Budget Game PC - December 2017
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.
The only big disadvantage is that you need a relatively expensive Intel Z370 motherboard for the time being. In the spring of 2018, cheaper B360 boards should also be made available. Despite this disadvantage, we already prefer the i3 8100 over the AMD Ryzen 3s for the Budget Game PC, as Intel excels espacially in gaming.
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 stick with a 2666 MHz clock speed. 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.
As we already mentioned, you'll need an expensive Z370 motherboard in order to use an Intel Coffee Lake processor. Fortunately, ASRock offers an affordable model that nevertheless has all the features you need, plus a number of extras such as M.2 slots and usb type-c, albeit at usb 3.0 speeds.
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, although the RX 570 remains a lot more expensive than its MSRP.
The prices of SSDs have been rising for some time, but Crucial still offers its MX300 for a relatively nice price. It performs well and the three years of warranty are quite nice, too. We choose the M.2 version of the drive, so you don't need to connect 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 8 is not the best PSU you can buy, but it delivers a stable power supply and doesn't get too loud. The price-performance ratio is excellent and you can also connect a discrete graphics card thanks to the PEG connectors, making it a good candidate for this system.
A very nice gaming desktop set for a very modest price, that is the Sharkoon Shark Zone GK15 kit. The keyboard is lit for use in the dark and the mouse is comfortable to use. 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.
The AOC G2460VQ6 is our favorite when it comes to budget gaming monitors. It combines a 24" Full HD panel with Freesync support between 35 and 75 Hz at a really low price point. Thanks to the variable refresh rate, the image stays smooth, even if your framerate isn't optimal from time to time. The test results are good and even without Freesync support this would be a recommendation, but now this is absolutely the best choice for a budget gamer.
You'll probably use your monitor for a longer time than the rest of your components, so spending a bit more on it is a good idea. The Iiyama G-Master Red Eagle GB2488HSU-B3 has a feature list as long as its name: better image quality, higher refresh rate, bigger Freesync range, an integrated USB 3.0 hub and a ergonomical adjustable base. On average, the response times of this monitor are better than AOCs, too.
|Processors||Intel Core i3 8100 Boxed||$129.99|
|Memory modules||Crucial Ballistix Sport LT Grey 8GB DDR4-2666 CL16 kit||–|
|Motherboards||ASRock Z370 Pro4||–|
|Graphics cards||Gigabyte Aorus Radeon RX 570 4GB||$218.99|
|Hard disks/SSDs||Crucial MX300 275GB (M.2)||–|
|Cases||Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 5||$45.99|
|Power supplies||Be quiet! System Power 8 400W||–|
|Keyboards||Sharkoon Shark Zone GK15 Gaming kit (US) Black||–|
|PC speaker sets||Logitech Z313||$49.99|
|Save as your own wish list||Average total price:||$596.94|