The holiday period brings with it a few deals on computer components and the leisure to enjoy building a PC for those who like to assemble a rig manually. In this series, we are helping you do just that. After putting together our guides for a budget gaming PC for around $1,000 and a budget productivity machine for around $550, here are our recommendations for an ultra-budget machine for around $375.
We’ve put together a guide to help you choose the components for an ultra-budget PC that can be used for casual web browsing and light productivity – something that can replace your parents’ aging computer or serve to be a new year gift. It must be noted, however, that discounts change constantly, and components could run out of stock at any time. Additionally, the guide lists the components for the PC alone and does not include peripherals such as a keyboard, mouse, or monitor.
For this build, we’re going with Intel's current-gen components owing to the current availability – especially with AMD’s offerings being sold out in many e-commerce stores – and some deals around that help further reduce overall costs. Here are our recommendations:
Motherboard: MSI B460M-A PRO mATX
The MSI B460M-A PRO motherboard packs a decent selection of features and quality for its $75 price, including one M.2 slot for the addition of an NVMe M.2 SSD, decent I/O, 2.5G LAN, and more. Though the board features just two DIMM slots, it is adequate for the use case and any further upgrades.
What’s more? The LGA 1200 socket will be compatible with 11th-gen Rocket Lake-S chips, meaning any plans to slightly beef up the build sometime in the future will not require a change in the board.
You can find the MSI B460M-A PRO mATX motherboard on Amazon here for $74.99.
Processor: Intel Core i3-10100
Most of the 10th-gen offerings from Intel feature hyperthreading, including in the i3 lineup, making it a potent chip for casual web browsing, entertainment consumption, and even light productivity – especially at a budget. The quad-core, eight-thread CPU comes with a 65W TDP, boost clocks of up to 4.3Ghz, and Intel UHD Graphics 630 for integrated graphics capabilities. This current-gen offering is easier to find online in comparison to AMD’s current-gen budget processors.
You can find the 10th-gen Comet Lake Intel Core i3-10100 on Amazon here for $114.25.
Memory: Crucial RAM 8GB Kit (2x4GB) DDR4 2666MHz
Modern OSes like Windows 10 work best with a minimum of 8GB of RAM and are especially handy when running multiple browser tabs that easily gobble up resources. The two 4GB sticks allow for the benefits of dual-channel memory and slightly better overall performance.
You can find the Crucial RAM 8GB Kit (2x4GB) DDR4 2666MHz on Amazon here for $36.99.
Storage: Western Digital 500GB WD Blue SN550 NVMe M.2 SSD
With the price difference between SATA and NVMe M.2 SSDs down to a few dollars, the latter is the best choice for any PC builds. The WD Blue SN550 NVMe M.2 SSD offers impressive read and write speeds of up to 2,600 MBps, making it a much better pick.
You can find the Western Digital 500GB WD Blue SN550 NVMe M.2 SSD on Amazon here for $50.99.
Alternatively, if you wish to further cut down the costs by opting for a more affordable, traditional HDD, you can check out the 1TB WD Blue hard disk on Amazon here for $39.99.
Power Supply: Corsair CV450 (450W)
The Corsair CV450 can provide more than enough juice for the internals in our PC build and future proofs the rig for any additions down the line. The 80+ Bronze certification also makes it a quality offering and it also comes with black sleeves around the wiring for better aesthetics.
You can find the Corsair CV450 power supply on Amazon here for $49.99.
Alternatively, if you wish to keep the compact mATX build clean and want to avoid cluttering the PC case with unwanted wires, you can opt for the Corsair CX450M semi-modular offering on Amazon here for $69.99. While undoubtedly more expensive than the CV450, this option could prove to be aesthetically better for our PC case pick.
PC Cabinet: Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L Micro-ATX Tower
While a simplistic, barebones build might not require a flashy PC case, the Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L offers a good quality option in a compact form-factor which also happens to look pleasing. The cabinet offers adequate airflow for our basic system, magnetic dust covers, an acrylic side panel, modular I/O panel, and mounting points for more fans if required. The cabinet can also house our ATX power supply without any problems.
You can find the Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L Micro-ATX Tower on Amazon here for $44.99.
And that should do it for the components needed to build a basic, ultra-budget PC for around $375.
Total cost: $372.20
Lastly, though this is not included in the recommendation list for the $375 ultra-budget PC, those looking for a budget monitor for casual use can consider BenQ’s 24-inch 1080p IPS monitor that is being discounted to $119.99 on Amazon. For that price, the monitor offers a design with slim bezels on three sides, dual in-built speakers, HDMI and DisplayPort connectivity options, automatic brightness adjustment, nifty cable management, and more.
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