Best PC Builds for Gaming: From Sub $500 Budgets to $3000+

Best PC Builds for Gaming: From Sub $500 Budgets to $3000+

For every price point, we recommend the best PC builds.

Putting together your own desktop is more rewarding than buying one of the best gaming PCs. However, you get total control of everything from the exact make and model of motherboard to how many RGB fans you want and the aesthetics of the chassis; when you build a gaming PC yourself. 

We’ve created a set of recommended parts lists below for different builds that will help you assemble the best PC build for gaming or productivity on your budget. The budget builds costing less than $500 and less than $1,000, along with mid-range, high-end and super high-end gaming rigs have been identified below.

Best PC Builds for Gaming
Best PC Builds for Gaming
  1. BEST $500 PC BUILD FOR GAMING

Sub: $500 Gaming PC

Component Type: CPU

Model: Intel Core i3 12100F

Price (at Pub Time in USD): $105

Component Type: Motherboard

Model: ASRock H610M-HVS

Price (at Pub Time in USD): $79

Component Type: GPU

Model: Radeon RX 6400

Price (at Pub Time in USD): $149

Component Type: RAM

Model: Silicon Power Value Gaming DDR4 RAM 16GB (8GBx2) 3200MHz

Price (at Pub Time in USD): $42

Component Type: Storage

Model: Crucial MX500 (500GB)

Price (at Pub Time in USD): $42

Component Type: Case

Model: DeepCool Matrexx 40

Price (at Pub Time in USD): $44

Component Type: PSU

Model: Thermaltake Smart Series 500W

Price (at Pub Time in USD): $33

Component Type: Cooler

Model: N/A, comes with CPU

Total: $495

So a good news— you can now build a PC that has a discrete graphics card for just around $500. With modest settings, you will be able to play games at 1080p but you won’t get the fastest GPU around. Compared to the time a few months ago, when we couldn’t fit any graphics card into this budget and would have had to rely on a CPU with an integrated GPU, it has really been a big improvement over the market.

However, we’re going with either AMD’s bottom-of-the-line Radeon RX 6400 for the graphics card in this system. This card isn’t as fast, but still on our gaming tests at 1080p medium, it managed a 52 fps very-playable. However, getting 54.7 fps on the same test and nearly-playable at 1080p ultra with 28.3 fps, the hard-to-find Intel Arc A380 graphics card can be substituted if you could find one in stock. Better yet, splurging another $30 – $40 and buying a Radeon RX 6500 XT, that hits a 30.8 fps very playable at 1080p ultra and a 65.8 fps smooth at 1080p medium.

  1. BEST $1,000 PC BUILD FOR GAMING

Best $1,000 PC Build for Gaming

Component Type: CPU   

Model: Intel Core i5-12400F    

Price (at Pub Time in USD): $176

Component Type: Motherboard

Model: Gigabyte H610M S2H

Price (at Pub Time in USD): $89

Component Type: GPU

Model: Radeon RX 6700 XT or RTX 3060 Ti

Price (at Pub Time in USD): $389 – $469

Component Type: RAM

Model: TeamGroup T-Force Zeus DDR 16GB Kit (2 x 8GB) 3200 MHz

Price (at Pub Time in USD): $46

Component Type: Storage

Model: Silicon Power UD90 (1TB)

Price (at Pub Time in USD): $74

Component Type: Case

Model: NZXT H510

Price (at Pub Time in USD): $59

Component Type: PSU

Model: Thermaltake Toughpower GX2 600W

Price (at Pub Time in USD): $65

Component Type: Cooler

Model: N/A, comes with CPU

Total: $900 – $1000

You can build a PC with the ability to play games really well at 1080p and competently at 2K if you can stretch your budget up to around $1,000. At press time, we could find an AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT for as low as $389 and an Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti card for as little as $409. When we ran our 8-game test suite at 1080p resolution with ultra settings, the RT3060 Ti hit 91.5 fps while 6700 XT offered an impressive frame rate of 95.8 fps. The GPUs achieved very-playable rates of 69.7 and 70.8 fps at 2K resolution.

Nvidia’s card is better if ray tracing performance is more important to you. With Ray tracing enabled, the 3060 Ti hit 65.3 fps at 1080p ultra settings. However, the Radeon RX 6700 XT could only deliver 45.9 fps.

  1. BEST MID-RANGE PC BUILD FOR GAMING

Best Mid-Range PC Build for Gaming

Component Type: CPU

Model: Intel Core i5-12400F

Price (at Pub Time in USD): $174

Component Type: Motherboard

Model: ASRock H670M Pro RS

Price (at Pub Time in USD): $139

Component Type: GPU

Model: RTX 3070 Ti or RX 6800 XT

Price (at Pub Time in USD): $599 – $819

Component Type: RAM

Model: Patriot Viper Steel DDR4 32GB (2 x 16GB) 3200

Price (at Pub Time in USD): $84

Component Type: Storage

Model: SK hynix Platinum P41 (2TB)    

Price (at Pub Time in USD): $181

Component Type: Case

Model: Phanteks Eclipse P360A

Price (at Pub Time in USD): $89

Component Type: PSU

Model: Cooler Master MasterWatt 650

Price (at Pub Time in USD): $69

Component Type: Cooler

Model: N/A (included)

Total: $1700

Depending on the current price of the GPU, we’re looking at around a $1,500 budget as we step up to a build that should be brilliant at 1080p gaming and really strong for 2K gaming. We recommend going with either an Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti or an AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT.

At press time, 6800 XT cards are selling for as little as $587 on Amazon and RTX 3070 Ti cards for as little as $629. In our GPU benchmarks hierarchy, the card of AMD outranks its Nvidia competitor. It has achieved average frame rates of 99 fps at 2K Ultra and 123 fps at 1080p Ultra to the 3070 Ti’s rates of 104 and 82 fps. There are some clear differences on individual titles such as Borderlands 3 at DX12 Ultra.

However, Nvidia’s card is a better choice, if you plan to play games with ray tracing, achieving 78 fps at 1080p Ultra and 34 fps at 2K Ultra resolutions where the 6800XT got 29 and 69 fps.

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