Best Budget $150 to $200 Gaming PC Build 2018

Updated on November 6, 2018
I recently built this $200 gaming PC. It plays the likes of Fortnite, CS:GO, WoW, LOL, DOTA 2, Hearthstone and more in 1080p.
I recently built this $200 gaming PC. It plays the likes of Fortnite, CS:GO, WoW, LOL, DOTA 2, Hearthstone and more in 1080p.

Having a minuscule budget but still wanting to play games on PC is the story of my childhood.

So, I set out to bring something to my gaming channel that I've never done before; build a budget gaming computer in the $200 range that plays today's latest free online titles (like Fortnite). I'll give you a budget range that goes up a bit more for those who'd prefer to have a wider upgrade path.

Sound impossible? It's not.

Below, I'll show you the parts you'll need to purchase in order to build your inexpensive gaming machine along with why I've chosen them.

Rebates on Everything

Before I get into my parts list, it's important to realize that staying under $200 means you'll have to get rebates on everything you can. For me, that included the ram, motherboard, case, and power supply.

Typically, this is easiest accomplished around the holidays but can be done in other parts of the year with some patience. Without these rebates, your price may come in 25-45% more.

Best APU / CPU/ GPU Combination for Under $50

PC building experts will point you in the direction of the Ryzen 3 2200G when talking about budget CPU and GPU combinations. Unfortunately for this build, that $100 APU takes up at least half of our budget. That being said, the Ryzen 2 2200G does outperform the APUs we feature in this build and allow a better upgrade path for getting a dedicated GPU later on. So, you'll want to weigh the pros and cons of that. See the table below for some additional information.

Instead of the 2200G, we're focusing on a few cheap APU options that give you processing power along with decent graphics. Overclocking isn't going to be much of an option here as the CPU cooler would be too expensive.

Ultimately, the A6 9500 or A8-9600 make a lot of sense here. You can find a cheaper APU from other generations; however, the extra money here is well spent.

Our Goal

Since most people on a budget of $200 aren't aiming to play AAA titles like Witcher 3, we'll be focusing on free-to-play or inexpensive games like Fortnite, Hearthstone, and other popular online e-sports games. If you're wanting to play AAA titles, I highly recommend you fork over the extra cash for the 2200G and save for a dedicated graphics card.

If you're building a PC, here are the 3 processors you should be looking at. A fourth would be the i3-8100 if you prefer to go the Intel route.

A6-9500 vs A8-9600 vs Ryzen 3 2200G

 
A6-9500
A8-9600
Ryzen 3 2200G
Cores
2
4
4
Operating Frequency
3.5GHz
3.1GHz
3.5GHz
Turbo
3.7GHz
3.4GHz
3.7GHz
L2
1MB
2MB
2MB (4MB L3)
iGPU
AMD Radeon R5
AMD Radeon 7
Radeon Vega 8
TDP
65w
65w
65w
Graphics Base Frequency
1029MHz
900MHz
1100MHz

Regardless of what you choose it's nice that you can go with a socket AM4 motherboard for any of them. This should keep you up to date. Keep in mind that if you go with a B350 motherboard and the Ryzen 3 2200G, a BIOS update may be required if it's been sitting around a while at the warehouse.

The parts for the build above vary slightly from what I actually used. Since I regularly build computers, I wanted to save on some parts I already had that wouldn't affect performance.
The parts for the build above vary slightly from what I actually used. Since I regularly build computers, I wanted to save on some parts I already had that wouldn't affect performance.
The EVGA 430 and 500 W1 models are perfect for our $150 to $200 budget build. The capacity is more than you'll need and should allow for upgrades later on.
The EVGA 430 and 500 W1 models are perfect for our $150 to $200 budget build. The capacity is more than you'll need and should allow for upgrades later on.

A Cheap but not Too Cheap Power Supply

It would be easy to go out and find a $10 power supply that would run this computer. Still, considering how much it costs to run your computer each year, you're much better off in the long-run going with something that will not only last you a long time, but cost you less over time.

For that reason, I recommend you find a PSU that's 80 PLUS certified that's on a rebate. Often times, you can find something nearly as good for cheap if you're willing to look.

Typically you'll find what you're looking for in EVGA's 430 W1 or the Corsair CX 430. Try to find one on rebate for around $20 to $25. Typically, they're more like $35 to $45. I used a gold certified power supply from another build that I had lying around as I already had an extra.

That being said I've used the W1 model on a $450 i3 build that I built for my brother a few months back. For the money, it's one of the better options available. At the time of writing this Corsair has a deal on their VS 600 80+ PSU for $20 after a $25 rebate. So, again just look around a lot.

