Best Intel Core i5-11600K Gaming PC Build for 2021

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best intel i5 11600k gaming pc build
best intel i5 11600k gaming pc build

The PC market is going through some very interesting times; with the launches of the Ryzen 5000 / 11th generation Rocket Lake S CPUs and RDNA 2 / RTX 3000 GPUs, we finally feel that there’s so much competition in the component market that everyone should be getting incredible performance and value for their money. Unfortunately, due to silicon shortages and a rapid increase in crypto mining, retail prices of important components have taken a big hit. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should shy away from building the PC of your dreams, it just means that you should be extra careful on the price you’re paying for your desired components; anyways, we’re always here to help.

Today we’re going to focus our attention of one of the best performance and value oriented builds out there that feature both the best midrange GPU and one of the best midrange CPUs. Intel has launched its Rocket Lake S lineup of CPUs and the 6 core / 12 threads i5-11600K is the one we have our eyes on. Currently retailing for around $270, it undercuts its main ~$330 competitor, the Ryzen 5 5600X. The gaming, single and multicore performance difference between them is negligible (the 11600K is only a few percent behind the Ryzen processor), making the Intel processor a better buy at the $270 price point.

By carefully selecting parts we are ensuring our builds perform optimally for you money. Every component earns its place in our build lists by demonstrating excellent value without any cut corners. Our various articles present on our website help you better understand every decision that has been made while tools like our dynamic build database provide you with the easiest and entertaining way of planning your PC.


Intel Core i5-11600K + RTX 3060 Ti Gaming Build – The Parts List

CPU: Intel Core i5-11600K

Intel_Core_i5-11600K

The blue team has stepped up in single-core performance with this generation of CPUs and their new backported architecture is now able to closely keep up with AMD in both single and multi-core performance. The Core i5 11600K competes against the Ryzen 5 5600X which is marginally better and more power-efficient but much more expensive, especially at current retail prices; the 5600X can hardly be found in stock and your best bet for a fair price would be around the $330 to $350 price point. The 11600K is readily available for around $270 and at these prices, the choice easily swings in favour of the Intel CPU.

The 11600K is compatible with the current generation motherboards like the Z590 and B5** but also with the previous generation Z490 motherboards by using an updated BIOS. There are also unusually big differences in performance based on the settings and motherboard that you opt for meaning that the 11600K may not be at its best right out of the box. Tweaking Intel’s new boosting algorithm, using a good cooler and messing with undervolting and overclocking will definitely extract more performance out of this chip; albeit at the expense of extra power consumption.


CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U14S

Noctua-NH-U14S-TR4-SP3-threadripper-2990WX-1

Whenever you hear about Noctua, you can rest assured that your CPUs thermal management is well under control. Their lineup offers many of the best performing air coolers on the market, at each price point, and the NH-U14S is no exception to that rule. The noise levels are topping out at 42 dBA during very intensive use but you’ll just be hearing around ~30 dBA during normal use; or you won’t because that is very quiet. The performance is exceptional for the design Noctua went for while managing to keep up with much beefier coolers.

The build quality of the device is second to none while the mounting mechanism feels solid and heavy duty. You’ll easily be able to use the NH-U14S for multiple builds in the future as Noctua has always been providing mounting support for any new socket from both Intel and AMD. With a six year warranty and exception performance across the board, the NH-U14S is a steal at the $74 price point.

  • Dimensions: 165 mm x 150 mm x 52 mm (w/o Fan)
  • Fan Size: 140 mm x 150 mm x 25 mm
  • Fan Airflow: 68 – 82.5 CFM
  • Included thermal compound (paste)
  • 6 years warranty
  • Launch price / Retail price: $74.90 / $73.99

Motherboard: MSI Z590-A Pro

MSI Z590 A-Pro

One of the best entry-level Z590 motherboards for the 11600K, the Z590-A PRO comes with plenty of storage connectivity and both PCIe 4.0 and 2x PCIe 3.0 SATA M.2 slots. The I/O is plentiful with 1x USB 3.2 Type-C, 3x USB 3.2 Type-A, 4 x USB 2.0 ports, DisplayPort & HDMI for the intergrated graphics and even a “clear CMOS” switch for people who love tweaking their BIOS.

