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Plan the Best $600 Gaming PC Build (Q2 2019)

Strategic Hardware Guide to Building the Best Mid Range PC for 1080p Gaming


With smart component choices building a gaming PC under/around 600 dollars allows for very good 1080p performance




Last Updated: Apr 28, 2019

Want to build the best value 1080p gaming PC in mid 2019? This is the PC build guide for you. Improving on our current recommended $500 budget gaming PC build, the following mid range gaming PC build (as in, mid-range for 1080p) is similar but steps things up where it matters most as a gamer and includes a faster processor and graphics card to crank out more frames in 1080p which allows you to run higher graphics settings - besides also making for a more future-proof system so you can get 60FPS on high/ultra settings for longer.

If you're sticking to 1080p gaming on a 60-75Hz monitor, which is still the most common PC gaming resolution, building a custom computer of this calibre is really all the power you would need, as the Intel i3-8100 processor and RX 580 8GB graphics card recommended in this latest Q2 2019 mid-range gaming PC is a formidable combination for 1080p performance now and for the next few years. For 1080p 60Hz gaming, spending more on your core parts-list would only be necessary if you want to absolutely guarantee a consistent 60FPS on maximum/ultra graphics quality settings in every single demanding AAA game over the next few years. 

For example, our $800 GTX 1660 Ti gaming PC build gives you that additional graphical firepower to guarantee that perfectionist level of performance (as well as being more future-proof), but this $600 mid-range gaming PC build will achieve 60FPS in the majority of titles on the market today though (yes, on ultra settings) so you could argue the below parts-list is the better overall value for 1080p assuming you're like most gamers who are looking to save as much money as possible.

As with all our recommended custom gaming desktop builds, this $600 parts-list is a shining example of just why building a computer is so much better than buying a prebuilt system if you're the type of gamer who wants to get the fastest, longest-lasting performance for your money. You'll be hard-pressed finding a pre-built gaming desktop computer with the same gaming grunt, overall flexibility, and component quality than this sample $600 custom PC.

Alright, let's tone down the excitement for now and get real practical with the full details of this killer mid-range 1080p build and exactly why each carefully-considered component made the cut, including good alternative parts for those wanting help tweaking this setup for your exact wants and needs. Enjoy the guide and we hope it helps you in planning the very best gaming PC build for $600 for an awesome 1080p experience.





Full Parts-List & Specs Cheatsheet



Best $600 Gaming PC Build (Q2 2019)

Check Price
Graphics Card: XFX Radeon RX 580 8GB GTS XXX OC

OR

Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 580 8GB OC




CPU: Intel Core i3 8100 (8th Gen, 3.60 GHz, Quad Core)
CPU Cooler: Stock (comes with CPU) -
Motherboard: Gigabyte B360M DS3H (Micro ATX, USB 3.1, 4xDDR4 Slots)
RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB (DDR4, 2 x 4GB, 2400 MHz)
SSD (main drive): Kingston A400 240GB (2.5", SATA 3)
HDD (secondary drive): Western Digital Blue 1TB (7200 RPM, 64MB Cache)
Power Supply: EVGA 500 BT (80+ Bronze, 500W)
Case: Cooler Master Masterbox Pro 5 RGB Mid Tower

OR

NZXT H500 Mid Tower





Estimated Total:

$610 - $630 (US Dollars)




(Adds All Top Picks to Your Amazon Cart in One Go)



Notable Build Features (for top picks above)

Estimated Wattage Up to 275W
RAM Slots 4 (2 slots free)
Max RAM Support 64GB
CPU Overclockable? No
Built-in WiFi? No (buy USB wireless desktop adaptor)
Hard Drives Supported 6x SATA Drives, 1x m.2 SSD
VR-Ready? Yes (an entry-level VR PC build though)
Front Panel USB Ports 2 x USB 3.0
Optical Drive Support? No
Multi-Monitor Support Yes
Case Fans Included: 3 x 120mm RGB Fans (Front) + 1 x 120mm (Rear)

Extra Fan Mounts: 0 (Max of 4)
Max GPU/PCI-E Card Length 410mm
Max CPU Cooler Height 167mm
AMD CrossFire Support No
NVidia SLI Support No
Full Motherboard & Case Specs Gigabyte B360M DS3H  |  MasterBox Pro 5 RGB






Performance & 1080p Ultra Benchmarks


Below are aggregated benchmarks based on a cumulative analysis of various online sources. In other words, we've done the painstaking research to give an accurate estimate of what FPS (frame rate) you can expect from the parts of the $600 gaming PC build in various AAA titles on maximum/ultra settings in full HD (1080p) resolution.



