You don’t have to spend a ton of money in order to get a solid gaming PC for 1080P gaming. This $600 gaming PC build will run most games on higher settings on a 1080P monitor with excellent framerates.
No more Mr. Nice Gamer. It’s time to finally get a gaming computer that can run all of today’s top games on a 1080P monitor on higher-to-maximum settings. It won’t matter what game you throw at it, you’re going to get a computer that will deliver at least 60+ FPS with ease.
That’s because in this guide I’m going to show you how you can get a gaming PC for under $600 that will run any game at higher settings on a 1080P monitor with no problems in 2020 and beyond.
You will have to build this $600 gaming computer yourself, though. By building it yourself, you’ll cut down on the high markup costs that often come attached to prebuilt PCs and you’ll be able to use that extra money to get an even more powerful system.
So, if you’re up for building a computer, keep reading to find out what components you’ll need in order to build a powerful $600 gaming PC. (And, if you absolutely don’t want to build your own system, we’ve also linked to a similarly-priced prebuilt gaming computer for $600, too—it won’t perform quite as well, but it will still be a decent option in the grand scheme of things.)
Also, if you want to look at more budget-friendly part lists, check out more options on our Cheap Gaming PC Build guide.
I. $600 Gaming PC Build Overview
While everybody would love to spend thousands of dollars on a new gaming computer that has liquid cooling, an insane graphics card and CPU combo, a ton of RGB lights, and an awesome-looking case, the reality is that you don’t have to have all of those things in order to play your favorite games on higher settings.
So, if your main goal is to simply have the ability to play today’s best PC games on high settings on a 1080P monitor, you can actually achieve that with a budget of just $600 (and, in reality, you could probably do it with $500, too—check out our $500 gaming PC build here).
That’s what the build listed below will give you. No, it doesn’t have an AIO cooler in it and it doesn’t come with a fancy RGB-laden case. But it will allow you to experience your favorite games at graphics-levels you never thought possible.
For $600, you get an Intel Core i5-9400F processor, an RX 590 8GB graphics card, 16GB of memory, a 480GB SSD, and a 550W power supply.
The combination of the i5-9400F and the RX 590 are good enough to where this build will be able to run demanding games like The Division 2, The Witcher 3, Borderlands 3, and PUBG on higher settings. And, for non-demanding popular titles like Apex Legends, Fortnite, League of Legends, and Rocket League, this system will run on them on max settings with no problems.
So, the bottom line is that if you’re looking for the best gaming PC under $600, the part list below will serve you well.
*NOTE: If you’re not up for building your own computer, click the “Shop Pre-Builts” button to see a similarly priced pre-built gaming computer.
**NOTE: In the past, we’ve used the Ryzen 5 2600 in this build due to its lower price tag. However, with the Coronavirus creating a higher demand for PC hardware, the cost of the Ryzen 5 2600 and a compatible motherboard, now exceeds the cost of the Intel Core i5-9400F and a compatible motherboard. So, for now, we’ve opted for using the i5-9400F in this build.
Part List for $600 PC Build
|CPU||Intel Core i5-9400|
|GPU||XFX RX 590 8GB|
|RAM||Patriot Viper 16GB|
|ODD||Install O.S. from USB|
Grand Total: $570-$630
*Component prices fluctuate daily. Click here to check current pricing.
**Price includes the parts that make up the tower only. You’ll need an operating system and Windows 10 costs ~$100 for an activation key. However, you can still install Windows 10 for free and it will work indefinitely without activating it with no problems—there will just be a watermark at the bottom left of your desktop asking you to activate it.
Watch Me Build This PC
II. $600 Gaming PC System Breakdown
One of the coolest parts about choosing components to build a new computer is that, while there definitely are right and wrong components to get, there are different ways you can go about it. We believe the components that we listed above will give you great performance for the price you pay. However, there are other routes you can go with this build. So, in the section below we will discuss some of the other options you have.
