Best $400 Gaming PC Build

PC gaming is often seen as prohibitively expensive compared to console gaming, but that isn’t really true. Although it is true that PC gaming even at the minimum is still a few hundred dollars more expensive than getting a PS4 or Xbox 1, PC games are much much cheaper than console games, saving you money in the long run,

We have an awesome $400 console killer PC here with more CPU power, graphics power, RAM, and storage than a console will ever have.

It is a good PC? Well … not really … but it’s a lot better than a console.


What Do We Look For in a PC?

This is a very bare bones budget PC build with a budget with just $400, which is an extremely limited budget for a custom PC. Some graphics cards cost even more than this entire PC.

Because we have very little money to work with, the main focus of this build is to optimizing gaming performance and we unfortunately weren’t able to prioritize anything else.


Our Gaming PC for Under $400

PRICE
$380 - $420
No set price as pricing of components changes day to day *
CPU
Intel Celeron G3930
A very basic and affordable two-core CPU running at 3.9 GHz.
GPU
PowerColor Red Dragon RX 570
A extremely powerful GPU for its price. Comes close to GTX 1060 in performance.
Motherboard
MSI H100M PRO VD+
A basic Micro-ATX motherboard with all the features you need for this build
Memory
CORSAIR Vengeance LPX 8GB
One 8 GB stick of fast 2400 MHz DDR4 gaming RAM. Using only one channel lowers speed, but makes allows for future upgrades.

HDD
WD Blue 1TB SATA 7200 RPM 3.5"
One terabyte of reliable hard drive storage from the most popular consumer PC hard drive.
PSU
EVGA 450 BT 80+ Bronze
An basic 450W power supply with 80+ bronze efficiency rating
Case
ROSEWILL Micro ATX Mini Tower
An affordable Micro-ATX case with an acrylic side panel

 Parts List


 CPU

Intel Celeron G3930

The Intel Celeron G3930 is admittedly an underpowered CPU, and is the biggest weakness of this build. While this CPU will be fine for gaming as games are much more GPU dependent, the G3930 will struggle a lot for non-gaming tasks.

With only two cores running at 2.9 GHz, the Celetron G3930 will struggle greatly as a workstation CPU.

If you want a PC with a much better CPU, check out our $500 PC build guide.


 GPU

PowerColor Red Dragon RX 570 4GB

While the CPU on this build is weak, this $400 build is packing a very nice GPU. The RX 570 is only 10-15% weaker than the RX 580, the mid-range GPU that is used on our $800 build!

With this GPU, you should be able to run e-sports at over 100 FPS on max settings and most other titles at a solid 60 FPS on high to max settings.


 Memory

Corsair Vengeance LPX 8 GB

8 GB of RAM is pretty standard for a gaming PC at this price point. We are using the 2400 MHz Corsair Vengeance LPX RAM, the probably the most popular model of gaming RAM out there.


 Motherboard

MSI H110M PRO-VD Plus

Here we have a basic microATX motherboard that will perfectly this $400 build. Remember that modern motherboards don’t affect GPU, CPU, or RAM performance!


 SSD

Kingston A400 120 GB SSD

This component is not included in the build due to budget constraints but is highly recommended!

$400 is too small of a budget to allow for even the cheapest of SSDs, but having an SSD as your boot drive for Windows and a few of your post played games will drastically improve your PC’s reprieved speed.

For under $25, this is something that you can’t pass up.


 Hard Drive

WD Blue 1TB 7200 RPM 3.5″ HDD

This is the hard drive that we recommend on all of our builds that include hard drives. The WD Blue is an affordable HDD with a proven record of being fairly reliable.


 PSU

EVGA 450 BT 80+ Bronze 450W

Here is a basic non-modular PSU with an 80+ Bronze rating. It will get the job done for this build.

It even has braided cables, so the ugly naked colored cables are hidden from site.


 CASE

ROSEWILL Micro ATX Mini Tower FBM-X1

The Rosewill FBM-X1 is a tiny Micro ATX case that is perfect for this build. Despite being under thirty dollars, this case has an aesthetically pleasing design and even a fairly large acrylic side panel.

Upgrade Options for this Build

With a budget this low, every extra dollar you add to your budget will have much more of an effect than if you budget was $800 or even $600.

 CPU

See Options

Intel i3 8100

The Celeron G3930 is the weakest part of this build, and upgrading to an i3 8100 will massively increase your CPU power.

The i3 8100 has twice the amount of cores and twice the amount of performance as the G3930.

If you do upgrade to the 8100, you are basically getting our $500 gaming PC build so you’re better off checking out that build.

However if you do get a i3 8100, you will have to use a newer generation motherboard as the Celeron G3930 is an older generation CPU.

The MSI Pro Series Intel H310 LGA 1151 VD is compatible with the i3 8100.

 GPU

See Options

The Powercolor RX 570 graphics card on this build is already very strong relative to the CPU. You will be much better off choosing a better CPU like the Intel i3 8100 or Ryzen 3 2200G instead of getting a beefier GPU.

Getting a i3 8100 or Ryzen 3 2200G will double you CPU performance, but getting a RX 580 or GTX 1060 will only increase your GPU performance by ~15%.

 Motherboard

See Options

Gigabyte B360M DS3H

Though we don't see much of a need for a better motherboard than the MSI H310 in the build guide, we have an another Micro ATX motherboard that have slightly more features than the MSI H310 without being much more expensive.

The Gigabyte B360 has 4 USB 3.0 ports and 4 RAM slots, compared to 2 USB 3.0 ports and 2 RAM slots on the MSI H310. Though we don't know why you would need more than 16 GB of RAM on a $500 PC anytime soon, at least you have that option to upgrade to have four sticks of RAM on the Gigabyte B360M

 Storage

See Options

Samsung 860 Evo 500 GB 2.5″ SSD

Upgrading from a hard drive to a solid state drive is the upgrade that will increase the perceived speed of your PC the most. Loading times for all applications will decrease, Windows will run faster, and web browsing will feel amazing.

