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Build your own gaming PC 2021: The best configurations from 500 euros

Building a gaming PC yourself is not difficult. You also save money.

Do you need a new, fast gaming PC? Then save money and build it yourself! We have put together six configurations for every budget to make it easier for you to find the right hardware. With us you will find the ideal PC for every budget and every requirement, from full HD to 4K.

Exceptional situation - compilations without GPU: In times of sporadic and massively overpriced hardware, it is not an easy task to keep price targets for PC compilations. The GPU prices don't fluctuate, they really just know the way up. Since there is often not even availability, the compilation falls into crisis mode: We only give very large tips for suitable graphics cards and give the PC prices without a GPU. You can't gamble without a graphics card, but we don't want to support the current moon prices with recommendations, quite apart from the fact that even the cheapest configuration with a dedicated GPU would meanwhile penetrate into four-digit price ranges.

Inexpensive gaming PCs to build yourself:

On these gaming PCs you can play all Free2Play games, Fortnite anyway, but also the current blockbusters in Full HD and, depending on the configuration, in WQHD:

Do-it-yourself high-end gaming PCs:

For high demands and maximum details in WQHD and 4K at high frame rates, we recommend these configurations:

* The offers listed here are provided with so-called affiliate links. With a purchase via one of these links you support GameStar: Without affecting the price, we receive a small commission from the provider.

Effects of the current crisis

Bad availability with current CPUs and GPUs: 2020 is not a good year for hardware buyers. Nvidia and AMD cannot deliver their newly introduced GPUs (Nvidia RTX 3000 and AMD RX 6000) and CPUs (AMD Zen3, Ryzen 5000) or only in very small quantities, which is reflected in the prices. If you can wait to buy, we would urge you to be patient instead of paying moon prices. In the meantime, the shortage is also having an impact on older hardware - the market has been bought empty.

Primarily affected are graphics cards with only minimal game suitability as well as APUs from AMD but also the more powerful Ryzen models Ryzen 9 5900X and 5950X. In terms of price, Intel is even more interesting in the middle class than AMD - we haven't had that for a long time. However, powerful power supplies such as those required in mining rigs with many GPUs are also problematic. Or in high-end gaming PCs. And motherboards are also rising slightly in price. On the other hand, it looks very good for storage media such as SSDs, where prices are even falling. RAM, on the other hand, should continue to increase in price in the coming months.

The entry-level base for 500 euros

The basis for getting started: In the disastrous year for hardware purchases in 2021, it is not a grateful task to create a halfway cheap compilation. Since the prices for graphics cards, which are no longer comprehensible, make a sensible and affordable configuration impossible, we have removed the GPU from the total price. Either uses an existing graphics card, the Intel GPU of the CPU or waits until the prices have normalized.

This is in the entry-level PC: AMD's inexpensive entry-level processors rise in price while Intel's prices fall - wrong world. With the Core i3-10105 you get four cores, eight threads and good single-core performance. That's enough for many games, a six- or eight-core would only be practical if titles benefit greatly from additional cores. And of course when you edit videos or plan other CPU-intensive things.

The good equipment is rounded off by 16 GB of RAM and a fast SSD with 500 GB of capacity. SATA drives are only a few euros cheaper (if at all), so it is better to use an M.2 drive straight away.

Suitable for:
Graphics cards like Nvidia Geforce GTX 1660 Ti, AMD Radeon RX580
Resolutions up to 1920x1080 (depending on the GPU)

CPU

Intel Core i3-10105 (approx. 116 €) *

Inexpensive quad-core processor with multithreading, in contrast to the AMD Ryzen 3 even available. Later upgrade options to i5 or i7. Core i3-10100 or 10300 would be an alternative, but offer too little extra performance for their surcharge. Practical: The CPU offers an integrated GPU with which you can at least surf and work, even if games run rather poorly with it.

CPU cooler

Supplied with Intel CPU

Intel's standard fan is sufficient for the energy-efficient Core i3, even if the manufacturer could add a more efficient model.

Mainboard

MSI MAG B460 Torpedo (approx. 118 €) *

Not suitable for multiplier OC and can therefore be upgraded to a maximum of the upper middle class. But well suited and solidly equipped.

random access memory

Graphics card (please check availability!)

AMD Radeon RX 580 8 gigabytes

Good graphics card for games in FullHD and a good start despite the outdated architecture and somewhat high hunger for energy. The mining boom and the shortage of components mean that prices are exorbitant here too - the GPU shouldn't be more than 250 euros. So check availability and don't overpay, even if it takes patience.

SSD

Kingston A2000 M.2 NVMe with 500 gigabytes (approx. 56 €) *

An SSD should currently have a capacity of 500 gigabytes; after all, games don't necessarily get smaller. SATA drives are no longer noticeably cheaper than faster and more manageable M.2 models.

casing

power adapter

Corsair VS Series VS450 (approx. 47 €) *

High quality and at the same time quiet power supply. If you plan to upgrade later with a powerful CPU / GPU combination, you should purchase a more powerful power supply.

Conclusion

For a little less than 500 euros exclusive of a dedicated graphics card, this system is a good basis for later upgrading and up-to-date home office. Please note that the graphics card is exceptionally not included in the price due to insufficient availability.

Low surcharge, noticeable performance increase

Solid middle class: Anyone can always choose the most expensive components and then build a definitely fast PC. It gets interesting when you pay attention to budget and quality. With this base for less than 600 euros you get an upgradeable system with enough power to be able to use even fast graphics cards (if you get one ..).

