The best parts to choose from for budget games

With key components in short supply and corresponding prices on the rise, building a new PC can seem like a daunting task at the moment. But fortunately, it is relatively easy to build a basic PC for entry-level gaming even under current conditions. In this article, we’ll take you through a guide to help you build a powerful entry-level gaming PC for around $700. With the recent price hike on GPUs, it goes without saying that it’s impossible to fit a discrete graphics card into a $700 budget. As a workaround, we are using a Ryzen 5 5600G APU to power the graphics for this version. So without wasting any more time, let’s start building.

NB: We’ve added some budget GPU recommendations in the Price Summary section of this article for those who are interested. We don’t include a graphics card for this build because, well, most people don’t have access to budget GPUs at retail prices or anything remotely close to them. We’ll probably update this build once the dust settles and the GPU market settles.

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Best CPU for entry-level gaming: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G

AMD Ryzen 5 5600G Processor Retail Box

The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is one of the best processors in the Ryzen 5000 series. The tried and tested APU is a no-brainer as it is part of our collections of the best gaming CPUs as well as the best AMD CPU on the market right now. The Ryzen 5 5600G APU offers an impressive price-performance ratio for those looking to save money on an entry-level build. It eliminates the need to include a separate graphics card in your device for entry-level gaming. Intel’s new Core i5-12600 is a powerful processor to consider for budget builds but it comes at a cost associated with newer 600 chipset motherboards that are still fairly expensive on the market. On the other hand, the Ryzen 5 5600G falls for one of the more affordable motherboards available including the less expensive B550.

As for performance, the Ryzen 5 5600G should be good enough for entry-level gaming. You won’t get great frames in all games, but we think there’s plenty to play some of the newer titles at 720p or 1080p with lower graphics settings. The Ryzen 5 5600G is a hexa-core APU that comes with AMD Radeon Vega 7 graphics. This proprietary APU also comes with a bundled CPU cooler which means you’ll save more money on build. There’s a lot to like about the Ryzen 5 5600G as long as you maintain your expectations of a budget-focused PC with entry-level parts.

    AMD Ryzen 5 5600G Processor
    AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is a great APU that will save you a lot of money for building entry level games. It has plenty of power to run even some recent titles at 720p or 1080p at low settings.

Best entry-level gaming motherboard: ASRock B550M Pro 4

Black ASRock motherboard

As for the motherboard, we think any of the more affordable boards based on the B550 chipset should be able to handle the Ryzen 5 5600G APU. We chose the ASRock B550M Pro 4 motherboard for this build primarily because it’s one of the most affordable options on the market right now. It comes with several noteworthy features including an octa-phase power design, DDR4-4733 + RAM support, and more. The ASRock B550M Pro 4 isn’t the best when it comes to overclocking, but it should allow you to tweak the 5600G to deliver better performance than stock settings. The ASRock B550M Pro 4 is a motherboard with a mATX form factor, which means it’s best to stick in a small computer case or a mid-tower box at best. Alternatively, you can check out our collection of the best AMD motherboards to find more options for your hardware.

    ASRock B550M Pro 4 motherboard
    The ASRock B550M Pro 4 might not be the most powerful motherboard on the market, but we think there’s plenty to handle the Ryzen 5 5600G APU. It also has a lot of noteworthy features that are usually reserved for more expensive boards.

Best entry-level gaming RAM: XPG Gammix D30 DDR4 RAM

XPG RAM module with motherboard-mounted red heat spreader

Unlike the new DDR5 memory kits, there is no shortage of DDR4 RAM modules on the market at the moment. You can always choose a pair of budget sticks for the build, but we recommend opting for the XPG Gammix D30 RAM sticks for DDR4 gaming. There is a lot to like about these sticks and we think they offer great value for money. We’re looking at CL18 memory latency and memory speeds of around 3600MHz. These sticks are faster and have tighter timings than a lot of other kits on the market. They also have a neat heat diffuser that we think will add to the overall look of the build.

    XPG Gammix D30 DDR4 RAM Stick
    XPG Gammix D30 DDR4 RAM kits are ideal for building an affordable entry-level PC. These kits have memory speeds of up to 3600MHz and memory latency of CL18.

Best Storage Drive: Western Digital SN550 M.2 NVMe SSD

WD SN550 Blue M.2 SSD Motherboard Mount Solid State Drive B550

The Blue SN550 from Western Digital is one of the most affordable and reliable M.2 SSDs on the market today. This particular SSD is the go-to option for many entry level builds and we chose the 500GB variant of the drive for this guide. For just $60, the Blue SN550 offers plenty of features including fast read and write speeds of 2,400MB/s and 1750MB/s, respectively. If you don’t mind putting up with slightly slower speeds in favor of higher capacity, we suggest you replace your M.2 drive with a SATA SSD drive of your choice. Additionally, you can also pair it with a high-capacity 7200+ RPM hard drive as a secondary drive for offloading your files. These are entirely optional upgrades, which is why they are not added to this version’s price summary.

