Today, it is possible to build a good and affordable gaming PC without having to pay an arm and a leg for the graphics card alone!
Due to the current GPU supply shortage, it’s difficult to meet everyone’s expectations, but we did our very best anyway, so keep on reading!
In this guide, we bring you the best gaming PC that you can get for 600 US dollars!
Let us take a more detailed look at the best $600 gaming PC build today.
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The Best $600 Gaming PC Build For 2021
Updated: May 3, 2021
Click on the product images to view the product on Amazon, where you can see more images in high resolution and check the current price.
But, before we really get into it, what exactly can you expect from a $600 gaming PC?
Well, as a $600 system this PC still belongs to the budget category, if only barely.
But don’t let that fool you!
If you tried out this PC without knowing how much it cost you wouldn’t be able to guess that it’s on the cheaper end of the spectrum. This feels more like a mid-range configuration, meaning that it hits just the right balance between price and performance compared to other budget setups.
If we’re talking in-game performance, this is a rig that will be best suited for 1080p gaming. You should expect a stable 40-55 FPS in more games than not, even if that means having to tinker with the graphics settings a bit.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Witcher 3, for example, don’t dip below 50 FPS on high graphics settings with this build, GTAV hovers around 85FPS, and PUBG runs at a stable 65FPS which should tell you a lot about its capabilities.
More demanding games require more setting adjustment and don’t expect to have your games look like they’re running RTX.
Do expect, however, not having to worry too much about whether your PC can run a game or not. In the vast majority of cases, the answer will be “yes” as long as you’re willing to make some compromises in the graphics department.
The PC Build
With that out of the way, let’s go over each component that we have selected for the build.
Ryzen CPUs were the most cost-efficient solution for budget and mid-range gaming for quite a while. Unfortunately, recent global events have caused problems for PC hardware manufacturers eventually resulting in massive CPU and GPU shortages.
Over the past few months acquiring AMD CPUs has been particularly problematic and the issue is expected to persist for months to come. This has left Intel processors as the only viable option for budget DIY builders who want to get their hands on their new CPU as soon as possible.
Luckily, with the launch of Intel’s Comet Lake lineup (or 10th-gen if you will) their budget CPUs have finally been blessed with hyper-threading which has drastically improved their overall value. Granted, none of Intel’s budget processors are unlocked as opposed to AMD’s, but given their excellent price-performance ratio this can be somewhat overlooked.
Our pick for this $600 build is the Intel Core i3-10100 processor with 4 cores, 8 threads, and the base and max turbo frequencies set at 3.6GHz and 4.3GHz respectively.
As we mentioned above, the i3-10100 has hyper-threading and decent clock speeds putting it in about the same basket as the AMD Ryzen 3 3300X, and even the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 when it comes to in-game performance for the most part.
The Ryzen 5 3600 outclasses the other two when it comes to productivity and games that rely heavily on AI thanks to its higher core count, but in most AAA titles the results are surprisingly similar.
Naturally, if you manage to find the AMD Ryzen 3 3300X at its regular price you may purchase it instead without throwing the build off-balance. However, if you’re in a hurry to assemble your new rig then Intel is currently your best bet.
Cooler: Intel Stock Cooler
The good news is that the Intel Core i3-10100 comes with a stock cooler free of charge, so it’s one less thing to worry about if you’re on a tight budget.
The bad news though, is that the stock coolers that come with Intel processors aren’t exactly known for their stellar performance. They can keep your CPU up and running at stock settings, but only barely.
This doesn’t mean that you have to rush to replace this cooler as soon as possible, but it’s highly advisable that you do so when you get the chance.
Luckily, the i3-10100 is locked, so when buying a new cooler you don’t have to take overclocking into consideration. This means that a decent CPU cooler that will keep the temps under control shouldn’t set you back by more than $40, and that’s being generous.
A good cooler that’s both reliable and affordable like the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO, for example, can often be found at a discount and you can get it for a third or even half its original price. But there are dozens of other amazing choices out there, so if you’d like to see more of them we suggest you take a look at the link below.
