The fact that you’re pretty limited in terms of budget doesn’t have to mean that you should be limiting yourself to a non-overclockable CPU with not-so-great performance. The Intel Core i5-10600K is a prime example of this, and it’s one of the best options for a midrange build at the moment. Paired with a Z490 motherboard with Wi-Fi and a few other high-end capabilities, a great GPU and 16GB of RAM, and you’ve got a very nice midrange gaming PC. Add to this a decent SSD, optional hard drive, a reliable PSU, and a nice looking case, and you’re set.
CPU: Intel Core i5-10600K
Intel’s Core i5-10600K is the cheapest 10th generation Intel CPU that you can overclock. If you want to get your feet wet in overclocking and see all the possibilities you can get, this is a great choice. It’s also priced pretty reasonably, and performance is pretty nice, too, so you won’t be missing out on anything.
You’re looking at a six-core, twelve-thread processor that sits on the LGA1200 socket. This means that not only is it great for gaming, but it’s also pretty neat for things that require multiple cores, such as streaming your gameplay.
Even though the base frequency is a rather reasonable 4.1GHz, the Core i5-10600K can turbo boost up to 4.8GHz. And if you add a high-performance cooler, you should be able to overclock it past 5GHz. It has a rather reasonable TDP of 125W, so you should be able to keep it cool without any issues.
It supports dual-channel memory as well, which is another nice thing, and it comes with 12MB of Intel Smart Cache. With up to 40 PCIe lanes, you’re getting pretty great performance at a very reasonable price.
Motherboard: MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Edge
MSI has been making excellent motherboards for anyone’s budget for a good while now, and they have a habit of implementing high-end components in motherboards that don’t cost as much as they should. A great example of this is the MPG Z490 Gaming Edge, a motherboard that has things usually seen on high-end boards, but it comes at a very reasonable price.
First things first, this is an ATX motherboard with an LGA1200 socket. You can easily fit it in a variety of cases without issue. Even though it comes with four DIMM slots, you can fit up to 128GB of memory at a speed of up to 4800MHz, which is impressive, to say the least, and gives you plenty of upgrade headroom.
You also have two M.2 slots, one of which comes with a heatsink to help keep the SSD temps down. In terms of connectivity, not only do you have a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 port, but there’s also a rear USB Type C port as well. Networking is taken care of by a 2.5GbE and Wi-Fi 6 module, so you’re pretty much set for any use case.
GPU: XFX RX 5600 XT Thicc III PRO
If you want a high-performing Radeon GPU, your best bet is to take a look at the XFX models, and that’s exactly why our suggestion for an Intel Core i5-10600K build is the XFX RX 5600 XT Thicc III PRO. This behemoth of a GPU comes with excellent performance and great cooling, with its only downside being the size.
So, what do you get if you can fit this in your case? Well, first, you get 6GB of GDDR6 memory. To add to this, you’re looking at a 1615MHz Game Clock, which is where your GPU will be most of the time while gaming. To give you a bit of headroom, the maximum boost clock is 1750MHz, which is quite a bit higher.
The GPU is based on AMD’s RDNA architecture and a 7nm process. XFX has given it their Thicc III PRO cooling solution, which means you have three fans that are dead silent when they aren’t needed, but if you push the GPU, they’ll keep the temperatures at bay rather easily.
As we mentioned, due to the three fans, this is a rather large GPU. But you can still fit it in many cases, and it’s a great bang for the buck option.
RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3600MHz
Not everyone wants RGB lights in their case, especially from the RAM sticks. Some prefer their DIMM slots to be populated with subtle sticks that perform well and keep quiet about it. If this sounds like you, Corsair’s Vengeance LPX memory kit should be right up your alley.
This is a 16GB kit that comes with two 8GB sticks, so you do get dual-channel memory. What’s interesting is that Corsair puts these through a screening process that not only ensures they perform up to their standards, but also that they will play nice with each other when paired together. This is rather important, especially when you look at high-performance kits like this, which works at 3600MHz.
While there is no RGB here, you do get a subtle black heatsink that keeps temperatures low, but that’s not the main benefit. If you opt to go for air cooling on your CPU, the low profile of the heatsink means that you’ll have no compatibility issues in that regard. Oh, and it helps that the price of the kit itself is pretty reasonable, too.
SSD: Western Digital SN550 500GB
A good SSD is key to your build running smoothly and quickly, without any hiccups, but sometimes you want to save a bit of money here. If this sounds like what you were considering, by all means, go for Western Digital’s SN550 SSD. It’s an NVMe drive that comes at a very wallet-friendly price, yet gets you plenty of storage and reasonable speeds.
Now, one thing to note here is that unlike other options, the SN550 comes with a drawback – it doesn’t work with SATA slots. That means that you will have to use an NVMe slot if you want it to work, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The speeds you can expect out of this 500GB drive are up to 2400 MB/s read and up to 1950 MB/s write. While this isn’t the maximum you can get out of a PCIe Gen 3 NVMe drive, it’s still significantly faster than any SATA drive you’ll come across.