Performance Overview by Resolution:


1080p (60-75Hz):

1080p (144Hz):

1440p (60-75Hz):

4K (60-75Hz):

Virtual Reality:

GREAT!

AVERAGE

GOOD

POOR

ENTRY-LEVEL



Estimated Frame Rate for 1080p ULTRA/MAXED

(i3-8100, RX 580 8GB, 2x4GB DDR4 2400MHz)

GAME AVERAGE FPS
Fortnite 90 - 110 FPS
PUBG 60 - 80 FPS
Overwatch 120 - 140 FPS
CSGO 200 - 250 FPS
DOTA 2 140 - 160 FPS
GTA V 80 - 100 FPS
AS Origins 55 - 75 FPS
Battlefield 1 80 - 100 FPS
COD WW2 80 - 100 FPS
SW Battlefront 2 90 - 110 FPS
Witcher 3 50 - 70 FPS
Far Cry 5 55 - 75 FPS

Side Note on Our FPS Estimates

The average FPS (Frames Per Second) ratings are an aggregated estimation based on carefully studying multiple online benchmark sources. Note these are averages, meaning that in the most action-packed scenes the frame-rate will go lower. For example, if we list the Witcher 3 average as 50-60FPS, your FPS may drop to 30-40FPS in the most intense scenes, so take that into account in your build planning.

Whilst we do everything we can to make these as accurate as possible, please note there's no guarantee you'll get this exact average as there are different factors that could affect your frame rate such as other hardware differences, software differences (OS, drivers, game patches/versions, etc), cooling/airflow of your build, enabled game features/settings such as Anti-Aliasing, different RAM setups you might be using, and so on. We always err on the side of being conservative with our numbers though, so we'll round things down if we need to instead of rounding up, so you can rest assured our averages are pretty safe bets in terms of what performance you can expect from a certain setup.

Confused About Frame Rates & Game Settings?

PC Gaming Frame Rates Explained (Newbie Guide)

PC Gaming Graphics Quality Settings Explained (Newbie Guide)




Component Breakdown & Honorable Mentions


Recommended CPU and Motherboard for a $600 Gaming PC Build

Let's begin our breakdown of the current best gaming PC build under $600 with the brains of your system, and as of right now the Intel Core i3-8100 is one of the best budget gaming CPUs around, and when paired with a decent graphics card like an RX 580 or GTX 1660 is all you need for flawless 1080p performance (or 1440p for that matter, though remember this particular $600 PC build would only make for an entry-level 1440p system).

The AMD Ryzen 5 2600 is another great budget gaming CPU, but costs a little more than the i3-8100 and so we couldn't fit it into this $600 budget. If your budget is $700-$800 then consider getting that CPU instead, especially if you'll be doing demanding non-gaming stuff that would benefit from the extra cores (i3-8100 has 4 cores, the 2600 has 6).

For gaming though, you're not going to see a difference, and you could even argue the i3 is the better buy from a purely gaming standpoint as Intel always brings the heat with single-threaded performance (which is what the majority of game engines still mostly rely on believe it or not). Either AMD or Intel would do for a mid-range gaming PC build though, so don't sweat the decision too much, and if your budget is under 150 dollars for a CPU then I'd go for the i3 (and the 2600 if over 150 dollars).



