A few years ago, building a new custom modern PC with a $350 budget would have been extremely difficult. You’d mostly be left with something like a dual-core CPU you couldn’t overclock, a weak integrated graphics card, a mechanical hard drive, and usually not more than 4GB of RAM. That’s all changed today, especially since the release of the Ryzen 3 3200G. With this CPU you can now build a cheap PC the is actually decent in terms of performance and gaming.
The Ryzen 3200G is a great budget APU that costs very little yet offers respectable performance. It has Radeon Vega 8 graphics integrated with the 4 core CPU all on one chip. This means that you can game at 1080 low to median setting depending on the game without a dedicated GPU.
When paired with a decent dedicated budget GPU such as the RX 570 below, this build becomes a very good budget gaming machine for gaming at 1080p on median to ultra settings.
Whether you need a complete build, or something that’s going to be used as a starting point, below we have a Ryzen 3200G build that totals at around $350 without the dedicated GPU and around $500 with, and still manages to give you very respectable performance.
$350 Ryzen 3 3200G Build
|Ryzen 3 3200G|
|GIGABYTE B450M DS3H|
|XFX Radeon RX570 RS XXX Edition|
|Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB (2x4GB, 2666Mhz)|
|Kingston A400 240GB|
|EVGA 500 W1|
|AeroCool Cylon RGB|
- decent for low settings 1080p gaming without a dedicated GPU
- Very good for 1080p gaming with the GPU
- Good as a dedicated streaming PC
- Customizable and great upgrade path
Even though the Ryzen 3 3200G is the most budget-friendly CPU that AMD released recently, it’s still one that gives you the performance you’d expect from something a lot more expensive. It comes with four cores and four threads, and it includes an AMD Vega 8 graphics chip with 8 GPU cores. The clock speeds are pretty good too, with the base clock coming in at 3.6 GHz, and a maximum boost clock of 4 GHz. There is also 4MB of L3 cache.
The 3200G is made on AMD’s 12nm FinFET process and uses the AM4 socket, just like every Ryzen CPU that’s released so far. With a TDP of 65W, the included Wraith Stealth cooler is more than sufficient to keep it cool. You have support for dual-channel DDR4 memory at 2933 MHz, which is fairly nice. It’s overall a great way to game on a budget, and you will indeed get a lot more than you’d expect from it.
Since we still don’t have a new generation of budget motherboards for the Ryzen 3000 series CPUs, only the X570 chipset ones are released, we’ll be using a previous-gen option – the Gigabyte B450M DS3H. With an AM4 socket, it supports all three generations of Ryzen processors, making it ideal for our Ryzen 3200G build.
It’s still a great motherboard, with 4 DIMM slots that support dual-channel memory, as well as a Gen3 PCIe slot for an M.2 SSD. The audio section of it is also pretty decent, with Audio Noise Guard and high quality capacitors. The inclusion of a Realtek Gigabit LAN chip is something you don’t see very often, but unfortunately there’s no Wi-Fi. You get support for Gigabyte’s RGB Fusion software, which can control RGB LED strips in 7 colors, but there isn’t any RGB LEDs on the board itself. It’s an excellent budget motherboard that doesn’t cut corners where it shouldn’t.
Getting an older graphics card is a great way to keep the budget at bay. The RX570 is still a very respectable choice, and will easily give you decent framerates, provided you don’t play AAA titles at the highest settings. For competitive titles, you should be more than covered. It’s got 8GB of GDDR5 memory running at 1286 MHz, as well as a host of ports at the back – 3 Display Port outputs, HDMI and DVI.
This XFX variant also comes with a dual BIOS, where one of the two is optimized for mining. However, it’s set to the gaming BIOS by default, so you shouldn’t need to touch anything to get the best gaming performance. There’s also the Radeon CHILL technology that saves power and lowers the GPUs temperature when you don’t push it too hard.
Even though RAM prices were very high some time ago, they’ve dropped down recently, so you can still get a fast memory kit at a great price. In this build, we’d recommend the Corsair Vengeance LPX kit, which comes with two 4GB sticks running at 2666 MHz. Considering that the motherboard of choice comes with four DIMM slots, this leaves you with two vacant slots for an upgrade down the road, and you’ll still be running dual-channel from the get go.
The memory is designed with a low profile aluminum heatspreader, which does look nice but doesn’t have any fancy RGB lights. However, it’s still a great memory kit that performs really well, and has been tried and tested for both performance and durability – perfect for a budget build.
The motherboard does have an M.2 slot, but M.2 SSDs are still pricier than a SATA3 variant, so in this build we’d recommend going for Kingston’s A400 SSD, in a 240GB capacity. That should fit your operating system, as well as a game or two, and keep them running fast.
Since it uses a SATA interface, you can expect read speeds of up to 500 MB/s and write speeds of up to 450 MB/s. This is still significantly faster than a mechanical hard drive, and is something you’ll certainly notice in day to day use. You can upgrade things to a larger drive in the future, but to get you started, this should be quite sufficient.
None of the components of the build are too power hungry, so a 500W power supply will more than do the job. EVGA’s W1 series is one of the best budget PSUs on the market today, with an 80+ White certification as well as all the necessary protections such as OVP, UVP, OCP, OPP and SCP.
The only thing that could’ve been better is the fact that it isn’t modular. However, it does include all the cables you’ll need, and it’s fairly compact, so cable management shouldn’t be an issue when you’re building the system.
You’d be surprised at how good budget cases today are, and the AeroCool Cylon RGB is one of the best ones we could find. It has a full acrylic side window, as well as an LED strip at the front with RGB lights. There’s support for up to 240mm liquid cooling radiator at the front, as well as graphics cards of up to 371mm in length.
On the inside, there’s ample room for airflow, and quite a few cooling slots that you can populate with 120mm fans (or 140mm at the front). There are no fans included, though, which is an additional expense. There’s also quite a lot of room for cable management as well, and you won’t have any issues getting the back panel back on once you’re done. A great way to showcase your build, and still stay within budget.
Operating System: Windows 10 USB Installer
For your operating system, we would recommend going with Windows 10 in our Ryzen 3200G build. It’s not the cheapest OS out there, but it’s the only one that has continuous support and updates, and maximum compatibility with all the components we’re using for the build.
As an OS, it’s very reliable, simple and easy to use, and incredibly secure. If you do splurge on the Pro version, you’re also getting additional features such as Client Hyper-V and extra security, but that’s not completely necessary. If you’d like to save a bit, on the other hand, you can opt for the Home version which doesn’t miss out on any of the crucial features.
Wi-Fi adapter: TECHKEY USB 3.0 Wi-Fi Adapter
Considering that the motherboard we’re using in our Ryzen 3200G build doesn’t have a Wi-Fi chip, you’ll want to get an adapter for it. There’s a host of USB Wi-Fi adapters, but if you want to get good performance, you should get something that can guarantee at least 1200 Mbps speeds, and preferably an adapter with an external antenna or two. Since it’s going to be at the back of your case, it won’t get in the way aesthetically, but you’ll appreciate the performance those antennas give you.
At the end of the day, our Ryzen 3200G build is a great performer. It manages to be an excellent option for day-to-day use, and it’s pretty decent for gaming as well. You’re getting quite a lot of bang for your buck, and chances are you can’t get a better performing build within the same budget.