We mentioned this in the introduction already, but the market situation is not the best at the moment. With so many people building their home-office builds and gaming rigs, the demand is high, and the supply insufficient.
Because of this graphics cards are either overpriced or out of stock, which forced our hand in picking a weaker GPU for this $600 build that we would have picked a few months ago.
Don’t let this discourage you though. The MSI GeForce GTX 1650 GAMING X is still a good card. The biggest problem is that it’s a bit overpriced, but that’s true of all GPUs at the moment.
The GTX 1650 is a card mostly meant for comfortable gaming in 1080p at medium settings. There are, of course, titles you’ll be able to play at max settings and those where you’ll have to settle for the lowest, but the mids are where you’ll be spending the majority of your time.
Here are a few examples of what you can expect:
In Fallout 4 you’ll be able to get a solid 60FPS with a little fine-tuning, in Control about 50FPS on average at mostly high settings. Horizon Zero Dawn will run at 40FPS after only a slight adjustment to the shadow and reflection settings and Battlefield V will run smoothly at 50FPS at ultra settings.
These are all fairly demanding games, so the framerates will mainly be below that 60FPS sweet-spot, but in titles like Fortnite, Dota 2, Rainbow Six Siege, and Valorant for example you won’t have to worry about tweaking the settings at all.
When it comes to the MSI GeForce GTX 1650 GAMING X in particular we chose it because it has a decent cooling system and does its best to run quietly. It has TORX 3.0 fan and Zero Frozr technology that stops the fans from spinning under low loads saving your eardrums in the process, and, of course, because it fits the budget.
Now, an important thing to mention is that this particular card has only 4GB of GDDR5 memory.
The volume is fine and we didn’t expect to get much more at this price point anyway, but the fact that it still runs on outdated GDDR5 memory is unfortunate. The same card running on GDDR6 would net you an average of 5FPS more across the board.
In conclusion, the GTX 1650 is a decent solution for your budget build, but there are better options out there if you can find them. For starters, a GDDR6 model of the GTX 1650 would be an improvement, an AMD Radeon RX 570 would be great, and an AMD Radeon RX 580 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 would be fantastic.
Unfortunately, these cards seem like a pipe dream in the current market climate, so for now you’ll have to settle for the GTX 1650, hunt for discounts, or be very, very patient.
Despite the steady increase in RAM prices recently we were still able to equip this $600 PC with 16GB of RAM, and thank heavens for that.
Our RAM of choice is the affordable and reliable Team T-FORCE VULCAN Z. It’s nothing flashy, but it gets the job done and you won’t have to worry about lacking RAM any time soon.
Not only does this PC come packed with 16GB of RAM, but it’s one that can handle clock speeds of 3000MHz. All in all, if the only thing you’re interested in is gaming you can consider your RAM maxed out.
Just make sure to get two 8GB sticks instead of a single 16GB one. Dual-channel memory has benefits of its own, but also, having two RAM sticks can get you out of a sticky situation if your RAM were to malfunction.
If your one and only 16GB RAM stick dies on you, your whole system shuts down until you get it replaced, but if one of the two 8GB sticks dies, you’ll not only be able to run the PC on the remaining stick, but to game as well!
As is most often the case with budget PCs, the motherboard here is nothing to marvel at, especially now with hardware prices going off the charts.
It’s a pretty basic board overall with a few neat features, but also a few regrettable downsides.
Namely, the MSI B460M-A PRO has everything you’d need for a PC at this price including 6 SATA ports an M.2 slot with Frozr cooling, a reinforced PCIe slot, and EZ Debug LEDs.
What it lacks, however, is an additional fan header and two additional RAM slots. This is a motherboard mostly geared toward office use, and not gaming, hence the missing features, but it was currently the only option that could fit the budget.
Needless to say, we encourage you to keep your eyes peeled for discounts, especially when it comes to the Gigabyte B460M DS3H which a decent budget choice with all four RAM slots.
When solid-state drives first came around, they were quite something, both from a performance standpoint and a price standpoint. For a while, they appeared all but unattainable to regular folk. Now, however, SSDs are more accessible than ever before.
