The Best $1,250 Quiet Gaming PC Build – September 2021
Due to the ongoing cryptocurrency mining craze, it’s currently impossible to buy video cards at retail prices. For this build, it’s currently impossible to buy any video card and still remain within budget, so we therefore recommend a pre-built PC, which you can see if you scroll down below. For reference, we provide our recommended DIY build, which you’re free to purchase if you already have a video card. Based on current market conditions, we do not believe this generation of GPUs will ever return to MSRP, so lower prices will have to wait until late 2022 when the next generation arrives!
Game Hard, Run Silent!
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.
This Month’s Build, Featuring Intel and Nvidia!
For September 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 proven GeForce GTX 1660 6GB video card. This combo can handle resolutions up to 1920 x 1080 with ease, and the GTX 1660 is also ultra-silent thanks to its excellent efficiency. The only issue is that the GTX 1660 is currently selling for about double its MSRP, which is true of all GPUs.
As for the other components, the Quiet Gaming PC Build is loaded up with 16GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, a 512GB 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 on our YouTube 2020 Overview Video!
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
The Mainstream Gaming Desktop –
ABS Master 10400F/RTX 3060 Gaming PC @Newegg$1200EXTREME DEAL! If you don’t want to wait for GPUs to restock at retail prices (which may never happen!), Newegg’s ABS gaming division has the answer with it’s prebuilt Master Gaming PC. This tower comes equipped with an Intel Core i5-10400F 6-core, 12-thread CPU, the awesome Nvidia GeForce GTX 3060 12GB video card (which sells on eBay for about 2/3 the price of this whole system), plus a 512GB PCIe solid-state drive and 16GB of DDR4 RAM.
Given the markup of GPUs at retail, this pre-built is actually a better value than the DIY build we profile below, thanks to its much faster GPU!
The DIY Build
Intel Core i5-10600K$215 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.
Gigabyte Z490 UD AC-Y1$174 The Guru’s Tip
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.
Video Card –
Zotac GeForce GTX 1660 6GB$560 The Guru’s Tip
This GPU is currently selling for around twice its MSRP, but amazingly that's by far the best pricing we've seen at retail during all of 2021. If you want a better deal, your only option is to go for the pre-built option we listed earlier in this guide. Retail GPUs will likely be selling at elevated prices until 2022.
Crucial 2x8GB Ballistix DDR4-3200 Black$79 The Guru’s Tip
To set this kit's speed, use the XMP profile in the motherboard's UEFI.
Solid-State Drive –
Samsung 980 500GB$60 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!
be quiet! Pure Base 500 White Window @Newegg$85 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.
Power Supply –
EVGA SuperNOVA 550 G3$60 The Guru’s Tip
In a strange turn of events, the cryptocurrency mining craze has led to massive price cuts on mainstream-wattage PSUs, which can't be used for mining but are prefect for gaming!
CPU Cooler –
Arctic Freezer 34$29 The Guru’s Tip
The CPU we recommend for this build does not include a cooler, so this one is not optional!
Operating System –
Windows 10 Home USB Flash Drive$130 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.
The 24-inch 165Hz Gaming Monitor –
Asus VG248QG$200 The Guru’s Tip
Connect this monitor via DisplayPort to take advantage of its high refresh rate.
The Budget Gaming Keyboard –
Logitech G213 Gaming Keyboard$47 The Guru’s Tip
To set the keyboard's backlighting, you'll want to download Logitech's GHub software.
The Mid-Range Gaming Mouse –
Logitech G502 Hero$47 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.
The Mainstream Gaming Headset –
Corsair HS60 Pro Surround$48 The Guru’s Tip
The HS60 Pro Surround offers up a virtual 7.1 Surround mode via an included USB adapter.
Total Cost: $1403
The Pre-Built Option
The DIY Build
- CPU – Intel Core i5-10600K ($215)
- Motherboard – Gigabyte Z490 UD AC-Y1 ($174)
- Video Card – Zotac GeForce GTX 1660 6GB ($560)
- Memory – Crucial 2x8GB Ballistix DDR4-3200 Black ($79)
- Solid-State Drive – Samsung 980 500GB ($60)
- Case – be quiet! Pure Base 500 White Window @Newegg ($85)
- Power Supply – EVGA SuperNOVA 550 G3 ($60)
- CPU Cooler – Arctic Freezer 34 ($29)
- Operating System – Windows 10 Home USB Flash Drive ($130)