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Building a $2,000 1440p Gaming PC

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

With this system build, we wanted a PC that could comfortably game at 1440p (60 fps or higher), without breaking our $2,000 budget. For us, the $1500-2000 mark easily constitutes a mid-to-high end 1440p system, and aiming for the top of that bracket allows us to stretch for a few luxury components that should really make the machine pop on your desktop.

To achieve this, we’ve picked up a selection of classy RGB components and high-end hardware, including the NZXT Kraken Z63 cooler with in-built display, the H510 Elite tempered glass chassis, some brand new G.Skill Trident Z Neo memory, an AMD Ryzen 5 3600X processor, and Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2070 Super Founders Edition graphics card.

Choosing the Components

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

We knew from the get-go that this was going to be a pricey build. RGB lighting may be popular. but it comes with a premium, and it’s often attached to only the most high-end of components. To that end we decided to opt for some lower specced parts to reduce the overall cost here and there, including the power supply and storage.

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

With six cores, 12 threads and a 4.4 GHz clock speed AMD’s Ryzen 5 3600X is an ideal part for 1440p gaming. Not only can it handle all of your framerate needs, but it’s also a well-equipped processor capable of taking on streaming and video rendering tasks too.

Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super

We set out to use a standard RTX 2070 for this build, but almost all of them are now more expensive than the Super. Given that the Super also includes an additional 256 CUDA cores and a beefier core clock than the original 2070, it made sense to opt for this card instead.

At 1440p, the 2070 Super outperforms the 2070 by a good 10%, and in our full review we found it comfortably hit around 100fps in Far Cry 5, Battlefield V, Forza Horizon 4 and more.

Motherboard: MSI MEG X570 UNIFY

This is one of the few areas we could’ve saved money. There are a lot of affordable, stylish, X570 motherboards out there. But we went with MSI’s MEG X570 Unify, as it provides plenty of connectivity and looks very clean with a complete brushed-aluminum and black finish throughout.

RAM: 32GB (4x8GB) G.Skill trident Z Neo @ 3600

AMD Ryzen performance actively scales with memory frequency thanks to its memory controller being directly integrated with the Infinity Fabric interconnect. With Zen 2, that memory controller decouples from the fabric at 3,733 MHz, making 3,600 MHz the sweet spot for price and performance.

For that reason we’ve opted for a set of G.Skill Trident Z Neo RAM and 32GB at that speed. You could live with 16GB just for gaming, but memory prices have been creeping back up, so future upgrades might be pricier. And this way we ensure we’ve got more than enough capacity for any and all applications we throw this system’s way.

Power Supply: 750W NZXT C750 Modular 80+ Gold

We’ve decided to save some cash on our PSU choice by using NZXT’s latest C750M modular power supply. We’re expecting our system to draw around 374W at max from the wall when running at stock, so having just under twice the capacity at our fingertips gives us plenty of headroom. Couple that with an 80+ Gold efficiency rating and a 10 year warranty, and it’s a solid pick.

Storage: 500GB Corsair Force MP600 M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD, 1TB Crucial P1 M.2 PCIe 3.0 SSD

For storage we’re going to rely entirely on M.2 drives to power this build. Our main OS drive is the 500GB Corsair Force MP600. It’s a PCIe 4.0 drive, with read and write speeds rated way up at 4,950/2,500 MB/s, which should give us plenty of performance for our OS and primary programs.

For our secondary drive, we’ve gone for a 1TB Crucial P1. Aside from being very affordable, this drive actually edges out our favorite budget M.2 PCIe SSD, the 1TB Intel 600P, in sequential performance metrics too, with native read and writes of 2000/1700 MB/s.

Case: NZXT H510 Elite

For our chassis we’ve opted for the NZXT H510 Elite. This dual tempered-glass case includes two of NZXT’s 140mm AER RGB 2 fans as standard, which is ideal for our Kraken Z63. On top of that it’s also got a very clean interior, an integrated fan controller, and plenty of cable management options to make any build easy to keep tidy.

Fans: 1x NZXT 140mm AER RGB 2

As mentioned above, two of these fans were included with the case, however the top most exhaust we’ve installed ourselves. The AER RGB 2 fans are impressively colorful and particularly good at diffusing their light. Sadly, the 140mm variants don’t feature the best static pressure performance.

Cooler: NZXT Kraken Z63 280mm AIO

This 280mm AIO features an integrated 2.36” LCD screen capable of displaying 24-bit color. On top of that, using NZXT’s CAM software you can configure it to show off a multitude of different system stat screens, or even gifs and videos.

ProcessorAMD Ryzen 5 3600X$179.99
Graphics CardNvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super$499.99
MotherboardMSI MEG X570 UNIFY$299.99
Memory32GB (4x8GB) G.Skill trident Z Neo @ 3600$219.99
Power SupplyNZXT C750 Modular 750W 80+ Gold$119.99
Storage 1Corsair Force MP600 M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD 500GB$139.99
Storage 2Crucial P1 M.2 PCIe 3.0 SSD 1TB$114.99
PC CaseNZXT H510 Elite$149.99
Fans1x NZXT 140mm AER RGB 2$30.99
PC CoolerNZXT Kraken Z63 280mm AIO$234.48

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As Associate Editor of Tom's Hardware's prestigous British division, Zak specializes in system building, case reviews and peripherals, and has a particular penchant for liquid-cooling. He's also a lover of all things Viking/Scandinavian (thus the poor attempt at a beard).