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Build a $300 Gaming PC 2014 Best Custom Desktop

Updated on February 21, 2014

Best $300 Budget PC Build 2014

I'm a home theater and PC enthusiast who likes to have everything at my fingertips. In my opinion a home theater PC is better than any streaming player out there simply because it gives me the flexibility to do what I want. In this post I'll cover how I'd put together a super inexpensive PC that can be used as a home theater PC as well as for work at home and light gaming. Overall I feel it's a good build and you might just be surprised at what you can get for that price.

Choosing the Right Hardware for Your Build

Going in to this I knew I was going to have to have certain components in order to make this a really functional build. While this may change depending on what you plan on using it for there are a few things that I highly recommend you budget for. For example I knew that I wanted at least 4GB of ram and a decent APU that would allow me to save money by combining the CPU and GPU purchase together while still giving me the performance I needed to do light gaming and use my rig as a HTPC. An additional money-saving consideration would be to purchase a case that comes with a power supply.

Best APU Graphics Card and Processor Under $100 2014

In this price range it makes a lot of sense to go with one of AMD's APU options as purchasing your graphics card and CPU separately would cost considerably more.

AMD A8-3870K APU with AMD Radeon 6550 HD Graphics 3.0GHz Unlocked Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core Processor - Retail - AD3870WNGXBOX
AMD A8-3870K APU with AMD Radeon 6550 HD Graphics 3.0GHz Unlocked Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core Processor - Retail - AD3870WNGXBOX

This is the one I'm going for with this build in the $100 range. Technical details include; 4 cores, 3.0Ghz operating frequency, 4MB L2 cache, DirectX 11-capable graphics, AMD Radeon HD 6550D integrated graphics, and it includes a 3 year parts and labor warranty.

 

Best Motherboard Under $50

GIGABYTE FM1 AMD A55 Hudson D2 DDR3 1800 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard GA-A55M-DS2
GIGABYTE FM1 AMD A55 Hudson D2 DDR3 1800 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard GA-A55M-DS2

The rebate Available takes this item to 45.99. Technical Details include; micro ATX form factor, 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16, 4 x SATA 3Gb/s, 8 Audio channels, 4 x usb 2.0 on board, Rear Panel Ports include; D-Sub + DVI, 4 x USB 2.0, 3 audio, and 2 PS/2. A 3 year parts and labor warranty from Gigabyte is also included.

 

Best DDR3 Ram / Memory Under $25

It's amazing how much ram has come down in the last couple of years and it really benefits this build to grab just around 4GB. I suggest you go with the Corsair XMS3.

Corsair CMX4GX3M1A1333C9 XMS3 4 GB 1333MHz PC3-10666 240-pin DDR3 Memory Kit for Core i3 i5 i7-1.5V
Corsair CMX4GX3M1A1333C9 XMS3 4 GB 1333MHz PC3-10666 240-pin DDR3 Memory Kit for Core i3 i5 i7-1.5V

Technical Details; DDR3 1333 speed, 9-9-9-24 timing, XMS Heat Spreader, and includes a lifetime limited parts and labor warranty.

 

Best Hard Drive Under $60

If you have a little extra cash you can easily upgrade one of the drives below to 1TB for just around $20. That being said many people don't need a drive larger than 500GB so this is an easy way to keep yourself in budget.

Best DVD Drive Under $20

A DVD drive doesn't have to be fancy and there are many options in the $20 or under range that will do a more than adequate job.

Best HTPC and Gaming Cases Under $40

The type of case you get will be determined by both your personal preference and what type of PC you are building. Those wanting simply a HTPC might consider going with a minimalist looking case while those wanting a personal or gaming computer may want something larger that they can upgrade.

Apex Computer Technology PC-389-C 10bay ATX Tower No Psu USB / Hd PC389C
Apex Computer Technology PC-389-C 10bay ATX Tower No Psu USB / Hd PC389C

Not as sturdy as the NZXT above but not as expensive either.

 

Best Power Supply Under or Around $30

While an 80 Plus certified power supply would be ideal it's simply not viable for this build. Still, I recommend you using a brand that is durable and will last you a long time.

How much power do you need?

While 400 watts should be more than enough for any build at this price level it's always a good thing to know exactly how much power your PC will use as power supplies are more efficient when they are at a higher load (overall percentage of usage). Check out Thermaltake's PSU calculator to get a very good idea of what your usage will be.

$300 Custom PC Build Summary

In conclusion here's what I actually ended up going for:

AMD APU model A8-3870k: - $90

Gigabyte GA-A55M-DS2 FM1 Socket Motherboard: $45.99 (after rebate)

4GB XMS3 Corsair DDR3 Memory: $22.99

Western Digital 320 GB Hard Drive: $67.93

Sony AD-7280S-0B DVDRW Drive: $17.99

NZXT Source 210 PC Case: 39.98

Cooler Master eXtreme Plus S500-PCARD3-US: 32

Total Price: $298.94

Success in your build and don't forget to leave a comment below and check out my other PC related posts. Cheers!

Custom PC Build for $300 - Guestbook

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