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The Current Best Gaming PC Builds: February 2021 Update (& FPS Averages)

Recommended Components to Maximize Bang for Buck When Building a PC


Recommended PC components for gamers this 2020/2021 holiday seasonBackground: Hitman 3, which recently released to wide praise, is a fantastic new stealth title with stunning visuals


Always Updated, Beginner-Friendly PC Build Templates

Pinpointing the Current Top Value PC Parts on the Market to Strategically Stretch Gaming Performance, Component Reliability, Airflow & Aesthetics



Last Updated: February 5, 2021

Welcome to our flagship guide, the best gaming PC builds for the money, a long running continually updated series where we break down the current hardware market to help you plan the absolute best gaming PC build for your exact wants and needs. With every update to this comprehensive build guide, we do the painstakingly meticulous market research to carefully plan and publish what we believe to be the current best value PC parts that money can buy right now.

Whether you're a PC gamer, streamer, VR enthusiast, and/or other power user, building your own PC by choosing each component one by one is the best way to stretch your money further to end up with the fastest performing, longest lasting, best looking system for less money than buying a prebuilt PCBut while actually physically building your PC is relatively straightforward and simply a matter of a little patience and following instructions carefully, choosing the right list of compatible parts can be quite confusing, especially if you are building your first PC and/or you don't continually keep up with the latest happenings in tech.

The PC hardware market is a vast sea of endless choice and near-limitless configuration possibilities, with new models seemingly releasing every 5 seconds. Furthermore, not all parts are equal in terms of value, with certain components - and more specifically certain combinations of components - making for a smarter purchase if you want top quality and reliability. Finding these sweet spots in the market takes research, but can be well worth it for both your gaming/work experience and your wallet. 

New to Hardware? Intro to Building a PC

So if you want the opinion of someone who has many years experience with carefully analyzing the industry for work and play - and having now built dozens and dozens of custom PCs for others (and counting) - I hope this guide helps on your parts hunt. Each and every component that makes up the best gaming PC builds for this month below has been carefully selected for a reason, and hand-picked based on many factors including their price to performance ratio, reliability, longevity, brand quality, and last but not least, matching color themes and aesthetics for a slick gaming setup.

For each build I've also researched what kind of ballpark FPS (Frames Per Second) you will get for a bunch of popular games including fresh releases like AC Valhalla, Flight Simulator 2020, and Cyberpunk 2077. Throughout this guide you'll also learn a ton of invaluable beginner tips and tricks to help make your first gaming computer setup that little bit easier and more rewarding. If after reading you get stuck then feel free to ask for help in the comments at the end. General feedback on what you think of the builds is also always welcome and appreciated. Anyway, let's cut straight into the component chase.

See Also: How to Build a PC (Assembly)






The Q1 2021 Builds (All Recommendations)

Please keep these things in mind when using our builds in your research:

  • Any prices mentioned below are in USD (US Dollars).
  • Total build costs are only estimates as hardware prices change often.
  • For simplicity, total build costs are for the core PC components only (that make up the tower). Remember to factor in the cost of Windows 10 (explained later) and accessories (monitor, keyboard, mouse, headphones, speakers, router, etc).
  • BGC is reader supported. Links to products below may be affiliates links where we earn a small commission on any purchases made. This does not cost you anything extra and also doesn't affect our recommendations in any way which are 100% independently chosen. Learn more.


Swipe Left to Scroll:


Top Value Part Combinations for Gaming, Airflow, Longevity, Aesthetics (& Specs Cheatsheet)

BUDGET CPU COOLER MOTHERBOARD RAM GRAPHICS STORAGE POWER CASE
~ $400 Gaming PC Build


Baby Yoda

AMD Ryzen 3 3200G (if < $110)

- 4 Cores, 4 Threads

- APU (Has Integrated Graphics)

AMD Wraith Stealth

- Stock Standard Cooler

- Comes Included With the 3200G

ASRock B450M Pro4 (if < $80)

OR

ASRock B450M Steel Legend (if < $95)

- Micro ATX

- Best Cheap B450 Boards

- Fine for Future CPU Upgrade (eg R5 3600)

- All Specs: ASRock, ASRock

- B550 Not Compatible With 3200G

TeamGroup T-FORCE Vulcan Z 16GB (if < $70)

OR

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (if < $75)

OR

G.Skill Ripjaws V 16GB (if < $75)

- 3200MHz CL16, 2x8GB (Dual Channel)

- These LPX Great if < $85 (Superior Samsung B-Die Model)

- Dark Za 3200MHz Also Good if < $70

- Vulcan TUF 3000MHz Also Good if < $60

- These Also Good if < $60

AMD Integrated Graphics

- Radeon Vega 8

- Built Into CPU

- Fast Enough for Light Gaming

Western Digital Blue 1TB

OR

Crucial MX500 1TB

- Best Value M.2 SSDs (PCIe SATA)

- Both Have DRAM Cache (Better Longevity)

- Get 2.5 Inch Versions (WD, Crucial) if Wanting Portability

Corsair CX450M Bronze (if < $70)

OR

EVGA 450 BR Bronze (if < $55)

OR

Corsair CV450 Bronze (if < $50)

- CX450M is Semi Modular (Less Cables to Manage)

- CX450M Best if Upgrading to Budget GPU in Future

- Lower Tier PSUs Like BR or CV Fine for 3200G Build

DeepCool Matrexx 30 (if < $45)

- Mini Tower

- 1 Rear 120mm Fan

- Max GPU Length: 250mm (All Specs)

- Focus G Also Good if < $50

- Q300L Also Good if < $45

+

SickleFlow 120mm LED Fan Green (if < $10)

- Comes in Other Colors

- Install in Front

- NF-P12 Better (But No LED)

~ $600 Gaming PC Build


Turret

AMD Ryzen 3 3100

OR

Intel Core i3 10100

- 4 Cores, 8 Threads

- Best Budget Gaming CPUs

- Either Worth It if < $120

- 3100 Faster in Most Games

- 10100 Faster in RDR2 and Cyberpunk

As Above (AMD Stock Cooler)

OR

Intel Stock Cooler
Gigabyte B550M DS3H (if AMD)

OR

Gigabyte B460M DS3H (if Intel. Has WiFi Version Too)

- Micro ATX

- Either Worth It if < $100

- All Specs: Gigabyte, Gigabyte

- MSI B460M-A Pro Also Good (Intel)

- B460 Should Support Future Intel 11th Gen

- If B460, RAM Will Run At 2666MHz Max

As Above NVidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super (any model)

- 4GB GDDR6

- Worth It if < $200

- Other Models Fine if Length < 350mm

- Consider RX 570 4GB if < $170 (8GB Model if < $190)

As Above As Above (if Not Upgrading Beyond a 1650 Super)

OR

Corsair CX550M Bronze

OR

EVGA 500 BQ Bronze

- Both Semi-Modular

- 500-550w Enough for Future GPU Upgrade (Mid-Tier Cards)

- Ignore Old Reviews Pertaining to Older CX550M "Green" Model

Thermaltake Versa H18

- Mini Tower

- 1x 120mm Fan (Rear)

- Front Blue LED Strip

- Max GPU Length: 350mm (All Specs)

+

SickleFlow 120mm LED Fan (Blue) (1x or 2x)

- Install in Front

- 1 Enough if Not Upgrading GPU

~ $800 Gaming PC Build


A Wing

As Above

OR

AMD Ryzen 3 3300X

- 4 Cores, 8 Threads

- Worth it if < $140

AMD Wraith Stealth

- Stock Standard Cooler

- Comes Included With the 3300X

ASRock B550M Pro4 (if < $120)

OR

MSI B550M PRO-VDH WiFi 5 (if < $120)

- Micro ATX

- All Specs: ASRock, MSI

As Above NVidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super (any model)

- Worth It if < $270

- 6GB GDDR6

- 173.4mm Length

- Other Models Fine if Length < 410mm

As Above As Above

OR

be quiet Pure Power 11 500W CM Gold (Semi Modular)

OR

Cooler Master MWE Gold 550 V1 (Modular)

- Difference Between Semi-Modular and Modular is Insignificant

- EVGA 600 BQ Bronze Also Good (Semi Modular)

Cooler Master NR400

- Mini Tower

- 2 120mm Fans

- Max GPU Length: 410mm (All Specs)

- ATX Version NR600 Also Great (Specs)

~ $1000 Gaming PC Build


Tie Fighter

AMD Ryzen 5 3600

- 6 Cores, 12 Threads

- Worth It if < $210

AMD Wraith Stealth

- Stock Standard Cooler

- Comes Included With the 3600

ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4 (if ~ $115)

OR

ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4 AC (WiFi 5) (if ~ $125)

- ATX (Full Size)

- All Specs: ASRock, ASRock

- MSI B450 Tomahawk Max Also Good if < $110

As Above Wait for RTX 3060 Release (Late Feb)

OR

NVidia RTX 2060 SUPER (if < $350)

OR

AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT (if < $370)

- Both 8GB GDDR6

Kingston A2000 1TB

OR

Western Digital Blue SN550 1TB

- Best Value NVMe M.2 SSDs

- SN550 Lacks DRAM Cache, But Not As Crucial for NVMe

Corsair CX650M Bronze (Semi Modular)

OR

be quiet Pure Power 11 600W CM Gold (Semi Modular)

OR

Corsair RM550x Gold (Modular)

OR

Seasonic Focus GX-550 Gold (Modular)

- Tier A 550w PSUs (RM550x or GX-550) Plenty if Not Upgrading GPU

- Difference Between Semi-Modular and Modular Insignificant

Phanteks P400A

- Mid Tower

- 2x 120mm Fans

- Fan Controller (On Top Panel)

- 'Digital' Model Also Good (3 RGB Fans)

- Max GPU Length: 420mm (All Specs)

- Lancool 215 Mesh Also Great (Specs)

~ $1200 Gaming PC Build


Storm-Trooper

As Above

OR

Intel Core i5 10600K

- 6 Cores, 12 Threads

- Worth It if ~ $270

Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black

OR

ARCTIC Freezer 34 eSports (White)

- Freezer 34 Better if Overclocking

As Above (if AMD)

OR

MSI Z490-A Pro

OR

MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Edge (WiFi 6)

- ATX (Full Size)

- Best Budget Z490 Boards

- All Specs: MSI, MSI

As Above

OR

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (if Want White)

- 3200MHz CL16

- 2x8GB (Dual Channel)

NVidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti (any model)

- Worth It if < $450

- 8GB GDDR6

As Above EVGA SuperNOVA G3 650 Gold

OR

Corsair RMx RM650x Gold

OR

Super Flower Leadex III Gold 650W

- Tier-A 650w PSUs

- All Fully Modular

- Quality 550w Plenty if Not Upgrading GPU

Corsair 275R Airflow

- Mid Tower

- 3x 120mm Fans

- Max GPU Length: 370mm (All Specs)

- Lancool II Mesh Performance Also Great (Specs)

~ $1500 Gaming PC Build


RGB Jedi

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X

- 6 Cores, 12 Threads

- Best Value High-End Gaming CPU

- Worth It if < $325 (Beware of Scalpers)

- 3700X Also Good if < $300 - 3700X Bit Slower in Games, Faster in Some Apps (2 More Cores)

Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black (Air)

OR

MasterLiquid ML240L RGB V2 (Liquid)

- Stock 5600X Cooler OK if Not Overclocking

- ML240L RGB V2 Good Value Liquid Cooler (New Version)

- Mount ML240L to Top With Fans Blowing Up

MSI B550-A Pro (BIOS Flash Button)

OR

ASRock B550 Pro4 (No BIOS Flash)

- ATX (Full Size)

- BIOS Flash Handy if Need BIOS Update for 5600X

- All Specs: MSI, ASRock

G.Skill Trident Z Neo 16GB 3600MHz CL16

OR

Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 16GB 3200MHz CL16 (Only if Cheaper)

- 2x8GB (Dual Channel)

- Corsair RGB Pro Not Ideal for Hyper 212 (Too Tall)

NVidia GeForce RTX 3070 (any model)

- Worth It if < $550

- 8GB GDDR6

Sabrent Rocket 1TB

OR

WD Black SN750 1TB

- Super Fast NVMe M.2 SSDs

- DRAM Cache (Longevity)

As Above (if No Future GPU Upgrade)

OR

EVGA SuperNOVA G3 750 Gold

OR

Corsair RMX RM750x Gold

- Tier-A 750w PSUs

Cooler Master MasterCase H500

- Mid Tower

- 2x 200mm RGB Front Fans

- 1x 120mm Rear Fan

- Max GPU Length: 410mm (All Specs)

