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Best Gaming PC June 2017: The ultimate PC specs from £500 to £2000

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BestGamingPC

Building the best gaming PC for your budget isn't as hard as you might imagine, but with so many components from which to choose, where do you start? Right here: we’ve picked out the best items to buy, whatever your budget. So whether you’ve scrabbled together £500, or have £1,500 burning a hole in your pocket, read on to find out how you can build the best gaming PC for your money.

Each month, we scour online shops to find the best deals for the best combination of components to suit five main budgets: £500, £800, £1,000, £1,500 and £2,000. The £800 build is also our VR-centric build with it aimed at meeting or surpassing Oculus VR’s recommended specs for its Oculus Rift.

At all five price categories, the components are carefully balanced to ensure you’re getting the absolute best gaming performance possible for your money, but also without compromising too much in key areas such as day-to-day performance, power consumption and future-proofing.

What's new?

Following on from the arrival of AMD's Ryzen 7 processors in March and its Ryzen 5 processors in April, this month has seen a subsequent drop in Intel CPU prices. Not all have changed, and none by a lot but you can now save £20 here or there, which is always nice. Otherwise, with both AMD and Intel now offering great overall gaming performance, several of the Ryzen processors have made their way into our builds.

The criteria when choosing between going for an Intel or AMD system is that Intel still tends to have a clock-speed advantage, which is generally better for gaming whereas AMD has more processing cores making them better for multitasking. However, games are getting better and better at ustilising multiple cores. For instance, Battlefield 1 performs worse with anything less than four cores.

When it comes to the very budget end of the market, we're still waiting for AMD's Ryzen 3 processors, so Intel has that end of the market sewn up for now.

Related: Best CPU Coolers

Elsewhere we've just had the Computex trade show where a load of new tech was shown off. However, most of it is yet to be available so the likes of AMD's Threadripper and Intel's Core i9 processors won't be included in our builds any time soon (if ever, as they're rather expensive).

Nonetheless, one after affect of Computex seems to be that a lot of stock is dwindling as shops gear up for new hardware arriving. This has forced us to change a few components here and there. Plus, graphics card prices seem to have moved around a bit with the RX 570 of our £750 build jumping up by a massive £70. This is largely down to huge demand increase from folk mining cryptocurrencies, which has affected graphics card prices globally.

Watch: Your graphics card questions answered

Note: Prices correct as of 20 June 2017

The 1080p eSports Gaming PC – Best Gaming PC under £500 ($600)

Component Name UK Price UK Supplier US Price US Supplier
CPU Intel Celeron G4560 £60 Amazon.co.uk $86 Amazon.com
Motherboard Gigabyte H270M-DS3H £93 Overclockers.co.uk $88 Newegg.com
RAM Corsair Vengeance 8GB 2666MHz, 2 x 4GB £64 Amazon.co.uk $68 Newegg.com
Graphics card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1050 £108 Amazon.co.uk $110 Amazon.com
SSD Kingston 120GB A400 £54 Scan.co.uk $63 Amazon.com
HDD N/A £0

$0

Power Supply Corsair VS450 £35 Amazon.co.uk $50 Amazon.com
Case Aerocool 300 £29 Overclockers.co.uk $41 Amazon.com
Cooler Included with CPU £0

$0

Software Windows 10 £75 Amazon.co.uk $110 Amazon.com

Total: £518

$616

The only change we've made to our cheapest build this month is to swap out the Kingston SSDnow UV400 for the A400, as the former was our of stock in many shops. Overall this hasn't greatly affected the price and won't affect the performance.

Elsewhere this is the one build where the price of the graphics card hasn't changed, and nor have most of the other prices. As such it comes in just over budget.

Overall it will give you decent gaming performance at up to 1080p resolutions and good overall desktop performance too. Remember that games such as Battlefield, and strategy titles, will really struggle with the dual-core processor. This is much more of an eSports build than it is a AAA gaming rig.

Watch: AMD Radeon RX 480 Graphics Card Review

Potential swaps: The most obvious potential swap is dropping the SSD and opting for a hard drive instead. This will get you much more space to store all your files, but your PC will be slower at booting up, loading apps and copying files. Crucially, games won't be any slower (slower to load, maybe, but not slower to run).

Otherwise, there's very little you can do to this build to save more money, apart from buying second-hand gear or compromising more on graphics power. Allow yourself an extra £100 to spend and you can get both a slightly larger SSD and a hard drive.

The motherboard used here is able to accommodate much faster Intel CPUs so you can easily upgrade every component of this build later on, without having to swap the motherboard.

