Building a low-budget, entry-level PC doesn’t have to be boring or impossible to game on. PC technology has come so far in recent years that you can now put together a high-quality build with all brand new parts for comfortably under $600.
How is this possible? Mainly thanks to AMD and its ability to put real quality graphics hardware on its APUs. This will be the centerpiece of this build because yes, you can game on integrated graphics in 2022. You won’t be ripping Cyberpunk 2077 out at max settings or anything, but for older games and lighter titles like Valorant and Rocket League, this will be more than enough.
Here’s what we picked out.
Best CPU for entry-level gaming build: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G
The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is one of the best processors in the Ryzen 5000 series. This proven APU is an absolute no-brainer as it’s part of our collections of the best gaming CPUs and the best AMD CPU on the market today. The Ryzen 5 5600G APU offers an impressive price-performance ratio for those looking to save money on an entry-level model.
Performance-wise, the Ryzen 5 5600G should be good enough for entry-level gaming. You won’t get great frames in all games, but we think it’s enough to run even some of the newer titles at 720p or 1080p with low graphics settings. The Ryzen 5 5600G is a six-core APU that ships with the AMD Radeon Vega 7 graphics card. This particular APU also comes with a bundled CPU cooler, meaning you can save more money on the build. There’s a lot to like about the Ryzen 5 5600G, as long as you keep your expectations in check for a budget-oriented PC with entry-level parts.
AMD Ryzen 5 5600G
The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is a great APU that combines strong CPU performance with best-in-class integrated graphics.
Best motherboard for entry-level gaming: ASRock B550M Pro 4
For the motherboard, we think any of the affordable B550 chipset-based cards can handle the Ryzen 5 5600G APU. We chose the ASRock B550M Pro 4 motherboard for this build mainly because it is one of the most affordable options on the market right now. It comes with loads of noteworthy features including eight-phase power design, DDR4-4733+ RAM support, and more.
The ASRock B550M Pro 4 isn’t the best when it comes to overclocking, but you can still tweak the 5600G to give it some extra performance. The ASRock B550M Pro 4 is a motherboard with an mATX form factor, meaning it’s probably best to stick with a small PC case or a mid-tower case at best.
ASRock B550M Pro 4
The ASRock B550M Pro 4 may not be the most powerful motherboard on the market, but we think it’s enough to handle the Ryzen 5 5600G APU. It also has plenty of noteworthy features usually reserved for more expensive boards.
Best RAM for entry-level gaming build: Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4
For a budget version you still rely on DDR4 and for that you want to get a Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB kit. Prices have come all the way down, but this 3200MHz RAM is absolutely perfect for this type of build. It comes in four colors, although not RGB, and claims 100% compatibility with all coolers on the market due to its low-profile design. This RAM is as reliable as it comes, just pop it in, enable the XMP profile and you’re good to go.
Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 RAM
This DDR4 memory is affordable, reliable, has one of the lowest profile designs available, and with XMP it can be set up with one click.
Best Storage Drive: Western Digital SN550 M.2 NVMe SSD
Western Digital’s Blue SN550 is one of the most affordable and reliable M.2 SSDs on the market today. This particular SSD is the go-to option for many entry-level builds, and we’ve chosen the 500GB variant of the drive for this guide. The SN550 offers a host of features, including high sequential read and write speeds of up to 2,400 MB/s and 1,750 MB/s, respectively.
For a gaming PC, you have two options. Buy a higher capacity SN550 if you have the budget, or you can buy the 256GB version to use as a boot drive and pair it with a SATA SSD or an HDD to store your games.
WD Blue SN550 NVMe M.2 SSD
The WD Blue SN550 is a solid budget SSD to consider for an entry-level model. Despite its relatively affordable price tag, the WD Blue SN550 is known for its reliable performance and speed for a variety of workloads, including gaming.
Best power supply for entry-level gaming build: Corsair RM550x
When it comes to the PSU, we recommend picking up the Corsair RM550x. This device, as the name suggests, offers 550W of power, which is plenty for a relatively low-power build like the one we’re working with in this guide. That said, it is still advisable to choose a reliable power supply with a good rating.
The ATX PSU we’ve picked here is 80 Plus Gold rated and fully modular, making it better than most other PSUs in its class. 550W of power is plenty for the build we’ve listed here and should give you plenty of headroom for an entry-level graphics card if you decide to upgrade later on.
The Corsair RM550x is one of the best PSUs on the market right now. It offers plenty of power for relatively low power and also comes with an 80 Plus gold rating.
Best PC Case: Phanteks Eclipse P360A
The Phanteks Eclipse P360A is the perfect PC case for this particular build. Despite an affordable price tag, it’s a high-end mid-tower PC case that comes with two pre-installed 120mm D-RGB PWM fans. In addition, the case has enough space to add more fans and radiators for CPU coolers. It offers plenty of space for all components, including tall CPU cooling towers, modern GPUs, and more. The case also has plenty of airflow vents and they are all covered with mesh filters to keep the dust away from the inside.
The PSU is hidden behind a built-in shroud, the side panel is tempered glass, and there’s plenty of room at the back for cable management. For fairly minor cases, Phanteks somehow manages to make them feel a bit like a Tardis.
Phanteks Eclipse P360A
The Phanteks Eclipse P360A is a solid PC case for budget builds. It comes with two RGB fans and an RGB light strip along the side panel.
Entry level gaming build: price overview
Here’s a quick look at the entry-level gaming PC price breakdown based on the parts we’ve picked for this guide. Prices are subject to change based on stock availability and other factors, so keep that in mind, but we’re well below $600.
|AMD Ryzen 5 5600G processor||$129|
|ASRock B550M Pro 4 motherboard||$100|
|AMD Wraith Stealth CPU cooler (included with APU)||$0|
|Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 16GB||$55|
|Western Digital Blue SN550 M.2 NVMe SSD||From $40|
|Corsair RM550x power supply||$100|
|Phanteks Eclipse P360A||$100|
This obviously doesn’t include extra case fans, any RGB lighting you might want to add, or even the thermal paste you use on the CPU. But what it does show is that it’s possible to build a decently powerful entry-level gaming PC for less than $600. You probably want as much storage as you can get your hands on within your budget, so that’s the first place for any additional expenses. Of course, you’ll also need some form of external display.
If you want to add a graphics card to the build now or in the future, we recommend that you consider an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660. It’s not as cheap as some AMD Radeon cards, but the overall performance is worth the extra cost.
Entry Level Gaming Build: Final Thoughts
Building a gaming PC on a budget or just as an entry-level model doesn’t have to mean too many sacrifices. While integrated graphics will only get you so far, AMD’s are the best in the business and you can definitely game with them. Titles like Valorant and Rocket League are destroyed by the Ryzen 5600G, and you’ll even get some mileage in more demanding titles. The thing is, you can start now with this APU, some good RAM and storage, and add more powerful graphics in the future.
It is also possible to build affordable PCs by replacing our recommended parts with cheaper alternatives. For example, you can replace M.2 SSDs with SATA SSDs or even slower HDDs to save more money or for mass storage in combination with a low capacity NVMe SSD. Likewise, you can buy a non-modular PSU and maybe a more affordable PC case to save a few more bucks.
As always, you can also join our XDA Computing Forums to discuss your build and get more product recommendations from the experts in our community. You can also check out our PC building guide in case you need help building your PC at home.