Tech

How to build a killer 1080p gaming PC for just $700

Gaming-PC für 600 EuroImage: IDG

Current game consoles such as the PlayStation 5 or the Xbox Series X cost anywhere from $400 to $500. Console enthusiasts claim you can’t build a decent gaming PC for that money, but that’s simply not true and we put it to the test.

In this article, we present the components that offer the best price-performance ratio for smooth Full HD gaming with at least 60 frames-per-second at native resolution (without FSR). We assembled the PC and carried out performance tests with demanding games such as Cyberpunk 2077. The results may genuinely surprise you. We also offer alternative parts if you’re looking to spend more or less. Hardware prices fluctuate from day to day, so the minimum purchase prices mentioned here may change. Let’s take a look at the individual components in detail.

Looking to pick up a monitor for your custom PC build? Check out PCWorld’s roundup of the best monitors available right now.

Graphics: Gigabyte Radeon RX 6600 Eagle

GIGABYTE

At the time of this writing, Gigabyte’s Radeon RX 6600 Eagle is available for $189.99 at Amazon. The massive heat sink with three heat pipes is fed cool air via three 80mm axial fans. That’s a good thing because the graphics card draws 132 watts (TGP) from the power supply. The FP32 computing power is just under nine teraflops. This means that it delivers smooth frame rates for 1080p gaming at the Medium or High graphics preset.

Of course, you’ll have to make compromises in this price range. Ray tracing should remain deactivated and the 8GB of video memory can cause stutters in one or two games. In addition, 6600 graphics cards are only connected via eight PCIe 4.0 channels due to their design, which can lead to performance losses with a PCIe 3.0 slot. M

Alternative: The XFX Speedster SWFT 210 Radeon RX 6650 XT Core Gaming ($239.99) gives you 20 percent more gaming performance. If your budget allows it, we recommend this upgrade. In this case, we also strongly recommend picking up the Seasonic G12 GC 550W power supply alternative.

Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 5600

AMD

The 6-core AMD Ryzen 5 5600 processor, which is currently $137.23 at Amazon, runs with a base and turbo clock of a high 3.5 and 4.4 GHz. It also has 24 PCIe 4.0 lanes so that, with the right choice of mainboard, the Gigabyte graphics card can be controlled at full PCIe 4.0 speed. The power dissipation of the processor is an economical 65 watts. The DDR4 controller built into the CPU controls two memory channels in parallel (dual channel) and achieves a memory bandwidth of up to 51.2 GB/s. The maximum memory capacity is 128GB.

Alternative: If you don’t want to put too much strain on CPU, you can get the AMD Ryzen 5 5500 for $98.15 at Amazon. It also has six cores and 12 threads, but a slightly reduced turbo clock of 4.2 GHz.

CPU cooler: AMD Wraith Stealth

AMD

Whether you purchase the AMD Ryzen 5 5600 or the AMD Ryzen 5 5500, if you buy the boxed version of the processors, the AMD Wraith Stealth CPU cooler is included free of charge. The Stealth model cools the Ryzen 5 reliably unless you want to overclock the CPU.

Alternative: With the Thermalright Assassin X 120 Refined SE ARGB ($18.90 at Amazon), not only do you get a CPU cooler suitable for overclocking in your computer, but also an ARGB fan for an extra charge. To control the LEDs, you need either a mainboard with an RGB header or an ARGB controller, which costs extra. Optionally, the Thermalright Assassin X 120 is also available without RGB lighting.

Mainboard: Gigabyte B550M K

GIGABYTE

The Gigabyte B550M K motherboard, which is on sale for $84.99 at Amazon, is one of the cheapest boards with AMD’s B550 chipset. Motherboards with a B450 chipset would be even cheaper, but here you can only operate the graphics card at PCIe 3.0 speed, so you would potentially slow down the 6600 graphics card (with only eight lanes).

The Micro-ATX board from Gigabyte provides one PCIe 4.0 x16, one PCI 3.0 x1, two PCIe 3.0 x1, one M.2 PCIe 4.0 (x4), one M.2 PCIe 3.0 (x2) and four DDR4 DIMM (maximum 4733 MHz) expansion slots. The I/O offers one HDMI 2.1 and one DisplayPort 1.4 for the Ryzen 5000G CPU series with integrated graphics core, four USB-A 3.0 (5Gb/s), four USB-A 2.0 (480Mb/s), one GBit-LAN, 3x jack, and one PS/2 combo. There’s also the integrated Realtek ALC887 7.1 sound chip. It’s meagre, but you’ll have to pay more for more features.

Alternative: For you’re willing to spend a little extra, you can get the MSI B550-A Pro with more connections, better power supply (12 virtual phases), heat sinks on the chipset and voltage regulators, diagnostics LED, integrated interface panel, and ARGB headers.

Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX, DDR4-3600, CL18, Kit 16GB

Corsair

A Corsair Vengeance LPX kit with 2×8 gigabytes is used as RAM, making a total of 16GB. The DDR4 modules work with an effective memory clock of 3600 MHz. The single-rank modules run with CL18-22-22 access times.

Solid State Drive: Kingston NV2 1TB

Kingston

We focused on the lowest possible price for the SSD. The prerequisite was a size of 1TB+ and a fast PCI Express connection. The choice then fell on the Kingston NV2 1TB with PCI Express 4.0 connection. Even though the Kingston SSD’s data rates of up to 3500 MB/s for sequential reads and 1700 MB/s for writes are far below the capabilities of other PCIe 4.0 SSDs, it’s still fast enough for 1080p gaming and offers a good price to performance ratio.

Alternative: The MSI Spatium M450 1TB offers a slightly higher write speed for $68.90.

Power Supply: be quiet! System Power 10 450W

be quiet!

We’re reluctant to compromise on the power supply, but our budget forces us to do so. That’s why it’s only enough for the “80 Plus Bronze” certified be quiet ! System Power 10 450W with a fixed cable harnesses. For $116.67, you can get a branded power supply with a five year warranty that delivers enough power for our configuration.

Alternative: If you want to upgrade to a more powerful graphics card, we recommend a 550-watt power supply with higher efficiency such as the Seasonic G12 GC 550W with “80 Plus Gold” certification.

Case: AeroCool Hive FRGB

AeroCool

You get a lot of great features with the AeroCool Hive FRGB mid tower case. For just $73.06, you’re getting magnetic dust filters, better cable management, a power supply cover, a mesh front for good ventilation, a pre-installed FRGB fan, and a glass viewing window. Just be aware that it usually ships within two to three weeks, according to Amazon.

Configuration at a glance

Gigabyte Radeon RX 6600 Eagle, $189.99AMD Ryzen 5 5600, $137.23Gigabyte B550M K, $84.99Corsair Vengeance LPX, $49.99Kingston NV2 1TB, $60.80be quiet! System Power 10 450W, $116.67AeroCool Hive FRGB, $73.06 (ships within two to three weeks)

Total: $712.73

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Michael “Michi” Schmelzle ist seit 1997 für die PC-WELT tätig und verantwortet das Hardware- und Testressort sowie als Mitglied von Team Hölle Projekte wie die Höllenmaschine. Seine Leidenschaft gilt allen Hardware-Themen – insbesondere wenn es ums PC-Gaming geht. #pcmr

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