Best Gaming PC for Esports – The Ultimate Guide
If you want to be good at any sport you'll want your gear to match your ambitions. You don't see the riders in the Tour de France sprinting to the finish line with an old rusty bike, for example. Of course it can't be denied that talent and a lot of hard work are the largest factors in determining whether or not a player can rise to the top, but we cannot stress enough how important gear is.
Your PC, of course, is part of your gear. You can have the best gaming mouse and a crystal clear headset, but if your PC is struggling to keep up with the game you're going to be at a massive disadvantage.
For this article we've tasked our analysts with finding three different PCs at three different tiers: one for 240 Hz gaming, one for 144 Hz gaming, and one for 60 Hz gaming. Of course we recommend to go for the highest framerates, but with great power comes great cost so we know that getting the best of the best isn't viable for everyone. Hopefully this guide serves as a nice baseline for you to start building your own system.
What makes a gaming PC worth it?
Depending on the game, the competitive 'standard refresh rate' is either 144 frames per second or 240 frames per second. That's because some games are simply too taxing for current hardware to reach a stable 240 frames per second. What is adamantly clear, though, is that you'll absolutely want to maximize your framerate if you're serious about playing fast-paced multiplayer games like the ones that we specialize in here at ProSettings.
You don't need to take our word for it, either: 98% of our analyzed gamers are using a monitor (and thus PC) capable of pushing at least 144 frames per second with more and more professionals making the move towards 240 frames per second in recent months. As such, if you want to be competitive, you won't want to be left behind using an old family PC that can barely push 20 frames each second.
Of course if your budget is low or you just want to casually play some games every now and then you don't absolutely need to go for a super beefy PC, but you will always want to game on a system that can at least reach 60 frames per second (the standard refresh rate of monitors that aren't focused on competitive gaming) in your game(s) of choice.
Building your own PC is almost always cheaper and not hard at all, so we've focused on finding the right components at the right price that you can gather and assemble yourself. That way you can swap out a thing or two if certain manufacturers are cheaper in your area, or if you want to down- or upgrade your build a bit, but we've also included prebuilt alternatives for each of our three builds in case you don't want to build the whole thing for yourself.
One last note before we get into it: competitive gamers turn down most graphical settings in order to achieve the highest framerate possible (and get more visual clarity, since some of these eye candy effects can be distracting) so the builds here aren't guaranteed to reach the indicated frames at the highest settings, but rather at our competitive settings. You can check our video settings guides for each game to get an idea of what those are.
240 Hz System
For going all out
If you want to get the best framerates you'll need the best gear, and this 240 Hz system is about the best you can get right now. Naturally we've chosen to go for the RTX 2080 Ti, and we've paired that up with an i9-9900k but if you want to save a bit of money it's definitely possible to downgrade that one a bit and get yourself an i7-9700k.
We've really gone all out here, so if you want to save some more money you can go for a smaller SSD (though we'd definitely recommend an SSD for those lightning fast boot and load times) and less RAM, though 16GB DDR4 is what we would consider the minimum for this build. On the flipside you could also upgrade the RAM to 64GB, but that does seem like overkill for most games.
It's obviously also possible to go for a more budget-oriented case, but cases are more important than you might think so make sure to do your research so you get proper airflow to cool off all of those top tier components.
In any case: this combo of an i9-9900k (or i7-9700k) with an RTX 2080 Ti should give you loads and loads of frames in all of our analyzed games, even the most demanding ones, and to top it all off you can run the latest and greatest single player games in all of their glory.
Rainbow Six Siege will run right around 240 frames per second with this setup (though it won't be above it at all times) so take that with a grain of salt, but PUBG as a game is just too demanding to run consistently at over 240 frames per second.
240 Hz System
144 Hz System
This 144 Hz system houses one of our favorite graphics cards for competitive gamers: the RTX 2070 Super. It's a great 'middle of the road' GPU for gamers who want to maximize their framerates in competitive games but also like to take a stroll through some beautiful environments in the latest single player games.
For this build we've gone for a Ryzen setup; AMD has really been catching up and this Ryzen 5 3600 offers incredible bang-for-your-buck performance, and that paired with this RTX 2070 Super gives you a great platform for 144 frames per second gaming.
With this build we wouldn't recommend a whole lot of downgrades, though. Games are getting bigger and bigger so a 500GB SSD is kind of the bottom limit if you're asking us, and 16 gigabytes of RAM is definitely what you'll want to use at the minimum if you're a gamer.
Still, with these components you're getting a fantastic system to game on, and this is what we would recommend to people who are just starting out with competitive gaming, or for people who just want a really nicely balanced PC for singleplayer and multiplayer games without going for the absolute best of the best.
It's important to note that this is a good one for 'mixing and matching' settings as well. This build should easily reach over 144 frames per second in Fortnite, for example, which means that you can run the game at higher graphical settings and still get a comfy 144+ frames per second.
144 Hz System
A lot of competitive games are fairly easy to run at 60 frames per second, and that's by design. If you're a developer and you want your game to played by as many people as possible you need to make sure that people with budget systems can run the game as well.
This 60 Hz build is one such budget system. It combines the relatively unknown B365 motherboard with the 9400F and we top it off with the RTX 2060 Super. This combined gives you a more than decent budget system that can run all of our analyzed games at 60 frames per second and, provided you're not against lowering some (or a bunch of, depending on the game) settings you can even use this as a 144 Hz setup.
Do note that, for some of the more demanding games, it'll be a bit of a close one and your frames might drop below the 144 mark during particularly intensive fights where there's a lot going on. Still though, if you're a dedicated competitive gamer on a budget and you need a reliable and well-performing machine this could very well be it.
Contrary to our mid tier build this one doesn't offer as much wiggle room as far as ingame settings go (unless your goal is 60 fps) and you'll obviously have to turn your settings down if you want to play the latest graphical wonder games, so keep that in mind.
Building your own PC is cheaper, but if you've never done it before and you've got no one to help you out it can be quite a stressful and daunting experience, doubly so when you're handling components worth hundreds of dollars. It'll always be recommended to build your own PC on enthusiast forums but we know for a fact that some people just don't want to do that, so we've picked out a prebuilt alternative for every suggested build in this article. That way you can just order and relax, knowing that your fully assembled PC is on the way.
Conclusion: The best gaming PC for esports
Gaming isn't necessarily the cheapest hobby on the planet, doubly so when you want the best gear in order to compete with the best players, but luckily for us PC gamers there's a myriad of options out there so that we can configure a system that suits our needs exactly.
With these three builds we hope that we've given you sufficient ideas to come up with a build that suits your budget and the games that you like to play. If you'd like to learn more you can always check out our other guides, or reach out to us on Twitter or Discord.
Thanks for reading!