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The Best Competitive Gaming PC Builds for 2020 Under $500

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Best Budget Builds Under $500

Due to Covid-19, people are buying their own gaming PCs. While consoles can provide you with the same entertainment, a PC is more flexible because it can be used in more ways than one.

That being said, because of the said pandemic, you want to make sure that you are going to get the most bang for the buck PC and I’m sure that you don’t want to spend a fortune when getting one.

Fortunately, I happen to know a lot of PC parts so today, I am going to recommend the best gaming PC builds under $500 in 2020.

What Constitutes a Gaming PC?

Well, a gaming PC is actually built just like any other PC, albeit its parts are geared towards gaming more than anything else.

Of course, the main parts of the PC will include the motherboard, the CPU, the GPU, RAM, storage device, power supply, and case.

Since you are on a tight budget, I will recommend the best builds under $500 so that you can game while you are inside the house because of Covid-19.

Do keep in mind that with an ultra-budget gaming PC, you will not be able to max out your favorite game’s settings.

Still, these are pretty respectable gaming machines that will perform better than most game consoles out there today. Just keep your expectations a bit lower than when you are buying a $1000 gaming rig.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s go with the first recommendation.

The Best $500 Build

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1600 AF
  • GPU: MSI Geforce GTX 1650 Super Ventus XS OC
  • Motherboard: Asrock B450M Pro4
  • RAM: GeIL EVO Potenza 16GB, DDR4-3000
  • SSD: Crucial BX500 240GB
  • PSU: EVGA 450 BR 80 Plus Bronze
  • Case- Thermaltake Core V21
Best Budget Build 1

For this PC build, I went with the AMD Ryzen 5 1600AF. I know that Intel is still the king when it comes to gaming CPUs, but for what it’s worth and especially for its amazingly low price, the 1600AF is the best gaming CPU for budget-conscious gamer.

The GPU is a respectable GTX 1650 Super from MSI. This is their version of the Nvidia GTX 1650 Super and it performs admirably well. Even in graphics-intensive games, it runs cool and definitely pumps up the frames.

With the motherboard, most budget-friendly mobos have an m-ATX form factor. Honestly, this is better because its smaller size will allow you to fit it in a small case (thus, saving you money and storage space).

The Asrock B450M Pro4 has a lot of ports, has an overall black and gray aesthetic and it does a pretty good job of powering the CPU.

Since AMD CPUs work really well with fast RAM, I went with the GeIL EVO Potenza which is a 2x8GB RAM kit clocked at 3000Mhz. Just make sure to enable A-XMP or D.O.C.P profile in the BIOS to unlock its full potential.

For storage, you have a couple of options. I went with the Crucial BX500 240 GB SSD which will act as your main drive for your operating system and some games. If you have an extra $40 to spend, you can also add 1TB HDD for even more games in your portfolio.

The power supply of any PC is always an important consideration because it will be the one that will supply the much-needed energy that is required for your system to run. Getting a low-quality PSU can potentially damage the components, so you’d want to spend money on it to make your system last for a long time.

That being said, I recommend EVGA 450 BR power supply which is 80 Plus Bronze certified. It is power efficient and 450 watts of power is more than enough for this build (you can also choose to upgrade to better components in the future).

When it comes to cases, it is quite subjective. That is because you will have to look at the aesthetics, as well as the form factor of the chassis for you to decide.

If you want my recommendation, I would go with the Thermaltake Core V21. It is an m-ATX case that looks like a cube. It is compact which makes it easier for you to tuck into a small space while you play your favorite games in the living room, for example.

All in all, this build should cost you anywhere between $480-$530 depending on your retailer and additional costs (like shipping).

Best Budget Build #2: A Much Better Gaming Build

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2600
  • GPU: MSI Geforce GTX 1650 Super Ventus XS OC
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte B450M
  • RAM: HyperX Fury 16GB DDR4-3200
  • SSD: Inland Premium 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD
  • PSU: PowerSpec 550W 80 Plus Bronze
  • Case- Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L
Best Budget Build 2

If your main intention of buying an inexpensive build is just to play games, then the first recommendation would suffice. It should be able to play the best games out there, albeit at low to medium settings at 60fps.

Anyway, if you still have money to spare, you can go with this other recommendation with slightly better performance. The reason for the performance uplift is thanks to a much better CPU which is the AMD Ryzen 5 2600.

The Ryzen 5 2600 is the second generation “Zen+” CPU from AMD. It is a 6-core, 12-thread part that has a base clock of 3.4GHz and a boost clock of 3.9GHz.

Although the previously-mentioned AMD Ryzen 1600 AF part is still a “Zen+” architecture CPU, the performance of the 2600 is slightly better than that.

The GPU is still the same as the previous build simply because it is the cheapest 1650 Super on the market that outperforms even the more expensive options in its class.

For the motherboard, I recommend Gigabyte B450M. Actually, you can still use the motherboard from the previous recommendation, but if you want another option that is also bang-for-the-buck, Gigabyte’s offering will also not disappoint.

Another reason why this build is faster is thanks to the 3200MHz, 2×8 RAM kit from Kingston HyperX. This brand is known for its quality RAM sticks for gamers on a tight budget.

As previously mentioned, AMD works better with faster RAM, and with the additional 200MHz from the previous recommendation, it will be noticeable in some games.

As for storage, you get an NVMe SSD from Inland Premium. For those of you who do not know, an NVMe SSD is much faster than a SATA SSD by up to 4-5x. That means that your operating system, as well as some games, should load up much faster than a regular SATA solid-state drive.

For the power supply, I went with the PowerSpec 550W 80 Plus Bronze PSU. The EVGA power supply in the build above will still work, but this one can provide up to 550 watts of power so that there is a lot of room for upgrades down the line.

Lastly, I choose Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L case. It still supports Gigabyte’s m-ATX motherboard but this case is slightly bigger than the Thermaltake case above.

That is both a good thing and a bad thing. It is a bad thing if you want to just tuck the PC build in a tight space, but it is a good thing because of better airflow and better GPU support, among many others.

This build usually goes for $499, especially since some of them often go on sale. However, with miscellaneous costs, expect to pay up to $550 for the entire build.

Best Budget Build #3: A Working Alternative

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1600AF

GPU: XFX Radeon RX 570

Motherboard: Asrock B450M Pro4

RAM: Patriot Viper Blackout 8GB DDR-4000

SSD: PNY CS900 500GB

PSU: Seasonic S12III 500W Bronze

Case: CoolerMaster MasterBox Q300L TUF Gaming Edition

Best Budget Build 3

If you are absolutely low on money and you want a respectable gaming build under $499, then this build will definitely work for you.

The Ryzen 1600 AF comes back on this build simply because it is the most bang for the buck processor that is under $100. It performs really well in games and it is also no slouch either when performing other tasks.

With the GPU, I went with the cheaper XFX Radeon RX 570 graphics card. I know, this GPU is old by a couple of years but believe it or not, it still works really well in today’s games.

Probably, the only thing that may deter others from using this GPU is that it’s an AMD card, which means that you will have to download a different GPU driver for it to work. Other than that, this is a great budget-friendly graphics card for sure.

With the motherboard, I recommend the previously-mentioned Asrock B450M Pro 4. While the Gigabyte motherboard is good, this is great for people that want to use an RGB header for that extra bling.

For the RAM, I went with the Patriot Viper Blackout 8GB RAM kit. I know, 8GB might not be enough in today’s games, but it should still work if all you fire up is your favorite game and nothing else is running in the background.

With a respectable 3000MHz speed, it should be more than enough when it comes to playing your favorite games.

That being said, if you have an additional $30 to spend, you can go with a G.Skill Ripjaws V 16GB RAM kit that is priced at $69.99. But again, if your main intention is just to play games, the 8GB Patriot Viper RAM will suffice.

I also understand that a 256GB alone will not suffice, so I went with a beefier 500GB SSD for this build. Even though this is just a SATA SSD, it should be much better than a regular HDD because your games and the operating system will load significantly faster.

The power supply is Seasonic S12III which is a 500-watt PSU that is overkill for this build. But, I still included it to allow you to upgrade to better components in the future.

My only gripe with the said PSU is that it has a non-modular design which means that all of its supported cables are attached to the unit itself. Cable management will be a pain, though for its low price, I think that is a good compromise.

Lastly, for the case, I went with the Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L still but this time, it is the TUF edition. It has slightly better aesthetics, but if you want to save money, the original version is still really good.

All in all, this build should cost you anywhere between $450-$480. You can even save more if the parts go on sale, so for the truly budget-conscious, this is the build to get.