Interactive Reader Poll

Is this $150 Gaming PC / HTPC worth Building?

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An up-close look at the rear I/O of our motherboard shows quite a few options for the $29.99 we spent.
An up-close look at the rear I/O of our motherboard shows quite a few options for the $29.99 we spent.

A Cheap and Good Gaming Case

Xion Performance mATX Case Review

The case I used was Xion's mATX case. However, in the update I'm making to this article I found the Rosewill FBM-05 and 01 available for just $20. Look around to make sure you can't find a better deal than the Xion here as it certainly had some limitations.

I was a little hesitant in purchasing this case because of the price; however, in the end this no frills case did exactly what I wanted it to.

By no frills, I simply mean that this case excludes an optical drive in the front and has no easy-mounts for installing your storage. Still, it does include 1 120mm Blue LED fan in the front and screw holes for in the drive bay area for mounting your drives.

The outside of the case looks great with a brush aluminum finish and dust filter grill in front of the fan. The USB 3.0 port in the front I/O was not compatible with the USB headers of our motherboard; however, I used a cable to convert it to USB 2.0.

Overall for $20, I couldn't have expected any more than what I got.

Ram - Dual Channel is a Must

This article has been updated through the years. When I first used a Kaveri APU I used a 2x2GB kit of memory. For this build, we're actually using a 2x4GB kit of DDR4-2200. This is the main reason the budget tilts toward the $200 side rather than the original $150 price I made it for.

Right now I can find the Geil Potenza 2x4GB 2400MHz kit for $59.99 after rebate. Try to find something similar or better to this in price. Faster is, of course, better and will affect your framerates in games. However, you'll want to stick with whatever is most affordable if you plan on staying within our budget.

If you go with an older build, you may be able to go with DDR3 memory, which would probably save you a significant amount of money and get you to the $150 price point. Still, the upgrading path for that is even more limited.

$150 to $200 Gaming PC Build Parts List

A Good and Cheap Hard Drive:

At the time of writing this post I can purchase a 320GB Western Digital Caviar Blue Hard Drive for $15, and a 120GB solid-state drive from Kingston for $20. In my opinion, you'll want to go with a solid state drive here if you can.

Purchasing a solid state drive makes this build feel, overall, very snappy. In fact, it's definitely a viable option as an every day working PC.

PC Build

Hardware
$200 (Only Changes Shown)
APU
A6 9500 (Consider Ryzen 3 2200G for $50 upgrade)
Motherboard
ASRock AB350M
Case
Rosewill FBM-05 or Xion Case
Power Supply
CX 430 or Corsair VS (look around)
RAM
2x4GB of DDR4 (Try and stick to $60)
Storage
Kingston A400 120GB SSD
*Price After Rebates
$207
*Prices will vary based upon dates, online stores, and available rebates.

My Previous A4 7300 APU $150 Build

Initially, I went with the A4 7300 for this build. It's often available for cheap. Right now, I've seen it as low as $35. Here are some benchmarks for that APU.

A4 7300 Bechmarks for Tomb Raider, BF4, Bioshock Infinite, and CS:GO

While it would have been nice to have benchmarks for Minecraft, League of Legends, and games like Diablo 3, these benchmarks should give you a really good indication of what the A4 7300 is capable of. Clearly if you go with the Kaveri A6-7400k for around $20 more, these numbers will be higher.

Still, at this price point you have to be careful about going with higher-end APUs. while the A6-7400k makes sense, many other $100 options don't simply because you can purchase a more effective dedicated CPU/GPU at that price point.

A4 7300 Review

Overall, I was impressed with the benchmarks I got with the A4 7300. These might not be impressive to PC gamers who have a $1,500 budget, but for 1/10th the price you really have a lot of games which you could play.

The CPU aspect of the A4 7300 was also a lot quicker than I expected. The dual core with up to 4GHz turbo was quick to respond and makes for a good budget option. Those who want to use this as a cheap browsing or video watching option will certainly not be disappointed.

Motherboard Options Under $30

There were few FM2 or FM2+ motherboard options in the $30 price range. For that reason, I was thrilled to see Gigabyte's FM2+ F2A68HM-H as an option. It has 2USB 3.0 ports in the rear I/o, 4 USB 2.0, and even an HDMI port.

FM2+ Backward Compatibility:

FM2+ motherboards are backward compatible with socket FM2 APUs and work with the current Kaveri generation of APUs as well. Sticking with the newer technology here, should provide you with some additional value down the line.


