Last Updated: Sep 9, 2018
The aim for this custom gaming computer build is to explain how we would strategically select the current best bang for your buck parts to build the best mid range gaming PC build for under $600 to get great 1080p performance in most games including popular current titles like PUBG, Overwatch and Fortnite.
Specifically, this build is aimed for a constant/near-constant 60FPS on medium-high settings in the majority of modern titles. In more optimized titles you'll get 60FPS on ultra/maxed settings (we'll explain more on specific game performance of this mid-range build in a bit).
You'll be hard-pressed finding a pre-built gaming PC to buy that has the same gaming and non-gaming performance, reliability, and upgrade options as the following custom gaming computer in this sort of price tier, and the build is an excellent example of why building a computer beats buying pre-built desktops in terms of getting the absolute most for your hard-earned cash.
Let's cut the small talk and get straight into our current recommended, best mid range gaming PC build under $600 (IMHO) to get 60FPS 1080p medium/high (ultra/maxed in some games), and most importantly a detailed breakdown of WHY each hardware component made the cut for this month's mid-range build.
720p (1280 x 720):
1080p (1920 x 1080):
1440p (2560 x 1440):
VR and 4K:
The above is the average expected performance of this build at different resolutions when playing a typical, graphically-demanding modern PC game on high/ultra/maxed settings.
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 5 1500X (Quad Core)|
|GRAPHICS CARD||EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB|
|MOTHERBOARD||ASUS Prime B350M-A/CSM (ATX, 4 RAM slots)|
|RAM||Patriot Signature 8GB (DDR4, 2 x 4GB, 2666MHz, Dual Channel)|
|HARD DRIVE||Western Digital Blue 1TB (7200 RPM, 64MB Cache)|
|POWER SUPPLY||Antec VP-450 (450 Watts)|
|CASE||Corsair Spec02 Mid Tower (mATX/ATX motherboards)|
Note: Keep in mind that hardware prices can fluctuate often, so the current total cost could slightly exceed our target budget of $600 at any given time. To check current pricing, clicking "Build This PC" quickly and conveniently shows all exact prices for these parts on Amazon.
As with most of our recommended builds, we'll start with the brains of the build, and for the best mid-range gaming PC build under $600 (to get 1080p 60FPS medium), the AMD Ryzen 5 1500X is tough to beat in terms of overall gaming and non-gaming value in this price tier. It's a step up from the Intel Core i3-8100 processor included in our best budget gaming PC build for $500 and provides both better gaming and general performance with 4 cores and an impressive 8 threads which not only makes it a great bang for your buck gaming chip but a very decent multitasking/productivity choice that'll serve as a very decent base for your system for years to come. If you have a tad more to spend though, consider getting the Ryzen 5 2600 instead which would be a straight swap for the 1500X for this particular build and offers slightly better performance. And if you ever see the 2600 for essentially the same as the 1500X - get the 2600.
The 1500X comes with a decent stock fan, the Wraith Spire Cooler, which is good enough for a gaming build like this if you won't be overclocking. The 1500X also has good overclocking potential though, and isn't too difficult to do even if you're fairly inexperienced (see our beginner's guide to overclocking AMD CPUs), so if you do wish to try it out at some point down the track then don't forget to grab yourself a decent aftermarket heatsink to replace the stock one. However, if you don't plan on overclocking at all, which is totally fine by the way and don't think you ever have to do so - then the stock CPU cooler than comes with the 1500X is going to be good enough. In fact, truth is that AMD's stock coolers are better than Intel's stock ones, so your CPU will be in good hands.
The NVidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is a great bang for your buck video card as a gamer that will give you very good performance in 1080p/FullHD, and is a essentially a no-brainer value pick when building a mid-range gaming computer. I would definitely say it's a clear winner in this price tier, and would only consider a competing AMD card in this price range if you have a good reason to.
In terms of specific gaming performance, with a 1050 Ti combined with the solid 1500X processor you can expect a super-smooth 60FPS on medium-high settings in the majority of modern games, and it'll likely do this for a while to come. In more well-optimized titles (ie Fortnite), and older games (most eSports ie CSGO, Overwatch, LoL, Dota 2, Rocket League, and so on), you'll get 60FPS on max/ultra settings as well.
