Research has shown that gamers looking to build a gaming PC spend around R33k – R35k on the entire build. In 2022, 60% of gamers who built a new rig were willing to spend over R30,000 on the parts. So what does R30,000 get you exactly? That was my goal for this project. I wanted to see what parts you can pick up, where you would have to cut costs and in the end, what benchmarks you can expect from a high-end 1440p gaming PC built for between R30,000 and R35,000.
Watch this 1440p budget PC build video below
This content is based on a build that totals exactly R34,968. So it is just shy of R35,000. Keep in mind that it doesn’t include a monitor, accessories or a Windows license. If it did, it would be a lot more expensive. You’ll likely not worry about this if you’re building a new or upgraded rig for your current setup.
Before I get started, I want to thank Gigabyte for the help with this PC build. The brand sent over the Gigabyte B760 Aorus Master DDR4 to add to this build. The motherboard’s cost was factored into this overall build even though we didn’t technically pay for it. We also only had a budget of R30,000 ourselves so they really came through to help pull this off.
Motherboard – Gigabyte B760 Aorus Master DDR4
Speaking of which, the motherboard was the first thing we started with on this build. The Gigabyte B760 Aorus Master DDR4 costs between R5,499 and R,5999 depending on where you get it. I factored in its highest price for this build at R5,999. The B760 is a DDR4, LGA 1700 socket motherboard that supports both the Intel 12th-gen and 13th-gen CPUs.
The reason why we opted for this board is mainly due to its Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support. You really can’t go without that these days on a PC. Also, if you’re building a new rig, you might as well get these features from the start rather than buying a separate dongle or PCI-E card later down the line.
The board packs quite a number of features and includes a fully covered MOSFET heatsink for those who want to push the thermals on your CPU up a bit. It also packs 3 PCIE 4.0 slots with 4 M.2 slots for all the SSD expansions you’ll need.
The main features here include a 2.5GbE LAN port, front USB C 10GB/s port, WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 11ax and a range of additional ports. These ports include 1 USB C 3.2 Gen 2×2, 1 USB Type A 3.2 Gen2 port, 6 USB USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, DisplayPort, HDMI, RJ-45, optical and 5 audio jacks.
The Gigabyte B760 Aorus Master DDR4 also supports Q-Flash which is a great feature for setting up your PC and installing the latest BIOS right from the get-go. It is also ATX compatible so should fit in the majority of PC cases around.
RAM – Corsair VENGEANCE RGB RS 32GB 3600MHz
I first unboxed the motherboard and set it aside to prepare for the PC case. This marked the perfect opportunity to install the RAM and other additional components. I started off with the RAM. We picked up the Corsair 32GB VENGEANCE 3600MHz. This RAM kit cost R1980 and looks pretty cool. It features customizable RGB on the top and comes with a dual heatsink shell to keep things cool. Installing it was as simple as it could be.
SSD – Corsair Force Series MP600 1TB NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD
Next was the SSD. We went with the Corsair Force Series MP600 SSD and picked a 1TB model. It comes with a heatsink installed on it already so we had to remove the PCIE heatsink on the B760 in order to use it. Of course, this meant that once removed, we could not put it back due to the extra thickness on the SSD. If you’re someone who wants the SSD hidden away, be sure to get a heatsink-free model so you can put the motherboard plate back on.
Installing the SSD was quite simple and we just had to peel off the protective plastic, slot it into the M.2 slot and push it down firmly to lock the plastic cap in place. No screws are needed to lock the SSD in place on the B760. The latch also allows you to quickly remove the SSD without any hassle too.
CPU – Intel Core i5 13600K – Up to 5.1GHz
Next was the CPU. We were originally going to go for a 12th-Gen i5 but considering the price difference between the 13th Gen, it made sense to put the extra cash in and upgrade it. I have already covered the Intel Core i5 13600K on the channel a few times already and it holds up pretty well. If anything, it would be the gamer’s Intel choice when looking at a PC for this cost. Anything higher might be tough to fit into the budget.
I do benchmark this PC later on and test the CPU under baseline clock conditions. So you’ll see just how this rig performs thanks to this 13th-Gen Intel Core-i5. But the usual installation process takes place. We unboxed it, unhinged the CPU bracket, slotted in the chip and closed it up.
Case – NZXT H710i Black/Red
Now that we had the motherboard ready to go, we needed to prepare the case. I always recommend NZXT for low-cost PC cases. For under R2,000, this NZXT H710i cost R1970, there is a lot of value for money here.
These cases come with great cooling support, the latest case ports, a clean and minimal design and are pretty approachable when it comes to installation. You’ll also be able to get this same model in black, white and a black and red version which we picked up.
