There comes a certain point in setting budget for a computer where you realize just how much room you’re giving yourself to truly let loose. It’s true, a high-end PC will cost more than a console, but that cost doesn’t come alone. It brings its friends: power, value, longevity, and so on. A good, powerful gaming pc will start setting you back a premium in the $1,000 range and up, but when you build it well it’ll play games the console market couldn’t dream of at ranges of pure graphical prowess and resolution untold. And it’ll do it for years to come, unburdened by an alternating release cycle, delays between console updates, or a more limited schedule for actual games you want to play. It’s true, it’s not for everybody. But you’re here for a reason; let’s make sure you get your money’s worth.
As before, I’ll lay out all of the individual parts in the PC below, so feel free to skip ahead if you’re ready for the list. But, for anyone new, I’m also making a small summary of the core seven components every basic computer needs right here at the top. Cover it if you want a handle on the parts before going in.
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Processor – The central brain of all Gaming PC's. The Central Processor is like air traffic control keeping everything working in the right order. It is measured in gigahertz as a unit of speed, across multiple cores of power.
Graphics Card – Has similar functions to the CPU but is solely used for showing the visuals on your monitor. In a gamer’s setup, this will usually be the most expensive part–and for good reason with it being so vital to a good gaming experience.
Memory – Sticks of temporary storage the gamning computer uses to work nimble. Data is stored here in the RAM sticks while moving around your Processor. Think of these like ‘pockets’ in your pants; they can’t hold as much as a backpack, but you also don’t need to carry a huge backpack around everywhere you go just to carry some loose change.
The Motherboard – This is where all of the previous components will exist, where they need to attach to actually become a working computer. It’s also where everything attaches; housing this and everything on it is why we need a case to protect it.
Storage Suite – This will be work as a hard drive, with more or less storage space and slower or faster spin-up times, to move things there. If you’re willing to drop more money, you can get a SSD, which doesn’t spin and while it does work a lot faster, that does come at an extreme cost increase per terabyte of space.
Power Supply – In my opinion, the most important part of the entire build. The PSU is simply what moves power to all the components inside your build, and without it there is no PC. Cheap pre-built gaming pcs sometimes can't afford to use these units; I would seriously recommend that your build has one, cheap power supply unit's can cause loading issues, shutdowns and in extreme cases it can combust your PC into flames.
The Case – If your PC was a turtle then this would be it's shell Typically the last component you choose when building a PC and sometimes the hardest to choose it really makes or breaks the beauty of your Gaming PC.
With that out of the way, let’s begin.
1) AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
Though Intel core still offers more expensive chips for straightforward gaming, it’s hard to stack up against AMD’s more versatile offerings. While the prices fluctuate between specific items or tiers, one thing you’ll notice is that Intel Core series CPUs tend to excel a bit more at pure gaming, while AMD’s Ryzen chips are built with better threading and superior multi-core performance, making them better at utility apps such as editing software, or general multi-tasking. In the last couple of generations, the gap has closed somewhat; the gaming performance hit with the new Ryzen 5s will be barely noticeable, a few FPS here and there at worst, but it’s worth it for the price point comparison, and the overall system improvements. It is the best in its price point.
The 5600X is a six core CPU running at a stock 4.6GHz, with built-in overclocking and an overall strong, efficient performance. It runs at 95 watts, a bit less than similar Intel CPUs, but the temps get a bit hotter; it comes with its own cooler, which works fine, but if you plan on stressing the card or running it in turbo mode, you may want to upgrade the cooler down the road.
2) ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 Super
I’m a fan of ZOTAC Gaming GeForce graphics cards, and you wouldn’t be wrong. I tried them out in some of my builds, and I haven’t looked back since; it’s true, from time to time there’s deals or sales, or specific graphics card from competitors that’ll make me dip and try them out. In fact, pretty much all of the main manufacturers are worth your time and money. But ZOTAC stands out for several reasons; they have excellent prices, extremely strong and reliable graphics card, and a great warranty system. ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 Super is an excellent deal in the 6GB upgrade version, having literally double the video memory for use and a suite of enhanced upgrades from the old standard version. A GTX, that will get the job done easily and fit a strong Gaming PC into a tight budget.
Another option is to downgrade here, to pick something even cheaper for the time, saving up for a big graphics card. It’s not optimal if you’re just ready to go right now, but a cheap investment to start with means you can wait for prices to go down, or you can wait for a big sale closer to the holiday season and get a card on the cheap.
3) GIGABYTE B450 AORUS M
With the B450 AOURUS M, we get an amazing performance across the board at roughly a solid 100$ price point, which isn’t bad overall. I’ve also extolled on how solid it is for our purposes, running at a relatively low voltage and with such easy overclocking. But, it does come at a different cost–that of a technological upgrade. Since you will be adding the 5600X being one the newest chips, the B450 requires you to ensure your BIOS is up to date, especially when installing Ryzen 5000 series CPUs.
