It’s that time of the year when people have way too much disposable income. If you’re ever looking to buy a custom PC for yourself, then there’s no better time than now. A custom PC build is more achievable than ever thanks to some aggressive sales and the typical increase in purchasing power this time of the year.
But of course, it’s best to have a reasonable budget range. And the most reasonable budget range for a custom PC build is mid-range, which ranges from $1,000 to $1,400. That’s without the monitor yet, by the way.
So, we’ll be recommending a build that best fits that budget range, which is around $1,100 (rounded off/down). That should provide a good balance of power and price while allowing you to play the latest video games on ultra settings— even at 1440p resolution!
Do note that the monitor, mouse, keyboard, additional fans, shipping, and the Windows license aren’t included in the cost yet, but even with those, the total or net cost shouldn’t exceed more than $1,400.
Here’s the build. Everything here is compatible with one another, no need to check.
Intel Core i5-12600KF
- Performance trades blows with i7 and Ryzen 7 CPUs
- Can be overclocked
- Lots of cores for an i5
- Still relevant and strong despite newer generation
- runs hot for an i5
- No integrated GPU
- 10 Cores / 16 Threads (6 Performance-cores, 4 Efficient-cores)
- Unlocked, overclockable
- Up to 4.9 GHz Max Clock Speed
- 125W base power
- LGA 1700
You could go for an AMD Ryzen 5 7600X but the AM5 motherboards required for that CPU are sadly still too expensive. Meanwhile, Intel’s 13th Gen is somewhat out of reach for this budget range without sacrificing too much gaming power in the GPU segment.
Thus, this is the best compromise. But despite being only 12th Gen and only i5, the 12600KF can punch way above its weight class thanks to the four efficiency cores. It’s a significant performance increase over the 12400F which we’re sure you’d appreciate in video games.
MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
- Can handle 1440p well, even at ultra settings
- Overkill at 1080p
- Great at overclocking and undervolting
- Impressive ray tracing performance
- Will stay relevant and strong for several more years
- Can match a stock RTX 3070 if overclocked
- Still a bit expensive even for an outgoing generation
- Only 8 GB of VRAM
- Boost Clock: 1695 MHz
- Video Memory: 8GB GDDR6
- Memory Interface: 256-bit
- Dimensions: 12.4 x 1.7 x 4.7 inches
- Triple-fan Shroud
The performance difference between the RTX 3060 and the RTX 3060 Ti is pretty significant– significant enough to cause buyer’s remorse. So you’re better off going with an RTX 3060 Ti and this one from MSI is quite a beast.
It’s a triple-fan 3060 Ti, meaning you can overclock it and not worry too much about the heat and the noise. As for its gaming capabilities? We mentioned that you can go for ultra settings at 1440p in the intro, right? Well, that’s made possible thanks to this GPU. It’s the best value graphics card for 2022.
MSI PRO B660-A DDR4 Motherboard
- Large and spacious
- Two NVMe SSD slots (one has an included SSD heatsink)
- Four RAM slots
- Big heatsinks
- Has ARGB compatibility
- Good aesthetics
- Compatible with Intel 13th Gen
- No Wi-Fi
- No Bluetooth
- Large heatsink might interfere with some CPU coolers
- Supports 12th Gen Intel Core Pentium Celeron processors for LGA 1700 socket
- Supports DDR4 Memory
- Four RAM slots
- 2 NVMe SSD slots
- ATX form factor
If you’re staying in the mid-range bracket, then overclocking your CPU will yield diminishing returns and isn’t recommended– even if the i5-12600KF is a robust overclocker. You likely won’t gain much in terms of gaming.
As such, the MSI PRO B660-A motherboard is plenty for this build and CPU. It’s spacious enough to accommodate a second SSD and other PCIe peripherals such as a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth module. Meanwhile, the VRM heatsinks on this motherboard are huge and easily count towards the aesthetics. The monochromatic design is the cherry on top here.
Overall, a solid motherboard choice that won’t leave you hanging or wanting for more if you’re just going for mid-range.