Conclusion

I got more performance than I thought I'd get out of our $150 build. It's amazing how far performance for the money you spend has come in the past few years. A few years ago $150 wasn't enough to expect any type of gaming, now you can accomplish quite a bit.

In addition to its performance, the build has a small form factor that would make it great as an HTPC or emulator gaming PC to put in your entertainment center.

AMD Bristol Ridge APUs in 2018

Ultimately, you're better off going with the Bristol Ridge options here rather than Kaveri. Better yet, it's hard not to recommend going up to the $250 version of this build and go with the Ryzen 3 2200G. That being said, the A6 9500 will work with today's latest eSports games online. So, if your budget is very limited, don't be afraid to go in that direction.

$150 Gaming PC Video Review

Questions & Answers

  • Does this gaming PC have built-in WiFi?

    If you want built-in WiFi, just be sure to purchase a motherboard with it.

  • How would one upgrade this pc in the near future?

    This isn't really a PC I'd upgrade. You could get a higher-end APU, or install a dedicated GPU. However, this is more of a placeholder PC. If you're on the fence, you might want to go with something like an inexpensive Ryzen 3 2200G. I've been able to put them together for around $350. The upgrade path there is much more clear.

  • Did you buy or make this gaming PC?

    I made this one myself like I do all of my PCs. This one is a couple of years old now but really the only solution in this price point.

  • Is this an i3?

    It's an AMD APU. The i3 is Intel's processor.

  • Can I add more cores to the A6 CPU later?

    No, not unless you switch out the APU.

© 2015 Brandon Hart

Discussion Area for Minimalist-Type Gaming PC Builds

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    • ReViewMeMedia profile image

      ReViewMeMedia 

      5 weeks ago

      Tom, did you put heatsink paste on the CPU?

    • profile image

      Rohan 

      7 weeks ago

      Is this Really going to work

    • profile image

      shazykhan 

      2 months ago

      nice

    • profile image

      Tom Triumph 

      2 months ago

      First time build for my son's first gaming computer. I chose the A4 7300 chip because I had one (used), 2 x 4gb RAM, and a different case, but other specs are same.

      My computer either shuts off after 5 seconds or gets to screen that says Windows repair or proceed and then, before you can do anything, it shuts down.

      I checked all plugs, took one RAM out, reseated, etc. All of the tips.

      Nothing.

      I did notice the CPU is really hot. Really hot. Considering I have yet to do anything, and it has barely run, is this where I should focus or is it a red herring?

      I'm not sure where to go from here.

    • profile image

      GamerMom 

      2 months ago

      What motherboard product with WiFi would recommend?

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      2 months ago from The Game

      you can get a cheap OS off something like G2A and then use a thumb drive for the OS installation on boot

    • profile image

      Tom Triumph 

      3 months ago

      Once I have the hardware, I'm unsure of where to get the OS and what-not. I've only every gotten a base model PC and upgraded.

      I've gone on eBay and find a number of the parts cheaper there than new. Once I build it, I think I'll find ways to build a second one by being creative (like modding an old case).

      Thanks for this.

    • profile image

      JP1912 

      4 months ago

      Hey off topic but I’d like to build my own media player for mostly streaming video from Kodi sources and playing video files all in at least 1080p. I want to be able to use the tv as the viewer without a dvi adapter. Any opinions? I’m trying to stay away from the pre-fab mini devices. I really don’t care for the matricom “gbox” I have currently, it tends to lag too much for my taste.

    • profile image

      Gamer 

      4 months ago

      Will this run a game like vrchat smoothly, and have less lag.

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      4 months ago from The Game

      It's DDR3

    • profile image

      Jet Le 

      5 months ago

      What kind of ram does it use or does it not matter?

    • profile image

      dsj tanki 

      5 months ago

      can i play league of legends on this pc?

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      5 months ago from The Game

      Honestly I'm not sure - it'll run CSGO pretty good in 720p so I'd assume it'll run Fortnite similarly

    • profile image

      seth 

      5 months ago

      how would it run on fortnite?

    • profile image

      Jameson 

      6 months ago

      Recommending Excavator in 2018 is fucking laughable. You can't even get real playable framerates in 720p on LOW settings in most games with this piece of trash.

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      6 months ago from The Game

      CS:G0's requirements are actually pretty low - it doesn't take much - I'd recommend a ryzen 3 2200g build - it'd do just fine

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      6 months ago from The Game

      In 720p you should be ok

    • profile image

      Todor 

      6 months ago

      Can i play fortnite with those specifications?

