If you know how to properly build a balanced computer, you can get an awesome gaming PC for around 600 dollars to play all current games at Ultra settings + 1080p. If you just want to get the most bang for the buck, then you are in the right place.

Here you will find a detailed guide on how to choose the best parts in order to build the best $600 gaming computer. You will get a lot of benefits from building your own custom gaming computer and the best part is that you will discover that’s a lot easier than you may think!

Building your own custom PC can be overwhelming but don’t fear. Here you will find all the resources you will ever need to succeed in your mission.

Best $600 Gaming PC Builds

I put the builds here so you can easily navigate to them in case you already know what you want.

For those whose aren’t 100% sure about what to choose between Intel and AMD, keep reading!

Intel Or AMD? What To Choose?

You can find a detailed comparision of the following two awesome processors here.

Up until recently, choosing between the two giants to get the core parts of a gaming pc (CPU + Motherboard) was a no-brainer: Intel had better prices and better performance.

But then, at the beginning of 2017, AMD released the Ryzen processors family and they changed the game radically.

That’s a really good thing. Intel was getting too comfortable in his dominant position and we know what happens in this kind of situations: Intal has been a little lazy and less aggressive in their technical achievements causing some sort of stagnated growth.

I’ve decided to create two separate builds for each Budget Build, so you have more options to choose from based on your personal preferences

 

Now, the market has revitalized, AMD is pushing hard and Intel is trying to take back his omnipotent position.

So, where are we now? We have plenty to choose from, really good options to build awesome gaming computers with either AMD or Intel CPUs, that’s why I’ve decided to create two separate builds for each Budget Build, one for each CPU brand, so you can compare them and chose the one you feel more in love with.

For the $600 build, we are only concerned about the i3-8100 and the Ryzen 3 2200G. Check the comparison details of these two processors here.

How Is This Different From The $500 Build?

The price difference is invested in an additional 4GB RAM module and a better GPU: the Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB.

Compared to the GTX 1050 Ti used in the $500, the GTX 1060 6GB makes a big difference in the overall gaming performance.

This single upgrade makes possible gaming at 1080p + Ultra settings on almost every game!

 

Techincal Differences

Nvidia Pascal GPU Specs Comparison
GTX 1060 6GBGTX 1060 3GBGTX 1050 TiGTX 1050
ChipsetGP106GP106GP107GP107
Shaders12801152768640
TMUs80724840
ROPs48483232
Base Clock1506 MHz1506 MHz1354 MHz1290 MHz
Turbo Clock1733 MHz1683 MHz1455 MHz1382 MHz
Memory6GB GDDR5X3GB GDDR54 GB GDDR52 GB GDDR5
Bandwidth192 GB/s192 GB/s112 GB/s112 GB/s
TDP120 W120 W75 W75 W
TFLOPs4.442.21.8

From, this table we can extract some critical data. One of the most important being the 2GB RAM difference between the models we are concerned about. That will make a difference in the coming years, as newer games tend to use more RAM.

To deep further into the table details, I’ve put this data together, setting the GTX 1060 6GB as the reference point, so we can easily see the relative values of the other graphics cards.

gpus-relatives-values-gtx-1060-6gb

 

Now, we can see the price/performance ratios of the different models, which can be extracted from the Price and TFLOPs rows.

We can assert that the GTX 1060 6GB:

  • is 10% more powerful and 16% more expensive compared to the GTX 1060 3GB
  • is 57% more powerful and 65% more expensive compared to the GTX 1050 Ti, which is pretty balanced. That means that the price rise of the GTX 1060 6GB is proportional to its performance gain

Gaming Results

The following results have been obtained from a testing machine using an i7-6700K and 16GB DDR4 3000MHz. All games have been tested using Ultra settings at 1080p.

GTX 1060 6GB VS GTX 1050 Ti - Games Benchmark (FPS) - Ultra, 1080p
GTX 1060 6GBGTX 1050 TiGTX 1060 Improvement (%)
Doom1178341
The Witcher 3734465.9
The Division613764.9
Star Wars Battlefront865265.4
Overwatch16610459.6
Battlefield 1925858.6
Gears Of War 4865848.3
gtx1060-gtx1050ti-fps-benchmark

 

There is a curious fact here: if you calculate the average FPS percentage difference from the above table, we obtain 57%. This is the exact same value we obtained from the TFLOPs difference between the two GPUs.

