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Building a Budget 300 Custom Gaming Computer or HTPC 2014

Updated on June 11, 2014
Is a $300 Gaming PC Build or Home Theater PC / HTPC even possible? I take you through each component that I'd recommend to give you the best budget build for $300. The Gigabyte Radeon HD 6670 is the way I'd go at $59.99 after rebate.
Is a $300 Gaming PC Build or Home Theater PC / HTPC even possible? I take you through each component that I'd recommend to give you the best budget build for $300. The Gigabyte Radeon HD 6670 is the way I'd go at $59.99 after rebate.
The AMD A10-5800k is an alternative option to going with the inexpensive Pentium G860 HD 6670 CPU GPU Combo that we recommend below.
The AMD A10-5800k is an alternative option to going with the inexpensive Pentium G860 HD 6670 CPU GPU Combo that we recommend below.
AMD Athlon X4 AD750KWOHJBOX 100W 3.4Ghz Processor
AMD Athlon X4 AD750KWOHJBOX 100W 3.4Ghz Processor

The Pentium G860 or the AMD 750k are the way to go if you're trying to use a dedicated graphics card. The AMD 750k is the better performer overall here but you could also step up to the FX 4350 for $20 more.

 

Best Value $300 Gaming PC Build 2014

As someone who regularly builds computers for family and friends and makes computer build recommendations on my YouTube channel, I often get the chance to use a wide variety of hardware. One of the questions I get a lot is whether a $300 build is even possible.

If you had asked a similar question just a few years ago, then I might have had a different answer. With how far integrated graphics have come in the last year I think it's now definitely possible.

Building a Budget $300 Gaming PC In 2014

Processor Considerations - What's the Best Budget Gaming CPU?

For this build you have a couple of things to consider when it comes to your processor. The first is whether or not you want to use integrated graphics. With Intel's future Haswell i3 release there's certain to be a value play in there that would work well for integrated graphics. For now you could use an Ivy Bridge i3 processor with this build, but ultimately you probably wouldn't end up with the graphics you were hoping for.

The best option for your processor in this price range is to either go with a low-end pentium and dedicated graphics card or go with one of AMD's newer APU or accelerated processing units which have a graphics card built-in.

For our dedicated graphics card build I'm recommending the Pentium G860. For our APU build we're going with the A10-5800k, but you might be wise to stretch here for the Richland A10-6800k.

APU Or Dedicated Graphics Card

Which would you rather go with at this price point?

See results

My $300 PC Build Video Review and YouTube Channel

Choosing a Budget Graphics Card

Tom's Hardware always puts together a graphics card hierarchy for gaming which is very valuable in terms of what you should get for your budget. For this rig we're going with the Radeon HD 6670. It's probably the best overall graphics card in terms of performance and what you pay.

If you chose the Trinity AMD A10-5800k, then it comes with a Radeon HD 7660D - a slightly less powerful card when compared to the 6670. For that reason it may be best to stretch for the A10-6800k Richland APU from AMD and get the HD 8670D. Either way there's still a slight advantage in going for the HD 6670.

XFX ATI Radeon HD6670 1 GB DDR3 VGA/DVI/HDMI PCI-Express Video Card HD667XZHF3
XFX ATI Radeon HD6670 1 GB DDR3 VGA/DVI/HDMI PCI-Express Video Card HD667XZHF3

The HD 6670 is regularly on rebate for around $50. It's great for games like WoW, League of Legends, or Diablo III.

 
If you're looking for a good LGA 1155 motherboard below $50, then the MSI H61M-P31 is a solid option.
If you're looking for a good LGA 1155 motherboard below $50, then the MSI H61M-P31 is a solid option.

Best Motherboard Options Under or Around $50

I wrote a post about a budget PC like this a few months ago and one of the first questions I had was; "Hey why don't you get a motherboard that has more overclocking features?"

The answer is pretty simple. At this budget we have to focus on getting a motherboard for as cheap as we possibly can so that we can dedicate as much of our budget as possible to the graphics card and processor. If you want to purchase a better motherboard than I've recommended here, then you also have to start thinking about where that money could go in terms of your GPU and CPU.