Today we can not only put an SSD in a $600 build but a 480GB SSD at that!
While this may be too little for a lot of you, keep in mind that you can always get a cheap 1TB HDD to use for all the programs and things you don’t use on a daily basis, and you’ll be good to go!
Alternatively, you could also get an external HDD if you need more storage. While these may be slower than internal SATA hard drives, they are great for storing vast amounts of multimedia, especially because they are portable and can be used easily on multiple devices such as other PCs, laptops, consoles, etc.
In case a regular SSD just won’t cut it for you, you’ll be happy to know that for only $20 more, you can get a Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe.
Granted, you would be cutting down your SSD storage to 250GB, and you would definitely need an additional HDD, but if you’re searching for the highest speeds and best quality for a reasonable price, this is it!
Often, when trying to cut down the costs of a PC, people will skimp on the power supply, but that is something you should never do.
A low-quality power supply, especially if it’s from a non-established manufacturer, may literally end up being the death of your PC and costing you much more than what you’ve saved on the PSU’s original cost.
Luckily, PSUs do not need to be unreasonably expensive to be reliable.
Take this Thermaltake Smart 500W as an example.
This simple non-modular 500W power supply is 80 Plus certified, and comes complete with a quiet and efficient fan. The wattage will be more than enough for the CPU and GPU combo listed here, even when overclocking. And you won’t have to worry about your other hardware pieces potentially bunking with a ticking time bomb.
The 5-yer warranty is certainly appreciated, but it’s the peace of mind that we like the most about this PSU.
Now all that’s left is to move all these hardware pieces into affordable, yet highly functional housing. To this end, we present to you the Thermaltake Versa H18!
Exterior-wise, the Thermaltake Versa H18 is a simple, minimalist case. It has a single blue LED strip in the front, which unfortunately cannot be customized, and a tempered glass side panel to show off the wheels and cogs of your machine.
Most importantly, however, this microATX case is very easy to build in, providing you with ample room for all the necessary components as well as plenty of space for clean cable management. Even without shiny RGB-lit hardware, the side panel will still display a clean and impressive sight, free from any cable clutter.
As for the cooling, the H18 comes with one pre-installed fan in the back, which, granted, isn’t ideal. However, in addition to the one, the case has room for four more fans, one on the top, and three in the front.
Of course, you won’t need all five fans to keep this kind of setup cool. As the case already has decent airflow, adding just another one or two would make it excellent.
And just in case you want to make the airflow inside the Thermaltake Versa H18 as optimal as possible, we suggest you take a look at the best case fans currently available on the market to complete your setup.
As you can see, the $600 budget has been spent on the PC itself, assuming that this isn’t the very first gaming PC you’ve ever owned and that you already have all the essential (and potentially some non-essential) desktop peripherals.
If that’s not the case or if you just want to replace some of your old peripherals, we’ll be offering some suggestions in this category.
Now, if this is your first PC and if $600 is your maximum budget, it might be a good idea to check out our other PC build guides.
Healthy competition is good and all, but the fact of the matter is that you simply need Windows 10 as your operating system if you want to have access to most of the games, and in their most optimized form no less!
We understand that this is no small cost to pile onto the already used up budget of $600, but it’s only by playing games on Windows 10 that you’re able to get the most out of your hard-earned hardware.
The monitor is hands-down the most important computer peripheral – after all, what use is a good graphics card if you don’t have a display that can do it justice?
When searching for the best monitor, the key factors to consider are the graphics card you’ll be using because buying a 4K monitor when your graphics card can only manage 1080p is pointless, and the type of games you’ll mostly be playing which will determine the type of panel that will best suit you.
The three most popular types of panel used in gaming monitors today are:
- TN (twisted nematic) panels, which are the cheapest to manufacture and offer the highest refresh rates and the lowest pixel response times, but at the expense of color accuracy and viewing angles.
- IPS (in-plane switching) panels, which excel precisely in color accuracy and offer the widest viewing angles. That said, only the more expensive IPS monitors can reach the kind of performance that even the more affordable TN panels can.