Hard to beat a Core i3 in terms of pure gaming bang for the buck when building a budget/mid-range 1080p gaming PC

As for the motherboard to house your i3-8100, we've gone for a decent no-frills budget board from Gigabyte that's all you need for a value for money, non-overclocking Intel gaming computer of this nature. Obviously you cant expect anything fancy for the price, but it'll get the job done and it frees up your budget to focus on more important components. Although yes, your motherboard is still a crucial aspect of your PC, but if you're not overclocking then you can get away with a cheaper board. Plus, it has 4 RAM slots which is a big plus for a budget board and allows you to upgrade your RAM later on whilst being able to take advantage of a dual-channel RAM setup now. 

As with most modern motherboards, it doesn't come with built-in WiFi so if you want wireless capability for online gaming or just for general internet (we suggest wired internet for the fastest, most reliable online gaming experience) you'll need to get a USB WiFi dongle (avoid PCIe network cards as this is a smaller motherboard and it may not fit).


Recommended GPUs for a $600 Gaming PC Build

Top Pick: XFX Radeon RX 580 8GB GTS XXX OC

Honorable Mentions:

Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 580 8GB OC (another good option if $200 or under)
Sapphire Radeon Nitro+ RX 580 8GB OC (slightly better cooling, design and performance)
Zotac GeForce GTX 1660 6GB Gaming (if build budget more around $650)
EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 6GB XC Gaming (" ")

NVidia currently owns the high-end segment of the gaming video card market, with AMD simply not currently being able complete with the latest RTX cards. But at the mid-range level it's another story, and the heated battle between the two GPU juggernaughts continues. For a mid range gaming PC build around 600 dollars, choosing a GPU is tough and you're a little spoilt for choice. First let's get the GTX 1060 out of the way; this was our previous recommendation for this $600 PC build, but is now irrelevant with NVidia's 2019 release of the latest GTX 1660 which destroys the 1060 for the same price. Let's also forget the 590, as it doesn't offer enough of a performance improvement over the 580 to warrant its current price tag (though re-enter it into the conversation if you find it at a good price around 210 dollars or less).

Mid-Range GPU Battle: RX 580 8GB/4GB vs GTX 1660 6GB

The real decision is either getting the 1660 for around 220 dollars (bit higher for fancier models), or AMD's closest competing card, the RX 580, which can now be found new for $190 and below (for the 8GB model). The 1660 comfortably beats the 580 in most AAA games though (if not all except Battlefield V where AMD shines), as you can see from 1660 benchmarks such as this one, so the question is whether the extra 30 or so dollars is worth it to get a 1660 instead of a 580. 

The answer will come down to your budget and whether you want to spend that extra money for faster performance, though even if you get a 580 you'll still get very good 1080p performance - we're talking 60FPS on high/ultra settings in most games. The 1660 is not just faster than the 580 though, but is also more energy efficient, requiring less power than a 580 and also producing less heat and noise. 

For our current recommended $600 gaming PC build, we've listed both the 580 and 1660 as options due to the difficult nature of the decision. Some will say there's no point getting a 580 anymore as the 1660 is better value despite it being a little more expensive, but at the right price a 580 is still relevant in the conversation. Luckily for AMD, the 570 still holds the sub 150 dollar crown for now, but at the 200 - 250 dollar tier NVidia has edged them out, so if that's where your GPU budget lies then the 1660 is a no-brainer (or the 1660 Ti if your budget is $300 and under, though for investing that amount in a card you should be looking at a $800 High-End 1080p PC instead).

We've listed the 580 first in our $600 parts-list table above simply because that keeps the total cost of this sample build around our $600 target, whereas using a 1660 for this build would bring us more towards the $650 mark. Either card is going to provide you an excellent 1080p experience now and over the next few years though, so if your 600 dollar budget is kinda flexible and/or power consumption is important to you, then go for the 1660. If your overall build budget is strictly $600 and under, go for an RX 580, but don't pay more than $200.


An RX 580 8GB is plenty of firepower to get a flawless 60FPS in 1080p in most games on ultra, and will do for a while to come


Recommended RAM for a $600 Gaming PC Build

As mentioned in all our other PC builds on a budget, 8GB is the sweet spot for budget gaming these days (meaning: best overall value for budget/mid-range setups) and all you need for decent 1080p gaming now and into the near future. 16GB is just not cost-effective when planning a gaming PC build under $600 or so, and we'd only recommended investing in 16 gigs if you're putting together a more expensive rig 1000 bucks and above or so.

