A Budget PC Build Guide – How to Get the Best Without Spending the Most

Becoming a member of the PC master race isn’t a very cheap proposition, but it’s one that many gamers hold dear in their hearts for one way or another. Whether you are trying to break free from the shackles of console gaming, want to customize your play with mods, or simply need the most bleeding-edge graphical capabilities out there, building your own PC is probably the most economically efficient way to go about this. But where to start, right? We’ve come up with some useful budget-friendly suggestions to help you build your own gaming PC just in time for some of this fall’s biggest titles. If you’ve wondered on what you should add to your PC, or you’re just curious about our suggestions, read on for tips on how to construct a great gaming PC in 2020 and beyond.

CPU

AMD Ryzen 3 3300X

Rocking four cores and eight threads, AMD’s Ryzen 3 3300X has a base clock of 3.8GHz and a turbo clock at 4.3GHz alongside an L3 Cache of 16MB, TDP at 65W, and 24 4.0 PCIe 4.0 lanes for pretty much all of the performance you could ever need for most games.

GPU

Nvidia GTX 1660 Super

Coming with 1,408 GPU Cores and a base clock of 1,530MHz (Boost Clock at 1,785MHz), the Nvidia GTX 1660 Super’s 5,027 GFLOPS, 6GB GDDR6 memory and 14 Gbps memory clock with a bandwidth of 336 GB/s compliment the AMD Ryzen 3 3300X’s performance well for crisp, clear 1080p gaming capabilities.

Motherboard

Asrock B550M-HDV

Motherboards don’t get enough love when it comes to the press around the latest PC gaming technology, but the Asrock B550M-HDV is not only an excellent all-around board but also adaptable for future upgrades and usage scenarios. In terms of performance, we have a B550 chipset  with memory coming in at 2x DIMM, 64GB, DDR4-4733 and one PCIe 4.9 x16 and one PCIe 3.0 x1 expansion slot. For video ports, we’ve got a D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI and four USB 3.2 Gen 1 and two USB 2.0 outlets. Storage is provided via a M.2, 4x SATA and ethernet network connection.

Memory

Corsair Vegeance LPX 16GB (2x 8GB) DDR4-3200

When it comes to memory, it seems like you can never have enough. On top of that, you can really break the bank – if you don’t know what to look for in hardware. We think the Corsair Vegeance LPX 16GB is probably the best option for most gamers on a budget. As far as the performance goes, we’ve got capacity coming in at 16GB( 2x 8GB) with a speed of 3200MT/s and timings at 16-18-18-36. Power consumption comes in at a decent 1.35V. There is some wiggle room for overclocking and, because of that, we really think this represents one of the best values for the money on the market right now.

SSD

Intel 660p 1TB

A solid-state drive is a must-have for gaming PCs and this option from Intel checks off all of the right boxes with very few issues that could hold it back. That said, the drive does have some issues with slowing down as it nears capacity. Keeping some room available shouldn’t be too hard with 1TB of total storage.

Power

EVGA GD 500W 80+ Gold

Your power supply helps bring everything to life – literally – but it also potentially limits your options for the future if not chosen properly. For a great middle ground, we think the EVGA GD 500W 80+ Gold is great for most everything you’re going to need your gaming PC to do over the next couple of years. That said, it does limit your expansion options moving forward and you might want to look at something a little more powerful if you plan on making adjustments to your build anytime soon.

Casing

Phanteks P300 ATX Mid Tower Case

We love the Phanteks P300 ATX Mid Tower Case for its simple yet classic design and ample room for all of hardware listed above. Measuring 450x200x400mm (HxWxD) and weighing 6kg, the Phanteks P300 ATX is a mid-tower with motherboard capability for ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX and two 3.5″ internal, and two 2.5″ SSD drive bays. Rounding out the tower, we’ve got two USB 3.0 front ports as well as an audio port. To keep your system cool, we’ve got two 120/140mm on the front, two 120/140mm on the top, one 120mm on the rear with a max GPU length of 380mm.

When it comes to audio, the sky is the limit on how much you could spend on your speakers. That said, you could also spend a ton of money on headphones – especially if you want something high quality. In that regard, we can’t help but recommend the Sony WH-1000XM4. Universally considered the best headphones for gaming, this product from Sony cancels out ambient noise from the outside world and totally immerses you in the action. As you can probably already imagine, as a Sony product, it isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s going to set you back close to $300 depending on the retailer. Whether or not that is worth it to you or not depends on your situation but, for that money, there are some pretty competent sound systems out there, too. For cheaper alternatives, the Bose SoundSport Wireless comes in a thin, lightweight form factor while the Jabra Elite Active 75t is often cited as a great all-around set of headphones for gaming and other PC activities. There are more expensive options out there for headphones but we really think you start to have diminishing returns the more expensive a piece of gear gets. One advantage to headphones over speakers is that you can use them on more than just your PC. We recommend that you sit down and budget everything out and go from there since headphones could possibly put you over your budget if you want to go for the top-end models.

Xbox Game Pass Adds EA Play for no extra charge

EA Play coming this holiday to Xbox Game Pass.

You heard that right, Microsoft is partnering up with EA to add the entire EA Play collection to the Xbox game pass for no extra cost. You might remember EA’s service as EA Access or Origin Access, but it has been re-branded to EA Play.

You will soon be able to play the entire EA Play library with your $4.99 game pass subscription. That includes more than 60 of EA’s greatest games like Battlefield, FIFA, Mass Effect, and Need for Speed titles just to name a few. Also, yes it will be for both Xbox consoles and Windows PC.

In my opinion it would be silly to not have a $4.99 game pass subscription once this comes out. Also don’t forget new members can get game pass for only $1 for the first month.

Full details from Microsoft here.