- VA (vertical alignment) panels, which are the “Jack of all trades, master of none” kind of deal. They represent something of a middle ground between TN and IPS panels, balancing cost, performance, and visuals rather well, all the while handling contrast better than either of the above do, but not excelling in anything in particular.
Our recommendation is to always go for an IPS panel unless you only play competitive esports.
The HP 24mh is a great 1080p IPS monitor that both looks and performs much better than its price would suggest. It has a 23.8-inch display with FHD, impressively thin bezels on three sides, fantastic color vibrancy and accuracy, and a 75Hz refresh rate.
To top it off, it also takes up very little space on your desk and has built-in speakers. Although this isn’t something that we usually pay attention to, built-in speakers can come in handy in case you are building your first rig and don’t own any speakers yet, or in case your speakers malfunction.
While they are not high-quality speakers by any means, they give budget builders an option to postpone spending too much money at once.
Now, in case you mainly play competitive first-person shooters for example, and you value high refresh rates more than the visuals, then a TN panel might be the right choice for you.
We suggest going with a 144 Hz TN monitor such as the LG UltraGear 24GL600F-B since it has everything that you’d want out of a mid-range gaming monitor, at least performance-wise. Another alternative if you’re willing to spend a little more is the Acer XFA240.
In any case, best check our list of the best gaming monitors if you want some more suggestions!
When it comes to the mouse, unless you’re looking for something specific like especially large/small or heavy/light mice, or perhaps a wireless solution, we suggest sticking to the tried and true options.
Specifically, we’d suggest the Razer Viper Mini. It’s a simple, reliable, affordable, and highly accurate mouse that also comes with some tasteful RGB lighting.
This mouse has a maximum of 8500 DPI which is more than you’ll ever need. It fits nicely in any small-medium sized hand thanks to its ambidextrous design and gives you numerous customization options thanks to the RGB and the 6 programmable buttons you can set up to do whatever you want.
Finally, this is a wired mouse.
We opted for this because, despite the advances in technology, wired mice are still much more responsive than wireless, and will not run out of battery in the middle of a heated gaming session. There are, of course, some amazing wireless mice out there such as the Razer Viper Ultimate, for example, but those are far from affordable.
Now, the Razer Viper Mini is a fantastic mouse and we can’t recommend it enough, however, tastes, grips, and hand sizes differ, so best check out our gaming mouse buying guide if you’re shopping for one right now.
When it comes to the keyboard, the first and most important choice to make is to decide whether you want a mechanical or a membrane keyboard.
Now, this mostly depends on your personal preference, but there are also some objective aspects to consider.
While membrane keyboards are quieter and often cheaper, the reason many prefer mechanical ones is that each key stands on its own.
To clarify, this means that each key is registered separately offering much better responsiveness. An additional benefit is that each key can be replaced in case of malfunction. This gives the keyboard a longer lifespan and some customizability options.
Nowadays there are lots of rather cheap mechanical keyboards, which is great as it allows even those with a tighter budget to experience the quality and premium feel of mechanical keyboards.
Many would argue, however, that with cheaper products you often get what you pay for. We would usually agree with this and recommend you go with a membrane keyboard for starters if Redragon didn’t exist.
Luckily, Redragon offers some really good-quality products for an affordable price. Granted, it’s not unusual for some of their products to develop a glitch in the RGB over time, but besides that, there really isn’t anything bad we can say about them.
For this particular build, we recommend the Redragon K552 mechanical, tenkeyless keyboard with RGB backlight and linear red switches.
The keyboard is well-built, heavy, and has a metal frame. There is no bend or give, the keys are stable, and despite not being Cherry MX switches, they do an impressive job at imitating that typical Cherry vibe.
In addition to this, the Redragon K552 is also splash-proof, has anti-ghosting and full n-key rollover, a fantastic RGB backlight with 19 effects and 2 user profiles, and a gold-plated USB connector.