The board comes with 4x memory slots capable of capacities up to 128 GB and supported RAM speeds in OC mode of up to DDR4-5333 MHz. Four out of the 6x SATA ports are straight angled for better cable management and ease of installation. Finally, there’s a 2.5GbE network controller for high speed connectivity.

The MSI Z590-A PRO is not a high-end board but it ticks the necessary boxes for the build we’re trying to achieve; the new boosting capabilities of the Rocket Lake S architecture can be used by fiddling with the BIOS settings, helping you reach the full potential of the 11600K chip.


Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200 CL16

G.SKILL Ripjaws V 16GB 3200MHz CL16

With DDR4 slowly approaching the end of its life and thanks to the high level of competition in the memory market, we can afford to splurge towards the 32 GB of RAM. Many would argue that 16 GB is enough for a gaming build and that is very true with mainstream and high end builds; you are not going to exceed 10-12 GB of memory usage in any of the latest titles but you are going to cut it close with the 16 GB. If you’re one of those PC users that like to keep open tons of applications or browser tabs or even someone who would like to use their PC as a rendering and editing machine then 16 GB would induce a bottleneck into this great gaming build and we would like to avoid it at all costs. You’re not going to realize the lack of 32 GB of RAM until its too late; so lets play it safe!

This build is also crafted to last you for many years and 32 GB of RAM will surely take care of your needs for its full life time. The low memory latency of this RAM kit will also aid overall performance and snappiness of your system and will pair well with the Intel Core i5 11600K. The Dual Channel (2 sticks) nature of this RAM kit is also mandatory in order to benefit from full bandwidth in intensive applications. We like this kit very much thanks to its performance and affordability but you can also check our articles on different RAM kits if you’d like more options to choose from at different price points.


Storage 1: Sabrent Rocket 4.0 1TB

Sabrent ROCKET PCIe 4.0 SSD

The OS drive will be powered by the Sabrent Rocket 4.0, a rather new drive that uses the Phison E12s controller, a 96 layer TLC flash by Micron and the new PCIe 4.0 interface in order to ensure snappiness and a performance edge to your transfers and file access. The DRAM chip is there to offer a massive performance uplift for random writes; it brings very fast temporary storage for the drive’s internal mapping tables so that it doesn’t slow down during sustained load. The device is also very hard to throttle because even though it heats up, the slowdowns are well masked and avoided by the inclusion of a copper foil over the M.2 drive that acts as a heat spreader thus handling the extra heat.


Storage 2: Crucial MX500 500GB

Crucial MX500 500 GB

For the secondary device, we will be using a SATA solution that is known for its great stability even in the hardest read/write situations. Thanks to its DRAM cache implementation, this SSD never slows down from its rated speeds and that is more important for a secondary storage drive. This device’s can help the Sabrent Rocket NVME by easily doubling as a game library, app library or backup solution. Of course, if you feel like you won’t have enough capacity with these, then you can go to the 1 or 2 TB version of the MX500 and even then, if not enough, you can use multiple devices thanks to the 6x available SATA ports on the Z590 motherboard. We can’t know for sure what your storage needs are so we’re just recommending what most users will use for a high end gaming machine.


Graphics: RTX 3060 Ti

Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition

The RTX 3060 Ti is the new performance king in the graphics midrange sector, competing with the likes of the Radeon RX 6700XT. It delivers impressive performance especially in resolutions like 1080p and 1440p and it can easily drive high refresh rate monitors in any eSport or Triple-A title. The card can be compared in performance to the previous generation’s high-end GPUs; the RTX 3060Ti is sitting between the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Super in rendering performance while blowing them out of the water in Ray Tracing and workstation capabilities. This $399 MSRP card (~$450 for AIB variants) is a great value for anyone wanting to get into ray tracing games as its certainly able to run them at smooth framerates with the help of DLSS. We’re once again asking you to not encourage scalpers and get your graphics card for a good price (in some extreme cases, you can currently find them at even double their original price).

