Best gaming PC – the top PC build for games in 2021

Want to build the best gaming PC? We’ve picked some of the best components in 2021 to build two alternative tiers of PC perfection

Best Gaming PC

Building the best gaming PC isn’t too difficult these days – just think of it as Lego for adults. If you put together a rig yourself, you get complete control over which parts you want and how they all fit together. Not only this, but you also get that feeling of satisfaction when you finally hit the power switch and see your creation come to life – and all of this for a lower price than buying prebuilt.

Part of the beauty of putting together your own gaming rig is that you can choose each of the individual components yourself, whether that’s based on pricing or manufacturer preference. That’s because building the best gaming PC is a very personal thing. Some people might not raise a sculpted eyebrow at spending four grand on a gaming PC, while most of us would still struggle to scrape together $1,000 for a prospective build. What you play makes a difference, too – at the risk of stating the obvious, whether you want to crank up Assassin’s Creed Valhalla PC Settings at 4K resolution, or Fortnite at 1080p on medium settings will affect which components you should buy. Whatever spec you go for, after picking up the best gaming monitor and best gaming chair, your PC build is likely going to be the most expensive part of your setup .

But all are welcome in the world of PC gaming, and there are brilliant gaming rigs you can create no matter whether you’re an oligarch or ruthlessly raiding every piggy bank you’ve ever owned (and some you don’t) to be able to afford a new machine.

We’ve split our builds up into two tiers – the best gaming PC build, and the best high-end gaming PC build – to give you an idea of what’s possible, and we’ve also added our pick of the best monitors and peripherals around right now.

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best gaming pc build

When graphics card stock is sorted, the best gaming PC is this Ryzen 5 3600 / RTX 3060 Ti build, coming in around $1,250 / £1,200.

Product $ £
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 3600
$163 £161
CPU cooler AMD stock cooler $0 £0
Motherboard ASUS ROG Strix B450-F Gaming $285 £281
Memory 32GB Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro (2x 16GB) $140 £146
Storage addlink S70 1TB SSD NVMe $128 £128
Graphics card Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti $399 £369
PSU EVGA 600 BQ $78 £75
Chassis Corsair Carbide 100R $55 £50
$1,248 £1,210

The RTX 3060 is one of the best graphics cards for 1080p and 1440p gaming, if you can get your hands on one – which at the time of writing is pretty difficult. For this theoretically possible build, we’ve paired it with AMD’s 12-threaded Ryzen 5 3600 – a generation old, but still a solid contender for running all the best PC games. We’re using the included stock cooler here to keep the price of the build down – AMD’s stock coolers are much improved from their woeful coolers that sounded like a jet taking off from yesteryear – but you could always stretch to one of the best CPU coolers if you wanted to overclock your CPU.

Motherboard-wise, we’re going for the ROG Strix B450-F gaming motherboard from Asus – a reliable choice with some fancy built-in RGB lighting of its own. There’s no traces of slow storage in this build either, with the addlink S70 1TB NVMe SSD packing sequential read speeds of up to 3,400MB/s. Of course, if you have an enormous games library, you could always chuck in a cheaper SATA hard drive or SATA SSD from our best SSD for gaming guide for extra storage without breaking the bank.

Power comes from a bronze-rated 600W EVGA PSU, which, being semi-modular, is handy for helping you manage cables in your build. This is all put together inside a Corsair Carbide 100R case, a solid-feeling unit with great cable management options.

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$199.99
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$169.99
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$96.99
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$127.99
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$42.99
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$74.64
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$59.99
$49.49
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best 4k pc build

When in stock, the best high-end PC for 4K gaming is this Ryzen 9 5900X / RTX 3080 build at around $2,400 / £2,200. This is around a $700 saving on our previous $3000-plus RTX 2080 build, despite offering better performance.

Product $ £
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
$549 £550
CPU cooler Corsair iCUE H100i ELITE CAPELLIX AIO $149 £149
Motherboard ASUS ROG Strix B550-F Gaming $185 £170
Memory 32GB Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro (2x 16GB) $140 £146
Storage Sabrent 2TB Rocket Nvme PCIe 4.0 $370 £300
Graphics card Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 $699 £649
PSU 750W NZXT C750 $129 £121
Chassis NZXT H510 Elite $170 £150
$2,391 £2,235

With stock issues continuing to plague both Nvidia’s RTX 30 series and AMD’s RX 6000 cards, this build might be pretty difficult to source right now without resorting to scalpers, but if you’re planning to build a PC in a few months time, or happen to stumble upon an Ampere card today, this build is perfect – with all the most up-to-date components included.

For the CPU, we’ve gone for AMD’s 24-thread powerhouse Ryzen 9 5900X, with a maximum single core boost of 4.8GHz, which will smash through not only gaming but heavy productivity tasks like video editing. We recommend cooling it with Corsair’s 240mm iCUE H100i Elite Cappelix, to keep it chilled and quiet, while also giveing you great overclocking potential. Oh, and there’s those essential RGB lights on the cooler.

The graphics card is one of Nvidia’s latest and greatest, the RTX 3080. This is the ideal choice for 4K gaming or 1440p gaming at high refresh rates without any hitches. Memory comes in the form of two 16GB DDR4 sticks from Corsair, with a 3,200MHz frequency, which matches perfectly with the Ryzen 9 5900X.

For storage, we’re taking full advantage of AMD’s PCIe 4.0 support on tap with a monster 2TB NVMe Gen4 SSD from Sabrent, with sequential read speeds of up to 5,000MB/s for near-instantaneous boot up and game loading. NZXT’s C750 power supply has plenty to fuel the components, with a Gold efficiency rating and a zero RPM fan mode when under low-load, to keep the PC nice and quiet.

Put all that together inside NZXT’s mid tower H510 Elite case, with more RGB goodness, and you’ve built one of the best gaming PCs available. Better yet, it should last you for many years to come.

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$819.99
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$149.99
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$334.99
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$349.98
$297.48
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$181.54
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$119.99
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$169.99
$149.99
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best prebuilt gaming pc

Can’t get your hands on a next generation Nvidia or AMD graphics card? There’s a way around this by buying a prebuilt PC, which are readily available and come with the latest GPUs. This is also a good option if you just don’t want to deal with building a gaming PC from scratch.

A good option for US customers is the Skytech Chronos at $1,749, with a 16-thread AMD Ryzen 7 3700X CPU, and Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3070 – the perfect graphics card for running games maxed out in 1440p, and a contender for 4K gaming in older titles too. This comes with a more than adequate 16GB of RAM and a 1TB NVMe for super fast loading times

Over in the UK you can pick up the CyberpowerPC Centurion for £1,494 – other than the different processor it’s pretty much the same specifications, but coming with Intel’s eight-thread i7-9700KF processor instead of an AMD chip. It’s got the same RTX 3070 graphics card, however, along with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB NVMe. It also has liquid CPU cooling, so you have the option to overclock the chip to get even more performance out of it.

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$2,074.00
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Peripheral buying guides

After all, without the best gaming headset wrapped around your ears and the best gaming keyboard and mouse at your fingertips, can you really call it the best gaming PC build? You might even want to go for the best gaming microphone too, to make yourself even clearer to your teammates and in Discord calls.