The other great thing about building a computer is that you will always have the potential to upgrade it in the future. So, we’ll also go over the different upgrade paths that are available for this build, too.
But, before we dive into the different component options out there and the available upgrade paths, let’s first cover what kind of performance you can expect out of this $600 gaming PC.
1. What Kind of Performance Can You Expect out of this $600 Build?
Again, for just under $600, this PC can handle just about any game on max settings on a budget-friendly 1080P monitor. But, to give you a more specific idea of the kind of in-game performance you can expect, check the bullet-point list below:
- This $600 PC can run less-demanding games like Apex Legends, Rocket League, League of Legends, etc. on max settings at ~100+ frames per second
- It will run more-demanding titles like PUBG, The Division 2, The Witcher 3, etc. on higher settings at ~60+ frames per second
So, whether you’re building this system to play competitive esports titles that aren’t very demanding (like Rocket League, LoL, Fortnite, etc.) or you’re building it so that you can play some of the more demanding and graphically-detailed games (like The Division 2, The Witcher 3, etc.), this build will be able to handle both types of games fairly easily on higher settings.
2. Intel Core i3-9100f vs Ryzen 5 2600 vs Ryzen 5 3600 vs i5-9400f
In my opinion, there are four processor options that make sense for this build. The AMD Ryzen 5 2600, the Intel Core i3-9100f, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600, and the Intel Core i5-9400f. We chose the Intel Core AMD Ryzen 5 2600, though, because it’s incredibly affordable right now and will fit well with a powerul RX 590 graphics card in the $600 budget. However, there are always sales going on on the various online retailers and so it would probably be a good idea to shop around before you finalize your purchase to see if you can grab anything at a discount—which may end up allowing you to go with an upgraded processor.
But, for the most part, the three previously mentioned processors are going to be the options that make the most sense in this build. So, let’s break down each option and why they are (and are not) good fits for a $600 PC build.
The Case for the Ryzen 5 2600 and Where the i3-9100f, Ryzen 5 3600, and i5-9400f Make Sense
In my opinion, the majority of users are going to benefit the most by using the AMD Ryzen 5 2600 in this build. While the i3-9100f is cheaper and offers great single core performance for the price, the Ryzen 5 2600 has recently dropped down to under ~$120 and will provide better overall performance for not a very significant price difference.
The 2600 is also quite a bit less expensive than the Ryzen 5 3600 and Intel Core i5-9400f. The Ryzen 5 3600 costs about ~$70-$80 more for the processor, but when you include a motherboard into the equation, the price difference gets even bigger, because the newer Ryzen CPUs are having compatibility issues with the cheaper B450 chipset AM4 motherboards and therefore require a more expensive X570 chipset board.
And, while the Intel Core i5-9400f can be paired with the same cheap H310 motherboard, the 9400f comes in at about ~$30 more expensive than the Ryzen 5 2600.
The reality is that all four of these CPUs are good enough to handle games at 1080P on higher settings when they are paired with a solid mid-range graphics card. So, then, outside of a few other specific use-case scenarios, this really comes down to a matter of price-to-performance.
When you consider the $600 budget for this build and the fact that, at a minimum, you’ll have to pay $30 more for the i5-9400f (and at least $150 more for the Ryzen 5 3600/X570 motherboard combo), in order to fit them into this budget, you’ll likely have to drop the RX 590 8GB down to an RX 580 8GB, RX 570, or GTX 1060 3GB GPU. That’s not a terrible drop down, but the combo of the Ryzen 5 2600 and the RX 590 8GB will give you much better in-game performance.
Of course, if you don’t mind stretching this $600 PC build into a ~$630-$650 build, then by all means, upgrade the processor!
But, overall, with a $600 budget, we felt like the Ryzen 5 2600 offered the best price-to-performance at this price range simply because it also allowed us to fit an RX 590 graphics card into the build.