Add to this Western Digital’s 600 terabytes written guarantee, and you’ve got yourself a reliable drive that can host your OS and a couple of games, too.
HDD: Western Digital Blue 1TB (optional)
Even though SSDs have become rather cheap in the past couple of years, a hard drive is still unparalleled in the storage-per-dollar game. That’s why, when you don’t need everything to be extremely fast, getting a hard drive for your build can give you plenty of room on the cheap. You could use this for storing your multimedia files, or other data you don’t access daily.
In this regard, few other drives can claim the reputation that Western Digital has built with their Blue drives. The 1TB model we’re recommending is a 7200RPM drive which comes at a more than reasonable price and is one of the most reliable hard drives out there. You’re looking at a drive that won’t fail anytime soon. It also comes with 64MB of cache, which is nice.
Sure, this being a mechanical hard drive doesn’t make it the fastest storage solution out there. However, at this price, you won’t find anything that performs as well as the WD Blue does, especially not when you factor in the reliability reputation it comes with. We recommend it as optional, and it’s a truly great way to get extra storage on a budget.
PSU: EVGA 500W1 500W
While this is far from their Gold or Platinum rated power supplies, the EVGA 500W1 power supply is one of EVGA’s best budget models for users who want reliability and a good brand standing behind their PSU. At a very reasonable price, you get 80+ White certification, which means that you’re looking at 80% efficiency, or higher, under typical loads.
The PSU comes with all the protections you might need, such as OVP, UVP, OCP, OPP, and SCP. If nothing else, this should give you peace of mind that nothing will happen with the PSU when you least expect it. Unfortunately, this isn’t a modular power supply, so you might have a bit of a problem with cable management, but that shouldn’t be too much of an issue with the case we have in mind. You do get sleeved cables which add a bit of durability to the cables.
Last but not least, the fan that EVGA has gone for in this PSU will remain near-silent when the PSU isn’t under heavy loads, so overall system noise should be pretty reasonable in day-to-day usage. It’s a nice budget PSU and checks all the basics.
Case: NZXT H510
NZXT has somewhat of a reputation when it comes to minimalist cases that have all the airflow and cable management features you might need, and the H510 is no exception. It’s a mid-tower case that can fit a variety of motherboards and has some great features.
To begin with, the front, top and right side are pretty “blank”, with nothing more than a white NZXT logo at the front, and a perforated section at the front of the right panel. This is used for intake fans, and that’s where they draw air from. On the left side, you’re looking at a tempered glass side panel that doesn’t go all the way to the bottom – there’s a PSU shroud that hides all the cables there.
The back of the motherboard tray is just excellent. Not only do you have quite a bit of room for cable management, but you also have cable management Velcro straps, cable tie attachment points, and then some. The SSD trays are back here, too, and they’re easily removable which is a nice addition.
Overall, the H510 by NZXT is one of the best cases for minimalists, especially when you factor in the two 120mm fans it comes with which have you covered for cooling, too.
Windows 10 Home
There are plenty of reasons why Microsoft’s Windows 10 is the most popular operating system out there. One of the key ones is the fact that it has excellent support for both software and hardware, which means you can run just about anything you need on it without any issue. Note that we’re recommending the Home version instead of the Pro, and that’s because you will be saving quite a bit, and only missing out on a few professional-grade features that you probably don’t need.
Aside from this, you’ve got great support for games, as well as mixed reality if you want to give that a shot. There’s also built-in 3D object creation software, which does give you a bit of fun when you need it. We shouldn’t forget Windows Hello either, which gives you the option to log in using biometrics with supported hardware.
All things considered, if you want the most versatile operating system for your Intel Core i5-10600K build, you won’t find a better option than Windows 10, and it’s priced rather reasonably, too.
Liquid cooling: Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240L RGB
Since Intel hasn’t included any kind of cooling solution with the Core i5-10600K, a liquid cooler might be just what you need to get great temperatures even when overclocking. If this is the case, Cooler Master’s ML240L might be a great choice for that kind of situation. It’s a liquid cooler with two 120mm fans, and excellent performance and durability.
To begin with, the radiator comes with two RGB fans and a new SickleFlow Refreshed design. This not only improves the looks but also improves the airflow and noise levels thanks to the redesigned fan blades. The radiator’s fins also come with an increased surface area, so they dissipate heat much better than previous models.
The cooler itself is pretty compact and subtle looking, and won’t draw too much attention. It does have an RGB logo on it, which adds a bit of bling, but nothing special and nothing that could be considered “too much”.
Overall, the ML240L is a great choice when you’re looking at overclocking your Core i5-10600K, as it will keep the temperatures low and stable even when you push it hard under load.
- Great for 1080p gaming
- Good for 720p streaming
- Great for moderate workloads, such as 1080p video editing, lighter 3D modeling, photo editing, development or graphic design