4) Crucial BX500 1TB
At this budget, we’re finally going to be able to get some serious speed in our gaming pc build. The addition of an SSD (Or Solid-State-Drive) is going to dramatically decrease our boot-up times and loading times for certain applications and games. The only drawback of SSD’s is their low capacity and high price. Don’t worry though, we’ve found the right balance between the two. However, we’re going to quickly talk about some more traditional storage first.
Because of the limited size of more affordable SSD’s, we’re going to need an auxiliary hard drive. (Also known as an HDD or “Spinning Disk” Hard Drive.) These “spinning disk” drives have the advantage of being a tried-and-true technology, and their age means savings for us. Hard drive prices continue to fall, and I can’t think of a better example for this phenomenon than the Crucial BX500 1TB.
This deal just keeps getting better and better. With a 2.5” form factor, it’s a compact hard drive for a compact price.
Now onto the fun part, the SSD. Due to their high price-per-gig, high-capacity SSDs some might believe not to be a good idea for any gaming pc build at this range. But with current change in times and availability of more quality branded ones in the market, I am going to use a smaller, more affordable, 1TB SATA III SSD from Crucial.
The Crucial BX500 1TB is an affordable package at around 100 bucks, but don’t let its affordability fool you. This SSD is packing sequential read and write speeds of 540MB/s and 500MB/s, respectively, which places it firmly in the competition among rival manufacturers like Corsair.
Adding this SSD is going to take our OS boot times from minutes to seconds, just remember if possible to set up your documents, pictures, movies, and music folders, so they are routed to your secondary drive.
5) TEAMGROUP T-Force Delta
TEAMGROUP T-Force Series is relatively cheap for 3600MHz, with a solid performance, good timings, and of course, a smooth and attractive look. I also chose this memory for its low voltage load(1.35V), helping to mitigate the heat produced by the Ryzen CPU and allowing for us to make even more use of said Ryzen’s lower wattage, to save on a strong PSU. The memory doesn’t tout it, either, but the T-Force are also relatively low profile for memory sticks, allowing us to fit everything on a wide array of motherboards and, more importantly for this build, allowing you to swap in a larger third-party CPU cooler if you wish, with no size or fit problems. They also are, beautiful and aesthetically pleasing with the DDR4 full-color lighting effects. This will definitely be an eye popper in your Phanteks case.
As always, I’ve picked two 8GB capacity sticks to fit into the build. This is the level of PC where it starts being beneficial to cram in 16GB of RAM, or more, but this is also a cost-effective build first and foremost, and RAM happens to be not only extensively cheap to buy later on–at least, in comparison to the hefty cost of the other major components–it’s also one of the easiest upgrades you’ll ever add on to any PC, requiring simply opening the case up and sticking it into the right slot. As such, picking a second one up later is recommended.
6) EVGA BQ 80+ Bronze 500W Semi Modular
Of course, another EVGA pick. No one’s surprised. With the overall wattage from the assembled parts and the 5600x overall TDP, we’re able to slip this amazing PSU, at the benefit of saving a bit of money and upgrading to an 80+ Bronze certification at the same time, once again helping system efficiency and letting you keep heat levels down. As before, this power supply is semi-modular, allowing you to use or take away cables as needed and making future expansion easy. Also included is EVGA’s three-year warranty for power supplies, so worst case scenario you get it taken care of.
Aside from standard temperature testing and EVGA’s rigorous testing standards, all six of the standard PSU safety models are included. While half of these are extremely niche and only useful in outside cases, having over-power protection and overdraw protection helps, and it’s nice having the whole suite. Overall, a solid buy.
One of my favourite recent discoveries, the NZXT H510 - Compact ATX Mid-Tower PC Gaming Case is a gorgeous case first and foremost; it comes in black and white for varying styles, with the tempered glass options. Designed for gaming from the ground up. it has great clearance, great design, room for all your parts and components, and enough for cable management. It provides easy access and has excellent open design that does a good job protecting your PC components while maximising air intake. Keeping the case maintained and dust-free is a dream, and the inside does its best to keep your setup cool with proper airflow and two Aer F120mm fans pre-installed with PSU intakes and removable filters. There’s no case I’d recommend higher.
I don’t know how I did it, but I managed to get a pretty solid build out there and exactly meet my maximum amount of money spent. I also ended up producing a pretty slick-looking final product, one that really shows off how much you spent–especially when you sink time into playing the prettiest and newest games on it.
For my mileage, I’m more graphically-obsessed than the average man or woman gamer. I spent a long part of my life being behind on gaming tech, with no PC able to run modern games (or sometimes even old games) and I make up for it with power overwhelming. In the end, we make tactical trade-offs, leaving anyone with a potent modern PC for kids who want to game good and do other stuff good, too. And it’s hard to beat that.
Guide Written By Devon Boyette