With all the Amazon Prime Day PC gaming deals (opens in new tab) going down right now the PC Gamer test rig would over $350 cheaper today. Old faithful we call it—though it was only pieced together last year as Intel's Comet Lake platform was released—but the main PC Gamer test rig is a genuine workhorse.
It's been the rig that's helped us run the rule over the finest graphics card generation that has ever been released. Just a pity that it seems like few people are destined to ever get a look at those fine-ass GPUs. From the wee GeForce RTX 3060 (opens in new tab) all the way up to the GeForce RTX 3090 (opens in new tab), and from the Radeon RX 6700 XT (opens in new tab) to the Radeon RX 6900 XT (opens in new tab), this system has helped us bench the living hell out of those cards.
And we've grown very fond of it.
Despite the fact that components aren't really the purview of Amazon Prime Day there are still a host of deals on many of the techie bits and pieces that we've come to rely on. We can vouch for their reliability and performance… and of course their RGB LEDs.
Intel Core i7 10700KF | 8 cores | 16 threads | 5.1GHz Max |
$361 $239 at Amazon (save $122) (opens in new tab)
This is the cheapest Intel's Comet Lake i7 has been, and if you're dropping it into a gaming PC then you won't mind the missing integrated graphics. They're rubbish anyway. But the CPU isn't, in fact the basic silicon has been ably propping up the PCG test rig for the last year or so.
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro | 16GB (2x 8GB) | DDR4-3200 |
$119.99 $95.99 at Amazon (save ($24) (opens in new tab)
Memory is what Corsair does best, it's where it came up, and I've been reliably using Corsair RAM in test rigs since I was a fresh-faced youngster taking my first tentative steps as a tech journo 15 years ago. The Vengeance RGB Pro has been running the latest PCG test rig reliably for 18 months now, and makes it look super pretty in pink too.
Corsair H115i RGB Pro XT | Liquid AIO | 280mm |
$139.99 $104.99 at Newegg with rebate (save $35) (opens in new tab)
This 280mm liquid chip chiller has had to put up with the over-heated mess that is the Intel Core i9 11900K during our testing of the Rocket Lake CPUs. And it coped impressively well too. The spinners don't get loud until you really crank up the RPM, and the Corsair iCUE software is actually pretty useful too.
MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi | LGA 1200 | ATX |
$399 $327.31 at Newegg (save $71.69) (opens in new tab)
On Amazon the Intel Z490 board we use is up at $399, which is too much for a motherboard. Honestly, anything over $300 is a bit much, so MSI's own Z490 Gaming Plus at $190 (opens in new tab) is more reasonable. But the Gaming Carbon Wi-Fi has been super solid as a main board for us, and that can sometimes be worth its weight in silicon.
Samsung 980 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD | 2TB| PCIe 4.0 |
$429.99 $313.49 at Amazon (save $116.50) (opens in new tab)
We do run the Kioxia Exceria Pro 2TB in our test rig, but that's a crazy amount of money right now. So we've got a cheaper, far better alternative for you. The Samsung 980 Pro is one of the better Gen4 NVMe SSDs you can find. It's a next-gen SSD with outstanding read/write speeds along with hardware-based AES 256-bit encryption. Now that it's over $100 off, it makes this expensive high capacity SSD a far more attractive proposition.
NZXT C850 PSU | 850W | Fully modular | 80+ Gold | $129.99 at Newegg (opens in new tab)
It's not a deal, but this NZXT power supply is available right now, something PSUs haven't been that often for the last year or so. And it's not a bad price anyway for a decent 850W PSU. It's fully modular and had no problems giving the RTX 3090 the full beans when it needed to go HAM at Autodesk Maya during our testing.
And if you wanted to go for the full test rig package you could grab a DimasTech V2 Mini (opens in new tab) test bench. Ours is all pretty, and shiny, and blue I've even managed to restrain Jacob from covering it in manufacturers' stickers. You should've seen what our last test bench looked like by the end.
Anyways, there's something so refreshing about having an open air gaming PC, though I still can't help but want to jam a finger into every fan that's spinning. They are so hypnotic...