I beat the best Cyber Monday prebuilt gaming PC deals by building my own budget PC out of parts for less than $800

Components for a budget gaming PC overlaid on a blue Cyber Monday background.
(Image credit: Future)

We've covered off a mid-range PC build for around $1,200 this Cyber Monday, and an all-AMD, all-performance PC for $2,700. But how about a budget build for anyone look to keep costs low and get PC gaming this winter? 

The big question with a budget PC build is whether it's possible to beat the best Cyber Monday gaming PC deals on price. Usually I'd say if you have the time and don't mind learning a thing or two, you can build your own PC from scratch and score better parts, have a bit of fun, and save a few pennies. But that's not always the case when you get to gaming PC deals around this time of year, which shave off a couple hundred bucks and get rid of any prebuilt premium you might otherwise expect.

Right now, the cheapest pre-built gaming PC deal this Cyber Monday (with a discrete graphics card) is the MSI Aegis R. This scores you an RTX 4060, Core i5 12400F, 16GB of DDR5, and a 1TB SSD. Genuinely a pretty good showing for such a cheap PC, but I think we can do better.

MSI Aegis R | Core i5 12400F | Nvidia RTX 4060 | 16GB DDR5 | 1TB SSD | $949 $799.99 at Amazon (save $149.01)

MSI Aegis R | Core i5 12400F | Nvidia RTX 4060 | 16GB DDR5 | 1TB SSD | $949 $799.99 at Amazon (save $149.01)
This is the best-value RTX 4060 gaming PC we've found this Cyber Monday season, in fact it's the best we've found all year. And it's from MSI. Go figure. Not normally known for its budget systems, this Aegis R has got a lot of PC inside it. For a start you'd normally be looking at DDR4 memory at this price, but the MSI has gone for the most latest RAM technology and paired it with a 1TB SSD. That Core i5 CPU is still a good gaming chip, and will happily keep an RTX 4060 fed with data.

Price check: Newegg (Core i7) $999.99

It's also worth trying to build your own PC. Not only because it's fun, but because you also get to grips with a PC you might want to upgrade down the line, and you usually can score more premium parts overall. You rarely find one of the best SSDs for gaming in a prebuilt, for example. 

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Cyber Monday budget PC build
CategoryPartSale priceOld price
MotherboardASRock B650M Pro RS$124.99$149.99
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 5 7600$199$229
Graphics cardXFX Speedster Radeon RX 7600$239.99$269.99
CoolerWraith StealthFreeFree
MemoryTeamgroup T-Force Vulcan DDR5-5200$59.99$62.99
Power supplyCorsair CX650M$64.99$79.99
SSDNextorage Japan 1TB$54.99$149.99
CaseZalman S2$49.99$54.99
TotalRow 8 - Cell 1 $793.94$966.94

My budget PC build thought process

Two chips are fighting for my attention for a budget build today: the Core i5 13400F and Ryzen 5 7600. Naturally, I'm inclined to go with the option we picked as the best budget CPU for gaming, which is the newer Core i5. It's stuffed with more E-cores than its predecessor, and those would could come in handy for the lifetime of this chip, and of course it's great for gaming. 

Woah, not so fast, me. That's an easy decision when Intel's chip is cheaper than AMD's, which it often is, though right now they are asking for roughly the same amount of cash this Cyber Monday. Both chips demand around $200.

AMD Ryzen 5 7600 | Six cores | 12 threads | Max Boost: 5.1GHz | Wraith Stealth cooler included | $229 $199 at Amazon (save $30)

AMD Ryzen 5 7600 | Six cores | 12 threads | Max Boost: 5.1GHz | Wraith Stealth cooler included | $229 $199 at Amazon (save $30)
It's between this and Intel's Core i5 13400F for me. Ultimately the stars aligned on this particular build for the all-AMD option, though you could make a very good argument for the similarly priced Intel chip, too. Either way, you're netting awesome gaming performance and more, AMD and Intel's budget chips are crushing it at the moment.

