Let’s say you’ve been looking at the current Black Friday gaming PCs deals but you’ve already got a brilliant graphics card or just can’t quite afford a full new system just yet. Well, how about just getting a new CPU, motherboard, and RAM kit to start with?
For outright gaming, there’s only one CPU I would choose and that’s the Ryzen 7 7800X3D. Sure there are better processors for mixed workloads (e.g. gaming and content creation), but almost nothing will touch it for gaming. Certainly not for the amount of power it uses and its price tag.
And no, I don’t mean it’s brilliant because it’s cheap or anything like that. It’s simply the best gaming CPU full-stop, in my opinion. The huge amount of L3 cache, 96MB in total, does wonders for the 1% low frame rate in games, especially those that are CPU demanding.
But the best AMD processors need to be paired with a good motherboard and a dual channel RAM kit that has timings tuned for a Team Red platform.
Starting with the ASRock B650E PG Riptide mainboard first, this is a full-sized ATX board with PCIe 5.0 support in the top PCIe x16 slot and primary M.2 SSD slot. Even if you don’t have a graphics card and solid state drive that use the latest PCI Express technology, this motherboard can at least make full use of the tech when you do upgrade.
There are lots of storage and connectivity ports, too, with a total of seven USB 3.2 and nine USB 2.0 ports, plus two more M.2 slots and four SATA sockets. It’s not the fanciest looking motherboard but who cares when you can load right up with drives and peripherals.
And carrying on with the connection side of things, it has an integrated Wi-Fi 6E module and a 2.5G LAN port. In short, it’s a brilliant motherboard, though it’s not ideal for overclocking. Not that you really need to be doing that with the 7800X3D; it’s more than fast enough as it is.
What is important, though, is what RAM you use. AMD’s Ryzen 7000-series processors really need fast, low latency DDR5 in both memory channels. That G.Skill Flare X5 kit fits the bill perfectly.
Just like the motherboard, they’re very much no-frills, all-function. In other words, you’re not getting fancy RGB to dazzle your cat with.
If that’s important to you, then you’d need to pick another gaming DDR5 kit, but if I was going for just raw gaming performance but still great for other tasks (and as I’m getting older, that’s all that really matters to me), then this combination of CPU, motherboard, and RAM is spot on.
Now if you buy them all separately, you’re looking at spending $675 on a fantastic upgrade. However, if you head over to Newegg right now, you’ll spot a combo deal on the front page, which brings the whole thing down to $614, a saving of $61.
Sure, it’s not a huge amount of cash, but it’s actually enough to get yourself a fast 1TB NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD. Now you can’t say that’s not a great upgrade combo!