If you’ve ever wanted to build a PC but don’t know what you should buy or which of our many bestest best components to put inside it, then help is at hand. Introducing The RPS Rig – our recommended PC build that covers everything you need to sit down and start playing your favourite PC games for less than £1000. It’s the complete package, including a monitor, headset, mouse and keyboard, so you can get straight to the action as quickly as possible.
Why £1000? Well, I reckon you don’t need to spend any more than this to get a great gaming PC, and the components I’ve picked will ensure you’ve got plenty of oomph for playing games at 60fps on max settings at 1080p, plus a bit of 1440p potential if you decide to upgrade your monitor further down the line, or you want to take advantage of our chosen monitor’s high refresh rate (and yes, it is possible to build a PC and pair it with a great 144Hz gaming monitor for less than £1000). Read on for the full spec.
Of course, building a gaming PC is something you theoretically can pour infinite amounts of money into if you’ve got the time and a few buckets of spare cash sandwiched between your mattress, so naturally there will always be other, flashier recommendations you could go for instead of what I’ve picked out below. As I mentioned above, though, £1000 is more than enough to get you a tip-top PC in my eyes, and the RPS Rig is intended to be the best and most complete mid-range system you can possibly get right now at that particular price.
That said, like any of our best PC component lists (which you can visit by clicking the links to the right), the RPS Rig isn’t going to be a system that’s set in stone. New components arrive on my testing bench all the time, and I’ll be swapping bits in and out of our recommended build as and when they come in for review and I think they deserve a place on the list.
It also means I’m going to be changing the focus of my hardware reviews a bit, too, in order to reflect this new standard going forward. I’ll still be telling you what’s good and what you should avoid like the plague, but if it’s got what it takes to boot out one of our Rig’s existing components (and it fits into our £1000 price requirement), you’ll now see an “RPS Rig Approved” sticker appear at the top of the review – a bit like the Bestest Best award you see on our game reviews.
Prices may fluctuate from time to time, of course, but at time of publication our RPS Rig comes in £975 (excluding the cost of Windows 10). We’ll do our best to keep on top of any major price hikes and add in alternative recommendations when needed, but for now, here it is. The RPS Rig:
Motherboard – AsRock B450M-HDV
This micro-ATX motherboard may not have the most impressive feature set compared to newer and more expensive X570 boards, but it’s still got everything you need to form the foundation for a great gaming PC. You get six USB ports round the back, for example (four of which are USB3), plus a Gigabit Ethernet port and three audio jacks. There are also four SATA ports for your SSD and any additional storage drives you might want to add further down the line, and its PCIe 2.0 x1 slot sits above the main PCIe 3.0 x16 slot so it won’t get obscured by your graphics card.
CPU – AMD Ryzen 5 3600
You can technically get the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 for a couple of quid cheaper over on Amazon, but if you buy this from CCL together with the AsRock motherboard I’ve mentioned above, CCL will make sure the motherboard has the correct BIOS update installed to run your shiny new processor for free – which I think you’ll agree is worth the extra few quid you’ll save by buying the CPU elsewhere.
The AMD Ryzen 5 3600 is also a fantastic CPU in its own right, and comes with its own (and very good) cooler in the box, too, which helps save on cost. To see exactly how it shapes up to its other AMD and Intel competition, have a read of our AMD Ryzen 5 3600 review.
RAM – Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB (2x 4GB) 2400MHz
Corsair make excellent RAM, and their Vengeance LPX range is some of the best in the business. 8GB is also plenty for most PC games these days, as is a speed of 2400MHz. Plus, it’s completely free of any RGB lighting, which practically comes as standard on more expensive models. I’ve picked a 4GB x2 kit here, but you may also want to just buy a single 8GB stick to give you more flexibility down the line when you want to upgrade to 16GB. At that point, you can just buy another 8GB stick that’s exactly the same as your existing one and bang, you’ve doubled your RAM without having to worry about compatibility issues. If you want to go down this route, then you can currently get a single 8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 2440MHz stick for £33 off Ebuyer.
Graphics card – Zotac GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Twin Fan (6GB)
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is best graphics card you can buy right now for flawless 1080p gaming. With 6GB of GDDR6 memory and a boost clock speed at 1770MHz at its disposal, it’s capable of hitting 60fps in practically every big blockbuster game that’s available today, and it can also manage around 60fps on High settings at 2560×1440, too. It’s a fantastic card, and not that far off Nvidia’s RTX 2060, either, as you can see from our GTX 1660 Ti vs RTX 2060 comparison piece. Yes, it’s not going to give you a particularly great ray tracing experience, what with its lack of special RT cores, but it’s still a fantastic card in its own right. For more information, have a read of our Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti review.
