Amazing $1200 gaming PC build to dominate 1440p in 2018

Updated: August 1st, 2018Author: BrantonCategory: High-End Builds515 Comments

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best 1440p gaming pc build for 1200 dollars

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 Build

Updated: July 31st, 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.
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  • am4 socket x470 chipset motherboard

    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.
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  • amd r5 2600

    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.
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  • gtx 1080

    Gigabyte GTX 1080 WindForce

    8GB GDDR5, 256-bit memory, amazing 1440p gaming performance!
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  • 650w power supply

    EVGA 650 BQ 80+ Bronze

    650W semi-modular Bronze rated 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 HDD.
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  • Kingston A400 240GB SSD

    2.5 inch SATA-based SSD; 500MB/s read, 350MB/s write.
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Estimated
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*Hardware prices change daily, sometimes multiple times in a single day. Therefore, the price listed above should only be considered a rough estimate.
The tools you need:

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.

Recommended Add-ons

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.
  • Windows 10 (USB Installer)

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

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.

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 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!

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.

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.

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 650 BQ is a good 80+ Bronze rated power supply with a semi-modular form factor and 5-year warranty. Being that this is a semi-modular power supply, it will make cable management not only easier but result in a cleaner finished product as well.

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.

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.

Peripherals

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.
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  • Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum

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

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

  • Kingston HyperX Cloud 2

    Kingston’s HyperX Cloud 2 is an absolutely amazing headset that’ll completely blow you away!
    View

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.
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  • Rosewill AC1300 PCIe WiFi Adapter

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

Hardware

CaseCorsair Spec 02
MotherboardGigabyte X470 AORUS Ultra Gaming
ProcessorAMD R5 2600
GraphicsGigabyte GTX 1080 WindForce
Power Supp.EVGA 650 BQ 80+ Bronze
RAM2x8GB (16GB) DDR4 @ 3000MHz
HDDWD Blue 1TB (7200RPM)
SSDKingston A400 240GB (SATA)
CPU CoolerStock (AMD Wraith Stealth)

Features
  • 1440p 60fps+ gaming
  • Easy to upgrade and/or customize
  • Lots of USB ports
  • High-quality integrated audio and Ethernet
  • VR-ready!!
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About the Author

Branton

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Hey there! I'm Branton, the founder and lead editor here at PC Game Haven. Since our launch in 2015, we've helped thousands upon thousands of gamers build their dream desktops, find the perfect peripherals, and more. Thanks for stopping by!

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Lane
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Lane

Branton. Stumbled upon your site after doing a lot of PC parts list, etc. What a great resource you put together. So, I’m a mac for the last 20 years. I was thinking about building a Hackintosh, but then thought, I’m a creative, content producer, and I want to get into PC gaming, and I sure and hell don’t want to be spending my time tweaking. I mostly work in video editing, run my own marketing agency, and I use mostly FCPX for editing, and PhotoShop for photo stuff. I want to get into Arma3 and Squad, and I’m going to switch over to Davinci Resolve for editing and color correction because it’s closest to FCPX. I do mostly HD editing, although I do have a 4k camera and want to get into that eventually, but not super important, because I downsample to 1080p all my videos for YouTube. Because I have to buy all the peripherals, like a monitor, mechanical kb, mouse, etc, what would you suggest to get started for less than $1,000 that I can easily upgrade down the road, but can still play those games (at least squad) and do video editing? Prebuilt or built by me? Thanks. Again, awesome site!

Jorge
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Jorge

Can I pop in a gigabyte 1080 ti instead?

Zach
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Zach

Hi! I can pick up either a 1070 for $340 dollars or a 1070 ti for $400. Which should I buy?

First pc
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First pc

Hi, I plan on building a PC in this price range near the end of 2018 (first pc). I plan on using it for gaming. When will this build be obsolete (rough estimate). I will readily upgrade components yearly. Thanks!

Mike
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Mike

If I upgrade my cpu from the Ryzen 5 1600 to a ryzen 7 2700x will I need a bigger PSU than the 550 you have suggested (which I have right now)? I wanted to have a higher overclock.

Georgie
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Georgie

What sound card would you recommend

Pablito
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Pablito

Could you use the “GIGABYTE GA-AB350-Gaming 3” motherboard instead of the “GIGABYTE GA-AB350-Gaming” motherboard you listed