Building a gaming computer for 600 USD allows for excellent 1080p performance
Last Updated: August 15, 2019
Planning the best gaming PC build for $600 or thereabouts? In this component breakdown we explain how to best navigate the current Q3 2019 hardware market as a gamer to strategically pick out the top bang for your buck combination of PC parts when building a PC around 600 dollars (USD that is - a bit less for UK readers and higher for Australia and Canada). Improving on our latest recommended budget gaming PC build for $500, with an extra 100-150 bucks to throw at a custom PC you can make some nice improvements to make for an excellent, well-balanced, future-flexible system that'll provide even faster 1080p gaming performance.
Don't be fooled by the name; while this is a mid-range gaming computer in the grand scheme of things when compared to all of the best gaming PC builds that you could build, when gaming in standard 1080p (full HD) resolution like the majority of gamers still do in 2019, you'll get much better than "mid range" performance with the below list of parts.
The main aim of this $600 gaming PC build guide is showing you how to maximize performance for 1080p gaming, but in carefully tweaking this parts-list to the best of our ability based on over a decade designing optimal builds for gamers, we also take into account everything else that makes for a good custom computer that is built to last including:
If you're sticking to 1080p gaming on a standard 60-75Hz monitor, which is still the most common PC gaming resolution in 2019, building a gaming computer of this calibre is really all the power most people would ever need. For 1080p 60Hz gaming, spending more than $600-$700 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, the next build tier up (our $800 ultra 1080p gaming PC build) gives you that additional graphical firepower to guarantee that perfectionist level of performance, but this mid-range gaming PC build for 600 dollars will achieve 60FPS in the majority of titles on the market today though (yes, on ultra settings) so you could argue this parts-list is the better overall value for 1080p. For most casual gamers, building a $600 gaming PC build like this will make you happy for a while to come. Even spending less may still be enough for you, though it depends on the games you're playing.
The components picked for the current best gaming PC build for 600 dollars are based on a combination of extensive, objective analysis of the current hardware market with a blend of our own subjective opinion based on over a decade helping gamers and power users make smarter purchase decisions. We back our selections with explanations of why they made the cut, and mention any relevant alternative components to consider based on your particular PC use.
These builds make for a good starting point for planning, but despite the painstaking hours that go into our continually-updated, carefully-chosen recommendations, always remember to do your own research to ensure you buy the right parts for any specific needs that you may have. Alright, let's get into what we believe to be the current best custom PC build for $600 to get the fastest gaming performance and reliability for the money.
Only playing less demanding games? Save money with a $500 budget gaming PC instead
Recommended ~ $600 Gaming PC Build (Q3 2019)
|Graphics Card||Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 580 8GB OC||Sapphire|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 5 2600 (6 Core, 3.4GHz, Unlocked)||AMD|
|CPU Cooler||Wraith Stealth (comes with R5 2600)||-|
|Motherboard||ASRock B450 Pro4 (ATX, AM4, 4 DDR4 Slots)||ASRock|
|RAM||Crucial Ballistix Sport LT (2x4GB, 2666MHz, DDR4)||Crucial|
|Storage||Intel 660p 512GB (M.2 SSD)||Intel|
|Power Supply||Corsair CX550M (550 Watts, 80+ Bronze, Semi Modular)||Corsair|
|Case||NZXT H510 (Mid Tower, 2 x 120mm Fans)||NZXT|
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Notable Build Features
|Estimated Wattage||~ 375W|
|RAM Slots||4 (2 slots free)|
|Max RAM Support||64GB|
|CPU Architecture||AMD Zen+ (Ryzen 2nd Gen)|
|Built-in WiFi?||No (buy internal or external WiFi adapter)|
|Storage Support||6 x SATA Drives, 2 x m.2 SSDs|
|Front Panel USB Ports||1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
|Optical Drive Support?||No|
|Motherboard Support||ATX, mATX, mITX|
|Maximum CPU Cooler Height||165mm|
|Maximum Video Card Length||381mm (Top PCIe Slot)|
|Fan Support||Front: 2 x 120/2 x 140mm
Top: 1x 120mm/ 1x 140mm (1x 120mm included)
Rear: 1x 120mm (1x 120mm included)
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.
Estimated Frame Rate for 1080p ULTRA
(R5 2600, RX 580 8GB, 2x4GB DDR4 2666MHz)
|Fortnite||100 - 120 FPS
|PUBG||70 - 90 FPS|
|Overwatch||110 - 140 FPS|
|CSGO||220 - 260 FPS|
|DOTA 2||150 - 170 FPS|
|GTA V||70 - 80 FPS|
|AS Origins||65 - 85 FPS|
|Battlefield 1||90 - 110 FPS|
|COD WW2||90 - 110 FPS|
|SW Battlefront 2||100 - 120 FPS|
|Witcher 3||55 - 75 FPS|
|Far Cry 5||60 - 80 FPS|
Top Pick: AMD Ryzen 5 2600
No surprises here for anyone with any sort of understanding of the current state of the hardware market. The AMD R5 2600 is currently THE bang for buck processor right now in essentially any price tier, although its slightly faster brother (2600X) gives it a run for its money coming in at around 150 bucks these days (also a steal).
