It’s so refreshing that for today’s Black Friday PC gaming deals (opens in new tab) that we can actually spec out full systems and know we’ll have savings on the whole lot. Last Black Friday we couldn’t. With it being all but impossible, or at least infuriatingly expensive, to bag a graphics card the best you could manage was put together a system and talk about how nice it would be if you could buy a GPU. Sigh.
But this year there are Black Friday deals on everything and that means Jacob and I are going head-to-head to see who can spec out the best gaming PC from the deals on the table and see if we can pick a winner.
Though, if I’m being brutally honest, the winners are the Black Friday gaming PC deals (opens in new tab) on offer right now. If you want to build your own rig, it’s cheaper to do that today given the discounts on offer, and the same if you’re just looking to upgrade a few components in your current rig.
But it’s practically impossible to beat the prices that pre-built systems are going for right now.
Check out the builds below and let us know which one you think is the winner. So that at least one of comes out of Black Friday with some PC-based bragging rights.
Dave’s Black Friday gaming PC build
I’m a sucker for a mini-ITX build and that means my rig comes in at a premium because of its ickle-ness. That NZXT H1 v2 chassis is the one that currently clothes my office PC, and it’s half price at the moment. It’s a great looking case, lovely to build into, and comes with a cooler and PSU built in.
Into that I’ve gone with the Ryzen 7 5800X which is a fantastic price right now, and still offers high-end performance. The Corsair Vengeance LPX memory is about the sweet spot for Ryzen 5000 chips, and the modules are short enough they’ll fit in the confines of the H1 case. I’ve been caught out with big sticks before…
Then it’s that RX 6800 XT which I can’t believe is still in stock. That’s RTX 3080 level gaming performance for a little over $500. A great card, and incidentally also a GPU that features in my H1 office PC, too. There’s a theme here…
And that screen? Well, I accept Jacob and Wes’ position on straight 16:9 1440p panels (opens in new tab)but for me, I’m ultrawide ’til I die.
Jacob’s Black Friday gaming PC build
To this day, 1440p is the best blend of speed and quality for a gamer on a reasonable budget, so that’s what I’ve gone for here with this build. At its heart is AMD’s RX 6700 XT, a graphics card that has really grown on me since its release. While at first it felt second-fiddle to Nvidia’s RTX 3070, it’s now cheaper than an RTX 3060 Ti. So there’s really no arguing its performance per dollar. You don’t get quite as great ray tracing performance out of this card, but I do hold that ray tracing is still mostly a pursuit for high-end gaming cards, as further down the stack there’s less wiggle room on performance. It’s a solid deal on what we need it for anyways.
Paired alongside that GPU is my pick for the best CPU for gaming of the last generation: Intel’s Core i5 12600K. This really is a fantastic gaming processor able to keep up with the latest GPUs, but it’s also more a multithreaded model than you’d think. It has 16 threads to play with, after all. While I’d love to throw in the Core i5 13600K into this build, it’s just too hot out of the gate to be affordable enough right now. Give it until next year’s Black Friday build and we’ll talk Raptor Lake.
Beyond these key components, I’ve tried to keep a balanced approach that doesn’t make too many sacrifices. For example, you could get a cheaper PSU, but I want that trusted Super Flower name on there to make me feel all fuzzy inside. Similarly, you could cut down the SSD capacity and save a heap of cash, but where else will you store your games if not on the SN850X? Instead, I wanted to make the reasonable build I’d go for right now, and a PC that has enough leeway for upgrades down the line, even for a next-gen mid-range GPU.