Dual channel RAM, meaning getting 2 x 4GB instead of 1 x 8GB, is the better option as they'll run a little faster and is what we've done here for this setup, although it's not as important when compared to choosing RAM for an integrated GPU build like our 400 dollar AMD gaming build (integrated AMD CPU/GPU combos love fast, dual-channel RAM).

Also, the motherboard for this setup has a total of 4 RAM slots, which is good for a budget board like this, so you have the room to upgrade to another 8GB later on to make the ideal gaming total of 16GB (in a perfect world where money's no issue). Also, 2400Mhz, which is the speed of these sticks, is all you can use with this build as the core i3-8100 only supports a max speed of 2400Mhz believe it or not. So if you got faster RAM than 2400Mhz (which isn't necessary at all for gaming anyway unless you're using an integrated APU/iGPU as mentioned before) you'd just be wasting money unless you want to overclock that RAM which isn't recommended.


Recommended Storage for a $600 Gaming PC Build

In terms of storage for a mid-range build like this, at this budget you can and should consider a small or medium SSD as you can get a decent Kingston 240GB model for around 30 bucks and it will really speed up Windows 10 and a small handful of your most frequently used programs. If you've been living under a rock, Solid state drives are much faster than traditional hard drives and it's a wise move to install your operating system on them.

Then we've got the same 1TB hard drive which stays from most our other builds as it's a great value pick from ever-reliable Western Digital. A value for money HDD and SSD combination like this gives you the best of both worlds, with a super fast main system drive and a large secondary drive to store all your other files and data. Of course, storage needs can vary greatly, but this is a safe bet combo that'll please most gamers and you can always add additional internal/external drives later on should you ever run out of space.


Recommended Cases for a $600 Gaming PC Build

Top Pick:

Cooler Master Masterbox Pro 5 RGB Mid Tower (any style)

Honorable Mentions:

NZXT H500 Mid Tower (any style)
Corsair Carbide 275R Mid Tower

Cases are one of the more subjective choices in your parts-list, especially when it comes to aesthetics as an awe-inspiring design to one gamer may be an over-the-top eyesore to another. However, when it comes to overall value, quality and features for the money, there are certain models than do stand out (at least in our opinion), and we've listed some of our top recommendations here. 

In the mid-range price tier though, say around $60 to $80 for a case, there are plenty of good value options so see our detailed guide to choosing the right gaming computer case for more of our favorite picks right now. The MasterBox Pro 5 RGB, along with the Phanteks Eclipse P400 (used for our $800 PC build), Cooler Master H500 (in our $1000 build), and the NZXT H500 is definitely one of the more impressive overall cases in this price range, hence why we've included it as our main pick here for this quarter's sample $600 setup.



Can't go wrong with this one and it covers all the important bases of a good chassis such as good airflow out of the box with 4 pre-installed fans (3 of which are RGB), plenty of space including decent headroom for large CPU coolers and long GPUs, decent quality construction, handy cable management features, and a pretty universally attractive overall design with tempered glass to witness your fairly powerful parts in action once your battlestation is fully operational. If in doubt with picking a good mid tower case due to the plethora of options out there, the Masterbox Pro 5 really is a pretty safe bet and I say that objectively.


Recommended Power Supply for a $600 Gaming PC Build

Last but definitely not least is your trusty power supply, which isn't ever a component you should overlook for any type of computer build as your system is only as strong as its weakest link. Buy a dud PSU and you're risking all your other parts, because if it fails it could damage your other parts along with it. But for a mid-level build you still want to find something affordable, as you can't go wild and include a 100 dollar top of the range PSU. Nor do you need to, as there is such a thing as a good, decent-quality, budget-friendly power supply that'll give you a decent level of reliability without needing to spend too much.

