If you're looking to build a powerful gaming PC easily capable of maxing games out in 1440p for $1200, this is the one you need! The powerful GTX 1080 is well-equipped to handle 1440p gaming and it's seriously going to blow your mind when paired with the AMD R5 2600 and 16GB of 3000MHz DDR4 RAM!
This build is exactly what you're looking for if you want to build a strong PC capable of delivering smooth, immersive gameplay AND being able to tackle some streaming and things like that. When it comes to this build, 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 them in the comment section!
1440p Killing $1200 Gaming PC BuildUpdated: October 1st, 2018
Corsair Carbide Spec 02
ATX mid tower case with good cable management and 2 included fans. Will support a liquid cooling radiator up to 240mm.
Gigabyte X470 AORUS Ultra Gaming
A great AM4 socket motherboard running the X470 chipset. 6x SATA + 1x M.2 NVMe. Integrated optical + 7.1 audio. 10x USB ports. View
AMD R5 2600
AMD’s 2nd generation Ryzen 5 processor. 6-cores + 12-threads @ 3.9GHz boost clock. Can be overclocked and comes with a stock CPU cooler. View
Gigabyte GTX 1080 WindForce
8GB GDDR5, 256-bit memory, amazing 1440p gaming performance!
EVGA 550 B3 80+ Bronze
550W fully-modular Bronze rated power supply; up to 85% efficiency – this PSU won’t let you down!
16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 RAM
2x8GB 3000MHz dual channel pair, CL15.
WD Blue 1TB HDD
1TB, 3.5 inch, 7200 RPM HDD.
Kingston A400 240GB SSD
2.5 inch SATA-based SSD; 500MB/s read, 350MB/s write.
- A small Phillips screwdriver
Size #2 works well as a general rule.
- An anti-static wristband
Optional but recommended.
And lots of it.
That’s really all you need to assemble your new desktop. All of the mounting hardware and cables will come with the parts listed above. The only time you might need something extra is if you’re modifying the build on this page.
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 CPU cooling if you’re choosing to run liquid CPU cooling! View
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
LG Electronics 8X USB 2.0 external optical drive
With more and more cases moving away from internal 5.25″ bays for optical drives and things of that nature, external ODDs have become increasingly popular, like this one. View
For right around $1200, this R5 2600 + GTX 1080-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 1440p or even 4K! 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.
Case: 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!
Motherboard: The Gigabyte X470 AORUS Ultra Gaming is a great ATX sized, AM4 socket, X470 chipset motherboard. It comes with everything you’ll need for the components in this build as well as the majority of any future upgrades you might undertake. It gives you a plethora of USB options including multiple USB 3.1 ports, 6x SATA ports, an M.2 NVMe slot, and room for 4 sticks of RAM just to name a few. On top of that, you're also getting on-board RGB control headers, support for both SLI and Crossfire GPU configs, and high-quality integrated audio as well as Ethernet.
Processor (CPU): AMD's 2nd generation Ryzen processors are complete and utter beasts; and the R5 2600 is absolutely no exception. This 6-core/12-thread processor has a boost clock speed of 3.9GHz across all 6 cores which results in a ton of gaming potential. The R5 2600 is a unlocked CPU meaning it can be overclocked without an issue.
Although the R5 2600 comes with a pretty good stock CPU cooler from AMD, upgrading it would not be a bad idea by any means - especially if you want to push high overclocks. If you want to do that, check out my list of the best air and liquid CPU coolers!
Graphics Card (GPU): The 8GB GTX 1080 is a complete and utter powerhouse when it comes to 1440p or even 4K gaming to an extent. Gigabyte's GTX 1080 WindForce, regardless of having is a great performer with solid cooling and it's one of the best-priced options available right now.
System Memory (RAM): 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.
Power Supply (PSU): EVGA's 550 B3 is a good 80+ Bronze rated power supply with a semi-modular form factor and 5-year warranty. Being that this is a fully-modular power supply, it will make cable management not only easier but result in a cleaner finished product as well.
Storage: As far as storage goes, I picked you out a relatively standard HDD/SSD combo, and you're going to have 1.24TB of space between the two drives, with the HDD holding 1TB and the SSD with 240GB. 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. Storage can be expanded well beyond the default amount, so feel free to add larger or more drives as you deem necessary.
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.
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 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.
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!
Since picking a good monitor can often be a very subjective choice, I've put together this guide on how to pick the best monitor for gaming.
One of the most important parts of putting together a good battlestation is ergonomics. Without a good, ergonomic chair to use, you're going to be uncomfortable and you won't enjoy your gaming sessions as much as you should. Because that's definitely not what I want, I've put together this buyer's guide containing 16 of the best chairs to use for gaming.
BenQ GL2706PQ 27"
A very solid 27-inch 1440p 60Hz monitor with a 1ms response time. View
Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum
Romer-G mechanical switches. Customizable RGB backlighting. All-around amazing keyboard for around $120! View
Razer DeathAdder Chroma
Razer’s DeathAdder is an awesome gaming mouse offering great accuracy and a lot of comfort!
Kingston HyperX Cloud 2
Kingston’s HyperX Cloud 2 is an absolutely amazing headset that’ll completely blow you away! View
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!
A very affordable N150 USB WiFi adapter. Capable of 150Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. View
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
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 1080 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!
$1200 Gaming PC Build
This high-end gaming PC build is geared towards 1440p @ 60fps+ gaming on ultra settings in most AAA games - but not all. It'll also be able to pull off 4K games that aren't crazy demanding. At the same time, this build is exactly what you're looking for if you want to stream AAA games with good performance and quality.
|Case||Corsair Spec 02|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte X470 AORUS Ultra Gaming|
|Processor||AMD R5 2600|
|Graphics||Gigabyte GTX 1080 WindForce|
|Power Supp.||EVGA 550 B3 80+ Bronze|
|RAM||2x8GB (16GB) DDR4 @ 3000MHz|
|HDD||WD Blue 1TB (7200RPM)|
|SSD||Kingston A400 240GB (SATA)|
|CPU Cooler||Stock (AMD Wraith Stealth)|
- 1440p 60fps+ gaming
- Easy to upgrade and/or customize
- Lots of USB ports
- High-quality integrated audio and Ethernet