Building a budget gaming pc isn’t rocket science, at least to a large extent. You just need to make up your mind. Hello guys, welcome to this guide on building the best budget gaming PC 2021. Follow us patiently while we show you how in this straightforward guide. If you can, purchase your parts through our links to earn us a small commission. This is to support the work we are doing. Now the recommendations below are hand-picked and thoroughly certified without any compatibility issues.
Best Budget Gaming PC 2021 Parts List
- Best Budget Gaming PC 2021 Parts List
- Priority Hardware chart for Gaming PC
- What you need to build a budget gaming PC
- Best Budget Gaming PC in 2021 Components
- Guidelines for buying a budget processor for Gaming
- Graphics Card
- Factor to consider when bying a budget GPU
- CPU Cooler
- Power Supply
- Boot Drive
- Storage Drive
- Keyboard and Mouse
- Unboxing and Preparation
- Install Components
- Install Windows
- Final Words
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Priority Hardware chart for Gaming PC
An average PC can be used for a variety of purposes, but a gaming PC is configured exclusively for gaming. There are components you can’t do without in order to achieve the best experience during gaming. The top priority hardware for a gaming PC is the Graphics card, the processor, and a fast SSD drive. You also need a good gaming monitor for the best gaming experience.
This means you should get the best your money can buy when it comes to these two pieces of hardware. The graphics card is responsible for rendering the game while the SSD speeds up game boot time and data processing. Every other component follows in order of importance. We have selected the components below for a budget gaming PC. However, you may also check out our PC Build Guides page for other build options.
What you need to build a budget gaming PC
- Gaming PC Components
- Anti-static wrist band
- Some patience
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Best Budget Gaming PC in 2021 Components
Since we are focusing solely on how to build a budget gaming PC in 2021, we will limit the components to budget gaming PC components. Let’s look at the major components you need and why you need them.
This is the brain of every computer, all the way from small wristband trackers to huge mainframe supercomputers. Processors are what coordinate every activity on the PC, that’s why they are called processors – they process commands.
A computer game, such as Battlefield, places a huge demand on the processing power of the PC. That’s why you need a fitting processor to be able to play your favorite titles effortlessly. When it comes to processor manufacturers, there are 2 major players – Intel and AMD. Intel processors are pricier when compared to similar processor specs of AMD. It’s just a matter of choice for you.
Processors are classified according to their core count, i.e., the number of processing units they feature. There are multi-core and single-core processors. The difference is in the way they handle raw data. Multi-core processors simply split the data among the cores simultaneously, while single-core processors handle the task without splitting the data.
Ultimately, multi-core processors are way faster when it comes to processing time. When buying a processor to build a budget gaming PC, bear in mind the following.
Guidelines for buying a budget processor for Gaming
- Cooling Options: Be mindful of processors that require liquid cooling. Check the manual that comes with your processor for instructions on the cooling option you need.
- Core Count: Some games perform better on single-core processor PCs than on multi-core processor rigs. This is because such games have not been optimized for multi-core processors. Core count doesn’t necessarily result in better performance – this means a single-core processor may perform better than a multi-core processor, all things being equal. Therefore, don’t get carried away by core count and end up buying a processor you may not utilize fully.
- Power Requirement: Take note of the power requirements, technically called TDP (Thermal Design Power). This is the rated power consumption of the processor. You should take note of this because it can influence the type of cooling kit you might need. Generally, processors that are rated up to 90 watts can run on air cooling. In this case, you need a fan.
If your processor’s TDP is over 100 watts, then you must install a liquid cooler. The Corsair Hydro series is very good for the job. (More on liquid cooling shortly). When it comes to processor power efficiency, Intel processors are better compared to AMD. This means they do not overheat easily and can rely on fans for cooling, except the high-end i9 Series or x series processors. On the other hand, AMD’s FX series of processors are probably the worst at power efficiency, as they can get very hot and always require liquid cooling.
- VR Readiness: If you want to do VR (Virtual Reality) gaming, then look for processors that support VR. VR provides a richer experience for gamers, allowing them to practically ‘step into’ in the game. Also, bear in mind that your graphics card must be VR ready.
