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Best gaming PC builds 2020

Want to build the best gaming PC on the planet? We’ve picked the best components to build two alternative tiers of PC perfection

Best Gaming PC

Building the best gaming PC really isn’t much more than lego for adults – honestly, it’s that easy once you know what you’re doing. And building one yourself means not only do you get complete control over which parts you want, but you also get to be a part of the process from start to finish and have that rush of satisfaction and victory after you plug the final power supply cable in. It should also save you a fair chunk of money over buying a pre-built PC.

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.

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 to be able to afford a new machine.

We’ve split our builds up into two tiers, 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.

SAPPHIRE Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT

Best gaming PC

Product $ £
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 3600 $175 £155
CPU cooler Wraith Stealth included with CPU
Motherboard Asus B450M-A $78 £70
Memory 8GB Ballistix Sport LT (2x 4GB) $39 £37
Primary storage 512GB Addlink S70 SSD $80 £75
Secondary storage 1TB WD Blue hard drive $44 £35
Graphics card AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT $290 £265
PSU 550W EVGA 550 B3 $91 £74
Chassis Corsair Carbide 100R $55 £45
OS Windows 10 Home 64bit $27 £20
$879 £776

 

CPU – AMD Ryzen 5 3600
Cores: 6 | Threads: 12
The six-core 3rd Gen Ryzen is a great-value chip, able to deliver impressive gaming chops and serious computational power too.

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$199.00
$171.89
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Motherboard – Asus B450M-A
Chipset: B450 | Socket: AM4
Asus’ powerful B450 board is one of our favourite AM4 motherboards, and not least because of its low price a diminutive size.

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$129.00
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Memory – 8GB Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4
Kit: 2x 4GB | Speed: 2,666MHz
AMD’s Ryzen loves speedy memory, and for the money the Ballistix kit delivers a relatively high frequency and a dual-channel setup.

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Primary storage – 512GB Addlink S70 SSD
Socket: PCIe Gen3 | Memory: MLC
The super-fast Addlink S70 delivers high-performance storage for the price of a last-gen SATA drive with a fraction of its pace.

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$76.99
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Secondary storage – 1TB WD Blue hard drive
Socket: SATA | RPM: 7,200
That 512GB SSD is still going to necessitate some game library management, so you’ll want a little extra spinning data storage too.

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$109.99
$36.50
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Graphics card – AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT
GPU: Navi 10 XLE | Cores: 2,304
This is where the bulk of your budget is going to be spent and, forgetting the questionable launch, AMD’s latest mid-range Navi GPUs are well worth a look right now.

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$289.99
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Power supply – EVGA 550 B3
Capacity: 550W | Modular: Yes
This 550W PSU is reliable, relatively efficient, and won’t break the bank. It’s also fully modular for easy building.

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Chassis – Corsair Carbide 100R
Window: Yes | Support: ATX
Corsair makes some gorgeous PC cases, but it also makes very affordable ones too. This is a simple, no frills chassis, but no less solid for it.

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$88.41
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OS – Windows 10 Pro 64
Price: $27 | £20
Unless you want to sacrifice half your Steam library to the vagaries of Linux support, you’re going to need an OS. You can purchase real license keys very cheaply, however.

Total: $879 | £776

AMD Ryzen 3950X release delayed

Best high-end gaming PC

Product $ £
CPU AMD Ryzen 3950X $750 £700
CPU cooler Corsair H115i Pro $136 £125
Motherboard MSI MEG X570 ACE $330 £300
Memory 32GB Corsair Vengeance RGB (2x 16GB) $165 £158
Primary storage 2TB Corsair MP600 Force Series $410 £430
Graphics card Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti $1,100 £990
PSU 1KW EVGA SuperNOVA T2 $308 £210
Chassis Corsair Graphite 780T $187 £178
OS Windows 10 Home 64bit $27 £20
$3,413 £3,111

 

CPU – AMD Ryzen 3950X
Cores: 16 | Threads: 32
If you’re going big with your gaming rig, while looking for some computational power for your other hobbies, it’s got to be the top Ryzen.