SSD – WD Blue 3D NAND (500GB)
There are so many great SSDs around at the moment, but the 500GB WD Blue is arguably the best value for money. Whereas other SSDs on our best gaming SSD list will get you around 250GB for £50, you can currently get a 500GB WD Blue for just £57. It’s not quite as fast as the Crucial MX500 or Samsung 860 Evo, all told, but its random read and write times are still much better than other budget drives, including WD’s Green SSDs and the Crucial BX500. Read more in our WD Blue review.
Power supply – Corsair CX550M
Your power supply is the beating heart of your PC, so it pays to get a good one. I’ve gone for the semi-modular version of Corsair’s CX550 PSU (hence the extra M on the end of its name), as this allows for slightly tidier cable routing and overall cable management. You can always opt for the regular version if you want to save yourself another £20, but this means you’ll likely have quite a few spare cables knocking around your case. Either way, the Corsair CX550 / CX550M should provide more than enough juice to power everything listed above. It’s an 80 Plus Bronze rated PSU, too, which means it’s nice and energy efficient.
Case – Thermaltake Versa H17
PC cases can often be highly personal choices depending on what your tastes and preferences are, but I’ve gone with the Thermaltake Versa H17 here as it’s probably one of the most neutral and least offensive-looking PC cases you can buy right now. It’s a micro-ATX case, too, so it won’t take up too much room and it’s just the right size for our chosen motherboard. It also comes with two USB2 and one USB3 port on the front panel, in addition to separate headphone and microphone jacks, and there’s a single 120mm fan included at the back of it, too, with room for more at the front and top of the case. The H17 also has a windowed side panel, too, so you can see everything whirring away inside, and has space for two 3.5in HDDs and two 2.5in SSDs to be mounted behind the motherboard.
Monitor – AOC 24G2U
Until recently, the AOC G2460PF would have been occupying this space, but in recent months it’s becoming increasingly hard to get hold of. Fortunately, the AOC 24G2U is just as good. Like the G2460PF, the 24G2U is a 24in, 1920×1080 monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate and AMD FreeSync support, but it has a superior IPS panel instead of a TN one. As a result, its colour accuracy is even better, so you can be sure your games will look their absolute best. Plus, the 24G2U’s FreeSync tech also plays very nicely with Nvidia graphics cards, too, so your GTX 1660 Ti will still be able to take advantage of its variable refresh rate tech for super smooth, tear free gaming. For more info, read my AOC 24G2U review.
Mouse – Corsair Harpoon Wireless RGB
The Corsair Harpoon Wireless RGB is a great value gaming mouse. Not only is it nice and light, making it easy to move around your mouse mat, but its build quality is much better than other budget gaming mice, including the similarly priced Steelseries Rival 310 and slightly cheaper HyperX Pulsefire Core. Plus, it’s wireless, meaning there’s one less pesky cable to have floating around your desk. Each of its six buttons can also be programmed to do whatever you like, and its overall design isn’t too garish either. Read more in my Corsair Harpoon Wireless RGB review.
Keyboard – HyperX Alloy FPS RGB
The HyperX Alloy FPS RGB is a great mechanical keyboard that doesn’t break the bank. Most mechanical gaming keyboards these days will set you back at least £100, but the Alloy FPS RGB’s compact and elegant steel frame looks and feels every bit like its premium rivals for a much lower price. Plus, its linear silver Kailh switches are much quieter than your typical Cherry MX switch, making all the more pleasant on the ears for you and those around you. Its USB cable is detachable, too, making it easy to replace if it gets lost or broken. Alas, its extra USB port is only good for charging your phone rather than being a proper USB passthrough port to plug in your mouse, but it’s a small sacrifice in the face of its lower cost. For more info, have a read of my HyperX Alloy FPS RGB review.
Headset – Logitech G432
When it comes to do-it-all gaming headsets, there really is nothing better than the Logitech G432. With crystal clear sound and an excellent microphone, I’ve yet to come across a better headset for less. Plus, you can plug it into almost anything thanks to its myriad of connection types. This includes a combined 3.5mm jack for your laptop, a dual 3.5mm splitter for your PC, and a USB DAC for both for when you want to take advantage of its 7.1 virtual surround sound. Read more in my Logitech G432 review.