Upgrade Path

Best Budget Gaming Build

The builds that I’ve mentioned to you can all have better components in the future. That is why I went with power supplies that can support a better CPU or GPU or both.

If you are going to upgrade, I suggest that you try and upgrade either the SSD or the graphics card first. That is because those two components have the biggest impact when you are playing games.

The next thing that you’d want to upgrade is the CPU. The reason why I went with AMD CPUs is that if you are going to go with a better one, the motherboard you’re using will still support it.

Naturally, the said motherboards should support the Zen+ architecture right out of the box, but if you are going to upgrade to, say, a Ryzen 5 3600, all you have to do is download the latest BIOS for your motherboard to support the latest generation CPU.

Ryzen PCs work better with faster memory, so after upgrading the GPU or SSD, you can either go with a better CPU or better RAM. Ideally, you want to buy at least DDR4-3200 or DDR4-3600, though the latter is much pricier.

You need not worry about the power supply because a budget build will never go over 550 watts. Even if you upgrade the GPU, graphics cards are even more efficient now and 550 watts of power is more than enough to power the entire system.

For the case, it is subjective. Even if all of the motherboards mentioned in this article are all m-ATX ones, buying a chassis intended for ATX motherboards would still make sense if you are to upgrade to a better one in the future.

Of course, with so many case sizes and styles out there, I would say that choosing the PC case is entirely up to you, so long as it supports the motherboard you want to use and has considerable clearance for the GPU you intend to buy.

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AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT Review- The Best Value 1080p Graphics Card

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AMD Radeon 5600 XT (Sapphire)

There are only two companies that are vying for the top spot in the graphics card industry and they are Nvidia and AMD. The former is called by fans as ‘team green’ while the latter is also known as ‘team red’.

In the latter part of 2019, AMD was set to release the AMD 5600 XT graphics card to the market. It is meant to be a high-end 1080p graphics card but it can also be used as an entry-level 1440p GPU as well.

I will review this particular graphics card in today’s article. Read through the rest to find out why I think this is the best value GPU for 1080p gaming.

No Reference Design

Unlike its bigger brother, the RX 5700, the Radeon RX 5600 XT is only sold by AMD’s AIB (add-in board) partners. That means that you cannot find any reference design being sold in the market.

Instead, you are going to get the variants from popular companies including MSI, Powercolor, Sapphire, Asrock, Asus, and Gigabyte.

What makes AIB variants more popular is that they are usually factory overclocked, meaning, you get more performance right out of the box.

vBIOS Issue

AMD Radeon 5600 XT

By now, you’re probably aware of the vBIOS issue, but for those who still do not know, let me explain.

Back when AMD announced that it intends to release a graphics card in Q4 of 2019, Nvidia kind of did its own thing where one of its graphics cards were almost similar in performance (this being the vanilla 2060) and so, team green decided to sell that specific card for $300.

You see, the Radeon RX 5600 XT is set to be sold at an MSRP of $280, so selling the RTX 2060 at a discounted price just makes sense.

Knowing about Nvidia’s move, AMD, at the last minute, decided to unlock the full potential of the 5600XT GPUs and the company released a new vBIOS that does that.

What does this new vBIOS do? Well, it does a lot of things. First, it unlocks the AIB cards’ power limit, effectively allowing the card to eke out more performance.

As evident in various benchmarks, flashing the new vBIOS not only increased the core and boost clocks, but it also improved the memory clock by as much as 2gbps as well which is pretty insane.

In other words, depending on the games that you play, you can instantly get 10-15% more performance just by getting the new instruction set.

While getting more performance is always welcome, there was just one problem. When AMD released the new vBIOS, the AIB partners have already shipped their cards to the market, so the only way for people to eke out more power from the cards is if they would manually flash the vBIOS themselves.

The issue here is that not a lot of people are tech-savvy enough to safely do that. This can be rectified if the partner company provided detailed instructions, but even so, it might be challenging for the layperson to do it on their own.

Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. The community was able to help others who are less knowledgeable about vBIOS updating and the once major issue has been rectified ever since.

Near 5700-like Performance

To give you a better perspective of how the Radeon RX 5600 XT performs, here is a rundown of its original specs:

  • CUs (Compute Units): 36 (2304 SPs)
  • Texture Units: 144
  • ROPs: 64
  • Base Clock: 1247MHz (this only for reference. AIB partner cards are clocked higher)
  • Boost Clock: 1560MHz (the same issue with base clock)
  • Throughput: 7.2 TFLOPS
  • Memory Clock: 12 Gbps GDDR6
  • Memory Bus Width: 192-bit
  • VRAM: 6GB
  • Transistor Count: 10.3B
  • Typical Board Power: 150W (AIB partners might require more power)
  • Manufacturing Process: TSMC 7nm
  • Architecture: RDNA (1)
  • GPU: Navi 10
  • MSRP: $280

Now, the listed specs are only for the reference clocks. But, if you were to flash the new vBIOS that was released by AMD, the power limit, as well as the base, boost and memory clocks are higher.

So, after flashing it, you will get 1,560MHz for the base clock, 1620 MHz for the boost, and a whopping 14GBps for the memory clock. Those are pretty impressive numbers and it is inching closer to the vanilla 5700 performance. The only difference is the memory bandwidth which does show its prowess when you play particular DirectX 12 titles.

Now you know the reason why Nvidia decided to lower down the price of the 2060 cards. The performance of the Radeon RX 5600 XT is comparable to the 2060s, albeit it does outperform the said card in some games.

The good thing here is that the 5600XT is priced lower and even if AIB partner cards are sold above the $300, they provide more performance across the board.

For 1080p gaming, you can get anywhere between 90-200 fps depending on the games that you play. That is even at the highest graphical settings possible.

So, if you intend to get this card, you will need a good gaming monitor to pair with it so that you can maximize all of the frames.

Gigabyte 5600 XT Gaming OC

Best AIB Cards

Since there is no reference Radeon RX 5600 XT, I will recommend some of the best AIB partner cards that you can find on the market.

If you want the best overall 5600 XT GPUs, I can recommend the MSI Gaming X and the Gigabyte Gaming OC versions.

Both of the cards performed really well and they weren’t obnoxiously loud even at maximum loads.

If you are the type of person that wants to overclock their cards even more, the most overclockable 5600XT GPU of the bunch is the Asus ROG Strix. It is at the higher end of the price bracket, but people can agree that it is the best overclocker out there.

Other notable mentions include the Sapphire Pulse and the Powercolor Red Devil versions. They are okay, but they are middling at best when compared to the aforementioned board partner cards.

Asus ROG Strix 5600 XTVerdict

The AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT is the best 1080 graphics card that you can find on the market today. It is comparable to Nvidia’s RTX 2060 graphics card and it is priced lower at $280 MSRP.

While there were issues regarding the drivers on this thing, most of them are already ironed out so it is very easy to recommend this card over the RTX 2060.

Although it is true that the 2060 Super version is more powerful, it is also more expensive; encroaching on the $400 territory.

So, if you intend to build a relatively powerful gaming PC, this is the one that you should get.

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The Best 1080p Graphics Cards in 2020 That Are Perfect for Gaming in Full HD

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AMD Radeon 5600 XT (Sapphire)

When you want to play your games at considerably high frame rates, you will need a powerful graphics card for that. But with so many options out there, the best way to weed out the rest is to find out what resolution you want to use.

The vast majority of gamers still play at 1080p and that is because it is the bracket where price-to-performance is key.

That being said, if you are looking for a card for your mid-range build, read further to find out the best 1080p graphics cards in 2020 that are perfect for gaming in Full HD.

Before Anything Else

To help you get the best graphics card for your setup, you need to be thinking about two things: The CPU and the monitor.

The CPU works in tandem with the graphics card and you should be equipping your rig with the right gaming processor. Otherwise, you are not going to be getting the most out of the card since it will get bottlenecked by the CPU anyway.

Aside from that, you should also be considering the resolution of your gaming monitor as well. Since this topic is mostly about 1080p gaming, you want a card that can help you get the right frame rates that will fully utilize the capabilities of your chosen display.

With all of that out of the way, here are some of the best out there for 1080p gaming:

Best 1080p Graphics Cards

1.AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT

Price: $280

AMD Radeon 5600 XT

The best value 1080p graphics card that you can find on the market at the time of writing is none other than the AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT.

Now, this particular card is actually pretty interesting because there was an issue with the said product when it launched.

You see, Nvidia has just released one of its newest graphics cards on the market and to help combat that, AMD released a vBIOS that can further improve the performance of the 5600 XT.

While that is a great thing to do, the problem was with the timing since, at the time of the release of the vBIOS, most (if not all) AIB partners have already shipped their 5600 XT cards to the market.

