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Hardware / Recommended


Gaming Computer - Components


Updated: June 2020

The computer system configuration given below is based on AM4 socket, DDR4 RAM, and AMD "Bristol Ridge" CPU models.

Zalman ZM-T5 computer case top connectors
  • The given configuration makes a very versatile computer. It can be used for: gaming (it can run latest AAA 3D games), retro gaming, web browsing, writing, programming, video and audio playing, video editing, audio editing. For video transcoding acceptable performance is expected.
  • Not intended for: architectural 3D rendering or other offline 3D rendering.
  • ECC capable memory is provided to attain the professional level of reliability, data integrity and computational correctness.
  • Additional benefits: smaller form factor (micro ATX, 25 liters), very quiet operation, easily upgradable RAM, fast storage, fast startup.
  • The notes on availability of various components, especially the CPU and the motherboard, are given below the components table.
  • Notes on other options for the GPU board are given below the the components table.
  • Some people prefer a bigger chassis (computer enclosure); some people prefer a different enclosure. You can substitute the recommended enclosure with some other ATX or micro ATX enclosure.

Components Table

Name and Description

Price, New

Price, Used

CPU

A8-9600

3.1 GHz, 4 integer cores, 65 W, socket AM4, "Bristol Ridge" 15h

$90

$45

CPU Cooler

New CPU: included for free

Used CPU: Arctic Cooling Alpine AM4, ACALP00025A

free / $7

--

Motherboard

ASRock AB350M Pro4

mATX, socket AM4, AMD B350, 4x DDR4, max. 64 GB RAM

$90

$65

Main Memory

8 GB Kingston, Part No.: KSM24ES8/8ME

DDR4 DIMM unbuffered ECC 2400 MHz 1.2V

$55

$55

GPU Board

Radeon RX 570, 8 GB

$185

$115

Startup Drive

Crucial MX500, 250 GB

$50

avoid

Enclosure

Zalman ZM-T5

Micro ATX / Mini ITX, Mini Tower, black, 2.94 kg, 25 liters, 348(D) x 170(W) x 427(H)mm

$30

avoid

Power Supply

Be quiet! Pure Power 11 400 W 80 PLUS Gold

$60

avoid

Data Backup

2 x SanDisk Cruzer Ultra 16 GB USB 3.0

$12

avoid

Total Cost

$439 - $572

$572

Components Availability and Upgrade Suggestions

  • The CPU might have limited availability. Some online shops like NewEgg and Amazon might attempt to overcharge for this CPU. Therefore, first check whether your local computer stores have this CPU available.
  • If this specific CPU model is unavailable, try some of the other AM4 "Bristol Ridge" models listed on recommended CPUs page.
  • Second-hand "Bristol Ridge" CPUs can be purchased on eBay. They are also commonly available through local used-good markets. Second-hand CPUs are rarely malfunctioning, because CPUs have long working lifespans.
  • Availability of the recommended motherboard is similar to availability of the CPU; therefore all the given advice also applies to the motherboard.
  • Recommended main memory DIMMs should be available through various online stores like Amazon.
  • To search for main memory DIMMs, use the part number (model code) as specified in the components table above. Searching by the part number is the only reliable way to get the correct DIMMs (DDR4, unbuffered and ECC), especially on eBay.
  • To get additional main memory capacity, just purchase more of the same DIMMs. But you can't use 3 DIMMs, only 1, 2 or 4
  • In order to get an even more powerful gaming machine, a better and more expensive GPU should be purchased (but, the recommended GPU should be quite sufficient, even for the latest and most demanding games).
  • The simplest way to reduce the price of this computer is to substitute the GPU with a less expensive model. Some of the more popular choices are given below in the GPU models table.

Alternative GPU Boards

If you would like to substitute the recommended GPU board, use the table below to calculate the price difference.

Discrete (i.e. non-integrated) GPUs are quite expensive. Their main purpose is to provide better quality graphics in 3D graphics games.

The column "Perf." gives an approximate performance of each GPU.

The electric power requirements are given in the table below so that yearly electricity consumption of each GPU can be estimated (and therefore, the cost of electric energy). A GPU that consumes less power needs less cooling, therefore the cooling fans might generate less noise.

Name and Description

Perf.

TDP

Idle Power

Dual Display Power

Gaming Power

Price, New

Price, Used

Radeon RX 550 2GB/4GB

30-38

50 W

7 W

?

50 W

$90 / $100

$80 / $90

Radeon RX 560 4GB

50-60

75 W

9 W

15 W

80 W

$125

$90

Radeon RX 570 4GB/8GB

100

120 W

12 W

27 W

170 W

$165 / $185

$90 / $115

Radeon RX 5500 XT 4GB/8GB

116

130 W

8 W

18 W

130 W

$220 / $250

$190 / $220

Radeon RX 5600 XT 6GB OC

180

160 W

10 W

28 W

160 W

$350

--

Here is a list of recommended output image resolutions with explanations:

  • 900p -- approx. 1.44 Mpixels - unnecessarily more detailed than the resolution of average human eyesight in circumstances of "3D games": fast motion of photorealistic images

  • 800p -- approx. 1.14 Mpixels - matches well with average human eyesight in common circumstances of "3D games".

  • 720p -- approx. 0.92 Mpixels - good compromise between image sharpness and required GPU speed. Sharp, but slightly imperfect.

  • 600p -- approx. 0.64 Mpixels - somewhat blurry image but still acceptable quality, for low-speed GPUs; for example, this is better than output image of the GPU on Nintendo Switch.

Here is a description of performance of each GPU model:

  • Radeon RX 550 -- Able to run most AAA 3D games in 600p resolution at 30 FPS. It is sufficiently powerful to run a few years old games in better quality. User might be forced to reduce output image quality to get an acceptable performance in more demanding games.
  • Radeon RX 560 -- Able to run newest AAA 3D games in 720p resolution at 30 FPS. It should produce a sharp image, but with imperfect fluidity. You might be forced to reduce 3D image quality in some games. Older games should not present a performance problem.
  • Radeon RX 570 -- Able to run newest AAA 3D games in 720p resolution at 60 FPS. It should produce a sharp, pleasant and fluid image.
  • Radeon RX 5500 XT -- Able to run newest AAA 3D games in 800p resolution at 60 FPS. It should produce a very sharp, pleasant and fluid image.
  • Radeon RX 5600 XT -- Able to run newest AAA 3D games and future AAA 3D games in 800p resolution at 60 FPS, and to simultaneously enable higher image quality than recommeded by the game producer. It should produce a very sharp, extremely pleasant and fluid image.