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Budget Custom Gaming PC – Where to start

Gaming, Hardware


In a perfect world, every custom gaming PC would be budget free, and complete with top of the line parts that blur the lines on performance limitations. However, it is well known that nothing is perfect. Many of us start the process of choosing parts for a custom PC with the budget because this dictates what will be inside of the build.

Custom budget for a custom PC

Keep in mind, your budget is only so big. You may have to decide between spreading it equally across the components or spending more in one area over another. Though the CPU is the brains of the PC, it is arguable that the GPU’s performance is more important in a budget custom gaming PC because of the graphics heavy nature of most games. This doesn’t mean you can ignore the CPU completely, however most games will allow you to save money on a less powerful one.

Obviously, the other parts are also important. Memory, storage, and the motherboard are among parts that also make up a good custom gaming PC. However, they aren’t nearly as vital to performance as the CPU and graphics card.

The Processor

As always, this debate starts with AMD or Intel. Traditionally, AMD Ryzen CPUs are more associated with budget builds. They’re well known for keeping prices low but offering good performance at their price point. Ryzen 5 is a great choice for budget systems. Starting at $158.98 for the four-core 3.7-4.2GHZ, it won’t eat up a lot of the budget but delivers solid benchmarking.

Ryzen makes great CPUs for their price range.

On the Intel side, you’ll pay a bit more but for a better processor. The Intel I5-9600K, which overclocks well, is $263.34 in the AVADirect webstore currently. Reaching for this one may take some dollars away from graphics, but it can be worth it for the extra strength if budget permits.

The Graphics card

This is where you will really notice the difference. They start as low as $123.77, but there is a sweet spot in terms of price point. Different manufacturers offer their version of Nvidia’s 1660 or 1660 Ti for around $350. This card will play medium to high graphics at 1080P with an appropriate CPU. The Radeon cards in this price range are also a good choice for gaming at 1080P.

Elsewhere, you can take a few simple steps to save money. You can choose a hard drive over a SSD. This will sacrifice sound and loading time for costs, but is viable for someone looking to save. Smaller cases and air cooling are also options if you aren’t planning on overclocking.