A $1,000 budget for building a gaming PC is a sweet spot that doesn’t have to include any cut corners. You can get a decent CPU and quality motherboard. A graphics card capable of running games at 1440p resolution. Lots of fast memory, plenty of SSD storage, and a decent case.
We did just that. Our $1,000 gaming rig revolves around the Ryzen 5 3600 CPU and RTX 2060 or RX 5700. It has 16GB of DDR4 3200 memory for stutter-free gaming and 1TB SSD. The case used features great airflow and support for AIO liquid cooling systems. Let’s start with the CPU.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600
The current mid-range champion, the Ryzen 5 3600 is all you need for worry-free gaming. This 6-core/12-threads CPU sells for a highly attractive price and offers plenty of power for every single game out there.
Excellent gaming performance is backed up with amazing productivity results. This CPU easily surpasses much more expensive processors from Intel. If you want to game at 1440p this CPU is more than enough, even for 1440p high-refresh gaming.
Thanks to the excellent price the Ryzen 5 3600 sells for, we were able to pick a beefy GPU capable of running all current games at max settings.
Graphics Card: EVGA RTX 2060 KO or XFX RX 5700 Triple Dissipation
The choice of the graphics card comes down to personal preference. The RTX 2060 supports eye candy in the form of real-time ray tracing effects. Also, its DLSS support (which has gotten much better with recent updates) means better performance without noticeable loss of image quality. An RTX card is also better for those who are into amateur game streaming.
On the other hand, we have the RX 5700 from AMD. This card offers better performance for the same price but here you don’t have ray tracing and DLSS support. It’s up to you whether you want more frames or prettier graphics.
We’ve picked the EVGA RTX 2060 KO because this is by far the cheapest RTX model that performs as any other RTX 2060 out there. But, if you don’t find it at its regular price (or you don’t find it at all, which is highly likely thanks to the massive popularity of the RTX 2060 KO) you can get any RTX 2060 with decent cooling.
Both of these cards are perfect for high refresh rate 1080p or regular 1440p gaming. They can offer a solid high refresh rate 1440p performance if you’re playing esports titles or if you’re ready for some serious visual downgrades in AAA titles.
Motherboard: MSI B450 Tomahawk Max
|Memory||4 × DDR4 DIMM, max. 128 GB|
|Storage||1 × M.2, 6 × SATAIII|
|Multi GPU Support||AMD Crossfire|
|Expansion Slots||2 × PCIe x16, 3 × PCIe x1|
|Back Panel Ports||1 × PS/2 Combo
1 × DVI-D, 1× HDMI
1 × USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A
1 × USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C
2 × USB 3.2 Gen1
2 × USB 2.0
1 × LAN
HD Audio Connectors
Flash BIOS Button
The best B450 board on the market, the MSI B450 Tomahawk Max is the perfect companion for the Ryzen 5 3600. And once your Ryzen 5 3600 becomes outdated for high-end gaming you can upgrade to an 8 or 12-core Ryzen CPU. You can even run the 16-core Ryzen 3950 on this board at stock clocks without issues.
Aside from its superb VRM, the B450 Tomahawk Max has other qualities that make it a great buy. First of all, it looks rather nice, with minimalistic black and grey design. Next, it comes with one M.2 slot, six SATA III connectors, and support for up to 128GB of 4133MHz DDR4 memory. It also features 2 PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, out of which one works at full x16 speed while the other runs at x4. The board also features 3 PCIe x1 slots. Finally, you have Gigabit LAN and a solid audio section powered by the Realtek ALC892 codec.
Now, in our previous gaming build pieces we’ve talked about how the AM4-based boards are a perfect buy right now. The reason was because they would most likely offer support for 4th gen Ryzen CPUs. While AMD issued a statement some time ago, informing users the current 400 and 300 series motherboards won’t support upcoming Zen 3 (4th gen Ryzen) CPUs the company changed its decision. Now, it’s official – both B450 and X470 boards will support Ryzen 4000 CPUs once they arrive.
This puts Tomahawk Max in a great place. The board’s marvelous VRM section is its greatest advantage. It’s good enough for the 3900X, even 3950X, meaning this board will probably be able to run every Ryzen 4000 CPU. This is a superb upgrade path that allows you to replace the 3600 with a much more powerful CPU down the line and have a comfy gaming experience during the whole Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 era.
Memory: Patriot Viper Blackout DDR4 16GB (2x8GB) 3200MHz
Dual-channel DDR4 3200MHz memory is the sweet spot for Ryzen CPUs. It allows the CPU to fulfill its potential without being expensive. You can get 3600MHz DDR4 memory if you want but the difference in games and productivity apps will be negligible.
