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The Best $400 Budget Gaming Setup Guide

Are you looking for a gaming pc and you don’t want to spend too much on the PC, then how does a $400 Budget Gaming Setup sounds like? Yes, $400 USD for a gaming PC.

Building a $400 Budget Gaming Setup is the best way to get initiated into the world of PC gaming. But a lot of people simply can’t buy pricey components to enjoy high-end gaming.

Then how does a $400 Budget Gaming Setup sound like? Yes, with only $400 in your bank, you can already build a decent Gaming PC. In this article, we will be looking at various options for budget PC gaming that will make your selection a breeze.

Best $400 Budget Gaming Setup - Build Overview: What To Expect?

Keep in mind that this will not be a gaming PC that will be able to play all of the modern game titles at high to ultra-graphics settings. However, what you are getting is an entry-level Gaming PC will be able to run most of the modern game titles at low to medium graphics settings that suits the casual gamer looking to get accustomed to mouse and keyboard on less graphically intensive games like Fortnite and League of Legends.

As for the performance is concerned, we’ve chosen is not just a CPU, it’s an APU, with AMD’s Radeon Vega 8 graphics integrated onto the chip that exhibits comparable execution levels to a GT 1030. It can hold its own in fairly new titles as long as you turn down some settings – so you can definitely get into some gaming from time to time. RAM performance is key here and thanks to the Dual Channel RAM in this list, the iGPU will be able to perform very well.

Upgradability is also another important factor to account for when you’re building your gaming PC. In reality, gamers don’t really stick to one hardware, they would always aim for better upgrades. Plus, your components will not last forever too. That is why we have gone with a build that provides an extensive upgrade path for you. 

Full Part List

CPU

AMD Ryzen 3 3200G

This CPU is the very heart and soul of this build, and alone holds the value that highly eclipses its price, thanks to the excellent integrated graphics. It is an excellent CPU in its own right as it is a true quad-core with a base clock of 3.6 GHz and capable of a max boost clock of up to 4 GHz.

Motherboard

ASRock B450M-HDV

This ASRock motherboard is the cheapest of the B450M range and provides 3rd generation Ryzen CPU support straight out the box, which is essential for this build. It features a next-generation Hybrid Digi Power design which enables an efficient and clean power delivery to the CPU.

Memory

Patriot Viper Steel Series DDR4 8GB

The Patriot Viper Steel Series RAM sticks are a reliable and cost-efficient choice for a budget build such as this one. Considering that this build doesn’t have a dedicated GPU, we opted for dual sticks for boosted performance with two sticks of 4 GB, bringing the total to 8 GB of dual-channel memory running at 3000MHz.

Storage

SSD ADATA SU635 240GB

An SSD is almost essential in today’s PC world due to faster read and writes times over the more traditional HDDs. They might cost more but it is well worth it for the vast difference in performance. The ADATA SU635 240GB SSD is perfect for this build, it’s exceptional value for money providing a decent amount of storage and read/write speeds of up to 530/s/440/s.

Power Supply

EVGA BR 500W 80+ Bronze

The EVGA BR 500W is an average quality 80+ Bronze power supply which also features 2×6+2 PCIe connectors if you plan on pairing the PC with a GPU in the future; nothing special here but the quality and value is good. The main reason why we chose the EVGA BR 500 W 80+ Bronze power supply for our cheap gaming PC is that it has 80 PLUS bronze certification, so it is quite reliable, and 500 W power supply is enough for this $300 Budget gaming PC.

Case

Zalman S2 ATX Mid Tower

The Zalman Z2 ATX PC Case isn’t going to win any awards for style, but this budget case still has a lot to offer. Zalman has equipped it with a pre-installed 120mm fan, giving you some cooling straight out of the box. Although this build will never overheat, Any other additional fans will allow you to produce a fully-fledged airflow solution for even lower temps when the build is under stress. It’s a compact case with a sleek and refined aesthetic.

Components Breakdown

So, what exactly can you expect from such an affordable PC build?

Well, there are two things to highlight: upgradeability and console-like performance (and by this, we mean the Xbox One and the PS4). 

Full disclosure: this build relies on the integrated Vega 8 graphics, courtesy of the Ryzen 3 3200G CPU.

As such, it’s actually better suited for esports than it is for AAA titles, and you’ll actually get slightly worse framerates in AAA titles on this PC than you would on a console. We know that this may put off some of you, but we feel that our reasoning is solid, and we’d very much appreciate it if you considered this.

Now that we’ve presented an overview of the build and what you can expect from it, let’s dive deeper into each component, starting with the brain of the build.

