If you need to build a new PC, which can run all the current games without costing a fortune, then you’re on the right page.
We’ve created the ultimate PC build under $700. It is affordable, fast, and most importantly, future-proof.
Let’s have a closer look.
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Top $700 Gaming PC Build For 2020
Updated: September 29, 2020
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Before we go over all the parts in detail, let’s look at some of the basic features of our $700 PC. Here’s what we built it to do, as well as some of its limitations.
Runs All The Current Games
If you’re building a PC for just one kind of game, you can sometimes skimp on one feature or another. For example, fans of strategy games like Europa Universalis 4 or Civilization VI will want a PC with a fast processor and won’t be as concerned about a fast GPU.
On the other hand, if you play first-person shooters, you may not need as fast of a processor, but a slow GPU will make your game unplayable.
Our top priority was to build a system that can run any game on the market right now. This meant we needed to have a well-rounded system that didn’t cut corners on any key performance metrics.
In short, we wanted a system with at least 8 GB of RAM, at least a 4 GB graphics card, and at least a 3.5 GHz quad-core processor.
Our $700 gaming PC has a 3.6 GHz quad-core, 8-thread processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a graphics card with 6 GB VRAM, so we’ve certainly exceeded our minimum requirements.
That said, this computer is what it is. We didn’t get a fancy heatsink or liquid cooling because we don’t plan on overclocking anything on this build.
There are two reasons gamers tend to prefer desktop PCs over laptops.
The first reason is the price. You can get a lot more bang for your buck with even a prebuilt gaming tower, as opposed to a laptop.
The second is upgradability. Yes, you can upgrade a laptop, but it’s a pain. Nobody wants to do it, which is why landfills are full of old laptops.
Honestly, we were surprised that we were able to squeeze as much power into this computer as we were. What made us even happier was being able to use a top-notch NVMe SSD! But more about that later.
Specialized For Gaming
To keep our PC under $700, we had to economize. This computer doesn’t have a WiFi card, so it will have to be plugged into your router with a cable. We are suggesting an inexpensive WiFi card that you can add if you need one.
Another thing we skipped was any kind of DVD or Blu-ray support.
Most gamers these days use Steam or other online services to install their games, so we felt like not everyone would benefit from having a disc drive. That said, we included a review for a Blu-ray drive that will work nicely with this tower.
Finally, we didn’t spring for a gigantic hard drive. Instead, we opted for a 250 GB NVMe SSD, which works faster than you can blink, and still has enough space to store several games.
Keep in mind, however, that If you have a large video library, you will definitely want more storage.
The PC Build
Now that we’ve taken an overall look at our system let’s look at each of the parts. It’s time to take a deep dive into our new gaming PC.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3300X
The first and probably the most important entry on this list is, of course, the CPU.
Spending close to $200 for a decent CPU used to be the norm, but ever since AMD launched the budget version of their 3rd gen CPUs, things have taken a drastic turn for the better for budget builders all over the world.
Namely, the new 4-core, 8-thread Ryzen 3 3300X, although lacking in certain areas, has an in-game performance almost equal to the R5 3600. Believe it or not, it also has better clock speeds, starting at 3.8GHz and going up to 4.3GHz.
In terms of Intel processors, it has surpassed the i7-7700K that costs almost $400! At this point, it might be safe to say that AMD has officially won the CPU war.
Related: Best Ryzen CPU For Gaming
And guess what!
Since this is a 3rd gen CPU it’s based on Zen 2 architecture that comes with its own set of benefits:
- Huge increase in speed
- Serious increase in power efficiency
- Better memory compatibility
This CPU is also VR-ready. You’ll still want a beefier CPU to get the most out of VR, but the 4-core, 8-thread CPU still exceeds the minimum VR requirements.
Having said this, it’s still important to know that if you want to further future-proof your PC, going for the R5 3600 might be the better option, simply because it’s less likely to bottleneck any graphics card you might upgrade to in the future, but that’s only if you have a flexible budget.
However, for this particular build, there is no better choice than the 3300X.
