Playing in 4K is expensive, that's impossible to discuss, But is it really as expensive as we think? Well, the truth is that it depends on our aspirations. Obviously, playing in 4K with minimal guarantees and a discreet monitor is not the same as playing with absolute fluidity and very high qualities on a high-quality gaming monitor.
In the end everything is a question of balance, of looking for the best price-performance value, and playing in 4K is no exception to this rule. We start from the idea that assembling a PC to play in this resolution is not cheap, but could we assemble a team capable of playing in 4K with a maximum budget of one thousand euros? It may seem impossible, but the reality is that it is not complicated if we know which components to choose, and in this article we are going to show you.
In the following lines we will choose a series of components that offer an excellent price-performance value and that will allow us, together, to shape a PC with which we can play in 4K with all the guaranteesThat is, maintaining a good level of fluidity and enjoying high or even maximum qualities in some specific cases.
As always, and for you to have a clearer vision, we will share at the end of the article a series of performance tests that will allow you to be clear about what exactly we can expect from this configuration when playing in 4K. In each section we will also accompany some suggestions with both lower and higher alternative options. The first will allow you to adjust the assembly if you have a lower budget while still being viable, and the second will allow you to enjoy higher performance or a superior experience.
For the avoidance of doubt, we will also indicate whether other options are not worth considering, good because it will not provide us with any advantage or because even if it exists, it will be so minimal that it will not justify the investment. Having said that, we will enter into the matter you can leave them in the comments and we will help you solve them.
PC to play in 4K: starting point
The first thing we must be clear about is that we must allocate most of the budget to the graphics card. Yes, I know, I did not just invent gunpowder, but in this case we must go even further than in other configurations to play in 1080p or 1440p, since when we mount a PC to play in 4K the GPU takes center stage and it becomes the central "bottleneck" of the system.
This has a very simple explanation. When rendering in 4K, the workload assumed by the GPU is very high, so much so that the CPU becomes a secondary role due to the slower demand for data by the former. Said in a simpler way, the graphics card sets the pace and goes 'slower' than the processor. At lower resolutions, especially 720p and 1080p, the opposite is true.
With this clear we must also bear in mind that we cannot carry out an unbalanced mount. We could mount a 600 euro graphic and dedicate the rest to a basic assembly, and yes, we could get frame rates per second, but the user experience would not be truly optimal and we would have to make significant sacrifices.
We therefore do not need a top-of-the-range processor, but we do need a powerful graphics card. Nor can we unbalance the rest of the components, and we have to look for a platform that offers solid value at a contained price. The choice is clear, we go to AMD socket AM4 and Ryzen processors, which we will accompany with a hardware configuration that will allow us to smoothly transition to the new generation of consoles.
Motherboard: GIGABYTE B450 AORUS M
We have many options when choosing the motherboard of this equipment. It is an important component, but we have a limited budget And we don't need a top-of-the-range model to optimally cover the requirements of a PC to play in 4K, so our best option is a motherboard with a B450 chipset.
In this assembly we have opted for the GIGABYTE B450 AORUS M, a compact model that presents a good build quality, has passive cooling in key areas, including space for the M.2 SSD, and that has everything we will need both in the short and long term. We don't need anything else.
We can get it right now for 89.99 euros.
Alternatives: We could opt for a more basic board that maintains the B450 chipset but is around 60 euros. There are models in that price range, but they trim finishes and passive cooling systems. Personally I think that it is not worth looking for superior models, since we will not really make the additional cost.
Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 2700
The processor is important, but as we have indicated when playing in 4K it has a secondary role. We must, therefore, choose a model that is capable of offering Optimal performance in both short and long term games and that has, at the same time, a price as low as possible.
Luckily the arrival of the Ryzen 3000 series has significantly reduced the price of the Ryzen 2000 series, a generation that is still perfect to play any current title, and that in its most powerful configurations is prepared to smoothly overcome the transition that new generation consoles will mark.
The current games need six cores and six threads to function optimally. When PS5 and Xbox Series X arrive this requirement will gradually increase until reaching the eight cores. That is why we have chosen the Ryzen 7 2700, a chip that adds 8 cores and 16 threads and that offers all the performance that we will need for years to come.
It offers tremendous value for what it costs: 159.90 euros.
Alternatives: If we have a very limited budget, we could choose the Ryzen 5 1600 AF, which has six cores and twelve threads and costs 99.99 euros. The equipment would continue to offer good performance, and the assembly would still be viable. In case we want a superior alternative, the Ryzen 7 3700X would be the best option, although it involves a significant investment (it costs 316.17 euros right now). Personally, before going for the Ryzen 7 3700X, I would improve the graphics card first, since it will make a bigger difference when playing in 4K.
Graphics card: Radeon RX 5700 XT
A key component if we want to play 4K optimally. We have many options, but the Radeon RX 5700 XT is best for tight budgets for the excellent price-performance value it offers.
Right now we can find this PowerColor model by 379.90 euros, and we will also take two free games and three months of Xbox Game Pass subscription on PC. A round offer and a very good purchase for a graphics card that, in many cases, performs almost at the same level as the Radeon VII.
It is also one of the most powerful graphics cards currently in existence. These are his specs key:
- Navi 10 XT graphic core.
- 2,560 shaders.
- 160 units of texturing.
- 64 raster units.
- 256-bit bus.
- GPU at 1,605 MHz base frequency, 1,755 MHz game mode and 1,905 MHz in turbo mode.
- 225 watt TDP. It uses two power connectors, one 6-pin and one 8-pin.
- Requires a 600 watt, 34A power supply.
