400 Dollar Gaming PC Build

The Best Gaming PC Build Under $400 Dollars

Been wanting to build your own gaming PC, but worried that you'll have to shell out upwards of $600? Worry no more!

Building a solid gaming PC is cheaper than ever now - in fact, you can build an awesome gaming PC for $400. Yeah, that's less than the price of a new console - and you can actually manage 1080P and 60FPS with this PC!

building a gaming pc 1

If you're wondering how you can get started with your own $400 dollar gaming PC build, don't worry - I'll cover that (And much more) below, in detail.

First, I just want to provide a bit of introductory information for those of you who are brand new to PC building, and PC gaming in general. If you've already done prior research, feel free to skip ahead - I won't be offended, I promise!

This Build Is Perfect For Beginners

If you're completely new to PC gaming, you can jump right into this build with no prior knowledge and minimal investment up front.

But what will this build actually do for you? What kind of games can you run with it?

With this epic gaming PC build under $400 dollars, you can easily run older games (Such as Skyrim, Mount & Blade: Warband, Dishonored, etc.) on medium-high settings, and newer games on lower settings at a smooth 50-60FPS. For less than the price of a console, you really can't beat that!

Having said that, I want to stress the importance of understanding that this build will not carry you all the way through 2017, destroying all the games in your wake. Game performance requirements go up every generation, and a $400 rig just isn't future-proof enough to meet them consistently. That's why this is a beginner's build!

If you're a more experienced PC gamer looking to upgrade from an old PC, or simply a newbie looking for a more powerful starting point, you will probably benefit more from a $500 gaming PC build than this one - but the choice is yours.

Common Misconceptions About PC Gaming

How To Build A Budget Gaming PC Under $400 Dollars

If you're wondering how the heck you actually assemble the PC itself, I've got you covered there, too. All you need to get started is a good guide!

There's plenty of options out there to suit that purpose, but I'm going to save you some time and frustration by just giving you the guide I personally use and recommend to all new PC builders.

Before I do that, though, you're going to need some basic equipment - don't worry, it's both cheap and super common (You probably have it lying around your house already). In fact, if you plan on upgrading your PC down the line, you could consider this your own personal computer building kit!

Tools Of The Trade

How To Build A PC - Video Guide (Newegg)

This is the video guide I (And dozens of others) have used for years - the awesome guys over at Newegg have a super in-depth video series that goes over every single step in a lighthearted, easy-to-follow manner.

They take all potential stress and anxiety about building a PC and toss it out the window! Just a quick reminder - a lot of the earlier portions of the video go over choosing components, etc. That won't be important for you, as this very article has a full $400 gaming PC part list! Just scroll down and check it out.

How To Build A PC - Written Guide

If you're not much of a visual learner, or you just need a quick refresher, feel free to read my written guide on building a gaming PC using the link below. If you have any questions, just drop a comment below and I'll get back to you as soon as possible!

Learn How To Build A Gaming PC

Simply watch the video series above, or read the written guide while you assemble your system, and you're good to go!

Best Part List For A $400 Gaming PC

Okay, so you know HOW to build a gaming PC (Or, at the very least, you'll learn along the way), but that information is basically useless without the components to take advantage of it!

If you want a few more details on what each component is, and what it does, click the drop down below. Otherwise, simply check out the part list. If you can't afford all of the parts now, you can always buy them over time - that's what I do!

What Makes Up A Gaming PC?

ASRock H110M-HDS

Motherboard: ASRock M-ATX H110M-HDS

LG GH24NSC0B 24X

CD Drive: LG GH24NSC0B

Total Cost: $393-$415


Quick(Ish) Build Overview

If you want to get a basic look into my reasoning behind picking the specific components for this build that I did, here's a quick overview of some of the most important part picks - and my reasoning behind choosing them!

If you want a more detailed breakdown of every single component in the rig, check out the drop down box below for that.

Part-By-Part Breakdown

Let's get started!

So, the most important performance-affecting components in any rig are going to be your video card, your CPU, your memory, and your storage device. The storage device is a little less important than the other 3, but I'll explain why I mentioned it in just a moment.

First, the video card. Honestly, this was a no brainer - a freakin' GTX 1050 in a $400 gaming PC build?! That will give you insane gaming performance throughout 2017 - and possibly even beyond.

Of course, you won't be maxing out GTA V or Dishonored 2 with it, but it will absolutely hold its on at medium settings in many modern games. It will get weaker over time, of course, and you'll eventually want to upgrade it, but it's good enough for now.

Next, the CPU. All I really care about here is that the CPU is compatible with our motherboard, and it won't bottleneck our video card. CPUs otherwise have very little direct impact on gaming performance - they really just serve to let the GPU do its job better (Or the opposite, in the case of a bad CPU pick).

building a gaming pc 3

Being that it is compatible with the H110M-HDS, and it's powerful enough to handle the GTX 1050, we're in the clear!

Now for the memory. I went with a single 8GB stick of RAM from Corsair's Vengeance series, because it was the right size for the motherboard, and 8GB is basically the standard for entry level gaming PCs.a

Fortunately, DDR4, 2400Mhz RAM is the new norm for modern gaming PCs of ALL budgets! 8GB of DDR4 RAM costs the same as 8GB of DDR3 RAM a few years ago. There's definitely a notable difference in speed and multitasking efficiency between the two RAM types.

Finally, the storage device - in this case, the HDD. I briefly considered trying to work a low-capacity SSD into the mix, but decided against it. It would bump up our price too much, and we'd be sacrificing a LOT of storage space for it. 