You'd only really need to go up a tier in graphics, such as spending more on a GTX 1060 instead of a 1050 Ti, if you are picky about getting absolutely flawless performance (meaning, 60FPS plus) on high/ultra settings in ALL games in 1080p such the more demanding ones (PUBG, GTA 5, and so on).
Or, if you want much more playable performance for 1440p and VR (although for a good virtual reality PC build we highly suggest a GTX 1070 minimum to be honest). But if you don't absolutely flawless 1080p performance in all situations, meaning you're not a hugely picky gamer who cannot sleep at night if you dip under 60FPS on high/ultra settings in any given game, then a 1050 Ti will absolutely make you happy and is all you need for a very enjoyable 1080p gaming experience, period.
As for choosing a specific model of the mighty king of the budget GPUs - basically any 1050 Ti model will do you well, and that's not us just being lazy in our recommendations but based on extensive analysis of endless benchmarks and professional/amateur reviews of essentially every shape and size of 1050 Ti available on the market over the past couple years for our monthly recommendations. Pretty sure we've included the mighty 1050 Ti in every single monthly build series we've ever done since its first release, so we've seen them all (and used a Gigabyte OC model for the example build in our how to build a computer eBook).
The various flavors of the 1050 Ti have only minimal differences in terms of performance, noise, and cooling, and therefore your selection most importantly comes down to price, as opposed to higher-end builds where different GPU models make more of a difference and should be discerned more carefully than with budget cards. The EVGA model we've slotted into this month's best mid-range gaming PC build for under $600 is simply the current best priced 1050 Ti at the time of writing.
As for the whole single vs dual fan debate, for a standard gaming computer build like this either a mini (single fan) or a dual fan variant is going to be just fine. The 1050 Ti doesn't use much power (only 75 watts at stock clocks which is nothing in terms of video cards) and won't produce much heat, so the slight added cooling of dual fans just isn't necessary. Only reason you'd need to ensure to get a dual fan 1050 Ti is if your build is struggling for cooling such as if your rig lives in a really hot room and climate, you have poor case airflow, or if a particular single fan model is overly loud (this one isn't), etc.
There are also versions of the 1050 Ti that are factory overclocked, denoted "SC" or "OC" in the model number which stand for Super Clocked and Over Clocked respectively, which means they run a little faster out of the box. But since the difference in gaming performance will be minimal between different versions, as mentioned I would personally simply get the cheapest 1050 Ti (essentially from any brand) you can find, unless you can find one of the slightly faster OC or SC models at a good price that's not much more than a standard model.
For this mid-range 1080p $600 rig you have the ASUS Prime B350M-A/CSM, a good value for money micro ATX AM4 motherboard with 4 RAM slots so you can add more RAM later on should you wish, good reliability, and from one of the most trusted motherboard manufacturers out there. This board is all you need for a basic gaming computer like this, and it's a B350 board too meaning it's overclock-friendly should you want to push your Ryzen 1500X past its stock speeds now or later on.
The HAF 912 case fits either ATX or mATX boards, so feel free to get either, but a ATX board isn't necessary at all as a good mATX board will likely have everything you need unless you're doing some out of the ordinary upgrades or mods.
As with most modern motherboards, it doesn't come with built-in WiFi so if you want wireless capability for online gaming or general internet (although we suggest wired internet for the fastest, most reliable online gaming experience) you'll need to buy either a PCI/PCI-E wireless card or get a USB WiFi dongle. See our monthly builds FAQ for details and recommendations on these.
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 for a $600 machine, and we'd only recommended investing in 16 gigs if you're putting together a more expensive rig around 800/1000 bucks and above.
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. Your motherboard has a total of 4 RAM slots so you have the room to upgrade to another 8GB later on to make the ideal gaming total of 16GB.
As for which RAM speed to choose, the truth is for a very cost-effective mid-range machine like this, it's not going to matter for gaming performance. Yes, Ryzen does benefit from higher speed sticks, however the difference in pure gaming performance is only noticeable when you have a higher-end graphics card.
With a budget card such as the 1050 Ti, or even the next tier up in the 1060 or 580, RAM speed isn't going to make a difference and is not the best use of your fairly limited budget so you're best off getting the best value for money option whether that's 2133Mhz, 2400Mhz or even 2666Mhz if you can find them at a good price like the Patriot's we have for this build.
