The Best $400 Gaming PC Build for 2024

A $400 build for entry-level 1080P gaming.

$400 Gaming PC Build for 2024
With a budget of just $400 you can build a solid gaming computer that will allow you to game at 1080P in 2024.

No, you won’t be able to max out Starfield or Cyberpunk 2077, but if you play non-demanding titles like Minecraft, League of Legends, or Valorant, the build we’ve provided below will work well for you.

And, if you’re looking for a starter PC that will be easy to upgrade into a higher-end system in the future, this build is for you.

In this guide, we’ve listed all the parts you’ll need to build this system, as well as covered what kind of performance you should expect to get.

How We Choose

Over the past decade, Tech Guided has been able to help thousands of gamers build their first PCs. We update our build guides regularly to ensure that they always consist of the best possible components for a given budget.

We research each part we choose and use our years of hands-on experience with computer hardware to help guide our selections.

You can get some insight into how we choose parts for our builds by watching our Beginner’s Guide to Choosing Parts series on YouTube.

Important: For help choosing parts or for any questions you might have, check the FAQ section below, or ask a question in the comment section.

If you want to check out more affordable build templates at various prices ranges, check out more builds on our Affordable Gaming PC Builds guide.

Part List for $400 PC Build

AMD Ryzen 3 4100 Gigabyte A520M S2H _Asrock Challenger Intel Arc A380 GDDR6 6GB Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L
CPU AMD Ryzen 3 4100

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MOBO Gigabyte A520M

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GPU ASRock ARC A380

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RAM TEAMGROUP 16GB

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SSD KLEVV 512GB

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CASE CM Q300L

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PSU MSI 650W

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Grand Total: $370-$430

PRICE ON AMAZON »

*Component prices fluctuate daily. Click ‘Price on Amazon’ to see the most-up-to-date price.

**Price includes the parts that make up the tower only. You’ll need an operating system and Windows costs ~$125 for an activation key. However, you can still install Windows for free and it will work indefinitely without activating it with no problems—there will just be a watermark at the bottom left of your desktop asking you to activate it.

$400 PC Build Overview

This system is a little different than our $300 gaming computer build because instead of going with an AMD Ryzen APU, we instead opted for a quad-core AMD Ryzen 5 4100 processor and a dedicated Intel ARC A380 graphics cards.

And, while you could go with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600G APU for this build, we felt going with a Ryzen 3 4100 and ARC A380 would offer you more performance now.

Ryzen 3 4100 + Intel ARC A380

 

While the Ryzen 3 4100 and the ARC A380 aren’t the strongest CPU-GPU combination, they are still a very capable combo for entry-level 1080P gaming. The A380 will allow you to run most games on the A380 on at least lower settings. And, you’ll be able to max non-demanding titles out with no problems.

However, we’ve designed this part list with upgrades in mind. We’ve sacrificed a bit of CPU and GPU performance in order to fit in a better motherboard and power supply, so that upgrading this system will be as easy as dropping in a new CPU (ideally something like an AMD Ryzen 7 5700 X3D) and graphics card.

Other Components

As for the other components in this build, this system also comes with 16GB of TEAMGROUP’s 3600MHz DDR4 memory, a budget-friendly KLEVV 512GB SSD, and an MSI 750W 80-PLUS Bronze-rated power supply.

The 650W power supply is perfect for this build, because it will allow you to upgrade to a mid-range GPU down the road. Options like an RTX 3060, RX 6650 XT, or RX 7600/7600 XT will work as upgrade options.

And, finally, we chose the Cooler Master Q300L micro-ATX case for this build. It’s a very affordable mATX chassis that offers enough room to house this build as well as an upgrade to a higher-end GPU in the future.

Why Build A PC?

Why You Should Build A PC

Build FAQ

Ultimately, in our opinion, the parts above are what will help you build the best gaming PC for under $400 (make sure you check for fluctuating prices, though.) However, there are other routes you can go with this build.

So, below we’ll discuss what some of those other routes are, as well as what kind of performance you can expect out of this $400 gaming PC, and the types of upgrades you can make to it to turn it into a powerful 1080P gaming machine.

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.

How to Build A Gaming PC: Step-by-Step

2. How Will This Build Perform?

In terms of how this $400 gaming PC will hold up against today’s top games, you can expect to be able to run less-demanding games on a 1080P monitor on higher settings, and more demanding games on a 1080P monitor at lower settings. But, for an example of what kind of a framerate you can expect to get out of some of today’s more popular games, you can watch the benchmark video above, or check out the bullet point list below:

  • This build will be able to run games like Rocket League, League of Legends, Minecraft, Roblox, etc. on higher settings at ~100+ frames per second
  • This build will be able to run more demanding AAA titles on lower settings at ~60+ frames per second

For just under $400, that’s pretty darn good performance. You’ll be able to play any game on a 1080P monitor. Yes, on more demanding games you’ll have to turn the settings down, but at least you’ll get to play them. And, for popular eSports/competitive titles that aren’t very demanding, the CPU/GPU combination will be able to handle them with ease.

3. How You Can Cut the Price Further

While this build is pretty barebones as is, you could potentially cut the cost down a bit more. Here are a couple of ways you can save even more money on this system in order to lower the price:

  • You could opt for a cheaper power supply and save some money. If you drop to too low-end of a power supply, though, it will hurt your ability to upgrade the system in the future. And, you need to make sure you don’t choose a cheap knock-off unit, as it could cause harm to your system.
  • You could save a small amount of money if you opted for an HDD over an SSD. But, we’d strongly recommend that you stick with an SSD.
  • Check out our $300 build for a cheaper (but less powerful) option.

