Written by Jon Martindale
The PowerSpec G516 gaming PC is an excellent entry-level gaming PC with a twist: It has one of the rarest and most capable gaming CPUs ever made. Alongside its impressive collection of components, from a powerful graphics card to fast storage and memory, it also includes the iconic AMD Ryzen 5 5600X3D. This is a unique CPU available only through Micro Center, and while it’s been a hot seller as a build-your-own processor, for those less inclined to build their own PC, it’s also available in a Micro Center pre-built gaming PC, giving everyone a chance to enjoy this incredible CPU.
But Micro Center PCs aren’t just designed to look good on a sale page. They walk the walk as much as they talk the talk. So, let’s take a look at this PowerSpec G516 gaming PC in more detail to see just what it’s capable of.
Before we take a look at performance numbers and talk about what it feels like to play your favorite games on this PowerSpec G516 gaming PC, let’s take a look at its specifications and key features to see what we can expect when we put it through its paces.
CPU - AMD Ryzen 5 5600X3D
Motherboard - ASRock B550M-C
Graphics - AMD RX 6650 XT
RAM - 16GB DDR4-3200
Storage - 500GB NVMe SSD
Networking - Wi-Fi 5, Gigabit Ethernet
The real standout in this build is the Ryzen 5600X3D processor. It has six Zen 3 cores and supports 12 simultaneous threads, with a high 4.6GHz boost clock speed. Its killer feature is its additional 64MB of L3 cache bolted onto the internal chiplet. This gives it the kind of performance you’d expect from the higher-end 5800X3D, which is still one of the best gaming processors in the world, giving some of the top chips from the latest generations a real run for their money.
Complimenting that processor, we have 16GB of high-speed DDR4 memory, ensuring it has all the bandwidth it needs to really shine, no matter what game you’re playing. With the AMD RX 6650 XT too, you have the perfect combination of high-detail 1080p gameplay and even the option of 1440p play with dynamic upscaling enabled.
There’s 500GB of fast NVMe storage, which is plenty of space for any of the latest and greatest games, and a few others besides. This super-fast drive is ready for Direct Storage games and has the kind of performance that will make sure you’re never sitting around waiting for games to load. It lets the G516 boot up incredibly fast, too.
With Wi-Fi 5 and Gigabit Ethernet support you have different networking options depending on your needs, but both have all the bandwidth you need for high-speed online and LAN gaming without interference. You also get Bluetooth 5.2 support for connecting all your wireless accessories, and USB-A and USB-C ports for all your wired ones.
This PowerSpec PC also comes complete with a mouse and keyboard, so if this is your first gaming PC, you’ll be able to get gaming right away from day one - unless you want to upgrade to official gaming keyboards and mice! There are some great gaming monitor deals available in Micro Center stores, though. If you’re keen to build an entirely new gaming PC, be sure to check out our accessories or ask one of our sales representatives for advice on pairing this awesome gaming PC with an equally awesome display.
The PowerSpec G516 is an attractive gaming PC with an understated black chassis, a see-through side panel that gives you a great look at all your exciting new components, and some tastefully arranged RGB fans for those who like a little lighting.
In its default configuration, the front-mounted RGB fans and the AMD Wraith Prism cooler are synced, so they change their lighting colors in the same way at the same time. It looks great just cycling through – though if you prefer a stealthier gaming PC, you can easily turn it off.
Cable management on the inside has been handled extremely well, giving this system a super-clean look with very little cable clutter. This doesn’t just look nice, but ensures quality airflow through the case, too, with little turbulence, which further improves system cooling and helps reduce overall noise levels.
Even the back of the motherboard tray is neatly arranged, with excellent cable management making upgrades and cleaning easier. There’s also space for several 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives if you want to expand your storage down the line.
The roof-mounted dust filter is magnetically attached, so it is easy to remove to give the system a little more room to breathe or to clean it. The front panel can be easily popped off for cleaning the front filters and fans, too.
The look and feel of a PC is all well and good, but what is it actually like to use, and how well does it perform in demanding applications like games?
I’m happy to report, after using the PowerSpec G516 PC as my main computer for a week of day-to-day office work and evening gaming, it’s an excellent all-around system with some impressive gaming performance for such an affordable price.
Its SSD, RAM, and CPU make it a snappy and responsive system to use. It boots up fast and remains responsive, even when you have 10+ browser tabs open and are running other applications in the background. It transfers files and folders quickly and it feels perfectly fast enough for general admin tasks, office work, and even some light photo editing. If I was doing a lot of productivity work, I might opt for a system with eight CPU cores rather than six, but the PowerSpec G516 is more than enough for general use in all kinds of services and applications.
When it comes to games, I was impressed with how well it held up in both Esports and AAA titles, at often higher settings than you might expect from a more budget-conscious gaming PC.
Breaking out the esports games to see how this PC fares for competitive gamers, I found it incredibly capable. In CS: GO, the game defaulted to all settings at their maximum, with a 1440p resolution. Even at max, I still saw an average of around 300 FPS, with some spikes up to 320 FPS when there wasn’t much going on, and dips to around 225 FPS when the action picked up. These slowdowns weren’t noticeable to me, although I’m far from a competitive gamer.
