What’s the best mid-range PC for gaming in early 2021 based on an Intel CPU?
Admittedly, we will have to update this build guide later this year but just getting information out in the wild is a good start for many of you that hit up our ATE inbox every month. With our entry-level platforms in the books, we look to a higher price range between $1000 and $1500 for our mid-range build guides.
We will start this round of build guides with the Intel platform first, just as we did in the entry-level guides. That said, the CPU comes first, and for that, we tap the Intel Core i5-10600K for its 4.1GHz base clock and 4.8GHz boost. In choosing the 10600K for this guide, we will need to pick up a CPU cooler as higher-end CPUs do not include them. For this, we choose the MasterLiquid ML120 from Cooler Master at $59.99.
The motherboard of choice here is the ASRock Z490 PG4 ac; at $199, it fits the bill perfectly. I think we will take a chance here and move memory up to 16GB for this build, a 2x8GB kit should work great, and we want Corsair Vengeance LPX; a 3600MHz kit is currently going for $84.
A large part of the budget will be gone with the GPU; we want to push high FPS 1080p or 1440p60 with this build, so we are looking towards the Radeon 5700XT or the RTX 2060/Super for this build. Once again, GPUs are ridiculously hard to come by. I would look for something used locally unless you need the warranty for peace of mind. That said, you should be able to find an RTX 2060 for $400 on the used market and the 5700XT likely in the same range. If you must go retail, you’re likely looking at a GTX 1660 6GB at roughly the same price; we choose the EVGA model for this guide.
Wrapping up this guide, we are looking at the WD SN550 1TB NVMe for the OS, the Corsair 4000D for chassis, and the matching Corsair RMx 650W PSU to power it all. Adding it all up, this gives us a build price of $1350, just under the top limit of $1500.
TLDR: The Build