The Samsung 860 is a premium tier SSD at a pretty decent price point.

However, storage doesn’t have any effect on FPS.

 PSU

See Options

EVGA 500 BQ, 80+ Bronze 500W, Semi Modular

Our case is pretty small, so it might get pretty crowded in there, resulting in poor airflow. Having a non-modular power supply doesn’t help, as you will have a bunch of useless cables sitting in the middle of your case taking up space.

With a semi-modular power supply, you can remove the cables that you aren’t using.

 Case

See Options

CORSAIR Carbide SPEC-04 ATX Case | Tempered Glass

If you want a larger and better looking case that you might want to install a more powerful system in the future, the Corsair Carbide SPEC-04 is not a bad option.

Options to Reduce the Cost of Build

Because our budget of $400 is so low, there are very very few places where we can cut our costs even more. Your best bet is to check our $300 build.

 CPU

See Options

The Celeron G3930 is basically as cheap as you can get, so no downgrade options here.

 GPU

See Options

Gigabyte GTX 1050 2 GB

The RX 570 is a powerful card, but it takes up around 40% of our budget, which is a huge chunk especially since our budget is so small.

The GTX 1050 is a GPU that will also fit this build, but making this downgrade from the RX 570 will mean that losing A LOT of graphics power.

 Motherboard

See Options

Nothing much we can really do here. The MSI Pro Series H310 is already one of the cheapest LGA 1151 motherboards so there’s not many corners you can cut here.

 Storage

See Options

The cheap 1 TB WD Blue hard drive in the build is already crap-tier as a main drive. Why would you want anything worse?

 PSU

See Options

The EVGA 450 BT is one of the lowest priced 80+ efficiency rated power supplies.

You won’t find any reliable PSU for a price lower than this.

 Case

See Options

Once again, you won’t find any case for cheaper than the Rosewill mATX FBM-X1.

Peripherals

If your budget for a PC is $400, you budget for peripherals is also probably pretty small.

Don't worry -- we won't recommend you expensive monitors and $30 case fans.

Here is a selection of very affordable peripherals that will go well with this build.


Monitor

1080P - Acer SB220Q

1080 x 1920 | 75 Hz | 21.5" | 4ms | HDMI | VGA

The SB220Q is the best budget 1080P gaming monitor for sale right now. Being released recently in Q2 2018 and built by a reputable manufacturer, the SB220Q is not some old model that sellers are trying to liquidates

It has a refresh rate of 75 Hz with HDMI and the AMD FreeSync, with will work with the RX 570 in this build or all other Raadeon cards to reduce screen tearing in games.

It does not have built in speakers.

1080P - Sceptre E248W

1920  x 1080 | 75 Hz | 23.8" | 4ms | HDMI | Display Port

If you like the idea of having a slightly larger 1080P monitor that still is very affordable, this monitor is a good choice. The Sceptre E248W doesn't have Free-Sync, but it still has a 75 Hz refresh rate with HDMI and has the same thin-bezel design the previous monitor has.

It also has built in speakers, so you don't need to buy dedicated speakers if you are fine with the weak built-in speakers.


Fans - ARCTIC F12 Standard

120mm | 1350 RPM |Max. Airflow 74 CFM | 5-12 V

The ARCTIC F12 Standard is a good quality budget airflow fan. You could get working PC fans for even cheaper, but they would likely be loud and have poor quality.


Keyboard - Redragon K552 Mechanical

Mechanical | RED LED | Cherry Blue Equivalent Switches| 87 Keys | Compact

You probably aren't expecting to get a mechanical keyboard if your budget for a PC is this low. This Redragon keyboard doesn't look fancy or have a bunch of keys, but it's a legit mechanical keyboard that costs about as much as a cheap membrane keyboard.


Mouse - Logitech G203 Prodigy RGB

6000 DPI | RGB | Wired | 2 Custom Buttons

The Logitech G203 is a solid performing budget gaming mouse. It's one of the best cheap gaming mice, as it performs pretty close to most $40-$50 mice from companies like Logitech and Razer.

Compared to more expensive mice, it just lacks extra features like 10k+ DPI and a bunch of extra buttons -- not any core functionality.


 Audio

Headset - Logitech G430 

A great Logitech budget headset with good sound quality and comfort.

Speakers - Logitech S120 2.0 Stereo Speakers

Here is a very cheap set of PC stereo speakers that should work as you PC speakers if your monitor doesn't have any built-in speakers. Obviously not a good speaker, but very good value.


Operating System - Windows 10

Buying a Windows 10 key the proper way is pretty expensive, but there's ways you can save a lot of money and achieve the same result.

You can go on reseller sites, the most well known of which is Kinguin, and snatch a key for around $30, 1/3 of what an official key would cost.

Or you can just literally just not use a key, since Microsoft actually allows you to install Windows 10 without a key. You will just have a permanent watermark on the bottom right of your screen and limited ability to customize colors and backgrounds in Windows.

Putting the Components All Together

A big thing that turns away a lot of people from building their own PC is the preception that it's difficult to put the components together. This is not true at all, especially with budget builds with smaller and less complex components. There are so many online resources that help rookie PC builders today that basically anyone can build a custom PC if they have the will to learn the process.

During this time, try to expose yourself to as much PC building related content as possible to familiarize yourself to the lingo and the build process. Watch a lot of build guides on Youtube and go on PC related subreddits and messageboards and Tomshardware. Before long, you'll be able to confidently build your system.

Our Other Build Guides

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