For PC gamers, is it possible to put together a PC with similar functionality for around the same amount of money? We take a look to see if we can throw together a number of builds at multiple price points to return different results in quality and performance.
It is quickly clear that you're going to have a hard time picking components (that are actually in stock) to match those offered by Microsoft in its $500 console form factor. The company has the ability to pack in serious power without the asking price skyrocketing. Not only is it able to take a hit to push out more units to consumers, the console itself really isn't going to be powering anything other than games and some streaming.
The same can't be said for an average PC, and that is where things become a little cloudy. With Windows 10 installed, a gaming PC (especially one that can game at 4K) can perform a wide array of tasks that a console simply cannot. But PC builders have to deal with paying for individual components from different companies, whereas console manufacturers likely enjoy a discount for purchasing in bulk.
Matching the Xbox One X
Our first build is a $683 PC that is capable of some solid gaming but that will hit some bottlenecks. That is to be expected when you choose a less powerful 2nd-gen AMD Ryzen 3 processor and GTX 1060 with only 3GB of VRAM.
This is where PC starts to really shine. Our mid-range build will set you back about $920 and may allow you to enjoy 4K gaming at around 30 frames per second (FPS) at best with the settings turned down a little. Still, it will offer more raw performance than an Xbox One X and you'll be able to enjoy more than respectable 1440p gaming. The combination of a Ryzen 5 CPU and GTX 1070 makes for quite the experience.
If you truly wish to leave the Xbox One X behind in the dust, go all out with our powerhouse build for around $3,488. Adding the most powerful components available to the cart and neglecting to check the price will unlock immense amounts of potential in-game. NVIDIA's GTX 1080 Ti is overkill for most PC gamers, but this GPU card will offer incredible performance even at 4K.
We also bumped the amount of DDR4 RAM to 32GB, replaced the Ryzen 5 chip with a Ryzen Threadripper, and opted for a more capable motherboard with the X399 chipset. It's expensive but truly awesome.
|Component||Our ideal pick||Price|
|PSU||EVGA SuperNOVA 750 P2||$142.03|
|Motherboard||ASUS PRIME X399-A||$299.01|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X||$779.97|
|RAM||Kingston HyperX FURY Black 32GB||$349.99|
|SSD||Samsung 970 EVO 250GB M.2||$107.99|
|SSD||Samsung 860 PRO 2TB SSD||$789.99|
|GPU||EVGA GTX 1080 Ti||$829.42|
|Total||Row 9 - Cell 1||$3,488.38|
If you'd rather not build your own PC, and if money isn't an issue, there are a number of powerful mid-tower builds available from various manufacturers. Some of these PCs sport hardware capable of smooth 4K gaming but it should be noted that in order to hit 60 FPS at such a high resolution, you're going to need to invest in the best components on the market (namely the GPU).
Building a 4K gaming PC for the price of Xbox One X ...
If all you care about is gaming at 4K, and you don't want to invest in a prebuilt PC or put together one yourself, the Xbox One X is worth consideration. The bottom line is that building a capable PC to take on the new Xbox spec to spec will cost a fair amount, but the PC is better value for what you can do with one, and one has to take further upgrades into consideration when consoles simply become obsolete.
Updated August 10, 2018: We updated our PC builds to take into account price fluctuations and to remove listings that were no longer available.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.