Best $300 Gaming PC Build in 2021: Affordable BUT Powerful

We all dream of building our own gaming PC, don’t we? Creating a setup that works perfectly for us, with a state-of-the-art motherboard, cooling system, super-fast CPU, and the ability to run beautiful graphics is the dream.

But for many of us, the high cost of PC components puts this out of our reach. Instead, we are gaming on laptops or old and outdated PCs that are certainly destined for PC heaven. It gets us down, especially when we spend our time drooling over other people’s setups. 

At this point, we would take any improvement on our current setups, yes? So what if we told you there was a way you could game on a PC without spending more than $300? 

Did you do a double-take? We did at first when we added up the costs, but you can create an affordable and powerful gaming PC without needing to break the bank! While you won’t be able to game in 4K, you can enjoy good quality graphics and play most of today’s popular games with ease.

Want to know more? Just keep reading for the PC build that is sure to change your life and a detailed guide about your new gaming PC!

Best $300 Gaming PC Build in 2021 Affordable BUT Powerful

Overview 

When it comes to gaming PCs, we all know that they are expensive. We find ourselves watching video after video of people sharing their builds and mesmerized by their power and performance capabilities. 

But we don’t always need to spend a fortune on them. Whether you are upgrading an older desktop or laptop, this PC build is a fantastic option today.

You can play your favorite games and more than likely enjoy enhanced graphics compared to your current setup! And after reading our guide today, you won’t need to!

So what do you get? Well, we have created this build to run today’s most popular games on lower settings on a 1080P (full HD) monitor.

You can enjoy games in their minimum settings and should be able to stream an HD movie or two, too. To do this, you get a Ryzen 3 34200G CPU that comes with an integrated graphics card.!

You get 8GB of DDR4 memory, which is more than enough to run these games without lag or performance issues.

Remember, poor internet connection can also hinder your gaming performance. There is also 240GB of SSD storage included in the build, which is ample space to store your games and any files you wish to save. 

It’s worth noting that this isn’t tons of memory, but it should still be an upgrade for those on an older laptop! You can also look at upgrading this storage too if needed (more on that later). 

To complete this build, we also included a 500W power supply. There’s plenty of power to add a mid-range graphics card if you have the budget to do so later too! It will power your build easily and have plenty of power for an upgrade later down the line. 

In a few simple steps, you can transform this PC into a mid-range gaming PC! You must accept the limitations of the PC. You won’t be gaming in outstanding 4K quality, but you will still be gaming and in fairly decent quality! For any upgrade ideas, keep on reading as we walk you through that later!

For the budget, this is certainly one of the best PC builds on the market! You can consider used components too if you wish to keep the cost down, but most of these are affordable as new products! 

Sounds like the PC for you? Keep reading to find out what components you need and what you can expect from this affordable gaming PC. 

What do I need?

To build this PC, you will need the following components. Remember, you need all components to ensure your PC operates and runs smoothly. 

You can also purchase the PC pre-built if you wish to save yourself the time and hassle! It’s worth noting that the pre-built option is more expensive than building it yourself and tips you over the $300 budget. 

If you do wish to purchase the pre-built PC, though, you can do so here. Remember you will still need to purchase a monitor, keyboard, and mouse separately too. Don’t worry; we have some fantastic recommendations for these coming up soon!

Breakdown 

Those with a bit more time on their hands or just want to know more about the PC they are building, keep reading! We will look at the components included and what you can expect from your new PC! 

Games and framerate

As we mentioned earlier, the graphics on your Ryzen 3 2200G are good enough to run most games on a 1080P monitor, but you will need to run them on lower settings. So what does that mean for you and your games? 

Well, you can expect your new gaming PC to: 

  • Run AAA titles (Rise of the Tomb Raider, Middle Earth: Shadow of War, etc.) at ~30FPs on lower settings 
  • Run eSports titles (League of Legends, Overwatch, Dota 2, etc.) at ~50-60FPS on medium or higher settings.

For those that play competitive eSports games that aren’t too demanding, then you are covered! But for those playing AAA titles, you will need to run them at lower settings.

It means you won’t get a high framerate at 1080P, but reducing your monitor’s resolution can help here and ensure you still enjoy your gaming experience. 

Why 8GB of RAM?

We have opted for a single 8GB stick of RAM instead of a 2x4GB kit in this build. Usually, these are used to utilize dual-channel memory but are expensive.

We opted for the single stick to keep the cost down and also leave you with space to add a second stick of RAM should you choose to upgrade your PC at any point! 

While some argue that running RAM in dual channel configuration offers better performance than a single stick, it doesn’t offer a significant change in performance to justify the cost here. 

As your motherboard only has two DIMM slots, adding a dual RAM means you can’t upgrade to larger RAM in the future without replacing your kit. The single stick of RAM provides you with the space you need and still leaves room for an upgrade if you want one later!

What about Windows?

The $300 budget we gave ourselves only applied to the build of the PC tower itself, meaning you still need to pay for an operating system. You will need one to ensure your PC runs correctly, but they aren’t cheap! 

These days Windows can set you back almost a third of what you paid to build the PC! While plenty of people suck it up and pay the fee, we can share ways around it that we can share with you now. 

Linux 

You can abandon Windows altogether and instead use a Linux-based operating system. It’s free to install and run, making it a cheaper option for many on a tight budget. 

However, not all modern games run on a Linux-based system. In the future, we might see it change and run more games,  but at present, you are limited with what you can play on a Linux-based operating system.

It’s worth doing your research beforehand to check that your games will run before installing Linux as an operating system. 

