This upgraded version of my $272 Black Friday gaming PC has a better motherboard, faster RAM, and double the amount of RAM and storage. Not shabby for an extra $40, and us being in the middle of the year. You don’t even need to live near a Micro Center to get this price, either—nor are you limited to this one budget build. A plethora of CPU deals and a handful of GPU deals are available for folks with larger pockets.
This article is going live in the final hours of all these sales, but you’ve still got a little time to shop. (Amazon’s sale and some of Newegg’s discounts end at 11:59 p.m. Pacific on Tuesday.)
Let’s dig in.
Update, 7/17/19: Looks like all of these prices are still live through the end of today (provided nothing sells out before then), so you still have a shot at this build! Most of the upgrade parts listed below (Ryzen 5 2600, etc.) are now out of stock or back to their normal street prices, though.
Our Amazon Prime Day build: A cheap PC with room to grow
Some people say that Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday aren’t a good time to shop for PC parts, but they couldn’t be more wrong. For 2019 in particular, the timing of Ryzen 3000’s launch has caused the prices of Ryzen 2000 series parts to plummet. When all is said and done, it adds up to some major savings across the board.
This motherboard lacks onboard Wi-Fi, so you’ll have to spend another $15-30 on a wireless adapter if you can’t use an ethernet connection.
This case isn’t the cheapest option possible, but since we want room to grow (and also, something not hideous), I went with this option. This Thermaltake Core G21 is also fits that bill, and even has a tempered glass window.
Price is based on buying a product key + insurance through Kinguin, a site that functions like an eBay for software. If you prefer to buy software from irreproachable sources, read our article on how to get Windows 10 cheaply for more options.
This build doesn’t factor in sales tax. Depending on where you live, you may have to pay up to an additional 10 percent for parts.
As always, these deals expire early if quantities run out.
Our build above is a remake of our Black Friday 2018 “Cheapest PC Possible” parts list, but with some key upgrades: a B450 motherboard, a 240GB SSD, and 16GB (!) of 3000MHz RAM. The B450 chipset will make any swaps to a beefier Ryzen CPU easier (especially if you ever decide to try moderate overclocking), while the 240GB SSD offers more breathing room for files and games.
Like the motherboard, 16GB of 3000MHz RAM also provides future-proofing, as that much memory should be adequate for a while. That amount serves as an ample pool of memory for the 2200G too, which relies on system RAM for both CPU and GPU tasks. (As an APU, the CPU and GPU are all housed in the same chip; there’s no dedicated video memory.) And the RAM speed is a step up from our Black Friday build’s 2400MHz, which should provide a small bump in gaming performance over that PC.
All in all, this PC makes the path to upgrading key components—namely, your CPU and any addition of a discrete GPU—quite easy. The PSU should accommodate a mid-tier graphics card (read: lower power consumption), while the case offers good air flow and should comfortably fit the addition of a discrete graphics card. Plus, it looks nice and requires the least amount of mail-in rebates out of all the cheap build challenges I’ve done.
Don’t forget to file your mail-in rebate for the power supply, or you’ll be paying extra for this build.
Got bigger pockets? Try a build with these parts instead
If you find this PC too modest, you can very easily upgrade it with other Prime Day deals. The simplest upgrade (and one I’d recommend for this specific build) is to grab a 2TB Seagate Barracuda Compute hard-disk drive for just $50. It’ll give you plenty of room for games and other big sets of files.
Alaina Yee is PCWorld's resident bargain hunter—when she's not covering PC building, computer components, mini-PCs, and more, she's scouring for the best tech deals. Previously her work has appeared in PC Gamer, IGN, Maximum PC, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can find her on Twitter at @morphingball.