If you want to build a desktop that can play games at 1080p resolution, you can spend less than $500 (as we show on our best PC builds page), although you’ll want to spend a little more to get a consistent 50 to 60 fps at high settings. But to get smooth gaming at 1440p resolution (2560 x 1440, also known as 2K), you’ll typically need to spend close to $1,000 on parts. Not today: with all the Black Friday deals on components like graphics cards, CPUs and SSDs, you can build a gaming PC that achieves 60 fps at 1440p resolution and ultra settings.
Below, we’ve put together a parts list for a sub-$700, 1440p gaming PC build. These prices are based on sales current at the time of publication, so your mileage may vary slightly depending on when you read this. Also note that we don’t include the price of the operating system (you can get Windows for free or cheap) nor any accessories. As is often the case, there is money in building your own PC. We checked various retailers and a pre-built desktop with similar (but not quite the same) specs costs at least $999.
|Component||Model||Sale price||Old price||Notes|
|processor||Ryzen 5 5600||$118||$135||Row 0 – Cell 4|
|GPU||Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 6700||$299||$349||use promo code VGAEXCAA338|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte B550M DS3H AC AM4||$99||$129||Row 2 – Cell 4|
|RAM||Team T-Force Vulcan Z 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200||$42||$47||Row 3 – Cell 4|
|SSD||Decisive P3 1TB||$62||$73||Row 4 – Cell 4|
|Case||Gamdia’s Argus M1||$39||$48||Row 5 – Cell 4|
|PSU||Thermaltake Smart BM2 650W 80+ Bronze||$39||$64||use promo code BFDBY2A335|
|Total||Row 7 – Cell 1||$698||Row 7 – Cell 3||Row 7 – Cell 4|
So let’s talk about why we chose the parts we did and how you can vary your choices to save more money or improve performance.
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600 ($118 at Amazon (opens in a new tab)normally around $135) – As we have said elsewhere (opens in a new tab), the price of AMD Ryzen 5000 series chips is incredibly low right now because the new 7000 series, which is way too expensive, just came out. The Ryzen 5 5600 has 6 cores, 12 threads and a maximum boost clock of 4.4GHz, which is more than adequate for gaming at 2K, especially when you have a strong graphics card to pair it with. It comes with a cooler in the box, so there is no need to buy one.
When we reviewed the Ryzen 5 5600, it averaged 156 fps on our series of 1440p games, and that number jumped to 159 fps when we enabled Precision Boost overdrive (which is like overclocking). To see what the CPU is capable of, we tested with a high-end GPU in the form of an RTX 3090, so you won’t get these frame rates with our suggested graphics card for this build, but you can rest assured that the Ryzen 5 5600 will don’t be the bottleneck holding you back.
- GPU: Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 6700 ($299 at Newegg (opens in a new tab), was $349) – In this price range, AMD’s Radeon RX 6700 offers more performance for the money than Nvidia’s RTX 3060 which costs more than $350 and is usually closer to $400.
In our GPU benchmark hierarchy, the RX 6700 is actually 8 places ahead of the RTX 3060, delivering an average frame rate of 87.7 fps on our 1080p Ultra settings test suite compared to 70.2 fps for Nvidia’s card. At 1440p Ultra settings, the RX 6700 averages 63.5fps, which is very smooth, and compares favorably to the 3060’s 52.6fps.
If you want to cut the price of this build down to less than $600, replace the graphics card with an MSI Mech Radeon RX 6600, which is now only $189 (opens in a new tab) at Newegg, reduced from $279. However, we wouldn’t recommend playing 1440p games with the RX 6600, as it averages 46.1 fps at 1440p Ultra. However, gaming at 1080p Ultra was fine, averaging 66.7fps.
You can see in the chart below how these two cards fared when playing Flight Simulator at 1080p.
- Motherboard: Gigabyte B550M DS3H AC AM4 ($99 at Newegg (opens in a new tab), was $129) – In theory, any motherboard with a B550 chipset or even an X570 chipset would be fine. However, many AMD boards require a BIOS update (see How to enter the BIOS) before they will recognize a Ryzen 5000 chip, and you can’t tell which BIOS version your motherboard will ship with.
If you have an old BIOS that won’t recognize your new CPU, you’ll need to upgrade the firmware before booting with the new CPU, but what if you don’t have an older CPU to use for the update? The Gigabyte B550M DS3H AC AM4 has a feature called Q Flash Plus (on other cards known as BIOS Flashback) that allows you to update the firmware without a CPU that you simply plug into a USB Flash drive with the update and hold down a button on the motherboard.
After you update to the latest BIOS, you’ll enjoy some of the motherboard’s other features, including built-in Wi-Fi 5, four DIMM slots, and two M.2 sockets.
- RAM: Team T-Force Vulcan Z 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 ($42 at Newegg (opens in a new tab), was $47). You need no less than 16 GB of RAM and you want a dual-channel set with two 8 GB sticks of DDR4 running at up to 3200 Mhz. This is the cheapest kit we could find and comes from a reputable brand.
- SSD: Crucial P3 1TB NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD ($62 at Amazon (opens in a new tab), was $73) – We reviewed the Crucial P3 back in September and praised its solid performance for the money. It’s not the fastest drive on the market, but it’s more than adequate when you’re trying to save money. The 1TB model promises sequential read and write speeds of 3500 and 3000 MBps respectively. We tested the 2TB capacity of the drive, which wouldn’t have the same exact performance as the 1TB model, but it was only slightly behind more expensive drives like the SK hynix Gold P31.
If you can stretch your budget a little higher, we recommend going with the SK hynix Gold P31 (now $83 at Amazon (opens in a new tab)was around $130), as it is noticeably faster.
- Case: Gamdias Argus M1 ($39 at Newegg (opens in a new tab)was $48): This case has a lot going for it for less than $40. It’s very attractive considering its budget status, with a tempered glass side panel, a front RGB light strip, and three illuminated front panel USB ports. There is an RGB rear fan included and room for a radiator up to 280mm (two 140mm fans or two 120mm fans) on top or in front.
- PSU: Thermaltake Smart BM2 650W 80+ Bronze ($39 at Newegg (opens in a new tab), was $64) – A name-brand, 650-watt power supply for under $40? What’s not to love? Thermaltake’s PSU is semi-modular, has a 140mm silent fan and has 80+ bronze efficiency.
As you can see, we’ve only made a few compromises to get a 1440p gaming rig for less than $700. If you want to step things up and spend more, you can go for a more expensive CPU, GPU and SSD, but hopefully this parts list gives you some ideas. We have a more complete set of parts lists on our Best PC Builds page.,