So, you want to dive into PC gaming?
$600 can sound too little for a starting budget, but, trust me, this price range can get you best $600 gaming PC that is well over the abilities of a PS4 Pro. 1080p won’t be a problem at all, and pushing 1440p and VR shouldn’t be an issue either.
To make sure you are getting the most out of your money, we ensured:
Performance. What’s the point of joining the glorious PC Gaming Master Race if you’re still getting console-quality performance? With the RX 580 in this build, you have enough to make the PS4 Pro cry… if it was sentient, that is.
Decent cooling. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t buy a case that doesn’t come with intake and outtake fans. These fans can give you a smoother airflow and thermal performance in your rig. The Cooler Master case we’ve included in this build already includes dual intake fans and an exhaust fan, so it’s perfect for airflow without you needing to buy any extra fans.
Storage. Don’t settle for anything less than 2TB. Value-scaling of HDDs pretty much means that if you aren’t buying at least a 2TB drive, you’re hardcore screwing yourself out of money and storage space.
How We Choose the Parts and Components
We know everyone doesn’t have the time to do all of the research, comparison, and evaluation involved in choosing the right parts and components for a gaming computer or desktop. Not to mention compatibility.
This is where we come in. Our writers have years of experience with computers and they tap into that experience when matching the right hardware components, finding the right prices, and picking the best deals for whatever budget our readers have. In addition to our own strong tech knowledge, we also like consulting other professionals in the industry, like Linus Tech Tips and Tech Deals.
Expect to see build updates every few months, as we like to stay on top of the latest deals and changes whenever we can.
The Best $600 Gaming PC Update:
CPU Intel Core i3-8100 Quad-Core Processor
The i3-8100 offers quad core at an unprecedented price and great value gaming performance. It also avoids bottlenecking the midrange GPU in this build.
XFX RX 580 4GB Video Card
A 1440p/VR powerhouse. and 1080p killer. That’s really all there is to say here.
Patriot Signature Line 8GB DRR4-2400
With a full 8GB of RAM, multitasking and gaming shouldn’t be any problem whatsoever for this powerful PC build.
EVGA BR 450W 80+ Bronze-Certified PSU
An unfortunately non-modular PSU, but with great bronze certification and the peace of mind that comes with buying EVGA.
ASRock B250M Micro ATX Motherboard
A solid motherboard that shouldn’t give you any issues. No overclocking in this price range, though.
Thermaltake Versa H18 Tempered Glass Micro ATX Case
An astonishingly cool (aesthetically and literally) budget case that dominates other value options in the same price range.
Estimated $622.46 at Amazon
(Price are accurate as of January 16, 2019. Click the button to see the latest prices)
The Intel Core i3-8100 CPU is one of the top cheap CPUs you can get right now, and it effectively decimates AMD’s options in the same price range, at least when it comes to single-core/gaming performance. With this processor, you’ll be able to enjoy your games without any CPU bottlenecks for mid-range GPUs up to the RX 580. Past that, you may want to upgrade to a higher-end Intel i5 or i7 processor.
With the upgrade to the i3-8100 in this build, we’ve actually managed to find a sub – $200 Intel processor with quad cores, which is actually pretty nuts. Previously, quad cores used to be locked behind the i5 line, but the increasing competition from AMD has meant that Intel has had to boost core counts in their lower end-CPUs to keep up.
While this shouldn’t make a major difference in the long run, it should still make a meaningful one. Livestreaming and high refresh rate gaming is still recommended against with this CPU, but rendering video should be quite possible.
The RX 580 will be more than enough for 1080p gaming, and should offer a fine experience at 1080p and 1440p. Performance-wise, it decimates the GTX 1060 3GB and trades blows with the GTX 1060 6GB, and should be the better pick over the latter GPU in general. In this price range, AMD has simply dominated the competition, and that’s quite the achievement.
MORE: Best Graphics Cards
8GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM means that you don’t need to worry about RAM issues with your favorite games and applications. Unless you have a hobby centered around opening and forgetting dozens of Chrome tabs at a time, this will be more than enough for your needs, and it’s even a little bit faster than entry-level DDR4 RAM.
Since Patriot is responsible for manufacturing, you also don’t need to worry about any long-term reliability issues despite the low price point. If you want good RAM, congratulations: you got it.
The Hitachi Ultrastar 2TB HDD is many things. It’s the primary storage you’ll be using in this build, since we can’t really afford an SSD in this price range. It offers the best price-per-gigabyte out of all the 2TB HDDs currently on the market, and it’s built by a reliable manufacturer. Truthfully there’s…not much more to say than that, but if you’re hungry for an SSD, we have some in our higher-end builds and upgrade recommendations below.
