You don’t have to spend a ton of money in order to get a solid gaming PC. 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 100+ FPS with ease.
That’s because in this guide we’re 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 for 2024 and beyond.
This PC will even be able to run Starfield (though, not at maxed out settings).
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. (Hop down to the FAQ section for our Step-by-Step Build Guide.)
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.
Part List for $600 PC Build
|CPU||Intel Core i3-12100F|
|GPU||PowerColor RX 6650 XT|
|CASE||Thermaltake Versa H18|
Grand Total: $570-$630
*Component prices fluctuate daily. Click ‘Price on Amazon’ to see the most-up-to-date price.
**You’ll need an operating system. Windows 11 is free to download but a license costs ~$125. However, you can still install Windows for free and it will work indefinitely without activating it—there will just be a watermark at the bottom left of your desktop asking you to activate it.
Next Option: $700 Gaming PC Build »
$600 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 billion gigabytes of RAM, 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 display, you can actually achieve that with a budget of just $600.
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 and it won’t be able to max out Starfield on a 4K monitor. But it will allow you to experience your favorite games at graphics-levels you never thought possible.
For $600, you get an Intel Core i3-12100F processor, a PowerColor Radeon RX 6650 XT graphics card, 16GB of TEAMGOUP’s T-Force Vulcan Z 3200MHz memory, a Crucial 1TB NVME SSD, a solid Thermaltake case, and an EVGA 600W power supply.
The combination of the i3-12100F, the RX 6650 XT, and the 16GB of DDR4 memory are good enough to where this build will be able to run demanding games on higher settings.
mATX Case & 80 PLUS Gold PSU
Just like in our $500 build, we opted for the Thermaltake Versa H18 micro-ATX case. This case stands out above other similarly-priced cases because of its grilled front panel, its tempered glass side panel, and it’s full length PSU shroud. It provides plenty of room to house the parts below (it offers clearance for graphics cards as long as 350mm), as well as to upgrade to a higher-end system in the future.
And, we also chose EVGA’s 600 GD 80PLUS Gold rated power supply. With Gold efficiency and a 600-watt capacity, this PSU will easily power the componets in this build. It’s also big enough to handle an upgrade to a newer generation GPU down the road.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for the best gaming PC under $600, the array of components listed below would be an excellent option.
*NOTE: If you’re not up for building your own computer, click the “Shop Pre-Builts” button in the section above to see a similarly priced pre-built gaming computer, or check out our guide on the Best Prebuilt Gaming PCs Under $600.
12100F + RX 6650 XT Benchmark
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.
1. How Do I Build This PC?
You will need to assemble all of the individual components you have purchased into a working PC. Fortunately, this process is not difficult! And, it’s a lot of fun. If you’ve never built a PC before, use our Step-by-Step PC building guide to walk you through the process.
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, Fortnite, etc. on max settings at ~150+ frames per second
- It will run more-demanding titles like Starfield, Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duy, God of War, Tomb Raider, etc. on higher settings at ~90+ 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 GTA V, Elden Ring, etc.), this build will be able to handle both types of games fairly easily on higher settings.
2. Intel Core i3-12100F or Ryzen 5 4500/Ryzen 5 5500
In my opinion, there are a few processor options that make sense for this build. The AMD Ryzen 5 4500, the Ryzen 5 5500, and the Intel Core i3-12100F. We chose the Intel Core i3-12100F, though, because, when you include the cost of the CPU itself and a compatible motherboard, it is the most affordable option right now.
The i3-12100F also edges out the Ryzen 5 4500 & 5500 in most gaming benchmarks. (Although, the 5500 isn’t too far behind.)
Ultimately, the 12100F’s better performance in games and its lower pricetag (which will allow you to spend more on your GPU) make it a superior option right now.
The Ryzen CPUs can be overclocked to mitigate the performance difference. But, then to achieve high enough OCs for it to matter, you’d have to spend more on cooling.
So, as of right now, we feel the i3-12100F is the better option.
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. If the Ryzen 5 4500 or 5500 were to drop significantly below the i3-12100F, it would definitely be worth considering.
Also Read: When is the Best Time to Buy Computer Parts?
3. RX 6650 XT vs Other Options
As of right now, the RX 6650 XT is currently the best semi-budget-friendly video card available as you can grab one in the low-to-mid ~$200s.
Options like the RX 7600, RTX 4060, RX 6700 XT, and 6750 XT are all a little out of range, but would be worthy upgrades to consider if either, A) you could stretch your budget a bit, or B) you were to find one on sale.
In the end, the RX 6650 XT will provide an excellent in-game experience on a 1080P display. And, while the GPUs listed above would be upgrades, they aren’t going to offer such a significant performance increase to where you’ll be kicking yourself for not opting for one of them instead.
So, if you can spend a little more to get one of the options above, that’s great. If not, no worries. The RX 6650 XT will still deliver a great in-game experience.
It should be noted that the RX 6650 XT (or any of the GPUs listed above) will work best with a higher refresh rate monitor. We recommend these budget-friendly 144Hz monitors.
4. Why Isn’t Windows 11 Included in the Price?
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 ~$125.
However, there are alternatives to paying $125 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 $125 cost of Windows 11:
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 $125.
Second, you could buy a Windows 11 key from a third party marketplace for ~$30. I’ve had good success purchasing Windows keys from Kinguin.net in the past (and G2a.com is another option), but there is definitely some risk involved in purchasing a Windows license from a third party source.
Finally, you could just install Windows 11 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 $125, 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 PC Build
This $600 gaming build is pretty good as-is. Again, it is powerful enough to run pretty much any game at higher settings on a 1080P monitor.
The first upgrade we’d make to this system, though, is to upgrade the Intel Core i3 CPU to an Intel Core i5 processor or—more preferably—an Intel Core i7 processor.
We’d recommend looking for something like the Intel Core i7-12700.
The Intel Core i3 processor is no slouch, but if you’re doing productivity work, or you want to stream games, or you’re playing games that do better with multiple cores and threads, an i7 will give you a big boost in performance.
This system comes with a 1TB NVME SSD, but as games like Starfield, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Baldur’s Gate (to name a few) taking up well over 100GB of storage, 1TB of space will go much quicker than it used to.
So, the second upgrade we’d make is to get another SSD. The motherboard provided in this build can hold two NVME SSDs, so you can definitely go that route. You could also opt for a large SATA SSD for mass storage as well.
Finally, if you’re ready to make the jump in 4K gaming, you’re going to need a graphics card upgrade. In order to upgrade this system to be able to run demanding titles at 4K resolution, you’re going to need to get both an extreme graphics card (right now that would be the RTX 4090 for optimal 4K performance) and a big power supply (at minimum, a quality 850-watt unit) to accommodate it.
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 build 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.
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