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      7 months ago from The Game

      that depends on the resolution and settings you're playing at. I'm not sure I have those numbers, but I know that it would play it in 60FPS with a little tweaking

    • profile image

      Kaiden 

      7 months ago

      What is the estimated FPS for Minecraft and league of legends for your build Brandon? I just want something under $200 for league of legends and Minecraft and small titles like that

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      7 months ago from The Game

      Unfortunately, I don't do the builds for you. However, you can do something like the above if you're willing to build it.

    • profile image

      yasser747 

      7 months ago

      Brandon Hart

      hi sir

      plz can you build pc for me near 200$ or 150$ plz

      i need for ONLY Silkroad Online not for play i need for Bot

      " the bot there is legal "

      https://www.systemrequirementslab.com/cyri/require...

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      7 months ago from The Game

      I did put together a video a while ago of something similar - but it's not really a how-to on assembly https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJnwp9lSyts

    • profile image

      ramy 

      7 months ago

      how did you make this.

    • profile image

      Jose 

      7 months ago

      Is there a video or something on how to actually assemble it?

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      8 months ago from The Game

      From what I've seen you should be able to maintain above 60FPS - of course, those tests were with a stronger processor but the GT 1030 doesn't need a lot - and those achieved an average of around 70.

    • profile image

      Exavius 

      8 months ago

      And the gt 1030 (forgot to add it to the list)

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      8 months ago from The Game

      Do you have a GPU?

    • profile image

      Exavius 

      8 months ago

      My build:

      Gigabyte GA-F2A68HM-DS2

      Corsair cx 430

      AMD Athlon X4 860k

      Crucial Ballistix RAM DDR3 1600mhz 8GB (2x4)

      Deepcool wave V2 micro-atx case

    • profile image

      Exavius 

      8 months ago

      What about fortnite, medium settings

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      8 months ago from The Game

      Admittedly it's not a very expensive PC. However, along with the GT 1030 I'd expect around 75 FPS in BF1 around medium settings. A game like WoW around 116 FPS 1080p in quality level 4. So, it really depends on what you're playing.

    • profile image

      Exavius 

      8 months ago

      Just ordered the parts, only change I made was the ram, I added 8GB and the case. And im also adding my gt 1030.

      How well do u think this will perform?

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      8 months ago from The Game

      What I've listed is what I've tested. It does well with most online eSports games - MOBAs Hearthstone etc... or ok even in 720p games - Keep in mind the Ryzen 3 2200G is a more attractive option and doesn't cost a whole lot more at this point in time.

    • profile image

      Kenneth Keefer 

      8 months ago

      What other games performed well with this build or did you test any other games out with this build.

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      9 months ago from The Game

      Try and switch the input on the monitor - that can sometimes be the cause. Make sure you've got it on the right connector.

    • profile image

      Ryan Carty 

      9 months ago

      I am currently trying to build this pc. It is my first time building a pc so I am obviously not very good at it. I have all the same parts as the author listed, except I have an 8 gb ram. My motherboard, system fan, power supply, and hard drive are all working. But when i plug in my monitor to the motherboard, the monitor says no signal found. I have tried two different monitors and even put in a graphics card. I plugged my monitor into my graphics card and it still says no signal. Does anyone know whats wrong?

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      10 months ago from The Game

      Personally I've never tried those on this; however, it does run counterstrike fairly well in low settings at 720p - So, that should give you an indication. My guess is that it would struggle a bit.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      10 months ago

      Here is my build

      GPU: XFX R7 360 2GB DDR5 $69.99 with $30.00 mail in rebate from NEWEGG = $39.99

      CPU: AMD FX 8320E 3.2 GHz $79.99 with $30.00 mail in rebate from Microcenter =$49.99

      Motherboard: ASUS M5A78L AM3+ Motherboard $29.99 (Originally $59.99 but you save $30.00 when you purchase with AMD FX8320E as bundle from Microcenter) and $10.00 mail in rebate = $19.99

      RAM: 2GB DDR3 PC3-10600 DESKTOP Memory Module (240-pin DIMM, 1333MHz) $13.99 from Amazon. I bought FOUR = $55.96

      Power Supply: EVGA 450W B1 80 PLUS Bronze Certified PSU $39.89 with $20.00 mail in rebate from B&H=$9.89

      Tower case: Rosewill FBM-X1 Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mini Tower Case with Side Panel Window $19.99 with $10.00 mail in rebate from NEWEGG=$9.99

      Hard Drive Western Digital Caviar Green WD5000AACS 500GB 7200 RPM 16 MB Cache SATA 3.0 Gb/s Hard Drive $24.99 from Amazon=$24.99

