And with that simple question, the Budget Buster was born, a $300-400 masterpiece of super low-spec, low-price PC-building awesomeness. Genuinely, this build is one of the most fun ones we’ve done for some time. That might sound crazy, but there’s something about getting back to the bare bones of PC building that’s refreshing. It makes you think, it challenges you as you lose access to a lot of quality-of-life improvements, and it’s good to see just what is available at the lower end of the spectrum in regards to parts and performance.
PC building’s not always about crazy, high-end systems with $4,000 worth of components, and enough RGB to light up Times Square. In fact it’s something we’ve always argued—the smaller your budget is, the more valuable your buck becomes when allocating it to separate components. So how did we do it? Read on to find out.
Best Gaming PC Build Under $400 Components
Below are the components we’ve used to build this cheap gaming pc build under $400.
- Processor: Intel Core i3-10100
- Memory: 8GB (2x 4GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 @ 3000 MHz
- Motherboard: MSI H410M-C PRO Micro-ATX
- Storage: 240GB Kingston A400 2.5-inch SSD
- Power Supply: 450W Corsair CV450 80+ Bronze Non-Modular PSU
- Case: Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-05 ATX Tower
1. CPU: Intel Core i3-10100
We’ve used our trusty Core i3-10100 processor before, and it’s still our budget chip of choice. Complete with four cores, eight threads, integrated graphics, and a comfortable 4.3GHz turbo clock speed, it’s a fantastic option for anyone looking for a budget chip to sink their teeth into.
The AMD Ryzen 3 3200G is an epic alternative, and has similar performance. It usually retails for around $100, but is currently only available for $200+.
Intel’s Stock cooler hasn’t changed much in the last 10 years, and it’s certainly not a patch on the likes of AMD’s included Wraith coolers, that’s for sure. However, the LGA 1200 version is slightly larger, and still does the job admirably.
2. Power Supply: 450W Corsair CV450 80+ Bronze Non-Modular PSU
Please, please never skimp on your power supply! Ever. It’s just a bad idea. In our case we’ve gone with the super-affordable Corsair CV450 80+ Bronze. It’s a non-modular PSU, but comes with a three-year warranty and a 100,000-hour MTBF rate, so if things go wrong, we know we’re covered.
Save a bit of cash by going with an EVGA 450 BR($42), or something similar—but whatever you do, stick with a named brand and a decent warranty.
3. Case: Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-05 ATX Tower
CHEAP and cheerful is the name of the game here, and for our chassis we’ve gone with Corsair’s SPEC-05 ATX mid-tower case. It’s roomy, has acceptable cable management, and can even support up to a 240mm AIO. Best of all, it comes with a red LED intake fan mounted up front, and an acrylic window, which is pretty awesome for $52.
If you want to save a bit extra, the Metallic Gear Neo Silent is available for around $45. Although airflow is a bit limited, it does come with tempered glass instead of acrylic.
4. Storage: 240GB Kingston A400 2.5-inch SSD
When it comes to storage, compromises have to be made, and since this rig isn’t really designed for anything more than light office work, we’ve ditched the larger capacity SSDs for something a little older, and a little more quaint. Kingston’s A400 2.5-inch SATA SSD fits the bill here. It might not be as potent as modern-day drives, but with 500MB read speeds and 350MB write speeds, it should be able to handle light office work and web browsing.
At this price range we’d recommend staying away from QLC drives. However, you can pick up a 250GB Samsung 860 EVO for just $5 more to max out write speeds.
5. Memory: 8GB (2x 4GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 @ 3000 MHz
Another old faithful, Corsair’s low-profile Vengeance memory is a perfect pick for this build. Although 8GB is a little on the low side, it should be enough for any office PC or simple home internet-browsing machine. Bear in mind, however, that our motherboard only has two DIMM slots, so if you want more RAM later down the line, it’d be wise to invest up front in a 16GB kit.
You won’t find huge savings in memory right now at this spec, but G.Skill sells an Aegis 8GB kit for $41, albeit with a speed of 2400MHz, which is less than ideal for Ryzen.
6. Motherboard: MSI H410M-C PRO Micro-ATX
The cheapest board we could find that’s compatible with our needs, the MSI H410M PRO comes in a few designations. We’re using the slightly older A variant, but the difference between that and the C is minimal. It’s super-budget, comes with an M.2 slot, two DIMM slots, one chassis fan header, and a couple of SATA ports. Any downsides? Well, it only supports DDR4 up to 2933MHz, so you’ll have to de-clock your memory by one level during BIOS configuration.
For an AMD equivalent we’d recommend grabbing an ASRock B450M PRO4. It comes with more DIMM slots, and better memory support too, for about the same price as our MSI mobo.