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.