Video: Intel Core i models explained

VR-ready PC - Best Gaming PC for £800 ($900)

Oculus provides an optimum spec for a PC that will provide a great VR experience, but it's long since been superseded, so this is our recommended build instead:

Component Name UK Price UK Supplier US Price US Supplier
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 1500X £180 Overclockers.co.uk $190 Amazon.com
Motherboard MSI B350M Gaming Pro £80 Overclockers.co.uk $80 Amazon.com
RAM Corsair Vengeance 8GB 2666MHz, 2 x 4GB £64 Amazon.co.uk $73 Newegg.com
Graphics card MSI RX 570 4GB £250 Scan.co.uk $210 Newegg.com
SSD Kingston 120GB A400 £54 Scan.co.uk $63 Amazon.com
HDD WD Blue 1TB HDD £42 Amazon.co.uk $50 Amazon.com
Power Supply Corsair VS450 £35 Amazon.co.uk $50 Amazon.com
Case Aerocool 300 £29 Overclockers.co.uk $41 Amazon.com
Cooler CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Evo £29 Overclockers.co.uk $30 Amazon.com
Software Windows 10 £75 Amazon.co.uk $110 Amazon.com

Total: £838

$897

Our VR build is essentially our cheapest build but with a quad-core CPU, a larger, faster SSD, and a slightly upgraded graphics card. Combined they make for a system that's better able to cope with the demands that VR places on a PC.

However, this time the price of our choice graphics card has leapt up by £70, from £180 to £250. This puts it higher than ever before so you may want to downgrade here and there depending on your budget.

Oculus Rift

Potential swaps: This build is ripe for upgrades with the case, CPU cooler, SSD and hard drive all being about as low as you can go, so spending an extra £30-£50 on any of those would be worthwhile.

Otherwise, if you want to save a nice chunk of money you could go for the GTX 1050, but that would mean quite a large compromise on graphics performance, and of course you'll no longer be up to spec for VR gaming. Alternatively you can go the other way and get an even faster graphics card such as the RX 580 (£270) or GTX 1070 (£330).

The Quad HD Gaming PC – Best Gaming PC for £1,000 ($1100)

Component Name UK Price UK Supplier US Price US Supplier
CPU Intel Core i3-7350K £159 Overclockers.co.uk $150 Amazon.com
Motherboard ASRock Z270 Pro4 £115 Overclockers.co.uk $120 Amazon.com
RAM Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3000MHz £124 Amazon.co.uk $126 Amazon.com
Graphics card Gigabyte GTX 1060 £279 Overclockers.co.uk $300 Amazon.com
SSD Samsung 850 Evo 250GB £120 Overclockers.co.uk $108 Amazon.com
HDD WD Blue 1TB HDD £42 Amazon.co.uk $50 Amazon.com
Power Supply Corsair CX650 £69 Overclockers.co.uk $60 Amazon.com
Case NZXT S340 £69 Amazon.co.uk $85 Newegg.com
Cooler CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Evo £29 Overclockers.co.uk $30 Amazon.com
Software Windows 10 £75 Amazon.co.uk $110 Amazon.com

Total: £1,081

$1,139

Here it's again the graphics card that is the only major change in this build with its price going up by £19. Otherwise, we've kept everything the same, with the heart of this build being the very fast dual-core i3-7350K processor and GTX 1060 graphics card. What we would say is that with multi-core Ryzen 3 processors coming soon, it might pay to wait as having four cores rather than two will improve performance in recent AAA games such as Battlefield 1 and Gears of War 4.

These are ably assisted by a nippy SSD and a modestly sized hard drive and much nicer case. All this adds up to reliable 1440p gaming now and plenty of easy upgrades for the future.

Watch: Nvidia GTX 1070 review

Potential swaps: One area that's a compromise in this system is the size of the SSD. Its 250GB is only really large enough to fit two or three of today's AAA games. Swapping it out for a 500GB drive would offer some peace of mind about installing and uninstalling games all the time. You'll have to double your outlay, but you could always drop the hard disk and then add one back in when you begin to run out of space – and if you're upgrading your system then you can keep your old hard drives.

The other obvious swap is to spend the extra £100 and get a GTX 1070. It's around 40% faster that the GTX 1060 so makes for a good-value upgrade if you can afford it.

If multi-thread CPU performance is important to you then consider swapping out the Intel CPU and motherboard for the AMD Ryzen 5 1500X and AMD motherboard such as the MSI B350M Gaming Pro.