MORE: Best Gaming Hard Drives
Good PSUs come from reputable manufacturers and ensure long-term safety and stability for your build. EVGA is one of those reputable manufacturers, and while this PSU may not have the modularity required for the smoothest installation process, it will keep you and your components safe.
Bad PSUs short out your components and start fires. You probably don’t want that, which is why we didn’t go any cheaper than this for a budget build.
Essentially, we just picked out what worked best here. You’re not going high-end enough to justify spending an extra $50-$80 on an OC-capable motherboard, so you might as well just go with something cheap from a reliable brand, like ASRock. That’s what we did here. Since motherboards don’t really impact performance, you’re also welcome to slap in a stronger i3 or i5 CPU in here once you have the money for it.
MORE: Best Gaming Motherboards
This is a budget case, even though it absolutely does not look like one. Tempered glass cases have become cheaper and more popular as time goes on, and this Tempered Glass revision of the classic Thermaltake Versa H18 truly shines for it.
Honestly, we’re genuinely shocked that a computer case under $60 can look this good, but it does. It even included a little blue LED strip on the front, if little visual flairs like that appeal to you!
The only real downside of this case is that it doesn’t ship with extra case fans- just the one exhaust fan. You can easily alleviate this by popping in even one fan for intake, and we’ve listed our recommended fan upgrade later in the article. Your PC should still function just fine without the intake fan, though- it’ll just run slightly hotter until you get one.
Despite that caveat, we’re still confident in recommending the Versa H18 Tempered Glass, because it is genuinely the best you’re going to get in this price range. We hope you like it as much we do!
MORE: Best PC Cases
Why is This The Best Custom PC for the Price of $600?
You’re not going to get a better value out of a $600 gaming PC build. We looked at our competitors and noticed broken links, overpriced builds, and some that were still using inferior 1050 Tis or 1060 3GBs. We like to learn from the mistakes of our competition, not emulate them, so we made absolutely sure that we were on top of our game and produced a smart budget PC build.
The RX 580 is going to provide PS4 Pro performance or better. 1080p gaming at 60 FPS on max settings will be a breeze, while 1440p, 1080p144hz, and VR will all start becoming accessible with the power in this machine. Truthfully, we couldn’t be happier with the performance on display here, and we think you’ll feel the same way.
What games can this PC run?
In this section, we’re going to tell you how this game should be able to run your favorite games.
- Fortnite - 1080p will be a breeze with this setup, thanks to the included RX 580 GPU. However, 1440p may not be as easy to get running, and may require more significant compromises in settings to achieve 60 FPS.
- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds - PUBG should be playable at 1080p high or max settings, but 1440p isn’t going to happen above medium settings. The CPU may actually end up being a slight bottleneck as well.
- Monster Hunter: World - MHW should be easily playable at 1080p and high settings with this PC build, but 1440p will require some compromises to settings.
- League of Legends - League is lightweight and dependable as always, so pushing 1080p @ 144hz shouldn’t be an issue here. 1440p should be playable, too.
- Dota 2 - See above.
- Overwatch - 1440p60 at high settings should be achievable, but may require a few settings to be turned down. 1080p at max should push over 100 FPS, even more if you turn down some settings.
- Rainbow Six: Siege - Siege should be playable at 1440p, but due to the weaker CPU in this build you may need to turn down the settings to medium to maintain 60 FPS. 1080p won’t be a problem, though.
- Warframe - Warframe runs excellently at both 1080p and 1440p, and shouldn’t require any major compromises at either resolution.
- Grand Theft Auto V - GTA V should allow you to push it to 1440p and 60FPS at medium settings, but if you want prettier graphics you may want to run it down to 1080p.
- Team Fortress 2 - TF2 is CPU-centric, so don’t expect the i3 to push super-high frames in this title without a performance config. However, your general performance should be just fine, even at 1440p.
Similar Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $600
Most gamers want to piece together their own gaming computer since it’s cheaper; however, not everyone is into building their own computers. And time is money, so it might not be a viable option for you. As such, we’ve come up with a list of the best prebuilt gaming PCs under $600.
Upgrade Path for this Build
Since this is PC gaming, we figured out you’ll want more. If you are fine with spending a little more money, below are some of the best upgrade options you can get- for under $600.
NOTE: These will raise the price of the build!
If you’re going to buy a Solid state drive, we highly recommend buying it before your HDD and installing your OS onto it (alternatively, you could use your SSD as a cache). This is because SSDs offer huge performance increases for desktop usage and boot-times, alongside much faster loading times in games.