What this meant was that for people to get the most out of the graphics processor, they would have to manually flash the latest vBIOS to unlock its full capabilities. It can be risky but it can be done.

With all of the drama aside, what makes the Radeon 5600 XT the best value 1080p graphics card is its raw performance.

When flashed with the latest vBIOS from your chosen brand, you can get as much as a 15% performance increase which is pretty huge. And the best part is that you can snag one for just $280.

Now for my brand recommendations. The best overall would be the Sapphire Pulse 5600 XT graphics card. It has the best thermals among all of the 5600 XTs and while it is not the best performer, it is a pretty silent one even at higher loads.

The best in terms of sheer performance is the MSI 5600 XT Gaming X. It has a massive heatsink that borrows from its 5700 XT counterpart and because this card runs cool, its performance increases quite a bit.

Keep in mind that the MSI Gaming X version is a bit more expensive at $330 but for the price, it is a great performer for 1080p gaming.

Now, I do have to point out that while there were driver issues that have plagued AMD’s newest graphics cards, most of the issues were already ironed out so there is no more valid reason not to get this one over the others.

2.Nvidia RTX 2060 Super

Price: Starts at $399

Nvidia RTX 2060 Super

If you are a fan of Nvidia and you want to get a graphics card from the said company, then I would recommend the Nvidia RTX 2060 Super for 1080p gaming. It has higher clock speeds and it uses 8GB GDDR6 memory for much more improved performance.

The performance of the new 2060 super card is about 4% faster than the vanilla 2070 which is not a huge jump, but keep in mind that the new GDDR6 memory truly helps a lot in certain games.

This is the entry-level graphics card to get if you want to enable ray tracing in your favorite titles. Although its performance is good, the 2070 super still trumps this by a mile but it costs so much more and that card already touches 1440p territory.

While some reviewers find it hard to recommend this one over the AMD variants, there are some people that still want more peace of mind thanks to Nvidia’s tried-and-tested drivers. In other words, you get a much better experience and almost no issues when getting a card from team green.

Now for specific AIB cards. The best performer is no doubt the MSI RTX 2060 Super Gaming X. It has the highest clock speeds among the other variants and it has a pretty competitive cooler that can keep this thing running well no matter how long you intend to play.

It has nice RGB lighting so that you can vertically mount this thing in your gaming pc with pride and joy.

Another great variant is the Asus ROG Strix 2060 Super. Its design is quite similar to Asus’ other cards which means that it needs to be updated but I guess the reason why the company didn’t is that its cooling performance is optimal.

It also has some nice RGB lighting but do keep in mind that its triple-fan design requires you to have a much bigger PC case.

3.Nvidia GTX 1660 Super

Price: Starts at $160

Zotac Gaming Geforce GTX 1660 Super AMP edition

If you just have less than $200 to spend, there are still some graphics cards that you can choose to help you get into 1080p gaming at high frame rates.

The Nvidia GTX 1660 Super is the middle child between the vanilla 1660 and the Ti version of it. I recommend this over the 1660Ti mainly because it is just 5% slower in most games anyway and is a bit cheaper.

This card uses GDDR6 memory which, as I’ve mentioned earlier, provides a bit more gaming performance than those that still use GDDR5 memory.

What I love about this particular GPU is that it is powerful but it also maintains its power efficiency as well.

That is thanks to the Turing architecture, as well as the 12nm process node that was used in the making of this card.

What you get is a less power-hungry card that provides more performance than its competitors.

That being said, the best overall performer is the Zotac Gaming Geforce GTX 1660 Super AMP edition. It is the highest specced 1660 Super card from the company and it comes with dual Icestorm 2.0 coolers to keep the GPU relatively cool even at full loads.

It comes with a metal backplate which is not only for aesthetic purposes but it also helps the GDDR6 memory cool throughout your entire gaming session.

Another great variant is the Asus ROG Strix 1660 Super. It is the priciest among the 1660 Super cards but for very good reasons.

First of all, you get the best out of the box performance. Second, it is also touted to be a great overclocking card, so if you have the time to tinker with it, you can eke out more power out of it.

Third, it has a pretty competitive cooler that can keep the card relatively stable even at full capacity. The major downside is that it is pricey but if you have faith in the company, this is a good card to get nevertheless.

4.Nvidia GTX 1650 Super

Price: Starts at $149

Nvidia GTX 1650 Super

If you want the best budget 1080p card that you can find on the market, the GTX 1650 Super from Nvidia is the one that you should get. While the Radeon RX580 graphics cards are similarly priced, their performance is comparable but at the cost of higher power draw. That is why I went with the 1650 Super instead.

Now, when shopping, you should not be confused with the vanilla version of this thing because that still uses the slower GDDR5 memory. The Super variant not only uses GDDR6 but you get 4GB of it as well.

Even if you intend to play the most graphically demanding games out there, the performance of the 1650 Super card still provides you with playable frame rates so you can still enjoy them nevertheless.

The best Nvidia GTX 1650 Super graphics card out there is the MSI Gaming X. It is a relatively huge graphics card that has two cooling fans that can help tame this beast.

It has a boost clock of 1755 MHz which is definitely one of the highest among the 1650 Super variants and its fans keep it cool and silent no matter how many hours you intend to play.

Another one that I can recommend is the Asus TUF Gaming OC 1650 Super. It has the highest boost clock among the other 1650 Super cards out there at 1800 MHz and to help it stay that way, it is equipped with dual fans that can help things cool and silent.

The TUF lineup from Asus has been known for its durability so if you intend to get a card that lasts a long time, then getting this variant makes sense.

Honorable Mentions

AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT

Now, all of the cards that are on this list are great for 1080p gaming, but there are some honorable mentions. 

If you have $400 to spend, I highly recommend that you consider getting the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT. While it is overkill for a 1080p gaming setup, it is certainly a great value card that allows you to play your games at 1440p with high to ultra settings.

Nvidia also has a lot of compelling 1080 and 1440p options out there, but the one that I would recommend is the RTX 2070 Super.

It is priced just right (at around $450-$600) and it has all of the right features such as DLSS 2.0, Ray tracing, NVENC for streaming, and so much more. Again, this card is amazing at 1440p and even better at 1080p gaming.

Conclusion

The graphics card is the most important thing to consider when you are building your own gaming rig. Not only that but you have to pair it with the right CPU for the job and you also need to have a competitive monitor as well.

Since the vast majority of gamers still play at 1080p resolution, the cards that are on this list should provide you with the best performance offered at an amazing value. In other words, you can get a good 1080p card for full HD gaming based on your budget.

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Asus ROG Phone 3 Review- The Best Gaming Smartphone in 2020

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Asus ROG Phone 3 Review

Gaming phones aren’t new. Ever since Razer released its first-ever smartphone, other companies took notice.

Nowadays, you can find a lot of supposed smartphones that are great for gaming, but Asus wants to take things a step further to gain the crown.

Today, I am going to talk about the Asus ROG Phone 3. Read further to find out why I think it is the best gaming smartphone in 2020.

Design

Asus is a company that is known to create some awesome gaming components- from motherboards, gaming pcs, graphics cards, and the company also dabbles into gaming peripherals as well.

That being said, when Razer launched its first gaming smartphone, Asus wants to be a step ahead of the competition and in 2018, the company released the first ROG smartphone.

It packed flagship specs at the time and it certainly turned heads and smartphone enthusiasts into gaming phone believers.

Now on the third iteration, what does the Asus ROG Phone 3 have to offer? Well, from a design perspective, it is a bit tame, especially when compared to the ROG Phone 2.

Instead of a metal frame, the company opted for a glass back that although is prone to smudges, makes it surprisingly easier to hold. Keep in mind that despite the glass back, the phone doesn’t support wireless charging because it is technically impossible to add the wireless charging coils that are needed for the technology to work.

You can still find the popular ROG logo at the center with a ‘Republic of Gamers’ text on the left side of it, but the lines and the overall aesthetic is just too subtle from what it once was in my opinion. 

If you are going to make a pretty good gaming phone, the company could’ve gone balls to the wall and be somewhat outlandish with the design while they’re at it, right?

The good thing, though, is that the ROG logo actually lights up thanks to the Asus AuraSync functionality. And no, you don’t have to worry as the lighting itself doesn’t eat up too many resources or battery life (not that you should be worried given that this is a phone with a 6,000 mAh battery capacity).

On the right side, you will find the power button, volume controls, and on the far corners, you can find the ‘Air triggers’ which are pressure-sensitive buttons that you can remap to suit your particular game’s controls. More on this later.