The 4K Gaming PC – Best Gaming PC for £1500 ($1600)

Component Name UK Price UK Supplier US Price US Supplier
CPU Intel Core i5-7600K £213 Amazon.co.uk $240 Amazon.com
Motherboard MSI Z270 Gaming Pro £154 Amazon.co.uk $140 Amazon.com
RAM Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3000MHz £120 Amazon.co.uk $127 Amazon.com
Graphics card Zotac GTX 1080 £550 Overclockers.co.uk $518 Amazon.com
SSD Samsung 960 Evo 250GB £119 Amazon.co.uk $128 Amazon.com
HDD Toshiba 3TB HDD £74 Amazon.co.uk $90 Amazon.com
Power Supply Corsair CS650M 80 Plus Gold £70 Amazon.co.uk $90 Amazon.com
Case NZXT S340 £69 Amazon.co.uk $85 Newegg.com
Cooler Noctua NH-D14 £67 Overclockers.co.uk $70 Amazon.com
Software Windows 10 £75 Amazon.co.uk $110 Amazon.com

Total: £1,511

$1,628

A graphics card price bump is again the headline change with this build this month. It's jumped from £500 to £550. However, last month we were under budget so this has only put us £11 over budget this time.

Otherwise it's an identical build based on the excellent quad-core intel Core i5-7600K processor and monstrous GTX 1080 graphics card. Combined they'll power through just about anything, delivering 100fps+ at 1440p and smooth performance at 4K resolutions too.

A fast Samsung 960 Evo SSD will keep boot-up, app startup and file transfer times to a minimum, while you've plenty of budget for a big 3TB hard drive for all your bulk data.

Watch: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 review

Potential swaps: The most obvious consideration here is whether you're really gaming at high enough resolutions to justify a GTX 1080. If you only have a 1080p monitor you could save £150-£200 and get a GTX 1070 instead.

Meanwhile, if multi-thread performance is particularly important to you, then you could swap the Intel CPU and motherboard for the Ryzen 5 1600X and an AMD motherboard such as the Asus Prime X370-Pro.

If you want a tidier-looking build then you could replace the large Noctua CPU cooler for a more compact all-in-one liquid cooler such as the Corsair H110i. It's louder and slightly more expensive, but it will keep the CPU even cooler as well as freeing up space inside your case.

Asus Maximus VIII Hero

AMD Ryzen PC – Best Workstation/High-end Gaming PC

Component Name UK Price UK Supplier US Price US Supplier
CPU AMD Ryzen 7 1800X £450 Overclockers.co.uk $440 Amazon.com
Motherboard Asus Crosshair VI Hero £249 Overclockers.co.uk $255 Amazon.com
RAM Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3000MHz £250 Amazon.co.uk $260 Amazon.com
Graphics card Zotac GTX 1080 £550 Overclockers.co.uk $518 Amazon.com
SSD Samsung 960 Evo 250GB £119 Amazon.co.uk $128 Amazon.com
HDD Toshiba 3TB HDD £74 Amazon.co.uk $90 Amazon.com
Power Supply Corsair CS650M 80 Plus Gold £70 Amazon.co.uk $90 Amazon.com
Case NZXT S340 £69 Amazon.co.uk $85 Newegg.com
Cooler Noctua NH-U12S SE-AM4 £54 Overclockers.co.uk $58 Amazon.com
Software Windows 10 £75 Amazon.co.uk $110 Amazon.com

Total: £1,960

$2,034

Our AMD Ryzen/Workstation build centres around the huge multi-core power of the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X, which we've paired with the feature-packed Asus Crosshair VI Hero motherboard and 32GB of RAM. In many ways it's overkill for gaming but is ideal for multi-tasking, video rendering, game streaming and other processor-heavy duties.

The rest of the system is based on our £1500 gaming PC build with a fast main SSD and a secondary hard drive for bulk data, plus a quality power supply and case. We've swapped out the CPU cooler for one that's compatible with the AMD's AM4 socket.

We've chosen the Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics card rather than the GTX 1080 Ti as this not only keeps the build price inside £2000 but it reflects the fact that this sort of system isn't necessarily all about the best gaming performance; it's aimed more at those who need a powerful system for business as well as pleasure.

Potential swaps: If you really do want the ultimate in gaming performance then the GTX 1080 Ti is the obvious upgrade. You can also run SLI/CrossFire on this system, although it's less capable than Intel's rival LGA2011 platform when it comes to multiple graphics cards.

The other alternative is to drop things down a gear by opting for the AMD Ryzen 7 1700. This chip still gets you eight-core performance but for just £330. Similarly, drop the motherboard to a £150 X370 and the RAM to 16GB and you'll still have a very powerful system that costs closer to £1500.

Finally, if you have this sort of budget but are after the ultimate in gaming performance the the Intel Core i7-7700K is the CPU to go for. Match that with the other components in our £1500 build and it'll provide the best all-round gaming performance right now.

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