It seems incredible, but the day has finally arrived. We can now ride a cheap PC to play all current titles with guarantees, both in 1080p and 1440pand activating ray tracing. Yes, you read that right, don’t pinch yourself, you’re not dreaming. However, keep in mind that when we talk about “cheap” we are referring to a device that will cost just over 800 euros.
I understand that, for some, that price may be too much for their budget, but if we take into account the performances that this equipment is going to be able to offer, and that it will until recently it was impossible to reach that level while keeping the price below 1,000 euros, i think that the definition of cheap PC for gaming fits like a glove.
I have been looking forward to sharing with you again one of our classic PC assembly guides for a long time. I haven’t done it before because, as you know, the prices of graphics cards were skyrocketingand there were no really interesting options in price-performance ratio. I could have forced these guides, but I wouldn’t have done you any favors, so I chose not to.
Now we are seeing that many graphics cards are starting to approach their recommended retail prices, and this has motivated me to shape this guide, where I will keep the traditional format that we have seen in previous guides. If the situation continues to improve, in the coming weeks you will be seeing new guides with a focus and focus on more limited budgets.
Objective of this guide: To build a cheap PC for gaming, but capable of working with ray tracing
The goal of this guide has been made clear, we want to shape a computer that can offer a good gaming experience with 1080p and 1440p resolutionsbut that it is also capable of working with ray tracing, a technology that has already established itself as a standard of the new generation, which has a growing popularity and, as we have seen in the technical analysis of games like Cyberpunk 2077 or Dying Light 2, makes a big difference.
The first thing we had to decide was, starting from that goal, which graphics card we were going to use. We had three options, the Radeon RX 6500 XT, the Radeon RX 6600 and the RTX 3050. We might think that the Radeon RX 6500 XT was a good choice because it can be bought from 260 euros, but in fact it is quite the opposite. Its performance is very poor, both in rasterization and ray tracing, and on top of that it only has 4 GB of graphics memory. It was discarded almost instantly.
The Radeon RX 6600 has 8 GB of graphics memory and is more powerful than the RTX 3050 in rasterization, but it is also more expensive (439.90 on offer), it performs much worse in ray tracing and lacks the value offered by the DLSS. The RTX 3050 is reasonably priced (340.51 €), offers good performance in rasterization (outperforms the GTX 1660 Ti), performs well with ray tracing and supports DLSS, a technology that makes a big difference, since it improves performance in compatible games without sacrificing image quality.
I chose the GIGABYTE Eagle GeForce RXT 3050 because, in the end, it is the most balanced option in price-performance ratio, the one that best fits our target, and because it is pretty much close to the recommended price given by NVIDIA, 279 euros. In this regard, we have also assessed its build quality, and have assumed that this would, even in a market with fully standardized pricing, increase that one.
Components to build a cheap PC for gaming with warranties
After this simple, but necessary, introduction where we explained why we have chosen a GeForce RTX 30 series and not a Radeon RX 6000, let’s see, directly, the components we have chosen to assemble this cheap PC to play in 1080p and 1440p, although I remind you that thanks to DLSS this PC can run games even in 4K.
Next to each component you will find a link that will take you directly to the store where you can buy it at that price. With everything, keep in mind that prices change over timeso some of these components may go up or down over the next few days. Therefore, I advise you, if you are sure you want to build this equipment, not to wait too long, as it could end up being more expensive.
Motherboard and platform: GIGABYTE B660M DS3H DDR4, LGA1700
We have chosen Intel’s LGA1700 platform because, as of today, it offers a very solid value in price-performance ratio, and because even in its most economical versions it allows us to assemble a powerful and balanced gaming PC. In this sense, it is curious to see how Intel has taken better care of the mid-range and low-end than AMD, and it is that, for what it costs a Ryzen 5 5600X, we can mount a B660 board, a Core Gen12 processor and pay half the cost of RAM.
On the other hand, the LGA1700 platform, based on the 600 series chipset allows us to access the advanced technologies and standards that we will needincluding PCIE Gen4 support, allows us to overclock RAM without having to limit ourselves to the more expensive models, and will allow us to seamlessly upgrade to Raptor Lake-S, Intelâ¤?s next generation of high-performance processors.
The model we have chosen was the GIGABYTE B660M DS3H DDR4 because it is, in price-performance ratio, the best option we have found right now. It has a 6+2+1 phase power system, which means that we can use very powerful processors with all the guarantees, has four slots for DDR4 RAM, allows us to overclock the memory easily through XMP profiles (up to 4,800 MHz), has passive cooling at key points of the board and has two slots for PCIE Gen4 x4 SSDs x4, one of them with passive dissipation.
