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Best cheap gaming PC 2020 – build a 1080p AMD rig for under $550

PC gaming doesn't have to cost the earth, or even a lot of cash. Here's how to build a great 1080p machine on a budget

Best Cheap Gaming PC

Building the best cheap gaming PC arguably takes more techie smarts than simply putting together a super high-end rig. It’s all about compromises and knowing where you can make concessions to price without necessarily tanking gaming performance… and that’s a lot harder than just picking the most expensive silicon and jamming it all into one PC.

Let’s be honest for a second, PC gaming is not the cheapest of hobbies. Though that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s impossible to still create the best budget gaming PC with a level of performance that might just surprise you. Okay, you won’t be able to pack the latest and greatest hardware into your chassis – as we have in our guide to the best gaming PC builds – if you’re having to be a little parsimonious about your component picks, but there is some fantastic last-gen kit still available for a great price.

And that’s what’s allowed us to put together this high-quality, low-cost cheap gaming PC that’s still able to fling frames around without a care and nail 1080p gaming in even the most demanding modern games. And yes, it’s another all-AMD build…

For all their undoubted performance AMD’s Ryzen 3000 CPUs still only offer modest gains over their Ryzen 2000 brethren. And the last-gen Zen+ processors are still in stock, still on sale, and still deliver excellent gaming performance for a bargain price. Not just gaming either – this is our cheap gaming PC build and we’re still packing in the Ryzen 5 2600, a six-core, 12-thread processor that’s able to offer impressive returns in productivity tasks too.

We’re going a little further back for the GPU, with the Radeon RX 570 you’re looking at a Polaris generation GPU from nigh on three years ago. Normally it would be sheer folly to recommend anyone pick up a graphics card from that far back in the mists of time, but the RX 570 still has a lot to offer, particularly against GPUs in its price bracket.

It’s a little shy of the RX 5500 XT and GTX 1650 Super in terms of gaming performance but it’s also at least $50 cheaper too.

Best cheap gaming PC

Product $ £
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 2600 $120 £115
CPU cooler Wraith Stealth included Free Free
Motherboard Gigabyte B450M DS3H $73 £65
Memory 8GB Crucial Ballistix Sport $39 £37
Primary storage 1TB WD Blue HDD $45 £35
Graphics card XFX RX 570 4GB $120 £109
PSU EVGA 450 BT $51 £40
Chassis Corsair Carbide 100R $55 £45
OS Windows 10 64-bit $27 £20
$530 £466


CPU – AMD Ryzen 5 2600
Cores: 6 | Threads: 12 | Max boost: 3.9GHz
The last-gen Ryzen 2000 CPU has still got the goods when it comes to gaming performance and with those 12 threads of processing power it’s still a meaty productivity chip too.

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Motherboard – Gigabyte B450M DS3H
Chipset: B450 | Socket: AM4
The smaller-scale Gigabyte B450 board is great-value option, and with that diminutive size you’re only really sacrificing the needless potential for multi-GPU support.

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Memory – 8GB Ballistix Sport LT
Kit: 2x 4GB | Speed: 2,400MHz
Higher-speed RAM can make a big difference to an AMD Ryzen setup, and fitting a dual channel setup rather than a single stick is important too, even when you’re on a budget.

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HDD – 1TB WD Blue
Socket: SATA | RPM: 7,200
At this level it’s tough to finance the installation of an SSD with enough space to act as a boot drive and have enough space for games, so a HDD is a necessary evil… at least to start with.

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Graphics card – XFX Radeon RX 570 4GB
GPU: Polaris 20 XL | Cores: 2,048
The second-gen Polaris GPU might be getting a little long in the tooth now, but you won’t find as powerful a graphics card this close to the $100 mark.

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Power supply – EVGA 450 BT
Capacity: 450W | Modular: No
This 450W PSU gives you room to grow in terms of both CPU and GPU, but you’re necessarily sacrificing the modular design to hit this lower pricepoint.

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Chassis – Corsair Carbide 100R
Windowed: Yes | Support: ATX
Corsair makes some gorgeous PC cases, but it also makes very affordable ones too. This is a simple, no frills chassis, but no less solid for it.

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OS – Windows 10 Pro 64
Price: $27 | £20
Unless you want to sacrifice half your Steam library to the vagaries of Linux support, you’re going to need an OS. You can purchase license keys very cheaply, however.

Total: $530 | £466

Optional upgrades…

That’s a great price for a cheap gaming PC build and will deliver some decent gaming performance for the money too. But there are a few little tweaks you can make if you’ve got a little spare cash to play with that could make a big difference to your experience.

Drop in both the faster RX 5500 XT and the lightning-quick Addlink SSD and the total price only goes up to around $625. And that’s still a good budget gaming PC price to me.

And you can see the extra gaming performance a little GPU upgrade gets you in our graphics card comparison and in the benchmarks below…


Graphics card – AMD RX 5500 XT 4GB
GPU: Navi 14 XTX | Cores: 1,408
For another $50-odd on top of the price of the old school RX 570 you can pick up the latest budget GPU from AMD instead, the Navi-powered RX 5500 XT. The 4GB version is more affordable and still performs.

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Graphics card – Nvidia GTX 1650 Super 4GB
GPU: TU116 | 1,280
Sporting the same GPU as the GTX 1660-series, with more cores and more advanced memory compared with the laggardly standard GTX 1650, the Super is sometimes able to outpace the pricier RX 5500 XT in games.

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Storage – 512GB Addlink S70 SSD
Socket: PCIe Gen3 | Memory: MLC
Sure, it’s half the storage of the 1TB HDD, but only another $30 or so you get an exponentially faster SSD, and one that will make your gaming rig instantly feel pacier.

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