The only thing that could be called a downside to this keyboard is that it’s pretty compact, meaning that the keys are slightly closer together than on a typical keyboard, which might require some getting used to. Besides this small matter, this is the perfect keyboard that will let you enjoy all the benefits of higher-end gaming without ripping a hole in your wallet.
Many people prefer headphones to speakers when it comes to gaming, and after all, they are much more immersive than your regular 2.0 or 2.1 speaker setup!
When deciding on which headphones or headset to get, you need to make up your mind regarding the main distinguishing feature of the two: the microphone.
Headsets come with a built-in microphone; headphones do not. Because of that, headphones tend to offer somewhat better sound quality for the money, but at the expense of having the convenience of an integrated microphone.
If you want a good but relatively inexpensive headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger is a sturdy, reliable, and comfortable option that comes complete with a surprisingly good-quality microphone and is compatible with both PCs and consoles.
The headset has 50mm directional drivers that make the sound clearer and crisper than in most headsets at this price range. Moreover, the frame is pretty light and the ear cups are padded with memory foam that’s so typical of a lot of HyperX products making prolonged use nice and comfortable.
There is one thing that could be considered both a feature and a flaw depending on what kind of a user you are, and that’s the microphone’s mute function. Namely, the microphone is muted by lifting it and unmuted by bringing it back down to your mouth.
This is kind of cool since you’ll always know whether your mic is on or off, but it can become a real nuisance if you are in a situation where you have to mute and unmute it every few seconds. To top it off, the constant swiveling could potentially damage the microphone, so that’s something to keep in mind.
Nevertheless, this is still a decent headset for the price and, like any other peripheral it will serve you well as long as you take care of it.
No matter what mouse you have you’re going to need a good mouse pad if you want to game effectively.
The Ktrio Extended Gaming Mouse Pad is a cheap, quality mouse pad. We know that these two words don’t usually come together, but mouse pads are generally not pricey.
Since this is an extended pad it means that it’s large enough to cover a big portion of your desk and prevent your keyboard from sliding around as well as serve as a surface for your mouse.
It’s made from a soft material that allows for precise control over your mouse movements and has a spill-proof coating so you won’t have to worry about damaging it with liquids.
On top of that, the mouse pad looks great and it fits any environment due to its simple pure black design.
The only thing we should mention is that it only comes in larger sizes, not smaller, so if you’re not a fan of huge mouse pads we suggest checking out some of the HyperX FURY S models, or take a peek at the link below for more options.
True, the keyboard and mouse are a staple of PC gaming, and they are the definite go-to solution when it comes to precision controls. However, there’s no denying that some games are just better played with controllers, especially since many modern games are developed with controllers in mind.
Today, there are several controllers that you can use on PC, including the two major console controllers – the Xbox One controller and the DualShock 4 – but there’s also a range of other ones made by various other manufacturers.
At the end of the day, though, most will agree that the Xbox One controller is the ideal for PCs right now.
It is comfortable, reliable, well-designed, and it is supported by Windows because both are Microsoft products. If you’re going for a more affordable solution, the Xbox 360 controller remains a viable choice even today.
On a final note, if you already own a PlayStation 4, keep in mind that the DualShock 4 also works quite well on PC. Granted, it still requires third-party software to function, but ever since Steam introduced DualShock 4 support, this controller has become more viable as a PC controller than ever before.
An inevitable part of any setup is a chair. And sure, you can use any chair, you can even use a bean bag or an armchair if you wish, but while comfortable, these seats won’t do anything to prevent back problems or improve your posture. What’s more, they’ll slowly but surely destroy it.
This is why we thought it important to make the chair a permanent part of our list of peripherals and give you an idea of what you should be looking for in a chair if you’re someone who tends to spend most of your day glued to a PC.
First and foremost you should be looking for an ergonomic design. Something with decent lumbar support, good height adjustment, and armrest positioning are some of the things that will determine your level of comfort, the first of them being the most important.
Good lumbar support is essential as it will position your spine correctly and help you sit upright, making you less prone to back pain and keeping you more clear-headed and awake in the process.
A chair should also fit your build and be positioned at the right height to prevent numbness in your legs and any arm numbness when typing if your desk is too tall.