- Price: When it comes to price, there has been something like an eternal price war between Intel and AMD, the microprocessor manufacturing rivals. Generally, Intel chips are way more expensive compared to similarly specced competing AMD models. Just know that Intel processors are engineered better for multimedia processing and generally have superior power management. AMD opted for lower price margins to stay competitive, and with their recent line of Ryzen processors, they have somewhat equalized the odds.
- Integrated Graphics: It is commonplace nowadays for processor manufacturers to include graphics processing units in the processor core. This enables the PC to run some games and perform some graphics-related functions. If you are buying a processor and don’t have the funds for a dedicated GPU, you can get by with a processor with an integrated GPU. Just know that you can’t run some games which require a discreet GPU.
This is the most important component you need to play games on your PC. This important piece of hardware is what draws the game graphics on your screen, and all the accompanying eye candy.
Graphics cards come in various sizes and specifications. Just like the processor, there are two major brands: NVidia and AMD. Both brands offer a variety of cards for budget, mid-range, and extreme gaming. Here are some factors to consider.
Factor to consider when bying a budget GPU
- Form Factor: Make sure the card you’re buying can fit into your PC case and GPU socket. Graphics cards come in various sizes. It doesn’t make sense buying a huge card and trying to fit it in a micro-ATX case. It just won’t fit. Some cards are up to 10 inches in length.
- RAM Size: Graphics cards have dedicated memory banks that graphics-intensive apps can access directly without recourse to the system RAM. This memory is highly optimized for speed. There are different generations of Graphics memory such as DDR2, DDR3, GDDR5 and recently HBM memory. When buying graphics cards, understand that the size of the RAM is not a major consideration for performance. A RAM size of 2GB is more than enough for most games in the market.
- Supported Resolution: You must seriously consider this factor before buying graphics cards. Check the specifications to ensure the native resolution of the card is supported by your monitor. This is not a serious consideration because most modern display monitors support very high resolutions unless you want to use multiple displays.
- Memory Bandwidth: This is the maximum bandwidth your GPU memory supports. This is a serious performance factor; as high bandwidths allow the GPU to run demanding applications such as ultra-high settings in games without lag. This is one of the figures you should watch out for. At least a bandwidth of 128 bit is enough for most games at normal settings. When it comes to bandwidth, the higher the figure, the better performance you can extract from the card. Go for cards with the maximum bandwidth you can afford.
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Well, that is just what this does. It is responsible for cooling the CPU, which can get hot with usage. There are air coolers and liquid coolers. The former relies on fans while the latter makes use of enclosed liquid, mainly water, to cool the CPU. Please note that some processors have air coolers bundled with them, in which case you don’t need to purchase another cooler.
Our processor of choice for this guide, the AMD Ryzen 3 3200G Desktop Processor is bundled with a stock cooler – we won’t be needing a separate cooler because we want to limit costs to build a budget gaming PC.
This piece of hardware is responsible for supplying power to the PC. Power supplies come in various power ratings, such as 500W, 600W, 750W, etc. These days there are modular power supplies that are better designed with respect to cable management than non-modular power supplies.
You need a high-speed drive for your PC operating system, and an SSD is the best choice. A fast 128GB SSD should do just fine. SSD drives are solid-state memory drives that are electronic, unlike traditional hard drives which are mechanical.
Because of this, they are much faster and responsive than mechanical hard drives. The only downside is SSD’s are more expensive compared to traditional hard drives.
This is where you store your files and other utilities such as software installations. These classes of storage are much slower than SSDs but are much cheaper per gigabyte. Popular brands include Seagate and Western Digital among others.
This is another important piece of hardware as it is responsible for holding all the PC components together and connecting them to work together. You should bear in mind that your motherboard must support the RAM type and CPU you intend to use.
Motherboard CPU sockets are classified according to the number of contact points on the CPU, that’s why you have LGA 1155, 1150, 2011, 2011v2, etc.
The RAM or Random Access Memory is a fast volatile memory for storing your operating system and applications while the PC is powered on. This memory is more expensive than storage memory and comes in standard sizes of multiples of 2, ie, 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, etc. Variants of RAM include DDR2, DDR3, DDR4 (the most recent).
This is the housing of your PC. Various models and form factors are available. Some even have colorful lighting installed for aesthetics. One thing to consider before picking a case is the size of the motherboard you want to fit into the case.
