Parts are expensive these days. Whether you’re looking for the latest in CPU chips, the strongest of last gen’s graphics, or a working human heart that’s still in good condition, the buying market for home-builders is in rough shape. But, you may wonder… is it even possible to get a good, high-quality gaming desktop experience in the modern age? Well, yes, yes it is. For this guide, I’ll be using current console pricing as a framework for building a good, reliable computer that will last you for this generation–giving us a budget of under $600 dollars. So, read on to learn what to look for when picking out the Best Gaming PC Build parts for your own nefarious purposes, and stick it to the retailers and miners who would have you pay more.
Each PC comes with seven core parts, that is parts that are functionally required for the Gaming Desktop PC build to work. I’ll list them all below, with my choice for headlining budget option for our build here, but I want you to go in prepared, so I’ll put a brief write-up here for those who are interested. If you already know these core parts, or if you just want to see the list, scroll on.
If you don't want to create your own gaming pc build, scroll to the bottom to see what I have chosen for the pre-built option. I am very happy with what I found.
Processor – The thinking engine of any modern PC, and the driving force behind it. The CPU is required to get everything in running order–to put the ”computer” in “gaming computer”. Measured in gigahertz as a unit of speed, across multiple cores of power.
Graphics Card – A separate processing core solely for pushing visuals to your screen or monitor. In a gamer’s rig, this will often be the most expensive part–and for a good reason.
Memory – Sticks of temporary storage the gaming desktop computer uses to stay agile. Data is stored in RAM sticks while being shuffled around your CPU. Think of these like ‘pockets’; they can’t hold as much as your house, but you also don’t need to drive home every time you need to pay for gum.
The Motherboard – This is where all of the above parts will live, where they need to attach to work and become one central unit. It’s also where everything connects; housing this and everything on it is why we need a case.
Storage Suite – At the basic level, this will be a hard drive, with more or less storage space and slower or faster spin-up times, to move things there. If you’re willing to drop more money, you can get a ‘solid-state’ drive, which doesn’t spin and works faster overall but comes at an extreme cost increase per terabyte of space.
Power Supply – Inarguably the most important part of the PC. The power supply or PSU is simply what diverts power to all the parts of your PC, and without it, there is no PC. Cheap pre-built gaming computers you buy often skimp on these; I would only do so at your peril, as a bad PSU can cause loading issues, shutdowns, or even small fires.
The Case – The skin, the shell, the outside. The case, the last and somewhat optional component of any computer, and one that is also subject to opinions on aesthetics and size. However, inside of each case are some important points to note.
With that out of the way, let’s begin.
Best Gaming PC Under 600
Price fluctuates daily. Check the latest most up to date price on Amazon.**
1) AMD Ryzen 5 3600
The AMD Ryzen CPU is an amazing 6-core processor, tailor made for our build. It is well built and sizeable than the 3600, when it comes to the size of the build as well. However, it still holds up; with a boost of 4.2GHz and a clock speed of 3.6GHz you will be sure to run games with a smooth performance, even at 1080p.
Since its gone down in price, You might feel its budget price as low once you pay, you’ll explore how little it cost when you open the box and put it into your machine… but when you load up a game, you won’t find a trace of that bargain pricing anywhere. Definitely recommended, and the money we use here will benefit the machine down the line.
2) GPU: XF Radeon RX 580
Here we go. A solid graphics card for a budget gamer, from a great manufacturer with a good warranty policy. The real deal. This XF RX 580 by Radeon graphics card comes in at a stock 8GB of video memory, with a decent speed, making it far more cost-effective than any other GPU in the market, without adding much to the cost. Perfect for gaming as well as streaming extremely efficient, working with a surprising making sure you run at the GPUs maximum clockspeed anytime you put it to work. If you are able to add more to get a better graphics card be sure to do so after research.
The Radeon RX 580 is a fantastic starting point for someone getting into the market looking for a great deal on an affordable core for a gamer looking to get the best at this price point.
3) Motherboard: AS Rock B450M PRO4
This is quite literally where it all comes together. I had several options here, so I went through the entire rest of the build again piece by piece to make sure it would all work well together, and then I picked the best motherboard for all of it together, on a cost-to-performance ratio. To that end, it’s hard to beat the B450M AS Rock PRO4 for our purposes. It’s a great budget offering from a well-known company, and gives the builder an opportunity to upgrade the setup down the line. And it’s a Micro ATX board, so even if you want to get a more compact case, this motherboard will be ready.
