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The 5 Best Gaming PCs Under $300 for 2023

Gaming on a budget used to mean lag, low frame rates, and graphical glitches galore. But modern advancements in integrated graphics and components pricing mean you can now assemble a capable 1080p gaming rig for under $300.

Will this play the latest AAA titles on Ultra settings? Of course not. However, with some compromises on effects and resolutions, a sub-$300 machine can deliver decent performance on many popular games old and new.

In this guide, we’ll showcase 5 of the best pre-built gaming PCs available for under $300. We’ll look at what they can and can’t do, show some upgrade paths, and provide tips for getting the most from your budget gaming build.

What to Realistically Expect from a $300 Gaming PC

Let’s level-set expectations upfront. A $300 gaming PC will play modern titles, but you’ll need to lower resolutions and graphics settings significantly.

For less demanding eSports titles like DOTA 2, League of Legends, or Counterstrike, you can achieve 60+ FPS gameplay at 1080p with some adjustments. More graphically intensive games will require dropping down to 900p or 720p to maintain 30-60 FPS.

Some very new releases may be unplayable until you upgrade components. This is because background processes and OS functions require a portion of your limited resources too.

  • Target resolution will be 1080p, perhaps lowering to 900p or 720p in demanding titles
  • Expect to play on medium or low graphic preset options
  • eSports titles can achieve 60+ FPS
  • Newer AAA games may not be playable until upgrades
  • Will not support VR, ray tracing, or bleeding-edge visuals

As long as your expectations align with a $300 budget, this can still enable exciting PC gaming and access to vast libraries of older titles.

Most Important Components for a $300 Gaming PC

While every part plays a role, three components have the largest impact on gaming performance per dollar at this budget. Let’s take a quick look at what to prioritize:

CPU – AMD Over Intel

AMD chips currently provide better multi-core performance per dollar. Look for at least a Ryzen 3 or Athlon quad-core CPU which enable extra headroom outside gaming.

GPU – Dedicated is Ideal

Integrated GPUs can’t compete with even entry-level dedicated graphics cards for gaming. If possible, aim for systems with at least a GTX 1050 or RX 560.

RAM – 8GB Minimum

With only 4GB your system will constantly bottleneck on available memory. 8GB is viable for medium gaming, with 16GB advantageous for future expansion.

Storage, power supplies, and cases matter of course. But focus first on the best CPU, GPU, and RAM configuration possible within a $300 budget. Now let’s look at five pre-built systems worthy of consideration for 1080p gaming on a budget.

1. Acer Aspire TC-1660 – Best Overall

Acer Aspire TC-1660

CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 4300GE Quad-Core 3.5 GHz
GPU: AMD Radeon Graphics
Storage: 256GB SSD
Full Specs

With an AMD Ryzen 3 processor, 8GB RAM, and a speedy 256GB SSD, the Aspire TC-1660 hits the right balance of performance for an exceptional budget gaming PC.

While it lacks a dedicated graphics card, the Ryzen chip’s integrated Radeon Vega graphics outshine Intel’s offerings. The result is playable frame rates of 30+ FPS on many popular titles at 720p resolution.

This well-rounded base provides room to grow into a more capable 1080p gaming rig by adding a standalone GPU down the road. For maximizing out-of-the-box performance under $300, it’s hard to beat the Aspire TC-1660.


  • Quad-core AMD Ryzen CPU
  • 8GB RAM ideal for medium gaming
  • 256GB SSD
  • Integrated Vega graphics surpass Intel
  • Leaves budget for a dedicated GPU upgrade


  • GPU upgrade required for best 1080p performance
  • Limited future upgradability due to space constraints

Check Price on Amazon

2. Dell Optiplex 9020 SFF – Best Upgradeability

Dell Optiplex 9020 SFF

CPU: Intel Core i5-4570
GPU: Intel HD 4600
Storage: 500GB HDD
Full Specs

The Optiplex 9020 shows its office heritage on the outside but hides some compelling gaming credentials within. While the chassis limits future expansion, it packs an Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, and a 500GB hard drive into a compact case.

The HD 4600 integrated graphics underperform the Ryzen APU above. However, the Optiplex supports up to a GTX 1050 Ti GPU, enabling smooth 1080p gaming down the road.

As a bonus this business refurb comes with a licensed Windows 10 Pro install. Factor in excellent Dell chassis build-quality and the Optiplex 9020 is a stealthy budget gaming pick ripe for upgrades.