So to clarify, spending the extra money on 3000Mhz, 3200Mhz or higher RAM modules isn't the best bang for your buck when using a budget/mid-range GPU, and you're better off using the extra money you would have spend on those faster modules towards something else that will make more of a difference. Check out this video which explains it in more detail with various benchmarks to back it up should you wish to know more:
For storage we've included a nicely-sized 1TB hard drive from trusty Western Digital, our number one pick for a reliable drive (followed closely by Seagate so feel free to go them instead). Now, whether or not to include an SSD in a mid range rig around $600 or so is going to come down to personal preference. We've left one out to focus the budget on gaming performance first and foremost, but since you can pick up a small, entry-level SSD (120GB etc which is enough for your OS and a few programs) for around 50 bucks, consider doing that if you have a little more to throw down than $600.
Although remember that this price doesn't include peripherals and your OS, which you'll need if you're not reusing any old accessories that you might have, so factor that into your decision as well. This is the last PC build that we don't include/recommend an SSD though, and all our other monthly recommended desktop builds beyond this price-tier include at least a small one.
The PSU for the mid-range gaming build is the same trusty Antec unit we've included in all the other budget builds under $600 and lower, simply because it's a good-quality, reliable unit from a trusted power supply manufacturer at a great price. Plus, 450 watts of decent-quality power goes a surprisingly long way (many newbies overestimate how much power they really need).
It'll fit perfectly into this build, not just size-wise but power-wise, especially 'cause a 1050 Ti graphics card uses such little power as well. With 450 watts you still have a some wiggle room for basic future upgrades, too, so no need to worry about that. See our best entry-level 1080p gaming PC build if you want a slightly more in-depth breakdown of this PSU but that pretty much sums up our reasoning for its re-selection for this ~ $600 mid-range system.
Now to the case that will house your precious parts for years to come, and the Corsair Spec02 mid-range tower is hard to fault for the price and comes with everything you need for a mid-tier gaming PC build like this. One thing that stands out as well is the design, with a classic, cool look with built-in red LEDs that is pretty universally attractive without being over the top. The see-through side panel is a nice touch for the price, too, and will show off your awesome new parts in action.
It comes with two fans, the front one of which is LED, with support for 4 more fans. Whether you need more fans or not will depend on your particular setup: if you're sticking with this exact recommended gaming PC build for $600, the 2 fans it comes with will suffice unless you live in a real hot location.
Overclocking is another reason to up your cooling game (read: get more case fans), so if you plan on pushing your 1500X CPU further than stock levels with a bit of overclocking then by all means get an extra 120mm/140mm fan or two (get LED fans if you want even more lighting). 140mm fans are ideal as they are quieter 'cause they don't have to work as hard (read: spin as fast) as 120mm ones.
Overall, the Spec02 is definitely one of the best overall bang for your buck mid-tower PC cases on a budget if you prefer the "gaming case" look, but if you're new to PC building then do keep in mind that your case choice is quite flexible and you could pretty much go for any decent mid-tower for a parts-list like this. See our full guide to choosing the best computer case for more recommendations on the current best value cases for the money.
We recommend Windows 10 which you can get in a handy USB/flash-drive version or a disk version if you want to make your own bootable flash drive from that (since this build doesn't have an optical drive as they're totally optional these days). Linux is also an option but we don't recommend it unless you know what you're doing, so if you're a newbie save yourself the headache and stick with Windows.
See our top value for money picks of the best mice, keyboards, screens, headsets, etc, in our peripheral buying guides (see the top menu) should you need to buy these new and you're not reusing old ones. These parts will all come down to personal preference, and of course how much more you have to spend on top of the $600 you're investing to get to that holy 60FPS in 1080p.
That wraps up the current best gaming PC build under $600 in September 2018 (IMHO) to get very smooth performance in 1080p on medium/high settings in most games. See our Gaming Computer Builds Hub/FAQ for all our build tiers and answers to common questions about our monthly-updated recommended PC builds. Also see our individual hardware guides for more detail about picking each component.
If you're putting together your first PC, fear not as it's very simple to do these days and in 2018 if you can build Lego you can build a PC no problems. See our PC installation guide if you just require the core installation steps, or see our more comprehensive eBook if you want more thorough guidance and all the steps of planning, ordering, building, troubleshooting, maintaining and upgrading your first PC in detail. Good luck ;)