If you want to build a desktop that can play games at 1080p resolution, you can spend less than $500 (as we show on our best PC builds page), though you’d want to spend a bit more to get a consistent 50 to 60 fps at high settings. But to get smooth gameplay at 1440p resolution (2560 x 1440, also known as 2K), you usually have to spend closer to $1,000 on parts. Not today: with all of the Black Friday deals on components such as graphics cards, CPUs and SSDs, you can build a gaming PC that achieves 60 fps 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 sales that are current at publication time so your mileage may vary slightly depending on when you read this. Also note that we do not include the price of the OS (you can get Windows for free or cheap) nor any peripherals. As is often the case, building your own PC saves money. We checked various retailers and a prebuilt desktop with similar (but not exactly the same) specs costs at least $999.
|Component||Model||Sale Price||Old Price||Notes|
|CPU||Ryzen 5 5600||$118||$135||Row 0 – Cell 4|
|GPU||Saphire Pulse Radeon RX 6700||$299||$349||use promo code VGAEXCAA338|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte B550M DS3H AC AM4||$99||$129||Row 2 – Cell 4|
|RAM||Team T-Force Vulcan Z 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3200||$42||$47||Row 3 – Cell 4|
|SSD||Crucial P3 1TB||$62||$73||Row 4 – Cell 4|
|Case||Gamdias Argus M1||$39||$48||Row 5 – Cell 4|
|PSU||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 chose the parts we did and how you could vary your choices to save more money or improve performance.
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600 ($118 at Amazon (opens in new tab), normally around $135) – As we’ve said elsewhere (opens in 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, recently came out. The Ryzen 5 5600 has 6 cores, 12 threads and a maximum boost clock of 4.4 GHz, which is more than adequate for gaming at 2K, particularly when you have a strong 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 156 fps on our suite of 1440p games and that number jumped to 159 fps when we enabled precision boost overdrive (which is like overclocking). To see what the CPU 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 won’t be the bottleneck holding you back.
- GPU: Saphire Pulse Radeon RX 6700 ($299 at Newegg (opens in new tab), was $349) – In this price band, AMD’s Radeon RX 6700 offers more performance for your money than Nvidia’s RTX 3060 which costs more than $350 and usually closer to $400.
On our GPU benchmark hierarchy, the RX 6700 is actually 8 places ahead of the RTX 3060, delivering an average frame rate of 87.7 fps on our 1080p Ultra settings, test suite compared to 70.2 fps for Nvidia’s card. At 1440p Ultra settings, the RX 6700 delivers an average 63.5 fps, which is very smooth, and compares favorably to the 3060’s mark of 52.6 fps.
If you want to cut the price of this build down to a price that’s less than $600, swap the graphics card for an MSI Mech Radeon RX 6600, which is now just $189 (opens in new tab) at Newegg, reduced from $279. However, we wouldn’t recommend playing 1440p games with the RX 6600 as it average 46.1 fps at 1440p Ultra. It was ok playing at 1080p Ultra, though, hitting an average of 66.7 fps.
You can see on 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 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 they will recognize a Ryzen 5000 chip and you can’t tell what BIOS version your motherboard will ship with.
If you have an old BIOS that won’t recognize your new CPU, you need to upgrade the firmware before you boot with the new CPU, but what if you don’t have an older CPU 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) which allows you to update the firmware without a CPU as you just plug in a USB Flash drive with the update and hold down a button on the motherboard.
After you’ve updated 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 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 3200 Mhz. This is the least expensive set we could find and comes from a reputable brand.
- SSD: Crucial P3 1TB NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD ($62 at Amazon (opens in new tab), was $73) – We reviewed the Crucial P3 back in September and praised its solid performance for the money. This isn’t the fastest drive on the market but it’s more than adequate when you’re trying to save money. The 1TB model promises sequential read and write speeds of 3,500 and 3,000 MBps respectively. We tested the 2TB capacity of the drive, which wouldn’t have the same exact performance as the 1TB model, but it placed just a bit behind more expensive drives like the SK hynix Gold P31.
If you can stretch your budget a bit higher, we recommend going with the SK hynix Gold P31 (now $83 at Amazon (opens in new tab), was around $130) as it’s noticeably faster.
- Case: Gamdias Argus M1 ($39 at Newegg (opens in new tab), was $48): This case has a lot going for it for less than $40. It’s very attractive considering 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 RGB rear fan included and room for up to a 280mm radiator (two 140mm fans or two 120mm fans) on the top or in front.
- PSU: Thermaltake Smart BM2 650W 80+ Bronze ($39 at Newegg (opens in new tab), was $64) – A name-brand, 650-watt power supply for under $40? What’s not to love? Thermaltake’s PSU is semi-modular, features a 140mm quiet fan and has 80+ Bronze efficiency.
As you can see, we made just a few compromises to get a 1440p gaming rig for less than $700. If you want to step things up and spend more, you can go for a pricier CPU, GPU and SSD, but hopefully this list of parts gives you some ideas. We have a more complete set of parts lists on our best PC builds page.,