  • High-quality reliable Dell chassis
  • Windows 10 Pro license included
  • Capable Intel Core i5 CPU
  • Supports GTX 1050 Ti graphics card upgrade
  • Extremely small footprint


  • Less future expandability than a full tower
  • No SSD; 500GB HDD only
  • Integrated graphics lackluster for gaming

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3. Monstargears X5 – Best Dedicated GPU

Monstargears X5

CPU: AMD A6-9500e Dual-Core 3.4 Ghz
GPU: AMD Radeon RX 550 2GB
Storage: 120GB SSD
Full Specs

The highlight on this capable budget rig is its dedicated RX 550 graphics card with 2GB VRAM – a rare find at this price. Combined with a modest AMD A6 dual-core CPU, 8GB DDR4 RAM, and a 120GB SSD, the X5 manages 30-60 FPS on eSports and some AAA titles at 900p resolution.

This is the only PC on our list ready for gaming right out of the box. While the dual-core processor limits performance ceilings, the GPU focus makes the X5 a great pick for prioritizing graphical capability over future expansion at $300.


  • AMD Radeon RX 550 2GB GPU
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 120GB SATA SSD
  • 900p gaming up to 60 FPS out of box


  • Less capable dual-core processor
  • Limited upgrade path
  • Hit-or-miss build quality

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4. Lenovo ThinkCentre M92p – Best Size

Dell Optiplex 9020 SFF

CPU: Intel i5-3470 3.6GHz Quad
GPU: Intel HD 2500
Storage: 500GB HDD
Full Specs

As another small form factor PC, the Lenovo ThinkCentre also saves space without sacrificing performance. The Ivy Bridge-era i5 CPU holds up reasonably well for light 1080p gaming, especially when paired with 8GB RAM.

A low-profile 1050 Ti card can slot right into the case for a graphics boost down the line. Compared to the Dell above, we prefer the ThinkCentre’s blend of size, power, and upgrade options to gradually build out your budget rig over time.


  • Compact and desktop friendly
  • Capable quad-core i5 CPU
  • HD 2500 is slightly better than HD 4600
  • Supports low-profile GPU upgrade


  • Very outdated design aesthetic
  • No SSD
  • Limited RAM capacity

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5. Asus ExpertCenter D500SC – Best Budget

Asus ExpertCenter D500SC

CPU: Intel Celeron G4900 3.1GHz
GPU: Intel UHD 610
Storage: 500GB HDD
Full Specs

If you’re on an extreme budget, the Asus D500SC still enables playable gaming by squeezing capable components to their limit. The dual-core Celeron CPU leaves no room for multitasking but keeps up with older graphics engines just fine.

4GB RAM limits your gaming selection but allows solid frame rates on lighter titles. Storage is slow at just 500GB on a hard drive. However, with a little tweaking this Asus still runs Overwatch, DOTA 2, and emulators at close to 60 FPS and 900p.


  • Penetrating pricing
  • Excellent Vista-era gaming performance
  • Tiny footprint won’t crowd your desk


  • 4GB RAM severely limits modern gaming
  • No GPU or SSD stock
  • Poor upgradability due to Dell proprietary parts

Check Price on Amazon

Making the Most Out of Your $300 Budget Gaming PC

To recap, while each rig has strengths and weaknesses your ideal balance of parts at this budget consists of:

  • Quad-core AMD Ryzen CPU or capable Intel Core i5
  • At least 8GB but ideally 16GB RAM
  • Optional dedicated GPU (GTX 1050/RX560 range ideal)
  • SSD boot drive strongly preferred over HDD

No matter which system you select, there are further steps you can take to enhance performance:

  • Lower in-game resolution from 1080p to 900p or 720p
  • Choose low-medium graphics settings
  • Disable unnecessary background apps
  • Add additional case fans for cooling overhead
  • Increase RAM capacity to 16GB
  • Upgrade GPU once budget allows

The Bottom Line – Accessible 1080p PC Gaming

PC gaming has a reputation for requiring an investment of a thousand dollars or more. But as this breakdown illustrates, enjoyable and surprisingly capable 1080p gaming rigs can now be assembled for way under $300.

By setting realistic expectations for graphics and performance, these entry-level configurations allow access to the wonderful world of PC gaming that many assume is financially out of reach.

Will you play on Ultra? No. Will you still have endless fun? Absolutely.

So if you’re eager to jump into DOTA, Minecraft, Terraria, older AAA franchises, indie hits, or living room emulators, any of these machines will kickstart your PC gaming hobby on a working class budget.