I built a full PC build for the price of an Nvidia GPU Digital trends

Nvidia makes some of the best graphics cards out there, but most of them are ridiculously expensive. In fact, some of them are so expensive that you can build a full gaming PC for the price of a single GPU. This is where AMD has the edge, not just more affordable graphics cards, but matching processors.

You might be able to get more bang for your buck by choosing AMD than by choosing an Intel CPU and an Nvidia GPU. So I did that and picked all the components you can go out and build today for the price of a GPU.

Why is AMD a better choice?

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Now that both AMD and Nvidia have a lot of hardware up for grabs, it’s a good time to build a PC. Both manufacturers have seen steep price cuts in their GPUs, with AMD’s being cheaper than ever. However, including Nvidia and/or Intel in your build will almost always mean paying more. If you just want a PC that can run AAA games, this isn’t always a necessity.

Just a few months ago, things were not so simple. AMD’s graphics lineup was pretty bare, with only the flagship RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900 XT, as well as the affordable RX 7600. When building a 1440p PC, you’re limited to one of the top cards or an older RDNA 2 GPU. . Now, with the RX 7800 XT and RX 7700 XT finally, AMD GPUs can fit into any PC build regardless of your budget.

Nvidia’s GPUs have one advantage over AMD’s and they have Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS 3). While on paper AMD is often on the same level, Nvidia’s frame production can push the RTX 4070 to run faster than the RTX 4090, and that’s what it says. As good as DLSS 3 is, it might not be worth spending too much money on. It is not available in so many games and many people hardly use it. If you’re willing to forgo the Nvidia and put up with the lack of DLSS and inferior ray tracing, which the reality is that most gamers aren’t necessary, you can save a lot of money by going the AMD route.

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

While it’s hard to deny that Nvidia still dominates the GPU space, AMD is doing much better in its battle with Intel. In an AMD vs. Intel scenario, I’d recommend using an AMD CPU for gaming almost every time. Intel processors, whether 13th generation or the recent 14th generation update, are often better for productivity. Thanks to the increased number of cores, your computer is more compatible with Intel.

If you’re into broadcasting or content creation, Intel is often considered a must-have. However, if you mostly use your PC for gaming, even if that means simultaneously watching Twitch streams or using Discord, you’ll be perfectly fine with AMD. Increasing L3 cache has been proven to work against Intel’s options time and time again, which is why AMD now makes the best processors for gaming.

Besides performance, money is always a factor. Nvidias high-end GPUs have gotten more expensive lately, so the RTX 4090 will cost around $1,700 or more right now. Even the terrible value RTX 4080 is around $1050-1100. With a budget in this range, you can get yourself a powerful gaming PC for the price of an Nvidia graphics card.

Here’s one such build, along with ideas on how to modify it to fit your needs and budget.

Your AMD gaming PC under $1500

Here it is a PC build that sits right between the RTX 4080 and RTX 4090 prices. For $1,365, you get a decent mid-range PC for 1440p gaming. Let’s go over the components and any possible changes you can make to this build.

CPU

For starters, the CPU. With this budget, the Ryzen 5 7600X is a good choice for gaming purposes. It only has 6 cores, but it’s an affordable CPU that can clock speeds of up to 5.3GHz in boost mode, which is higher than the base clock of 4.7GHz. More importantly, the platform belongs to AMDs AM5 platform, which means future proofing, as AMD will support the platform until at least the end of 2025.

What upgrades can you do? You can switch to the next processor in line, the Ryzen 7 7700 or 7700X, but it will cost you extra (up to $310). At that point, you can spend even more and get the $370 Ryzen 7 7800X3D, which is the fastest gaming CPU right now. However, this upgrade requires more manufacturing changes. Ryzen 7 7700X should be fine with Be Quiet! Cooler I chose here, but for the 7800X3D I recommend a liquid cooler as it can run very hot. The Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240L fits this case and hardly increases the build cost, although, of course, there are better all-in-one (AIO) coolers.

If you want to save a few bucks, you can swap out the CPU for the Ryzen 5 7600. Its clock speed is slightly lower, but its power consumption is higher and it produces less heat.

GPU

AMD’s recent RX 7800 XT is a logical choice for any build at this price point right now. While it’s not significantly faster than its predecessor, it’s about the same price and is a current-gen card. The RX 7700 XT is a cheaper alternative, but it’s not quite as good as the RX 7800 XT for its price-to-performance ratio.

For savings, there’s always the RX 6800, which cuts performance but saves you $100-$120. If you want something better, the RX 6950 XT is an option for around $610. However, in that case, you’ll need to upgrade the power supply to a 750-watt (or higher) model, such as the Corsair RM750x (2021).

Memory and storage

Using a Ryzen 7000 processor locks you into DDR5 RAM, which makes it more expensive, but also better for future upgrades. I chose a mid-range kit for this build, although it’s definitely one of the best budget DDR5 RAM kits out there and supports AMD EXPO profiles. You can choose something cheaper, but you can choose something much more expensive with higher frequency and better timing. Ultimately, it doesn’t make or break your gaming experience, so it’s an easy spend.

Same with SSD. I chose not to add a hard drive to this build, but there is plenty of room for additional storage if you need it. The SSD can also be upgraded to a 2TB model, and if you want to spend more money but are prepared to pay twice as much or more, there are even faster SSDs. The Samsung 980 Pro is a much more expensive choice that is better overall.

Motherboard, PSU and Case

While this Gigabyte B650 Gaming X AX is the cheapest AM5 board you’ll find, it’s often a good idea to spend a little more than your budget on a motherboard. This model is one of the best motherboards in this price range, with decent VRM and plenty of slots, not to mention Wi-Fi. To be honest, I wouldn’t trade it for anything here, although the Gigabyte B650 Aorus or MSI B650 Gaming Plus are similar options to consider.

As for the PSU, the Seasonic 80+ Gold is a decent option for this build without any upgrades, and if you upgrade the CPU as well as a few smaller components, it will still be sufficient. It has enough headroom to be fine with. However, if you decide to make larger changes, be sure to choose a 750W or even 850W option for future protection (although that’s a lot). Choose an 80+ gold or platinum PSU, not bronze, like the Corsair RM750x (2021) I recommended above.

Buying a computer case for any build is always difficult because it’s not only about airflow and whether everything fits, but also aesthetics. I chose the Lian Li Lancool 216 because it has two massive 200mm fans and lots of airflow, but let me warn you that the airflow comes from the fact that it’s huge. If you prefer aesthetics, this one also comes in white. If you’re planning on making a case change, check out our selection of the best PC cases and be very, very careful to make sure all the components fit inside.

You don’t have to spend a lot

Kunal Khullar / Digital Trends

The world of video games thrives on marketing. They were always told that this or that new component was the fastest, or that it offered some kind of crazy performance in games. The truth is that a PC is more than the sum of its parts, and if you’re on a tight budget, it doesn’t make sense to spend $1,000 to $1,700 or more on a graphics card. Most users don’t really need that much firepower.

Of course, buying a high-end Nvidia GPU will allow your computer to go through 4K, while the above computer is more of a 1440p build. However, this is a PC that will last you for years and play games at high to ultra settings. For gaming and gaming alone, its affordability and the fact that it still only costs $200 more than the RTX 4080 says a lot about Nvidia’s pricing strategy this generation. After all, the last generation RTX 3080 was released for $700. If the prices stay the same, the scale will tip more in Nvidias favor this time around.

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