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The Best $1,250 Quiet Gaming PC Build – July 2021

By Ari Altman | Published June 30, 2021 | Updated July 18, 2021

Critical Update: if you actually want to start gaming on a new PC any time before Fall 2021, you have a few options: try to grab one of the few pre-built PCs still for sale, or build up a PC using Intel’s onboard graphics or an older GPU you have on hand. That’s because GPUs are sold out worldwide due to the latest cryptocurrency mining crisis. We present both options to you in this guide.

Want a high-powered Quiet Gaming PC Build that delivers an excellent gaming experience while running in near silence? Then the $1,250 Quiet Gaming PC Build is the system for you! Every component has been chosen to maximize performance in both games and applications, while minimizing noise.

For July 2021, the Quiet Gaming PC Build features Intel’s Core i5-10600K six-core, 12-thread CPU, which after a major price cut makes AMD’s entire mid-range CPU lineup obsolete! That’s in part because AMD is getting bold and raising prices, and abandoning its core $150-$300 market. The 10600K is supporting the amazing GeForce RTX 3060 12GB video card. This combo can easily handle resolutions up to 2560 x 1440, making this a true high-end gaming PC, even if it’s ultra-silent! The only issue will be finding the 3060 in stock, so for now, we recommend using the graphics built into the Core i5, or picking up the pre-built PC we recommend in this guide.

As for the other components, the Quiet Gaming PC Build is loaded up with 16GB of DDR4-3600 RAM, a 1TB NVMe solid-state drive, a silent CPU cooler, and an efficient Gold-rated power supply. The icing on the cake is the be quiet! Pure Base 500 case, which will certainly live up to its name by keeping things quiet! Learn more about this awesome PC in our build overview YouTube video featuring the Pure Base 500, and feel free to post any questions to us directly !

We also list a few of our favorite accessories to complete the Quiet Gaming PC build, including a responsive keyboard, a great low-cost mouse, and an excellent 165Hz gaming monitor, but feel free to check out our dedicated Monitor Buyer’s Guide and Peripherals Buyer’s Guide for more options.

We update this build on a monthly basis to incorporate new product releases or major price adjustments, so check back often. Throughout our guides, we provide direct shopping links to Amazon, Newegg, or B&H for our readers in the US, and our Amazon links will auto-convert for readers in other countries, including Canada, the UK, and parts of the EU, with automatic substitutions made where necessary. Your use of these links helps keep this guide alive!

The Pre-Built Option

  • HOT DEAL! Start gaming today on this great pre-built system from MSI. It features the impressive Intel Core i5-10400F six-core, 12-thread CPU, along with the GeForce RTX 2060 6GB video card. Also onboard are 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 500GB solid-state drive, a 1TB hard drive, and next-gen WiFi 6 wireless networking!

    The Guru’s Tip

    Given the scarcity of GPUs at retail, this is a deal you shouldn't pass up!

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The DIY Build

  • The overclockable Core i5-10600K offers up six cores, 12 threads, and a Turbo speed of 4.8GHz, which all translates to excellent gaming performance! AMD’s CPUs in this price range (of which there are basically none) couldn’t come close to competing. That gives Intel the clear advantage in terms of price/performance. In fact, the 10600K is a better gaming CPU than even Intel’s 11th-Gen models. Intel also has the only modern CPUs with built-in graphics, which is extremely important these days, since GPUs are unavailable.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Note that this CPU does not include a cooler, but for a quiet gaming system, you'd want an upgraded cooler anyway, and we recommend one later in this guide.

  • This board will make a great foundation to your system. It offers robust 11+1-phase power stages, five expansion slots, two M.2 slots, and eight USB ports. Being a Z-series board, it also supports overclocking. And best of all, it has built-in 802.11ac wireless networking and Bluetooth!

    The Guru’s Tip

    You'll be able to use this board's built-in HDMI output to drive any monitor up to a resolution of 1920x1080 while you wait on a new video card. Note that while you can use newer Z590 boards with this build, they are more expensive and won't add any additional functionality when paired with a 10th-Gen CPU like the one we recommend.

  • CRITICAL UPDATE: The new king-of-the-hill in the midrange segment is the RTX 3060 12GB, which offers simply exceptional performance per dollar. Unfortunately, you can’t buy it right now, as it sold out instantly at launch, and will likely remain out of stock until Fall 2021 due to its popularity among cryptocurrency miners.

