Not all of us are able to invest $2250 into a PC, so a build like the Intel Enthusiast build we just wrote about isn’t very feasible. However, to be able to enjoy PC gaming, you don’t need over two grand! With the advancement of technology, gaming at a very enjoyable 1080p 60+FPS is accessible and possible, even with a much more modest budget. 2K or 4K gaming might be out of the question, but the smoothness of 60 frames per second combined with the clarity and pixel density of 1080p resolution are more than enough for a great gaming experience.
So for this budget build, we are looking at constructing a rig capable of playing all but the most greedy of games at 1080p 60+FPS, and all for $500. At this price point, we want something that is more powerful than a console (like a PS4), because that is the next step down in terms of both price and power. Similarly, we could consider buying a used rig at this price that would come with a bit more juice, but buying new is still the only way to get the warranty and peace of mind that many builders want when spending a still-considerable sum.
With that in mind, our $500 budget 1080p 60+FPS console-killer build recommendations are:
Best Budget Ryzen Gaming PC Build – The Parts List
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 5 1600||$100|
|CPU Cooler||AMD Wraith Stealth||$0|
|Motherboard||ASRock B450m Pro4||$70|
|RAM||Patriot Viper 4 Blackout 3200MHz CL16||$60|
|GPU||XFX Radeon RX 570 4GB||$120|
|SSD||Inland Professional 480GB||$45|
|PSU||EVGA 500W BR||$55|
|Case & Case Fans||Fractal Design Focus Mini G||$50|
CPU – Ryzen 5 1600
The heart of our machine is the more than capable Ryzen 5 1600 from AMD. The 1600 is a super capable processor, allowing for much more than only 60FPS in CPU intensive games and with its 6c/12t configuration, it should allow for snappy performance in day-to-day tasks as well. The great boost clock of 3.6GHz (and often able to achieve higher with PBO enabled) gives fast single-core performance as well, with a modest TDP of 65W to avoid overheating.
Alternative CPUs that people bring up are the Ryzen 1600, the previous generation equivalent, or the Intel 9400f. But the 9400f is only 4c/4t, which won’t age as well, and is being over $40 more expensive. The 2600 is an interesting option, but the gains from 1600 to 2600 were not overly significant, and despite the price difference as of writing of only $15, the 1600 a better choice. All-in-all, the $100 Ryzen 1600 is a great choice for a budget gaming rig that is well-worth its cost and will allow for more than enough computing power for gaming at 1080p 60+FPS, or much higher in CPU-bound games.
CPU Cooler – AMD Wraith Stealth
With this type of budget build, overclocking is not one our major concerns out of the box, so our cooling solutions can be relatively simple. In fact, for the Ryzen 1600, we are going to keep it as simple as possible by using the AMD Wraith Stealth cooler that comes in the box. This cooler isn’t necessarily the quietest and will not be the greatest performer, but it’s included in the price of the 1600 and will allow you to hit the 3.6GHz boost on all cores, which is all we need for our budget build.
In the future, if you want to upgrade or have a little bit of extra cash, the CoolerMaster Hyper 212 is a great choice for a budget cooler, as is the DeepCool Gammax 400. Both of these will perform better than the stock AMD Wraith Stealth, allowing for gentle overclocks or generally quieter/cooler performance, but are not necessary and are an upgrade that you can add when/if the extra budget becomes available.
Motherboard – ASRock B450M Pro4-F
If we again keep in mind that overclocking is not our main concern with this budget build, the motherboard becomes a question of getting good base features, decent VRMs, and potential ability to upgrade later to a better CPU if we have some future income to invest in the rig. Luckily, the AM4 socket that we need for the 1600 is the same as the Ryzen 3000 series, and rumored to be the same for Ryzen 4000 once it is released. The 1600 is not overly demanding in terms of VRM, so we can look for a strong budget board to use for our build. For ultimate bang-for-your-buck, we want a B450 board, and at this price point, there is no better B450 than the ASRock B450M Pro4-F.
Wait a second, we didn’t say this was going to be a mATX build! You’re right, but when it comes to budget building, mATX is often a much cheaper option, and the space savings is great for this type of budget build. Massive airflow and lots of fans isn’t necessary for a budget build like this one, so mATX is perfectly fine and will help us make the most out of our money. Similarly, the B450M Pro4-F is a great price-performance motherboard. It isn’t the absolute cheapest, but it is very inexpensive and still gives us great features like an M.2 slot, support for up to 3200MHz RAM, 9-phase power design (VRMs), and a good variety of PCIe slots/USB slots for all your connections. ASRock has also kept the BIOS updated to accept Ryzen 3000 CPUs, which is a good indication of future upgradeability. This motherboard isn’t fancy, so no RGB or big heatsinks, but it will get the job done for a very attractive $70.