The EVGA BT 500 is exactly that, and one of the better overall value PSUs out there right now - and from a trusted brand. It's also got an 80 Plus Bronze efficiency rating, which is highly recommended to get in a power supply as a minimum (80+ Gold or higher is ideal for higher-end systems, but Bronze is just fine when on a budget). 500 watts is also more than enough power for this particular $600 parts-list, even taking into account the fairly power-hungry RX 580 and common future upgrades you may wish to undertake. As you'll see in our specs cheatsheet earlier, this build only has a wattage of up to around 275 watts, so a 500w unit gives you plenty of wiggle room. You'd only really need to consider getting more power such as a 550 or 600 watt unit if you'll be doing some extensive out of the ordinary upgrades.




Recommended Operating System & Accessories


Recommended Software for the $600 PC Build

64 bit Windows 10 is what we recommend for the $600 gaming PC build and you have a few options with buying and installing Windows 10 for your new setup:

  • C: Buy Windows from Microsoft and download it to an existing computer/laptop, then put it on a flash drive, then use that flash drive when booting up your PC. 

As for other software programs to install on your new gaming computer, see what programs to install on a new custom gaming PC in 2019.


Recommended Monitors for the $600 PC Build

This build is for 1080p gaming, and so if you're buying a new screen you're going to need a 1080p model (1980 x 1080 pixels). As for which refresh rate to get for gaming with this type gaming computer, we recommend a standard 60Hz or 75Hz monitor to most people as it's the cheapest option. Higher refresh rate displays such as 144Hz are not just more expensive screens to buy, but will require more powerful hardware to take full advantage of, as getting up around 144FPS is no easy task even in 1080p resolution.

Although, this $600 gaming PC will get 144FPS (or close) on less demanding games and/or if you dial back your graphics settings, so feel free to get a 144Hz screen if you want to invest in one for now and/or the future when you upgrade your GPU/CPU. If you get an AMD graphics card, you'll want to try get a monitor with AMD Freesync technology which helps remove image tearing. If you go NVidia, get a screen with Gsync instead. These technologies aren't necessary, and budget models won't have them, but they're generally recommended for the best experience.


Recommended Mid-Range Gaming Peripherals

The following are suggestions based on how much most gamers would spend on peripherals in addition to a core parts list of around $600, but if you want to pinpoint your peripheral selections more accurately towards your budget and/or you have higher requirements because you're a competitive player wanting every little extra edge you can get for eSports, then see our in-depth buying peripheral buying guides in our main menu up top.




Building the $600 Mid-Range Gaming PC


That's it for the current best gaming PC build under 600 dollars for Q2 2019 based on our in-depth quarterly analysis of the current hardware market blended with subjective opinion from the perspective of a gamer looking for maximum bang for buck, top component reliability, max cooling/airflow, and last but not least, good old clean aesthetics that would please most gamers.

If you're putting together your first PC, fear not as it's very simple to do these days whether you're putting together a budget gaming system like this one or a more powerful high-end gaming computer, and as cliche as it sounds, if you can build Lego you can easily build a custom computer without problems if you simply follow a step by step article or video (see our gaming PC build guide for first-timers which includes both tutorials). 

That wraps our thoughts on building the best mid range gaming PC build for 1080p, and we hope this guide helps you in your planning. Please note the links in this guide may be affiliate links; clicking them earns us a small commission if you make any type of purchase and helps to support the site and the time that goes into these guides. This does not affect our recommendations in any way though. Thank guys.





References

-Sapphire RX 580 Pulse 8GB Review
-Sapphire Radeon RX 570 Pulse and RX 580 Pulse review
-Sapphire RX 580 Comparison – Pulse vs Nitro+!
-Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Review: Going for 200
-GeForce GTX 1660 Tested: 33 Game Benchmark feat. The Division 2
-Intel Core i3-8100 CPU Review






Your Feedback/Get Help (New)

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Need help? If you have a quick question or two, or you want a quick critique of your potential parts-list, post below and we'll help a brother out. If you need more in-depth guidance, we can also plan a fresh new 100% customized parts-list for your exact situation - see our Human Build Generator email help service.

Any other feedback or constructive criticism is also always more than welcome as we continue our mission to making BGC the most helpful, accurate, beginner-friendly DIY resource it can be. Hope this guide helped and good luck.

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