In the past couple of years, the PC gaming hardware landscape has witnessed its fair share of challenges, particularly in the underwhelming releases of new components, most notably the latest generation of GPUs. Despite these setbacks, building a new gaming PC from the ground up is not as bleak as it may seem. In fact, it might be one of the most opportune times in the last few years, even amid concerns about a global recession, inflation, and economic uncertainties.
Instead of dwelling on the drawbacks of pricey GPUs like the GeForce RTX 4060 Ti, 4070 Ti, 4080, Radeon 7900 XTX, and others, let’s shift our focus to the positive aspects of building a gaming PC right now. This article highlights why it’s a promising idea, especially for those seeking a fresh gaming setup.
While the GPU remains a critical component of any gaming system, there are still reasonably priced options available, catering to various preferences. For individuals embarking on a journey to construct an entirely new PC, there is a range of components required beyond just the graphics card. Surprisingly, these supplementary parts are currently quite affordable.
Analyzing the price trends of DDR5-6000 CL30 memory over the past 10 months reveals a significant decline, nearly 60%, from $280 for a 32GB kit last October to its current price of just $116. This pattern is consistent with the general trend in DDR5 pricing. However, it’s crucial to manage expectations regarding further price reductions.
Prices have already started to stabilize, and while there may be some additional minor decreases between now and the year’s end, we don’t foresee significant further declines. DRAM manufacturers have already implemented production cuts to maintain price stability.
If you’re embarking on a new PC build, we highly recommend opting for a DDR5-compatible system. Even for those with budget constraints, DDR4 still presents a viable option, especially considering that 32GB DDR4-3600 CL18 kits are now available for just under $60. However, it’s worth noting that you can acquire 32GB DDR5-5600 kits for less than $80, making a DDR5-enabled platform a compelling choice.
Currently, DRAM prices are exceptionally affordable, with the option to purchase top-quality 32GB DDR5 kits for just a little over $100, representing an outstanding value proposition.
SSDs, a critical component for PC builders, have experienced significant price drops over the past year due to oversupply and subdued demand for NAND flash. This trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, resulting in slightly lower prices, particularly for lower-end SSDs.
For those with budget constraints, there’s good news. If you require a 1TB SSD, you can find options for as low as $40. For example, the MSI Spatium M371 offers a 1TB capacity for just $35 or a 2TB model for $75. The Crucial P3 1TB, another budget-friendly choice, is currently priced at $40 or $87 for the 2TB variant, signifying a significant price reduction, similar to the DDR5 trend, with a more than 50% price drop over the past 10 months.
Even higher-end models like the Samsung 980 Pro 2TB have seen substantial price cuts. Over the last year, the price has fallen from $250 to a mere $100, resulting in more than a 50% decrease in SSD prices across the board. These favorable pricing trends are making it an ideal time for PC builders to consider SSD upgrades.
Gamers are currently in a fortunate position with various CPU options available across different price ranges. For detailed purchasing guidance, we recommend consulting our comprehensive “Best CPUs” feature.
Over the past few years, CPU prices have remained competitive, and while there hasn’t been a consistent decline like with DRAM and SSDs, there have been notable price reductions. For instance, the Ryzen 9 7950X3D, originally priced at $700, has recently dropped to $560. Similarly, the Intel Core i9-13900K, which cost $660 in October, can now be found as low as $550, providing a 17% savings.
The Ryzen 5800X3D has seen a reduction from $450 to as low as $320, making it an exceptional choice for those already on the AM4 platform. For new system builders, the Ryzen 7 7700, currently priced at $320, is recommended. It offers comparable gaming performance with enhanced productivity capabilities and is supported by the newer AM5 platform.
Budget-conscious shoppers seeking a powerful PC with longevity in mind will find the Ryzen 5 7600, priced at $220, as the top choice. It outperforms the Core i5-13500, priced at $250, in both gaming and platform support, although the latter is still a commendable CPU in its own right.
Affordable motherboards play a crucial role in completing your gaming setup. While the pricing landscape may not be as remarkable as in other categories, it’s essential to find the right fit. As of our latest analysis, we have a solid grasp of AMD B650 motherboard pricing following a comprehensive buying guide.
For gamers on a tight budget, the Asrock B650M-HDV/M.2 shines as an excellent choice at just $125. Although the pricing of motherboards below $200 has seen little change over the past year, there are still several dependable options available. This pricing consistency extends to Intel LGA 1700 motherboards, where you can find competitive choices at similar prices to their AM5 counterparts. This flexibility ensures that both AMD and Intel remain viable options for those embarking on new system builds.
Cases and PSUs
When it comes to cases and power supplies, the options are abundant and competitively priced. In our Best Cases 2023 feature, we’ve curated excellent choices for various needs and budgets. For instance, the Hyte Y40, priced at $150, offers great value with an attractive build.
The range of PC cases is diverse, and you can find decent mid-tower options like the Fractal Design Focus 2 RGB for as low as $40. Power supplies are equally versatile, with quality 600w units under $70 and top-notch 1000w models around $150. With numerous options, explore what suits your budget and needs.
When it comes to graphics cards, the GeForce RTX 4090 is a standout but may not fit everyone’s budget at $1,600. Given the current GPU generation’s pricing and naming complexities, considering previous-gen GPUs is a sensible option.
You can find the Radeon 6950 XT for $580, offering good high-end performance slightly surpassing the RTX 4070. Below that, the Radeon RX 6700 XT, priced at around $320 – $350, stands as a solid choice. Further down, the GeForce RTX 4060 for $300, Radeon RX 7600 for $270, or an old 6650 XT for $250 are options for building a new gaming PC.
While these options may not offer groundbreaking value, they get the job done and enable PC gaming, which is the key takeaway. Despite the current landscape, it’s relatively better for new system builds compared to not too long ago.
A New Build
Considering everything, it’s feasible to build a gaming PC with a Ryzen 5 7600 CPU, 32GB of DDR5-6000 CL30 memory, Asrock B650M-HDV motherboard, 1TB SSD, Sapphire Radeon RX 6700 XT, a quality 750w power supply, a decent $100 ATX case, and a $50 air-cooler for around $1,050. You’ll need peripherals and an operating system, but for a reasonable budget, you can get a capable gaming system.
While this GPU generation has been underwhelming, this system still provides excellent gaming performance for less than the cost of a high-end GPU. You can also upgrade the system in the future. Consider spending a bit more on the motherboard for additional features and keep Intel as an option. Share your thoughts in the comments. Do you believe building a new gaming PC is a viable choice, and what components would you select?