The Best Budget Gaming PC for 2021: Get 144FPS without paying an arm and a leg (just a leg)

The Best Budget Gaming PC for 2021: Get 144FPS without paying an arm and a leg (just a leg)

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).

144FPS is generally considered the golden standard nowadays; it’s a lot smoother than 60FPS and a lot 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 (you can read more about that here).

When we say “budget rig,” then, you have to take that with a grain of salt. A true “budget rig” today would barely get 30FPS, 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 plenty capable of pushing 144FPS, and comes with the added bonus of PCIe gen 4 support. This 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 11400, and is identical in performance. As long as you have a discrete graphics card, it makes no difference which one you buy.

Alternative: Intel Core i3-10100

The Core i3-10100 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 be better off with an i5 or better.

Graphics Card: MSI Radeon RX 570

The RX 570 is an powerful graphics card considering its price point. It outperforms some Nvidia graphics cards that are twice its price. Combined with an 11400, it should easily push framerates of over 144, even achieving 240FPS in a good deal of more manageable titles.

Alternative: EVGA GeForce GTX 1650 Super

The 1650 Super is another budget-friendly GPU with respectable performance for its price tag. If you’re a fan of Nvidia GPUs you may want to opt for the 1650 Super over the RX 570. Like the 570, it too can push 144 frames per second with ease in most titles.

RAM: OLOy 2x8GB 3000MHz C16

This RAM comes in 2 sticks of 8GB each. It is 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.

Alternative: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x4GB 3200MHz C16

You could technically save a tiny 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.

Storage: Sabrent Rocket Q 1TB

Sabrent’s Rocket Q NVMe drives are very affordable, and they’re fast as well. They’re rated for read/write speeds of 3200/2000 MB/s respectively, which translates to faster boot and write times. For comparison, a standard SATA SSD will max out at about a sixth of those values.

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 Rocket Q, but 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.

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 computer doesn’t bother you (or you keep yours on all the time).

Motherboard: Asus Prime B560M-A

This is an affordable motherboard that supports Intel 10th and 11th-gen CPUs. Regardless of whether you opt for the i5-11400 or i3-10100, you’ll be good to use this board.

The Asus Prime B560M-A 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: ASRock B560M-HDV

On any given day, ASRock’s micro-ATX B560 board may be cheaper than its Asus counterpart. If you find this to be the case, we recommend buying the B560M-HDV.

It shares all of the primary features of the B560M-A, so price will be the deciding factor between these two.

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.

Alternative: EVGA 500W 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. Frankly, at the time of writing this one’s priced nearly the same as the 550 B5, so we’d recommend going fully modular unless the market changes.

Case: Fractal Design Focus G

Fractal Design’s Focus G cases are well-made, spacious, come pre-installed with two case fans, and are pleasing to the eye. The Focus G doesn’t have a blocked-off power supply bay like more expensive cases often do, but it’s a great case if you’re on a budget.

Monitor: Dell S2421HGF 24″ 1ms 144hz 1080p Monitor

If you’re going to run games in 144FPS you’re going to 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.

Conclusion:

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, check out 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.

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