AMD Ryzen Gaming PC - May 2017
This computer system is specifically geared towards gaming at WQHD resolution. That means a PC with a high-end graphics card and a processor that is fast enough to support the GPU, but also a fast monitor to display the rendered frames in the best way.
Because there is much discussion about whether an AMD or an Intel processor should be inside a gaming rig, we split up our system advices. You're now reading the AMD-based advice, the Intel version can be found in a different article.
The rest of the configuration needs to be balanced as well. Since many gamers also enjoy overclocking their PC to improve performance, it is also important to choose a motherboard and memory that is suitable for this. Keep in mind that you will pay extra for that overclocking potential.
Having the right accessories is also important. The goal of our gaming PC is to be able to run virtually all new PC titles on the highest settings. That means high resolution, high graphics quality, a good frame rate, and surround sound. And let’s not forget a good gaming mouse and a decent keyboard with features to enhance your PC gaming experience.
A dedicated gaming PC is pretty expensive, but we try to make sure that our recommended system isn't over-the-top.
Please note: the PC Buyer’s Guide is compiled based on independent component tests performed by Hardware.Info. If no new, superior products are released that should replace one or more of the components, then the component(s) will remain the same as the previous month.
If you want to know more about how we compile our PC Buying guides, have a look at this article.
Intel still offers the best performance in games, but there's also much to say for an AMD Ryzen 5 CPU. In many other tasks, this 1600X is a lot faster than the quad-core Intels you can buy for the same price. Future games may scale better to the extra cores Ryzen offers.
The Ryzen 5 1600X is a relatively high clocked 6-core processor with support for SMT. Thanks to the high clocks, it offers almost the same gaming performance as the Ryzen 7 1800X, while being almost as cheap as the Core i5 7600K.
Our memory choice needs some extra attention with Ryzen. When the platform launched, there were lots of memory compatibility issues. It's important to look at what memory modules your motherboard manufacturer has verified, to make sure it'll work out of the box.
We choose a fast memory kit from Corsair. Since the memory speed is coupled to the speed of the inter-core bus with Ryzen, there is more profit from faster memory than what we're used to. 2666 MHz is the highest clock frequency that is officially supported.
If you want to save some bucks, you could opt for this cheaper 2400MHz kit from G.Skill, which is also certified to work with Ryzen.
The Scythe Mugen 5 PCGH Edition offers good cooling performance at a low price. The airflow is provided by two fans, which means that they don't have to run at high speeds and are very silent as a result. At the same time, the Mugen 5 PCGH offers enough headroom to overclock.
For even better cooling, you could take a look at the coolers from Noctua, but those are considerably more expensive.
With the Prime X370-Pro, ASUS offers a very attractive socket AM4 mainboard. Thanks to the advanced power circuit, you can freely overclock your Ryzen processor. You won't fall short in features, too: M.2, USB 3.1, Intel ethernet and ALC 1220 based audio are all present.
Compared to Intel Z270 boards, ASUS certainly doesn't ask too much for its Prime X370-Pro, which makes it an ideal base for an AMD Ryzen system.
The GeForce GTX 1070 is the new best choice for a Gaming PC. AMD doesn't offer a GPU with this kind of performance yet, while CrossFire is a bad alternative for a single faster GPU, in our opinion. With the GTX 1070, you can game at WQHD without any compromises on graphics quality.
Although really bad GTX 1070s are hard to find, we surely have a favorite. The Superclocked version from EVGA has a friendly price and combines good performance with whisper quiet cooling. Due to the silent cooling, you almost won't hear the graphics card, even under full load.
If you don't like the color scheme, you can also get this card in black. If you have some more to spend, the FTW edition is even higher clocked and has a custom PCB.
In cases with little airflow, the VRMs of the EVGA cards could overheat. EVGA released new BIOS'es that make the fans rotate faster. We retested the 1070 SC, and while the card makes a little more noise than before, the effect is limited and doesn't affect our verdict. New cards have extra cooling pads, that fix the problem.
If you don't need the system right now, it could be a good choice to wait for the AMD Vega graphics cards, which will be launched in a few months.
There isn't much difference in performance between SATA600 SSDs these days. Due to its 'weird' capacity of 525 Gigs, you get more storage for the same price as the competition with the Crucial MX300. That's more than enough for all your software and games.
The 250 GB version offers enough storage for a sizeable game library. With cloud services such as Steam, Origin, Uplay and others you no longer need to keep tons of games installed at the same time. If you don't play more than a few games at the same time, you could even consider leaving the extra harddisk out.
The newest iteration of the Seagate Barracuda is fast, quiet and affordable. We install the 3TB edition, although you could opt for any smaller or bigger model depending on your needs.