CPU – AMD Ryzen 3 3200G

AMD’s robust built-in Vega graphics processing

CPU – AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

Cores Threads: 4/4 | Max CPU Frequency: 4.0GHz | Cache: 6MB | TDP: 65w | PCIe Version: 3.0 | Unlocked for Overclocking: Yes | In Box Cooler: Wraith Stealth | Socket: AM4

The AMD Ryzen 3 3200G is the heart of this build and there is absolutely no other model that ties everything together in this build. It is an excellent CPU in its own right as it is a true quad-core with a base clock of 3.6 GHz and capable of a max boost clock of up to 4 GHz. Another reason for choosing this CPU that it is an APU with Vega 8 integrated graphics.

You may think that would integrated graphics be enough to handle all your gaming needs and the answer to that is no but the Vega 8 graphics do not perform worse than RX 550 or GT 1030 GPUs which are the only GPUs you can fit into this budget. Nowadays even to fit those GPUs you will have to settle for a worse CPU and may even have to cut down the Ram to 4 GB. So instead just get the AMD Ryzen 3 3200G as it comes with a bundled cooler which can give the same performance as any other aftermarket cooler. All of these features make it impossible for any other Intel CPU to beat it at this price range.

Motherboard – ASRock B450M-HDV

It provides noticeable improvements over the B350 chipset

ASRock B450M-HDV

Manufacturer: Asrock | Chipset Type: AMD Promontory B450 | CPU Socket: AM4 | Memory Slots Available: 2 | RAM Memory Maximum Size: 32GB | RAM Memory Technology: DDR4 | Supported Motherboard : Micro ATX | USB 2.0 Ports: 2

The ASRock B450M motherboard is an entry-level board that offers excellent features at an affordable price point. It’s the perfect starter to any budget build and comes equipped with Ryzen 1st/2nd/3rd Gen support, up to 3,466MHz RAM support, and the reliability that comes with buying ASRock products.

The ASRock B450M has everything you’ll need at the moment. Best of all, the motherboard is compatible with 3rd-gen Ryzen processors right out of the box, so you won’t have to make any changes to the BIOS before you start using your new PC.

The power delivery of the motherboard is quite impressive and it provides 4 + 3 phase power delivery. You can do decent overclocking on this motherboard too, and if you later upgrade to processors like Ryzen 5 2600 or 3600, you can easily overclock them to 4.0 or even 4.1 GHz. The power components are coupled with good heat-sinks and you don’t have to worry about the high temperatures of the VRM.

As for the price of the motherboard is concerned, it is one of the cheapest B450 motherboards in the market, and even then it often goes on sale, which makes it a beautiful product.

Memory – Patriot Viper Steel Series DDR4 8GB

Offers excellent performance at a relatively affordable price

Patriot Viper Steel Series DDR4 8GB
Capacity: 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4 Kit | Base Frequency: PC4-17000 (2133MHz) | Tested Frequency: PC4-24000 (3000MHz) | Tested Timings: 16-18-18-36 | Voltage: 1.35V | Feature Overclock: XMP 2.0 Support for Automatic Overclocking | Compatibility: Tested across the latest Intel and AMD platforms for reliable and fast performance

We’ve gone for Patriot Viper Steel DDR4 8GB 3200MHz RAM for our $400 build, as it offers excellent performance at a relatively affordable price tag. It’s pretty much the perfect pairing for the Ryzen 3 3200G.

4 GB of RAM isn’t enough for gaming as it is, and that’s without a portion of these resources going towards the graphics. You also don’t want to save the extra couple of bucks by opting for RAM slower than the standard 2400MHz, and going dual-channel is also highly advised as it will significantly improve the performance of an APU.

With all this in mind, the RAM we’ve opted for in this build is the Patriot Viper Steel Series with two sticks of 4 GB, bringing the total to 8 GB of dual-channel memory running at 3000MHz.

While this is a completely respectable amount of memory, for now, we still highly recommend closing all unnecessary background programs while gaming, for increased performance.

With 8GB at your disposal, you are in a great spot to begin with and when you start to get bottlenecked, you can upgrade up to 32GB (2x16GB). 

Powerful random read/write speed

ADATA SU635 240GB
Hardware Platform: PC | Hardware Interface: SATA 6.0 Gb/s (Curved) | Digital Storage Capacity: 240 GB | Data Transfer Rate: 520 Mb per second | Compatible Devices: Desktop

We have selected ADATA SU635 240GB for our custom build, which is currently priced at $29.99. For the same price, one can get a 500 GB HDD, but the performance drop is significant, not to mention that booting windows on an HDD these days seem intolerable. Therefore, you should go with this cheap SATA SSD, which will allow you to play many games before you run out of disk space. Moreover, you can upgrade the disk space by buying a 2 TB or higher-capacity HDD later.