On the left, you might be surprised to find a USB-C port but that is actually for the cooler attachment. It also serves as a charging port as well and this is actually a welcome addition because if you intend to play games while charging the phone, it will not hinder anything at all.

You can also find another USB-C port at the bottom of the device, though it is off-center. This is a deliberate design choice to pave the way for some of its internal components.

While I do not like the fact that the company opted to remove the headphone jack on a gaming phone, I am relieved that the included fan attachment comes with a 3.5mm jack (though you will have to insert the attachment to take advantage of that).

Display

Asus ROG Phone 3 Review 2020

The Asus ROG Phone 3 has a massive screen. It has a 6.59-inch AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. Because of the somewhat odd aspect ratio, the content that you are looking at might not fill the entire screen

But, because the display is quite large, even if your media or games do not fit the entire thing, your viewing experience will not be diminished at all.

Although it is not as vibrant as the Samsung Galaxy S20 phones, it is still pretty good thanks to the AMOLED display.

Even though there is a lot to love about the display in terms of picture quality, the reason why the screen of this phone is special is thanks to the 144Hz refresh rate.

At the time of writing, the Asus ROG Phone 3 is the only device that has a 144Hz screen refresh rate on a smartphone. Other phones have 120Hz but this one is capable of dishing out more frames.

It is worth noting that not all of the games can handle the faster refresh rate. In fact, even Fortnite only supports 120Hz for now (though I am pretty sure that it will release an update soon to accommodate the 144Hz threshold).

While the fast refresh rate can eat through the battery, you are given the choice to reduce it to 120Hz, 90Hz, or even the flat 60Hz setting.

It does have a variable screen refresh rate option but it doesn’t work really well and it would normally put the screen at 120Hz anyway.

Gaming

Because we are reviewing a gaming phone, it is only fitting that I also talk about its performance when playing games.

But before that, I would like to give you a rundown of the phone’s specs to give you an idea of how it performs:

  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+
  • GPU: Adreno 650
  • RAM: 12GB/16GB
  • Storage: 256GB/512GB UFS 3.1
  • Display: 6.59-inch AMOLED Display, 2340 x 1080 resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 650 nits brightness, Corning Gorilla Glass 6, HDR10+ 144Hz Screen Refresh Rate
  • Cameras: 64-megapixel Wide, 13-megapixel Ultra-wide, 5-megapixel Macro lens; 24-megapixel Wide selfie camera
  • Battery: 6,000 mAh, with HyperCharge 30-watt Charger included
  • Connectivity: 5G, Bluetooth 5.1, WiFi AX, NFC 

As is customary with ROG Phones, the Asus ROG Phone 3 comes with an overclocked Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ chipset which means that it can handle any game out there without any problems.

True enough, I was able to get consistent 120+ fps on Fortnite and about 100+ fps on Call of Duty mobile. The version that I have is the highest configuration so I also have 16GB of RAM which is plenty in this day and age.

Now, Asus has incorporated a lot of nifty gaming features into this thing that I want to talk about. The first is the X-Mode which is basically a feature that, when enabled, signals the chipset and the GPU to eke out more performance than ever before.

The next is the Asus Armoury Crate App. It is basically a gaming library where you can scan the phone for any games that are installed on the device.

Launching your game from within the interface allows you to tinker with different options such as what refresh rate you want it to default to, what performance mode you want to enable, among many other things.

Then, there are the AirTriggers I was talking about. As previously mentioned, these are pressure-sensitive buttons that you can remap using the Armoury Crate app.

The beauty of this thing is that you can map a total of 7 different commands by utilizing a simple tap, swipe, or hold. It is that intuitive and it will certainly give you an edge over your competitors.

One handy utility that definitely deserves recognition is the ROG Game Genie App. This is basically a toolkit that allows you to do a lot of things.

Some of its nifty features include the ability to toggle the screen refresh rate on the fly, record short video clips while playing games, free up RAM and resources when you play, the ability to livestream to different platforms, and so much more.

Seriously, I should give praise to Asus for providing a lot of nifty features into the ROG Phone 3.

Accessories

Asus ROG Phone 3

Included in the box are some nice accessories such as the Lightning Armor case and the AeroActive Cooler 3.

The Lightning Armor case provides additional grip and protection to the phone and the good thing is that it doesn’t impede the ports on the device at all.

The AeroActive Cooler 3 is a module that you should install if you want to go on gaming marathons. That is because when you play graphically demanding games, the phone gets really hot to the touch.

Inserting the attachment into the USB-C port on the side, the AeroActive Cooler can almost immediately reduce the temperature of the device by at least 5C which is really saying something.

At the bottom of the cooler are the USB-C ports if you want to charge the device while you play and the aforementioned headphone jack so that you can plug in your favorite gaming headset.

Lastly, the cooler attachment actually has a convenient kickstand so that you can prop the phone up nicely when you want to watch movies or your favorite shows, for example.

Audio

Asus has made a special smartphone here. The company collaborated with Dirac which is an audio engineering company, to help deliver stellar audio performance on a mobile device.

The phone has two front-facing speakers and just when you expect it to sound tinny when spewing out bass-heavy music, that is not the case here.

By using impulse response correction and frequency response correction, the Asus ROG Phone 3 actually adds more depth to the sound output so that you still get a really good sounding audio using its built-in speakers.

Not only that but the speakers themselves are so loud that you can literally disturb anyone in your vicinity if you set it at 100% volume.

Camera

While I usually do not look at the camera setup of a gaming phone, I am surprised at what Asus did here. It has a triple-camera array at the back and a single selfie camera on the back.

The headline camera sensor at the back is the 64-megapixel Sony IMX686. It is able to produce amazingly good shots when given ample lighting and I am really surprised by it.

It also comes with an ultra-wide sensor and a macro camera. While the former is good to use, the Macro camera, to be honest, can be removed from the device and no one would notice. It seems to me that any smartphone manufacturer just includes macro cameras for the sake of increasing the sensor count and nothing else.

The selfie camera is pretty good. It doesn’t have skin smoothing or any filter-like effects by default and that is something that is admirable.

The triple-camera setup also allows you to record either 4K videos at 120fps or 8K videos at 30fps, but if you intend to use these modes, it is best used when you have a gimbal or some really steady set of hands because optical image stabilization is not present when these modes are used.

Battery

Asus ROG Phone 3 Gaming Phone

The ROG Phone 2 was praised to have the best battery among all of the flagship smartphones in 2019. How does the 3rd version stack up?

Well, I can safely say that the Asus ROG Phone 3 beats the second version hands-down. Because of the software optimizations, the phone can last up to two days without a problem.

If you are a heavy user, this device can last an entire day without any issues at all. In fact, if you really want to drain its battery, you will really have to try hard to do that because this thing is a survivor.

Once the device runs out of power, there is an included 30-watt charger in the box. When you charge the device from 0 to 100, it takes roughly 100 minutes to do so but that is to be expected given that the phone comes with 6,000 mAh battery capacity.

It is also worth noting that the device also has a smart charging feature. This is just a feature that dramatically reduces the charging speed once it reaches 80% and this is done as a means of prolonging the life of the battery.

Of course, you do have the option to disable the said feature.

Lastly, while the Asus ROG Phone 3 has a glass back, it doesn’t have wireless charging at all which may put off some users.

Verdict

Wow, that was a lengthy review but that is because there’s just too much to unpack here. There are just so many things to love about the Asus ROG Phone 3.

First, its gaming performance is unparalleled. With a combination of a fast refresh rate screen, impressive specs, and amazing gaming features built into the software, playing games on this thing is a dream.

Second, the included case and the AeroActive Cooler makes this device cool and steady, allowing you to play for long periods of time without any issues.

Third, while not a good phone for cameras, per se, its camera setup is actually quite good. It can record 4K videos at 120fps and even 8K videos at 30fps which is insane.

Then, there’s the huge battery. This phone can last two days with moderate to heavy use. You need to be trying so hard for this phone to last just a single day and even that isn’t a problem thanks to the included 30-watt charger.

While it doesn’t have wireless charging, that is just a fair compromise in my opinion.

The ROG Phone 3 is also a 5G smartphone thanks to the included module in the chipset. It supports mmWave which should provide you with gigabit speeds without a problem.

If you are interested to get this phone, it will cost you $1,150 for the 12GB/256GB version and $1,300 for the 16GB/512GB version. If you are wondering why it doesn’t come with 1TB internal storage, that is because of the limitation of the new UFS 3.1 standard. Still, 512GB of storage should be plenty for most users.

So there you have it, with amazing performance and specs, the Asus ROG Phone 3 is definitely the best gaming phone in 2020.

