Best 300 Gaming PC Build 2013 - Budget PC Building

Rosewill Computer Case
Rosewill Computer Case

Even the mention of a $300 gaming PC build among my group of computer hardware-loving friends starts a pretty animated argument. What, in fact, can you really do with $300? My answers is pretty much always the same, "a lot more than you could do last year". With a $300 you certainly won't be able to play your favorite games on the highest settings, but it's impressive that you will be able to play most of them.

Better integrated graphics and inexpensive options for Intel and AMD are what have really made up the difference at this price point. With AMD's Kaveri APU release touted for 2013, the gaming community is excited to see what options may be available in this price range in the next year or two.

Choosing the Parts

Where exactly should you put your money when you only have $300? Below is a chart of just what I think. Disagree? Let's Discuss! Take my interactive reader poll and leave me a comment below this post!

While you'll notice that I've sacrificed a bit of quality vs. my $400 Gaming PC Build, we still have a lot of the processing power and graphics. You might also notice that I sacrificed the optical drive. By doing this I managed to keep the same processors as the last build and get the GPU budget up to around $60. If this is the budget you truly have for yourself, then you might also consider using a hard drive from another computer you have in order to dedicate that $50 to your graphics card and another 4GB of ram.

$300 Gaming Rig Parts Breakdown

Hardware
Budget
APU
Up to $130 (Exclude CPU GPU)
CPU
70
Graphics Card
60
Motherboard
50
Ram
30
Case
20
Power Supply
20
Hard Drive
50
Pentium G860 Processor
Pentium G860 Processor

Should you Choose a CPU or APU?

Despite our low budget I felt that it was of the utmost importance to make the processors for this build a priority. For this build we'll use the Pentium G860, the Athlon II X4 640, and the A10-5800k. You can also consider downgrading to the A8-5600K if you wanted that $20 to go elsewhere.

*It's important to note that the A10-5800k comes with its own dedicated graphics card so while it's twice the price of the other processors here you also effectively get a Radeon HD 7660D (GPU clock speed -800MHz).

Keep in mind that what CPU you choose will determine the socket type of the motherboard that you need to purchase with the G860 being LGA 1155, the Athlon II 640 being AM3, and the A10-5800k needing the FM2 socket.

PC Gaming Graphics Cards Under $60 2013

If you have around $60 to spend on a graphics card you need to go with performance first. The HD 6670 probably makes the most sense here. This is especially true if you can find it on rebate for around $60. Benchmarks from Tom's Hardware show it gives you good value and performance for the money.

MSI AMD A55 MicroATX FM2-A55M-E33 motherboard
MSI AMD A55 MicroATX FM2-A55M-E33 motherboard

Best Value Motherboard Under $50 2013

When I'm doing a budget build for family or friends I purposefully look for good value micro ATX motherboards. These motherboards fit in almost every case you'll find and offer you just about as much functionality as you'll find in more expensive boards.

For the AMD A10-5800k build I've chosen the MSI AMD A55 MicroATX FM2-A55M-E33 motherboard which is also one of my favorite new boards for home theater PCs because of its HDMI slot and Trinity APU Compatibility. While it does have 1 PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot and can support up to 32GB of ram you won't need all of that unless you plan on upgrading later.

For the AMD Athlon II X4 640 build I've chosen a socket AM3+ board, the AS Rock FX Socket AM3 Plus N68C-GS. As I mentioned in previous articles I try to stay with the newer technology if at all possible. Since AM3 CPUs are forwards compatible with AM3+ motherboards you'll be able to upgrade to a Bulldozer, Piledriver, or Steamroller CPU in the future.

The only way to get to our motherboard budget of $50 with our Intel processor was to go with a Sandy Bridge LGA 1155 H61 chipset motherboard. The biggest differences for this motherboard when compared with other chipsets is that it doesn't have support for overclocking the GPU or Ram. That being said it does what it needs to do with 1 PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot and support for up to 16GB of ram.

What Processor and Build Would You Choose?

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