How to Build a Budget Gaming Computer – $500 or Php 20K or Less

Published on May 3rd, 2013

A lot of my readers are asking me how they can build a budget gaming computer this 2013. There are basically lots of ways on how you can build your own gaming PC. But if you are in a budget, you have to choose which PC components you have to buy carefully so that you can get most out of the budget that you have. In this article, I’ll show you how to build a cheap gaming PC that would fit your budget. Pleas continue reading below.

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build gaming computerNote: The Gaming PC that I build, is definitely not a $500 Gaming Rig. It’s just for reference only.

To answer your question “how to build a budget gaming computer this 2013?“, there isn’t really a one setup or answer to this question. In fact there are many ways on how you can build a budget gaming computer, given the fact that there are lots of hardware options for you to choose from.

I can’t also tell you that you should get this or that, because we have our own preferences. So if I were in your position, I’ll show you how I will build my budget gaming computer. But first, let us define our budget first, and the parts that are covered in this budget.

Let’s say I only have Php 20,000 for a CPU, that’s around $500 USD. Now this budget is allotted for the CPU alone – processor, motherboard, memory, video card, hard drive, PSU, and the casing. These are the core components of a computer. I will not include the monitor, keyboard and mouse because there are just tons of them and it really doesn’t affect or contribute to the performance of your computer. Below I’ll show you two setup, an Intel Budget gaming setup and an AMD budget gaming setup. Let’s also assume that you will be using a Windows 32bit system which is capable of only detecting 3.2GB of RAM.

My Php 20K or $500 Budget Gaming Rig – AMD

Processor: AMD A6 5400K 3.6-3.8ghz FM2 – Php 2,910 – $63.24
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75M DGS – Php 2,375 – $54.99
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X 2x2GB DDR3 1600 – Php 1,780 – $34.99
Graphics Card: Powercolor Radeon HD 7770 – Php 4,900 – $114.99
Hard Drive: WDC Caviar Blue 500GB – Php 2,310 – $56.68
Power Supply: Corsair CX500 500 Watts – Php 2,620 – $58.24
Casing: Cooler Master K380 KWN1 – Php 2,190
or a Cooler Master Elite 431 Plus with X-Dock – $49.99

TOTAL = Php 19,085 – $434.12

My Php 20K or $500 Budget Gaming Rig – Intel

Processor: Intel Core i3 3220 1155 – Php 4,680 – $120.66
Motherboard: Gigabyte B75M HD3 – Php 2,720 – $67.99
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X 2x2GB DDR3 1600 – Php 1,780 – $34.99
Graphics Card: Powercolor Radeon HD 7770 – Php 4,900 – $114.99
Hard Drive: WD Caviar Blue 500GB – Php 2,310 – $56.68
Power Supply: Corsair CX500 500 Watts – Php 2,620 – $58.24
Casing: Cooler Master K380 KWN1 – Php 2,190
or a Cooler Master Elite 431 Plus with X-Dock – $49.99

TOTAL = Php 21,200 – $503.54

If you can expand your budget a little more, here are some added suggestions:

  • WD Caviar Blue 1TB – Php 2,790 – $66.99
  • EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti – $144.99
  • Palit GTX 650 Ti 1gb/128bit – Php 5,690
  • Get an 8GB Memory if you are planning to go with a 64bit operating system
  • A better casing – although this option totally depends on your preference

See also: How Much Memory Do I Need for my PC

There you go, if I have Php 20,000 or around $500, the above list is the PC components that I am going to buy and assemble. You might be asking how about if you are on a really tight budget, around 15k, can you still build a gaming rig?

For 15K or $375, you might be able to build a gaming computer but it’s a very tight budget. You might not be able build a decent gaming computer that produces decent FPS for you to enjoy your game. Specially if you are planning to play games like Call of Duty Modern Warfare or Far Cry 3, or Battlefield 3 / 4. But if you are planning to play Warcraft III or DOTA, the above list is capable of playing the game.

It’s not impossible, if you can find some second hand parts that are still in good condition then you are in luck. Or you can build a brand new one but just invest more on the processor and graphics card, plus a 2GB and less on the other parts.

Intel vs AMD Setup For Gaming

This question has been around since the time AMD and Intel begun to create processors. There is no one answer to this question either, whether an Intel system is best for gaming or an AMD setup. Both systems and processors have their own advantages and disadvantages. But generally AMD processors are cheaper compared to their Intel counter part. However, mainstream and higher-end Intel processor, although more expensive than an AMD processor, can offer you better performance. This is more of a personal preference and budget preference.

Is a 2GB Graphics Card Faster than a 1GB Version?

