eSports games have become more and more popular among both fans and gamers. As a result, many people start dreaming of building eSports careers—many gamers have pretty solid plans to achieve that goal. What does every gamer need to play eSports disciplines on the appropriate level, and to be able to challenge top LoL (League of Legends), DotA2 (Defense of the Ancients 2), CSGO (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) or Overwatch professionals?
The answer—at least for starters—is a gaming PC which is powerful enough to run eSports games with high framerates—measured in frames per second, or FPS—and no lags. When watching pro players, you might notice that they use expensive hardware components and gear to dominate opponents. What if you don’t have several thousand dollars to spend on a PC, but still want to have high FPS in eSports games? Is it possible?
Note: the budget count covers only the PC itself. We didn’t include monitor and peripherals into the price as you probably have them already. If you don’t – add at least $100 more to get a suitable 1080p, 60Hz monitor, and an entry level mouse, keyboard and headset. Article prices are relevant for December 8, 2019 and taken from pcpartpicker.com.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600
The heart of our affordable eSports gaming PC is the Ryzen 5 3600 CPU from AMD. Currently, it is the best price/performance proposition available on the market. You won’t find a more suitable and effective option for under 200 dollars.
If you’ve been around a while, you may have heard that AMD processors aren’t that good in single-core performance, which matters for gaming purposes. They weren’t until the Zen2 microarchitecture appeared. At this time, AMD can offer equal or even better performance per core compared to Intel. Check this test video to see what I mean.
Please note that the competitor’s 9600K CPU costs 10 to 30 dollars more, offers two times less threads (6 vs 12), and requires an expensive Z370 or Z390 motherboard able to overclock it. The R5 3600 I picked doesn’t need top-notch expensive boards to realize its overclocking potential. To be honest, Zen2 CPUs aren’t always worth tweaking. Ryzen 5 3600 is good to use “as is”.
Motherboard: Gigabyte B450M DS3H
I didn’t have to think about the choice of motherboard too much. As we build a budget gaming PC, there is no room to go for expensive details. At the same time, I wanted to provide our build with at least some slight upgrade potential. That is why I chose a Gigabyte B450M DS3H board. It costs only $73, but has a basic VRM radiator, and the M.2 slot to add the NVMe storage later.
One of the most attractive features is that this board has 4 RAM slots. This means, you can easily expand your memory size whenever you need that and have additional money to invest into your system. As a result, you get a solid middle-class motherboard with an upgrade potential for under 80 dollars. That’s a wise choice.
RAM: GeIL EVO POTENZA 2×8 GB DDR4-3200
Ryzen processors need high-frequency RAM modules to deliver great gaming performance. It is also good for AMD CPUs to have dual-channel memory mode activated. Keeping these two factors in mind will give you more framerate stability with less freezes and FPS drops during your eSports gaming sessions.
So, I just picked the cheapest 3200 MHz kit of two 8-gigabyte RAM modules – GeIL EVO POTENZA. If you can find something cheaper with equal parameters available in your region, don’t hesitate to save some funds. There is no real difference between modules from various vendors. The frequency is the point.
We can’t imagine a modern eSports gaming PC without an SSD drive to speed up access and functionality. Solid state drives increase the usability of your system in terms of software, as apps interact with their physical memory faster. So, it is better to install your OS there.
Of course, we also included the standard time-tested HDD to use it for storing files
SSD: PNY CS900 240 GB
The budget eSports gaming PC requires the budget SSD. The chosen PNY CS900 offers you 240 GB of fast physical memory for less than 30 dollars. We could go for 120 GB version, but that wouldn’t be large enough to store and play your eSports games from the SSD. 240 gigabytes are just fine to fit the OS, your most necessary software (Discord, Steam, Battle.net, etc.), and your chosen eSports game like Overwatch, CSGO, League of Legends or DotA 2. We recommend installing them on an SSD drive to exclude even the slightest probability of performance drop.
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 7200 RPM
It is the cheapest 1TB old school hard disk drive for you to use for file storage. The extra terabyte of space can be used to store interesting single player games, films, music, photos, etc. The Western Digital device costs you just $40. If you don’t need additional storage, just save 40 bucks or use the money to invest in a better SSD, CPU, PSU or GPU, for instance.
GPU: XFX Radeon RX 580 8 GB GTS Black Core Edition
No gaming PC can make it without a video card. Usually, this part is the most expensive one in the entire system. Fortunately, the current market situation lets gamers buy a relatively cheap GPU without losing much of their gaming experience.
For the current price, the XFX Radeon RX 580 8 GB GPU doesn’t have any competitor in terms of value. Yes, it is not the coldest and the quietest card, but we’re on a budget. When the amount of money is limited, there is no option to think about the system cooling or noise too much. What we care about is performance. And you can check the abilities of this CPU+GPU tandem in 20 modern games here.
I’m sure you’ll be pleased.
Case: Thermaltake Versa H17
It’s actually just a black box to assemble your hardware with a button to let you power on the PC. There are cheaper options, but this Thermaltake Versa H17 case has at least a slight airflow configuration along with a normal exterior design. On the other hand, there are cheap materials, no RGB lighting, no side window, no anything. But you don’t need that to follow your dream of becoming an eSports professional. So, the case is a good place to save some funds.
PSU: EVGA BR 500 W 80+ Bronze
Yes, the PSU could be cheaper. But I don’t recommend trying to save money on this crucial part—even when you are on a budget. Actually, this EVGA BR 500W power supply unit is the “solid minimum” for a gaming system. 500 watts are enough for your relatively hot CPU & new GPU, and the 80+ Bronze certificate with a bunch of necessary protection options guarantee you stability and durability.
Summary Price List
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 5 3600||$190|
|MOBO||Gigabyte B450M DS3H||$73|
|RAM||GeIL EVO POTENZA 2×8 GB DDR4-3200||$53|
|SSD||PNY CS900 240 GB||$27|
|HDD||Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 7200 RPM||$40|
|GPU||XFX Radeon RX 580 8 GB GTS Black Core Edition||$160|
|Case||Thermaltake Versa H17||$30|
|PSU||EVGA BR 500W 80+ Bronze||$44|
|Total||Affordable Esports Gaming PC||$617|
As you can see, it is quite possible to build an affordable eSports gaming PC in late 2019 for nearly $600. The system above is enough to run most of modern popular competitive games with more than comfortable framerates. Don’t hesitate to invest some money into your PC, especially if you want to become a professional eSports player one day.