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Best Cheap Gaming PC under $300 in 2021

We take a look at the best gaming PC you can build or buy for under $300.
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300 dollar gaming pc

Our $300 Custom Gaming PC Build

This $300 build is the best gaming PC you’re going to get at this price range. While you won’t be blowing any minds with the graphics this thing can handle, it’s certainly going to be an enjoyable experience, and is a great starting point to get into the world of PC gaming.

Just because you’re on a tight budget, doesn’t mean that you can’t get a decent gaming PC. Even $300 is enough to start gaming on a PC, but putting together a build on such a tight budget is no easy feat. Luckily, if you know when to reach for the bargain bucket, and where you need to spend your cash, then you can still get an acceptable level of performance out of the build.

With $300 you’ll be relying on AMD’s surprisingly solid hybrid APU chips, in this case the Ryzen 3 3200G. While you probably shouldn’t be expecting to play Doom: Eternal on this puppy, you can be sure you’ve got a wide variety of more low-impact software available to you. 

What You Get for $300

When you’re buying a budget PC, you should expect budget performance. You’re not going to be playing games with ultra graphical settings or getting high resolutions and frame rates. What you will get is a machine that can get you started in PC gaming without breaking the bank. 

A chunk of the money has gone towards our Ryzen 3200G, but because it’s an APU that means we won’t have to waste any of the budget on a separate GPU. Instead, we’ve opted to spend some of that extra cash on a decent motherboard with room to upgrade your components, and improvements to your RAM to make sure you’re getting the best experience from your APU. 

WIth this setup you can get in a few good games of Overwatch or Fortnite on low or medium settings, without having to play at 2 frames per second. You should probably avoid trying to do anything intensive like video editing, but when it comes to writing, watching video streams, and surfing the internet you shouldn’t have many problems.

How We Made This Build

As with all of our builds, we used our team’s cumulative decades of experience to pick out the best components needed within our budget. We rigorously research, build, and test each of the builds on our site so that you can be sure you’re getting the absolute best PC you can for the price. 

We run the PCs we build in our offices every day to ensure that they’re capable of anything you could throw at them. From the cheeky lunch break gaming session to the rigours of day-to-day work, these builds are put through their paces in every situation imaginable. 

You can be sure that if this PC can do it, we’ve tested it. That includes the PC gamer’s gold standard of overclocking the hardware. Just make sure you know what you’re doing before attempting it yourself.

Our Recommended Custom Build Details

Looking for your best possible PC for only $300? Well, you’ve found it. Now let’s take a look at this gaming PC.

300 dollar gaming pc

Our $300 AMD Custom Gaming PC Build

This $300 build is the best gaming PC you’re going to get at this price range. While you won’t be blowing any minds with the graphics this thing can handle, it’s certainly going to be an enjoyable experience, and is a great starting point to get into the world of PC gaming.

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CPU

AMD Ryzen 3 3200G

When it comes to APUs, the AMD Ryzen 3 3200G is your best bet when it comes to a mixture of performance and value. The integrated Vega 8 graphics chip means that you won’t have to worry about getting a GPU as well, at least not for now. While it won’t be able to handle any really demanding games, this miniature powerhouse is just about perfect for an entry-level gaming rig on a budget.

Motherboard

ASRock B450M-HDV R4.0

Ideally with a motherboard you want at least a little bit of room to expand. With that in mind, the ASRock B450M-HDV R4.0 is a perfect choice for this budget build. It can support AM4 Ryzen CPUs up to the 5000 series, an M.2 slot if you decide to get your hands on a better SSD, and can work with RAM of up to 3.4Ghz when overclocked. You can also be sure that your motherboard isn’t going to break down with ASRock’s reliable built quality backing you up.

RAM

Patriot Viper Steel Series DDR4 8GB (2 x 4GB) 3200MHz

8GB of RAM is perfect for a starter gaming PC, and the Patriot Viper Steel Series DDR4 8GB 3200MHz kit is a great choice. It’s got great performance but won’t break the bank, and you know you’ll be getting the most out of your hardware with the memory at your disposal. Down the line, after a few upgrades, you might want to swap up to 2 8GB sticks to prevent any bottlenecking of your newer hardware.

