|(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)|
Jumping up to a $1,500 budget, our best PC build for gaming incorporates a 6-core, 12-thread Intel Core i5-11600K, which tops our list of best CPUs and costs only around $270. It provides excellent gaming performance and strong multi-threaded productivity speeds. It can boost up to 4.9-GHz on two cores or 4.6-GHz on all cores and it’s unlocked for overclocking.
Our GPU is a speedy AMD Radeon RX 6800 card, which bests its direct competitor, the Nvidia RTX 3070, in our GPU benchmarks hierarchy. The RX 6800 had a launch price of $579, but it’s hard to come now at any price. If you can’t find one but can get your hands on an RTX 3070, which has a Founder’s Edition MSRP of $499, instead, go right ahead.
The 11600K doesn’t come with a stock cooler and we want strong performance so we’re going with the CoolerMaster MasterLiquid ML240L V2 240mm AIO cooler on board. However, spending another $50 on the Corsair H100i, our pick for best CPU cooler, might yield even better results.
To accommodate the 11th Gen processor, we went with an Asus Prime Z590-P motherboard, which has 11 power stages for overclocking, 3 M.2 ports, dual USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, 2.5 Gb Ethernet, Thunderbolt 4 support and support for PCIe 4.0 drives.
We’ve upgraded our storage from the $1,500 model, opting for an sk Hynix Gold P31 1TB SSD. It’s the same capacity as the WD Blue SN550 we use on cheaper builds, but it offers noticeably faster speeds, promising sequential reads and writes of 3,500 and 3,200 MBps, compared to the DRAMless WD’s 2,400 / 1,750 MBps. We also doubled our RAM to 32GB, going with TeamGroup’s T-Force Vulcan Z (2x16GB) DDR4-PC3200 RAM.
For our case, we’re going with the Phanteks Eclipse P360A, which is a strong budget choice, because of its strong thermal performance. It also provides a colorful light show with two RGB fans included. Our PSU is Cooler Master’s MWE Gold 750 V2, which at a current price of $111, gives you Gold-level efficiency and a modular design.