDs for Gaming
With all of those upgrades, you’ll now have a very capable mid-range gaming computer that can max any game out on a 1080P monitor.
Conclusion: This Build Won’t Blow You Away… But it Will Let You Play Your Favorite Games
No, this $300 gaming computer build isn’t going to let you max out games like God of War or Assassin’s Creed on a 1440P 144Hz monitor. You probably won’t even be able to run a game like Starfield on lower settings on a 1080P monitor with a playable framerate with this build.
However, you will be able to run less demanding games on lower-to-medium settings. And, the key there is that you will be able to runthem. For a lot of gamers who are stuck with older laptops or desktops that can’t run modern games, just being able to run newer games would be a huge upgrade. And, really, that’s who this build is for: people who have an extremely tight budget who just want to be able to play their favorite games.
This $300 PC build also has a simple upgrade path to becoming a solid mid-range gaming computer, too. So, it will not only work well for right now, but it will also give you plenty of potential for the future as well.
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