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Think you can build a 4K gaming PC for the price of an Xbox One X? Think again.

Thermal Core P5
Thermal Core P5 (Image credit: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

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

NVIDIA GTX 1060

GTX 1060

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.

ComponentOur ideal pickPrice
CaseCORSAIR CARBIDE 100R (opens in new tab)$49.99
PSUEVGA 500 W1 (opens in new tab)$39.99
MotherboardASUS PRIME A320M-K (opens in new tab)$59.99
CPURyzen 3 2200G (opens in new tab)$98.89
RAMPatriot Viper 3 Series 8GB (opens in new tab)$59.99
StorageWD Blue 1TB (opens in new tab)$43.99
GPUPNY GeForce GTX 1060 3GB (opens in new tab)$229.99
OSWindows 10 (opens in new tab)$99.99
Total$682.82

Mid-range PC

Zotac GTX 1070

How does the NVIDIA MX150 compare to other hardware?

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.

ComponentOur ideal pickPrice
CaseCORSAIR CARBIDE 100R (opens in new tab)$49.99
PSUEVGA 500 W1 (opens in new tab)$39.99
MotherboardASUS PRIME A320M-K (opens in new tab)$59.99
CPUAMD Ryzen 5 2400G (opens in new tab)$159
RAMHyperX FURY 8GB (opens in new tab)$89.85
StorageWD Blue 1TB (opens in new tab)$43.99
GPUEVGA GTX 1070 8GB (opens in new tab)$379.99
OSWindows 10 (opens in new tab)$99.99
Total$922.79

Powerhouse PC

NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti

1080 ti

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.

ComponentOur ideal pickPrice
CasePhanteks P400S (opens in new tab)$89.99
PSUEVGA SuperNOVA 750 P2 (opens in new tab)$142.03
MotherboardASUS PRIME X399-A (opens in new tab)$299.01
CPUAMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X (opens in new tab)$779.97
RAMKingston HyperX FURY Black 32GB (opens in new tab)$349.99
SSDSamsung 970 EVO 250GB M.2 (opens in new tab)$107.99
SSDSamsung 860 PRO 2TB SSD (opens in new tab)$789.99
GPUEVGA GTX 1080 Ti (opens in new tab)$829.42
OSWindows 10 (opens in new tab)$99.99
Total$3,488.38

Prebuilt towers

MSI Trident 3

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).

CategoryASUS GR8HP OMEN 880-040MSI Infinite X
CPUIntel Core i7-7700AMD Ryzen 7 1800XIntel Core i7-8700
GPUNVIDIA GTX 1060 6GBNVIDIA GTX 1080 8GBNVIDIA GTX 1070Ti 8GB
RAM16GB16GB16GB
Storage512GB M.2512GB M.2
2TB HDD
256GB M.2
2TB HDD
Price$1,159.99 (opens in new tab)$1,699 (opens in new tab)$1,643.54 (opens in new tab)

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.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is 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 over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