Technically speaking, the B450M has everything we need for our price range and offers a whole lot of stability when it comes to involving other PC components. With enough PCI express slots, SATA support, it gives space for current and future upgrades as well as fully supporting all components.
4) SSD: Silicone Power 512 SSD
Vital, yet cheap and effective. For a modern SSD, 512 gigabytes may not seem like much, but the real key to this drive is its 530Mbs read speed. It gives fast loading speeds and booting times as well. That means that you might feel like you have lost a bit of storage, but you take a huge chunk off the price for that, while keeping your pc fast and reliable. It’s also cheap and easy to upgrade to something more substantial as an option, if your budget allows, but for the low, low the you can’t beat something this worthwhile.
It does its job well, and 512 gigs are nothing to sneeze at. Unless you want to; it’s your hard drive, I won’t stop you.
5) RAM: OLOy DDR4 RAM
Another offering from a company I’ve used several times before, this is actually a cousin of the RAM in the machine I’m currently using at home. OLOy have done a good job , providing a good line of chips that have always managed well the balance between price and performance. Adding this will provide us with 16 GB board of DDR4 memory clocked at 3200MHz, easily on par with modern gaming offerings. It will give us the ability to play higher end games as well.
6) Thermaltake Smart 500W
As I’ve said before, and as I will continue to say for the rest of my days–you can’t skimp on the PSU if you want to have a good PC build. After picking a decent brand with a good name for itself and the wattage you’ll need, at the bare minimum you need to make sure that your power supply is at least 80+ Bronze rated. This is a measure of efficiency and overall quality of the components used and the build inside, and guarantees a minimum of 80% power efficiency through draw. This makes sure your system works better, helps keep it cool, and means you’ll have an overall much better time, especially since it means your machine probably won’t catch fire.
The Thermaltake Smart is, naturally, a 500 watt PSU with an 80+ Bronze certification, which effectively won’t get you much less than anything Silver or Gold rated, especially in a build with such a low total cost in power as we have here. It’s also a non-modular power supply, but it comes with easier cable indulgence due to its case. A significant help in cable control and keeping the interior clean and manageable. And for our build, 500w is more than enough to keep us supplied in power and ready to go.
7) Case: Zalman S2 Mid ATX Tower
Before I begin, I need to explain something about your choice of case. The choice is an important one, because it also chooses the outside design of your case. And even then, if aesthetics don’t exactly matter to you, you still have a wealth of low-budget offerings that can get as cheap as twenty bucks on sale for some surprisingly good cases. But, this is an endeavour, as the case has so many different features that it’s hard to pick a single catch-all case in any price range that will satisfy every customer. However, I have made my choice below, and I feel like if you were to just go for the Zalman S2 Mid ATX Tower, you’d be fine.
This is a fantastic and beautiful case with a considerable market share and for many good reasons. These days, any case will set you back at least a modest amount with all the 120mm fan pin check ; helping to run any setup that will fit inside. However, it also has a few extra slots, for those that want more airflow or an addition of cooling features. Also, it’s also got a host of the expected features; drives and bays, internal space, USB 3.0, the works. It’s even a Mid ATX format with its size, allowing you enough room to work with for a multitude of builds and upgrades. Overall, a solid recommendation.
BONUS: Pre Built HP Option
I'm not surprised when people tell me they would rather just buy a Pre-Built gaming pc. Whether it be a Mom/Dad buying a present for their kid or just someone who isn't all that good with tech, it is a better option for some. I have chosen this really beautiful HP Pavilion Pre-Built PC to add on this guide. It really has everything you need to run all of the latest games on quite high settings. In the build there is a AMD Ryzen(TM) 3 2200G Processor, 8 GB of DDR 4 Ram with room to upgrade and a huge 1 TB Hard Drive. There is more as well that you can read up on but let me tell this before you leave, this pre-built is the best option I could find for our budget.
I feel like it’s safe to say this is a good, final build for this level of power. We managed to get everything major, splurge just a little, and throw together a cost-effective build that will do everything we need it to do right out of the box, without breaking the bank. And I even left a thirty-dollar flex gap for minor cost increases or any starting budget games you may want to buy–but, I also didn’t include any of the numerous sales or offers that were currently on these parts, at the time of writing. That would have taken another $55 off of the price–and if you shop around, you might be able to scrape up the same in rebates and sales. With another $100 free, you could drop it anywhere in the build you want, be it getting a bigger case, a future-proof motherboard, etc. The world is your oyster.
Now, let that be a lesson to you. It is still possible in these dark, costly days to build a budget PC and game with it. Party on, dudes.