Keyboard and Mouse
These two peripherals enable you to control the PC. You can choose from a variety of keyboards, both wired and wireless. Some keyboards are backlit, with different colors assigned to common keys used during gaming. There are higher resolution mice available, with some having as much as 6 programmable buttons for better game controls.
Your monitor plays an important role in your gaming setup. Typically, a 1080p LED IPS gaming monitor will suffice for most gamers, but if you want the best performance, you should go for a 1440p 125Hz monitor. This is the sweet spot for gamers today.
Monitor resolution is simply the number of pixels your monitor can display at any time, as received from the graphics card. It is measured in pixels or px. Most budget gaming monitors are 1080p monitors. But when you get to the high-end stuff, you begin to see up to 4K monitors.
When buying a gaming monitor, the higher the resolution, the better the images appear. Here’s a table showing the different resolutions available for gaming monitors.
|5K resolution||5120 x 2880 px|
|4K resolution||3840 x 2160 px|
|Ultra HD (UHD) resolutionUltra HD (UHD) resolution||3840 x 2160 px|
|2K or 1440p resolution||2560 x 1440 px|
|WUXGA resolution||1920 x 1200 px|
|Full HD (FHD) or 1080p||1920 x 1080 px|
|HD or 720p resolution||1280 x 720 px|
Typical monitor sizes range from 22-inch up to 42 inches, with room for more. The sweet spot right now for gaming monitors is between 24 and 32-inch displays. Typical budget monitors are 22 to 24-inch screen size, whereas high-end monitors are between 27 to 32 inches, though there are exceptions to this rule. When it comes to monitor size, it’s not really a big issue. Monitors can be combined in multi-monitor setups, with up to 6 monitors to create a maximum viewing experience.
MONITOR PANEL TECH
There are three major LCD panel technologies used in today’s PC monitors including Twisted Nematic (TN), Vertical Alignment (VA), and In-plane Switching (IPS). Each has several variations that offer different advantages.
TN panels offer the best performance in terms of lower response times, highest refresh rates, minimal motion blur and low input lag. On the flip side, TN panels have the worst viewing angles and also poor color reproduction. They are also the cheapest in terms of price. TN panels are best for gaming monitors.
VA panels typically have longer response times and higher refresh rates available. They also have better viewing angles than TN panels, but worse than IPS panels. They are also able to reproduce color and pixel depth better than TN panels. In terms of price, the most expensive VA panels are at par with TN panels when it comes to performance.
Finally, IPS panels are best for professional monitors, have the best viewing angles and best color reproduction, they are also the most expensive. In terms of response times, they are much slower than TN panels, but faster than VA panels.
In summary, when going for a gaming monitor, pay attention to the response time. A lower number is better, with most gaming monitors having 1 millisecond response time, or even less. Other gaming panels have response times between 1 and 5 milliseconds. Also, pay attention to the refresh rate. A higher number is better. The typical refresh rate is 60Hz, while the better and more expensive monitors have a refresh rate of 144Hz. If your monitor of choice is limited to 60Hz, then G-Sync or Freesync must be enabled on the monitor.
FREESYNC OR G-SYNC?
When you play a game, there is the tendency for the screen images to tear or stutter. This can happen if your graphics card is not powerful enough to process the data and relay it to the monitor, and the frame rate of the game and the monitor refresh rate go out of sync, or alignment.
AMD has a solution for this, called Freesync, and is designed to work with AMD graphics cards. On the other hand, Nvidia’s G-Sync solution is designed for Nvidia graphics cards. G-Sync monitors are generally more expensive than Freesync monitors. Freesync monitors are more rampant thank G-Sync monitors. Here’s a table that summarizes the differences between the two adaptive sync solutions.
|Cost||Less expensive displays||More expensive displays|
|Availability||More rampant||Less rampant|
|Platform||AMD Graphics Cards||Nvidia Graphics Cards|
|Refresh rate compatibility||Less consistent||More consistent|
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PANEL DESIGN: CURVED OR FLAT?
The new trend of PC gaming monitors is veering towards curved displays. So, which is better, curved or flat? Curved monitors are generally more pleasant to view and claim to be more immersive with a larger field of view, as compared to flat monitors. It’s just a matter of personal preference. Curved displays do not offer more in terms of performance, compared to flat monitors.