1TB of 7200RPM HDD storage has been the standard for most gaming PC builds for years now - and I don't see that changing anytime soon. Not until more people opt for SSDs, thus leading to economies of scale and SSDs becoming cheaper.

Other Important Stuff

We're not quite done yet - but we're close.

Obviously, to even use your PC, you need a few extra components. These range from free to dirt cheap, so don't stress too much if you don't have them already (You probably do).

The most important extras you need are a mouse & keyboard, a solid monitor, a way to connect to the internet, and an operating system. All of these peripherals can be found in their most basic forms at your local Goodwill or PC hardware store for cheap. You can always upgrade later!

Having said that, I'll list my top recommendations below. I've also written several articles covering various peripherals for various price points. I'll link to a few of those below as well.

Operating System - Windows 10 64-bit

BrosTrend WNA016 AC600

WiFi Adapter - BrosTrend AC 600 WNA160

More Monitor Options (Pick your budget!): Under $300, Under $100

More Budget Mouse Options: ​Top 5 Budget Gaming Mice of 2017

The only hair in the soup is the operating system. Windwos 10 costs nearly $100 currently, which can be tough to stomach for new PC gamers. The major alternative is to simply start off by using Linux (Which is completely free) and get Windows 10 when you can afford it.

Sure, your game selection will be more limited, but you can play the basics until your budget allows for an upgrade. Read more about setting up Linux for free here.

Building a Gaming PC Vs. Buying a Pre Built

I've already stated my opinion on the topic of pre built gaming PCs in the past, but companies like CyberpowerPC have changed my mind - I used to think all pre built PC companies were utter crap, and were only out to get your money without offering enough value in return.

And, unfortunately, that's mostly been true until recently. CyberpowerPC makes pretty decent pre built rigs that closely match the performance you can achieve with a custom build.

However... That doesn't apply to the $400 budget range. There aren't any pre built gaming PCs out there that fit into our $400 budget - not even close. The best you can do is a $500 pre built like the GUA3120A, which is an awesome choice.

So, if you want to stretch your budget up to $500 and still want to go the pre built route, there's nothing wrong with that! Still check out my article on building a $500 gaming PC, though, because I list a few awesome pre built options at the bottom.

Building a Gaming PC 2

But, on the subject of actually comparing the two - first of all, I understand that building a gaming PC can be a daunting process. And really, there's no reason for me to try to convince you to build a rig when you can get a decent (Not quite as good, though) level of performance out of a pre built all the same.

However, I do want to list a couple facts, just so you're aware of them.

  • Pre built gaming PCs (Even CyberpowerPC) have warranties that prevent you from tweaking any of the components whatsoever. That means no adding additional memory, no upgrading video cards, and no swapping cases. Custom built PCs have per-part warranties, meaning you'll have no such issues.
  • You can always get better performance by building your own gaming PC - that's just a fact. This is because you're able to min-max every aspect of your budget, without worrying about a company's bottom line!
  • Building your own gaming PC is fun! Okay, this one's a bit subjective, but still.

All things considered, you'll simply get more bang for your buck if you build your own rig. But if you're okay with that, there's nothing wrong with grabbing a pre built rig instead. πŸ™‚ There's no denying the convenience of pre built machines!

Conclusion

To end things, I just want to congratulate you for making it this far! Whether you've chosen to build your own gaming PC, buy a prebuilt, or go some other route (Like buying a gaming laptop), you've officially joined the ranks of PC gamers all over the world!

That alone is worth celebrating.

This build is the absolute best gaming PC build under $400 that you can assemble right now, and if your parts are already on their way, I wish you the best of luck! Remember that I'm always available for questions - just drop a comment below any of my articles and I'll get back to you as soon as I possibly can.

Enjoy getting more immersed in your games than you've ever been before! I'll see you all next time.

Comments

  1. Thanks for writing this! Didn’t know you could build a gaming PC for such a low price now – Last time I looked into it, the price was at least $600! Very useful post for me, because now that the barrier to entry is lower, I might be able to get into PC gaming. I’m curious what the most important component for this rig is – I have a little extra cash and might be able to swap it out for something better, if it would have a significant impact on performance.

    1. Author

      Hey, Steve! Absolutely, PC gaming has gotten significantly cheaper over time. I’ll be honest – Prior to researching this build, I didn’t even know it was possible to build a decent gaming rig at this price point.

      As to what the most important component is, that’s tough to say. Obviously the CPU and GPU are both super important to performance, but I would honestly say upgrading to 8GB of memory over the 4GB mentioned in this article will have have an even bigger impact on your gaming experience. 4GB severely limits what you can do with your PC in terms of multitasking.

  2. Hi Cohen! I’ve been contemplating purchasing a pre-built gaming pc for my nephew who is turning into a gaming geek fast, but I’ve been put off by the price. I had no idea I could build one for this price. I have bookmarked your page and will go through your suggestions with him.

    As much time that goes into building a project like this comes down to the planning, but you’ve done that for me on this page. Think I’ll probably take your suggestion to opt for 8GB of memory, though – I do a lot of work on the computer, and I know how quickly RAM can get eaten up.

    Do you think a 500 watt power supply is sufficient or should I increase this?

    Thanks,

    Simon.

    1. Author

      Hi, Simon! Glad I caught you before you went for a pre built rig! Read my post on why you should NOT go pre built right here. Custom is the best and cheapest way to squeeze the maximum amount of power out of your build, as you can see with this build guiide.

      Glad I could help with the planning! In regards to the power supply, 500 watts is absolutely going to be enough. You could go for 600 if you want to upgrade any parts in the future, but for now 500W is perfectly adequate.

      Hope this helps, let me know if I can be of any more assistance.

Leave a Comment