To build a gaming PC while on a budget can be a daunting task. Whether you're looking to upgrade your current rig or attempting your first build, you'll need to be resourceful to put together a machine that is capable of handling the newest game at high specs. Luckily, it's relatively easy enough to find components at discounted prices, but knowing which parts to use to create the best possible gaming PC for your money can be quite a challenge.
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Research is key. Just because a component fits your budget doesn't necessarily mean it will work well for your rig or will give you the best value for your money. We've put together a build that we've tested thoroughly, and that delivers the best possible performance for under $750. This budget gaming PC build should run most new games on high settings on a 1080p monitor with a comfortable 60fps.
We've funneled the money for this build into the components that will make the most difference to any gaming PC, namely the CPU and GPU. We haven't skimped on quality elsewhere, though, and while you may not be using the best RAM for gaming, for example, the memory kit we've chosen still provides a high base clock speed. And just like our list of the best gaming motherboards with Intel processors, the one we've picked for this build boasts a Z-series chipset to support overclocking.
As with our other build guides, it's worth noting that the $750 we've allowed here only covers the parts that you can find within the PC case. You'll need to set extra money aside for a keyboard, mouse, monitor, and a Windows license. Saving a bit of extra cash on this build is possible if you're struggling to afford the additional accessories—buying a smaller SSD or memory kit will save you some money and still give you room to upgrade in the future.
Intel Core i5-9400F
Good for gaming and regular tasks, but won't handle streaming
Cores: 6 | Threads: 6 | Base Clock: 2.9GHz | Turbo Clock: 4.1GHz | Overclocking: No | L3 Cache: 9MB | TDP: 65W | PCIe 3.0 lanes: 16
While we weren't able to upgrade to an unlocked CPU, we did manage to dial things up a few notches with the Intel Core i5-9400F. Intel's F-series of processors are reliable options for anyone on a budget so long as you have a dedicated GPU. While it does have a slower clock speed, an extra $20 nets you an extra pair of cores compared to the i3-8100, giving us a considerable increase in performance overall.
If you're looking for a modest upgrade, or want to try your hand at overclocking the i3-8350K offers that capability at a slightly higher price point. You'll need to buy a heatsink in that case, and you drop to a 4-core CPU. It doesn't get close to the kinds of speeds we see in the best CPUs for gaming, but this still gives us all the power we need and not waste any potential with our GPU.
A great graphics card for 1080p gaming
GPU Cores: 1,408 | Base Clock: 1,530MHz | Boost Clock: 1,785MHz | GFLOPS: 5,027 | Memory: 6GB GDDR6 | Memory Clock: 14Gbps | Memory Bandwidth: 336 GB/s
While Nvidia has been quick to sing the praises of ray-tracing with its RTX cards, its line of GTX GPUs offers decent performance at a budget. The freshly minted Nvidia GTX 1660 Super offers similar performance at 1080p to the 1660 Ti but at a reduced price point. (While both cards share the same 6 GBs of VRAM, comparatively, the Super has fewer CUDA cores when stacked against the 1660 Ti and slightly lower clock speed, but far higher bandwidth.
While this card may come equipped with Nvidia's newer Turing architecture, users of any of the later 10-series of GPUs won't see much in the way of improvement and would be better off looking to Nvidia's 20-series of GPUs to upgrade their performance. The 1660 Super lacks any hardware ray tracing features, but it doesn't have the necessary power to take advantage of them.
The real spotlight here is the price; before the 1660 Super hit the streets, you'd have to pay for a 1660 Ti if you were looking to boost your performance, which at that point you were practically pennies away from an RTX 2060 anyway. In short, the 1660 Super gives you the comparable performance to the 1660 Ti, just for around $60 less. If you're looking for a reliable 1080p card, the 1660 Super is one of the best graphics cards for gaming.
Gigabyte Z390 UD
A good budget Z390 board with upgrade potential
Chipset: Z390 | Memory: (4) DIMM, 128GB, DDR4-4266 | PCIe slots: x16 (x1), x4 (2), x1 (3) | Video ports: D-Sub, DVI-D, DisplayPort | USB ports: (6) rear IO, (2) internal | Storage: (1) M.2, (6) SATA | Network: Ethernet | Lighting: None
This modest Z390 board from Gigabyte has everything we need for a baseline gaming PC build. While it only comes with a singular M.2 slot, there are still six SATA ports if you need additional storage. However, moving up to a Z390 chipset gives us a ton of headroom for CPU upgrades with compatibility reaching all the way up to the newly released 9900KS. This motherboard is about as simple and straightforward as it gets, and while it may lack some of the bells and whistles of the best motherboards for gaming, for a budget build this will suit just fine.