SSD

Crucial BX500 240GB

While going for an SSD over a HDD does mean you lose out on a fair bit of space, the tradeoff is well worth it. With an SSD not only do you have incredibly quick read/write times, but you’ll find your operating system and games booting much quicker than you normally would. You can always get an extra HDD down the line if the roughly 200GB of space you have left after your OS installation isn’t enough.

PSU

Corsair CV450 Power Supply

Now you just need a power supply to bring the build together, and the Corsair CV450 Power Supply is the perfect choice. 450 watts of power means you’ve got everything you need, and a little bit of wiggle room left over if you decide to upgrade in the future. The only slight concession being made here is that it’s a non-modular power supply, so you’ll probably have some extra cables to deal with when it comes to putting the build together. Nothing that can’t be fixed with some cable ties and a great case.

PC Case

Zalman S2 ATX Mid Tower

The Zalman S2 ATX Mid Tower is a very budget-friendly case, but still has a lot to offer to a newer PC gamer. There’s some excellent airflow inside the case, and it comes with that full acrylic side panel that a lot of PC gamers drool over. There are certainly better-looking cases out there, but you won’t find a case this well designed for this sort of price.

Things to Consider

Budget & Upgradability

When it comes to spending $300 on a gaming PC, you need to have realistic expectations about what it can accomplish. You shouldn’t expect this build to be running the hottest games in high graphics modes with an equally high frame count. What this PC will do is play a lot of low-intensity games, as well as PC games from the past 20+ years of computing history without any worries. 

You can also rest easy in the knowledge that if the time comes that you decide you need more power, this build is easily updated. The motherboard is perfectly suited to a GPU if you decide you want to splash your cash on one, and can support some more advanced CPUs and RAM kits as well. In short, you’ll be able to squeeze a fair bit of power out of this build over the years if you keep on adding new pieces here or there. 

Overclocking Capability

If you’re new to PC gaming you may not be completely sure what overclocking is, but you can be sure that it’s seen as a rite of passage by many PC gamers. It’s basically the practise of increasing your components speeds, but also increasing their power usage and heat production. Before you think about overclocking anything, you should understand the risks it could pose to your components. 

While this build is suitable for some light overclocking, you should also be aware that the gains you’re liable to get from these components will be minimal. In most cases, it’s not worth trying to overclock when you’re just risking burning out your components. 

Ease of Building

If this is your first PC-building experience then you can approach this build with confidence. The Zalman case is nice and easy to use and leaves you plenty of room to fit everything inside and manage your cables. Just make sure you approach the build slowly and do your research and you shouldn’t have any troubles. 

We highly recommend that you get yourself a PC-builder’s toolkit and an anti-static wristband. That way you can be sure you’ve got everything you’ll need to get the PC together and can also be sure that you’re not likely to zap yourself while working on the build. 

Non-Gaming Performance

Even if your main goal with this build is to get a gaming machine, it’s still nice to know that you can do non-gaming tasks as well. While you’re not going to be crypto-mining or rendering a lot of video with this build, you should find surfing the internet and creating images pretty simple. 

If you plan to do anything more intensive you’d be better off thinking about a slightly more high-end PC build. Of course, this would also come with the added benefit of improving gaming performance as well. 

Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $300

If you’re finding the task of putting a PC together yourself just a little too daunting then you can always opt for a pre-built PC instead. Just remember, pre-built machines will either cost you more, or come with slightly reduced performance because you’re paying for the convenience of not having to build the thing yourself. 

iBUYPOWER Pro Gaming PC (Element Mini 9300)

While it comes in a little higher than the custom build’s budget, the iBUYPOWER Pro Gaming PC (Element Mini 9300) is a great choice for a pre-built gaming PC on a budget. It comes packed with an RX 550, a 240GB SSD, and is pre-installed with Windows 10, so no worries about buying an OS on top.

Upgrade Path for Custom Build

MSI Radeon RX 570 ARMOR 8G OC

The first step on your journey to improved gaming performance has to be a dedicated GPU. Because this is a budget build, you’re currently relying on an AMU for both your main processing functions, and handling your graphics. With a dedicated unit taking on graphic responsibilities you should see a noticeable jump in performance. 

With 8GB of DDR5 VRAM, and DirectX 12 capabilities, the MSI Radeon RX 570 ARMOR 8G OC is a great choice for improving your performance. Of course, you should also expect this increase in power to come with a comparable increase in cost too. 