But overall, the 2600 is slightly better value as you're not going to see much of a gain with a 2600 vs 2600X when it comes to gaming. Besides, a 2600X would take us over budget a bit more, though if you don't mind that and think the extra cash is worth it based on those benchmarks I just linked to, go for it. The 2600X also comes with a slightly better stock cooler and has slightly higher overclocking potential as well, so take that into account too.
But for our $600 gaming PC build, the 2600 it is. Thanks to recent price drops following the latest 3rd gen Ryzen launch, the R5 2600 has gone from a great value chip to an outstanding one. It has a solid 6 cores and 12 threads meaning it'll have you well positioned for years to come when more games will likely (finally) start tapping into those extra cores. Some do these days, but not too many. For enthusiasts - or beginners as it's easy to do these days - the 2600 is easy to overclock for some free extra performance.
To house your Ryzen 5 2600 we've gone for the ASRock B450 Pro4, a great value full-sized ATX board that's perfect for a cost-effective 2600 build. The ASUS Prime B450-Plus is a very close second pick, but you're not missing out on anything with the cheaper ASRock hence its inclusion as our current top pick.
Both are no-frills B450 boards, but have good overall quality and a nice feature set for the price. If you're wondering, when building a Ryzen system on a budget like this, the B450 chipset is the way to go as more expensive platforms like X470 (or the newer X570) just aren't necessary and would take you over budget anyway.
You can overclock the 2600 on the ASRock (or ASUS) quite nicely, but they're not extreme overclocking boards by any means so if you plan on pushing the 2600 close to its limits then consider upgrading to something with even better VRMs like the MSI B450 Tomahawk, MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon, or ASUS B450 Strix which are higher quality boards that don't cost too much more. For most people though, the ASRock Pro4 (or ASUS B450-Plus) is just fine.
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 usage the Gigabyte B450 Aorus Pro WiFi is a good value option and another overall decent-quality, well-priced platform for a Ryzen 5 2600 build (if not doing extreme overclocking). Otherwise, you can easily add a USB or PCIe WiFi adapter to your rig:
The Wraith Stealth heatsink and fan that comes included with the 2600 is quite good for a stock cooler, and all you need if you either won't be overclocking or if you're only doing light/medium overclocks. For more significant overclocking of the R5 2600 you'll want to bring your own cooler to the party though, and the popular Cooler Master 212 series is hard to ignore as a great value option if you have room for its fairly large presence (all clear if you choose the NZXT H510 though; come on now, you think we just publish builds blindfolded without thinking of you guys!).
The 212 black edition is the best looking overall, and the Arctic Freezer 34 eSports Duo is another excellent value yet lesser-known cooler that's worth considering for your R5 2600 (discussed more in our recommended $1200 gaming PC build). For more high-end coolers see our higher-tier builds for ideas. But yeah, if not overclocking like a man possessed or simply running things at stock levels, the 2600 cooler is enough for most people.
Top Pick: Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 580 8GB OC
Powercolor Radeon RX 580 8GB Red Dragon (if cheaper than top pick)
XFX Radeon RX 580 8GB GTS XXX OC (if cheaper than top pick)
Zotac GeForce GTX 1660 6GB Gaming (if your total budget is more $650-$700)
EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 6GB XC Gaming (" ")
At the mid-range level it's a heated battle between the two GPU juggernaughts, though anyone who knows hardware at least a little will be well aware of the fact that team red actually currently clearly wins the $100 - $200 price segment right now in terms of overall frames for the money with the super cost-effective RX 570 and RX 580, the latter of which we can nicely slot into this type of budget for excellent 1080p performance. With a RX 580 8GB you can also get decent entry-level 1440p performance as well, but this system will work best for standard 1080p gaming (especially for demanding games).
As for alternative choices to an RX 580 when building a $600 PC for gaming, first let's show the GTX 1060 the door, although respectfully as these guys have been a staple recommendation at the mid-range level here at BGC for a good time. Enter NVidia's 2019 release of the latest GTX 1660 which destroys the 1060 (for the same price). Let's also forget the RX 590, as it doesn't offer enough of a performance improvement over the 580 to warrant its current price tag, though re-enter him into the conversation if you find one for hardly more than a 580 8GB.