Curved monitors generally cost more than their flat counterparts, all things being equal. The most important factor in a curved display is the curvature, measured in R. The lower the curvature, the more curved the monitor will be. Therefore, a 1000R monitor is more curved than a 1800R display. You can check out our well-researched review of 10 best 24-inch monitors for a variety of purposes including gaming, graphic design, video editing, etc.
Unboxing and Preparation
So far, so good. Now let’s get down to the main thing. For this guide, we will be using the components listed in the table above. Make sure you have an anti-static wrist band handy. This ensures static doesn’t build up on your body and damage or stress the motherboard or other components. For added safety, wear rubber gloves before touching anything.
Anti-static wrist band for reducing the effect of static electricity on the components
First of all, strap on the anti-static wrist band. If you don’t have one, remove your shoes and touch a metal pole that is grounded. This ensures all the residual static electricity on your body is evacuated, for the safety of your components.
Secondly, gently remove the motherboard from the packaging. It should be enclosed in a transparent plastic bag. Remove the motherboard from the plastic bag and place it on top of the bag as a base, on a table.
Next, remove all the components from their respective packages, making sure you don’t directly touch the soldered contact points or the golden contact points on the RAM slots. Finally, we are good to go!
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Install the Motherboard
Our motherboard of choice, the Gigabyte B450M DS3H AMD Ryzen AM4 ATX Motherboard is a budget gaming board. Don’t let the low price fool you though – this baby is rugged and reliable, thanks to Gigabyte’s tradition of product quality and reliability.
This motherboard supports up to 32GB DDR4 RAM, but for our build, we are going to stick with an 8GB stick since this is a budget gaming PC build. Of course, you can get as much RAM as your heart desires, such as the 16GB Kit.
Thermaltake Level 20 MT Motherboard Sync ARGB ATX Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case
Our PC case of choice, the AeroCool Cylon RGB Mid Tower with Acrylic Side Window, is a beautiful mid-tower ATX case, which means it will comfortably accommodate our micro-ATX board. Our board comes with a cute acrylic side window and RGB lighting.
Carefully place the board in the case, making sure the screw points align perfectly. Gently screw it into place, making sure the IO shield aligns perfectly.
Next, connect the front panel USB and power headers to the appropriate sockets on the motherboard. Look for FRONT PANEL HEADER or similar name, follow the instructions on the motherboard manual to connect them properly. This will enable you to use the front USB connectors on the PC Case.
The power supply, the Thermaltake Smart 500, should easily fit at the bottom of the case in the provided space. This is a modular power supply with neat cabling. You can secure the cables neatly to the bottom with duct tape for a neater installation. Fit in the main 22-pin power cable for the motherboard and the 6-pin auxiliary power connector in the slots on the board. Next…
This is also a good time to attach the cables for the case fans. The case comes with 4 fans pre-installed. Locate the appropriate connectors and install them to the Power Supply sockets.
AMD Ryzen 3 2200 Desktop Processor
Processor, RAM and Power Supply
Next, install the AMD Ryzen processor. This processor is a quad-core, 4 thread processor with an unlocked multiplier for those of us that like overclocking. Well, that will come later. Another good thing is that it comes with its own cooler; the Wraith Stealth cooler. This is sufficient for cooling.
Pop the CPU into its socket on the board (It comes with thermal paste pre-applied, which means you don’t need to apply extra), secure it firmly and next install the Wraith cooler by pressing it firmly on the processor and securing it with the included screws to the corresponding screw points on the board.
Next install the 16GB RAM sticks, aligning it carefully and pressing firmly but gently into place.
Be careful to hold the RAM module by the sides. NEVER HOLD THE MEMORY MODULE BY THE GOLD-PLATED CONTACT POINTS!!! Static electricity lodged in your body could damage the circuitry.
Graphics Card, Storage, SSD & Optical Drive
The XFX RX 570 4GB GDDR5 RS XXX Edition PCI-Express 3.0 Graphics Card is easy to install. It should easily fit into the lone PCI Express slot on the board. Snap into place and secure firmly. Next, connect the power connector to a socket on the power supply.
Next, we install the hard disk drive, the Seagate 1TB BarraCuda SATA 6Gb. It has a SATA 2 interface rated at 6Gb and power port. Find a SATA slot on the motherboard, preferably the 2nd slot, and install the drive to it.
