Update: Microcenter basically killed this deal, but it was done in such a way that it looked like there was $70 off. There’s no. For $599, you can pick up both components at their regular prices anywhere else, so don’t bother with Microcenter’s non-offer again.
Original story: Maybe affordable PC games are back on the menu after all. Latest bundle at Microcenter features Intel’s excellent Core i5 12600K, last year’s pick for best processor for gaming (opens in a new tab)with an Intel Arc A770 16GB graphics card. Bought together, the two will cost you just $508 (opens in a new tab)– that’s a big saving no matter how you allocate the money in your head.
As Microcenter sees it, you pick up the Core i5 12600K for $228. It’s a lot cheaper than that chip launched (around the $280-300 mark) and makes for a decent gain considering its price has come down since then. It’s a 10-core chip, but as it’s built on the hybrid Alder Lake architecture that features both six performance cores and four efficient cores.
In my Intel Core i5 12600K review (opens in a new tab)I said of it, “the Core i5 12600K is a bargain. With decently priced Z690 motherboards, it might even be a bargain for a gaming PC build. And it’s a PC that can deliver high-end frame rates with the right graphics card – this is a high-end chip that poses as a mid-range hero and does a great job.”
Then there’s the Intel Arc A770 16GB (opens in a new tab). One of the first graphics cards to come out of Intel’s new GPU, this specific card represents the best of the best for the Alchemist generation. It’s a surprisingly robust card – you get plenty of GPUs for your money – Intel’s only issue was accessing it efficiently. The driver package for Arc started out pretty weak, but has steadily improved over the past few months. These days, the performance on offer is on par with the competition with AMD and Nvidia (opens in a new tab)but often much better value for money than the latter.
In terms of 1080p performance, the Arc A770 is sometimes the card to beat among the entry-level cards on offer today. That said, AMD’s RX 6600 XT and RX 6650 XT are very competitive in many games. At 1440p it’s more or less the same, although the Intel card has an advantage here for the 16GB of onboard memory.
Intel’s Alchemist GPUs are also surprisingly adept at enabling ray tracing, but we really wouldn’t recommend enabling it when looking for performance in more demanding games.
This deal also brings Intel’s Arc A770 16GB to just a hair more expensive than the ASRock A770 8GB on sale at Newegg for $270. (opens in a new tab). Doubling the memory for $10 is a deal I won’t pass up.
As for the other parts you’ll need for a working PC with this build, there’s the motherboard, either a 600 or 700 series chipset; a few sticks of RAM, DDR5 or DDR4 depending on the motherboard you choose; some form of storage, probably a cheap SSD (opens in a new tab); a CPU cooler, as none are included with this boxed Core i5 12600K; and a power supply, but you will only need a minimum of 550W. You’ll also need a decent chassis to load it all up, but you can buy one for cheap (opens in a new tab) if needed.