Best Budget PC Build for Gaming 2020 | Cheap but Powerful Desktop

Updated: November 20th, 2020By: BrantonReviews197 Comments

PC build for 550

best cheap gaming pc build

Building a good cheap PC build for gaming on a budget of around $550 is definitely not impossible. This budget gaming pc build is packing an AMD R5 2600, an 8GB RX 580, 8GB of RAM and 480GB of SSD storage. Now, that’s a solid, yet inexpensive gaming PC! Easily on par with the top-level (Pro and X) consoles and slightly better than our under $500 build.

This build won’t result in the most powerful desktop around, but it won’t be the weakest either – not by a long shot! It’ll be more than capable of playing AAA games in 1080p without an issue. With this best cheap PC build, you can play practically anything on this build on max settings while getting 60fps performance.

When it comes to this gaming PC, no upgrades are off the table. Want more storage? Add it! Need more RAM? Get more!! Craving a more powerful GPU or CPU? Upgrade!!! I think you get the picture.

Have a question? Ask me in the comment section!

Prebuilt – Best Cheap Gaming PC

Acer Aspire TC-885-UA92 Desktop

  • Intel Core i5-9400 Processor (Up to 4. 1GHz)
  • 12GB DDR4 Memory
  • 7 USB ports
  • ddr4_sdram
  • 512gb SSD
  • Windows 10, keyboard, mouse included

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The Acer Aspire is the best cheap gaming prebuilt desktop you can get and great for anyoen not into pc building.  With its Intel Core i5, ram, and SSD it has plenty of memory and powerful enough to run most video games on medium settings you’ll be able to get good gaming performance possibly some 4k gaming. This gaming computer’s card (UHD Graphics 630) is a one of the best for the price. Of course you can always upgrade the graphics card to a GEForce gtx 1050, gtx 1050ti, or gtx 1650. Note: You can’t upgrade to a GEForce GTX 1660 without getting a different power supply.

The 12 gb of RAM and SSD help it reboot in under a minute  and is one of the most consistent, solid gaming PCs at this price point.

All in all, it’s solid but still not as good as the below DIY build. However, it does come with a gaming mouse and keyboard so make sure you don’t order an additional one.

Best Cheap Gaming PC Build For Those on a Budget

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Thermaltake Versa H15

A good, inexpensive, mATX case. Comes with 1x 120mm fan and support for 2 more.

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MSI B450M Pro-M2

A good mATX motherboard on the B450 chipset. 6x USB ports + 4x SATA ports and 1x M.2.

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AMD R5 2600

3.9GHz 6-core 12-thread processor. Comes with a good CPU cooler (AMD Wraith Stealth).

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PowerColor RX 580 Red Dragon (8GB)

A great GPU for 1080p gaming. An RX 580 is the best options in terms of price vs performance at this level.

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Thermaltake Smart 500W

500W 80+ rated non-modular power supply, 5-year warranty.

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8GB HyperX Fury DDR4 RAM

2x4GB 2666MHz DDR4 RAM. More RAM can be added if needed.

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Kingston A400 480GB SSD

A great 480GB SSD.

REQUIRED TOOLS

The tools you need:

That’s really all you need to assemble your new desktop. All of the mounting hardware and cables will come with the parts listed above. The only time you might need something extra is if you’re modifying the build on this page.

HOW TO BUILD YOUR PC

Super Simplified Build Steps:

  1. Install the power supply into the case
  2. Install the processor (CPU)
  3. Seat RAM in the motherboard
  4. Mount the CPU cooler (don’t forget thermal paste if you’re not using a stock cooler!)
  5. Insert the motherboard’s rear I/O plate into the case’s rear I/O slot
  6. Mount the motherboard in the case (get your i/o ports through and use the middle standoff as a guide)
  7. Plug your graphics card into the motherboard
  8. Install storage drives
  9. Plug all power and data cables in where they’re required (storage, case, motherboard, graphics card, etc)
  10. Turn your PC on
  11. Install your OS
  12. Install and update ALL drivers
  13. DONE!