- 500DX Also Great
(Specs)

< $2000 Gaming PC Build


Dark Sith

As Above Noctua NH-U12S Black

OR

Be Quiet BK024 Dark Rock Slim

- Scythe Mugen 5 Rev.B Also Great

- Liquid AiO Also Fine (Check Case's Radiator Support)

ASUS TUF Gaming B550-PLUS WiFi 6 (Has BIOS Flash)

OR

ASUS TUF Gaming X570-PLUS (No BIOS Flash)

- ATX (Full Size)

- All Specs: ASUS, ASUS

- Gigabyte X570 Aorus Elite Another Good Value X570 (Has BIOS Flash)

G.Skill Ripjaws V 16GB 3600MHz CL16 (Value)

OR

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3200MHz CL16 (B-Die Model)

OR

TeamGroup Dark Pro 16GB 3200MHz CL14 (Fastest)

- 2x8GB (Dual Channel)

- T-Force Xtreem ARGB 3200MHz CL14 Great if Want RGB

AMD Radeon RX 6800 (any model)

- Worth It if < $650

- 16GB GDDR6

As Above

+

Seagate Barracuda 2TB

- Good HDD (7200RPM)

- Stores Lots of Big Games

- Avoid 5400RPM HDDs (Slow)

As Above Fractal Meshify C

- Compact Mid Tower

- 2x 120mm Fans

- Max GPU Length: 315mm (See All Specs)

- Pro M (Specs) or Enthoo Pro (Specs) Also Great

+

2 x Noctua NF-A14 PW 140mm Fan

- Install Both in Front

- Move Stock Front Fan to Rear Top

< $2500 Gaming PC Build


Tie Bomber

Intel Core i9 10850K

- 10 Cores, 20 Threads

- Better Value Than 10900K (Almost Exact Same)

Noctua NH-D15 Black

OR

Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro 4

- Best Air Coolers on Market

- NH-D15 Slightly Easier for Beginners

- Liquid Cooler Also Fine (Check Case Radiator Support)

- NH-D15S and NH-D14 Better if Want Tall RGB RAM

Asus Z490-Plus TUF Gaming (WiFi 6)

OR

Asus ROG Strix Z490-E (WiFi 6)

- ATX (Full Size)

- All Specs: ASUS, ASUS

Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB Black

- 3200MHz CL16

- 2x16GB (Dual Channel)

- 3600MHz Not That Helpful for Intel

- Low Profile to Avoid Clashing With NH-D15 or DRP4

NVidia GeForce RTX 3080 (10GB GDDR6X)
(if < $750)

OR

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT (16GB GDDR6)
(if < $700)
As Above As Above Fractal Meshify S2

- Large Mid Tower

- 3x 140mm Fans

- Max GPU Length: 440mm (See All Specs)

- Air 540 Also Great (Specs)

- Meshify 2 Also Great (Specs)

< $3000 Gaming PC Build


Star Destroyer

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

- 12 Cores, 24 Threads

- Faster Than 10900K

- AMD Ryzen 7 5800X 8-Core is Fine (Almost Identical FPS)

As Above (Air Cooler)

OR

NZXT Kraken X63 280mm (Liquid Cooler)

OR

EVGA CLC 280mm (Liquid)

- NH-D15 Better Value Than Liquid Coolers

- If Liquid, Install in Front of P600S (With Fans As Instake)

- Move 1 Front 140mm to Rear Top of P600S

MSI Mag B550 Tomahawk (BIOS Flash Button)

OR

ASRock B550 Steel Legend (No BIOS Flash)

- ATX (Full Size)

- All Specs: MSI, ASRock

- B550 Aorus Pro V2 Also Good

- B550 Gaming Edge WiFi 6 Also Good

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3600MHz C14 (if Air)

OR

G.Skill Trident Z Neo 32GB 3600MHz CL16 (if Liquid)

- LPX Better Clearance for NH-D15 (& Hides RGB RAM Anyway)

- Fastest LPX You Can Get But Costly (Very Low Latency)

- If Liquid, These Trident Slight Faster But Costly

- If Liquid, These Ripjaws 3200MHz CL14 Also Great

As Above Samsung 970 Evo 1TB

- Best High End M.2 NVMe SSD (PCIe 3.0)

- DRAM Cache (Longevity)

- Get 860 Evo if Wanting Portability

+

Western Digital Black 2TB

- Premium HDD

EVGA SuperNOVA G3 850 Gold

OR

Corsair RMX RM850x Gold

OR

Super Flower Leadex III 850W Gold

- Tier-A 850w PSUs

- 750w PSU Fine if Not Upgrading GPU

- G2 and P2 Also Great

Phanteks Eclipse P600S

- Large Mid Tower

- 3x 140mm Fans

- Max GPU Length: 435mm (See All Specs)

- Corsair 750D Airflow Also Great (Specs)

< $4000 Gaming PC Build


RGB Death Star

As Above

OR

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X

- 16 Cores, 32 Threads

- Only Necessary for Pro Creators

- If Just Gaming, 5900X Better Value

Corsair H115i RGB Platinum Black 280mm (Liquid)

- Install to Top of Case

- Position Fans Blowing Up (Exhaust)

- Corsair iCUE H115i Elite Capellix Also Good

- Get H100i RGB Platinum SE for White Case

ASUS TUF Gaming X570-PRO (WiFi 6)

OR

MSI MAG X570 Tomahawk (WiFi 6)

- ATX (Full Size)

- Both Have BIOS Flash Button

- All Specs: ASUS, MSI

- ROG Strix X570-E Gaming Also Great (WiFi 6)

- B550 Vision D Also Great (WiFi 6)

As Above (x2)

OR

G.Skill Trident Z Neo RGB 64GB

- 3600MHz C16

- 4x16GB

- 2x 3200MHz CL14 Also Great

NVidia GeForce RTX 3090
(if < $1600)

- 24GB GDDR6X

Samsung 970 Pro 1TB

- Premium M.2 NVMe SSD (PCIe 3.0)

- DRAM Cache (Longevity)

+

Western Digital Black 4TB

- Premium HDD

Corsair HX Platinum 1000

- 1000 Watts

- Get 1200w Model if Similar Price

- 80+ Platinum Certified

- Tier-A 850w PSUs Fine if No Future Upgrades

- RM1000x and Supernova 1000 P2 and Prime TX 1000 Also Great

Corsair 680X

- Large Mid Tower

- 3 x 120mm LL120 RGB Front Fans

- 1 x 120mm Rear Fan

- Max GPU Length: 330mm (All Specs)

- H500P Also Great (Specs)

+

Corsair LL120 RGB Fans (3 Pack)

- Includes RGB Fan Controller

- Get White if White Case

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See Also: Recommended Gaming Monitors






The Best $400 Gaming PC Build (Q1 2021)

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3200G (Quad Core, APU)
  • CPU Cooler: Stock Standard
  • Motherboard: ASRock B450M Pro4 (mATX)
  • RAM: TeamGroup T-Force Vulkan Z 16GB (2x8GB, 3200MHz, CL16)
  • Graphics: AMD Vega 8 (CPU Integrated)
  • SSD: Western Digital Blue 1TB SSD (M.2 SATA)
  • Power Supply: Corsair CX450M (Semi Modular, 80+ Bronze)
  • Case: DeepCool Matrexx 30 (Mini Tower)
  • Extra Fan: 1 x Cooler Master SickleFlow 120mm (Green LED)

By hunting the hardware market strategically and carefully picking out a list of the most bang for buck parts, you can stretch a seemingly insignificant budget of 400 US dollars quite far, and without even including a dedicated graphics card. Yup; thanks to the surprisingly capable integrated graphics chips of the latest AMD APUs (Accelerated Processing Unit) like the Ryzen 3 3200G, you can build a super cheap gaming PC that performs well in lesser demanding titles without needing to fork out the funds for a graphics card.

There's also the AMD Athlon 3000G for around $50 US that also comes with good integrated graphics performance relative to its price, but it struggles in too many titles to be worth recommending anymore and the significantly faster gaming performance of the 3200G is worth the extra money without question. You also have the 3200G's bigger brother, the 3400G, but its performance gains don't justify the extra cost over the 3200G if you're seeking maximum value, and besides, the 3400G wouldn't fit in the $400 budget anyway.

Just keep in mind you will need to lower the graphics settings to get smooth performance with a 3200G, and it's also not fast enough for the latest AAA demanding titles (even on low settings). But if you pair the 3200G with a healthy 16GB of dual-channel (2 sticks) RAM with a fast speed of around 3200MHz (the sweet spot right now), its performance is adequate for many low to medium demanding titles as shown in the FPS estimates to the right (or down below if reading this on mobile).

AMD CPUs benefit from faster RAM (more so than Intel at least), and APUs like the 3200G benefit even further. So keep that mind if you're thinking of buying slower RAM like 2666MHz (or a lower amount like 8GB) - there's a reason we recommend a very healthy 16GB of fast 3200MHz modules in this entry-level build, which is also the amount and speed you'd see in a more high-end gaming PC build these days - the 3200G shines with it. 3000MHz modules are fine too if you find a deal, and won't be a large step down from 3200MHz sticks, but I don't recommend 2666MHz or less for a 3200G build (or for any AMD gaming PC for that matter). 

Good news is you can find 16GB of 3200MHz RAM at a very affordable price these days, such as the TeamGroup RAM included in this month's best $400 build. Just remember sure to always get 2 RAM sticks and never just the one; running 2 sticks means your RAM will run (automatically) in what's called "dual channel" mode, which is proven to notably increase gaming performance (for an APU like the 3200G, but for a regular CPU too).

So, with a Ryzen 3 3200G and 16GB of 3200MHz RAM, expect to run any medium to low-demanding games like Fortnite, Rocket League, League of Legends and Dota 2 quite smoothly on medium settings. In some titles you'll even reach the magical super-smooth 60FPS mark on medium settings, and if you opt for low settings you'll get 60FPS in a ton of games. For demanding games though, you'll definitely need a dedicated graphics card for playable performance. Goes without saying, but forget about running massive AAA titles like Cyberpunk or RDR2 with a 3200G.

Keep in mind the 3200G isn't just a good APU that has solid integrated graphics performance for gaming, but it can work just fine as a standalone CPU that you pair with an actual graphics card like a GTX 1650 Super or RX 570. Adding one of these entry-level GPUs to this $400 parts-list is a logical future upgrade and would significantly boost performance, and the decent CX450M power supply will accomodate these just fine (especially budget NVidia cards which are more power efficient). The CX450M is a true 450 watt PSU, unlike many other cheap PSUs, and easily one of the best budget PSUs on the market (not to be confused with the quite bad older "green" CX model; this is the newer gray version that's better value than most other cheap PSUs).

Moving on to other parts, and on a tight $400 budget the aim is picking the cheapest compatible components you can while simultaneously maintaining a baseline level of quality and reliability There's a fine line between decent cheap parts, and cheap parts to stay well away form (of which there are many, especially cheap PSUs which can be a nightmare). 

For a cheap yet good motherboard, the ASRock B450M Pro4 has been and still is one of the best cheap AMD motherboards you can find, offering more bang for buck than other boards in its price tier (~ $80). The Gigabyte B450 Aorus M is another good cheap B450, but the Pro4 wins out for its superior VRMs/cooling, meaning better support for a future CPU upgrade like a Ryzen 5 3600 (which would make the perfect upgrade later). Keep in mind a B550 board is NOT an option for this system; the B550 chipset does support "normal" Ryzen 3000 CPUs (ie the 3600), it doesn't support APUs like the 3200G or 3400G.

Finishing off the best $400 gaming PC build for this month and we've gone for the top value DeepCool Matrexx 30 which is one of the better budget PC cases going around, with a front mesh for improved airflow and a fairly slick design IMO  (I've built systems with this little guy multiple times; in case you're wondering, I sometimes build PCs on the side for others). Like most cheap cases, the Matrexx 30 only comes with 1 pre-installed fan, so I recommend installing an extra case fan in the front otherwise airflow within the system will be restricted (you need a front fan to blow air onto the motherboard area). 

Keep in mind this case only has room for a single 120mm fan in the front, and you also need to mount it in the front-bottom as it won't mount in the front-middle. If you try the latter, you can't reattach the front panel. Limited fan options is one downside to a super cheap case, but for this PC build it's a non-issue as it won't generate much heat.

3200G: Low Spec Gaming King

As for connecting your additional fan's power cable, you can either plug it into a fan header on the motherboard, which allows you to adjust the fan's speed within the BIOS (so if it runs too loud for your liking, you can turn it down), or you can just connect it directly to the power supply (into a Molex connector) and it will just run at full speed. Either way is fine and it's personal preference.