Those are perfectly respectable frame rates for casual players like me, but those who take their PVP CS: GO a little more seriously should find them more than good enough for competitive play, too. That said, if you do want to improve performance further to shave a few more milliseconds off of your response time, there’s plenty of scope for lowering settings and resolution to boost it further.
I achieved similar results in Rocket League, where once again the game defaulted to 1440p resolution and everything on the highest setting (save anti-aliasing, which I set at medium). Since my monitor has a 144Hz refresh rate, I limited the FPS to 144 and I didn’t see it fluctuate more than a frame or two the entire time I was testing. The game felt superfluid, with no obvious stuttering or dropped frames, and I found it to be both enjoyable and engagingly responsive, again making this a great PC for competitive esports players looking to make a name for themselves online.
But what about more demanding games? In Cyberpunk 2077, I managed to get the game playing very smoothly at an average of about 50 FPS, with occasional dips into the low 40s. This was with the game set to its Ultra (non-ray tracing) preset, with 1440p resolution, and FSR 2.0 set to Quality mode.
This is much more of a cinematic experience than the esports games and is noticeably not as smooth in animations and character movements. However, with the settings set so high, that’s no surprise in such a demanding game and still shows how capable the PowerSpec G516 can be in one of the most demanding modern games. If you wanted a smoother gameplay experience, there are plenty of options to play with. You could lower the resolution to 1080p, turn down or turn off some of the additional beautifying settings, or try one of the lower FSR quality modes.
I also played some Hogwarts Legacy – and in particular, I ran around the extra-demanding Hogsmeade portion of the game. Again, aiming for a playable, beautiful experience with this game, I set everything to ultra-detail levels, at 1440p with FSR 2 quality mode enabled. With V-Sync enabled to help ward off any tearing, I was pleased to see the game locked itself to 60 FPS and barely wavered by a frame the entire time I was playing.
I couldn’t play around with a new gaming PC without also having a round of my current favorite game: Starship Troopers Extermination. It’s Early Access and isn’t the most well-optimized, but it’s still a good-looking game and there are a lot of arachnids and players on screen at once, making it a challenge for even some of the best gaming PCs.
This PowerSpec G516 gaming PC took it in its stride. At 1080p resolution with all settings on Epic (AA on medium), and XeSS enabled, I saw a solid 50 FPS average throughout gameplay. There were occasional dips into the 30s as the action picked up – and especially so when I blew up a particularly problematic plasma bug – but it was a generally solid experience.
I had a couple of obvious stutters, which weren’t fun, but I’d put those more down to the Early Access nature of the game than anything else. If this was my permanent gaming PC, I’d likely play with the settings more to find a better middle ground between visuals and performance, but it was perfectly playable in this short test run.
This might be an affordable gaming PC, but it’s capable of playing some of the best-looking and most demanding games available today at relatively high settings. Just because you’re going with a budget-friendly option, it doesn’t mean you need to miss out on anything.
Affordable gaming PCs are often painted as noisy machines that you practically have to use headphones to play on, otherwise, you’ll be drowned out by the whine of the fans. That’s not the case with the Micro Center PowerSpec G516. Through its use of smart, low-power, efficient components, and above-average cooling for a PC at this price, this gaming PC remains pretty quiet during use, even during heavy gaming.
Yes, the fans do spin up faster when you’re pushing the CPU and graphics to their limits, but it never reaches an obnoxious level. As someone who prefers a silent PC over anything else, I wasn’t overly bothered by the noise levels and didn’t feel the need to game in headphones to avoid it.
It’s no real surprise this PC manages that, though, because none of the components get too hot. Even after a 20-minute stress test, the CPU hit just 82 degrees, allowing it to maintain maximum performance throughout the test run, even with reasonable noise levels. The graphics card stayed well within its temperature range, too, recording just 71 degrees on the GPU core. It’s hotspot temperature was 97 degrees, so if you’re playing in a hot room on a hot day you might see some slight throttling on the GPU, but it’s not something I’m overly concerned with.
The Micro Center PowerSpec G516 gaming PC is an excellent entry-level gaming PC, taking full advantage of its components to punch well above its weight in gaming and general use. It’s fast and responsive in Windows and Office applications, and, whatever game you want to play, you’ll be able to enjoy it at high detail settings with this combination of hardware.
The 5600X3D CPU at its heart proves itself once again as one of the best budget gaming processors ever made, with the kind of performance that just a few months ago you’d have spent hundreds of dollars more to achieve. Paired up with the AMD RX 6650XT? It’s a killer combination with incredible performance, at a low power draw and with impressively low noise levels.
With a bundled keyboard and mouse, great networking options, an attractive build with great cable management, and a decent selection of ports, this is a great all-round PC and an even better gaming machine, whether you’re an esports fanatic, or just looking to enjoy some cinematic AAA titles.
There aren’t going to be many of these PCs, though. That 5600X3D is a unicorn of a CPU and RX 6650 XT stock won’t last forever either. If you’re interested, grab this one while you can. It won’t be around for long.
this is such a good deal
Reviews mention problems with waking up and I agree - sporadically, the machine will not wake up even though it's on and will require 2 reboots before it displays properly.
This machine is a great deal!
Best custom pre-built for the budget currently!
Awesome deal for under $1000
Great for a starter gaming build!
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