The case is likely the most amount of work you’ll put in during the PC build. You have to remove a range of faces, unscrew metal brackets, position the motherboard, add the power supply and then wire it all together. Unless you’ve worked with a certain case before, chances are you’ll get thrown a curveball somewhere along the line which you weren’t expecting. These hurdles can set your PC build back a few hours if you’re not ready for them.
PSU – NZXT C Series C850 850W ATX modular
After we screwed in the motherboard, the next component was the power supply. There’s nothing really fancy about most power supplies on the market. You can spend a fortune on ones that have RGB and displays but if you’re simple, a basic one works out just fine. This model cost R1880.
We went with the NZXT C Series C850 PSU. As the name suggests, it is an 850W unit that will power everything on the PC. It is also modular which means all the cables plug into the unit and you can have a cleaner setup depending on how many things you plug in.
The main attraction of this power supply, believe it or not, was its packaging. It came with a cool purple bag that housed all the cables. It might be a toiletry bag.. I don’t know what NZXT wanted us to do with the bag but if you had to put all your toiletries in it when you went on holiday, I won’t judge you. It just seems like it was made for that.
Cooler – Corsair iCUE H150i RGB 360mm Liquid CPU Cooler
Now that the PSU was in alongside the motherboard, it was time for the cooler before wiring it all up. We went with the Corsair iCUE H150i cooler. It is a 360mm liquid cooler that has all the modern features you look for. It cost us R2,590.
Remember the hurdles I mentioned before? Well, this is where our first hurdle arrived. The Corsair iCUE H150i doesn’t talk nicely to the motherboard. At first, we wanted to install the cooler at the top of the case but due to the motherboard’s heatsinks, it simply didn’t fit.
There was the tiniest lip that jutted out at the top which prevented the fan rack on the NZXT case from sitting flush with the case. The one fan on the cooler got in the way. So after some headaches and about an hour of the day wasted, we decided to just give up and put the cooler on the front. This means removing all the pre-installed fans from the case and swapping them around with the cooler on the top.
GPU – Gigabyte Radeon RX 6750 XT Gaming OC 12GB
Surprisingly, that was the only issue we encountered. For the first time in my PC building career, I plugged in all the power cables, RGB and cooler wires and they worked the first time. Everything spoke to the PC and all the lights came on. I was quite chuffed with myself.
The GPU was installed last and it was simple and easy. We went with the Gigabyte Radeon RX 6750 XT Gaming OC 12GB. I have reviewed this GPU in full in the past, it is a fantastic 1440p card that is also quite cost-efficient at R12,999.
- Motherboard – Gigabyte B760 Aorus Master DDR4 – R5,999
- GPU – GPU – Gigabyte AMD Radeon RX 6750 Gaming OC 12GB – R12,500
- SSD – Corsair Force Series MP600 1TB NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD – R1950
- Chassis – NZXT H710i B/B – R1,970
- Cooler – Corsair iCUE H150i RGB 360mm Liquid CPU Cooler – R2,590
- CPU – Intel Core i5 13600K; Up to 5.1GHZ – R6,099
- PSU – NZXT C Series C850 850W ATX modular PSU – R1,880
- RAM – Corsair VENGEANCE® RGB RS 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4 – R1,980
- Total – R34,968
I installed Windows 10 from a USB-C drive. If you have an SSD or something with a USB C, I recommend doing this because it greatly helps speed the installation process up thanks to the write speed. After that, we updated the BIOS on the Gigabyte B760 Aorus Master DDR4 and ran some tests.
We ran the awesome Returnal benchmark on 1080p and set everything to Epic. The test gave us an average fps of 60, max fps of 91 and minimum fps of 37. Testing Cyberpunk 2077 on 1080p with Ray Tracing Ultra, it gave us an average fps of 107, max fps of 232 and minimum fps of 41.
The 13th-Gen Intel Core i5 also performed well. During Cinebench R20 tests, I measured a max of 89C on the unit. This is with its multi-core clock at 5.1GHz. Cinebench R20 also gave us the following scores. I also ran some 3DMark tests:
- Single-Core – 771
- Multi-Core – 9183
Fire Strike Ultra
- Overall – 9083
- Graphics – 8981
- Physics – 38 828
- Combines – 4402
Time Spy Extreme
- Overall – 6469
- Graphics – 6283
- CPU – 7778
So in the end, we took R35k and built quite a decent gaming PC that is capable of 1440p 60fps gaming. Sure, some of the latest games, Returnal included, might need some tweaking around in the settings in order to get the performance to where you want it to be but generally speaking, this PC should last you a few years.
I hope this was helpful to those looking for a PC on a specific budget. I also hope to return to this in the months ahead and perhaps try to build another one later this year and see if anything has changed.