Alternatives: we could play in 4K with a RX 5700, a lower and cheaper graphics card that has become available for just over 300 euros, although we would have to reduce the graphic quality to maintain a good level of fluidity. If we have a bigger budget the RTX 2080 Super It is the only option that is really worth it right now from a value for money perspective.
Storage Drive: Crucial P1 CT1000P1SSD8 1TB
We could have opted for an HDD and saved some money, but we would have given up on the high speeds that SSDs offer. These make an increasingly important difference in gamesAnd it is that they not only help us improve loading times, but also eliminate certain problems with loading textures at the wrong time, popping errors and contribute, in specific cases, to slightly improving the FPS rate.
When the arrival of the new generation consoles occurs, the weight of the SSDs will end up being even greater, so if we want to mount a PC to play in 4K balanced and with a good shelf life There is no point in giving up that component.
Since the budget is very tight we have opted for the Crucial P1 CT1000P1SSD8, a high performance PCIE SSD with 1TB of capacity, enough to not run out of space in the short term and with a speed of 2,000 MB / s and 1,750 MB / s in sequential reading and writing, respectively.
Its price is 116.99 euros.
Alternatives: We could mount a smaller capacity SSD and accompany it with a 1TB HDD, but the cost would be practically the same and not really worth it. Mounting an HDD for me is not an option, since we give up a lot to save 6o-70 euros. If we have a bigger budget, the ideal is to look for models with higher speeds, such as the Corsair Force Series MP 510, which costs 169 euros.
RAM memory: G.Skill FlareX DDR4 3200 PC4-25600 16 GB CL16 in two modules
RAM is essential for optimal performance. The current games consume between 6 and 10 GB of RAM, so mounting 16 GB gives us enough margin to enjoy a good experience and prepares us for the transition that will mark the new generation of consoles.
Since we have an AM4 socket configuration and a Ryzen 7 2700 we have chosen the memories G.Skill FlareX DDR4 in a 16 GB pack with two modules of 8 GB each, which will allow us to activate the dual channel mode. Its speed is 3,200 MHz, they have CL16 latencies and are "optimized" for AMD's Zen-based configurations, which means they operate at the indicated frequencies and latencies with no problem.
The motherboard we have chosen supports memories at a maximum of 3,200 MHz, and that level is precisely the optimum for the Ryzen 7 2700 to unleash its full potential.
We can get it for 90.80 euros.
Alternatives: There really isn't any worthwhile. These memories offer very good value and are just what we need. Mounting 8 GB of RAM will limit the life of the computer and can result in jerks in specific games, and reducing the speed of memory will end up affecting the performance of the processor at the cost of little savings. Riding 32 GB right now is, on the other hand, unnecessary.
Power supply: Corsair TX650M 650W 80 Plus Gold
We have a team with considerably high consumption which also requires good amperage in the 12V rail due to the presence of the Radeon RX 5700 XT. Therefore we must find a power source that is up to the task, although without falling into unnecessary waste.
The Corsair TX650M 650W 80 Plus Gold It is a semi-modular power supply that offers all the power, amperage, and wiring we need. It also has the certification 80 Plus Gold, which guarantees a high degree of efficiency, has a high build quality and a very good price considering everything it offers. Therefore, it has been our choice in this assembly.
With it we have everything we need today, and we have margin more than enough for future extensions or updates.
It has a price of 84.99 euros.
Alternatives: We could opt for 600 watt sources without problem, as long as we look for quality models with 80 Plus Bronze or 80 Plus Silver certification. No need to buy more powerful or higher quality fonts.
Chassis: Cooler Master MasterBox MB500 USB 3.0
We already have all the necessary components to play 4K optimally with a reasonable investment, now we need a chassis in which to integrate all the components that we have acquired.
The choice of chassis depends a lot on the taste of each user, but we should not limit ourselves to the aesthetic level. The reason is simple, the chassis plays a fundamental role in air flow and component cooling. Looking for a well-designed model, with enough space to house all of our components and that also leaves us sufficient room for future extensions is key.
In this montage we have chosen the Cooler Master MasterBox MB500 USB 3.0, a chassis that has a very attractive design and a very successful and spacious interior layout. It supports graphics cards up to 40cm in length and comes with three serial fans, so we don't have to buy anything else.
Its price is 72 euros.
Alternatives: As we said, this component depends largely on the taste of each one. The chassis we have chosen is one of the best value for money right now, so it is not really worth exchanging it for a more expensive one.
Playing in 4K for less than 1,000 euros is possible
Well, with the configuration we have chosen we have a final price of 994.57 euros. We have met the goal of mounting a PC to play in 4K for less than a thousand euros, but what performance does this team offer with current games? Well pretty good, the truth, and on top we have support from FreeSync, which will allow us to accompany it with a 4K monitor with this technology, which eliminates the classic problems of «stuttering» and «tearing».
I know you are looking forward to seeing the performance results when playing in 4K. Don't worry, I'm not making you wait any longer:
- Metro Exodus with «ultra» quality and DirectX 12: 38 FPS averages.
- Battlefield V with "ultra" quality and DirectX 11: 62 FPS averages.
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider in "ultra" quality with DirectX 12 and "Pure Hair": 41 FPS stockings.
- Resident Evil 2 Remake in top quality with DirectX 11: 50 FPS averages.
- The Division 2 in top quality with DirectX 12: 40 FPS averages.
- Forza Horizon 4 in top quality with DirectX 12: 90 FPS averages.
- World War Z in maximum quality with Vulkan: 63 FPS averages.
The conclusion is simple, we can play 4K optimally for less than 1,000 euros, and if we reduce the graphic quality we will have no problems reaching, in most cases, 60 fully stable FPS.