Phanteks P400

Here's a solid gaming PC build that doesn't require a vast budget.

The most important component (aside from the power supply unit [PSU] which essentially powers everything) for PC gamers is the graphics card. This is where we'll spend the most money on our custom build, but it's well worth it especially if you wish to enjoy the latest games on PC. A GTX 1060 or GTX 1070, paired with 16GB of RAM and a decent processor, ensures we have ample power available with little bottlenecking.

Of course, you won't be able to turn all the settings up to "ludicrous" and beyond, but solid frame rates can be achieved when configuring visual quality conservatively.

Build a gaming PC on a budget

Now, time for the build. Here are all the pieces of our puzzle:

Component Price
Case Phanteks Eclipse Series P400 $69.99
CPU Ryzen 3 1200 $109.99
GPU ZOTAC GTX 1060 AMP! Edition (6GB) $269.99
PSU EVGA 450W B1 $37.89
Motherboard ASUS Prime B350M-A/CSM $69.99
RAM Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB (1x8GB) DDR4 (2400 MHz) $94.85
SSD Corsair Force Series MP500 120GB M.2 $74.99
HDD Seagate 1TB BarraCuda $49.99
Total: $777.68

Case Phanteks Eclipse Series P400

Phanteks P400

We opted for the $69.99 P400 by Phanteks to house all the goodies, but if you wish to go cheaper, it's possible to save even more on this build. That said, the company has done a stellar job in keeping costs down for the consumer, while throwing together a sleek-looking case with some handy features.

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CPU AMD Ryzen 3 1200

AMD Ryzen 3

Do not underestimate the CPU. Yes, for gaming, in most instances the GPU is a better investment, but you aren't only going to game on this PC, right? Also, instead of going for a locked down dual-core, you can enjoy the fruits of AMD's labor with the Ryzen 3 1200. This quad-core CPU isn't expensive but will manage to keep up with the GTX 1060, especially in more demanding titles.

It also comes with the rather good AMD Stealth CPU cooler.

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GPU ZOTAC GTX 1070 AMP!

ZOTAC GTX 1060 AMP

ZOTAC makes some excellent-looking GPUs that perform well in-game. The GTX 1060 is a solid 1080p powerhouse that will handle even more demanding titles at full HD resolution (medium to high settings). Should you be looking to go up to 1440p, you will want to look at the GTX 1070 series, but the best part about opting for a more expensive Ryzen 3 CPU is that you shouldn't need to touch anything else when upgrading.

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PSU EVGA 450W B1

EVGA 450B

Most PSUs from reputable companies tend to be of high quality and are worth the money. And you really shouldn't cut corners when it comes to the power supply. This 450W unit from EVGA is a solid option with a three-year warranty. It's not fully modular, but with the Phanteks P400, it has ample space for effective cable management.

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Motherboard ASUS Prime B350M-A/CSM

ASUS Prime B350M

Again, with the motherboard, you can choose from various manufacturers and it generally won't matter aside from some features, design, and personal preference. It's best to go for a motherboard with the B350 chipset though as the cheaper A320 doesn't pack overclocking support and other handy features like CrossFire. (The B350 chipset does not support SLI, so you'll need the X370 for that.)

The Prime board by ASUS is a great option.

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RAM Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB

Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB RAM

When it comes to RAM at this price point, it's best to go with whatever you like the look off (and is positively rated). Should you come across two options that share the same speed and capacity, take a quick look at the timings, but generally you'll be fine. We opted for 8GB since that's the baseline recommendation for gaming on Windows 10. Should you find yourself running out of resources, simply pop a second stick into the motherboard.

It's best to start out small and work your way up if you hit a ceiling.

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SSD Corsair Force Series MP500 120GB M.2

Corsair MP500

This was a tough one, and we had a shortlist that included both this M.2 stick and a Kingston 2.5-inch solid-state drive (SSD). This little unit isn't the quickest M.2 storage on the market, but for $75, you really can't grumble with read and write speeds of 3,000 MB/s and 2,400 MB/s, respectively.

While SSD technology is certainly more affordable than a few years ago, it's still not ideal for storing games. This is why we've only gone with a 120GB stick for the OS and software, with an optional mechanical hard-disk drive (HDD) for gaming.

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HDD Seagate 1TB BarraCuda

Seagate BarraCuda

This is an optional purchase, simply because you'll be forking out some more pennies for a 500GB SSD at the very least. Games require more space than ever, and nothing comes close to mechanical drives in terms of value. Since we're not relying on this unit for the OS and software, everything will still feel snappy.

And you're only paying just $0.04 per GB, as opposed to $0.50 with the SSD — a notable difference.

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Truly budget friendly?

What do you make of our roundup? Feel as though we could have swapped out a component for a cheaper alternative? Did you recently put together an affordable PC? Let us know in the comments.