Best Gaming PC Builds 2022

With crypto mining profitability at an all-time low, we’re finally seeing some GPUs available at MSRP again. Ethereum’s recent move to Proof-of-Stake 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 has just expedited the process–gamers are smiling all the way. So now that GPUs are accessible again, is it a good time to build a gaming PC? The answer is mostly yes.

Late 2022 has been an eventful time, with the release of Ryzen 7000, Raptor Lake, the RTX 40 Series, and RDNA 3. The pricing on Ryzen 7000 is hardly 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. DDR5 is still fairly expensive, especially the lower latency kits, and it’ll take time for pricing to normalise. On the bright side, Raptor Lake has some excellent offerings with the 13600K leading the charge at $319. AMD’s RX 7900 XTX also looks promising at $999.

You don’t necessarily have to embrace the new tech just yet. AM4 will remain relevant for many years to come, and the same goes for Alder Lake. Now that Ryzen 7000 and Raptor Lake have been released, AMD and Intel are scrambling to clear previous-gen inventory, which means juicy pricing on Ryzen 5000 and Alder Lake. Some of the Ryzen 5000 chips are selling at almost half MSRP; the 5800X is going for $239 (MSRP $449) and the 5600X for $158 (MSRP $299). The 5800X3D is also very hard to turn down at $329–if you can find a retailer selling at that price.

All things considered, it’s a good time to build a gaming PC, and it’ll even look better in 2023.

*Prices valid on 2022/11/17

Super-Budget PC: $540

CPU: Intel Core i3 12100F$106Amazon
Motherboard: Gigabyte H610M S2H DDR4 Micro-ATX$80Amazon
GPU: ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 OC$160Amazon
RAM: Silicon Power Value Gaming DDR4 RAM 16GB 3200MHz CL16$41Amazon
Storage: Western Digital 500GB WD Blue SA510 SATA III$43Amazon
Chassis: Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L Micro-ATX Tower$70Amazon
PSU: Thermaltake Smart 500W 80+ White Certified$40Amazon

The 12100F is one of the best value options in the Alder Lake lineup and at $106 it’s an absolute steal. We chose the GTX 1650 as it offers 1080p gaming at an affordable price, although we may have to dial the settings down to medium or low in some titles. We should also be able to push over 200FPS in some of the less GPU-intensive eSports titles like CSGO and Valorant. While our 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: $984

CPU: Intel Core i5 12400$183Amazon
Motherboard: Gigabyte B660M DS3H DDR4 Micro-ATX$110Amazon
GPU: ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Twin Edge OC LHR$400Amazon
RAM: TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan Z DDR4 32GB 3200MHz CL16$71Amazon
Storage: Crucial P3 Plus 1TB PCIe 4.0$80Amazon
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. If you cannot find the RTX 3060 Ti at MSRP, the RTX 3060 or RX 6600 XT are good alternatives. This machine is going to breeze through 1080p and will also hit decent frame rates in 1440p. Ray Tracing is a possibility with this build, and we should be getting 60FPS in most titles with DLSS enabled. As the 3060 Ti uses the NVENC encoding engine, we can comfortably stream at 1080p 60FPS. We’ve upgraded to 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and we don’t really need DDR5 for this build, as the increase in price 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.

Mid-Range PC: $1739

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$600Amazon
RAM: G.SKILL RipJaws S5 Series 32GB DDR5 6000MHz C30$190Amazon
Storage: Samsung 980 Pro SSD 1TB PCIe 4.0$110Amazon
Chassis: Corsair 4000D Airflow$105Amazon
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 5600MHz. 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: $2583

CPU: Ryzen 9 7950X$550Amazon
Cooler: Arctic Liquid Freezer II 420 A-RGB$154Amazon
Motherboard: ASRock X670E PG Lightning$292Amazon
GPU: MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3080 LHR$817Amazon
RAM: G.SKILL Trident Z5 Neo RGB Series 32GB DDR5 6000MHz C30$230Amazon
Storage: WD_BLACK 2TB SN850X NVMe PCIe 4.0$230Amazon
Chassis: Lian Li Lancool III RGB$160Newegg
PSU: Corsair RM850x 850W Modular PSU$150Amazon

Without budget constraints we can really go to town here. For the high-end rig I’m liking the 7950X, reason being I’m building on the AM5 platform which is supported until 2025. This machine will have great longevity and there is potential for drop-in upgrades. Even though the next-gen SSDs aren’t available yet, it’s nice to have a PCIe Gen5x4 M2 slot at our disposal for future upgrades, but the Gen4 SN850X is crazy fast at up to 7300 MB/s read speed. The RTX 3080 is more than good enough for our 4K gaming needs, and the only reason to go for the RTX 4090 or 4080 is if you want higher FPS at 4K. 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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