Optical drive - None
We're finally at the point we don't think an optical drive is needed anymore. All games are available from online platforms like Steam and Origin.
We were very excited about the Phanteks Enthoo Pro in our review. The case offers features which we usually only see in enclosures that cost way more, while the build quality and finish are simply excellent. Due to its good cooling, the fan noise became a bit high on full speed, but that's easy to fix by setting up some fan profiles. Phanteks managed to dethrone the CM 690 and all its successores: if you are a gamer, the Enthoo Pro is the case you want to have.
By the way, a version with a side window also exists. If you prefer a silent pc most of all, you should take a look at the Fractal Design Define R5.
The Corsair RMx series is an excellent choice in every respect, as our review has proved us. We also tested the 550W model since then and again, it offers an attractive mix of performance, silence and price. The Cooler Master V-Series is a good alternative, but a bit more expensive at the moment.
If you want to keep a future SLI configuration possible, a heavier power supply is needed. The RM750x is a good choice in such a case.
The Steelseries Apex M500 is a mechanical keyboard with a good typing experience, while being suitable for gaming too. Its price is relatively low, since the manufacturer left all unnecessary features out: no RGB lighting, no palm rest, no macro keys. If you don't need those extra features, the savings are very welcome.
The Corsair K70 however, is an excellent alternative. It's a sturdy mechanical keyboard with an aluminium frame and full-key rollover. It lacks macro keys, the availability of models with multiple types of Cherry MX-switches is a pro.
If you want a so-called tenkeyless keyboard, we would recommend the CM Storm NovaTouch TKL.
The Logitech G403 Prodigy has a sleek and simple design, but uses the same top quality sensor as models that are much more expensive, like the G502 and G900. Its excellent performance on all kinds of mousepad surfaces makes it the ideal mouse for gamers. It doesn't offer many extra buttons - if you want those features, you'll have to opt for another model.
Not only should you get a quality mouse for a gaming PC, but the mousepad matters as well. Everyone has different preferences in material choice, so you should really try a few pads both in a store. The SteelSeries QcK is one of the candidates for your shortlist and a really popular store.
For 3D audio, a headset is the best choice - and gamers overwhelmingly prefer a headset to determine by ear what is going on. It is possible to convert 3D audio to surround audio, but this requires a bigger investment in a Dolby Digital Live or DTS connect capable soundcard, a decoder and 5.1 speakers.
We opt for 2.1 speakers, as a separate subwoofer is an added value in conveying bass-heavy effects and you still can have a 3D audio experience, albeit in a limited size 'sweet spot'.
Our chosen model is Creative's T3250W, which has Bluetooth, enabling you to listen to some tunes from your mobile phone, for example.
As a gamer, you want a fast display, so you will end up with a TN panel. The ASUS MG278Q (144 Hz) surprised us with its good color accuracy for this panel type and its fast response times. Those make this monitor an excellent choice for gaming. The high WQHD resolution offers a sharp image while gaming and leaves you with a lot of desktop space for doing other stuff. ASUS packed the MG278Q with a lot of features, like a built-in USB 3.0 hub and a Vesa mount, although the standard stand already has ergonomical customization.
If you're willing to spend 100 euros more, the ASUS MG279Q enters the arena. It combines a better quality IPS panel with the high 144 Hz refresh rate.
Are response times and refresh rates less important to you, and do you care more about the image quality? We've got you covered with the Dell UltraSharp U2515H, a good but cheaper alternative.
For a long time, we recommended the Kingston HyperX Cloud. While it continues to be a good choice if you want to do more than gaming, like listening to music, we liked the surround of the new Corsair Void a lot better. The combination with a very good microphone makes it our new first choice.
The Void Surround Hybrid is available in 'gaming red' and with carbon accents, for those who prefer a more neutral look.
|Processors||AMD Ryzen 5 1600X Boxed||$239.99|
|Memory modules||Corsair Vengeance LPX Black 16GB DDR4-2666 CL16 kit||$179.99|
|CPU coolers||Scythe Mugen 5 PCGH Edition||–|
|Motherboards||ASUS Prime X370-Pro||$149.61|
|Graphics cards||EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 SC ACX 3.0 8GB||$458.99|
|Hard disks/SSDs||Crucial MX300 525GB||$149.99|
|Hard disks/SSDs||Seagate BarraCuda New 3TB||$89.99|
|Cases||Phanteks Enthoo Pro||$89.99|
|Power supplies||Corsair RM550x||–|
|Keyboards||SteelSeries Apex M500||$111.99|
|Mice||Logitech G403 Prodigy Corded||–|
|Mouse pads||SteelSeries QcK||$9.99|
|PC speaker sets||Creative T3250W||–|
|Headsets||Corsair Void Surround Hybrid||–|
|Save as your own wish list||Average total price:||$1,480.53|