Budget Game PC - July 2018
The Hardware.Info Budget Game PC Advice has a balanced configuration for playing video games, without having to spend too much. The components have been selected to offer the best bang for your buck.
That means you cannot always expect the highest settings, resolution and frame rate, but at the same time you should be able to play all modern games in Full HD resolution without making huge concessions to either the image quality or your enjoyment of the game.
Our advice covers a basic configuration, but we'll frequently name a few options to make your PC faster, more futureproof or easier to upgrade.
Please note: the PC Buyer’s Guide is compiled based on independent component tests performed by Hardware.Info. If no new, superior products are released that should replace one or more of the components, then the component(s) will remain the same as the previous month.
If you want to know more about how we compile our PC Buying guides, have a look at this article.
The Core i3 8100 is Intel's response to the Ryzen 3 series and finally brings four cores to the entry-level segment. With twice as many cores for the same money compared to the previous generation of i3's, these CPUs are very suitable for an affordable game PC. After all, in such a configuration you prefer to invest as much as possible in your video card.
AMD also plays a role in this segment with the Ryzen 3 2200G, but when you use a separate graphics card, Intel is much faster in games - and that's exactly what we do here.
If you are buying a new PC, at the moment we recommend 8GB RAM. That goes double for a Game PC. We choose an affordable kit with a 2666 MHz clock speed. With the chosen CPU, you can't set a memory speed higher than DDR4-2400, however this kit is even cheaper at the time we write this. Do consult our price comparison engine: as long as you look at the bigger brands, it matters little which memory you buy if price is the main concern.
If you are on a budget, you can easily save some bucks on the motherboard. The MSI B360M Pro-VDH has no luxury features or sleek appearance, but it's stable and has all the basics you need. There is even a usb type C port on it, albeit at usb 3.0 speed. The available M.2 slot will be useful later on for the SSD.
It goes without saying on occasion you'll want to play your games in Full HD. The AMD Radeon RX 570 is an excellent choice, which will enable you to play at high settings in almost every game. The Freesync support of this GPU is a huge advantage: you can have a premium game experience without breaking the bank.
In our roundup, the Gigabyte Aorus edition stands out as a fast, silent but affordable model. The availability starts to get a bit better.
Crucial offers lots of storage for little money with its MX500 SSDs, which actually perform quite good. The 5-year warranty is a good thing, too. We choose the M.2 version, which you can plug into your mainboard without any cables.
If you want to have more storage space, you can add an additional data disk, use the cloud or save your files on your NAS. In case you still want a SSHD, the Seagate Firecuda series is a good choice.
Optical drive - None
We're finally at the point we don't think an optical drive is needed anymore. All games are available from online platforms like Steam and Origin. However, if you still want a DVD burner in your pc, the LG GH24NSD1 is a good choice.
For its price, the Cooler Master MastorBox Lite 5 is a fairly nice case. This ATX chassis offers ample room for big graphics cards and multiple harddisks, and comes with one pre-installed 120mm fan in the outtake position. For better airflow you could install more fans, but that's not a must.
They Be quiet! System Power 9 is not the best PSU you can buy, but it delivers a stable power supply and has an excellent price-performance ratio. You can also connect a discrete graphics card thanks to the PEG connector, making it a good candidate for this system.
When you're looking for a cheap set of mouse and keyboard for a gaming PC, you will quickly discover the Devastator 3 from Cooler Master. Don't expect a premium mechanical typing experience, but for the money you get an excellent kit that can also be set in seven colours of lighting.
A decent choice for a Budget Game PC, even if with time you may want to invest in an upgrade. For now, you can work with this.
As long as you don't require room filling audio (which would be a bit much to ask for on on a limited budget), Logitech's Z313 is one of the best sounding and affordable sat/sub speaker sets. Don't expect miracles, but for gaming sounds, it does its duty.
Despite its TN panel, the Iiyama G2530HSU-B1 manages to achieve excellent results in our colour tests, while the response times stay quite low - in short, if you want to game with a small budget, then this display should definitely be considered. In addition, it supports Freesync, which in combination with the chosen Radeon video card provides a smooth gaming experience.
You'll probably use your monitor for a much longer time than the rest of the components in a system, so it's quite a good idea to spend some more on this part. The Samsung C24FG70 is much more expensive, but offers a large colour space with saturated colours thanks to its VA panel, fast response times, no motion blur, and a curved screen: what more do you want?
|Processors||Intel Core i3 8100 Boxed||£103.10|
|Memory modules||Crucial Ballistix Sport LT Grey 8GB DDR4-2666 CL16 kit||£83.97|
|Motherboards||MSI B360M Pro-VDH||£66.78|
|Graphics cards||Gigabyte Radeon RX 570 Gaming 4GB||£248.99|
|Hard disks/SSDs||Crucial MX500 500GB (M.2)||£93.43|
|Cases||Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 5||£44.10|
|Power supplies||Be quiet! System Power 9 400W||£44.46|
|Keyboards||Cooler Master Devastator 3||–|
|PC speaker sets||Logitech Z313||£44.11|
|Monitors||Iiyama G-Master G2530HSU-B1||£135.82|
|Save as your own wish list||Average total price:||£864.76|