Processor: Intel Core i3-12100F
It is the best processor we can buy in its price range, and a real monster in games. Although it only has four cores and eight threads, the leap in terms of IPC that Intel’s Golden Cove architecture has represented has been so great that the Core i3-12100F is capable of outperforming more expensive models in gamingsuch as the Ryzen 5 3600X or the Intel Core i5-10600K. Considering all that it offers in terms of performance, and the price it has, I think it is clear why we have chosen it.
However, if we can spend a little more and want to get something that guarantees us a longer lifespan, the Intel Core i5-12400F would also be a good choiceas it maintains that huge IPC and has 6 cores and 12 threads. It is obviously more expensive than the Intel Core i3-12100F, as it is around 185 euros. Personally, if you want to maximize the budget, I would stay with the Core i3-12100F, since in the end the difference in games, which is what we are interested in, compared to the Core i5-12400F are small and do not justify the investment.
The Intel Core i3-12100F is a key piece in this guide, as it is very economical, and thanks to it it is possible to assemble this cheap PC for gaming Without it, the cost of the equipment would have skyrocketed considerably, since we would have had to go to more expensive chips to maintain the level of performance. I would remind you that, in addition, this processor comes with a fan as standard, and that is enough to keep your temperatures under control, so we don’t have to spend more money.
Price: 109,95 euros.
Graphics card: GIGABYTE Eagle GeForce RTX 3050 8 GB
We have chosen the GIGABYTE Eagle GeForce GeForce RTX 3050 because it is one of the graphics cards with the best price-performance ratio we can buy right now. We also had the opportunity to review it at the time, and we know what it is capable of. Let’s take a look at its specifications:
- GA106 graphics core in 8 nm.
- 2.560 shaders at 1,552 MHz-1,792 MHz.
- 80 texturing units.
- 48 raster units.
- 80 third generation tensor cores.
- 20 second-generation RT cores.
- 128-bit bus.
- 8 GB of GDDR6 at 14 GHz (224 GB/s bandwidth).
- Power at FP32: 9.09 TFLOPs.
- PCIE Gen4 x8 interface.
- Requires an 8-pin power connector, and a 450 watt power supply is recommended.
- DirectX 12 Ultimate compatible.
- TGP: 130 watts.
- Requires an 8-pin power connector, and a 450 watt supply.
This graphics card offers plenty of power in 1080p, and will also allow us to play with guarantees in 1440p Its ray tracing performance clearly outperforms a Radeon RX 6600a graphics card that is considerably more expensive, and also gives us all the advantages of being able to activate DLSS. On the other hand, it should be noted that we will be able to take full advantage of this graphics card with the Core i3-12100F, there will be no imbalance or bottleneck.
Price: 340.51 euros.
RAM: Goodram IRDM Pro DDR4 3,600 MHz 16 GB (2 x 8GB) CL17 Kit
The motherboard we have chosen is limited to DDR4, but that is not a problem, as the performance difference we would have when using the Core i3-12100F with DDR5 would be minimaland this way we can meet that goal of building a cheap gaming PC. If we were to introduce DDR5 in this rig, the price would skyrocket enormouslyand the investment made would not compensate at all.
With the memory kit we have chosen we have everything we need to be able to play with guarantees:
- 16 GB of dual-channel RAM, the recommended level for transition titles and also for new generation titles.
- A high speed (3,600 MHz) that will not harm the processor.
- Well-tuned latencies, as CL17 is a more than acceptable level for that frequency.
- A good build quality, and is that these memories come with an efficient passive dissipation system.
We don’t need more to ensure good performance with this rig, and to maintain that cheap gaming PC approach. Remember, as we have four memory slots on the motherboard, in the future we could expand to 32GB very easily.
Price: 73,70 euros.
Storage: Crucial P2 CT1000P2SSD8 1TB SSD
It is now our turn to choose the storage unit, and the truth is that it has not been complicated, since knew exactly what keys to look for. I wanted to find a drive that would achieve at least the same sequential read speed as the Xbox Series X, but without sacrificing a minimum capacity of 1TB, and without having to spend more than 90 euros.