      Here is my Spec:

      XFX R7 360 2GB DDR5 $39.99

      AMD FX 8320E 3.2 GHz $49.99

      8GB DDR3 1333MHz $55.96

      ASUS M5A78L AM3+ Motherboard $19.99

      EVGA 450W B1 80 PLUS Bronze $9.89

      Rosewill FBM-X1 Black Mini Tower Case with Side Panel Window $9.99

      WD5000AACS 500GB 7200 $24.99

      All bran new parts cost me around $210.00, it's something massively better than A series APU , I play PUGB with 1920 x 1080 resolution with low to medium setting in a 75Hz 27" monitor in an average of 35 FPS. If you have time, you could get something much better than what you expect.

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      11 months ago from The Game

      Have you already built this Greg? I feel like if you're thinking about a secondary graphics card to use in Crossfire you might be close enough on your budget to upgrade the APU itself or maybe even to venture into Pentium / cheap motherboard territory.

      If you've already built it, then for $20 it might be worth a chance, just don't expect a $200 GPU out of the combination.. it'll still feel like a $50 to 70 GPU overall.

    • profile image

      Greg 

      11 months ago

      So if I wanted to add a graphics card what would you say to the amd 6450 would it be a good addition at $20?

    • profile image

      Dre 

      11 months ago

      Thanks Brandon. I'm thinking I might have a ram issue so I'm replacing it in a last ditch effort to make this rig feel somewhat usable. Will try some older games on it later on.

    • profile image

      Zack 

      11 months ago

      Can you change the processor to something like intel snd if so what intel processor would you suggest ( If you know any good intel processors)

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      11 months ago from The Game

      With a solid state drive mine felt snappy for every day usage - I did end up using that. For gaming, I had to tweak my settings down quite a bit for most games for it to feel fast enough.

    • profile image

      Dre 

      11 months ago

      Hi Brandon; thanks so much for posting this build guide - I appreciated the info.

      I built this computer for about $140 after deal hunting for the past few months. I got the A6-7400k for $31 on a deal on bukoos, 2x2 ram @ 1600mhz kit from Atech on ebay for $24, and a fm2+ motherboard from biostar for $31.

      I did run into a problem though; the computer is sooo slow for general usage. Even opening web browsers and the like take a long time. For this reason I haven't tried gaming much on it yet. I replaced the hard drive and processor and I'm still getting ultra slow performance.

      How fast should this thing feel for general every day usage? Because to me it doesn't even feel adequate for that. I'm thinking maybe it's an issue with my ram but I tried using a computer at a local library with an older pentium dual core and only 2 gb of ram and it felt faster than the A6-7400k + 4gb ram.

      Thanks so much for any suggestions or feedback! Much love.

    • profile image

      Ashtron 

      12 months ago

      What if I don't want to use AMD, i've had problems in the past where it just stops working at one point?

    • profile image

      RonaldoBeast 

      13 months ago

      i want a gaming pc without me building it or i want the build to be in step by step is there any ways you can help me?

    • profile image

      ManaMoon 

      13 months ago

      Interesting! I want to build a PC in this budget range,but I want use a AMD A10

      What ver and motherboard would you recommend? (To play overwatch,guilt gear xrd in good frame rate)

      (A shopping list I guess ^_^' )

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      14 months ago from The Game

      It's likely that she doesn't need any of that. Just a basic processor should be more than enough. Something like the i3 7100 or Pentium G4560 is plenty for browsing. If you want her to think it's "snappy" install a small solid state drive for the operating system. For the power supply, no 500W isn't necessary at all and you can go with something smaller if you'd like. EVGA has a 430W one that's very budget-friendly.

    • profile image

      ShadowGhost 

      14 months ago

      I'm looking to building a PC for my parents needs NOT gaming. For instance skypping, YouTube, Web browsing, and etc. Do I need a 500Watt power supply, and what do I need as a graphic card? (Note: my mother is a high school math teacher so she uses the computer to generate tests.)

    • toptengamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Brandon Hart 

      15 months ago from The Game

      Depends on the resolution you want to play at but yes, it should work with Rocket League.

    • profile image

      Sjjn 

      15 months ago

      does thise work with new games like rocket league or do I need to up the price?

    • profile image

      ns 

      19 months ago

      does this need an wifi adapter?

    • profile image

      BOB 

      21 months ago

      How much is this right now?

    • profile image

      Ismael Ek 

      21 months ago

      How long would you say this build lasts? And this also good for editing or just games?

    working

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