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The Best Competitive Gaming PC Builds for 2020 Under $500

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Best Budget Builds Under $500

Due to Covid-19, people are buying their own gaming PCs. While consoles can provide you with the same entertainment, a PC is more flexible because it can be used in more ways than one.

That being said, because of the said pandemic, you want to make sure that you are going to get the most bang for the buck PC and I’m sure that you don’t want to spend a fortune when getting one.

Fortunately, I happen to know a lot of PC parts so today, I am going to recommend the best gaming PC builds under $500 in 2020.

What Constitutes a Gaming PC?

Well, a gaming PC is actually built just like any other PC, albeit its parts are geared towards gaming more than anything else.

Of course, the main parts of the PC will include the motherboard, the CPU, the GPU, RAM, storage device, power supply, and case.

Since you are on a tight budget, I will recommend the best builds under $500 so that you can game while you are inside the house because of Covid-19.

Do keep in mind that with an ultra-budget gaming PC, you will not be able to max out your favorite game’s settings.

Still, these are pretty respectable gaming machines that will perform better than most game consoles out there today. Just keep your expectations a bit lower than when you are buying a $1000 gaming rig.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s go with the first recommendation.

The Best $500 Build

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1600 AF
  • GPU: MSI Geforce GTX 1650 Super Ventus XS OC
  • Motherboard: Asrock B450M Pro4
  • RAM: GeIL EVO Potenza 16GB, DDR4-3000
  • SSD: Crucial BX500 240GB
  • PSU: EVGA 450 BR 80 Plus Bronze
  • Case- Thermaltake Core V21
Best Budget Build 1

For this PC build, I went with the AMD Ryzen 5 1600AF. I know that Intel is still the king when it comes to gaming CPUs, but for what it’s worth and especially for its amazingly low price, the 1600AF is the best gaming CPU for budget-conscious gamer.

The GPU is a respectable GTX 1650 Super from MSI. This is their version of the Nvidia GTX 1650 Super and it performs admirably well. Even in graphics-intensive games, it runs cool and definitely pumps up the frames.

With the motherboard, most budget-friendly mobos have an m-ATX form factor. Honestly, this is better because its smaller size will allow you to fit it in a small case (thus, saving you money and storage space).

The Asrock B450M Pro4 has a lot of ports, has an overall black and gray aesthetic and it does a pretty good job of powering the CPU.

Since AMD CPUs work really well with fast RAM, I went with the GeIL EVO Potenza which is a 2x8GB RAM kit clocked at 3000Mhz. Just make sure to enable A-XMP or D.O.C.P profile in the BIOS to unlock its full potential.

For storage, you have a couple of options. I went with the Crucial BX500 240 GB SSD which will act as your main drive for your operating system and some games. If you have an extra $40 to spend, you can also add 1TB HDD for even more games in your portfolio.

The power supply of any PC is always an important consideration because it will be the one that will supply the much-needed energy that is required for your system to run. Getting a low-quality PSU can potentially damage the components, so you’d want to spend money on it to make your system last for a long time.

That being said, I recommend EVGA 450 BR power supply which is 80 Plus Bronze certified. It is power efficient and 450 watts of power is more than enough for this build (you can also choose to upgrade to better components in the future).

When it comes to cases, it is quite subjective. That is because you will have to look at the aesthetics, as well as the form factor of the chassis for you to decide.

If you want my recommendation, I would go with the Thermaltake Core V21. It is an m-ATX case that looks like a cube. It is compact which makes it easier for you to tuck into a small space while you play your favorite games in the living room, for example.

All in all, this build should cost you anywhere between $480-$530 depending on your retailer and additional costs (like shipping).

Best Budget Build #2: A Much Better Gaming Build

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2600
  • GPU: MSI Geforce GTX 1650 Super Ventus XS OC
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte B450M
  • RAM: HyperX Fury 16GB DDR4-3200
  • SSD: Inland Premium 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD
  • PSU: PowerSpec 550W 80 Plus Bronze
  • Case- Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L
Best Budget Build 2

If your main intention of buying an inexpensive build is just to play games, then the first recommendation would suffice. It should be able to play the best games out there, albeit at low to medium settings at 60fps.

Anyway, if you still have money to spare, you can go with this other recommendation with slightly better performance. The reason for the performance uplift is thanks to a much better CPU which is the AMD Ryzen 5 2600.

The Ryzen 5 2600 is the second generation “Zen+” CPU from AMD. It is a 6-core, 12-thread part that has a base clock of 3.4GHz and a boost clock of 3.9GHz.

Although the previously-mentioned AMD Ryzen 1600 AF part is still a “Zen+” architecture CPU, the performance of the 2600 is slightly better than that.

The GPU is still the same as the previous build simply because it is the cheapest 1650 Super on the market that outperforms even the more expensive options in its class.

For the motherboard, I recommend Gigabyte B450M. Actually, you can still use the motherboard from the previous recommendation, but if you want another option that is also bang-for-the-buck, Gigabyte’s offering will also not disappoint.

Another reason why this build is faster is thanks to the 3200MHz, 2×8 RAM kit from Kingston HyperX. This brand is known for its quality RAM sticks for gamers on a tight budget.

As previously mentioned, AMD works better with faster RAM, and with the additional 200MHz from the previous recommendation, it will be noticeable in some games.

As for storage, you get an NVMe SSD from Inland Premium. For those of you who do not know, an NVMe SSD is much faster than a SATA SSD by up to 4-5x. That means that your operating system, as well as some games, should load up much faster than a regular SATA solid-state drive.

For the power supply, I went with the PowerSpec 550W 80 Plus Bronze PSU. The EVGA power supply in the build above will still work, but this one can provide up to 550 watts of power so that there is a lot of room for upgrades down the line.

Lastly, I choose Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L case. It still supports Gigabyte’s m-ATX motherboard but this case is slightly bigger than the Thermaltake case above.

That is both a good thing and a bad thing. It is a bad thing if you want to just tuck the PC build in a tight space, but it is a good thing because of better airflow and better GPU support, among many others.

This build usually goes for $499, especially since some of them often go on sale. However, with miscellaneous costs, expect to pay up to $550 for the entire build.

Best Budget Build #3: A Working Alternative

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1600AF

GPU: XFX Radeon RX 570

Motherboard: Asrock B450M Pro4

RAM: Patriot Viper Blackout 8GB DDR-4000

SSD: PNY CS900 500GB

PSU: Seasonic S12III 500W Bronze

Case: CoolerMaster MasterBox Q300L TUF Gaming Edition

Best Budget Build 3

If you are absolutely low on money and you want a respectable gaming build under $499, then this build will definitely work for you.

The Ryzen 1600 AF comes back on this build simply because it is the most bang for the buck processor that is under $100. It performs really well in games and it is also no slouch either when performing other tasks.

With the GPU, I went with the cheaper XFX Radeon RX 570 graphics card. I know, this GPU is old by a couple of years but believe it or not, it still works really well in today’s games.

Probably, the only thing that may deter others from using this GPU is that it’s an AMD card, which means that you will have to download a different GPU driver for it to work. Other than that, this is a great budget-friendly graphics card for sure.

With the motherboard, I recommend the previously-mentioned Asrock B450M Pro 4. While the Gigabyte motherboard is good, this is great for people that want to use an RGB header for that extra bling.

For the RAM, I went with the Patriot Viper Blackout 8GB RAM kit. I know, 8GB might not be enough in today’s games, but it should still work if all you fire up is your favorite game and nothing else is running in the background.

With a respectable 3000MHz speed, it should be more than enough when it comes to playing your favorite games.

That being said, if you have an additional $30 to spend, you can go with a G.Skill Ripjaws V 16GB RAM kit that is priced at $69.99. But again, if your main intention is just to play games, the 8GB Patriot Viper RAM will suffice.

I also understand that a 256GB alone will not suffice, so I went with a beefier 500GB SSD for this build. Even though this is just a SATA SSD, it should be much better than a regular HDD because your games and the operating system will load significantly faster.

The power supply is Seasonic S12III which is a 500-watt PSU that is overkill for this build. But, I still included it to allow you to upgrade to better components in the future.

My only gripe with the said PSU is that it has a non-modular design which means that all of its supported cables are attached to the unit itself. Cable management will be a pain, though for its low price, I think that is a good compromise.

Lastly, for the case, I went with the Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L still but this time, it is the TUF edition. It has slightly better aesthetics, but if you want to save money, the original version is still really good.

All in all, this build should cost you anywhere between $450-$480. You can even save more if the parts go on sale, so for the truly budget-conscious, this is the build to get.

