If you’re looking to build a powerful gaming PC easily capable of maxing games out in 1440p for $1200, we have some options for you! Finding high end graphics cards at a reasonable price has made many of the builds difficult to fit in our budget so we have done our best to wittle the list down. The powerful RTX 3060 is well-equipped to handle 1440p-4K gaming and it’s seriously going to blow your mind when paired with the AMD R5 3600 and 16GB of DDR4 RAM!
On our latest update we have had to bump up the build price to about $1300. You could compromise on the graphics card if you want to drop your price but we think the extra 100 bucks is worth it.
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!
$1200 Prebuilt Gaming PC Option
CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR Gaming PC
Not feeling the DIY approach? Just want the best prebuilt gaming PC under $1200 USD that’ll work right out of the box? Have no fear, The CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme is here. It comes fully assembled with Windows 11 already installed. The only thing left for you to do is plug it in and turn it on! Pricing on prebuilds is currently cheaper these days too so don’t feel bad about bypassing the DIY!
With that in mind, here’s a good prebuilt alternative with similar (not the exact same) specs and pricing as the DIY build found below on this page.
- CPU: Intel Core i5-11600KF
- GPU: RTX 3060 12GB
- RAM: 16GB DDR4 RAM
- Storage: 500GB SSD + 1TB HDD
- Connectivity: WiFi + Ethernet | 1 x HDMI + 2 DisplayPort | 6x USB 3. 1 Ports + 2 x USB 2. 0
- Comes with Windows 11 Home (64-bit) installed
- Comes with a keyboard + mouse
- 1-year parts + labor warranty | Free lifetime tech support
Note: No monitor included but click here monitor options.
The Best $1200 Gaming PC Build
Updated: March 23, 2022
Zotac RTX 3060 Twin Edge OC
12GB GDDR6 graphics card, 4 display outputs, amazing 1080p and great 1440p performance!
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB
2x8GB sticks of 3000MHz DDR4 RAM. Adding more ram is completely possible!
EVGA 650 B5 80+ Bronze
Fully-modular 650W 80+ Bronze power supply. Comes with a 5-year warranty.
Samsung 870 EVO 500GB
The Samsung 870 EVO is the best and fastest conventional SSD you could be running.
More Storage (optional)
T-FORCE CARDEA ZERO Z330
The CARDEA ZERO Z330 is incredibly fast SSD for a great price! If you’re wanting to spend a little more money to get double to storge and triple the speed, the check out this SSD!
– Note: You will have to buy this SSD separately.
The tools you need:
- 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.
HOW TO BUILD YOUR PC…
Super Simplified Build Steps:
- Install the power supply into the case
- Install the processor (CPU)
- Seat RAM in the motherboard
- Mount the CPU cooler (don’t forget thermal paste if you’re not using a stock cooler!)
- Insert the motherboard’s rear I/O plate into the case’s rear I/O slot
- Mount the motherboard in the case (get your i/o ports through and use the middle standoff as a guide)
- Plug your graphics card into the motherboard
- Install storage drives
- Plug all power and data cables in where they’re required (storage, case, motherboard, graphics card, etc)
- Turn your PC on
- Install your OS
- Install and update ALL drivers
Complete Build Breakdown
For right around $1200 (well actually $1300!), this R5 3600 + RTX 3060 Super-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: The NZXT H510i is an good mid-tower ATX case that takes everything the S340 did well and improves almost everywhere. It comes with everything you’ll need right out of the box, including the mounting hardware you’ll need and 2x 120mm fans. It can easily support custom or AIO watercooling setups with radiators up to 280mm.
That all 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!
CPU & Cooler: AMD’s Zen 2 processors are complete and utter beasts; the R5 3600 is absolutely no exception. This 6-core/12-thread monster has a boost clock speed of 4.2GHz across all 6 cores which results in a ton of gaming potential. The R5 3600 is a unlocked CPU meaning it can be overclocked without an issue.
Although the R5 3600 comes with a fairly good stock CPU cooler from AMD, upgrading it would not be a bad idea by any means – especially if you want to push really high overclocks. If you want to do that, check out my list of the best air and liquid CPU coolers!
The R5 3600 comes with a good CPU cooler if you’re not pushing your CPU too much or overclocking. Upgrading to a larger air cooler would be recommended if you’re going to overclock.
Motherboard: MSI’s B450 Tomahawk Max is a great ATX sized, AM4 socket, B450 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 want to 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 lighting, support for Crossfire GPU configs, and high-quality integrated 7.1 audio as well as Ethernet. This board does not come with integrated WiFi, so if you need WiFi you’ll also need an adapter.
Graphics Card: The 12GB RTX 3060 is a complete and utter powerhouse when it comes to 1440p or even 4K gaming. The Zotac RTX 3060 is turning out to be a great performer with solid cooling and it’s easily one of the best-priced options available right now.
An RTX 3060 will perform similarly to an RTX 2080 (non-Super) in both 1440p and 4K.
Note: Due to their popularity, all models of the RTX 3060 Super are fairly difficult to find right now.
RAM: 16GB of RAM is the perfect amount for a gaming PC at this level. With that in mind, this build is running 2x8GB sticks of Corsair Vengeance LPX at 3000MHz. This leaves you with lots of room for future expansion and if you wanted to run more than 16GB that’s completely possible – when you do upgrade try to stick to the same speed as your RAM will automatically change its speed to match your slowest stick.
Power Supply: EVGA’s 550 BQ fully-modular power supply is a good, reliable, power supply. It’s rated to 80+ bronze and comes with a 5-year warranty + 24/7 technical support from EVGA. Being fully-modular, you don’t have to worry about hiding unused cables – you just plug in what you’re using and leave everything else in the box.
Storage: As far as storage goes, I picked you out the best 500GB SSD you could own – Samsung’s 860 EVO. Although 500GB is a fair amount of storage, you may want to consider adding more. With that in mind, you should know that it’s very easy to do. All you have to do is buy more drives and plug them in. The motherboard in this build will support up to 6 total drives between M.2 and SATA.
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.
ASUS VS247H-P 23.6″
23.6″, 1080p 60Hz, 2ms response time – Great for gaming
Redragon K556 RGB
A good full sized mechanical keyboard with RGB backlighting and a very attractive price point.
Logitech G502 Hero
One of the absolute best gaming mice you could buy. The G502 is a tried and true platform that’s only been improved to where it’s at now with the HERO.
HyperX Cloud 2
The HyperX Cloud 2 headset is undeniably one of the best you could own. They use audiophile-grade headphones with a high-quality detachable microphone.
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.
The most recent version of Microsoft’s operating system, Windows 10 is your best bet for across-the-board compatibility.
Ubuntu is a great, open source operating system rooted in Linux. It’s known as one of the most user-friendly and easiest to learn.
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!
Internal WiFi Adapter
TP-Link Archer T6E
A good internally mounted (PCIe) AC1300 WiFi adapter. Make sure your build has enough room!
External WiFi Adapter
A reliable AC1300 USB WiFi adapter. Capable of operating on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
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 RTX 2070 Super 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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