Third-party options 

Another way to keep your cost low is to purchase Windows from a third-party marketplace. Some sites sell a Windows 10 key (the activation code you need to install and run Windows) for a fraction of the price. 

It’s not everyone’s ideal solution and does pose some risks, but it’s an option to consider if you want Windows without paying the hefty price tag. 

Windows for free 

For those that cannot afford to pay for Windows either directly or through a third-party site, you can install Windows for free! You can install the operating system and use it on your computer without buying the activation key. 

It’s a welcome relief to many, but not without its flaws. You will be limited with what you can do, mainly when it comes to your customization options. So if you can live without a customized wallpaper, you can use Windows 10 for free on your computer! 

There is often a watermark on the bottom of the screen, too, and innovations to enter your key and purchase the operating system, but after a few days, you tend to forget about them!

Can I upgrade the build? 

As time goes on, your budget might increase, you might enjoy PC gaming more than you realized, and be considering upgrading your machine. What’s great about this budget PC is that it can be upgraded easily!

With just a few small upgrades, you can take your entry-level gaming PC and turn it into a mid-range gaming PC that can max out virtually any game you play! 

Sounds like a dream? Let’s take a look at four ways you can upgrade the PC if you want to. 

1. Add a mid-range GPU 

At present, your GPU is integrated into your CPU. While that is fine for now, an integrated GPU will never perform as well or fast as a dedicated graphics card. For gamers, this should be your first upgrade to your PC! Adding a GPU will allow you to run more demanding graphics and should allow you to play games in higher settings.

You want one that can handle any game on a 1080P monitor and ideally have enough power to do this for a few years to come! Opt for ones that also use the same power supply, so you won’t need to upgrade this too! 

Fantastic options are: 

  • RX 5600 XT 
  • GTX 1660
  • GTX 1650 

We would go for either of the top two, but any of the three will be a welcome addition to your PC, and you are likely to notice a difference when gaming!

2. Upgrade your CPU 

The processor is a vital part of your PC, so upgrading it is sure to enhance your gaming PC! You will need to check that any new CPU is compatible with your motherboard beforehand to receive the necessary BIOS updates. 

For mid-range updates,  we recommend the following two CPUs: 

  • Ryzen 5 3600
  • Ryzen 5 3600X

You could also check out older Ryzen models if you wish, especially if you can make use of their additional cores. You could also look at the Ryzen 7 3700X, but this model might be overkill in your current gaming PC. 

For those on a moderate budget, stick to the two Ryzen 5 models we suggested, and you are sure to enjoy a faster and more powerful PC! 

3. Add more RAM 

It’s an affordable upgrade to make, but adding a second 8GB of RAM will provide you with more than enough memory for your gaming needs! While most games run at 8GB of RAM, we can expect this to change as time goes on and technology advances. 

Upgrading now saves you the hassle down the line and allows you to run games with ease. 

4. Add more storage 

Your build currently has 240GB of storage, which some see as a downside. Yes, it will hold most games for a while, but at some point, those low storage messages will flash on your screen. Thankfully, adding storage is easy and doesn’t cost too much either. 

Just check beforehand that your new storage is compatible with your current build, and you are good to go! SSD storage is a fantastic option, but you can get away with HDD if needed. 

Once you have made these upgrades, you will be left with a mid-range gaming computer. It should handle and max out any game on a 1080P monitor without even upgrading the RAM! 

Why not treat yourself to an upgrade when you have some more money to spend on your PC? Those with a slightly higher budget could purchase these upgraded options straightaway if they wanted, but this will drive the overall cost of your budget gaming PC up. 

Added extras?

Now that you have built your computer, you will need some added extras to go along! Remember, all we did was build the PC itself, so you need to purchase a monitor, mouse, and keyboard if you don’t already have them. 

If, like with building the PC, you are on a tight budget, you can still pick up some good quality extras that will complete your gaming station! Remember to measure your desk space first to ensure that you have plenty of space for them. 

For those on a budget, we recommend the following: 

Monitor –  Acer SB220Q 

It’s affordable, full HD, and features an ultra-thin frame to allow for more viewing space of your games! You can tilt the screen too and enjoy plenty of colors, brightness, and fast refresh rates! 

The monitor is well-paired to the performance your gaming PC can realistically offer you too. 

Mouse –  Redragon M711 Cobra Mouse 

Again, it’s affordable and perfect for gaming! The RGB lights give it a high-end look, and its options and the included software allows you to enhance your gameplay! You can adjust and customize the mouse to suit your needs. 

It’s compatible with various software and operating systems and comes with a 6-inch cable and USB connection. 

Keyboard – Thermaltake Tt SPORTS

The affordable keyboard features a color-changing LED backlighting and aunty-ghosting membrane to enhance your gaming experience. The anti-spill design is a nice added feature and allows you to game with peace of mind. 

It’s not too loud either, so your frantic clicking shouldn’t keep anyone up! You can adjust and customize the keys, too, as you would with more expensive keyboards. It also doubles as a nice keyboard to type on if you use your PC for work. 

Final Thoughts

And just like that, we have come to the end of your gaming PC journey together. As you can see, it is possible to build a gaming PC on a tight budget, but you need to be realistic about what it can do!

Yes, you won’t be able to play some high-demanding games like Borderlands 3 and enjoy outstanding quality, but you will be able to run non-demanding games. 

For avid gamers or fans with a tight budget and who are in dire need of an upgrade, this is music to your years! Remember that you will need to adjust the settings on your games, and you can enjoy a mid-range computer and basic gaming station. 

What are you waiting for? Get your upgrade started now!