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$749.00
$689.99
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CPU cooler – Corsair H115i Pro
Size: 280mm | Fans: 2x PM 140mm MagLev
Liquid-cooling looks great with a bespoke loop, but they’re a pain to install and tweak after the fact. A quality all-in-one like this Corsair will still see you right and deliver great chip-chilling too.

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$250.33
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Motherboard – MSI MEG X570 ACE
Chipset: X570 | Socket: AM4
The top-end AMD chipset will allow you to squeeze every last drop of performance out of your 16-core CPU, while also delivering PCIe 4.0 compatibility for speedy storage.

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$369.00
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Memory – 32GB Corsair Vengeance RGB
Kit: 2x 16GB | Speed: 3,200MHz
You absolutely have to have decent memory to fill out your high-end Ryzen rig or you’ll miss out on the performance of AMD’s high-end CPU proposition. And you ought to do it with RGB sticks too, obvs.

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$294.99
$156.99
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SSD – 2TB Corsair MP600 Force Series
Socket: PCIe Gen4 | Memory: TLC
Taking advantage of the X570, the only platform to support PCIe 4.0, the Corsair MP600 is a mighty quick SSD, and with 2TB of space you’ll have storage enough for most of your needs.

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$449.99
$379.99
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Graphics card – Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti
GPU – TU102 | Cores: 4,352
If you really wanted to push it you could grab the Titan RTX for more than twice the price, but it’s only going to deliver a little extra performance for all that extra cash.

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$1,499.94
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Power supply – EVGA SuperNOVA P2
Capacity: 1KW | Modular: Yes
A 1KW PSU is probably still overkill for this setup, but this over-specced unit gives you a lot of headroom and a slight boost to efficiency too.

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Chassis – Corsair Graphite 780T
Window: Yes | Support: ATX
The old 780T is years old now, but still one of the most beautiful, large-scale, PC chassis around. And in white it has that Portal sentry turret aesthetic too.

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$199.99
$190.11
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OS – Windows 10 Pro 64
Price: $27 | £20
Unless you want to sacrifice half your Steam library to the vagaries of Linux support, you’re going to need an OS. You can purchase license keys very cheaply, however.

Total: $3,413 | £3,111

 

 

Best of the rest - HyperX Cloud Alpha headset

And the rest…

So those are our picks for the best components to fill out your PC, but then you need to decide whether you’re going to need to make a change to the rest of your gaming gear too. If you want to change monitor, or your choice of peripherals, these are what we’d have sitting on our desktops.

Monitor – Asus TUF Gaming VG27AQ
Size: 27-inch | Res: 1440p
This Asus screen is packing in the best gaming panel I’ve ever seen, and it’s calibrated beautifully out-of-the-box too. Don’t let the TUF branding fool you, this screen delivers an exceptional experience.

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$595.00
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Monitor – Philips Momentum 436M6VBPAB
Size: 43-inch | Res: 4K
If you’re going 4K, then you might as well go big. In fact, to get the most out of a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution it really needs to be writ large.

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$799.99
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Keyboard – Corsair K70
Type: Mech switch
Corsair’s brilliant K70 design is still my absolute favourite gaming keyboard of all time. There are lots of different options of K70, but the basic design has yet to be bettered.

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$159.99
$129.99
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Mouse – Logitech G Wireless Pro
Sensor: Optical
Logitech has once more created a rodent that can happily be described as the best gaming mouse ever made. It just keeps doing it…

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$119.95
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Headset – HyperX Cloud Alpha
Freq. range: 13Hz – 27kHz
Kingston has improved upon the brilliant original Cloud design in almost every way, and still retained the relatively reasonable price tag too. Quite simply the best overall gaming headset there is.

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$99.99
$74.99
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