We assemble a gaming computer 2020: what to choose so as not to overpay?

UPD: We have a more recent arti­cle with gam­ing PC build options in 2021.

The year 2019 seems to be com­ing to an end, but long before this moment, game devel­op­ers have told gamers about their plans for the next 12 months. And, appar­ent­ly, 2020 promis­es to be very “hot”. Dying Light 2, Halo Infi­nite, Waste­land 3, Tom Clan­cy’s Rain­bow Six: Quar­an­tine, Mount & Blade II: Ban­ner­lord, Vam­pire: Mas­quer­ade — Blood­lines 2, and, of course, Cyber­punk 2077. All these projects are like­ly to be very demand­ing to com­put­er hard­ware. There­fore, it is worth prepar­ing for the release of new prod­ucts in advance.

More­over, the com­put­er hard­ware mar­ket has grown quite strong­ly over the past year. A bunch of Nvidia graph­ics cards and AMD’s high-per­for­mance mul­ti-thread­ed proces­sors make it pos­si­ble to assem­ble a pow­er­ful gam­ing machine at an afford­able price. We did not choose only the top solu­tions on the mar­ket, but decid­ed that the cost of prod­ucts is of key impor­tance. There­fore, we bring to your atten­tion one of the best sets of com­po­nents in terms of price / qual­i­ty ratio, which will be enough for all mod­ern games at high / ultra set­tings.

Gaming Computer 2020: Processor

Last time we told you about a bud­get com­put­er for games, in which we includ­ed the Ryzen 5 2600 proces­sor. And in prin­ci­ple, this mod­el is enough for the vast major­i­ty of games. Only a few projects can load the 16 threads that pre­mi­um seg­ment proces­sors have. There­fore, 12 streams are quite enough: you will almost nev­er encounter friezes. In order to get more “frames per sec­ond”, you can pay atten­tion to the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Zen 2 microar­chi­tec­ture.

This mod­el out­per­forms its pre­de­ces­sor by 15% on aver­age, which makes it a good choice for a gam­ing build for a rea­son­able price. It will cost you an aver­age of 140$. For this amount, the com­peti­tor offers us the Intel Core i5-9600, which has the same 6 cores, but the num­ber of threads is also 6. In our opin­ion, this is not enough for mod­ern gam­ing. And although you will get a high­er FPS counter, in some projects you are guar­an­teed to expe­ri­ence freezes, because, as men­tioned above, 6 threads are already not enough.

If you want more, you can look towards the Ryzen 7 3700X, which has 8 cores and 16 threads. You will not see much dif­fer­ence in per­for­mance com­pared to the Ryzen 5 3600. But if you stream, edit videos or work in any oth­er pro­gram that is demand­ing on proces­sor resources, then the dif­fer­ence will be notice­able. 16 threads are able to process infor­ma­tion very quick­ly, and with this mod­el you will save a lot of time in your work and get the oppor­tu­ni­ty to simul­ta­ne­ous­ly exe­cute many resource-inten­sive process­es on your com­put­er.

Every­thing that is high­er in price, as it seems to us, in most cas­es is unnec­es­sary. These are proces­sors that either have high price tags, such as the Intel Core i7-7700K, or are sharp­ened for high­ly spe­cial­ized tasks. Today we are talk­ing about gam­ing, so we will not even look fur­ther. We think it’s bet­ter to allo­cate the bud­get in such a way that the graph­ics card will be a key com­po­nent. And by the way, she’s next in line.

How to Build a Gaming Computer 2020: Graphics Card

For a bud­get gam­ing PC, we rec­om­mend the GTX 1660 Super because it is the best choice in terms of price/performance ratio. But its pow­er is clear­ly not enough for 4K gam­ing, in the direc­tion of which the gam­ing world is active­ly mov­ing. Mon­i­tors and cables aren’t as expen­sive as they used to be, and Nvidi­a’s new gen­er­a­tion of graph­ics cards are notable for great per­for­mance at an afford­able price. There­fore, we will make a choice with an eye on 4K.

In a pre­vi­ous post where we chose a 3840×2160 graph­ics adapter, we con­clud­ed that the RTX 2070 Super is the best buy in terms of price/performance. We will not ful­ly explain our choice (you can read the full argu­ment in favor of the RTX 2070 here), but only ana­lyze the main con­tenders for the 2020 gam­ing com­put­er.

In our opin­ion, com­fort­able gam­ing in AAA projects starts with the RTX 2060 graph­ics card. It pro­vides a sta­ble frame rate above 60 frames only at Full­HD res­o­lu­tion. At 2560 x 1440, she’s already hav­ing trou­ble. And although it sup­ports ray trac­ing, the new tech­nol­o­gy is giv­en to her very hard. Only in a few projects will it be pos­si­ble to unscrew the slid­ers respon­si­ble for Ray Trac­ing to the max­i­mum. In the vast major­i­ty of games, if you can turn on ray trac­ing, then only at the min­i­mum val­ues ​​​​(pro­vid­ed that 60 frames are sta­ble, of course). There­fore, we can­not rec­om­mend this chip for a gam­ing machine with a mar­gin for a cou­ple of years ahead. It’s more of a mod­el that is called “back to back” with the cur­rent rec­om­mend­ed sys­tem require­ments in mod­ern AAA games. We would rec­om­mend the RTX 2060 for a mid-range gam­ing PC, but not for a pre­mi­um one.

And if we look at the line­up fur­ther, we will see the RTX 2060 with the Super pre­fix, which is only a cou­ple of thou­sand more expen­sive, but at the same time, on aver­age, it out­per­forms the reg­u­lar ver­sion by 15% in terms of aver­age per­for­mance. There­fore, it is more expe­di­ent to choose even it, and not the RTX 2060. But this is still not enough to play every­thing in a row and not wor­ry about any­thing. To do this, you will have to pay a lit­tle more.

