Best Gaming PC for CS:GO – The Ultimate Guide
CS:GO is without a doubt the most popular competitive shooter on the market right now, a title the franchise has held pretty much since its inception. With gameplay that’s extremely easy to understand and a skill ceiling that still hasn’t been reached it’s no surprise that millions of gamers log on every day to frag out.
There are a ton of things that can make you a great Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player, and of course you will have to spend (a lot of) time practicing and honing your mechanics and knowledge of strategies if you want to make it to the top but there is one thing that you can improve pretty much instantly: your setup. A game that’s so reliant on timing and precise shooting benefits massively from running at the highest possible framerates so we’ve created this guide to help you decide on a system that will help you reach those frames, regardless of your budget.
We’ve come up with three builds: one to run the game at 240+ frames per second, one absolute top system for 144+ frames per second, and one budget build to keep you above 60 frames per second at all times. This is an ideal baseline for you to start building your own system, and if that sounds a bit too nerve wracking we’ve also included three prebuilt alternatives to each of our systems.
CS:GO System Requirements
‘CS:GO runs on a toaster’ is something that you can often read on various internet forums, and the official system requirements support that statement. It’s indeed quite easy to reach 60 frames per second with this game, but if you consider the fact that every professional CS:GO player uses a system that can push (at the very least) 120 frames per second along with a monitor that can output these frames things become a bit more complicated. And that’s just the lower end. Less than ten percent of analyzed CS:GO professionals use a 144Hz monitor, with around 90% using a 240Hz (or even higher, since 360Hz monitors have shown up on some professional desks) panel.
Does this mean that you absolutely need to get yourself a monitor like that with a matching system? Well, not really. If you’re just casually playing the game you’re absolutely fine running it at 60 frames per second, but the fact that this game is easy to run combined with the fact that 144Hz is the de facto minimum ‘competitive refresh rate’ makes that we do recommend going for at least 144 frames per second if you’re aiming to be even a little bit competitive at the game. The benefits of higher refresh rates really make it worth the investment, and while getting yourself a high refresh rate setup won’t catapult you to the Global Elite ranks if you’re just starting out it will definitely help with consistency and clarity while playing.
All in all: our recommendation would be to go for at least a 144Hz setup if you’re even a little bit competitive at the game. The ‘standard’ framerate is even higher but the performance difference between 60Hz and 144Hz is so massive that it’s something that we really can’t ignore.
240 Hz System
For all the frames
Contrary to what the system requirements indicate CS:GO isn’t the easiest game to have a consistent 240 frames per second on. It varies from patch to patch (and map to map) but on some of the more recent maps it can be a chore to get to the required amount of frames to get the most out of your high refresh rate panel if you’re playing at 1080p and higher settings. Of course a lot of professionals lower their resolution but those people who don’t want their game to look like a game from the early 2000’s might find themselves spending a bit more than what you’d initially think.
Regardless of that this build is definitely a bit geared towards the top end. If you want to save some money you can definitely go for a lower tier GPU (the new RTX 3000 line seems to be great value for money) and CPU, as well as 16GB of RAM and a smaller SSD. This build is for those people who want to have the best performance possible without having to worry about upgrading for years to come.
This build will ensure that you never drop below 240 frames per second so you can play the game without any distractions, and of course it’s also plenty powerful to run our other analyzed games at high framerates. If you’re a bit of a singleplayer gamer you can also play pretty much every game at 60 frames per second at max settings, for what it’s worth.
240 Hz System
144 Hz System
Realistically this is the system we’d recommend for people who don’t have a very large budget or who don’t need a machine that’s at the very cutting edge of the current technology. If you’re a professional gamer every fraction of a percentage point matters so it makes sense to go for the very best components out there but if you’re more casual or you’re not planning on trying to go for the next Major it’s absolutely not a bad idea to go for a tier lower, and that’s where this system comes in.
This is a nicely balanced system that allows you to go for some cheaper components if you want. We wouldn’t recommend going for a lower tier GPU or CPU but you can absolutely opt for a regular set of RAM (without RGB) and a cheaper closed case if you don’t care about aesthetics. Do make sure to go for a good case though, they’re not all made equal and airflow is important.
All in all this is a great system for the competitive gamer who doesn’t want to be at a disadvantage ingame (this build realistically gets way over 144 frames per second, and even reaches over 240 frames per second most of the time) and who also wants to enjoy the latest single player games, but perhaps not at the absolute highest settings.
144 Hz System
CS:GO is a game that’s relatively easy to run above the ‘lower framerate caps’ of 60Hz and 144Hz, so even this budget system should stay well above 144 frames per seconds. It won’t get you above 240 frames per second in most circumstances unless you’re willing to drop your graphics/resolution but that doesn’t take anything away from the fact that this is an extremely capable CS:GO system that doesn’t make a large dent in your wallet.
It’s not the most future proof system, and it won’t be a champ running some of our more demanding analyzed games but if you’re sure that CS:GO is your main jam and you’re not all that interested in running the latest and greatest releases in their full glory then this is a fantastic choice.
Since CS:GO is rather CPU dependent we’ve gone for a new model here, and the GTX 1660 Super is a fantastic lower end graphics card that should have no issues running the game at all.
Building your own PC is usually a lot cheaper but of course this can be quite daunting. You’re dealing with very expensive parts of technology, after all, and if you haven’t built a PC on your own things can get quite stressful. In reality there’s no real need to be stressed out as there really isn’t a whole lot you can do wrong but we are aware of the fact that some people just want to have the hassle-free experience of buying a readymade system so we’ve listed up three alternatives for you.
Conclusion: The best gaming PC for CS:GO
CS:GO is a game that’s not all that hard to run on the lower end but as with any game you will need to spend a bit more if you’re planning on a 240Hz build. With the release of 360Hz monitors you’ll need an even beefier PC to be at the top end of refresh rates but luckily there are diminishing returns with these framerates, so the difference when going from 240 to 360 isn’t as noticeable as when you’re going from 60 to 144 and higher.
With a game that’s so easy to reach 144 frames in we would definitely recommend to aim for that if you’re serious about the game though, so if you haven’t got the budget for a 144Hz (or higher) monitor we’d recommend saving up a little more in order to get one because the advantages are really apparent.
In any case: this should be a great list for you to start your own build. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to use on Twitter or Discord.
Thanks for reading!