Entry-level gaming PC guide: The best parts to pick for budget gaming

With the shortage of key components and the corresponding prices on the rise, building a new computer may sound like a daunting task right now. But luckily, it’s relatively easy to build a basic computer for entry-level gaming even under current circumstances. In this article, we’ll take you through a guide to help you build a solid entry-level gaming PC for around $700. With the recent price spikes on GPUs, it goes without saying that it’s impossible to fit a discrete graphics card into a $700 budget. As a workaround, we’re using a Ryzen 5 5600G APU to power the graphics for this build. So without wasting any more time, let’s get to the build.

Note: We’ve added a couple of budget GPU recommendations in the ‘Price Summary’ section of this article for those who are interested. We’re not including a graphics card for this build because, well,  most people don’t have access to even budget GPUs at retail prices or anything remotely close to it. Perhaps we’ll update this build once the dust settles down and the GPU market stabilizes.

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

Retail box of the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G processor

The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is one of the best processors in the Ryzen 5000 series. This tried and tested APU is an absolute no-brainer as it’s a 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-to-performance ratio for those who’re looking to save money on an entry-level build. It eliminates the need for including a discrete graphics card in your build for entry-level gaming. Intel’s new Core i5-12600 is a solid processor to consider for a budget build but it comes with an associated cost for the new 600 series chipset motherboards that are still somewhat expensive on the market. The Ryzen 5 5600G, on the other hand, drops on one of the existing affordable motherboards including the less expensive B550 boards.

As for the performance, the Ryzen 5 5600G should be good enough for entry-level gaming. You’re not going to get fantastic frames across all games, but we think it’s plenty to run even some of the newer titles at 720p or at 1080p with low-graphics settings. The Ryzen 5 5600G is a six-core APU that comes with the AMD Radeon Vega 7 graphics. This particular APU also comes with a bundled CPU cooler which means you’ll save more money on the build. There’s a lot to like about the Ryzen 5 5600G as long as you keep your expectations in check from a budget-centric PC with entry-level parts.

    AMD Ryzen 5 5600G processor

    The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is a fantastic APU that’ll save you a lot of money for an entry-level gaming build. It packs plenty of power to run even some modern titles at 720p or 1080p at low-settings.

Best motherboard for entry-level gaming build: ASRock B550M Pro 4

Black colored ASRock motherboard

For the motherboard, we think any of the affordable B550 chipset-based boards should be able to handle the Ryzen 5 5600G APU. We’ve picked the ASRock B550M Pro 4 motherboard for this build mainly because it’s one of the most affordable options on the market right now. It comes with plenty of noteworthy features including an eight-phase power design, support for DDR4-4733+ RAM, 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 offer better performance than its stock settings. The ASRock B550M Pro 4 is an mATX form-factor motherboard, which means it’s probably best to stick to a small-sized PC case or a mid-tower case at best. Alternatively, you can check out our collection of the best AMD motherboards to find more options for your build.

    ASRock B550M Pro 4 motherboard

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

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

An XPG RAM module with a red-colored heat spreader being installed on a motherboard

Unlike the new DDR5 memory kits, there’s no shortage of DDR4 RAM sticks on the market right now. You can always pick up a pair of budget sticks for the build but we recommend picking up the XPG Gammix D30 gaming DDR4 RAM sticks. There’s a lot to like about these sticks and we think they offer great value for money. We’re looking at memory latency of CL18 and memory speeds of about 3600Mhz. These sticks are faster and have tighter timings than a lot of other kits on the market. They also have a stylish heat-spreader that we think will add to the overall look of the build.

    XPG Gammix D30 DDR4 RAM sticks

    The XPG Gammix D30 DDR4 RAM kits are perfect for an affordable entry-level PC build. These kits have memory speeds of up to 3600Mhz and memory latency of CL18.

Best storage drive: Western Digital SN550 M.2 NVMe SSD

A WD SN550 Blue M.2 SSD installed on a B550 motherboard

Western Digital’s Blue SN550 is one of the most affordable and reliable M.2 SSDs on the market right now. This particular SSD is the go-to option for a lot of entry-level builds and we’ve picked the 500GB variant of the drive for this guide. For just $60, the Blue SN550 offers plenty of features including high sequential read and write speeds of up to 2,400MB/s and 1,750MB/s, respectively. If you don’t mind putting up with slightly slower speeds in favor of high-capacity, then we suggest you replace the M.2 drive with a SATA SSD of choice. Additionally, you can also pair it with a high-capacity 7200+ RPM HDD as your secondary drive to dump your files. These are entirely optional upgrades though, which is why we’re not adding them to our price summary of this build.