That’s why the TFLOPs value is an accurate indicator of the graphics card performance. But this is only valid when comparing same brand (Nvidia VS Nvidia or Radeon VS Radeon) models.

My Recommendation

After comparing the i3 8100 and the Ryzen 3 2200G, the Intel CPU proved to perform better in almost every situation, but especially on games, where you can see differences of up to 17 FPS.

In this price range, the Ryzen doesn’t stand out in anything (unless you want to overclock it), offering just the same number of cores/threads as its Intel counterpart and less performance per core. So, if you really want to use a ryzen CPU you should take a look at higher end builds, using a Ryzen 3 2400G or any other model above that.

But still, if you have a personal preference for any of the two brands, then it’s completely fine to go that way. Just keep in mind that both Intel and AMD have their own benefits and drawbacks.


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*Amazon Affiliate Disclaimer: Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated in each product and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com or your Amazon's country specific site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of the product.

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Adrian Benavides

I've been always an avid gamer with limited resources. This led me to learn how to build the best gaming computers within tight budgets. Now, I want to share the knowledge I've acquired over the years with the world!

118 thoughts on “Best $600 Gaming PC Build – ULTRA 1080p (June 2018)

  1. I’m reccomending this build to a non-techy friend of mine as it looks pretty solid for the money (I’ll help him build it). I’ve gone for a smaller SSD and a different 1TB HDD but that’s it.

    Thanks a lot! One question – could the mobo take an i5 if he later wants to upgrade?

    1. Hi @rjaallain:disqus!

      I’ve personally used a 128GB SSD on my main computer for about 3-4 years and it’s totally a feasible option.

      If you are going to pair up an SSD with a HDD, try to configure the default Downloads folders (chrome, torrents, etc) so that it points to the HDD. Otherwise, your friend will run out of space in no time.

      Regarding your question, you can upgrade to an i5 at any time. This motherboard supports the 1551 socket used by both Kaby Lake and Skylake Intel’s CPUs. So you can use any iX-6yyy or iX-7yyy processor.

      Hope it helps and thanks for your comment!

  2. The Evga 1060 6gb you have in this list is $8 less then the SC version. Worth noting as you get imo more bang for your buck with the SC edition.

    1. Hey @disqus_6yngUyJ6f1:disqus, as I can see the EVGA 1060 6GB Single Fan (the one is listed in this post) is currently at $211 while the SC version at $240, both prices from amazon.

      Did you find the SC cheaper on another marketplace perhaps?

      Thanks for the heads up anyhow 🙂

      1. Oh im sorry, the yellow button with the link to amazon said $230 and when i bought mine the sc edition was $238. Guess it didnt update its self.

  3. Is there anything else you need for this build in terms of cords, etc or is it simply the items listed above? Basically, if I order all the items and have a mouse/keyboard/display will i be all set to begin?

      1. Another probably obvious question, is it possible with this build to install windows from an external optical drive?

        1. Everything become obvious once you know the answer, so do not hesitate to ask any questions you may have 🙂

          Short answer: you can install windows from an external optical drive, as you said.

          Even so, there is a “cleaner” alternative: installing the OS from a pendrive. Any 16gb pendrive will do, even an 8gb I think.

          In case you are interested in this second option,check this tutorial to learn how to create a bootable USB: https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/2376-create-bootable-usb-flash-drive-install-windows-10-a.html

          Let me know if I can help you with anything else

          1. Well I actually ordered all the parts (I hope this is a great as I think it will) and I did pre-purchase a cd copy of windows. I have an external CD/DVD drive, so is that my only option or can I go a different route given that I bought a windows disc? PS, thanks for all the answers and promptness! 🙂

          2. You are welcome!

            If you have a windows key (which comes with the copy you bought), you can then install it either via USB or optical drive. You will be needed to enter the key in one of the first steps of the system installation.

          3. Sorry for all the questions, and I may have more once the build starts. I am currently waiting on a couple parts yet but i wanted to know if the following HDD would be compatible. I took it out of a Dell XPS 400, and thought it would work alongside the SDD from the build. Any opinions or thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks again!