The Matrexx 30 + Added DVD Drive

Codename: Baby Yoda

Target Budget: ~ $400 USD

Recommended Usage:

  • 1080p 60Hz (Low/Medium)

Estimated Frame Rates:

1080p MEDIUM SETTINGS
GAME AVERAGE FPS
League of Legends 100 - 120
CSGO 80 - 100
Rocket League 65 - 75
Overwatch 55 - 65
DOTA 2 55 - 65
World of Tanks 55 - 65
Fortnite 55 - 65
WoW: Shadowlands 45 - 55
Call of Duty: Warzone 40 - 50
GTA V 40 - 50
Apex Legends < 40
PUBG < 40
Escape From Tarkov < 30
Red Dead Redemption 2 < 20
Assassin's Creed Valhalla F
Cyberpunk 2077 F
Flight Simulator 2020 Just..don't


FPS Numbers for Beginners

Here's what different performance levels mean for your experience.

45FPS+ (Smooth)

This is the ideal performance level for smooth gaming to avoid lag getting in the way of your experience. 45 to 50FPS is when you start getting a super smooth gameplay without any noticeable hiccups. Hitting 60FPS means a flawless experience on a standard 60Hz monitor. Anything higher than 60FPS is a luxury, though definitely useful for competitive fast-paced titles, hence the popularity of 144Hz+ screens these days.

< 45FPS (Average)

At this frame rate many games are completely playable, but whether or not it gets in the way of the gameplay depends on the genre and how fast-paced the game is. In shooters for instance, you will clearly notice "lag" or "choppiness", making it far from ideal. But for a slower game like a RPG, RTS, or Flight Sim, this frame rate is fine for most people.

< 30FPS (Poor)

Frame rates under 30FPS would only be playable (and enjoyable) in really slow genres like Flight Sim. For most games though, it's going to seriously limit the experience.

More: Frame Rates for Beginners


Disclaimer About Our FPS Estimates

For each build, the estimated average FPS (Frames Per Second) of various popular games is calculated primarily by analyzing and aggregating multiple benchmarks around the web, sometimes also supplemented by running benchmarking of my own where possible (but in very limited capacity; I'm no Linus or GN over here and don't have access to any component with the click of a finger). When using our FPS estimates to plan your parts-list, please keep in mind:

  • FPS estimates assume that "extra" rendering features/settings like AA (AntiAliasing), SS (SuperSampling), Hairworks, render scale, ray tracing, etc are either turned off or at their default settings (eg render scale at 100%). If you turn on or increase these additional settings (NOT to be confused with general game settings/presets ie low, medium, high, or ultra), then your performance will be different.
  • FPS estimates are exactly that - estimates - so we can't 100% guarantee you'll get the exact performance that we predict. (though a lot of time goes into making these as accurate as possible). If you're picky and want to 100% guarantee a certain level of FPS in a certain game, we encourage you do your own research.
  • Besides additional "fancy" settings, there are many other factors that could affect your performance such as slight hardware differences (eg clock speed of your GPU), not having your RAM set to its correct speed (explained later), software differences (OS, drivers, game patches/versions), airflow issues (insufficiently cooled PCs can throttle performance), and so on.



The Best $600 Gaming PC Build (Q1 2021)

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3100 (Quad Core)
  • CPU Cooler: Stock Standard
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte B550M DS3H (mATX)
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB Black (2x8GB, 3200MHz, CL16)
  • Graphics Card: NVidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super (4GB GDDR6)
  • SSD: Western Digital Blue 1TB SSD (M.2 SATA)
  • Power Supply: Corsair CX550M (Semi Modular, 80+ Bronze)
  • Case: Thermaltake Versa H18 (Mini Tower)
  • Extra Fans: Cooler Master SickleFlow 120mm (1 or 2, Any Color)

At this price point you can build a very decently performing PC for casual gaming that will run many games at or around 60FPS at 1080p (full HD) and on good settings (medium or high). It will still struggle with the most visually demanding AAA titles like Red Dead Redemption 2, Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher 3, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Watch Dogs Legion, etc, but you could still run these titles on low settings if you really wanted to.

But for lesser demanding titles like Fortnite, Minecraft, CSGO, Warzone, Dota 2, and many other popular titles, and also for medium-ish demanding games like GTA V, PUBG, Apex Legends, Star Wars Battlefront 2, and Minecraft with mods (the base Minecraft experience isn't demanding), the $600 PC build is enough for a good experience. As you can see from our FPS estimations, a GTX 1650 Super graphics card paired with a Ryzen 3 3100 processor - arguably the best budget GPU and CPU combo right now - is even powerful enough for 1080p 144Hz monitors, and you'll get well over 100FPS in titles like CSGO, Fortnite, LoL, and Rocket League on low/competitive settings.

The RX 570 (4GB or 8GB models) was our previous GPU recommendation for this tier, and is still a good option at the right price that isn't too far behind the 1650 Super in performance, but the price of the RX 570 has increased recently making the 1650 Super the obvious choice right now as the best budget graphics card for gaming (it's currently cheaper than the RX 570, but also faster and more power efficient).

In the main build recommendations chart above you'll notice we've listed both the AMD Ryzen 3 3100 and Intel i3 10100 as a tie, as these two budget CPUs trade blows depending on the specific game in question. For example, the 10100 is faster in RDR2, though to be fair you ideally want to be eyeing off a stronger CPU tier for such a demanding game like that. But since these 2 CPUs are around the same price and performance, it's hard to split the two if you're building a PC just for gaming.

For non-gaming applications and multitasking, the Ryzen 3100 is a clear winner in most situations though, so the 3100 is the better choice overall for most people (whether you're just gaming or also using your PC for other things). But you can't go wrong with either. Just don't forget if you choose the 10100, you'll need a compatible Intel motherboard like the B460 we listed. If choosing AMD, you have the choice between a B550 or B450 motherboard, which are AMD's latest (B550) and previous (B450) budget motherboard types (called chipsets).

There are cheaper AMD chipsets like A520 and A320, but they aren't recommended as you can get a cheap B450 or B550 for not much more money which has much better features, quality, and flexibility. Either a B450 or B550 is fine, as the benefits of the newer B550 chipset over B450 (such as better durability, cooling, and PCIe 4.0 support) isn't crucial for a basic budget or mid-range gaming rig like this.

At the right price, B450 boards still offer good value, but the fact you can find decent cheap B550 models like the Gigabyte B550M DS3H for under $100 means you might as well go for the latest chipset when building a new system in 2021. Furthermore, if you're eyeing off a potential future upgrade to a Ryzen 5000 CPU like the 5600X, while B450 will support Ryzen 5000 with a BIOS update, the B550 platform is more ideal for those newer CPUs.

The B550M DS3H is far superior than the previous B450M DS3H, and is of good enough quality for an entry to mid-range Ryzen 3000 or 5000 CPU. For what it's worth I've used this particular board extensively for a recent value Ryzen 5 3600 build and was impressed with what it serves up for the price, and also taking into account what others have said about this board it's an easy recommendation for anyone wanting a super cheap motherboard for a Ryzen 3/5 build who doesn't need any fancy features.

For a budget 1650 Super build, any respectable fair-quality 500 to 550 watt power supply will do for the $600 build. You could even get away with a 450w unit if you wanted to cut costs, since the 1650 Super and other components of this setup have fairly low power requirements. A common beginner pitfall when building a gaming PC is overestimating how much wattage you need from a power supply - 550 watts from a respectable decent-quality unit like the CX550M goes quite far, and could even accommodate more powerful GPUs like a RTX 2060 Super or RX 5700 XT.

A common beginner pitfall when choosing a power supply for a gaming PC is overestimating how much wattage you need from a power supply - 550 watts from a respectable decent-quality unit like the CX550M goes quite far, and could even accommodate more powerful GPUs like a RTX 2060 Super or RX 5700 XT.

Related: Power Supply Specs Explained

The top value Versa H18 sports better airflow than many other cheap PC cases and looks decent too. Nothing fancy about it, but it has a small side window and built-in blue LED strip on the front (not pictured above; for that photo I had the blue LED strip turned off - the blue lights you see are from the fans) so it's not a completely plain case. Speaking of fans, the Versa H18 comes with a 120mm in the back, but for a gaming PC, even a budget one like this, you want to have a front intake fan to suck air in and blow it through your system.

Codename: Turret

Target Budget: ~ $600 USD

Recommended Usage:

  • 1080p 60Hz (Medium/High)
  • 1080p 144Hz (Low)

Estimated Frame Rates:

1080p MEDIUM SETTINGS
GAME AVERAGE FPS
CSGO 190 - 210
League of Legends 170 - 200
Rocket League 160 - 180
Fortnite 140 - 160
WoW: Shadowlands 100 - 120
Overwatch 100 - 120
DOTA 2 90 - 110
Call of Duty: Warzone 90 - 100
GTA V 90 - 100
Apex Legends 70 - 100
PUBG 70 - 90
Escape From Tarkov 45 - 65
Red Dead Redemption 2 45 - 55
Assassin's Creed Valhalla 45 - 55
Cyberpunk 2077 35 - 45
Flight Simulator 2020 30 - 40

Don't be fooled by price; the B550M DS3H is actually fine for mid-tier AMD systems

Cheap yet decent fans for airflow

Adding a single front 120mm fan would technically be enough for this particular parts-list as it's not going to generate much heat as-is, but if you're considering upgrading your graphics card in future to something a bit more powerful (to a certain extent; you can't just chuck a high-end GPU in this rig otherwise you'd need to upgrade your PSU too), then I recommend getting 2 fans as it doesn't cost much more and will maximize airflow now and over your system's lifespan.

Installing 2 fans from the start will save you having to go back into your computer in future to install an additional fan, should you decide to upgrade your graphics card (and/or CPU). Cooler Master SickleFlow are good cheap fans that perform decently, aren't too loud, and come in different LED colors. I put blue in the Versa H18 build pictured above since it already has a built-in blue LED strip. If you don't care for light effects and would rather get the best performing fan that is still the most quiet, look for Noctua or Arctic fans.

Related: How to Install Extra Fans in Your PC

The CPU, SSD, and RAM installed on a B550M DS3H (remember to skip the first RAM slot as explained here)



The Best $800 Gaming PC Build (Q1 2021)

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3300X (Quad Core)
  • CPU Cooler: Stock Standard
  • Motherboard: ASRock B550M Pro4 (mATX)
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB Black (2x8GB, 3200MHz, CL16)
  • Graphics Card: NVidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super (6GB GDDR6)
  • SSD: Western Digital Blue 1TB SSD (M.2 SATA)
  • Power Supply: Corsair CX550M (Semi Modular, 80+ Bronze)
  • Case: Cooler Master NR400 (Mini Tower)

Building on the previous parts-list, and with a fairly healthy budget of around 800 US dollars you can get a faster CPU and GPU for better 1080p performance at either 60Hz (for demanding titles) or at 144Hz (for eSports/shooters). You can also afford a slightly better case and a higher quality motherboard. What you could do instead though to save money is simply add the better graphics card (1660 Super) to the previous $600 build, and you'd still get very similar gaming performance since the 3300X processor isn't a huge leap forward compared to the 3100 or 10100.

That said, the 3300X, if you can even find it at the moment (availability has been low lately), is clearly better when it comes to 1080p 144Hz gaming, so if that's the type of monitor you'll be using then it's highly recommended over the 3100 if you can't afford the next step up (a Ryzen 5 or Core i5, which would be ideal for a 1080p 144Hz build). Anyway, with a 3300X and a 1660 Super, and of course our staple recommendation of 16GB 3200MHz DDR4 RAM (the "sweet spot" in terms of value and more than enough for any game), you have a desktop that'll dominate 1080p 60Hz/75Hz on high settings in most titles.

However, in the most demanding modern titles like RDR2 and Cyberpunk 2077, you're going to need a better GPU for super smooth performance on high/ultra settings, though running these blockbusters at around medium settings will net you a nice more-than-playable frame rate. Goes without saying, but remember you don't need to play on ultra settings to fully enjoy a game. For these titles you also ideally want a stronger CPU like the Ryzen 5 3600 too, as a 3300X or slower processor can struggle a little. But for less demanding games, a 1660 Super and 3300X provides great 1080p performance. You could even play on a 1440p 60Hz monitor and get decent frame rates in many titles with this CPU GPU combo too, though the 1660 Super is absolutely not intended for that higher resolution.

