If you’re looking for a cheap, but highly effective gaming PC build for $350, then you’ve come to the right place. This build has to be one of the best that I’ve ever made and will allow even people on a severe budget to enjoy PC gaming to its fullest. Sure you can’t expect the same performance you would get out of a $500 Gaming PC Build, but this build does give you amazing performance for the price.
This build is mainly for people who don’t have the cash to get a better Gaming PC or who aren’t that deep into PC gaming. If you just want to play games like League of Legends or CSGO, then this is the PC I would recommend for you. With this build, you should expect medium to high settings in most 2016 games.
Why Build A Gaming PC Instead of Getting a Pre-Built One?
Honestly, if you’re even considering buying a gaming PC at this price point, then you’re just setting yourself up for a gaming PC that will struggle to run games on even low settings. Just think about it, people who build gaming PCs have to make money somehow and they do that by charging labor costs with the PC. Building a Gaming PC that’s $800 and building a gaming PC that is $350 is the same amount of work. This means that you’ll be getting a PC that is probably only worth around $200. Wen you’re on such a tight budget you can’t afford to pay someone else to make you a PC as every dollar has a huge impact on how good this build will perform.
Another argument people like to make against building a gaming PC is that it’s hard. This can’t be further from the truth. With all the resources that are around and me personally being willing to answer any and every question that you may have about building a gaming PC, there’s is no way for you to fail.
Hopefully, you now understand why building your gaming PC is so important (especially with such a tight budget). If you do end up having any further questions that you’d like to ask me to feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll get right to it.
How To Build A PC
The video below is a guide on how to build a PC. It’ll walk you through all the basics and will be an invaluable resource to anyone who is building a gaming PC for the first time. Don’t feel bad about rewinding the video a few times if you are confused on a certain about building a PC. Just take your time and go through all the steps and I promise, you will be able to build the amazing gaming PC of your dreams!
If you have any additional questions about building a PC feel free to leave a question below and I’ll get to it as soon as possible.
Cheap Gaming PC Build For $350, The Underdog
I titled this build “The Underdog” because of the very cheap price making people feel as though it’s a build that will provide a very lackluster gaming experience, but that’s the farthest thing from the truth. While this build doesn’t compete with some of my more expensive gaming builds it’s an amazing entry gaming PC for someone who is just getting into PC gaming. Not only is this PC cheap, but it also has an excellent upgrade path considering it’s price. You will easily be able to upgrade this PC and extend it’s life for many years.
I made this build for people who are looking to get into gaming but don’t have a huge budget to work with. This build will allow you to play even triple A titles such as Fallout 4 and still have a good experience. You should expect to play most games in 2016 at around medium settings.
Without further ado, let’s jump right into this build and see why I titled it ” The Underdog”.
Last Updated: May 15th, 2016
This whole builds purpose is to maximize the performance for the price, and I had to make a few sacrifices, but, fortunately, this case was not one of them. Even though the Xion Performance MTX case is cheap, it still has an incredible design that makes it looks like it cost about double than what the actual price is.
One of the most important things you should look for in a case is good airflow, and the Xion case has one 120mm fan that does an excellent job of filtering out hot air and stopping your PC for overheating (super important for AMD cards). You can also put an additional 90mm fan on the back for additional cooling.
An issue for some might be that this case does not have a place for a CD Drive, which is okay considering that everything is digital for the most part, but if that’s an issue for you then you should definitely look into another case.
If you are a fan of a solid simplistic design, then you will love this case, but I do understand that not everyone likes the look of this case so feel free to check out the link below and see other cases that you can use for this build.
Before you click on the button below, I would recommend the Rosewill Dual Fans Micro ATX Case. It’s a little more expensive, but it does come with a CD Drive and still won’t make this build too expensive.
Note: I do recommend you check with me before you change any case so that I can make sure the dimensions will fit everything properly.
Okay, to be frank with you guys, this power supply isn’t the best. However, it will get the job done and should last you a good while. The Basiq 350 Watts power supply might sound like it won’t do a lot, but I promise you that it will meet all the needs of this build.
One thing I love about this power supply would have to be that fact that it is very quiet, which is amazing considering its price range.
You will have to upgrade this power supply in the future though as this is already cutting it close with the current components of this build.
If you do have any issues with this power supply, it does have a two-year warranty which is really important for peace of mind.
The AMD Radeon 265 is the heart of this build without a doubt. This card is what will allow you to run games on medium to high settings at such a cheap price. I know that the design of a graphics card means nothing, but still when I first looked at this card, I was one hundred percent sold.
AMD is known for having graphics cards that run hot, but the Radeon 265 has an amazing internal fan that will allow it to keep cool even when under a lot of strain.
