Building the best gaming PC isn’t too difficult these days – just think of it as Lego for adults. If you put together your rig yourself, you get complete control over which parts you want and how they all fit together. Not only this, but you also get that feeling of satisfaction when you finally hit the power switch and see your creation come to life – and all of this for a lower price than buying prebuilt!
Part of the beauty of putting together your own gaming rig is that you can choose each of the individual components yourself, whether that’s based on pricing or manufacturer preference. That’s because building the best gaming PC is a very personal thing. Some people might not raise a sculpted eyebrow at spending four grand on a gaming PC, while most of us would still struggle to scrape together $1,000 for a prospective build. What you play makes a difference, too – at the risk of stating the obvious, whether you like to play The Witcher 3 on max settings at 4K resolution, or Fortnite at 1080p on medium settings will affect which components you should buy.
But all are welcome in the world of PC gaming, and there are brilliant gaming rigs you can create no matter whether you’re an oligarch or ruthlessly raiding every piggy bank you’ve ever owned to be able to afford a new machine.
We’ve split our builds up into two tiers – the best gaming PC build, and the best high-end gaming PC build – to give you an idea of what’s possible, and we’ve also added our pick of the best monitors and peripherals around right now.
Here are our picks for the best gaming PC build:
The best gaming PC is this Ryzen 5 3600 / Radeon RX 5600 XT build.
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 5 3600||$163||£161|
|CPU cooler||Wraith Stealth included with CPU|
|Motherboard||Asus Prime B450M-A||$100||£74|
|Memory||16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX (2x 8GB)||$76||£68|
|Primary storage||512GB Addlink S70 SSD||$76||£79|
|Secondary storage||1TB WD Blue hard drive||$45||£33|
|Graphics card||AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT||$280||£270|
|PSU||550W EVGA SuperNOVA GA||$110||£120|
|Chassis||Corsair Carbide 100R||~$55||£50|
This build is about as well-rounded of a gaming PC as you can get for under $1,000. It’ll have you breezing through the most graphically demanding game titles like The Witcher 3 at 1080p and even at 1440p in some titles, and is also a dab hand at productivity tasks, too.
Starting with the most important components, the CPU, graphics card, and memory offer incredible value for the money. The six-core AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is our current pick for the best gaming CPU, thanks to its fantastic price and great balance of single-core and multi-core performance. We call the AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT the best mid-range graphics card because it’s a sub-$300 card that offers performance close to the AMD RX 5700 and fairly even with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 for a lower price. The 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 RAM kit offers up to 3,200MHz in frequency, which goes extremely well with the memory speed-dependent Ryzen processor, and 16GB is more than enough RAM to play any modern title.
The Addlink S70 1TB SSD is, we reckon, the best SSD for gaming, and this quality extends down into the PCIe 3.0 Addlink S70 512GB model, a super speedy SSD that’s made from quality components all for a stunningly low cost. Combine this with the 1TB Western Digital Blue hard drive and you have more storage than you’ll know what to do with. Slap all of these components onto the small, socket AM4, forwards- and backwards-compatible Asus Prime B450M-A motherboard, and you have one of the best price-to-performance builds money can buy.
The other components are chosen to give as reliable of a desktop experience as possible for the lowest price, without sacrificing quality. The reliable and efficient 550W EVGA SuperNOVA GA PSU gives more than enough juice to power this build, and it’s also modular which should make cable management that much easier. And speaking of cable management, the Corsair Carbide 100R is a no-frills chassis that doesn’t sacrifice on either room for cable management or build quality. Put all this together and you get the best gaming PC build for your money.
The best high-end gaming PC is this Ryzen 9 3950X / RTX 2080 Ti build.
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 9 3950X||$690||£690|
|CPU cooler||AlphaCool Eisbaer 240||$130||£84|
|Motherboard||MSI MEG X570 ACE||$369||£350|
|Memory||32GB Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro (2x 16GB)||$140||£146|
|Primary storage||2TB Corsair MP600 Force Series||$380||£360|
|Graphics card||Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti||$1,300||£1,100|
|PSU||1,000W EVGA SuperNOVA P2||$299||£500|
|Chassis||Corsair Graphite 780T||~$187||£190|
This build is perfect for those of you that aren’t so price-conscious overall, but still want to get incredible high-end value for your buck. Coming in at just shy of $3,500, these parts don’t come cheap, but what you end up with is a PC that will be the envy of anyone brave enough to lay eyes upon its unfathomable glory.
Let’s start with the CPU, graphics card, and memory. The AMD Ryzen 9 3950X is the most powerful consumer CPU on the market, without question. Intel’s Core i9 9900K and 10900K might have the very slight edge in gaming, but the 3950X makes up for that with its tremendous multi-core performance, which it gets from its whopping 16 cores and 32 threads, and a boost clock of up to 4.7GHz. This makes it an incredibly well-rounded CPU, and the leader of the pack at the high-end. And to keep this running cool the AlphaCool Eisbaer 240 is the perfect AIO liquid cooler for the job – we reckon it’s the best AIO cooler out there. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, as I’m sure we all know by now, is currently the fastest consumer graphics card out there. This CPU-GPU combo will mean you can easily play literally any game at 1080p, 1440p, and even 4K resolution, with some cracking frame rates to boot. Combine these with 32GB Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro DDR4 RAM sticks and you have one of the fastest gaming machines money can buy. This memory kit clocks up to 3,200MHz which should be more than snappy enough for the memory-hungry Ryzen chip. While 3,600MHz kits are available, these have increased CL ratings, meaning if you can’t hit the full 3,600MHz you might have increased memory latency. The 3,200MHz kit is a safer bet.
If you’re going for something this high-end you’re not going to want to hold back on a powerful SSD, either. These are what store all your precious games, remember. The 2TB Corsair MP600 Force SSD makes great use of the MSI MEG X570 ACE‘s PCIe 4.0 compatibility (a suitably top-end motherboard, by the way), offering read and write speeds of 4,950MBps and 4,250MBps respectively. Because of its 2TB capacity, there should be no need for a secondary hard drive for most use cases, either.
Thanks to its 80 PLUS platinum rating the 1,000W EVGA SuperNOVA P2 offers as much efficiency and reliability as it does electricity-churning chops, and it’s fully modular so cable management should be that much easier. And the Corsair Graphite 780T chassis is years old now, but still one of the most beautiful, large-scale, PC chassis around – ‘tried and tested’ is the phrase, right?
Peripheral buying guide
So those are our picks for the best components to fill out your PC, but then you need to decide whether you’re going to need to make a change to the rest of your gaming gear too. If you want to change monitor or your choice of peripherals, these are what we’d have sitting on our desktops.
First, we’d go with the Asus TUF Gaming VG27AQ, a 27-inch, 1440p monitor that’s perfectly calibrated out-of-the-box and delivers a fantastic viewing experience. For the keyboard, we’d go for the Corsair K70 Rapidfire, a durable, quality board that boasts light Cherry MX Speed keys designed specifically for gaming. For the mouse, we’d go for the Logitech G Pro Wireless, without a doubt – a featherweight but sturdy, ambidextrous, wireless mouse that has great battery life and a superb sensor. Finally, for the headset, we’d go for the HyperX Cloud Alpha, a pair of cans that offers a great soundscape and frequency range in a sturdy, charming build, all for a fantastic price.