Budget Game PC - March 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.
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 kit 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, Gigabyte offers an affordable model that nevertheless has all the essential features. It's cheap and comes with no luxury at all, but if you don't need that it's a nice, stable board.
The choice of a video card was undoubtedly the most difficult one of these recommendations. Due to the mining hype and the graphics card shortage, the prices of GPUs have risen sharply. As a result, this advice is more expensive than usual. However, if you want to buy a game PC right now, you'll have to deal with that,.
We selected a ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 from ASUS, because AMD's RX 570 and 580 cards do have even worse availability issues. Our real advice: do check all shops with stock for the best price when you're buying.
From a technical point of view, the 6GB version of the GTX 1060 is superior and therefore more future-proof, but for the current prices we just can't justify that extra step.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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||$119.99|
|Memory modules||Crucial Ballistix Sport LT Grey 8GB DDR4-2666 CL16 kit||–|
|Motherboards||Gigabyte Z370P D3||$106.01|
|Graphics cards||Asus GeForce GTX 1060 Dual OC 3GB||$259.99|
|Hard disks/SSDs||Crucial MX500 500GB||$109.95|
|Cases||Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 5||$45.99|
|Power supplies||Be quiet! System Power 9 400W||–|
|Keyboards||Sharkoon Shark Zone GK15 Gaming kit (US) Black||–|
|PC speaker sets||Logitech Z313||$49.99|
|Monitors||Iiyama G-Master G2530HSU-B1||–|
|Save as your own wish list||Average total price:||$691.92|