5 Ways to Build an Inexpensive Gaming PC for Under $ 100
Gaming PCs are incredibly expensive. You could spend over $ 500 for even the most basic setups, and over four times that amount on something near the high end. The current price of graphics cards (GPUs) thanks to cryptocurrency mining has not made the situation easier.
In short, the game is expensive.
So, is it really possible to find a gaming computer under $ 100? Well, yes it is. If you know where to look, you can get a PC that is good enough to play popular titles like Fortnite or Black Ops 4 at reasonable video settings.
Keep the reason to find the five ways to get a cheap gaming PC for under $ 100.
What kind of games do you want to play?
With a good quality gaming PC, you can play virtually any game available. The same is not true for a low budget machine. Budgeting under $ 100 won’t get you a PC that plays the latest AAA titles. The only way it works is to use a full gaming PC and then a cheap secondary device for home streaming, and that’s kind of a cheat.
But as noted above, games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and many more can be played on hardware that you can buy for less (or maybe a little more) $ 100.
1. Buy cheap computer parts on eBay
Your first option is to sniff out a bunch of bargains for your gaming PC. You will be building an entire PC from scratch and will need to find:
Video card (also known as a graphics card or GPU)
CPU and case cooling fans
It can be done for less than $ 100, as demonstrated by this Redditor. Most of the parts in this example (which were priced at $ 103, admittedly) were purchased on eBay, but there are plenty of other places online where you can find cheap computer parts.
You will notice in the linked price list that the biggest expense was spent on the graphics card. This is a situation that is not going to improve. Cryptocurrency mining relies on graphics cards, which is causing GPU prices to skyrocket. This impacted lower specs, older cards as well. Therefore, you may need to spend more time on your bargain hunt or skimp on storage.
2. Try Retro Gaming on a Raspberry Pi 4
If you prefer retro gaming, the Raspberry Pi 4 is an inexpensive small single board computer (SBC) that’s perfect for the task.
While the best model for this is the 8GB Raspberry Pi 4, your $ 100 budget won’t stretch it. But it will manage a Raspberry Pi 4 with 4 GB. The computer also has a 64-bit Broadcom BCM2711 SoC with a quad-core Cortex-A72 running at 1.5 GHz. Measuring the size of a credit card, the Pi 4 has two micro-HDMI ports, one Ethernet port, an 802.11ac wireless network, Bluetooth 5.0 BLE, two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 and operates from a USB type C power supply.
A Raspberry Pi 4 with 4 GB of RAM (a 2 GB model is also available) will leave you with enough additional storage (a used hard drive or SSD can be connected) or a case with efficient cooling.
Building a retro gaming PC is just the start for this computer. You could even turn it into an arcade game machine!
3. The cheapest PC ever: an old work PC
What if someone just gave you an old PC? A key example: your employer buys new PCs and doesn’t want to spend money on downgrading old ones. Instead, your employer gives the old computers to employees to take home and use.
What you potentially would have is a device ready to upgrade. Your PC budget of $ 100 could then be spent on the key items you need to play. It could be additional RAM or a faster processor, but it will likely be the graphics card. If it’s a cheap gaming computer you’re building, it makes more sense to spend more on the GPU.
It doesn’t have to come from work either. Maybe a parent has a PC to get rid of, or even your school or college.
4. Install Linux on a PlayStation 4
Another option for a cheap gaming PC under $ 100 is a PlayStation 4. These currently sell on eBay for under $ 100 without games, but you won’t need them.
The PS4 can run Linux. So you can install Steam and access Linux compatible games that you have already purchased. In fact, a PlayStation 4 running Linux could potentially be more powerful than any other inexpensive gaming PC on this list.
However, hacking a PS4 to install Linux is not easy. But if your console is firmware 7.55 or lower, you’ve basically got a $ 100 gaming PC out of the box.
5. Consider Cloud Gaming instead
While not PC games, cloud streaming games aren’t strictly console games either.
Many PC games can be played in the cloud and streamed to your TV. Sometimes this is done through an existing PC, but other cloud gaming services allow you to play through Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, or a Chromecast. All of this will cost less (or a little more) $ 100 over the course of the year.
Services you should consider:
- Vortex: compatible with Android TV, $ 9.99 per month
- Xbox Game Pass: Ultimate plan only, $ 1 for the first month, $ 14.99 thereafter, works on Android TV
- Google Stadia: Only $ 9.99 per month, but you’ll have to pay for the controller and Chromecast, which will set you back around $ 80
- GeForce now: This is Nvidia’s cloud gaming platform, compatible with Android TV, as well as Chromebook, and costs $ 9.99 per month – however, there is also a free version with gaming sessions from one o’clock
Remember, cloud gaming can be an affordable alternative to PC gaming, but it does require a fast internet connection. You will need at least 30 Mbps for smooth and reliable HD graphics, which could increase your budget even further.
Five Ways to Build a Gaming-Ready PC Under $ 100
Incredibly, there are five ways to enjoy PC gaming for under $ 100. Four of these methods involve computer parts, building, and / or installing an operating system, while the fifth is a bit of a cheat, but stays within the budget.
You can enjoy cheap PC games under $ 100 with the following methods:
Buy cheap computer parts from eBay and other sites
Use a Raspberry Pi 4 for retro gaming
Be lucky and receive an old PC that you can upgrade
Install Linux on a Sony PlayStation 4
Subscribe to a cloud gaming service
Whichever method you choose, have fun playing!
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