In-depth Walkthrough

If you’ve never built a computer before, then you probably want to take some time to learn the basics before getting ahead of yourself. To do that you have a couple of options you can choose from.

The first, and probably the easiest way for most people to learn is finding a walkthrough on YouTube from a reputable tech channel. Here’s one by BitWit as an example.

Alternatively, I’ve put together an in-depth guide on how to build a PC as well as a FAQ to address the most common questions and problems. I’ve also put together a short post covering 10 of the most common mistakes people make when building.

Recommended Add-ons

Below you’ll find a handful of different add-ons and upgrades for this build. Some are necessary, specifically a copy of Windows 10, but some are completely optional like an SSD .

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Windows 10

Windows 10 is your best bet when it comes to picking an operating system. This version is a USB installer.

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LG Electronics 8X External DVD Writer

With a lot of modern PC cases moving away from internal 5.25″ bays, external optical drives like this one have become much more popular then their internally-mounted counterparts.

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TP-Link Archer T3U

If you have to use WiFi, you will also need a WiFi adapter like this one. Read more about WiFi below.

Build Breakdown

Building your own gaming PC doesn’t have to be an insanely difficult and stressful process. Using guides like this one you should be able to streamline everything but the actual build process. This $550 budget build is capable of handling 1080p gaming without an issue. If you want to stream, this is NOT the build for you; for that, you’ll need an 8th-9th gen i5/an older i7 processor (or an AMD equivalent) at the very least.

Keep in mind that the price listed above is for the core components only, you will still need an operating system, and any other peripherals you don’t currently have.

Case: Thermaltake’s H15 mATX case is my usual go-to for cheaper builds. Not only is the price almost perfect, but the case performs will in all areas outside of cable management.

However, the cable management isn’t all that bad if you take your time and work smart. It comes with 1x 120mm fan and will support 2 more. Liquid cooling radiators will have trouble fitting in the H15, but it’s not impossible to do. If you want a different case, check out the best mATX cases.

case

Processor (CPU): AMD’s R5 2600 is the absolute best CPU you can buy without spending more than $180 right now. Due to the recent release of the 3000-series, this absolute gem from the 2000-series can see prices below $150. At that price, you simply can’t go wrong with an R5 2600.

The R5 2600 is an unlocked processor and does support overclocking. However, its stock cooler will be good enough for light overclocking. However, if you want even more cooling potential then check out the best CPU coolers!

Graphics Card (GPU): An RX 580 is a phenomenal choice for 1080p gaming. Especially when you consider that you’re paying less than $200 for one. It’ll have no problem running ANY games in 1080p on very high-ultra settings… Assuming they’re not unoptimized early access titles, that is.

Graphics Card

PowerColor’s RX 580 Red Dragon 8GB is easily one of the best options in terms of price vs performance right now and is great choice. As I mentioned before the GEForce GTX  series is salso very popular.

System Memory (RAM): When it comes to RAM, 8GB of ram is still all you need for gaming this far into 2019. There will come a time (sooner than later) when most games will demand maybe 12GB or more, but that time hasn’t come just yet. Even some of the very few games that currently “require” 16GB run perfectly fine with an 8GB-12GB setup.

With that in mind, if you’re like me and you end up running Chrome with 100 different tabs open while gaming at the same time, you might want to consider adding more RAM.

Power Supply (PSU): There are a lot of high-performance parts in this build, so it’s fair if you’re assuming it’s going to need a gigantic power supply, but luckily it won’t! At most this build will only use a few hundred watts of power, so an 80% efficiency 500W supply will do the trick just fine.

I’ve picked Thermaltake’s Smart 500W 80+ mainly because EVGA’s 500 BQ are currently sold out. It’s a non-modular supply with an 80+ rating and it’ll work well.

Storage: This build comes with a single Kingston A400 480GB SATA SSD in lieue of a hard drive. It’s a good amount and you shouldn’t run short anytime soon. Starting with a single SSD vs an HDD is a good option for boot speeds. This way, if you install an HDD down the road for more space, your operating system and important boot programs will already be installed on an SSD, increasing boot times across the board.You can definitely always use an external hard drive as well.