Considering this cards compact design, I was impressed by the performance this card produces making me recommend it without a doubt.
I honestly have no major issues with this card and feel it is one of the best-kept secrets for gaming PC builds at this price range. If you’re looking for a cheap gaming PC in 2016, then there isn’t a better graphics card out there.
Another decent alternative would have to be the GTX 750 TI if you’re looking for a slightly cheap option, but this is my recommended cheap graphics card of 2016.
For the processor, I decided to include an APU (CPU, but can act as a GPU as well). The Athlon 5350 is amazing for the price and makes for a great sidekick to the AMD Radeon 265.
It’s a quad-core processor which means that it has more than enough cores for any current game that’s going to be released in 2016. Surprisingly, the Athlon 5350 provides a pretty snappy gaming experience. It uses very little power and doesn’t overheat. What more can someone want out of a CPU?
Considering the price of this processor, including it into my build was a very easy choice to make. If you’re looking for a super cheap gaming PC build then just use this as the CPU and APU, and there you go. An ultra-affordable gaming PC.
I actually made an article on the best APU’s for gaming so if you’re interested in them then definitely check out the post.
This mini ITX motherboard is small but is perfect for the purpose of this build, which is to get the best performance you can for a low price. I had to sacrifice a few things, and this just happened to be one of the things that had to be downgraded. However, even though Even the ECS (Elite Group Socket) ITX MoBo is such a small motherboard it still will allow you to house everything that’s in this build with some room to spare
The motherboard BIOS is just as important as the physical motherboard, and the bios is not bad. You have a lot of options to customize your PC, and it’s very simplistic (one of the worst things is having a BIOS that is confusing).
In the future, I’d recommend getting better motherboard if you want to make this long term PC, but at the moment, this is my recommended choice for the budget.
I’ve managed to find some cheap RAM; that is also high quality. The Mushkin Eco2 makes an excellent edition to this build at an affordable price.
I usually get 2 x 4GB’s sticks of RAM, but instead, I’ve decided to go with one 8GB stick. I did this, simply because the ITX motherboard only has two RAM slots, so if you ever do choose to get another 8 GB stick you have that option. Honestly, it won’t make that big of a difference.
When you’re able to get quality 8GB’s of RAM for the price of 4GB RAM and all you lose is the name brand, I would say that’s a good deal.
Seagate is a very popular hard drive maker and while, I would love to try and cheap out on the hard drive, there’s nothing worse than having a sub-par hard drive that stops working after a few months.
Other than the super slim design (made for laptops, but will work 100% on a desktop as well) this hard drive spins at 7200 RPM which means that it downloads things quicker than your average hard drive and is better for running applications. Considering that this is the only storage that we have with this build, this is critical.
Hard Drives are known to be pretty fickle, so it’s good to know that if your hard drive dies you’re backed by a two-year warranty. If any issues do occur with this hard drive, don’t hesitate to get a replacement.
I’d also recommend getting an SSD if you have some extra money, but they are by no means necessary considering their high price and low amount of space.
I had to make a lot of sacrifices when making “The Underdog”, but I feel that I’ve created a gaming PC build that will give more people the chance to get into PC gaming due to its cheap price tag.
You can expect to play most games on medium/high settings in 2016, which is outstanding when you consider the price. I’m giving that estimate mostly because you have the AMD Radeon 265 in this build (GPU is the most important thing for gaming) and all the other components are just good enough not to bottleneck it.
The only major issue with this PC is that it’s upgrade path isn’t the best due to the mini ITX motherboard and some weak components. So if you’re looking for a PC with a better upgrade path check out my $400 gaming PC build
If you do decide to change anything in this build, please leave a comment below so that I can make sure that everything is compatible and you don’t end up wasting your time and money.
It doesn’t matter how great of a PC you build if you don’t have the peripherals you can’t use it. Below I’m going to show you all of my recommended PC peripherals. Each of these peripherals will be cheap and affordable so you can get the best gaming experience possible while still maintaining your budget. If you have any questions about these peripherals please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll answer them as soon as I can.
If you’re looking for a good name brand, monitor you really can’t go wrong with this Acer 1080 LED-lit monitor. Not only is it one of the most affordable 1080p monitors out there, but it’s also very high quality with amazing color contrasts.
You also have an array of customization options when it this monitor allowing you to make this monitor a perfect fit for you.
My only issue with this monitor would have to be the stand. It’s pretty rigid and messes up the mobility of this monitor. Considering that I’m a pretty tall guy having to look down at the monitor is an inconvenience as my neck twists into a weird angle sometimes.
If you’re looking to get an amazing 1080p gaming experience, then this monitor’s hard to beat.
Recommended Keyboard/Mouse Combo
If you’re looking for a good gaming keyboard and mouse combo, then you really can’t go wrong with the CM Storm Devastator combo.