Moving onto the other components that make the cut for this month's best $800 gaming PC build, and the same RAM, PSU, and storage remains from the $600 system as they're all still suitable for the $800 parts-list. The Corsair CX550M is still more than enough in terms of quality, reliability and power for a mid-tier gaming system, as like the previous system a GTX 1660 Super build isn't very power hungry. 550 watts is plenty, and even for future upgrades; only reason I would consider a 650 watt unit (such as the CX650M) is if you're planning some extensive upgrades or doing a ton of overclocking (which requires more power headroom).

The CX550M is semi modular too, meaning that you can detach any unused power cables for a cleaner finished build and slightly easier cable management. The EVGA GD is another good value option which is more efficient with its gold rating, but is not modular. EVGA have made a name for themselves in power supplies over recent years, and on the lower end their BR, GD, and BT series are quite cheap but not too cheap (avoid super cheap no-name PSUs), and are also a nice balance of price vs decent reliability/quality that's enough for mid-range PC builds. For a $800 build you can also afford a better motherboard, with the ASRock B550M Pro4 and MSI B550M PRO-VDH WiFi being two of the better budget B550 Micro ATX motherboards, the latter being the best cheap B550 with WiFi if you want that feature built-in to your motherboard.

If you get a non-WiFi motherboard, you can always get a PCIe WiFi adapter or a USB WiFi adapter. Both the B550M Pro4 and B550M Pro-VDH WiFi are absolutely fine in terms of quality for not only a 3300X but a Ryzen 3600 or 5600X should you be keeping those in mind as a future upgrade. You could even use the B550M DS3H from the previous build if you wanted. Getting an older B450 board instead is also fine if you find a particular model you like the look of at the right price; at under 100 bucks the slick-looking, good-quality B450M Steel Legend being one example. B550 is the best choice in terms of future flexibility, though.

Codename: A Wing

Target Budget: ~ $800 USD

Recommended Usage:

  • 1080p 60Hz (High/Ultra)
  • 1080p 144Hz (Low)

Estimated Frame Rates:

1080p ULTRA SETTINGS
GAME AVERAGE FPS
CSGO 300 - 360
League of Legends 200 - 220
Rocket League 180 - 220
Fortnite 110 - 130
WoW: Shadowlands 100 - 140
Overwatch 120 - 140
DOTA 2 120 - 140
Call of Duty: Warzone 90 - 110
World of Tanks 110 - 120
GTA V 75 - 85
Apex Legends 70 - 80
PUBG 70 - 80
Escape From Tarkov 40 - 50
Red Dead Redemption 2 30 - 40
Assassin's Creed Valhalla 30 - 40
Cyberpunk 2077 30 - 40
Flight Simulator 2020 25 - 35

NOTE: These FPS estimates are for ultra settings, so keep that in mind when comparing to the $400 and $600 estimates (which were for medium settings).



The CX550M is a decent, good value PSU for mid-range gaming PC builds

Last but not least is the solid value Cooler Master NR400, one of the best airflow cases on a budget with its fairly effective front mesh design and 2 pre-installed fans (no need for more fans unless you throw a high-end GPU in this case). Like any case recommended in our PC builds, it also has a universally nice look about it that will appeal to many, but that also isn't over the top in any way; we do value form, but function is the higher priority here and not fancy aesthetics (though if you want you can easily turn any basic looking case into an RGB monster by simply adding some RGB fans and/or a lighting strip).




The Best $1000 Gaming PC Build (Q1 2021)

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (6 Cores)
  • CPU Cooler: Stock Standard
  • Motherboard: ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4 (ATX)
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB Black (2x8GB, 3200MHz, CL16)
  • Graphics Card: NVidia GeForce RTX 3060 (Releases Late Feb)
  • SSD: Kingston A2000 1TB SSD (M.2, PCIe NVMe)
  • Power Supply: Corsair CX650M (Semi Modular, 80+ Bronze)
  • Case: Phanteks P400A (Mid Tower)

This is essentially the $800 build but with a better graphics card, slightly better and longer-lasting CPU, better-looking higher-airflow case, and higher wattage PSU. At this level we start getting into serious performance that allows for higher resolution gaming at 1440p, or for high frame rate 1080p 144Hz gaming if you prefer speed of image over pure quality.

That said, building a $1000 gaming PC like this is still just fine for standard 1080p 60Hz monitors if you're playing demanding titles and want to crank up the settings - good luck getting decent frame rates at 1440p in RDR2 or Cyberpunk 2077 on high settings; stick to 1080p for these blockbusters if you want a smooth experience with a RTX 2060 Super or RX 5700 XT. Speaking of which, these are the 2 best GPUs you can squeeze into a build budget around 1000 US dollars.

Just keep your wits about you when hunting one of these cards as most mid to high-end GPUs are low in availability right now and therefore typically priced higher than what you normally would pay. Also keep in mind that we're bound to see new mid-range GPUs early next year to replace the 2060 Super and 5700 XT, meaning these 2 cards are at the end of their life cycle. They'll remain great mid-range GPUs for a while to come, so just because they're on the way out doesn't mean they're a bad buy - just don't overpay as the 3060 Ti doesn't cost much more and is a much better card (though super hard to find in stock right now).

As for the CPU, a Ryzen 5 3600 is an easy inclusion as it's still the best bang for buck gaming CPU. It's also the minimum processor we can suggest for a hiccup-free experience in super demanding titles like RDR2, Cyberpunk, Valhalla, or VR - your GPU is still the most important component in these games, however your CPU also plays an important role and lesser processors like the 3300X or 3100 will struggle a bit in these sorts of titles. Therefore, for demanding modern AAA titles, the 3600 is a good baseline and performs very well.

The 6 cores and 12 threads of the 3600 make for a relatively future-proof gaming system, and also doubles up nicely as a fairly quick multitasking and work machine. The stock cooler that comes included with the Ryzen 5 3600, the Wraith Stealth, is good enough if you won't be overclocking this CPU, and will keep it relatively cool and quiet assuming you have adequate airflow within your case (as all our recommended builds do).

If you plan to overclock the 3600 to squeeze out some extra free performance (not necessary and we don't recommend it for first-time builders, though it is quite easy to do) then you'll want to get a slightly better cooler such as the cheap but reliable Cooler Master Hyper 212 or something equivalent/better. This will cool the CPU better than the stock cooler one. But again, you'll do fine with the stock cooler if you want to save money and don't plan to tinker.

Codename: Tie Fighter

Target Budget: ~ $1000 USD

Recommended Usage:

  • 1080p 60Hz (High/Ultra)
  • 1080p 144Hz (Low/Medium)
  • 1440p 60Hz (Medium)
  • VR 80Hz, 90Hz (Medium)

Estimated Frame Rates:

1080p ULTRA SETTINGS
GAME AVERAGE FPS
Fortnite 90 - 110
GTA V 70 - 90
Apex Legends 70 - 90
PUBG 70 - 90
Escape From Tarkov 60 - 70
Red Dead Redemption 2 40 - 50
Assassin's Creed Valhalla 40 - 50
Cyberpunk 2077 (RTX Off) 40 - 50
Cyberpunk 2077 (RTX On) 30 - 40
Flight Simulator 2020 35 - 45

NOTE: Remember this is ultra/epic settings. You'll get way higher FPS at lower settings.



The R5 3600 is hard to beat for value

Rounding out the best gaming PC build around $1000 for this month is the same good value 16GB of Corsair 3200MHz RAM that's fast enough and large enough for a upper mid-range gaming PC build like this, a good quality 650 watt power supply that's enough grunt for a 2060S or 5700XT, and the slick Phanteks P400A case that has solid airflow out the box with a top-notch front mesh design and 2 included good-quality 120mm fans. Feel free to add an extra fan to the front to boost airflow further, though you're better off just getting the 'Digital' model instead that comes with 3 front RGB fans.

The XFX RX 5700 Xt Thicc III Ultra installed on a B450 Tomahawk Max with a R5 3600 + Stock Cooler

We've also included one of the best value NVMe SSDs right now (A2000) which is faster than SATA SSDs like the WD Blue, and last but not least is the ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4, one of the best value full-size ATX B550 motherboards under $150. If you get a Mid-Tower case like the P400A, and not a Mini Tower like the cases in the builds above, you have the choice of either a full-sized ATX board or a Micro ATX one, but to "fill out" your build more and also have the best future upgrade potential, go for an ATX one.

Also, as with any budget or mid-range build using a Ryzen 3000 CPU, feel free to get a good B450 instead like the Tomahawk Max if you find it cheap, otherwise stick to B550 for maximum future flexibility (ie if upgrading to Ryzen 5000). The B450 Tomahawk Max has had a great run, but these builds are probably the last time we'll include it (albeit as an "honorable mention" and not a primary pick). Moving forward into 2021, it makes sense to stick with a B550 when building a new gaming PC from scratch.




The Best $1200 Gaming PC Build (Q1 2021)

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-10600K (6 Cores)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 (Black Edition)
  • Motherboard: MSI Z490-A Pro (ATX)
  • RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws V 16GB (2x8GB, 3200MHz, CL16)
  • Graphics Card: NVidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti (8GB GDDR6)
  • SSD: Kingston A2000 1TB SSD (M.2, PCIe NVMe)
  • Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA G3 650 (Fully Modular, 80+ Gold)
  • Case: Corsair 275R Airflow (Mid Tower)

I know what you're thinking; what on Coruscant is Intel still doing here in our CPU recommendations when the Ryzen 5 3600 and Ryzen 5 5600X are better buys on either side of the 10600K. But hear me out; despite AMD clinching the gaming performance crown with the recent release of the Ryzen 5000 series, Intel still has its place based on recent price drops.

Besides, Intel still wins (just) in certain games and applications, so just because AMD is definitely the better value buy for most situations and is faster in most games, doesn't mean Intel is always a bad buy. But I do want to stress that unless you know for sure that Intel is the better choice for your particular games and/or workflow, when building a PC around $1200 just stick to a Ryzen 5 3600 which isn't far behind the 10600K in most games and will allow you to allocate more of your budget to your GPU.

The 10600K is a great gaming CPU that isn't that far behind more expensive CPUs like the 5600X, 10700K, or 10900K, and is plenty of processing power to handle any game on the market well. Unlike the Ryzen 5 3600, it doesn't come with a cooler (no "K' Intel CPUs do), so you'll need to buy one. 

A cheap but capable cooler like the Cooler Master Hyper 212 series will tame the 10600K fine if not overclocking, and is our top value pick. But if you want to make the most of the 10600K and overclock it decently to squeeze out max FPS (it overclocks well and can get near the 10900K or 5600X in many games), it's ideal to get a better cooler like a Arctic Freezer 34 or Scythe Mugen 5 if you want the lowest temperatures.

But now to the even bigger elephant in the room; the fresh new RTX 3060 Ti makes its way into our recommendations for the first time this month for obvious reasons (great price vs performance), but you're going to need some serious luck to find one in stock right now, and at around MSRP (not impossible though). 

Codename: Stormtrooper

Target Budget: ~ $1200 USD

Recommended Usage:

  • 1080p 60Hz (Ultra)
  • 1080p 144Hz (Low/Medium)
  • 1080p 240Hz (Low)
  • 1440p 60Hz (High/Ultra)
  • 4K 60Hz (Medium)
  • VR 80Hz, 90Hz (High/Ultra)

Estimated Frame Rates:

1080p ULTRA SETTINGS
GAME AVERAGE FPS
Fortnite 140 - 160
Apex Legends 110 - 140
PUBG 100 - 120
GTA V 90 - 100
Escape From Tarkov 80 - 90
Red Dead Redemption 2 60 - 80
Assassin's Creed Valhalla 60 - 70
Cyberpunk 2077 (RTX Off) 55 - 75
Cyberpunk 2077 (RTX On) 45 - 55
Flight Simulator 2020 40 - 45

Starting at $399 for the Founder's Edition (third-party models cost more), the fact it performs similarly to a RTX 2080 Super, which released for a lot more, makes the 3060 Ti a no-brainer for an upper mid-range gaming PC. But it'll take some effort to find one right now, and you'll probably just have to wait until 2021 unfortunately (same goes for the also super-in-demand RTX 3070 too), making this $1200 build recommendation mostly theoretical. Let's hope GPU stock improves in 2021, seeing how much of a letdown Q4 2020 has been for many gamers hoping to upgrade only to be stopped in their tracks by the words 'sold out' at every single turn. Every new GPU launch this past quarter - and there's been a lot from both NVidia and AMD - has sold out in minutes. 