Upgrade Path

Best Budget Gaming Build

The builds that I’ve mentioned to you can all have better components in the future. That is why I went with power supplies that can support a better CPU or GPU or both.

If you are going to upgrade, I suggest that you try and upgrade either the SSD or the graphics card first. That is because those two components have the biggest impact when you are playing games.

The next thing that you’d want to upgrade is the CPU. The reason why I went with AMD CPUs is that if you are going to go with a better one, the motherboard you’re using will still support it.

Naturally, the said motherboards should support the Zen+ architecture right out of the box, but if you are going to upgrade to, say, a Ryzen 5 3600, all you have to do is download the latest BIOS for your motherboard to support the latest generation CPU.

Ryzen PCs work better with faster memory, so after upgrading the GPU or SSD, you can either go with a better CPU or better RAM. Ideally, you want to buy at least DDR4-3200 or DDR4-3600, though the latter is much pricier.

You need not worry about the power supply because a budget build will never go over 550 watts. Even if you upgrade the GPU, graphics cards are even more efficient now and 550 watts of power is more than enough to power the entire system.

For the case, it is subjective. Even if all of the motherboards mentioned in this article are all m-ATX ones, buying a chassis intended for ATX motherboards would still make sense if you are to upgrade to a better one in the future.

Of course, with so many case sizes and styles out there, I would say that choosing the PC case is entirely up to you, so long as it supports the motherboard you want to use and has considerable clearance for the GPU you intend to buy.

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AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT Review- The Best Value 1080p Graphics Card

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AMD Radeon 5600 XT (Sapphire)

There are only two companies that are vying for the top spot in the graphics card industry and they are Nvidia and AMD. The former is called by fans as ‘team green’ while the latter is also known as ‘team red’.

In the latter part of 2019, AMD was set to release the AMD 5600 XT graphics card to the market. It is meant to be a high-end 1080p graphics card but it can also be used as an entry-level 1440p GPU as well.

I will review this particular graphics card in today’s article. Read through the rest to find out why I think this is the best value GPU for 1080p gaming.

No Reference Design

Unlike its bigger brother, the RX 5700, the Radeon RX 5600 XT is only sold by AMD’s AIB (add-in board) partners. That means that you cannot find any reference design being sold in the market.

Instead, you are going to get the variants from popular companies including MSI, Powercolor, Sapphire, Asrock, Asus, and Gigabyte.

What makes AIB variants more popular is that they are usually factory overclocked, meaning, you get more performance right out of the box.

vBIOS Issue

AMD Radeon 5600 XT

By now, you’re probably aware of the vBIOS issue, but for those who still do not know, let me explain.

Back when AMD announced that it intends to release a graphics card in Q4 of 2019, Nvidia kind of did its own thing where one of its graphics cards were almost similar in performance (this being the vanilla 2060) and so, team green decided to sell that specific card for $300.

You see, the Radeon RX 5600 XT is set to be sold at an MSRP of $280, so selling the RTX 2060 at a discounted price just makes sense.

Knowing about Nvidia’s move, AMD, at the last minute, decided to unlock the full potential of the 5600XT GPUs and the company released a new vBIOS that does that.

What does this new vBIOS do? Well, it does a lot of things. First, it unlocks the AIB cards’ power limit, effectively allowing the card to eke out more performance.

As evident in various benchmarks, flashing the new vBIOS not only increased the core and boost clocks, but it also improved the memory clock by as much as 2gbps as well which is pretty insane.

In other words, depending on the games that you play, you can instantly get 10-15% more performance just by getting the new instruction set.

While getting more performance is always welcome, there was just one problem. When AMD released the new vBIOS, the AIB partners have already shipped their cards to the market, so the only way for people to eke out more power from the cards is if they would manually flash the vBIOS themselves.

The issue here is that not a lot of people are tech-savvy enough to safely do that. This can be rectified if the partner company provided detailed instructions, but even so, it might be challenging for the layperson to do it on their own.

Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. The community was able to help others who are less knowledgeable about vBIOS updating and the once major issue has been rectified ever since.

Near 5700-like Performance

To give you a better perspective of how the Radeon RX 5600 XT performs, here is a rundown of its original specs:

  • CUs (Compute Units): 36 (2304 SPs)
  • Texture Units: 144
  • ROPs: 64
  • Base Clock: 1247MHz (this only for reference. AIB partner cards are clocked higher)
  • Boost Clock: 1560MHz (the same issue with base clock)
  • Throughput: 7.2 TFLOPS
  • Memory Clock: 12 Gbps GDDR6
  • Memory Bus Width: 192-bit
  • VRAM: 6GB
  • Transistor Count: 10.3B
  • Typical Board Power: 150W (AIB partners might require more power)
  • Manufacturing Process: TSMC 7nm
  • Architecture: RDNA (1)
  • GPU: Navi 10
  • MSRP: $280

Now, the listed specs are only for the reference clocks. But, if you were to flash the new vBIOS that was released by AMD, the power limit, as well as the base, boost and memory clocks are higher.

So, after flashing it, you will get 1,560MHz for the base clock, 1620 MHz for the boost, and a whopping 14GBps for the memory clock. Those are pretty impressive numbers and it is inching closer to the vanilla 5700 performance. The only difference is the memory bandwidth which does show its prowess when you play particular DirectX 12 titles.

Now you know the reason why Nvidia decided to lower down the price of the 2060 cards. The performance of the Radeon RX 5600 XT is comparable to the 2060s, albeit it does outperform the said card in some games.

The good thing here is that the 5600XT is priced lower and even if AIB partner cards are sold above the $300, they provide more performance across the board.

For 1080p gaming, you can get anywhere between 90-200 fps depending on the games that you play. That is even at the highest graphical settings possible.

So, if you intend to get this card, you will need a good gaming monitor to pair with it so that you can maximize all of the frames.

Gigabyte 5600 XT Gaming OC

Best AIB Cards

Since there is no reference Radeon RX 5600 XT, I will recommend some of the best AIB partner cards that you can find on the market.

If you want the best overall 5600 XT GPUs, I can recommend the MSI Gaming X and the Gigabyte Gaming OC versions.

Both of the cards performed really well and they weren’t obnoxiously loud even at maximum loads.

If you are the type of person that wants to overclock their cards even more, the most overclockable 5600XT GPU of the bunch is the Asus ROG Strix. It is at the higher end of the price bracket, but people can agree that it is the best overclocker out there.

Other notable mentions include the Sapphire Pulse and the Powercolor Red Devil versions. They are okay, but they are middling at best when compared to the aforementioned board partner cards.

Asus ROG Strix 5600 XTVerdict

The AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT is the best 1080 graphics card that you can find on the market today. It is comparable to Nvidia’s RTX 2060 graphics card and it is priced lower at $280 MSRP.

While there were issues regarding the drivers on this thing, most of them are already ironed out so it is very easy to recommend this card over the RTX 2060.

Although it is true that the 2060 Super version is more powerful, it is also more expensive; encroaching on the $400 territory.

So, if you intend to build a relatively powerful gaming PC, this is the one that you should get.

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The Best 1080p Graphics Cards in 2020 That Are Perfect for Gaming in Full HD

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AMD Radeon 5600 XT (Sapphire)

When you want to play your games at considerably high frame rates, you will need a powerful graphics card for that. But with so many options out there, the best way to weed out the rest is to find out what resolution you want to use.

The vast majority of gamers still play at 1080p and that is because it is the bracket where price-to-performance is key.

That being said, if you are looking for a card for your mid-range build, read further to find out the best 1080p graphics cards in 2020 that are perfect for gaming in Full HD.

Before Anything Else

To help you get the best graphics card for your setup, you need to be thinking about two things: The CPU and the monitor.

The CPU works in tandem with the graphics card and you should be equipping your rig with the right gaming processor. Otherwise, you are not going to be getting the most out of the card since it will get bottlenecked by the CPU anyway.

Aside from that, you should also be considering the resolution of your gaming monitor as well. Since this topic is mostly about 1080p gaming, you want a card that can help you get the right frame rates that will fully utilize the capabilities of your chosen display.

With all of that out of the way, here are some of the best out there for 1080p gaming:

Best 1080p Graphics Cards

1.AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT

Price: $280

AMD Radeon 5600 XT

The best value 1080p graphics card that you can find on the market at the time of writing is none other than the AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT.

Now, this particular card is actually pretty interesting because there was an issue with the said product when it launched.

You see, Nvidia has just released one of its newest graphics cards on the market and to help combat that, AMD released a vBIOS that can further improve the performance of the 5600 XT.

While that is a great thing to do, the problem was with the timing since, at the time of the release of the vBIOS, most (if not all) AIB partners have already shipped their 5600 XT cards to the market.