AMD Ryzen 5 2600X

One of the first things you’ll want to think about upgrading is your CPU. While the 3200G is a solid processor and has great onboard graphics for the price, it just can’t hold a candle to the Ryzen 5 2600X. The only thing to bear in mind here is that this chip doesn’t come with any integrated graphics, so you need to make sure that you’ve bought a separate GPU before making the switch. 

Seagate Barracuda 2TB 7200RPM

As we mentioned before in this build, you do lose out on storage space when you splurge on an SSD. If you want to make sure you can actually install most of your games, then a safe bet is a decent HDD to complement your fast boot times. The Seagate Barracuda 2TB 7200RPM offers you a lot of space and decent speeds without breaking the bank either. Plus it’s from Seagate who’ve been in the data storage industry so long they have to be doing something right. 

Noctua NF-F12

If you want your new gaming PC to live a long and happy life, you should almost certainly invest in the Noctua NF-F12 fan. It’ll keep your machine a lot cooler, ensuring both better performance and a longer lifespan for your components. It does come at a premium price in terms of fans, but you get what you pay for. 

Corsair CX450M

If you want an easier time when it comes to building, then the Corsair CX450M is the PSU upgrade for you. It doesn’t provide any extra wattage over the PSU already in this build, but it is modular so you won’t have excess cables all over the place. Certainly worth thinking about if you’re nervous about your first build and have a little extra money available.

Operating System & Peripherals

Once you’ve got the rest of your parts together, there may be one or two other things you need to get the most out of your build. We present several different extras that you may want to think about getting your hands on. 

Windows 10 Home USB

There’s no point in all this PC building if you have nothing to run on the machine when you’re done. If you don’t already have an OS license, we highly recommend choosing Windows 10. It has a huge library of compatible software stretching back decades, and is one of the easiest operating systems to install and use. Going for the USB option makes the installation easier still, and the OEM option reduces the cost considerably. Just remember that by cheaping out on the price you’ll only be able to install it once. 

Razer DeathAdder V2

If you want a good gaming mouse without having to take out a loan then the Razer DeathAdder V2 is a great choice for getting the job done. While it is an affordable budget mouse, it also has a decent ergonomic grip and an incredibly accurate sensor for the price you’re paying. 

Redragon K556 RGB Mechanical Keyboard

When it comes to gaming keyboards, you should seriously consider the Redragon K556 RGB Mechanical Keyboard. This entry-level mechanical keyboard comes with tactile brown switches that’ll make hitting the right keys during high-intensity gaming moments much easier. Of course, it also comes with RGB so you can be sure that you’ll look like a true pro gamer when your friends come over to see your new rig. 

SteelSeries QcK Gaming Surface

If you have a decent gaming PC, you need a decent gaming surface to put your mouse and keyboard on. The SteelSeries QcK Gaming Surface comes in a variety of sizes from a simple mouse mat to something that will cover most of your desktop. We recommend a surface on the larger side if you want to protect your desk and make sure your keyboard isn’t slipping all over the place. 

LG UltraGear 24GL600F-B

If you’re going to be playing a lot of games then a high-quality gaming monitor is a must have accessory. The LG UltraGear 24GL600F-B is a decently affordable option with a 144Hz refresh rate that ensures you’ll be able to enjoy high frame rates if you do end up upgrading this build. 

Creative Inspire T12

If you want to be able to hear as well as see your games, then the Creative Inspire T12 is another must-have accessory. They’re relatively low cost but feature great sound quality no matter what you’re using them for. 

HyperX Cloud Stinger Gaming Headset

If you prefer a headset to speakers, or just want to be able to chat with your online teammates, then the HyperX Cloud Stinger Gaming Headset is another great sound option. Not only does it have great sound quality, the microphone is nice and clear so there’ll be no crossed wires on the battlefield.

Closing Thoughts

300 dollar gaming pc

Our $300 Custom Gaming PC Build

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Silent PC Review has been providing expert advice and detailed reviews of PCs and peripherals since 2002. Our technical advice has been featured on publications such as: New York Times, O’Reilly, PCMag, Popular Mechanics, Forbes, etc. plus countless trade shows and industry articles. We’re dedicated to providing top-notch advice and reviews for choosing your next PC build.