Moving on from the woes of the GPU market situation, and when you start getting into a healthy budget of over 1000 dollars to build a quite powerful PC, your choice of power supply starts to become quite important. Not that it's ever not important, as you should always choose a good PSU for a gaming PC, but once you start building with stronger graphics cards like a RTX 3060 Ti or better, if you want your system to be as reliable and long-lasting as possible without encountering issues, as well as to be well positioned to potentially upgrade to an even faster GPU in future, it's crucial to use a reliable, trustworthy PSU of high quality, with good feedback from professional reviewers (don't solely judge units by customer reviews as PSUs are complex products to assess fairly). 

Doesn't mean you need to spend a ton on a PSU, but for a high-end build, avoid lower tier units at all costs as they can cause issues, fail prematurely, perform inefficiently, or even damage other parts in your machine. The SuperNova G3 or G2 series from EVGA and the RMX series from Corsair are some of the best PSUs around that also don't cost too much, and both highly recommended. I'd get whichever you can find cheaper in your particular country. Seasonic is another reliable brand you can usually trust, but always do your research on specific models in question, as even top brand names in any given respective field (PSUs in this instance) can release subpar quality products at times.

When cheaper than a Sabrent Rocket and WD SN750 Black, the A2000 is a good buy

G.Skill RAM is slick, fast, reliable

For first-time builders, don't forget that Intel and AMD motherboards are different beasts, and if you choose Intel you'll need an Intel compatible motherboard (and vice versa). There are also different motherboard chipsets to choose from, but the best right now for the latest 10th gen Intel CPUs, and the one suitable for overclocking, is the Z490 chipset. These boards can get real expensive real fast, but there's a few cheaper options that won't let you down. The MSI Z490-A Pro is exactly that IMO, and one of the better budget Z490 boards, with decent VRMs for solid cooling performance whether overclocking or not, and headroom for a future upgrade to a 10th gen i7 or i9 in future.

Like most modern motherboards, the MSI Z490-A Pro doesn't have built-in WiFi though, so if you want wireless capability in your PC I'd look at the MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Edge. You can also just get a PCIe WiFi adapter which slots onto the motherboard underneath the GPU, which is what many people do if their motherboard doesn't have WiFi. Just remember that wired LAN is better for online gaming, so if you buy a Ethernet cable there's no need for WiFi.




The Best Gaming PC Build Under $1500 (Q1 2021)

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X (6 Cores)
  • CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 (RGB Black Edition)
  • Motherboard: MSI B550-A Pro (ATX)
  • RAM: G.Skill Trident Z Neo RGB 16GB (2x8GB, 3600MHz, CL16)
  • Graphics Card: NVidia GeForce RTX 3070 (8GB GDDR6)
  • SSD: Sabrent Rocket 1TB SSD (M.2, PCIe NVMe)
  • Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA G3 750 (Fully Modular, 80+ Gold)
  • Case: Cooler Master MasterCase H500 (Mid Tower)

When you move up to a $1500 build budget and can afford to invest in a better CPU than both the R5 3600 and i5 10600K, the 5600X is the next logical step up in price and performance and delivers similar FPS to a Intel Core i9 10900K in most games (and for less money). Despite what you may hear from AMD fanatics, the 10900K or 10700K do still have their place when building a PC for gaming in 2021, as these chips have had price drops of late to compete with AMD's latest impressive Ryzen 5000 series. Intel still also perform marginally better in certain titles too.

However, the truth of the matter is that for the time being, AMD holds the gaming performance crown, and is the best option for most people. The Ryzen 5 5600X is easily the best upper-mid-range gaming CPU right now, and as mentioned hangs with the likes of the 10900K, even beating it in certain situations, making it an easy choice for the best $1500 PC build of this month.

The 5600X comes with a stock cooler which will work okay to keep the 5600X relatively cool if not overclocking, but whether you plan to overclock the 5600X or not I suggest getting a better cooler like the Hyper 212. It doesn't cost much and brings tangible benefits in cooling performance, noise reduction, and aesthetics over the stock cooler. If you want to get fancy, opt for a liquid cooler instead such as the good value MasterLiquid ML240L RGB V2, but stick with an air cooler if you don't care for looks and just want maximum bang for buck.

Related: Installing the Hyper 212 RGB Black on AMD Motherboards

The RTX 3070 also gets an easy recommendation seeing as it's the best graphics card you can fit in a sub 1500 dollar build, but as mentioned above it's going to be tough finding one available (and at a regular non-inflated price) until early 2021 at some stage. A 3070 isn't that much faster than a 3060 Ti, and you could argue the latter is the better buy for most people, especially if sticking to 1080p.

You've also got the RX 6800 to weigh up too, which costs a little more but is a tad faster. But all that said, right now it's more a matter of which GPU you can find in stock, rather than which is the best buy. Besides, it's a tough call between all of these cards and which is best for you totally depends on the specific resolution, game, and settings in question.

To pair with the 5600X, if you want to strategically use your money wisely, which I assume is the case if you're reading this guide in the first place, you want a good mid-range B550 motherboard - no need for a high-end motherboard, which is a common way beginner builders overspend on something they really don't need. Despite being the higher-end chipset, choosing a X570 isn't out of the question too, since there are some good value X570 boards that actually make better buys than some more expensive B550s.

The ASUS TUF Gaming X570-PLUS is a prime example, with a competitive price less than many B550 models, but the ASUS TUF Gaming B550-PLUS is also a good choice with similar quality and features, and with WiFi 6. The MSI B550-A Pro is a bit cheaper and not as good in terms of features, but still a fine board with everything most people need, and of enough quality (VRMs) to accommodate a Ryzen 7 or even Ryzen 9 in future.

Codename: RGB Jedi

Target Budget: < $1500 USD

Recommended Usage:

  • 1080p 144Hz (High/Ultra)
  • 1080p 240Hz (Low/Medium)
  • 1440p 144Hz (Medium)
  • 4K 60Hz (High)
  • VR 90Hz, 120Hz (High/Ultra)

Estimated Frame Rates:

1440p ULTRA SETTINGS
GAME AVERAGE FPS
Apex Legends 120 - 150
PUBG 110 - 140
GTA V 75 - 95
Escape From Tarkov 60 - 70
Red Dead Redemption 2 55 - 65
Assassin's Creed Valhalla 50 - 60
Cyberpunk 2077 (RTX Off) 50 - 60
Cyberpunk 2077 (RTX On) 40 - 50
Flight Simulator 2020 40 - 45

Note: When comparing FPS estimates between builds, remember this is for 1440p (not 1080p like the $1200 build).



Nice upgrade from the stock cooler

About BIOS Updates for New Builds Using a 5600X / 5800X / 5900X / 5950X

Keep in mind when buying a 500 series motherboard (B550 or X570), while at this stage in 2021 they should be shipped out with a firmware (BIOS) version that's recent enough to be able to boot-up with a new Ryzen 5000 CPU without you needing to first update the BIOS, there is a chance you get shipped older stock that has an older BIOS version that won't boot up with a new Ryzen 5000 CPU (meaning you need to do the update yourself before being able to turn on your PC).

This is easy to do if you choose B550 or X570 motherboards that have a BIOS flash button on the back, because in that case you only need a PSU and USB drive to do the update (whereas if your motherboard doesn't have this feature, you would need to use another AMD CPU in order to update the board, which not everyone will just have lying around).

This is why for now I primarily recommended boards that have this feature (BIOS flash button), just to be safe in case you get unlucky and receive older stock - at least until later into 2021 when the chances of getting a B550/X570 with an older BIOS version becomes near zero (chances are still slim right now, but it can happen depending on your exact region, where you buy, and your luck). 

If your PC won't boot with the 5600X, it means your BIOS needs to be updated; all you need to do is download the latest BIOS update for your particular board from the motherboard manufacturer's website (ie ASUS) onto a USB drive using another computer, connect your PSU to the motherboard, stick in the USB and push the button. See our full guide to updating your BIOS without a CPU for all steps.

Once again, you shouldn't have to do this as by now most B550 and X570 stock will already have a recent enough BIOS to be able to boot up first time with a 5600X or other 5000 series CPU (in which case you should still update the BIOS after booting up, which you can do from within the BIOS itself (or within Windows). If you're confused, see this article:

Do You Need a BIOS Update for Ryzen 5000?

Moving onto storage and at this point you can afford a very fast NVMe SSD like the reliable Sabrent Rocket or WD Black SN750, both highly recommended and will make for a blazing fast system in general that also cuts down on game load times. The standard recommendation of 16GB RAM remains, as 32GB is more a luxury for gaming and would hardly make any difference, though is recommended for hybrid gaming and video editing PC builds where going beyond 16GB can make a noticeable difference (or for other workstation builds like 3D dev systems). 

Put another way, for a system around 1500 dollars, instead of getting 32GB RAM you're better off putting that money towards your CPU or GPU, both of which provide more tangible performance returns on investment. You can also easily afford faster 3600MHz modules, which Ryzen CPUs will take advantage of over 3200MHz (just don't expect a huge difference).

To power a RTX 3070 build, NVidia's official requirement is 650w, but we recommend a 750 watt power supply to not only be on the safer side, but to give you headroom for future upgrades (and/or for overclocking). If you never plan to upgrade your GPU in future, you'll be fine with a 650w if you want to save cash, especially if it's a high-quality unit that provides a "true" 650 watts (lower quality PSUs may be misleading about how much wattage they can reliability provide your parts).

If you're wondering about PSU cables for a 3070, you can technically get away with a PSU that has a single 8pin PCIe cable, but ideally you want a PSU that has 2 8pin PCIe cables (but any good model will have this). Most RTX 3070 models have 2x 8pin connectors, and while you can technically just use one PSU PCIe cable to connect them both (PSU cables have multiple connectors daisy-chained on the same cable), for the best stability you want to use 2 separate PCIe cables to connect to the 2 8pin ports on the card. If you buy the 3070 Founder's Edition, it's different and has a 12pin connector instead, but it comes with a 12pin to 8pin adapter included so nothing to worry about.

Topping off our recommended $1500 gaming PC build for this month is the ever familiar MasterCase H500, one of Cooler Master's best gaming PC cases on the market that also provides decent value at its price point compared to other cases, and features standout 200mm RGB front fans which look awesome in action and along with the front mesh case design provide good airflow for your high-end PC. The H500 also comes with a pre-installed rear 120mm fan, meaning complete airflow out the box without needing to buy and install extra PC fans.

If you want more lighting inside the case to supplement the front RGB fans, the RGB RAM, and the Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition, get a 3-pack of RGB 120mm fans and use one to replace the stock exhaust fan and mount the other 2 on the top of the case. I wouldn't get a 3-pack of 140mm fans as the H500 only supports a rear 120mm fan (though you could buy 2x 140mm fans as the top of the case does support that size). 

If you get the MasterLiquid ML240L RGB V2 cooler, that'll also add to the light show; if getting that instead of an air cooler, I recommend installing it on top, and make sure to orient its fans as exhausts so they blow air out the top of the case. Also worth noting is that the tubes on this AiO isn't that long, meaning if you install it in the front of a case with the tubes on the bottom of the radiator (the optimal way to install an AiO as Gamer's Nexus explains here), the tubes may not reach in larger cases (so do your research if wanting to use the ML240L in a difference case).

Liquid value; a very decent AiO for the price



The Best Gaming PC Build Under $2000 (Q1 2021)

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X (6 Cores)
  • CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U12S chromax.black
  • Motherboard: ASUS TUF Gaming B550-PLUS WiFi (ATX, WiFi 6)
  • RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws V 16GB Black (2x8GB, 3600MHz, CL16)
  • Graphics Card: AMD Radeon RX 6800 (16GB GDDR6)
  • SSD: Sabrent Rocket 1TB SSD (M.2, PCIe NVMe)
  • HDD: Seagate Barracuda 2TB (7200RPM)
  • Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA G3 750 (Fully Modular, 80+ Gold)
  • Case: Fractal Design Meshify C (Mid Tower)
  • Extra Fans: 2 x Noctua NF-A14 PW 140mm Fan (Black)

The RX 6800 is a logical step up from the previous setup as it improves gaming performance slightly over the RTX 3070 (and costs a little more), but like any RTX 30 series card right now, it's unfortunately going to be as difficult finding in stock and/or exactly at MSRP until sometime in 2021. So if you want one sooner rather than later, you'll have to actively be on the hunt for one with hawk-eyed intensity and quicker trigger fingers than Astralis and Team Liquid combined.

The supremely capable new 5600X processor remains from the $1500 rig, and just like when paired with the RTX 3070 won't get in the way of the 6800 doing its thing. I mean, the 5600X gets near 10900K levels of gaming performance in most games, so you would actually be totally fine pairing it with a RTX 3080 even (and you would unlikely to encounter a CPU bottleneck).