Go with Something Cheap and Durable at this Price Point:

Ultimately a cheap, but durable, motherboard like the MSI H61M-P31 would be ideal for the LGA 1155 Pentium G860 and something like the MSI FM2-A55M-E33 for the Socket FM2 Trinity or Richland APU featured above.


The Logisys Corp. 550W Power Supply PS550E12BK is more power than you need, but nearly impossible to pass up at under $25. If you can find a 400 watt PSU that's 80 Plus in this same price range, then that would be another good option.
The Logisys Corp. 550W Power Supply PS550E12BK is more power than you need, but nearly impossible to pass up at under $25. If you can find a 400 watt PSU that's 80 Plus in this same price range, then that would be another good option.

Other Computer Hardware Considerations for the $300 Budget PC Gaming Build:

Best Gaming Ram Under $30:

You won't be able to afford more than 4GB of ram here. If possible, you'll also want to keep your budget for that around $30. With 4GB of ram you shouldn't have a problem using this as a HTPC or a gaming rig. Go with good quality ram that's cheap. This month I'd look at Kingston's HyperX series.

Best Power Supply Under $25:

A build like this doesn't require a lot of power. The HD 6670 is a lightweight card and the APU options are also not very taxing. Going with an 80 Plus certified option here is too expensive, so going with an inexpensive, but flexible, PSU like the Logisys PS550E12BK is more than enough.

Best Gaming Case Under $30

I recently had a chance to do a review of the best full tower and mid tower gaming cases available for 2013. That being said, few of those fall in the under $30 category. At this price level you want something inexpensive that will fit a micro ATX motherboard and not be overly intrusive. I'm recommending the Rosewill FBM-01.

Hard Drive Options

This is where staying within a build budget and stretching a little bit make a lot of sense. If you want to stay within the budget, then go with a 250GB hard drive from Western Digital. If you're willing to spend $10 to $15 more you'll be able to double or triple your capacity. This seems well worth the price - especially if this is a HTPC that's doubling as a gaming computer.

Final Thoughts:

This build is surprisingly good at meeting the demands of even today's most graphically intense games. With the price of consoles going to $400 and $500 it may make sense for some to build a budget rig and have the flexibility of a computer.

What would your build be at this price point? Speak your mind in the comment section below. If you have any questions, then allow for up to 24 hours for both your comment and my response to show.

$300 PC Build Recommendations and Updates

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      WaiLinHtet 2 years ago

      I would like to build gaming pc with core i3 and 1150 motherboards below $300. Which motherboard is suitable with me. I already have 4 GB of ram. I also want to 0lay games. I am not interested in overclocking. I am just interested in good working and durable.

    • profile image

      Bobby 3 years ago

      I would like to make a gaming pc I have a micro tower so this is the processor, the AMD A10-6800K Richland 4.1GHz (4.4GHz Turbo) Socket FM2 100W Quad-Core Desktop Processor - Black Edition AMD Radeon HD 8670D if you can make sure the motherboard can fit in my micro tower, also I'd like to inform you why I'm not buying any other computer parts In my micro tower I already have:

      -DVD Drive

      -Hard Drive

      -Power supply

      I kinda got to do it in a $275 budget although if I have to I may be able to squeeze the budget for a little more $

    • toptengamer profile image
      Author

      Brandon Hart 3 years ago from The Game

      That's really just all about timing. Clearly there are good deals you find every day - some amazing, some not so good, but if you were to build this yourself that's of course something you need to consider.

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      cean 3 years ago

      the cx430w comes at 43$ and is 80 plus . you should write it in recommendations next time

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      gabi 3 years ago

      The Logisys PS550E12BK is one of the worst PSU on market. Everyone complains about the poor quality of this PSU. A PSU made by reliable manufacturers (Cooler Master, Thermaltake), suitable for gameing pc with a consumption of not more than 350W , cost somewhere around

      $40.

    • profile image

      matthew 4 years ago

      do you have any recommendations on an optical drive that would be compatible with this build?