Amazing $1200 gaming PC build to dominate 1440p

In $900-$1400, Custom Builds by Branton386 Comments

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If you’re looking to build a powerful gaming PC capable of maxing games out in 1440p for around $1200, then this is the one you need. The powerful GTX 1070 is more than capable of handling 1440p gaming and it’s seriously going to blow your mind when paired with the brand new Ryzen 5 1600!

This build is exactly what you’re looking for if you want to build a strong PC capable of delivering smooth, immersive game play. Plus, there really aren’t many ways it could be improved upon without spending a lot more.

Without drawing this introduction out any longer, let’s get down to the build! If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comment section!

  • A couple different styled/sized screwdrivers
  • Anti-static wristband (optional but suggested)
  • Patience

That’s about all you’re going to need, seriously. If this is your first attempt at building your own gaming PC, you’re going to want to be well-informed before you tackle the actual build process. There are a lot of walk-throughs and guides on YouTube, and a lot of these are really great to follow, I would highly recommend checking a couple out.

It’s not that building your desktop is going to be hard, but there are some things to take into consideration when doing it, grounding yourself so you don’t fry your new parts with static for instance.

If you’re still thinking that it’s a super-difficult process, just click (or tap) below, skim through the video, and then you’ll know for sure.

Here are the basic steps that I follow when building:
  1. Install the Power Supply into the Case
  2. Install the processor (make sure the arrows line up)
  3. Install RAM (make sure they are in the right way before you try to seat them!)
  4. Mount the CPU cooler
  5. Place the rear I/O plate
  6. Mount the motherboard to the case (get your i/o ports through and use the middle standoff as a guide)
  7. Plug your GPU in
  8. Install any storage
  9. Plug everything into the appropriate spots
  10. Turn it on / Install OS & drivers!

Video Walkthrough

Instead of me typing out a ton of words to explain this process, why not watch this video put together by EasyPCbuilder.com? He does a great job of explaining everything in detail, and is going to get you running in 30 minutes.

Keep in mind that it’s not the exact same build, but the overall process is going to be very similar. Building your PC is going to be a lot easier than you will think, so make sure you don’t stress yourself too much!

1440p Killing $1200 Gaming PC Build

Updated: September 3rd, 2017

  • Corsair Carbide Spec 02

    ATX case. Good cable mangement, good cooling profile.
    View

  • Gigabyte GA-AB350-Gaming

    AM4 socket motherboard, B350 chipset, ATX, 6x SATA, 8x USB including USB 3.1.
    View

  • AMD Ryzen 5 1600

    6 core 12 thread beast of a CPU for gaming. Comes with a good CPU cooler.
    View

  • Zotac GTX 1070 Mini

    8GB GDDR5, 256-bit memory, amazing performance, great cooling & comes with a backplate!
    View

  • EVGA 600 BQ

    Semi-modular 600W power supply, up to 85% efficiency – this PSU won’t let you down!
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  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 RAM

    2x8GB 3000MHz dual channel pair, CL15.
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  • WD Blue 1TB HDD

    1TB, 3.5 inch, 7200 RPM, 64MB cache.
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  • Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD

    2.5 inch, 540MB/s read, 520MB/s write.
    View

Estimated
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Suggested/Optional

Although not entirely necessary, some add ons like optical drives can sometimes improve your experience. Others, like an operating system, are significantly more crucial. If you’re installing your operating system from a disc opposed to a USB flash drive, then you’ll definitely need an optical drive.

  • [UPGRADE] EVGA GTX 1080 FTW

    If you have a bit more gold in your coffers, you might want to consider upgrading your graphics card to a GTX 1080. EVGA’s FTW model is easily one of the best options.
    View

  • Windows 10 (USB Installer)

    Windows 10 is your best bet when it comes to picking an operating system. This version is a USB installer.
    View

  • Corsair H80i Liquid CPU Cooler

    Instead of air cooling for your CPU, why not try a closed loop liquid cooler? Corsair’s Spec 02 case is guaranteed to work with the H80i.
    *You don’t need air cooling if you’re choosing to run liquid cooling!
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  • Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD

    An M.2-based NVMe SSD like the 960 EVO is a step up from basic M.2 or SATA SSDs. They offer significantly more speed, but at a higher price /GB in comparison.
    View

  • Samsung Ultra-Slim External CD DVD±R/RW

    A lot of people are moving away from internally mounted optical drives, and it’s easy to see why! This external ODD is definitely one of the cheaper & better options to consider.
    View

Details

For a little more than $1200, this R5 1600X + GTX 1070-powered gaming PC is absolutely insane! It has more than enough power to completely blow your mind over and over again as you try your favorite games on it in either 1080p or 1440p! Keep in mind that the price above is for the core components only, you will still need an operating system, and any other peripherals you don’t currently have.