This decision comes down to platform costs and performance figures. On the one hand, Intel offers multiple chipsets in the motherboard market that are compatible with this 13th Gen processor, and some of those still use DDR4 memory, which often sees them sell for cheaper than you might expect. Whereas AMD's AM5 platform is newer and requires faster DDR5 memory, which usually makes it a bit more expensive than Intel's.

DDR5 memory has reduced in price pretty drastically over this past year, but that's also a more general pricing trend for RAM. DDR4 is probably the cheapest it'll ever be right now, as someday soon it will start making way for the newer, speedier standard. What that actually means today is you can score 16GB of DDR5 for around $60, and 16GB of DDR4 for around $40.

On the motherboard side of things, our cheapest recommendation in the Cyber Monday motherboard sales is an ASRock B650M AM5-compatible motherboard for $110. It's a bit barebones, but it will work well alongside that Ryzen 5 7600. That will mean settling with the more expensive DDR5 RAM, but that might be worthwhile yet.

The cheapest Intel motherboard I've found is the Gigabyte B760M DS3H for $100. This is another pretty threadbare board, but it's DDR4 compatible, and so overall we can save around $30 on this and the RAM if we stick with the Intel CPU.

My issue here is that neither of these budget motherboards impress me much—neither even offers Wi-Fi built-in and you'd have to spend extra to get yourself an adapter. I feel like these are motherboards I wouldn't be surprised to see on a pre-built PC, which can skimp on the mobo to save cash for better components. 

Instead, I'm going to say screw it and go with the Ryzen 5 7600 for $200 and the ASRock B650M Pro RS WiFi for $125. What a curve ball. We'll find a way to make the cash up later. Ultimately I don't feel like there's enough between this and the Intel chip to really make me hyper-fixate on buying either one—the AMD chip can be a little stronger in some games than Intel's, though not always, and Intel's chip is a little stronger in multithreaded benchmarks, though probably not be such an extent that you'll really feel that outside of Cinebench. 

ASRock B650M Pro RS WiFi | AM5 | Micro ATX | $149.99 $124.99 at Newegg (save $25)

ASRock B650M Pro RS WiFi | AM5 | Micro ATX | $149.99 $124.99 at Newegg (save $25)
I'll admit sometimes my eyes gloss over when I look at too many motherboards at once, but the key thing is we're grabbing a solid platform for our CPU and other components to slot into. This one offers plenty of space for SSDs, supports the memory we need, and looks nicer than some budget models.

Teamgroup T-Force Vulcan DDR5-5200 | 16GB (2x 8GB)| $62.99 $59.99 at Amazon (save $3)

Teamgroup T-Force Vulcan DDR5-5200 | 16GB (2x 8GB)| $62.99 $59.99 at Amazon (save $3)
Admittedly not the fastest DDR5 RAM, this is still a good deal on a 16GB DDR5 kit. It's also a reliable manufacturer; Teamgroup put together good DRAM. With CL40 CAS latency you could get better, but this certainly isn't going to hurt for a budget PC build.

This is great mobo and chip combo and it's cheap enough without cutting genuinely useful features, so I'm sticking with that. If you really want you can buy a nominally same mobo for the Intel chip for $125 and switch everything over, though that's the last you'll hear me talk about it. Promise. 

The GPU is where I thought I'd struggle, as these components are sought after and expensive. Thankfully, we can rely on one current generation GPU to help us cut through the noise: AMD's RX 7600.

No, not the CPU. The graphics card with almost the same name.

XFX RX 7600 | 8GB | 2,048 shaders | 2,755MHz | $269.99 $239.99 at Amazon (save $30)

XFX RX 7600 | 8GB | 2,048 shaders | 2,755MHz | $269.99 $239.99 at Amazon (save $30)
As the budget baby of the RDNA 3 family, the RX 7600 faces a lot of competition. Not just from Intel and Nvidia, but from AMD's previous generation of cards too. At this price, though, its quite a bit cheaper than the RX 6700 XT and in some games, it performs nearly as well. Not the most exciting of card designs, though.