Codename: Dark Sith

Target Budget: < $2000 USD

Recommended Usage:

  • 1080p 144Hz (High/Ultra)
  • 1080p 240Hz (Medium)
  • 1440p 144Hz (Medium)
  • 4K 60Hz (High)
  • VR 80Hz, 90Hz (Ultra)

Estimated Frame Rates:

As Above ($1500 Build) + 3-30 FPS

Don't be fooled by the fact it's a Ryzen 5 (ie AMD's mid-tier Ryzen line) - the 5600X is well and truly a high-end gaming CPU that destroys previous-gen Ryzen 7 and 9 chips when it comes to gaming performance. But for some more sobering news once more, like all recent graphics card releases, to find one in stock will take a little luck and/or some effort monitoring different stores frequently.

For a $2000 gaming PC build you can afford a slightly better cooler - hough no genuine need unless overclocking or wanting the lowest noise possible as even the super affordable Hyper 212 will handle a stock 5600X super well - as well as a secondary storage drive for a huge game library, a better high-airflow case, and some additional premium fans for maximum airflow for your heat-filled RX 6800 machine.

You can also fit in an even better mid-range motherboard like the recommended ASUS TUF Gaming B550-PLUS WiFi which is a relatively decent value option with WiFi 6, but you have a lot of good board choices in the $150 to $200 mark so also consider any of the B550 models recommended in the $3000 build (which also fall within this range). Just don't forget the read the note on BIOS updates for Ryzen 5000 explained in the $1500 build above (TLDR; there's a small chance you might need to update the BIOS before booting up your PC).

So if opting for 3200MHz saves you money, don't worry as it's still just fine for a higher-end system of this nature, and the FPS difference between 3200MHz and 3600MHz really isn't huge. RAM speeds make a bigger difference on the lower-end; the jump from 2133MHz to 3200MHz for instance is much more noticeable. Just don't forget to manually set your RAM speed in the BIOS; one of the necessary steps you need to do after building your PC if you're using anything faster than 2133MHz. The Meshify C has been an extremely popular choice among builders for its high-airflow, slick design and good build quality at a very reasonable price, and like most our recommended cases remains here yet again from the previous builds a couple months ago. The second version of this case has just released (Meshify 2, not to be confused with the Meshify S2), but it'll set you back a fair bit more and the original Meshify C remains a better value proposition.

Airflow of the Meshify C is decent out the box with its 2 included fans, but for optimal cooling of an extreme gaming build like this you ideally want to add another fan or two. Fitting a couple high-quality Noctua NF-A14 140mm fans in the front will do exactly that, as these are some of the best fans on the market. 140mm fans are also better than 120mm ones for the least noise (as they don't have to spin as fast in order to move the same amount of air as a 120mm). If you do get extra fans for the Meshify C as we suggest, I suggest putting 2 x 140mm fans in the front as mentioned, and move the front stock fan to the rear-top of the case (positioned as an exhaust so that it pushes air out the top of the case through the vents).

To keep the 5600X effectively cool and quiet the Noctua NH-U12S is a great choice, with a lower-profile design which makes it easier to install in the compact Mid-Tower that is the Meshify C. It's not a small case, but its more compact nature makes it difficult to work with if using a large cooler like the NH-D15. I've used the NH-D15 in the Meshify C and it was a very tight fit and hard to manage, so it's not a combo I can recommend to beginners or enthusiasts alike. You don't need a low-profile cooler for this case, and regular sized coolers are just fine, it's just you want a larger case for extra-large coolers like the NH-D15 or Dark Rock Pro 4.

Streaming to Twitch? See Our Streaming PC Build Guide Too

Adding 2 extra Noctua fans in the front of a white Meshify C



The Best Gaming PC Build Under $2500 (Q1 2021)

  • CPU: Intel Core i9-10850K (10 Cores)
  • CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black
  • Motherboard: Asus Z490-Plus TUF Gaming (ATX, WiFi 6)
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB Black (2x16GB, 3200MHz, CL16)
  • Graphics Card: NVidia GeForce RTX 3080 (10GB GDDR6X)
  • SSD: Western Digital Black SN750 1TB SSD (M.2, PCIe NVMe)
  • HDD: Seagate Barracuda 2TB (7200RPM)
  • Power Supply: Corsair RM750x (Fully Modular, 80+ Gold)
  • Case: Fractal Design Meshify S2 (Mid Tower)

Despite AMD and their impressive new Ryzen 5000 processors having now clinched the gaming performance crown from Intel for the time being - at least until the familiar flick Intel Strikes Back Round 10 Million releases in theaters come 2021 - due to recent price drops Intel is still an option to consider when building a gaming PC and does run slightly faster in certain titles. So, like with our 10600K build example, we still wanted to include an i9 build example for those who prefer team blue and want an idea of which parts we recommend for a high-end Intel gaming system. Just remember the 5600X is unquestionably the better value for most gamers. 

Instead of our previously recommended 10900K, this month we introduce the 10850K which is a "lite" cheaper version but extremely similar in performance; the difference in FPS between the 10850K and 10900K is so minimal, the former is a better buy if seeking maximum value. To tame this beast of a CPU - which can get real hot real fast - you'll need a serious cooling solution, even if running the 10850K at stock speeds. In terms of air coolers, which provide the best cooling performance for the price compared to liquid coolers, there's nothing more effective than the menacing, notorious Noctua NH-D15 (see our NH-D15 install guide here).

Noctua's flagship cooler is a beast, since the better the performance of an air cooler, the larger it's going to be, so you need to think through your component choices when using this monster as you need a case that fits it, a motherboard that won't have its top PCIe slot covered by it, and RAM modules that aren't too tall in height so that they clash (especially if having all 4 RAM slots occupied either now or in future). These same precautions apply for other large high end coolers like the Dark Rock Pro 4 (another great choice that's neck and neck with the NH-D15 as best air cooler on the market). 

If mixing and matching parts to use with this legendary cooler, check out the Noctua compatibility charts to confirm motherboard and case compatibility. For this $2500 build example, we've gone for a roomy case that has no issues with the NH-D15, as well as low-profile RAM that also won't get in the way if/when you have all 4 RAM slots populated. And as with any of our PC build templates, feel free to install a liquid AiO instead if you prefer, but also plan in advance in terms of choosing the right radiator size for your case (ie 240mm or 280mm, and also plan your fan setup). 

Codename: Tie Bomber

Target Budget: < $2500 USD

Recommended Usage:

  • 4K 60Hz (Ultra)
  • 4K 144Hz (Medium/High)
  • VR 90Hz, 120Hz (Ultra)
  • 1440p 144Hz (Ultra)
  • 1440p 240Hz (Medium/High)
  • 1080p 240Hz (Ultra)
  • 1080p 360Hz (Medium)

Estimated Frame Rates:

4K (ULTRA SETTINGS)
GAME AVERAGE FPS
Doom Eternal 150 - 180
Rainbow Six Siege 150 - 170
Death Stranding 80 - 100
Far Cry 5 80 - 100
Gears of War 5 70 - 80
Jedi: Fallen Order 60 - 70
Horizon Zero Dawn 60 - 70
Red Dead Redemption 2 45 - 60
Assassin's Creed Valhalla 45 - 55
Cyberpunk 2077 (RTX Off) 40 - 60
Cyberpunk 2077 (RTX On) 30 - 45
Flight Simulator 2020 30 - 40

And of course, that brings us to the mighty NVidia GeForce RTX 3080, which unless you've been chilling under a sizeable rock this past month you'll know is one of the best gaming GPUs to hit the market in a long time (3090 doesn't count as its price vs performance is way off).

The RX 6800 XT is also impressive, and kudos to AMD for bringing the fight to NVidia in the high-end GPU market for the first time in forever. The 6800 XT is actually the superior choice for 1080p or 1440p, as it generally performs better at lower resolutions than the 3080, but if 4K gaming is your thing (whether 4K 60Hz or even 4K 144Hz, the latter of which a 3080 has made possible for the first time in history), NVidia wins fair and square as you'll see in most 4K benchmarks.

See Also: The Best 4K 144Hz Gaming Monitors

With a little lot of luck, scoring a 3080 is possible. Whatever you do, don't give in to sky-high scalpers. Patience, Padawan

I also recommend the RTX 3080 over the 6800 XT if building a VR gaming PC due to generally better VR performance and driver support, if building a gaming and streaming PC as NVidia cards have the best built-in hardware encoders (for live streaming to Twitch), or if you care about ray tracing in RTX-enabled titles like Cyberpunk 2077 or Minecraft. If you don't care about these things, it's a tough call, with the choice between a 3080 vs 6800 XT mainly coming down to the resolution of your monitor as I said before. Overall, you can't go wrong with either card; they're both beasts with more FPS firepower than most people will ever need, and both obliterate the previous generation NVidia and AMD cards. But when it comes down to pulling the trigger on a build, based on the current GPU market it's really more a matter of which you can find in stock, rather than which is best.

As for which specific RTX 3080 graphics card model to buy, the Founder's Edition is great and all with a good cooling solution, but is super exclusive. Third-party cards have better coolers anyway, and some are factory-overclocked to be a little faster than the base FE model. Check reviews on specific models if concerned about certain things like noise levels, OC levels, aesthetics, and so on, but it'll be hard to find a "bad" 3080 out there and all reviews I've seen so far are positive, with no models that stand out in a bad way to be avoided. Just like with choosing an AMD or NVidia card for your next build, choosing a specific model is a luxury afforded to no living breathing human (only bots serving their scalping masters).

Getting any 3080 during the current low supply state of doom that the GPU market finds itself in? That's a job well done, assuming you didn't overpay too much over MSRP. Do what you want with your money, but I wouldn't encourage aggressive scalpers (even if you can afford it). People selling GPUs a little over MSRP is okay due to the current state of the market, but there's a line and many unfortunately cross it. As mentioned with the RTX 3070 build, most RTX 3080 models will have 2 8pin connectors, and for maximum stability make sure to use two separate PCIe cables coming from your power supply to connect them (instead of using just one daisy-chained PCIe cable).

Rounding out the current best gaming PC build under $2500 (IMO, that is), the Asus Z490-Plus TUF Gaming gets the go ahead as it's one of the best value WiFi-ready Z490 models, with the quality to handle an 10850K or 10900K even if overclocked, and we step up to 32GB of RAM too since it does make sense at this price point to leave nothing to chance in terms of maximizing every ounce of gaming performance.

Related: How to Choose a GPU (Specs Explained)

Besides, when building a 2.5K rig, chances are you'll also be using your PC for heavy multitasking or non-gaming apps, where a huge 32GB of RAM can make a difference. Oh, and 3200MHz is absolutely fine for Intel, which doesn't take advantage of faster RAM as much as AMD CPUs do, though if you don't care for maximum value then feel free to go higher (ie 3600MHz).

The same top-notch 750w PSU remains from the $2000 build, which is plenty for a no-compromises RTX 3080 build even if overclocking, and last but not least is another top case from Fractal Design. The Meshify S2 - not to be confused with the new Meshify 2 - is a larger, longer version of the classic Meshify C for great airflow, ease of installation using any configuration, and near unlimited future flexibility. It comes equipped with 3 good 140mm fans, so no need to buy more unless wanting to get your RGB on.

Installing the 3080 Eagle for a lucky local where I live



The Best Gaming PC Build Under $3000 (Q1 2021)

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X (12 Cores)
  • CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black
  • Motherboard: MSI B550 Tomahawk (ATX)
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB (2x16GB, 3600MHz, CL18)
  • Graphics Card: NVidia GeForce RTX 3080 (10GB GDDR6X)
  • SSD: Samsung 970 Evo 1TB SSD (M.2, PCIe NVMe)
  • HDD: Western Digital Black 2TB (7200RPM)
  • Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA G3 850 (Fully Modular, 80+ Gold)
  • Case: Phanteks Eclipse P600S (Mid Tower)

We'll keep this one short and sweet otherwise this build guide will be nominated for longest article of all time in the Guinness World Records. The next logical step up from the $2500 rig is to include the newly crowned, single best gaming CPU on the market right now. Yup, AMD really did it with this latest Ryzen 5000 series, and the 5900X is now the undisputed king, taking the crown previously held by the 10900K - at least until Intel inevitably strikes back in 2021, likely clinching back the gaming performance crown once more (at least until AMD returns fire again and the endless cycle continues).