OS Options and Recommended Peripherals
Building your PC doesn’t end there. If you want to really make the build more worthwhile in terms of money and performance, you should consider getting the following peripheral picks.
NOTE: These will raise the price of the build!
First and foremost, you’ll need an OS to use your PC. For this category, you have two options: Linux (Mint or Ubuntu) and Windows.
Linux is free but has less compatibility with games and certain Windows apps that you may find necessary. Buying a Windows 10 OS, on the other hand, adds a good $80 to the cost of a rig, but it’s widely supported by all PC gaming titles. It’s probably what you’re most familiar with, too.
It’s probably what you’re most familiar with, too.
For more details on downloading and installing an OS, we have an in-depth guide further down in the article.
Mouse and Keyboard
Your mouse and keyboard are vital aspects of your gaming setup. These are the tools you will go into battle with, and you haven’t already got some, we have some suggestions for you.
For Advanced Users: ($100)
We’re going to offer two monitors here, depending on what you’re trying to do with this gaming PC build.
Whether you’re listening to music, immersed deeply in a competitive game, or you just need to suffocate all the noise, you’ll be thankful to invest in some quality speakers or a reliable headset.
The HyperX Cloud Revolver S Gaming Headset is a high-end gaming headset– assuming that’s something you want. With a noise-canceling headphone and virtual surround-sound, you should have all the competitive edge you need to communicate with your teammates and hear what’s going on around you.
If you are going to play games that require an internet connection, you have to invest in a device that will give you a seamless connection.
For Wi-Fi, you’ll want to use the TP-Link Archer T4U. It supports all the latest and greatest Wi-Fi standards.
It is easy to install and comes in at a fairly respectable price.
Wired (Ethernet Cable)
If you want to use an ethernet cable, just go ahead and order Mediabridge Ethernet cable. Retail ethernet cables are really expensive, but by ordering them online, you can get 25ft cables for a few bucks.
If this is your first time building a PC, or it’s been awhile and you’re feeling rusty, then make sure you utilize the great information that’s available so that both you and your PC are safe.
Invest In Antistatic Equipment
Perhaps most importantly, make sure you don’t short out any of your components with electric discharge. Investing in an anti-static mat or anti-static wristband will go a long way toward preventing this. And if you don’t know how to use the wristband, then don’t worry: we made a guide detailing how to properly use an anti-static wristband!
If, for some reason, you can’t acquire these, a suitable alternative is ensuring that you’re grounded by regularly touching grounded metal objects, but it can be easy to forget and potentially, even if only rarely, costly if you do.
Watch Building Guides
PC building can be an initially daunting task, especially if you’ve never done it before. However, standoff screws aside, it’s honestly a pretty easy, painless experience.
If you are unsure about what to do, it’s a good idea to take a look at some building guides for visual assistance first. In particular, we recommend Tek Syndicate’s since it is direct and provides good visual examples.
You’ll also want to look at the manuals for your components during the build process to ensure you are doing everything to specification. Your first build session can potentially take a few hours largely due to inexperience. However, once you get the hang of it, you’ll see that time start dropping fairly quickly.
Our how to build a PC guide is also a quality resource. Whether you’re a first time builder or a veteran, the easy to use steps help you visualize and keep track of what you’re doing. This guide includes everything from planning out your budget to installing the drivers and even has some tips on how to safely maintain your computer through years of usage.
Install OS Via USB
Investing in an optical drive in 2017 is honestly not worth it. (Take it from me-- I made the same mistake when I built my rig!) Unless you’re shelling extra for a Blu-Ray player, chances are you aren’t going to use your PC’s optical drive after you’ve finished building the machine and installing the OS for the first time.
This is why we recommend downloading your OS via USB. Any necessary drivers for a program or device can typically and conveniently be found online. So, instead of dropping an extra $20 on the drive and another extra $20 on actually having a disc delivered to you, just install your OS via USB.
All versions of Windows and Linux can be installed with a USB drive. And while you will need a separate PC to turn your USB drive into an installer, it’s still much smarter than paying extra for physical media.
Buying the best $600 gaming PC isn’t that hard. You just have to know exactly what you should be looking for. Thank God for We.
Once you’ve finished this article and made your orders, you’re well on your way to enjoying the latest, greatest games at beautiful settings. Once the parts arrive and you’ve assembled them, you’re officially initiated into the wider community of PC gamers.
Are you still unsure whether or not you should buy a custom or a prebuilt? Have any other questions? Well let us know in the comments below if you need any help!