Another thing is that, there are some entry level or mainstream graphics card that has a 1GB version and a 2GB version. For example the Palit GTX 650 TI has a 1GB version and a 2GB version. Having an additional 1GB of memory does not always increase the performance of the graphics card. In most case it results in a memory bottleneck within the graphics card itself. It’s not optimized and it’s just a marketing strategy to trick unsuspecting buyers thinking that a 2GB version is better than a 1GB version.

Although this is not always true. In high end graphics cards, a 2GB version may produce additional performance. This is because the GPU itself or the graphics processor is fast enough to max out the 1GB memory buffer.

See also: Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart

How Much Storage Space Do I Need For Gaming

When it comes to gaming, you don’t really need a 1TB hard drive. In fact a 250GB or better yet a 128GB SSD is enough. The drive’s capacity is not the priority here, the speed of the drive is what that matters when it comes to gaming. I wouldn’t suggest getting a “Green” drive, or drives with 5200 RPM or less, for gaming because it tends to be slow, as a result your game will take a longer time to load. I would suggest getting the mainstream WD Blue or Black (or equivalent 7200 RPM drives), or better yet get a Solid State Drive or a Velociraptor if you have a bigger budget.

See also: Best Hard Drive for Gaming

Invest In A Certified Power Supply

I also suggest that you invest in a good PSU or power supply. Why? Because it is the one thing that gives power to your computer. It is also responsible, and will be your first defense against power surges, under volts and power fluctuations and other power interruptions. If you get a generic power supply and blows up, there is also a big possibility that it will also damage your other PC components as well.

A common mistake is that people tend to invest more on their graphics card, motherboard and processor. But they forgot or neglect to invest on a good power supply. Now if that PSU gives up, it may take the other PC components with it as well. Are you willing to rely your mainstream or high end gear to some cheapo PSU? DON’T!

If you are in a budget, don’t invest much on a case, it’s just a case and you can buy a better one later when you have the budget. The important parts in build a gaming PC are the Processor and Video Card. Both of these should be balanced to avoid bottleneck. Don’t pair a mainstream or high end graphics card with some entry level processor or dual core, and vice versa.

Hope this guide helps, if you like it please do consider sharing it with your friends. If you have any other questions, just hit the comment section below.

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  • Dustin

    hi sir the picture above is that the 20k set up ??

    • No. There is a note below the image. That’s definitely above 20K.

      • Dustin

        what is the specs of that picture ?

        • Core i5 2500K Quad Core
          Asus motherboard, sorry forgot the model
          Asus geforce gtx 660
          Gskill ripjaws X 4x2GB + corsair vengeance 2gb ddr3
          HDD: 6TB total + 128 SSD
          Corsair HX650 650Watts
          Cooler Master HAF XM

          • Dustin

            how much the price for that specs ?

          • Hi Dustin!
            I haven’t computed the total price since I did not buy the parts altogether. I bought the components one by one. Some of the parts are new and some are old. So I can’t really estimate the exact price of that specs.
            But more or less it’s already above 50K. Are you planning to build a gaming rig? How much is your budget? And how fast do you want your rig to be?

          • Jeffry Valenzuela

            Hi Jeff
            Are you in Philippines? Can you help me. I want to build gaming PC and have a budget of 30k. and I prefer to buy Graphic card Geforce GTX 660 (non-TI)
            I need specs for below:
            Processor:
            Mobo:
            Memory:
            HDD:
            PSU:
            Cooling system: (Because I dont have air-conditioned room)
            I want to play FPS game and looking forward to buy BF4
            Please help. I try to post comment on one of your post but I cannot see it anymore.

            Please send me E-mail if possible. Thank you so much in advance.

            jeffryvalenzuela@yahoo.com

          • Hi Jeffry,
            I would suggest you get a GTX 660 Ti instead since it’s a better performer than the GTX 660. Trust me, I am using a GTX 660 right now. Unless your not the type of gamer that do not want to experience a bit of lag-ness and frames per second matters to you.
            I would also suggest you get a quad core Core i5 or i7 with the “K”, and a good Z77 motherboard.
            If you are running a Windows 32bit, a 4GB memory is enough, but if you are using a 64bit memory, it would be good to get 8GB of memory.
            Let me know if you have a particular brand preference so that I can help you further.
            Also please check the following articles:
            How much memory do I need?
            Best type of hard drive for gaming

          • Jeffry Valenzuela

            Hi Jeff
            This is my Specs now

            Graphic C : GeForce GTX 660Ti

            Processor : i5 3570k

            PSU : Raider 550Watts

            Cool case : Aerocool Templarius Telum

            MoBo : Asus P8Z77-M PRO

            RAM : Kingston Predator 8GB
            (4GBx2) DDR3 2400

            HDD : ATA Hitachi HDS72105 500GB

            For GTX 660Ti and i5 3570K i will ask my freind in Taiwan maybe they can find me cheap price for this item.