            HDD Specs:
            Western Digital
            WD2500JS
            WD Cariar SE
            Interface SATS
            Capacity 250GB
            RPM 7200
            Firmware B3
            Model WD2500JS-75NCB3
            Date 22 Dec 2006

          4. Maybe a little short in capacity, but it will work!

            What I recommend you is to install the OS in the SSD and use the HDD as storage for all the media, browser downloads, music, etc

            An easy trick I personally use is to set the default download folders of browsers and torrent clients pointing to the HDD, so I don’t have to be manually moving around files between disks all the time.

            Organization and simplicity… it will save you tons of hours!

          5. Hi, I just wanted to stop in and thank you so much for your help and for designing this build. I finally have everything together and running smoothly and it seems to be working perfectly. I am so happy to have been able to finally build my own PC and wanted to show my appreciation for such a great design it is. I love it! Thanks!

    1. oh crap… prices went crazy man! I’m going to update the components right now to fit the budget again. I didn’t noticed it, I0m really sorry.

      Thanks for the heads up!!

        1. I’ve done some tweaks: changed to another GPU brand (same GTX 1060 6GB, but MSI instead of Zotac), and changed the PSU.

          The current total price AS OF TODAY with the PNY CS1311 SSD (check the Alternatives section) is $645… still a great piece of gaming computer for the price, but a little above the budget, I know.

          RAM and GPUs prices keep rising, and are expected to rise even more during the current year.

          I try to do my best choosing the best components possible, both in price and quality and still the build’s price has been ranging like crazy.

          The only thing you can do about it is try finding the components in different stores. Hopefully you can find some deals.

          1. First thing thx for the support I am getting from you and really like how you actually do respond and help. Second of all rn I am not as interested in buying new monitor and keyboard which means with that money saved I might be able to upgrade to 16 GB of RAM. Also finally one last question would you recommend buying the ram and gpu first because of the prices going up periodically ?

          2. You are welcome 🙂

            It’s really hard to say when is a good moment to buy a GPU or RAM.

            I would go for the RAM as soon as I could, as the price difference is not that big and we can’t know how the prices will fluctuate during the course of the year.

            The GPU is another story… Being honest, I wouldn’t buy the GPU right now unless I didn’t mind paying the over cost (between 20 and 80 dollars)

            The question is: when will the GPU prices back to normal? As soon as the current cryptocurrencies craziness bubble comes to an end… This is actually the side effects of the WannaCry attack.

            So, I’m afraid we will have to wait a month or two before seeing the prices stabilized again. That being said, is up to you whether to wait or not.

          3. Ok I can live without the GPU for some time no hard core gaming but I guess Minecraft will do.Also how much will it affect the gameplay if I get a 4 GB gpu instead of a 6gb GPU with all the stuff you recommended to get. Another question is will we need CPU fans for the CPU and other fans for the cooling off PC or do they come with some of the parts

          4. You can’t just judge a GPU by how much RAM it has. There are other more critical characteristics like the cores, the frequency, the shaders, the TFLOPs…

            If you have any model in mind just tell me and I’ll help you. You can also do a quick google search like “model A vs model B FPS” and you will probably find some youtube videos with in-game comparisions, which is the definitive performance test (and less bored than checking the shaders)

            As for the cooling question: this build won’t have any heat problem with the stock fans (both case and cpu fans). You can optionally buy a CPU fan if that will make you feel safer. You will surely note the heat difference, but it’s not that critical in this case.

            The CPU cooler I generally recommend for mid-level builds is the CoolerMaster Hyper T4 ($25), which can be found here: http://amzn.to/2rIZHw1

          5. ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Mini, 4GB GDDR5 DisplayPort 128-bit , EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GAMING, 4GB GDDR5, DX12 OSD Support , Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1050 G1Gaming 4GB Graphic Card Black, Boost Clock 1455 MHz , GV-N105TOC-4GD. So here are three that have 4gb’s of vram I wanted to know which one would be best for playing games from ESports to triple a titles. Also if you have any other recommendations that might be for 4 GB or if you think that I should actually spend more to get more out of my money because I want to be able to use most of my parts without replacing within a 3 year period.

          6. Any GTX 1050 Ti will do de job. Note that the third model you mentioned is a plain GTX 1050.

            If you really want to play triple AAA games for the next 3 years, I’d recommend you to get a GTX 1060 6GB, like the one used in this build.