I didn’t pull any punches when it came to squeezing every ounce of power from your $550 budget, and you will not be disappointed!

Operating System

When it comes to picking an operating system, you have quite a few options laid out before you. But, the best / easiest two are either Windows or something Linux-based.

If you’re really strapped for cash, or you really just don’t like Windows, Ubuntu is a great option because it’s entirely free, and it’s really solid/secure. It’s a Linux-based OS and can play any game that supports Linux. More and more games are adding Linux support, but it definitely sucks when a game you’ve been waiting forever for ends up being Windows only…

more common and the Skylake-based processors basically demanding Windows 10, you might want to consider jumping on that right away, but it’s ultimately your call.

Installing your operating system can be done in a couple of different ways, either by DVD or a USB flash drive that you either create yourself or buy. Either will get the job done, but going for Windows & using the retail DVD (or USB flash drive) is going to be the easiest – any cheap DVD drive will work.

Windows Home

If you want to create your own USB flash drive to install something like Ubuntu from, you can find some decent instructions here.

Peripherals

If this is your very first gaming PC, you probably need almost everything on this list. If that’s you, set aside another few hundred for these additional peripherals.

If that’s the situation you’re in, then I have some really awesome suggestions for you to consider. Each peripheral was hand-picked for this build and they’re all guaranteed high quality.

When it comes to picking a display, you really want it to be perfectly suited to your usage, that’s why I’ve put together a guide on how to pick the best monitor.

Chairs are no different, to fully enjoy your gaming experience you really need to find the best gaming chair possible. Due to the insane amount of options, I’ve put together this in-depth gaming chair buyers guide, check it out!

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24″ 1080p 60Hz monitor with a 2ms response time – Great for gaming and inexpensive!

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CoolerMaster Devastator 3 keyboard + mouse combo

An awesome RGB keyboard + mouse combo for under $40.

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Corsair HS50

Easily one of the best gaming headsets for under $50!

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Logitech Z623 2.1 sound system

2.1 channel, 200W RMS/400W peak. If you like bass, these are the speakers+sub you want.

WiFi

Since the motherboard in this build does not have built-in WiFi (most don’t) you will need a WiFi adapter if you plan on using a wireless internet connection. That said, if you have the option to run a wired connection, do that instead because it will be faster & more reliable.

There are tons of options when it comes to picking a WiFi adapter and it can be a little confusing at first, but don’t worry because I’m going to help sort that out.

Picking the right adapter is a matter of first determining what kind of router/modem you’re working with. Does it support 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands? Or just the 2.4GHz band? This will dictate what kind of WiFi adapter you should be looking at.

The easiest way to determine which “bands” your modem/router supports is to determine its operating standard. There are really only 2 as of right now, AC and N. AC is the better/newer of the two and supports both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, where N only supports 2.4GHz.

Ideally, you have an AC router as the 5GHz band is significantly better for gaming than its slower 2.4GHz counterpart, but if you don’t you’re not completely out of luck. An N router/adapter will get the job done for the time being, but you should definitely consider upgrading sooner than later if you’re going to be using WiFi for a while.

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TP-Link Archer T6E

A good internally mounted (PCIe) AC1300 WiFi adapter.

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TP-Link Archer T3U

A reliable AC1300 USB WiFi adapter.

Conclusion

This budget gaming PC build is a great place to start without completely destroying your wallet. Now you know that for right around $550 you can build yourself an awesome desktop capable of playing all of your favorite games without an issue. Maybe not on ultra settings, but that’s not why you’re here! This budget gaming pc build is relatively affordable that you can do some decent pc gaming on.There are other alternate parts and builds you can get such as an AMD Ryzen 5, intel core, cooler master, and other graphics cards that you could use. In the end it’s all up to your gaming experience and preference. Some are okay playing on medium settings, and some people only play on high.

You’re here to get a solid foundation, something to get you in now and upgrade down the line, right?

Perfect, because that’s exactly what this build is! A solid foundation. Upgrades are easy to make and numerous to choose from, almost nothing is off the table! You could upgrade to a more powerful 8th generation Intel CPU, you could add a stronger GPU, maybe more RAM if you wanted, perhaps an SSD? I think you get the picture.

