Looking for a custom budget gaming PC can be challenging if you’re not sure what to look for. If you are on a budget it is important to get the most of it for your gaming PC. We’ll help you avoid some common traps you might encounter when looking for your custom budget gaming PC.
Choosing a budget power supply
We’re starting with the budget power supply for a good reason. It is a great example of what to not do for all the PC parts: Do not mistake cheap and budget. A cheap and unreliable power supply will end up causing you problems and money. You should avoid dodgy brands and power supplies that are not rated at least 80+. With a cheap power supply, you’re not taking a chance with just the power supply but with your whole budget gaming PC as you might end up short-circuit other parts. A budget power supply will deliver constant power, will be rated at least 80+ and will ensure that your parts are safe.
Which processor/graphics card combo should I choose?
First of all, there’s a reason we’re grouping CPU and graphics card together: balance! Your PC needs to be balanced. A powerful CPU with a budget graphics card is a waste of money when it comes to gaming. It’s like driving a Ferrari through a dirt road, you’d be better off with a jeep that costs 5 times less… A budget graphics card will create a bottleneck that will limit the CPU capabilities.
Usually good combos are as follow:
- GTX 1050 / Intel Pentium G4560
- GTX 1050Ti or RX 470 / Intel Core i3
- GTX 1060 or RX 480 / Intel Core i5
- GTX 1070 / Intel Core i5 or i7
- GTX 1080 / Intel Core i7
- SLI / Intel Core i7-6800K or above
Let’s break it out from the start: motherboards will make little to no difference when it comes to PC gaming. Does that mean you should go for the cheapest one? It’s a bit more subtle than that. An advanced motherboard comparing to a budget one will have different advantages such as a better onboard audio or LAN, support for overclocking, SLI/Crossfire etc. Keep in mind that if you’re planning on using a USB headset, the onboard audio won’t matter as USB headsets have a built-in DAC. Your headset will only use the onboard audio if it’s plugged using the jack connection.
A budget motherboard will the perfect solution for people who don’t intend to overclock or don’t need more than one graphics card and will allow you to allocate the budget for a better CPU/graphics card combo for example or invest in an SSD.
The cost of hard drives have significantly dropped and are now very affordable for every budget. But what about SSDs? The short and simple answer is that SSDs won’t have any impact on gaming performance. The longer answer is that it will have an impact on almost everything else you do on your gaming PC. It’s a valuable convenience and, for us, one of the major advance these last 10 years. We’ve written an article about SSD vs HDD for gaming if you need more details.
What about the rest?
The choice of a case is mainly a matter of taste as they now all offer decent airflow and cable management space.
Upgrading the CPU cooler becomes important when choosing a Core i5 or above and essential when you’re planning on overclocking.
The RAM: 8Gb is at the same time the minimum to have today but it’s also plenty in most case. Just avoid playing a demanding game while leaving your browser open with 30 tabs in the background. 16Gb will give you more flexibility.
If you are also looking for a monitor to go with your gaming PC check out our guide about gaming and monitor panel technologies.
Whether you’re looking for a custom budget gaming PC or a high-end gaming PC, the two main rules to follow are to not confuse cheap and budget, and to make sure you have a balanced gaming PC. As long as you keep these 2 principles in mind you’ll be sure to get the most out of your budget.