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 even below if you're lucky (even for an 8GB model). The 1660 comfortably beats the 580 in most AAA games (if not all except Battlefield V where AMD shines), as you can see from 1660 benchmarks around the web, so the question is whether the extra 30 to 40 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. 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 around 180 bucks a 580 is still absolutely relevant in the conversation and an excellent value card for 1080p.
Crucial Ballistix Sport LT (2x4GB, 2666MHz, DDR4)
Honorable Mentions: Kingston HyperX Fury 8GB (2x4GB, 2666MHz, DDR4) (if cheaper)
Kingston HyperX Fury Black 8GB (2x4GB, 3200MHz, DDR4) (or other cheap 3000/3200Mhz modules)
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 around $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, 2666Mhz is more than enough speed for RAM when building a mid range gaming PC, as spending more on 3000MHz modules isn't usually going to be worth the extra cost.
However, if you find 3000MHz (or even 3200MHz) sticks for around the same price, then go for it as you will see a slight increase in performance. Buying 3000MHz memory over 2666MHz just doesn't make much of a noticeable difference when building a R5 2600 gaming build with a discrete GPU and we're trying to be as cost effective as possible (the chief aim of all our sample builds). In workstation applications it may be a different story depending on your workflow, but for pure gaming it's not going to matter much. For higher-end builds $800 and beyond though, you might as well get 3000MHz or higher as it's not going to affect your budget as much compared to building budget/mid-range PCs.
SSD prices are much better these days, so using a super-fast M.2 SSD as a boot drive is a very attractive proposition - even when building a budget/mid-range PC. 500GB gives you plenty of room for your OS and a bunch of games and programs, and everything will load supremely fast to the point that you'll never consider a HDD as a boot drive ever again. M.2 SDDs are hardly much more money than non M.2 models, so they're hard to ignore as they'll offer even faster load speeds than standard SSDs.
The Sabrent Rocket, Intel 660p, and Crucial MX are all excellent performing well-priced options right now, so any will serve your new build well. We included the Intel as our main pick for this quarter's $600 rig, but we could just as easily have selected the Sabrent or Crucial instead as it really is a 3-way tie here (so choose whichever you fancy most and/or the cheapest). Plus, we all know if you're a hardcore team red fanboy reading this you're gonna kick that Intel 660p to the curb real quick to keep this all-AMD build exactly that way. Anyway, 500GB is a nice start to your new rig, but should you need more space from the get-go consider including a large 7200RPM 1TB-2TB traditional hard drive in your setup as well. Can't go wrong with the well-priced Western Digital Blue 1TB that we often recommend.
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. But there are definitely models that stand out among the rest in any given price point for their superior construction quality, airflow, cable management, and overall features for the money.
NZXT's H500, which has now just been replaced by the refreshed H510 (same case but with an added USB Type-C front port), is one such standout that has proven a super popular mid-range case among gamers for what seems an eternity. But while popularity doesn't necessarily equate to quality, in this case it does (pun intended), and you really can't go wrong with a H500/510 as an affordable yet high-quality chassis to safely and sexily (even a word?) house your system for many years to come.
It comes with two decent pre-installed fans, so no need to buy more unless you're kitting out something extreme, and it looks the part too in whichever color you choose (I and many others really like the white hence its inclusion here). It's also a beginner friendly case to work with for first-time builders, with cable management a breeze allowing you to effortlessly clean everything post-installation if you wish to show off your finished battlestation once fully operational.
Corsair's 275R and Spec05 mid towers are also top value in this price tier and also very worthy considerations for a good-quality mid-range case for these parts, and some will prefer their design over the NZXT. Take your pick of all these great value cases as they all get our stamp of approval - just remember to double check compatibility if mixing and matching your combinations of case, CPU cooler and GPU, although if you decide on our $600 gaming build exactly as-is you can rest assured everything is compatible as we never publish a build without extensive checks.
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 selfishly damage everything else along with it. For a mid-range system the trick is finding a good-enough quality unit at an affordable price, and Corsair's most recent CX units are a safe bet in that regard. Previous CX models from Corsair of years gone by were indeed low quality and to be avoided, even on a budget, but modern-day CX units are much better since their refresh a couple years or so ago.
Can't go wrong for the price, and 550 watts is more than enough for the $600 parts-list (even with the fairly power-hungry RX 580) and with plenty of wiggle room for future upgrades. The CX550M we've gone for is semi modular, meaning that you can detach any unused cabling for a cleaner looking finished build. Although, buying a semi or fully modular unit isn't absolutely necessary, especially with a case like the NZXT H500 where there's plenty of room to neatly tuck away cables, so consider the non modular edition if you want to save money and it's cheaper.