The keyboard feels great and even mechanical at times even with it being rubber. It’s just great to get that response when you click on the keys. It’s also fully backlit which is perfect for anyone who games at night (almost all of us) and even good for people who just like browsing. It’s also super durable, and I can easily see this keyboard lasting someone for years if it’s taken care of.
The mouse has three different DPI settings 1000,1600, and 2000. while this isn’t necessarily amazing, it does get the job done for a good price. There are also buttons on the side that will allow you to quickly access abilities while gaming. I’d say this is more than enough for most games, but if you are playing MMO games, then you should check out my cheap gaming mice article.
All in all, this combo provides incredible value, and will allow you to game competitively while on a budget. The CM Storm combo set also has a 2-year warranty for any of my paranoid readers. So if you do have any issues, you can easily return this and get the issues resolved.
If you’re looking for a cheap gaming headset, then the Sades 709 gaming headset is a fantastic buy. Not only does it match the color scheme of this build, but you are also getting something that will allow you to game for hours without any discomfort, and that will also fit any head.
It doesn’t matter how comfortable a headset is because what every gamer really cares about is the sound. So does the Sades 709 allow you to dive into a game world and become totally immersed? I’d have to say yes. With the Sades 709, you’re getting powerful surround sound that will bring you into whatever game you’re playing. You also get some amazing bass for those lows that can easily make or break your gaming experience
You can also use this on your phone, tablet, or just about anything with a sound jack because it doesn’t have a USB. this is pretty important for someone who doesn’t have money to spare (though I can’t imagine walking around with these).
I recommend these headsets without a doubt for anyone who is looking for a really cheap gaming headset.
There’s not much to say about the Panda Wireless adapter other than that it provides an excellent wifi connection at an affordable price.
You will be able to download at 300mb’s per second which is insane for anyone who is living out in the country ( I get 10mb’s per second). It’ll work with both Ubuntu and Windows ( talk about this more below).
The Panda Wireless adapter is more than enough to meet most people’s needs, and it also comes with a 1-year warranty just for peace of mind
Operating System Choices
Now that you’ve got your PC built it’s time to start thinking about what operating system you are going to install on it. For those who don’t know an operating system is just an application that houses and manages all of your other applications. There are hundreds of operating systems out there, but the two most popular ones that are available to you would be Ubuntu Linux and Windows. Below I’ll discuss the pros and cons of both of these operating systems so you can decide which one is best for you.
There are so many open project operating systems, but the one that seems to have risen above all the others is without a doubt Linux.
Why get Linux?
Since Linux was made by developers for a tech savvy crowd Linux offers a plethora of customization options that allow you to completely configure your PC and operating system. For people who love to have full control over their PC, Linux is a perfect choice
Linux is also a free OS, which is always a plus. You won’t have to pay a dime for it, but you will still be getting a lot of features.
Why not get Linux?
Linux might be confusing for people who aren’t that into fully customizing their PC. One of the biggest plusses of Linux can also be its greatest con. Linux offers so many options and freedom, but it can easily be overwhelming for someone who isn’t that into computers outside of gaming.
Linux isn’t fully supported by developers just yet. While progress is being made with this (Steam OS is on Linux), Linux gaming is not being fully optimized which can make your build perform worse than the same build with the Windows OS installed.
Why get Windows?
Windows is the leading OS out right now and with that honor, you get certain privileges for being with them. The major one is that almost every PC game is optimized for Windows first, so you never have to worry about a PC title not being supported by your OS.
Windows is also pretty straightforward to use, with few issues. For people who want to easily set up an OS and start gaming, Windows is the best choice.
Why Not get Windows?
Many people do not know this, but Windows costs money. Sure there are ways to get by this cost quite easily (search google if you want to find out more…), but when your OS costs about a third of what your gaming PC costs, that can really destroy your budget.
Which Windows to get?
Many people want to jump right into Windows 10, but I would recommend getting either Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. This is because both of these OS’s are stable and have no major issues that could ruin their gaming experience. I would then upgrade to Windows 10 in the future when it becomes a more stable OS (Remember it’s a free upgrade).
So Which One Is For You?
As you can see both of these operating systems have their pros and cons, but for most of us I’d say that Windows is going to be the operating system that we select at least until Linux is being fully optimized by Developers on a consistent basis.
If you’re looking for a gaming PC build that is cheap, but also very effective at gaming then “The underdog” is the build for you. You will be able to game with a mix of medium and high settings at the price of a console! If you’re looking for a console killer then this is it.
I really hope that you found this post helpful. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a question below and I’ll answer as soon as possible. One last question before you go. What are you going to name your PC once you finished building it? Tell me in the comments below!
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