Best Budget $150 to $200 Gaming PC Build 2018

Updated on January 3, 2018
I recently built this $150 gaming PC. It plays the likes of CS:GO, WoW, LOL, DOTA 2, Hearthstone and more in 1080p.
I recently built this $150 gaming PC. It plays the likes of 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 $150 to $250 range that play today's latest titles. The range in budget is for those of you who would prefer to spend just a little bit more in order to have a few more options.

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.

I used an AMD APU to make a $150 build for my son that plays the games that he cares about.
I used an AMD APU to make a $150 build for my son that plays the games that he cares about.
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.

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Best APU / CPU/ GPU Combination for Under $50

PC building experts will point you in the direction of the G3258 and the RX 460 or 1050 when talking about budget CPU and GPU combinations. Unfortunately for this build, those $170 combinations take up the entirety of our budget.

Instead, we're focusing on a few cheap APU options that give you processing power along with dedicated-like graphics. Overclocking isn't going to be much of an option here as the CPU cooler would be too expensive. For that reason, the A6-7400k makes a lot of sense for our *$150 build. The AMD A8-7600 APU, which can be found for $20 to $25 more, is a solid step-up for our *$200 to $250 build.

*Prices vary greatly from day to day. As such, these builds may be up to $50 more depending on the deals that you're able to find. Also, we have yet to see Bristol Ridge APUs available to consumers. When the A6-9500 and A8-9600 become available or if Raven Ridge gets released in 2018, look out for these options.

The aim with our AMD A6-7400k APU might be a little different than you expect. We want to build a computer that can handle many of today's most popular games like CS:GO, League of Legends, Minecraft, and even some moderately heavy games like Tomb Raider or Bioshock Infinite.

Since most people on a budget of $200 aren't going to have $60 to go out and spend on a new game like Battlefield 1, we'll be focusing on free-to-play or inexpensive games. If you're wanting to play games like that, it'll be hard to do with this PC and you may want to up the budget.

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 $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.

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. 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

As you can see on the benchmarks for this build, using dual channel memory is a must. For this reason, I recommend you go with a slightly more expensive 2x2GB kit rather than just buying a 1x4GB option.

Admittedly, this may take you a bit over your budget; however, it'll be well worth the extra $5 to $10 for considerably more performance. If you can, step up to a 2x4GB kit. As ram is something that's easily transferable to other builds, it's practical to make that investment now.

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.


$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, a CX 430 for $19.99 after a $20 rebate from Newegg, a 1x4GB stick of ram for as little as $24 and a 2x2 kit for $35. In addition, the motherboard was on rebate for $29.99.

For the $150 to $200 build, I used pricing from Amazon, NCIX, and Newegg in the US as I prefer to use those particular options where I live.

If you're wanting to build this PC at a similar price, you'll need to make modifications to it based upon rebates and pricing available where you live.

$150 and $200 PC Builds

Hardware
$150
$200 (Only Changes Shown)
APU
A6-7400k
AMD A8-7600
Motherboard
Gigabyte FM2+ GA-F2A68HM-H
 
Case
Xion mATX Case
 
Power Supply
CX 430
 
RAM
Crucial 2x2GB CTKIT24664BA160B
Corsair Vengeance 2x4GB
Storage
WD Caviar Blue 320GB
 
*Price After Rebates
$156
$207
*Prices will vary based upon dates, online stores, and available rebates.

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

Admittedly, Raven Ridge APUs may be available in the near-distant future. If you come across this build and something like the AMD A8-9600 or A6-9500 is available, it's likely you'll get better performance. For now, AMD has given priority to PC manufacturers and, after many months, consumers still don't have access to the part alone.

$150 Gaming PC Video Review

Questions & Answers

    © 2015 Brandon Hart

    Discussion Area for Minimalist-Type Gaming PC Builds

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      • toptengamer profile image
        Author

        Brandon Hart 4 days 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 4 days 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 image
        Author

        Brandon Hart 6 weeks 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 7 weeks 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 image
        Author

        Brandon Hart 2 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 2 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 2 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.

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        Zack 2 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 image
        Author

        Brandon Hart 2 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 2 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.

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        Ashtron 4 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?

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        RonaldoBeast 4 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 4 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 image
        Author

        Brandon Hart 5 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 5 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 image
        Author

        Brandon Hart 6 months ago from The Game

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

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        Sjjn 6 months ago

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

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        ns 10 months ago

        does this need an wifi adapter?

      • profile image

        BOB 12 months ago

        How much is this right now?

      • profile image

        Ismael Ek 12 months ago

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

      working