None of us need any reminders as to how difficult it was to put together a decent gaming PC recently when the cryptocurrency mining craze reached its peak. Graphics cards, especially mid-range and high-end ones, came at exorbitant prices – but not anymore.
Today, it is finally possible to put together a proper mid-range gaming PC without having to pay exorbitant prices for graphics cards alone! In this article, we bring you the best gaming PC that you can get for under 600 US dollars!
The Best $600 Gaming PC For 2018
Updated: December 12, 2018
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So, before we really get into it, what exactly can you expect from a $600 gaming PC?
As mentioned in the introduction, this is a mid-range configuration, meaning that it hits just the right balance between price and performance compared to budget setups and high-end setups.
If we’re talking in-game performance, this is definitely a rig that will be best suited for 1080p gaming, hitting anywhere from 30 to 60 FPS in that resolution, depending on the game of course. What’s more, it could even push a solid 30 FPS even in 1440p, although if you’re aiming to make that resolution jump or have your sights set on VR, we’d suggest investing a bit more.
The PC Build
With that out of the way, let’s go over each component that we have lined up!
CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 2200G
There’s no denying that Ryzen was AMD’s big comeback to the game. For many years, the only AMD CPUs viable for gaming were their FX series, a lineup of 32nm and 28nm CPUs that were grossly outdated and performed quite poorly compared to Intel’s offerings back in the day.
But since early 2017, Ryzen CPUs have really given the competition a run for their money. At the moment, the Ryzen 3 2200G is the performance equivalent of the Intel Core i3-8100. This is a quad-core 14nm CPU that lags ever so slightly behind its Intel counterpart in terms of performance, all the while being a bit cheaper. The “G” at the end signifies that the CPU comes with integrated Vega graphics, which actually outperforms Intel’s UHD 630 integrated graphics by as much as 50%.
So, why this CPU, specifically?
Well, there are two key reasons:
- It is more affordable. The Ryzen 3 2200G is some 15 to 20 dollars cheaper than the i3-8100 at the moment, all the while it performs more or less the same.
- It is unlocked. All Ryzen CPUs are unlocked, meaning that all of them can be overclocked, and on every chipset. This way, you can squeeze extra performance out of the CPU, which might be handy down the line.
- It has a better integrated graphics solution. The Vega 8 can actually outperform Intel’s UHD 630 integrated graphics by well over 50%. This makes it a great backup in case something happens to your graphics card.
Of course, the i3-8100 would also be a good choice, as neither would bottleneck a mid-range graphics card. But because of the reasons listed above, the Ryzen variant remains our CPU of choice.
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
While AMD’s Wraith coolers that ship with Ryzen processors are quite good, the Wraith Stealth model that comes with the more affordable models is hardly ideal for overclocking due to its compact heatsink. If you want to replace it, we’d suggest going with one of the most popular aftermarket CPU coolers – the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO.
Now, this cooler is so popular for a good reason. With its massive heatsink and four copper heat pipes, this cooler is capable both of taking on high clock speeds and of maintaining low noise levels when the CPU is not under load, and it is relatively inexpensive to boot.
On the downside, there’s a slight problem with the Hyper 212 EVO that goes for all pre-Ryzen CPUs. Namely, because it was launched before Ryzen and before the AM4 socket was introduced, it is not compatible with this socket out of the box and requires a separate upgrade kit. Fortunately, Cooler Master issues those for free, although there may be some issues with getting one based on where you live.
In any case, if you’re unable to get your hands on an AM4 upgrade kit, we’d suggest either getting one of the official Wraith coolers or just waiting it out with the stock one until some updated coolers roll out.
GPU: Sapphire Radeon RX 570 Nitro+
Even though AMD had been struggling these past few years in the CPU market before the release of Ryzen, the same can’t be said for GPUs. Despite having spent a lot of that time in Nvidia’s shadow due to the rival’s superior marketing and branding, AMD has consistently been offering better value for the money when it came to the low-end and the mid-range graphics cards.
