Building a Gaming Computer on a College Student Budget

February 18, 2022

The best gaming computer setups require some significant financial investment. This can be tough on those who don’t have huge incomes. One particular group that often finds themselves in this position is college students, who typically have very limited budgets — where does this leave the gaming enthusiasts among them?

At Xidax, we’re here to help. We offer a variety of gaming laptops, desktops, and various workstation products to our clients, with numerous customizable features and upgrades you can consider. We’ve helped many college students build or upgrade their gaming computers without breaking the bank, and we’ll offer our expertise to you in several areas. Here are some tips on the different computer components you’ll need to source, plus how you can do so affordably and without sacrificing quality.


The first element to consider is your CPU, which will be important for both gaming needs and standard college class and studying solutions. If you’re playing video games, gaming computers need to have a high-end CPU.

Ordering more than one CPU is not recommended for college students, as it will likely result in an unnecessary increase in price. You’ll also want to keep the specs and requirements of all of the games you play in mind — some are more demanding than others when it comes to the CPU.

If you’re using your gaming computer for standard class and studying solutions, a powerful multi-core processor will be beneficial when multitasking or running intensive programs such as Adobe Photoshop. The most important factor is whether the CPU is compatible with your motherboard — if you’re unsure about this, make sure to check before placing an order.

GPU (Graphics Card)

Next up is your GPU, or graphics card, which is another essential piece for gamers. If you’re building or upgrading a gaming PC, your GPU should be one of the first elements to consider, as it will also determine which other components are compatible with your computer — it’s also one of the most expensive individual pieces, so starting here is good.

Once again, determining the ideal part here tends to come down to the sorts of games you play most often. If you’ll be playing the latest and upcoming titles, a mid-range or high-end GPU will be required. If your computer is mainly for standard class and studying solutions, however, an affordable gaming PC build should suffice — don’t forget to factor in the power of any updated cards you want to add in the future.


One of the best areas to look for savings in when building a gaming computer on a budget is with the motherboard. While certain unique gamers require a high-end motherboard for specific games or needs, most standard college gaming builds will work perfectly with a mid-range product.

Many of the motherboards we offer are compatible across different CPU and GPU brands, which is another reason to start here when building your ideal gaming computer. If you want to make an upgrade in the future. A compatible motherboard ensures compatibility with your other parts while saving money on unnecessary purchases.

RAM (Memory)

Most students will utilize a gaming computer in the classroom, so it’s important to consider how much RAM you need. For gamers, you should purchase an amount of memory that is slightly higher than your typical game requires — this ensures good performance on larger or more complex games.

Schooling and studying purposes require less, so you can opt for a lower amount and save here. 8GB is a good amount for gamers that also offers some savings, whereas 4GB is the best option if you’re looking to cut costs with studying and school work.

Hard Drive (Storage)

An HD or SSD hard drive will be required for gaming purposes. Games are usually large and require large amounts of storage. With schoolwork, it’s best to get an HDD rather than SSD in order to cut down on costs, as you’ll likely be storing a small number of files and not require as much speed for fast load times.

However, SSDs are ideal for storing your OS, games, and other large files for gaming needs. While they are more expensive than HDDs, the speed boost makes them worthwhile in many situations. If you’re on a tight budget, there are some modern SSD options that may still be within your range.

PSU (Power Supply Unit)

You also have several options for your power supply, and saving money is possible here if you’re trying to keep your costs down. We recommend using a PSU that is at least 600W, as it can be used for most gamer builds without an issue.

If you’re looking to cut some more costs, however, there are even 400W and 500W power supply options for gamers on a budget. Be sure to check that your case and other components will support this before purchase.


The last major component is the chassis, or computer case, which should house all of the other parts you’ve selected — don’t forget to check that your motherboard and case are compatible with each other, as some models only work together! A mid-range tower will suffice for gaming purposes; just make sure it has room for the rest of your parts.

As with many computer components, there are a lot of choices when looking to purchase a gaming case — however, saving money is possible here as well if you’re on a budget. Many gamers will opt for higher-end models in order to push their hardware to its limits, but this isn’t necessary in many cases. Saving here means you’ll be better able to upgrade your graphics card or other key components when needed.

For more on how to build a great gaming computer on a college student’s budget, or to learn about any of our gaming computers, workstations, or other products, speak to the pros at Xidax.

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