RX 7600 price check: $239.99 Newegg| $239.99 Walmart

Despite AMD's famously poor naming schema, which I will continue to be a curmudgeon about, the RX 7600 for $240 is a really solid deal. This graphics card isn't massively exciting, and it doesn't make for a major upgrade over an RDNA 2 GPU of yesteryear, but it is the best of a budget lot right now. Nvidia's RTX 4060 costs at least $50 more and Intel's GPUs are starting to fall further behind as they're a little older now.

The RX 7600 will deliver 1080p gaming worth a damn, and that's exactly what we can expect for this sort of PC price range.

Right, I've gone on long enough already, let's speed-run these final few components. 

The SSD is a genuinely great pick I'm quite happy about being able to include. You can score cheaper 1TB drives but they won't be anywhere near as quick, and if we're opting for an up-to-date motherboard and CPU platform, why not try to extract top performance out of every piece?

Nextorage Japan | 1TB | NVMe | PCIe 4.0 | 7300MB/s Read | 6000 MB\s write | $149.99 $54.99 at Newegg (save $95)

Nextorage Japan | 1TB | NVMe | PCIe 4.0 | 7300MB/s Read | 6000 MBs write | $149.99 $54.99 at Newegg (save $95)
Nextorage may be a relatively new name in the world of NMVe SSDs, but don't be fooled by appearances. This drive sports a Phison E18 controller, the very same used in a number of high-performance SSDs and the 1TB version represents excellent price/performance value here. Check out our review for more.

Onto the PSU, and you shouldn't skimp on this key component. I know it's easy to look at this anonymous black box with a few cables spewing out and think any ol' black box with cables spewing out will do. But that's absolutely not the case. Now that doesn't mean you should pick up an overkill power supply rated to 1000W 80+ Platinum for a 1080p machine, but buy from a trusted supplier. Corsair is one of the best, and this PSU will leave us wattage to spare for future upgrades.

Corsair CX650M | 650W | Semi modular | $79.99 $64.99 at Newegg (save $15)

Corsair CX650M | 650W | Semi modular | $79.99 $64.99 at Newegg (save $15)
I'll say it again for anyone that didn't hear me the first time: don't buy a no-brand PSU just because it's cheap! It might work fine for a while, but generally they don't deal well with the electrical equivalent of potholes well. A bump in the road shouldn't bother a respectable brand's power supply, but I can't vouch for an unknown.

You don't need a cooler, as we can stick with the one included with the Ryzen CPU: the Wraith Stealth. That's only a thin cooler without much heatsink, so I'd probably recommend buying a new one down the line. Even a $25 air cooler will work a treat. This Wraith will do anyways, and the Zalman case we're pairing with it comes with three fans to make sure it's fed fresh air.

Zalman S2 | ATX | Mid-tower | Acrylic side panel | three fans included | $54.99 $49.99 at Amazon (save $5)

Zalman S2 | ATX | Mid-tower | Acrylic side panel | three fans included | $54.99 $49.99 at Amazon (save $5)
This PC case has been gradually dropping in price for a while, and this is the cheapest I can see it's been since around 2021. Blame inflation, but otherwise this seems a nice looking case with plenty of airflow for the money.

The case is a point of personal preference, and all the budget cases I've used lately are tougher to find in the US than I'd like. But this Zalman looks plenty kitted out with fans, a glass side panel and a pretty style for such a small sum of cash. 

All in, that's $793.94 total—cheaper than our cheapest pre-build PC deal, shipping notwithstanding. I'm okay with that. If you don't tally your weekend or evening hours and bill yourself for them at the end of the fiscal year, I'd say my build is a preferential way to get into PC gaming this Cyber Monday. It's the gaming PC I'd want to build, anyways, and currently $173 cheaper thanks to some key deals.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.