RAM – Patriot Viper 4 Blackout 3200MHz CL16
After the massive increase in RAM prices around two years ago, we have seen a similarly spectacular decrease during the past 12 months. RAM is now as affordable as ever, which is great since Ryzen processors heavily favor fast RAM. In order to make the most out of a Ryzen based system, we want RAM with a relatively high clock speed and low CAS latency. Ideal combinations for the Ryzen 1600 are either 3000MHzCL15 or 3200MHzCl16. And while 8GB may work for a budget build, 16GB is the new basic standard for RAM and, even with a very tight budget build, RAM prices are low enough that we can get something with one of those combinations in a 2x8GB kit. For this build, we are going with the Patriot Viper 4 Blackout 3200MHz CL16 (with 18-18-36 sub-timings that are good-not-great). At $60, this RAM is going to allow the 1600 to work at its best and let you have as many Chrome tabs open as you could possibly want, without destroying your budget.
Graphics Card – XFX Radeon RX570 4GB
For any gaming PC, the GPU should represent the most substantial investment of your build. This is because of all your parts, the GPU will likely be your bottleneck within a budget build, so you want to be able to stretch it to the max to keep up with the still-powerful Ryzen 1600. Fortunately, even though newest-generation graphics cards are still expensive, previous-generation cards that are still more than powerful enough for 1080p 60+FPS are very affordable. To get the most bang for your buck, we recommend the RX570 4GB, and specifically, this XFX Radeon RX570 4GB that just went on sale down to $120, perfect for our budget build.
The RX570 4GB is not the most recent card, but it is plenty powerful for 1080p 60+FPS. The 4GB VRAM won’t hold you back at 1080p, even if some games may require adjusting settings, and the powerful cores and clock speed will ensure you can push out frames on even recent games. Some of the most greedy might require you to lower settings, but older games and well-optimized games should still let you have beautiful graphics while easily hitting 60+FPS (likely much more for CPU bound games).
SSD – Inland Professional 480GB SSD
For an SSD in a budget build, we are going to have to be careful. We want something that is reliable, but we may have to forego the absolute fastest read/write speeds in order to keep within our budget. Luckily, even the most inexpensive (but still quality!) SSD will be faster and more reliable than any HDD. And because gaming is not very dependent on ultra-fast read/write, we should have no impact on our ability to hit 1080p 60+FPS without modest SSD. And because prices just keep dropping, we are only going for a 480GB SSD, with the idea that we can always add more later. Our choice based on the criteria above and the price is the Inland Professional 480GB SSD. This is a quality SSD that is known to be reliable and comes with a three-year warranty, offering respectable read/write speeds and 3D TLC NAND for right around $45.
Power Supply – EVGA 500W BR
Choosing a PSU is about finding the highest-quality part you can afford, after taking into consideration the wattage you need. The PSU is the power supply, and you do not want your power supply to be the weak point in your rig. A bad PSU can not only cause reboots and crashes if it’s overwhelmed, but can fry parts if it is low quality. So even for a modest budget build, we want to make sure we have a decent power supply to avoid losing our investment. We might not get modular cabling or 80+ Gold efficiency, but we will get reliability. With that in mind, we’ve gone with a 500W power supply (more than enough for our parts) from the well-known EVGA manufacturer, the EVGA 500W BR with a three-year warranty. It is slightly more expensive than some of the no-name brands, but offers much better performance and is still inexpensive at $55.
Case & Case Fans – Fractal Design Focus Mini G
As we have selected mATX for our motherboard, we are looking for a mATX case to build in. At this price, we want something that won’t fall apart and has a window, but we don’t need any fancy bells and whistles. But, to save some costs, we are looking at a case that includes case fans to help keep our rig cool and avoid paying extra for separate fans. So, to stay within our restrained budget and still get a good-looking case with great airflow, we recommend using a beautiful chassis from the well-known and reputed Fractal Design, the Fractal Design Focus Mini G. This case includes a big window and LED fans to keep your rig cool, and at $50, will not hurt your wallet and will keep us within our $500 limit.
This build represents a very budget restrained machine, with some sacrifices being made to allow us to stay under the $500 budget. But, even with those savings that mainly remove some of the bells and whistles newer, more expensive parts can feature, this machine will easily push out 1080p 60+FPS. It will be much more powerful than any console, without being vastly more expensive, and thanks to our careful selection of parts, should be plenty reliable for years to come. On top of that, once you are able to find a bit more budget, PCs nowadays are very upgradeable, and this rig is no different. Thanks to the B450 motherboard, you can easily upgrade later to a newer processor, or throw in a more powerful GPU thanks to PCIe 3.0. In all, for a very restricted budget, this machine is a great build that deserves the name ‘battlestation’ as much as any more expensive gaming rig.