Corsair’s Carbide Spec-02 is my most recommended case for the simple reason that it works great and doesn’t cost a huge amount. It comes with 2 120mm fans (1 with red LED lighting) and enough space to add an extra 3 120-140mm fans of your choice. It’ll fit any mATX or ATX motherboard without an issue and any graphics card will fit inside no problem. That being said, there are lots of other cases that would work great for this build, so to make sure that your build is really your build, make sure you pick the case that you like best!

 

AMD’s Ryzen 5 1600 isn’t the most powerful of the R5 lineup per say, but it does offer the best value in my opinion. At around $210 it offers the best price vs performance ratio of any CPU in the price range, there’s even more added value when you consider the CPU cooler it comes with is rather decent.

The Gigabyte GA-AB350-Gaming is a great ATX sized AM4 socket motherboard for the price, it comes with everything you’ll need for the components in this build as well as the majority of any future upgrades. It gives you a plethora of USB options including multiple USB 3.1 ports, 6x SATA ports, CrossFire support, and a ton of on board fan headers.

The GTX 1070 is a complete and utter powerhouse when it comes to 1440p 60Hz or 1080p 144Hz gaming – and it can even take you into 4K if you don’t mind lowering some settings. Zotac’s GTX 1070 Mini is a great performer with solid cooling and it’s one of the best-priced options available right now. Keep in mind that GTX 1070 GPUs are selling for an increased price and if you can afford it a GTX 1080 ($50-$100 more) would offer better value.

16GB of 3000MHz DDR4 RAM is a great amount and speed for a gaming PC at this level. Corsair’s LPX lineup is really awesome which is probably why it has nearly 5-star reviews pretty much everywhere. That said, there are other options available that come with LED lighting and things like that if you’re looking for something a little different.

EVGA’s G-series of modular power supplies are easily some of the most reliable units out there. The 650W G1 is plenty for this build and it comes with a 10-year warranty which is great as it shows that EVGA believes in their product!

As far as storage goes, I picked you out a relatively standard HDD/SSD combo, and you’re going to have 1.25TB of space between the two drives, with the HDD holding 1TB and the SSD with 250GB. I would suggest installing your operating system to your SSD, as well as any games/programs you’re going to use a lot. Everything else can go on your HDD.

All-in-all, this build is phenomenal, for $1200 you’d be hard-pressed to get a better gaming PC anywhere, and that’s a fact.

Operating System

When it comes down to picking an operating system for your build, you have a couple of options. One is free, the other is about $100.

windows-10-homeWindows is the first, and probably best option for the most people – specifically Windows 10. Not only is DirectX 12 a Windows 10 exclusive, but if you’re looking to play some Forza Horizon 3 on your new PC, well, it’s also a Windows 10 exclusive. When it comes to picking out your copy, Windows 10 Home is all that’s necessary, and you even have the option of buying an OEM disc or the significantly faster USB flash drive installer.

The free option would be downloading a copy of a Linux-based operating system like Ubuntu and going from there, there are other options but Ubuntu is generally the best. Although pretty decent, there are some downsides to running a Linux-based system, like less compatibility for games / programs.

Extras

If this is the absolute first gaming PC you’ve ever owned, then chances are high that you don’t have a very good keyboard + mouse combo, or that your monitor is sub-par to really enjoy your experience.

If you don’t already have these basic peripherals, you’re definitely going to want them. At the very least you’re going to need a keyboard, a mouse, some kind of audio, and a monitor. Luckily for you, we’ve featured some awesome products to cover each of these basic needs, just check them out!

  • BenQ XL2411Z

    A very solid 24-inch 1080p 144hz monitor with a 1ms response time. There are lots of other options but this is definitely one to consider!
    View

  • Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum

    Romer-G mechanical switches. Customizable RGB backlighting. All-around amazing keyboard for around $120!
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  • Razer DeathAdder

    Razer’s DeathAdder is an awesome gaming mouse offering great accuracy and a lot of comfort!
    View

  • Creative Sound BlasterX H7

    Creative’s Sound BlasterX H7 is an absolutely amazing headset that’ll completely blow you away!
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  • Reflex Lab Mouse Pad

    Super smooth, very accurate, and extremely comfortable to use! Reflex Lab mouse pads are available in 4 sizes from your basic 9″ x 8″ right up to a whopping 36″ x 18″!
    View

About WiFi

Personally, I prefer using a wired internet connection over a WiFi connection, and this build would support that right away. But, if you absolutely have to use a WiFi connection, then you’re also going to need some kind of WiFi adapter.