What this meant was that for people to get the most out of the graphics processor, they would have to manually flash the latest vBIOS to unlock its full capabilities. It can be risky but it can be done.

With all of the drama aside, what makes the Radeon 5600 XT the best value 1080p graphics card is its raw performance.

When flashed with the latest vBIOS from your chosen brand, you can get as much as a 15% performance increase which is pretty huge. And the best part is that you can snag one for just $280.

Now for my brand recommendations. The best overall would be the Sapphire Pulse 5600 XT graphics card. It has the best thermals among all of the 5600 XTs and while it is not the best performer, it is a pretty silent one even at higher loads.

The best in terms of sheer performance is the MSI 5600 XT Gaming X. It has a massive heatsink that borrows from its 5700 XT counterpart and because this card runs cool, its performance increases quite a bit.

Keep in mind that the MSI Gaming X version is a bit more expensive at $330 but for the price, it is a great performer for 1080p gaming.

Now, I do have to point out that while there were driver issues that have plagued AMD’s newest graphics cards, most of the issues were already ironed out so there is no more valid reason not to get this one over the others.

2.Nvidia RTX 2060 Super

Price: Starts at $399

Nvidia RTX 2060 Super

If you are a fan of Nvidia and you want to get a graphics card from the said company, then I would recommend the Nvidia RTX 2060 Super for 1080p gaming. It has higher clock speeds and it uses 8GB GDDR6 memory for much more improved performance.

The performance of the new 2060 super card is about 4% faster than the vanilla 2070 which is not a huge jump, but keep in mind that the new GDDR6 memory truly helps a lot in certain games.

This is the entry-level graphics card to get if you want to enable ray tracing in your favorite titles. Although its performance is good, the 2070 super still trumps this by a mile but it costs so much more and that card already touches 1440p territory.

While some reviewers find it hard to recommend this one over the AMD variants, there are some people that still want more peace of mind thanks to Nvidia’s tried-and-tested drivers. In other words, you get a much better experience and almost no issues when getting a card from team green.

Now for specific AIB cards. The best performer is no doubt the MSI RTX 2060 Super Gaming X. It has the highest clock speeds among the other variants and it has a pretty competitive cooler that can keep this thing running well no matter how long you intend to play.

It has nice RGB lighting so that you can vertically mount this thing in your gaming pc with pride and joy.

Another great variant is the Asus ROG Strix 2060 Super. Its design is quite similar to Asus’ other cards which means that it needs to be updated but I guess the reason why the company didn’t is that its cooling performance is optimal.

It also has some nice RGB lighting but do keep in mind that its triple-fan design requires you to have a much bigger PC case.

3.Nvidia GTX 1660 Super

Price: Starts at $160

Zotac Gaming Geforce GTX 1660 Super AMP edition

If you just have less than $200 to spend, there are still some graphics cards that you can choose to help you get into 1080p gaming at high frame rates.

The Nvidia GTX 1660 Super is the middle child between the vanilla 1660 and the Ti version of it. I recommend this over the 1660Ti mainly because it is just 5% slower in most games anyway and is a bit cheaper.

This card uses GDDR6 memory which, as I’ve mentioned earlier, provides a bit more gaming performance than those that still use GDDR5 memory.

What I love about this particular GPU is that it is powerful but it also maintains its power efficiency as well.

That is thanks to the Turing architecture, as well as the 12nm process node that was used in the making of this card.

What you get is a less power-hungry card that provides more performance than its competitors.

That being said, the best overall performer is the Zotac Gaming Geforce GTX 1660 Super AMP edition. It is the highest specced 1660 Super card from the company and it comes with dual Icestorm 2.0 coolers to keep the GPU relatively cool even at full loads.

It comes with a metal backplate which is not only for aesthetic purposes but it also helps the GDDR6 memory cool throughout your entire gaming session.

Another great variant is the Asus ROG Strix 1660 Super. It is the priciest among the 1660 Super cards but for very good reasons.

First of all, you get the best out of the box performance. Second, it is also touted to be a great overclocking card, so if you have the time to tinker with it, you can eke out more power out of it.

Third, it has a pretty competitive cooler that can keep the card relatively stable even at full capacity. The major downside is that it is pricey but if you have faith in the company, this is a good card to get nevertheless.

4.Nvidia GTX 1650 Super

Price: Starts at $149

Nvidia GTX 1650 Super

If you want the best budget 1080p card that you can find on the market, the GTX 1650 Super from Nvidia is the one that you should get. While the Radeon RX580 graphics cards are similarly priced, their performance is comparable but at the cost of higher power draw. That is why I went with the 1650 Super instead.

Now, when shopping, you should not be confused with the vanilla version of this thing because that still uses the slower GDDR5 memory. The Super variant not only uses GDDR6 but you get 4GB of it as well.

Even if you intend to play the most graphically demanding games out there, the performance of the 1650 Super card still provides you with playable frame rates so you can still enjoy them nevertheless.

The best Nvidia GTX 1650 Super graphics card out there is the MSI Gaming X. It is a relatively huge graphics card that has two cooling fans that can help tame this beast.

It has a boost clock of 1755 MHz which is definitely one of the highest among the 1650 Super variants and its fans keep it cool and silent no matter how many hours you intend to play.

Another one that I can recommend is the Asus TUF Gaming OC 1650 Super. It has the highest boost clock among the other 1650 Super cards out there at 1800 MHz and to help it stay that way, it is equipped with dual fans that can help things cool and silent.

The TUF lineup from Asus has been known for its durability so if you intend to get a card that lasts a long time, then getting this variant makes sense.

Honorable Mentions

AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT

Now, all of the cards that are on this list are great for 1080p gaming, but there are some honorable mentions. 

If you have $400 to spend, I highly recommend that you consider getting the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT. While it is overkill for a 1080p gaming setup, it is certainly a great value card that allows you to play your games at 1440p with high to ultra settings.

Nvidia also has a lot of compelling 1080 and 1440p options out there, but the one that I would recommend is the RTX 2070 Super.

It is priced just right (at around $450-$600) and it has all of the right features such as DLSS 2.0, Ray tracing, NVENC for streaming, and so much more. Again, this card is amazing at 1440p and even better at 1080p gaming.

Conclusion

The graphics card is the most important thing to consider when you are building your own gaming rig. Not only that but you have to pair it with the right CPU for the job and you also need to have a competitive monitor as well.

Since the vast majority of gamers still play at 1080p resolution, the cards that are on this list should provide you with the best performance offered at an amazing value. In other words, you can get a good 1080p card for full HD gaming based on your budget.

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Asus ROG Phone 3 Review- The Best Gaming Smartphone in 2020

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Asus ROG Phone 3 Review

Gaming phones aren’t new. Ever since Razer released its first-ever smartphone, other companies took notice.

Nowadays, you can find a lot of supposed smartphones that are great for gaming, but Asus wants to take things a step further to gain the crown.

Today, I am going to talk about the Asus ROG Phone 3. Read further to find out why I think it is the best gaming smartphone in 2020.

Design

Asus is a company that is known to create some awesome gaming components- from motherboards, gaming pcs, graphics cards, and the company also dabbles into gaming peripherals as well.

That being said, when Razer launched its first gaming smartphone, Asus wants to be a step ahead of the competition and in 2018, the company released the first ROG smartphone.

It packed flagship specs at the time and it certainly turned heads and smartphone enthusiasts into gaming phone believers.

Now on the third iteration, what does the Asus ROG Phone 3 have to offer? Well, from a design perspective, it is a bit tame, especially when compared to the ROG Phone 2.

Instead of a metal frame, the company opted for a glass back that although is prone to smudges, makes it surprisingly easier to hold. Keep in mind that despite the glass back, the phone doesn’t support wireless charging because it is technically impossible to add the wireless charging coils that are needed for the technology to work.

You can still find the popular ROG logo at the center with a ‘Republic of Gamers’ text on the left side of it, but the lines and the overall aesthetic is just too subtle from what it once was in my opinion. 

If you are going to make a pretty good gaming phone, the company could’ve gone balls to the wall and be somewhat outlandish with the design while they’re at it, right?

The good thing, though, is that the ROG logo actually lights up thanks to the Asus AuraSync functionality. And no, you don’t have to worry as the lighting itself doesn’t eat up too many resources or battery life (not that you should be worried given that this is a phone with a 6,000 mAh battery capacity).

On the right side, you will find the power button, volume controls, and on the far corners, you can find the ‘Air triggers’ which are pressure-sensitive buttons that you can remap to suit your particular game’s controls. More on this later.