Coming from Sapphire, one of the more reliable AMD partners, is the Radeon RX 570 Nitro+. The shroud is made of high-quality plastic and those rounded corners really lend the card a certain dash of elegance. Overall, it’s a rather clean and sleek design, with none of the bombast usually seen in graphics cards these days.
But of course, the design is not the most important factor. In the performance department, the RX 570 handles the competition quite well. The similarly-priced GTX 1050 Ti is simply blown out of the water by the RX 570, while it only barely lags behind the more expensive GTX 1060.
Looking at the above benchmark from Tom’s Hardware, it’s easy to see why the RX 570 is our GPU of choice for this build. Granted, the RX 580 or the GTX 1060 are better yet, but considering the pricing and the fact that we’re building a $600 PC, we’d still make the RX 570 our first pick – unless you decide to cut some corners when it comes to the other components, that is.
RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance LPX 8GB
Moving on to the RAM, we have a product from Corsair, one of the most prominent RAM manufacturers today. More specifically, it is the Corsair Vengeance LPX, a single 8 GB RAM module.
Right now, in a mid-range gaming PC that’s aiming primarily for 1080p gaming, 8 GB of DDR4 RAM should be quite enough. Granted, you may need to kill some memory-hungry background programs if you end up running any overly demanding games, but rest assured that you won’t be running low any time soon.
Should you decide to upgrade sometime further down the road, it will be as easy as popping in a second memory stick to up the capacity to 16 GB. Just keep in mind that anything over 16 GB is simply an overkill when it comes to gaming alone, and it will be for the foreseeable future.
Motherboard: ASUS Prime B350M-E
And now we get to the motherboard, which is the Asus Prime B350M-E – a decent Micro ATX gaming motherboard that has all the functionality and features that you’d need out in a mid-range gaming PC.
The board has some noticeable red highlights and LED lighting, though no RGB since, of course, we’re talking about a budget motherboard here. The AMD B350 chipset supports overclocking, supports up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM (more than enough, as stated above), and it has a single PCIe x16 slot for a GPU, plus two more PCIe x1 slots for miscellaneous expansion cards.
Granted, there is no AMD CrossFire or Nvidia SLI support, but again, if we’re talking a budget or a mid-range PC, getting a more powerful GPU is always a better choice than getting multiple weaker ones.
The bottom line is, we’re looking at a cheap and reliable motherboard that is a more than adequate fit for a $600 gaming PC.
SSD: WD Blue 3D NAND 500 GB
When solid state drives first came around, they were quite something, both from a performance standpoint and a price standpoint. For a while, people have been using smaller SSDs as system drives while also using secondary high-capacity HDDs for storage. Today, however, SSDs are more accessible than ever before.
If you’re looking for the best balance of price, performance, and storage capacity, look no further than this WD Blue 3D SSD. This compact little drive comes with 500 GB of storage, which should be quite enough for most users, though it may depend based on how many games you tend to keep installed, as well as how much multimedia you store locally. In any case, with an SSD, you can expect system performance and loading times far beyond the capabilities of a regular HDD.
But of course, personal preferences and requirements differ, so you might want to make some adjustments in this regard. Namely:
- You could combine a 250 GB SSD with a 1 TB HDD, which would end up costing about the same but offering much more storage
- You could forego an SSD altogether and simply get a 1 TB HDD, thus shaving off some extra money that can then be put towards, say, a GPU upgrade
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.
Power Supply: Corsair CX500
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.
It is best to play it safe, and what better way to do so than to get a sufficiently powerful PSU from a reliable manufacturer? And so, we have the Corsair CX500.
This is a simple non-modular 500W power supply, 80 Plus Bronze certified, complete with a quiet and efficient fan. The wattage will be more enough for the CPU and GPU combo listed here, even when overclocking is thrown into the mix.