Related: Best CPU For Gaming
Cooler: Wraith Stealth
The only thing that could possibly be considered a downside of the Ryzen 3 3300X is that it comes with the Wraith Stealth cooler instead of the Wraith Spire, which we’ve grown to expect from CPUs with the ‘X’ suffix.
While the Wraith Stealth is still a decent stock cooler that does a good job at keeping your CPU running smoothly at stock settings, it’s definitely not intended for overclocking. So, if you’re thinking of doing any, we suggest getting a more serious aftermarket cooler.
However, if you only want to get as much performance as possible out of your $700, then it’s best to avoid overclocking, stick with the Wraith Stealth and invest the money you would’ve otherwise needed for an aftermarket cooler elsewhere.
Related: Best CPU Cooler
GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Super SC ULTRA GAMING 6G
Now, we wanted to include the most powerful GPU we could fit into the budget to enable this build to dominate the 1080p resolution truly. So naturally, we had to go with the GTX 1660 Super.
This GPU simply obliterates the competition around the $200 price point.
The EVGA GTX 1660 Super SC ULTRA GAMING that we’ve picked out for this build boasts 6GB of VRAM, so you’ll be able to play any and all modern games at 1080p, and even dabble in 1440p in some less demanding titles.
So how well does it perform?
Well, we love using Assassin’s Creed Odyssey when talking about the framerates you can expect in games, just because it’s such a poorly optimized game that everything else will run even better in comparison.
An average of about 180FPS on the ultra preset in Fortnite sounds nice and all, but you know most of your games won’t be reaching this insane framerate.
But when we say that this PC can get Odyssey to hover between 50 and 55 AVG FPS on the very high preset – now that sounds promising for a budget PC!
To give a few more examples, PUBG and GTAV reach 90 and 66 AVG FPS, respectively, while something like Rainbow Six: Siege and Fortnite goes above 120 and even 200 AVG FPS respectively in 1080p.
As is evident from the framerates shown above, if you’re looking to maximize performance, there is no beating the 3300X/GTX 1660S combo at this price point.
Related: Best Graphics Card For Gaming
RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB)
This one was a no brainer for us. The Corsair Vengeance LPX is one of the best and most reliable RAMs out there, and since we could fit it in this build, we did.
Specifically, we chose to go with two 8GB sticks of DDR4-3200 memory.
Not only will you have an entire 16GB of RAM, and not have to worry about upgrading it anytime soon, you will also have the benefits of dual-channel speeds.
There really isn’t much else to say about this RAM. It’s 16GB. It’s Corsair. It’s good. Get it.
Related: Best RAM For Gaming
Motherboard: MSI B450M PRO-VDH MAX
The motherboard is where the rubber meets the road. If your motherboard isn’t up to the latest standards, you’re not going to be able to upgrade your rig, which means you’ll end up having to start over from scratch. Nobody wants to do that.
That’s why we went with a simple, yet highly functional motherboard from MSI. It’s specifically made for current generation AMD processors. It supports overclocking, and memory speed of up to 3866MHz.
In terms of connectivity, it has over 10 USB ports, including four USB 3.2 and 2 USB 2.0 and HDMI ports. It comes with a PSI-E Steel Armor for the VGA slot and Turbo M.2, which is meant to maximize NVMe SSD performance. Not bad.
It doesn’t have Wi-Fi support, however, so if that’s something you think you’ll need, we suggest getting a simple USB Wi-Fi adapter as a start. You can always get a separate Wi-Fi card that plugs directly into your motherboard for another $30-$40 at any point in the future.
If you want to save money on the motherboard while still getting the most out of the other parts on this PC, then the MSI B45M PRO-VDH MAX is the best possible option at this price point.
Related: Best Gaming Motherboards
SSD: Samsung 970 Evo Plus NVMe
We never thought this would be possible in a $700 build, but here it is. We present to you the Samsung 970 Evo Plus with 250GB of NVMe SSD storage.
Now, we know what you’re thinking. “I can’t fit all my games on only 250GB”. We know. But hear us out.
