I get the chance to review a lot of pre-built gaming desktops and gaming laptops, many of which are not in my usual price range. Though there are plenty of affordable pre-built rigs that can deliver a satisfying gaming experience, the beauty of building your own machine lies in the extensive customization and the ability to cut costs by buying everything separately and putting it together yourself. I did just that a couple of years ago, and while the exact same build is no longer attainable due to new hardware and new prices, you can still build a great gaming PC for around the same price. I've collected everything you'll need right here, and I've included some performance results below to help you get an idea of what this PC can do.
ATX Mid Tower Case
This case is crazy popular, and for good reason. It's affordable, well built, allows for easy cable management, and it has two fans inside to get your build started. There's lots of room for the current hardware and for future upgrades.
This X570 motherboard is available at a solid price and still delivers a lot of features. A heatsink for essential components (including VRMs), chipset cooling, PCIe 4.0, LAN, and a sharp look. This is perfect if you plan on upgrading to Ryzen 5000 CPUs when they're more readily available.
Unreal CPU Value
If you're putting together a new PC and you're after an AMD Ryzen CPU, the Ryzen 5 3600X truly offers great bang for your buck. It has six cores, a 4.4 GHz boost clock, and it can be overclocked for increased performance. A cooler is included.
Dual-Channel DDR4 RAM
Corsair's Vengeance LPX 2666 MHz DDR4 RAM comes in a dual 8GB configuration and will fit the X570 motherboard without interfering with any other parts. Each stick is covered in an aluminum heat spreader for better dissipation, and it's black to match the rest of the hardware.
AMD Radeon GPU
The AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT is a great GPU for crushing 1080p or enjoying 1440p with slightly reduced in-game settings. The ASRock Phantom version has a triple-fan cooling system, 6GB of GDDR6 VRAM, and some nice red highlights to match the motherboard.
The SK hynix Gold S31 is a 2.5-inch SATA SSD that's a great blend of storage space, performance, and price. You can expect read and write speeds up to 560MB/s and 525MB/s, respectively. It comes with a five-year warranty and 600 TBW rating for long-lasting storage.
Power It All
Putting all this PC hardware together without a proper power supply unit (PSU) is unwise. Too little power means you won't be able to run at full speed, and cheaping out often leads to damaged goods. Corsair's CX750 has 750W of power and sets you up well for any future upgrades that require more power (like next-gen GPUs).
What kind of performance can you expect from this PC?
The AMD Ryzen 5 3600X CPU and the Radeon RX 5600 XT GPU are going to run great together, with minimal bottlenecking at 1080p and 1440p. You're going to get the best result at the lower FHD resolution, but QHD is certainly feasible in most games. For example, playing Call of Duty Warzone at 1080p with mostly High in-game settings will net you around 60 frames per second (FPS). Going down to Medium settings will hit closer to 90FPS. Jumping up to 1440p you should expect around 60 FPS on Medium settings.
As for something far less intensive, like Fortnite, you can expect somewhere around 85 FPS at 1440p with High in-game settings. Dropping down to 1080p with the same High settings boosts the number up to about 115 FPS.
Not quite the performance you're looking for? Don't want to build a PC on your own? Be sure to have a look at our roundup of the best gaming desktop PCs that come assembled and ready to tackle a life of performance gaming.
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.
Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.