$300 Gaming PC Build for Beginners in 2017
You want to build a $300 gaming PC that can play Fallout 4? Skyrim? How about Overwatch or League of Legends online? Yep, it’s possible, though not at ultra settings, but you will be able to play most games on low to medium graphics with a 300 dollar gaming PC and we are going to show you what to get.
If you haven’t built a gaming rig before, we recommend you check out our Building a Gaming PC for Dummies guide. It’s not as difficult as you may think and our guide does walk you through all the basics.
Now let’s get started on picking components for your $300 gaming PC in 2017.
First up is the processor or the CPU which is going to be powering your gaming PC. A lot of people think they can skimp on the processor and instead buy a beefy graphics card but that’s not how it works.
If you opt for a low performance, cheap CPU, you are going to create a bottleneck in the system and no matter how fast your graphics card is, you will experience lag and stuttering frame rates in most games.
This is why we’re going for a decent budget CPU, which in this case is the Intel Pentium G4600.
Intel Pentium G4600 (BX80677G4600)
We are going for the Intel Pentium G4600 over the newer G4560 because while the price difference is negligible, you get an extra 100 MHz, an updated Integrated Graphics Chip and lower TDP (Thermal Design Power) with the G4600.
At the core it is a 7th generation (Kaby Lake) 3.6 GHz CPU compatible with LGA 1151 motherboards. While it’s not an i3, it performs at par with the i3 6100, with both scoring very close in benchmarks. This means you will be able to run most games, including GTA V, League of Legends, Witcher 3, Fallout 4 or Skyrim at decent settings with playable FPS.
You can’t really overclock the G4600 because it’s locked, but at these clock speeds you shouldn’t be looking for more in a budget CPU.
Another point to note is the low TDP the G4600 offers – 51 – which means you won’t be running it hot and won’t need a hefty power supply unit.
All in all, the Intel Pentium G4600 is the best budget CPU for gaming and goes well with our 300 dollar pc build.
The motherboard for your gaming rig is the second component we’re going to be looking at. Basically you need a motherboard that sports the LGA 1151 socket and can run DDR4 RAMs, and while there are several budget options with the H110 chipset, we are going to go with the newer B250 chipset, which actually works a lot better with the G4600 CPU we picked.
GIGABYTE GA-B250M Micro-ATX
The Gigabyte B250M-DS3H is our top choice for budget motherboards, giving you the best value for your money. While the H110 is favored by most, the B250 brings more SATA ports and an M.2 port for an SSD that can give you a considerable boost in performance.
Moreover, the B250 is compatible with your G4600 CPU out of the box, while the H110 will require a BIOS update, and if you do not get it updated from the store, you will need to boot it up with a 6th generation processor first.
Everything else is standard. You get two DIMM slots for DDR4 memory and the micro-ATX form factor is good for a smaller case that will fit your budget gaming PC build.
Once again, if you’re looking for a solid budget gaming PC in 2017, this Gigabyte B250 mobo is a great buy and beats the H110 easily.
We look at the available RAM or memory options now that we’ve sorted the CPU and motherboard picks for your $300 gaming PC build. With these components covered, we’re still looking at about $200 for the rest of our hardware, which should be enough for decent memory, storage, GPU and case.
For RAM we will be looking at a single 4 GB chip to stay within our budget, but since our motherboard and CPU both support 2400 MHz, we’re going with a Ballistix Sport DDR4 clocked at 2400.
Ballistix Sport LT 4GB Single DDR4 2400
The Ballistix Sport is a decent performance memory module running at 2400 MHz, which is supported by our motherboard. The aluminum heatsink keeps the module cool during intensive gaming sessions and you can overclock the RAM if you want, but these should work great out of the box with your build.
To keep the price within our budget we are going with one 4GB stick, but you will have room for expansion later if you want to add another 4GB stick since the motherboard has two DIMM slots.
Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
Every gamer knows the importance of a solid GPU. It’s what pushes all the frames and does a lot of the graphically intensive grunt-work. While a top of the line GPU will run all the latest games at max settings, you don’t always need to get the top GPU for a decent experience.
Most popular games like Overwatch, Skyrim, Witcher 3, League of Legends and so on can run quite well on medium-level budget graphics cards and we are going with the trusty GTX 1050.
ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1050
The ZOTAC GTX 1050 is one our favorite budget graphics cards this year and it is still going strong. You won’t get ultra settings in all games now but it should be able to power through most titles with decent, medium to high settings and playable FPS.
Price wise this fits well into our budget and we prefer this over the Rx 460, because the Radeon card is known to have issues with heating and the fan breaking down a few months into heavy use.
You get 2GB of VRAM on the card and while that’s less than the 4GB on the Rx 460, VRAM does not deliver a huge performance boost or noticeable difference when you’re playing games on standard resolutions.
All in all, your $300 budget gaming PC will do great with a GTX 1050 pushing the pixels.
Now we’re going to consider budget storage for our rig and honestly, we are going to have to go cheap on this to stay close to our $300 budget.
We have picked a Western Digital Caviar Blue 320 GB drive for this build, but we will share a very good deal on an alternate 1 TB drive which is great for the price if you can shell out a bit more.
Western Digital Caviar Blue 320 GB
This Western Digital HDD has 320 GB capacity, which should be more than enough for your Windows installation and a few games, but nothing extensive.
The drive is not the best in terms of data transfer speeds either, but the performance difference is negligible when it comes to casual gaming, especially at low resolutions.
If however you can spend a little extra and want more storage for future use and saving movies and media, you might want to go for the WD Blue 1 TB 6 Gb/s drive that is a lot more value for money.
Even if you’re on a budget, you shouldn’t really go for a cheap PSU because you can end up frying your whole rig with a low quality unit.
Given the importance of a high quality PSU, we’re going ahead with an EVGA 500W unit which gives decent value for money and stable performance.
EVGA 500 W1
While our $300 gaming PC requires a PSU around 400 – 450W, we are going with a 500W to leave some room for expansion and also to keep things cooler under the load of intensive gaming.
This is not a modular PSU but has an 80+ rating, which is decent for a budget level power supply. It should be more than adequate for our current pick of components and meets safety requirements as well.
If you want to learn more about power supplies you should check out our detailed post here.
The casing we pick for our budget gaming rig is going to be a micro-ATX case, and we’re going with a sleek looking window case for some cheap thrills.
VIVO Smart Micro-ATX Tower
This VIVO case is not top of the line and you can feel the lacking quality in its front grill and the fans, but this is one of the best PC cases you can find at this price point. The LED fans add some flair to your $300 build and you get a window on the side for times when you want a look at the internals.
It’s nothing fancy, but it has 5 120mm fan mounts – two on the front, two on the top and one at the rear. Given our choice of components, the airflow should be sufficient to keep the rig running cool. You get a couple of USB ports with this case too, but remember that it can only fit Micro-ATX motherboards, like the one we picked for this build.
There is a white-colored version of this casing available as well for an additional three dollars if it’s something you would fancy.
And that’s all folks. With our chosen components you should be able to put together a solid beginner level gaming rig for around 300 dollars. The actual price of components can vary though, and you could run the tally a little higher, at around $350, but it all really comes down to how much you want to compromise on performance.
If you go for components cheaper than the ones we picked, you’re going to have a tough time playing any of the more recent games at decent settings. You can always hit us up via the comments below if you run into any issues or have any questions regarding this budget gaming rig.