3. RX 590 8GB vs RX 580 8GB
While the three processor options listed above are viable options depending on the scenario, the debate on which graphics card to go with between an AMD RX 590 8GB and an RX 580 8GB is probably even more difficult.
Most benchmarks show that the RX 590 8GB outperforms the RX 580 8GB by a decent margin (see above). And, right now, you can grab an RX 590 for only about ~$15 more than an RX 580. And, with such a small difference in price, we were able to easily fit the RX 590 into this $600 budget without having to sacrifice in other areas.
Although, with the Holiday shopping season around the corner, you may want to look out for deals—you may be able to grab either of these cards at a significant discount in the coming weeks and months.
Either way, both cards will deliver a very similar in-game experience—with the RX 590 providing a decent performacne increase. And, both options will pair well with a budget-friendly 144Hz FreeSync monitor.
While you will definitely need an operating system in order to get your computer to actually run, we have left out including an operating system in the price of this build. Windows is the best-suited operating system for gaming. Unfortunately, though, a brand new copy of Windows will set you back ~$100.
However, there are alternatives to paying $100 for a copy of Windows. And, so while you will need some kind of operating system, we have left it out of the total cost of your system because of these alternatives that are available.
Here are a few ways to avoid the $100 cost of Windows 10:
First, you could install a free Linux-based operating system. You won’t be able to play certain games that aren’t compatible with Linux, but you will save $100.
Second, you could buy a Windows 10 key from a third party marketplace for ~$30. I’ve had good success purchasing Windows keys from Kinguin.net in the past, but there is definitely some risk involved in purchasing a Windows license from a third party source.
Finally, you could just install Windows 10 for free and not activate it. In my opinion, this is probably the best route to go. Essentially, Microsoft allows anyone to install Windows onto their computer without forcing them to activate it. And, for the most part, you can still use Windows normally even when it’s not activated. The only thing you will lose out on is some customization options like setting a custom background for your desktop. But, I think in order to save $100, that is not a bad trade-off cost. And, at the very least, you could run the non-activated version of Windows for the time being until you can afford to purchase an activation key for it.
5. Upgrade Paths for this $600 Gaming PC Build
This $600 gaming computer is pretty good as-is. Again, it is powerful enough to run pretty much any game at higher settings on a 1080P monitor.
However, there are some upgrades that you can make to it in order to get more performance out of it:
The first upgrade that I would make would be to add more storage
For this build, since it already has a CPU and GPU combo that is easily capable of maxing games out on a 1080P monitor, upgrading those two components to higher-end options in the near future probably doesn’t make sense unless you’re also upgrading your monitor.
So, for my first upgrade, I’d probably look to jump up to add an additional ~500GB (or larger) SSD. Later down the road, if you want to bump up to a 1440P or 4K monitor, you’ll need to upgrade the CPU and GPU. However, since there is already a decent motherboard and power supply in this build, that shouldn’t be too difficult of a task.
III. Peripherals & Accessories to Go With Your New $600 Gaming Computer
If you don’t already have a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to go along with your new system, you will definitely need to get one of each. In this section, we’ll give you a few budget-friendly recommendations that will pair well with this build.
Gaming Monitor Picks
Gaming Keyboard Choices
|Redragon K552 KUMARA||/10|
|Thermaltake Tt eSPORTS||/10|
Gaming Mouse Options
Conclusion: $600 Can Deliver You High-End 1080P Performance
If this build proves anything, it’s that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get a computer that is powerful enough to run today’s top games at higher settings. No, it’s not a high-end gaming computer that can handle 4K gaming, or push a 1440P 144Hz monitor.
However, if you’re someone that currently has a laptop or older desktop that is struggling to run games on a 1080P monitor at a playable framerate and you don’t have a huge budget to upgrade to a high-end system, then this $600 gaming PC will offer you a fairly affordable solution to your problem.
Overall, this build will provide you with the performance necessary to run the best games out there on the higher settings and it will also give you plenty of room to make upgrades in the future, too.