Another good quality and normally well-priced choice is the Seasonic Focus 550FM, which isn't too much more expensive but is more efficient with an 80 Plus Gold rating. A good 80+ Bronze unit is all you really need for a mid-range PC build though, unless you really want to spend more on efficiency, so the cheaper CX550M gets our top recommendation.
For your operating system Windows 10 is what we'd suggest for beginners. Linux is your other option but more complicated to use so not recommended unless you know what you're getting into. On a budget you'll want to get Windows 10 Home 64 Bit, and there's few ways to use it for your new PC build:
As for other good programs to consider installing to kick-off your new machine in style (such as anti-virus/malware, system/temps monitoring, handy utilities, etc) see our list of suggested applications for ideas:
What to Install on a New Gaming PC Build
Best Value 60Hz/75Hz:
Acer SB230 23" Full HD (1920 x 1080) (IPS panel, 1ms response rate, 75Hz refresh rate, AMD Freesync)
Best Value 144Hz:
AOC G2460PF 24" Full HD (1920 x 1080) (IPS panel, 1ms response rate, 144Hz refresh rate, AMD Freesync)
Related: How to Choose a Monitor for Gaming (if confused about specs + more monitor recommendations)
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). 1440p resolution gaming is possible on this PC though, especially for less demanding games, but it's much better suited for 1080p as you'll get a much smoother experience (and can use higher settings). We've listed some of our current top value monitor picks that all have low-enough response rates for gaming (never go higher than 5ms) and that all also include AMD Freesync (to help remove image tearing) as this $600 rig is an AMD gaming PC through and through.
We've also listed a value 144Hz option too if that's what you're looking for. This $600 gaming PC build is more suited for 60-75Hz gaming, but with older games you can indeed get up near 144FPS with these parts, so using a 144Hz monitor is definitely feasible. Besides, even if you use a 144Hz display and don't get 144FPS to take full advantage of those extra hertz, anything over 60FPS will still make things smoother (in other words, 100FPS is still going to look a bit smoother than 60FPS). But if you're wanting to save as much money as possible and/or you're just a casual gamer, I'd just stick with a standard 60-75Hz monitor as most general (non-competitive) gamers are more than happy with 60FPS on a 60Hz screen.
To further pinpoint the right accessories for your budget and preferences, see our in-depth peripheral buying guides.
Required: Phillips-head screwdriver (size #2)
Get Fancy: Full PC Toolkit
See our photo-filled walkthrough if you prefer a written guide that you can take at your own pace:
To follow a video tutorial instead, see our current top recommended YouTube tutorials in our main newbie guide:
If it's your first time assembling a computer, it really isn't anything to be afraid or overwhelmed by if you simply take your time, follow safety precautions carefully, and do one step at a time. Good luck, have fun, if you build this exact or similar setup, let us know how it goes for you over in the new comments section on the builds hub.
Firstly off it must be said building this $600 mid range gaming PC will last you a fair while assuming you stick to standard 1080p resolution. The R5 2600, RX 580 8GB and 8GB of DDR4 memory means you have a very nicely performing system for now and into the future to handle pretty much any new release in 1080p. Therefore, you likely won't feel any need to upgrade for a few years.
But if you were to upgrade down the line, with a good upgrade-friendly case like the NZXT H500/H510, decent-quality full-sized ATX motherboard, and decent quality 550 watt PSU means you're well-positioned to easily accommodate whatever add-ons that you like.
Adding More RAM
First up, you could add another 8GB of RAM as you have 2 spare slots on the motherboard. 16GB is not necessary for gaming right now despite what anyone will tell you on a forum, and with a good graphics card and CPU having 8GB of RAM will not hold you back as a gamer in the majority of situations. But in due time, if you do want to upgrade this rig, first thing I'd consider is getting two extra 4GB sticks to make for 16GB total to boost overall system performance. Just make sure they're the same type of memory to avoid incompatibility issues.
Upgrading the CPU
In future you could also easily upgrade your CPU if you wanted to a more powerful AMD processor, as the AM4 CPU socket is a flexible one that's shared across different AMD generations (for how long remains to be seen though). Or you could upgrade to a stronger CPU in the same 2nd generation as the R5 2600. If you do upgrade to a newer gen though, you would need to update your motherboard's BIOS, but this is easy to do on an existing system.
Upgrading the GPU
You can also easily upgrade the graphics card later on too should you need to, but again as mentioned a Radeon RX 580 8GB will be a strong performing 1080p gaming card for a while to come. If you do upgrade graphics, just remember to check the new card will fit in your case and on your motherboard if buying a large or long GPU. Also make sure you have enough power if you make a significant step up in GPU tier, though a decent 550 watt unit goes a long way and will support many higher-end cards than an RX 580 (don't go dropping in a RTX 2080 Ti without upgrading your PSU, but I can't imagine anyone doing that for this system).
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