So, what are you waiting for? Hit that big red button and get this build!

Have a question or comment? Feel free to drop it in the comment section below! 

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Branton

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Hey there! I'm Branton, the founder and lead editor here at PC Game Haven. Since our launch in 2015, we've helped thousands upon thousands of gamers build their dream desktops, find the perfect peripherals, and more. Thanks for stopping by and feel free to get in tough!

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Dan
Dan
April 8, 2020 1:12 am

Hi everyone!

My brother would like to start building and asked me if I could help. Would it be better to build one with the parts down listed below (Are they compatible?) or buy a SkyTech Blaze VR (RX 580 Version)?

Case: Phanteks Eclipse P350X
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X 6-Core, 12-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Spire Cooler
GPU & Cooler:XFX Radeon RX 580 GTS
RAM: Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 3200MHz
MOBO: MSI B450M PRO-VDH MAX
SSD: Samsung 970 Evo Plus 250 GB NVMe SSD
Power Supply: EVGA BR 500W

Lucky B.C
Lucky B.C
February 9, 2020 4:18 am

Hi all,

For building a good PC, I have the following list of items that I can find in my country with a cheap cost. I hope there’s someone help me check the list, Are they compatible to build a good PC under about $550?

CPU: Intel i5-9600k
Main-board: Asus Prime Z390M-Plus
Ram: DDR4 Corsair 16G/2666 Vengeance
PSU: Gigabyte P650B 80 PLUS bronze
Case: Gigabyte C200 Glass

Lucky B.C
Lucky B.C
February 10, 2020 6:00 am
Reply to  Branton

Hi Branton,

I know that it’s not a gaming PC without a graphic card and I do not know much how to build a good computer also. Focusing on I5-9600k with 630 graphics is for learning and developing software development first that really need CPU more than GPU. One day I will buy a graphics card for playing and developing 3D apps (games also) later.

I forget to ask you, what CPU Cooler should that I buy?

Lucky B.C
Lucky B.C
February 10, 2020 11:38 pm
Reply to  Branton

Hi Branton,

The Gigabyte P650B 80 PLUS bronze was not sold, Can I use the Thermaltake TR2 S 650W to replace it? I’m so sorry but I do not anything about PSU.

Lucky B.C
Lucky B.C
February 20, 2020 3:28 am
Reply to  Branton

Hi Braton,

After 5 days that I built up for myself a good PC without your website and your replies, I would not have enough good information for the good PC. And after 2 days later, I can say 2 two things:

1) My PC costs over $550, $759 as I bought more 2 items:
SSD Samsung 970 evo plus 500GB ($118)
DELL KM 636 keyboard and mouse ($25).

The last one, thank you so much and good days to you 🙂

Ben
Ben
October 16, 2019 2:30 pm

Is there another Motherboard you can recommend?
The one on the list is not in stock and I would really like to start gaming ASAP
Thanks for the website and the builds!

Carlin Washburn
Carlin Washburn
October 4, 2019 9:49 pm

I built this PC a couple weeks ago, works great. Thanks for making all the resources on this site, very helpful.

Carlin Washburn
Carlin Washburn
September 9, 2019 6:44 pm

If I wanted to upgrade this PC’s graphics card to one for $2-300 what would you recommend?

Carlin Washburn
Carlin Washburn
September 10, 2019 10:23 pm
Reply to  Branton

Thanks.

Luis
Luis
July 25, 2019 1:29 am

What budget pc will you recommend for apex, rainbow six siege, and streaming?

Luis
Luis
July 26, 2019 3:50 am
Reply to  Branton

So what of your pc will you recommended me?

Mighty Spirit
Mighty Spirit
March 19, 2019 5:25 am

Hi,
Most games i want to play have recommended system requirements of icore5.
But this build can play games 1080p with icore3??
How can i tell if this is quadcore build?
What is the expected lifetime of this computer?
Also is there a guide on how to correctly assemble a computer without frying the circuits?