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
|$380 - $420|
No set price as pricing of components changes day to day *
Intel Celeron G3930
A very basic and affordable two-core CPU running at 3.9 GHz.
PowerColor Red Dragon RX 570
A extremely powerful GPU for its price. Comes close to GTX 1060 in performance.
MSI H100M PRO VD+
A basic Micro-ATX motherboard with all the features you need for this build
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.
WD Blue 1TB SATA 7200 RPM 3.5"
One terabyte of reliable hard drive storage from the most popular consumer PC hard drive.
EVGA 450 BT 80+ Bronze
An basic 450W power supply with 80+ bronze efficiency rating
ROSEWILL Micro ATX Mini Tower
An affordable Micro-ATX case with an acrylic side panel
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.