When it comes to actually picking a WiFi adapter, it’s a little more complicated than simply picking the cheapest option and plugging it in. Sure, you could do that, but it wouldn’t deliver a great experience in most cases, especially not when you might be able to spend just $10 more to get significantly better speeds.

First, you should determine whether or not your router runs on the “N” or “AC” standard. N is older and only offers support for the 2.4GHz band (not great for gaming) where AC supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Ideally, 5GHz is the band you want to be using for any kind of online gaming as it offers the best performance, but N will work if it’s all you have.

Next comes time to actually pick your adapter, it should be the same standard as your router. This is because you don’t need (and won’t get better performance) if you’re using an AC adapter with an N router. But, if you have an AC router, you don’t want to miss out on taking advantage of the 5GHz band by cheaping out on an N adapter.

I hope that makes sense, because here are some suggestions!

  • TP-Link TL-WN722N

    A very affordable N150 USB WiFi adapter. Capable of 150Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.
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  • TP-Link Archer T4U V2

    A reliable AC1300 USB WiFi adapter. Capable of operating on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
    View

  • Rosewill AC1300 PCIe WiFi Adapter

    A good internally mounted (PCIe) AC1300 WiFi adapter.
    View

Conclusion

For right around $1200, this build will keep you comfortably gaming for years to come. No big upgrades will be needed for a reaaaaally long time, and it’s not going to have any issues running games maxed out for the same amount of time. The GTX 1070 is a complete beast and it’s going to blow your mind, I just know it!

This PC is really a thing of beauty, you would be seriously hard-pressed to find a better $1200 build anywhere. This badass build is using some of the newest and best hardware that you could use, and it’s going to be noticeable from the first time you boot up your favorite game!

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or whatever else, feel free to leave it below! 

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Author

Branton

The first game I ever played on PC was Ultima Online way back in 1999, since then I've been hooked on PC gaming and putting together awesome builds! Thanks for stopping by!

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386 Comments on “Amazing $1200 gaming PC build to dominate 1440p”

  1. Hi, I just want to know if there is a specific graphics card I could use on this build that is substantially cheaper than the Evga 1070 XD acx 3.0, but still gets the job done. If so, could you please recommend a specific model? Thanks so much!

    Also, do you think it could work with an i7-7700k in a Corsair Crystal 570x case?

    1. Hey Matt,

      Unfortunately not, not in the same tier at least. But, you could go down to a 6GB GTX 1060 to save quite a bit. It’s hard to recommend a specific model right now as the prices and availability change so often due to the GPU shortage.

      That would all work together great.

  2. Hello! I noticed that you kind of skipped the 1080 in all of your builds… I have enough money for a 1080, and not a 1080ti. What model 1080 should I go with?

    1. Hey Jack,

      I didn’t skip it, it’s just in a weird price point where I’d have to put together another build at $1300 (or thereabouts) just to include it. It used to be included in my $1500 build, but that was before the beastly Ryzen 5 1600 released.

      Either way, I would go for EVGA’s GTX 1080 FTW, it’s easily one of the best options out there without going over $600.

      Hope that helps!

  3. Hi, this is my first time building a rig and its helped me a lot. I wanted to deviate a bit using the Asus ROG B350-F for AMD mainly for its DisplayPort compatibility, so I was wondering would it work in replacement? I believe it sacrifices PCIe slots, but im still unsure of the whole gimmick.

    Also, will a full size gtx 1070 fit in the case? Im thinking of installing the rosewill 1300 wifi adapter as well. Just not sure hiw much will fit on the Asus ROG…

    Any feedback helps, thanks!

    1. Hey Daniel,

      Awesome, I’m glad to hear it helped! There’s no real need for DisplayPort on your motherboard, using your motherboard’s display outputs will (attempt to) use your CPU’s integrated graphics opposed to your dedicated graphics card – this won’t work because the R5 1600 does not have an integrated GPU. You always want to hook your display(s) up solely to your graphics card, especially in a gaming PC. Otherwise, the ROG B350F has all of the ports, sockets, and headers that you’ll need, just don’t use the onboard DisplayPort, use your GTX 1070’s DisplayPort instead.

      Sure will! Just don’t spend more than $450 on your 1070. The internal WiFi adapter will work as well, not a problem there regardless if you use the ROG B350F or the AB350-Gaming mobo.

      Hope that helps!

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