An 144FPS Budget PC Build:
Introduction: The state of the market
If you’re looking to build your own gaming PC but are on a tight budget, these parts are probably your best bet. We’ll walk you through the parts that will get the best bang for your buck; you’ll be able to pull 144 frames per second in just about any game with this build (in 1080p, of course). If you want to some options, check out or take on the best cheap PC parts for alternative components for this rig.
144FPS is generally considered the golden standard nowadays; it’s a lot smoother than 60FPS and much cheaper than 240FPS. For this reason we believe that 144 frames per second is the threshold to aim for when building a budget PC.
In addition to our primary parts, we’ll also examine alternative parts for those looking to build an even cheaper rig (for example, lowering the storage capacity in order to save money). You can click on any component to view its current price, since these fluctuate from time to time.
Keep in mind that, while this is a budget build, component prices are currently out the roof (and they look to be staying that way for the foreseeable future). This is due to a combination of chip shortages, tariffs, and cryptocurrency miners’ high demand for GPUs.
When we say “budget rig,” then, this should be taken with a grain of salt. A true “budget rig” (a gaming PC less than $500) today would barely get 60FPS, such is the state of the market.
With all of that in mind, the build outlined below is as affordable as they come if you’re looking for 144FPS performance. Now without further ado, our parts list is as follows:
CPU: Intel Core i5-11400
Intel’s Core i5-11400 is without a doubt the best budget gaming CPU on the market at the moment. It’s more than capable of pushing 144FPS when paired with a decent GPU, and it comes with the added bonus of PCIe gen 4 support and integrated UHD 750 Graphics. PCIe 4.0 leaves the door open to upgrade to a faster gen 4 SSD or graphics card down the line.
Make sure to check the price of the integrated GPU-less i5-11400F as well before buying. It sometimes runs cheaper than the standard i5-11400, and is identical in terms of performance. As long as you have a discrete graphics card it makes no difference which one you buy.
Alternative: Intel Core i3-10100F
The Core i3-10100F is the best widely-available i3 chip for gaming. While it certainly doesn’t pack the same punch as the more expensive i5-11400, it can hold its own in a variety of titles. You can expect 144FPS in a good number of games, but for core-heavy ones like COD: Warzone you’ll have to settle for closer to 60 with most 4-core CPUs like the i3-10100F.
Graphics Card: GeForce GTX 1660 Super
Nvidia’s GTX 1660 Super is ideal for 1080p gaming. It’s a solid balance of price and performance, so you’ll still have some budget left to allocate to other components. In conjunction with the Core i5-11400 it should easily push framerates of over 144, even achieving 240FPS in several of the more graphically manageable titles.
The 1660 Super will perform nearly identically to the GTX 1660 Ti (they’re more or less the same card with a different suffix) so we recommend checking the prices on this card as well before pulling the trigger.
Alternative: GeForce GTX 1650 Super
The 1650 Super is another budget-friendly GPU with respectable performance for its price tag. If you opt for this graphics card your FPS will be a bit lower than with the 1660 Super, but on the upside it will cost less. Even so, the 1650 Super can push 144 frames per second with ease in most titles as long as you keep the graphical settings low.
RAM: OLOy 2x8GB 3200MHz C16
This memory kit comes with two 8GB sticks for a total of 16 gigs of memory. It’s DDR4 RAM, which means it is faster and consumes less power than its predecessors. Having 16GB of RAM will allow you to be able to switch between different windows and programs much quicker, without having to reload what you’re looking at.
OLOy RAM may not be name brand but it’s as good as any memory you’ll find and a good bit more affordable than most. This specific kit will clock to 3200MHz with XMP so you can maximize your i5-11400’s performance, and the memory’s low-latency to boot.
Alternative: Patriot Viper Steel 2x4GB 3200MHz C16
You could technically save a small bit of money by downgrading to 8 gigs of memory. We wouldn’t recommend this; the savings are slim, and the upside of having double the RAM is well worth the small bit of money. Still, if you’re truly in a money crunch this kit is extremely affordable and of excellent quality.
Storage: ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB NVMe SSD
XPG’s SX8200 Pro boasts the fastest speeds possible with PCIe gen 3 (3500 MB/s maximum read and 3000 MB/s maximum write), allowing lightning-fast boots and quick game loads. TLC NAND memory means the SX8200 Pro is highly durable and will last well into the future. Compared to its peers it’s a great bargain.