On the left, you might be surprised to find a USB-C port but that is actually for the cooler attachment. It also serves as a charging port as well and this is actually a welcome addition because if you intend to play games while charging the phone, it will not hinder anything at all.

You can also find another USB-C port at the bottom of the device, though it is off-center. This is a deliberate design choice to pave the way for some of its internal components.

While I do not like the fact that the company opted to remove the headphone jack on a gaming phone, I am relieved that the included fan attachment comes with a 3.5mm jack (though you will have to insert the attachment to take advantage of that).

Display

Asus ROG Phone 3 Review 2020

The Asus ROG Phone 3 has a massive screen. It has a 6.59-inch AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. Because of the somewhat odd aspect ratio, the content that you are looking at might not fill the entire screen

But, because the display is quite large, even if your media or games do not fit the entire thing, your viewing experience will not be diminished at all.

Although it is not as vibrant as the Samsung Galaxy S20 phones, it is still pretty good thanks to the AMOLED display.

Even though there is a lot to love about the display in terms of picture quality, the reason why the screen of this phone is special is thanks to the 144Hz refresh rate.

At the time of writing, the Asus ROG Phone 3 is the only device that has a 144Hz screen refresh rate on a smartphone. Other phones have 120Hz but this one is capable of dishing out more frames.

It is worth noting that not all of the games can handle the faster refresh rate. In fact, even Fortnite only supports 120Hz for now (though I am pretty sure that it will release an update soon to accommodate the 144Hz threshold).

While the fast refresh rate can eat through the battery, you are given the choice to reduce it to 120Hz, 90Hz, or even the flat 60Hz setting.

It does have a variable screen refresh rate option but it doesn’t work really well and it would normally put the screen at 120Hz anyway.

Gaming

Because we are reviewing a gaming phone, it is only fitting that I also talk about its performance when playing games.

But before that, I would like to give you a rundown of the phone’s specs to give you an idea of how it performs:

  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+
  • GPU: Adreno 650
  • RAM: 12GB/16GB
  • Storage: 256GB/512GB UFS 3.1
  • Display: 6.59-inch AMOLED Display, 2340 x 1080 resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 650 nits brightness, Corning Gorilla Glass 6, HDR10+ 144Hz Screen Refresh Rate
  • Cameras: 64-megapixel Wide, 13-megapixel Ultra-wide, 5-megapixel Macro lens; 24-megapixel Wide selfie camera
  • Battery: 6,000 mAh, with HyperCharge 30-watt Charger included
  • Connectivity: 5G, Bluetooth 5.1, WiFi AX, NFC 

As is customary with ROG Phones, the Asus ROG Phone 3 comes with an overclocked Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ chipset which means that it can handle any game out there without any problems.

True enough, I was able to get consistent 120+ fps on Fortnite and about 100+ fps on Call of Duty mobile. The version that I have is the highest configuration so I also have 16GB of RAM which is plenty in this day and age.

Now, Asus has incorporated a lot of nifty gaming features into this thing that I want to talk about. The first is the X-Mode which is basically a feature that, when enabled, signals the chipset and the GPU to eke out more performance than ever before.

The next is the Asus Armoury Crate App. It is basically a gaming library where you can scan the phone for any games that are installed on the device.

Launching your game from within the interface allows you to tinker with different options such as what refresh rate you want it to default to, what performance mode you want to enable, among many other things.

Then, there are the AirTriggers I was talking about. As previously mentioned, these are pressure-sensitive buttons that you can remap using the Armoury Crate app.

The beauty of this thing is that you can map a total of 7 different commands by utilizing a simple tap, swipe, or hold. It is that intuitive and it will certainly give you an edge over your competitors.

One handy utility that definitely deserves recognition is the ROG Game Genie App. This is basically a toolkit that allows you to do a lot of things.

Some of its nifty features include the ability to toggle the screen refresh rate on the fly, record short video clips while playing games, free up RAM and resources when you play, the ability to livestream to different platforms, and so much more.

Seriously, I should give praise to Asus for providing a lot of nifty features into the ROG Phone 3.

Accessories

Asus ROG Phone 3

Included in the box are some nice accessories such as the Lightning Armor case and the AeroActive Cooler 3.

The Lightning Armor case provides additional grip and protection to the phone and the good thing is that it doesn’t impede the ports on the device at all.

The AeroActive Cooler 3 is a module that you should install if you want to go on gaming marathons. That is because when you play graphically demanding games, the phone gets really hot to the touch.

Inserting the attachment into the USB-C port on the side, the AeroActive Cooler can almost immediately reduce the temperature of the device by at least 5C which is really saying something.

At the bottom of the cooler are the USB-C ports if you want to charge the device while you play and the aforementioned headphone jack so that you can plug in your favorite gaming headset.

Lastly, the cooler attachment actually has a convenient kickstand so that you can prop the phone up nicely when you want to watch movies or your favorite shows, for example.

Audio

Asus has made a special smartphone here. The company collaborated with Dirac which is an audio engineering company, to help deliver stellar audio performance on a mobile device.

The phone has two front-facing speakers and just when you expect it to sound tinny when spewing out bass-heavy music, that is not the case here.

By using impulse response correction and frequency response correction, the Asus ROG Phone 3 actually adds more depth to the sound output so that you still get a really good sounding audio using its built-in speakers.

Not only that but the speakers themselves are so loud that you can literally disturb anyone in your vicinity if you set it at 100% volume.

Camera

While I usually do not look at the camera setup of a gaming phone, I am surprised at what Asus did here. It has a triple-camera array at the back and a single selfie camera on the back.

The headline camera sensor at the back is the 64-megapixel Sony IMX686. It is able to produce amazingly good shots when given ample lighting and I am really surprised by it.

It also comes with an ultra-wide sensor and a macro camera. While the former is good to use, the Macro camera, to be honest, can be removed from the device and no one would notice. It seems to me that any smartphone manufacturer just includes macro cameras for the sake of increasing the sensor count and nothing else.

The selfie camera is pretty good. It doesn’t have skin smoothing or any filter-like effects by default and that is something that is admirable.

The triple-camera setup also allows you to record either 4K videos at 120fps or 8K videos at 30fps, but if you intend to use these modes, it is best used when you have a gimbal or some really steady set of hands because optical image stabilization is not present when these modes are used.

Battery

Asus ROG Phone 3 Gaming Phone

The ROG Phone 2 was praised to have the best battery among all of the flagship smartphones in 2019. How does the 3rd version stack up?

Well, I can safely say that the Asus ROG Phone 3 beats the second version hands-down. Because of the software optimizations, the phone can last up to two days without a problem.

If you are a heavy user, this device can last an entire day without any issues at all. In fact, if you really want to drain its battery, you will really have to try hard to do that because this thing is a survivor.

Once the device runs out of power, there is an included 30-watt charger in the box. When you charge the device from 0 to 100, it takes roughly 100 minutes to do so but that is to be expected given that the phone comes with 6,000 mAh battery capacity.

It is also worth noting that the device also has a smart charging feature. This is just a feature that dramatically reduces the charging speed once it reaches 80% and this is done as a means of prolonging the life of the battery.

Of course, you do have the option to disable the said feature.

Lastly, while the Asus ROG Phone 3 has a glass back, it doesn’t have wireless charging at all which may put off some users.

Verdict

Wow, that was a lengthy review but that is because there’s just too much to unpack here. There are just so many things to love about the Asus ROG Phone 3.

First, its gaming performance is unparalleled. With a combination of a fast refresh rate screen, impressive specs, and amazing gaming features built into the software, playing games on this thing is a dream.

Second, the included case and the AeroActive Cooler makes this device cool and steady, allowing you to play for long periods of time without any issues.

Third, while not a good phone for cameras, per se, its camera setup is actually quite good. It can record 4K videos at 120fps and even 8K videos at 30fps which is insane.

Then, there’s the huge battery. This phone can last two days with moderate to heavy use. You need to be trying so hard for this phone to last just a single day and even that isn’t a problem thanks to the included 30-watt charger.

While it doesn’t have wireless charging, that is just a fair compromise in my opinion.

The ROG Phone 3 is also a 5G smartphone thanks to the included module in the chipset. It supports mmWave which should provide you with gigabit speeds without a problem.

If you are interested to get this phone, it will cost you $1,150 for the 12GB/256GB version and $1,300 for the 16GB/512GB version. If you are wondering why it doesn’t come with 1TB internal storage, that is because of the limitation of the new UFS 3.1 standard. Still, 512GB of storage should be plenty for most users.

So there you have it, with amazing performance and specs, the Asus ROG Phone 3 is definitely the best gaming phone in 2020.

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