Budget Game PC - October 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.
Since the prices of Intels Core i3 processors have almost doubled, it's hard to find a powerful processor for the Budget Game PC. Our final choice is the AMD Ryzen 5 1600, an entry-level hexacore part of AMDs first Ryzen generation. At its current price level, it offers an excellent price-performance ratio. It's also possible to overclock the CPU with any B450 or X470 motherboard.
If you have a bit more to spend, you should go with the slightly more expensive Ryzen 5 2600. It's a bit faster out-of-the-box, and of course also contains all the improvements AMD has made to its second Ryzen generation.
If you're buying a new PC, we recommend 8 GB of memory, especially for a Game PC. Since the chosen Ryzen processor benefits a lot from faster memory, we opt for a dual-channel kit at 3000 MHz. According to the manufacturer, it is guaranteed to work with AMDs processors, although due to the platform ratios you probably have to set this kit to 2933 instead of 3000 MHz.
If you are on a budget, you can easily save some bucks on the motherboard. Nevertheless, the MSI B450M Mortar makes it possible to overclock the processor and is also equipped with a bios-flashback function, which enables you to update the bios without a CPU installed. Furthermore, all basic features are present and the Mortar also has sufficient I/O possibilities.
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 Asus Strix model performed quite well, however it got even more interesting thanks to the lowered pricing.
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.
In the 50 euro segment, Fractal Design has an interesting option with its Focus G Mini, which, contrary to what the name might suggest, can house micro-ATX motherboards. It cools quite well thanks to the two included case fans and does not make too much noise. You won't notice the very basic hard disk dampening, since this configuration only uses an SSD.
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.
Unfortunately there are less and less affordable and decent working sets of keyboard and mouse available, so this time we choose for separate products. For this set-up, price remains the main concern - Sharkoon offers a good keyboard with a number of extra functions with the Skiller Pro, but don't expect the best typing comfort.
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.
The Cooler MasterMouse S MasterMouse is affordable, but still sports a good-quality sensor. The materials used are not the most luxurious and those who have big hands may find the MasterMouse S a bit on the small side, however the attractive pricing makes up for that.
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 G2590VXQ is the perfect affordable gaming monitor for this PC Advice. The display supports FreeSync within an excellent range of 30 to 75 Hz. Moreover, the G2590VXQ impressed us during our tests, both in terms of response times and color reproduction.
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||AMD Ryzen 5 1600 Boxed||$189.00|
|Memory modules||Kingston HyperX Predator 8GB DDR4-3000 CL15 kit||$90.00|
|Motherboards||MSI B450M Mortar||$94.89|
|Graphics cards||Asus Radeon RX 570 Strix OC 4GB||–|
|Hard disks/SSDs||Crucial MX500 500GB (M.2)||$74.99|
|Cases||Fractal Design Focus G Mini Window Black||$49.99|
|Power supplies||Be quiet! System Power 9 400W||–|
|Keyboards||Sharkoon Skiller Pro (US)||–|
|Mice||Cooler Master MasterMouse Lite S||–|
|PC speaker sets||Logitech Z313||$49.99|
|Save as your own wish list||Average total price:||$548.86|