If we had $750 to build a new PC from scratch, what would we spend our money on? That was the challenge presented to the Full Nerd gang on PCWorld’s YouTube channel, and the selections diverged much less than in our recent $3,000 PC build challenge.
Keep reading if you don’t mind spoilers, or just watch the video below if you want to hear us walk through the hardware in our builds without knowing what’s coming.
The CPU in every build
AMD Ryzen 5 3600
The biggest takeaway? If you’re building a $750 gaming PC, AMD’s modern Ryzen 5 processors are what you want. While the $235 Ryzen 5 3600X earns the nod as the best pick for most people in our roundup of the best CPUs for PC gaming, the Ryzen 5 3600 is just a step behind, and it’s a killer value at just $173 right now. Every single one of us chose the 6-core, 12-thread chip as the brains of our systems. And it’s not just us: The builds submitted on the Full Nerd Discord server all tapped into Ryzen 5 as well, though some of those leaned on older Ryzen 5 1600 and 2600 chips to squeeze in even more savings while still tapping into 12 threads of goodness.
The days of dominance for Intel’s Core i5 chips appear to be over, at least for now.
Better yet, the Wraith Stealth included with AMD’s processor let us skimp on third-party CPU coolers, freeing up more cash to spend elsewhere. Most of us built well-balanced systems pairing the Ryzen 5 3600 with Nvidia’s superb GeForce GTX 1660 Super—the best 1080p graphics card you can buy—for a truly kick-ass gaming system for $750. Gordon leaned even harder into graphical firepower, though, sacrificing performance in other areas of the system to upgrade to the fierce EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO Ultra, because he thinks the potential of real-time ray tracing and DLSS 2.0 is worthwhile.
Most PCWorld editors opted for a GeForce GTX 1660 Super
Our builds took more varied turns when it comes to cases, memory, and motherboards, with each of us preferring to spend more or less on different gear for various personal reasons. (What is even happening with Gordon’s case?) Again, watch the video above to hear our reasoning for every piece of hardware in each of our $750 PC builds, or check out the PC Part Picker links below for a synopsis:
After the Full Nerd gang divulged their selections, we kept the party going with a bunch of $750 PC builds crafted by our audience! If you want to get in on the action early for future build challenges or Full Nerd episodes, be sure to join our Discord server. It’s a groovy place with plenty of PC hardware talk and a community of like-minded enthusiasts.
To see more videos from the PCWorld staff, subscribe to PCWorld’s YouTube channel. We do a lot of fun stuff over there that doesn’t always make it onto our website, from build challenges like this to case teardowns to initial hands-on impressions of gear that lands fresh in our labs. We even do live streams of some of the hottest games on the day of their release—and yes, we always detail the PC gear we’re playing on.
Brad Chacos spends his days digging through desktop PCs and tweeting too much. He specializes in graphics cards and gaming, but covers everything from security to Windows tips and all manner of PC hardware.