265 Comments
  • Truer words have never been spoken.
  • Incorrect. "Cast iron is hard". See how easy that was? WAY truer, and if you don't believe it, we can arrange a demonstration :D
  • you will pry the mouse and keyboard and joystick out of my cold dead hands
  • lol
  • PC users are in a bit of a pickle right now due to stupd f'ing crypt miners causing massive inflation on graphics cards. Before the inflation it was possible to build a rig with equal power for $600 (not counting OS license) The bigger and more important not is Xbox does not allow you access to Steam, Origin, or Battle.net services which is where I do quite a bit of gaming.
  • Also the cheaper games you can get across all of those services with their competative seasonal sales.  Once locked into a console you lock yourself out of a competative game pricing market. Also, author failed to include membership pricing for xbox live gold services. $60/year which adds up over the life of a console (~5yr * 60 = $300.)  PC multiplayer game server access is generally free for the games that are on both systems. Bottom line: Cost of owning an XB1X is actually $720-$900 over the course of 2-5 years.  Cost of owning a gaming PC is whatever you pay to build it (excluding game costs and savings which favour PCs.)
  • The article is about 4k gaming. Xbox Live isnt required to do 4k gaming. Doesn't count. There is qualifiers for both sides that we can add and subtract in if we wanna be picky and twist it to fit our points. The article is spot on.
  • It's required to play games online, which is a major feature of most AAA games on console 4K or not. The author missed a cost which more than a majority of gamers on the system will suscribe to for a year or more.  It counts. I did get the numbers wrong, for 2-5 years it is $620-$800.
  • Yawn
  • And for the $60/year you get 48 free games + discounts on games. $300 (5 years) = 240 free games.
  • Well said brother :]
  • And even if you price it at $10 a game average that's still $2400 in 5 yrs so that pays for the sub and then some
  • They technically aren't fully free. As long as you stay a subscriber they are free. Games are cheaper on the pc. Take injustice 2 for example. The ultimate edition is $100 + taxes where as on the pc you can get it on green man gaming. Com for & 60 and tax free
  • Can we also count troubleshooting minor / individual PC issues? Occurs more often on custom builds and dodgy OEMs, relatively. How easy is for devs, HW provider, OEM and OS provider to replicate your environment and issues? How about ARM64 support? Store-region-hot-swap? Remote game install? So game can be ready on your Xbox when you get home. Instant-ON?
  • AND the RAM prices that doubled during the last year ☹☹☹
  • Absolute rubbish
  • The Xbox One X is actually more powerful than a 1070 in many ways. Before you are in disbelief and call me a fan boy look up the specs for both and you'll be Surprised. Also I have a 1080Ti in my PC so I def can do 4K. I have my reasons for getting an XB1X. Also have a PS4Pro and I choose to be on my X the most and my PC in second place when it comes to online. PC is my main for Sing player and my PS4 Pro for my PS exclusives. Also got a Nintendo Switch lol. My point is though I have all of these systems the X for the power and Price Point before your GPU . "Inflation" response even then you couldn't run a $600 4K gaming machine that wasn't on very low maybe medium settings. If that was the case MS wouldn't of even made this console and PC prices wouldn't be so high for parts needed for 4k gaming.
  • GTX1060 4K ULTRA 60FPS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_wayk7XnbE There are already games confirmed to be 30fps max on Xbox One X
  • Nice but..  
  • You do realize that the processor and the card is already over $500, right?
  • first its a pc it can do more!! ...not just gaming ryzen 1400 =159$ Rx480/580 (same as 1060)=200$
  • That's not the point. The point is whether you can get the same quality of gaming for $499 that you can by buying an Xbox One X. Most people already have computers, so "it's a PC it can do more" is really moot.
  • There I was thinking I am the only one that caught on that... Like you said, don't tell me it can do, as such pay ~$2500, all others packages he had that were under $1000 could not effectively do 60fps 4K Res. The only one he had that could at $2500 now has a clause... "It can do do more" I'll wait just when you find out you can run MS Office on your XB1, plus all conceivable UWA, then I'll love to hear the next excuse. (Ok, it will probably not be able to run MacOS)
  • To be fair, the Xbox One X can't effectively do 4k@60fps either, it can with some games, but not all, and definitely not the most visually taxing games. So in that regard the $980 option above is more than suitable. And you can play online for free, get full mod support for any games that support it, and have a larger collection of games to choose from, which are all significant parts of gaming for a large number of people.
  • Then link to that video because his specs don't equal yours.
  • And what would you do with a pc that was built for gaming?
  • pc built for gaming is the same pc like any other  
  • As somebody with a Surface Pro-series device and an ageing gaming PC, the X1X is really interesting because the only reason I haven't already sold off my gaming PC is because you can't do gaming on a Surface Pro. I want another computer. I want a powerful gaming machine.
  • That and there is no Steam or Origin or Battle.net or U-Play, etc. Still missing those. Would love to see those arrive for Xbox
  • You actually WANT those that's the best part of consoles none of that ****
  • Technically you still have a walled environment on Xbox, you just don't get a choice in who's walls you're within.
  • * I don't want another computer
  • Look at the conclusion : "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."
  • That card is alot less powerful than the One X. It's terraflops, memory and bandwidth are all seriously lower than One X GPU.
  • http://www.amd.com/en-us/products/graphics/radeon-rx-series/radeon-rx-480 gtx1060 allmost the same
  • Yea.. the 1060 only hits at about 4.5 tflops. It also has significantly lower memory bandwidth, and much lower vram... The 1060 is really not the card to compare to the x1x if you are trying to build a similarlly spec'd PC... If you are going nvidia, it would have to be the 1070 spec-wise.
  • And even then the 1070 gtx has less ram 8 vs 9. And less bandwidth at 256. So even then it's still not matching One X
  • The RAM is shared by the system though, not exactly apples to apples, the 1070 is a superior card period.
  • No it's not a superior card. The One X has 12gb. The system has 3gb used for that. 9gb is entirely for the games on One X. And it will be increased to 10 in the next 12 months. So its 8gb on 1070 gtx running at 256gb/sec vs 9gb @ 326 gb/sec. The One X also has the same terraflops. Sorry pal. The 1070 gtx is handidly beaten by the One X GPU. FACT.
  • Keep telling yourself that  buddy maybe it will come true some day. As many others have posted the 1X card is comparable to the 1060, I don't know if you have lots of stock in Microsoft or something but I don't know why you are going so hard to make your point. 
  • You must not know much about pc specs. The Xbox 1 x graphics card doesn't have 12 gb ram. The 12gb ram is the system ram. The graphics card has its own ram and the 1070 is by far a better card than what's in the Xbox one x
  • gtx1060 and rx 1060 are the same https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEw3CaNSbUo amd and nvidia spec calcaulation are diffrent  https://www.reddit.com/r/hardware/comments/4u7hx3/rx_480_gtx_1060_tflops...
  • http://www.geforce.co.uk/hardware/desktop-gpus/geforce-gtx-1060/specific...
  • Even on the ps4 pro Battlefield 1 runs at 60fps 4k
  • first its upscaled in ps4 pro not native also not Ultra setting??? what about Viewing distance,texture quality,lighting quality,shadows,post process,antialiasing
  • I know that it is a good point but there is a line somewhere between medium and high where you notice the change, after that (high-to-very high+) it isn't obvious and the extras gets lost in the gameplay. Sure, you can spot it if you stop playing and start to look for differences but if a game is undone by those differences then chances are it isn't a good one. Also, most if not all my friends that play on PC swear that 60 fps is the bare minium to enjoy a game. Less than that and you aren't a gamer because nothing can be enjoyed at less than 60 fps. I disagree but who knows.
  • Your friends are correct, 60 fps is a must.
  • Incorrect