If you’ve never used an SSD before, be prepared to get new socks, because this SSD will knock them right off. It’s no NVMe, nor is it the fastest SSD out there, but even the slowest SSD is miles faster than a regular hard drive and will be a noticeable step up for anyone willing to invest in it.

As for the performance of this SATA SSD is concerned, you get powerful random read/write and sequential read/write of 520 MB/s and 450 MB/s respectively. The MTBF of this device is quite good, too, at 1,500,000 hours. The operating temperature of this SSD is – 40 to 85 degrees, which means that even during heavy loads, you won’t suffer from any kind of failure. 

Power Supply – EVGA BR 500W 80+ Bronze

Efficient power source at an affordable price point

EVGA BR 500W 80+ Bronze
Brand: EVGA | Wattage: 500 watts | 80 plus Bronze certified, with 85% efficiency or higher under typical loads 

A power supply unit in a computer has a crucial part in efficiency and long-term use. The top recommendation that we can give you is not to settle on power supplies with unknown or generic brands just because you want to keep your budget tight. Settling over to cheap brands may not be a great investment since they might wear off quickly after just months of using it.

The worst part is that it may even damage other computer components. It is always safe to pick a branded PSU with a rating of 80+ Bronze, just like the EVGA 500 BR that we chose. It comes with an 85% higher efficiency rate under high or regular workloads. So far, it is one of the best brands for PSUs that avid and frugal gamers can always pick.

This EVGA 500 BR is also equipped with a quiet fan, which the manufacturer states to run for a longer lifespan. The easy and on-the-go installation of this power supply is also impeccable since you can simply plug and play, wherever you go.

PC Case – Zalman S2 ATX Mid Tower

$400 Budget Gaming SetupZalmanS2 ATX Mid Tower
Dimensions: 16.22 x 7.44 x 17.76 inches | PCI Slots: 7 | Top I/O: USB 3.0 x 1/USB 2.0 x 2/Power/Reset/Headphone/Mic | Motherboard Support: ATX/mATX/Mini-ITX | Fan mount locations: 8 Max | Drive Bays: 3.5″ HDD or 2.5″ SSD x 4 | Radiator Support: Front: 120mm x 3 Top: 120mm x 2 Rear: 120mm x 1 Bottom: 120mm x 2 | Fan Support: Front: 120mm x 3 Top: 120mm x 2 Rear: 120mm x 1 Bottom: 120mm x 2

We have selected Zalman S2 ATX Mid Tower for our $400 Budget Gaming Setup because it is one of the cheapest yet sturdy cases that provide the latest features as well.

A case is like a house to your system components, and it provides a lot of functions. First of all, the compatibility of your system components is greatly dependant on the case, and if your case does not support the components, you won’t be able to install them in the first place. Moreover, the case is one of those components that are directly visible on the desk, and you don’t have to take a peek as you would do for the motherboard, cooler, or graphics card.

The case is the most underappreciated component in most PC builds. Oftentimes inexperienced builders will just pick something cheap that (hopefully) has enough room for everything, without any consideration for airflow.

This design will never go out of style, whether you’re gaming or working. It can also support a microATX or mini ITX motherboard for extensive performance. This CPU case is one of the most affordable yet high-quality cases you could ever find online. 

What Games will it Run?

We’ve already discussed how the integrated graphics on the Ryzen 3 3200G are good enough to run most games on a 1080P monitor on lower settings. But, as a clearer picture of what this system is able to do, you can expect it to:

Run eSports titles (Dota 2, League of Legends, Overwatch, etc.) at ~50-60FPS on medium or higher settings
Run AAA titles (like Middle Earth: Shadow of War, Rise of the Tomb Raider, etc.) at ~30FPs on lower settings

If you mainly play competitive eSports games that aren’t super demanding, then this build will have you covered. If you want to play AAA titles, this build will be able to run them at lower settings, but you shouldn’t expect to get a high framerate at 1080P—although, reducing your monitor’s resolution should help there as well.

This build will provide 60FPS in all competitive online titles, you can also do some simple video creation, photo editing, multitasking, and more with this build. Keep in mind, though, that if you’re trying to be an aspiring game streamer, you might have to save up to get the High-End builds that we have created. 

How to Upgrade this Build?

Upgradability is also another important factor to account for when you’re building your gaming PC. In reality, gamers don’t really stick to one hardware, they would always aim for better upgrades. Plus, your components will not last forever too. Don’t get too excited when upgrading too, you have to minimize the number of components that need upgrading, so you can prioritize which hardware needs the upgrade the most.

Below are our most recommended upgrade options that will boost your in-game performance exponentially. The products below are fully compatible with the above build and can be swapped out with no ramifications. 