DeepCool AK620 High-Performance CPU Cooler
- Performance is on par with more expensive air coolers
- Cools up to 260W of power
- A bit overkill for the 12600K
- Two included fans are stellar at cooling and are silent
- All installation tools are included
- Large and bulky, you might need to change fan orientation to avoid RAM interference
- Heat dissipation power of 260W
- Dimensions:129x138x160mm, 43mm RAM height clearance
- Compatible with LGA 1700 (ask for a bracket)
- Two Fans
This is all the cooling a mid-range CPU will need. Since you’re packing in a powerful i5 overclocker in this build, you’re better off with a CPU cooler that’s rated for an i7 or higher. That way, you get plenty of overhead with temperature.
Despite the price and intended budget range of this CPU cooler, it can trade blows with air coolers that are more than double the price, such as those from Noctua. This is mandatory since most of the time, the 12600K does not come bundled with a stock Intel cooler, and those are poor performers anyway.
TeamGroup T-Force Vulcan Z DDR4 DRAM 16GB
- Good latency
- Not much interference or compatibility issues with the motherboard and CPU cooler
- Good heatsink with shiny metal shroud
- No RGB (subjective)
- 16-20-20-40 timing
DDR5 RAM is still expensive since you will need to include the compatible motherboard in the cost, which is also expensive. So for now, let’s stick with DDR4 RAM. Most of them are the same with some proper latencies.
You’re fine as long as you get dual-channel (two sticks), like the RAM above. And 16GB is the standard today, so no need to go overboard with 32GB just yet. No RGB for this one, however; pick the black one for this build to fit the aesthetics.
Western Digital 1TB WD Green SN350
- 3-year limited warranty
- shock resistance against accidental bumps and drops
- 3,200MB/s read and write speed
- Green shroud
- No proper heatsink
- Fast NVMe performance for daily computing needs — up to 3,200MB/s
- SSDs offer shock resistance against accidental bumps and drops
- Western Digital 3-year limited warranty
- 1 TB
Since you have only a few (2) NVMe slots on this motherboard, as is the case with most motherboards these days, it’s best to make the slot count. In this case, going for 1 TB is the most cost-effective solution.
A lot of NVMe SSDs are cheaper these days due to competition and an abundance of supplies. As for speed, you don’t really need anything too crazy if you’re mostly just using it for gaming. You can buy another one of these later if you need more storage.
Cooler Master MWE V650 Gold V2 Full Modular
- Fully modular
- Semi-fanless design means it should be quiet
- 650 watts
- 10 Year Warranty
- Non-modular version is significantly more affordable
- Fully modular
- 80 PLUS Gold Efficiency
- Semi-Fanless with Hybrid Switch
- 135mm Fluid Dynamic Fan
No custom PC build is complete or stable without a reliable PSU or power supply unit. And when it comes to power supplies, Cooler Master has a good reputation. 650 watts should be enough for this setup with a bit more room for upgrades in the foreseeable future.
And the efficiency is thankfully gold, meaning you don’t waste much while gaming or running the PC at full load. The fully-modular design ensures that the inside of your case remains tidy and as minimalistic as possible when it comes to messy cables.
Corsair 4000D Airflow Tempered Glass
- Minimalist Corsair design
- Accessible front dust filter
- Lots of fan slots
- Spacious interior
- Good elevation
- Ample cable room
- Has a white version
- Looks a bit pricey for its design
- Dimensions: 17.83 x 9.06 x 18.35 inches
- ATX, mid-sized
- Front mesh and filter
- 6 fan slots
- PSU Shroud
For the case, the Corsair 4000D offers the best balance of cooling performance, aesthetics, and price. It’s one of the best in the market right now when it comes to keeping your PC components cool. The design is also user-friendly since it allows you to access and clean the front panel dust filter easily.
Cable management is excellent in this case and there are a lot of holes and grommets for tucking away those messy cables. Meanwhile, we’ll be taking advantage of the spacious interior since our GPU for this build is quite big.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are custom PC builds better?They're usually more affordable and give more customization opportunities to users.
Is building a custom PC hard?It's not that hard anymore. There are tons of educational and instructional videos online. The only hard part is inserting the CPU into the motherboard and installing the CPU cooler, but even those are simple enough and come with instructions.