Codename: Star Destroyer

Target Budget: < $3000 USD

Recommended Usage:

  • 4K 60Hz (Ultra)
  • 4K 144Hz (Medium/High)
  • VR 90Hz, 120Hz (Ultra)
  • 1440p 144Hz (Ultra)
  • 1440p 240Hz (Medium/High)
  • 1080p 240Hz (Ultra)
  • 1080p 360Hz (Medium)

Estimated Frame Rates:

As Above ($2500 Build) + 5-25 FPS

In other words, if you want to choose the fastest gaming CPU on the market right now, the 5900X is the clear winner and will net you the highest FPS overall. The NH-D15 will effectively keep a 5900X running optimally whether overclocking or not, but if you're thirsting for some water the NZXT Kraken X63 or EVGA CLC 280mm are two of the best liquid AiO coolers you can get. Just keep in mind you shouldn't buy a liquid cooler over an air cooler solely for performance reasons alone; it's more an aesthetic preference, as premium air coolers perform roughly on par with a water setup (and both can be super quiet). 

The RTX 3080 also remains, as you'd have to make far too many sacrifices to squeeze a RTX 3090 in a $3000 budget, though you can afford a premium model like the EVGA FTW3 or Rog Strix which offer slightly higher clock speeds, cooling, and designs compared to cheaper 3080 options. Besides, it's hard to recommend a 3090 over a 3080, as the price vs performance between the two cards is a no-contest first round knockout for the 3080. A 3080 is all the power that literally 98% of gamers will ever want or need.

As for choosing the best motherboard for a 5900X build, at this price point you can afford an excellent B550 or X570 - either will do and it's more about comparing the merits of a particular board versus another, rather than simply choosing between the B550 or X570 chipset. The B550 Tomahawk and B550 Steel Legend are equally priced and equally as impressive in feature sets, quality, and design, but unless you know what you're doing, for now I would stick with the Tomahawk for its BIOS flash button feature. 

As explained in the $1500 5600X build (please read), before being able to boot up with the 5900X there's a (small but possible) chance you'll need to first update the BIOS of your B550 or X570 motherboard yourself before being able to boot up with a new Ryzen 5000 CPU, and boards with a BIOS flash button feature makes this easy and possible to do without needing to have another CPU on hand.

For memory, since Ryzen processors take advantage of faster memory (at least more so than Intel in general), at this type of budget you ideally want 3600Hz sticks to maximize FPS and general system performance. 3200MHz is not the end of the world if you want to save a bit of money though (or find a deal), and is still a relatively fast speed all things considered that won't make a huge difference in performance at this level anyway.

Last but not least, there's a plethora of good high-end PC cases you could use, but the P600S makes my shortlist as one of the best all-round options right now due to its impressive simultaneous soundproof and airflow-focused design, generous space to easily accommodate any upgrade imaginable, slick but not over-the-top look, and excellent performance out the box with three good quality 140mm Phanteks fans pre-installed (2 front, 1 rear) to keep this powerful Ryzen 9 + RTX 3080 build under control. It comes in various colors too, all of which are recommended.

See Also: How to Install the Noctua NH-D15

The air cooler to end all air coolers



The Best Gaming PC Build Under $4000 (Q1 2021)

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X (16 Cores)
  • CPU Cooler: Corsair H115i RGB Platinum Black (Liquid AiO)
  • Motherboard: ASUS TUF Gaming X570-PRO (ATX, WiFi 6)
  • RAM: G.Skill Trident Z Neo RGB 64GB (4x16GB, 3600MHz, CL16)
  • Graphics Card: NVidia GeForce RTX 3090 (24GB GDDR6X)
  • SSD: Samsung 970 Pro 1TB SSD (M.2, PCIe NVME)
  • HDD: Western Digital Black 4TB (7200RPM)
  • Power Supply: Corsair HX 1000 (Fully Modular, 80+ Platinum)
  • Case: Corsair 680X (Mid Tower)
  • Extra Fans: Corsair LL120 RGB Fans (3 Pack)

They say RGB boosts FPS, and building a $4000 extreme gaming PC like this won't let you down in that regard. If you're fortunate or hard-working enough to be throwing such a ludicrous lump of cash on a gaming system, this zero-compromises parts-list of near perfection is one way to go about it to strategically assemble the absolute machine of machines that ticks all the boxes including the fastest gaming performance possible (excluding dual GPU SLI builds, which NVidia has all but killed off based on their recent announcement to end SLI support for future games), optimal cooling and airflow, near-limitless future upgrade flexibility, premium dual storage, cream of the crop component reliability, and of course some pretty killer aesthetics including RGB, more RGB, and some extra RGB (with RGB, too).

The RGB Death Star is the ultimate overkill weapon obliterating any game in its path - at any resolution. Well, except 8K, which it will struggle with despite the 3090 being partly marketed as an 8K gaming card, especially in demanding games like Cyberpunk (to nobody's surprise). But a 3090 will run lesser demanding titles in 8K glory quite well if you're the futurist type willing to invest an insane amount on such a cutting-edge monitor or gaming TV. But back to matters of Earth and practicality, and for most of you who will be pairing a system like this with a 4K 60Hz/144Hz or 1440p 144Hz/240Hz monitor (or even a 1080p 240Hz/360Hz if gaming competitively), a 5950X and RTX 3090 will deliver the highest frame rates possible with current hardware.

For virtual reality gamers, a RTX 3090 is obviously also the pinnacle of performance in that realm, and while the RTX 3080 is more than enough to handle any current VR game on maxed settings, with the extra pixel power of a 3090 you'll have the luxury to further crank up SS (Super Sampling) which improves visual fidelity and increases immersion. Plus, it'll leave nothing to chance for lucky Valve Index owners wanting to take full advantage of that headset's unique 120Hz and 144Hz modes without sacrificing much (if anything) in terms of visual settings.

Codename: RGB Death Star

Target Budget: < $4000 USD

Recommended Usage:

  • 4K 60Hz (Ultra)
  • 4K 144Hz (High/Ultra)
  • VR 90Hz, 120Hz, 144Hz (Ultra)
  • 1440p 240Hz (High/Ultra)
  • 1080p 360Hz (Medium/High)
  • 8K 60Hz (Medium/High)

Estimated Frame Rates

4K (ULTRA SETTINGS)
GAME AVERAGE FPS
Doom Eternal 180 - 200
Rainbow Six Siege 180 - 200
Death Stranding 100 - 120
Jedi: Fallen Order 75 - 85
Horizon Zero Dawn 70 - 80
Red Dead Redemption 2 65 - 75
Assassin's Creed Valhalla 60 - 65
Cyberpunk 2077 (RTX Off) 55 - 75
Cyberpunk 2077 (RTX On) 40 - 60
Flight Simulator 2020 40 - 50

But as good as the 3090 is, is it worth the significantly higher cost over the 3080? I like sleeping at night, so the answer is of course a strong no, but if you are in the position to be building such an extreme PC and want the best of the best (at the expense of price vs performance where the 3080 and also the RX 6800 XT win fair and square), the 3090 is the best gaming GPU money can buy. As for power requirements for this beast of a GPU, a good quality 850 watt power supply is plenty, but for a ton of headroom for future upgrades and/or overclocking, I would get a 1000w unit or larger, and ideally get a Platinum-rated model for the best in efficiency. Like the 3080 and 3070 launches, the 3090 sold out almost instantly too and will also be tough to get before 2021 though.

See Also: Choosing Your First PC VR Headset

Just note on the CPU that the 5950X isn't recommended over the 5900X if you're mostly just gaming, as the former delivers identical (or near identical) performance from the gaming benchmarks I've seen from testers and reviewers (16 cores makes no difference in games compared to 12 cores). But if you're building a $4000 PC, chances are you're also running other non-gaming demanding applications, hence the inclusion of the 5950X for this build example as it does fit in this target budget and does help slightly in demanding work applications. But again, if you don't use your PC for work, save your money and stick to the 5900X. Same goes for the 64GB RAM recommendation; unless you're doing stuff like heavy multitasking, video editing, live game streaming, content creation, and so on, save your money and stick with 32GB which is more than enough to completely maximize gaming performance in any situation (even VR).

To the case to house your precious, powerful components in style, the Corsair 680X is a showpiece that has good airflow out the box with 3 pre-installed Corsair LL120 RGB fans in the front, and 1 non-RGB Corsair 120mm pre-installed in the back. This fan setup is fine as-is, so adding more fans is unnecessary and would only be for aesthetic purposes or if you're an extremely picky enthusiast. If you want even more RGB than this build already provides, a 3 pack of black Corsair LL120 RGB fans is a great choice (or white ones if getting the white 680X or another white case) as these are the same fans as the 3 pre-installed front fans of the 680X (and similar to the H100i RGB Platinum's fans but slightly different).

You can use 1 to replace the rear stock fan, making sure to position it as an exhaust (air blowing out the back). Mount the other 2 to the bottom of the case as intake fans to suck air in through the bottom vents of the case (and blow it upwards into the case). Alternatively, you can position the 2 bottom fans to exhaust (blowing air out the bottom) which actually looks a bit better at the cost of a fraction less airflow performance. This is due to the design of the LL120 RGB fans, as the full RGB ring is visible only on one side (with the other side still showing RGB just fine, just without the full effect). The choice between these 2 installation methods will depend on your preference; slightly better airflow/temps, or slightly better aesthetics. That wraps up our best $4000 gaming PC build of the month, so let's now get into everything else you need to know to build your dream gaming PC.






Software, Accessories, & Installation


Recommended Operating System

Choosing an operating system for a new gaming PC build comes down to either Microsoft Windows (latest edition is 10) or some variant of Linux (such as Ubuntu or Manjaro just to name a couple). If you're new or unsure, just stick to Windows. Specifically, Windows 10 Home is fine for the majority of people, and you'd only need Windows 10 Pro if you're building a professional workstation PC (and you actually know that you would use its extra features). 

While Linux is free and can offer more control and security features, it's a more advanced OS that takes a while to learn and get used to, and it also has less support overall for gaming compared to Windows (but it's always getting better). If you're interested, check out these good resources on learning Linux: 123).

To get Windows 10 for a new gaming PC build you have 3 options:


1) Download Windows Onto a USB Drive (For Free), Then Buy/Activate Later

This is the cheapest way to get Windows 10 up and running on your new PC build as you don't have to buy a Windows 10 license/key straight away. You can do this for free and then buy a key later when you have perhaps saved up more money, and until then your PC will still be 100% functional without any limitations. The only downside is you'll see a watermark image in the bottom right of your screen reminding you to upgrade (watermark disappears when gaming).

All you need is an empty USB flash drive that's 8GB or bigger (like this) and access to another desktop or laptop to download Windows onto the USB. Here's how you do it:

  1. Clear all data on the USB drive by formatting it (it must be blank). Do this even if it's brand new.

  2. Go here to download the Windows 10 installer to your computer, then follow the steps on that same page under the heading "Using the tool to create installation media". Both of these things can take a while (up to a few hours depending on your internet connection).

  3. When you've finished installing all your PC parts and you've also set your RAM speed within the motherboard BIOS (explained in what to do after building a PC), insert the USB drive into a USB 2/3 port (depending on type of USB drive) on either the front or rear of your new PC build.

  4. Reset the computer and the Windows installation should automatically begin on-screen. If it doesn't, re-enter your motherboard BIOS and set the boot priority order so that the USB drive is showing up first in the queue, and then exit the BIOS making sure that it also saves your changes. The Windows installation should begin once the system restarts, otherwise keep retrying this process by tinkering with the boot queue within the BIOS as mentioned until it works, or try a different USB port.

  5. Follow the steps on-screen to install Windows, and click "I don't have a product key" or something similar when that options appears. Full photo steps for every aspect of this is included in my extended eBook manual for DIY beginners, but to be honest it's not hard to figure out on your own unless you're completely not tech-savvy and have never used a Windows PC before (in which case I can comfortably recommend the manual for detailed guidance on every aspect of building, owning, and maintaining a PC for the first time). Oh and as for the Windows privacy settings screen - which can be confusing as to which to select or not - I personally turn them all off. Read them through and make your own decision, but if you don't understand what one of them means I would default to turning them off (I personally don't like to enable something if I don't understand what it is).

  6. If you're wondering, no you don't need to connect to the internet to finish the installation, nor do you need to sign into a Microsoft account. But once Windows is installed you do want to connect to the internet to first update Windows (search and click on "search for updates" from the main search bar in the bottom left of the Windows desktop screen), and then to download driver software for your motherboard and GPU (and also for a wireless adapter if you installed one). I cover all this over in this article.

  7. In your own time, buy a product key from the Microsoft Store, from Amazon (Home or Pro), or from somewhere else (but make sure it's a legit key).