AMD's Ryzen 5 3600 is still a solid six-core processor with 12 threads and good single-core performance in 2021. The newer model, the Ryzen 5 5600X, would be faster, but the extra charge is disproportionate. The B550 motherboard can also handle Ryzen 5000 and, if in doubt, can be upgraded to up to 16 cores. And that with full PCIe 4.0 support and support for AMD's SAM feature, with which even more power can be tickled out of the GPU.

No integrated GPU: In times of GPU deficiency, however, a major drawback at AMD is the lack of a GPU integrated into the chip in most models. Although these are rather unsuitable for games in order to be able to use the computer at all, an iGPU is quite practical. In contrast to Intel systems, with this basic configuration you need a graphics card - but it doesn't have to be able to do much for Office and Internet. Don't get confused by the video outputs on the mainboard, they don't work without an iGPU.

Suitable for:
Graphics cards like the Nvidia Geforce RTX 3060, AMD Radeon RX 6700XT
Resolutions: 1920x1080 with maximum details, 2560x1440

CPU

AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (approx. 189) *

Intel's Core i5-10400 offers the better price-performance ratio - but only if you only want to upgrade within the CPU generation. The AM4 platform gives you more flexibility when it comes to CPU upgrades, right up to the 16-core Ryzen 9 5950.

CPU cooler

Supplied with Ryzen CPU

AMD's standard fan is sufficient for the energy-efficient Ryzen 5 without it becoming too loud.

Mainboard

MSI B550-A Pro (approx. 135 €) *

With PCIe 4.0 and in full ATX size, the board offers a lot of upgrade scope and is also compatible with Ryzen 5000 and processors with up to 16 cores.

random access memory

graphic card

MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT Mech 2X 12G *

The same applies here: Buying graphics cards at the current time can at best be an act of desperation. Therefore, we are also removing this model from the final price - the recommended retail price from AMD for an RX 6700 XT is less than 500 euros, currently you can not get the card for much less than 800 euros. With enough power for WQHD and 12 gigabytes of GDDR6, however, it is well equipped, only with ray tracing the performance sometimes drops sharply.

SSD

WD Black SN750 M.2 SSD NVMe 500 GByte (approx. € 60) *

M.2 SSDs are faster, more manageable and more wireless than SATA drives in the 2.5 "format. Since this luxury means only a minimal price premium, we would immediately recommend an M.2 SSD like the fast WD SN750.

casing

power adapter

Conclusion

Also without graphics card (attention, the Ryzen CPU does not have an integrated GPU, so you still need a graphics card for the start) but in terms of performance it is a very good basis for almost every graphics accelerator on the market.

Good middle class for 800 euros

The Intel middle class: The AMD combination is good for a smaller budget with upgrade plans, while Intel offers more single-core performance, the practical Quicksync encoder for videos and an integrated GPU in the CPU for a little more money. Even if this is not suitable for games. The eleventh Intel Core i generation offers more performance in the middle class than its predecessors such as the i5-10600K. The board also allows processors up to Core i9 for later upgrades.

Thanks to the Rocket Lake CPU, Intel now also supports PCIe 4.0, which is noticeable in the case of SSDs, at least on paper. The difference is less noticeable in everyday life, which is why we rely on a model with PCIe 3.0 for reasons of cost.

Otherwise there is little more here than with the AMD system, but if you prefer games that benefit less from many cores than from high per-clock performance, the Intel 11600K is the right choice.

Suitable for:
Graphics cards like the Nvidia Geforce RTX 3060 Ti, AMD Radeon RX 6800
Resolutions: 2560x1440 with high details, reserves for 3840x2160

With 1000 euros in the upper class

The upper class for carefree gaming: Thanks to Intel's fast eight-core Core i7-10700K, which not only offers many cores but also high clock rates, there is very seldom a lack of computing power in games and applications. However, the surcharge for the eleventh generation of Intel CPUs is not really justified. The Z590 mainboard would also support the use of the more recent CPUs.

Full memory equipment: Of course you could save a little with this PC base if you buy an otherwise identical RAM kit with only 16 gigabytes instead of 32 gigabytes. However, RAM is likely to become more expensive in the coming months - we have been observing steady price increases for RAM for some time - and a little buffer can't hurt.

600 watt power supply: The power supply with its 600 watts offers enough power for later upgrades and / or large graphics cards. While high numbers are often advertised for non-name power supplies, the be quiet! Power supply actually to provide the performance. Thanks to modular cables, you also avoid cable clutter in the housing - who needs umpteen Molex and SATA power plugs today. Except for the RGB fan control maybe ..

Suitable for:

Graphics cards up to Nvidia Geforce RTX 3080, AMD Radeon RX 6900XT
Resolutions up to 3840x2160

CPU

Intel Core i7-10700K (approx. € 325) *

Eight cores, 16 threads, high clock and powerful new turbo stages - Intel has knitted a good alternative to AMD's ubiquitous Ryzen CPUs for gamers, even if they are still manufactured in 14nm. The successor 11700K offers only a little extra performance. Compared to Ryzen, Intel has the advantage of the integrated GPU - in times of GPU scarcity, at least a possibility to use the PC at all.

CPU cooler

Alpenföhn Brocken 3 CPU cooler (approx. 46 €) *

The cooler included with the boxed processor has a hard time cooling, especially in summer, it is quieter and more efficient (and therefore faster thanks to longer turbo levels) with the Brocken 3.

Mainboard