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Best Budget Gaming PC Builds (Jan 2023) (Powerful & Cheap)

If you’re the type of PC gamer to go after the latest games after they’ve been announced, there’s no doubt that you need the best gaming PC possible. We’re talking about a powerful gaming machine, regardless if it’s a prebuilt gaming PC or a fully-customized gaming PC.

But sometimes, you don’t need to spend more than a couple thousand dollars to build powerful gaming PCs. Budget gaming PCs can still be powerful as long as you know what you’re looking for.

This article will cover the different budget gaming PC builds with some sample hardware specifications for easier shopping. And by BUDGET, we mean getting you to a sweet spending spot that allows you to invest practically in these hardware.

$300 Budget – Entry Level and Cheap Gaming PCs

$400 Budget- Best Cheap Gaming PC

$500 Budget – A Gaming PC that Slays Consoles

$600 Budget – Mid Range Gaming PC

$700 Budget – VR Ready Budget Gaming PC

$800 Budget – Best Budget Gaming PC

Best Budget Gaming PC Builds for 2021 (Powerful & Cheap)

$300 Budget – Entry Level and Cheap Gaming PCs

$300 for an entry-level gaming PC may not be considered as one of the best cheap gaming PCs, but it’s a good start nonetheless.

Prebuilt Gaming PC $300 budget

HP Desktop 3200GHP Desktop 3200G
  • CPU: Ryzen 3 3200G
  • GPU: AMD Radeon Vega 8
  • RAM: 8GB RAM
  • Storage: 1TB HDD
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Dell Gaming PC TowerDell Gaming PC Tower
  • CPU: Intel i5
  • GPU: Nvidia GT 730 2GB
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 128GB SSD 500GB HDD
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HP ProDeskHP ProDesk
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 4570 3.2 GHz
  • GPU:
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
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In hindsight, you could technically purchase a gaming console and run the most played games at high settings, but there’s something about a gaming PC that does the job does right.

Build Your Own Gaming PC $300 Budget

If you want to build your own, here’s a shopping list for a $300 budget:

(CPU) AMD Ryzen 3 3200G(CPU) AMD Ryzen 3 3200G
  • 4.0 GHz max boost, unlocked for overclocking, 6 MB cache, DDR 2933 support
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  • Powered by AMD Ryzen AM4 7th Generation Athlon and HD 2000 series processors to maximize connectivity and speed with NVMe M 2 support for 32GB of DDR4 USB 3 0 and Gigabit LAN
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(RAM) G.Skill Aegis 8 GB(RAM) G.Skill Aegis 8 GB
  • Capacity 8GB Type 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM Speed DDR4 3000 (PC4 24000) Cas Latency 16
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(SSD) Kingston 240GB A400(SSD) Kingston 240GB A400
  • Fast start up, loading and file transfers
  • More reliable and durable than a hard drive
  • Multiple capacities with space for applications or a hard drive replacement
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(CASE) iMicro CA-HX300(CASE) iMicro CA-HX300
  • Middle Tower Case
  • No Power Supply
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(PSU) Thermaltake Smart BX1 650W Bronze(PSU) Thermaltake Smart BX1 650W Bronze
  • 80+ Bronze - efficiency up to 88% and optimized for C6/C7 States ready
  • Connectors – 24 pin x 1/ 4+4 pin x 1/ SATA x 6/ PCI-E x 2/ peripheral x 4/ FDD x 1
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Unlike most of the best budget gaming PCs on this article that run on an Intel CPU, this build has you running on AMD Ryzen 3 3200G, which is both discrete GPU and CPU altogether.

To help provide gaming power, you’re running this system on 8GB DDR4 RAM and on 240GB SSD storage. You should be able to run games without waiting on load times.

At $300, this is a good start for new PC gamers who’re transitioning from consoles. But there’s nothing wrong with stretching the budget either.

Later in the article, we’ll show you what kind of power you can expect from different price points. At $300, you shouldn’t be expecting much because this is the literal definition of a budget PC. You don’t even have a separate GPU. With the shortage of supplies worldwide, an Nvidia Geforce RTX can cost you double than the entire cost of this entire PC. That’s why you don’t have a dedicated GPU.

$400 Budget – Best Cheap Gaming PC

At a $400 budget, you’re still making compromises in terms of 0verall performance. You’re limited with your choices for graphics cards, RAM, and other important hardware that affects your gaming experience.