2) Buy Windows 10 Physical Copy (USB or DVD)

Instead of downloading Windows onto a USB drive explained above, you could just buy the official USB or DVD version either online or in a physical store. You simply insert the USB or DVD when you've finished building your PC (and finished BIOS setup).

The DVD version (available at Amazon, and B&H) is usually cheaper than the USB flash drive version, so get that if you're including a DVD drive for your PC build (and don't forget to ensure your case has a 5.25" drive bay as not all do). But if you're not including a DVD drive in your build (which will actually be most people these days since physical media is fast becoming ancient), get the USB version (available at Amazon, B&H, and BestBuy

Consider Windows 10 Pro instead of Home if you're building a hybrid gaming and workstation PC for professional use if you need its advanced features like BitLocker, remote desktop, and domain join. If you don't know whether you need Windows 10 Pro or Home, chances are you're not going to benefit from Pro (so just stick with Home to save money). You can also find Pro on Amazon (DVD or USB), B&H (DVD or USB), or BestBuy (USB).


3) Reuse Your Previous Copy of Windows

If you already have Windows on another PC and it's a full retail version that's eligible to be reused on another system, this is the way. See our reusing PC parts guide for more details on this, but I can pretty safely say that if your previous PC was a prebuilt one (and not a custom built one by either you or someone else), then chances are you won't be able to reuse Windows as it's likely tied to that single machine.


Recommended Applications for a New Gaming/Workstation PC

You don't want to immediately bloat your fresh new PC build with a ton of software, but there are some key programs that will make your gaming PC more secure, useful, and/or fun. I'm talking anti-virus and malware software (crucial if you use your PC for important work), hardware monitoring and benchmarking programs (ie to conveniently check system temperatures/stats, show FPS on-screen when gaming to see how your build is performing, stress-test your CPU and GPU, and so on), and VPN software if you want to further secure your PC when online.

For vetted recommendations for all of these things and more (including the best places to actually buy PC games), see our continually updated list of recommended applications for gaming/workstation PCs:


Recommended PC Gaming Accessories

If you want our recommendations for these, including our trademark beginner-friendly tips and tricks to being a savvier shopper along the way, see our accessory buying guides:

  • Recommended PC Gaming Headsets (medium quality sound + mics included)

Recommended Networking Accessories

Last but not least, if you choose a motherboard that doesn't have built-in wireless, you can still get wireless functionality (for WiFi) by buying a wireless adapter. These come in either USB or PCIe models; the latter is usually best for signal strength and range, but make sure you have a spare PCIe slot on your motherboard to accommodate it (most boards will) and that your graphics card doesn't cover that extra slot (if it's a huge GPU with a smaller board for instance). You'll also want a good router if you'll be gaming online via wireless, but remember that wired Ethernet is best for online gaming so your best bet for fast, uninterrupted online sessions is to just plug your PC straight into your router or modem using an Ethernet cable (if you don't have a cable you can buy one for cheap almost anywhere).


Building Your Gaming Computer

Required Tools:

  • Phillips-head screwdriver size #2 (medium head) like this or this. Ones with a magnetic tip such as these ones are handy to avoid dropping screws into the deep dark depths of your case.

  • Phillips-head screwdriver size #1 (small head) like this, this - but only if installing a M.2 SSD as the screw used to secure M.2 drives to the motherboard are smaller than all other computer screws.

Optional Tools:

  • Anti-static wrist strap like this one or this one if you want to be extra safe (but you can instead simply periodically touch a metal object before handling components).

  • Flashlight or directional lamp to see inside your case better if your room lighting is poor, which may come in handy when trying to connect cables to the motherboard (or just use your phone's flashlight).

  • Cable/zip ties and scissors (however most cases comes with zip ties already).

  • Full PC toolkit if you want to get fancy and be prepared for anything both now and in future (see recommendations in our computer tools guide). Or just get a basic screwdriver kit like this one and call it a day (most builds don't need anything other than screwdrivers).

For your first gaming PC build, you will need a full walkthrough/tutorial to follow; manuals that come with hardware components don't contain detailed instructions or explanations that you probably need as a beginner (though don't throw them out as you will need to refer to them during installation; especially the motherboard and case manuals). To learn how to put together your first PC, it boils down to either following a written or video tutorial:

Option A: Written Tutorial (Most Detail)

Our complete photo guide to assemble a PC was carefully crafted with complete beginners in mind and includes all the little important details you need to know as a first-timer, including photos from multiple builds (one Intel, one AMD), along with diagrams throughout to help illustrate certain steps. Our tutorial has been fine-tuned over multiple years to be as easy to follow (yet detailed) as possible so that no noob gets left behind - even if you're a complete beginner who's never seen the inside of a PC before.

Option B: Video Tutorial (Quicker)

Linus's POV build guide. While a YouTube video doesn't provide as much in-depth guidance and instruction as a written guide, and generally moves through the steps quite quickly while missing certain little details that could be important to understand as a beginner, in conjunction with using other guides it may be enough for you to build your first PC (especially if you're a little more tech savvy and understand the basics of computers).

Reminder: No matter how you learn to build your PC, don't forget you need to manually set your RAM speed (such as 3200MHz). All DDR4 memory modules are automatically set to 2133MHz or 2400MHz, so if your RAM is faster than that (99% of you) you need to manually set the speed in the BIOS (by first enabling "XMP"). See what to do after building a PC for more.

Scared to Build Your Own PC?

If it's your first time building a gaming PC, stress less as it really isn't anything to be overwhelmed or scared by if you simply take your time and follow basic safety precautions. If you're afraid because you perhaps don't consider yourself tech-savvy, transform that fear into excitement because it's actually quite hard to go too wrong if you take it slow one step at a time, and if you get stuck, everything is "figureoutable" with a few internet searches or posting in a helpful community like r/BuildAPC (or commenting on one of our articles; I try my best to reply to every comment).

If you've heard the saying that building a PC is essentially adult Lego, that's no exaggeration, as it really is just a matter of plugging things in, connecting things, screwing a few things in here or there, tidying and tying cables, and so on. Far from rocket science, especially if you stick to a typical gaming build such as the ones above which don't have any overly complicated installations (I avoid recommending parts that aren't that beginner-friendly). 

Sure - building a PC takes a little patience, and your first go will likely span a good few hours minimum (sometimes a whole day), but it's well worth it to not only get the fastest gaming PC for your money but to become way more self-sufficient and prepared to handle upgrades, to troubleshoot and overcome potential problems in future (not to mention reaping all the other benefits of building your own PC).

No Time to Build a PC?

No hard feelings, friend. Buying a premade desktop isn't the end of the world if you don't mind paying a bit more for the convenience of having a pre-assembled system that's ready to go, and if you don't mind the various downsides to prebuilt PCs such as companies typically using cheaper parts (to increase their profits).

If going this route, make sure to do your homework to find a respectable model from a reputable company that's not a complete rip off - surprisingly hard to do once you've opened your eyes and gained a little knowledge about building PCs, but definitely possible. If you want my opinion, see the best prebuilt gaming PCs for the money for hand-picked, vetted recommendations for desktops that (hopefully) won't blow up within the week.






Builds FAQ

Can I mix and match parts from different builds?

Of course; customizing parts for your exact usage and aesthetic preferences is part of the fun. This best gaming PC builds series is simply my own opinion on what I would personally buy if building a PC at a certain budget based on the current market. Just don't forget to always check compatibility between all of your parts when changing things around, and don't just rely on auto tools like PCPP which don't check for absolutely everything and can make the occasional mistake (though it's generally quite accurate and I'm a fan). If you need help or a second opinion on your parts-list, feel free to ask in the comments.

Why isn't Windows included in the build prices?

Because there are various ways to get Windows for a new gaming PC build. For example, some will already have a (legal) copy of Windows they can reuse from a previous PC, some people will use Linux (which is free but more complicated), and some people will download Windows onto USB using another computer and install it for free on the new build (and then buy an activation key later in their own time). So for simplicity, the above builds just focus on the core parts.

Why aren't accessories included in the build prices?

Choosing accessories such as a monitor, keyboard, mouse and headset comes down to personal preference a lot more than when buying hardware (which is more based on objective data/facts of what performs best), and like the OS, many people will reuse PC parts for a new build too. For specific accessory recommendations, see our main menu.

Should I wait for part X to release before building?

An age-old question that comes down to various factors, including whether you just want to build now or are not in a rush for a new system and are willing to play the waiting game if there is something coming up that could be worth holding out for. The hardware game is a fast moving one with new parts always seemingly (and sometimes actually) just around the corner, either real soon or in the not too distant future.

But if you wait for all new releases before building your computer you'll be waiting forever. However, not all new releases are created equal, so it does depend on your particular build and the particular part you may be waiting for. Some might be worth the wait, others not so much. Also keep in mind that if do hold out for a new part, it may not be the best overall value for money once released, and previous generation parts might drop enough following a new series launch to actually be the better buy overall even after that new part is released.

Do the builds have WiFi capability?

Most modern motherboards don't actually come with built-in WiFi, so if you want wireless internet access for your new desktop you can either buy an external USB or internal PCIe adapter or choose a motherboard that does have WiFi. If the recommended motherboard we suggest for a certain build doesn't have WiFi, in that build's guide we typically mention a secondary motherboard choice that does have WiFi.

How Do You Decide On the "Best" Builds?

When building your own PC, when planning a parts list you have near-limitless combinations to choose from. So how on Coruscant do I begin to narrow the entire hardware market to the absolute best picks to publish on this page each quarter/month? It's not easy, but there is careful strategy behind these recommendations, with an aim of getting as close as possible to what the objectively-best value part combinations are right now for gamers who not only want the fastest gaming performance for the money but that also want a quality, reliable, awesome looking system that's built to last (and that is also flexible for future upgrades).

Countless hours of ongoing research goes into each iteration of this guide, which includes considering the thoughts of the most credible, trustworthy reviewers and testers in the industry, studying many detailed benchmarks and comparisons, as well as blending in my own subjective opinion based on many years of carefully analyzing the hardware market for both work and play. When hand-picking and selecting the parts I take into account everything that makes for a good custom PC build including: 

  • Only recommending high quality, reliable components from top brands and manufacturers
  • Ensuring full compatibility between all parts and manually checking what auto tools like PCPP can't check (ie RAM/cooler clearance among other things)
  • Allowing plenty of future flexibility for easy upgrades down the line, including enough wattage (PSU) to accommodate a more powerful GPU later on
  • Ensuring adequate - and ideally optimal - airflow for each parts-list to keep your PC running cool
  • Designing part lists that will look great with universally attractive parts and matching colors/themes wherever possible (all the builds look great; no eyesores here)
  • Favoring beginner-friendly components for a hassle-free, easy install if building your first PC

All that said, the nature of anything "DIY" obviously implies you should do your own research to ensure you choose the right parts for any particular wants and needs that you have, and so despite these being the greatest gaming PC builds in the known galaxy you shouldn't just take my word for it, especially when it comes to a large and (hopefully) long-lasting purchase like a new gaming desktop.

Though a lot of time and ongoing effort does go into giving the best, most accurate, nuanced, well thought-out recommendations possible, and these example PC builds are not just haphazardly hashed together at random overnight. So if you're after a solid "safe bet" parts-list to buy or to use as a base for your research, I'm confident you may find these build templates to be somewhat helpful in your ongoing research. Thanks for reading and good luck with your setup!






Share Your 2 Cents

Hope this guide helped, and if you have any feedback or need help then let me know in the comments. GG.







Trusted Stores

The top retailers I recommend for tech.

USA: Amazon US / BestBuy / B&H

Canada: Amazon CA

UK: Amazon UK / Overclockers

Australia: Amazon AU / PLE / Scorptec

Germany: Amazon DE

Affiliate Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. 

If you click through to a store using our links and buy something, if that store offers an affiliate program, we may earn a small commission on those purchases (at no extra cost to you).


Trusted VPN

In the increasingly digital age, cybersecurity is crucial, and installing a VPN is one easy way to improve the security and privacy of your PC. NordVPN is the one I use and recommend. For more on VPNs and other good options, see our guide to gaming PC software.


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About Me

Indie game dev currently working on my dream game, an atmospheric VR FPS adventure powered by Unreal Engine, who also likes writing about hardware and gaming in general. Favs of all time are OOT, Perfect Dark, MGS1, MGS2, GE007, DKC2, THPS3, WC3, HL1, HL2, with the most recent addition to my list of immortals being the VR masterpiece that is Half Life Alyx. To keep in touch check back to the blog for my latest articles or see BGC on FB, and for anyone also into the VR FPS scene I'll be sharing the first screenshots of my upcoming VR game on Twitter soon. - Julz