We could go on and on about slight adjustments you can make to improve the quality of the time you spend sitting in front of your computer, but we’ve covered some of the basics, so now let us tell you about the chair we chose for this build.
The BestOffice Mesh Chair is, as the name suggests, an office chair.
The reason we chose an office chair instead of a gaming chair for a gaming build is that office chairs are usually better when it comes to ergonomics.
Gaming chairs are good, and some of them are excellent even, but the thing about them is that a lot of attention when making them goes into the “gamer aesthetics”. This need to have them look a certain way sometimes prevents the manufacturers to improve on the ergonomics lest it disturbs the visuals. On top of that, you often pay a lot for the brand and the “gaming” label.
Office chairs are free of these restrictions for the most part and they are often a lot cheaper which makes them an excellent choice for budget and starter builds.
Still, don’t expect any extraordinary quality from the BestOffice Mesh Chair.
It’s a very affordable chair with some decent ergonomic qualities considering its price, and it will be a good choice for anyone who wants an upgrade from a kitchen chair.
Its frame is made entirely of plastic. The backrest is made of hardened mesh, and the seat is a soft cushion covered with more mesh material. This is actually a good thing as it won’t make you sweat or stick to the seat when it’s too hot like faux leather would, for example.
On the backrest, there is a rectangular plastic ornament that serves as lumbar support and will prevent you from sinking into the chair.
The BestOffice Mesh Chair also comes in eight different colors, so you can be sure that it will fit any setup.
Now, we do have to emphasize that when buying a chair you should take recommendations into consideration, but ultimately the most important thing is that you find it comfortable. This is why, just like with shoes, it’s important to go to a store and try it out. If you don’t like it, there are plenty of other options, some of which you can check out through the link below.
And one more thing!
Since this is a budget build we didn’t think it was fair to recommend a $200 chair which is why we stuck to a simple and affordable option. However, in case you’re willing to invest a little more in your comfort we highly recommend doing so.
After all, if a PC breaks you can always buy a new one, but you can’t buy a new back.
When it comes to upgrading your setup a wrist rest is probably the cheapest and most surprisingly satisfying thing you can invest in.
What we mean when we say “surprisingly satisfying” is that it’s a little thing that will significantly increase the enjoyment and quality of the time spent in front of your PC. Many people neglect it, but once you get used to it you’ll find it rather uncomfortable to use a keyboard without a wrist rest again.
So if you’re interested in adding this quality-of-life feature to your setup we recommend the HyperX Wrist Rest.
This is a pretty simple item.
It’s made of gel-infused memory foam for maximum comfort and cooling, it has a rubberized bottom to prevent sliding, and it’s made to fit any full-sized keyboard. There are no unnecessary bells and whistles such as RGB lighting, just pure simple quality make and near unparalleled comfort.
And there you have it, the best gaming PC under 600 USD for 2021.
We should mention, however, that the prices of individual components may fluctuate with time, so the above configuration could end up being slightly more expensive than when this article was written.
Rest assured though, that we’ll do our best to keep the guide up-to-date. We know how stressful it can be to choose and acquire all of the components you need even under normal circumstances, let alone now, but don’t get discouraged! That’s why we’re here.
Our guides are written with the aim to help veterans and first-timers alike pick and find the items they need to complete their build. There will inevitably be some bumps and pitfalls along the way, especially when it comes to acquiring the graphics card (good luck). But keep in mind that vigilance is key here.
On the other hand, if you’ve read this article and decided that building a PC is not for you, after all, don’t worry, there are other options. For one, you could pay someone to do it for you if you’re too nervous about making a mistake, or you could opt for a prebuilt system.
Prebuilt systems generally offer lower quality for the same price as custom builds, but at least they are hassle-free.
If you decide to go the prebuilt route, check out our lists of the best prebuilt systems. Unfortunately, the shortage of components is affecting all areas of the market, but there might be a hidden gem or two in the pile, so take a look just in case.
And to all the other adventurous souls out there who are about to set out on an exciting journey, Godspeed! You’ll definitely need it.