List of components
|Processor||AMD Athlon 3000G||CHECK PRICE|
|Motherboard||MSI B450M Pro-VDH Max||CHECK PRICE|
|Graphic card||iGPU integrated into the CPU|
|Memory||HyperX Fury Black (2×8 Go @ 2666 Mhz)||CHECK PRICE|
|SSD||PNY 120 GB SSD (SATA)||CHECK PRICE|
|HDD||HDD WD Blue 500 GB||CHECK PRICE|
|Cooling||Deep Cool Gamaxx 400 V2||CHECK PRICE|
|Power supply||Corsair VS350||CHECK PRICE|
|Case||Corsair 110R||CHECK PRICE|
With a budget of 350 USD, no need to expect a war machine on the performance side. Without a dedicated graphics card, this configuration will clearly struggle to keep pace with current 1080p titles.
However, the graphics chip integrated into the Athlon 3000G remains a perfect surprise. It allows tons of independent games to run without the slightest problem and more recent titles if we limit ourselves to a resolution of 720p and relatively low graphics settings.
The 3000G also has the advantage of being “unlocked,” that is to say that you can easily overclock its CPU part but also its iGPU Vega 3. In a few clicks, we obtain a real gain in terms of performance.
As you can see in our presentation video, the results are quite impressive for this small CPU available at around 50 $. Some examples :
- Fortnite (720p – Low): ~ 68 FPS
- CS: GO (1080p – Low): ~ 100 FPS
- The Witcher 3 (720p – Low): ~ 30 FPS
- GTA V (1080p – Low): ~ 50 FPS
- League of Legends (1080p – High): ~ 150 FPS
- The Wolf Among Us / The Messengers / Hotline Miami (1080p): 60 FPS
Processor AMD Athlon 3000G
With the Athlon 3000G, AMD offers us an APU perfectly tailored for an entry-level PC. Unlike a traditional CPU, the 3000G comes directly with an integrated graphics chip, here with a Vega 3 model.
If the latter is obviously not as powerful as a real dedicated graphics card, we saw a little above that it could do more than correctly on many games.
The 3000G features a 2-core, 4-thread design with a base frequency of 3.5 GHz on the specification side. With the chip being unlocked, we can even push it up to 4 GHz via a small overclocking, even if we advise in this case to switch to cooling a bit more substantial than the cooler supplied in the box.
The Vega 3 chip can also be boosted, going from 1100 MHz to nearly 1600 MHz without too much difficulty. What to take advantage of a real gain in terms of in-game performance.
Important: As the Athlon 3000G is sold out in all French stores, we suggest you buy it on the Aliexpress site, in its version without a fan.
Motherboard – MSI B450M Pro-VDH Max
To accompany our Athlon 3000G, we decided to go on an MSI B450M Pro-VDH MAX motherboard. With a very affordable price of around 70 $, it is more than sufficient for this type of configuration and offers us the possibility of OC the processor.
In mATX format, Gigabyte’s card is rather compact but has everything needed for an entry-level configuration. We find in particular 4 DDR4 Slots that can climb up to 3200 Mhz, 4 SATA ports, or an M.2 port (be careful; NVMe models do not work with 3000G).
There are also 2 PCIe 16x ports to eventually install a real graphics card and a 1x port for a Wi-Fi card, for example.
By opting here for a motherboard with a B450 chipset rather than A320, the configuration of the day is also much easier to upgrade. We will eventually be able to install Ryzen 3000 or 5000 processors there without any difficulty.
Another advantage, thanks to the B450 chipset, it is possible to overclock our Athlon 3000G to benefit from a real gain in-game performance.
RAM – HyperX Fury Black (2 × 4 Go @ 2666 Mhz)
With a budget limited to 350 USD and unless you come across an excellent promotion, you will have to limit yourself here to a total of 8 GB of DDR4 RAM with a kit of 2 x 4 GB of HyperX Fury Black at 2666 Mhz.
As memory prices are constantly changing, we advise you to regularly look at the latest offers available on Amazon, both for the 2 x 4 GB and 2 x 8 GB kits.
You can find 16 GB kits below the 65 $ mark with a little patience, a good idea if you then want to upgrade this configuration to something a little more substantial.
SSD – PNY 120 GB SSD
Despite its minimal budget, we chose to install a small SSD in SATA format for this PC Gamer configuration at less than 350$.
This PNY model of only 120 GB will mainly be used to install our operating system (Windows 10 in most cases), a few applications, and the game you play most often.
Thanks to its much higher speeds than a traditional HDD, you will benefit from a more responsive PC and a much faster start-up. For less than 20 $, you might as well not deprive yourself of it!
Hard Drive – HDD WD Blue 500 GB
In parallel with our small SSD, we add here a traditional hard drive for the storage of its games and its various media.
Adjust to suit your own needs, of course, but a 500GB 7200rpm WD Blue is a good base for enjoying your favorite games in our opinion. Available below $ 30, it is one of the most affordable in the sector.
Cooling-DeepCool Gamaxx 400 V2
Our Athlon 3000G processor is not sold with its original cooler in the version offered on Aliexpress, it will be necessary here to add some to our configuration to cool it.
In order to limit prices, we opt for a fairly affordable model with the Deep Cool Gamaxx 400 V2, offered at around 20$. It will be more than sufficient to cover the low cooling needs of our CPU and will allow us to overclock it without difficulty.
With its 4 copper heat pipes and its 120 mm RGB fan, you can also use it if you want to upgrade your configuration to a Ryzen processor.
Power supply – Corsair VS350
As for the power supply, there is no 80 PLUS Gold certified model for this small configuration for less than $ 300, but a simple Corsair VS350.
Positioned at the entry-level with a price of around 40 $, it is only certified 80 PLUS White and therefore does not offer the best possible performance. However, it will do perfectly for this small configuration and our limited budget.
If you have a slightly larger budget and you have the idea of quickly changing your configuration with more demanding components, do not hesitate to opt now for a better power supply.
For example, you can opt for a 550W 80 Plus Gold certified model, so that you can see the future more calmly.
Case – Corsair 110R
For the box, no follies with our maximum budget of 350$. We start here on a Corsair 110R, with a fairly simple design but still effective.
This model in the Medium-Tower format has the advantage of having a complete power supply cover, a side panel in tempered glass, or even 5 slots for its fans. It is compatible with ATX, mATX, and ITX format motherboards and comes by default with a single 120mm fan mounted on the back.
That’s enough to cool our little setup, but feel free to buy a little extra fan kit if you want to upgrade your PC afterward.
If the Corsair 110R is not necessarily to your taste in terms of looks, you have many other possibilities around 50$, including models with a slightly more gaming style.
This configuration at less than 350$ is clearly oriented entry-level, but it is still possible to easily upgrade it to a much more powerful and versatile machine. Here are some ideas.
Invest in a bigger SSD
If you choose to integrate a 120 GB SSD in this PC Gamer configuration at 350$, we recommend that you opt for a slightly larger model if you have a larger budget.
There are now 1TB models below the 90$ mark, allowing you to easily store your OS, your programs, and all your games.
Please note that NVMe compatible models do not work with the Athlon 3000G processor. It will be necessary to limit oneself to SATA SSDs (M.2 or 2.5-inch format).
Add a dedicated graphics card.
If the graphics chip of the small Athlon 3000G is not doing too badly, it very quickly shows its limits on games that are a little more greedy.
However, by adding even a small graphics card with a price between 100 and 180$, we can go to a much higher level and enjoy all current games in 1080p.
Among the models we recommend, we can list the RX 570 if you find it less than 130$, or the more powerful GTX 1650 Super.