This is why this 16GB memory kit is perfect for this build. It’s affordable but high-quality. It’s a 2x8GB kit allowing for dual-channel memory setup. And it offers 3200MHz frequency coupled with relatively low CL16 latency, just right for excellent gaming performance. And if next-gen titles start asking for more memory you can add another 16GB, or even larger, kit and be comfy until next-gen consoles become last-gen.
Storage: 1TB WD Blue SSD
We could’ve listed a 500GB SSD along with a 1TB hard drive but we picked a 1TB SSD instead. We did this because in this day and age of streaming services and cloud everything the only large files most of us keep on our local storage devices are video games. And this 1TB SSD has enough space for the OS and about a dozen games, which is more than enough for most users.
Now, if you managed to snag the RTX 2060 KO at its regular price you can buy a 1TB hard drive and couple it with the SSD. If not, you can always buy a hard drive (or better yet, another SSD) later if and when this one gets full.
PSU: Corsair CX Series 650 Watt 80 Plus Bronze
This Corsair CX Series 650 Watt PSU is overkill for this rig but, again, PSU prices on Amazon are changing on a daily basis and this power supply is at the moment cheaper than many 500 and 600W models. Still, this is an excellent power supply with its only major downside being that it’s “only” semi-modular. Getting a PSU this powerful will allow you to upgrade to any CPU and GPU combo in the future.
Now, if you don’t find this power supply at this price (or you don’t find it at all) you’ll have to get another one. If you managed to buy the RTX 2060 KO at its regular price you can get an expensive and quality PSU with 80Plus Gold certification that has the same wattage and you’ll be fine. If you don’t have the money for a high-end PSU, just follow the guidelines we shared in our $500 and $750 gaming PC articles:
Don’t cheap out on the PSU. Getting a cheap power supply can fry your system or damage your components. It’s better to save more money and get a decent PSU than to get a no-name brand or a PSU without the 80Plus certification.
80Plus Bronze is the minimum you should go for. 80Plus Gold and Silver PSUs are a bit better but 80Plus Bronze is just fine for virtually any gaming rig. Also, don’t go with suspicious brands you’ve never heard about, especially if they have low user rating.
Finally, 550W should be a minimum for a gaming rig like this one. That way you won’t have to get a new PSU in case you upgrade to a new CPU and/or graphics card.
Case: NZXT H510
|Motherboard Form Factor||ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX|
|Dimensions||210 × 435 × 428 mm|
|Drive Bays||2 × 3.5”
2 × 2.5”
1 × 3.5”/2.5”
|GPU Clearance||381 mm (325mm with front AIO radiator)|
|Max number of Fans and Radiators||2 × 120/140mm front or 2 × 120/140mm radiator or 1 × 280mm radiator;
1 × 120mm rear or 1 × 120mm radiator;
1 × 120mm top
|Front I/O Ports||1 × USB 3.1 Gen 2
1 × USB 3.1 Gen 1
1 × HD Audio
And finally, we have the case. We went with the NZXT H510. It’s a great case from a major PC case manufacturer that looks rather nice and has lots of excellent features. First of all, the signature NZXT minimalistic design with a see-through side panel looks good no matter the case model. Next, the H510 has excellent airflow thanks to the two preinstalled fans. But if you want to further improve it you can install two more 120mm fans on the front.
Liquid cooling support is also solid. You can fit one 280mm or two 140/120mm radiators on the front with space for another 120mm radiator on the backside. The only potential problem is the number of drive bays. The case has two 2.5” and two 3.5” bays with another bay that can be used either for 2.5” or 3.5” storage devices. This could be too little for some users but we believe it’s enough for most. Especially since you have space for one more SSD on the motherboard in the form of the M.2 slot.
Finally, the H510 sells for an affordable price compared to its quality. Again, if you managed to buy the RTX 2060 KO at its regular price, you’ll have a nice amount of extra money. Instead of a hard drive, you could spend more on a PSU, but you could spend that cash on a case instead. If you want a better case get the Meshify C from Fractal Design. That one is one of the best mid-tower cases on the market.
Overall, this is an excellent mid-range gaming rig that packs serious power. The combination of the CPU and graphics card is enough for comfortable 1440p gaming. And it will stay that way for some time until we start getting proper next-gen games. The rig also has plenty of fast SSD storage and lots of memory. The PSU used is overkill but, on the flip side, it’s powerful enough for any future CPU or GPU upgrade.
And the case is attractive, well built, and has solid airflow and AIO support. Yes, you (probably, AMD might change its mind due to protests from B450 motherboard owners) won’t be able to upgrade the CPU to a 4th or 5th gen Ryzen. But, at least you’ll be able to fit an 8, 12, or 16 core CPU in the future without spending money on a new motherboard.