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), although you’ll want to spend a bit more to get a consistent 50 up to 60 fps on high settings. But to get smooth gameplay at 1440p resolution (2560 x 1440, also known as 2K), you usually have to spend more than $1,000 on 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 1440p gaming PC under $700. These prices are based on current sales at the time of publication, so your mileage may vary slightly depending on when you read this. Please also note that we do not 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’ve checked several retailers, and a ready-made desktop with similar (but not exactly the same) specs costs at least $999.
|Element||Fashion model||Selling price||Old price||Notes|
|Processor||Ryzen5 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 (2x8GB) 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 made and how you can vary your choices to save more money or improve performance.
- Processor: 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, came out recently. The Ryzen 5 5600 has 6 cores, 12 threads and a maximum boost clock of 4.4 GHz, which is more than enough for gaming at 2K, especially if you have a strong graphics card to pair it with. It comes with a cooler in the box, so you don’t need to buy one.
When we reviewed the Ryzen 5 5600, it delivered an average frame rate of 156fps in our suite of 1440p games, and that number jumped to 159fps when we enabled Precision Boost Overdrive (which is similar to 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 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) – At this price range, AMD’s Radeon RX 6700 offers more performance for your money than Nvidia’s RTX 3060, which costs more than $350 and is usually closer to $400.
On our GPU benchmark hierarchy, the RX 6700 is actually 8 places ahead of the RTX 3060, with an average frame rate of 87.7fps on our 1080p Ultra settings test suite compared to 70.2fps for Nvidia’s card. At 1440p Ultra settings, the RX 6700 averages 63.5fps, which is very smooth and compares favorably to the 3060’s 52.6fps.
If you want to bring the price of this build down to under $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 don’t recommend playing 1440p games with the RX 6600 as it averages 46.1fps at 1440p Ultra. However, it was okay to play at 1080p Ultra, averaging 66.7 fps.
You can see how these two cards fared when playing Flight Simulator at 1080p in the chart below.
- 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 cards require a BIOS update (see how to enter your BIOS) before recognizing a Ryzen 5000 chip and you can’t tell which BIOS version your motherboard comes with.
If you have an old BIOS that doesn’t recognize your new CPU, you’ll need to upgrade the firmware before booting 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 (known as BIOS Flashback on other boards) that allows you to update the firmware without a CPU as you just plug in a USB flash drive containing the 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 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 ($42 at Newegg (opens in new tab), costs $47). You’ll need as much as 16 GB of RAM and want a dual-channel kit with two 8 GB DDR4 sticks running at up to 3200 Mhz. This is the cheapest 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 if 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 drive’s 2TB capacity, which wouldn’t have the exact same performance as the 1TB model, but it fell slightly short of more expensive drives like the SK hynix Gold P31.
If you can stretch your budget a bit higher, we recommend going for the SK hynix Gold P31 (now $83 at Amazon (opens in new tab)was about $130) because it is noticeably faster.
- Case: Gamdias Argus M1 ($39 at Newegg (opens in new tab)cost $48): This case has a lot to offer for under $40. It’s very attractive considering its budget status, with a tempered glass side panel, RGB light strip on the front, and three backlit USB ports on the front panel. An RGB rear fan is included and there is room for up to a 280mm radiator (two 140mm fans or two 120mm fans) on the top or 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 less than $40? What’s not to love? Thermaltake’s PSU is semi-modular, has a quiet 140mm fan, and has an efficiency rating of 80+ Bronze.
As you can see, we only made a few compromises to get a 1440p gaming rig for less than $700. If you want to splurge and spend more, you can opt for a more expensive CPU, GPU, and SSD, but hopefully this parts list will give you some ideas. We have a more complete set of parts lists on our Best PC Builds page.