How I built a couch gaming PC that puts the PS5 to shame

The PlayStation 5 is back in stock. If you’ve been waiting to dive into the next generation of gaming, now is your chance. However, it’s here to keep you away from consoles, as you can build a PC for about the same price as the PS5.

PCs are getting more and more expensive to build, but the prices of the best graphics cards are falling. With some smart shopping and a little elbow grease, gaming PCs can offer better performance and quality visuals than Sony’s consoles for far less. The required build is here.

Meet the PS5 killer

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

OK, before we get into the build, we need to lay some groundwork. The PS5 still has its place, and the console offers features that PC doesn’t. Despite how it hasn’t lived up to its promises, even two years later it’s hard to beat the value of current-gen consoles.

We set the budget at $600 for several reasons. First and foremost, you can’t buy a PS5 for $500. The PS5 is readily available at online retailers, but only as a $560 bundle. This has been going on for months.Initially call of duty modern warfare 2, after that Horizon: Forbidden West, and now War God Ragnarok. I have no doubt it will continue.

Second, the PC build has a lot of headroom. Buy specific deals, cut storage space to save money, or increase your budget a bit for more power.

Here’s the build I settled on:

  • AMD Ryzen 5 3600 — $95
  • Gigabyte B450M DS3H Wi-Fi — $80
  • G Skill Aegis 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3200 — $42
  • Western Digital SN250 960GB NVMe SSD — $55
  • ASRock RX 6600 XT Challenger D — $275
  • Thermaltake Versa H17 — $50
  • Thermaltake Smart Series 500W — $40
  • total — $637

It’s a bit over budget, but shopping (especially on the used market) can easily shave $100 or more off the price. The main reason I went was the RX 6600 XT. I originally planned to build on the RX 6600, but it’s now about $50 cheaper. However, the RX 6600 XT is so much more powerful that it’s worth the extra money.

You’ll notice that the PC I built doesn’t look exactly like the build above. This is mostly due to the components I have on hand. Due to the Lian Li A4-H20 PC case I used mainly, I have a different case, motherboard and power supply. Adding a properly sized power supply and motherboard to this case adds $300 to the price of the build.Thankfully it doesn’t affect performance Jeez. They are not required upgrades.

I tried to match the build to PS5 as much as possible. The Ryzen 5 3600 offers 6 Zen 2 cores while the PS5 offers 8 Zen 2 cores. However, the Ryzen 5 3600 can be overclocked in one click, so I chose an overclockable motherboard. If you choose this build, be aware that your motherboard may require a BIOS update to support your CPU.

Similarly, the RX 6600 XT is an RDNA 2 graphics card with 32 Compute Units (CUs) aimed to match the PS5’s custom 36-CU RDNA 2 GPU. This is less power for the PC, but it has the advantage of dedicated his VRAM and RAM whereas the PS5 uses shared memory. Finally, we used a 960GB PCIe SSD which is slightly larger than the 825GB SSD available on the PS5.

A small gaming PC next to PS5.

To get the full console experience, you’ll need to pick up a few small extras. 8BitDo Wireless USB Adapter 2 It’s much better than relying on Bluetooth for controllers, and a mini Bluetooth keyboard like the Rii X8 makes using a PC on the couch much easier.

Before we get into performance and image quality, I’d like to reiterate that the PS5 is a bargain even two years after its launch. If you want a game box that you just set and forget, then you should buy one rather than building a PC. A system that can be used for a long time, and that future upgrades can easily improve performance.

exceptional performance

$600 PC vs. PS5 Performance

Since the PS5 is a 4K game console, we ran all our tests at 4K (although the RX 6600 XT isn’t actually a 4K GPU). But the little PC put up an impressive battle, testing each game in an attempt to simulate the quality and performance modes seen in PS5 games. For quality, it was 4K with the highest graphics preset, no tricks. Improved performance using upscaling tools.

The PS5 doesn’t look that hot in comparison.At native 4K, where PS5 games are capped at 30 frames per second (fps), the PC can achieve between 35 and 50 fps. Similarly, the PC jumps into the 70-80 fps realm with a slight upscaling, while the PS5 remains mostly stuck at 60.

Performance difference between custom PC and PS5.

the only exception is Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. The PS5’s dynamic resolution was able to sustain a smooth 60fps, but the PC fell short of that goal. This is likely due to your PC’s processor and shows what the extra cores can do in a CPU-limited game.

Still, the PS5 actually has the edge in these tests, especially in performance mode. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, For example, it runs at 2,169 x 1,220 resolution in performance mode, while the PC version is trying to reach 4K in dynamic resolution. Similarly, guardian of the galaxyPerformance mode drops below 60 fps in many scenes, even dropping the game down to 1080p. I used FSR’s Quality mode which renders the game at 1440p.

As mentioned, I ran all my PC tests with the highest graphics preset as well. The PS5 typically uses custom settings to tweak performance, so tweaking the graphics settings or lowering the resolution can get much higher performance on your PC. Because of this, you don’t have the same options for exceeding the limits set by the various graphics modes.

Image quality between PC and PS5 in Guardians of the Galaxy.

However, the best graphics presets have some advantages.of Guardian of the Galaxy, You can see that the PC uses much higher resolution textures compared to the PS5 quality mode (note the metal plate at the bottom).you can see something similar Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Although the difference is not so clear.

Comparison of image quality of Star Wars on PC and PS5.

However, the PCs don’t always win. Miles Morales is a prime example of a game originally optimized for Sony’s console, where similar hardware on the PC can’t match the PS5. PC shines brighter with multi-platform releases where developers target the system less directly.

Are the console killers back?

A mini PC placed in front of PS5.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

It’s no secret that the cost of building a PC is skyrocketing. Graphics cards like the RTX 4090 are pushing flagship prices to unprecedented levels. Next-generation DDR5 memory is still significantly more expensive than DDR4 and requires the high-quality, high-capacity power supplies needed to run modern hardware. It’s expensive.

A classic console killer PC in the $400-$500 range is hard to come by in 2023, but you can get close to it with some frugal shopping. This will be even easier to achieve in the next few years when the PS5 starts to age even more my only hope is that eventually he will be able to build a PC at the same price point when the PS6 comes out is to become

This article is part of ReSpec. ReSpec is a bi-weekly column with discussion, advice, and in-depth reports on the technology behind PC games.

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