    Western Digital Blue SN550 M.2 SSD
    The WD Blue SN550 is a budget solid state drive to consider for entry-level builds. Despite its relatively reasonable price, the WD Blue SN550 is known for its reliable performance and speed for various workloads including gaming.

Best entry-level gaming building power supply: Corsair RM550x

Corsair Black Modular PSU with Fan on Top

When it comes to a PSU, we recommend choosing the Corsair RM550x. This unit, as the name suggests, provides 550 watts of power for a PC, which is enough for a relatively low-power build like the one we’re working with for this instructable. We only use the APU to power this rig, which is why we can get away with spending less on a PSU. However, it is still recommended that you choose a reliable power supply unit with a good rating. The ATX PSU we picked here comes with an 80 Plus Gold rating and is fully standard, making it better than the majority of other PSUs in its class. The 550W is enough for the build we’ve listed here, but it goes without saying that you’ll have to upgrade it if/when you buy a discrete graphics card.

    Corsair RM550x Power Supply Unit
    The Corsair RM550x is one of the best PSUs on the market right now. It offers plenty of power for a relatively low-power build and also comes with an 80 Plus Gold rating.

Best PC Case: Phanteks Eclipse P360A

Black computer case with RGB lights on the front

At $80, we think the Phanteks Eclipse P360A is the perfect PC case for this particular version. Although reasonably priced, it’s a reliable mid-tower computer case that comes with two 120mm D-RGB PWM fans pre-installed out of the box. Additionally, the case has plenty of room to add more chassis fans and a radiator for the CPU coolers, should you decide to add them in the future. It provides ample clearance for all components including tall CPU cooling towers, modern GPUs, and more. The case also has plenty of vents for airflow and all are covered with mesh filters to keep dust out of the interior.

You can always step down and pick up computer bags that cost as low as $50 or less. However, we decided to stick with the Eclipse P360A primarily to keep upgrade paths open for the future. This particular case is among the best in the budget space. It’s also one of the best cases on the market with built in RGB fans and a transparent side panel.

    Phanteks Eclipse P360A Mid Tower Case
    The Phanteks Eclipse P360A is a solid case PC for budget build. It comes with two RGB fans and an RGB light strip along the side panel.

Beginner Level Game Building: Price Summary

Here’s a quick look at a summary of entry-level gaming PC prices based on the parts we picked for this guide. Prices are subject to change based on stock availability and other factors, so keep that in mind.

an item Listed price
AMD Ryzen 5 5600G Processor $259
ASRock B550M Pro 4 motherboard $132
AMD Wraith Stealth CPU cooler (included with APU) 0 dollars
XPG Gammix D30 DDR4 16GB RAM $72
Western Digital Blue SN550 M.2 NVMe SSD $60
Corsair RM550x PSU $80
Phanteks Eclipse P360A $80
Total $683

While the Phanteks Eclipse P360A comes with a pair of 120mm fans, it is recommended to add at least one more fan to maintain adequate airflow. We do not add case fan cost to the price summary because a) it is not a significant addition to the total cost of build, and b) the number of case fans required depends on your choice of PC case. The same is true for refractory dough. We don’t add it to the total build price, but it’s not a good idea to opt for a thermal paste syringe as low as $5 and keep it on hand when you need it. You can check out our collection of the best thermal paste solutions to find some good options. We also have an article explaining how to apply thermal paste if you need help with your first build.

If you want to add a discrete GPU to the machine and somehow have access to one at retail, we recommend looking at using an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super or something more affordable like the Radeon RX 570. You can also trade in the Ryzen 5 5600G with a GPU Less centralization than the IGP to save some money for the graphics card.

Beginner Level Game Building: Final Ideas

Building a computer for beginners for games, you see, is quite possible even under the current conditions. Sure, you might not be able to buy a discrete graphics card in this price range, but this particular design is capable of running even some recent titles at low graphics settings. The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G could also act as a reliable GPU to bridge the gap while we wait for discrete GPU prices to stabilize. It’s the next best thing to a discrete GPU that will save you money to spend on graphics cards when prices drop.

It is also possible to build affordable computers by replacing recommended parts with cheaper alternatives. For example, you can replace your M.2 hard drives with SATA hard drives or even slower hard drives to save even more money. Likewise, you can opt for a non-modular PSU and perhaps an affordable computer case to save a few extra bucks. However, we don’t recommend ditching your compatible APU or motherboard to make sure you’re not performing well, especially while gaming on a tight budget. As always, you can also join our XDA Computing forums to discuss your design and get more product recommendations from the experts in our community. You can also check out our PC building guide in case you need help building your own PC at home.