When SSDs came out for the first time, they were mindblowing. Ten times snappier than regular HDDs and seemed to work faster than the eyes could follow. But then NVMe SSDs showed up and simply exceeded all expectations.
In short, NVMe is the best type of storage available at the moment, and no one makes NVMe SSDs better than Samsung.
We might have chosen a regular 500GB 2.5 SSD under any other circumstances, but the fact that we could fit the Samsung 970 Evo Plus, even a 250GB one in this build was so outstanding we simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
With all that said, we agree that for most real gamers out there, 250GB won’t be enough, so we highly suggest getting additional storage, where you can keep all your other important data and games you don’t play that often while saving the super-fast goodness reserved for your favorites.
Related: Best SSD For Gaming
Power Supply: Thermaltake Smart 80+ 600W
As always, we aim to choose only the most reliable PSU brands for these builds, and Thermaltake has undoubtedly proven itself time and time again.
It’s usually best to go with 500W or 550W if you’re running a setup with a dedicated GPU of this caliber, so that’s why we went with the Thermaltake Smart 600W. Not only is it perfectly capable of running this setup without any problems, but it also leaves room for future upgrades.
The EVGA 500BR comes with a 5-year warranty and technical support available 24/7. You’ll also be happy to know that it’s also 80+ certified, meaning it provides greater efficiency than many other similar PSUs at this price range.
So all in all, the Thermaltake Smart 600W PSU is a reasonably-priced and efficient power-supply that has enough juice to accommodate future upgrades.
Related: How To Choose A Power Supply
Case: Cooler Master MasterBox NR600
And if you were wondering which case will get to house all these amazing pieces of hardware, the honor goes to the Cooler Master MasterBox NR600.
It’s amazing what features this case manages to cram in for just $70. You’re getting a full sleek, minimalistic mesh exterior with a large tempered glass side panel to show off all your hardware.
The NR600 also has excellent airflow and has room for six 120mm fans, although the front and top can support 2x140mm fans each. Not to mention that it also comes with two pre-installed fans, one in the front, and one in the back.
In other words, the cooling is great out of the box, so if you don’t want to, there is no need to spend more money on additional fans right away.
Related: How To Choose A PC Case
As for the interior, there’s plenty of building space here. There’s enough room behind the motherboard to rout all cables, giving the case a clean and distinguished look – which you’ll undoubtedly appreciate because of the tempered glass side panel.
It has a PSU shroud, lots of space for optimal cable management, and mounting points for 2.5″, 3.5″ and 5.25″ drives. Basically all you’ll ever need.
What’s more, it’s an ATX case, so if you ever decide to upgrade your motherboard, you’ll have plenty of room to do it right here in this case.
So if you want to combine build quality, style, upgradeability, and efficacy at a reasonable the Cooler Master NR600 is the way to go.
Related: Best Gaming PC Cases
We’ve already gone over everything you need to build a great gaming PC tower. If you’re upgrading an old PC, you may be happy with your current peripherals. But if this is your first rig, you’re going to need a mouse, a keyboard, and a monitor to go with it.
Even if this is an upgrade, you might want to think about a gaming mouse or keyboard to improve your experience. If a new tower is worth $700 to you, remember that a mouse or a keyboard costs only a fraction of that, and can often provide major benefits.
Finally, you’re going to need an operating system. We’ll start with that since it’s the easiest choice of the bunch.
Operating System: Windows
If you’re gaming, there’s really no better operating system than Windows. Apple is easy and convenient to use, but Apple computers are extremely difficult to build, and there just aren’t that many games for them.
Windows is the leading operating system in the world for a reason: it works, and everybody uses it. Whether you’re buying your games on Steam, GoG, or on disc, you won’t find an Apple port for most modern games.
If you have a lot of friends who are into PCs, someone may have suggested that you install Linux as your operating system. Linux can run most Windows games, but there’s a catch; because it needs to run them in an emulator, Linux can require up to twice as many system resources as Windows to run the same game. This is particularly true for games like shooters that use a lot of GPU resources.
