It’s been about six months since our last $700 gaming PC challenge, and in that period of time there have been many new products released, including the video card that will power our build: NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, which will provide more than enough juice for this build to be able to play games seamlessly at 1080p, and will likely allow for some 1440p gaming at reduced settings.
As with last time, we are only using parts that are sold as new and are available on Amazon. We used Amazon because the majority of people in North America have Amazon Prime accounts already (If you don’t have one, get one. Seriously. I couldn’t live without it.) Obviously, for $700, you still won’t be getting a system that will game at 4K, but this build should perform much better than our build from six months ago, owing to a better CPU and much better video card.
Without further ado, here are the parts that we have chosen:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2600X
Motherboard: GIGABYTE B450M DS3H
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XC Gaming 6GB
All of this was available for under $700.00 at time of writing on Amazon. Going more in depth:
Last time, we used a cheap i5 with locked multipliers. This time, we decided to go with Team Red’s Ryzen 5 2600X chip, partly because of the (limited) performance gain, and partly because we’d like to tip our hats to AMD, who recently celebrated their 50th anniversary.
While this isn’t a massive upgrade over the i5 in terms of gaming performance, we realize that the average person looking to put together a budget build is likely going to use their system for everything, not just gaming, and AMD chips are great for all-round builds.
While the Ryzen and i5 CPUs both boast six physical cores, the 2600X has twelve threads, while the i5 only has six, making it a better choice for workstation tasks and multitasking. As well, overclockability will allow for a longer period of time between upgrades.
We chose the B450M DS3H motherboard from Gigabyte as it’s a cheap, entry level board from a trusted manufacturer that provides everything we need… and not much else.
In this day and age, 8 GB of DDR4 memory is the bare minimum – so that’s what we’ve gone with for this build. We chose the Corsair memory as we’ve had good experiences with corsair products. Note that this stick is quite cheap, and if you’re willing to go slightly above the $700.00 mark, we’d suggest getting a second stick to bring your system up to 16 GB.
Our storage solutions remain the same as they were six months ago – the performance increase you’d see from an NVMe M.2 SSD simply isn’t worth the increase in cost over an older SATA3 SSD boot drive.
As before, our limited budget means that a large SSD is out of the question, though you could potentially upgrade to a 240 GB SSD without increasing the cost too much. While not impossible to live off of a single small SSD, we figured it would be more user-friendly to include a traditional 1 TB hard drive as well.
The biggest contributor to gaming performance is your video card, and as such, we have not slouched in this department. As in our previous posts when it was first released, the 1660 Ti is a massive upgrade over the 1060 3GB that we included in the last build we did six months ago.
The 1660 Ti should easily deal with anything you might throw at it at 1080p, and will still give a playable experience at 1440p, though some reduction in settings may be required. That said, if you’re looking to spend $700 on your gaming desktop, it’s unlikely you’ve also spent a similar (or larger) amount on an expensive, high refresh rate 1440p gaming monitor.
If you’re running on a budget (and we are), the case is the least important purchase you can make, as long as it’s solid. We chose Thermaltake Versa H22 case as, similar to last time, we don’t care about RGB lighting or bells-and-whistles for this build. The H22 case is simply a newer version of the case we used in our last build.
Corsair’s 450W 80+ Bronze Certified power supply is more than good enough for this build. It’s cheap, and it isn’t modular, but we’ve done reviews of Corsair power supplies in the past, and they’ve not let us down.
You may need to upgrade your power supply if you decide to upgrade your video card down the road, as 450W doesn’t leave very much head room.