In the end, I found what I needed, the Crucial P2 CT1000P2SSD8 1TB SSD, which uses PCIE Gen3 interface and achieves a maximum speed of 2.400 MB/s and 1,900 MB/s in sequential read and write. With this drive we have the performance we need to make the computer fly, and games load much faster. All in all, be careful if you buy this drive, as it is available in two versions, one with TLC memory, which is “the good one”, and one with QLC memory, which is less recommended.
We can connect it to the GIGABYTE B660M DS3H DDR4 motherboard without problem, and use the passive cooling system that brings this to keep their temperatures under control. On the other hand, having 1TB of capacity is a real guaranteeit is enough to be able to keep some games installed, and not to have space problems in the short or medium term.
Power supply: EVGA 500 BQ 500W 80 Plus Bronze semi modular
An economical power supply, but of quality and with a semi modular design that will greatly facilitate the assembly, and cable management. With this model we have everything we need to power the equipment, since we have a configuration whose average consumption is will almost always remain below 400 watts.
The EVGA 500 BQ 500W 80 Plus Bronze has a good build quality, guarantees 85% efficiency at typical workloads and reaches 41.6 amps on the 12V rail. If in the future we want to expand to another more powerful graphics card we will not have problems, as it has two additional 8-pin power connectors.
As you would expect, this model also comes with a complete set of protection systems which guarantee a long service life: overvoltage protection, undervoltage protection, overcurrent protection, overcurrent protection and short-circuit protection.
Tower: Mars Gaming MCDUO Crystal Glass Acrylic USB 3.0 Black
This is a personal choice, but the Mars Gaming MCDUO Crystal Acrylic USB 3.0 Black would be a good choice for price-performance value, as it is a compact and well-finished chassis that doesn’t take up much space, and that comes with two 120mm front fans with fixed RGB LED lighting included.
It is a chassis ideal for micro-ATX based configurationsas the one we have chosen, and since none of the components we have used have a high power consumption or an exaggerated size, we will not have any problem, neither during assembly nor when working intensively. Keep in mind, however, that it would be a good idea to add a rear fan.
If you like another chassis better, no problem. As I said, this recommendation is totally optional, but be careful when choosing. Make sure that the chassis you have chosen has enough space to house all the components, that it allows for good cable management, and that it comes with some fans from home.
Endnotes: What is this cheap gaming PC capable of?
We have assembled a gaming PC for 823.16 eurosa very affordable price that, in general, is more or less at the level of what a PS5 or an Xbox X Series could cost us on the resale market. It’s an affordable price, there’s no doubt about that, but is it really capable of delivering good gaming performance, even if we turn ray tracing on? The answer is a resounding yes.
The performance values we will get with this cheap gaming PC are, in general, only slightly lower than what we saw when we reviewed the GIGABYTE Eagle GeForce RTX 3050. There is an explanation for this, which I will explain in detail:
- The GIGABYTE Eagle GeForce RTX 3050 does not need a very powerful processor to realize its full potential. With the Intel Core i3-12100F we have more than enough.
- The Intel Core i3-12100F offers a very high IPCand reaches the recommended minimum of 4 cores and 8 threads required for current games. Thanks to its huge IPC, outperforms 6-core, 12-thread processors in gamingsuch as the Ryzen 3 3600X or the Intel Core i5-10600K.
- We have 16 GB of DDR4 RAM at 3,600 MHz, an optimal value for any current and future game. We also have a PCIE Gen3 x4 SSD capable of reaching more than acceptable speeds, which will reduce loading times and avoid popping problems and microbursts.
- Games are not designed to really take advantage of 6-core, 12-thread processors They continue to prioritize IPCand that is why the Intel Core i3-12100F is a very wise purchase.
So what can we do with this PC? Well very simple, we can play any current title in 1080p with maximum qualities and ray tracing in 1080p without sacrificing good fluidity, thanks to the good performance of the Ampere architecture used by the GIGABYTE Eagle GeForce RTX 3050, and we can compensate for the loss of performance thanks to DLSS In many titles, we will enjoy a superior experience to that offered by PS5 and Xbox Series X.
We will be able to compensate for the performance loss of ray tracing in the most demanding games thanks to DLSS, and upscaling the resolution to 1440p, or even 4K, will not be a problem thanks to such reconstruction technology. Think I’m exaggerating? Not at all, this configuration can run Cyberpunk 2077 in 4K, high quality and DLSS in balanced while maintaining fairly stable rates of 30 FPS.
Note: This selection contains some links from our affiliates, but none of the products included have been proposed or recommended by them or their manufacturers, but chosen at our own discretion.