Alternative: Silicon Power A60 512GB
The Silicon Power A60’s 500GB model is one of the best budget NVMe drives you’ll find. It’s not quite as fast as the SX8200, but it still has respectable read/write speeds of 2200/1600 MB/s. The A60 represents a good compromise between speed and cost and is still a lot speedier than the majority of consumer drives. 512 gigs should be enough to store your OS and a game or two.
Alternative: Western Digital Blue 1TB
Western Digital’s 1TB represents some of the cheapest storage you’ll find. The downside of a hard drive is its slow speeds; you’ll experience much longer boot times with the WD Blue than with an SSD.
If you’re trying to save the maximum amount of money the WD Blue may be the way to go. Otherwise, we’d recommend one of the previous two options unless a slower-booting computer doesn’t bother you (or you keep yours on all the time).
Motherboard: Gigabyte B560M DS3H
This is an affordable motherboard that supports Intel 10th and 11th-gen CPUs. Regardless of whether you opt for the Core i5-11400 or i3-10100, you’ll be good to use this board.
The B560M DS3H is great because of its reasonable price, M.2 support, and PCIe gen 4 support. It’s nothing fancy but it gets the job done well.
Alternative: MSI B560M Pro WiFi
If you don’t have easy access to a wired Internet connection you’re probably best off choosing a board with built-in WiFi. MSI’s B560M Pro WiFi is currently one of the most affordable motherboards with wireless connectivity.
It shares all of the primary features of the B560M DS3H, so price should be the deciding factor between these two if you don’t need WiFi capabilities.
Power Supply: EVGA 550 B5 Fully Modular
EVGA’s 550 B5 is a standard 550-watt power supply. This should leave plenty of headroom for your CPU and GPU, allowing for spikes in power without overwhelming your PSU.
The 550 B5’s fully modular design means that you’ll only need to deal with the cables you use. Less extraneous cables means more space in your case, less cable management, and less stress.
In addition, EVGA is one of the most reputable power supply brands. If there’s one component in particular you should avoid buying off-brand, it’s your power supply. EVGA makes quality PSUs that are highly unlikely to catch fire, quit on you, or just generally malfunction.
We recommend checking the price on EVGA’s 550 GA and 550 G3, as these are slightly better gold-rated power supplies with the same full modularity and excellent quality. They’re frequently on sale and may be available at a price close to or even better than the B5, a potential bargain.
Alternative: EVGA 500 BA Non-Modular
EVGA’s non-modular counterpart to the BQ 500W is exactly what it sounds like. All of the power cords are built into the power supply, so you don’t get to pick and choose which cables you have in your PC. If you don’t mind messy cables or are a whiz at cable management you might want to save a little bit of money with this PSU. 500 watts is plenty of power for the 1660 Ti.
Case: Montech X2
Montech’s X2 is a well-designed case with good airflow and solid aesthetics at an affordable price. It comes complete with a PSU shroud, an RGB-lit rear exhaust fan, and plenty of slots through which you can route cables to keep their visibility to a minimum. It’s also equipped with a mesh front panel and two more front-facing RGB fans.
Monitor: Dell S2421HGF 24″ 1ms 144hz 1080p Monitor
If you’re going to run games in 144FPS you’ll need an 144hz monitor to capitalize on your fast framerate. While the name may be a bit of a mouthful, Dell’s 24-inch 144hz monitor delivers excellent performance and represents one of the cheapest 144hz monitors available presently.
In addition to a fast refresh rate, the S2421HGF boasts a 1ms response time, adjustable height, and adjustable tilt. These features all add up to a great gaming experience at a reasonable cost.
If you’re going to play at 144hz don’t forget to get a DisplayPort cable. Without one of these your monitor will be stuck at 60hz, effectively wasting any performance above that threshold.
We hope you found this build list useful. With these parts you should easily push past 144FPS in all but the toughest titles.
If you’ve decided you want to build a PC but don’t know where to start, we recommend reading through our PC-building beginner’s guide. It’s a comprehensive resource on the subject, covering everything from part selection to assembly, OS setup, booting, troubleshooting, and more.