          7. As of today, this build supports any processor using the LGA 1151 socket (Intel Kaby Lake and Skylake)

          8. Would u recommend buying the GPU and ram first due to the prices ever so slightly going up

  4. It’d be great if you could start doing some builds in different budgets around the ryzen series cpu’s, Mostly because I want to do my first build this year based around the ryzen 5 1600x thinking budget would be right around $600-$800 and all of this is still pretty confusing to me. I’m most interested in playing overwatch @ 1080p/60fps or more and lots and lots of league ( but that’s not intensive at all)

    1. Also wanting to make sure it’ll run future titles without having to upgrade or change parts at least for a year or so

      1. Hey @dillonbates:disqus, did you check this post: https://pcmasterracebuilds.com/the-best-ryzen-gaming-pc-builds-1080p/ ?

        Nowadays, I don’t see a clear advantage of using Ryzen over Intel for gaming builds. In fact, Ryzen are mostly recommended for multi-core applications such as video editing, design software, hard-core programming like deep learning or machine learning, and stuff like that.

        I will think about it though and I’ll see how can I expand the Ryzen builds familiy.

        As for the question of the second comment, almost all the builds from this site can keep untouched for at least 2 or 3 years. The more cheap, the most susceptible to quickly become outdated. But as I said, 2 years is the minimum.

    1. 1. The i3-7100 stock CPU cooler is enough, although you can replace it with the Cooler Master Hyper T4 for example, which is pretty cheap
      2. The case (Thermaltake Versa N21) already includes one 120mm fan

  5. also, do i need to buy any more cables? and if i’m going to get the recommended monitor, do i need any extra cables for it?

  6. Can I upgrade the intel processor to something like the i7 or cheaper? and how much usb ports does the build have, and what other ports? and will the power supply be power full enough to power a lighted keyboard? Also, which component does the cpu cooler come with? And what are my options for installing windows 10? and do i need to install and drivers for the recommended monitor? Sorry, this is alot to ask. (;

    1. 1. Upgrading single components can unbalance the computer performance, causing bottlenecks. For an upgraded version of this build, check the $800: https://pcmasterracebuilds.com/the-best-800-dollar-budget-gaming-pc-build/

      2. (specified in the Build Details section) Case ports: 1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0; Motherboard ports: 4x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0

      3. You can connect a lighted keyboard, no power problems

      4. The CPU comes with a basic CPU cooler with pre-applied thermal paste ready to install

      5. You can install windows via an original win10 dvd copy or by creating a booteable USB. You can download a digital copy from here https://www.microsoft.com/software-download/windows10

      6. When installing windows, all the needed drivers are installed automagically.

      Don’t worry and ask any question you have. I’m here to help after all 🙂

        1. The BIOS is the motherboard’s firmware where you can edit some of its settings. Here you can tweak the CPU/RAM overclocking features or the booting options. This last option (booting preferences) is used to install an operating system from a bootable USB stick.

      1. And if the computer gets slow, could I upgrade or replace the ram without unbalancing the computer?

        1. The RAM won’t unbalance the computer as long as you have at least 8GB.

          The balance can be thought of as the relationship between the CPU and GPU. For a gaming rig, it doesn’t make sense having an i7 CPU paired with a Radeon RX 550 because you are not using the CPU at its full capacity and hence, your computer performance would be limited by the GPU.

          Similarly, a super powerful GPU paired with a poor CPU would be a waste of money. That’s why so important to build balances computers: both for saving money and maximizing the computer performance.

  7. Also, does it connect to the internet wirelessly? If not, what could I do to connect to wifi? (besides ethernet)

        1. Well, it does depends on the dongle specifications. What internet connection do you have? You will be interested in a dongle that could handle your internet connection bandwidth or otherwise, you would be losing part of the signal experiencing slower speeds.

          1. With the internet range extender, this is the speed I get. upload: 6 mbps. Download: 26 mbps. Is that good? And do internet dongles say how much mbps they can handle?

  8. And, what are some websites that will help me if I have trouble assembling the computer? And how much storage would I have to use. (after installing windows)

    1. You can follow the videos series at the end of this post. After installing windows you will have around 90 gb available. I would recommend you to use an external HDD to store the media/download files

          1. So, does an ssd make the whole computer faster? and how to I connect a ssd to the computer?

      1. What do you mean by EXTERNAL hdd? and will the ssd in this build also work with a hhd? will I have to configure what files by default go where?