This card is an excellent performer in any of the new Triple A, VR and eSports titles and does it at a respectable TDP of 200W – the included PSU in this build is easily capable to handle that; we want to ensure your system and gaming experience won’t be affected by any spikes in power consumption. The Radeon RX 6700 XT alternative is still a good choice if you can find it for a reasonable price, offering slightly better rasterization performance than the RTX 3060Ti but losing in Ray Tracing capabilities.

The build is balanced and there will be no discernable bottleneck between the 11600K and RTX 3060Ti, meaning that your components will easily run anything from high refresh rate eSports games to heavy graphics Triple-A titles with no stutters or slow downs.


Case: Phanteks P300A Airflow

Phanteks Eclipse P300A

This Mid Tower is a case from Phanteks that provides one of the best airflow setups when compared to other similarly priced cases. Its also in the name; the A from P300A stands for airflow! We are loving this case because it comes with many features that are found in products with a much higher price tag. Great layout, solid metal build, an edge to edge tempered glass panel, space for additional fans and lots of space for cable management; what’s not to like?

A case needs to be silent and reliable. The P300A is a great example of that because its engineered in such a way to make your build and maintenance processes easier; that’s of utmost importance for most people. The P300A is a simple product packed with quality features and a well thought-out layout. Its front panel is not closed and it features a mesh material with dust filters that allow air to freely pass through the build, cooling it and maintaining the consistent performance of your other components.

  • Dimensions: 400 x 250 x 455 mm (D x W x H)
  • Form Factor: ATX Mid Chassis
  • Compatibility : CPU Cooler Max height 176 mm | GPU Max length 355 mm

We’ve also added a 3 Fan pack from Corsair in order to supplement the included fan in this case. We’re going for a 2 intake / 2 outtake configuration for the cooling and the Corsair AF120 120mm 3-Pack is perfect for this; quality and nicely built fans without breaking the bank.


Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA G1+ 650 W 80+ Gold

EVGA SuperNOVA G1 plus 650W

The peak power consumption estimate of this build shows that we’re almost never going to pull over 450-500W from the wall and this high tier EVGA G1+ 650W PSU will be very up to the task; if you’re looking for some more future headroom, there’s a 750W variant of the same PSU but we recommend the 650W as being safely enough.

The high quality power rails of this Power Supply can easily handle any power swings during the diverse idle/max load environments you might find yourself in; the last thing you need is a PSU that becomes unstable but EVGA is a solid name that is synonymous with performance, reliability and great customer support if needed.

During the building process, full modularity allows you to just use the cables that you need for the components in this build; thus, any extra cables can go back into the PSU box and be stored for any future use while the inside of the case will become much easier to organize due to fewer cables. An uncluttered case is excellent for airflow and future maintenance or cleaning. The cables are covered in a dark sleeving material that feels premium to the touch and you can easily arrange them along the various tie down cable management routes inside the Phanteks case we previously talked about.


Bottom Line

If the market wasn’t plagued by supply issues, this would have been one of the best times to build a PC thanks to the excellent performance levels we’re achieving with the latest generation components. We’ve specially tailored this component list to include the best overall performance for a daily gaming PC around the $1500 budget ceiling.

We advise our readers to go around the supply issues and not encourage them by buying overpriced hardware. At the time of writing, we’ve already found the best prices for your components in this build but parts such as the GPU might need a little more effort to find for a good price.

We find this build very well priced for the performance it offers, assuming that you can find all the parts for the prices we’re recommending. If you have any questions about the components and choices in this build, we love to answer questions in the comments section below!

As a closing thought, if you need any additional help with the monitor choice or other accessories for your PC setup besides the main computer, we’ve compiled in-depth articles that are meant to paint a picture of what’s achievable at many price points. Just check them on our website! Our colleagues are always assessing and recommending a wide range of additional parts to help you finish your dream gaming setup!

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