Linux is great for programmers and some business users. For gamers, Linux means spending thousands of dollars on a computer that runs games at normal settings. If you’re on a budget, just get Windows.
That said, there’s no reason to spring for Windows Professional unless you plan on doing office work on your gaming PC. Windows Home is all you need for gaming. We do recommend the 64-bit version as opposed to the 32-bit version, though, to get the most out of your PC.
We linked the USB version since it comes on a thumb drive and has a plug-and-play install. There’s a downloadable version if you have another PC to download to, and a DVD version if you decide to install a disc drive, but the USB version will work with our PC’s base hardware.
Related: What Is The Best OS For Gaming?
Monitor: HP 23.8-inch FHD IPS
The HP 23.8-inch FHD IPS has a resolution of 1920 x 1080, just enough to qualify as true HD. This is the lowest you’ll pay for a full 1080p monitor from an established manufacturer. As a bonus, this monitor also has integrated speakers, which is one less gaming accessory you’ll need to buy if you’re on a shoestring budget.
The refresh rate on this monitor is “only” 60 Hz, but let’s be honest: with the rig we’ve built, this will be the desired resolution and refresh rate, especially moving forward into the next console generation of AAA titles. The LED backlight makes this monitor easy on the eyes in low light, and the 5ms response time is good enough for anyone without too much latency in their internet connection.
The Acer SB220Q is a slightly cheaper monitor that’s also full HD, but it doesn’t have integrated speakers. If you’re planning on buying speakers anyway, this can save you a few bucks. On the other hand, if you’re looking to get a complete rig for the lowest possible price, stick with the HP.
If you’re looking for a true gaming monitor, the Acer XFA240 is the best deal out there. Its resolution is 1920 x 1080, and it has a refresh rate of 75 Hz, comparable to some of the better monitors out there. The big improvement here is the response time – only 1ms, fast enough for even the most competitive Call of Duty matches.
Related: Best Gaming Monitors
Mouse: PICTEK T7 Gaming Mouse
We chose the PICTEK T7 because it’s the most inexpensive mouse on the market that’s reliable and has some gaming features. It’s not the best gaming mouse out there by a long shot, but it’s the best one you’ll get at this price.
This is a wired mouse, which we like, but it may irritate some people. The main mouse buttons are rated for 30 million clicks, which is more than most mice on the market.
It has four extra buttons, two by the wheel, and two by your thumb. These are preset for basic shortcut keys but can be customized using the PICTEK software that’s included with the mouse. It can be set for various levels of sensitivity, from 1,200 DPI up to 7,200 DPI.
Gamers who want a mouse with a little more sensitivity and more buttons may prefer something like the Logitech G502 Hero. This is another wired mouse, but it’s much more sensitive than the TV – up to 16,000 DPI – with a special sniper button that will instantly drop your sensitivity to 200 DPI. That said, it’s expensive, more than three times as much as the T7.
If you’re looking for a budget mouse, the VicTsing Wired Mouse is a durable, basic option that has a standard, three-button design. That said, it’s not very sensitive, only 1,200 DPI, so it’s not great for first-person shooters or high-resolution displays.
Finally, the VicTsing 2.4G Wireless Mouse is a good choice for gamers who really need a wireless mouse. It’s inexpensive, but the resolution only goes up to 2,400 DPI, so it’s not as sensitive as most gaming mice.
Related: Best Gaming Mouse
Keyboard: VicTsing Gaming Keyboard
The VicTsing Gaming Keyboard is a reasonably-priced USB gaming keyboard. Yes, it has gorgeous LED lights, but that’s not why we picked it.
For one thing, it’s a USB keyboard and not a battery-powered one. We understand why people prefer battery-operated mice, but a keyboard? That’s one battery too many for our taste.
Second is the quality of the construction. The keyboard panel itself is made of high-quality metal, and the keys are well spaced and have a light touch. There’s also a function for hot-swapping between WASD controls and the directional pad, which is great if you’re playing a game with multiple control sets.