AMD Ryzen 5 2600X

The first and probably most influential (in terms of performance) upgrade for this build is the CPU. If you’re looking to seriously bolster the computational power this thing has then we recommend the Ryzen 5 2600 as it offers hugely improved performance over the 2200G, respectively. Now, even though this is a wise move and not too painful on the wallet, this upgrade does come with a few conditions.

Firstly, if you remove the 3200G then you are completely removing any graphical input you have. The Ryzen 2600 does not have integrated graphics. So, if you’re looking to upgrade the CPU then we strongly recommend getting an additional GPU as well. That then puts you into the realms of $500-$600, which is considerably more, but that’s the price you will have to pay to see a serious increase in performance.

MSI Radeon RX 570 ARMOR 8G OC

This build uses an APU, meaning it uses an integrated GPU. However, you can upgrade the GPU while still utilizing the APU as your CPU. This is where the MSI RX 570 comes into the picture. With a low-profile and quality build, this graphics card represents a huge performance boost over the integrated GPU. This allows you power well beyond other graphics cards around this price. You will benefit from improved graphics and FPS across all games with this extremely well-priced card. 

READ MORE: Best Graphics Cards 2021

Seagate Barracuda 2TB 7200RPM

This Seagate Barracuda drive is amazing for backup storage and always comes at a great price. The 240GB SSD that currently sits in this build is ideal for your O/S and some primary games. However, sooner or later, it will struggle to accommodate your growing library. For that reason, this additional 2TB HDD from Seagate is the perfect backup storage solution for those who need it.

Pheripherals & Accesories to Add

When it comes to gaming builds you’ll need more than just the essential pieces of hardware to game on a PC, so we also have to cover the matter of peripherals. The peripherals of a computer system greatly affect the feel of it, and that is why we are suggesting the best-valued peripherals for your system, although these products will raise the price of your computer system.

Mouse - Logitech G203 Prodigy

For budget gamers, we recommend Logitech G203 Prodigy gaming mouse, and it is one of the cheapest gaming mice that provides high performance and good looks. It is an ambidextrous mouse, which means that you can use this mouse even if you are a left-hand user. The Logitech logo at the back is RGB-lit, and the lighting effects can be controlled through the software. The shape of the mouse is fine for both the claw-grip users and the fingertip-grip users, although the height of the mouse is not that good for palm-grip users.

Monitor - Acer G226HQL

You don’t see many monitor that have a 1080p (1920 x 1080) display for under $100. This is definitely the cheapest 1080p monitor that I’ve came across and if it wasn’t for the fact that it doesn’t have an HDMI. You’ll be able to hook up via DVI or VGA, and it actually comes with the right cables to do so. If you are a gamer looking to really optimize your display then you might have to tinker around with the settings, but if you are just looking for a gaming monitor on a budget, then this really is good enough and does a great job for gamers in my opinion.

It’s the best option out there (it’s a budget monitor) but the screen brightness and vibrant colors combined with the excellent viewing angles really standout perfectly like a painting and can make your gameplay standout like a 3d painting thanks to the 1.78:1 ratio. Just make sure to adjust the viewing angles that is best for you.

Keyboard - Bloody B975

A gaming keyboard is mostly a mechanical one, and that is why we are suggesting a great mechanical keyboard for budget gaming. Bloody B975 is one of the latest keyboards that provide with optical switches, top-notch RGB lighting and Doubleshot keycaps. It is surely a bit on the expensive side, but it is worth every penny. The design of the keyboard is good for the most part. However, the included wrist-rest is quite ugly. The keyboard comes with either brown linear switches or orange clicky switches.

For gaming, we would advise going with linear switches, and these are one of the best linear switches that we have used in our lifetime. The switches feel super smooth, have a fast response time and are great at bouncing back. The acoustics profile of the switches is also excellent, and it provides a unique sound. You can use lots of lighting styles through the software and even create your animations if you want. Moreover, each switch is stabilized with stabilizer wires, which is why there is very less wobble in the switches. 

Conclusion

That’s pretty much everything you need to know about the $400 Budget Gaming Setup custom build and the hardware it comes with. We can’t promise that the price of the build won’t fluctuate, but we’ll make sure to keep the article updated even though these trying times so that it presents the best possible value at all times.

For a lot of gamers who are stuck with older laptops or desktops that can’t run modern games, just being able to run newer games would be a huge upgrade. And, really, that’s who this build is for: people who have an extremely tight budget, but who just want to be able to play mostmodern games.

This system also has a simple upgrade path to becoming a solid mid-range gaming computer, too. So, it will not only work well for right now, but it will also give you plenty of potential for the future as well.

A $400 Budget Gaming Setup is quite a struggle when you take into consideration the amount each individual component costs. However, with the components we’ve been able to source, it’s just about possible, with this rig being able to play some AAA games at relatively decent FPS levels. 

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