Prebuilt Gaming PC $400 Budget

Beelink Mini PCBeelink Mini PC
  • Intel N5105 Processor 
  • Intel UHD Graphics 
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB SSD
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CHUWI CoreBox Mini PCCHUWI CoreBox Mini PC
  • Intel Core i5-8259U CPU
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
  • 16GB DDR4 memory
  • 512GB SSD
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Dell RGB Gaming DesktopDell RGB Gaming Desktop
  • Intel Core i5
  • AMD Radeon R9 video card
  • 16GB DDR3 Memory
  • 128GB Solid State Drive + 2TB Hard Drive
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Dell Optiplex Tower Gaming PCDell Optiplex Tower Gaming PC
  • Intel Core i7
  • 16GB RAM
  • 128GB HDD
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Budget gaming PCs at this price point aren’t exactly capable of giving you high FPS most modern games, but it doesn’t really hurt your overall gaming experience either. Just manage your expectations here and there when it comes to the best gaming PCs priced at $400 or so. You’re not exactly getting the high end PC cases here with this budget because you’re after function over form.

Here’s what your shopping list will look like:

Even at $400, there’s still some impressive gaming power here. You’ll probably not be able to play the latest games, but playing older games on your library should not be an issue.

The build comes with an Intel Core i3-10100F processor, at least 8GB DDR4 RAM and 240GB SSD for storage. Expanding both RAM and storage will push your budget by a hundred bucks or more.

As for the GPU, you’re looking at the XFX RX 550 4 GB. Note that you might have issues with getting one because this is one of many graphics cards that are affected by the global shortage. But if you’re able to get your hands on this graphics card, this should tide you over until your next upgrade (which should be one of the RTX or GTX series, or from AMD Radeon.

For the most demanding games on this build and budget, your graphics settings might be scaled down to low and hover at about 20 to 30FPS, but you should still experience smooth gameplay overall.

All in all, $400 is not exactly a bad start to decent PC gaming. Manage your expectations when it comes to building budget gaming PCs because you’re skipping some power for budget.

$500 Budget – A Cheap Gaming PC For Slaying Consoles

This section is not intended to hate on consoles and their power. Rather, we’re here to provide you with a cheap gaming PC that could compete with one of the latest gaming consoles in the market right now.

And you can do that for $500 budget, give or take. The next-generation consoles, such as the PS5, are giving gaming PCs a run for their money. Despite being portable, these next-gen consoles are capable of running modern games at 1080p resolution or 4K even without any difficulty. Needless to say, not even the best cheap gaming PCs can go against the likes of these consoles.

But don’t worry because we’re here to give you a spec list for a best budget gaming PC that can go toe-to-toe against next-gen consoles.

Here’s your shopping list:

When you’re about to spend above $500 for a cheap gaming PC, you’re about to take your gaming experience to the next level.

You’re getting an Intel Core i3-10100F processor, backed by an 8GB DDR4 RAM and 480GB SSD for storage. Even at limited RAM, you’re still getting intense gaming experience using 1080p resolution.

As for the graphics card, you’re getting the budget friendly MSI GTX 1650, which is not as powerful as some of the video cards on here, but it does an incredible job for playing your favorite games at high-resolution.

Stretching your budget to above $600 will give you more power and should be able to play even the most demanding games at low to medium setting.

$600 Budget – Mid Range Gaming PC

Now we’re at the $600 budget, which is pushing specs and pricing a bit further past what’s considered a cheap gaming PC.

This kind of budget hits the sweet spot for ample gaming performance. You should be able to stretch your budget more if you’re planning to upgrade. Here’s your shopping list:

You’re getting a 10th generation Intel Core i3-10100F CPU, which is a bit older and a bit of a downgrade compared to the i5-11400F. But make no mistake because this CPU still packs some punch, especially when gaming at 1080 resolution.

To boost its gaming performance further, you’re running on 16GB DDR4 RAM and 480GB SSD for storage. Load times on this bad boy are greatly shortened while giving you multi-tasking capabilities.

For GPU, you’re getting the XFX RX 5500XT, capable of handling most of the demanding games at 1080p (albeit slightly scaled down to low or medium). Note that just like the high-end GPUs from Nvidia and AMD Radeon, the XFX RX 5500XT is one of those cards hit by the shortage.

You also have a 16GB DDR4 RAM and 480GB SSD for storage, so you should be gaming without waiting on horrendous load times.