  9. So, if I were to upgrade to the 17 processor, would I have to upgrade the motherboard and the cpu cooler only? or would I have to get a more powerful power supply?

    1. You would need to upgrade the motherboard only if you upgrade to an overclockable i7 (i7-7700K instead of i7-7700).

      And as you correctly said, a good CPU cooler would be needed. If you only upgrade the CPU, you don’t need to upgrade the PSU as there is only a difference of 15 watts between an i3 and an i7

      1. Ok. whats a better intel processor that I could upgrade to, with minimal upgrade to the other parts? Also, If I added more ram, would it make a noticeable difference? Or would it bottleneck?

  10. I think i’ll get a ssd. Do I have to install windows on the ssd? and how do I install it? Also, in the peripherals, there is a 1 tb hard drive. What is that? and do i need it?

  11. So, I could upgrade to a non-overclockable intel i7 without upgrading anything else and there would be little to no bottelnecking? Is it the same for the i5?

  12. I think I will get an external hdd like you recommended. what one should i get? and is a external hdd easy to install?

    1. Actually, what I recommend is using the SSD as main drive, where you have the operating system installed. And then, an internal HDD as secondary storage drive, just for data.

      Internal hdds are stored inside the case, while external hdds are connected to the pc via a USB cable.

      I prefer internal hdds basically for simplicity. They are also faster. But as always, this is just my recommendation. It is up to you to consider what fits your needs best.

      Internal HDDs 7200rpm: http://amzn.to/2vnGpyG
      External HDDs with USB 3.0: http://amzn.to/2tu5LO4

  13. And all external HDD will fit in the case? Also, does it matter which brand of ram I use? or just use ram that has the same specs as the one on this list?

  14. So would I have just the operating system on the ssd? and how do I select what files go where? and what data would go on the hdd?

    1. OEM is supposed to be tied to the motherboard its originally installed on, but that’s not really true on the practice.

      So, as long as the OEM version is cheaper, I will get it over the Retail/Full version.

  15. How much difference is there between the 1060 3gb and 6gb? Right now there is close to 100$ between them is the 6 worth that much more?

  16. Will I have any problems with cooling, because of the stock coolers? Also, What drivers will i need for each component?

    1. To the graphics card. Otherwise, you will be using the CPU integrated GPU (Intel HD Graphics)

      The EVGA GTX 1060 3GB has multiple DisplayPort, HDMI and DVI ports.

  17. I could really use some help please. I bought all the parts and am in the process of assembly. I’ve got the motherboard in the case with ram installed. I’m trying to put the graphics card in but it doesn’t fit in the case. There’s like this panel in the back and it looks like the graphics car requires two openings but there’s only one. How did you get the graphics card installed in the case? Please help thank you

    1. Don’t worry, you must be doing something wrong here. The case has enough space to install any GPU.

      Take a look at this video (paused at 6:20) to see how the GPU must be installed in the Thermaltake Versa H15.

      Let me know if you face any other problems 🙂

      1. Thank you for the speedy reply! In the video you linked on the left of the case where the GPU is slid in they have 4 empty slots. I’m using the case you suggested the versa n21. Mine only has one empty slot and where there would be empty spaces has metal blocking it. Do I just punch out the metal it looks like they’re only held in by a little tab connecting to the rest of the case. I’m not sure if that’s intended or if I would be breaking my case. I found a photo of what I’m trying to describe http://www.thermaltake.com/db/imgs/pdt/gallery/CA-1D9-00M1WN-00%20_8d8341039a06402a9b821340a6692603_thum.jpg
        Sorry if it’s a dumb question this is my first build.

        1. There are no dumb questions, just dumb answers 🙂

          Ups, my mistake, I thought that the video was about the N21.

          And you are completely right: you must punch out the slots you need to use. Just make sure that you remove just those what you need.

          To install the GPU, I think you need to remove the second and the third slot from the top down.

          Take a look at the images from this blog to get an idea: https://www.thinkcomputers.org/thermaltake-versa-n21-case-review/5/

    1. Prebuilts are always more expensive. The build you can find in this post costs between 600 and 700 dollars. A similar prebuilt can cost 800-900 dollars.

      As far as I’ve seen, prebuilts are 50% – 75% more expensive than if you buy the exact same components and build it yourself.

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