For the next chip in the line­up — RTX 2070, you should not pay extra about 40$. The 2060 Super is only a cou­ple of per­cent behind it. Accord­ing­ly, in our opin­ion, the over­pay­ment is not worth it. To get a notice­able increase, you will have to pay about 320$ for the RTX 2070 Super, which, com­pared to the RTX 2060 Super, is 20% more pow­er­ful. Yes, the dif­fer­ence in price is about 80$ and in terms of price / per­for­mance, 60 turns out to be a bet­ter buy.

But the trend is set by game devel­op­ers, who have recent­ly released very demand­ing projects. For com­fort­able gam­ing in 2K res­o­lu­tion at high set­tings or ultra set­tings at Full­HD, the 2060 Super is the per­fect choice. If you want more, includ­ing touch­ing 4K or ray trac­ing, you will have to pay for the RTX 2070 Super.

Going even high­er, the per­for­mance dif­fer­ence between the RTX 2070 Super and the RTX 2080 isn’t that sig­nif­i­cant when you fac­tor in the price dif­fer­ence (about $10,000). And for the RTX 2080 Super they ask for some­thing quite a lot. If the wal­let is so thick that the pock­et is torn, and you expe­ri­ence dis­com­fort, then you can drain its con­tents imme­di­ate­ly on the RTX 2080 Ti and not think about any­thing for a few more years. For oth­er buy­ers, we rec­om­mend the RTX 2060 Super in the mid-range build and the RTX 2070 Super in the pre­mi­um seg­ment.

Gaming PC 2020: Motherboard

Under the afore­men­tioned Ryzen 7 3700X, you will have to choose the appro­pri­ate moth­er­board with good cool­ing. If the moth­er­board over­heats due to a high load on the con­troller, the proces­sor may reset the fre­quen­cy. Thus, bud­get moth­er­boards are not suit­able for high-per­for­mance proces­sors due to the fact that they have poor cool­ing of the pow­er cir­cuits.

Our choice fell on the Asrock B450 Pro4. This is an ATX form fac­tor moth­er­board. It has a high-qual­i­ty pow­er cir­cuit with two mas­sive heatsinks that will fight over­heat­ing. The num­ber of slots for RAM is 4. This num­ber is not nec­es­sary, but it will come in handy for a future upgrade. In gen­er­al, 2 slots for Ryzen are more than enough, because over­clock­ing 2 bars is much eas­i­er than 4. But if the mod­ules are over­clocked from the fac­to­ry, then in the future you can buy 2 more bars of the same vol­ume as planned dur­ing the ini­tial pur­chase. The max­i­mum mem­o­ry fre­quen­cy is 3200 MHz with sup­port for the XMP pro­file. Moth­er also sup­ports Cross­Fire. Although a duet of AMD video cards is such an idea. There is a slot for an M.2 dri­ve and 14 USB ports. What else is need­ed for com­plete hap­pi­ness?

Gaming PC build 2020: RAM

If you want RAM to work out of the box at a high fre­quen­cy, you will have to over­pay a lit­tle. Among high-fre­quen­cy mem­o­ry, we like mod­ules from Cor­sair, which often take the declared fre­quen­cy and keep it sta­bly. Cor­sair CMK16GX4M2B3200C16 is a set of two 8 GB sticks. 16 GB for most games is still overkill, but in the next cou­ple of years, AAA projects will come close to this val­ue. So we take it with a small mar­gin so that we can sit in the brows­er in par­al­lel. And 8 GB already look some­how not sol­id. For a bud­get gam­ing com­put­er, it’s fine, but not for a gam­ing sol­id com­put­er.

Gaming Computer Build 2020: HDD and SSD

We have delib­er­ate­ly com­bined two dif­fer­ent types of media in this cat­e­go­ry, since both are desir­able to install on your gam­ing PC. An SSD is need­ed for fast load­ing and work­ing in Win­dows 10, and an HDD is for stor­ing a large amount of data and work­ing with them, for exam­ple, a bunch of games with a huge size. Now some games already need 100 GB of hard dri­ve space — no SSD is enough.

So, to install the sys­tem, we offer ADATA Ulti­mate SU800 256GB, cost­ing about 25$ for 256 GB. One of the most inex­pen­sive, but reli­able mod­ern dri­ves. In our tests in the CristalD­iskMark bench­mark, it showed excel­lent write speeds for large files — 370 MB / s, and reads — 407 MB / s.

Hard dri­ves, in our opin­ion, live out the rest of their time and prac­ti­cal­ly do not evolve in any way. High-speed dri­ves con­quer new heights in terms of vol­ume and become cheap­er every year. Thus, hard dri­ves will soon remain in nature, which have huge vol­umes that are not need­ed for home use, but will be use­ful only in serv­er sta­tions. There­fore, you can choose almost any hard dri­ve from famous com­pa­nies. In terms of char­ac­ter­is­tics, they are all very sim­i­lar. For exam­ple, here’s a good one:

Gaming PC 2020: case and power supply

For our needs, a 600-watt pow­er sup­ply is enough. We have repeat­ed­ly test­ed the Ther­mal­take TR2 S 650W for 35$ and, per­haps, we will focus on it. As for the case, we liked the Deep­cool Matrexx 55 Black for 30$. It can eas­i­ly accom­mo­date a large graph­ics card. It has a low­er hor­i­zon­tal loca­tion of the pow­er sup­ply, as well as 3 USB con­nec­tors on the front pan­el. Equipped with RGB light­ing, two 2.5″ dri­ve bays and two 3.5″ dri­ve bays.

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