$700 Budget – Best VR Ready Budget Gaming PC

Whoever said VR gaming is expensive is probably lying through his teeth. You don’t need to spend a thousand dollars to get a gaming PC that’s capable of VR gaming. You can actually do it for $700 or so, and here’s your list:

For its CPU, we have the Intel Core i5-11400F because you actually need serious processing power to run VR games. To speed things up further, you’re running on 16GB DDR4 RAM and 500GB SSD storage.

But the highlight of this build is the GPU, which is the ASUS GTX 1660 Super, which is one of the best forming graphics cards in the industry right now. It’s capable of handling latest games at high settings and is completely VR ready.

$800 Budget – Best Budget Gaming PC

This is probably the best price you can spend to build a desktop that’s meant for some heavy PC gaming.

At this price range, you’re getting high-quality parts that have serious power behind them. You’ll be able to carry out 1080p gaming at high FPS and at high settings, or some gaming at 1440p resolution at medium settings.

Let’s take a look at what you’re shopping list will look like:

The Intel Core i5-11400F is one of the best CPUs in the market right now, completely outpricing the AMD Ryzen 5 cards but not without providing serious performance. The CPU sits at a base clock speed of 4.6GHz, but unfortunately, this CPU can’t be overclocked.

For the GPU, you’re getting the Radeon RX 5600XT graphics card, which puts up some serious competition against Nvidia GeForce GTX cards. The card runs on a 650W Power Supply, which is a 60+ Bronze Rating for efficiency.

For storage, you’re getting 480GB SSD, which should you give you enough room to accommodate most of the newer games while storing video and audio files. You can upgrade to a higher storage capacity, but you’ll need to stretch your budget by about $50 or so.

To add more speed to this beast, you’re running on 16GB DDR4 RAM, which is kind of like the bare minimum for intense PC gaming sessions.

What’s Up With Graphics Cards And Their Prices?

Before we continue with the discussion on buying or building the best budget gaming PCs, let’s talk about the prices of graphics cards and why they severely affect your budget.

As of this writing, graphics cards prices have skyrocketed by as much as 200% to 300% their MSRP. This is caused by several factors, but the biggest factor is international supply. And there’s no denying here that the main reason why there’s a shortage is because of cryptocurrency miners and scalpers.

You can’t even get an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 without paying two or three times its SRP. The Nvidia GeForce RTX series are worse in terms of supply and pricing. The total price of any best gaming PC deals will have at least 50% of its cost covering just the GPU.

If you’re planning to build your own gaming desktop to play games or do some video editing, then you might have trouble securing stocks for a powerful GPU. And no, a dedicated graphics card will not suffice for either games or videos.

Prebuilt Or Build It Yourself?

Without a doubt there is an ongoing debate as to which option is better though: is it worth it to purchase a prebuilt gaming PC, or are you better off building your PC on your own?

It depends on which you have access to in the market, be it locally or online. One PC Gamer might find it easier to order an entire prebuilt gaming PC from Amazon, while another PC gamer might find it easier to just order the parts themselves from sites like Amazon or NewEgg.

If you’re undecided between going for a prebuilt gaming PCs or assembling your own gaming desktop, take a look at these several factors.

Go for prebuilt gaming PCs if you:

  • don’t know how to assemble a gaming desktop from the ground up.
  • are unfamiliar with different hardware specifications
  • have the budget to purchase a high-end prebuilt gaming PC
  • don’t have access to certain pieces of hardware due to market supply (i.e. PC cases, GPUs, CPUs)

On the other side of the spectrum, go for DIY gaming desktop assembly if you:

  • know how to navigate your way through the many options for CPUs, GPUs, etc.
  • understand different hardware specifications and how well they work together or against (i.e. bottlenecking, overclocking, etc.).
  • have access to different parts locally or online without worry.

Note that in this article, we have not c0nsidered liquid cooling because this is an additional expense and is only meant for high-end PCs. You’ll also find liquid cooling on a prebuilt PC, depending on the leading digital publisher.

You’ll probably spend a couple hundred dollars more over your budget to accommodate liquid cooling, so that’s also one thing to consider.

James Stephenson

james stephenson profile picJames is a gaming and tech enthusiast. He has been playing computer games since the Commodore 64 days in the 80s. He has worked as a Broadcast Engineer with BBC News and knows a thing or two about building, fixing, and playing with PCs.