          • Hi Jeffrey
            I see that you already got your components.
            Looks good! Specs are good too. Have you already acquired the specs or not yet?
            Do you have a brand preference for the GTX 660 Ti? I think Palit or Inno3D are the cheapest once.
            But they have a vanilla design. Asus or MSI have a better looking card since they have a custom cooler, but are more expensive.

            By the way, do you plan to overclock your system or just use it as is?
            My suggestion is use it as is, don’t overclock unless you really need to or you are doing some benchmarks.

          • Jeffry Valenzuela

            Hi Jeff
            For my Video card i prefer pallit because it was Cheaper as you said. But im Still Thinking if i have to buy with Ti or non Ti. I will see when my friend comes back.

            And by the ways what is Overclocking? I dont know that?

          • I see, overclocking is when you tweak or increase the speeds of your CPU or GPU to a higher clock thus achieving a faster performance. But since you are not familiar with overclocking that’s still okay. Just go for the Ti version.
            I’m using the non-Ti and I’m satisfied with it. I can play Crysis 3, Battlefield 4, Crysis 2, and others.
            The reason why I chose the non Ti is because I am power conscious. The Ti version consumes more power than the non Ti.

  • JL

    Thanks a lot Jeff. This really helps. I just wanted to know FPS in the Intel Icore 3. Thanks a lot.

  • Keso

    Thank you very much. This is very helpful.

    • No probs! If you have a higher budget let me know and lets see what we can assemble. Good luck!

      • jeffry Valenzuela

        Hi Jeffry,
        I would suggest you get a GTX 660 Ti instead since it’s a better performer than the GTX 660. Trust me, I am using a GTX 660 right now. Unless your not the type of gamer that do not want to experience a bit of lag-ness and frames per second matters to you.
        I would also suggest you get a quad core Core i5 or i7 with the “K”, and a good Z77 motherboard.
        If you are running a Windows 32bit, a 4GB memory is enough, but if you are using a 64bit memory, it would be good to get 8GB of memory.
        Let me know if you have a particular brand preference so that I can help you further.
        Also please check the following articles:
        How much memory do I need?
        Best type of hard drive for gaming
        ———————————————-
        ———————————————-
        Graphic C : Gefroce GTX 660 (non-TI)
        Processor : i5 3570
        PSU : Raider 550Watts
        Cool case : Aerocool Templarius Telum
        MoBo : ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP
        RAM : Kingston Predator 8GB (4GBx2) DDR3 2400
        Quick Overview
        KHX24C11T2K2/8X
        8GB (4GB 512M x 64-Bit x 2 pcs.)
        DDR3-2400 CL11 240-Pin DIMM Kit
        HDD : Seagate Barracuda 1TB, ST31000524AS 32MB

        I will use 64 Bit
        I also want to buy GTX 660 Ti but it will cost me alot as my budget is only 30k.
        One more thing, I will use this RIG to play FPS game such as FC3 online BF3/4.
        Can you help to give me adjustment to i can come up not more than my budget. Thanks.

  • Chollo

    Hi jeff.

    Can you help me assemble a rig worth 30k. The lower the better.

    Main purpose is for casual gaming and school use.

    Thanks!

    • Hi Chollo the specs above pretty much describes what you are looking for. It’s based on 3rd generation Inter Ivy Bridge processor and you just need to add a graphics card that fits your need.
      Are you planning to build a Intel Haswell based computer? And what type of a gamer are you? Are you satisfied playing games at minimal settings / medium or maxed out settings?

      • Chollo

        Medium to max at most. Also i do not really need 1080p gaming. Im satisfied with a 720p screen. Any suggestions?

        • Hi Chollo,
          Do you prefer Intel or AMD? How much was your budget again? Below 30k right? for the cpu only, not including monitor, mouse and KB?
          I’m not referring to the screen resolution when it comes to gaming. There are graphics card that can’t run crysis 3 at max settings even if the resolution is 720p only. I was referring to the details and graphics quality of the game.

  • Chollo

    Between amd and intel, i do not really know. I guess which brand holds up in the long run? 30k including a decent screen.

    • AMD is the cheaper alternative. But I think an Intel setup will hold up much longer.
      By the way, are you from Ph? Some decent displays with nice price are not available here in Ph. But if you have access to US based online shops like Amazon or Newegg, or better yet you can go there, I could suggest some. But there are still some decent screens here in Ph. Except that our option is limited.
      I’ll try to check out things and see what specs can I come up with, with their respective prices.

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  • QuAck QuAcK

    Sir, can you please give me tips on building a gaming machine? My price range is is 30 to 40k.

  • Denis

    Great Specs !!!

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