The VicTsing is also designed so that the 19 most common keys are non-conflicting. No more having your grenade button fail because you hit “E” while you were also holding “W.” Because of this and the light keystroke, this keyboard isn’t ideal if you do a lot of typing.
For a more general-purpose keyboard that works also works well for gaming, consider an ergonomic keyboard, like the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard. These cost about the same as a basic gaming keyboard, and while they don’t have special gaming features, they’re extremely comfortable for those long dungeon raids.
If your budget is already stretched to the limit, the VicTsing Wired Keyboard is an inexpensive, no-frills keyboard that does the basics well.
Related: Best Gaming Keyboard
If you only wanted the basics, you can stop here. That’s enough to get you up and running. If you’re looking for more storage, better sound quality, or a WiFi card, we’ve listed a few compatible peripherals here that will get you pointed in the right direction.
Speakers: Logitech Z200 Speakers
Logitech’s Z200 speakers put out a lot of punch for their size. There are two, 2.5” heads on each speaker, one active, one passive. The speakers run at a peak power of 10 watts, which is enough to fill a medium-sized room.
These speakers are very reasonably priced and don’t take up much space on your desk. They connect to your PC’s 3.5mm audio jack.
Since they’re so powerful, the Logitech Z200 speakers plug into a wall outlet, not into your USB drive. This can be a plus since it’s one less device taking up a USB port. On the other hand, it means you’ll need to make more room on your surge protector instead.
Related: Best Gaming Speakers
Headphones: Mpow EG3 Gaming Headset
This is an inexpensive, comfortable that has all the features you’ll need. The 7-foot cable is enough to avoid accidental tugs, and the padding around the earphones is nice and thick. There’s a protective leather strap under the aluminum frame for a perfect balance between durability and comfort.
It connects via USB, and both the headphones and the microphone are plug and play on Windows, as well as on your PlayStation 4. Speaking of the microphone, it has noise filtering, so your party members won’t have to hear your dishwasher running in the background.
The Mpow EG3 was made specifically first-person shooter players. The speakers simulate 7.1 surround sound, so you can hear precisely where that shot came from.
Related: Headphones vs. Headset
Extra HDD: Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive
We debated whether to go with an internal HDD here or an external one. In the end, it came down to convenience.
Like we mentioned above, when we talked about storage, 250GB likely wouldn’t be enough in the long run for any serious gamer. Additional storage is necessary, and, while it’s not SSD, this HDD is sturdy and reliable and unlikely to run out of space any time soon.
Of course, we could have suggested an SSD as well considering their relatively low prices nowadays, but we still decided for the good old HDD simply because the amount of storage you get for the money isn’t anywhere as near to what you’d get with an SSD.
Related: Best External HDD
WiFi Card: Ubit 450M Dual Band WiFi Network Card
This little guy will plug right into one of the PCIe ports on the motherboard. It’s dual-band, operating at both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, which means it will work with older and newer devices alike. It works out of the box with Windows 10 64-bit.
The speed maxes out at 450 Mbps, which isn’t going to get the most out of a gigabit connection but will be far faster than most people’s high-speed connections. There are three optional antennas you can attach to boost your signal. You won’t need these if your computer is right next to your router, but then again, if your computer is next to your router, a wired connection will be faster anyway.
Related: Best WiFi Adapter
Wrist Rest: GoldenClaw WR1
Moving the last recommended peripheral, we got a wrist rest. Not just any wrist rest, but the comfortable and popular GoldenClaw WR1 Wrist Rest.
These wrist rest pads for both your wrists will protect you against carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain syndrome, so they are highly recommended if you spend extended periods of time in front of your computer.
As you can see, even with a barebones system, there are a ton of accessories that can improve your experience as much as a faster processor or more RAM. There are a ton of ways to upgrade your gaming PC, from speakers to a gaming mouse to a bigger monitor.
Whether you end up tricking out your new rig with a bunch of accessories, or whether you just want a barebones system that will run the current AAA titles, we hope this build has at least pointed you in the right direction. If nothing else, we hope you’ve learned that it’s possible to build a sweet PC for $700.