And, that’s really about it.

You could always shop for used components to cut down on costs. And, at this low of a budget it wouldn’t be a horrible idea to consider going the used route.

Typically we recommend that you choose new components for your system, as they will come with a warranty to protect your purchase. However, with such a low budget, it is tough build a brand new system that will offer an ideal in-game experience. There’s obviously more risk in purchasing used components, but you can build a more powerful system for the same price if you’re willing to take the risk.

However, if you want a brand new system, those list of options above would probably be the best way to get the price down a little bit more.

4. Why Does Windows Cost So Much?

One way or another, you’re going to need an operating system to get this build up and running. If you buy a copy of Windows along with this build, that’s going to set you back an extra $125—which, for some of you, will put this build out of reach.

However, there are a few ways around paying $125 for Windows 11:

Also Read: How to Install Windows 11 Without a Microsoft Account

First, you could install a free Linux-based operating system. You won’t be able to play certain games that aren’t compatible with Linux, but you will save $125.

Second, you could buy a Windows 11 key from a third party marketplace for ~$30. I’ve had good success purchasing Windows keys from Kinguin.net or G2A.com in the past, but there is definitely some risk involved in purchasing a Windows license from a third party source.

Finally, you could just install Windows 11 for free and not activate it. In my opinion, this is probably the best route to go. Essentially, Microsoft allows anyone to install Windows onto their computer without forcing them to activate it. And, for the most part, you can still use Windows normally even when it’s not activated. The only thing you will lose out on is some customization options like setting your desktop’s wallpaper. But, I think in order to save $125, that is not a bad trade-off cost. And, at the very least, you could run the non-activated version of Windows until you can afford to purchase an activation key for it.

5. How to Upgrade This Build

While this $400 gaming computer won’t max out today’s top games on a 1080P monitor, it will give you the potential to upgrade it to be a system that can max out those games. In my opinion, this system is only one major upgrade away from being able to max out most games on a 1920 x 1080 monitor, and a couple of more upgrades after that away from being a really solid all-around computer.

Here is the upgrade path I would take for this system:

The first upgrade that I’d make would be to add a solid mid-range (or higher) graphics card.

The following GPUs would make for a good upgrade:

  • NVIDIA RTX 2060
  • AMD RX 6600
  • NVIDIA RTX 3060
  • Intel Arc A750
  • AMD RX 6600 XT
  • AMD RX 6650 XT
  • AMD RX 7600

Fortunately, the power supply in this build will be powerful enough to accommodate any of the graphics cards listed above. If it were me, I’d try to save up for one of the options listed above, because for 1080P gaming, those will allow you to max out any game with ease.

You could also upgrade to a high-end graphics card as well (like an RX 7800 XT, RTX 4070, or RTX 4070 Ti)—but that would also require upgrading the PSU as well.

Compare: RTX 4070 vs RTX 4070 Ti: Which GPU Should You Get?

After you upgrade the graphics card, you can also consider upgrading your monitor as well. Depending on what graphics card you upgrade to, you could also opt for a higher refresh rate monitor or a higher resolution monitor. For an NVIDIA card, an affordable G-Sync monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate would be worth looking into—especially if you play competitive-driven titles like Rocket League, PUBG, COD, Apex Legends, etc.

For an AMD graphics card upgrade (RX 7600, 7600 XT,  6750 XT or 6650 XT, etc.), you’ll want to opt for a FreeSync monitor.

Also Read: G-Sync vs FreeSync: Which Adaptive Sync Tech is Better?

The second upgrade I’d make would be to upgrade this system’s processor.

Since the Ryzen 3 4100 in this build is really just a place holder until you can afford an upgrade, it would make sense to upgrade it as quickly as possible.

The motherboard that comes in this $400 gaming computer will accommodate the following processor upgrades:

  • Ryzen 5 5600X3D (if you live near a Micro Center)
  • Ryzen 7 5700X3D

With AMD’s new V-Cache CPU offerings, options like the Ryzen 7 5700X3D or 5600X3D are excellent upgrade options for this build.

The third upgrade I’d make would be to add another SSD.

This system doesn’t come with a lot of storage space off the bat. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to add more storage space (moving the operating system is a bit more challenging, though) into a system.

Just note, though, that the motherboard in this build only comes with one M.2 port, so your only option for a storage upgrade would be to either add a second SATA SSD, or swap out the existing 512GB NVME SSD for a bigger one.

Conclusion: $400 Will Get You A Nice Entry-Level PC for 1080P Gaming

If you’re looking for the best gaming PC under $400, you’ll definitely want to consider building your own system rather than buying a pre-built computer. By opting to build the computer yourself, you can avoid the markup cost that comes on pre-built machines, which will allow you to put more money into your system.

In this guide, we’ve given you a solid list of components that will allow you to build an entry-level $400 gaming PC. This build is capable of running pretty much any game (like Fortnite, Apex Legends, Call of Duty, Valorant, etc.) on a 1080P monitor on at least lower settings. And, you’ll be able to play less-demanding games on medium or higher settings, too.

Get Help With Your Build: If you need help putting together a part list for your build ask your questions in the comment section!

Hey, I’m Brent. I’ve been building PCs and writing about building PCs for a long time. Through TechGuided.com, I've helped thousands of people learn how to build their own computers. I’m an avid gamer and tech enthusiast, too. On YouTube, I build PCs, review laptops, components, and peripherals, and hold giveaways.

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