Case: Thermaltake Versa H21
Just like you shouldn’t judge a book by its covers, so you shouldn’t judge a PC by its case. While the Thermaltake Versa H21 may not look as fancy as some of the more flamboyant cases with transparent tempered glass and RGB fans, it is a sturdy and affordable one that offers more than sufficient airflow for optimal cooling.
Though again, the choice of case is also a largely subjective matter. Some people like glass while others prefer a solid metal construction, some like gaudy highlights and bright colors while others simply find them distracting.
As such, if you don’t like this particular case, you can find a range of diverse cases that take different design approaches, all the while remaining in a similar
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.
Monitor: AOC G2460PF
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 its capabilities justice?
When finding the best monitor for your needs, the key factor to consider is the panel technology that the monitor uses, as it determines what the monitor will excel at and in what areas it will have certain drawbacks.
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 best performance, including both high refresh rates and low pixel response times, although 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, although only the more expansive IPS monitors can reach the kind of performance that even the more affordable TN panels can.
- VA (vertical alignment) panels, which are something of a middle ground between TN and IPS panels, balancing cost, performance, and visuals rather well, all the while actually handling contrast better than either of the above do.
Ultimately, we recommend going with a 144 Hz TN monitor such as the AOC G2460PF, since it has everything that you’d want out of a mid-range gaming monitor, at least performance wise. Of course, an IPS or a VA monitor would be a better fit for those who prioritize visuals over performance.
In any case, best check our list of the best gaming monitors for 2018 if you want some suggestions!
Keyboard and Mouse: Corsair K55 + Corsair Harpoon
Now that we’ve covered the monitor, we move to the input i.e. the keyboard and mouse, and there are a couple of factors to consider when picking these two.
When it comes to the keyboard, the first and most important choice to make is to decide whether you want a mechanical or a regular membrane keyboard. Now, while affordable mechanical keyboards do exist, we’d still recommend going with a membrane keyboard if you’re on a budget, primarily due to quality concerns. A good choice would be the Corsair K55, an excellent, well-built keyboard that comes complete with RGB lighting.
As for the mouse, you’d need to choose between an optical and a laser sensor, and we’d recommend the former since optical sensors have become so advanced that laser sensors aren’t significantly more precise anymore. Specifically, we’d suggest the Corsair Harpoon since it is a simple and affordable yet highly accurate mouse that also comes with RGB lighting.
But naturally, tastes and preferences differ, so best check out our gaming keyboard and gaming mouse buying guides if you’re shopping for either of these right now. Not to mention that you can always go wireless if you dislike cable clutter, though this would also constitute an extra expense.
Controller: Xbox One Controller
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 a number of 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 controllers made by various other manufacturers.
At the end of the day, though, most will agree that the Xbox One controller is the ideal PC controller right now. It is comfortable, reliable, well-designed, and it is natively supported by Windows because, obviously, 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.
Headset/Headphones and Microphone
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’d 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 II, as it is a sturdy, reliable, and comfortable one that comes complete with a detachable microphone and is compatible with both PCs and consoles. You can also check out our more extensive gaming headset buying guide if you’d prefer something different.
Be it simply for video chatting or for streaming, a webcam is always a welcome addition to any desktop setup. If you’re on a budget, the Logitech HD C270 might be a good bare-bones choice. However, if you’re thinking about something more serious, you can find a couple of better webcams in our dedicated webcam buying guide.
If you spend a lot of time in front of your desk, be it playing games, working, or simply surfing the web, a good wrist rest can go a long way in making the experience more comfortable.
To that end, we highly recommend the Aelfox wrist rest combo. With it, you get not only a keyboard wrist rest but also a mouse pad with a built-in wrist rest of its own, both of which are highly comfortable and made of memory foam.
The Final Word
And there you have it, our take on what the best gaming PC under 600 USD for 2018 is. Hopefully, you’ve found this buying guide helpful.
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 it was at the time this article was written. Rest assured, we’ll do our best to keep the guide up-to-date with any changes in pricing.