If you want to build a desktop PC that can play games at 1080p resolution, you can spend less than $500 (as we show on our best PC builds page), although you want to spend a bit more to achieve consistent 50-60 fps resolution at high settings. But to get smooth gameplay at 1440p (2560 x 1440, also known as 2K) resolution, you usually have to spend upwards of $1000 in parts. Not today: With all the Black Friday deals on components like graphics cards, CPUs, and SSDs, you can build a gaming PC that hits 60fps at 1440p resolution and ultra settings.
Below, we’ve put together a parts list for a sub-$700, 1440p gaming PC build. These prices are based on current sales at the time of publication, so your mileage may vary slightly depending on when you read this. Also note that we don’t include the price of the operating system (you can get Windows for free or cheap) or peripherals. As is often the case, building your own PC saves money. We checked various retailers, and a prebuilt desktop PC with similar (but not exactly the same) specs costs at least $999.
|Making up||Model||Sale price||Old price||Remarks|
|CPU||Ryzen 5 5600||$118||$135||Row 0 – Cell 4|
|GPUs||Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 6700||$299||$349||use promo code VGAEXCAA338|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte B550M DS3H AC AM4||$99||$129||Row 2 – Cell 4|
|RAM||T-Force Vulcan Z Team 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3200||$42||$47||Line 3 – Cell 4|
|SSD||Crucial P3 1TB||$62||$73||Row 4 – Cell 4|
|Case||Gamdias Argus M1||$39||$48||Line 5 – Cell 4|
|power supply||Thermaltake Smart BM2 650W 80+ Bronze||$39||$64||use promo code BFDBY2A335|
|Total||Row 7 – Cell 1||$698||Row 7 – Cell 3||Row 7 – Cell 4|
So let’s talk about why we picked the parts we picked and how you can vary your choices to save more money or improve performance.
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 5600 ($118 on Amazon (opens in a new tab)normally around $135) – As we have said elsewhere (opens in a new tab), the price of AMD Ryzen 5000 series chips is incredibly low right now, because the new 7000 series, which is way too expensive, was recently released. The Ryzen 5 5600 has 6 cores, 12 threads, and a maximum boost clock of 4.4GHz, which is more than enough for 2K gaming, especially when you have a powerful graphics card to pair it with. It comes with a cooler in the box, so no need to buy one.
When we reviewed the Ryzen 5 5600, it returned an average frame rate of 156fps on our 1440p gaming suite and that number jumped to 159fps when we turned on precision overdrive (equivalent to the overclocking). To see what the processor is capable of, we tested with a high-end GPU in the form of an RTX 3090 so you won’t get those frame rates with our suggested graphics card for this build, but you can rest assured that the Ryzen 5 5600 will not be the bottleneck holding you back.
- Graphics: Saphire Pulse Radeon RX 6700 ($299 at Newegg (opens in a new tab), was $349) – In this price range, AMD’s Radeon RX 6700 offers more performance for your money than Nvidia’s RTX 3060 which is over $350 and usually closer to $400.
On our GPU benchmark hierarchy, the RX 6700 is actually 8 spots ahead of the RTX 3060, delivering an average frame rate of 87.7 fps on our 1080p Ultra settings test suite versus 70.2 fps for the Nvidia card. At Ultra 1440p settings, the RX 6700 delivers an average of 63.5 fps, which is very smooth, and compares favorably to the 3060 mark of 52.6 fps.
If you want to reduce the price of this build to below $600, swap the graphics card for an MSI Mech Radeon RX 6600, which is now down to just $189. (opens in a new tab) at Newegg, reduced by $279. However, we wouldn’t recommend playing 1440p games with the RX 6600 as it averages 46.1 fps at 1440p Ultra. It was decent playing at 1080p Ultra, however, averaging 66.7 fps.
You can see from the chart below how these two cards fared when playing Flight Simulator at 1080p.
- Motherboard: Gigabyte B550M DS3H AC AM4 ($99 at Newegg (opens in a new tab), was $129) – In theory, any motherboard with a B550 chipset or even an X570 chipset would be fine. However, many AMD boards require a BIOS update (see how to enter your BIOS) before recognizing a Ryzen 5000 chip and you cannot tell which BIOS version your motherboard will ship with.
If you have an old BIOS that doesn’t recognize your new processor, you need to update the firmware before booting with the new processor, but what if you don’t have an old processor to use for the update ? The Gigabyte B550M DS3H AC AM4 has a feature called Q Flash Plus (on other boards known as BIOS Flashback) that allows you to update firmware without a CPU as you just need to plug in a USB drive with the update update and hold down a button on the motherboard.
After updating to the latest BIOS, you’ll enjoy some of this motherboard’s other features, including built-in Wi-Fi 5, four DIMM slots, and two M.2 sockets.
- RAM: Team T-Force Vulcan Z 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3200 ($42 at Newegg (opens in a new tab), was $47). You need no less than 16GB of RAM, and you want a dual-channel kit with two 8GB sticks of DDR4 that run at up to 3200Mhz. This is the cheapest set we could find and it comes from a reputable brand.
- SSD: Crucial P3 1TB NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD ($62 on Amazon (opens in a new tab), was $73) – We reviewed the Crucial P3 in September and praised its strong performance for the money. It’s not the fastest drive around, but it’s more than enough when you’re trying to save some cash. The 1TB model promises sequential read and write speeds of 3,500 and 3,000 Mbps respectively. We tested the drive’s 2TB capacity, which wouldn’t have exactly the same performance as the 1TB model, but it ranks just a bit behind more expensive drives like the SK hynix Gold P31.
If you can stretch your budget a bit, we recommend going with the SK hynix Gold P31 (now $83 on Amazon (opens in a new tab)was around $130) because it’s significantly faster.
- Case: Gamdias Argus M1 ($39 at Newegg (opens in a new tab)was $48): This case has a lot to offer for under $40. It’s very attractive given its budget status, with a tempered glass side panel, an RGB light strip on the front, and three illuminated USB ports on the front panel. There’s an included RGB rear fan and room for up to a 280mm radiator (two 140mm fans or two 120mm fans) on the top or front.
- Power supply: Thermaltake Smart BM2 650W 80+ Bronze ($39 at Newegg (opens in a new tab), was $64) – A 650 watt name brand power supply for less than $40? What’s not to like? Thermaltake’s PSU is semi-modular, features a quiet 140mm fan, and has an efficiency of 80+ Bronze.
As you can see, we only made a few compromises to get a 1440p gaming rig for under $700. If you want to speed things up and spend more, you can go for a more expensive CPU, GPU, and SSD, but hopefully this parts list will give you some ideas. We have a more comprehensive set of parts lists on our best PC builds page.