Attach a power cable from the power supply and install it to one of the drive bays on the case. Secure with the included screws. The SSD installation is similar.
You should install it to the first SATA slot. The board has a total of four SATA ports, and we’ve used two so far. Attach the power and data cables to the corresponding sockets on the board. You can use 2 screws to attach it to an empty drive bay to complete the SSD installation.
Havit Gaming Mouse and Keyboard combo
Display, Keyboard and Mouse
These are easy to install. The keyboard and mouse is a combo with headphone included. Both are USB devices. Locate the back panel USB ports and plug them in. Setup the display, the Benq 24-inch FHD Monitor by plugging in the HDMI or VGA cables as you prefer, and connect to the graphics card.
Tidy up the loose cables in the interior of the case. Mind you, this is not a long case so you don’t have much space to play with. Position the rig appropriately and connect the power cable.
Our monitor of choice, the BenQ 24 Inch IPS Monitor is a great option for playing the latest titles at 1080p on a budget. It’s got plenty of great features. This monitor does a decent job of rendering your games with minimal lag even in most demanding scenes, thanks to its Flicker-free technology.
Of course, this monitor is optional, meaning you can decide to forgo it for your budget gaming PC build, if you have one already, that is. However, this is an ideal budget gaming monitor which produces sharp images, smooth gaming, and has a great design.
So far, everything should work fine. The PC should POST successfully. If not, unplug the power and check all connections to ensure they are firmly in place. Power up and watch the blue lights on the case glow. Alternatively, you can check out our guide on building your own PC step by step here.
On power-up, insert your Windows disc and run the installation routine. Of course, we are installing to the SSD boot drive. Our choice is Windows 10 Pro which you can get from Amazon. You can go for the USB version or the DVD Version.
Whichever one it is, the Windows installation should proceed easily, except where you need to enter information and make choices. Like, for instance, you should edit your BIOS settings to enable your PC boot from USB if you are using a USB version of Windows 10. The same procedure entails for the DVD version. Change your boot partition to CD/DVD and hit a key on the next reboot at the prompt, “PRESS ANY KEY TO BOOT FROM CD/DVD“.
After installation, connect to the internet and download the latest drivers for your graphics card and motherboard chipset. Finally, pat yourself on your chest and grab some wine. You finally did it! Your budget gaming PC is ready and you are ready to game!
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In simple language, overclocking is the process of increasing the overall frequency of the system processor for maximum performance. Usually, overclocking is reserved for enthusiasts and hardcore power users, but today just about anyone can overclock a processor, with little to no risk involved.
This is because manufacturers include user-friendly overclocking software that usually does the job effortlessly, instead of doing it the manual way. However, one thing you should bear in mind is that overclocking can void your warranty. according to AMD, their product warranty does not cover damages caused by overclocking, even when overclocking is enabled via AMD hardware.
So, be properly informed about this and be sure you can handle this fact if anything goes wrong. AMD specifies that the Ryzen 3 3200 has a base clock of 3.6GHz and a boost clock of 4GHz, however, it has been reported that some users have hit 4.5GHz safely with the stock fan.
We strongly advise that you tread with caution when it comes to overclocking. Do it in small increments and observe the PC. If the PC keeps hanging, then you should stop immediately and revert to the base frequency.
Thanks for hanging out with us reading our guide on how to build the best budget gaming PC in 2021. Don’t forget to check out our Gaming PC Build Guides for all budgets, the Photo Editing Build Guide, the best 4K Video Editing PC Build, recommendations for building a music production PC, or check out our pre-configured PC Build Cost Calculator. There are a lot more other guides for custom PCs.
We hope you enjoyed it and would like to hear from you. Would you love to share your experience with us? Please drop your comments in the comment box below. Happy gaming!
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My passion for PC hardware is my greatest motivation. I love technology and how it can make life easier and less complicated! When I’m not tinkering with hardware, I’m reading. I love to travel and I usually can’t wait to sit down on my PC to work.
I’m also a copywriter, designer, video editor, and writer. I also do some 3D with 3DS Max. Do you want to reach me? Use the Social Media buttons, or shoot me an email. I’ll be glad to hear from you!