Best Gaming PC Builds 2023

With crypto mining profitability at an all-time low, we’re finally seeing some GPUs available at MSRP again. Ethereum’s move to Proof-of-Stake in 2022 caused hordes of miners to jump ship and dump their secondhand GPUs on eBay. But even before that GPU prices were dropping, and the Ethereum merge was the final straw–gamers are smiling all the way. Now that GPUs are accessible again, it’s not a half-bad time to build a gaming PC.

We saw some big releases towards the end of 2022, namely Ryzen 7000, Raptor Lake, the RTX 40 Series, and RDNA 3. The pricing on Ryzen 7000 isn’t particularly appealing, exacerbated by the early adopter-tax of AM5. Likewise the RTX 4090 is wildly expensive at $1599, with scalper prices on eBay well above the $2000 mark. On the bright side, DDR5 prices are coming down nicely and even the low latency kits are dropping below $200. Raptor Lake has some excellent value offerings with the 13600K and 13400 leading the charge. AMD’s non-X Ryzen 7000 chips also makes AM5 more accessible to the masses, and the upcoming 7000X3D lineup could cause some serious problems for Intel.

*Prices valid on 2023/01/20

Super-Budget PC: $556

CPU: Intel Core i3 12100F$111Amazon
Motherboard: ASRock H610M-HVS DDR4 Micro ATX$80Newegg
GPU: ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 OC$170Amazon
RAM: Silicon Power Value Gaming DDR4 RAM 16GB 3200MHz CL16$50Amazon
Storage: Western Digital 500GB WD Blue SA510 SATA III$40Amazon
Chassis: Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L Micro-ATX Tower$70Amazon
PSU: Thermaltake Smart 500W 80+ White Certified$35Amazon

The 12100F is one of the best value options in the Alder Lake lineup and at $111 it’s an absolute steal. Month after month the GTX 1650 is the most used GPU on Steam–and for good reason. It offers medium to high 1080p gaming at an affordable price, and can push over 200FPS in some of the less GPU-intensive eSports titles like CSGO and Valorant. While the H610M does have an M2 slot with four PCIe 3.0 lanes, we keep the price down by going for a good old fashioned 2.5″ SATA III SSD. Apart from gaming, our machine is capable of basic creator workloads and should be able to cope with 1080p 30FPS streaming. It’s not going to win any benchmark awards, but it’ll definitely keep the casual gamer appeased.

Budget PC: $936

CPU: Intel Core i5 12400$183Amazon
Motherboard: Gigabyte B660M DS3H DDR4 Micro-ATX$110Amazon
GPU: ZOTAC GeForce RTX 3060 Twin Edge OC 12GB$360Amazon
RAM: TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan Z DDR4 32GB 3200MHz CL16$73Amazon
Storage: Crucial P3 Plus 1TB PCIe 4.0$70Amazon
Chassis: Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L Micro-ATX Tower$70Amazon
PSU: Cooler Masterwatt 650 Semi-fanless Modular PSU, 80+ Bronze$70Amazon

Like the 12100F, the 12400 is another standout value offering in Alder Lake. We’re upping the core count from 4 to 6, giving us a good balance between gaming and productivity. There are quite a few viable GPUs for this build, and the RTX 3060 Ti or RX 6600 XT would be good alternatives. This machine is going to breeze through 1080p and will also hit decent frame rates in 1440p. Although it’s not really tailored for ray tracing, 60FPS will be attainable in some titles with ray tracing and DLSS enabled. The 3060 uses the NVENC encoding engine so we can comfortably stream at 1080p 60FPS. We’ve upgraded to 32GB of RAM, and we’re sticking with DDR4 as the increase in price for DDR5 doesn’t justify the minor performance boost. The Crucial P3 Plus gives us blazingly fast PCIe 4.0 storage with up to 5000MB/s sequential reads. This build just screams value!

Mid-Range PC: $1644

CPU: Intel i5 13600K$320Amazon
Cooler: DeepCool AK620 High-Performance CPU Cooler$55Newegg
Motherboard: ASRock Z790 PG Sonic$250Newegg
GPU: ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Trinity OC$520Amazon
RAM: G.SKILL RipJaws S5 Series 32GB DDR5 6000MHz C30$175Amazon
Storage: Samsung 980 Pro SSD 1TB PCIe 4.0$120Amazon
Chassis: Corsair 4000D Airflow$95Amazon
PSU: Corsair RM750x 750W Modular PSU$109Amazon

With an increased budget, we’re embracing the new tech in the form of Raptor Lake and DDR5. This build is going to be an absolute powerhouse when it comes to gaming and productivity workloads. The 3070 Ti will give us a high refresh rate 1440p experience and we should be hitting over 60FPS in 4K. The 14-core 13600K is going to crush any productivity task we throw at it. Unless you’re going to run Cinebench all day, a dual tower air cooler should keep our 13600K in check. The AK620 is the obvious choice as it offers excellent performance and quality. The rest of the build is fairly standard stuff, with 32GB of DDR5 running at 6000MHz. We have high-speed storage in the Samsung 980 Pro, one of the best PCIe 4.0 hard drives you’ll find.

High-End PC: $2900

CPU: Ryzen 9 7950X$590Amazon
Cooler: Arctic Liquid Freezer II 420 A-RGB$154Amazon
Motherboard: ASRock X670E PG Lightning$292Amazon
GPU: ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Trinity OC 12GB$1128Amazon
RAM: G.SKILL Trident Z5 Neo RGB Series 32GB DDR5 6000MHz C30$196Amazon
Storage: WD_BLACK 2TB SN850X NVMe PCIe 4.0$230Amazon
Chassis: Lian Li Lancool III RGB$160Newegg
PSU: Corsair RM850x 850W Modular PSU$150Amazon

It’s no holds barred on the high-end build. I’m really liking the 7950X here, reason being the AM5 platform will be supported until 2025. This machine is future proof and there is potential for drop-in upgrades like 7000X3D. Even though next-gen SSDs aren’t widely available yet, it’s nice to have a PCIe Gen5x4 M2 slot at our disposal for future upgrades. With that said, the Gen4 SN850X is already crazy fast at 7300 MB/s read speed. The RTX 3080 Ti will give us an average of 100FPS at 4K, and the only reason to go for the RTX 4090 or 4080 is if you want even higher frames. We’ve also gone for a lower latency C30 DDR5 kit, and the sweet spot for Ryzen 7000 is 6000MHz. While the Zen 4 chips are designed to run at the thermal limit of 95 degrees, we’re not taking any half measures on cooling. The Arctic 420 is an absolute beast and the Lian Li Lancool III case allows us to do a top mount.


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