Gaming Computers

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What’s the best specifications for a high end gaming computer in 2019?

It depends on what you value as an individual gamer.

In september, 2018, Nvidia released the “RTX 20” series of graphics cards, to replace the “GTX 10” series that previously dominated the GPU world. According to benchmarks, the current highest performing card available to the public is the RTX 2080 Ti. The heir to the throne, is the fabled “Nvidia Titan RTX” will release sometime in 2019 (date TBC), be sure to check back as JW will have it in stock. To be honest, a RTX 2070 is an absolute beast of a card and happily contends with the GTX2080 and above.

In terms of CPU, while Intel and AMD have a range of insanely powerful CPUs, such as the i9s and the Ryzen Threadrippers that boast the best benchmarks, they’re a bit unrealistic for most gamers. These high-end CPUs possess at least 8 CPU cores with hyperthreading, which is a feature used for specific purposes such as cryptocurrency mining and 3D modelling, not so much games. Game developers generally code their games so they can run well on ‘normal’ CPUs. As a result, JW’s pick for the best CPU is the i7 9700k which is used in the majority of our high end gaming rigs.

For RAM we recommend between 16-32gb and at least 3000mhz in speed. In our tests, the speed of the ram usually increases the minimum FPS by around 5-10, however had a minimal effect on the maximum FPS.

A system built with components similar to the above will handle 4k gaming (3840 x 2160 resolution) and late model virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift.

What specifications offer the best cost for performance ratio?

The systems described above offer the best benchmarks and get the “oohs and “ahhs” from your peers, however usually do not offer the best possible price per performance ratio.

According to Steam’s top 100 most played games. The majority of gamers are still playing games like CS:GO, Dota 2, PUBG Battlegrounds, and of course Blizzard and EA games like Battlefield 5. Our recommendations below are all equivalent or above the ‘minimum recommended requirements’ for these games.

If you’re playing common titles on 1080p or 1440p, then there’s no need to spend excessive amounts on a system. You’re better off choosing ‘value for money’ PC parts, allowing you to upgrade more regularly, or leave spare budget for a quality monitor or gaming peripherals.

In terms of CPUs, it’s hard to go past the i5 range and AMD Ryzen 5 series. The i5 8400 is featured in many of our gaming builds, and is awarded our choice for best value/performance CPU. A very close second, is the AMD Ryzen 5 2600. If you’re looking to to spend a bit more, the next choices would be the Intel Core i5 8700k and the AMD Ryzen 2600X. Don’t just take our word for it, these CPUs are loved by the gaming community and listed as winner’s in Linus Tech Tips - What CPU to Buy - Late 2018.

For graphics cards, starting with the AMD RX 570 is an excellent GPU to build your system around, and is featured in many of our affordable gaming builds. From here, if your budget permits, the next upgrades would be either a RX580, GTX1060 or GTX1070. We encourage our customers to let us know what games they play (or plan to), and we can help you design a build with price per performance in mind.

Should I use a Intel or AMD Ryzen CPU for gaming in 2019?

This is a difficult question to answer for everybody, as the answer is “it depends”.

Put simply, if value for money is your primary motivation, then you will be better served by an AMD. If you’d prefer higher performance and are willing to pay for it, then Intel is the way to go.

We encourage our customers to talk to us about this, as “Intel or AMD” will depend on:

  • What games you play
  • What monitor and resolution you want to play on
  • What graphics card you will be pairing with
  • How often you plan to upgrade
  • What other uses you’d like to use the PC for

To start with, research benchmarks for the games you play. There will be a direct comparison between two chips you’re considering. We’ve found that Intel chips generally achieve a higher maximum FPS, however AMD will have a more affordable option that may only be 10-15 FPS below the intel.

Additionally, an AMD Ryzen with 6 physical cores and hyperthreading, such as the AMD Ryzen 5 2600 can outperform similar priced i5 chips (these do not have hyperthreading). So if you’re using the system for regular video rendering, streaming, image editing or performing many tasks in parallel, a Ryzen 5 may be the choice over an i5. However, Ryzen CPUs may fall behind the Intel i5 in games that are poorly optimised for threading.

Towards the higher end, Intels with hyperthreading (such as any i7 or i9) usually eclipse AMD chips, which is why we feature them in our highest specification gaming builds.

In terms of upgrading the PC. At the Global Stage for Innovation event in 2019. AMD announced the new 3rd generation of Ryzen CPUs, these will utilise the same AM4 socket as the older generations. This would allow Ryzen owners to upgrade more regularly, and generally at a lower price point. Intel typically do not re-use the same sockets, requiring people to upgrade both the CPU and motherboard. This would suggest Ryzen CPUs offer more value to those who regularly upgrade.

In summary

  • If you’re happy to pay more for more FPS, then Intel is likely your option
  • Ryzen have some scenarios where they offer a better cost per performance ratio
  • Ryzen machines are easier to upgrade as the new generations can generally re-use the existing motherboards
  • You need a graphics card, motherboard and monitor that compliment your choice
  • Intel are usually better towards the higher end of gaming builds
  • Choosing between two similar priced chips depends on your individual requirements

Just remember, it’s 2019. Both are extremely capable chips - you won’t go wrong with either. Decide your priority between performance, value and life cycle of the chip and base your decision from that.

Please talk to our staff if you’d like further advice.