    The Guru’s Tip

    A great alternative is to go with the pre-built PC we recommended earlier in this guide, which will get you gaming right away! Another option if you're committed to building your own PC right now is using the onboard graphics built into the Intel CPU until you can buy a video card.

  • To get the most out of your PC Build, you want 16GB of RAM, and this kit comes in at a great price. But more importantly, with a combination of serious speed (3600MHz) and serious timings (16-18-18), this isn’t just a slow 3200 kit rebranded to sell at a higher price, it’s the real deal!
    The Guru’s Tip

    To set this kit's speed, use the XMP profile in the motherboard's UEFI.

  • Harnessing the power of cutting-edge TLC V-NAND, the NVMe protocol, and the PCIe interface, this SSD is by far the fastest drive at its pricepoint. It can hit sequential speeds of up to 3500MB/s! Note that you’ll need a to affix it.
    The Guru’s Tip

    This drive will fit into one of the two M.2 slots on the motherboard, leaving a free slot for a future upgrade!

  • Offering fantastic value and quality for under $100, this model combines quiet operation and minimalist styling that truly strikes a balance. It includes 140mm fans in the front and rear for great airflow, plus acoustic padding to reduce noise. We love this case in white, but if that’s too bold for you, it’s also available in .
    The Guru’s Tip

    This case is also available with a solid side panel, but we really like the look of the glass, and it doesn't let significantly more noise through.

  • This unit offers Gold-rated efficiency (that’s 90% at 50% load) and plenty of power (550W) in a short chassis, which makes it very easy to install. The best part: with the wattage this system will pull, the power supply will never need to run its fan at high speed, meaning it will operate in silence!
    The Guru’s Tip

    Due to current worldwide supply chain issues, many power supplies have sold out across the US. Luckily, this high-quality model is almost always in stock. Please avoid knock-off brands from no-name manufacturers like RaidMax and Apevia.

  • This cooler is the perfect pick for the Quiet Gaming PC Build. Thanks to its advanced design, it offers nearly-silent operation despite excellent cooling capability. It uses our favorite all-around 120mm fan, the excellent Arctic P12 PWM. Learn more in our !
    The Guru’s Tip

    The CPU we recommend for this build does not include a cooler, so this one is not optional!

  • Windows 10 was a big step up from Windows 8.1, and Microsoft continues to support Windows 10 users not only with regular security updates, but with major content releases every six months. And the USB version installs in under 5 minutes, meaning you can get right into using your system!
    The Guru’s Tip

    If the Windows 10 USB is ever sold out, you can always get it via download - all you need is an 8GB or bigger flash drive to load the image onto.

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Optional Products

  • Asus pioneered the high-refresh rate gaming monitor years ago, and has returned to the mid-range market with the VG248QG, which boasts amazing specs for the price. It gives you a 24″ 1920×1080 TN panel with a refresh rate overclockable to 165Hz (144Hz is standard), plus a 0.5ms (GTG) response time. It boasts adaptive-sync technology compatible with both Nvidia and AMD to provide stutter and screen tearing, plus a highly-adjustable stand to dial in just the right ergonomics.

    The Guru’s Tip

    Connect this monitor via DisplayPort to take advantage of its high refresh rate.

  • Pick up a great keyboard at a great price with the G213. It’s quick, quiet, and responsive, and it also has sweet RGB backlighting, of course!
    The Guru’s Tip

    To set the keyboard's backlighting, you'll want to download Logitech's GHub software.

  • Get a jump on your competition with this awesome gaming mouse from Logitech, which features a next-gen 16,000dpi sensor and a classic ergonomic shape!
    The Guru’s Tip

    Avoid all the knock-off brands that often top the sales charts - they won't come close to offering the same performance and quality.

  • If you need a good headset at an unbeatable price, we recommend Corsair’s excellent HS60 Pro Surround headset. Light, comfortable, and stylish without being in your face, it’s a great headset for gaming, and can even be used with mobile devices that have a 3.5mm analog jack.
    The Guru’s Tip

    The HS60 Pro Surround offers up a virtual 7.1 Surround mode via an included USB adapter.

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Total Cost: $1231

(as of July 18, 2021)
The Pre-Built Option
The DIY Build
Optional Products