“I never knew it was possible to build a powerful gaming PC with only 500 dollars” is something I hear far too often. Most people assume it takes at least 1000 dollars or more to build a gaming PC that can achieve 1080p and 60 frames per second.
This common misconception is the furthest from the truth. It is more than possible to build a gaming PC with a budget of 600, 500, or even 400 dollars that can game in 1080p. In fact, it has never been easier.
Below you can find 8 great ways to save money and build a powerful gaming PC on a budget:
Tip #1: Salvage Old PC Parts
You know that old PC you never use that’s been sitting in your basement? It’s time to bring that thing back from the dead.
Most people don’t know that their old PC still has lots of working components that can be used in a gaming PC.
How is this possible?
Well, any well optimized PC game will mainly utilize the power of the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). As long as you have a powerful GPU to run the games you want to play, you don’t need to worry so much about the rest of your components.
You can use older parts and focus your saved funds on the GPU. This will provide the best possible gaming experience for the lowest price.
What can you salvage from your old desktop?
Well, you can probably reuse the power supply, hard drive, optical drive, and possibly the motherboard. This will save you at least one hundred dollars if not more. If you’re lucky, you can even reuse the CPU. As long as it doesn’t bottleneck the GPU, it’ll be great for gaming. Most old i7, i5, and even some i3 CPUs will do well. Older AMD CPUs will suffice too.
Tip #2: Buy used parts
As mentioned above, a great gaming PC doesn’t necessarily have to be brand new. In fact, most of the parts in your PC can be bought pre-owned at a drastically lower price.
eBay is a great place to buy used PC components. You can find great CPUs, Motherboards, GPUs, etc. on eBay. Actually, it’s not a bad idea to buy all used parts if you’re on a tight budget. The only component you should stay away from buying used is the hard drive, as they store sensitive information. You can buy a 1TB hard drive for just $50, so it is not a big deal at all.
Other than the hard drive, just about all of the other parts can be found on eBay pre-owned for a low price. You can also check your local Craig’s List website to find great deals. Don’t be afraid to buy an old desktop for a low price and use the old parts. You can add a new GPU and it’ll be good to go.
Tip #3: Buy a cheap CPU
Once more, any well optimized PC game will mainly draw from the GPU. This component handles all of the 3D rendering. That being said, the CPU doesn’t need to be the fastest on the market. You can get away with spending 100 dollars or less on the CPU as long as it won’t bottleneck the GPU.
Bottlenecking means the CPU can’t process information as quickly as the GPU. If this happens, the GPU will be limited to the processing power of the CPU. Fortunately the CPU doesn’t need to process as much as the GPU when it comes to gaming. This is why you can get away with a slower CPU. We recommend the Pentium G4560 for an extreme budget, or the Ryzen 3 1200 if you have the money.
If you save money with a cheaper CPU, that money can be allocated towards the GPU. This will give you the best performance per dollar, or bang for your buck.
Tip #4: Focus on the GPU
I don’t want to beat a dead horse and regurgitate the information you just read in the third tip, so I’m going to keep this one short.
Allocate as much money as you can towards your GPU and you’ll have the best performance from your gaming PC.
Tip #5: Look for deals
I know this tip sounds obvious. That’s because it is. Don’t skip this one though, as there’s more to it than you might think.
Most websites have an email newsletter. If you subscribe, you’ll receive regular emails with the latest news regarding their company. More often than not, they’re notifying you about awesome tech deals.
Moreover, there are lots of websites and apps that help you locate the best deals. Just google search “deal finder” and let the savings begin.
Micro Center is a great retailer. They sell amazing PC parts at a fantastic price. Unfortunately they only have 25 locations in the U.S. and they only sell in store. Check online to see if there’s one near you. It’s definitely worth considering, as their prices tend to be much lower than their competitors.
Tip #6: Ask your friends
Odds are at least one of your friends has an old PC laying around. Ask them if they’d be willing to give you some of the parts, if not the whole PC. After all, they’re not using it anyway. If they’re not willing to part with it for free, offer them some money.
If you’re lucky they might have some spare parts as well. You can probably snag them for cheap, if not for free.
Tip #7: Save Money on Peripherals and LEDs
While colorful LEDs and mechanical keyboards are cool, they’re also pricey and unnecessary.
In my personal experience, any mouse and keyboard will do for gaming. Yes, some mice with macros and higher DPI provide a bit of a competitive edge. However, a regular mouse works well and more importantly it’s cheap if not free. On a tight budget, it’s crucial to properly allocate your funds.
A case simply provides housing for your components. It doesn’t need to be decked out with LEDs and case fans to get the job done. The cool LEDs, backlit mechanical keyboards, and mice covered in macros will come later. Right now it’s important to buy the best components you can.
On the other hand, one my favourite things about building a gaming PC is personalizing it to my liking. If there’s room in the budget, don’t be afraid to personalize your build. Every PC is unique.
Tip #8: Be patient
This tip is last on our list but it is easily one of the most important. Patience is key when building a gaming PC on a budget.
First of all, like any large investment, it’s important to thoroughly and completely research the topic before investing a large sum of money. If you’ve read this far, you’re on the right track. Some people foolishly buy the first PC they see and end up with a PC that isn’t all that great.
If you don’t listen to any of the other tips on this list, at least listen to this one. If you only have 300 dollars to spend, save your money. It’s better to be patient, save and buy the better parts than to spend what money you do have on a slow PC. Instead of having a great gaming machine, you’ll have no money and a PC you won’t be happy with.
Building a gaming PC on a budget is achievable if you do the proper research and spend your money wisely. Don’t waste your money by rushing into the PC gaming realm.
It may take some time, but it’s rewarding. PC gaming has so many benefits that console will never be able to provide. The time and money is well worth the reward.
If you’re resourceful, patient, and smart with your money, you’ll have a cheap gaming PC up and running in no time at all.