Building a PC for budget gaming has never been harder, as the industry grapples a silicon shortage, lack of stock and mining craze – which is forcing GPU prices higher and higher…
But don’t stress – we’ve got you covered! We’ve managed to build a Gaming PC with great upgrade paths and availability that lets you build a 1080p gaming PC right now!
As much as a config like this shouldn’t need to exist, in a perfect world of stock and pricing, it was a nice surprise to see just how well a budget oriented PC can perform. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all of the 3000 series and AMD Big Navi fun, while forgetting about the joys of gaming full stop – 4K or not!
CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3100
When it comes to CPU options, anything in the AMD Ryzen lineup with 4 or 6 cores will do nicely! We love the Ryzen 3 3100, but the likes of the 1600X from a couple of generations ago, or even the 2400G will do the trick! If you can afford a Ryzen 5 chip, that will help GPU upgrade options, while avoiding bottlenecks too! Either way, 3rd generation Ryzen 3 is awesome if you can get hands on!
GPU: ZOTAC Gaming GTX 1650
It might not be RTX 3000 or AMD Big Navi, but the GPU choice for todays PC build is a pocket rocket for sure. The budget card that was never intended to cost so much has impressed us. It handles 1080p gaming pretty well, and while games like Cyberpunk do struggle, it’s otherwise really nice.
One reason that this GPU is a good choice in the current climate is because you won’t lose as much money once GPU prices do correct. Paying 4x RRP for a 2060 or 2060 Super is going to lead to big losses. Losing $100 or $120 on a card like this, on today’s pricing compared to normal times, is an easier pill to swallow.
RAM: Kingston HyperX Fury 8GB
In terms of RAM, we recommend you keep it simple! 8GB in a dual channel configuration (aka 2 dimms) is the way to go, while 16GB is a nice upgrade if you have some budget spare.
It’s also really important to go for a fast kit, 3600MHz is the ideal speed, as our Ryzen CPU really likes faster memory.
SSD/Storage: Kingston A400 500GB
Storage is a really easy part of any build to save a bit of cash, but be careful with your choices. A slower hard drive might give you more capacity at a lower price per GB, but it will also become painfully slow over time and make your boot up times feel rather, well… 2012.
This drive from Kingston is a nice choice, as is the Seagate Q1 drive we reviewed here.
Storage is a really easy part of any build to save a bit of cash, but be careful with your choices.
Keep scrolling for the rest of the components, but remember: we’ve uploaded a video version of this build below!
Motherboard: Gigabyte B450 S2H
Picking a motherboard for this build is once again a fairly easy choice – B450 or B550 (the latter if you have some more cash to spend), will serve you well. This board from Gigabyte has a great reputation amongst the budget build community, and while 4 RAM dimms would be preferred… you get what you pay for.
The Micro ATX form factor is the perfect shout, with a compact size that retains the key features most gamers and builders are after.
Case: Aerocool Quantum Mesh
Aerocool are undoubtedly one of the kings in the budget case world, and this Quantum Mesh chassis is no exception. In fact, this case is one of the best chassis we’ve tested from Aerocool – 3 premium RGB fans provide plenty of airflow, while an unrestrictive mesh panel up front is a welcome addition.
While other brands, like Cooler Master, do make some nice budget chassis, Aerocool win on the price to performance front every day of the week.
Aerocool are undoubtedly one of the kings in the budget case world, and this Quantum Mesh chassis is no exception.
PSU: Aerocool Aero Bronze 650W
The final component of this build is the power supply – this is the unit which takes your wall power and turns it into the power your components require.
The Aerocool Aero Bronze has plenty of wattage for the build in its current state and future upgrades, while the black, rubber cables are a premium touch compared to other units out there!
PSU (Alternative Choice): Thermaltake Smart 500W 80+
The Aerocool unit listed above would be our preference for this build, but in light of tricky PSU availability at the moment this Thermaltake unit is worth a mention. The cables are not quite as nice, and the efficiency rating is lower, but it is very affordable and generally well rated. It is also quiet and gives enough output for a low power system like this one.
Performance & Benchmarking
As alluded to earlier in this article, the 1650 really impressed with its performance at 1080p in our extensive suite of test titles! Games like Apex Legends, Overwatch, Fortnite and Valorant held up really well. The 1650 is obviously a lot less powerful than even the entry level RTX 3060 we tested out here, but as an entrance to PC gaming at 1080p, it’s a viable choice in the current market.
Games tested include: Apex Legends, COD Cold War, COD Warzone, Control, CS:GO, Cyberpunk 2077, Death Stranding, Fortnite, GTA V, Rainbow Six Siege, Valorant, Watch Dogs: Legion & Overwatch!
|GTA V||94 FPS|
|Apex Legends||76 FPS|
|Doom Eternal||73 FPS|
|Rainbow Six Siege||139 FPS|
|Watch Dogs Legion||56 FPS|
|COD Black Ops Cold War||64 FPS|
|Cyberpunk 2077||34 FPS|
|Death Stranding||46 FPS|
|COD Warzone||68 FPS|
Make sure to get subscribed to our dedicated benchmarking & build channels, using the buttons below to get notified whenever we publish a new build!
Performance aside, one super important factor with any build is how it looks …right?! This build is a bit of a stunner if I do say so myself, and below is a gallery of some of the awesome stills we pulled from this system – take a look!