Gaming PC - August 2018
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.
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.
At WQHD resolution, the AMD Ryzen 5 2600X is not much slower than the Intel Core i5 8600K in games, as was shown by our extensive comparison. Especially when incorporating the motherboard into our calculation, the Ryzen set is a lot cheaper, so we lower the total system price a bit in these days of expensive memory and still not exactly cheap graphics cards.
If you want to save even more, you can also buy and overclock the cheaper Ryzen 5 2600. All Ryzen processors are in fact quite overclockable.
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The selected processor requires memory from the DDR4 generation. We choose two 8GB modules at a decent speed of DDR4-3000. It is possible to save money by first purchasing only one module and adding second one later one, but that does have its effect on performance.
You'll find Corsair's chosen memory kit on the motherboard's support list, so you can be sure that this combination will work together well.
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. If you want whisper quiet cooling, the enormous Scythe Ninja 5 can be considered, too.
In our X470 motherboard review, one board really stood out in terms of price-performance. The Gigabyte Aorus X470 Ultra Gaming is a very complete motherboard with high quality network and audio chips, a capable power circuit and still relatively modest pricing.
Does the Ultra Gaming have any downsides? There's not as much RGB lighting as on more expensive boards and it lacks integrated WiFi; if you don't care about that (like us), then it really is an excellent choice. Of course you can always add your own WiFi connection.
If you have very serious plans for overclocking, you might want to spend a little more on, for example, a Asus RoG Strix X470-F Gaming, which has an even more solid power circuit.
With the GTX 1070, you can game at WQHD without any compromises on graphics quality.
At the time of writing, the Ti version of the GTX 1070 has the best price/performance ratio. We recommend the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Gaming 8GB from MSI. With its large cooling block and two fans, the MSI Twin Frozr VI cooler has been able to keep various video cards cool for years without making too much noise. Moreover, it cools well enough to leave some overclocking headroom available.
The GTX 1070 Ti Gaming from Gigabyte is still a few bucks cheaper, but it does have an increased noise production during gaming and lets the gpu get warmer. If you don't mind about that, then it is an easy saving opportunity.
The Crucial MX500 is fast, although it certainly doesn't break the bank. The five years of warranty are a nice finishing touch. 500 GB should be enough for a sizable game collection. We choose the M.2 version, which you can put into your mainboard without any cables.
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 or exchanging it for an even larger SSD.
The data disk doesn't need to be fast: quiet, efficient and affordable are key. Based on those criteria, Western Digital's Blue series is according to our latest comparison test the best choice. We opt for the 4TB version, which has plenty of space for the future. You can of course choose a smaller or larger version, according to 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.
The Fractal Design Meshify C is a compact ATX chassis that does what Fractal Design promises, which is excellent cooling, while not getting too noisy. If we compare this case to other comparable ATX cases, the Meshify C is one of the best in terms of cooling performance, while it's also at the upper half of the acoustics graph.
In our review, we called the Meshify C an excellent choice if you are looking for a compact case with good cooling. The only downside is that it can't accommodate more than two 3.5" hard disks. In case you are a fanatic data collector, you will have to look further.
For those who prefer it, there is also a version with closed side panel available. If quiet operation is the most important thing to you, you could consider the Define R6 from the same manufacturer.
We don't need many words to describe the performance of the Seasonic Focus Plus Gold: it's excellent. The voltage stability, efficiency, ripple and noise production are all very good. The ripple of the Focus Plus Gold is just a tad higher when compared to the Corsair RMx, but the difference is really small. However, Seasonics offering is considerably cheaper.
550 watts is more than enough for a setup with just one graphics card. If you want to keep the option for Nvidia SLI, you should invest about 20 dollars more for the 750W version.
The Corsair K70 Lux is the newest variant of the famous keyboard from the American manufacturer. It's a sturdy mechanical keyboard with an aluminium frame and full-key rollover. Also, a palm rest and media keys are included. It lacks macro keys, but the availability of models with multiple types of Cherry MX switches is a pro.
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, but the Kingston HyperX Fury S Pro Series is a good starting point for a high-quality cloth pad.
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.
The Iiyama GB2760QSU delivers exactly what many people want (WQHD with 144 Hz), for a reasonable price. Looking closer the competition may be a little bit faster or a little bit better accurate in colour representation, but it is currently unbeatable in its class in price to performance.
Do you have even more to spend? With the Samsung C27HG70 you get a better quality VA panel, with deeper blacks and better color accuracy. The LG 32GK850G-B is an interesting alternative if you have no problem with an even bigger display.
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 Pro Surround a lot better. The combination with a very good microphone makes it our new first choice.
If you can appreciate some red accents on your gaming headset, there is also a second version that only differs in appearance.
|Processors||AMD Ryzen 5 2600X Boxed||$224.99|
|Memory modules||Corsair Vengeance LPX Black 16GB DDR4-3000 CL15 kit||$149.99|
|CPU coolers||Scythe Mugen 5 PCGH Edition||–|
|Motherboards||Gigabyte X470 Aorus Ultra Gaming||$115.99|
|Graphics cards||MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Gaming 8GB||$439.99|
|Hard disks/SSDs||Crucial MX500 500GB (M.2)||$89.99|
|Hard disks/SSDs||Western Digital Blue 4TB||$101.45|
|Cases||Fractal Design Meshify C Tempered Glass Edition||$84.99|
|Power supplies||Seasonic Focus Plus Gold 550W||$79.99|
|Keyboards||Corsair K70 LUX Cherry MX Red||$133.99|
|Mice||Logitech G403 Prodigy Corded||–|
|Mouse pads||Kingston HyperX Fury Pro Gaming M||–|
|PC speaker sets||Creative T3250W||–|
|Monitors||Iiyama G-Master GB2760QSU-B1||–|
|Headsets||Corsair Gaming Void Pro Surround Dolby 7.1 Black||–|
|Save as your own wish list||Average total price:||$1,421.37|