G.Skill Aegis 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4-3000
Plenty of memory for most games
Capacity: 2x8GB | Speed: 3000MT/s | Timings: 16-18-18-38 | Voltage: 1.35V
This slim, no-nonsense memory kit from G.Skill lets us double our RAM capacity from our previous pick and increases our clock speeds too without going off the deep end with our budget. While indeed not the fastest RAM available by any stretch, and it lacks the flair of many RGB RAM kits, it's practical and sensible, which is what we need for this build.
There are, of course, tons of options when it comes to memory kits, and this is just a suggestion. While memory prices have steadied somewhat, there's always the potential for savings on higher quality RAM. You could technically get away with 8GB of RAM, but we'd recommend sticking to 16 and staying in the realm of 3000 MHz instead. Just make sure to pay attention to the frequency and timing, as well as the price. If you need some additional pointers when looking for memory, our guide to the best RAM for gaming can help point you in the right direction.
4. Intel 660p 1TB
High capacity and low cost make the 660p a winner
Capacity: 2000GB | Interface: M.2 PCIe 3x4 | Sequential IO: 1800/1800MB/s read/write | Random IO: 220K/220K IOPS read/write
You can't have a PC without storage, and you're going to need space for your OS as well as whatever games you want to keep on hand. Thankfully, with memory and SSD prices dropping in pretty rapid order, we've finally found a way to slot an M.2 SSD into our budget build. Not only are M.2 SSDs easier to install, but they generally offer better performance than their SATA counterparts. What's even better is we've managed to double the storage capacity from the previous iteration of our build.
The transfer speeds of the Intel 660p do tend to slow down considerably as it approaches capacity. This drive isn't exactly what anyone would call the top of the line performance, but if you're on a budget, this is still one of the best SSDs for gaming. Just try to keep at least 100-200GB free, and it should perform fine. Or at least, no worse than any budget SATA SSD.
EVGA GD 500W 80+ Gold
More than enough power for a budget PC
Output: 500W | Efficiency: 80 Plus Gold | Connectors: 24-Pin ATX, (1) 8-Pin (4+4) EPS12V, (2) 8-Pin (6+2) PCIe, (6) SATA, (3) Molex, (1) Floppy | Modular: No
The various upgrades to our budget rig draw more power than our last build, so we've had to go with a slightly larger PSU. It's tough to go wrong with a power supply as long as you're sticking with a major vendor. This non-modular unit from EVGA has more than enough juice for our needs. The fixed cable design does limit you somewhat in terms of expansion, but unless you're planning to put a second GPU in your rig, there's still modest headroom for overclocking. However, you'll need to look at the best power supply units for PC gaming if you want to take your upgrades even further.
Phanteks P300 ATX Mid Tower Case
Understated and attractive
Type: ATX mid-tower | Motherboard Compatibility: ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX | Drive Bays: (2) 3.5" internal, (2) 2.5" SSD | Front Ports: (2) USB 3.0, Audio | Fan Options: Front: (2) 120/140mm, Top: (2) 120/140mm, Rear: (1) 120mm, Bottom: N/A | Max GPU Length: 380mm | Dimensions: 450x200x400mm (HxWxD) | Weight: 6kg
Cases can be extremely subjective, and while it's easy to spend more on an ex, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better one for less than $60. We've settled on this relatively spacious and inexpensive case from Phanteks. It lacks many of the bells and whistles that a more expensive case can provide, but it gets the job done without cutting too many corners.
Some might be tempted to spend most of their budget on a pretty looking case, but it's important to remember that this piece of your build will have virtually no impact on performance when compared to the other stuff you should be spending money on. Buy something that works and is easy to work with. Or make a fashion statement, but don't expect higher framerates.
All the totals here are correct at the time of publishing, and we update this feature regularly. The widget below will always show the lowest component prices our engine is tracking, but be aware they go up and down.