    Western Digital Blue SN550 M.2 SSD

    The WD Blue SN550 is a solid budget SSD to consider for an entry-level build. Despite the relatively affordable price tag, the WD Blue SN550 is known for its reliable performance and speed for various workloads including gaming.

Best power supply for entry-level gaming build: Corsair RM550x

A black colored Corsair modular PSU with a fan on top

When it comes to the PSU, we recommend picking up the Corsair RM550x. This unit, as the name suggests, offers 550W of power to the PC, which is plenty for a relatively low-powered build like the one we’re working with for this guide. We’re only using an APU to power this rig, which is why we can get away with spending less on the PSU. That being said, it’s still recommended that you pick a reliable power supply unit with a good rating. The ATX PSU that we’ve picked here comes with an 80 Plus Gold rating and is fully modular, making it better than a majority of other PSUs in its class. 550W of power is enough for the build we’ve listed here but it goes without saying that you will 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 PSU on the market right now. It offers plenty of power for a relatively low-powered build and also comes with 80 Plus gold rating.

Best PC case: Phanteks Eclipse P360A

A black-colored PC case with RGB lights on the front

At $80, we think the Phanteks Eclipse P360A is the perfect PC case for this particular build. Despite the affordable price tag, it’s a reliable mid-tower PC case that comes with two 120mm D-RGB PWM fans pre-installed out of the box. Additionally, the case has plenty of space to add more case fans and radiators for CPU coolers, should you decide to add them in the future. It offers great clearance for all the components including tall CPU cooler towers, modern GPUs, and more. The case also has plenty of vents for airflow and they’re all covered with mesh filters to keep the dust away from the internals.

You can always step down and pick up PC cases that cost as low as $50 or less. However, we decided to stick to the Eclipse P360A mainly to keep our upgrade paths open for the future. This particular case is considered to be amongst the best in the budget space. It’s also one of the better-looking cases out there market with included RGB fans and a see-through side panel.

    Phanteks Eclipse P360A mid-tower case

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

Entry-level gaming build: Price Summary

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

Component Listed Price
AMD Ryzen 5 5600G processor $259
ASRock B550M Pro 4 motherboard $132
AMD Wraith Stealth CPU cooler (included with APU) $0
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’s recommended that you add at least one more fan to maintain adequate airflow. We’re not adding the cost of the case fan to the price summary because a) it’s not a significant addition to the overall cost of the build, and b) the number of required case fans depends on your choice of the PC case. The same is true for thermal paste. We’re not adding it to the overall price of the build, but it’s not a bad idea to pick up a thermal paste syringe for as low as $5 and keep it handy for 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 essay explaining how to apply thermal paste if you need help with your first build.

If you’re hellbent on adding a discrete GPU to the build and somehow have access to one at retail price, then we recommend considering either an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super or something more affordable like a Radeon RX 570. You can also swap out the Ryzen 5 5600G with an IGP-less CPU to save some money for the graphics card.

Entry-level gaming build: Final Thoughts

Building an entry-level budget gaming PC, as you can see, is entirely possible even under the current circumstances. Sure, you may not be able to afford a discrete graphics card in this price range, but this particular build is capable of running even some of the modern titles at low graphics settings. The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G can also act as a reliable stop-gap GPU while we wait for the discrete GPU prices to stabilize. It’s the next best thing to a discrete GPU that’ll save you money to spend on graphics cards when the prices go down.

It’s also possible to build more affordable PCs by swapping out our recommended parts with cheaper alternatives. For instance, you can replace M.2 SSDs with SATA SSD or even slower HDDs to save more money. Similarly, you can pick up a non-modular PSU and perhaps a more affordable PC case to save a few more dollars. That being said, we don’t recommend skimping on the APU or a compatible motherboard to make sure you’re not taking a performance hit, especially while gaming on a budget. As always, you can also join our XDA Computing Forums to discuss your build 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 PC at home.

The post Entry-level gaming PC guide: The best parts to pick for budget gaming appeared first on xda-developers.

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